How long does a mattress last? And Things You Should Know before Buying a New Mattress

Mattresses can get really expensive more so if durability is your main concern. Of course, we are all looking for value for our money with every purchase, and we expect the mattress to pay for itself whether we spent less than a hundred bucks or a few thousand dollars for it.

Although most people don’t view it this way, a durable mattress also saves you from the hassle of having to break in a new mattress after every few years.

So, how long does a mattress last?

The durability of a mattress is a combination of several factors including the construction materials, the weight and sleeping styles of the intended users, and usage. This is to say that it all boils down to how well you’ll do your homework in choosing the best mattress for your needs plus how good you take care of it.

Generally, high-end mattresses have a lifespan of between 7 and 10 years. Coincidentally, this also happens to be the recommended time for a replacement according to mattress and sleep experts. Opinions vary though, and some studies show that well-constructed mattresses can last much longer than this.

To that end, let’s see how different types of mattresses perform in terms of durability and factors that may affect the lifespan of these products.

Latex mattresses

I chose to begin with these mattresses because they are the most durable with the best blends offering up to 15 years. Compared to memory foam, latex is denser and has been found to perform better in resisting body impressions and early wear.

Some latex mattresses again feature a modular construction design that allows you to swap a worn out layer with a new one thereby extending the lifespan of the mattress. Such models also allow you to flip the layers individually leading to even wear.

It’s worth mentioning that latex comes in 2 major varieties depending on the materials used; Natural and Synthetic. While the 2 are generally durable, natural latex mattresses will outdo synthetic mattresses by several years.

Memory foam mattresses

Memory foam mattresses come second in terms of durability after latex. Although most mid-range memory foam mattresses average 6 ½ to 7 years in terms of lifespan, high-end models can last you well over 10 years.

The durability of a memory foam mattresses largely depends on the density and thickness of its layers. For starters, density in mattresses refers to the amount of material used per cubic foot. These mattresses range from 1.5lbs/ft3 to upwards of 6lbs/ft3.

If you are planning to make a long-term investment, consider a medium-to-high density mattress that is at least 4lbs/ft3. A 6lbs/ft3-mattress takes the durability aspect even higher.

You don’t necessarily need to go for the densest memory foam mattress available though if the mattress won’t be used on a daily basis. For instance, if you are buying a memory foam mattress for a guests’ room, boat, or RV, a medium-density model might impress.

However, I would not recommend going with low-density memory foam mattresses since that only translates to lower durability.

Gel memory foam mattresses

These mattresses debuted around 2011 and have helped solve the major issue that plagues memory foam mattresses; heat retention. It’s still a bit early to conclude on their durability though. Actually, there are a lot of conflicting thoughts regarding this issue. A section of mattress experts claims that the addition of beads in memory foam increases its density thereby boosting durability. Others are of a contrary opinion and argue that these beads increase the rate of disintegration.

Innerspring mattresses

These mattresses have been around since the 1930s. They feature steel coil springs inside and a layer of foam or fiber at the top to keep you off the system of springs.

While the durability of memory foam and latex mattresses heavily depends on the density, that of innerspring mattresses is dependent on the types of springs used as well as the gauge and spring count.

Allow me to explain this;

  • Bonnell coils are the most common and widely available. They feature an hourglass shape reinforced with helicals for added support. Bonnel coils are often crafted using thick, low-gauge wire that enables them to withstand heavy weights besides giving them excellent durability.
  • Offset coils are more or less an upgraded version of Bonnell coils in that they feature an hourglass shape and are also reinforced with helicals. The only difference is that they hinge when compressed- a construction design that helps curb stiffness. However, they are still very durable and a little pricier too.
  • Pocket coils are commonly known as encased coils and are the current craze. The best part about these coils is their ability to minimize motion transfer and noise. This is actually what makes them the priciest of the bunch. However, the fact that they are made of thin, non-tempered wire makes them less durable than the rest.

As I told you earlier, gauge and coil count also have a great impact on the durability of an innerspring mattress. Gauge simply refers to the thickness of the wire used and it ranges from 18 which is the thinnest to 12 (the thickest).

Innerspring mattresses have anywhere between 300 and 1000+ springs. A higher spring count and gauge correlates with the durability and contour-ability of the mattress. This is a really important consideration that you’ll need to give some thought especially if the mattress is intended for a large and overweight person.

All in all, the best you can get from an innerspring is 7-8 years with good care.

Hybrid mattresses

Most of these mattresses employ a spring system and a layer of memory foam or latex on top. Although they offer the best of these 2 varieties, hybrid mattresses tend to disintegrate faster and don’t last so long. In most instances, you’ll need a replacement in utmost 6 years with regular usage. You could get a few additional years if the mattress will be used irregularly though.

Air mattresses

An air mattress might be your go-to guy if you want an affordable mattress for your guests and one that offers customized comfort. This type of mattresses is meant for temporal use although manufacturers are now offering high-end models for permanent use.

These inflatable mattresses rely on tubes and seams that are susceptible to leaks over the years. In addition, they rely on pumping mechanisms that are also prone to malfunctioning.

The saving grace is that a DIY person can self-repair almost any air mattress easily at home. Again, most of them use pumps that can be swapped with another one in case of a malfunction.

This means that although an inflatable bed can fail you within the first year, it can also last you quite a long time with a simple repair here and there. Generally, these mattresses offer an average of 5-7 years with utmost care.

Tips for Prolonging your Mattress’ Durability

  • Always use a mattress protector- it goes a long way in protecting it from spills and stains. Water, juice, and milk spills easily penetrate into the mattress leading to a quick degradation of materials
  • Clean and/or vacuum the surface of the mattress regularly
  • Having your meals and snacks on the bed? It’s really cool but it could easily mess your mattress
  • Consider a brand that offers the longest warranty- there’s always something good about manufacturers that extend at least 10 years of warranty
  • Check and understand what the fine details in the warranty
  • Regularly inspect your bed frame to ensure that there are no weak or broken slats or abnormally large gaps between the slats

Wrapping it up

The bed is the most important piece of furniture around the home: after all, we spend a third of our lives sleeping. Considering the price of mattresses, it really pays to get a model that offers not only comfort and support but excellent durability too.

However, as I have just told you, keep in mind that how long a mattress lasts also depends on whether or not you chose an ideal model putting into consideration the number of people who’ll be using it, plus their total weight and sleeping positions, versus the material used for the mattress and density/thickness of coils.