Updated June 3, 2020 3:13 PM PT

Is It Better to Buy a Mattress Online or in a Store?

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It's cheaper to buy a mattress online but should you? Find out the difference between a bed-in-a-box and shopping at the store.

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You can save a lot by shopping online rather than in store.

On average, buying a mattress online can save you about 15%. You can sometimes save more than 50%.

But, you can't try it out in person. Just how comfortable is that mattress in a box?

No matter which approach you choose, you want to make a smart decision. We'll cover what you need to know about differences in price, quality, customer service, and more.

ForMattress Store
Best Place to Buy OnlineSaatva
Cheap MattressTuft & Needle
Mattress in a BoxCasper

Affordability

Most shoppers veer toward good deals. Price differences can play a big role in whether you buy a mattress online or in a store.

Buying a mattress online could save about 15-50%. Online brands are often more durable and higher quality than mattresses from physical stores. Online sellers will usually deliver the mattress to your door within 2-4 days. Some will set up the mattress in your room at an additional cost.

Online
Most online outlets don't operate physical locations. They have low overhead costs, so they can pass the savings directly to customers. Online sellers usually have much lower prices than physical stores.

Online retailers offer seasonal discounts on special sale days like Cyber Monday, but you'll get consistently lower prices all year long.

You'll come across two main types of online mattress sellers:

  • Direct Manufacturers: Online retailers like Saatva and Purple sell their own products.
  • Third-Party Retailers: Retailers like Amazon and US-Mattress sell products from many brands and manufacturers.

In Person
Mattress stores mark up costs as much as 50% to 60% to account for their overhead. A brand name mattress that costs $2,000 or $3,000 in stores might sell for as little as $1,000 online.

Mattress stores expect you to haggle for a better price. So don't take the price tag at face value. You can usually work with the salesperson to get a better deal.

How to get the best mattress prices
Online mattress retailers will generally give you the best deal on a mattress. But if you're a good negotiator, you might want to consider in-store shopping to try to score a better deal.

At a brick-and-mortar location, you can negotiate the price of a mattress with a salesman, which you can't do online. The price you see isn't necessarily the price you have to pay. Mattress sellers often have some wiggle room, especially at certain times of the year (see How to Buy a Mattress for more information).

Mattress Quality

A mattress is a significant investment. It costs a good deal of money and has a big impact on your health. It's important to know that you're getting the best quality mattress for your money.

Online
Even though you can't test a mattress that you buy online, you can rest assured since they tend to be higher quality. Mattresses purchased online have a reputation for being made of durable materials.

This is because online retailers have more competition across the internet. To keep up with other brands, they have to offer a better product.

In Person
Fortunately, you can try out a mattress that you buy in a store before you buy it. You can touch it, lie on it, and see it in real life. Mattresses sold in store tend to have lower quality materials and are a bit less durable, but this varies from brand to brand.

What type of mattress is best for each sleep position?
  • Side sleepers need a softer mattress that provides support while cushioning the joints.
  • Back sleepers need a medium-firm mattress that will keep their spine aligned.
  • Stomach sleepers need a firm mattress for the most support.

Trial Periods/Return Policies

You never really know if you'll love a mattress until you sleep on it for a few days. For customers concerned that they may choose the wrong one, return policies are very important.

Retailers don't sell used mattresses, so they have to strike a balance between meeting customer concerns and ensuring their business is profitable.

Online
Many online retailers offer a generous trial period for you to test the mattress at home. Since you can't see the mattress beforehand, companies give you lots of time to decide if you like it.

The standard trial period for an online mattress is 100 to 120 days, but some companies give you an entire year to sleep on it. If you return it within that time, you'll usually get a full refund.

Always make sure you read through the return policy. Some companies make you pay the return shipping, which can cost up to $100.

In Person
Trying out a mattress in stores can help you get a feel for it. But you won't know how you'll sleep on it through the night until you actually bring it home.

You can expect a trial period of 120 days or less at a brick-and-mortar store. Each store has its own policy, so make sure you ask the salesperson about the trial before you commit.

Mattress stores sometimes charge return fees, and they often charge a restocking fee of 10% to 20% of the mattress price.

Customer Service

Like with any retailer, customer service is critical for online and in-person mattress sellers. Your actual customer experience will vary between the two retailer types.

Online
When you buy a mattress online, you don't get the advantage of having a salesperson there to answer your questions about the product. Some consider this a plus. It makes it easier to shop without the pressures of in-person purchasing.

To get around the lack of in-person communication, many sites provide live customer service via chat boxes.

In Person
When you buy a mattress at a store, you can have a face-to-face conversation with a salesperson. You get more personalized service than you would online.

If you have no idea what kind of mattress you want, a salesperson can help point you in the right direction. On the other hand, some customers may feel pressured into buying.

Selection

People generally prefer having a wide selection of products to choose from. It makes it easier to pick the right one for their lifestyle.

Online
When you shop online, the choices vary widely across the internet. You have access to products from around the world, and you can compare their prices and reviews right from your home.

Sometimes it feels like there are too many options that offer the same thing. That's why it's so important to read reviews and actual customer experiences. It gives you a better idea of what you'll actually get.

In Person
Most mattress stores carry the same few brands, like Sealy, Serta, and Simmons Beautyrest. You're limited to the models you see in the showroom.

Actual Buying Experience

Online
With online buying, you can purchase a mattress within a few minutes. You can easily access dozens of choices and comparison shop on your computer. Making the purchase is just a matter of filling out your credit card information and address on online forms.

It's a convenient way to buy, especially if you already know what you want.

In Person
The biggest advantage of buying a mattress in store is that you can physically lie on each one and see what feels the best to you. That's an experience you can't get online. However, you also have to deal with salespeople who are eager to make a sale.

What is the best month to buy a mattress? February to May is the best time to buy a mattress. Mattress stores offers discounts to make room for new models that come out in June. Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Black Friday are all popular days for discounts on mattress prices. But for the best prices, online mattress retailers can save you up to 50% by buying online.

Delivery

Delivery times and delivery processes vary from company to company, but there are some general differences between the two retailer types.

Online
When you order online, you'll usually get the mattress delivered to your door within two to four days. Some sellers will set up the mattress in your room for you at an additional cost.

Most mattresses you find online are bed-in-a-box mattresses. This means they arrive compressed and rolled up in a box. Once you unbox it, it quickly expands to its full size. But it usually takes a few days to reach its normal feel.

In Person
In-person purchase delivery times and policies are increasingly competitive with online retailers. Still, some brick-and-mortar retailers may take about two weeks to deliver your mattress.

The mattress will usually be shipped in a truck at full size. Most retailers include options for curbside drop-off or in-home setup.

What Experts Say

CreditDonkey assembled a group of industry experts to answer readers' most pressing questions:

  • What is the safest way to buy online?
  • How do brick-and-mortar stores operate differently from online businesses?
  • Will physical stores still matter as online shopping gains popularity?

Here's what they had to say:

Bottom Line

The best place to buy a mattress depends on your preferences. Buying online gets you the best deals and convenience of shopping from home. Shopping in store gets you face-to-face contact with someone who can help you find the right mattress.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

More from CreditDonkey:


Best Time to Buy a Mattress


How to Buy a Mattress


How to Choose a Mattress


What Happens if You Sleep on a Memory Foam Mattress Before 24 Hours

The bed in a box is a popular trend. But many mattresses in a box are memory foam that require as long as 24 hours to expand. Do you really have to wait that long? Check it out below.

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