The wrong mattress can cause bad sleep and can hurt your health and relationships too. But buying a mattress is not always as easy as you’d like. That’s why we’ve put together these 9 questions to ask to help you choose the perfect mattress for you. And we may earn a commission when you shop through our links. At the end of the article we’ll talk about the limitations of buying a mattress online, along with the upside!
1. How long is the Sleep Trial?
The sleep trial is the window of time you have to test out your new mattress. If in that timeframe, usually 100 days or more, you don’t like it then you can return it for a full refund. Some mattress companies require that you have it for at least 30 days before it qualifies. If you got free accessories you may have to pay for those, but ask. Make sure you know the terms.
Buying a mattress is an investment and they’re highly subjective. Which is why there’s a sleep trial in the first place. You may be into it $1000 or more. And you want to make sure you want to sleep on it for several years. The mattresses with the longest sleep trials – a full year and a half – is Idle Sleep and Haven.
The big advantage of buying online is that window of time you have to actually sleep on the mattress and see how you like it. I promise you’re not going to get that by laying on several at a store. And most have shorter, more restrictive return policies or fees.
4. What is the Mattress Made of?
Pay attention to mattress reviews on YouTube. Compare the hand test (where they push into the foam and see how fast it goes back out) and materials for the mattresses you’re considering. Unbox Mattress is adding new mattress review videos here. Just know that mattress reviewers know everyone is different. They’ll avoid taking a side. We don’t want to get sued or have a mattress company hate us. So we try to give you the facts so you can decide.
The #1 reason people return a mattress is that it’s too firm. The second reason is that it’s too soft. So getting that part right is important. The softest mattress we know is the Idle Sleep plush gel memory foam. The most firm is the Awara or Avocado.
2. Should I Get Financing?
Even I buy on credit because I can avoid tying up a big chunk of money and just have auto draft happen so I can pay less per month. It frees up cash and is easier on the budget. We have lots of articles with sample purchases and costs to finance. Mattress companies aren’t looking to make money off financing, they really just want to sell the mattress.
Popular brands like Idle Sleep offer 0% APR financing from as low as $7/month. With easy financing through modern financing partners like Affirm, you can easily see if you qualify for mattress financing without any effect on your credit score.
3. Will it Last?
You can spend $1,000 on a mattress and have it last a year before it starts to break down. Or spend a lot more and have it last.
Another option is to get a mattress that can be flipped over. Idle Sleep sells 2-sided hybrid mattresses that are the same on one end as the other, with springs in the middle. So if you start seeing indentions on one end, flip it over and you’ve got a lot more years on that mattress.
5. Will I Sleep too Hot?
What I’ve learned is that even a person who sleeps cool can bake on the wrong mattress. Being too hot is as bad as being too cold. Now you can get a BedJet bed fan or a smart bed like Eight but those are pricey. In general, memory foam (especially plush versions) sleep warm. We recommend Purple mattress because it has airflow and if you sleep hot, it’ll be cooler. We’ve seen it over and over again.
Or, if you like a firm bed, Airweave is breathable and sleeps cooler than foam mattresses.
6. What is the FIRMNESS?
Given that most mattresses are returned because they’re either too firm (most common) or too soft, firmness is a big issue. It needs to be right. You can add a topper to soften a mattress that’s too firm but you shouldn’t have to when buying a new mattress. Usually softer mattresses are made of memory foam and they will give that hug. You’ll sink in deeper and feel enveloped by the bed more. It’ll be harder to move around.
On more firm beds you’ll feel like you’re lying on top of the bed. It won’t give as much under the weight of your body. Someone who is heavier will need more support and might prefer a more firm bed.
7. Am I Paying too Much?
There is always a sale going on in the mattress mar
ket, so why pay full price? You can find the deals on the website and of course there are holidays like Labor Day mattress sales, 4th of July mattress sales, Memorial Day mattress sales, and Veteran’s Day mattress sales for the best prices.
If you get a good mattress deal combined with 0% APR financing available, you can’t go wrong. Idle Sleep and Haven Bed, you can literally enjoy sleep on award-winning mattresses for as low as $7/month – to see our favorite mattress deal going on right now, click here.
8. Where Can I Get FREE Pillows or Other Add Ons?
Some mattress companies throw in free pillows with your mattress purchase. Idle Sleep and Nolah do. Just note that they’re not going to be the higher quality pillows for sale on the site. If you’re not picky, go for it. But if you are, we love these pillow
s (lighter, fluffier, dreamy), this shredded memory foam pillow that’s heavy but holds up so long, this adjustable shredded memory foam pillow that comes with 1.5 lbs of extra replacement fill or these down alternative pillows from Nolah.
9. What’s the Warranty?
Warranties for mattresses are mainly to catch manufacturing defects. I had a mattress (the company has since gone out of business) give me a mattress to review. A year after sleeping on it, the glue gave out and the side had a large pultrusion. Just on one side. I could fit my entire arm inside the indent. So they sent another one. A year later, same thing happened. I’ve seen very few problems with mattress defect but they can happen and they can happen after a long time.
While you can get warranties to pay against indents – they have to be pretty big to qualify. Most of the time a warranty is just for the big things that go wrong. Mistakes. Not wear over time. So check the warranty – 10 years is probably adequate since you’ll likely want a new mattress by then anyway. If longevity is a big value then choose a high quality latex mattress. They take a bit to get used to but they’re a natural product and will last longer than most other materials.
When you Want a Mattress That Fulfills All your Dreams
Now for the hard truths you don’t want to hear but that you need to know.
Overall, the internet cannot tell you the following key mattress considerations:
Neither can going to a mattress store and lying down on different mattresses. You really need to sleep on it over time. If I’d given up on my Purple mattress after a few weeks I wouldn’t love it for years after.
Hence, mattress sleep trials. Narrow your mattress choice down to your top 3 and then order one. If it doesn’t work, order the next one.
Give it 4 weeks unless you truly hate it
Unless you truly hate it, give your new mattress 3-4 weeks before you decide. Pop some Tylenol PM if you have to, to get through the adjustment. You’re used to your old crappy mattress and so anything new will feel odd and uncomfortable at first. I truly wanted my old mattress back those first few weeks. But it lost support (it had worn out and had divets on each side). We were used to it but it was bad for us.
You can’t have it all if you’re looking for certain combinations
There are some combinations that I find impossible. For example, you want a cooler sleeping mattress that’s soft memory foam. While you might find fabric that sleeps cooler for a while, after your body heat kicks in, it’s going to get warm. Air gets trapped in the crevice your body creates. Memory foam softens when it gets warm, making it sink in more. And that warm air builds up and has nowhere to escape. You could get a feather bed that’s a different kind of softness and it won’t sleep hot.
Reviews can only help so much
Even reading reviews can’t help after a certain point. I know a guy who took months to decide on what he thought was the perfect mattress. He did so much research and was sure he finally found everything he could want in a mattress. But then he got it and he hated it. He could’ve spent that time trying several.
I know it’s a process to go through but it’s worth it when you find a mattress you love long term. Those are terms relative to each person and you cannot rely on relative terms as I can’t say which ice cream flavor you will find delicious or what art work you will find to be thought proving to display in your hallway.
Let me end with some hope. You can find the best mattress for you, if that’s your quest. We want to help you do that.