Ironically, even the idea of mattress shopping can cause stressful, sleepless nights. If the pressure of financing a mattress isn’t bad enough, picking out the right mattress can ruffle even the most unflappable person: Choose wrong, and you could directly impact your physical well-being. If a restful night of sleep is the foundation of a productive day, a bad mattress can seriously mess with that—which is why it’s so important to get it right.
Because mattress shopping can be a real pain in the neck (literally), we’ve asked senior staff writer Joanne Chen, who covers sleep and mattresses for Wirecutter, to share some tips on how to find the mattress of your dreams.
How to shop for mattress deals in 2020
Do your research. Start by reading our mattress buying guide, which takes you through the process step by step. You’ll also want to read up on warranties, scan reviews for long-term complaints, and settle on a comfortable price range for your budget.
Head to a mattress showroom. No matter how many reviews and guides you read, you never really know if a mattress meets your expectations until you experience it in action. What one person calls firm can be too soft for another. While you’re there, assess whether it cradles you in the right places, whether it feels supportive enough, and whether you and a partner will both be able to sleep on it comfortably. According to Joanne, you can avoid purchasing a bad mattress by establishing a few ground rules, like not buying just because there’s a sale. “If you’re not sure about the mattress, don’t buy it,” Joanne writes.
If you’re interested in a mattress from a direct-to-consumer company, you might still be able to find it in person. Some brands, like Casper and Keetsa, have showrooms; others, including Tulo, Leesa, Tuft & Needle, and Tempur-Pedic, are available in select stores. If the company doesn’t have a showroom, Joanne suggests reaching out to friends to see who might already own (or have already tried) the mattress you have your eye on.
Most importantly, if the DTC mattress you’ve ordered has an in-home trial period (and we always suggest checking before you buy), take advantage of that perk and return the mattress if you’re unhappy. Yes, returning an unwieldy mattress and finding a replacement you actually like is a huge hassle, but it’s better than being stuck with an expensive slab only the family dog wants to sleep on.
Figure out the best mattress type for you. Mattresses don’t have one-size-fits-all construction. Searching for the right one is a personal undertaking that hinges on what works best for you. There are three mattress types: foam, innerspring, and hybrid. Foam mattresses tend to cradle the body because of their springless construction. They’re also more likely to retain heat, so if you like a bouncier, cooler mattress, you might want to steer away from an all-foam mattress and toward something more traditional.
Innerspring mattresses have support that comes from coils (which make them bouncy) topped with layers of padding that hold you up rather than cradle your body. Innerspring mattresses are a cooler option but have poor motion isolation, so if you sleep next to a partner, they may feel you move around at night. Hybrids take the best of both worlds to give sleepers the bounce of an innerspring with the cradling sensation of foam. However, hybrid mattresses can be much more expensive compared with their counterparts.
Purchase direct from the manufacturer. After you’ve settled on the mattress that’s right for you, Joanne recommends buying straight from the manufacturer whenever possible, as you’ll be guaranteed coverage under its warranty and trial period. But sometimes, prices from third-party sellers like Amazon or Target are unbeatable. So if you’re tempted to buy from Amazon, be sure to read the fine print to see if the seller’s policies differ from those of the manufacturer itself.
About your guide
Elissa Sanci is an associate staff writer for Wirecutter, where she covers deals, consumer shopping, and personal finance. Based in Denver, she previously worked as an editorial assistant at Woman’s Day, where she wrote about everything from worthy charities to girls’ empowerment. Her byline has also appeared in Good Housekeeping and Marie Claire.
Editorial note: The evaluations of financial products in this article are independently determined by Wirecutter and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any third party.