Should you buy a mattress online or in store?

Disclosure: This site receives a payment from Overstock, US Mattress, 1800 Mattress, Leesa®, Ghost Bed, or Nest Bedding when you purchase a product using any links to that company in this article

One commonly asked question is whether it makes more sense to buy a mattress online or in a brick and mortar store. There are certainly benefits to each. Here I will take a look at some of the pros and cons of buying a mattress online vs buying it at a store.

Buying a mattress in a physical store

The main benefit of buying a mattress in a store is that you get to try out the mattress first. It’s important to check for proper support and comfort in a mattress, and you just can’t do that online. (Proper support means being in your neutral alignment, comfort means not feeling any pressure or discomfort). If you don’t know what you’re looking for, brick and mortar stores will have salespeople to help walk you through the selection process. Also, if you’re a good negotiator, you can get some of the best deals in a store, because most stores have a price match or a price beat guarantee. This can be difficult to do, because comparison shopping for a mattress is made difficult by the retailers, but if you’re good at it, you can save the most money.

Another benefit of buying in store is there is a physical place you can go in and get help with customer service if you need to. If you need to exchange a mattress protector, return a pillow, etc, you can often just go into the store.

The downside of buying a mattress in the store is that it can be an intimidating experience, and if you’re not a great negotiator, you’ll probably pay more money than you would at an online store. A lot of people don’t feel comfortable lying down on a mattress in front of people, especially not a salesperson who wants to sell them as expensive a bed as possible.

Buying a mattress online

Buying a mattress online can be very convenient, but it can also be confusing because there are so many choices out there. There are two main types of internet mattress retailers.

  1. Stores that sell mattresses from a bunch of different manufacturers, like Overstock.com, us-mattress.com, and 1800mattress.com.
  2. Companies that only sell their own product, like Leesa®Ghost Bed, and Nest Bedding.

Places like US Mattress tend to have much cheaper prices on most of their mattresses than physical retail locations, though they have similar products. The main drawback here is that you can’t try it before you buy it unless you go into a competing physical retailer first, and then go home and get the lower price online (this is a good idea, by the way). Otherwise, there are either no returns, or a return fee if you don’t like the mattress.

This drawback isn’t true for the companies that sell their own product. Leesa®, Ghost Bed, and Nest Bedding all have free trial periods with a free pickup. Leesa® gives you a 100 night trial and they pick the mattress up for free.

My recommendation on where to buy the mattress

This depends on the amount of work you’re willing to do to get a good deal. I have several recommendations.

  1. This method is the one I recommend in my guide to negotiating for the best price. Find the right mattress in a showroom, comparison shop online, and then go back into the showroom with the lowest online price and make them beat it. If they won’t, then go and buy it online. This takes the most work, but gives you the best chance at getting the lowest possible price.
  2. If you don’t have enough time or patience to do suggestion 1, you can cut out the last part. Go into a showroom, find a good mattress, comparison shop online and just buy it online if the prices are lower. You don’t give the retail store a chance to give you an even better deal, but you also have to go through less frustration.
  3. Buy it directly from one of the online manufacturers like Leesa®Ghost, or Nest. If you don’t like it, you can always return it and then go for one of my other recommendations. This is the lowest-hassle and quickest way to buy a mattress. If you feel overwhelmed by this whole process, there is nothing wrong with going this route first, and then  if it doesn’t work, starting with option 1.

I hope this helps give you some direction on where the best place to buy your mattress is. Thank you for reading!

Disclosure: This site receives a payment from Overstock, US Mattress, 1800 Mattress, Leesa®, Ghost Bed, or Nest Bedding when you purchase a product using any links to that company in this article

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Additional resources

Questions & Comments

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MattressNerd Says

May 23, 2017 at 10:04 am

It's a pretty strong memory foam mattress. It feels a lot more like the Tempurpedic brand than some of the other online options.

Ira Says

May 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

What are your thoughts about the loom & leaf foam mattress

MattressNerd Says

March 28, 2017 at 11:53 am

Yes, that's correct, as I made abundantly clear throughout my site.

kevin Says

March 27, 2017 at 2:21 pm

you make money from buying online through your links

Charles Says

September 5, 2016 at 4:31 pm

I hear your concern for "using" the in-store person and then buying online. However, if the Box Stores were not purposefully confusing the consumer so they could get an unreasonable price for their product, the online store would not be there. Take BestBuy for example. They match online prices and you get to deal with a real person and help a chain that is employing people. What other industries circumvent the basic competition aspect that drives prices down? There are a few that come to mind, but none with an even remotely good feeling attached to them. No one likes to be fooled and taken advantage of.

MattressNerd Says

April 27, 2016 at 12:31 pm

What on earth are you rambling about? I said nothing about factories in this whole post.

Ed Says

April 27, 2016 at 12:29 am

Very misinformed if you think these online guys actually own their own factories so they are all using the same outside factories to make these mattresses.

Mattress salesperson Says

February 1, 2016 at 10:53 pm

Thank you Susan for this reply. It's greatly appreciated. Sincerely, All Brick n Morter retailers everywhere who like to employ people.

MattressNerd Says

January 17, 2016 at 8:52 am

This article is not outdated. All of the information is still valid. Salespeople at the big stores are allowed to negotiate pricing, and some of them still have difference prices online. And no, the sales people don't have a tough job. I did that job for 7 years. It was pretty easy, actually. It was just boring, and in order to be a top producer, you were encouraged to lie to customers, which I hated. I'm saving hundreds of people a day hundreds of dollars with this advice. I'm sorry that it's costing you some commission, but my duty is to my readers and I need to look out for what's best for them.

Tamara Says

January 16, 2016 at 2:11 am

This article is a bit outdated and I didn't find it useful in attempting to find a new bed. I have worked for 3 very different mattress retailers in the past and the sales people aren't allowed to negotiate pricing. The 3 different companies I worked for had the same prices online as they did in the store. Also, the sales people have a tough job and I don't feel like all of them are trying to sell people the most expensive bed. I certainly was not that type of sales person. Also, why not help out your sales person that spent an hour or two with you? Let them earn very little commission so they can provide for their families. Usually, these people work long hours and will stay late even after their shift trying to earn your business. So your advice to go try a bed in the store and then buy it online is a waste of time for not only the customers, but also the sales people. Also, many stores have 100 night in home trials, just like online stores do.

MattressNerd Says

October 26, 2015 at 12:17 am

And many people disagree with you. If you want to voluntarily spend hundreds of extra dollars in a store, then go do it. But I wholeheartedly reject the notion that it's a moral issue. It's just business.

Susan P Says

October 25, 2015 at 3:22 pm

I think it is wrong to try things at a store and then order online. There is a reason that online is often cheaper: they don't have the overhead of maintaining a brick and mortar store! If you want to use physical stores to try out mattresses (or any other product) then you should also BUY from the stores you are using. Fair is fair.

MattressNerd Says

August 5, 2015 at 7:13 am

There is no one "best" mattress. If there were, that's all that would be on my website. A lot of it also depends on your price range. You can get some really amazing mattresses for $2500, but not everybody can afford that and you were asking about "value." You can get a really good mattress for $800 in a queen or a slightly better one for $1100 in a queen. Which is the best "value" depends entirely on how much you can comfortably spend. Poke around my site a little to learn more about this stuff.

Joey Dee Says

August 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

What's the "best" all around mattress? Neutral support neither firm nor plush; best support, construction, composition and value? I've never had anything even better than a standard full size mattress so any input is GOLD!!! Thanks

MattressNerd Says

April 13, 2015 at 9:29 pm

If you buy online, the ones with a free return policy aren't that big of a risk. If you just buy one without such a policy, you're taking a huge risk.

Susan Hirst Says

April 13, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Thank you for this information. My mattress is rather old and lumpy. I can't seem to get comfortable on it anymore. I think your right about going to a physical store to buy a mattress. It would be wiser to try it out first, instead of buying one online.

MattressNerd Says

December 15, 2014 at 10:14 am

100% latex mattresses are tough to find these days. And I'm not entirely convinced that using latex as the base support layer is any better than using high density poly foam on the bottom. That's how memory foam mattresses work; they have poly foam on the bottom and memory foam on the top. For what it's worth, you can see a list of 100% latex mattresses here: http://www.sleeplikethedead.com/mattress-reviews-latex.html#2 They're very expensive for what you get, though.

Durwood M. Dugger Says

December 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Good article, but very limited regarding actual mattress types and materials. For example none of the direct sales manufactures produce 100% latex mattresses.

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