This guide has everything you need to know about buying your perfect mattress online.
So if you've been struggling to select a new bed and want to learn the secrets to finding the right bed at the right price, you're in the right place.
Keep reading below...
I'm Chris Moberg.
The first mattress I bought was a disaster. We thought we did everything right by researching the brands, talking to salespeople, and making a decision.
We couldn't be more WRONG. After two months, my lovely wife and I were miserable, had a sagging bed, and the company wasn't honoring our warranty.
That's when we decided to learn...
Now, we've found our perfect bed and have been sleeping soundly ever since.
Today I am going to share all of the industry secrets so you can find the perfect mattress, save yourself from scams, and learn what's really right for you.
The mattress industry is being disrupted.
Past: For the last 150 years, mattresses were bought in retail stores with huge markups.
Now: Over the past 4 years, there have been over 200 new low-cost online mattress brands join the playing field.
What This Means: Now is the best time to buy a new mattress. There is massive competition and venture funding, which means lower prices and better products.
But with all this choice, it's hard to figure out where to start...
Reason #1: Mattress Stores Make Big Money Off You
Traditional mattress manufacturers don't think about you as their primary customer. Their true customers are the mattress stores that sell their products. Through margin-setting and sales bonuses, mattress stores have more incentive to sell their beds.
Reason #2: Disruptors Are Selling The Same Thing for Much Less
Dreamcloud, a luxury mattress-in-a-box brand, starts at a price of $599 after a Slumber Search coupon. There may be similarly low priced models in mattress stores, but oftentimes they have slashed the quality of materials as a way to ensure they have marketing budgets, margin for retailers, and commissions for retail sales people. But, when you purchase online, the margin is slimmer -- generally only found to pay for direct marketing and materials.
This distinction between the retail experience and online shopping happens across mattress types: from latex to hybrid. So, let's start with the materials that are right for you and keep learning.
Memory Foam - A popular go-to that offers low price comfort
Memory foam has been around since 1966 and was famously developed by NASA before being acquired by a private company. Now, it is in Tempur-pedic beds and many disrupter brands. Memory foam mattresses are NOT made of 100% memory foam because memory foam is low resilience and too soft to support the spine. To provide better support even the best memory foam mattresses also have high resistance foam beneath the top memory foam layer.
- Spine alignment is excellent (especially for side and back sleepers)
- Great for side sleepers and medium weight sleepers
- Quite affordable if you know where to look
- Foam can be too hot
- Low grade foam is the worst (sags quickly, lets off chemical odor)
- Heavy folks that like softer beds can cause quick sagging on even the best beds
Latex - The all natural memory foam
Latex foam is very similar to memory foam, but where memory foam is made synthetically, latex is made exclusively from the processed sap of the rubber tree, which makes it completely natural. Also, it is quite popular for those with non-latex allergies because it is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and eco-friendly. Where memory foam is soft and less responsive, latex offers a naturally firmer and bouncy feel. Some folks love this and others prefer more contouring.
- Spine alignment is excellent
- Depending on the firmness, latex can fit most sleeping styles
- Good for allergies & chemically sensitive folks
- Some folks don't like the bouncy or firm feel
- Latex is much more expensive to manufacture and purchase
- Usually much heavier than foam mattresses
- Less variation in softness
Innerspring - Classic comfort comes with a price
Innerspring mattresses used to be all the rage during the last century, but times are changing. Classic coil spring systems were used to support mattresses for decades. While they offered durability, their top layers were comfortable with a variety of soft materials from cotton, wool, and foam. Now innerspring mattresses usually offer memory foam or other types of foam. Additionally, traditional innerspring mattress have interconnected coils for greater support, but because of issues with pressure points, these styles of mattresses have become less popular over the last decade.
- General longevity
- Wide variety of products
- Bed is naturally cooling because of the airy space between coils
- Interconnected coils can inflame pressure points
- Low quality beds sag and can't be rotated
- Generally higher priced
Hybrid - Pocket coils and foam = ultimate comfort
A hybrid bed has both memory foam (and/or latex) and pocket coils. Pocket coils are a recent technology advancement in the innerspring category. Rather than traditional innersprings that are connected to one another through wire, these pocket springs are entirely separate and connected through a fabric mesh so they can react to each curve of your body, but not fall out of place. They are less likely to dig into you and give the mattress greater support and cooling than one made with memory foam alone.
- Best all around designs
- Greater support and comfort
- Cooler than memory foam alone
- Limited motion transfer
- Price is higher than others
- Lower quality beds can sag quickly
Now that we know the basics of what's available, it's time to find the perfect bed!
To make sure we stay focused through all the hullabaloo, I've put together an easy step by step guide that will keep you on track to finding that perfect bed.
Step 1: Use reviews as a compass
Step 2: Spot lies & scams
Step 3: Get the most value
Expert Tip: Everyone in the mattress industry claims to have unbiased reviews. This is simply not true. No review is unbiased. Whether it is an angry customer, a reviewer that was given a free item, or somebody's uncle, reviews are only good for direction not for decision.
This is luckily where Slumber Search has already done most of the work in finding and aggregating the reviews and scores (check out our top rated beds), but there are plenty of other sites and experts that provide reviews too. Find the reviews and start learning about the different brands.
Above Sheet: Now compile a list of a few that you are interested in and your takeaways. Above is a sample spreadsheet.
Because most of the mattresses are made out of similar materials and there is big money to be made by increasing margin, there are countless companies that see $ and believe they can create the next big mattress brand.
So be wary, not all disruptors are good agents. Some of them are hacks that spin up a website, get some bedding from overseas, and sell it at a premium.
How do you know that they are lying?
Tip 1: Find negative reviews that follow a trend.
Competition and affiliate relationships mean reviewers could have motives, but it is much less likely for negative reviews. It is illegal to write fake negative reviews and is expensive if it is funded by competition. Companies simply won't go for this kind of risk. So, if you read a negative review, it has almost guaranteed legitimacy.
Tip 2: Look for "warranty" in negative reviews - if people complain, this is a big red flag.
Warranties are expensive, but good warranties show care and consideration for customers that you can't put a price on. If people are complaining about the warranty, it could signal an 'us vs them' mentality that this company has towards its customers. This type of culture damages credibility of everything including their product. If they think customers are stupid enough to take a bad warranty deal, then they think they are stupid enough to buy shoddy bedding.
Getting the most value is the hardest part, but I'll tell you the rules that I found that worked the best.
Rule 1: Find The Lowest Price for Quality
When it comes to most types of bedding, there are really not a lot of differences in terms of the manufacturing price (with some extreme exceptions). If you find a bed for less than $300, you are almost guaranteed it is low quality. Most beds cost at least $300 to manufacture, so if the bed is underpriced, it is because they are cutting corners.
Now, let's find the lowest price for quality together:
Above Chart: You'll see two quality scores. The first is the quality of materials: memory foam costs way less to manufacture than a hybrid (memory foam + pocket coils). The second is the sentiment score from the reviews that we created earlier by counting the good reviews. By averaging and dividing, we get price per quality (color coded). This is not an exact science, but it will give you a good barometer of what's good or not.
Rule 2: Find $ per Year
How long should a bed last? Hybrid and innerspring should last ~10-12 years because of their metal support, but memory foam on average will last less time, maybe only ~6-7 years until it will start to sag.
Above Chart: By dividing the price by the estimated longevity (years), we get a price / year metric that we can use to rank the mattresses. Even with the cut in estimated durability for memory foam, you'll see that the brands that provide the best deals are some of the disrupters.
You've done it! You've reviewed the mattresses, and are almost ready to make a decision!
But maybe you have two or three that you are considering. They all look good and you don't know what to go with.
Don't get trapped by indecision.
Read on and take the leap...
Disclaimer: Slumber Search is supported by readers. Some links on Slumber Search are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, Slumber Search may make a small amount of money. More info.
Overall Score: 9.7/10
Overall Score: 9.6/10
#3 Bear Mattress
Overall Score: 9.6/10
#4 Level Sleep
Overall Score: 9.6/10
#5 Brooklyn Bedding
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
If you've followed the guide, you've found a great mattress for yourself and your loved ones. What is the worst thing that can happen?
You hate it.
Well, coming from someone who has bought a bed that I absolutely hated, there are some big reasons why you are going to be okay even on the rare chance that does happen.
The best brands have 100 day (or more) trials and if you hate the bed, someone will pick it up, recycle it, and you will get your money back. If you're in this position, read on as there are still some lingering tips for you!
The bed is packaged, shipped, and on its way.
Finally, a better night sleep is in reach.
But before you can enjoy better slumber, you need to set up your new bed and dispose of your old mattress.
These tips will help you glide through the transition...
Knock, knock, its your new bed. The day has finally arrived.
But, first let's set some expectations. Beds are heavy and I highly recommend that you get help from a friend, family member, or loved one when you are setting up your bed. To prepare for the transition, take your old bed and place it against the wall or in a different room.
Do not dispose of your old bed yet! You're going to want it if you have to return your new mattress.
Once you get the new bed box, carry it to your bedroom, prepare your box spring or platform, and start unwrapping your mattress.
Place the mattress on your boxspring or platform and wait an hour until lying on it so it has time to fluff up.
Important Things to Note
- Bed boxes are roughly 45in x 18in x 18in
- Weight can range from 50lbs - 125lbs (mattresses with metal components are heavier)
- Delivery drivers may only deliver it to the front door
- Delivery folks will generally not help with set up
- The contents in the box are generally wrapped tightly in plastic
- Once unwrapped, the mattress will take some time to take its fluffed shape (usually in an hour)
- Generally, there is a 'new car smell' with memory foam mattresses. If you are overwhelmed by it or sensitive to it, don't sleep on it yet and air it out in a separate room if possible.
The top way to get rid of your old mattress is to recycle it.
There is a great site called Bye Bye Mattress, which locates all of the mattress recycling facilities in your area. I highly recommend doing a bit of research on this site before you ask your friend with a truck to haul your old mattress away.
Oh no! I am so sorry to hear this! No matter what, it unfortunately happens sometimes.
1. Get your old mattress back on your platform or box spring.
2. Contact the seller and send the new mattress back to get a refund.
3. Send me an email (slumbersearch |at| gmail) telling me what happened (and an optional review if you want your voice heard) and I'll give you the best advice I can on which bed might suit your needs.