Mattress Shopping Tips
Mattresses are a bit like cars. You hope that they’ll last for many years and you spend a significant amount of time with them. Not to mention the fact that both are a relatively sizable purchase, at least for the average person. As such, there are a number of factors that you should consider before buying a new mattress. This post will go through an extensive list of our tips and tricks for getting a great deal on a mattress. If, however, you’re just starting your mattress search, I’d suggest you check out the following resources:
Mattress Shopping Tip #1: In-Store vs Online
Mattress shopping used to mean driving over to your local mattress retailer such as Macy’s, Sears, or Mattress Firm to test out a few beds. You’d either find the one for you or move on to the next store. Once you settled on the right bed, you typically had to wait at least a few days for the retailer to arrange delivery. The process was somewhat inconvenient, awkward (i.e. someone stares at you as you test a bed), and took a good deal of time, but it granted you certain advantages also.
Advantages of Shopping In-Store
With the advent of online mattress brands (aka bed in a box) such as Casper, Leesa, and many others, however, the mattress industry has gone through a dramatic shake up. Old school mattress retailers have consolidated into basically one large retailer (that being Mattress Firm since it acquired Sleep Train and Sleepy) and have been forced to focus more on serving the customer. For example, Mattress Firm offers a Happiness Guarantee that allows you to try out a bed for 120 nights and exchange or return that bed if you’re not happy with it. There is a fee of $79.99 that applies to both exchanges and returns, but it’s not a terrible policy, considering they incur delivery/shipping charges.
Similarly, RC Willey offers a 100-Day Comfort Guarantee whereby you can make a one-time reselection if you don’t end up loving your new bed. You need to try it out for a minimum of 30 days, but at least you have an exchange policy.
Traditional brick and mortar stores are also making big upgrades to their online shopping experience. As an example, both Mattress Firm and Macy’s maintain helpful sites that allow you to shop and compare without needing to visit one of their stores. All of this is to say that the industry has changed quite a bit, but shopping in-store for a mattress still has plenty of advantages that for a lot of people will outweigh its disadvantages.
Advantages of Shopping Online
Similarly, shopping for online mattress brands has several notable advantages, such as:
Having said that, when you shop online, you lose the ability to test a bed before you buy. And if you purchase a bed that you ultimately don’t love, you then have to worry about returning it (which is typically an easy process, but it’s still not fun). We’ve talked to consumers that go through three or four beds before they settle on the right one. That takes time and can be frustrating. For the record, that’s why we exist. We want to help you get the right bed, the first time. You should definitely check out our Mattress Finder Quiz.
The other notable downside to buying a mattress from one of these online brands is that the onus is usually on you to remove the bed from its box and set it up. For most people, this is fairly convenient actually, but if you have back issues or you’re more petite, this might not be the best idea. With an in-store purchase, the delivery folks usually setup the bed for you. There are a few online beds, such as the New Purple Mattresses that come with White Glove Delivery, which is where the delivery company will setup the bed for you (and sometimes also remove your old one).
Online mattress brands are also starting to sell their beds through brick and mortar outlets. You can now purchase the Purple Mattress at certain Mattress Firm stores. Same goes for the Leesa Mattress and Sapira Mattress at Pottybarn and West Elm. And also Casper Mattress at Target.
Mattress Shopping Tip #2: Wait for the Holidays!
The Mattress industry follows normal seasonal trends. Therefore, major holidays such as 4th of July and Black Friday are huge for buying a new mattress. If you can hold out until the next major holiday, you almost certainly will be getting a better deal, regardless of whether you purchase in-store or online. During the major holidays, brands and retailers will be offering deeper discounts, more coupon codes, and bigger bundles. Check here for today's best mattress deals and coupons from dozens of brands.
Here’s just a few examples of deals that we saw this past Presidents’ Day. GhostBed went $100 off with two free pillows. Normally their discount is around $50 - $100 off. Helix Sleep offered $100 off when their normal coupon is around $50 off. RC Willey had a bundle that included a frame and dresser for under $500.
Having said all of that, certain brands don’t participate much in the discount frenzy during holidays. Purple Mattress, for example, typically does not offer coupon codes or proper discounts, but will occasionally bundle in a pillow or sheet set. That’s about it. Saatva almost never offers a discount of any sort. The price is what it is. We joke internally here at the Slumber Yard that Saatva would rather burn a mattress than offer a discount on it. That of course is not true, but sometimes it feels that way.
Mattress Shopping Tip #3:
Hunt for Coupons
I touched on this a little above, but for most online brands you should search for a coupon code before you purchase. The typical coupon code will knock off $50 - $100 from the price tag. And during holidays you can expect discounts in the $75 - $150 range, depending on the brand and holiday. You’ll find that most brands are pretty upfront with their discounts and some even apply them automatically because they don’t want to miss out on a sale.
Mattress Shopping Tip #4:
Most brands and stores will offer bigger discounts the more that you spend. For example, if you purchase a bed frame as well as a mattress, the discount will likely be larger than if you just purchased the mattress by itself. Often times brands will offer around $50 off the bed, but $100+ off if you spend say $2,000 or more. Clearly, the prices and discounts differ by brand, but bundles are a clever way to nab a deal, especially if you were already looking for a new set of sheets, a new bed frame, or a new pillow. This past Black Friday, Bear Mattress offered $100 off any purchase over $500 and $150 off any purchase over $1,000. Since all of their beds at the time were under $1,000 in order to get $150 off you needed to throw in a pillow or mattress protector.
Mattress Shopping Tip #5: Look at the Warranties
It’s a good idea in general to look over warranties before you make any large purchases. Same goes for mattresses. Most of the brands out there offer a 10-year limited warranty where they’ll replace, repair, or re-cover your mattresses if any manufacturing defects or issues related workmanship appear. Typically these are a 1” sag in the mattress with no weight applied or cracks in the foams. Often times the warranties only cover the original purchaser and do not extend outside of the United States.
We’ve seen a few brands such as Nectar and Layla Sleep offer lifetime or ‘Forever’ warranties. These usually have tiers. For example, the first 10 years have better coverage and from years 11+, the warranty is a lot less favorable. I just want to point out that lifetime warranties are great, but they generally have extra stipulations.
Mattress Shopping Tip #6:
Most online brands offer some sort of trial period, whether it be 100 nights—as is the case with the Eve Mattress and many others—or 365 nights—as is the case with DreamCloud. These allow you plenty of time to test your bed out. You should take several months to truly consider if it’s the bed for you.
In the event, however, that you get buyer’s remorse sometime after the trial period expires, certain brands offer protection for you there as well. Nest Bedding, for example, has a Lifetime Comfort Guarantee whereby if you want a larger, smaller, softer, or firmer mattress after the 100-night trial period expires, you can purchase another Nest Bedding mattress at 50% of its current selling price. I wouldn’t say this is ideal, but it’s a thoughtful way for Nest to ensure that you’re 100% happy with their mattress.
Mattress Shopping Tip #7:
Check Out Amazon
While most brands don’t extend their discounts or coupons to Amazon, if the prices are the same, sometimes the logistics are better with Amazon. For example, most beds on Amazon come with Prime 3-5 day shipping, while through the brand website it might take up to 10 days. Therefore, if you’re in a rush (1) check in-store or (2) look on Amazon.
Mattress Shopping Tip #8: Look for Samples
Any mattress that’s particularly unique will usually offer some sort of miniature sample that you can order (for free) so that you can test it out for yourself. Purple Mattress is a good example here. You can go onto their website and get two little miniature samples of Hyper-Elastic Polymer delivered to your house. It’s not a substitute for trying the mattress, but it will give you a decent idea of what to expect from the material.
For standard foams, such as memory foam or latex foam, you won’t usually find samples out there. Your best bet is to test a mattress in-store if you aren’t familiar with the material. From my experience, most people know what memory foam and poly foam feel like, but latex foam is a little less ubiquitous and therefore may be worth experiencing in-person. It’s usually more responsive, bouncy, and airy than is memory foam or poly foam. A good way to describe latex foam is ‘spongey’. Some people love it; some people hate it. Definitely form your own opinion of it though. You can also check out our picks for the best latex mattress.
Mattress Shopping Tip #9:
If you’re shopping for a well-known mattress, chances are a friend, family member, or colleague has tested or owns one. Therefore, not a horrible idea to send out a post on Facebook asking for input. You may get nothing, but you may also get some good insight. Worth a try.
Mattress Shopping Tip #10:
Look for Comparisons
This is a complete no-brainer, but sometimes people don’t take the time or don’t do much research. You should look into a few mattress comparisons before you make your ultimate decision. We do our absolute best to make our reviews helpful and insightful, but adding in a second mattress to provide more context is just smart. For example, in our GhostBed vs Tuft & Needle mattress comparison we talk about the construction of each bed, pricing, and relative advantages and disadvantages. If you’re dead-set on a particular brand, I don’t want to change your mind, but if you’re up in the air a little bit, it’s worth your time to look into a few comparisons.