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Before the internet, families would wander into a mattress outlet or department store to lay down on a bed or three before selecting what they believed was a better mattress than what they already had at home.
As you can imagine, it’s not terribly easy to determine the merits of a mattress and it’s affects on your body from such a small sample size.
Now that online shopping has arrived the mattress buying process has been turned on its head. You can research and watch reviews of any mattress on the market. You can have a mattress delivered to your door in a matter of days. You can return that same mattress just as quickly at the expense of the brand if you don’t like it. There are more options than ever (which is a good thing), but with that comes more confusion.
We’ve had our fair share of mattresses delivered to our front door and we’ve slept on them all. From that experience we’ve learned some really important lessons that are likely to help consumers in need of a new mattress.
6 Things You Absolutely Must Do When Buying a Mattress
1. Determine the Mattress Size
Without knowing the size of mattress you need you can’t move on to some of the following points. Measure your room for the mattress and make sure you have adequate space for a frame and bedside tables. Mattress sizes are standard and we’ve outlined them in another article (here). Double check that your bed frame is compatible with the size of mattress you plan to buy and then it’s time to find your mattress.
2. Assess Yourself
It’s impossible to select the right mattress if you’re not in tune with your own body and sleep habits. Take some time to determine which sleep position you prefer; back, stomach, side or combination. Then get in touch with any medical conditions you have such as snoring, back pain, allergies, or arthritis. From there you can get a good idea of what level of support you need as well as which construction materials suit you.
3. Assess Your Partner
You’re also going to need a clear idea of your partners sleep criteria. If you’re not compatible it’ll be important to address these issues before purchasing a mattress. Even if you compromise on a mattress that falls somewhere in the middle you’re likely to both end up unhappy and what’s worse is that you’ll likely keep each other up at night from the tossing and turning that will ensue. There are options out there that can meet both your needs at the same time so make sure to do your research!
4. Don’t Skimp on Budget
Mattresses are big purchases and an all-too-common mistake is convincing yourself you don’t need to go all out for an upgrade. While there are some decent affordable mattresses out there; the difference between those and a premium mattress are significant. Not only are more expensive mattresses constructed with better materials that last longer and prevent sagging, but they usually come with extended warranties that guarantee replacement if the mattress fails. Just don’t lose your original purchase materials and be sure to purchase a mattress protector at the same time (you may need proof).
5. Take Advantage of Sleep Trials
Nearly all online mattress companies now allow you to order their mattress and return it for free if it’s not to your liking. Shove your old mattress in the garage when your new mattress comes so that you have a backup option if you decide to return the new one. Then rinse and repeat until you’ve found a brand that is just right.
6. Don’t Forget About Bedding
If there’s anything I’ve learned on my sleep journey it’s that the mattress isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Pillow selection makes up for a lot of mattress inadequacies and a premium comforter with duvet makes you feel like royalty. If there’s ever a place to pamper yourself it’s in bed. With the amount of time we, as humans, spend there it’s imperative to get it right. It’s something you’ll never regret.
Can a High-Quality Mattress be Affordable?
When asking this question, the first thing you’re going to have to determine is what it is that you personally consider high quality. To do this, you have to ask yourself, “What is the most important feature that I absolutely need to have in this new mattress?” Everyone’s idea of high quality will not be the same, because what may be helpful for one person may not be comfortable for the next. Your personal level of quality will be your decision, no one else’s. Besides, you’re the one who is going to be sleeping on it!
You should never base your decision on price alone, or simply make your choice based on television commercials or other ads you may have seen online. Just because those actors (and yes, they are many times actors, not actual customers) may make the mattress look like the most comfortable one in the world doesn’t mean that it is.
For example, let’s say that a married couple is looking for a new mattress that doesn’t transfer motion. High quality in their eyes would be different sizes of mattresses that have that exact feature, and maybe a few other ones the two of them agree on, such as a mattress that comes with a lengthy warranty. On the other hand, a single person would not necessarily see that mattress as one that is of high quality, because they probably don’t sleep with anyone every single night that they would have to come to that agreement with.
A person who has bad back or neck pain would narrow down his or her choice of quality mattresses to ones that would alleviate that pain as they sleep. Where most people make a mistake is trying to simply get the most popular mattress because they think that it is cool, and don’t take the time to really figure out if it’s the one for them. The ones that you see the most with the most ads probably cost the most, and you may spend too much trying to chase style than acquiring quality.
Buying Online vs Buying In-Store
Although there are a few exceptions to this rule, in general most of the companies who sell mattresses online don’t have different sizes of mattresses in stores that you can try out beforehand. What you have to do is purchase it, try it out for a while, then send it back if it’s not what’s best for you.
Now, let’s say that you see a mattress that you like in a furniture store, but you decide that you don’t want to buy it at that store. What you could do is try it out, then go home and purchase the same item and brand online from the retailer that you desire. There is a good chance that the same mattress is a lower price online, and you could be paying about 20% more in-store. Granted the exact mattress that you laid on at the store isn’t the one that will be delivered from the other retailer with the lower online price, if the online store has a money back guarantee it may be worth it to go ahead and make the order.
Still, there is a really good chance that you could not visit a store at all, buy a mattress online that you didn’t physically lay on yourself, and be completely happy with it for years. For example, you may purchase a condensed-packaged memory foam mattress that gets delivered to your home or apartment. Those mattresses conform to your body, so, if you tried it in a random store and liked it, then all your delivered one will need is a little breaking in. If you are switching mattress styles because of an injury, remember, get the doctors recommendations, because you could end up making a bad situation worse sleeping long hours on a mattress that isn’t helping relieve the pain in your body.
When you buy a mattress online, there is a chance that you will only get front-door delivery, whereas with most stores you can receive full-service delivery. As far as delivery speed goes, a furniture store could likely get you the new mattress in a day or two, while online orders can take weeks. That’s not to say that you can’t ever get it delivered quicker, but generally physical furniture stores deliver faster. Returning an online order can also be a hassle with some companies, whereas if you bought it at a store any exchanges and/or refunds are often streamlined. Still, the return fee for an in-store purchase is sometimes higher than online orders.
Another thing is you don’t know exactly how long a mattress has actually been on display when trying it out in a store. If it’s been there a while, then there is a chance that all those people who were testing it out may have broken it in unwittingly. Ask the salesman if the one that will be delivered feels like the one you just tested out. Even though you may have laid on it for 20 minutes (the recommended amount of time to lay on your back, sides, and maybe your tummy while testing it out), there is still a chance that it will feel different when you sleep on it overnight, when your body sinks and relaxes deeper into it for those six or eight hours of slumber.
The convenience of shopping online and not having to deal with pushy salespeople is still a top reason why customers decide to buy online. If you are buying a completely different mattress than you currently have, then it’ll be to your benefit to diligently research and/or test out the mattress for yourself before buying. As far as customer service goes, it may depend on the past experiences that you have had with online versus in-person salespeople. How good or bad customer service is really just depends on the company, but most prefer to deal with online rather than in-store sellers. You may also be able to get out of paying taxes on the mattress if you purchase it online.