With hundreds of different types assembled daily in any mattress factory, choosing the right mattress can seem terrifying. A dozen factors and comparisons can affect your decision. Most people visit a brick-and-mortar mattress store to experience the differences for themselves, but for those who choose to buy mattresses online, some mattress shopping tips seem essential. Decisions like how to decide between firm and soft mattresses, what material should be used, and of course, what price range to look for, weigh heavily on any potential buyer’s mind. Unfortunately, there is no set diagram or equation for the perfect individual mattress, and experience is essential to making the right decision.

Different bodies and spinal structures require different levels of support. For some, highly-cushioned beds like super pillow top mattresses are almost essential for a comfortable night’s sleep. However, many doctors warn that severe back pain can result without the support of at least a medium-firm pad. Most mattress developers take this into consideration and assemble their products to balance comfort and support. A major factor, then, is simple preference, and the buyer’s budget.

Studies have shown that memory foam mattress sets have yielded the highest owner satisfaction, while simple innerspring sets are the lowest in owner opinion polls. Those statistics correlate to price: a memory foam mattress can cost anywhere from $900 to $2,800, while most spring sets cost below $1000. That difference is vast, but the matter of investment cannot be ignored, and the higher quality the mattress, the longer it can be used. A good mattress can be enjoyed for at least a decade. When purchasing a mattress, keep your personal spinal and comfort needs in mind, but also establish some expectations for the lifetime of your mattress. It might be easy to enjoy or tolerate the feel of a mattress for three minutes in a store, but imagining the feel of it, night after night, will help for the long-term investment.