Find the Best Mattress (In 7 Easy Steps)

Follow these 7 steps to save time and money when buying your next mattress

With so many brands that claim to have the “best mattress,” it can feel impossible to know where to start your search for a new bed. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you find the best mattress without having to compromise. So take a deep breath and close all those other browser tabs that are taking your mattress-buying anxiety to the next level.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through 7 steps to find your next mattress that will save you time, money and frustration. If you want to skip ahead to any of these sections, simply click on the links below:



1. Do you need a new mattress?

The general rule is that you should change your mattress every 7-10 years. Unfortunately, there’s not an alarm that goes off letting you know it’s time to change your mattress, but if you’re not sleeping well and haven’t hit that limit, it’s time to start shopping.

If you’ve had your mattress for more than 5 years, it’s a good idea to pay closer attention to its overall condition. Take note of how well you’re sleeping, if you’re waking up feeling groggy or achy or if you feel like you’re sinking into the mattress too much. These could be indications that your mattress is losing its shape.

Here’s some information to help you decide if it’s time for a new mattress depending on the type of mattress you have.

The average lifespan of A mattress by type:

Mattress Type Average Lifespan  Notes
Innerspring 7-8 years Even if you’ve flipped and rotated your innerspring mattress regularly, the core is still made of metal wire, which tends to sag and lose its form over time.
Foam/Memory Foam Up to 10 years While this material is generally better at holding its shape, it still doesn’t last forever. It can last up to 10 years if you’re diligent about rotating it and keeping it clean.
Latex Up to 15 years Latex mattresses tend to have the most longevity. A good quality latex mattress can last up to 15 years because of its durable makeup.

It’s important to use this purely for guidance. The average lifespan of a mattress depends on a number of factors beyond just the type of mattress you have – like how often you use it, the kind of sleeper you are, your body weight, if you have children jumping around on it often and if you share your bed with your pets.

And we hate to break it to you, but if you’ve had your mattress for more than 5 years, there are most definitely dust mites, bacteria, and other microorganisms that have crept their way into your mattress layers – no matter how clean you think you are. (Fun fact: the average person sweats out half a pint of perspiration every night. Gross, we know.)

In a recent Mattress Advisor study of 2,000 people, 36% of respondents claimed to be either dissatisfied or indifferent about their current mattress.

Here are some other signs that it might be time for a new mattress:

  • You’re in pain when you wake up
  • You regularly wake up feeling groggy or achy
  • You tend to sleep better in a hotel room or somewhere other than your own bed
  • Your mattress is feeling a little saggy or lumpy
  • You feel like you’re sinking too deeply into your mattress
  • You wake up with numbness in your limbs
  • You find yourself tossing and turning in the middle of the night
  • You can feel when your sleeping partner makes even the slightest movement on the other side of the bed

It was quite shocking to hear from Dr. Dominique of Alpine Chiropractic, a licensed chiropractor, that 20-30% of his patients who come in with reports of waking up in chronic pain can relate the issue back to a poor mattress. Even though a new mattress might seem like a significant investment, getting quality, restorative sleep is critical to your health.

In some cases, you’ve simply outgrown your bed. David Brummett, VP of Merchandising for Mattress Firm puts it plainly: “Over the course of 8 years, a lot of life moments can happen. Just because your bed was perfect at the start of college does not mean it will still be the right bed for you 8 years later. While mattresses can be lofty investments, your sleep and health are definitely worth the spend in the long run.”

Still not sure if it’s time for a new mattress?

If you still aren’t sure it’s time to part ways with your old mattress, here’s a quick and easy self-assessment you can do right at home brought to you by Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert at Maple Holistics.

If you aren’t sure it’s time to say goodbye to your old bed, try the ‘guest test.’ In other words, would you let your guest sleep on that mattress? Not you, but your guest – since you may be the type who doesn’t care.

When it’s time for a new mattress but you’re not ready yet

Maybe you know you need a new mattress but you aren’t ready to make the investment yet. Here are some tips to prolong your mattresses lifespan from Neil Seed, founder of The Odd Mattress Company:

Buy a mattress protector

“It’s important to have a good quality mattress protector as an additional barrier between your body and the mattress. Your mattress should be washed as you wash your bedding. We recommend that you use a good quality cotton faced mattress protector.”

Rotate your mattress

“Turning your mattress allows the deep fillings to settle evenly and facilitates the ‘bedding in’ process whereby the new and tight fabrics and fillings begin to relax and stretch. You should alternate the turning from side to side and head to toe.

We recommend that you turn your new mattress once a week during the first three months and gradually increasing the interval until you are turning about 4 times a year.”

Let it breathe

“Some people pull the duvet back each morning to let the mattress breathe. You could even pull the whole bedding up – including the sheet, to air it out. No matter how often you clean your mattress, it will get soiled over time and eventually need to be replaced.” 

44% of consumers are overwhelmed by shopping for a new mattress, primarily due to the many options available, price, and finding the right mattress for their individual needs.

What to do with your old mattress

If you’ve decided it’s time for a new mattress, you might be wondering what to do with your old mattress. Here’s a hint: Do not leave it on the side of the road! In many cities, you can actually be fined for leaving your mattress on the curb.

There are better (and more environmentally friendly) ways to make room for your new bed. Take a look at our guide on getting rid of your old mattress for tips on what to do based on the condition of your mattress.

Getting rid of a mattress?


2. What are the different types of mattresses available?

Now that you’ve decided it’s time for a new, upgraded, less lumpy, better smelling mattress, the next step is figuring out what type of mattress you should get.

There’s endless research out there to help you decide, but we’ve simplified what you really need to know about the most popular types of mattresses available.

Best mattress: foam
Foam mattress

Foam/memory foam

  • Overall customer satisfaction: 80%
  • Average price range: $675 – $1,000

Foam and memory foam mattresses make up the majority of online mattresses available. These are typically a medium on the firmness scale and tend to be better for people with back pain as it helps with lumbar support, pressure relief and body contouring. It’s also great for motion transfer (if your partner moves around a lot, you won’t feel it).

Memory foam will be more contouring, meaning it will hug your body more than other mattresses will and won’t provide as much bounce. It’s also worth noting that many of “foam” mattresses you see today are not purely memory foam but a foam blend made with other materials.

“When these foams first became popular, some said they were warmer to sleep on. However, technological advances in foam production have largely eliminated these problems by using different foam formulations, and in some cases, special cool foams, cooling gel foam, etc.,” Helen Sullivan, spokesperson for CertiPUR-US tells us.

If you’re shopping for a foam mattress, you’ll want to pay attention to what the foams are made of. Helen says, “A major reason people look for CertiPUR-US® certified foam in their mattresses is because this certification ensures the foam is made without formaldehyde, made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris’) flame retardants, made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals, made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, made without ozone depleters, and are low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emission for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million).”

You can find brands that offer CertiPUR-US® certified foams here.

Pros and cons of memory foam

Mr. Brummett of Mattress Firm, explains that “Memory foam mattresses are made from viscoelastic foam and are high density compared to other mattress types. The biggest advantage of this mattress is its ability to conform to the shape of the sleeper’s body. However, stomach sleepers beware: memory foam mattress can cause the spine to be misaligned during sleep, causing back soreness the next day.”

Best mattress: latex
Latex mattress

Latex

  • Overall customer satisfaction: 75%
  • Average price range: $900-$2,000

Latex mattresses are great for people who want many of the benefits of a foam mattress but don’t want to feel as hugged or “contoured.” These mattresses tend to have great cooling properties, bounce and are still responsive – meaning it will adjust to your body as you move around. As we mentioned earlier, latex mattresses also tend to have the longest lifespan of all mattress types.

The downsides? Latex mattresses tend to be more expensive. They are also very dense, meaning they’re going to be on the heavier side. Depending on the type of latex you get, you may notice some of that synthetic, chemically smell for the first few days. It’s also not as good as memory foam when it comes to motion transfer or pressure relief – the more you push on it, the more it pushes back.

best mattress: hybrid
Hybrid mattress

Hybrid

  • Overall customer satisfaction: 81%
  • Average price range: $1,000-$1,800

Hybrid mattresses usually refer to a combination of memory foam and innerspring mattresses, but can include other materials and combinations as well (like latex and memory foam). Hybrids tend to offer a good balance of support and pressure relief while providing a cooler sleeping surface. Motion transfer will also be better on a hybrid than innerspring alone with the help of more motion-absorbing layers.

If you and your significant other want different things in a mattress, then a hybrid might be the best option for you. However, getting the best of both worlds can sometimes mean a higher price point. Hybrid mattresses can also be extremely heavy, making transporting and handling challenging in some cases.

Benefits of a hybrid mattress

Co-founder of Helix Sleep, Adam Tishman, specializes in custom hybrid mattresses. He says: “A hybrid mattress offers the best of both worlds. You get the bounce and cradling effect of springs balanced with the contouring and cushioning of foam. Traditional all innerspring beds can feel stiff and don’t isolate motion well, while all memory foam beds sleep extremely hot and can feel too dense. It’s all about the right balance!”

best mattress: innerspring
Innerspring mattress

Innerspring

  • Overall customer satisfaction: 64%
  • Average price range: $2,000-$5,000

When you think of the “traditional” type of mattress, innerspring (or coil) is probably what comes to mind. This is one of the most widely used types of mattresses and is made with at least one layer of spring metal coils. Innerspring mattresses have great bounce, strong edge support, and are usually pretty good about keeping you cool.

Because of the metal coils inside, innerspring beds are pretty heavy and will typically ship full size (if that’s a factor that will impact your decision). They are also most popular among brick and mortar companies, meaning you are likely going to be paying top dollar for this kind of mattress.

If you’re looking for something that can contour your body well, then an innerspring mattress is probably not for you. Since there’s a decent amount of empty space in an innerspring mattress, you won’t get as much support. They’re also not as durable as other kinds of mattresses, meaning you’ll have to switch it out for a new one sooner.

Consumer Preference

In a recent Mattress Advisor study, we found that 45% of respondents are currently sleeping on an innerspring mattress, but only 12.6% prefer this type of mattress. Memory foam was the most preferred choice at 34.5%.

Best mattress type by preference
Preferred mattress types (Survey of 2,000 people)

3. Which mattress is best for your sleeping style?

The best mattress for you might not be the best one for your mom, best friend, neighbor, etc. When shopping for a new mattress, you’ll want to find something that compliments your personal sleeping style and body type.

Here we’ve outlined mattress suggestions for two of the most popular sleeping styles or conditions: side sleepers and back pain. Below that, you’ll see links to our in-depth guides on the best mattress for all sleeping positions, special conditions, age groups and lifestyle.

Best mattresses for side sleepers

If you’re a side sleeper, your body weight may not be as evenly distributed as other positions, leading to pain at pressure points such as the hips, shoulders and knees. Side sleepers will prefer a mattress that contours to your body and relieves joint pressure and pain. This tends to include mattresses on the medium-soft to medium end of the firmness scale.

Fortunately for side sleepers, this is one of the most popular sleeping positions out there – so there are lots of mattresses designed just for you. Most mattresses designed for side sleepers are made with some blend of memory foam: standard, latex, or gel memory foam.

Memory foam is known to be an excellent material for evenly distributing weight and minimizing pain at pressure points, while also supporting the natural curve of your spine. Latex memory foam and gel memory foam are known to quickly bounce back to shape when users change position throughout the night, more so than with standard memory foam.

Best mattresses for back pain

More than 80% of Americans will experience an episode of low back pain at some time in their lives. If you’re currently sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t offer you the proper support or spinal alignment, there’s a good chance it’s actually making your back or joint pain worse.

Memory foam tends to be the best type of mattress to help cradle your body, relieve pressure points and keep the spine in good alignment. There are a few hybrid and latex mattresses that can do this well too.

You may have heard a rumor that sleeping on a rock-hard mattress is best for your back pain. To be honest, that sounds kind of miserable. And it’s also not true. While everyone’s preference is going to differ slightly, people who suffer from back pain generally prefer a medium-firm to firm mattress.

Best mattresses for…

Sleeping positions:

A warning for stomach sleepers

Sleeping on your stomach is generally not recommended, especially if you already have back or joint issues. Dr. Travis Russell of Chiro One Wellness Center puts it this way:

Do anything you can to stay off of your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach forces your body to turn your head to the side so you can breathe. This can cause problems over the long term as it decreases the natural curve in your neck, compresses one side of your neck while elongating the other, as well as contributes to lower back pain due to the torque applied to the spine.

Special conditions:

Age groups:

Lifestyle:


4. What are the most important things to look for in a mattress?

If you’ve done any research on mattresses already, you’ve probably noticed that the mattress industry has its very own lingo – with words like “responsiveness” and “motion transfer.”While they might seem like “fluff” words, they’re actually important factors to consider when choosing a mattress that’s going to best meet your needs.

Here’s a breakdown of these key mattress features – in plain old English – to help you understand why these are so important when finding the best mattress. It’s important to note that sometimes you won’t be able to realize how well a mattress performs on these factors until you try it out for a few nights. So if you’re not sure what mattress is best for you, make sure to invest in a mattress with a risk-free trial period.

Spine Alignment

When comparing mattresses, you want to look for something that will support your body so that your spine can remain in its natural position. A healthy spine position allows your muscles to rest, meaning you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning.

If you’re a side sleeper, the line from your tailbone to your neck should be straight. If you’re a back sleeper, your spine should retain its natural curve when you’re lying down on a mattress that provides good support. Stomach sleepers will have a bit more trouble maintaining the natural curve just by nature of the position.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll want a mattress that takes the shape of your spine (providing pressure relief), while simultaneously supporting your weight so your back is aligned properly, according to Vik Singh, founder of Spine & Vigor.

Chiropractor Dr. Michael McGovern, D.C. of Chiro One Wellness Centers explains:

The impact your bed has on spinal alignment is dependent on the individual’s anatomy. Does a pear-shaped side sleeper need a softer mattress to accommodate the curviness of their anatomy? Does a back sleeper with a hyper- or hypo-lordotic lumbar curve also require a softer mattress to support their lumbar region?

The answer is not straightforward and as always the best advice I can recommend is to spend hours on the bed you’re considering buying before making your final decision. We all have different sizes and shapes and will respond better to certain mattress types.

Mattress spine alignment test

Pressure Relief

Your body will be best supported by a mattress that evenly distributes your body weight so the heavier parts of your body, like your hips and shoulders, don’t sink in too deeply. If they do, your mattress could be causing strain on your pressure points.

Testing pressure relief in a mattress

Responsiveness

Responsiveness just means how well a mattress reacts and adjusts to your body movements while you sleep. We all move while we sleep, but this is especially important for people who are restless sleepers or tend to change positions often throughout the night.

Motion transfer

Motion transfer refers to how well a mattress absorbs movement. For example, if your sleeping partner is tossing, turning or getting up throughout the night and you’d rather not be bothered by it, you’ll want to look for a mattress that isolates motion well. This also helps if your pets share a bed with you. Memory foam and foam blend mattresses tend to be best for motion transfer.

Firmness

Firmness just means how firm or soft a mattress feels. While all humans are different, the type of sleeper you are usually helps dictate the level of firmness you should look for. Firmness is measured on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the firmest. (But honestly, unless you find comfort in sleeping on a pile of cotton balls or wood floor, we wouldn’t recommend a 1 or 10 – that’s extreme).

Mattress firmness scale

  • Side sleepers tend to prefer softer mattresses (3-6) that contour their body well and provides pressure relief around the hips and shoulders. Typically foam mattresses are better for side sleepers although adding a pillow top to your mattress can also help make this position more comfortable.
  • Stomach sleepers usually prefer a slightly firmer mattress (4-7) for better support since they tend to put more stress on the spine when sleeping in this position. Medium firmness foam mattresses are usually a preferred choice for stomach sleepers but you can also find middle-ground firmness on innerspring and hybrid.
  • Back sleepers need good support on their lower back especially and tend to prefer firmer mattresses (6-8). Most types of mattresses (even memory foam) offer some degree of higher firmness, but you probably want to stay away from mattresses that are on the softer side.

Dr. McGovern, D.C., will usually recommend a mattress on the firmer side to his patients as mattresses tend to get softer over time.

Contrary to popular belief, firmness and support are two different things. Vik from Spine & Vigor explains it like this: “Firmness is the pushback you feel from your mattress at certain pressure points. Support [on the other hand], is the weight your mattress foundation can hold to support your body properly.”

36% of people who sleep with a partner claim that they prefer a different firmness level than their partner.

Temperature control / heat transfer

While you’re sleeping, you want to make sure your mattress is helping to transfer heat away from your body, not keep it trapped within its layers. (No one wants to wake up in a pile of sweat.)

Mattresses that offer a cool sleeping surface include: breathable, or aerated, layers that promote airflow, materials that help wick heat away (like wool covers), air channels, or materials designed specifically to react to your body’s temperature, like Celliant.

“The reason temperature impacts sleep so much is that we have to have a decrease in our core body temperature in order to fall asleep. If you have ever had a fever, you know what that feels like – you don’t sleep very well! We have very fragmented sleep when we have a fever and that’s because our core body temp can’t decrease. The ideal temp for sleeping is 65 – 68 degrees. If that’s too cold for you, just pile on more blankets. As long as your head is exposed to that cold air, you will decrease your core body temp.”

           – Dr. Robert Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute

Durability

When looking for your perfect mattress, you want quality, premium material that will last (preferably without tons of nasty chemicals). The strength of the material is important – you don’t want sagging or lumping and want your mattress to maintain its elasticity and support for years to come.

Edge support

Edge support is what prevents you from rolling off the mattress in the middle of the night. Innerspring mattresses usually have a separate support layer around the edges that help keep you on it, while foam mattresses typically don’t have a separate edge layer. However, it’s also harder to “roll off” of a foam mattress.

This factor is important if you’re a particularly restless sleeper (or have a history of falling off beds…), or if you use the end of your bed to put your socks and shoes on in the morning.

Trial, warranty and return policy

Even if a thousand people love a mattress, it doesn’t mean you will too. Everyone’s body is different therefore you’re going to respond to your mattress differently. Before you buy your mattress, make sure you pay attention to the trial period you have, what’s covered under your warranty, and return policy (most of our favorites have a very generous trial period, warranty policy and hassle-free returns).

You should also try to give your mattress at least 30 days to “break it in” and see if it’s right for you before you kick it to the curb. (Although we don’t recommend actually kicking it to the curb if you want a refund.)

“You have to give your body time to adjust. Maybe you have a “wow” moment the first time you try out a new mattress, but your body is in a different state when you’re sleeping. You have got to give yourself time. That’s why we say 30 days. You have to give your body a chance to adjust and adapt. It doesn’t matter whose product it is, you can’t make a judgment really quickly.”

– Jamie Diamonstein, Co-founder of Leesa

For reference, most online mattress companies offer a trial period of 100 nights or more.

Even if a thousand people love a mattress, it doesn’t mean you will too.

Shipping

Most of our favorite mattresses ship free and fast, but you should also pay attention to how it ships. If you live in a small or walk-up apartment, then mattresses that ship condensed in a box might be more convenient than mattresses that ship full size.

We know it can be hard to picture something as big as a mattress being shipped in a box that’s a fraction of the size, but it really is possible. Here’s proof!

If you can’t visualize lugging a full-size mattress up a flight of stairs going smoothly, it probably won’t go smoothly. There are also some companies who will come take your old mattress for a small fee (~$40) and set up your new mattress for you.

Size

When it comes to size, the best mattress for you can be determined by considering two important factors: who will be sleeping on it and where will it go?

Who will be sleeping on it?

While this certainly has to do with the size of the people who will be sleeping on it, it also has to do with personal preference.

If you’re single or shopping for children/teens then a twin or full size mattress will probably be suitable. The most common size for couples is a queen size mattress because it fits well into most bedrooms and is large enough to give both people the space they need to sleep without disturbing each other. Sheets and other accessories are also cheaper and more available for queen beds than larger sizes.

King size mattresses have crept up in the popularity polls recently because they essentially offer couples as much space in bed with their partner as if they were alone in a twin. If you’re a restless sleeper who needs lots of room, then a king mattress is the way to go. It’s also a popular choice among couples with pets or children who sneak into bed every now and then.

For taller or larger folks, California king might seem attractive. Buyers of both king sizes should be aware of increased costs for the bed itself and accessories, and more challenging set-up due to the size and weight of the mattress.

In a recent Mattress Advisor study among couples who share a bed, 46% sleep on a queen, 44% sleep on a king and 9% sleep on a California king.

Here are the dimensions* for standard bed sizes so you know what to expect: 

Size Dimensions
Twin 38” x 75”
Twin XL 38” x 80”
Full 54” x 75”
Queen 60” x 80”
King 76” x 80”
California King 72” x 84”

*Note: mattresses differ in their height, which is why we are only providing width and length as standard dimensions.

Where will it go?

If you’re moving into a new space or looking to change the size of your mattress, be sure to plan ahead by measuring how your new mattress will fit into your sleeping area. Knowing that your new mattress will fit in your room (along with any other furniture) ahead of time can save you a major headache later on. One member of our team had to cut a custom-made “extra long” double bed back down to standard size so that the bedroom door of his tiny 400 square foot Boston apartment would actually open and close.

If you are planning to change things up, there are a number of free room planning tools available that will allow you to see what your new setup might look like before you pull the trigger. We like Roomstyler 3D Home Planner which allows you to customize your room layout and already has different bed sizes and standard furniture pieces pre-loaded.

Hopefully, by now you feel a little more cultured in the mattress department. If you still have questions that are unanswered, just leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you feel confident in your mattress buying journey.

In this next section, we’ll help you compare different mattress brands and give you a sneak peek at our favorite things about them.

Price

While we’re focusing on high-quality mattresses in this article (that are also affordable) we feel like we need to warn you about prices that are too low and too high. If you find a mattress under $500 (for a queen), it typically means they’re cutting corners or using cheaper materials. Which means you’ll likely end up getting low quality sleep.

Many of the online-only brands that cut out the middleman fees can offer a great quality mattress for under $1,000 for a queen size mattress. Certainly, there are mattresses that are more expensive than that, but you’re likely paying for bells and whistles, or hidden markups at that point.

A mattress can feel like a big investment, but you can also think about price this way: If you buy a $1,000 mattress, only sleep on it for 300 days out of the year, and own it for 7 years, you’re essentially paying $0.48 a day to get a great night’s sleep. (Your latte costs 10x more than that.)

40% of people feel that they will be ripped off when shopping for a new mattress.

Consumer Preference

Mattress Advisor surveyed 2,000 people to see which factors were most important to them when shopping for a mattress. The factors they considered “very important” were comfort (91.41%), support (81.37%), durability (77.06%) and price (76.58%).

Very important Not at all important Moderately important
Comfort 91.41% 1.23% 7.37%
Support 81.37% 1.58% 17.05%
Durability 77.06% 1.94% 21%
Price 76.58% 2.09% 21.33%
Firmness 56.17% 4.23% 39.60%
Pressure relief 53.31% 5.91% 40.77%
Return policy 35.26% 17.24% 47.50%
Responsiveness 34.80% 13.32% 51.89%
Motion transfer 30.26% 25.52% 44.22%
Edge support 29.83% 25.85% 44.31%

5. Where should you buy your mattress?

Pros and cons of buying a new mattress online vs. in-store

One question you might be asking yourself is: “Can I really buy a mattress online without trying it out first?” Fair question. But then consider this: You can’t really tell if a mattress is right for you without testing it out for a while. We’re talking like 30 days. So while you can feel a mattress and wiggle around on it for a few minutes in a mattress store, you’re not really getting the full experience anyway.

Here are some other reasons why buying a mattress online might benefit you:

  • Lower cost:  Buying from online-only mattress companies cuts out most of those “middleman” fees that retail stores rack on, so you can get a great quality mattress for a fraction of the cost. A premium mattress in a store can cost anywhere from $3,000 – $5,000 – which includes retail markups, wholesale markups, showroom fees, commission-based sales representatives, multiple delivery patterns, and somewhere in there, the mattress itself. The price is inflated at every step so all the players can make cash money off the deal. Online retailers ship directly to their customers so they’re cutting all the “extra” stuff out and therefore can offer a quality mattress for under $1,000.
  • Easy delivery and setup:  Typically, buying a mattress online means it will be shipped in a box or package that’s much smaller than the actual mattress. This means the entire delivery and setup process is easier. It can be left right at your doorstep or mailroom and carrying it to your bedroom is way less of a hassle – especially if you live on a 5th-floor walkup. Most online mattress companies will ship your mattress at no cost and some will even remove of your old mattress for a small fee of around $40 or so.
  • Generous trial period: Online mattress companies offer a generous trial period (usually 100+ days) for you to determine if this mattress is a keeper or if your search for the perfect mattress will go on. These are typically risk-free trials so you should take advantage of them and be sure not to settle if it doesn’t end up working for you. Most online companies also offer free returns where they’ll pick up the mattress right from your home at no extra charge. Many of them will donate your unwanted mattress to local charities. So you don’t need to feel guilty for returning your mattress.

“People buy a mattress based on comfort. No one buys a mattress that sucks. But there is something that happens at home after a period of time that causes customers to call and say I can’t sleep on this thing. So it’s not a comfort thing. It’s a support thing.”

– Dr. Robert Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute

  • Time savings: There’s also the obvious fact that buying online saves you a trip to the mattress store. You can do your research in the comfort of your own home and with the click of a button, it’s on its way to your doorstep. You can avoid the awkward interaction with salespeople in the mattress store who are working on commission and might make you feel pressured to buy.

Buying a mattress that comes compressed in a box that’s a fraction of the size might seem like a strange idea, but believe it or not, it can actually improve the performance of your mattress. A study conducted by Leesa showed that compressed beds performed better than an uncompressed bed. Why? A technical reason is that compressed beds are built with very high-quality foams.

“It’s like wearing a pair of washed jeans,” Jamie Diamonstein, Co-founder of Leesa told us. “You get a brand new pair of jeans, but if you wash them they kind of get broken in. They feel better.” Turns out compressing can help break in a mattress just the same!

If this hasn’t convinced you, then you should also consider the fact that some of the best-rated mattresses today are online only. It might sound a little silly to unwrap your mattress from a box, but it’s revolutionizing the way we buy mattresses.

42% of consumers wish they didn’t have to go into a store to buy a mattress.

That being said, if you’re old school and feel like you need to see/feel/touch your mattress before you buy it, there are certainly great mattress options available at retail stores, you should just be prepared to pay top dollar (and not necessarily because you’re getting a better mattress). Some online mattress brands like Casper and Leesa also have their mattresses available at select retail locations.


6. When is the best time to buy a mattress?

Buying a new mattress is a big investment, and in some cases, it pays to hold off your mattress purchase until the prices are discounted. Luckily, those times come at fairly predictable and frequent times throughout the year for many mattress brands and retail stores.

While not every company will always participate in these major sales, there’s a good chance you can find a great mattress deal around these holidays:

  • Black Friday
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day

You can also expect to save on mattresses around different company events, like grand opening sales, liquidation sales, moving sales and anniversary sales. These aren’t as predictable so it’s something to keep an eye out for.

Hint: We always consolidate the best mattress sales for our readers on our coupons page.  

How much can you expect to save?

If you’re buying a mattress online, you can expect to always pay less than in-store. You can save as much as 40% on some mattresses if you are willing and able to wait for a sale online.

At bricks & mortar stores, you can expect to save up to 60% on mattresses during sale periods, but remember that the overall price is going to be higher since you’re also paying for many of the mark-ups fees.


7. What should you avoid when buying a new mattress?

We’ve walked you through the important things that you want to see in a mattress, but keep in mind that there are a number of things you should avoid when mattress shopping. In general, you’ll want to stay away from the extremes.

Take a look at some of the warning signs we’ve outlined below.

  • Too soft or too firm: Even if you know you prefer something very soft or very firm, it’s a good idea to stay away from the extremes on the firmness scale (1s or 10s). There’s less of a chance you’ll find comfort on an extremely soft or extremely firm mattress over time.
  • Very cheap, very expensive: Mattresses under $500 (for a queen size) usually mean that you’re getting a lower quality mattress. That could be fine for a guest bedroom or temporary sleeping space, but be aware that cheaper mattresses won’t last you as long. And while you can certainly buy a quality mattress around $1,000, there are always going to be options that cost more and promise more. We’ve actually seen mattresses that cost upwards of $20,000 – and while yes, it’s likely a great mattress, it’s definitely not worth that much. Dr. Travis Russell of Chiro One Wellness said it the best: 

Don’t be cheap. Pay for quality, it will serve you in the long run. Life is too short to get a poor night’s sleep. For easy math, let’s assume you spend 8 hours a night sleeping. That’s 1/3 or your life you spend sleeping. Over the course of your life, there is nothing else you’ll do more than that. Sleep is when your body does the vast majority of its healing. Make an investment in your health and pony up for a high quality mattress that supports you properly. Your body will thank you for it.

  • No trial period or return policy: If you buy a mattress that doesn’t offer a trial period or return policy, you’re essentially stuck with that mattress or will lose some or all of your money if you decide it’s not the best mattress for you. This is especially important when purchasing a mattress online, but just because you tested a mattress in a store doesn’t mean it’s going to feel the same when you sleep on it for a while. Your body also needs different amounts of support in your wake state vs. your sleeping state – so it’s almost impossible to know if a mattress is going to work for you until you sleep on it for a few weeks.
  • No warranty: When investing in a product as significant as a mattress, it’s important to make sure you’re purchase is protected. There’s always a chance for a manufacturing flaw or error with the way the mattress was made. Warranties allow you the opportunity to send back your mattress and get a new one within a certain time period (usually 10-20 years). A warranty is also a good sign that a mattress company can stand by their quality and in the off-chance that your mattress wasn’t properly made, they’ll promise to fix it.
  • Poor customer reviews: While it’s usually a good idea to disregard the most extreme reviews, if you come across a mattress that has a significant number of poor reviews (or an overall lower customer satisfaction score) it’s usually a good idea to stay away from those. It’s a good idea to get a sense of the total number of customer reviews and see how many of them are not favorable. If you’re looking for a particular feature in a mattress (i.e. cooling), and you find that a decent amount of customers are complaining about sleeping too hot, then it’s probably time to move on.
  • Too thin: Typically mattresses will range from 9-12” depending on the brand and model. Mattresses thinner than this likely won’t provide the level of cushion and support that you need for quality sleep.

Insider secrets: Advice on shopping for a mattress from the experts  

Hear from experts at different mattress companies about their best advice when shopping for a new mattress.

Terry Pearce – Co-Founder of Purple

“Look at the ingredients. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find quality products when you’re shopping for a mattress, but that can be the difference between a mattress that lasts for one year or 20 years.”

John Merwin – Co-Founder of Brooklyn Bedding

“You spend a third of your life on your mattress. Make sure you invest in a quality mattress that meets your sleep needs.”

Adam Tishman – Co-Founder of Helix

“It takes time. Lying on a mattress for 2 minutes in a store has no statistical correlation with whether or not you’ll actually like that mattress. Similarly, it can take weeks to get used to your new mattress. It’s important to know that going in otherwise it will be hard to match your expectation to reality.”

JT Marino – Co-Founder of Tuft & Needle

Skip the mattress stores and go with an online company where you can return it if you don’t like it.”

Joe Alexander – Founder of Nest Bedding

“Research, research, research! Don’t think you’re crazy because you’ve searched a bunch of sites and reviews. Don’t pull the trigger until you’re confident. Choosing a bed online isn’t as hard as some think, but get to know the policies and see what other people have experienced with the companies you’re considering. And always toss out the bottom and top reviews from customers, see what the majority of consumers are saying.”

Daniel Galle – Founder of Nolah

“My advice would be to choose your mattress based on your preference for firmness. Incorrect firmness is typically the common cause for a poor sleep experience.”

Carly Griffin, Co-Founder of Zonked

“Really think about what your personal preferences and budget are. There’s still some skepticism around shopping for a mattress online but it’s so easy to compare different products and do research in the comfort of your own home. Plus, the trial periods allow you to see for yourself if you like the mattress, or you get your money back – it’s a win-win!”

Alexa Battista, Spokesperson for Wayfair

“Before purchasing a mattress, it’s important to understand your sleeping habits. Take into consideration the position you sleep and the type of support you need for a better night sleep. For any purchase, it’s beneficial to do research! Read customer reviews and source helpful articles to make an informative decision.”

Martin Rawls-Meehan, CEO of Reverie

On shopping for eco-friendly mattresses:

“Eco-friendly mattress materials are many, but here are some you’ll want to keep an eye out for: plant-based oils, bamboo, aloe vera, soy, organic cotton, and natural latex, which comes from the sap of a rubber tree plant like the one shown above. Organic wool is also a smart option, as it contains natural fire retardant properties that allow manufacturers to avoid treating their mattresses with toxic chemicals (mattresses are required by law to be fire-retardant).

If you want to go fully green, you’ll need to make a few concessions. Your mattress may have some wrinkles, as chemical treatments are used to make materials wrinkle-free. You also may need to opt for a lower thread count, since the thin threads required for high-thread-count sheets are often strengthened with chemicals.”

On deciding which mattress size is best for you:

“Before you head to the mattress retailer or online store, it’s important to do a self-assessment of your mattress size needs. First, think about the sleep footprint you’ll leave. Will the footprint include one body or two? Are those bodies small? Big? Tall? Short? A combination? Take note of the amount of space you, or your and your partner, will take up, and then add some extra space – nobody wants to be right up against the edge of the bed feeling like they’re about to roll off.

If the person sleeping in the bed tends to move a lot during sleep, you should add even more margin. Also, keep in mind that mattress measurements are slightly less than standard bed size, to ensure the mattress fits inside the frame.

With dual adjustability, split king beds and split king mattresses are the solution for couples who have different sleep position preferences. If your partner likes a different level or firmness, or one of you is often sitting in bed while the other reclines or lies down, there’s really no other option.”


We get that choosing your mattress is a big deal – it’s where you dream, love, recharge, binge watch your favorite Netflix shows and nurse yourself back to sleep during flu season. By this point, we hope we’ve helped you select the mattress that’s going to be best for you. At the very least, we hope you have a better understanding of what’s out there and what to look for in a mattress.

If you still have unanswered questions, leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Sweet dreams!