Selling a good night's sleep is big business—and buying one is complicated. All the mattress types and technologies—individual coil, single coil, "green" latex—not to mention the many delivery promises, warranties and return policies, make for a dizzying shopping experience. Prices alone, which start in the hundreds and quickly rise into the thousands of dollars, are enough to make a shopper lose sleep.
We decided to put mattress-shopping to the test at a big department store ( Macy's M +1.26% ), a furniture store (Ikea), a national specialty retailer (Sleepy's) and two regional chains (Mattress Depot USA and Sleep Country USA). Bracing for some head-spinning comparisons and arduous product testing, we headed out in search of a midpriced queen-size mattress and box spring, or the equivalent.