Consumer Reports ranks best beds, mattresses for 2014

Walk into a furniture store, and you'll find dozens of beds and mattresses for sale.

Should you buy a pillow top? What about an innerspring or foam?

Shopping for a bed and mattress can be confusing. But our partners at Consumer Reports hope to make it a little easier.

"Ultimately, it's a matter of personal preference,” said Consumer Reports experts Chris Regan. “So whether it's foam or innerspring, make sure you're comfortable."

The magazine tested dozens of different brands to see how well they support your back.

"Most people sleep either on their side or on their back,” Regan said. “We want to make sure that mattress is going to support your body in the position in which you sleep."

A new top-rated memory-foam mattress with an adjustable-air layer, a pricier boutique-brand innerspring that could disappoint back sleepers and two discount-brand foam mattresses are among the highlights of Consumer Reports' latest round of comprehensive mattress tests .

At $3,000, the Sleep Number Innovation Series i8 bed Pillowtop costs more than many. But in addition to offering impressive support for side sleepers, this Sleep Number was the only mattress in Consumer Report Ratings with top-notch back support. As with other Sleep Number beds, it includes an air-filled layer beneath its foam top, and you can adjust firmness using a remote control. Experts tested it at two different firmness layers and found both especially supportive. Partners with different firmness preferences can also adjust their half of the bed independently.

But you don’t have to spend even a third of that to get ample side and back support. The $800 Novaform Memory Foam Collection Serafina 14" is a mattress you can’t see or try out at Costco, and it comes folded up in a box—an increasingly common trend for memory-foam beds. Yet it was consistently impressive for both back and side support. Another pick: the Bob’s Discount Furniture Bob-O-Pedic 11" Firm , also $800, wasn’t as good for back support but did just as well for those who sleep mostly on their side. As with the Sleep Number, you can order the Bob-O-Pedic in different firmness levels for couples with different preferences.

Among innersprings, the best that experts tested is the Serta Perfect Day iSeries Applause , $1,075, which was consistently notable for side and back support. You can pay more than four times that price, $4,800, for the Duxiana DUX 101 but get less performance. The manufacturer calls the DUX 101 “the perfect introduction to the legendary DUX comfort and support,” yet back support trailed side support in our tests. The mattress was also among the bouncier models, less than ideal if one sleeper is restless and turns often.

To read the full Consumer Reports report, click here.

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