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Fall buying guide 2005
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Bedding glossary
Four terms to know before buying a new bed.
August 10, 2005: 8:09 AM EDT
By Julie Mihaly, Money magazine
Fall buying guide 2005
MONEY shopping guides

NEW YORK (Money magazine) - Shopping for a mattress is enough to make a person lose more than mere sleep.

Maybe it's the slick salesmen babbling about coil counts, or the multi-page warranties (yes, you should read the fine print) or the fact that haggling is expected -- even at department stores and Web sites.

In addition, you can't judge a mattress by its cover: Different outlets sell the same product wrapped in different fabrics under different labels. So you gotta know your terms.

Coil Count and Wire Gauge: Comfort depends on the number and gauge (or thickness) of coils. More coils of a higher gauge (thinner) feel springier. Fewer coils of a lower gauge (thicker) feel firmer. Don't go below 390 coils for a queen-size bed.

Padding: The best top padding (the first layer underneath you) is polyurethane foam with breathable batting. For the middle, egg carton foam is preferable.

Ticking: A mattress' outside cover. Pricier mattresses may boast silk, but polyester will hold up just as well for less money.

Foundation: This is what your mattress sits on -- usually a box spring. We've chosen mattress/box spring sets in our Fall shopping package, but it's not necessary to buy both if your old box spring is in goodshape. Just be sure to check the new mattress' warranty; use of an old foundation may void it.

More tips: Last-minute travel  Top of page


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