While online mattress shopping was a fairly popular activity before the pandemic, it has quickly become the go-to method for purchasing a new mattress.
Some people still prefer the experience of trying out a bed in a store, but for a while that wasn’t even an option.
There are many online retailers, both long-standing companies and new startups, that can ship a mattress of your choosing directly to your front door.
What Is A Mattress-In-A-Box?
A mattress-in-a-box is exactly what it sounds like: a bed in a box. After a mattress is manufactured, it gets compressed and packed into a box roughly the size of a coffee table. The mattress will stay in the box until it is ordered, and then it will be delivered right to your doorstep. All you have to do is open the box, put the mattress on your bed frame, and let it decompress over a period up to 48 hours long.
One of the main concerns with this packing method is that the mattress is not able to do any off-gassing until in your own home, so you may notice a lingering odour for a few days. Most beds in a box will be a foam type of mattress (memory foam, latex foam, etc.), but some companies have gotten pretty creative and are now capable of compressing spring beds, hybrid mattresses, air chamber mattresses, and more into a box for shipping.
Pros and Cons Of Buying Online Mattresses
Amazon is one of the most common retailers for boxed mattresses, and in part this is because is is one of the only ways to see mattresses from a number of different online mattress brands all together. Casper was one of the first online retailers, but there are many more that also have their own dedicated websites. Let’s take a look at the generalised pros and cons when it comes to buying a mattress online.
Wide Selection & Convenient Process
Online shopping, especially during a pandemic, is incredibly convenient and a lot safer, too. When you buy a mattress online, you have the opportunity to browse many different brands and types of mattresses in quick succession. Once you’re ready to buy, you simple order the mattress and wait for it to arrive at your front door. Usually, you’ll have to unpack and set up the new mattress by yourself, but you can pay a little extra to have the delivery people take care of that for you.
The Same Mattress Can Suit Every Sleeper
One of the most unique things about online mattresses is that they are designed to suit every sleeper. Whether you are tall or short, light of heavy, restless or still, or a side, back, or stomach sleeper, any online mattress will likely help you sleep a lot better. They are designed to be versatile and suitable to every sleeper’s preference in order to ensure that everyone is satisfied with their new mattress. As a result, you really can’t go wrong with any mattress you choose.
Sold At A Fixed Price
Mattresses sold online will almost always have a fixed price, and as a result, you’ll end up paying less for your new mattress. Plus, if you find a mattress you like but can’t quite afford, it will still be the same price even if you come back a few months later.
Can’t Test It Out Before Bringing It Home
Of course, when purchasing a mattress from an online store, you don’t have the opportunity to lay on it and test it out. While this test is not all that indicative of how it will perform on a nightly basis, it can still help you figure out what you are and are not looking for in a mattress. Some online retailers will have a showroom set up somewhere locally to plug this hole in the system, but most don’t.
Mostly Only Foam Mattresses
One of the main problems with buying mattresses in a box is that certain types of mattresses don’t compress so easily. As a result, it will mostly be foam mattresses available for purchase online. There are some retailers that sell other types, but it isn’t as common. While most foam mattresses are designed to be comfortable for everybody, you may have your heart set on a different kind of mattress and will find yourself disappointed.
Returns Can Be Difficult
Some online retailers will require that you ship the mattress back to them instead of offering a pick up/drop off location near you. You will find it nearly impossible to pack a mattress back into a shipping box, so you will be stuck with a mattress that isn’t a good fit for you. Be aware of an online retailer’s return policy before you make the purchase so you don’t find yourself in this position.
Pros and Cons of Buying Mattresses In-Store
Shopping for a mattress in a physical store is the more traditional way to do things, and it certainly has its benefits. Black Friday sales send many consumers to retail stores for discounts, and you can sometimes save money in other ways with coupons or other promotional discounts on other sleep products such as mattress toppers, mattress protectors, pillows, and even bed spreads. Buying a mattress in person does come with its own downsides as well though, so it truly is a balanced act and up to every individual’s personal preference.
Can Test A Number of Mattresses In A Short Period Of Time
Testing mattresses in a store is one of the best things about doing your shopping in person. They will have every mattress type available for testing (memory foam mattress, innerspring mattress, latex mattress, hybrid mattresses, etc.). You can get a sense of the responsiveness of each mattress type and get an idea of what firmness level is best for you. Depending on your body weight and sleeping position, a medium firm mattress may be too firm or too soft for you, and the same goes for every other mattress firmness level as well. Testing these things in store will help you find the right mattress a lot faster.
Can Discuss Options With A Professional
Access to a mattress professional is another great benefit of shopping at a store. You need a high-quality mattress that suits your needs in order to achieve a perfect night’s sleep, and deciding on the right mattress can be a daunting experience. A mattress salesperson knows everything about the mattresses in store and can help you narrow down your selection. If you suffer from back pain or need pressure relief to soothe aching joints, your salesperson can guide you in the right direction there as well.
Supremely Fast Delivery And Old Mattress Removal
When you make the decision to purchase a mattress from a physical store, you get to reap the benefits in terms of delivery. Most locations will offer same-day or next-day delivery, so you don’t have to wait long to start sleeping on a new bed. Plus, the delivery folks will even set up the new bed and remove the old mattress free of charge.
Pressure From A Salesperson
Choosing a mattress in store is going to come with one major deterrent: the sales person. While it can be beneficial to have a professional involved and helping to choose the right mattress for your needs, a salesperson can oftentimes be fairly intimidating and put a lot of pressure on you as you shop. You’ll have to weigh your individual needs for an outsider’s input and how comfortable you’d feel in this kind of setting.
Difficult To Compare Products Retailer to Retailer
Believe it or not, comparing mattresses from one in-store retailer to the next is one of the most difficult things you can do. Even if multiple stores carry the exact same mattress of the same brand, the price tag can be different. And sometimes, when you think two mattresses are identical, there will actually be a slight variation in the composition. Browsing through options from different brands is therefore extremely difficult to do in person.
Return Fees Can Be High
Every quality mattress retail store should offer free returns, but that often isn’t the case. Many places will charge something called a restocking fee, and the expense can get quite high depending on the location and type of mattress. If you do choose to go forward with the in-person experience, make sure you get the details on the return policy before committing to a trial period.
Showroom Mattresses Are Not Clean
Whether you are looking at purchasing the same type of mattress as the one you’re replacing or you want a different style entirely, you’re going to want to lay on it in the store to test it out. Switching positions is important whether you are a side sleeper, stomach sleeper, or back sleeper, and you’ll have to spend roughly 10-15 minutes on each mattress you try to get a decent feel for it. The problem with this is that everyone else does the same thing; these mattresses are NOT going to be clean, and that is something some people won’t be able to get over.
Where Should I Buy My Mattress?
At the end of the day, no one can decide where the best place to buy a mattress is except for you as the individual in need of a mattress. Your best mattress could be found online just as easily as in a brick-and-mortar store, but both online shopping and in-store shopping have their advantages and disadvantages.
Shopping in a mattress store will guarantee you have a professional there to help you make an informed decision, but you’ll also have to deal with the purchase pressure from a commission-driven mindset. You’ll have the opportunity to test out a number of different mattress types, but you also have to keep in mind that laying on it for 10-15 minutes is not nearly the same thing as sleeping on it night after night.
Online shopping is incredibly convenient, because you can shop around at many different stores all from the comfort of your home. However, that also brings more options into the mix which can be overwhelming if you don’t already know what you’re looking for. Online mattress companies tend to have more fixed prices and versatile mattresses than what you’ll see in a showroom, though.
Both methods of shopping will give you the opportunity for a sleep trial period on your new bed, delivery options (white glove delivery for most online retailers will have them set up your bed for you, and in-store delivery folks will also remove your old mattress if desired), and a great warranty plan. They’ll also usually have consumer-friendly return policies with full refunds (usually).
Whichever mattress retailers you choose to shop from, do your best to make an informed decision and pay attention to mattress reviews and characteristics to limit the hassle of returns and poor sleep quality.