When investing in a mattress, there’s a reasonable fear your product will be faulty, but warranties provide peace of mind. Warranties are detailed terms guaranteeing customers won’t have to pay exorbitant amounts to repair or replace defective items, and they should be a top priority when mattress shopping.
Some mattress warranties are much better than others depending on their timespan and coverage. Lots of legal jargon goes into mattress warranty coverage, but by understanding the key terminology, you’re better prepared to file a claim if needed and prevent voiding your warranty.
What is a Mattress Warranty?
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), manufacturers and sellers must promise to stand behind their products with a warranty.
Warranties are a set timeframe when mattress brands promise to repair, place, or refund your mattress based on certain conditions, such as when the product doesn’t perform as stated.
There are three forms of warranties: written, spoken, and implied.
Written warranties aren’t legally required, but most large purchases include written warranties for you to refer to. Most written warranties last between 5 to 20 years.
A spoken warranty is when a salesperson verbally explains and commits to a warranty. However, always get spoken warranties in writing for confirmation and validity.
Implied warranties are dictated by law in all 50 states. Generally, nearly all purchases have implied warranties, even if they don’t come with written warranties unless an item is marked “as is” or notes the lack of warranty before purchase. Implied warranties can last upwards of four years or more.
The two core aspects of implied warranties are a warranty of merchantability and a warranty of fitness. A warranty of merchantability means a seller promises a product will perform its essential functions, such as a lamp will light up. A warranty of fitness applies if a seller suggests a product is fit for a particular purpose. For example, a heated mattress should heat up.
Warranties vs. Sleep Trials
Most companies offer both warranties and sleep trials since they provide different services.
Sleep trials are where a consumer takes a mattress home and sleeps on it for an extended period—usually between 90 to 365 days. Sleep trials help the customer better determine whether or not a mattress meets their comfort preferences. If you decide the mattress isn’t right for you, you return the product and receive a full refund. Brands typically offer free returns or even pick up your mattress directly from your home.
On the contrary, warranties don’t cover you if you decide you dislike your mattress post-sleep trial. Warranties begin on the date of the original purchase once you’ve decided you’re keeping your mattress.
What’s Covered By a Mattress Warranty?
While the exact coverage in mattress warranties differs depending on the brand, they often contain similar wording and coverage. The most common issues covered by warranties are mattress sagging and faulty materials as both are a result of poor construction.
The most common issue covered by mattress warranties is sagging. Mattresses are supposed to maintain a solid, even sleeping surface for between 7 to 10 years. Sagging is expected with frequent use; however, excessive or premature sagging is a sign of a defect.
Mattress warranties have a specific sagging depth your mattress must reach to be considered defective. The deepest point of the indentation must be around 1 inch, but the range of depth requirements ranges between half an inch to two inches depending on the brand.
A mattress warranty covers any poor workmanship on the mattress. Some examples of faulty mattresses are:
- Broken, burst, or bent coils (in innerspring or hybrid mattresses)
- Seams coming undone or breaking
- Significant bunching (common in foam mattresses)
- Broken or torn mattress handles
What’s Not Covered By a Mattress Warranty?
Warranties exist to cover a manufacturer defect, not improper use, or a normal increase of wear and tear. Mattresses don’t last forever, so you can’t get away with repairs for everyday issues or slight cosmetic flaws.
Sagging Below Minimum Threshold
If your mattress starts sagging and becomes unsupportive, yet isn’t as deep as the threshold weight specified in your warranty, you’re not eligible for a replacement or repair. In this case, you may consider using a mattress topper for extra support until you’re ready to replace your mattress.
Normal Wear and Tear
All mattresses experience minor imperfections after prolonged use. Physical flaws including discoloration, scuffs, lumpiness, and bunching materials all appear over time with normal usage but are more of a sign your mattress is old rather than defective.
If damage occurs due to misuse, such as scratched, scuffed, or torn fabric from moving the mattress or sagging as a result of jumping on your bed, your warranty won’t cover repairs or replacement for such damages.
Dissatisfaction With the Product
Mattress warranties won’t reimburse your purchase or replace your mattress if you decide you’re unhappy with it for whatever reason, such as size, feel, or performance. Sleep trials exist so customers don’t get stuck with a bed they dislike, and if you fail to return your mattress within that time, you can’t make a warranty claim for a different mattress or a refund.
Also, if your mattress grows uncomfortable and unsupportive with normal wear and tear, mattress suppliers aren’t responsible for replacing your mattress with a new one.
If your mattress has one faulty seam or a singular defect, the company is only responsible for repairing or replacing that one piece rather than the entire mattress. For instance, mattresses with electronic components, such as a remote control, come with a separate, specified warranty and require replacement parts separate from the mattress.
What Voids a Mattress Warranty?
If you void your mattress warranty, the manufacturer will no longer repair, replace, or refund a mattress due to customer negligence and a failure to follow the directions specified on a mattress. The coverage will not be completed and you cannot un-void a mattress warranty after the fact.
Food or drink spills and other accidents void a mattress warranty because liquids corrode mattress materials, causing the mattress to break down and lose its structural integrity. Also, liquid damage and irremovable stains on mattresses are unsanitary and unsafe to return to mattress warehouses. For this reason, brands always encourage buying a mattress protector and using it from the get-go to ensure you don’t stain your mattress.
Removal of the Law Tag
Every mattress comes with a small tag attached to it called a law tag and it typically says, “Do Not Remove This Tag Under The Penalty Of Law.” Of course, you can remove the tag without legal repercussions, but it’s proof of purchase for mattress manufacturers, so removing it voids your warranty immediately.
Selling or Gifting the Mattress
If a customer sells or gifts their mattress, the warranty won’t extend to its new owner, even if it hasn’t expired yet. Unless you are the original purchaser of a mattress, you can’t make warranty claims in case of sags or faults.
Failure to Flip or Rotate Mattress
Rotating and flipping your mattress ensures it wears evenly and deters sags. If you fail to flip or rotate your mattress every three to six months, sags may appear sooner than expected, but as a result of improper care, leading to a voided warranty. Keep in mind, mattresses with distinct support and comfort layers—hybrid, memory foam, and latex mattresses—shouldn’t be flipped, only rotated, since they aren’t meant to be used upside-down.
Failure to Unpack Mattress
If you leave your mattress in its box for an extended period (over 2 to 4 weeks), it can cause permanent damage. While it’s okay to vacuum-seal a mattress for shipping (since shipping only takes a few days to a week), it shouldn’t stay in this condition for long.
Mattresses need specific foundations to carry their weight and ensure they don’t sag prematurely. A bunkie board, adjustable bed base, slatted wood platform, and mattress base are examples of a proper bed frame for memory foam, latex foam, or hybrid mattresses, while innerspring mattresses need box springs. Warranties will clearly specify the matching foundation for the mattress.
If your base or bed frame is old, misshapen, or lacks a metal stability bar, your mattress warranty could be voided due to the consequential damages. Also, some warranties state not to use your mattress on the floor since they’re vulnerable to dust, rodents, and rapid wear.
Warranty Lengths and Mattress Lifespans
Most mattress warranty timelines are somewhere between 10 to 20 years. However, the warranty length is not equal to the mattress’s lifespan. Most mattress lifespans are shorter than the warranty period by a year or more. Depending on your warranty, you can expect the following lifespans for your mattress:
- 5-year warranty: 4-year lifespan
- 10-year warranty: 7-year lifespan
- 20-year warranty: 8-year lifespan
Prorated vs. Non-prorated Warranties
When reading through warranty terms, keep an eye out for whether they offer prorated or non-prorated terms as it impacts any potential charges you must pay if your mattress is defective.
Prorated warranties mean you must pay a fee calculated by your mattress’s age, while non-prorated warranties mean all fees are completely covered by the company. Most companies have some combination of the two warranties, offering non-prorated cover for the first few years and prorated for the last few years.
With a prorated warranty, you must pay a fee or a certain percentage of the cost when repairing or replacing your mattress. The prorated charge you pay increases over time, often several years, because your mattress is more vulnerable to damage with age. In case of a refund, companies only pay back a percentage of the mattress’s initial value because its value decreases with time.
If you properly maintain your mattress and use a mattress protector, you can keep repair costs down. However, you still have to pay a prorated replacement charge if your mattress needs to be repaired or replaced.
Non-prorated warranties ensure your mattress will be repaired or replaced at no added cost to you during a specified period. While non-prorated warranties are superior to prorated warranties, the one drawback of non-prorated warranties is you potentially need to pay the transportation costs for a replacement mattress.
Limited vs. Full Warranties
Limited and full warranties are separate features from prorated and non-prorated warranties and both are often detailed within one warranty. Mattress companies typically offer a combination of full and limited warranties.
- Limited Warranties: Limited warranties only cover certain parts, defects, and conditions, and are typically unique to specific distributors.
- Full Warranties: With full warranties, the entire product is covered from defects.
How to File a Warranty Claim
If you believe your mattress has a defect of any kind, the steps to filing a claim are straightforward, but it takes between four to six weeks for warranty fulfillment. There are potential fees you may face when filing a claim, but certain mattress companies cover these costs.
Review Your Warranty
First, look through the terms and conditions of your mattress’s warranty. Be certain your concern meets the mattress warranty’s coverage because reaching out is a hassle and frustrating if your claim isn’t approved. However, if there are signs of mishandling, your claim will likely be denied.
Contact The Mattress Retailer
Reach out to the customer support of your mattress’s company and issue a claim. It’s a good idea to keep your receipt so you have the date of purchase for reference when speaking to representatives. You’ll likely need to submit photos of the defective mattress, proof of purchase, or both. There may be additional paperwork and forms when filing the claim, so be sure to read the paperwork thoroughly.
Await an Inspector
Most companies send an inspector to your home to measure and evaluate your mattress’s current condition and either deny or verify your claim. If your claim is denied, disputes are possible but can extend the warranty fulfillment process further. Inspector services can cost between $25 to $50 out of pocket, but companies typically cover the service and refund you if your claim is validated.
Ship Your Mattress
Once an inspector verifies your claim, you then must ship out your mattress. You’re often responsible for paying the shipping fees and this costs around $50 to $100. However, some companies also cover shipping costs if your claim is valid.
Ways To Extend Your Mattress’s Lifespan
With proper handling, you won’t have to use your mattress warranty at all. With big investments, such as a mattress, we want the most out of our products and their performance. Regular upkeep is vital to extending your mattress’s lifespan.
- Use a mattress protector: A mattress protector or mattress cover is a waterproof barrier to protect your mattress against stains, spills, dust, yellowing, and more. Use a mattress protector at all times—the two most common types of mattress protectors are fitted protectors and encasements, which cover all six sides of the bed.
- Invest in a proper foundation: Use a foundation for your mattress as directed by your warranty. Some commonly acceptable mattress foundations include adjustable bases, slatted wood platforms, and bunkie boards.
- Regularly maintain the mattress: Sustain your mattress by flipping or rotating it every 3 to 6 months, vacuuming it twice a year, and spot-cleaning any small stains. Also, wash your protectors every one to two months and your sheets every one to two weeks.
- Keep food and drinks off the bed: Avoid eating and drinking in bed since any food scraps or crumbs attract bugs and you risk staining your mattress. Water won’t stain your mattress, but quickly absorb excess liquid with a towel after a spill so mold and mildew don’t develop.
- Avoid jumping on the bed: Although many kids enjoy playing on their bed, encourage them not to jump on it since jumping causes physical damage such as broken coils (on innerspring and hybrid mattresses) and visible indentations or cracks (common for memory foam mattresses).
Should I buy a mattress without a warranty?
We don’t recommend buying a mattress without a warranty because you assume total liability if your mattress sags or wears down prematurely. Cheap or secondhand mattresses from third party resellers often come without a warranty. With no warranty, you risk investing a lot of money only for the mattress to break down rapidly.
Is it okay to buy a used mattress?
Buying a used mattress isn’t a good idea not only because it lacks a mattress warranty, but also because it’s unhygienic and difficult to evaluate the mattress’s condition. The mattress might be the incorrect firmness for you and mattresses older than 7 to 10 years are often worn out and don’t contain the same comfort and support technologies as new mattresses. The purchase price of used mattresses is always cheaper than their original purchase price, but they have a shorter lifespan, so you have to reinvest in a mattress sooner than expected.
How do I know my mattress needs to be replaced?
Signs your mattress needs to be replaced include:
- Visible sagging, lumps, or body indentations
- A large impression where you normally lay
- You sleep more comfortably on other mattresses
- You wake up with allergy symptoms
- You wake up with pain
- You’re unable to get comfortable at night
- Your mattress is 7 to 10 years old
How long should I leave my mattress before sleeping on it?
Bed in a box mattresses are vacuum-packed. Wait at least a day before sleeping on your mattress since it takes around 24 hours for the mattress to fully expand and the chemical “new mattress” scent to dissipate.
How do I measure mattress sags?
First, remove all your bedding so your mattress is bare. Find the deepest part of the indentation and use a measuring tape, yardstick, or ruler to measure the depth compared to the rest of the mattress’s height. Be sure not to place too much pressure on the mattress when measuring so the indentation doesn’t seem bigger. If the depth meets your warranty’s coverage, file a claim with your mattress’s company.
Although mattress warranties can be somewhat confusing, when you better understand what they include, you can shop confidently and know how to protect your mattress from damage. Look at 10 to 20 year-long warranties and note that non-prorated warranties are better than pro-rated. Ideally, you won’t ever need to use your mattress warranty, but in case of excessive wear, your purchase is protected.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.