When mattresses were properly made, ten years was not unreasonable - and that’s nine or more good years and then a year of slightly declining comfort. We bought a mid-line Stearns and Foster around 2000 and got eight or nine hard years (bigger people, kids, dogs) out of it in part because it could be flipped and turned. A memory foam topper bought us another year.
Mattresses today flat out suck, even the most premium brands and highest models. Most are single-sided and can’t be flipped or even turned to even out wear. Foam has gotten so expensive that they use every trick to reduce the amount and use lesser-quality versions wherever possible. It’s like the 1970s with cars: the performance was abysmal but man could they lay on the plastic spoilers, tape, paint and hype. (Make that eighteen inches of special layers of foam, luxury fabrics, and gimmicks top to bottom.)
A few makers now specifically turn out “old school” mattresses, often custom-built to order, but they are very plain and have to compete against the whorehouse flash of retail mattresses in the same price range.
So if you spend around $3k on an old-school king, you should be able to get ten good years from it, with care. That same $3k or more from a strip-mall mattress seller will get you far fewer years, no matter how wonderful the first year feels. The problem is the foam: poly foam breaks down. The plastic is brittle and more foam cells rupture every time you compress it. A few years in, there’s your body-canoe in the ultra super plush memory foam topper - and if you think about it a minute, it’s not hard to understand why piling up the layers of foam just makes this worse.
Europeans have always considered innerspring mattresses second-rate, and for good reason; they were invented to reduce the amount of foam and padding by replacing those costlier parts with cheap springs. So ever ad talking about their fabulous springs and pockets and lacing and so forth is basically gushing over how tasty and foamy their white bread is, trying to convince you that exquisite engineering and metallurgy overcome the basically crappy option of using springs in the first place.
Latex - real latex, not blends, not substitutes and not a thin layer of it in an otherwise crap luxo mattress - latex doesn’t break down. It’s vastly more elastic than poly, and the cell rupture rate is some tiny fraction of plastic’s. A real Talalay latex mattress layer can last 20-30 years or more with absolutely no sag or collapse.
So you put three or four layers of latex in a high-quality wrapper with a ventilated top, and choose the layers (all across or by sides) to match the weight and sleeping preference of each occupant, and put it on a slat base that allows you to move extra support around under hips and back… and what you have is a bed that’s configured perfectly on the first night and can be reconfigured (by restacking or sometimes replacing the layers of foam) and adjusted (by changing the slat braces around) as you age and your body changes and your sleep needs change. Expensive, yes - but only into the upper third of retail mattress costs, and far cheaper than some of the ridiculously priced luxo ones… and with a little care it can last you the rest of your adult life in like-new condition.
I’m pretty big; my wife is not a waif; we have Great Danes sprawl on the bed nightly. I just had to move the bed to do some work and pulled the mattress assembly apart to help with that (they are quite heavy compared to innerspring) - and not one layer, even the extra-soft top on my wife’s side, showed the slightest loss of density or compression, after more than seven years.
Buy a cheap mattress if that’s all you can afford or if you know it’s only good for about two years. But if you’re going to spend a couple of thousand, I think it’s a huge mistake to buy anything but real latex over a slat base, no matter how glossy the Sealy and Simmons ads are and how assured the mattress store salesman is. For one thing, nobody - nobody - can properly choose a mattress from a quick lie-down at the store, but that’s how it’s done… and six months later when the fit turns out to be bad, you’re stuck. With latex, you just readjust and go back to sleep.
But sign me Zathras. :rolleyes: