How to Buy a Mattress Online
You can buy almost anything online without getting out of bed, including a replacement for the very bed you order from.
Not only can you purchase a mattress from the websites of department stores and your local mattress retailers, but direct-to-consumer companies like Casper and Tuft & Needle are creating an entirely new model for how we buy mattresses. And this new model brings with it a unique set of benefits, drawbacks, and challenges.
We’ve created this guide to buying a mattress online to help you navigate this new terrain.
Here, you’ll find criteria for assessing the state of your current mattress, tips for guiding your research, and comparisons of buying online to the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. We end with a step-by-step guide to buying the mattress of your dreams online.
Keep reading, and you’ll learn everything you need to know about buying a mattress online.
How to Start Your Search
Determine Your Price Range
Before you start closely analyzing types of foam, setting a price range will focus your search and keep you from getting distracted by features you don’t need. We recommend a price range of $800-1200 for a queen-size mattress. This is the range in which you can find high-quality mattresses without markups based on brand names or new technologies with unproven benefits.
But one price range doesn’t fit all. Good natural latex mattresses, for example, tend to run a little pricier ($1000-1700) because of the cost of production.
Do Your Research
There are several ways to evaluate a mattress. Here are some of the most fundamental.
- Firmness is the feel of the mattress when you first lie down on it. Mattress makers rate firmness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 the softest and 10 the firmest.
- Support is not the same as firmness. Support is how well a mattress keeps your spine in alignment. A mattress can provide adequate support whether it is firm or soft. On the flipside, the ability of a bed to maintain natural curvature of your spine is not determined by it being soft or firm.
- Comfort is a more nebulous, though no less important, quality. Do you like sleeping a little warmer, or do you prefer to sleep cool? Do you want your body “floating” right on top of your mattress, or would you rather have the “hug” of a material like memory foam? All of these things contribute to your unique experience of a mattress’ comfort level.
- Sleep position: Evaluating how you sleep can steer you toward or away from certain mattress materials. Back sleepers often find medium-firm latex and foam mattresses provide the spinal alignment they need without too much contouring. Side sleepers may want to look into memory foam mattresses for the pressure point relief they can provide.
- Sleep issues range from Restless Leg Syndrome to sleep apnea, and the right mattress may help mitigate the problems associated with sleep issues you face.
Visiting a mattress store is a good way to start your research, even when you’re going to buy online.
Testing out a few mattresses will give you a sense of the firmness level and material you prefer. You can spend as much time as you need to get a reliable sense of how the mattress feels to you. Take at least 15 minutes on each mattress you try to allow your heart rate to adjust to lying down.
Take notes on all of the details of the mattresses you like, including information about construction, material composition, the firmness levels of beds you liked and didn’t like, density of any foams used, and model numbers. These notes will help you narrow down your choices after comparing them to your mattress options online.
Since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to try your online mattress before you buy it, make sure you research the length and terms of the trial period. Many direct-to-consumer mattress companies have trial periods that last 90-120 days, but some trials are as short as 30 days and some as long as a year. As your mattress settles over the length of the trial, you will get a better idea of how it will sleep over the course of its life.
What to Know Before You Buy
In the course of your internet research, you’ll come across mattress review sites that offer information about many different mattresses from a seemingly objective perspective. It’s important to evaluate the claims of these sites carefully, since many of them receive compensation from mattress companies for the reviews they provide.
For example, the authors of the site Best Mattress Brand consult with or are employees of One Mall Group, a company affiliated with the makers of Amerisleep and Astrabeds. Best Mattress Brand’s mattress rankings reflect this bias.
When you come across these sites, try to find out who owns or funds them by looking for disclosure statements, and make sure you’re using sources that favor the best products rather than the ones that prioritize their bottom line.
Fortunately, greater transparency from manufacturers is one of the bonuses of purchasing a mattress online. Many companies publish the specifications of their mattresses’ components on their websites. Here are a few specifications to keep in mind.
- Type and thickness of each layer, in order. Make sure they add up to the mattress’ total thickness.
- In foam mattresses, density of foam layers in pounds per cubic foot (lb/ft3).
- In latex mattresses, type of latex and ratio of natural to synthetic rubber.
- In innerspring mattresses, type of innerspring, coil gauge, number of coils, and density of any foam edge support.
- Type or blend of fabric and quilting materials in the cover. If quilting materials include foam of two inches or more, it’s important to know the density of the foam.
Unfortunately, not all companies are equally transparent when it comes to disclosing specs. Take a look at the information about materials that Casper provides versus Tuft & Needle when it comes to their signature mattresses.
Tuft & Needle:
If you’re interested in finding specs on a mattress that are unavailable on the manufacturer’s website, call or email their customer service department, or use their online chat support to see if they have the information you need.
Buying a Mattress Online: Pros and Cons
With your research complete and your choice made, it’s time to make your purchase. Here are the pros and cons of buying a mattress online.
- Price. Buying a mattress online is generally cheaper than buying from a brick-and-mortar store, especially when you factor in savings on shipping and delivery.
- Transparency. Many online mattresses’ specs are visible on manufacturers’ websites. You can often obtain additional specs from a company’s customer support.
- Convenience. You can research and order from the comfort (or discomfort) of your current bed.
- No sales pressure. You can shop with ease online because no salesperson is breathing down your neck pressuring you to buy.
- Extensive customer support. One of the ways online mattress retailers can separate themselves from their brick-and-mortar counterparts is through superior customer service. They employ customer support teams to answer questions you have before and resolve issues you may have after you buy a mattress online.
- Shipping. Mattresses bought online don’t require delivery appointments, and shipping is often free.
- Returns. Returns are often free too when you buy from an online mattress company, and these companies usually publish their return policies clearly on their websites.
- Fewer fees. Mattress stores charge additional fees for delivery and disposal. Direct-to-consumer mattress companies do not charge these fees.
- Equal satisfaction. Customers who buy their mattresses online are satisfied with their purchases at nearly identical rates as customers who buy from brick-and-mortar retailers.
- You can’t try out the bed beforehand. You can’t test a mattress online like you can in stores, but you can get close by trying out similar beds in a store first.
- Mattress removal is likely not an option. Some companies, like Saatva and Wright, offer mattress removal for an additional fee. But this option is rare with most direct-to-consumer mattress companies, leaving you to arrange for or remove your old mattress yourself.
- Installation and setup is rarely available. While you can always call customer support, online mattress purchases don’t come with on-site professionals to help you set up and troubleshoot installation. Thankfully, many mattresses available online require minimal setup.
- No personal assistance. While pushy salespeople exist, a knowledgeable and helpful mattress salesperson is irreplaceable.
The 10-Step Guide to Buying a Mattress Online
Follow these steps to go from curious consumer to satisfied online mattress owner.
- Assess your current mattress.
- Is it on its last legs? A good mattress should last 8-10 years. How long has it been? Some of the signs your mattress has deteriorated include waking up with a sore back or stiff muscles.
- Do you like the firmness? How well do you sleep at night? Have you recently experienced and enjoyed a softer or firmer mattress?
- Do you want something similar? There are many options to consider: material, eco-friendliness, temperature, and whether you prefer a “hug” or a “float,” to name a few.
- Set your budget. First, know the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on the mattress you want. Then, set your ideal price range, keeping in mind that some types of mattresses tend to run a little higher than the $800-1000 range where you can find many high-quality mattresses.
- Assess your sleep position and body type. Now it’s time to evaluate yourself. In what position do you sleep? Do you shift throughout the night? Do you sleep with a partner? Also, your BMI may determine the amount of support you need and how long your mattress lasts.
- Test drive some mattresses. Start exploring. Visit a mattress store or showroom to feel the firmness, support, and comfort of different beds in person. Take your time testing, and resist any pressure to buy!
- Research online. Return to the internet with notes from your visit to the mattress store, and find mattresses that match the material, construction, and firmness of the types you liked in the store.
- Narrow your choices. Decide which mattresses fit your personal criteria for comfort and support. Do these fit your price range?
- Check the specs. Dive deep into what differentiates your top choices. Check websites, and scour the internet thoroughly. If something is unclear, contact customer service. Make sure the mattress you buy will work for your body type and sleep position.
- Buy your mattress! Once you’ve found the best online mattress for you, double check the fine print and click “buy.”
- Use the trial period. You know the length and terms of your mattress’ trial period, so take advantage of it. Check in periodically to make sure you’re sleeping well and you like how the mattress is settling.
- Protect it! A good mattress protector can ensure a long life for your mattress by keeping it safe from stains, allergens, pests, water damage, and wear and tear.