Your Go-To Checklist For Purchasing a Full-Size Bed
Written by Andrew | Last Updated 2019-10-28
Not only a home designer, Andrew is also the founder of BFA. He always have full enthusiasm for the industry and his job, and he enjoys to share some new ideas to others. His professional advice can help you choose furniture better and home style which fits you.
Are you in the market for a full-sized bed? If yes, there are many options to choose from, and here we will try to cover everything you need to know about buying a bed, from finding the right size, choosing the right materials, and getting all the do’s and don’ts correct.
Before we start, however, it is worth going through a basic checklist to determine which bed is right for you, and whether or not you should keep your old bed in case it meets certain criteria.
1. A full or double bed is generally 54 inches by 75 inches and fits either one person and a pet or two adults and no pets. Pets are family so we need to consider their needs as well!
2. If you are not currently not in the market for a mattress but your mattress is more than seven or eight years old, it may be time for a replacement.
3. If you toss and turn during the night as a result of discomfort or wake up in the morning with random aches and pains, this could be the result of an old, sagging mattress.
4. If your mattress shows signs of sagging or has indentations on the top surface that are more than one inch deep, these defects can compromise the support that your mattress provides you with and can cause discomfort.
5. Finally, if you have gained or lost a significant amount of weight since you first bought your current mattress, your current weight can cause your mattress to feel different to you.
The Different Types of Mattresses Available
In this section, we discuss some of the most common types of mattresses you will find on the market. Every mattress company has its own approach and there are hundreds of different types of mattresses you can choose from, each with its own mix of springs, foam, insulation, hybrid materials, thickness, comfort level, price, durability, warranty, and other options such as delivery and bonus add-ons. However, most mattress models can be, broadly speaking, categorized into one of the five categories below.
1. Foam Mattresses
All-foam mattresses provide comfort thanks to one or more layers of polyfoam, memory foam, or both. Support is provided by high-density and durable polyfoam. Memory foam provides better alignment to your spine and can help alleviate pressure as compared to polyfoam. When speaking of density, foam density is what determines how well the mattress will provide your body with support. Low-density foam mattresses tend to degrade more quickly as compared to medium and high-density foam mattresses.
In addition to foam type and density, you need to consider indentation. Indentation load deflection (ILD) is a measure of how much pressure is needed to push the surface (indent it) down by 4 inches. Higher IDL numbers mean more firmness, and most foam mattresses fall in the 8 to 21 IDL range. Foam mattresses of these types generally last about 7 years.
The pros of foam mattresses are that they are relatively inexpensive and are widely available, and they can deliver decent to above-average pain and pressure relief. They also produce no noise and are good for motion isolation which is important if you are easily disturbed in your sleep by the movements of your partner.
On the other hand, foam mattresses often come with a lot of odor and off-gassing of dangerous chemicals, and they tend to feel hot for some sleepers. Foam mattresses can also sag and indent early, and they provide limited edge support.
2. Latex Mattresses
Latex mattresses are usually constructed with at least one layer of latex. Latex is a compound that is harvested from the sap of the rubber tree. Latex itself can be either natural or synthetic, but some people are allergic to it. In terms of support, latex can also provide support, but support in latex mattresses is usually provided by high-density foam, similar to the foam (either polyfoam or memory foam) found in foam mattresses, as described above.
Before buying a latex mattress, you need to consider how the latex used in your mattress is processed. Generally speaking, there are two ways that the latex used in mattresses is produced. In one process, known as the Dunlop process, the latex that is produced is fluffier at that top than it is on the bottom, so Dunlop latex tends to be a lot more bottom-heavy and is commonly used for mattress support. On the other hand, the Talalay process produces latex that is more evenly spread out in terms of density and softness, which means latex produced in this way is often used in the comfort layers of your mattress. Latex produced in either way can be used for latex mattresses, but you now know that latex mattresses can vary in weight and comfort depending on how the latex used in the mattresses was produced.
ILD ratings of 16 or below are considered to be the softest rating for latex mattresses, while ratings of 39 or above are considered to be the firmest. Such mattresses tend to have an average life of close to 9 years.
The pros of latex mattresses are that they last longer than foam mattresses and can be very soft, which is good for those who prefer plush bedding. Latex mattresses, like foam mattresses, also provide a lot of motion isolation to go with no noise, but they sleep a lot cooler than foam mattresses.
In terms of negatives, however, latex mattresses tend to be more expensive than foam mattresses and can also come with off-gassing of odorous chemicals. Latex mattresses also have weak edge support and tend to be very heavy and difficult to move.
3. Innerspring Mattresses
The majority of innerspring mattresses come with a single or sometimes double layers of foam for comfort. For support, they come with evenly spread out steel coils, along with a polyfoam base.
There are for main types of coil types from which you can choose when buying an innerspring mattress.
Bonnell coils come in an hourglass shape and are usually found in low-price innerspring mattresses.
Offset coils are also hourglass in shape but they provide more even support thanks to the fact that they have a straightened-out bottom that creates a hinging effect. They tend to be more durable than other mattress coils and are often found in higher-end mattress models.
Continuous wire coils are placed in rows of single steel wires. These wires are joined at the sides to create a hinging motion. Such coils are durable but can become lumpy with use.
Pocket-spring coils are often found in hybrid mattresses. With these coils in your mattress’s construction, each coil will be wrapped in fabric or cloth to minimizes noise and reduce motion transfer.
In addition to coil type, you need to also consider coil gauge, pitch, and coil count.
Coil gauge measures the thickness of your springs, and the gauge determines how durable the mattress is. Gauges can range from 12 (which is the thickest) to 18 ( which is the thinnest). Pocket coil mattresses usually have higher gauges, and offset coils have the lowest. Bonnell and continuous wire coils can vary from mattress to mattress and style to style when it comes to gauge.
Coil pitch refers to the angle of the coils in relation to the mattress’s sleep surface. The angle determines how firm the mattress is.
Coil counts in the highest-rated mattresses range between 600 and 1,000. However, counts over 1,000 do not necessarily mean better support, comfort, or performance.
These types of mattresses usually last a little over 5 years.
Innerspring mattresses are generally low-cost and are widely available. More bounce and responsiveness make these mattresses better for sex. These mattresses also sleep cooler than other mattress types because if ample space between coils for airflow. These mattresses also come with great edge support.
In terms of cons, however, they have below-average lifespans and provide little if any pressure relief. They can also be noisy and have limited if any motion isolation.
4. Hybrid Mattresses
True hybrid mattresses are constructed with a minimum of two inches of memory foam and/or latex for comfort. For support, they usually use coil supports. Anything else labeled as a hybrid is incorrectly labeled as such.
When buying a hybrid mattress, look at the mattress’s density, ILD, gauge, and coil count.
Density determines whether your mattress will have layers of polyfoam or memory foam.
ILD determines responsiveness to pressure and the ILD scales of foam and latex are different, as discussed above.
In terms of gauge, most pocket-spring coils come with higher gauge numbers (i.e., they are thinner), but mattress specs and longevity vary from model to model.
In terms of coil count, as is true with innerspring mattresses, coil counts are a good measure of price and weight but may not directly translate to better support, comfort, or performance.
Hybrid mattresses usually last about 6 years.
The pros of hybrid mattresses are that they provide good body contouring and pressure relief, come with good motion isolation, are responsiveness enough for good sex, and have strong edge support.
In terms of cons, hybrid mattresses have high price points, relatively short lifespans, can retain odor and heat, and can be noisy.
5. Airbed Mattresses
Finally, we have airbed mattresses. Airbed mattresses either have a thin foam comfort layer or no comfort layer whatsoever. For support, they come with a minimum of two air chambers that can be inflated or deflated based on how much firmness and support you want on each side of the bed.
Most airbeds offer different levels of adjustable firmness and support. The number of air chambers you have will determine how much you can customize them. Some also have different features and controls, such as remotes or manual adjustment of settings. Finally, you need to look at trenches. Trenches are gaps that develop between the two sides of an air mattress, with some models developing deeper trenches faster than other models.
The pros of airbed mattresses are that they provide long lifespans when they are properly maintained, and they come with great customization features for firmness and support. They provide great pain relief and are great for all types of sleep positions and body types.
In terms of negatives, airbed mattresses are pricy and are not very widely available. They can breakdown or malfunction and be costly to repair, and they can sleep either too hot or too cool for different sleepers. They can also be noisy.
Making The Right Choice
Once you have determined what type of mattress you want, the only question is which size you should get the mattress in. As outlined above, full-size beds are great for at max two adults. The size you buy will depend on who is using the mattress, their body size, the type of sleeper they are, the budget you have, and the space you have. If you have a small master bedroom or if you want to use your full-size bed in a child’s room or a guest room, you need to have enough space to adequately fit the bed. If you buy the bed of your choice and maintain your bed frame and your mattress, you can have many years of comfortable use of your bed. Everything comes down to your budget, tastes, and the space you have in your home.
The best thing about full-size beds is that they are widely available, they come in all sorts of designs and themes, and can be matched with your current home aesthetic. If you have limited space or limited budget, choose a mid-range mattress type from the list above and choose a full-size bed frame. With a little maintenance and care, your mattress should last 5-10 years, and your bed frame should last at least two mattress changes over the course of its life. Full-size beds are popular for these very reasons!