How to Buy a Mattress

Mattress Stores: How to Buy a Mattress

In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, experts say adults should sleep for at least 7 hours every night. This means you’ll be spending around a third of your life in bed. With so much time spent lying on a mattress, it’s important that you find one that suits your needs for as long as possible. 

Luckily, today’s market gives you plenty of options to do so. Nowadays, sleepers can choose to either do their shopping in-person or completely online, and both options come with a wide range of different stores and brands to choose from. 

Since there are so many different choices out there, it can be somewhat daunting to shop on your own. This guide will walk you through all the basics you need to get started and give you an overview of the pros and cons of online shopping vs. shopping in person. We’ve also included a chart of the most popular major retailers in both spheres, so you’ll have something to refer back to as you shop for a mattress.

Buying a Mattress

Buying a mattress involves a lot of decision-making. You have to take into account factors like your preferred sleeping position and whether you tend to sleep hot, whether you sleep with a partner and if so, whether the two of you like to stretch out or don’t mind an overlap of personal space. Even a change in your weight can affect what type of mattress will work best for you.

One of the first things you have to decide, however, is where (and how) you want to narrow down your choices. Long before you get into details like size, materials, firmness, and even brand, you should make sure you’re aware of the different avenues you have for mattress shopping. Companies typically sell their mattresses in one (or more) of four ways: directly online through their own website, through an online retailer, directly through their own brick-and-mortar store, and/or through a brick-and-mortar retailer. 

Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages, and involves a slightly different approach. For example, buying directly from the brand’s website can get you the best deal, trial, and warranty, but it can also give you a skewed selection of reviews. Meanwhile, shopping at a mattress store will let you test many different options in person, but you’ll also have to deal with aggressive sales tactics and inflated pricing.

Online Mattress Stores

In today’s all-digital atmosphere, many people prefer to do most or all of their shopping online. Mattresses are no exception. Consumers like how convenient it is to skip a trip to the store, and the start-up sphere’s popular “bed-in-a-box” approach has removed the need for bulky packages and costly scheduled deliveries.

When looking for a mattress, online shoppers have two main options: shopping at online retailers, or directly from the company itself. It’s important to keep in mind that some brands do both.

  •  Online Retailer: An online marketplace, such as Amazon, sells a variety of products from many different brands. Brands use the marketplace as a middleman and their profile as a storefront through which to sell their products. In some cases, the brands ship straight to the customers, while in others, the retailer fulfills those deliveries from their warehouse. Brands with brick-and-mortar stores or a direct-to-consumer online presence often sell through online retailers—some even have models and editions exclusive to customers who buy through specific sites. Shoppers like online marketplaces because you can easily compare mattresses from a wide range of companies: not only can you find unbiased reviews, but many retailers also have research-backed articles that compare different brands.
  • Online Direct from Brand: In recent years, the industry has seen an explosion of online-only mattress startups. Nowadays, most mattress brands, especially those without brick-and-mortar stores, sell their products directly through their own websites. The main reasons shoppers buy direct-to-consumer is because of the low overhead: This way, brands cut out the middleman, which means they can offer the lowest prices on the market. Additionally, some brands only offer sleep trials and warranties to sleepers who buy directly from their sites. 

 

Pros of Buying a Mattress Online

  • You can find unbiased reviews for individual products all in one place and search for the testimony of customers who share your specific preferences and needs. 
  • Mattress companies often offer coupons and discounts for first-time customers and shoppers who click through affiliate links. Sales are common as well, as are discounts for members of online marketplaces like Amazon. 
  • Access to every brand on the market, not just the ones available at your local brick-and-mortar retailer.
  • You can do all your shopping from the privacy of your own home, without having to factor in travel time, gas prices, parking availability, and all the hassle that comes with shopping at a store. 
  • You can avoid having your decision swayed by pushy salespeople, while still having access to online and phone representatives for questions, if needed. 
  • Some companies only offer sleep trials for testing out mattresses when you buy online. 
  • Many companies offer free shipping and returns, which makes swapping out an unsuitable mattress relatively pain-free. 

 

Cons of Buying a Mattress Online

  • You’ll have to rely on reviews instead of physically testing the mattress before you place your order. 
  • If you decide you don’t like your mattress, you’ll have to return it before your sleep trial expires. Additionally, some companies require a mandatory 30-night waiting period before you start the return process.  
  • Depending on what site you use, you may not be looking at unbiased positive reviews. Sometimes, brands control all the reviews you see, especially on their own direct-to-consumer sites.  
  • Not every online retailer offers free, fast shipping and returns. Depending on the site, you may have to deal with potential shipping delays and unforeseen charges to get mattresses delivered straight to your door. 
  • While many sites have chat functions, they only operate during certain business hours. Other brands stick to good, old-fashioned phone and email. This means, if you have a question, you might have to wait a bit for an answer. 

 

Major Online Retailers 

The online mattress market is dominated by the following retailers. They sell all types of mattresses from a variety of popular brands, and frequently offer extra services like white glove delivery and used mattress removal. 

Online Company Brands Sold Mattress Types Offered Delivery Cost Used Mattress Removal?
Costco.com Casper

GhostBed

Molecule

Novaform

Tempur-Pedic

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Shipping fees included in product price Y
SamsClub.com Beautyrest

Purple

Sealy

Serta

Tempur-Pedic

Airbed

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Standard shipping is free in the contiguous U.S.

Expedited and White Glove delivery offered at an extra charge (rates vary by location)

Y
Amazon.com Casper

GhostBed

Nectar

Purple

Tempur-Pedic

Tuft & Needle

Airbed

Foam/memory foam

Hybrid

Innerspring

Latex

Shipping is free for most mattress deliveries Yes. Services are available through Amazon Home for about $100
Walmart Allswell

Beautyrest

Lucid

Sealy

Serta

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Latex

Free shipping most locations, though heavy freight charges may apply

Free in-store pickup

N
Overstock.com Lucid

Sealy

Serta

Simmons

Stearns and Foster

Tempur-Pedic

Airbed

Foam/memory foam

Hybrid

Innerspring

Latex

Free standard delivery in the contiguous U.S.

Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii starts around $200

N
US-Mattress.com Beautyrest

Sealy

Serta

Simmons

Stearns and Foster

Tempur-Pedic

Foam/memory foam

Hybrid

Innerspring

Latex

Free in-home delivery in the contiguous U.S.

Customers in Alaska and Hawaii must pay an additional shipping fee

Y

 

Brick-and-Mortar Mattress Stores 

Although online mattress start-ups continue to blow up, many businesses still choose to operate brick-and-mortar stores where customers can browse and try mattresses in person. Meanwhile, many otherwise online-only brands have showrooms that can be by appointment or open to the public. When it comes to mattresses, there are two types of brick-and-mortar stores: retailers and direct-to-consumer stores. The former sells mattresses from a variety of different companies, while the latter only carries one specific brand’s products. Generally speaking, you’ll be able to find bed-frames, sheets, pillows, mattress toppers, and other sleep necessities in the same place. In many cases, you’ll also be able to place an order in person and get it delivered to your door.

  •  Brick-and-Mortar Retailer: Brick-and-mortar retailers that sell mattresses include department stores, furniture stores, mattress specialty stores, and big-box stores. These stores carry a wide selection of brands (some of which can’t be ordered online), making them ideal for shoppers who want to compare many different mattresses in person. If you go this route, it’s important to expect higher prices than what can be found online. This is because the overhead of running a brick-and-mortar store is very high, and that’s reflected in the final cost of your mattress. 
  • Brick-and-Mortar Direct from Brand: Some brands only sell mattresses from their own brick-and-mortar stores and showrooms. Others make their products available in retailers, as well. It’s important to note that these stores only feature products from one brand, so it can make it hard to compare models from different companies. That said, the salespeople are often more knowledgeable about the specific brand than the associates working in retailers, and typically use less aggressive sales tactics. Additionally, the prices will be the same in-person as they are online, with many direct-to-consumer stores also offering the same discounts and offers as they do on their web stores. 

 

Pros of Buying a Mattress In-Store

  • If you go to a brick-and-mortar retailer, you can do all your comparison shopping in one location. 
  • You can physically test out the mattress and immediately rule out certain options without having to wait for the sleep trial. 
  • You’ll have access to knowledgeable employees who are ready to answer questions and concerns in real time. Associates working in retailers will be able to help you with comparisons between different brands, while those working in direct-to-consumer stores and storerooms will be experts on their specific brand.  
  • Depending on the store, you might not have to settle for what’s written on the price tag. Some retailers—typically mattress specialty stores—will let you negotiate the final cost. 
  • Many brick-and-mortar stores give exclusive offers, discounts, and promos to shoppers who show up in person. 

 

Cons of Buying a Mattress In-Store

  • Higher overhead costs mean you’ll be seeing bigger price-tags than you’d find online. 
  • There are fewer options for people who live outside of major metropolitan areas. Generally speaking, high-end department stores and direct-to-consumer brick-and-mortar showrooms only have locations in big cities.
  • Depending on the store, you may encounter pushy salespeople who work on commission and make you feel like you can’t leave without buying something. 
  • You’ll have to carve out several hours to spend at the store, while also taking into account gas, traffic, parking availability, and other factors that might make your trip less convenient.
  • Some brands’ sleep trials and warranties don’t extend to customers who shop in person.
  • Some brick-and-mortar retailers don’t offer free shipping or returns. 

 

Major Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

These are the major mattress retailers dominating the brick-and-mortar market. In this chart, you’ll find department stores and furniture stores that sell mattresses alongside other products, as well as specialty stores that only carry beds. 

Brick-and Mortar Company Locations Brands Sold Mattress Types Offered Return Policy Delivery Cost Used Mattress Removal?
Ashley Homestore AL AK AR CA CO DE FL GA ID IL IN KS KY LA MD MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OR PA SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WY Beautyrest

Sealy

Serta

Stearns & Foster

Tempur-Pedic

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Mattresses may be returned if defective or damaged during delivery.

Customers must contact Ashley representatives within 72 hours of delivery

Mattresses do not qualify for free standard shipping; they are in-home delivery only

Shipping rates vary by location

N
Denver Mattress AR AZ CO FL ID IL IN IA KS MI MO MT NC ND NE NM OH PA SD TX UT WA WI WY Denver Mattress

Purple

Sealy

Stearns & Foster

Tempur-Pedic

Airbed

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Latex

100% credit for refund or exchange within first 4 months,

75% credit during second 4 months,

50% credit during final 4 months

Free in-store pickup and home delivery in the contiguous U.S. N
Ikea AZ CA CO CT FL GA IL IN KS MD MA MI MN MO NV NJ NY NC OH OR PA TN TX UT VA WA Ikea Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Latex

Mattresses may be returned (or exchanged once) within 365 days of original purchase Free in-store pickup

 

Delivery starts at $59

Y
Mattress Firm AL AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI Beautyrest

Purple

Sealy

Serta

Tulo

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Mattresses can be returned within 120 nights for a fee of $79.99

 

Customers must sleep on mattress for 21 nights before returning

Free shipping for mattresses over $499

 

White Glove (non-specified date) and Red Glove (specified delivery window) also available for select orders

N
Sears AL AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI Sealy

Serta

Stearns & Foster

Tempur-Pedic

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Sleep trials span 180 to 365 nights

Customers must test out beds for at least 30 nights before returning

All returns incur a 15% fee based on original product price

Free in-home delivery and old mattress removal for purchases of at least $599 Y
Slumberland IA KS MN MO MT ND NE SD WI Sealy

Stearns & Foster

Tempur-Pedic

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Mattresses may be exchanged, but not returned for a refund Free in-store pickup

 

Free doorstep delivery for orders of $499 or more

White Glove delivery starts at $99

Y
Havertys AL AR FL GA LA MD NC SC TN TX VA Beautyrest

Sealy

Serta

Tempur-Pedic

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Mattresses may be exchanged within 3 days of delivery

Mattress refunds are not available

Free in-store pickup

 

Shipping costs vary by location

Delivery is not available to some locations

N
Macy’s AL AZ CA CO CT DE FL GA ID IL IN KS KY LA ME MA MD MI MN MS MO MT NV NH NJ NM NY NC OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI Beautyrest

Purple

Sealy

Serta

Tempur-Pedic

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Mattress returns are accepted within 180 days of original purchase Free White Glove delivery for mattresses less than $787 Delivery starts at $85 for mattresses over $787 Yes, in the US only
Sit ‘n Sleep CA Beautyrest

Nectar

Sealy

Serta

Tempur-Pedic

Foam/memory foam

Innerspring

Hybrid

Latex

All mattresses come with a 60- or 120-night sleep trial

Customers may exchange the mattress after testing it for at least 30 nights

All returns incur a 20% stocking fee (up to $500)

Free mattress deliveries for beds priced $399 or higher, as long as the customer lives within 25 miles of a Sit ‘n Sleep location N

 

Takeaways

Nowadays, customers have a wealth of different options when it comes to mattress shopping. They can buy entire bedroom sets without leaving the comfort of their own homes, or test out high-quality feather-beds at high-end department stores, or go for one of the many options that fall in between the two. Both approaches come with their own advantages and disadvantages. 

Online stores give you convenience, lower prices, and user reviews, while brick-and-mortar stores offer comparison shopping and face-to-face help. Ultimately, which one you boils down to personal preference. Do you trust online testimonials enough to wait until your mattress arrives? Or do you prefer to physically test out your options before starting a sleep trial? We’d suggest reading reviews and scoping out choices online, testing mattresses at a brick-and-mortar store, and then going back home to place your order. This way, you get the “best of both worlds,” so to speak, while also keeping prices as low as possible. 

Regardless of which one you choose, it’s important to do your research before you start shopping. Details you should nail down in the research phase include: 

  • Your preferred price range and budget
  • How convenient the delivery policies are
  • How lenient the exchange/return policies are 
  • Delivery and return costs
  • Sleep trial offers
  • Warranty policies 
  • The best mattress type according to your preferred sleeping position, weight, sleeping arrangement, needs, and preferences

Additional Resources

For more information, check out our guides on other mattress-related needs.