What's Behind the Thousand Dollar Mattresses

What's Behind the Thousand Dollar Mattresses

As the largest market for mattresses, the US has developed the mattress industry early on, and many US brands have naturally become household names in the world, such as Simmons, Serta, and Sealy. In 2009, Serta's parent company acquired Simmons and established Serta-Simmons Bedding (Serta-Simmons Group).

Nowadays If you go to the mall, you will find that the prices of mattresses range from a few thousand to tens of thousands. So what makes the prices of mattresses uneven? Is a mattress of tens of thousands of dollars worth buying? How to choose the mattress that suits you? 

When you finish reading this article, you will easily find the answers to the following questions.

  1. Is a mattress worth thousands of dollars really worth buying?
  2. Understanding the structure of the mattress and choosing the right mattress.
  3. Find the mattress material that suits you.
  4. How to distinguish between large factories and small workshops.

Is a mattress worth thousands of dollars really worth buying?

In fact, many branded mattresses are made from OEM, just as the relationship between Apple and Foxconn. Apple developed and designed the iPhone, but it was Taiwanese Foxconn that actually produced the iPhone. This is the so-called OEM, which is very common in the mattress industry.

Many well-known brands from the United States, Sweden, and Japan are domestic OEMs, and their OEM sources are usually China. 

A branded mattress that you bought with a lot of money is highly possibly produced on the same machine as a mattress of a certain Chinese brand. Even if the material formula is different, the rest might be all the same.

To add, many mattresses are made in the United States. American assembly is also called American manufacturing, but many of the raw materials still come from China and then get shipped to the United States to be assembled and completed. China's manufacturing industry is strong enough that many raw materials are inseparable from Chinese production.

As this is not the case for all but the majority, mattresses with a price tag of thousands of dollars are not representing superior materials and technology, but the added value of the branding over the years. 

Understanding the structure of the mattress and choosing the right mattress

Talking about the softness of the mattress as you quite often see in the marketing materials, what exactly is the right formula for soft or hard?

The mattress is composed of several layers of materials stacked together and then covered with a layer of cloth. Almost nothing has changed in 100 years. (Aside from the explosive marketing of each company, this is the truth if you observe carefully)

The hardness of the mattress depends on the choice and superposition of these internal layers of materials. The correct hardness of a mattress refers to its support. Hard mattresses and supported mattresses are not the same kinds of mattresses. This is lesson 101.

The mattress must have three layers to achieve reasonable comfort. They are the comfort layer (soft material), conversion layer (cushion material), and support layer.

(1). The top layer: comfort layer-the material must be soft

In this way, the muscles can be relaxed and the body can be soft and fit. This layer is the core material of the merchants, and it is also usually the most expensive layer.

(2). Intermediate layer: conversion layer-material hardness is moderate

This layer of material exists to prevent the body from directly contacting the third supporting layer. Without this layer of gravity conversion, the body will directly feel the top of the supported layer when sleeping, which is a sense of bottoming and making people uncomfortable. 

(3). The bottom layer: support layer-mainly spring or comfort foam

Ordinary springs and pocket springs may be used in this layer, or foams with higher hardness. The role of the support layer is to prevent your body from sinking too deep, otherwise, it will make it impossible to turn over.

This is the reason why many people sleep on soft mattresses and have back pain. If they sleep on soft sofas or poor quality mattresses and the support layer is not properly installed, it will cause the body to lose support during sleep and consequently have low back pain.

It’s not that the more layers the better, the key is to do it right. Those mattresses with a lot of layers have not increased comfort, but poor air permeability, and it's righteous for them to take away more money from your pocket.

Next time you sleep in a five-star hotel, if you feel comfortable in the bed, you can try lifting up the sheets and touching the internal structure. The bottom layer must be a pocket spring, and then there must be one or two layers of medium-hardness foam as the conversion layer in the middle. The top comfort layer must be a memory foam or ordinary foam quilting layer.

Note that there are very few materials such as latex and coconut palm in five-star hotel mattresses. (These materials are explained below) In fact, not only in five-star hotels, many brands seldom use latex, let alone coconut palm as these two materials are actually out of date.

The following is a sample map of the surface of the mattress exported. Note that there is no coconut palm in the middle of those mattresses (the reason is explained below)

Some mattress manufacturers deliberately leave out the core-comfort layer of the mattress to sustain enough hard support, or insert a layer of hard coconut palm in the middle of the mattress. In this case, the mattress will have enough support but insufficient comfort. 

Find the mattress material that suits you

Now let’s look at the difference in materials below.

The most important layer within the mattress is the comfort layer, and the materials for the comfort layer are basically these three types.

  1. foam or memory foam
  2. Latex
  3. Other plastic materials

First of all, there are two kinds of foam, ordinary foam or memory foam. Foams are distinguished by the number of one cubic kilogram and the number of Newtons. 

The number of kilograms represents density, and the number of Newtons represents softness and hardness. These two metrics represent the hardness of the foam.

Kilograms are generally 19kg-80kg (density is related to price), while Newtons are generally 40N-300N (the larger the value, the harder it is).

Different foam densities can determine the overall foam quality.

Memory foam is a complex system, not only distinguished by weight, density, and type but also gimmicks. Let’s look at some:  

Silicone foam

-Temperature control?

In fact, there is no temperature control at all, and the smell of silicone oil will cause the foam to smell.

Bamboo Charcoal foam

-Suck formaldehyde/du?

In fact, it is not true, it is more of a marketing exaggeration.

Graphene foam


It’s true that if you don’t turn on the air conditioner in the 40-degree celsius weather, it will be hot everywhere. Keep the room ventilated and have a suitable sleeping temperature.

Put a red wine glass on the mattress, and the glass will not fall down.

These ads are about selling mattresses. As long as it is a pure foam mattress with memory foam on the top layer, it will have this function, but the effect looks a bit too magical. Try putting a glass of wine on the sheets and jump, it will fall!

Therefore, the core function of the foam is also the core function of the mattress. The real and effective thing is to adjust the softness and hardness to make the body feel more comfortable.

Scientifically matching the softness and hardness of different memory foams is key. Be careful of those marketing gimmicks and don't be deceived.

About the safety of foam

It mainly depends on whether the foam has CertiPUR-US, this logo is the most valuable foam certification. Many businesses download this logo and put it on their website. But you need to check this organization’s official website, which clearly indicates which foam factories they have certified, and then the specific foam they certified.


Disadvantage 1: Latex absorbs moisture but does not dehumidify

There is a conversation I still remember clearly. Once I sat in the same commercial vehicle with the head of the international trade department of a listed company on mattresses:

"Do you sleep on a latex mattress at home?"

"I don't want to give my son a latex mattress. The latex mattress does not drain moisture and it gets moldy so easily. Children sweat all the time."

Disadvantage 2: Great rebound force.

Latex is simply not suitable for the top layer of sleeping materials. Latex has jelly-like characteristics. It has a very strong rebounding force. As much force as you push down on the latex, the latex will bounce back the same amount.

In this way, you can't relax your muscles all night, because latex will always exert force on you. Those who have studied physics should understand the effect of the force of interaction.

Athletes with sleep guidance do not sleep on latex mattresses at all. If it is 20cm or more, the rebound effect of latex is not so serious, but many latex mattresses are less than 5cm in thickness. If it is placed on the top layer, the rebound force will be very strong.

Disadvantage 3: There are few natural materials, and it is easy to cause allergies.

Many consumers have no resistance to the two words natural, but in fact, many natural latex liquids have to be chemically foamed and then shaped at high temperatures, and this has become the latex we see. Therefore, the selling point of natural materials is pure marketing.

Latex also contains latex protein, which is an allergen for many people. And hundred percent latex is just a pool of glue. 


If you have a mattress containing coconut palm material at home, we suggest you throw it away.

1). This is the natural breeding layer of bacteria. In humid areas, the coconut palm is home to bacteria.

2). The material below the coconut layer is usually money wasted because the coconut palm is a hard material, which can be regarded as a corkboard. And any material below which will be what can't be felt and what doesn't work. The most common example is to put coconut palm on the pocket springs. 

Gel or other glue

This type of product is just expensive, but the cost is not high. The biggest problem with glue materials is that they are not air-permeable, and the temperature is cooled by the gel itself. If you encounter a hotness problem, this won’t solve your headache. 

Some gel materials are sold for thousands of dollars. Then the prices of the mattresses go to tens of thousands, would you be happy to pay for the gel?

Now let's look at the material of the bottom support layer.

The middle conversion layer depends on what material you choose for the top and bottom layers. The conversion layer is a matching layer that has a matching effect. Generally, it will be a foam layer, but there are also small pocket spring ones.

The material of the mattress support layer is generally an ordinary spring or pocket spring.

Ordinary spring

This is a very old technology that is only used by low-end products. It is estimated that ordinary spring will be withdrawn in a few years. Both of its supporting force and silence are far worse than independent pocket springs. Ordinary springs cannot be seen on mattresses worth more than 1000 dollars.

Pocket spring

By putting ordinary springs into small bags, there are pocket springs. First, different thread warps and numbers of turns make up different hardnesses of the springs, and then there are different spring sizes including mini springs, bread springs, and so on.

The differentiation of springs is not so big, as long as they are not produced by small factories, they are standard. Because the materials are not very expensive, and high technology is not required. 

The only thing you need to know is that the smaller the spring, the more expensive it is because the mattress with the same spring size will use more springs, so the price must be higher.

The most worth mentioning is the spring partition. Different areas have different spring softness. This is a very valuable feature because obviously, the waist needs a little more and better support.


There are many types of fabrics, but none of them are produced by mattress factories. Mattress factories do not produce fabrics, they are all provided by fabric vendors. No matter what fabric marketing is, you don’t need to look at it, because the main function is to look good. 

It depends on the aesthetics of the mattress brand. The difference in fabric prices is also due to the difference in the price of the craft. The effect on comfort is not very obvious, because no one sleeps on the mattress naked, with a bed sheet or bed sheet on top.

Elements, such as Tencel or cool feeling (preferred in Southeast Asia, to solve heat), I always feel that fabrics except Tencel are tasteless because no one will sleep on the mattress naked, you put a blanket on the mattress As a bed sheet, all the technical functions of the fabric are gone. Therefore, I think the most important thing is that the fabric is clean + antibacterial + soft!

How to distinguish between large factories and small workshops

Finally comes the final chapter-about the factory.

The factories are roughly divided into three levels, we divide them ourselves. 

The first level: with the ability to produce foams. The advanced level of the foaming production line and formula technology determine the ranking of this factory.

The second level: There is no foaming ability, can make springs, and the equipment is not backward.

The third level: small factories that the factory hygiene and irregular production standards may be the biggest problem

Few mattress factories can maturely produce all kinds of memory foam. Basic mattress factories can produce springs because springs do not require any technology. Buy steel wire and produce it with a few machines. The foams are all bought from the foam factory, and then glued with their springs to form a mattress.

The difference is that the factory without foaming abilities tends to buy foam from the foam factory.

The first is the cost. The second is that the foam is uncontrollable. If the mattress factory does not have the foam production capacity, it will also have less experimental and development capabilities.

It is a simple matter for a large mattress manufacturer with foam production capacity to develop a mattress. Whether it is hardness, density, or type, it can be adjusted to the right value. It is even possible to develop a separate foam so that it is a laboratory mattress. On the contrary, it is difficult for small factories to have such conditions to develop mattresses.

Many small factories can also do foaming, but it is only a single ordinary foam, and the technical equipment of the small factories is relatively poor, so there will be great differences in the batches of foamed foams. That is to say, the foam mattress of a small factory may be producing the same mattress, but if the foam is foamed twice, the softness and hardness may be different.

Finally, we will share some knowledge on how to test the mattress

First of all, pressing with your hands to feel the softness is not valid, because the weight of ​​your body is completely different from those of your hands. Also, don’t sit on your buttocks to feel the softness. 

You must lie down and try to see if it fits your body. Then try to turn around again to see if it is difficult to do so. If the mattress is not well supported, it will be difficult for people to turn it over. 

Last but not least, you need time to test the mattress. A few minutes only won’t be able to give you the correct answer. 

It takes at least 30 days to try to sleep on a mattress to know whether it is right for you or not. Many people have different sleeping habits and requirements. Only trial can tell you. 

It’s normal that when you change pillows or mattresses, you may not feel comfortable in the first 1-3 days. Because the body has memory, you must sleep for 30 days before drawing any conclusions.

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