Buying a Mattress: Online Vs. In-Store Shopping

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation.


Where is the best place to purchase a new bed?

You spend one-third of your life on a mattress—so it’s no wonder that you want to make sure that you buy the right one. But since mattresses last for years, maybe it's been a while since you’ve purchased a new one. As a result, you might feel confused about how to go about comparison shopping and getting the best deal without sacrificing satisfaction. As with most purchases, you can sometimes get a better deal online than in a brick-and-mortar store. But there are also benefits to taking the more traditional path and doing your shopping in person.

If you want to go the virtual route, rest assured that there is no difference in satisfaction between people who buy mattresses online, compared with those who get them at mattress showrooms. But you can’t just log on to a website and pick a mattress randomly—you still need to know what you like. That’s why, regardless of where you want to ultimately make your purchase, you should first go to a mattress showroom and test out different mattress styles to find out what you like. Firm or soft? Springs or memory foam? Shed your embarrassment and lie down on lots of different mattresses. Change positions a few times, making sure that you spend a few minutes on each side, your back, and your stomach. Even if you already have a specific type of mattress, you should still take this first vital step. Technology changes in the years between mattress purchases, and you may find that your preferences shift. Once you identify what you like, you can narrow down your options.

So why not always buy the mattress in the store? One reason is price. You will typically pay 15 percent less online, compared with in-store (sometimes less than half the retail price!). And many websites offer easy returns. Website retailers know that customers will want to test out a mattress, so some include things like 90-day free trials as a way to convince customers that it’s a low-risk transaction. It is – but remember that you usually have to bear the burden of wrapping up the mattress and getting it to the post office or carrier for return. It also comes down to preference: Some people just like shopping from the comfort of home or don’t have a store nearby that sells what they’re looking for.

That said, some people feel really uncomfortable making such a big purchase online. Maybe, for instance, you are worried about having to return it or want to lie on the actual mattress you’ll be buying. If that’s the case, you can still get a great deal at a store. If you find a mattress on a website for a great price, bring an online deal into a store and ask a salesperson if the store can match the price. Unlike websites that have a set price, mattress salespeople in stores have the ability to negotiate with you and get you a price that makes you happy. You might also end up with some great add-ons by shopping in a store, like a free mattress pad or free removal of your old mattress.

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