How to Buy a Mattress Online
Ready for A New Mattress?
If you haven’t bought a mattress in a few years, you might still think that to buy a new one, you’re going to have to slog through a visit to a department store or a major mattress retailer. While that might have been the case in the past, times have changed, and it’s easier than ever to get a mattress online.
Buying a mattress this way may seem strange at first, but as more and more companies have started selling directly to consumers online, customers have followed in droves. Online mattress sales have exploded, and that has meant huge benefits for shoppers in terms of selection, quality, and value.
Since we know this can be an unfamiliar process for many people, we’ve boiled it down to 10 steps for buying a mattress online. In addition, this guide gives more background about online mattress shopping and introduces some of the most popular brands in the market.
Our 10-Step Guide to Buying a Mattress Online
Step 1: Assess Your Current Mattress
Before you can know where you’re going, you have to know where you are. Do an honest accounting of your current mattress. How old is it? What kind of condition is it in? Is it showing clear signs of wear and tear (such as sagging)? And critically, how well are you sleeping on it?
If answering these questions clearly points to the need for a new mattress, the next step of this assessment is thinking about what you have liked or disliked about your current mattress. Is it the right size? Do you like its firmness level? Does it feel inviting when you get into bed? Does it have a lot of contouring or a “hugging” feeling? Does it sleep hot? Does movement by one person disrupt someone sharing the bed? Does it pose any barriers to sex?
Use the answers to these questions to help create a list of what you do and don’t want in your next mattress. As part of this process, for comparison’s sake, you can also reflect on any other mattresses that you might have slept on recently such as a hotel bed or a guest bed at the home of a friend or family member. If sleeping on another bed clearly demonstrated that you want something firmer or with more contouring or any other feature, make sure to take note of that.
Step 2: Set Your Budget
There is a giant range of prices when it comes to mattresses, and rather than just start looking at all the options out there, it makes sense to start by thinking about your budget. First, honestly set an absolute maximum price. This should be a firm number that you can and will stick to. Second, think about what your preferred or ideal price would be. You can shoot for this price knowing that, if needed, you can stretch your spending up to the maximum that you set.
As you think about your budget, make sure to consider the full range of costs associated with getting a new mattress. For example, if you are going to buy a bigger mattress, do you already have sheets that will fit the bigger one? If not, you’ll need to account for the costs associated with buying new sheets. The mattress is the biggest chunk of this bedding budget, but it may not be the only component.
Step 3: Assess Your Sleep Position and Body Type
Thinking about your experience with your current mattress — as you did in Step 1 — can definitely help in figuring out what type of mattress might be best. Another aspect of this process is considering how you sleep and the kind of support that you need from your mattress.
Sleeping position can have a direct influence on the style of mattress that may best suit you. For example, side sleepers tend to need more responsiveness to relieve pressure points at the hips and shoulders while back and stomach sleepers may need more firmness to prevent their abdomen from sinking too deeply into the mattress. To learn more about the key considerations for a new mattress for each sleeping position, check out our guides for side sleepers, back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and combination sleepers.
Your weight and body composition can also influence the mattress that may be best for you. If you are a heavier sleeper — defined as greater than 230 pounds — you may need to put more emphasis on finding a mattress with a thick comfort layer. If you’re under 130 pounds, you may need to make sure that you have a softer mattress that will still be able to contour to your lighter weight. If you’re really tall, getting a bigger mattress may be a priority. Spend some time thinking about your size and shape and what kind of mattress will be the best fit. For heavier sleepers, you can read more in our guide to the Best Mattresses for Heavy Sleepers.
Step 4: Go For a Test Drive
With the general outline of what you’re looking for in hand, it’s time to actually feel out some mattresses. Look for a store in your area that has a broad selection of mattress types that are available to try out in-store. Often these will be dedicated, brick-and-mortar mattress stores.
Go to the store with the knowledge that under no circumstances will you actually buy a mattress that day. You’re going for research purposes only.
When you are in the store, lie down and try out multiple different types of mattresses. Make sure that you lie down on each one for at least a few minutes. If one seems promising, try to stay on it for 10-15 minutes to get a more serious sense of whether it actually is comfortable to you. And make sure that you lie down on the mattress in the actual position in which you sleep. Bring a notebook with you and jot down the details of any mattress that you liked including: the type of mattress, the specifications (height, layering, etc.), the brand, the model, and the price.
Again, remember, no matter what kind of offer they make, don’t buy a mattress when you’re there just for a test drive. Even if you love a mattress, get a price quote and the business card of the salesperson. Even if it may take a little negotiating, they will almost always honor a price that they offer you if you come back another day.
Step 5: Begin Your Research Online
Start looking online to try to identify mattresses sold online that have similar composition and characteristics as the one(s) you liked most in store. Use the same journal (or a spreadsheet on your computer) to keep track of the online options that seem most viable. As you go through this research process, you can consult resources like the guides on our site, which offer tips on all sorts of different mattress types.
Step 6: Narrow Down Your Choices
With so many different brands and models online, it’s important to narrow down to prevent getting overwhelmed. Remember that you don’t need to vet every single mattress out there. This is especially true if you’ve used guides like ours, which have already weeded out many of the poorly-constructed and poorly-reviewed options.
To effectively narrow down your options, first ask whether a mattress fits your budget. If it’s above that maximum spending number you set in Step 2, eliminate it from consideration. Second, ask yourself whether it meets the criteria that you set regarding support, firmness, and other key characteristics. If a mattress “sounds” good but doesn’t actually meet some important criteria, eliminate it from your list.
Step 7: Check the Specifications, Reviews, and Return Policy
Now that you have a short list of contenders, you can do an even deeper dive into whether or not they are really worthy of your consideration. To do this, we suggest looking at specifications and reviews.
For specifications, look at the mattress seller’s website. They should have a detailed listing of the composition of each layer of the mattress. You want to see if there are any red flags in how the mattress was designed such as a really weak layer or a comfort layer that’s just too thin. A mattress is a major investment, and you want to make sure that the manufacturer didn’t cut corners. If you are having a hard time finding these details, most online mattress companies have a live chat feature that lets you ask questions. If there’s no chat support option, try e-mailing the company. Their responsiveness to these questions can also give some insight into how likely the company is to provide high-quality customer support.
For reviews, focus on reviews from verified customers. If those reviews mention sleeping position or body type, all the better. While no mattress is going to have a 100% customer satisfaction rating, a survey of real reviews can help call attention to any potential issues.
Lastly, look closely at the details of the sleep trial and return policy. Make sure that you know how long you have to try out the mattress in your home and whether there is any cost for return pickup and/or shipping. Buying a mattress with a no-hassle sleep trial is a big step to making sure that you wind up with a mattress that is going to work for you over the long term.
Step 8: Buy a Mattress!
You’ve thought about what you want in a mattress. You’ve set your budget, identified your top options, and taken a good hard look at each one. Now it’s time to buy a mattress.
Remember that you should virtually never pay the “sticker” price for a mattress either in-store or online. It’s common for online stores to have promotions offering $50 or more off the standard retail price. You can also often find coupons from referral sites or other online discount pages. If you are struggling to find any price break, hop back on the chat feature and ask!
Once you’ve gotten the price down to the lowest amount that you can, go ahead and buy that mattress and get ready to bid your old one adieu.
Step 9: Try Out Your New Mattress
When your mattress is delivered, it will most likely come as a “bed-in-a-box.” This means that the mattress is compressed and only comes to its full size when you remove it from its packaging. Move the shipping box to your bedroom and do the unboxing there. You may need to give the mattress some time — up to a day or two, depending on the model — to reach its full size after having been compressed for shipping.
Once your mattress is setup, it’s time to try it out. Some mattresses have a bit of a break-in period during which your body has to get used to sleeping on something new. For this reason, don’t try to judge the mattress after just a few nights. Start assessing how you feel about the mattress after 2 weeks and then again after a month. Keep up with this assessment every 2-4 weeks until the end of your sleep trial, which is when you’ll have to make a final decision. If at any point in these assessments it becomes obvious that you’re not satisfied, contact the mattress seller to initiate a refund.
Step 10: Keep Your Mattress in Ship Shape
You’ve put a lot of time, effort, and money into getting the right mattress, so you want to take the necessary steps to maintain your mattress. Try to avoid letting your pets (especially larger dogs) be on the bed, and if you have kids, keep them from jumping up and down on it. Change your sheets regularly to prevent buildup of dust and other particles in the mattress cover. If you want to clean the mattress, make sure only to do so according to the instructions from the manufacturer.
What to Know Before You Buy
Before you buy your mattress online, there are a few things that may be helpful to know, specifically, the types of mattresses that you’ll find, the best times to buy a mattress, and where you can buy a mattress online.
Types of Mattresses
There are five main types of mattresses that you’ll find sold online: foam, latex, innerspring, hybrid, and airbeds. We’ll provide a quick description of each here, and you can follow the links for more details about each type. Remember, though, that if you go to a store to test drive mattresses, you’ll have the opportunity to see what some of these types actually feel like in person.
- Foam mattresses use foam and only foam, but usually several different types of it, and they are known mostly for contouring and responsiveness although they can have issues with too much sink and sleeping hot.
- Latex mattresses are built only of this rubber material and offer lots of bounce while still being able to contour to the body. The downside is that they are often heavy and expensive and may not offer enough contouring for some people.
- Innerspring mattresses use metal coils with a thin (less than 3”) top comfort layer. They tend to have bounce but may lack in responsiveness.
- Hybrid mattresses also have a support core of metal coils but have a thicker (greater than 3”) comfort layer. These try to garner the benefits of innersprings and foam mattresses, although they may be more expensive or sometimes have weak layers that drag down the overall mattress performance.
- Airbeds have a support core that is an air chamber, and the sleeper can use a remote control or smartphone to add or remove air, immediately adjusting the feel of the bed. The internal componentry of these mattresses make them more expensive, and they often do not have a good way of offering proportional cushioning or contouring.
What Are the Best Times to Buy a Mattress Online?
You can almost always find some kind of discount or promotion when shopping for a mattress online, but there are times when you may be able to get an even steeper discount. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday and during most holidays, significant deals are available. You can read about this in much more detail in our guide to the Best Time to Buy a Mattress.
Where Can You Buy a Mattress Online?
A huge number of the mattresses available online are sold directly by the mattress manufacturer. The upside to this is that you are dealing with one company without any intermediary. However, many mattresses are also sold through third-party sites like Amazon. Be aware, though, that sometimes delivery and return policies may be different (and often more limited) if you buy from a third-party rather than directly from the mattress maker.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Buying a Mattress Online?
More and more people are deciding to buy a mattress online, but some people still prefer to go the brick-and-mortar route. This overview of the benefits and downsides of buying a mattress online can help you decide which path might be best for you.
- Price: prices for mattresses are often better online because of the extensive competition among mattress companies and because online sellers don’t have the same overhead costs as brick-and-mortar stores.
- Convenience: spending a lot of time in a department store or mattress store can be a pain, especially if you’re busy, dislike shopping, or don’t live close to one of these stores. Buying online can be done from the comfort and convenience of your home.
- Sleep Trial: there is no better way to know whether a mattress will work for you than to actually try it out over an extended period of time. Most online sellers offer a long sleep trial, normally around 100 nights, that typically isn’t available from brick-and-mortar stores, which usually have a more restrictive return policy.
- Shop Without Pressure to Buy: mattress stores are notorious for having salespeople who aggressively push you to buy on the spot. Many shoppers get either flustered or frustrated by this pressure, which can be avoided entirely if you shop online.
- Ease of Research: when you are searching for a mattress online, you can take your time and use a bevy of resources to learn about your options. Comparison shopping is generally easier online, too, where there is normally more transparency about the mattress composition and specifications. In a mattress store that only sells a limited number of brands, gathering all this research is much more difficult and time-consuming.
- No Pre-Purchase Testing of the Mattress: if you’re used to going to a mattress store and testing out a mattress in person before making a purchase, it might be jarring to think about buying a mattress online since you won’t have the opportunity to actually lie on the mattress until it is delivered.
- No Personalized Shopping Guidance: when you go to buy a mattress in a store, you usually work directly with a salespeson who can help understand your needs and guide you to an appropriate mattress. While there’s tons of information online, there’s not this kind of individual attention to help you make your purchase.
- White-Glove Delivery is Rare: though white-glove delivery, which includes installation of the mattress and haul-away of an old mattress, is commonly offered by brick-and-mortar stores, it is not a standard service offered online. If you have concerns about unboxing, moving, and setting up your new mattress, or about getting rid of your old one, this may be a major issue.
- Companies Without Long Histories: since the online mattress business is very new, most companies in this space have only been around for a few years. While there are exceptions, including companies that started out selling mattress in stores and have moved online, you’ll find many brands for which there isn’t a very long track record, especially relative to huge brands that are sold in stores.
- Information Overload: as is often the case with the internet, sometimes there is just too much information. If you get easily overwhelmed with options and trying to sort through all the details, you may run into problems when shopping for a mattress online.
What Are the Most Popular Online Mattresses?
If you start looking for a mattress to buy online, you’ll quickly realize that you have an abundance of options. Our guides help you sort out which might be the best for you, but we know that some people want to know which brands have the strongest following. Below we give an overview of some of these most popular online mattress brands.
There is arguably no name that is better known for online mattresses than Casper. This company now sells three different mattresses with unique designs and components. In general, Casper has built a powerhouse mattress company with thousands and thousands of satisfied customers.
With a unique material used in the comfort layer, the Purple mattress stands out from many of the other brands that are on the market. Using its hyper-elastic polymer that is at once responsive and resilient, the Purple mattress is a popular choice for people who are looking for an innovative mattress design.
Leesa has won acclaim from many customers and independent mattress reviewers thanks to its ability to accommodate sleepers in almost any position. Using two different types of foams in the comfort layer, the Leesa mattress offers a high degree of contouring but with enough bounce and firmness to prevent sinking into the bed.
The Saatva company manufactures three mattresses, but the namesake Saatva mattress is a unique twist on an innerspring. It has a thick support core of coils with another layer of micro-coils above it. This coil-on-coil construction is further enhanced with layers of foam, and customers can choose from three different firmness options. Saatva is also one of only a few online companies that offers white-glove delivery, which is included at no extra charge.
The Tomorrow Sleep foam mattresses are actually made by Serta Simmons, which is one of the largest brands in the mattress industry. It is an all-foam mattress available in two different firmness options, and it comes with an industry-leading sleep trial that lasts an entire year.