Maxwell over at Apartment Therapy has just started on, A Year in Bed, a year long report about his experiences testing out a variety of mattresses of all price points (how would you like to sleep on a $13,350 bed?!). We recently did a little bit of testing ourselves in the same category, but with a tech-related twist, testing an online mattress customization and ordering service that takes mattress shopping to another level thanks to a bevy of customization options... As anyone who has shopped for mattresses quickly learns, these items don't come cheap, especially if you want specific features beyond the standard coiled bed and are looking for a bed that will last beyond a few years. We've been sleeping on a very, very firm memory foam bed (it never loses form and stays cool even in the summer, but it has proven to be a bit too firm) and knew it was time to transition to a more forgiving mattress that would properly conform to our side and back sleeping tendencies. But shopping for mattresses is as mundane of a task as shopping for socks, so our interest was piqued upon hearing about a service that would allow us to customize and order online in similar fashion to customized running shoes or ordering a car online (both which we've done in the past).
Create-A-Mattress just launched this year, with a business model that focuses on lower prices and customization compared to their brick and mortar competition. We were a bit weary about ordering a non-proven brand (been there, done that....and regretted it sorely in the literal sense), but felt much more comfortable upon discovering the innerspring mattresses are constructed by one of the “S Brands” (Sealy, Simmons, Serta, or Stearns & Foster, they won't divulge which one) to the same specifications as their branded models, and backed up with a full 10-year warranty.
For anyone who has ordered a Nike+ customized shoe, the Create-A-Mattress ordering process should feel strikingly familiar. A Flash site takes you through a 7-step process, allowing customers to choose from traditional coils, pocket coils, natural latex, or memory foam support system; we picked a pocketed coil with a latex foam top to ease those sore spots we felt with our memory foam mattress. Other customization options include firmness (firm, plush, pillowtop), extra comfort features like a “bad back package" or an adjustable base system, alongside boxsprings in regular or low profile heights. The most expensive model and options are available with the natural latex model, if you're looking for the most luxurious end product, but we were looking to create the typical setup right in the middle.
The online customization process allows for easy back-and-forth between options, allowing users to save their creation to mull over/compare; the site saves your preferences to return to where you last left off. The final touch is the option to customize your new mattress with a personalized mattress tag, which in itself isn't really all that impressive in reality, as it's just a printed hanging loose tag that is hidden away when your bed is made (we wish it was stitched onto the mattress), but it is admittedly a fun small detail that makes the Create-A-Mattress a little different from the competition.
One improvement recommendation we'd make is for the inclusion of real-world photographs for each of the material options. Although an actual finished-product image is presented at the end of the 7-step process, you're otherwise left to base your decisions upon a series of simplified illustrations. The cartoonish illustrations give the whole ordering process a friendly-vibe, but it would have been even better if a real-world photographic example showcasing the materials were evident through each step.
Create-A-Mattress builds their mattresses here in the United States in Boston, and our bed made way quite quickly, about a week later. The queen size, plush pocketed coil with surround support, "extra comfort layers" and latex layer came out to $969. In comparison, the last coiled mattress we owned was The W Bed - Plush Top Mattress, which offers very similar feature and costs $999 for the mattress only, so prices can be very similar depending on features/model. White glove delivery includes shipping of your new mattress and the option for disposal of your old one.So how does it feel? The first night was a bit of a toss and turner, as we were not used to such a plush and cushy bed. Going from the hard firmness of our memory foam to the near cloud softness of the plush model (the pillowtop option must be super soft!) took a couple nights getting used to. But each following night, I've woken up without any soreness that previously ailed me prior to introduction of this bed.
Construction and finish meets or exceeds the quality of any other coiled mattress we've tested; no squeaks and the mattress supports the two of us equally on both sides without any unwelcome sinking. It's not as movement dampening as a memory foam model, but the coiled spring construction doesn't make shifting a worry overall. Emily has noted she prefers a firmer model, but this is more of a subjective note than reflective of the quality, so it's worth noting these mattresses run soft-plush. And, yes, if you must know, the mattress is plenty comfortable for other non-sleeping activities (we're talking about watching episodes of Mad Men and Archer in bed, of course!).Hot heads and those who are perpetually afflicted by warmer body temperatures should note the plush tops can store up a noticeable amount of body heat, possibly due to the natural latex within. Also, platform bed owners should consider these coiled models are a lot higher than foam models, so skip the boxspring option unless you want to be sleeping near the ceiling.
Ordering anything virtually without trying it is always a bit of risk, but we're pleased with our experience with Create-A-Mattress' service and product; the company stands by their products with a comforting 100 Percent or 100 Bucks guarantee, making this a recommendable online service for anyone looking to reduce the hassle of updating their sleeping setup, all from the comforts of their keyboard and mouse.
Pros: Online customization easy/fun, about a 1000 different customized combinations, quick delivery upon ordering, competitive pricing, solid construction
Cons: Comfort/firmness is a guesstimate at best, online interface could benefit from additional photographic reference
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.