How To Buy A Mattress

A few tips on how to buy a mattress can help you navigate through the masses of information and choice out there.

This is not an article about what to look for in the technical details such as base, padding, innerspring unit and other components.

The technical details of how to buy a mattress can be found in another article called "Buying A Mattress - Get The Best Value By Knowing What To Look For."

This article deals with aspects of buying a mattress like:

  • Attitudes towards buying a mattress
  • Dealing with salesmen
  • Negotiating
  • Spotting the difference between good features and bogus features
  • Balancing cost and value
  • Testing beds
  • Trial periods and warranties

Attitudes Towards Buying A Mattress

It is an acknowledged fact now that many mattress companies intentionally bamboozle their customers with features and names. The reason is to make it harder to do a proper comparison and thus enable them to charge a higher price.

How to buy a mattress when you don't speak the lingo? This leaves many mattress buyers frustrated, annoyed and overwhelmed. It often causes them to make a rushed purchase or just buy any old thing to get the horrible process out of the way.

However life is what you make it, and buying a mattress is very much what you make it. It can be a painful process if you let it. But it can also have a degree of fun and excitement if you let it as well. We all get a bit of a giddy feeling when we drop some money on a big spend. Enjoy it. Perhaps this new mattress is going to make a big difference to your sleep and therefore your well being.

Think of it as a positive thing and it will go a lot smoother. That is how to buy a mattress without stress.

Dealing With Salesmen

The common perception of mattress salesmen is quite similar to that of used car dealers. Sleazebags and slimeballs who will do anything to deceive you, cheat you out of your money and make you pay too much for an inferior product. Since they are after commission people often think they must be dishonest.

Of course there are sleazebag salesmen in this world. But they are not the best salesmen. Those who leave you feeling cheated will not drive repeat sales or referrals from friends. They lose out in the end.

Good salesmen do exist. They understand that delivering a good customer experience and finding the best product for the customer is the goal, not just selling them anything. These are the guys who will refer you down the road if they know they honestly cannot meet you needs.

A good salesman can be a huge asset to you. Most people do not know how to buy a mattress that is right for them without some guidance from and expert. They will have extensive product knowledge, they will listen to you and ascertain yours needs and they will guide you in the right direction without pressure. These guys are out there so take advantage when you find one.

The sleazy ones are there too and they are easy to pick and avoid. But there is no need to distrust all salesmen just because of what they do. They can help.

There is a simple way to tell a good one from a poor one. A good one will actively listen to you and answer direct questions. A poor one will talk more than he listens.

If you return a mattress the salesman should lose his commission. This is incentive for them to help you get it right and not just move stock out the door.


If a salesman refuses to negotiate is that because they are being tight and trying to rip you off? Probably not. A refusal to negotiate generally means that the product is not overpriced and they cannot feasibly go any lower. It is actually a sign that what you see is what you get and the price is a fair one.

When someone is willing to negotiate it sends a very clear signal that the product is overpriced in the first place. I would rather purchase from someone unwilling to negotiate rather than someone who inflates their prices and then engages in barter.

If you do have to negotiate there is an easy way to always win. That is never be afraid to walk away. The problem is you actually have to actually mean it. You cannot pretend to not be afraid when actually you never intend to leave the store without that product.

If the salesman doesn't come down enough you can walk out the door and you win. If he doesn't come down and you accept then he wins. If you keep walking away eventually you will find a place that will drop the price enough to satisfy you. That is how to buy a mattress like a boss without getting sucked in.

How To Buy A Mattress Without Being Tricked By A Gimmicky Feature

This one is tricky. Mattresses are marketed with all sorts of bells and whistles and it is hard to tell which is a genuine benefit or excellent new technology and what is just hype.

How to buy a mattress when there is so much choice and potential hype in features? Simply do the research. People complain but you are spending a lot of money on a product that is going be used everyday for many years. You should expect to take some time to figure out what is on offer and what you like.

When it comes to different materials such as wool, cotton, latex, memory foam, air, water or any other it pays to investigate. There are differences, most particularly and importantly the way the mattress feels. Latex and memory foam in particular do have certain benefits about them which make many people choose them over an innerspring.

That does not necessarily mean that they are right for you despite the listed benefits. You have to use common sense and balance that against your own priorities. But when it comes to material, if a claim intrigues you and you think it might be for you then investigate.

The place to be most skeptical is of claims about coils. The claims may be true or they may be hype. The problem is there are several factors at play. Coil quality depends on the total number of coils, the number of turns, the quality and thickness of the wire and whether or not it is double tempered.

Mattress producers often market high coil count as being a great benefit. It is, but if the the wire quality is poor and the number of turns is low then high coil count means little. You would be better off with less coils from better wire. So beware the claims and make sure you consider all aspects.

How To Buy A Mattress While Balancing Cost And Value

There is a very compelling argument for purchasing a cheap mattress. Since the industry is out to confuse people, all mattresses are pretty much the same and high price tags pay for nothing but marketing and hype.

Ultimately it comes down to whether a mattress makes you feel better. If you feel better on a $500 mattress than a $2000 mattress then which one is really better?

This can and does happen. A store may carry a range that differs by $1000 but minimally in how the mattress is constructed. And many people sleep excellently on cheap mattresses.

But do not let this cloud your judgement and send you straight to the cheapest option. The adage that you get what you pay for can also apply. Some mattresses are more expensive because they are better quality, made from better materials and will last longer before they sag and wear out.

There are circumstances where it will make sense to pay more. You have to think in terms of value rather than just in terms of cost. Keep an open mind to why a mattress is more expensive. Maybe it is hype but it is very likely that it represents a superior product.

How To Buy A Mattress That Is Both Comfortable And Supportive

You should definitely test beds in store to narrow down the options and help you determine which one you will eventually buy.

But again keep an open mind about this and do not let this one factor override your decision making process.

It has been said that all mattresses feel the same once you are asleep and therefore it does not matter what kind of quality you get. This is not true at all. While you cannot obviously feel it when you are asleep you will know when you slept on a bad mattress when you wake up. If you are stiff and sore it is because the mattress was too soft and did not offer enough support.

Comfort is the main factor people think about when testing mattresses. But really you should be thinking first about support. Comfort is the thing you only feel when you are awake. Support is what you need all night.

A soft mattress can feel great for the 5 minutes you lie on it in store. But it does not offer you a good surface for the 8 hours you spend on it each night. A good trial period takes the risk away. But be aware that store testing is not the be all and end all. It is a tool but not a definitive measure of whether a mattress is right for you. Only several nights sleep on it can tell you that.

How To Buy A Mattress With A Good Trial Period And Warranty

Make sure there is a decent trial period that will allow you to return the mattress if it does not suit. This may not be available for the very budget mattresses. But always try and get one if you can. This eliminates much of the risk.

Take the time to understand your warranty. How long it is for, whether it is full or pro-rated and what actions will void the warranty. High quality mattresses will come with a good warranty because that is reflective of the confidence a retailer has in a good product.

Consider all factors when buying a mattress and if in doubt use common sense.

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