$99 Twin Mattress

A brand new European luxury sedan pulls up and a very well dressed lady emerges with her son. She is dressed in designer fashions head-to-toe and is using a $200 phone. Her teenager is sporting an outfit along with name brand shoes that is easily $250+ at retail, even on sale. The mobile service for her phone and her son’s matching phone (and I would assume husband and other siblings) could easily be a couple of hundred. That 60″ HD TV they just bought probably cost them $2,000 and of course another couple of hundred a month for satellite and Internet services for their home.

But when it comes to mattresses for her younger sons what is she looking for? A $99 twin mattress!

If someone is limited in funds, I am very sympathetic. When I was in a store, I did my best to help them get the best mattress they could afford. Many times I would recommend alternatives that we did not sell because their budget was not sufficient to provide adequate support or comfort for them.

That is the case with the $99 twin mattress. Hey, they do exist. But calling them a mattress is an insult to mattresses all over the globe.  While the support needs for a 5 year old may be minimal, the comfort needs can vary wildly as children grow. They need a comfortable mattress to enjoy a deep and peaceful sleep to help them grow and be well rested for school.

When I was young I slept IN a hand-me-down bed that was my parents old mattress. I did not know any better, so I made the best of it. I never could figure out why I was always so tired and sore during school until I got to college. The dorms had been remodeled and I got a brand new Twin XL mattress. I slept like a baby!

You don’t have to spend $1,000 to get a nice twin mattress, but you definitely need to spend enough. If your monthly cable or Internet bill, or the latest do-it-all phone you sport costs more than your child’s mattress, you might want to rethink your priorities. Investing another $150 in a mattress might lead to much healthier and happier childhood.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to the twin purchase:

1. Do you need a box? – Bunk beds and many children’s beds are usually a platform style, meaning they do not need a box. The boxes have no function these days so don’t waste your money if you do not need one. If the support is insufficient, get more slats or a bunkie board. Put all your dollars into the mattress.

2. Will the mattress ever be used for a guest bed? – If you have adults coming to spend the night, the twin mattress needs to have adaquate support and comfort for an adult. Ask yourself, could you sleep on it?

3. Do you really believe your child will sleep in a twin size until college? – Probably not, so plan accordingly. If your child is 5, you may only need 5 or 6 years out of the mattress until they move to a queen. In other words, don’t overspend on a twin either.

4. What should I budget? – Anything less than $200 is probably garbage. I’ll just be frank. There are always exceptions – floor models, closeouts, discontinued etc. But its hard to get any quality in a new mattress under $200. Now, if this is for your toddler who is sleeping in this for two years before the “big boy bed” a $150 special may work just fine. It will certainly be an improvement over the crib mattress. Remember though, they may not know the difference between a comfortable mattress and one that is not, so be careful and make sure you try it for them.

5. What other options do I need? – Make sure you get a waterproof, breathable mattress protector. There WILL be accidents and a big one will destroy that mattress. This also reduces allergens and the dust mite problem. Get one of these for EVERY mattress in the house. It is worth the investment.

6. What features should I look for? – If this is going to be a long term bed solution, for a growing child, I would want the following features:

Foam Encasement – Gives you a sturdy sitting edge and greatly reduces the motion (that bouncy feeling on most inexpensive beds). They are also less prone to protruding coil issues and generally are of a better quality when the manufacturer uses foam encasement.

Quality Comfort Layers – This is much more subjective, but a foam feel (slightly more firm and less fluffy) will tend to resist body impressions better. Its doubtful you will see latex and memory foam of any quality at such a low price point, but if you do, that may increase the comfort life.

Comfort – This always trumps everything else. If you are dealing with a mature child or teen, make sure they try it in their sleeping position. Get their buy in. They will be sleeping on it and need to feel comfortable. Look at their alignment. If the spine is bowing or you detect any support issues, do not buy it. Don’t necessarily take the word of a very small child. I have seen far too many agree with whatever Mommy and Daddy say. Know the maturity level of your child and use that information accordingly.


By no means am I suggesting that you spend a fortune on a mattress that will only get used for one year. Do some planning before shopping. If your child will be in a bunk bed for a year and then move to a queen, get the cheapest most comfortable mattress you can find. The reality is that it is very unlikely any child will stay in a twin size into their teen years. They almost always graduate to a queen or full size as space permits. Discuss this with your spouse and older children. That little princess bed will be “so lame” in about a year or two. Plan accordingly.

Spend enough to keep your child comfortable.

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