I am delighted to present the first article in the series of mattress store comparisons in the Houston area. Specifically, this article compares mattresses from Mattress Giant and New Living, both located in Rice Village.
This article seeks to 1) provide readers with the most accurate information on the key topics in mattress shopping and 2) educate consumers about the health benefits of using mattresses made from natural materials.
Mattress Giant offers a variety of mattresses. The most popular of the semi-luxurious are Simmons and (*a brand we have been legally asked to remove from our website*), both made in the US. Like any mattress brand, Simmons and (the other major brand) have several different types of mattresses including inner-spring, foam material, and hybrid (spring with foam material). Simmons also makes a latex mattress made of 65% natural rubber called Natural Care that is blended with other chemicals, which are not clearly defined.
Mattress Giant mattresses are made with elastic, polyurethane and/or some type of memory foam. New Living offers mattresses that are made with only pure materials, such as organic wool, organic cotton and natural latex rubber. Wool is a natural fire retardant and therefore chemicals are not necessary to prevent mattress combustion.
Warranty and Return Policies
Depending on the mattress brand, Mattress Giant and New Living both offer 10- or 20-year warranties on their mattresses. The second decade is pro-rated. This means that if the mattress core blows out in year 9, the mattress is exchanged at no cost. If the mattress core blows out in year 12, the value of the mattress decreases with each year and the customer will have to pay the difference between the used mattress and a new mattress.
New Living’s mattresses are designed to last 20 years, whereas typical mattresses last an average of 8 years. The return policy at Mattress Giant requires the mattress to be kept for at least 3 weeks if the customer is not satisfied. The return policy expires at 100 days.
New Living offers a comfort guarantee that allows customers to return a mattress within the first 90 days, with no minimum time required after purchase. If at any point a customer is unsatisfied, New Living will work with customers to help find a better fit (for instance, by borrowing a topper to try it out). And in order to ensure the customer’s satisfaction before purchase, New Living encourages customers to try out a New Living mattress by enjoying a free night at the The Modern, a beautiful boutique hotel nearby. The cost of a night at the Modern will be applied toward any eventual mattress purchase at New Living.
No matter what mattress you buy, it does take your body some time to adjust to it. Its best to give any new mattress a few weeks for you to truly experience it. The worse off your old mattress was, the greater the difference will be when you are on a mattress that give you the support you have been lacking.
The starting price for a very basic queen-size mattress at Mattress Giant is $199. These mattresses will last around 3 years, according to, believe it or not, their own sales associates. Mattress Giant’s queen-size mattresses top out at $5,000, and the average memory foam mattresses is upward of $2,000. New Living offers natural latex queen-size mattresses starting at $999. The most popular certified organic queen-size mattress is $3,595.
Product Components Mattress Giant compares their two most popular brand inner-core foam materials for curious customers. Trying them out for myself, my impression was that the (*major brand* that we legally are not allowed to mention) seemed to have much less ventilation within the individual foam cells. As a result, the foam was less quick to regain its original form and held more heat and moisture. The Simmons brand was quicker to regain form and consisted of more open cells to allow ventilation. Both foam samples smelled, to me, of conventional wet paint. There have been independent third party lab testing where the memory foam is found to contain 61 Volitale Organic Compounds, several of which are carcinogenic.
The organic latex in the models at New Living, specifically, OMI is tapped from a rubber tree and poured into a mold of hundreds of full slim tubes ensuring ventilation from top to bottom of the latex core. The foam is cooked using either the Dunlop or Talalay process. The Talalay process is the most recent technology and allows the rubber to spread out more evenly. The latex used in mattresses at New Living is all natural (typically 95% latex and 5% other natural elements like zinc that help with bonding), whereas the latex used in Simmons’ Natural Care mattress is only 65% actual latex.
The memory foam in Simmons and (*major brand* that we legally are not allowed to mention) does not have the same porous consistency as the latex. This results in memory foam mattresses becoming very hot and holding their chemical odor. At New Living, most of our mattresses have a layer of wool that is wrapped in cotton. This not only meets the criteria for flame retardants, but also regulates body temperature, keeping you warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. Most other brands use harmful chemical flame retardants.
A major factor to consider when buying a mattress is the flame retardant they choose to use. Starting in 2007, the government mandated that a mattress be able to withstand a 2 foot wide blow torch for 70 seconds. (*major brand* that we legally are not allowed to mention) and Simmons will not disclose the flame retardants they use, but most chemical flame retardants contain bromine (PBDE’s) and Antimony (cousin to the notorious poison Arsenic). These chemicals leech through your mattress and are absorbed through your skin and inhaled. All of the mattresses at New Living use a natural layer of wool that meets the criteria for flame retardants without the use of a toxic chemical.
The difference between Mattress Giant low-VOC and certified organic As mentioned earlier, Mattress Giant is making an effort to reduce their environmental and health impacts in promoting Simmons’ independent certification by CertiPUR-US. Our worry is that traditional brands — in mattresses and other consumer products — can make minimal changes, and then brand themselves as healthier or greener. This is sometimes called “greenwashing.” The best defense is being your own consumer detective.
There are a few ways to ensure that you are getting the healthiest mattress:
As with food consumers, mattress consumers may be confused by the word “natural.” Each company defines “natural” differently, and therefore it is difficult to distinguish “greenwashing” from the use of genuine natural or organic materials.
Some mattress manufacturers choose to ensure low-VOC requirements within the products materials. VOC amounts can be independently certified through institutions such as CertiPUR-US. This means the company is doing its best to minimize materials to chemical exposures and reduce the use of preservatives and adhesives, but there are still toxins within the materials. Also, watch out for brands whose advertising misleadingly implies that the entire product has received third-party certification, whereas in reality, only certain individual ingredients have been certified.
In order to obtain independent certified organic status, a mattress company must prohibit the use of chemicals within their production, materials, and factories. Certified organic is the best possible choice for consumers seeking a chemical-free, toxin-free mattress. Greenguard Environmental Institute is one of the most trusted independent certification institutions.
For more info, check out our Mattress Shopping FAQ!Share: