Buying A Mattress Online: What You Need To Know

By McKenzie Hyde Certified Sleep Coach

Over the last decade, people have become more comfortable shopping online as the web continues to become a more secure, affordable and convenient marketplace. In some cases, the overall convenience…

Last Updated On August 30th, 2022
Buying A Mattress Online: What You Need To Know

Over the last decade, people have become more comfortable shopping online as the web continues to become a more secure, affordable and convenient marketplace.

In some cases, the overall convenience of buying online has overtaken the need to feel a product in person before purchasing it. Mattresses now fall under this category of products.

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There are many benefits to purchasing a mattress online, like lower prices, but there are also some pitfalls to be wary of. Learn what to look for when deciding on what mattress to buy online, as well as what to avoid as you shop.

What To Look For In A Mattress

Certain elements are always important when buying a new mattress regardless of where you purchase it. The mattress material, firmness and what you can spend are key to finding the right mattress for you.

Your Mattress Budget

The first thing to consider when purchasing a new mattress online is how much you’re willing to spend. You can save a fair amount by shopping for a mattress online since web retailers cut out the need for a distributor and retail space, in turn saving the customer money.

Your budget should account for how long your mattress will last. A less expensive mattress might not last as long because of the materials that it uses or how it was manufactured. The best mattresses should last at least six years with higher quality mattresses lasting longer.

Lower-quality mattresses may also be less effective at relieving and preventing pain Verified Source ScienceDirect One of the largest hubs for research studies and has published over 12 million different trusted resources. View source over time.

If you take care of your mattress properly, you can get the most life out of it without having to spend a fortune. A mattress’s care routine doesn’t have to be intensive either, it can be as simple as vacuuming it once a month and rotating the mattress every few months.

When buying online, look at how much shipping will be to get your mattress delivered. Companies that offer free shipping on a mattress in a box might have slightly higher prices, but you’ll be saving money by not having to pay shipping costs yourself. The convenience of home delivery is a big draw of online mail order mattresses.

White glove delivery can be another type of delivery that raises the mattress’s expected price, as its a service where the delivery team goes beyond merely dropping off the mattress. Instead, they’ll also come inside and set up the new mattress and haul away your old mattress, which can save shoppers the trouble of trying to donate their mattress.

Physical retail stores might do free delivery, but usually, it is something that is negotiated with the mattress salesperson.

The Mattress Firmness

The firmness of the mattress is one of the main factors impacting comfort. If your mattress is too soft or too firm, your spine will be out of alignment while you sleep, potentially causing pain.

Factors like sleep position, weight, and mattress materials can all influence how a mattress reacts to your body and how comfortable it feels to you. The ideal firmness for relieving pressure points varies significantly, also depending on things like weight, sleep position, health, and personal sensitivity.

Although medium-firm mattresses Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source are generally recommended as the best beds for back pain, it’s important to keep in mind that firmness is very individual, and one firmness level won't fit every person Verified Source Research Gate Network service for scientific researchers that makes it easy for experts to find and share papers. View source equally well. Good for most doesn’t mean good for all. For optimal comfort, you want to find a mattress that both supports your back and alleviates pressure points.

For mattresses for side sleepers, a bed with a more plush feel will suit your needs. This allows for your hip and shoulder to be contoured by the mattress while your lower back remains supported. Mattresses that are too hard may strain the lower back due to a lack of support and place disproportionate weight on your shoulder and hip which can cause pain.

Those that sleep on their back will want a mattress with a firmer feeling that will keep their hips from sinking too far into the mattress. A good mattress for back sleeping will keep your spine aligned and your back free from pain. A mattress is that is too soft can cause a hammocking effect, causing pain in the lumbar area and joints. The mattress should be firm with just enough contouring abilities to support the natural curve of your lower back.

For stomach sleepers, the basics are similar to back sleepers — firmer is better in a mattress for stomach sleepers. The primary concern is preventing the hips and lumbar area from sinking in too far, which can place strain on the lower back and neck.

Companies will list how their plush or firm mattresses feel, but this is usually a comparison within their own product lines. This range will give you an idea of what the company offers, but can be hard to compare from one brand to another. Indentation load deflection (ILD) is one objective measure of firmness that can be helpful for comparing firmness across brands, though not all manufacturers will provide it.

Going into a retail store does allow you to compare in person, but stores limited by what brands and models they offer. A mattress store will only have a few particular brands and certain models from those brands. If you do visit a retail store, take note of pricing and the differences between brands and models to help better inform your shopping process.

Research shows that in a mattress store environment, people tend to select mattresses that aren’t ideal for their comfort needs, so despite conventional wisdom, showroom tests may have little to do with your ultimate satisfaction. More important perhaps is the retailer’s descriptiveness of their beds, reviews and return policies (discussed below)

For more information on where you can buy a mattress, please check out our best place to buy a mattress guide.

Types of Mattresses

Another factor to decide on for your new mattress is what it is made of. The three main mattress materials in the industry are memory foam, latex, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses. Each type of mattress offers their own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Innerspring Mattresses: Innerspring mattresses are what most people are used to. They offer a wide array of firmnesses while still being relatively cost effective. These mattresses however can cause pain in pressure points as you sleep. Innerspring mattresses can also climb in price with the additions of pillow tops and increased coil counts.
  • Memory Foam Mattresses: Memory foam has been known to completely form to your body reducing pressure points and pain. Some memory foam mattresses however have been known to sleep warmer than innerspring mattresses. Companies sometimes use gel to combat this effect, but as you sleep through the night, the gel infused into the memory foam will absorb the heat of your body and heat up just like traditional memory foam.
  • Eco-friendly Memory Foam: Plant-based memory foam is another way to eliminate the warming effects of its traditional counterpart. By using plant-based materials, eco-friendly foam can stay cool while contouring to you as you sleep. Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to break the bank, however. This type of memory foam surpasses gel-based and traditional memory foam when it comes to heat retention.
  • Latex: Another popular material for mattresses is latex but not like the latex that’s found in rubber gloves or balloons. This specially formed latex foam works like memory foam by contouring to your body, but a latex mattress also springs back instantly. Latex can feel a little firmer than either memory foam or innerspring mattresses because of the nature of the latex foam. It can however be made completely of natural ingredients. If this is important to you, a latex mattress is the way to go.
  • Hybrid: The last popular mattress type worth mentioning is hybrid mattresses. A hybrid mattress borrows from traditional innerspring and newer foam mattresses, pairing a spring base of pocketed coils with at least 2 inches of comfort foam. By wrapping the coils, a hybrid mattress provides more motion isolation than the average innerspring bed, while the foam top lets it match the comfort of a standard all-foam mattress.

Choose Your Mattress Type Based On Your Sleep Style

Dog Sleeping on a Bed

All of the mattress materials available today can accommodate multiple sleeping styles. And, research shows Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source that simply replacing an old mattress (over five years) with a new one results in better sleep and less pain.

Innerspring mattresses can be quite firm, but can only get somewhat plush. Aside from independent or pocketed coil types, innerspring beds may also have limited ability to contour and provide effective support.

To make these mattresses softer manufacturers use pillow tops to soften the feel of the coils in the mattress. This works to an extent but definitely won’t provide completely contoured comfort. Shoppers can also try a mattress topper if they want to give a spring mattress more pressure-relieving cushion.

Memory foam will always contour to your body no matter the firmness, though naturally, a softer mattress yields more to the body than a firm bed. As memory foam gets more dense, slower response times can occur. This is the “stuck” feeling that some complain about. Look at brands that have rapid recovery memory foam and medium density ranges, as they will let you move unencumbered throughout the night.

Memory foam and latex share the ability to contour to you without putting stress on your pressure points. Latex differs from memory foam because it responds very quickly to movement. It will instantly bounce back as soon as you move. This does mean that it can feel firmer than memory foam or innerspring mattresses, but latex can be made soft as well.

Mattress Size

Mattress size isn’t just an important consideration when it comes to how much room space you have and how much you can expect to spend. It can also affect how comfortable you find your mattress, as a too-small bed can leave you with no space to sprawl or move while a too-large bed can uncomfortably dominate your bedroom space.

Who is going to sleep on the mattress can affect what the best mattress size is. For example, a mattress for kids can be as small as a twin or as large as a queen, depending on the size of the children’s room and how much space parents want to give their kids. Adult sleepers may want to look at twin XL size beds and largely, although sleepers under 6 feet tall may be able to comfortably sleep on a twin bed.

For partners who want to share a mattress, we suggest either queen or king size mattresses. Which is the better option will depend on your available room, budget, and comfort preferences. For many couples, a queen mattress provides adequate comfort. However, sleepers who enjoy their personal space or want to complete a master bedroom may want to invest in a king bed.

Mattress SizeDimensions in Inches
Crib28 ⅝ inches by 52 ½ inches
Twin38 inches by 74 inches
Twin XL38 inches by 80 inches
Full54 inches by 75 inches
Queen60 inches by 80 inches
King76 inches by 80 inches
California King72 inches by 84 inches
Split KingTwo mattresses, each 38 inches by 80 inches

Mattress Thickness

One overlooked aspect of shopping for a bed is how thick the mattress is. Mattress thickness reflects how much material the mattress contains, which in turn determines its price and expected durability. More material naturally helps the mattress withstand wear and tear, and we always recommend mattresses that are at least 10 inches thick if you want a secure investment in your comfort. However, more material also raises the mattress’s price tag.

Mattress thickness is also an important part of setting up the best bed height for your needs. A too-tall or too-short bed can affect how easily you move out of bed in the morning.

Consider an Amerisleep Mattress

Quick Guide: A 30-Second Summary

Best Online Mattress Overall Amerisleep AS3 Hybrid
Best Soft Online Mattress Amerisleep AS5
Best Online Latex Mattress Amerisleep Organica

Our top recommendation for an online mattress is the AS3 Hybrid, a responsive bed with a medium feel that suits most sleeping styles.

Mattress Highlights
  • Refresh cover transforms body heat
  • Plant-based memory foam top
  • Pocketed coils with edge support
Recommended For
  • Side, back, and combination sleepers
  • Hot sleepers of varying sleep styles
  • Couples with differing preferences

The fabric enveloping the AS3 Hybrid is our specialty Refresh cover, a material that can keep you 7 degrees cooler while sleeping. The thermoreactive minerals within Refresh absorb heat and convert it into far infrared energy, which can then penetrate the body and boost local bloodflow for greater recovery.

The comfort layer of the Amerisleep AS3 is Bio-Pur® foam, a material that’s made with a mix of synthetic materials and plant-derived oils. This partly plant-based foam responds faster to movement and stays cool better than traditional memory foam.

The support core of the AS3 Hybrid is a tall set of pocketed coils on top of a sturdy base foam. By wrapping the coils, this support system offers more customized responsiveness than traditional innersprings. The coils along the sides are also firmer to offer edge support.

If you want to save a little more money, you can try our classic AS3 memory foam mattress. This model is three foam layers encased inside a Refresh fabric covering and offers a similarly balanced medium feel.

Regardless of which AS3 model you choose, it will ship free and comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.

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A soft surface can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad night’s rest if you’re a side sleeper or a petite-framed individual. For sleepers seeking a plush bed, we recommend our AS5 mattress.

Mattress Highlights
  • Plush eco-friendly cushion hugs sleepers
  • Active Flex enables adaptability
  • Five zones of targeted support
Recommended For
  • Side sleepers
  • Lightweight sleepers
  • Sleepers with joint pain

The AS5, like the AS3, has a mattress cover of Refresh fabric and a top layer of Bio-Pur® foam. Underneath the Bio-Pur® layer is a second foam layer of Active Flex. This next material is named for its flexible yet cushioning feel, which increases the surface’s buoyancy without reducing its plush feel

The transition layer is Affinity foam with HIVE® technology. The hexagonal cutouts that make up the HIVE® technology are arranged to provide tailored support for the head, shoulders, torso, hips, and feet. Side sleepers will especially enjoy the added pressure-relieving cushion it creates in the shoulders and hips.

The base layer of the AS5 is Bio-Core® foam, a material that significantly extends the mattress’s expected lifespan.

As with the AS3, the AS5 also has a hybrid model. The AS5 Hybrid is well-suited for anyone seeking a soft mattress with plenty of bounce.

Save $450 on the Amerisleep AS5 with our discount code
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For many shoppers, owning an eco-friendly latex mattress is a way to boost their comfort and do their part for the environment. The Amerisleep Organica is one such mattress, with a number of certifications attesting to its quality.

Mattress Highlights
  • Heat-wicking organic cotton covering
  • Wool batting for flame barrier & support
  • Latex foam layers ease pressure points
Recommended For
  • Sleepers allergic to synthetic materials
  • Most sleeping positions
  • Shoppers seeking an eco-friendly bed

The plush, airy feel of the Amerisleep Organica is GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric. The cotton fibers pull heat and sweat away from the sleeper, providing cool, dry comfort all night long.

The cushioning wool underneath the cotton fabric cover further deepens the bed’s heat-wicking capabilities. The material also doubles as a natural fire barrier, establishing the Organica as a fiberglass-free mattress. The wool has passed the Standard 100 test offered by OEKO-TEX®, which examines the textile for harmful substances.

Next are two latex foam layers that serve as the bed’s comfort and transition foams. These buoyant layers contour to the body without much sinkage, creating highly responsive comfort. The Amerisleep Organica’s latex foam layers are also certified under the Standard 100 OEKO-TEX®.

The support core of the Amerisleep Organica is a layer of pocketed coils on a base of wool, with the coils along the sides providing edge support.

Save $450 on the Amerisleep Organica with our discount code
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Discuss Options With Your Partner

Before doing research on specific brands, it is important to talk to whoever you’re sharing the mattress with. Your partner may have a different sleeping style, firmness preference, or input on the type of mattress for couples they would like to purchase.

Having a conversation with your partner is important but only if you ask the right questions. Since a mattress is mostly used for sleeping, it can be hard to tell what goes on at night. A few key questions to bring up should be:

  • How do you each of you like to sleep? Back? Side? Stomach?
  • How many times do you each change positions throughout the night?
  • Do either of you get up at night often?
  • Do you like sinking into the bed or lying on top?
  • What mattress size do you two want? How much personal space do each of you need?

Mattresses are a big investment. They can also vary widely in price. Talk with your partner about how much they are willing to spend for this purchase. Size and material are two factors that affect the bed’s price, and we can’t recommend anything smaller than a queen size mattress for couples.

Look at how long you plan for your mattress to last. If you want to invest more now into your sleep system it might save you money down the road in replacements.

Lastly, purchasing online allows you to have this conversation without feeling rushed by a mattress salesperson. You can look at the mattresses you are interested in and research for as long as you need. You and your partner will make the right decision when you both feel ready to purchase.

Where To Research Mattresses

After discussing with your partner and deciding what mattress specifications you’ll be looking for, start researching what mattresses are available at your price point. This process is simplified online by allowing you to see many companies side by side with all of the information laid out for you.

It is important to keep track of the companies you’ve looked at, what you liked about them, what you didn’t like about their mattresses and other’s experiences or impressions of your options. You can use a chart like this to make researching a breeze:

Company Name Liked Disliked Specifications Price Notes
Company 1
Company 2
Company 3

The Company’s Website

The first place to look should be the mattress company’s website. Many companies have pages dedicated to share more information about the product. This may include what type of materials it uses and the reasons why they make their mattresses a particular way.

This is a drastic change from a retail store that only shows you what the mattress specs are and possibly a little bit about the brand. A company’s website will have more information than what a retail store can typically provide.

Buying-Mattress-Online

Independent Bloggers

After looking at the company itself, blogs can be another wealth of information. Blogs are great for third party opinions on different mattress companies. Depending on the blog’s main purpose, the review may focus on many different aspects of the mattress that you might have not considered.

Some bloggers are eco-friendly focused while others are just out for the most comfortable mattress to sleep on. Some companies may send bloggers mattresses for free, but usually they will disclose that information if that’s the case when reviewing or talking about a particular mattress.

For example, bloggers LambAround and MomTrends have reviewed Amerisleep’s mattress offerings in the past and the feedback from customers reading these reviews as been extremely positive. These bloggers were able to provide another perspective on our products for potential customers to keep in mind as they shop for the right mattress for their needs.

Mattress Review Sites

Finding honest mattress reviews can be harder than you’d expect. There are specific sites that verify people’s purchases like Power Reviews or Reseller Ratings. If a company has its own review system, that’s good, but it can be manipulated by only showing the positive reviews.

Trustworthy sites that review mattresses and other sleep products tend to be comprised of a team of writers, able to go beyond the scope of what a single independent blogger can cover. Many of them also seek to have their content vetted by independent medical reviewers, which is another good way to determine how much you can trust their information.

If a company sells on Amazon, that is another place that you can see honest reviews that aren’t controlled by the company. Google reviews are another tool you can take advantage of, and if the mattress company has any brick and mortar stores you can also look at their reviews to gauge how well they help out customers.

Social Media

Facebook website
Photo by Flickr user Spencer E Holtaway

After you’ve looked at blogs, review sites and the website of a few companies, see what these companies are doing on social media. Many customers will turn to Facebook and Twitter when they have a positive experience with a brand. Facebook even has a rating system built into their pages.

Past customers will sometimes post reviews of their mattresses through this feature. Don’t be fooled by a large amount of followers or likes for a company because these numbers can be artificially inflated. Instead, look for conversations between the company and the consumer.

Search on Facebook and Twitter using the name of the company to find any public conversations happening about the organization, its products and past experiences customers have had.

The Importance Of A Return Policy

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can really dive into what is going to happen after checkout with each company. Transparent return policies are the most important thing to look for when buying a mattress online. If you don’t love how a mattress feels, it is important that you get a full refund for your purchase.

If the company only offers a partial refund, it may not be worth your time. Many companies do offer a full refund but ask you keep the mattress for a set number of days to make sure you’ve given yourself time to adjust to the bed.

Mattress shopping online can be scary because you don’t know how a mattress might feel, but a reasonable return policy can calm your fears of sleeping poorly. Retail stores might try to shorten the time you have to return your purchase because you tried the mattress before buying it. Ordering online typically gives you a more reasonable window of time to return the mattress if it is not a match.

Online mattress companies should give a longer sleeping trial because they know that you want time to try out your mattress. This is to counter the fact that you can’t try your mattress before purchasing it.

Also, take note of how long you have to return your mattress. If a company only gives you 14 nights to try your mattress, that won’t be enough time to see if it’s really comfortable. A return policy should be at least 60 if not 90 nights long.

Before you return your mattress after sleeping on it for only one night, remember that your body needs to adjust Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source to your new sleeping surface. It may take a month or more to fully adjust to a new bedding system. If your body is used to sleeping poorly, it may not feel the benefits of a bed that is suitable for deep sleep.

We’re buying more and more products online that we never thought we would. This is changing because the benefits greatly outweigh those of buying from retail stores in many circumstances.

With the Internet, we can research on our own terms. By going to many different company websites, reading blog articles and checking verified owner reviews, we can get a better picture of what a mattress is made of than what a mattress salesperson might have to say.

While there are sales people at mattress stores, they can be pushy if they know you’re buying, or completely useless if you’re just browsing. Online, you are the one in control.

Even better, mattress companies will sometimes have a live chat feature so you can ask any questions you may have that the website might not have answered. This addition of chatting live with a company allows you to still get outstanding service while shopping from home.

Instead of going to multiple mattress retailers and spending time at each one trying many different mattresses, you can do all of your research from the comfort of your couch. Shopping online for your next bed allows you to take the time you need whenever you can to explore your options when it’s most convenient for you.

Saving on New Mattresses

If you want to get an affordable mattress with high-quality materials, then shopping online is the way to go. Along with low prices year-round, you can also snap up a mattress at a further discount by taking advantage of the big mattress sales throughout the year:

Budget mattresses can be excellent, but if you to splurge on a mattress without overspending, mattress sales and discount codes are the way to go.

Consider a Mattress Bundle

If you’re looking to replace your mattress, you may want to take a look at the other parts of your bed. Is your pillow still supportive and fluffy, or is it growing flat? Are your sheets still comfy and in good condition, or are they threadbare and yellowed?

You can also ask yourself if you want to stick with a traditional bed frame or upgrade to an adjustable bed. Often you can score a deeper discount on a mattress and adjustable bed if you buy them together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I be aware of when buying a mattress?

We’ve discussed the importance of considering mattress materials, the firmness that matches your sleep style, and the size and thickness of the mattress. All of these can affect how much you expect to pay for a mattress and how the mattress feels when you lie down in your preferred sleep position.

You should also look at the mattress’s included warranty and sleep trial, as both of these policies can reflect the company’s faith in their product.

How often should a mattress be replaced?

Due to the different types of mattresses and their varying quality, there’s no hard-and-fast rule for when you should replace your mattress. The general rule of thumb is to examine your mattress every 8 years or so and ask yourself if it still provides the comfort and support you need.

Another rule of thumb is that mattresses with coil support tend to need replacing sooner than a mattress that’s all foam, though any material will sag eventually from extended use.

Is it safe to buy a mattress online?

Buying a mattress online is no more inherently unsafe than buying anything else online, or choosing a mattress at a brick-and-mortar mattress store. Still, before buying a mattress it’s a smart idea to shop around and see what the buzz is when it comes to a mattress. Customer reviews can give you an insight into how a bed feels and how good the company’s customer service is.

Unscrupulous mattress sellers may offer mattresses that don’t live up to the hype, and a few unestablished sellers may even have complaints about mattresses and other products that were never delivered.

Does price matter when buying a mattress?

Price can be a significant consideration when mattress shopping, particularly if you live on a tight budget. However, we strongly advise you don’t let it become your driving consideration, as looking for mattresses at the lowest price points can mean missing out on the more comfortable and durable mattresses available.

If you’re a budget shopper seeking to maximize the value of your dollar, online mattress sales can help you save significantly on a new mattress.

What time of the year is it best to buy a mattress online?

The best time to buy a mattress is when you need one, as sleeping on a sagging and unsupportive mattress can rob you of precious sleep. So if you need one desperately, we suggest buying one online as soon as you can to take advantage of web stores’ always low prices.

However, if you want to take advantage of the year’s big mattress sales, we suggest keeping an eye out for offerings around President’s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.

Have you purchased a mattress online? What do you do to research a company before buying from them? Do you enjoy purchasing products online instead of in retail stores?


About the author

McKenzie Hyde is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and a full-time writer focused on sleep health and the mattress industry. She currently writes articles on a variety of topics, ranging from sleep hygiene to the newest trends in the mattress and bedding industry. Just some of the topics she has covered include best sleep practices for students, the consequences of going without sleep, and choosing the right bed if you suffer from back pain. McKenzie Hyde holds a Master of Arts degree from Utah State University where she studied literature and writing. While there, she taught argumentative writing and wrote a variety of articles and analyses for literary and academic journals.

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