The "S" brands?
Jan 13, 2012 12:17 PM
Joined: Jan 13, 2012
Points: 22
 I'm up to my ears in research and found this site.

I keep seeing reference that is almost a warning to the 'S' brands = I know this means the big name brands and I have studied them and all others to a faretheewell.

We had a Simmons BeautyRest for many years, it is on it's second life at our son's house and he still loves it.   From the BeautyRest we went to a memory foam based on medical advice, even though it stunk like mad for a few weeks we slept pain free and it was great for two and half years before something happened and it started being really hot and making me sick. We pulled a Serta from the guest room and are making do,  we had immediate relief from whatever the memory foam was doing to us, it was astounding, but the springs are beating me up nightly despite a topper and I can't stand the motion transfer.  

We had a Sealy Posturpedic for a daybed, not the best choice.   

I've considered latex, but have MCS and am really wary of the smell. I sleep on wool pillows and wool fleece topper, but know that a wool mattress is going to be too firm for me.   I get dizzy with all the information and don't see any way I can not try out a new mattress.   I'm fortunate to have many locations nearby to find organic mattresses and all those big brands - but it's exhausting and I'm shortening my shopping list. (The tips are fabulous here).  

Bottom line of this post is basically, "what is so terrible about the 'S' brands?"  Aside from mass production and corporate retailers....

I have found a local company who will make a latex bed and if we don't like it they will change the core - but if that's not good it's too bad.  They will make me an innerspring with a good layer or natural material, but not coil springs which means motion transfer.  I found another where I tried various combinations of latex or wool mattresses with toppers, this is why I think the wool may be too firm.  The majority of natural mattress companies do not have guarantees for satisfaction and at 2 to 3 thousand dollars that's a bit scairy.   My research shows that Stearns & Foster as well as Simmons make a line that sort of crosses over the natural and the coils  thinking and they have total satisfaction guarantee.

I'm a curvy gal at 5'2" 130lbs and have many health issues (arthritis and fibromyalgia for starters) - hubby is six foot 155 and not nearly as picky as I am, but this old Serta is messing up his back also.   Help!?!

Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #18 Jan 19, 2012 8:45 PM
Joined: Dec 23, 2011
Points: 82
Well, either flobeds figured out a way to do so for under $5K, or they're flat out lying to us. They do post these: http://www.flobeds.com/Oeko-Tex.htm for their wool and LI's Latex, so if Strobel is correct, they must be adding something to their organic cotton.

I do have a sample of their cover, and I do work at a place with a metals lab. I can ask the lab manager if he can test it for me. I have no idea if they can or not, but I'll definitely ask.

This message was modified Jan 19, 2012 by megalops
Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #19 Jan 19, 2012 8:52 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
 

Dave, thanks for the civil reply. I thought my original reply was perhaps a bit too harsh but I really do dislike the S brands - I have seen so much pure deception going on with them, I could write a short book about it. I feel your idea that it is because of their success that they are disliked is off the mark but you are entitled to your opinion, of course! And 99% of the time I am very courteous here, but I got a little hot under the collar re your "because of their success" comment, as if there are not thousands of other reasons why people don't like them and why this forum in particular has an anti-S Co bias, or at least used to when I was around here a lot... That said, I would probably buy an S brand such as Simmons or S&F just for their springs, then add my own foams on top. ;-D

So let's agree to disagree on  your statement that the S Co's are disliked "because of their success" - and no doubt others. But I appreciate your not being offended by my response and I will try not to be too antagonistic. It's good to have someone from the mattress industry here, though you have to have a thick skin because we've seen others come and go and some other posters here will no doubt be even less diplomatic than I was. Many here have been ripped off or feel ripped off by the S Co's and have been through one S Co bed after another to try to find a well made one. So you have to understand that's where many of us are coming from. When I first cut open my Sealy years ago I was appalled at the inches and inches of cheap crappy pu foam in it. Since then I have seen many others cut open with the same results: full of cheap crappy foam that too-soon causes back aches in many people.

I understand that in today's world of expensive advertising and rent and salaries and etc that S Co's have to make reasonably priced mattresses and that to keep the price point down they have to put cheap materials in it. But I can't help but feel they are still over-charging for those mattresses and that the mattresses - at any price - are not worth taking home in many cases. I personally tried about 5 middle-priced S Co mattresses before resorting to building my own from foams from a local foam warehouse and from latex from the internet. My advice for anyone who does want an S Co mattress - aside from buying the "firmer" models - is to buy the higher end models, never the cheap ones. (Unless you're just buying it for the springs and plan to do mattress surgery! ;-D In some cases you can get the same springs in lower priced models.)

Anyway, again I apologize if I was harsh in my response to your "because of their success" comment. ;-D    It's fun to "mix it up" a bit as long as no one resorts to name calling etc.!

As to the pillow tops, maybe the main difference is indeed in the quilting, but also you are usually getting MORE foam with the pillow top and since the foam you're getting is mostly cheap PU foam, that is the problem - it will break down quicker and 6" of cheap foam on top of your mattress is worse than 2" of it. Pillow tops, no matter how good they may feel when you first lay on them, will indeed break down and render your mattress useless. That's why I and others here have been recommending for years that people not get pillow tops and put their own latex (and/or good quality visco) on top instead. 

Sounds like you still work as a mattress salesman, no? Do you mind saying who you work for, that is, which company or store? I'm not sure what the Forum rule is on full disclosure. I think all that is required is to say you work in the industry, you don't have to be specific. Budgy also works in the industry and I know many of us are quite appreciative of the posts he contributes here!   - Jim

DaveStro wrote:

 


Jim,

Absolutely! Bonnell coil is the most widely used coil system in the industry and not just by the S Brands, but just about every manufacture. The bonnell coil isnt really looked down upon, it is just a less expensive design and works great for inexpensive mattresses. For an adult it really wouldnt hold up and provide good back support for very long, but in guest rooms or anyone under 100lbs it will work just fine.

You may not like pillow tops personally, but in all actuallity there is no difference in the foam in a pillow top versus the foam in a non-pillow top. If you buy the less expensive models the pillow top and none pillow top will have the cheap foams in them, when you get to the upper end they both use the same higher density foams. You would be very hard pressed to find any mattress from the S-Companies or the majority of any other manufacture that have any latex, besides synthetic latex. And they use any where from 5/8" to 3" in pillow tops and non pillow tops. The only difference between the pillow top and non pillow top is the way the quilting is attatched to the mattress and has nothing to do with the material inside. The material inside is based on the level of mattresses.

Your idea of buying a little firmer mattress and adding toppers is a great idea and I recommend that solution quite frequently. It is also true Latex will outlast any Poly Foams including Visco/Memory Foams. (Personally I dont liek the memory foam feel either, but many people do and that is a personal prefrence with comfort)

Yes I have been in the mattress industry for about 15yrs now. Started out in 1yr in transportation then 4ys manufaturing and have been in sales 10yrs all in the mattress industry. I have experaince with many manufatures anywhere from Small local manufatures all the way up to the S-Brands. I am not really for against the S-Brands over others. There are many commpanies that make beds that are just as well built and will last just as long. Englander is another great manufacture that build beds that will compete with any S-Brand made and are typically more cost effective for the same quality level. I say typically, because I have seen compaines take a lower end Englander and jack the price up and compare it to high end Sealy. When they could have still beat the price of a sealy using a more comparable Englander.

::Chuckles:: I agree there is a tremendous amount of marketing and misleading information in this industry, but it isnt just the S-Brands. The manufactures make different color covers and different model names for each store in a specific region and this increases sales for that manufacture. This is so more stores from one area will buy from the same mattress manufacture and can advertise exclusive products and guarantee the best price on identical products. The company I work for does post the specs of each mattress in detial at the foot of each bed and I will provide a copy for my customers so that they can make sure they are comparing apples to apples. Its not just the manufactures that are misleading thier customers it is the retailers that push out most of the misleading information and not so much the manufacture. The manufacture does its share, but the retailers are the biggest pushers of misleading information.

I still say it is becuase of their success that the S-Brands catch all the flack and it is becuase they are more widely known, becuase most every manufacture twist their advertising words to make their product sound so much better and the retailers carrying their products put their own spin on it as well. It isnt just the S-Brands it is an idustry wide issue.

Some of the biggest marketing gemics out there (I know these are being pushed by the S-Brands too)

Cooler Memory Foam, Gel blended memory foam, Coconut oil, Bamboo fabric, and there are many more

Latex - Many compaines are using 1" or less latex and calling it a latex mattress and most likey it is synthetic latex and has no natural latex in the mattress yet they are calling it a latex mattress.

Slow recovery Latex foam (Used in Serta) Contians 0% Latex.

Titanium Coils in Sealy - truth Titanium Steel Alloy contains roughly .0001% Titanium

I tell all of my customers the truth about whats in each mattress so they are not mislead. I do show each one the specs and contents of each mattress and explain the differences. I do explain the differences and show the samples of each coil system. I even show explain marketing gimmicks and used for each component in the mattress. I truly try to educate all of my customers. I left one company after working there a short time, becuase they didnt like the fact I went into so much detail about the products. I was told that was a very bad idea.

Jim I think you response is well written and I dont take it as offensive. I look at it as we are having an educated discussion and I will try to explain my point of view. The same as you are explaining your point of view. Please dont be offended by any of my response's. They are not meant that way. I am not a great writer, but I do my best to explain the things I know and I will also let you know when things are just my opinion as well.

Thank you,

Dave



Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #20 Jan 19, 2012 10:34 PM
Joined: Dec 23, 2011
Points: 82
megalops wrote:

 

Well, either flobeds figured out a way to do so for under $5K, or they're flat out lying to us. They do post these: http://www.flobeds.com/Oeko-Tex.htm for their wool and LI's Latex, so if Strobel is correct, they must be adding something to their organic cotton.

I do have a sample of their cover, and I do work at a place with a metals lab. I can ask the lab manager if he can test it for me. I have no idea if they can or not, but I'll definitely ask.


Here's a couple more links on wool: http://greenlivingqa.com/content/flame-retardants-mattesses-whi  

"Now, about that link, note that the photos show a single strand of wool burning. A single strand with a lot of air around it. Fire requires air to burn. I learned that building fires in my wood stove. A single match burns fine, but pile up pieces of wood with no air between them and they won't burn. So I'm not surprised that a single strand of wool yarn would burn like a candle wick. But in a mattress it is a layer of wool--complete different conditions."

And this one: http://www.surroundewe.com/WoolvsOther.asp#faq22

Though natural, untreated wool is scratchier than synthetic fabrics, wool is less susceptible to burning. The US Military, through extensive studies, use wool for uniforms and protective gear due to its natural resistant to fire.

"Wool burns with a self-extinguishing flame and produces a soft ash that dissipates and will not lodge in open wounds," says Jeanette M. Cardamone, a chemist at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. “Synthetic materials, on the other hand, form hot, molten beads that can drip into a wound and cause trauma.” (ERRC)

I'm not saying Strobel is incorrect, but I really have a hard time believing that they are correct, and that every mattress company who claims wool with no chemicals as their fire barrier is lying. Especially since a simple lab test could put each and every one of the businesses under, and expose them to massive lawsuits.

This message was modified Jan 20, 2012 by megalops
Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #21 Jan 20, 2012 7:57 AM
Joined: Jan 13, 2012
Points: 22
Without taking up space with too much copying - I'm thrilled to have this much information and get this going

megalops, I agree with you and having been researching this for months I totally agree.  I still like the FloBeds, but when I go testing mattresses I can take my list and hopefully get some idea of price comparison for what is inside.  A few on my short list are similar.

 

This is why I am looking at latex mattresses - - NOT the S brands and this is why I was surprosed when i discovered that S&F had a latex that has cashmere in the cover etc/  I'm apparently more tired than I thought.   Yes I am aware that S&F is owned by Sealy - hard not too if searching on the web, but at least they give you a content list.   

I have nothing against them all - have been happy with Simmons for many years, but the times are changing and I would like to sleep.  I refuse polyfoam, period and have been appalled that manufacturers are allowed to say a latex bed even if ionly an inch. That's what's wrong with the S brands.

I am looking at several manufactureres who do not use boric acid and the wool is the flame barrier. Horray!  OMI, Englander, Natura, Southhard just to name a few.  Some do use boric acid, frankly I would prefer that to the unknown whatever it is and a fabric doused in formaldehyde. So I am going natural - one way or another.

If the weather works out we are going to test Englander, Natura, and OMI this weekend (yes OMI is short for 'Oh my - it's expensive') and I've tried Southard which uses wool.  I do know the difference between latex and plyfoam. The difference between organic cotton and just cotton, the difference between organic wool and just wool - - I won't have synthetic latex either.   I've got a discussion going with the retailer and covered exchange, returns, delivery - so far so good - they carry good products. 

My biggest concern at this point is whether I can stand the latex smell, there is a big difference in a small sample vs a bed.  

Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #22 Jan 20, 2012 1:19 PM
Joined: Aug 1, 2009
Points: 175
megalops wrote:

Thanks for those links. I've spent the past couple of evenings reading a bunch of stuff about the fire retardants in mattresses but hadn't read either of those pages. I did find a different site that countered some of Strobel's claims but lost track of it.

There is a whole lotta stuff out there on the 'Net, and I'm finding it difficult to find independent science -- that I can understand without a degree in chemistry -- and separate that out from various marketing claims and from the perhaps overly alarmist sites that equate the word "chemical" with "toxin."

I think I am more confused now than I was before. I'm now wondering, for instance:

  • Are mass-produced mattresses made before the FR regulation went into effect in 2007 considered safe -- should I buy a friend's 10-year-old barely used guest-bed mattress? -- or are they dangerous because of PBDEs and other FRs that have since been, or are being, phased out?
     
  • Are mass-produced mattresses made after 2007 more dangerous because of the newer FRs being used?
     
  • If I go with an all-latex mattress and there's a fire, will that latex turn into a giant fireball* if it's not covered with enough wool? (I don't smoke, use a laptop in bed, or use space heaters, but things can happen anyway.)

Meanwhile, I do all this research while sitting at my 20-year-old desk, made of particle board covered with some sort of laminate, wondering how much formeldahyde I've breathed in over the years....

indecision

 

* Short video of small piece of natural latex igniting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbqm_5E6auM

This message was modified Jan 20, 2012 by Catherine
Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #23 Jan 20, 2012 7:26 PM
Joined: Jan 20, 2012
Points: 8
Jim

 You suggest that we buy a simmons non pillow top mattress and then add latex toppers . It seems to me that if the underlying structure of the mattresses is collapsable because it is composed of polyeurethane , then won't the mattress soon sag even with the latex toppers ?

You can put lipstick on a pig....

Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #24 Jan 31, 2012 8:07 PM
Joined: Aug 30, 2011
Points: 55
SallySmiles wrote:

Without taking up space with too much copying - I'm thrilled to have this much information and get this going

 

megalops, I agree with you and having been researching this for months I totally agree.  I still like the FloBeds, but when I go testing mattresses I can take my list and hopefully get some idea of price comparison for what is inside.  A few on my short list are similar.

 

This is why I am looking at latex mattresses - - NOT the S brands and this is why I was surprosed when i discovered that S&F had a latex that has cashmere in the cover etc/  I'm apparently more tired than I thought.   Yes I am aware that S&F is owned by Sealy - hard not too if searching on the web, but at least they give you a content list.   

I have nothing against them all - have been happy with Simmons for many years, but the times are changing and I would like to sleep.  I refuse polyfoam, period and have been appalled that manufacturers are allowed to say a latex bed even if ionly an inch. That's what's wrong with the S brands.

I am looking at several manufactureres who do not use boric acid and the wool is the flame barrier. Horray!  OMI, Englander, Natura, Southhard just to name a few.  Some do use boric acid, frankly I would prefer that to the unknown whatever it is and a fabric doused in formaldehyde. So I am going natural - one way or another.

If the weather works out we are going to test Englander, Natura, and OMI this weekend (yes OMI is short for 'Oh my - it's expensive') and I've tried Southard which uses wool.  I do know the difference between latex and plyfoam. The difference between organic cotton and just cotton, the difference between organic wool and just wool - - I won't have synthetic latex either.   I've got a discussion going with the retailer and covered exchange, returns, delivery - so far so good - they carry good products. 

My biggest concern at this point is whether I can stand the latex smell, there is a big difference in a small sample vs a bed.  

I agree natural is the best way to go. Not all will use boric acid, but they will use one of the other toxic chemicals and there is no way around it currently. Formaldehyde is also used in poly foams as well.

Englander is a great brand as well and get their latex from Sri Lanka. Again it will be either a blended latex or Latex of top of a poly core, but they have been around for a very long time and have a very good reputation. I would have to say Englander is the better of the ones mentioned above from my experiance. Southards is also a blended synthetic latex. I couldnt believe on their innspring mattress prices usign an intro level 460 coil offset innerspring unit on queen sets from $2200 too $4400. I would say they are at the bottom of the list with the ones mentioned above.

100% natural latex really doesnt have much of any smell. The smell will come from the blended latex or the synthetic.
 

Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #25 Jan 31, 2012 10:31 PM
Joined: Dec 23, 2011
Points: 82
DaveStro wrote:

I agree natural is the best way to go. Not all will use boric acid, but they will use one of the other toxic chemicals and there is no way around it currently. Formaldehyde is also used in poly foams as well.


Davestro, if in the above statement you're referring to passing the CFR 1633 fire standards, please provide some proof to your statement. I find it very hard to believe that dozens of bedding manufacturers are blatantly lying to their customers in writing about something which can be easily proven by some simple lab tests.

If Strobel really believed the propaganda on its website, it would've already taken legal action against all these companies. There would be very nice civil lawsuits against them for trying to gain a competitive advantage by purposely misrepresenting their products. Business lawyers live for stuff like this, especially when it can be so easily proven, and especially when consumer health is involved.

I do like the fact that Strobel has tried to corner a portion of the market looking for a poison free mattress, but unfortunately they've gone too far by stating: "There are no natural, chemical free, or nontoxic systems that pass the severe open flame test." Their stunt of burning some wool yarn hardly proves the previous statement true. They're just trying to scare people into buying their mattresses.

This message was modified Feb 1, 2012 by megalops
Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #26 Feb 1, 2012 11:05 AM
Joined: Jun 16, 2011
Points: 171
wideawake wrote:

Jim

 

 You suggest that we buy a simmons non pillow top mattress and then add latex toppers . It seems to me that if the underlying structure of the mattresses is collapsable because it is composed of polyeurethane , then won't the mattress soon sag even with the latex toppers ?

You can put lipstick on a pig....

Not Jim, but the suggestion is not just to not buy a pillowtop. It's to buy a good quality FIRM mattress with a mimimum of foam padding in the top, then add whatever topper you like. To me, this is the most sensible and economical (if economics are a concern) solution. I did just that, and am very happy with the results. Yes, my firm innerspring mattress will eventually sag but I will get much more wear out of it than I would a pillowtop that is nearly guaranteed to sag badly within months, leaving you with an expensive, useless bed that you need to either replace or perform surgery on.

 

Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #27 Feb 9, 2012 2:31 PM
Joined: Jan 13, 2012
Points: 22
DaveStro - - we didn't go with Englander because frankly the retailer really ticked me off.  

In the end I didn't care what brands they carried, how good the reputation was, or pricepoint - and hubby really didn't want a Dunlop core because is tends to smell rubbery.  The retailer carried OMI and Natura - again good brands, but as a consumer I tend to be choosy about the people involved.  For a two hour trip I wanted some answers ahead, they dodged me on all counts other than the standard sales pitch.

 

So we went with Soaring Heart, local company who made us a lovely mattress, foundation and topper  - - we are sleeping now and getting rest,

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