When it’s time to buy a new mattress, you have two main options: ordering the mattress online or going to a brick and mortar store.
Each option has several sub-options. For instance, if you do decide to order online you can buy on Amazon or on the manufacturer’s own website.
We’ll get to those options in a while. First, let’s look at the differences and pros & cons of shopping online vs. in a good old physical store.
Buying a Mattress in a Brick and Mortar Store
With online stores and bed-in-a-box companies providing a no-hassle shopping process and generous in-home trial periods, there’s really no reason to go to a physical store.
But if you still want to see and touch the mattress before you buy it, you have several options.
Big Box Retailer
The main advantage of big box stores is variety.
Large stores like Walmart carry a wide variety of mattresses from luxury brands costing thousands of dollars to cheap mattresses of questionable quality.
They’ll also have many different types of mattresses including spring, memory foam, latex foam and hybrid.
You get the chance to try the mattress for a few minutes and get a feel of it. You can compare how each type of mattress feels and ask as many question as you want.
But note that a 15-minute test is not enough to determine whether the mattress is good for you.
You need to sleep on it for at least two weeks to allow your body to get used to it. The mattress might turn out to be firmer or softer than you thought.
Luckily, most mattress stores will let you return the mattress within 30-90 days. But you may have to pay a restocking fee and find a way to get the mattress back to the store.
If you go to a department store, expect to spend more on the same mattress you would have bought for less money online.
That’s because these stores have high overheads and a long line of intermediaries between the factory and the store.
So they have to charge more to maintain profitable margins.
Cheap mattress are usually not worth it. They are very low quality.
High quality mattresses tend to be expensive.
If you need a new mattress quickly, like today, a big box store is a good choice. Otherwise, you’ll get a better deal online.
A furniture store will have a smaller variety of mattress brands and options. They are also likely to be more expensive compared to a large department store.
The main advantage of going to a furniture store is that they might have certain types of mattresses big box stores lack.
For instance, some furniture stores focus on organic and natural mattresses.
Buying at a furniture store also gives you a chance to see and touch the mattress.
You can test it for a few minutes and ask questions though it’s not a guarantee that the sales representative knows much about mattresses.
Specialty Sleep Store
Why not skip the large retailers and furniture stores and go directly to mattress experts?
If you feel that way, a sleep or bedding store is the best choice. These stores specialize in bedding, with mattresses obviously being a big part of their trade.
They’ll have a wide variety of mattresses, though this depends on store size.
Because of overheads and the fact that they are a specialty store, prices are generally higher compared to buying online or in a big box store.
Bed-in-a-Box Physical Store/Showroom
If you really prefer buying from a brick and mortar store, this is the best compromise.
You get most of the same benefits of buying online – great prices, long in-home trial period and a long warranty – but you can still touch and see the mattress before you buy.
But these kinds of stores are rare.
The few who have branched into physical stores are just starting out so it’s highly likely there isn’t one near you.
Most are located only in major cities like New York and San Francisco.
Buying a Mattress Online
The best place to buy a mattress is online. Here’s why.
- A wide variety to choose from. You can find practically any mattress you want online. If not on Amazon then from another online retailer or the manufacturer’s website.
- Great prices. Mattresses are generally cheaper online. Direct to consumer (also called bed-in-a-box) mattresses are especially affordable.
- A no-frills shopping experience. No pushy sales reps and you don’t have to drive out to a store.
As with buying from a brick and mortar store, you have several options if you want to buy online.
Amazon and other Online Retailers
If you do all your online shopping on Amazon, you’ll be glad to know they stock a wide variety of mattresses as well from numerous brands.
Whether you need a luxury mattress, a budget foam mattress or an organic mattress, it’s easy to find one.
Prices are generally lower compared to a brick and mortar store.
The main disadvantage of buying from an online retailer is that you don’t get to deal directly with the mattress company.
You have to stick to Amazon’s return period and customer support can be problematic.
You may also not be eligible for things like white glove delivery and free mattress exchange that you would have gotten if you’d bought directly from the manufacturer.
Manufacturer Official Website
If you decide to buy online, we highly recommend going directly to the manufacturer’s official website.
This is where you’ll get the best deal.
Mattresses are much cheaper when you buy directly from the manufacturer. They manufacture their own mattresses (by contracting factories) and bring the finished mattress directly to your home.
This eliminates many overheads and intermediaries that drive prices high.
In addition, most manufacturers usually have a discount or bonus gift that’s not available if you buy from Amazon or some other online store.
Here are some other benefits of buying directly from the manufacturer.
Free shipping: Most bed-in-a-box companies offer free shipping within continental United States.
White glove delivery and old mattress removal: Some companies offer to set up the mattress for you and remove the old mattress either at a fee or for free.
Long in-home trial: Amazon’s standard return period is 30 days. If you buy directly from mattress manufacturers, the trial period is usually 100 days. Some companies like Nectar give you a full year to test the mattress at home.
Free returns: No restocking or shipping fees. Most companies offer to pick up the mattress from your home or ask you to donate it to a local charity.
Great customer support: You can speak directly to the company rather than some sales rep who knows nothing about the mattress. They’ll be very helpful if you have questions or concerns about the mattress.
Summary: Buying a Mattress Online vs. In-store
|Lower prices and frequent deals and discounts from the manufacturer||High prices because of overheads|
|Easy shopping experience||You have to drive to a store and deal with sometimes pushy sales people|
|A wide variety of choices||Good variety but not as wide or as easily accessible as online|
|Easy to compare among different options. Manufacturers include plenty of information on features and materials.||You don’t get time or space to compare available options. You have to rely on information provided by the store, which may be incomplete or inaccurate|
|You can read customer reviews before purchasing the mattress||Unless you do a quick search for the mattress online while you are in the store, you won’t know what other users think about it|
|Long in-home trial period. There’s no hurry to test your new mattress. You also get free returns.||15-minute test that doesn’t tell you much about the mattress. Return period is also shorter and return may attract fees.|
|Customer support is easily accessible||You often have to go through the store to get help|
The verdict is clear. Online is the best place to buy a mattress.
See our reviews of the best mattresses sold online to find the best mattress for your needs and budget.
To save money on your new mattress, check out our list of coupon codes and mattress discounts.
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