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 how to select the right mattress for you at the right price, you're in the right place.
Keep reading below...
I'm Chris Moberg.
I've spent years as a data scientist analyzing mattresses and other sleep products, making sense of real (and questionable) customer reviews and expert reviews, and getting to the bottom of how different sleepers really feel with different products.
With my wife's love and support, what began in 2016 with a simple spreadsheet evolved into our data-driven research and validated customer reviews in the form of Slumber Search.
So what's so special about this guide?
Over the years, by listening to readers and adapting our analysis to their needs and goals, I've gotten a front-row seat of what really matters in sleep comfort vs. what's just hype.
I've put all of that learning into this guide for those that really need something tailored to their needs.
Not you? Take a look at our top rated mattresses and dive right in to learning about specific mattresses.
The mattress industry has been disrupted and things are more complex than ever.
Past: For the last 150 years, mattresses were bought in retail stores with markups, salespeople, and local delivery.
Now: Over the past 10 years, there have been over 200 new low-cost online mattress brands join the playing field, as well as hyper-affordable brands sold on online department and mega-stores, like Amazon® and Walmart.com®.
What This Means: Now is still one of the best times to buy a new mattress. There is massive competition in the space, which can mean lower prices and better products.
But with all this choice and some companies trying to cash in with very cheap low-quality products, it's hard to figure out where to start and what matters...
Added note: In the last 4 years, organic mattresses have also become incredibly popular.
Reason #1: Mattress Stores Make Big Money Off You
Even though it has been changing year by year, it's still a thing. You, the mattress shopper, aren't the primary customer of the big traditional mattress brands. Their true customers are the intermediary mattress stores that resell their products. Through margin-setting and sales bonuses, mattress stores have more incentive to sell their beds.
Reason #2: Some Disruptors Are Selling The Same Thing for Much Less
Dreamcloud, a luxury mattress-in-a-box brand, starts at less than $600 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 margin for retailers, marketing, and commissions for salespeople. But, when you purchase online, the margin is generally slimmer -- only paying for marketing, construction, and materials.
While not all online mattresses are offering high quality products, this distinction between the retail experience and major online brands 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, slow to respond, 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 experience quick sagging on even the best beds
Latex - The all natural 'foam'
Latex is very similar to 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. Be aware, that we are talking about 100% latex. Some ultra-affordable brands may cut their latex with poly-foam as a way to cut costs. 100% latex is quite popular for those with 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, which is found in synthetic foam mattresses.
- Many organic latex mattress options make people feel safer
- 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 bonnell 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 in the top comfort layers. 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
- Oftentimes affordable 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
- Not as widely available as in the past
Hybrid - Pocket coils and foam = ultimate comfort
A hybrid bed has both memory foam (and/or latex) and pocketed coils. Pocket springs 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 the body, but also not fall out of place. They are less likely to dig into sleepers and give the mattress greater support and cooling than mattresses 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 right mattress!
To make sure we stay focused through all the noise, 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 & deceit
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 one area where Slumber Search can help by already having done most of the work of aggregating, analyzing, and collecting 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: If you're like me, you'll want to save your findings because this isn't a single day decision. Whether its a spreadsheet or some notes on your phone, 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.
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 aren't what they seem?
Tip 1: Find negative reviews that follow a trend.
Every good company will have its share of negative reviews, and if you can't find any, that's "fishy." While positive reviews can help provide a good selling point, they could be manipulated by the brand. While it is still possible for negative reviews, it is less likely. Here's why: it is illegal to write fake negative reviews and is expensive if it is funded by competition because companies generally have policies in place to only accept verified purchasers. Simply put, it would be difficult to scale. So, if you read a negative review, it is much more likely to be legitimate.
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 most likely 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 (it is good to clean them if you can spot some that are duplicate, or seem low quality or fake). 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. Note: this is highly dependent on one's weight, the firmness of the mattress, and mattress quality.
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.
Above Image: The last piece of the journey is where your personal desires come to the forefront. You may like more firmness vs. pressure relief. You may have back pain or sleep hot. While you could scower the customer and expert reviews, and do your own analysis, we've already taken a lot of the pain out of this step. Take a look at your top mattress picks on Slumber Search and compare the top customer feedback. Don't see what you are looking for? Take a look at our category rankings, by mattress type or sleeping style.
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 Brooklyn Bedding
Overall Score: 9.5/10
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, it's your new bed. The day has finally arrived.
But, first let's set some expectations. If you haven't selected white glove delivery, 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 - 150lbs (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.
On average, around $1,000 for a queen for a mid-priced and good quality mattress. Top of the line mattresses from luxury companies can be over $10,000 for a queen, and discount brands can be less than $500 for a queen.
Online mattress brands like Nectar, Tuft and Needle, and Dreamcloud can all be purchased directly online with a sleep trial, affordable prices for the materials, and added perks. Alternatively, mattress stores, like Mattress Firm, offer a wide variety of mattress brands.
No more than 15 years is recommended. Even if the mattress is still feels comfortable after that time, there may be health hazards due to dust and wear and tear. With regular turning, most pocket spring and innerspring mattresses require replacement in 10-12 years, while all-foam mattresses don't last as long at 7-10 years if sleepers are of average weight.
Most replace their mattress within 10 years, but this may be different for everyone. From a health perspective, 15 years is recommended as the longest possible time due to dust build up, possible material decay, and wear and tear.
Most mattress shoppers buy affordable foam mattresses, like the Nectar mattress. However, we recommend a personalized approach dependent on your sleeping style, preferred firmness, budget requirements, and body type. More than ever, customers are buying mattresses online, direct from the brand for their trial periods and value for the money.
The most popular mattresses are affordable all foam mattresses, like Nectar. But, if budget allows, customers rate some hybrid mattresses highest for their blend of memory foam and pocketed springs for support. Latex is also a good option for those with allergies and extra sensitivities.
On average between 75lbs to 140lbs for a queen. Foam mattresses weigh less at 75lbs to 100lbs. Hybrid mattresses with pocket coils weigh 100lbs to 125lbs on average, and latex mattresses weigh the most at 120lbs to 140lbs for a queen.
On average the most popular foam mattresses are around 10 inches thick. The average range for traditional foam and spring mattresses are 6 inches to 14 inches. There are also mattresses that are slimmer or thicker that can be found.
The universal comfort range is medium to medium-firm for proper spine alignment and support for side and back sleepers. However, each sleeper's weight plays a big role. Those who weigh more experience medium firmness mattresses as softer and require firmer mattresses for added support and comfort.