Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Americans are obsessed with buying the right mattress because of a nationwide epidemic of insomnia. But don’t fall prey to the marketing. The best buys aren’t necessarily on the most expensive ones.
The August 2012 issue of Consumer Reports took a look at both mattresses and mattress retailers. The highest mattress rating of all goes to Tempur-Pedic (average price $2,465 for a queen-size mattress). But the real story here is the No. 2 mattress brand: the Original Mattress Factory (average price $855 for a queen).
Yes, that’s right — the second-highest rated product is one-third the cost of the industry leader. Now that’s a Clark Smart buy.
Price does not necessarily equate to satisfaction with mattresses. A more expensive mattress may not make for a better product.
When it comes to retailers, Consumer Reports ranked Original Mattress Factory stores as the top choice for customer satisfaction. Costco Wholesale was a close second.
The high placement for Costco may reflect its return policy on mattresses: A full money back refund without penalty and no time limit. That really makes Costco stand apart.
I love the warehouse clubs for mattress shopping, and I’ve long advised people to test the mattress right there in the store for an extended period. Bring a book or an iPad to Costco or Sam’s Club and pull those mattresses out or yank them off the walls. Then lay there for 15 minutes and see how you like the feel before you buy.
Meanwhile, in the same issue of Consumer Reports, they also crowned Tide Ultra HE powder as a laundry detergent Best Buy pick for high efficiency washing machines. It costs just 16 cents a load to wash your clothes. HE washers don’t require as much detergent as conventional washers; try putting in a third of what you’re used to.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions at ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.