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Before You Hit Buy, Here's How a Mattress Trial Works

A sleep trial gives your body time to acclimate to your new mattress -- just pay close attention to the terms and conditions.

Sean Jackson
Sean Jackson is a creative copywriter living in Florida. He's had work published with Realtor.com, theScore, ESPN, and the San Francisco Chronicle. In his free time, Sean likes to play drums, fail miserably at improv and spend time at the beach.
Sean Jackson
4 min read
Couple shopping for a new mattress.
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Finding the right mattress can sometimes feel like throwing a dart blindfolded. After all, a bed is a big purchase. And what happens if you dislike it?

Luckily, many mattress companies offer trials on their beds. Our guide covers how a mattress trial works, so you can rest easy as you put a new mattress to the test. 

What is a mattress trial?

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Many mattress companies want you to feel comfortable with your purchase. As such, they offer risk-free trials, where you'll have a specified time to try out the bed. They normally last at least 90 days. If you dislike the bed after the trial, you'll be able to return it for a refund. 

Here's where it becomes tricky, though. Some manufacturers (such as Sleep Number or Tempur Pedic) offer free perks when you buy a bed. These can often include sheets, pillows and even an adjustable bed frame. Anything a company gives you for free might not fall under the mattress trial provisions. And it means they can deduct the retail price of the free products from your return. 

How long is a mattress trial?

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Mattress trials can last from a few months, all the way up to a year. Ideally, you want to find a company that offers at least a 90-day mattress trial period, as this gives your body time to acclimate to your new bed. 

As a frame of reference, here are some of the mattress trial offerings from the most popular brands:

Mattress CompanySleep Trial Length
Avocado Green 365 nights
Casper 100 nights
DreamCloud 365 nights
Nectar Sleep 365 nights
Purple 100 nights
Saatva 365 nights
Serta 100 nights
WinkBeds 365 nights

Here's how a mattress trial actually works

To take advantage of a risk-free night trial on beds, here's a step-by-step guide:

1. Shop for your mattress: Start by determining your priorities for size, cost and comfort. If you can, visit several mattress stores to see which model fits best for you. Some of the bigger companies also have mattresses in a box, which allow you to lie on or at least feel the material before purchasing. 

2. Buy your bed: When you find the mattress you want, pay close attention to the terms and conditions of the trial period. Some manufacturers offer incentives, such as free pillows, bedding, frames and more to entice you to buy. Sometimes, though, when you return the bed, you'll be unable to return the bed frame. And some companies subtract the value of this from your refund. Knowing all the details ahead of time allows you to feel more comfortable with your purchase.

3. Set up your mattress: When the mattress arrives, it's important to follow the instructions for setting up. With mattresses in a box, you'll need to unroll it and allow it to acclimate to your surroundings. This can take up to 48 hours. You might also notice unpleasant smells, especially with memory foam beds. These go away in time. And with beds in boxes, it's ideal to keep the box until you know for certain you're going to love it.

4. Test your bed: Next comes the fun part: testing your mattress. Make up your bed like you normally would and go about a normal routine. When you lie down at night, does it support your back, neck, shoulders, hips and legs? Is the firmness to your liking? If you notice pressure points weeks after buying your bed, it could indicate you chose a model too firm for your needs. Also, after a month or two of use, remove your sheets and examine the bed. Do you notice any evidence of sagging? Does the bed have a permanent shape of your body? If you notice these things, it's ideal to return it.

Returning your mattress: Each manufacturer has its own guidelines for returning. To demonstrate, Casper allows you to return your bed for free. Just print out your shipping label, place it on the bed box and drop it off at your local UPS store. Meanwhile, Nectar will take back your bed, provided it's in suitable condition for donation. In all cases, reach out to your manufacturer's or retailer's customer support, which can walk you through the process. 

Not all trials are risk-free

The Nectar Premier Copper Hybrid mattress sits on a bed frame while a hand pushes down on the top of the mattress.
Jonathan Gomez

Not all mattress companies refund 100% of your money when you do a sleep trial. Nectar deducts shipping and processing fees, charges for its White Glove service and state-based recycling fees. Further, Saatva charges a $99 shipping fee to return your bed. That's why it's important to pay close attention to the trial terms and conditions, so you won't be surprised if you don't receive a full refund. 

Are mattress trials worth it?

Mattress trials are definitely worth it, because they give you the time needed to try out a mattress. You're going to be investing hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars in your bed. Therefore, it makes sense to give it time to see if it works for your body. 

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.