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What It's REALLY Like to Buy a Mattress Online

Shopping for a mattress online definitely has its perks. Our staff talks about this unique experience — and whether we're happy with our purchases.
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lift mattress

Buying a mattress isn't something to be taken lightly. There are all sorts of concerns like what you'll pay, how it feels, how it'll age, and whether a salesperson will cut you a deal.

Purchasing a mattress online brings up similar questions, but it's one of the most common ways to shop for a new bed now. Gone are the days of going to a showroom and flopping down on a display model. These days, you can browse tons of sites and prices often beat what you'd see in a showroom.

SEE ALSO: Should You Upgrade Your Sleep With a Tempur-Pedic or Memory Foam Mattress?

Whether you're actually in the market for a new mattress, or are just curious about all those beds you see advertised online, here's everything you need to know.

When to Replace Your Mattress

Conventional wisdom used to recommend replacing your mattress anywhere from every five to every 10 years.

These days, there are so many types of mattresses that there's no hard-and-fast rule to conform to. How you care for the mattress (and what it's made of) can determine how long it lasts. As long as you're sleeping comfortably and taking good care of your mattress, it'll easily last several years.

In-Store Doesn't Always Win

Many shoppers think that buying a mattress involves going to a showroom and trying it out in person. This allows them to test the bed, and maybe even negotiate for a better price. Thus, they might feel reluctant to make that kind of purchase online. However, shopping in-store won't always pay off. As one of our colleagues points out, he and his wife tried to shop at a chain in order to haggle — and it didn't go well.

Our UX researcher and his wife tried to shop at a chain in order to haggle — and it didn't go well.

Jeff Somogyi, our UX researcher, recounted his experience from 10 years ago. "My wife and I brought all cash to pay outright. After selecting the mattress, we asked about a deal... using us paying in all cash as the incentive." Apparently, the salesperson was less than willing to work with them. Any chance of negotiating stopped cold, although Somogyi notes they were told they'd receive a free mattress pad. (However, it never arrived.)

When asked if he'd consider purchasing a mattress online in the future, Jeff says he still prefers an in-store experience. He and his wife aren't fans of memory foam, which make up a lot of the online offerings. He also believes in testing a bed out first. "I still feel like I need to sit on, lay on a mattress before buying one."


woman waking up

What It's Like to Buy a Mattress Online

We surveyed everyone at DealNews who had bought a new mattress on the internet. Read on to see the kinds of experiences they had, and whether they regret those purchases.

Better Than a $2,500 Bed

Sara Ogles, Product Designer

Bought From: Purple

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
It sleeps better than my $2,500 Stearns and Foster we bought last time. As far as the life of the mattress is concerned, it seems like it's not going to wear out any faster than the others we've bought.

Would you recommend this company to others?
Definitely.

Would you recommend purchasing a mattress online to others?
For sure. I have friends who have purchased from other sites, and we're all happy with our purchases.

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
That it comes rolled up like a burrito.

Why did you decide to buy online vs. in-store?
Price was the main reason. The last time we bought in-store, we paid something crazy like $2,500 and the mattress lasted maybe five years before it started to hurt our backs again. We figured if we have to replace them that often, why not spend less?

How did you decide on the brand/site?
I did a lot of comparison and Purple's top layer sold it for me. None of the other companies that I found had that sort of a proprietary perk. I'm a mattress topper fan myself because I deal with some chronic pain, so once someone starts talking pressure points, it gets my attention. After I settled on Purple because of the added features, I just had to verify that they were trustworthy enough for me to give them a chance.

How did you decide on the specific mattress you bought?
Research mostly. Reviews go both ways when going with online mattress companies. Purple is currently taking a lot of heat online from one particular site... but when you consider that the site in question is run by a Casper affiliate, things start making a little more sense. It's just a judgement call at the end of the day. Which site do you trust to either (a) give you a good mattress or (b) give you your money back if the mattress is garbage.

Were you happy with your purchase?
Yep!


Cold Sales Pitch, Comfortable Mattress

Ted Satcher, BI Developer

Bought From: Purple

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
Good support... needed a memory foam topper to make it warmer and softer, and no springs, so hopefully [it] won't collapse after a few years.

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
[It] came with a car seat cushion, sleep mask, and a sample of the internal gel material (makes an odd squishy sound). You don't ship the mattress back if you don't like it. You donate it, get a receipt, and Purple will refund your money.

How did you decide on the specific mattress you bought?
We purchased two twin Purples to replace a king-size bed. We didn't spend much time comparing brands. It was kind of a shot in the dark.

Were you happy with your purchase?
Happy with the mattress.


Great Recommendation With Great Results

Chuck Phillips, Director of Client Success

Bought From: Nest Bedding

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
The build quality seems to be just [as] good as the previous mattress we purchased from a brick-and-mortar store. Hopefully the difference in materials (Hybrid Latex vs. conventional) will translate into a longer life than our last bed.

Would you recommend this company to others?
Definitely. In fact, it was recommended to us.

Would you recommend purchasing a mattress online to others?
Based on this experience, absolutely.

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
The fact that you can't actually touch or "test out" the product before you make a decision. Yes, most of the online companies offer a 90-100 day trial period, but if you do have to send a bed back, it's at best an inconvenience, and at worst an all-out hassle. We're just glad that we're happy with it so far, but it's comforting to know that if at the end of month three we can still send it back if it's not right for us.

Why did you decide to buy online vs. in-store?
I had previously bought a mattress in-store and although it wasn't a bad experience, I didn't want to have to deal with going to a store and dealing with a salesperson. I don't feel you can really make an informed decision laying on a bed for a few minutes anyway, so the typical 100-day trial period that online mattresses have is just as good to me.

How did you decide on the brand/site?
I went completely off the recommendation of a friend. I had tried researching before that, and had it narrowed down to a handful of potential brands, but ultimately word-of-mouth helped me in the end.

How did you decide on the specific mattress you bought?
I was recommended this model by the friend that swayed me to go with Nest Bedding. I did read the review on the site... several times. I always looked up third-party reviews, videos, and unboxings.

Were you happy with your purchase?
We are very happy with the purchase. A month into the life of the mattress and so far, no regrets.


bed

Convenient Delivery

Gennady Lager, Search Marketing Senior Director

Bought From: Casper

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
It is the best mattress I've ever bought. I've only ever bought a few mattresses in my life, so it's not hard to be best. With that said, I do like it. The delivery and free return option was a big selling point.

Would you recommend this company to others?
Yes.

Would you recommend purchasing a mattress online to others?
Yes, with the caveat that if you have to move it yourself upstairs or something, you will need help. These things are heavy! (Especially if you get a king).

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
Not trying it first, although there are now physical stores where you can try out an online mattress before buying it.

Why did you decide to buy online vs. in-store?
The price online was pretty good for a high-end mattress... plus, it was a life decision rather than a product decision for me. We were moving across the country and were moving into a home we'd never been to, so we needed [something] already delivered when we arrived and something I could carry up into the bedroom myself.

How did you decide on the brand/site?
The delivery and free return option was a big selling point. Another big component for us was the 90-night trial period.

How did you decide on the specific mattress you bought?
We looked at all of the fold-out high-end options on the market at the time... we even went to a couple of stores that carried them. We did try the Casper that we wound up buying at one of the early stores that carried them.

Were you happy with your purchase?
Yes.


Better Deal From a Regional Chain

Bruce Hammonds, VP of Marketing & User Acquisition

Bought From: Bob's Discount Furniture

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
It seems to be the same quality as other, more expensive mattresses that I've purchased.

Would you recommend this company to others?
Yes (even though it's a regional furniture chain).

Would you recommend purchasing a mattress online to others?
Yes.

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
The mattress smells a bit when you take it out of its vacuum-sealed box, so you have to wait for that [to] wear off. In the past, mattress delivery included removal of the old mattress, but that [wasn't] the case with this purchase since it was delivered by a FedEx driver. Not really an issue, but just something to consider if you need to discard... a mattress.

Why did you decide to buy online vs. in-store?
I already knew which mattress I wanted, so ordering online was more convenient than going to the store. Going to the store was an unnecessary trip.

How did you decide on the brand/site?
Price. What they offered was less expensive than others, plus the reviews were positive.

How did you decide on the specific mattress you bought?
I already knew that I wanted a memory foam mattress, and the store I bought it from only has limited options, so narrowing down was relatively easy. And like I mentioned before, the reviews were positive, so all I had to do was pick the right size and place the order.

Were you happy with your purchase?
So far, yes.


Hidden Pillows

Adam Bjurstrom, Business Intelligence

Bought From: Amazon from Dynasty Mattress, Inc.

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
The bed is dang comfortable, was very affordable, and has held up since.

Would you recommend this company to others?
I would recommend this company because there is something downright charming about it. Their products are made with pride in China. I heard some stories while researching the [beds] of people who had called [the] company and asked them about the products. The staff would go on and on about the quality they put into it, like they were excited to tell people about how great they were.

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
Once we got the bed in place and out of the box, we had a flat plastic-wrapped bed. One interesting thing was breaking the seal on the mattress and letting it expand back into shape. It grew fairly quickly, but we let it "rise" for a day before using it as suggested.

One funny thing about the whole experience was the bed we bought had on the listing that it came with two pillows of the same foam material. When we opened up the box, there was only the one package in it. We spent some time looking around for the pillows, and started wondering if we didn't get them.

We had just about given up on them with the attitude of, "Ah well, that's what you get for buying stuff like this on the internet," when we found them under the expanded mattress. They had been so tightly compressed in the same plastic roll as the mattress, we didn't notice them while we were unrolling the thing. They must have been squished down to the thickness of a slice of bread, but when we rescued them and gave them some time, they grew into a pair of very nice pillows.

Why did you decide to buy online vs. in-store?
I think the main reason we were looking at online was that we wanted to save money. We also in general don't like high-pressure sales interactions. I think that any store that supports a physical store and a sales staff for something most people only buy every seven-plus years must either be good at upselling people, are overpriced, or both.

How did you decide on the brand/site?
We went with Amazon because it seems like the go-to place to shop these days. Good deals, a lot of reviews, and a consumer-friendly return policy. While we have had issues with orders before from third-party sellers on Amazon, they have always made things right very quickly. I guess shopping at Amazon feels safer than going elsewhere, and we are happy to trade that for saving a few bucks elsewhere.

Were you happy with your purchase?
Honestly, the whole experience was amazing.


sleeping in bed

No Box Springs Required

Julie Ramhold, Blog Staff Writer

Bought From: Amazon from Linenspa

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
It was much more affordable and so much more comfortable than other mattresses we've had.

Would you recommend this company to others?
Absolutely (both Amazon and Linenspa).

Would you recommend purchasing a mattress online to others?
Definitely.

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
The fact that it's vacuum-sealed and has to expand before you can use it.

Why did you decide to buy online vs. in-store?
We don't like having to deal with salespeople, but also we were concerned about price. At the time, buying a memory foam mattress essentially meant buying something from one of the huge names, and that meant spending way more than we were willing to. Online though, everything was much more affordable.

How did you decide on the brand/site?
We looked at several review sites for the best memory foam mattresses. Once we set our budget, Linenspa won out for the best reviews.

How did you decide on the specific mattress you bought?
We read reviews about the types of memory foam, thicknesses, potential drawbacks, etc. We ended up going with a thinner mattress that's 8" because we felt like it would be thick enough to be comfortable but thin enough we wouldn't need a set of box springs.

Were you happy with your purchase?
Very happy with it. Two years later and no complaints whatsoever.


It Was On Our Site

Keira Wagner, Assistant Editor

Bought From: Groupon

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
It's more comfortable than past mattresses I've had.

Would you recommend this company to others?
Yes.

Would you recommend purchasing a mattress online to others?
Yes.

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
Not getting to try it out, I suppose.

Why did you decide to buy online vs. in-store?
I decided to go with online because I didn't relish the idea of having to haul a mattress to my house from the store or pay someone to deliver it. Granted, that meant I couldn't test it out, but I've been happy with it, and I haven't noticed any wear so far.

How did you decide on the brand/site?
Groupon's a trusted site, and I've never had a bad experience with them, so that made the decision simple.

How did you decide on the specific mattress you bought?
I had just written up a deal for it before I bought it later that night. I did read the reviews, which were very positive, and the fact it had a 20-year warranty was a nice plus. It was also just a great price for a queen mattress, and I was trying to find something that wouldn't break the bank, so to speak.

Were you happy with your purchase?
Yes.


Make Sure to Read the Reviews

Heather Lovett, Director of Public Relations

Bought From: Overstock.com

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
I love my mattress, the price for a king was affordable, and it's one of the most comfortable that I've slept on. My boyfriend also bought a mattress online in May 2017, and I hate the one he bought. We ended up keeping it because we didn't want to deal with returning it, but it's in the guest bedroom. I guess it's a win-win. Our guests have somewhere to sleep, but it's not so comfortable that they will overstay their welcome.

Would you recommend this company to others?
Yes, I would definitely recommend Overstock to others. Just make sure to read the reviews to understand what you are getting.

Would you recommend purchasing a mattress online to others?
Absolutely. I don't think I would feel comfortable testing a mattress in-store anyway. How relaxed can you get while others walk by you? Plus, it's gross. (When was the last time [they] cleaned it? Can you get lice from those mattresses? Haha, sorry! Not for me!)

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
Nothing at all, honestly. I didn't have any qualms about purchasing a mattress online.

Why did you decide to buy online vs. in-store?
Honestly, I'm too lazy to go to the store. I prefer not dealing with salespeople whenever possible. It's also not really worth the hassle of going in-store when there are so many more options to be found online. You can't really price-compare, and you feel forced into a decision.

How did you decide on the brand/site?
I've purchased this mattress on Overstock before and really liked it. I definitely looked at the reviews to ensure I would like it — specifically the negative reviews to ensure there weren't any major flags.

How did you decide on the specific mattress you bought?
I looked at the reviews and compared the price to other similar mattresses.

Were you happy with your purchase?
Yes, I LOVE my mattress.


Cheaper Price, Same Quality

Jerry Abbott, Product Owner of Internal Development

Bought From: Overstock.com (4 times now). I always wait till they have a sale.

How does this mattress compare to others you've bought?
So much cheaper and the quality is the same.

Would you recommend this company to others?
Yes.

Would you recommend purchasing a mattress online to others?
Yes.

What's the weirdest thing about buying a mattress online?
The way they look when they are delivered.

Why did you decide to buy online vs. in-store?
Cost... The fact that the quality is the same as what you find online and you pay sooooo much less.

How did you decide on the brand/site?
A friend was working at Overstock.com the first time I purchased from them. But, now I go back there because I've had positive experiences.

How did you decide on the specific mattress you bought?
Is it on sale? What are the reviews like? Does it meet my requirements? For the adults, I got at least 12" mattresses. For one full-size bed, I just got an 8" mattress. It's thinner but it's as comfortable as the 12" mattresses.

Were you happy with your purchase?
Yes!

Readers, have you bought a mattress online? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.


Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015, after many years of becoming well-versed in technology issues as a communications professional for a software company. She first entered journalism in college, reporting on issues facing frugal students for CollegeCandy.com. Julie lives in DealNews' hometown of Huntsville, AL.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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7 comments
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@Corgi

Thanks for the additional detail! That's great to know.
Corgi
@Lindsay Sakraida (Deal News) -

FYI - In my situation, the reviews I read were Amazon. I'm sure many were legit but I question the ones that went on and on about how miraculous and life-changing the product is. I've seen similar unrealistic reviews for other mattress companies too. It's all a bit much. Bottom line though, it's my own fault for believing everything I read.

At the same time I understand mattress comfort is very subjective. It's very tempting to buy a mattress online like I did, without testing.
But IMO, nothing beats physically trying it out before purchase. Once any big, awkward mattress is delivered, you're pretty well stuck with it in most cases.

Buyer beware when reading online reviews, especially with mattress purchases. I think online review legitimacy in general is a growing problem.

ps - I've now ordered a soft topper/pad for my hard mattress with the hope of salvaging some comfort.

Thanks!
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@Corgi

Out of curiosity, were you looking mostly at Amazon user reviews, or review sites?
Corgi
After being influenced by many positive over-the-top reviews, I purchased a 'Sleep Innovations' foam mattress through Amazon.

I'm not at all happy with the product. Way, way too hard. A big mistake on my part.

I really question the validity of all those positive reviews. Seems very fishy but I have no proof.

Returning mattress was too complicated and too much work.
Read those positive mattress reviews with a big grain of salt.
Stubenville
There are mattress comparison sites out there if you want to do more research; I like SleepLikeTheDead.com. There are a few high scoring mattresses they mention that may not be on your radar.

A "leading consumer products rating magazine" (you can probably guess who) awarded the Casper a best buy designation. Only three mattresses scored very slightly higher, and all were more expensive (two were quite a bit more pricey.)

A (very) few brands have stores, and the Leesa mattress can be tried at some West Elm locations.

Be sure to compare return policies when a mattress is available from more than one vendor; the Casper mattress is available at Amazon.com, but their return policy is quite different from the return policy for purchases online at casper.com.
Ottoman
We went to the Casper showroom in Manhattan and tried it out. It's definitely an excellent mattress, though we ended up purchasing the top of the line IKEA latex mattress which is very similar and $200-$300 cheaper. Of course we had to truck it home ourselves (and it's not vacuum shrink packed in king size) but the savings were worth it.
CinciShopper
I bought a Zinus 12 inch Green Tea infused mattress off of Amazon a year ago and couldn't be happier. I paid about $220 for it. It replaced a $1000 Sealy Pillow Top that was about 10 years old. The Zinus is far more comfortable than the Sealy it replaced.

I see all of these mattress only stores all over my area with no cars in the parking lot any day of the week. How do they stay in business? MARKUP! They are hitting a home run every time they ring the register. Half of what you are paying is going towards that salesman and keeping the doors open. In some cases even more than that. Save your money and get a mattress a place like Amazon like I did. The reviews don't lie.

My suggestion if you absolutely have to sit on it before you buy? Buy a mattress at a place like Sams Club or Costco. Even better yet, showroom one of those mattress only stores I mentioned and find exactly what you like, pull out your smartphone and take a pic of the tag and then find it only someplace cheaper.