The mattress industry is a little bit overwhelming. The sheer number of options — for your bed and where to buy it — can make the mattress buying process a nightmare. We’re not going to lie to you: Choosing your next bed is important. We spend a third of our lives in bed, so it needs to be comfortable.
Unfortunately, our beds don’t last forever. There are a few telltale signs that your mattress needs to go:
- Your mattress is sagging or squeaking when you move.
- You don’t feel rested when you wake up in the morning.
- Your back aches or hurts after a full night’s sleep.
Does any of that ring a bell? If so, and you have no idea where to start, don’t worry. Take a breath. We’ve got you covered. To make sure our readers are empowered to buy the right mattress, we developed a quiz that will help you sort out your needs and what you want from your next mattress.
You might be wondering, why should I listen to Slumber Yard? It’s a fair question. We’ve been around since the beginning of the bed-in-a-box craze, and our passion hasn’t wavered. We’ve personally tested and reviewed over 175 mattresses and counting.
What Are My Mattress Options?
Before you even start looking at specific beds, we need to talk about what types of mattresses are out there. There are five major types, each of which has its properties and strengths that set them apart from the rest. Keep in mind there is no best or worst type of mattress — only the right mattress for your needs.
Innerspring mattresses are essentially the grandfather of mattresses — classic and generally pretty reliable. Innersprings are relatively straightforward. The core support system of the bed is a layer of coils or springs. Within the innerspring market, you’ll have a lot of different options for comfort.
Innerspring mattresses are dependable beds that have a wide variety of comfort profiles.
Best of all, there is an innerspring option in every kind of budget.
Generally, innerspring mattresses tend to fall on the firmer side of things. So if you’re a petite person who sleeps on their side, you would need to select your innerspring bed carefully.
Memory foam mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are probably the most popular type of bed out there. Memory foam has a deep, contouring nature that’s known for relieving pressure on pain points.
Memory foam contours around your body and provides pressure relief.
Memory foam mattresses also absorb motion really well and make little to no noise. You won’t have to worry about your partner waking you up in the middle of the night.
Depending on the type of memory foam, it can give you a stick-in-the-mud feeling that makes it harder to move. It also can trap heat to your body while sleeping.
For people who like the best of both worlds, try a hybrid mattress. With a hybrid mattress, you can get the benefit of a sturdy coil base with added layers of memory foam for comfort.
Pretty much any person can sleep on a hybrid bed. It combines comfort and support.
Since hybrid mattresses have different types of mattress components, they tend to be pricier than other mattress types.
Most bed-in-a-box mattresses are all-foam beds. While they may be compressed to fit into a box, they still hold up in terms of durability, comfort, and firmness. Not to mention the convenience of getting your mattress shipped right to your door. All you have to do is drag it inside and open it up!
The obvious benefit of a bed-in-a-box mattress is its attractive price point and convenience. You don’t have to worry about coordinating delivery to set up your bed; you’ll likely be able to lift the box yourself.
Sometimes, there is an off-gassing (that “new” mattress smell) period when you initially take the bed out of the box. But that goes away after a few days.
Okay, an air mattress isn’t the ideal setup for anyone long-term. But they are perfect for things like camping or sleepovers. We love how easy they are to inflate and put away when you don’t need them anymore.
Air mattresses are convenient, especially if you don’t have room for an extra bed in your home.
If used regularly, they don’t have the longest shelf life since they are susceptible to leaks and punctures.
What Mattress Fits My Sleep Position?
When shopping for your next mattress, your sleeping position is one of the most important factors you need to keep in mind. The fact is, certain types of mattresses are better or worse for you depending on how you sleep. Each sleeping position has different needs from their bed; here’s everything you need to know.
- Back sleeper
While there isn’t one type of mattress that is the end-all-be-all for back sleepers, we recommend the best firm and supportive mattresses. Back sleepers need the spinal alignment and support of firmer mattresses. Especially if you sleep with back pain, a bed that is too soft or not supportive enough can make things worse. This isn’t to say that back sleepers can’t have a comfortable mattress. You want a supportive mattress, but one that also can contour to the shape of your body.
- Side sleeper
Nearly 69% of people sleep predominantly on their side. If you fall into that majority, you’ll want a mattress that prioritizes pressure relief without forgetting about spinal alignment. Side sleepers generally prefer to sleep on soft to medium-firm mattresses because of their ability to contour to the body and relieve the main pressure points — hips, shoulders, and knees.
Firmness for side sleepers does have to do a lot with your weight. If you’re a petite person, you will not sink as far into the mattress, so it will feel firmer to you. If you’re above 250 pounds, then you’ll perceive some mattresses as too soft.
- Stomach sleeper
Stomach sleepers are a lot like back sleepers in the sense that they tend to fall on the firmer side of things. If you sleep on your stomach, the mattress needs to be supportive enough to keep your spine in alignment. If it’s too soft, you’ll wake up with an achy back and neck. However, the mattress still needs to be soft enough to provide enough cushion for the body’s main pressure points.
- Combo sleeper
Combo sleepers just can’t make up their mind when it comes to sleeping. As a result, they need a mattress that can do it all. Like all the other sleeping positions, spinal alignment is key. Combo sleepers generally need a bed that balances support and its ability to contour around your body.
Where Is the Best Place to Buy a Mattress?
Okay, so you’ve thought about the types of mattresses and the things you need from your mattress. Now you’re ready to look, but you might be wondering where you should start. The mattress industry is huge, and there are a lot of places to buy — all of which have their strengths and weaknesses. In the end, there’s no right or wrong place to buy; it all comes down to your preferences.
Department stores like Macy’s, JCPenny, or Walmart are popular places to pick up mattresses. Most of the time, the price is right, and you can take it home that day. That said, you won’t find the best price or the best selection at department stores. Unless you know a department store in your area is carrying the exact mattress you want, it’s not where we would recommend you start.
The convenience of buying a mattress at a department store cannot be overstated. It’s one of the easiest ways to get your hand on a bed.
There are no salespeople applying pressure to buy a mattress you don’t want.
You won’t find as many sales in department stores as you will in mattress-specific showrooms or online.
The selection of mattresses in department stores also tends to be pretty limited.
In most big cities, you can throw a rock and hit a mattress store — seriously, they are everywhere. Of course, the most popular of which is Mattress Firm. The big-box mattress retailers allow you to test a variety of mattresses all in one place and also have salespeople who can help you find the best mattress for you.
Mattress retailers tend to have a decent selection of beds in their showrooms.
You can try the beds before you buy.
You generally aren’t getting the best price on your mattress at a big retailer.
Setting up delivery can be tricky. Some stores will include a delivery fee to your total.
Not surprisingly, we think shopping for your mattress online is the way to go. You can’t beat the selection, low price points, and no-pressure mentality of online shopping. You could do it from your couch while eating and watching TV if you wanted to. You just cannot beat that flexibility.
You get the largest selection of beds at the best prices.
There is no pressure to make a decision. You can do as much research as you want to.
There isn’t a salesperson there to help if you feel like you need it.
You can’t try the mattress out before you buy. However, the easy and free return policies of most companies make it worth the risk.
How Much Does a Mattress Cost?
There is a wide range of mattresses and price points. For the record, a cheaper mattress doesn’t mean it’s bad, and a costly mattress doesn’t mean it’s right for you. There’s no doubt about it; mattresses are a big investment. Thankfully, there are different price tiers you can use to help stay within your budget. Price isn’t the only factor you should consider, but we can’t deny it’s a big one.
|Mattress type||Average price||Budget tier||Mid-tier||Luxury tier|
|Innerspring||$1,038||$700 and under||$700-$1,200||$1,200 and over|
|Foam||$1,044||$600 and under||$600-$1,200||$1,200 and over|
|Latex||$1,971||$1,500 and under||$1,500-$2, 500||$2,500 and over|
|Hybrid||$2,077||$1,500 and under||$1,500-$2,200||$2,500 and over|
*These prices are based on queen-sized models before discounts.
When Is the Best Time to Buy a Mattress?
Especially online, some sales run all year long. However, there are certain times of the year when the savings are huge. Mattress companies tend to release new models during the spring and summer months.
Holidays are probably the best time to buy your next mattress. Of course, Black Friday is huge for shipping in general, and mattresses are no different. You’ll also see big sales around Christmas, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. Some of the biggest mattress holidays are President’s Day and Memorial Day. Don’t sweat it if you need a new bed outside of the holiday season — we’ve got mattress deals and discounts that are always running.
How To Test Your Mattress
So, you bought your mattress online. Now you need to figure out if the one you chose is the right fit for you. Nearly all companies offer customers excellent trial periods — generally from 100 days to an entire year. That lets you really get a feel for the bed and gives you the time to decide if it’s right for you.
You generally want to sleep on the bed for at least two weeks before you decide anything. Especially if you choose a bed-in-a-box, you’ll want to give your bed the time it needs to set. Lay on the bed in your preferred sleeping position and see how it feels. Is it comfortable? Does it feel like it’s adding pressure to your hips or shoulders?
- Side sleepers pay attention to how the bed feels on your hips and knees. It’s a good idea to have someone take a picture of your back to check your spinal alignment. You want your spine to be as straight as possible.
- Back pay attention to if your hand easily slides behind your back. If it does, then your mattress is probably too firm. If you can’t move your hand at all, it’s too soft.
- Stomach sleepers pay attention to how your body is responding. Are your shoulders cramping or is your neck cramped?
If you find that the mattress isn’t working for you, returning the bed is generally free. You typically have to wait 30 days before you return it. It might take some coordination on your part for pick up, but overall, the process should be painless.
Too Long, Didn’t Read?
Buying your next mattress can be a daunting process. There are a ton of options and sometimes too many questions to get through. We get it, and that’s why we’re here to help. Our reviews and best lists can help you narrow down which bed is best for you, and our constant discounts can help you knock hundreds off the top.
If you sleep with a partner who flops around when they sleep or get out of bed and wake you up, you know how important this consideration is. Couples can sleep on any type of bed. However, memory foam or hybrid mattresses with memory foam can isolate motion. You’ll just also want to make sure the edge support of the bed is up to par.
There are few things worse than waking up sweaty and hot. If you’re prone to sleeping hot, you’ll want to choose your mattress wisely. Some types of memory foam tend to trap heat. Certain types of mattresses actively cool you when you sleep. Beds like Ghostbed Luxe or Cocoon by Sealy Chill will keep you cool while you sleep.
As we age, our body’s needs change, and things like medical conditions or medications may get in the way of a good night’s sleep. For seniors who have back pain, a firmer mattress will be preferred. If you have mobility troubles, a bed that can tilt and folds might be the best choice.
The key for back pain is the correct balance of support and comfort. You want it to be firm enough to keep your spine aligned but comfortable enough to not add pressure points. Having the wrong mattress or mattress topper can make it worse.
Let’s be honest, when it comes to college living, oftentimes, picking out your mattress is more about utility than comfort. And a lot of times, living on a budget is the name of the game. We generally recommend bed-in-a-box mattresses for their quality, affordability, and comfort.
As we mentioned, heavy people really need their mattresses to be supportive and comfortable. Which means they tend to need a firmer mattress. Heavy people will sink further into the mattress, so a bed that’s already soft will be even softer.
Why Trust Us
Get the kind of sleep you’ve only dreamed of with some help from our team of mattress experts. We personally test more than 150 of the best sleep solutions from over 60 leading brands on-site, so you can be sure you’re getting unbiased reviews, fair comparisons, and personalized recommendations.