Several years ago, when I was mattress-obsessed and in the throes of shopping for one, I was fairly active on this forum. Eventually, after three or four returned mattresses, I found one I was happy with: a Lemoyne Sleeper innerspring, rather firm, topped (by me) with an inch of memory foam and then an inch of latex. My mattress and I have been doing well ever since.
Now my son and daughter-in-law are shopping for a new mattress. They're furnishing a new house, and can't spend a lot on the mattress. I know that can translate to poor economy, and want to share with them what I learned here. To sum up, this is what I remember:
The S brands are to be avoided, with the possible exception of some Simmons models.
Many of today's mattresses are made with inferior materials, including poor quality foam that breaks down quickly.
With innersprings, your best bet is to find a small, independent mattress manufacturer and choose a model that's fairly firm, adding your own cushioning on top if necessary. Stay away from pillow tops.
Memory foam is loved by some and detested by others. It, too, comes in different grades, and a cheap memory foam mattress can be disappointing.
Latex is a whole other story. I don't know the latest wisdom on latex. My original plan had been to get myself a latex mattress, but ended up returning two of them (bought in department stores). I LOVED one of them.......for about a week. I seem to remember that latex can be problematic for people with back issues. True?
Can you add anything to these guidelines? Any advice you can give on buying a mattress on a budget would be appreciated.