Consumer Reports' lab is stacked high with mattresses. Chris Regan can tell you just how they measure up.
He put 24 queen-size mattresses through tough tests. Some have innersprings. Others are made of foam.
"Ultimately, it's a matter of personal preference. So whether it's foam or innerspring, make sure you're comfortable," Regan said.
An important key is how well the mattress supports you. One Consumer Reports test records the natural curves in the back and then checks whether the mattress adequately supports those curves when you sleep on your back. Another test checks for support when you sleep on your side. Your spine should be in a straight line.
"Most people sleep either on their side or on their back. We want to make sure that mattress is going to support your body in the position in which you sleep," Regan said.
Other tests check how firm the mattress is and whether it is overly bouncy.
In the end, Consumer Reports top-rated a foam mattress from Sleep Number. It's the i8 Dual Air in the Innovation Series. But it's expensive -- $3,000.
A $650 mattress-in-a-box from Costco is almost as good. It's the Novaform Serafina Gel Memory Foam.
And if you prefer an innerspring mattress, Consumer Reports top-rated one in Serta's iSeries sold at Sears. It's the Serta Perfect Day iSeries Applause for $1,000.
Whichever mattress you're considering, it's a good idea to try it out before you buy. It's also important to check the return policy before you buy a mattress. Some retailers give you several weeks to return or exchange a mattress or box spring you don't like. But the rules vary, and a return usually costs you something.