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Sleep Advisor’s Product Review Process

Transparency Disclosure – We may receive a referral fee for products purchased through the links on our site… Read More.
Disclaimer – Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment… Read More Here.

Our goal here at Sleep Advisor is to help our readers achieve a healthier life through better sleep. Along with providing researched-backed knowledge on important sleep health topics, another significant component of helping our readers improve their sleep is by connecting them with the right products through first-hand testing.

To provide transparency, we will walk you through how we rate and review specific mattress and accessory products, including important consumer-focused categories that allow us to better recommend certain products based on the needs of different sleepers.

How We Review Mattresses

Julia Forbes, the lead Sleep Advisor product tester, in our mattress testing facility

Firmness:

Mattress firmness is a measure of how hard or soft a bed feels, and it is rated on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest. Our mattress testers provide us with their firmness rating for each bed based on their experience with the product.

Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide on mattress firmness

Sleep Position and Body Weight:

As mentioned above, mattresses are going to feel differently based on your weight, but another component of this is your sleep position. For instance, a softer mattress could be comfortable for a side sleeper to provide more cushioning around the shoulder and hip. However, that same softer mattress could be uncomfortable for a stomach sleeper since they could find their hips sinking too much into the bed, compromising their lower back alignment.

In our reviews, we explain whether we think a mattress will suit heavyweight, average-weight, and lightweight people for back, side, and stomach sleeping.

Find out more: Discover our picks for the best mattresses for heavy sleepers and petite sleepers

Performance for Couples:

Many mattress shoppers share a bed with a partner, so we also include a performance rating for couples. This rating is based on features that are advantageous to couples sharing a mattress, such as bounce, motion isolation, edge support, firmness versatility, cooling, and weight capacity.

Helpful Finds: Best Mattresses for Couples

Support:

When our mattress testers look at support, they are seeing how well the mattress keeps their body lifted and their spine in a neutral alignment. They also take into account how supportive the bed should be for lightweight, average-weight, and plus-size sleepers.

Support is important for consumers because it helps the spine remain in its natural S-shaped alignment, which can help prevent or alleviate back pain.

The construction of a hybrid mattress, tested by Julia Forbes

Edge Support:

Edge support refers to how supportive the sides of the mattress feel. With good edge support, you shouldn’t feel like you’re rolling off the bed. This is typically important for couples who like to spread out when they sleep or people who may frequently sit on the edge of their bed.

Learn more: Why Is Edge Support Important?

Julia Forbes testing edge support

Cooling:

Cooling is important for people who struggle to sleep because they run hot at night. We rate cooling on a 1-5 scale. If the bed receives a 1 rating, that means there are no cooling materials present and the bed sleeps very hot. Conversely, a 5 rating means the bed not only feels cool but is constructed with multiple cooling features.

Motion Isolation:

Motion isolation reflects how well a mattress prevents movement from transferring to the other side of the bed. This is often most valuable for couples, particularly those who are on different sleep schedules or if one partner tosses and turns a lot.

Testing Motion Isolation in a Mattress

Bounce:

Bounce is exactly as it sounds; this reflects how bouncy a mattress is. Bouncy, or responsive, beds are quick to respond to movement, immediately going back to their original position when you get up or move around.

Pressure Relief:

Pressure relief in a mattress is important because it helps alleviate discomfort and pain in sensitive pressure points. While we think this feature is valuable to all sleep positions, it’s especially vital for side sleeping since pressure can more easily build up on your hip and shoulder.

Julia Forbes testing a mattress for side sleeping

Our Overall Score:

Our reviews will also include an aggregate score, which is an overall rating for the mattress. The aggregate score is the average of our scores for support, edge support, cooling, motion isolation, bounce, and pressure relief. We add up these scores, then divide by six, for six categories.

How We Review Sleep Accessories

Along with mattresses, we also review a variety of sleep accessories to further enhance your bed space. The following are some of the most common products we review on Sleep Advisor.

Pillows

zamat pillow review

Sleep Position

Side Sleepers

If we think a pillow is good for side sleeping, it will have great support for the neck and head, and it has a medium to high loft. The pillow may also be specifically designed for sleepers.

Discover our favorite pillows for side sleepers

Back Sleepers

We will consider a pillow good for back sleepers if it has great support for the neck and head, and it has a medium loft.

Check out Sleep Advisor’s top-rated pillows for back sleepers

Stomach Sleepers

Pillows that we consider to be good for stomach sleepers will be flat and will facilitate a healthy neck and spine alignment.

Visit our list of the best pillows for stomach sleepers

Temperature

We rate temperature on a 1-5 scale, evaluating the pillow’s cooling capabilities. Typically, a 5 rating means the pillow actually feels cool to the touch, whereas a 1 rating means the pillow has no cooling properties and sleeps hot.

Support

We rate support on a 1-5 scale. While a 5 rating represents great support for the neck and head, a 1 rating means we experienced terrible support. Support is typically more important for side and back sleepers since they need a pillow to give them enough of a lift that their neck and head remain in a neutral alignment with the rest of their spine.

a woman lays on brooklinen marlow pillow

Durability

A pillow’s durability is important because you want to ensure you’ll get your money’s worth with a new product, and this includes being able to use it for a long enough time.

Comfort

Overall comfort is another important category that we rate 1-5, with 5 being that we felt very comfortable lying on this pillow. Because comfort can be relative to your sleep position, we also take into account whether or not the pillow is adjustable, as this gives it a better chance of appealing to multiple sleep types. We also assess whether it does a good job of relieving any tension in the head and neck.

Find out more: The Different Types of Pillows

Off-Gassing

Off-gassing is an important consideration with pillows since your head rests up against them, and for those sensitive to smells, this could be an issue. Off-gassing is essentially just a new product smell that can be present in mattress and bedding products that used synthetic materials. The good news is that it’s temporary, but it could be bothersome if you want to use your pillow right away.

Allergens

If a pillow contains both a hypoallergenic fill and cover, and it features multiple certifications, then we’ll give it a 5 rating. However, if there are no hypoallergenic materials present and no certifications, then it will receive a 1 rating.

Cleaning & Care

Typically, pillows that have a trial that extends past 120 nights and a warranty that lasts 5 years or longer will get a 5 rating. There are occasions in which the trial period is longer than 120 nights, but the warranty may be less time. In this case, we may still give the product a higher rating because we feel the extended trial period is worth it.

The overall score represents the average of the scores we collect for temperature through sleep trial and warranty. To calculate this, we add up all those scores and then divide by eight, for eight categories.

Learn More: How to Wash Your Pillows

Our Overall Score

The overall score represents the average of the scores we collect for temperature through sleep trial and warranty. To calculate this, we add up all those scores and then divide by eight, for eight categories.

Helpful Finds: The Best Pillows of 2024

Bed Frames and Bases

Bed Frame Testing

Each of the following categories is rated on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest rating and 1 the lowest.

Support

We consider highly supportive bed frames to be able to support a minimum of 1,500 pounds. If a frame can support this amount of weight, which includes the weight of the mattress and sleeper(s), then it will receive a 5 rating from us. With slatted frames, though, we also consider the distance between the slats. Ideally, the slats should be no more than 2.75 inches apart for better support.

Find out more: Best Bed Frames for Heavy People

Durability

When we look at the durability of a bed frame or base, we consider what it’s built with. For example, solid wood and metal are going to provide more durability, and with upholstered frames, microfiber and leather could provide added longevity. A highly durable frame that we think will last a long time will receive a 5 rating from us.

Assembly

If you’re purchasing a new frame or base, the assembly process could be an important factor for you. We will give a 5 rating if the company provides complementary professional assembly for their frames and bases. However, if you have to put the frame together yourself, but it shouldn’t take longer than several hours, we’ll still give it a 4 out of 5. If the frame requires outside professional help, though, due to the level of difficulty, then we’ll rate it a 1 out of 5. With assembly, we also consider if the product comes with all the necessary parts and whether you may need to purchase additional items like nuts and bolts.

Noise

Some frames produce more noise than others, which can impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep. If a frame or base produces no noise, then it’ll receive a 5 rating. Conversely, if it’s noisy to the point that it’s very distracting, we’ll give it a 1 rating. When we assess noise, we’re looking at whether it makes noise when you get in and out of bed or move around in bed, and for adjustable bases, we see whether it makes noise when you adjust the head and/or foot of the bed.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is a category we specifically focus on for adjustable bases. This is because some adjustable bases may be more complex than others. If we feel that a particular base is easy to use, even if it’s a smart bed, then we’ll rate it well. Bases that come with remotes are also rated higher because of the added convenience.

Shipping

A 5 out of 5 rating for shipping means that a frame or base is shipped for free to all 50 U.S. states, and a 4 out of 5 rating means that free shipping is included within the contiguous U.S., but those in Alaska and Hawaii have to pay a shipping fee. However, if shipping is not included, and it costs an additional 100 dollars or more to ship the item, then it’ll lower the score.

Sleep Trial & Warranty

Similar to toppers and pillows, we give frames a 5 out of 5 rating for this category if they come with a trial period of 120 nights or more and a 5-year or longer warranty. This is helpful for people shopping online because it provides more peace of mind and gives you more time with the product before fully committing to the price. As with other accessories, there may be occasions when the product has a longer trial but a slightly shorter warranty. As long as it still has a warranty though, we’ll still rate it well as we feel the higher trial period still makes it a valuable frame.

Our Overall Score

To get our overall score for frames and bases, we add up each individual score for support through sleep trial and warranty. If it’s an adjustable base, we will include a score for ease of use, but if it’s a standard frame, we will not have a score for that. For adjustable bases, we then divide the total by seven, for seven categories. For frames, we divide the number by six, for six categories.

Check out our top bed frame and best mattress for adjustable bed picks for 2024

Mattress Topper and Pads

Mattress Topper Testing

Sleep Position and Body Weight

Similar to mattresses, some toppers are going to be better for certain sleep positions and body types. This is why we provide more in-depth details on how we think a topper fares for lightweight, average-weight, and heavyweight sleepers in each sleeping position.

Helpful Picks: Best-Rated Mattress Toppers for Heavy People

Temperature

Mattress toppers and pads are rated 1-5 for temperature. A 5 rating means we found the product to be great for cooling; it’s cool to the touch and comes with multiple cooling features. Conversely, a 1 rating means the item performs poorly with cooling and has no cooling features.

Support

A supportive topper can be helpful for those who need better spine alignment from their sleep space. We rate support on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the best rating for support. Along with assessing how supported we feel on the topper or pad, we also look at what it’s made of, the firmness, the density of foams used, and the thickness of the product.

Find out more: Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain

Durability

A durable topper or pad helps ensure longer use. A 5 rating means we feel the item is very durable. We’ll consider factors such as the materials and their quality, foam density and indentation load deflection (ILD), and overall thickness.

Comfort

A highly comfortable topper or pad will receive a 5 rating from us, whereas a very uncomfortable one will receive a 1 rating. When we analyze comfort, we look at how comfortable it feels in different sleeping positions, whether or not it helps with pressure points, what it’s made of, how thick it is, and whether or not it comes in different firmness options.

Fit

The fit of a topper or pad is important because you want to ensure there are no gaps created between the product and your bed; they should line up perfectly. The fit is rated 1-5. First, we make sure the topper is compatible with standard mattress sizes as far as length and width. Second, we see how many sizes the company offers. If a brand offers all sizes from Twin through California King, then this will earn the topper or pad a higher score.

Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Mattress Topper

Off-gassing

Toppers and pads that produce no noticeable off-gassing will receive a 5 rating from us, whereas those products that have very noticeable off-gassing that may take up to a week to fully dissipate will receive a 1 rating. Typically, natural and organic-based products will rate better for off-gassing, though this is not always the case.

Off-gassing is a term for a new product smell when chemicals used to compress the product escape into the air. Although off-gassing is normal in many synthetic-based products and is temporary, it can be bothersome for those who are sensitive to smells.

Allergens

Toppers and pads with a hypoallergenic core and cover, as well as multiple certifications, will receive a 5 score from our team. Conversely, products that lack any hypoallergenic materials and independent certifications will receive a 1 rating.

Cleaning & Care

With cleaning and care, we look at how convenient the product is to maintain. Similar to pillows, a topper or pad with a 5 rating will have a removable cover that’s machine washable, whereas a 1 rating means the item may need to be professionally cleaned.

Sleep Trial & Warranty

We consider toppers and pads with a trial that exceeds 120 nights and a warranty of 5 years or longer to be a great deal and will give these products a 5 rating. In some cases, the topper or pad may have an extended trial but perhaps a slightly shorter warranty. In that case, we may still give the item a 5 rating because we feel the extended trial makes it a worthwhile deal.

On the flip side, a topper or pad that has no warranty or sleep trial will receive a 1 rating from us.

Our Overall Score

To get the overall score for a mattress topper, we add up the scores for temperature through sleep trial and warranty. We then divide that number by nine, for nine categories.

Discover our favorite mattress toppers and pads for 2024

Jill Zwarensteyn

Jill Zwarensteyn

Editor

About Author

Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Combination Sleeper