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Shopping for a mattress can be a challenge. It's hard to tell one box of metal, foam, and fabric from another, making you vulnerable to a sales pitch. Model names differ from store to store, making it hard to comparison shop. And prices vary so much that the $1,300 mattress set you look at one day can cost $2,600 the next.
The good news: Years of testing have shown that all but the cheapest mattresses are apt to be sturdy. While there is no best bed for everyone, you can learn a lot simply by trying a mattress for 15 minutes.
Innerspring mattresses are the most widely sold type. Sealy, Serta, Simmons, and Spring Air are the top-selling brands. Highly hyped alternatives to conventional versions include Duxiana (springs galore, in layers); Select Comfort (air-filled, with adjustable firmness for each partner); and Tempur-Pedic (polyurethane "memory foam").You'll also find foam- and …