Consumer Reports’ 2015 Mattress Picks: Memory Foam & Latex Edition

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Consumer Reports’ 2015 Mattress Picks: Memory Foam & Latex Edition

Every year, product review publication Consumer Reports tests a range of different mattresses on durability and value. Their answers are highly sought after by many shoppers, since they provide unbiased opinions on several leading brands.

In this article, we’ll take a look at Consumer Reports’ 2015 mattress ratings on memory foam and latex beds in particular, and see how they compare to other research sources. We’ll also take a peek at their current mattress shopping tips for those ready to start shopping.

Consumer Reports 2015 Mattress Ratings

The Consumer Reports 2015 mattress guide includes several newer entrants as well as old standbys. In the guide, memory foam and latex are grouped together, with advantages listed as contouring and motion isolation, but potential disadvantages being heat and odor for some people.

However, memory foam and latex have important differences worth noting if you are considering a foam bed, according to our research. We’ll be looking at the Consumer Reports’ ratings on both types, then contrasting their ratings with our top picks based on reviews and value below.

How does CR rate a mattress?

Mattresses are a very subjective thing to shop for, in quite a few ways. First, we each have our own ideas of comfort based on our body types, weight, health, sleep position and several other factors. There really is no one size fits all in the mattress world, so it can be quite difficult to rate mattresses for the general population as a whole.

The magazine’s testing process involves a few different things, aimed to help generalize and standardize this process. They gauge durability with a roller test, measure support for both back and side sleepers, map pressure points, test for firmness using the indentation method (compared with manufacturer statements), and check for bounciness that can signal motion transfer.

In their analysis, no mattresses they’ve tested rate perfect across the board. What may surprise many people though is that mattresses in the middle price range tend to perform best, while higher end and luxury mattresses often fall short. In fact, many of this year’s top picks come in around or under $1000, and are largely from smaller brands.

One point to note when considering memory foam ratings is that it’s been suggested that CR’s tests and equipment may not be well-suited to measuring memory foam, particularly heat-sensitive foams. For this reason, it may be important to balance their ratings with real owner review data and personal experience.

For example, in surveys from owners using their mattresses in the real world, Sleep Like The Dead finds that 80% of memory foam owners are satisfied with their mattresses versus only 63% of innerspring owners, despite CR’s lower average ratings for foam beds. SLTD attributes higher ratings on memory foam and latex to greater reported durability, pain relief and comfort in comparison to springs.

Consumer Reports 2015 Memory Foam Mattress Tests

Consumer Reports tested about 16 memory foam, latex and foam mattresses from leading brands like Tempurpedic and Serta as well as discount lines and couple new brands. Here are the best and worst performers of this group.

The full ratings and test results from Consumer Reports are available to paying subscribers only, however OldBedGuy.com published the basic ratings and firmness scores from this year’s test.

Top 5: Best-Rated Memory Foam Mattresses

These five mattresses topped the ratings from the selection Consumer Reports tested this year (higher ratings are better):

NameCR RatingCR FirmnessPriceSpecsReviews
Serta iComfort Savant Everfeel67Soft$1,5752” 3lb MF
2” foam
1.5” 4lb gel MF
6” foam core
4.2 / 5
(Serta)
Spring Air Back Supporter Natalie64Medium$1,2002.25” foam
⅜” gel MF
1” gel latex
7” foam core
3.6 / 5
(Costco)
Tuft & Needle 10”64Medium$6003” 2.8lb foam
7” 1.8lb foam core
4.8 / 5
(Amazon)
Casper The Casper 10”64Medium$8501.5” dunlop latex
1.5” 4lb MF
6.5” foam core
4.6 / 5
(Casper)
Ikea Morgongava63Medium$1,000?” 85% natural latex blend
Wool padding
Cotton cover
4.1 / 5
(SLTD)

In Consumer Reports tests, several memory foam beds came in pretty close in score, ranging in the mid 60s, all in the mid to cheap range. The only all memory foam bed was the Serta iComfort Savant, which also scores above average for the line (and is one of the cheaper models).

Two are memory foam and latex hybrids, the Spring Air Natalie and The Casper. The Spring Air model is more expensive, but contains very little memory foam and only an inch of latex. Reviewers on Costco also prove underwhelmed due to poor durability (impressions within weeks) or excessive firmness. Though CR rated them both the same, The Casper has higher average score and a seemingly better value, but is fairly new to the market (meaning limited long-term owner data). The Casper was said to be better for side sleepers, and the Natalie better for back sleepers in another CR article.

Also in the 64 range was Tuft and Needle’s 10” model, a budget priced bed made of just regular poly foams in good densities (no memory or latex foam). Their reviews cite good value and decent comfort, though like Casper, it too is pretty new to gauge long-term durability.

Rounding out the top five is the Ikea Morgongava, one of the retailer’s higher end mattresses. According to owner data from Sleep Like The Dead, this bed earns slightly above average owner satisfaction. It contains blended latex, wool and cotton cover, and offers reasonable value.

Worst 5: Lowest-Rated Memory Foam Mattresses

These five mattresses came in at the bottom of the list compared to this years group (higher ratings are better):

NameCR RatingCR FirmnessPriceSpecsReviews
Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme32Soft$2,4001.2” 4.1lb MF
1.6” 5.3lb MF
8” foam core
4.2 / 5
(Tempurpedic)
Ara 13” 100% Visco Memory Foam48Soft$1,1006-⅝” 5lb MF
6” foam core
4.2 / 5
(Costco)
Sealy Posturepedic Optimum Inspiration52Soft$1,7752” 4lb gel MF
3” 4lb gel MF
7” gel foam core
2.5 / 5
(Amazon)
Ikea Matrand57Medium$399Rayon padding
2” 3.1 lb memory foam
5.1” 1.7 lb core foam
4 / 5
(SLTD)
Spa Sensations 10” SPA-1000Q57Medium$3602.5” 3lb MF
2” foam
5.5” foam core
4.5 / 5
(Walmart)

The lower end of the foam mattresses tested include both top brands and discount lines. Surprisingly, luxury memory foam leader Tempurpedic scored at the bottom of the scale with their Cloud Supreme model, which was also the most expensive tested. However, reviews on the brand’s website come in slightly above average.

In the middle price range, the Ara from Sleep Science scored significantly better, but still below average. This mattress contains a large amount of high density memory foam and gets largely positive reviews, but some do cite lack of support or excessive softness as issues.

The reviews on the higher-priced Optimum Inspiration seem to match CR scores, coming in quite a bit below average for memory foam. Though the bed includes a generous of layer of medium density memory foam, lack of support and durability were key factors affecting reviews.

The other two beds in the bottom five weren’t too far below average, but lower quality materials likely limit their overall supportiveness and lifespan. Both priced below $400, the Ikea Matrand and Spa Sensations 10” use memory foam around 3 lb, though the Ikea model likely uses higher density core foam. Ikea review data is limited, but Spa Sensations actually tend to earn above average reviews, with their key benefit being the low price.

Other foam mattresses from the middle of CR’s rankings not included in the above tables included the Comforpedic iQ180, Sleep Innovations 12” Gel, Novaform Altabella, Ikea Myrbacka, Night Therapy 14” Deluxe Grand, iComfort Genius, and the iComfort Directions Acumen, which all averaged between 58 and 63 points.

How Do The Ratings Stack Up? Consumer Mattress Reports Picks

As the the tables above demonstrate, Consumer Reports rankings don’t always line up with price, nor do they necessarily match owners’ reviews. The top performers were not typically the most expensive beds or even the most well-known brands.

There are plenty of well-reviewed mattresses that don’t do well on the tests, and some poorly-reviewed ones that seemed to slip by. They also only test a very small percentage of the market, leaving hundreds of models and dozens of brands entirely out of the mix.

Based on our research, here are the lines with best owner review scores and overall values in our opinion (price versus quality), sorted by type.

Consumer Mattress Reports Best Memory Foam Buys

ModelSpecsPriceReviews
Contura III MattressFirm
2” 3 lb MF
10” synthetic latex base
$3494.6 / 5
(Walmart)
Amerisleep Revere BedMed-firm
3” 4.5 lb MF
9” 2.0 lb foam core
$1,2994.7 / 5
(Amerisleep)
BedInABox Tranquility BedMed-firm
3” 3.0 lb Gel MF
8” 2.4 lb foam core
$1,2994.6 / 5
(BedInABox)

The Contura III mattress, made by Lane and sold at Walmart, earns good ratings for the lower price category. It gets slightly better reviews than the Spa Sensations 10” CR reviewed, and it has a longer warranty (5 years full/20, versus 1 year full/5) and slightly lower price point. The synthetic latex core likely will give it a slight durability edge over lower-density poly foam seen in other discount beds. Like most mattresses in this price range though, long-term durability will likely prove questionable especially for heavier individuals, but for those on a budget or for guest room, the value is not bad.

The Amerisleep Revere Bed topped our previous memory foam mattress comparison, due to the use of high-quality materials, reasonable pricing and good reviews. The brand uses a plant-based foam to create a healthier mattress, and complaints of heat and odor remain consistently low across several years of reviews. The Revere is in the middle of the brand’s range, and proves most popular with medium firm support. The foam density (mid range) is associated with higher overall satisfaction compared to lower and very high densities, and the core foam is also in the desirable high-resilience range for support and durability.

The other brand that earns good reviews online is Bed In A Box, with their Tranquility bed proving a popular middle-of-the-line option. This mattress uses a lower density foam with gel, but complaints of durability are limited, likely due to their quality foam support cores. Heat complaints also come in below average for memory foam. The price point and warranty are good, and reviewers like the brand’s return policy.

Consumer Mattress Reports Best Latex Buys

ModelSpecsPriceReviews
The CasperFirm
1.5” dunlop latex
1.5” 4lb MF
6.5” foam core
$8504.6 / 5
(Casper)
IKEA MorgongavaFirm
?” 85% natural latex blend
Wool padding
Cotton cover
$1,0004.1 / 5
(SLTD)
Astrabeds Serenity BedCustom Firmness
8” organic dunlop latex
Organic wool
Organic cotton
$1,9994.6 / 5
(Astrabeds)

Latex mattresses and latex blends seemed to fare better in CR’s tests, and certain categories of latex (particularly all natural, all latex beds) earn higher average satisfaction than memory foam. Latex can be a good fit for people who prefer a more resilient type of surface than memory foam or who prefer to sleep on natural and organic materials.

For entry-level, latex hybrid beds, The Casper isn’t a bad deal. It performed fairly well in CR’s tests, and though it is new, it seems to be doing well in reviews. It only comes in one firmness and uses very little actual latex though, and they don’t provide extensive details on all materials and quality online.

The Ikea Morgongava represents a good value for an all-latex bed, at $1000 for queen size. The overall profile is 7.1 inches; the latex amount is not specified but is likely around 6”. Though the mattress may be thin for heavier sleepers, it uses a blend with a high proportion of natural materials and also features natural wool and cotton. Ikea reviews are limited to forums and third-party sites, but SLTD rates it slightly above average for overall satisfaction.

If a 100% natural sleep solution is what you’re looking for, the Astrabeds Serenity Bed is one of the top values in organic mattresses. It includes customizable layers of GOLS-certified latex paired with organic wool and organic cotton. The line receives good reviews online and offers generous return and exchange policies. Compared to other brands of organic mattresses, the price point represents a good value with good longevity and comfort potential.

Consumer Reports Pointers on Mattress Shopping

The online buying guide from Consumer Reports focuses primarily on buying an innerspring mattress, however shopping for memory foam and latex can be considerably different experiences.

A few helpful tips of theirs include:

  • Knowing your size before you go.
  • Recognizing that firmness is subjective and manufacturer descriptions may not be your idea of soft or firm.
  • Know that some brands that sell through dealers and retail stores will supply slightly different beds with different names to the various outlets to impede comparisons and price matching.
  • Try mattresses out for 15 minutes or more when possible, but ensure you have the ability to return if needed.
  • Know that warranties aren’t everything, since sagging usually has to reach a certain depth. They also point out that removing tags, poor support, or soiling can void warranties.
  • Wait for sales near holidays if possible, and haggle for a better deal.
  • They also say that though mattresses with gel claim to sleep cooler, tests show little difference between beds with gel versus without. So, you may want to factor that into your decision and value comparisons when shopping.

We also recommend checking out our Memory Foam Mattress Checklist and Latex Mattress Checklist to learn about the key features of each type, how to compare quality, and to learn more about leading brands in each category. If you’re curious about springs, take a look at our article on Consumer Reports 2015 Mattress Picks: Innerspring Edition to see how the coil options fare.

Let us know: What do you think of Consumer Reports mattress ratings? Do you think the measure memory foam and latex options accurately, or how does your experience compare?

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