The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Mattress in Kenya

In this article

Ever heard the phrase: Hell has no fury like a disappointed mattress customer? Yeah, we made it up but you know it’s true. We know it too and we are truly saddened by stories of customers who tell us they’ve been disappointed by a mattress vendor before.

So we took it upon ourselves to compile an in-depth guide to buying a mattress in Kenya so that the next time you go mattress shopping, you make an informed purchase and avoid those disappointments.

Types of Mattresses In Kenya: Foam vs Spring vs Orthopedic

If you’ve ever gone mattress shopping in Kenya, you have definitely considered buying a foam, spring or orthopedic mattress. Designed to satisfy various sleep preferences, the biggest difference between these mattresses is the material(s) used to make them.

While we only sell foam mattresses here at Moko, some of our customers initially come to us in search of a spring or orthopedic mattress. In most cases, it’s not clear why they want either of these mattress options.

So first off, we’re going to take a deep dive into foam, spring and orthopedic mattresses so that you know which one exactly to ask for when you go shopping.

Foam mattresses

Rebonded foam, polyfoam and memory foam are some of the most popular types of foam mattresses in Kenya. But which of these is the best fit for you? To help you get closer to that answer, let’s check out their differences.

Rebonded Foam

Rebonded foam mattresses are made from recycled foam scraps which are put together to create a high-quality mattress such as Moko’s very own high-density mattresses. These foam scraps are crushed, mixed and moulded into one big block, which is then sliced into various mattress sizes.

These mattresses are designed to provide ample support for your body weight by pushing back when pressure is exerted. The surface is firm enough to arrest motion transfer but cozy and bouncy enough to allow you to comfortably turn. Rebonded foam is also used in furniture and spring mattresses to provide extra layers of comfort.

Advantages of Rebonded Foam Mattresses

  1. Provides ample support for your body during sleep regardless of your weight.
  2. Arrests motion transfer so you can sleep comfortably without being disturbed by your partner’s turning.
  3. Vendors provide high warranty periods of 5 to 10 years to guarantee issues such as sinking.
  4. Provides a comfy feel which relieves pain on the main pressure point of your body when you lie down.
  5. Quite affordable since the recycling of foam scraps helps to reduce production costs compared to most mattresses.
  6. Eco-friendly since it recycles foam scraps that would otherwise have been dumped in the environment.

Disadvantages of Rebonded Foam Mattresses

  1. It might take a while for your body to adjust to its firmness especially if you were sleeping on a medium density or worn out mattress.
  2. If the smell is still there when you buy the mattress, the adhesives such as glue used to rebond the materials may cause discomfort.

Polyfoam (or Polyurethane foam)

In the late 1950s, mattress manufacturers began using polyurethane foam as an alternative to natural materials such as wool and cotton. They could finally produce mattresses in different firmness levels and serve a wider variety of customers, which meant more profits, yay!

Polyfoam is widely used in furniture and spring mattresses as an extra layer of comfort. However, it can be produced in larger amounts to create a full mattress. These mattresses are soft, springy but will quickly collapse to pressure exerted by body weight.

Advantages of Polyfoam Mattresses

  1. Often cheap since its production costs are also low.
  2. Widely available in your local duka since it was once a popular option.
  3. Lightweight hence easy to move or flip.

Disadvantages of Polyfoam Mattresses

  1. Tend to have an extremely short lifespan. Sometimes they can even last less than three months according to some of the customers we’ve spoken to.
  2. Poorly support body weight. This is especially true for heavier people, which results in back pains and other body aches.
  3. It allows motion transfer. This means that you will be disturbed by your partner’s tossing and turning or when they wake up to visit the bathroom at night.

Memory Foam

Memory foam was first developed by NASA in 1966 to improve the crash and vibration protection of aircraft seats. It was then adopted by hospitals to improve the comfort of beds and wheelchairs used by immobile patients and soon after found its way into the mass market.

Memory foam is also known as temper foam or viscoelastic polyurethane foam. It typically contains additional elements to make it more viscous and denser than polyfoam. It demonstrates elasticity by returning to its original shape and viscosity by resisting flow. The latter helps memory foam mattresses to resist motion transfer. For example, if you press your hand into it, it will hold your handprint for a while before recovering to its normal state.

Over time, various manufacturers have modified their memory foam mattresses to improve qualities such as comfort and temperature regulation. Generally, mattresses with a higher density of memory foam have higher quality and increased durability. Consequently, they are also more expensive than their low-density counterparts.

Advantages of Memory Foam Mattresses

  1. Isolates motion so that you’ll not be disturbed by your partner’s movement on the bed.
  2. Offers good support of your body weight and ample pressure relief especially for the main pressure points – head, hip and back area.
  3. Vendors provide good warranty periods on these mattresses, often around 5 to 10 years.

Disadvantages of Memory Foam Mattresses

  1. There’s little to no bouncy feel since it’s designed to resist motion.
  2. Turning at night takes extra effort because the mattress slightly sinks and contours around your body when you lie on it.
  3. Memory foam absorbs body heat making it very uncomfortable for some people when the mattress gets too hot.
  4. It also reacts to heat by sinking so turning to find that sweet cool spot in bed becomes extra hard.

Notably though, manufacturers are working to improve the breathability of memory foam with modifications such as gel foam.

Spring mattress

Invented in 1871 by Heinrich Westphal, spring mattresses are one of the most traditional types of mattresses. However, they continue to serve their purpose and have undergone various modifications over time to suit consumers’ needs.

Spring mattresses consist of metal coils that are suspended in other materials of the mattress, such as layers of foam. The coils are interconnected so that when you lie on the mattress, each coil draws strength from the next one. This helps to offer you ample support.

Advantages of Spring Mattresses

  1. Innerspring mattresses are a great choice for heavier people and those with back problems.
  2. They also offer lots of bounce, which most people like.
  3. Their open-cell structure improves the airflow on these mattresses, which in turn helps to regulate your body heat when you sleep.

Disadvantages of Spring Mattresses

  1. Spring mattresses can be uncomfortable for some people due to uneven body support. It’s caused by the chest, hips and head areas exerting the most pressure.
  2. Tend to have shorter lifespan since the springs are prone to sagging. Most vendors advise that you regularly turn the mattress to increase its lifespan.
  3. Some spring mattresses can also get very noisy over time.

Orthopedic Mattresses

The term “orthopedic mattress” is one of the most misused terms in the mattress industry. Its inception dates back to the 1950s when studies showed that a mattress could be specially designed to alleviate back pain. However, manufacturers picked up the term and used it to boost their sales.

How? One, there is no government regulation on what an orthopedic mattress is. Two, most mattresses are actually designed to improve their customers’ sleep by providing comfort, support their body weight and offer pressure relief on areas such as joints and bones. This is literally what orthopedic mattresses do.

So then what is an orthopedic mattress?

An orthopedic mattress is a mattress that is uniquely designed to alleviate back pains and other joint-related aches. This means that any mattress that achieves this function is an orthopedic mattress, regardless of whether it bears the label or not. Most manufacturers only add the label to boost sales anyway.

Since there is no standard guide on what fillings they should contain, orthopedic mattresses could be made from rebonded foam, memory foam, latex, pocket springs, or even natural fillings. There is also no consensus on how firm an orthopedic mattress should be since personal preference greatly dictates how firm you’d like your mattress (see next section).

Take caution!

Before you purchase an orthopedic mattress, make sure to:

  • Do thorough research on the various materials used.
  • Check out information such as the indentation load deflection and densities found at each layer.
  • Read reviews from real customers to see how their experiences went.
  • Look for a company that’s very transparent and quick to answer your questions.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, call customer service. It’s easy to tell when a salesperson is trying to sugarcoat or avoiding the provision of the information you’re seeking.

Choosing The Right Mattress Firmness

Imagine sleeping on a mattress that’s so uncomfortable that you’re forced to wake up in the middle of the night to rest. It breaks our foamy little hearts to hear such stories from dreamers who prefer a firm mattress but currently own a soft one or vice versa. That’s why today, we’re going to help you make the best choice between a soft and a firm mattress.

Difference between soft and firm mattresses

Softness or ‘hardness’ here refers to how your mattress feels when you lie on it. The more solid or hard the surface feels, the firmer your mattress is. It is important to note that the best mattress firmness is highly reliant on personal preference: some like it firm while others like it soft.

But how do you even know what you prefer?

If you’re like most dreamers we know, you have used the universal test for mattress firmness – kufinya kama avocado. However, this popular test does not truly help you to make the best choice.

We recommend testing the mattress by lying on it for a couple of nights. It is best to buy from a vendor who offers at least a 30-day trial period. That way, you can return the mattress and get your money back if it feels too hard or too soft for your taste.

What really affects mattress firmness?

Besides personal preference, there are two main factors affecting mattress firmness: body weight and your favorite sleeping position.

  • Bodyweight

When you lie on a mattress, how firm or soft it feels depends on how much pressure your body exerts onto the top surface. Given the same mattress, a heavy person will naturally press more against its surface than a lighter person. As such, heavier people are often better served by firmer mattresses while lighter people go for medium to soft mattresses.

  • Favorite sleeping position

There are three main sleeping positions: side, back and stomach sleepers. Each sleeping position affects how you press against the mattress. The main pressure points when you lie down are your head, shoulders, chest, hips, buttocks, knees, ankles and heels. These are the more pointed or heavier body parts depending on your sleeping position.

A good mattress allows your spine to retain its natural curve by offering proper support to your body and ample relief to pressure points. Ideally, it should feel as if you are floating. There’s a reason why they call it floating to dreamland.

A bad mattress, however, distorts your normal spinal alignment and exerts excess pressure on some body parts. This is why you’ll wake up to pain and soreness in certain areas of your body, especially at the base of your spine (lower back).

Pros and cons of soft and firm mattresses

Keeping in mind that none of these mattress choices is perfect, knowing the advantages and drawbacks of each will help you make an informed purchase.

Cons of a soft mattress

  1. It can cause back pains for stomach and back sleepers.
  2. It has lower durability levels and tends to become too soft too quickly.
  3. For people sharing a bed, it can quickly become unbalanced and uncomfortable when one side sinks further than the other.

Pros of a soft mattress

  1. It provides ample cushioning around the shoulders for side sleepers.

Cons of a firm mattress

  1. If the top surface is too firm, the mattress can be quite uncomfortable for side sleepers. Heavier side sleepers, however, are often best be served by a firm mattress.
  2. The switch from a soft to a firm mattress generally feels uncomfortable but wears off with time.

Pros of a firm mattress

  1. Highly durable, which allows it to remain comfy for longer.
  2. Great at providing well-distributed body support since there is less mattress sagging.

Making the best choice

To recap, a good mattress should provide good spinal alignment. Just as when you are standing or seating, your spine needs to maintain its natural curve when you lie down. The mattress should also offer ample cushioning of the body parts that mainly press against the mattress surface.

Most importantly, your personal preference will always carry the day. If you’re having uncomfy nights or back pains, seek medical attention and consider switching to a mattress with a different firmness.

Mattress Prices in Kenya

While during our research for this article, we asked customers what influences their decision-making process when they shop for a mattress online or offline. Budget was the most popular response closely followed by mattress size and comfort. (Check out our detailed mattress size guide here).

So we went out and researched mattress prices in Kenya, something which proved to be quite a hassle since most vendors don’t have a simple mattress catalogue. But before we unveil the numbers, there are two things to note here:

  1. Mattress prices vary from one brand to the other but price is not necessarily an indicator of how superior or inferior a mattress is.
  2. Mattress prices (even from the same brand) may vary from one shop or supermarket to the other since the costs incurred by the retailer may vary.
  3. Mattress companies serve different target markets so some mattress options may seem more overpriced than others.

High-Density Foam Mattress Prices In Kenya

Pricing by

Popular

Kenyan

Brands

Mattress

  sizes

(in feet)

MokoDr. Mattress (Milele Safi)BobmilSuperfoamSlumberlandVitafoam
3 by 65,89912,6005,228 (Amara)

Naivas Capital Centre

5,228

Naivas Kitengela Mall

5,508

Naivas Capital Centre

3.5 by 66,7995,978

Naivas Capital Centre

5,990

Naivas Kitengela Mall

5,499

Naivas Kitengela Mall

5,228

Naivas Kitengela Mall

4 by 67,79917,4006,750 (Amara)

Naivas Capital Centre

6,750

Naivas Kitengela Mall

7,115

Naivas Capital Centre

4.5 by 68,3998,978

Naivas Capital Centre

9,823

Naivas Capital Centre

9,459

Naivas Capital Centre

5 by 68,89921,7009,974

Naivas Kitengela Mall

10,550

Naivas Kitengela Mall

7,464

Naivas Kitengela Mall

7,253/ 11,253

Kitengela Mall/ Tuskys Greenspan Mall

6 by 610,49920,50011,940

Naivas Kitengela Mall

14,895

Tuskys Greenspan Mall

12,378

Naivas Kitengela Mall

10,088/ 11,302

Kitengela Mall/ Tuskys Greenspan Mall

A Summarized Version

Price range in KSH
Mattress sizes6-inch (thickness)
3 by 6 ft5, 508 – 12, 600
3.5 by 6 ft5, 228 – 6, 799
4 by 6 ft6, 750 – 17, 400
4.5 by 6 ft8, 399 – 9, 459
5 by 67, 253 – 21, 700
6 by 610, 088 – 20, 500

Should you shop online or at your local duka?

There are lots of mattress vendors both offline and online, including third-party vendors like Jumia. While that’s a good thing, it also makes it a lot more complicated to settle on the best one.

At Moko, we provide a smooth online experience for all our customers. However, we also recognize the convenience that shops and supermarkets offer for those who’d like to dash in, pick their mattress and dash out.

What things should you consider when buying a mattress online or offline? Before you pull out your wallet, make sure your vendor, whether online or offline, ticks most if not all these boxes: good authentic reviews, clear payment and delivery policies and a return policy plus warranty with no strings attached.

1. Good authentic reviews

People’s comments and reviews on a company’s social media pages tell a lot about its products and service delivery. To go the extra mile, you can ask for reviews on a relevant Facebook group or even your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook timeline then sit back and listen to the voice of the people.

Ironically, you can also tell a good mattress or mattress company based on its negative online reviews. Checking out a brand’s negative reviews helps you discover how the manufacturer or vendor handles issues with their product or customer experience.

For example, our research revealed that some vendors advertise their warranty and return policies but make it very hard for customers to use these policies. So beware of those juicy sales pitches.

2. Clear Payment policy

If you are shopping at your local duka, this part is pretty simple. You pay up and walk out with your mattress.  With online buying, cash on delivery is obviously the most trustworthy payment option for you.

However, to avoid losses that occur when a client places an order and cancels it upon delivery, some companies might require you to pay a deposit or the full amount once you make the order. Clarity is key here so ask the attendant to clarify the acceptable payment methods before placing your order.

If you are a little tight on cash, product financing options such as Flexpay can sort you out whether you’re buying online and offline. Flexpay has partnered with Moko and supermarkets like Tuskys to allow you to pay for your dream mattress (among other items) in installments at 0% interest.

3. Delivery

One of the biggest disadvantages of buying a mattress at the supermarket or shop is that they often do not offer delivery services. Online mattress shopping is different; though not all delivery policies are the same.

Make sure you ask your online vendor questions like: how long after placing my order can I get my mattress? Do you offer free or paid delivery services? If not, will I have to pick it from somewhere?

Nowadays, free delivery is one of the most popular selling points for online businesses and mattresses are no exception. At Moko, we offer free delivery within Nairobi. (Just putting it out there in case you were wondering.)

4. Trial period/ Return policy

To put you at ease, any good mattress company will offer you a return policy. But that’s not always the case. We highly advise looking for a vendor that offers this. Lying on a mattress for 2 minutes at a shop (ama kufinya kama avocado) never gives you the true impression of how it will serve you.

Dr. Mattress and Moko are some of the few Kenyan mattress brands that offer a trial period upon purchasing your mattress. Moko offers you a 45-day trial period, where if you don’t like the mattress for any reason, you can return it to get another one or get your money back.

5. Warranty

“5 years warranty? What does that even mean?” It’s a question we often get at Moko. Simply put, we’ll take back your mattress if it sinks more than 0.5 inches within 5 years, starting the date of purchase.

But getting a mattress warranty should not be surprising. It should be common practice. You deserve to enjoy that zero-worries kinda sleep. Before you buy a mattress, find out if your vendor is willing to guarantee your naps. If so, inquire and fully understand what exactly is included in the warranty terms and conditions.

6. Additional charges

The price of the mattress is often the most obvious cost you’ll incur when buying a mattress. However, you may have to incur additional charges depending on your vendor. These may include delivery charges or an extra amount payable if you need to change your order or return your mattress.

Ideally, these vary from one vendor to the other. Be sure to ask your vendor about possible additional charges so that it doesn’t come as a surprise.

Place your order

Having done your homework and settled on the mattress of your choice, placing your order is the next exciting step. With the beauty of technology, you can easily place your order on a website or even WhatsApp.

If you decide to place your order with us, we have good news 😎. We offer free delivery within Nairobi. Once you place your order online or at any of our showrooms, you can relax at home and wait for your high-density Moko mattress. A customer care representative will be in touch to keep you updated on the status of your order. The best part is that you only pay on delivery.

Sleep like a baby

Nope. We didn’t fast-forward to the best part. It’s actually that easy to buy a new comfy mattress in Kenya and start enjoying sweeter dreams and incredibly refreshing naps. A third of your life is spent in dreamland, but it shouldn’t take that long to buy a mattress.

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