The Difference Between Mattresses

Why Are Mattresses So Thick These Days?

Because of recent advances in padding and foam technology, it is possible to combine a large amount of padding with a firm, supportive spring unit, and still have the padding and quilting to hold up. As a result, mattresses have become much thicker. In the decades before, if you combined large amounts of the foam with a good, solid spring unit, the padding would pack down relatively quickly, leaving a mattress with a large body impression. But today with the new types of open cell foams, large amounts of padding can change the feel of the mattress, but not the support attained by the springs below.

What Is a Firm Mattress?

Manufacturers use specific design techniques to create beds that have a firm style surface. The use of carefully selected foams, in conjunction with tighter sewing patterns in the quilt, both help to create this firm feel. Firm mattresses typically have a lower height than their plush, pillowtop, or boxtop counterparts. Firm mattresses offer optimal support, but are designed to offer limited contourability. Firm mattresses can also be classified by manufacturers by terms such as luxury firm and cushion firm or can be paired with a eurotop style for a unique firm feel. Cushion firm mattresses tend to be a bit softer feeling than those classified solely as firm, but are sometimes the only firm feeling option from a manufacturer at a particular level.

What Is a Plush Mattress?

Plush beds are the middle ground within the spectrum of comfort options available in mattresses today. They typically contain one to four additional inches of foam over firm mattresses. By increasing the layers of softer convoluted foams and adding a tack and jump quilt in mid to upper level models, plush mattresses offer improved contourability over their firm counterparts. Other styles of mattresses including pillowtops, boxtops, and eurotops often include the word plush in their classification, indicating the softness of the mattress. Manufacturers also sometimes refer to softer plush mattresses with terms such as ultra plush.

What Is a Pillowtop Mattress?

With a construction that maximizes the potential for softness, pillowtops are the softest options available among our selection of mattresses. Built up from plush style mattresses, pillowtops contain an attached featherbed-type padding on the top of the mattress. The design of this type of mattress lends itself to the a feel even softer than its plush equivalent Most pillowtops are classified as either a pillowtop or plush pillowtop, but even softer models are sometimes referred to as ultra plush pillowtops and thicker tops can be referred to as super pillowtops. In addition, as the pillowtop of a mattress becomes more squared off, flusher, or more reinforced, some manufacturers begin to switch their classifications from pillowtop to boxtop or eurotop.

What Is a Eurotop or Boxtop Mattress?

Eurotop and boxtop mattresses are the newest innovation in bedding. Their unique design allows manufacturers to increase the amount of padding placed on top of the mattress, even compared to pillowtop mattresses, thereby reducing pressure points and improving longevity. While some manufacturers refer to this style of mattress as a boxtop and others as a eurotop, there is no significant difference between the two. While listed amongst other feels, eurotops and boxtops are a truly unique design that can range in feel from very firm to ultra plush. Pillowtop mattresses are typically designed with added foam to increase softness. Similarly, eurotops and boxtops are also designed with additional layers of foam, but offer a more versatile range of comfort designations. For instance, a firm eurotop would have the same feel as a traditional firm mattress, but with additional suspension through increased layering of foam. Softer eurotop mattresses are sometimes designated as euro pillowtops and can also be referred to as plush euro pillowtops or ultra plush euro pillowtops, the softer you get.

How Long Will My New Mattress Last?

Mattress sets vary greatly in how long they will last. What usually causes a mattress set to wear out is that the layers of comfort materials lose their resiliency or their ability to provide you comfort. You'll notice the mattress doesn't feel as comfortable as it did when it was new. Back pain is a sure sign that your mattress should be replaced.

A top quality innerspring mattress (mattress with springs) will offer the same comfort and support as it did when new for about eight to eleven years. Foam mattresses however have been known to last much longer, and some latex foam mattresses can last up to 25 years.

The Warranty on a mattress is a good way to judge the approximate time the mattress should last, but beware; a pro-rated warranty will not always last as long as the warranty time indicated. (Example: A mattress with a 10 year non pro-rated warranty will usually last longer than a mattress with a 15 year pro-rated warranty) Pro-rated means that the manufacturer will not replace the mattress free of charge, but will pay a portion of the replacement cost.

Mattress Measurements

Traditional Sizes

  • Twin: 38" x 75"
  • Full: 53" x 75" (sometimes referred to as a double)
  • Queen: 60" x 80"
  • King or Eastern King: 76" x 80" (with two separate 38" x 80" foundations)

Other Sizes

  • Extra Long Twin: 38" x 80"
  • Extra Long Full: 53" x 80"
  • Split Queen: 60" x 80" (with two separate 30" x 80" foundations)
  • Olympic Queen: 66" x 80" (with a 60" x 80" foundation)
  • California King: 72" x 84" (with two separate 36" x 84" foundations)
Not all mattresses are available in every size.

High vs. Low Profile Foundations

When selecting your new mattress set, it is important to consider the profile of your foundation or box spring. Almost all of the bases sold at Mattress Direct Online are available in either high or low profile. The high profile measures 9", while the low profile is 4 1/2" . There are no changes in the support or comfort of your mattress, the difference is purely aesthetic. Many mattresses sold today are much thicker than those sold in the past. Therefore, it is necessary to consider several things before selecting the profile of a base:
  • Take care in measuring the height of your headboard/footboard (if you have one). Many of our mattress sets may hide the ornamental elements of your bed if placed on a high profile base.
  • If you are placing your mattress on a standard steel bed frame, keep in mind these frames sit 7 1/2" off the floor. The combined height of your frame and mattress set may be uncomfortably high.
  • An effective method to help determine which profile is appropriate for you is measuring the combined height of your current mattress set and comparing it with the measurements listed on our product specification pages.
* Free bedframe with $399 minimum puchase

Serving your mattress and bedding needs in Solana Beach and San Diego County

616 Stevens Ave., Unit K, Solana Beach, CA 92075  •  (858) 259-6994
Open Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm, Closed Sundays