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The Best Place to Buy a Mattress

If you need a new mattress, one of your first considerations should be where to make your purchase. Ordering a mattress online carries certain advantages and disadvantages for shoppers, and the same is true of buying your bed at a brick-and-mortar store. Where you ultimately choose to buy your mattress can affect how much you pay up-front for the bed itself, along with shipping and return fees. Other variables include the various brands, models, and mattress types you can choose from, delivery options, and sleep trial requirements.

Read on to learn the different pros and cons of online vs. brick-and-mortar mattress sellers.

Online

Buying a mattress online is arguably the most convenient option. You'll be able to research different mattress models, communicate with customer support staff, and place an order for the bed – all from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the recent "bed-in-a-box" boom, you can also choose from virtually hundreds of online mattress brands. When shopping online for a mattress, you can choose between buying directly from the brand or ordering your bed through an online marketplace. The best place to buy a mattress online depends on your budget.

Mattress Manufacturer Websites

For many mattress buyers, the most cost-effective online option will be to purchase your bed directly from the brand. Brick-and-mortar mattress sellers must contend with the high overhead costs of operating physical stores and employing commissioned salespeople. Online brands generally have lower overhead because they operate few – if any – brick-and-mortar locations and maintain a smaller staff.

Online mattress brand websites can be helpful resources too. Most sites contain detailed product pages with current prices, material specs, images, and shipping and return information, as well as customer and owner reviews. Many online mattress brands also offer live web chat with customer service personnel.

One disadvantage of buying a mattress online is not being able to test out the bed until you've placed an order. Thankfully, the majority of today's online brands offer sleep trials that allow you to try out the bed for a certain length of time. Most sleep trials last at least 90 nights, and some span up to one year or longer. If you decide to return the mattress before the trial period ends, the brand will issue a full or partial refund – and some arrange for a courier to pick up and dispose of the bed from your house at no extra cost.

Marketplaces

Online marketplaces offer products from multiple brands and private merchants. Customers place their order through the marketplace, but the seller determines the price and coordinates shipping for the product.

Many online marketplaces include mattresses from prominent brands. Amazon.com, for example, offers hundreds of individual beds. These include models from popular online brands such as Casper, Nectar, Purple, and Tuft & Needle, as well as brick-and-mortar mainstays like Sealy, Sleep Number, and Tempur-Pedic.

Sometimes you can save money when purchasing a mattress from an online marketplace, but you may miss out on certain perks that are exclusively available when you buy directly from the brand. These perks may include free shipping and a longer sleep trial. If you go this route, carefully research a mattress before buying to ensure it is in mint condition and has not been used.

In-Store

Before e-commerce changed the way we buy and sell products, mattress shoppers would select their beds at brick-and-mortar stores. Many customers still prefer the personalized touch of mattress stores over buying online. You can chat in-person with knowledgeable staff, lie down on beds to evaluate firmness and thickness, and choose from a large inventory of different mattress models and types.

Big-Box Retailers

The term "big-box retailer" refers to a large retail location that sells a wide assortment of products, including clothing, electronics, and home goods. Prominent big-box chains that sell mattresses include Big Lots, Costco, Target, and Walmart.

Mattresses from big-box chains are generally low-priced and most of these companies offer free shipping within the contiguous U.S. Returns are usually straightforward, as well. In most cases, you'll be able to coordinate your return online or physically drop the mattress off at the store where it was purchased for no extra charge.

Department Stores

Although not as common as it once was, brick-and-mortar department stores often feature a relatively small selection of mattresses. These models will generally be more expensive than those sold at big-box retailers or online, but expected price-points largely depend on the department store itself – some are more upscale than others.

Specialty Stores

Traditional "mattress stores" are still fairly common in cities and towns across the U.S. Compared to big-box retailers and department stores, these locations offer a wider selection in terms of mattress types, firmness level, and price-point. You'll also have the full attention of in-store staff, who can be quite knowledgeable and helpful. Another perk of many mattress stores is free (or at least inexpensive) White Glove delivery, which includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal.

On the other hand, some shoppers prefer not to interact with sales staff because they can be a bit pushy – many work on commission, after all. Visiting a mattress store can also be inconvenient, especially if you live in a remote location, and returning the mattress can be a costly hassle.

Online Mattress Brand Locations

Some online brands operate brick-and-mortar stores. For most, these locations are limited to a handful of U.S. cities, if not fewer. If you live relatively close to an online mattress brand's store and want to check out their selection, then it might be worth your time and money to pay a visit. Otherwise, it will probably be more convenient to order your mattress online through the company.

Many online brands also operate brick-and-mortar showrooms where you can lie down on mattresses to see how they feel. Again, these locations are usually limited to a few cities. There's another catch, too: you won't be able to buy the mattress at the showroom, and will need to order online instead. Many showrooms are appointment-only, as well. Be sure to check out the details for these locations on the brand's website.

Where Should I Go to Buy My Mattress?

Buy online if:

  • You have a limited mattress shopping budget
  • You prefer shopping from home
  • You don't require White Glove delivery
  • You'd like to test out the mattress during a lengthy sleep trial
  • You reside in a remote location
  • You already know your optimal firmness, thickness, and mattress type

Buy in-store if:

  • You have a flexible shopping budget
  • You'd rather speak in-person to a mattress expert
  • You'd prefer to have or require White Glove delivery
  • You want to test out the mattress in-person before buying it
  • You've never bought a mattress before and aren't sure about your ideal firmness, thickness, and mattress type