Mattress Durability Guide: How Long Does a Mattress Last?

by | Mattress, Mattress Education | 2 comments

There are so many aspects to consider as you shop for the right mattress, and one of the most looming questions is: How long does a mattress last? The trouble with finding the right answer to this question is that you won’t typically find any solid answers to this inquiry as you do your research.

How Long Does a Mattress Last?

There are so many components that must be considered, and the experience of one person will differ from the next. While you can find it difficult to get a direct answer as you analyze any given product, there are some general rules of thumb you can follow to get a good idea of how you can expect various mattresses on the market to perform for you individually. I’d like to provide you with a complete mattress durability guide to help ensure you find a product that will offer you the most for your money.

How Often Should a Mattress Be Replaced?

Again, there are many factors that must be considered. Aside from the quality of materials that comprise your mattress, you also must consider things such as your weight, specific stress your mattress undergoes (have your kids jumped on the product, for example), and how it was cared for. While there’s no way to provide you with a direct answer as there is no set formula to do so, I can give you an idea if the time has come for you to think about replacing yours. Just a few signs that it’s time include:

 

  • You have noticed feeling noticeably achy and irritated when you wake up
  • It’s more comfortable when you sleep somewhere else such as a hotel room or a friend’s house
  • You notice your mattress is developing sags and indentations
  • You’re over age 40 and have had the same product for six to eight years since, as we age, we are less able to tolerate the pressure increase that typically occurs around this time.

Consider Body Type and Weight

A critical aspect you have to think about is your body type and weight. You are also encouraged to determine your body mass index to figure out your body fat based on height and weight. It’s important to understand that, on the top comfort layers, a lot of compression occurs. Therefore, if you carry a lot of weight, a couple things you’ll want to pay close attention to are indentation load deflection and density. You want these ratings to be on the higher end of the industry standards.

While you want a strong, supportive base, don’t forget that, while comfort layers are often made to be soft and comfy, your weight will impact their overall durability. This is because they absorb the majority of the compression before transitional and base layers kick in. Because they are continually being compressed and deflected, just some of the changes that are inevitable over time include:

  • Firmness of material
  • Pressure relief
  • Thickness of material
  • Overall comfort
  • Overall ability to offer proper spinal alignment
What Constitutes the Comfort Layer?

With that being said, you need to know where the comfort layer lies so you can properly analyze its composition. Depending on the overall thickness of the mattress, you can typically find the comfort layers within the first three to six inches of the product. It’s here where degradation typically starts, and areas of indentation often begin to form in areas that sustain a lot of pressure such as where the hips typically rest.

The comfort layers are your most vulnerable, and, whether or not you carry a lot of weight, it’s crucial that you carefully analyze the various upper comfort layers as you gauge how you can expect your mattress to stand up over time.

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You might be interested in: Selling your used mattress

Consider the Type of Mattress

The mattress industry has continually been making innovations since as far back as 3400 BC. Over the course of around 5,000 years of upgrades and new discoveries in mattress material and composition, exciting new technologies have made it easier than ever to find the type that will work best for the individual.

While this gives us options, it also requires that you educate yourself in the differences the various types of mattresses feature. That’s why I’d like to walk you through some of the most popular mattress types you’re sure to encounter as you shop.

How Long Does An Innerspring Mattress Last?

If longevity is a primary deciding factor for you, which it should be at least up there at the top of the list, then innerspring mattresses aren’t typically your number-one choice. This is because they are known to develop indentations and sagging over time.

As you shop innerspring options, the most common you’ll come across are pocketed coil, and this term means that the coils are individually wrapped in fabric to allow the coils to work independently from one another. Traditional coils systems, on the other hand, wire the coils together, and this makes it more difficult to counteract motion transfer. As you assess durability, there are a few key points to keep in mind.

Coil Gauge

The coil gauge gives you an idea of the thickness of the coils within the mattress, and it’s worth keeping in mind that a higher gauge actually represents a thinner coil. Commonly, coil gauges range from around 12 to 15.

You can typically expect a mattress featuring thicker wires, or lower coil gauges, to be more firm while thinner, or higher-gauged, springs are usually more gentle. Firmer innerspring mattresses usually have a coil gauge of 14 or higher. Now, if you prefer a softer mattress, usually a coil gauge of 13 or lower, but also want to ensure durability, then innerspring likely isn’t going to be a good choice for you. This is because thinner coils typically offer less durability.

Increase Comfort With Higher Gauge Specs

If you’re on a budget and are seriously considering the purchase of an innerspring product, you do have an option without having to sacrifice on the quality of your coil gauge. If you aren’t thrilled at the thought of a potentially over-firm mattress, you have a couple of budget-friendly options.

Pillow Top or Eurotop

One feature that you could look for in an innerspring mattress that can help increase the durability of overall comfort is one that includes a pillow top or Eurotop cover. These products add a soft comfort layer that can help you more easily adapt to a higher coil gauge.

Mattress Topper

Another option you could consider is to purchase a quality mattress topper to supplement the main product. There are a variety of quality mattress toppers on the market, and they can be acquired at costs that are accommodating for most budgets.

When you buy a mattress topper, you can enjoy the ability to customize your bed as you have a number of material options from which to choose regardless of what your mattress features. Just a few that are available include:

  • Memory foam
  • Gel
  • Bamboo
  • Polyester
  • Cotton
  • And more!

A quality mattress topper also reduces the direct compression you’ll be putting on the comfort layers of the mattress which can ultimately lengthen the mattress lifespan.

When to Replace an Innerspring Mattress

We recommend that you don’t continue to use your innerspring mattress longer than eight years. This is because, as time goes by, the coils do come loose, and this not only causes unsightly bumps, but they can also poke into your body as you try to sleep. You may also very well wake up still feeling tired. If this is the case, it’s definitely time to start looking for something new.

How Long Does A Foam Mattress Last?

Foam mattresses come in many different forms, so it’s important for you to understand what type you’re looking at as you shop. Just a few you’ll likely see on the market include:

  • Polyurethane
  • Reflex
  • Convoluted

Some of the foams available we’ll talk about in more detail here in a moment, but, let’s go ahead and examine these three options and the level of durability you can expect of each.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane is going to typically be your least expensive option, but you sometimes pay for that in a compromise in overall durability. This is because this foam type is relatively easy to produce. It is similar in composition to memory foam. The main difference is that memory foam adds chemicals that create the feeling you are sinking into the mattress as it reacts to temperature and pressure.

While you may be inclined to believe that a firm polyurethane product will last longer, what you really need to examine is the density it features. If you find a mattress with a great, low price but no mention of density, there’s a good shot that it won’t last long.

While, in general, polyfoam doesn’t feature impressive durability, there are exceptions to the rule. A good rule-of-thumb to follow as you analyze densities in the support layers to determine a potential good match follows:

  • One-sided mattresses- 1.8 lbs./ft³
  • Two-sided mattresses- 1.5 lbs./ft³
  • For those who carry more weight- 2.0 lbs./ft³

The higher the density, the longer you can expect the product to last, so pay close attention to these numbers. If you’re considering a product containing polyfoam and there are no density specifications mentioned, it’s definitely worth calling customer service to acquire this information.

When to Replace Polyfoam

There are a few signs to be on the lookout for to help you determine if it’s time to replace your polyfoam mattress. These include:

  • Sagging
  • Feeling that you’re sinking into the bed

Reflex Foam

Reflex foam can be an excellent choice if you want the feeling of memory foam at a fraction of the cost or if you don’t like the slow bounce-back of memory foam. It is high density polyurethane foam, so you can typically expect a higher durability than standard polyfoam.

This can be a good option for those who carry a lot of weight as they are typically firmer and more supportive. However, keep in mind as you shop that the same density guidelines as we discussed with polyfoam apply, so definitely be mindful of these specs while you browse your options. Furthermore, as with polyfoam, you know it’s time to replace your reflex foam mattress when you start to notice sagging and the formation of indentations.

Convoluted Foam

Convoluted foam is known for its resemblance to the standard egg carton, and it is typically not well-known for durability. While they can add support, this is often short-lived, so this may be a better option in a mattress topper that is more easily-replaceable on the budget.

These products feature high availability and can be a good pick for those who sleep hot. However, you want to make sure the mattress has a very supportive base layer if you’re considering a purchase and want it to last. Just a few pointers to keep in mind to best ensure you find a product that will offer more durability include:

  • Ensure it has a density of no lower than 1.8 lbs/ft³ or 2.0 lb/ft³ if you carry a lot of weight, especially if the material is found in one of the upper comfort layers
  • Check to ensure there is no more than one convoluted layer

How Long Does A Latex Mattress Last?

If durability is a top priority, you are usually pretty safe when you opt for a latex mattress. This is because they are, for the most part, highly durable. While high density is your best bet, what you need to focus on here are the various blends on the market, and I’d like to walk you through the aspects of each.

Synthetic and Natural Blends

There are two basic raw materials used to manufacture foam mattresses, and these are natural and synthetic. The names are very telling as the differences include:

natural latex

Natural latex

  • Extruded from the rubber tree, which is a natural resource
  • Usually features higher level of elasticity
Synthetic latex

Synthetic latex

  • Manufactured using petrochemicals
  • Not typically as durable as natural latex, but can often be purchased at a lower price

It’s important to note that each type is known for durability, but natural products will typically give you a little more bang for your buck. If you can’t quite decide and want something in-between, you may want to consider a hybrid product containing both natural and synthetic latexes.

Talalay and Dunlop Manufacturing Processes

Once you decide on the material, you then will be typically run across the terms “Dunlop” and “Talalay.” These represent the type of manufacturing process the latex goes through. I encourage you to read our comprehensive guide that walks you through the differences of these processes to ensure you understand which will work best for your needs. Whichever you end up choosing, durability is typically high for each type.

Replaceable Layers: A Great Safeguard

We often find latex on the comfort layer, and this is because it has so many great features such as quick bounce-back, motion isolation, and heat transfer capabilities. However, what typically happens that impacts durability is degradation of the materials over time This causes softening that occurs more quickly than you’ll find at the lower levels of the mattress.

It would be a shame to replace a latex mattress simply because a small percentage of the overall thickness of the product has degraded, and some products offer covers that unzip, allowing consumers to simply replace the old material with a new latex layer. This can substantially lengthen the life of the mattress as a whole at a minimal cost.

How Long Does A Memory Foam Mattress Last?

When it comes to durability, memory foam is a viable option that’s well worth taking into consideration. Memory foam mattress durability is typically pretty high, and these products usually feature a much higher density than polyfoam.

One of the most notable factors that will impact your memory foam mattress is body weight, and there are a few things you should be sure to factor in as you shop to ensure you find a product that will be most suitable for you.

For starters, check the density. A quality product will typically feature a density of around 3.5 to 4 lbs./ft³. If you find a product that’s notably less expensive than others, there’s a good chance it falls below this standard and will therefore be less durable. If you heavyset, however, I wouldn’t settle for anything less than 5 lbs./ft³.

You also want to examine the thickness of the memory foam layer as you analyze the density. If you find a product with a memory foam layer any more than one inch thick, I would strongly advise that you consider other options if it is less than 3.5 lb/ft³ dense.

How to Tell When It’s Time to Replace

While a quality memory foam mattress can easily last anywhere between eight and 10 years, there are a few signs you should be on the lookout for that indicate it’s time to replace the product. Just a few of these include:

  • Obvious sagging
  • Impressions that last much longer than they used to
  • Development of lumps and bumps
  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • Noticeable increase in allergy symptoms

Quick Note on Gel Foam

Gel foam is a close relative of memory foam. The primary difference is that it allows sleepers to avoid the annoyance of sleeping hot, a common pitfall of tempur products. Therefore, you can generally expect a high degree of quality and durability when you follow the same guidelines as listed above for memory foam as you analyze gel foam products.

How long Does A Hybrid Mattress Last?

We see the term hybrid a lot, and this means the product combines different features into one unit. When it comes to mattresses, this usually consists of traditional innerspring technology and various types of foams, so let’s take a look at how to assess the durability of these products.

Density

We’ve mentioned density a lot, and this is because this factor makes a big difference in your overall durability. When shopping for a hybrid mattress, you want to make sure the product you’re considering features a density that’s compatible with the type of foam used. However, if you do carry more weight than the average person, you’re going to want to ensure the average density of the product is a little bit higher.

An Additional Tip

Another great way to gauge the durability of a hybrid mattress is to take a look at the manufacturer’s warranty. If they’ve been in business for at least 10 years, they should have a pretty good idea of how their products stand the test of time, and they typically devise their warranty plans accordingly. A product without a warranty could be a red flag.

When It’s Time to Move On

There are a variety of great mattress material combinations on the market, and you can use the detailed durability information we provide on each of the various mattress types to analyze the composition of a product you may be considering. However, no mattress lasts forever. A few sign that it’s time to replace your hybrid mattress include:

  • Sagging
  • Indentations
  • A noticeable difference in comfort
  • Age of more than seven years

How Long Does an Air Mattress Last?

An air mattress can be a great option to use if you go camping or have the grandkids spend the night from time to time. Children especially enjoy these products as they often enjoy watching them go from lifeless plastic to a usable mattress in just minutes.

It’s important to note that air beds often have low weight capacities, so you should check with the manufacturer to ensure the product you may be considering will facilitate the weight of whoever the mattress is intended for. Failure to follow these guidelines will shorten the lifespan of the product.

How Many Years Will It Last?

There is a lot of variance when it comes to how long you can expect your air mattress to last. Fortunately, however, there are things you can do to make it last as long as possible. Aside from abiding to the specified weight limits, other measures I encourage you to take include:

  • Don’t purchase the product for everyday use as this is not the purpose for which most air beds are intended.
  • Don’t store the mattress in humid areas or areas that experiences extreme temperatures such as out in your shed or garage.
  • Repair holes promptly following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Avoid using heated blankets on the product.

Common Signs of Wear and Degradation

The most common sign that it’s time to replace your air mattress is when you start to notice it doesn’t hold air like it used to. You may notice that the mattress loses firmness throughout the night, and this is due to a few different factors including:

  • Weight
  • Stretching
  • Normal wear and tear

How to Make Your Mattress Last Longer

While the overall durability of your mattress depends largely on aspects such as material type and density, the way in which you maintain and care for the product can add or take away years from your mattress. This is good because, with just a little bit of effort every day, you can stretch every dollar you in invest in your product.

While air beds have a few unique maintenance tips and tricks that we have already covered above due to the nature of these products, there are general care tips that are encouraged to employ no matter what product you decide to purchase. These would include:

Use a quality mattress protector. These waterproof products can help protect you against those unexpected spills as well as bedwetting. The trouble with liquid infiltration of a mattress is that it saturates the product. You can’t cry over spilt milk, and this is especially true when it comes to mattresses. Once the damage is done, there is little you can do. Just a few of the negative side effects of spills on your mattress include:

  • Quicker degradation of materials
  • Development of mold and mildew
  • Development of unpleasant odors

Aside from spills, mattress protectors can also keep sweat, skin cells, and dust mites off the product and further lengthen its lifespan.

Keep your bedsheets clean. Aside from your mattress protector, your sheets also provide a barrier that can protect your product. However, bedding is typically not very thick, and it soaks up sweat and other bodily fluids. Therefore, I would recommend you wash your bedding at least once every two weeks. Furthermore, if your product features a removable cover, this is a great time to clean it as well following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Most don’t consider it, but you can take measures to clean the surface of your mattress. Even if you use a mattress protector, you can further its lifespan by removing dust and debris by vacuuming the surface. If you want to reduce excess moisture and odors, consider sprinkling baking soda on the surface and allow it to sit for around 30 minutes before you vacuum. I would recommend you follow these directions around once a month.

Skip breakfast in bed. I know, it can be tempting to have a snack while you lay in bed and watch your favorite television show, but crumbs can make their way beneath the sheets, and nothing good comes from this.

Consider getting pets their own bed. While there are some proven benefits to sleeping with your pet, you must weigh these benefits with a couple of durability factors including:

  • Shedding
  • Slobber
  • Accidents

You know your pet, so I’ll leave this one up to you. However, I would strongly recommend that you consider purchasing your pet a bed of its own, especially if they are prone to shedding or are very hyper as this can increase the chances of a spill or other type of accident.

Take measures to avoid bed bugs. Of course, none of us want to pick up these nasty critters, but we often overlook ways in which they can be acquired. For starters, pay special attention to the mattress and bedding when you sleep away from home as bed bugs will hitchhike. It’ll pay to do research on how to detect and get rid of bed bugs. Furthermore, consider purchasing a bug-proof mattress encasement. The Environmental Protection Agency offers a few tips to recognize the signs of bed bugs, and these include:

  • Small red stains on sheets (squished bed bugs)
  • Small, dark dots (excrement)
  • Presence of tiny, pale-yellow eggshells
  • Live bugs

Regularly inspect your bedframe. Just as you would never build your home on a weak foundation, allowing your bed to rest on a compromised frame can and will reduce its lifespan. Every couple of years, it’s a good idea to take a close look at your frame to ensure it doesn’t have:

  • Weak wood slats
  • Excessive separations between slats
  • Broken slats
  • Saggy or otherwise worn boxsprings

Understand your warranty. It’s up to you to be in-the-know of the various stipulations defined in your warranty, and this can help you increase durability in the event certain problems arise. Furthermore, your warranty will often provide helpful tips and tricks to increase longevity specific to the product.

Making an Investment That Lasts

It’s been my goal of the development of this comprehensive mattress durability guide to help you not only make the best choice in a product that will last but also to guide you in better understanding measures you can take to increase the lifespan of the product you choose. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! If so, I encourage you to like or share to help spread the knowledge and allow your friends and loved ones to take full advantage of their mattresses. You can expect to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a quality mattress, and it’s important that they last. I hope this information will help you invest in the right product for your individual needs. If you have questions to further your understanding or comments, please leave them below. We will get back with you promptly to best ensure your product’s durability meets your standards.

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