How to Shop for a Mattress

“Certain comfort materials like foam need time to react to your body,” Bils says.

In the end, you’ll have to accept that you may not be making your final call on a new mattress until you actually take it home for a trial period. “Trying something for two minutes is a lot different than sleeping on it for a month. Some things you just can’t notice in a short time,” Redman says.

Check the return policy

As always, check the fine print—including the return policy, the warranty, and whether you can get a full refund if you decide you don’t want the bed within a certain period of time after your purchase. “Especially with foam mattresses you buy online, I would only purchase if I had at least a 30-night free trial,” Redman says.

Most well-known online mattress companies offer at least a 90-night trial period, and some, like Nectar and Saatva, even offer a full 365 nights for their trial periods.

Naturally, there are always conditions to a mattress return policy. Don’t expect to companies to take mattresses back if they’re stained, ripped, stink, or are otherwise in bad shape. But most mattress companies try to make returns as painless as possible. Casper, for instance, allows returns after 100 days that don’t cost the customer anything; a courier will come to your home to pack up the mattress so you don’t have to move it yourself.

Ask if they’ll take away your old mattress

California requires mattress companies to remove your old mattress free of charge when delivering a new one.

Photo: Adriana Duduleanu/Getty Images

So now you’ve got a new mattress—and, in most cases, an old one that you don’t know what to do with.

Some states, like California, require mattresses companies to take away your old mattress for free when delivering a new mattress, but in others you have to specifically request the service (and companies tack on a haul-away charge) or haul-away simply isn’t offered. Bed-in-a-box online mattress companies are far less likely to offer to take away your old mattress than local retailers.

In short, be sure you know what you’re going to do with your old mattress before your new mattress arrives.

Keep testing it at home

“Ultimately, you’ll be making the decision at home, not the showroom,” Bils says. “A mattress needs to be slept on to access the firmness and support you want.”

Give yourself up to two weeks to see if a product is the right mattress for you.

“If by this time your body doesn’t adjust, it’s not you. The mattress isn’t a match,” says Steyskal.

Consider online mattress shopping instead of buying in-store

While nothing beats testing a mattress IRL, many mattress companies have made it very easy to buy online without regrets and sales promotions, like on Black Friday, can be enticing, so make sure you check the return policy.

So if you have done plenty of online research and feel ready to take the plunge, consider going the bed-in-a-box route.

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