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Ask Pete – Mattress Measurements

Question: I am new to the industry. A customer asked me what size a queen size mattress is and I told her 60”X80”. When she got it home it measured a little less than 59” wide and it was less than 79” long. She was upset with me and accused me of selling her a defective mattress. My manager told me that those sizes are maximum measurements and they routinely measure less than the published measurements. I have two questions. Is my manager telling me the truth and how do I prevent this from happening again?


Tom Schmidt

Answer: Your manager’s answer is very close to the truth. It is true that mattresses routinely measure inside of the published sizes by an inch or even two inches. It is also true that sometimes they measure slightly larger. To be fair to your manager it is very rare that they measure larger. The truth is the published size guidelines are just that, guidelines. I hope that answers the first question. Please check out this video where I measure two name brand mattresses in a store. Here it is:

This happens to all of us once in our retail career. The way to prevent it in the future is to inform the customer that mattresses are still handmade. The published size that you just quoted is an approximate size and can be smaller or larger. If you make it a habit to fully educate your customer about sizes they will see you as the professional you are. You will also never get another complaint call about the size of the mattress.

Wishing You Success,


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Comments (2)

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  1. Jeff Koldoff says:

    As I’ve been telling customers for years, sizes are “nominal”, much like lumber sizes, i.e. a 2″ X 4″ isn’t actually 2″ X 4″. Also the industry Guidelines for Sizing allow a plus or minus factor, I’d have to look for my copy but I believe most allow more room for less and still meet requirments (except maybe crib matts).
    Also, as I recall, when mattresses started going much thicker in the 90’s the IMA (Innerspring Manufacturers Association) came out with thier own size revision, making innerspring units like an inch shorter in overall length, to reduce the overall finished length, to help allow sheets to fit the thicker mattresses.
    For us as a Factory Direct, it’s not a common issue, but does sometimes come up with some customers. For us it’s easy to explain that we buy our spring units from manufacturers that make springs for many other mattress companies, and they are to industry sizes.
    Hope this helps.

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