Should you buy a mattress online or in store?

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.

Disclosure: By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Nerd may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read full disclosure statement.

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 US-Mattress.com
  2. Companies that only sell their own product, like LeesaTomorrow Sleep, 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, Tomorrow Sleep, and Nest Bedding all have free trial periods with a free pickup.

 

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.

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, Tomorrow, 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.

Think you’re ready to make a decision?  Check out some of our favorites:

Editors' Picks

Bang for the Buck

Leesa

Best Sleep Quality

Sapira

Our Top 10

The Quiz

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Comments (26)

  1. Do you know if a combination of innersprings with a latex pillow top exists, and can you say if that is a good combination to shop for?
    Our 23 year old King Koil is still comfortable (more comfortable than when it was brand new), but just getting a little creeky and old looking.
    I wonder if mattresses become “unhealthy” over time, with what I hear about “mites”, etc. living in bedding.

    • Naturepedic has some options like that, as does Nest Bedding. Search my site for reviews on those brands. Most of the big name brands won’t have that option.

  2. I am 50 yrs old and hv TERRIBLE back and hip pain… My husband and I DESPERATELY need a new mattress… We currently have a Select Comfort that we paid a FORTUNE for and HATE it… it is basically a Glorified Air Mattress… Price is not really a concern but i would Obviously like a goid product for my money… Please recommend a mattress for me… I like SofT but supportive.. i wd Like to feel like I’m sleeping on a cloud.. Hope you can help..

  3. I’m looking to purchase a mattress for my mother who seems to lean towards a firm mattress. Could you possibly recommend a few top ones to consider with a max price of $500? That doesn’t have to include the box spring/platform, just the mattress. Any help is appreciated. Thank you

    • Max price of $500 is tough. If you can bump it up to $599, I’d recommend the Love & Sleep Firm by Nest Bedding. (Here is my review)

      Below that, you’re likely to run into mattresses that are better suited for guest rooms. An entry level Posturepedic or Beautyrest might be in that price range if you catch a good sale, but I think the Love & Sleep mentioned above would be better.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

    • Thank you Susan for this reply. It’s greatly appreciated.

      Sincerely,

      All Brick n Morter retailers everywhere who like to employ people.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  6. 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

    • 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.

  7. 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.

By continuing to browse or by clicking “OK” you agree to the storing of first- and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Privacy Policy.

OK