How to Buy a Mattress Online

Decades ago it may have seemed unthinkable to purchase a mattress sight unseen, but today it’s become the norm. The shift from in-store to online retail has benefited the consumer in convenience, value, and variety. While mattresses are a significant investment, most online companies give shoppers the reassurance of in-home sleep trials and warranty periods. 

The downside of having so many options at your fingertips is the potential for analysis paralysis, where the sheer number of choices makes a decision seem overwhelming. You can avoid this pitfall by knowing which factors impact comfort and support and focusing on the mattress qualities that are most important to you.

We’ll provide detailed advice on how to buy a mattress online and offer cost-saving tips and other important shopping considerations.

What Should You Know Before Buying a Mattress Online?

Purchasing a mattress online without seeing or feeling it can seem risky, but it has some distinct advantages over the traditional in-store buying experience.

Buying Online vs. In-Store

Being able to touch and lie on various models before choosing a mattress has its obvious benefits. Shoppers can also rely on the expertise of sales associates to steer them to the right bed. 

But purchasing a mattress online comes with its own perks. Since brick-and-mortar shops have higher overhead than online retailers, shoppers can usually find better bargains online. Stores also have just a fraction of the mattress selection offered on the web. Furthermore, ordering a bed with just the click of a button saves you time and energy.

Pros
Cons

Buying Online

  • An abundance of options
  • Wider variety of price-points
  • Easier comparison shopping
  • Shoppers miss out on the tactile experience of in-store mattress browsing
  • The number of choices can be overwhelming
  • Risk of purchasing from an unverified seller

Buying in a Store

  • Ability to lie on the bed before purchasing
  • Retail associates can guide your decision
  • Price negotiation is sometimes possible
  • Fewer options to choose from
  • The same model can often be found cheaper online
  • Sales associates might try to upsell you on items that you don’t want or need

Know What You’re Looking For

Recognizing your particular needs and preferences can help narrow your mattress search. Your sleep position, body type, and health situation all impact which mattress will suit you best. Your budget, whether you sleep alone or with a partner, and customer service policies are also important considerations. 

Set Your Budget

It’s helpful to have a set budget in mind before shopping online. Most online mattresses are between $500 and $2,000, but there are plenty of budget models and luxury offerings. 

The value of a mattress depends on various factors like brand reputation, mattress type, size, thickness, and specialty features. Shoppers should also factor in potential extra expenses like shipping and installation fees, as well as the cost of a bed frame or foundation and other bedding accessories

How to Purchase a Mattress Online

While the vast array of online mattresses can feel intimidating, a good way to begin your search is to first decide on the type of mattress and firmness level that best suits your needs.

Choose a Mattress Type

Each mattress type has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to pressure relief, temperature control, motion isolation, and other features. While some mattress types are generally more expensive than others, each type has its budget and luxury options. 

Foam

As the name suggests, all-foam mattresses are made exclusively of foam. Various types of foam are typically combined to achieve different results. Memory foam or softer polyfoam comfort layers conform to the body, while higher-density polyfoam lends stability in support cores. 

Foam mattresses typically excel at pressure relief since they provide substantial contouring. They also tend to absorb noise and motion well, which can be beneficial for those who share a bed. Some of the most economical mattresses available online are foam models. 

Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses combine a metal innerspring core with a comfort system of one or more layers. Memory foam, polyfoam, and latex are popular comfort layer materials.

The idea behind a hybrid is to harness the strengths of multiple constructions methods. The coiled core enhances bounce and durability, while thick comfort layers prevent pressure buildup. Hybrid mattresses typically use pocketed coils that are individually wrapped to reduce motion transfer and promote airflow. Hybrids are generally pricier than all-foam mattresses since they have more complex constructions. 

Innerspring

Some companies use the terms hybrid and innerspring interchangeably, which can be misleading. They both use coiled support cores, but innersprings generally have much thinner comfort systems or just a thin layer of padding beneath the cover. Traditional innerspring models are usually affordable but lack the cushioning and pressure relief of mattresses with more advanced comfort systems.

Latex

Latex mattresses are made entirely from natural, synthetic, or blended latex. Natural latex is derived from the sap of rubber trees, while synthetic latex is made from petrochemicals and blended latex combines the two types. Each variety has a springy feel, but natural latex is usually the most durable. 

Sleepers looking for a balance of contouring and bounce often enjoy latex mattresses, especially if they find memory foam too conforming. Natural latex models can have fairly steep price tags, so they’re not always an option for shoppers on a tighter budget. 

Airbeds

This complex design features adjustable air chambers that allow sleepers to customize the feel of their bed. Airbed mattresses are ideal for partners with different sleep styles, or those whose firmness preferences change over time. Airbeds tend to be quite pricey, with the typical queen size model averaging between $2,000 and $2,400. 

Select a Firmness Level

We use a 10-point firmness scale at TheSleepDoctor.com, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest. Most mattresses fall between soft (3) and firm (8), with the majority of sleepers preferring a firmness level between medium soft (4) and firm (7).

Comfort is subjective, but some firmness levels are generally better suited to certain sleep positions and body types. Side sleepers typically prefer a softer mattress that offers plenty of cushioning for the hips and shoulders. Back sleepers generally need a medium to firm model to help align the spine, while stomach sleepers typically enjoy firm beds with minimal contouring. 

Body weight should also be considered when choosing a firmness level. People over 230 pounds generally need a firmer model that limits excess sagging. Sleepers under 130 pounds don’t sink as much, so they can usually still feel supported on a softer mattress.

Determine Shipping and Handling

Shipping policies vary by company, but many waive shipping fees with a mattress purchase. Some companies include free White Glove delivery, while others charge for this service, which involves professional mattress installation. In some cases, the service includes old mattress and foundation removal.

While many online mattress companies offer free shipping within the contiguous U.S., orders to Alaska or Hawaii are often subject to shipping fees. Shoppers should note that shipping fees are sometimes nonrefundable. Shipping turnaround times also vary and depend on the destination, carrier, if a mattress is made to order, and weather conditions or supply chain disruptions.

Take Advantage of Trials and Warranties

Most mattress companies acknowledge the degree of risk or skepticism involved with online shopping, which is why many offer generous sleep trials and warranties. 

A sleep trial lets customers try out a mattress before deciding to keep it or return it for a full refund. Sleep trials generally range anywhere from 30 days to a year, but most are between 90 and 120 days. Trials with minimum break-in periods require that customers keep the mattress for a certain amount of time before initiating a return. Some companies charge a processing fee for mattress returns.

Warranties safeguard against defects in manufacturing or craftsmanship. Warranty specifics depend on the brand, but most companies will repair or replace a defective mattress at no cost to the customer. The average mattress warranty term is between 10 and 20 years. Some mattress warranties are prorated, meaning the amount of coverage gradually decreases over time. 

Understand Returns

Sleep trials and return policies go hand in hand and help give shoppers peace of mind when making a purchase. Many online retailers offer customers a full refund when the mattress is returned during a specified window. Some companies include complimentary mattress pickup so you don’t have to bother with return shipping logistics. Return policies vary, so it’s important to read the fine print before making an online purchase. 

Make Your Purchase

Making the actual purchase is probably the easiest step in the process. Once you’re on the product page for the model you want, double-check that you’ve selected the correct size before adding it to your cart. You may be prompted to opt for various add-ons like pillows and bedding, as some companies offer bundles that can save you money. 

Online retailers accept most credit cards, and many also accept payment through services such as PayPal and Google Pay. Only submit payment information to a secure website. Once you’ve entered your shipping and billing information and completed the transaction, you’ll receive an email confirmation with your order details. Most companies send a subsequent email when your order ships. 

How to Get the Best Deal on a Mattress

Purchasing online also means you have access to a wealth of coupons, promo codes, and other ways of saving money.

Coupons and Discount Codes

You’ll often be prompted to join a mattress brand’s email subscription list when visiting the company’s site. Subscribing often gives you early access to sales, first-time customer discounts, and other promotions.

Search for Sales

Mattress companies are famous for having notable sales during the holidays, including Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July, and Black Friday. You can also search for closeout deals or discontinued models with slashed prices. 

Browse and Compare

Price comparison is the best way to guarantee you’re getting the lowest price possible. While some companies only sell their mattresses on their own website, you may be able to find deals on other models by comparing various third-party retailers.