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5 reasons you should shop for a mattress online

Buying a new mattress is a big decision, but online shopping comes with some major perks. Here are all the pros and cons of buying a mattress online.

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Getty Images/Sellwell

If you're reading this, you're probably comfortable buying a pair of shoes or headphones online, but you may be skeptical about purchasing a mattress over the internet. Aside from the obvious fact you can't lay on a bed to test how it feels through your computer screen, mattresses are expensive, and there can be a lot of hesitation around making such a large purchase online. 

With that being said, online mattress companies recognize you're going out on a limb, so they offer some pretty nice perks you may not get from a traditional brick-and-mortar store. Not to mention, you don't have to deal with pushy salespeople trying to sell you on a mattress you aren't ready to purchase. You also can't beat the convenience of online shopping -- shipping is typically free, and you don't have to figure out how to lug a mattress home yourself. 

If you aren't sure whether buying a mattress online is right for you, here are a few reasons why it might be worth your while -- and reasons you might want to avoid.

The pros of online mattress shopping

Free shipping, free returns and risk-free trials 

Shipping: Most mattresses ship to your home in around three to 10 business days. Unless it's handled via white glove delivery, your bed will be shipped directly to your front door inside of a box around the size of a small Christmas tree. You might be wondering: how do they get it to fit? It's rolled up and compressed, so all you have to do is unbox, unroll and voila! You have a brand-new mattress ready to catch some zzz's on. Though, most brands suggest you give your bed 24 hours to fully inflate (feel free to sleep on it in the meantime). 

Free trial: You might not be able to try before you buy when it comes to online mattresses, but brands give you a solid amount of time to figure out if you want to keep your new bed or not. With the well-known bed-in-a-box brand Casper and many others, you can expect a 100-night trial where you can find out whether or not your new online bed is right for you. Other brands like DreamCloud and Nectar, on the other hand, give customers 365 nights to test their mattresses. Either way, you can't always expect free trials from every brick-and-mortar store. 

Free returns: If you or your better half end up disliking your mattress, it's not a problem -- you're not bound to it if you're inside the confines of your risk-free trial. Let's say you dislike your Casper mattress after night 99. Reach out to their customer service department and they'll give you all the details on how to kickstart the return process and get a full refund. Though, it's worth mentioning that some brands might ask you to arrange a donation through a local charity rather than sending their representative to pick it up. 

Prices are lower 

It's not to say you can't find a cheap mattress in a brick-and-mortar store, but oftentimes, it's the TempurPedics, Beautyrests and Stearns & Fosters that take up a lot of space on a showroom floor -- or in other words, the old-school luxury brands with high price tags to match. While they're nice beds, they can get pretty pricey, and not everyone wants to pay thousands for a new mattress. Online, you can find everything from budget beds under $500, to higher-quality beds under $1,000, to those luxury mattresses from brands I mentioned earlier. 

Wider selection online 

Along the same lines, you also have a wider selection of mattresses online. You don't have to rely on what's in front of you at the store or settle for something you aren't completely happy with. You can spend more time doing research online, and be certain your desired mattress is in stock. This can especially be important for sleepers who suffer from back pain, eco-friendly shoppers who want organic options or heavier sleepers who are looking for a specific firm profile that offers maximum support. 

Convenience 

I don't know about you, but I own a Corolla and hauling a mattress from the store to my home would be extremely unpleasant. As much as I love tying things to the top of my roof, a bed-in-a-box mattress makes buying beds as easy as buying a new pair of socks from Amazon. The box will be a little heavier, but it makes mattress shopping really hassle-free. While there are brick-and-mortar stores who offer shipping to your home, it may not always be free. 

Testing in-home instead of in-store

You might think it's wise to "try before you buy" when it comes to mattresses. But research from a study published in 2011 suggests that spending 10 to 15 minutes in a showroom testing out mattresses doesn't lead to the most beneficial pick for your sleep quality. 

In theory, taking more time to research from home and doing in-home trials could be more helpful than showroom testing. As we mentioned above, online mattress brands typically give customers more than three months to test out their mattress. When compared to the short time period you spend in a brick-and-mortar retail store testing beds, online policies allow you to confidently decide whether or not your mattress is improving your sleep or not. 

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Who should buy a mattress in-store instead?

At the end of the day, mattress shopping is largely about preference. While online shopping has its perks, there are valid reasons why someone might want to stick with brick-and-mortar retail stores when it comes to mattress shopping. You should buy in-store rather than online if...

  • You prefer to negotiate prices: What you see is what you pay online. When it comes to in-person mattress shopping, local furniture stores are more likely to haggle prices with you and let you talk them down, especially with inventory the store is trying to move out. 
  • You want help from a salesperson: You hate dealing with bots, email chains and chat boxes -- you'd much rather talk to a salesperson who can help guide you to a quality mattress. 
  • You'd rather try in-person than deal with risk-free trials: Some people hate returning items and find the process to be a hassle. If you'd rather skip the guessing game and can't wait to find out how a bed feels, in-store shopping is probably right for you.
  • You simply prefer it: In-store shopping might be more appealing if you like taking the time to roll on different mattresses, you work right across the street from a Mattress Firm or you're simply more of a traditional shopper. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.