Buying a mattress kind of sucks, let’s be honest here. I’ve compiled this guide to help you get a good deal and how to find the best mattress for your needs. There is no reason why mattress shopping should be scary, but it is sometimes.
This is where this mattress buying guide comes into place. I have gathered personal details about my shopping experience and also search the internet for others who had different experiences. I’ve compiled a how-to guide on the best way to buy a mattress and hopefully, you will find it helpful for when you go and buy one.
First Things First
What you need to do first is figure out if you really need a new mattress. Yeah, I know, If you found this site you’re probably already on the right track to get a new mattress and nothing is going to stop you.
But what if all you needed was a mattress topper? What if you need a new mattress but don’t have the money to buy a new mattress and the fear of getting a new mattress is because you can’t afford one?
Well, then you need to consider a mattress topper. I would at least give a mattress topper a shot before plunking the money for a whole new mattress. If you come to find out that it’s not the mattress topper and its the bed, it’s not like you can’t use the mattress topper on the new mattress?
If a mattress topper won’t do then check out the checklist below to see if you fall into one of the categories.
The Check List
There are some common signs that you need a new mattress. I’ve listed some common problems people have when they find that their old mattress is no good and they need a new mattress.
-You wake up with pains and aches and they carry throughout the day.
-You’re constantly tossing and turning through the night.
-You can fill you mattress fight you back with the coils poking you.
-The mattress makes noises that you never heard before.
-You can’t remember when the last time you bought a mattress or its over 7 years old.
-You’re missing pieces or the mattress is falling apart.
-You can’t remember the last time you had a good nights sleep.
Don’t punish yourself, if you experience any of the above then its time for a new mattress.
What To Look For?
So if you made it this far you need a new mattress. Now the question is, “what do you look for in a new mattress?”.
You want something that is going to give you comfort and also still support your body while you sleep. Plus you want to be on the lookout for a mattress that will separate motion from your partner in bed, is temperature neutral so that you don’t sweat all night long, and has good edge support for getting in and out of the bed.
The good news is that many beds nowadays will give you all factors no problem. If they didn’t then the mattress company wouldn’t be around much longer because no one will buy it. This is the scary part. Any mattress you lay on at the store will feel great, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be great in 3 weeks.
So what do we do about this? We test the mattress.
Mattress Store Shopping
To test the mattress you must go to a mattress store. The trick is to not go to just one store, but all the ones that are close to you. The good news is that there is a ton of mattress stores, they purposely place mattress store close to each other and it actually makes them sell mattress this way.
I remember reading a story about a mattress store that place the exact same store next to each other and they would let the stronger store stay open and close other, but the funny part was that both stores thrived being next to each other.
I know it kind of sucks that you have to go to many stores, but it is for the best. Each store is different than the last. There are so many different mattresses in the world that it’s not possible for them to carry them all so you must venture to the other stores to make sure you don’t miss out on the right mattress.
Every store you’re going to go to is going to have some guy selling you mattress. This will be the worst part of the whole experience. Not saying that they’re bad guys, I have run into many that are great people and super helpful, but you will get some that want to make a sale.
The problem with most mattress salesman is that they push the mattress that will make them the most money. Sometimes the manufactures will have what is called a “spiff” which means if the salesman sells that mattress the mattress company throws some money there way.
Even though they can be pushy you will need them for the first round. Most mattress salesman will help point you in the right direction for a mattress. So you need them at first to narrow down the many mattresses that they have. So tell them what you want and what problems you’re having with your current mattress and use their knowledge to get you started. They are there to help and many know a lot of good information – so use them.
How To Pick the Mattress
If you don’t have your partner with you then stop what you’re doing and go get them. You really need to make a day out of this since you’ll more than likely have this mattress for the next 8 to 10 years. So giving up one day for 8 years is only a small thing.
After the salesman has helped you narrow down to a few mattresses, keeping in mind that they could be pushing a certain model due to the spiff, you next want to lay on it.
Lay on the mattress for 15 minutes if not more. Lay in all natural sleep positions for yourself – side, back, stomach, or however you sleep.
Here is the kicker… any of the mattress you lay on at the store will feel better than what you have. So keep that in mind and really feel deeper. Move around on the bed to see if any the coils poke you. Does the mattress suck you in?
Ask the salesperson if its okay to walk on top of the mattress with your shoes off. You want to feel how much it sinks your end. If you like a soft mattress then you want to sink a lot. If you want firm then it needs to feel like you barely sink or it doesn’t want to let you go.
Does the mattress squeak when you walk on it? If it’s already squeaking in the showroom then it’s not going to last.
Does the mattress have an odd smell? If it smells odd then you’re going to be smelling it for the next few weeks and I have had many people complain about it stuff like this. A good mattress protector will help avoid the “new mattress smell”.
Ask about the warranty and ask if stains void the warranty. Many places will void the mattress warranty if a stain is found on it, so its best to get a mattress protector like this one*.
Ask about the return policy, if they won’t take it back then they don’t stand behind the product and you should not buy it. This is important, even if the mattress felt good in the store you might come to hate it after it breaks in and knowing you can return it is key to the shopping experience. Usually, after 2 weeks of sleeping on the new mattress, you can tell if you like it or not so a return policy longer than that is not needed.
Also, ask if they deliver, this is important because these things can be heavy and after fighting all day to find the best mattress can really drain you. Also, ask if they take away the old mattress to save you a trip.
I never been a fan of the big name stores that sell the mattress and also other items like food. You can’t get the help you need these big department stores. I recommend going to a Mattress Only store where all they sell is just mattresses similar items. Don’t be afraid to use Google Maps to track down the closets Mattress Only Stores.
Negotiating a Better Price On The Mattress
One big perk of buying from a Mattress Only Store is that you can negotiate a better price. The bad part is that the mattress stores have great markup. You’ll never know how low they can go, but you can know that these guys have great margins. Even if the mattress is 50% off don’t be afraid to ask for another 20% off. Some of the mattress stores can have a 200% mark up and sometimes they get money back from the manufacturers for selling so many mattresses in a month. If the thought of negotiating makes you sick then skip over and start reading the better way option below.
Also, don’t forget to ask for something free instead of asking for money off. Getting a good pillow thrown in can be a better deal than getting more money off on the mattress.
Also don’t keep pushing the price down, they’re human too and a mattress store can refuse to sell you anything if you’re mean or rude to the staff. Always be nice, they have a family to support too!
One thing you got to be careful of is that many of the mattresses only stores will price match, but the problem is that they rarely carry the same model at the different store. What the manufacturer does is that they will create model for a certain store so that it can’t be price match even though its the exact same mattress but with a different model number.
—Sometimes it feels like one big game when buying a mattress. It’s not hard to see that this one mattress is the same as the other mattress but with a different name. So the trick is to get your phone out and take a picture of the top of the mattress and information card that hangs off the side. Tell the salesperson that even though these mattresses have different names they have the same fabric and the same features but store across the street is doing it for X less, will you beat that? This will blow their minds as the model number game they play has no effect here as you have proof that both mattresses are the same and since you have the picture it proves you went to the other store and are ready to buy this mattress. They will move mountains if you do this and this is how you get the best deal on a mattress where they play the price match different model number game.—
Different Types of Mattresses
There is quite a few different type of mattress in the world. The 3 most common ones are the innerspring, foam, and latex. Each has their advantages and downfalls.
The innerspring is the most common and one the oldest kind of mattress around. They are usually the cheapest and the one most commonly sold in stores. They have springs that are used to support you while you sleep.
Sometimes the innerspring mattress will have different features like each coil is individually wrapped to loosen the moment and give better comfort. Individually wrapped coils allow the mattress to conform to your body a the coil level. Sometimes these mattresses will have a pillow top to make up for the discomfort that innerspring mattress have. The pillow top is sometimes made of the material like foam and latex that the whole mattress are made from. Just doing a pillow top is cheaper way to a mattress softer. This is why I recommend them at the start to see if you just need a mattress topper and not a new mattress.
Next up is a foam mattress or better known as memory foam. This type of mattress has really been popular here lately and prices for them have dropped quite a bit. You will see more and more people go to memory foam mattress since they’re generally better than innerspring.
Memory foam has many different styles too such as cooling gels and such. The one downfall of memory foam is that it can sleep hotter than other mattresses.
Last up is the Latex mattress. Not really a new guy, its been around for some time. This is probably one of the more expensive of the 3 types of mattress but is probably the best one around. You can even get organic latex mattress which is best for you and the environment.
Latex is like the memory foam but a bit more spongy like an innerspring mattress.
You also have waterbeds, but its a dying breed if you ask me. They do have some modern waterbeds that look really nice but they have and need special frames and can cause a mess if done wrong.
Let’s not forget about the air beds. You know the ones, you adjust each side of the bed for your comfort. These mattresses are in a league of there own and hard to compare them to the other 3 types. They’re expensive and have more moving parts so I don’t really recommend them to many people. There are a few people who can benefit from them but this guide is not about them.
What about coil count? I’m not too concern about coil count as it can be a tactic that manufacturers use to oversell a mattress. So long as the coil count is above 400 on a queen size mattress then you’ll be fine, over 600 is better. If you’re concern about coil count then look at a memory foam mattress, its like have a million coils support your body.
There’s Got To Be A Better Way?
It’s quite exhausting mattress shopping. You got to get in your car, drive around to find the best mattress.
There’s got to be an easier way to do this? There is… you can shop online!
Buying a mattress has now become my preferred way to get a mattress. You can’t beat the hassle-free nature of it, so many reviews on each mattress from real people. Plus some of the mattresses have a return policy.
But none of that is as important as the fact that most of the time the mattresses you can buy online are sometimes cheaper than the ones you can get a the stores. Why? Because competition is stronger online so prices go down. You also have fewer games they play and they have no stores that need to pay people so less overhead.
Let me tell you, the reason why there is so many mattress store is due to the mattresses having huge margins. Yeah, that mattress that was 75% off was not a steal when they have a 200% markup.
But How Do You Test the Mattress?
When you buy a mattress online there is no way to test it out before you hand over your credit card. The good news is that some of the stores do have a return policy. But returning a mattress is a pain sometimes.
The real advantage of buying online is that you have had 100’s if not 1000’s of people who already bought the mattress giving you feedback in reviews. You can go through the internet and find a ton of reviews all over the place that give advice and recommendations when buying a mattress.
Look how great this is, here is a list of some the most popular mattresses you can buy online.
- Tuft & Needle Mattress
- DynastyMattress Cool Breeze 12-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress
- Leesa Mattress
- Signature Sleep Memoir 12-Inch Memory Foam Mattress
Make sure you read the full reviews and policies about returning some of these mattresses.
Buying a mattress online is pretty much the only way to go these days. Sure you can’t test it out but as you have seen you have many other people who have tested it and are giving you input back. What a great time to be alive!
Once you have the mattress you will still need to break it in if it is giving you discomfort issues. Think of it like a glove that has to be broken in before it feels good. Also, some of the mattresses need to fully inflate since they ship them compressed.
I have a lot of post on these topics and more through this site so feel free to explore a bit.
Should You Buy a Used Mattress?
No, never buy a used mattress. Even if it was free you should not buy it. I know times can be tough and you might not have an option, but if you have the money then buy a mattress. You can get mattress pretty affordable online, so check online first. You’ll be surprised at how affordable some of these mattresses are.
Do You Need A Box Spring
If you’re getting an innerspring mattress then yes you will need a box spring. If you’re getting a foam mattress or latex mattress then I would avoid a box spring. I would get a regular platform bed frame. Platform bed frames look nicer and some even have options for more storage under them.
I would not put a box spring on a platform bed, I get that question often.