What is a mattress warranty and what does it cover?

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One common question I get is what a mattress warranty covers. Some customers remark that mattress warranties are never honored, and there is no point. Others don’t even realize that mattresses come with warranties. I hope to clear up a lot of this confusion in this post.

What does a warranty cover?

A mattress warranty covers physical defects in a mattress. The most common problem is sagging. If a mattress sags beyond a certain threshold when nobody is on it, that is a warranty issue. This threshold is 1.5 inches for most manufacturers, though it’s 3/4th of an inch for others, like Tempurpedic. This sag is usually measured by putting a string or other straight line across the surface of the mattress, and then measuring from the string to the bottom of the sag with a ruler.

Mattress warranties also usually cover coils breaking or popping out of the side, the foams up top bunching up, the seams coming out of the mattress, the boxspring breaking, or any other physical defect. If you suspect you have a warranty issue, contact the retail merchant first, and if you don’t get anywhere with them, contact the manufacturer.

What does a warranty NOT cover

Mattress warranties do NOT cover against comfort issues. If your mattress feels a bit lumpy, or it doesn’t support you properly, or it causes pressure to your body, you are out of luck. This is one reason some people claim that warranties aren’t honored. Warranties only cover structural problems, not a product that doesn’t maintain its comfort over time.

Things that can void a warranty

There are several things that can void an otherwise legitimate warranty claim. Here are some of the most common.

    1. Removing the law tag. The law tag is the tag on the back of the mattress that says “do not remove under penalty of law.” The “law” part only refers to the mattress retailer and manufacturer. The end-user is free to remove it whenever he or she wants, but this voids the warranty. It would be the equivalent of filing off the VIN from a car and expecting the warranty to be honored. There is no proof it’s the same mattress that you ordered.
    2. Stains. If a mattress is stained, the warranty is void. This even goes for problems in which the stain obviously didn’t cause the sag. Liquids can wear down the foams and cause them to deteriorate faster than they otherwise would. Additionally, stained mattresses are unsanitary, and no company wants to return those to the warehouse for a warranty claim. You can prevent stains to your mattress by using a waterproof mattress protector. These do NOT have to feel like plastic, and they are also NOT just for the incontinent. Even just perspiration, a little bit every night over the course of 10 years, can cause a stain and wear down the foams. Not to mention, there are other activities done in bed which can produce a wet spot… Protect-A-Bed makes a very popular mattress protector, but there are others as well.
    3. Improper support. You need proper support under your mattress. This can take several forms. The most common is the matching boxspring on top of a metal frame with a center support bar. Using an old boxspring will almost always void the warranty. If you don’t want a new boxspring, consider getting a platform bed with either a solid surface or slats which are very close together. If you use a frame, be sure that it has a center support bar with at least one leg going from the bar to the ground. It should look something like this.
Knickerbocker frame

The frame is used to support the boxspring. It needs a center support bar with at least one leg to the ground as shown here.

Conclusion

I hope I have cleared up some of the confusion about mattress warranties. They only cover structural defects with the mattress (not comfort). They can be voided if you don’t take care of the mattress. Be sure to keep it properly supported by a frame or platform bed and protected with a mattress cover.

Thank you for reading!

Related Articles

How to take care of your mattress

Reasons everybody needs a mattress protector

Do you need a boxspring?

Additional resources

Questions & Comments

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Gclor Says

December 24, 2016 at 12:34 am

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge about mattresses. I learned so much from reading your posts. You are a true mattress Nerd!

MattressNerd Says

October 10, 2016 at 11:58 pm

That depends on exactly what caused the hole. Contact the retailer or manufacturer to see.

Casey Says

October 5, 2016 at 10:43 am

So would a warranty cover tears in the mattress fabric? My boyfriend has had his new mattress for less than a month, an a small whole has appeared in the mattress fabric. Now, he has been treating this mattress like it's made of the finest bone china, not allowing anything but his clean body in/on the bed, so I know that the most likely cause of the tear is friction on a shitty fabric. Wouldn't that fall under "physical defects"?

MattressNerd Says

September 19, 2016 at 12:35 pm

That's not exactly a warranty, but yes, a lot of mattresses have that policy. Most of the direct-to-consumer mattress companies have a policy like that (they generally go up to 100 days). Tempurpedic also has a return policy. So does Serta iComfort.

Kim Says

September 16, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Is there any warranty that gives me 30 or 60 days satisfaction warranty? If I decide it's not the mattress for me that I can return it

MattressNerd Says

November 10, 2015 at 12:00 am

That's entirely up to you and your personal risk tolerance. Clearance models are often a great way to get a nice mattress at a really low price, but you're getting one that might not last quite as long, and if there's something wrong, you're out your entire purchase. There's about a 95% chance that everything will be fine, and about a 5% chance that something goes wrong with the mattress, in my experience.

brandon Says

November 9, 2015 at 5:19 pm

Hi, I am considering purchasing this mattress for a great deal (55% off) on clearance at the store, however since it is on clearance, it doesn't carry a warranty. I purchased 2 sealy's 10 years ago and never used the warranty. http://www.mattressfirm.com/simmons-beautyrest-recharge-signature-select-hartfield-11-5-luxury-firm-mattress.aspx Is it worth doing or hold out for a warranty?

Tina Davis Says

August 31, 2015 at 10:32 am

Thanks you SO much for sharing your expertise with me. I feel confident now about selecting and purchasing a new mattress! I appreciate all the effort that went into creating this very informative site! You're awesome! Thanks again, Tina

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