A mattress's rating shows you how firm it is. One of the things that most mattress shoppers ask about is how firm or soft a particular mattress is. Many customers have already decided before they come into a shop, or browse online, that they need a firm mattress, but that doesn't leave much room for trying out other ranges - which may give more support and comfort. The best advice is to approach your mattress shopping with an open mind. If you've had your mattress for several years, you will be out-of-date with the latest mattress technology and you could be surprised at just how responsive some of today's mattresses are. Ratings guide Today's mattress manufacturers rate their mattresses in different ways, which can make it difficult to compare one mattress against another. Some manufacturers use a rating that goes from 0-10, where 0 is very soft and 10 is very firm. Others only have a 3-step rating, which means that mattresses that may feel very different to you fall within the same general classification. In some cases, retailers may conduct their own mattress ratings, which will be based on criteria they have drawn up with years of mattress retail experience. Are mattress ratings useful? Mattress ratings can be useful, particularly if you already know that a certain type of mattress doesn't give you the support you need. A rating system allows you to discount those mattresses that might be too soft, for example, which means that you can spend your time trying medium and firm mattresses until you find the one that's right for you. Don't rely completely on these ratings, however. By far the best way to find out which mattress is the most comfortable for you is to try them out. Look at the mattress construction - open sprung, pocket sprung or latex-filled, for example - as well as the overall rating, so that you can be sure you're trying a cross-section of the mattresses available. You may be surprised by your reaction to a memory foam mattress, or you may find that a softer pocket sprung mattress gives you just the level of support you've been looking for. Like most things, a mattress rating is a guide, not a direct recommendation. Only by researching and testing can you find a comfortable mattress that will support you for many years to come. Mattress Next Day is probably the largest mattress superstore on the internet. Selling a wide range of mattresses from leading manufacturers, we can offer quality mattresses at fantastic prices. Our next day delivery service is free or, if you prefer, you can select your own delivery date. We can even guarantee delivery before 9.30am on request. Take a look at our range of mattresses now at www.mattressnextday.co.uk, or call us on 0844 3911 222 for more information.