A mattress is a significant investment. When you buy a new mattress, you hope to get as many years out of it as possible, which is why so many people use a mattress for much longer than its intended lifespan. Not only can this make you miserable, but it can also make for a longer adjustment period when you buy a new bed.
So, how long does a mattress last, and how many years of use can you reasonably expect from a mattress before it should be replaced?
The answer will vary depending on the materials, the type of mattress, the way it’s used (or abused), and how it’s supported.
It would be a disservice to give a one-size-fits-all statement about the average lifespan of a mattress. Not all mattresses are created equal. The lifespan of a mattress will naturally differ by mattress type. Materials vary widely between the different types of mattresses and so does construction. We’ve broken everything down by mattress type for your convenience.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses have a relatively long lifespan. A high-quality memory foam mattress can last for 10-15 years with proper maintenance and care.
Second only to latex, a memory foam mattress could be your best investment. It’s important to compare several brands of memory foam mattresses to get the best value for your money. Stay away from traditional, lower-end memory foams which break down faster.
Modern foam manufacturing methods, like variable pressure foaming (VPF), are eco-friendly. They also create foams with little to no emissions, improving your air quality and reducing the off-gassing odor commonly associated with memory foam.
Innerspring mattresses don’t last as long as you might think. With even the best care, the average innerspring mattress will only last up to 6 years. It’s easy to assume it would outlast other mattress types because it has metal coils inside. Many people continue to buy innerspring mattresses, believing their construction is superior to other mattress types, like memory foam.
The bottom line is you don’t even get a decade of quality use from them before they start sagging. Using an innerspring mattress beyond this time period will exact a toll on your body.
If you cling to the idea of innersprings and aren’t quite ready to embrace an all-foam mattress, you may feel a hybrid mattress is the best of both worlds. However, a hybrid will only last 6-7 years, even with good care.
Most hybrids will contain thin, individually-pocketed coils and a fairly thin layer of memory foam over the top. This type of mattress is bouncy like an innerspring and breaks down quickly. It will start sagging even faster than a traditional innerspring mattress.
Many people associate bounce with mattress quality. It may have been a factor when innersprings were the most common mattress type, but it isn’t the case now.
These days most people prefer motion isolation to bounce. Motion isolation is when movement on one part of the mattress is not felt in other parts of the mattress.
Latex mattresses are the most expensive mattresses of the bunch but last up to 15 years. With good care and support, many latex mattresses can last even longer. The highest-quality latex mattresses have customizable layers— some brands allow you to order additional layers to achieve a custom level of firmness— latex beds with this feature allow you to buy new layers as they wear down.
You might think waterbeds are a thing of the past, but they are still fairly common. A waterbed can last 7-10 years, depending on how well you take care of it. When this mattress type fails, the leaking water is usually a hard-to-miss signal. You can also experience temperature failures— waking up to an ice-cold mattress gets tiresome pretty quickly.
When we say airbeds, we’re not talking about camping pads or inflatable weekend guest mattresses. We mean adjustable air mattresses such as those with big names and bigger price tags. The lifespan of an air bed is only 3-8 years. Considering all the hype surrounding this mattress type, such a short lifespan is disappointing.
The futon mattress is popular in kids’ rooms and as an alternative to sleeper sofas. It has the shortest lifespan of all mattress types. Even with good care, this type of mattress will last 5 years or less.
What Factors Affect Mattress Lifespan?
The lifespan of your mattress can be affected by several factors. Some will have to do with mattress quality, but others are more within your control.
A good quality mattress will last longer than a poor quality mattress. Even with proper care, poor quality mattress materials and workmanship will not stand the test of time. A cheap mattress could have you looking for another within a very short time period. Let’s say you buy three cheap mattresses in a 10-year period. Is it less expensive than buying one high-quality mattress that will last 10 years or more?
It’s a good practice to buy the best mattress you can afford. This doesn’t have to mean spending more than your budget— it means shopping for the highest quality obtainable at your price point.
Inner tufting, such as “wool tufting” or “needle tufting” is a method of binding mattress layers together without adhesives. It’s a hallmark of quality construction. This method of binding adds a little firmness and increases the longevity of your mattress. Tufting leaves distinctive “rosettes” on the surface of the mattress, so you’ll be able to tell just by looking.
A mattress protector will extend the useful life expectancy of your mattress— it can keep spills, accidents, and stains off your mattress, thus reducing the build-up of mildew and other allergens. A good mattress protector can also keep infestations like dust mites and bed bugs off your mattress.
Replaceable layers are found in higher-end latex mattresses, allowing you to combine your latex foam layers to create a custom firmness. The additional benefit of this is being able to buy a new layer to replace one that’s worn, extending the life of your current mattress and putting off buying a new mattress.
Bodyweight is a factor because it affects pressure. The amount of pressure on springs, foams, and fibers can determine how long these components last before they break down. Someone who weighs less won’t compress the materials as much as someone who weighs more.
Soft to medium beds are best for lightweight sleepers (less than 130 pounds), medium-soft to medium-firm mattresses for average sleepers (between 130 pounds and 230 pounds), and medium-firm to firm beds are best for heavy sleepers (more than 230 pounds).
Maintenance like regular cleaning can prevent mildew and allergens from becoming a problem. Periodic flipping and rotating can stall sagging and extend the life of your mattress, but only if the mattress construction allows it— many of the best mattresses on the market aren’t designed to be flipped or rotated. While you’re moving your mattress, it’s a good idea to check the integrity of your box spring or slats. If they aren’t in the condition required to support your mattress, they’ll need to be replaced.
Frequency of Use
A bed in your guest room may only be used during the holidays or special occasions. A mattress used by a bedridden person will be almost constantly compressed. The frequency of use will impact the speed at which a mattress breaks down.
You might be thinking you only sleep eight hours a night, so your mattress is getting only the normal amount of use, but you also need to consider whether you watch TV or read in bed for a few hours before sleep. If you’re watching TV, you may have beverages and snacks, which could accidentally wind up on the bed. All these things take a toll on your mattress.
Other Things to Consider
How Do You Know If You Need a New Mattress?
Is your mattress visibly sagging in spots or do you roll to the middle? A yes answer means it’s worn out. You may see an indentation that never goes away. If there are rips, tears, or protruding components, the structural integrity of the mattress may be compromised.
Even if those things aren’t obvious, you can use your body as a guide. If you wake up with back pain, joint pain, numbness, stiffness, or general aches and pains, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your mattress. Life is too short to suffer from preventable pain.
How Do I Know If My Box Spring Is Worn Out?
You can check your box spring when doing mattress maintenance like flipping or rotating. Look for bowed pieces, bent or broken steel parts, and broken slats. If you’ve had the same box spring for 10 years or more, it’s likely time to replace it, even if everything looks fine. Squeaking is also a sign that you’re due for a replacement.
What Do You Do With Old Mattresses?
Repurposing your old mattress is the best choice. Can you use the mattress in another way? If that isn’t desirable, donation is the next best thing. A mattress with some years left in it can serve someone in need. Check your local area to see what charities, foster homes, or shelters may have use of your old mattress. Most cities have a recycle page, which allows users to gift others with things they no longer need.
If none of the first choices is an option in your situation, check your area for where your old mattress can be recycled. This allows reusable components to be removed and given new life. You can also recycle the mattress yourself by disassembling it and removing parts you can use, then taking the rest to a recycling facility.
The landfill should be your last option. It’s essential to check and see what your city’s rules are for mattress disposal.
Depending on the type of mattress, you can expect a lifespan of anywhere from 3-15 years with proper care. Signs of wear may or may not be obvious, but your body will let you know when your mattress isn’t up to snuff anymore. If you’re continually waking up with aches and pains, your mattress should be the first place you look for answers.
How is your current mattress standing up to the test of time? If it’s time for a replacement, be sure to get the best mattress for your money. This will allow you to get as much longevity from your mattress as you possibly can.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.