Mattress Sales and Discounts – When to Buy for the Best Price
The What’s, When’s, and Why’s of Mattress Sales and Discounts
Bargain hunting gets a bad rap. The phrase conjures images of unwieldy coupon collections and bulk purchases of off-brand juice drinks at dollar stores. But when it comes to buying a mattress, bargain hunting is essential.
Because there are so many factors that go into finding the perfect mattress, there are plenty of opportunities for shady manufacturers, retailers, and salespeople to add vagueness and confusion to the shopping experience. If you can spot unnecessary features, unfounded or vague claims, and superficial differences between mattresses, you can save a significant chunk of money on your mattress purchase without sacrificing the qualities that are important to you.
Mattress sales and discounts are an inextricable part of the mattress buying process, whether the seller advertises the discount or you negotiate it. Research ahead of time, have patience, and prepare to compare, and you can maximize your discount.
Consider this a jumping off point for your research. We’ll debunk some myths, compare the brick-and-mortar experience to shopping online, and give you some guidelines and criteria for telling if a price is fair.
We’ve highlighted tips and provided step-by-step instructions for quick reference. Feel free to skim and screenshot those if you need a cheat sheet, whether you’re just getting started on your search or you’re standing outside the mattress store right now.
What Determines The Price of a Mattress?
It’s a simple question with a convoluted answer. So many factors contribute to a mattress’ price: its materials and their quality, the labor involved in design and manufacturing, the brand recognition of the manufacturer, the markup added by brick-and-mortar retailers to support their operating costs, and the cost of supplemental services like shipping and customer support.
These are all variables in the pricing equation. But since their exact values are often unknown, we’ve got a different “what” question to guide your search.
Setting Your Budget
When you’re listing your priorities in a mattress, affordability should come near the top. Since budgets and preferences vary, comparing mattress prices gets tricky. It’s worse than apples and oranges. It’s coils and air bladders.
We’ve broken the field of available mattresses down by price range and identified some common qualities within each. Note that, unless indicated, these prices are for queen mattresses.
TIP: When making your mattress budget, don’t forget to include secondary costs like shipping or delivery, pickup of your old mattress, and any costs associated with returns.
Under $400: This is a good time to talk about sacrifice. When it comes to these mattresses, finding quality in one area usually involves sacrificing it in another. You may find comfort or durability but rarely both. These mattresses can be suitable for temporary or infrequent use (e.g. a rarely occupied guest bedroom) but not much else.
$400-$700: Tradeoffs between comfort and durability still exist in this price range. These mattresses often feature a mix of high and low-quality materials, and they can work well for adults living on their own for the first time. This category also includes higher quality children’s
and guest mattresses.
$700-$1000: This is the sweet spot: the most popular price range and the one we recommend. In this category, you can find solidly constructed mattresses made of materials that provide comfort and last the eight-year lifespan the National Sleep Foundation says most mattresses have. While they aren’t top-of-the-line mattresses, they’ll provide the support necessary for a good night’s sleep. And since this is the most popular price range, manufacturers and retailers may have lower margins on these mattresses, which gives you the opportunity to maximize the value of your mattress purchase.
$1000-$1500: This is the home of higher quality memory foam, polyfoam, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses. This is also where the first quality natural latex mattresses appear, because of the cost of producing natural latex (organic latex costs even more). Beware of hyperbolic
marketing because at this price range we start to see artificially inflated prices for mattresses that should appear in lower price ranges if judged only on their quality.
$1500-$2000: The best mattresses in this price range use costly materials that justify their price, and they may also offer special features catering to sleepers who have demanding comfort or support needs. The worst ones are all hype.
$2000-$3000: We almost lumped this and the next price range together. We’re certainly brushing up against the pinnacle of quality on one hand and frivolity on the other. There are mattresses in this category that justify their price. Their every component comes from material
of the highest quality. The ones that don’t make empty promises of luxury.
$3000+: If you purchase a mattress in this price range, it should be not only a comfortable, long-lasting functional mattress but also a one-of-a-kind work of art.
When Are The Sales?
One of the reasons sales and discounts are such integral parts of the mattress buying process is that they’re always happening.
TIP: If you walk into a physical retailer and they aren’t having a mattress sale, they will tell you when their next one is. If you’re just curious, you can ask right away, but if you’re ready to shop, you can wait and use this question as a tactic in your negotiations.
Since you can’t negotiate a discount when you purchase online, savings with online retailers usually come in the form of coupon codes. Aside from these sales and discounts that are particular to individual retailers, there are specific holidays and times of year that are especially ripe for savings.
TIP: Labor Day and Black Friday are two of the biggest mattress sales days of the year for both brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. Brick-and-mortar stores also often have big sales on Labor Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, President’s Day, and Columbus Day.
TIP: May is another great time to find mattress discounts at brick-and-mortar stores since mattress manufacturers often introduce new models in June and retailers have to clear their inventory.
Other big sales days for online mattress companies include Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day.
TIP: Even if you’re not buying yet, take note of the sales you see on these holidays and discount days because they’ll tell you a lot about the actual cost of a mattress. You can use those sale prices in your in-store negotiations.
Before You Shop: What Myths Need Debunking?
To take full advantage of a mattress sale, it helps to know the truths behind common misconceptions in the shopping process. Here are a few:
- Price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. As we mentioned in our budget breakdown, marketing noise and hype based on current trends can inflate the price of a mattress far beyond what it’s worth.
- The longer the warranty, the better. Based on the NSF’s information and industry standards, we recommend buying a new mattress every seven to eight years, but some mattresses can last up to 10 years. You’ll note that a lifetime or even multiple-decade warranty surpasses those numbers quite a bit. Salespeople may use these longer warranties to inflate a mattress’ price or make an already inflated price seem fair with the inclusion of the warranty. Don’t fall for it. You don’t need that long a warranty.
- You must buy a box spring too. Many warranties require a box spring, but when it comes to comfort, innovations in mattress construction have made box springs unnecessary for most current mattresses.
How to Buy a Discount Mattress
You’ve set your budget, you’ve chosen your window of opportunity, and you know what to avoid. Next, it’s time for the bulk of the work: actually buying your mattress.
In addition to the transaction itself, there’s preparation and follow-up to do, so we’ve assembled a step-by-step guide that encompasses the before, during, and after phases of the entire purchase process. Buying from a brick-and-mortar store differs significantly from shopping online, so this guide takes into account those differences as well.
Step One – Figure Out Your Preferences
What’s the most important quality you seek in a mattress? Is it comfort? Support? If you sleep with a partner, do you want a mattress that isolates motion for when either of you moves in your sleep, or do you want a mattress with some bounce, which is better for sex? Is there a material you like best, like memory foam or latex? Do you know what you sleep on now? Do you like it? Is it important your mattress be eco-friendly?
These are just a few questions to get you started, but there are many more you should ask yourself before making your purchase. You don’t have to have an opinion on every aspect of a mattress, just the parts that are important to you.
Step Two – Do Your Research
Now that you know what you want, you can start looking for it. Once you’ve figured out your budget, you can branch into looking at and comparing materials, construction, brand reputations, retailer reputations, and, of course, prices.
In addition to reading, don’t forget to ask your friends and family about their experiences. They may have particular brands, stores, or salespeople they trust, and when it comes to online companies.
Step Three – Visit A Retailer
There’s a limit to the research you can do before you have to try a mattress for yourself. Even if you’re set on buying online, visiting a store can help you make the most informed purchase possible.
Brick-and-mortar stores, including department stores, factory outlets, and all other physical retailers:
- Take your time testing mattresses. Patience will be your biggest asset. 15 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to spend testing a mattress. Pay attention to where you feel pressure and how you have to adjust to get comfortable.
- Ask lots of questions, especially about warranties, guarantees, and return policies. Make sure you know the exact terms, and see if they include any hidden fees. Many salespeople will give evasive answers to questions about materials and construction, sometimes because the mattress manufacturers themselves are not transparent about those things. It’s important you trust the person or company you’re buying from, so pay attention to how you feel during these interactions. Avoid salespeople who are overly vague or focus on unimportant elements of a mattress like ticking or coil counts. You’ll cover the ticking with your sheets, and coils can vary in strength and type of material, making the sheer number of coils a poor point of comparison.
- Negotiate a price. Be patient here as well. We recommend you separate your “trying” visit from your “buying” visit. Ask the salesperson what they can do before you reveal your budget. Make offers based on the prices you’ve come across in your research. Some retailers list the lowest price at which the manufacturer allows them to sell a mattress, and they cannot offer further discounts. But at many mattress businesses, you can receive discounts of hundreds of dollars if you ask. Even sale prices are not always the lowest a store is willing to go.Be firm about your budget, and be prepared to leave temporarily empty-handed if necessary. Keep in mind the “all-in” price of the mattress, including all secondary costs like delivery, and don’t be afraid to ask a salesperson to waive fees or include extras like pillows, bedding, or a mattress pad if those items sweeten the deal for you.
TIP: A good rule of thumb for questions about the makeup of a mattress is to listen for answers that are thorough, specific, and concrete. Write the answers down if you need them for comparison later.
TIP: Many brick-and-mortar mattress stores will match or beat a lower price on a comparable mattress from another retailer. You can comparison shop on your smartphone in the store, or you can jot down model numbers and do additional research at home. If a salesperson will not match a lower price you find, politely ask a manager if they can match or beat the price. Take note that manufacturers often make a mattress exclusively for the store that sells it, touting superficial differences from similar models. If a salesperson claims the price you want them to match is for a different model, ask them to explain the differences.
Many of the same principles involved in visiting a brick-and-mortar store apply to buying from an online retailer, but there are a few additional considerations.
- Research the company. Since you can’t ask your questions of a salesperson, you’ll have to dig for answers to your questions on the company’s website and in customer and third-party reviews, but beware third-party sites with ties to specific manufacturers.
- Look into the company’s trial period, return policy, and warranties. If the company publishes specs about materials and construction transparently, that’s a sign of trustworthiness. If it has live web or phone customer service, you may want to direct your inquiries to an agent.Look into when the company was founded and its reputation with organizations like the Better Business Bureau. A company’s longevity may not guarantee quality, but it can give you some confidence that the company won’t fall apart shortly after your purchase, leaving you with no support.
- Find the biggest discount. The right search can turn up discounts of around 10% or up to $100.
Step Four – Evaluate
Because of all the minutiae involved in construction, each mattress is unique, even among mattresses of the exact same model from the same store. Some foam mattresses, especially memory foam, release strong odors upon unwrapping that take time to fade. And many mattresses take four to six weeks to settle fully into how they will sleep.
Be mindful of how you sleep during your mattress’ trial period. Pay attention to how you feel on the mattress and how you feel during the day based on the quality of your sleep. And if you’re not fully satisfied, don’t be afraid to return the mattress and continue shopping. It may seem like a hassle, but considering it’s the start of a relationship that hopefully lasts a decade, it’s worth hurdling over the troubles of a few weeks or even months.
Buying a mattress without a discount is like eating a plain jelly sandwich with no peanut butter. It’s not against any rules, but it feels terrifically incomplete.
And yes, adding sales and discounts to the already complicated mattress buying process initially sounds like adding a headache to a headache. Fortunately, there are so many mattress sales that it’s hard to miss them. Once you know your budget and your preferences, you can find your biggest discount through patient and thorough research and confident negotiation.
When it comes to actionable suggestions, we recommend:
- Look in the $700-$1000 price range first.
- Compare prices on models similar to the ones you like.
- Visit a brick-and-mortar store to see what feels best in person even if you’re buying online.
- Make your purchase on a big sales holiday like Labor Day.
Despite how complicated the process can get, buying the right mattress comes down to how comfortable and supported you feel when you lie down on it. You’re the expert on what you want, and as such, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject of mattress sales and discounts. Are there any tips we’ve missed that have come in handy in your search? Do you have any questions we haven’t answered? We’d love to hear from you.