Buying a mattress in a brick and mortar store can be a hassle. Driving to multiple stores, dealing with hovering sales staff, and trying to navigate the often confusing variety of sales, pricing techniques, and ever so slightly differing models often makes the in-person purchase of mattresses almost as complicated as buying a car.
Today, mattress shoppers have another option: buying mattresses online. And not just from mattress retailers who sell mattresses the same way brick and mortar stores do but often straight from the manufacturer.
Direct to consumer online mattress companies like Leesa, Tuft & Needle, and Casper have brought innovation to the mattress industry. Offering simple choices, convenience, straightforward pricing, and often superior customer service and quality, online mattress companies are a refreshing change for shoppers who want a different mattress buying experience.
This guide to buying a mattress online explains everything you need to know about online mattress sales, including pros and cons, the types of mattresses you can find online, details about shipping and returns, and links to reviews of many of the most popular brands on the market.
Pros and Cons of Buying Mattresses Online
Buying a mattress online comes with distinct advantages and disadvantages. While shopping, price, convenience, and guarantees tend to be better online, there are drawbacks. In particular, many customers are taken aback by the inability to test mattresses out before buying one. Before you shop for a mattress online, consider these pros and cons.
- Price: Online mattress companies tend to be significantly cheaper than brick and mortar stores, usually by 25 percent or more. Many online mattress companies specialize in manufacturing top quality mattresses at a fraction of the price. In addition, coupons and discounts are typically available for online mattress sellers. And often, online mattress shoppers get a break on sales tax and free delivery as well.
- Convenience: Shopping for mattresses online is much easier than going to a store. Online, you’re able to shop when and where it’s convenient for you, not the store. Receiving an online mattress is often a superior experience as well, as customers usually receive an easy to handle box at their door instead of having to adjust their schedule to accommodate a home delivery. The boxes are easy for most people to move, which is especially important if you live in a small apartment or have to deal with tight hallways or staircases.
- Free delivery: Nearly every single online mattress company offers free delivery. Some brick and mortar stores do as well, but it’s far more common online. In many cases, delivery by mail happens more quickly than delivery by a mattress store.
- No pressure sales: Mattress sales personnel can rival car salesmen in their reputation for tricks, overselling, and exhausting persistence. Online, you can shop without a hovering salesperson harassing you and trying to meet a quota or deadline for their latest sale.
- Trial period: With the exception of very few online mattress companies that have showrooms, it’s not possible to try out online mattresses before buying. But virtually every online mattress company offers a free trial period to allow customers to test out their mattress and make sure it’s the right fit for them. Usually, this trial period is around 100 nights starting from the delivery of the mattress.
- Free returns: Along with the trial period offered by online mattress companies is usually a free return policy. That means if you decide you don’t like your mattress, you can return it and get a free refund. Most companies will even pick up the mattress or help coordinate you donating the mattress to a local charity. In either case, you rarely have to worry about paying a hefty shipping fee before you get a refund on a mattress you don’t like.
- Rapid innovation and quality improvements: the ability to sell mattresses directly to consumers online has allowed many new companies to enter the market with fresh concepts and features in mattress design. The combination of increased competition and more informed consumers has also pushed mattress companies to continue to invest in quality materials and manufacturing. The upshot for customers is an escalating level of quality in mattresses sold online.
- Ample time to research, fact-check, and reflect: buying a mattress online allows you to go through the process of gathering information and double-checking marketing claims at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. Once you have this information, you also have the time to process and thinking through your preferences and priorities and to sort through the key information.
- Easier to comparison shop: some mattress retailers intentionally circumvent comparison shopping by assigning a huge variety of makes and models to mattresses that are actually very similar. In the moment and in the store, it can be hard to cut through this noise to accurately compare one option to another. Online, where information can easily be saved and cross-referenced, this type of comparison shopping is much simpler.
- Access to large third party merchants: in addition to being able to buy mattresses directly from mattress sellers, many mattresses are also available through huge third party merchants like Amazon. Given Amazon’s reputation for customer service, secure transactions, and quick shipping, this can be a huge plus for many consumers. We even have a guide just for the Best Mattresses on Amazon.
- Can’t test the mattress: if you’re shopping for a mattress in store, it’s recommended that you lay on a mattress for at least 15 minutes before deciding it’s the one for you. But with online mattress companies, you can’t even look at them, much less touch or lay on them before making a purchase. However, most online mattress companies offer long trial periods and full refunds so you can test them out at home. Some online mattress companies even offer showrooms in limited locations.
- No help from sales staff: while mattress salesmen can be a drag, they can also be helpful, quickly directing you to mattresses that fit your needs and price range. This ability to narrow down your options can be extremely valuable when there are so many models on the market. Online, you’ll lack this personalized help, though more and more online mattress companies have live chat, email, or even phone support.
- Old mattress removal: when a brick and mortar store delivers a new mattress, it usually includes hauling away your old one. But with most online mattress companies simply delivering their products in a box on the porch, mattress removal is far less common. Though some offer removal service for a nominal fee (usually less than $40), with others, you’re on your own for disposing of your own mattress.
- Return process can be complicated: though no-risk returns are an industry standard for online mattresses, sometimes there are caveats. For example, some companies require you to sleep on the mattress for 30 days before initiating a return, and others may require you to try modifications to the mattress before issuing a refund.
- Less established companies: while dealing with the huge mattress makers and retailers can be burdensome, at the very least, these companies have a long track record in business, and consumers can be confident that they won’t disappear into the night. With the sheer number of online mattress companies that have entered the market in the last 5 years, it is harder to know if those companies will still be around, solvent, and able to provide support years down the line.
- Overwhelming amount of information: as with most things related to the internet, the line between great information and too much information can quickly become blurred. Many people find the process of online information gathering about mattresses to be intimidating and tiring (and if that’s the case for you, we recommend our guides that simplify the process for you).
- Installation challenges: especially for larger mattress sizes and heavier materials (like latex), the delivery boxes for mattresses purchased online can be unwieldy. It may take 2 people to move some boxes, and people who have injuries, disabilities, or other physical limitations may have difficulty with moving and unboxing these bed-in-a-box mattresses.
Online vs. In-Store: Other Factors to Consider
In the previous section, we explained some of the pros and cons of buying a mattress online. While overall customer satisfaction with online mattress buying tends to be quite high, especially relative to traditional mattress stores, it is important to remember that no one place or method of buying a mattress is best for everyone. In this section, we offer some considerations or questions that you can apply to yourself to help determine whether buying a mattress online is right for you.
- How do you best receive and understand new information? Some people learn best by doing a ton of their own reading and research on a subject. Others learn by talking it out directly with another person. Still others may benefit from multimedia resources that combine text, videos, and images. And another group of people may process new information best when it is curated for them into an easily digestible resource. Obviously, the internet can be a great tool for the people who want heaps of information, multimedia, or curated guides. But people who learn best through direct interpersonal communication may benefit more from buying in-person where you can work with an informed salesperson.
- What type of process do you prefer to make purchasing decisions? If you are someone who tends to trust your gut and make purchases on the spot, buying a mattress in-person will probably be best for you. On the contrary, if you tend to need a lot of time to think through all of your options and sleep on the information before making a choice, buying online is probably a better fit.
- How much do you trust the first impression of lying on a mattress? Maybe you’ve been mattress shopping before and instantly knew when you tried out a mattress whether it would be right for you. On the other hand, maybe you’ve tried out a mattress in a store only to find that your first impression didn’t hold true after one or more nights actually sleeping on the mattress in your home. People who rely more on that immediate first impression are much more inclined to be satisfied shopping for a mattress in-person versus online and vice versa.
- Are you the only decision-maker or are you buying the mattress with a partner? The right place and process for choosing a mattress may be different for an individual as opposed to a couple. If you’re buying a mattress with a partner, each person should consider their answer to the questions listed in this section. It may be that you have different styles for sorting through information or choosing a product like this, and in that case, an open conversation about your optimal process is important to have at the outset. Our guide, Best Mattresses for Couples, gives more tips and recommendations for partners who are mattress shopping together.
What Types of Mattresses Can You Buy Online?
The options for online mattresses seem endless, with as many or more online than there are available in stores. Online mattress shoppers can choose from a variety of foam, latex, innerspring, hybrid, and even air and waterbed options.
Foam mattresses are extremely popular online. This type of mattress responds to the body’s heat and pressure and is known for evenly distributing body weight. Foam mattresses typically offer relief for painful pressure points and may offer more support for a restful night’s sleep. Learn more in our guide to the Best Memory Foam Mattresses.
Online Foam Mattress Companies
- Casper: perhaps the most well-known foam mattress maker that has three models available, the original Casper, the Casper Wave, and the Casper Essential.
- Novosbed: a Canadian manufacturer who produces high-density memory foam mattresses with several firmness options.
- TEMPUR-Pedic: a heavyweight in the world of memory foam offering 3 lines of high-end mattresses – TEMPUR-Cloud, TEMPUR-Contour, and TEMPUR-Flex.
- Leesa: a well-regarded mattress that has risen in popularity with its latex-like Avena foam comfort layer.
- Tuft & Needle: a mattress popular for its no-frills yet high-quality foam design at an entry-level price.
- Amerisleep: offers 5 different mattress options that feature plant-based memory foams in several configurations and firmness levels.
- Purple: a proprietary hyper-elastic polymer in its comfort layer gives the Purple mattress a unique feel.
- Ghostbed: a combination of latex and memory foam comfort layers provide this mattress both responsiveness and bounce.
- BedInABox: an originator in this space, this company has options with plush pillowtops but only offers a 60-day sleep trial.
- Eight Sleep: a leader in sleep tracking technology contained in a mattress cover, this company also offers three different mattress options.
- Loom & Leaf: a well-designed foam mattress made by Saatva, Inc. with a thick, high-density comfort layer.
- Nest Alexander Signature Series: a solidly-built mattress with a pillowtop style offered in several firmness options.
- Luxi: this mattress is designed with a zippered cover that can be opened to allow foam layers to be rearranged for a different feel.
- Brooklyn Bedding: a longstanding company with a mattress that was recently redesigned to feature a comfort layer of latex-like foam.
Historically, all-latex mattresses were known for being expensive, which is why it was rare to come across mattresses built entirely of this material. However, a number of online mattress companies have started selling all-latex options at much more affordable price points. These mattresses are known for increased bounce while still providing responsive support. Read more in our guide to the Best Latex Mattresses.
Online Latex Mattress Companies
- Sleep On Latex Pure Green: a top-pick, this mattress is a latex powerhouse at a very competitive price and with several thickness and firmness options.
- Zenhaven: a quality latex mattress produced by the makers of the Saatva and Loom & Leaf mattresses.
- Spindle: an all-latex mattress with four firmness options that can be adjusted after your initial purchase and delivery.
- PlushBeds Botanical Bliss: a latex option that uses both Talalay and Dunlop latex with a wool cover.
- Essentia: a top pick for people looking for organic and natural latex mattress options.
These mattresses use coils inside the mattress to provide spring and support. This is the most traditional type of mattress. While there are far fewer innerspring mattresses available online, this type of mattress can be an excellent choice. Get more details and top picks in our guide, Best Innerspring Mattresses.
Online Innerspring Mattress Companies
- Saatva: one of the leaders in the online mattress space, Saatva offers a mattress with two layers of coils for a solid base of support.
- Keetsa: a company offering several models that use many natural materials to create a mattress with thick innerspring bases and thin memory foam comfort layers.
- Brentwood Home: a major bedding company that offers several different designs for innerspring mattress options.
Hybrid mattresses include elements of memory foam, innerspring coils, and/or latex. A common type of hybrid has a layer of memory foam, latex, or a similar type of foam on top of a base of innerspring coils. The goal of a hybrid is usually to try to capture both the benefits of an innerspring and a foam mattress. Additional details and recommendations are listed in our guide, Best Hybrid Mattresses.
Online Hybrid Mattress Companies
- Sapira: a high-end hybrid manufactured by the same company that makes the Leesa foam mattress.
- Winkbed: two different layers of innerspring coils are a key feature of this hybrid mattress.
- Helix: a mattress with a combination of foam and coils that is custom-built based on customer preferences that are input into a proprietary algorithm.
- Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid: a pillowtop with quilted foam, copper-infused memory foam, and a sizable innerspring layer are the features of this hybrid.
- Voila: this mattress comes with a pocketed coil base for support and a comfort layer with gel-infused memory foam.
- BedInABox Adagio: a hybrid option from one of the first companies to begin shipping mattresses compressed and directly to your doorstep
Airbeds and Waterbeds
Airbed mattresses can be custom-inflated to a desired firmness using either manual inflation or an integrated electric pump. An integrated pump makes inflation and deflation to the desired firmness fast and simple. There are far fewer options for airbeds among mattresses sold online.
Waterbeds use chambers filled with water to provide a sleep surface. These are sold online but are much less popular and common than the other options described above.
Online Airbed and Waterbed Companies and Stores
- Sleep Number: the dominant airbed company online and in stores is Sleep Number, which offers its traditional line of mattress as well as its new It Bed by Sleep Number.
- Wayfair.com: Air Mattresses
- Target: Airbeds
- Amazon.com: Camping Air Mattresses
- Walmart.com: Air Beds
- Overstock.com: Air Mattresses & Inflatable Air Beds
- Wayfair.com: Waterbeds
- The Waterbed Factory
- Waterbeds Today
- Walmart.com: Water Beds
How to Buy a Bed Online
Buying a bed online, especially for the first time, can feel like a daunting process. Following a cohesive set of steps like the ones that we’ve listed below can help set you up for success in finding the right mattress at the right price.
Step 1: Think about your sleep habits and preferences. At this point, you are mostly reflecting on your recent sleep patterns so that you can draw on this information going forward. Some of the questions you might consider include:
- How would you rate your sleep on your current mattress?
- What do you like or dislike about the mattress you are currently using?
- Is the size of your current mattress appropriate for your body size and weight? You can learn more in our Mattress Size Guide and in our resource Best Mattresses for Heavier Sleepers.
- What is your normal sleeping position?
- Do you have issues waking up with back pain or discomfort? If so, check out our advice, Best Mattresses for Lower Back Pain.
- Does sleeping too hot disturb your sleep?If so, check out our advice, Best Mattresses for Hot Sleepers
- Does motion from a pet or partner interrupt your sleep?If so, check out our resources Best Mattresses for Couples and Mattress and Bedding Guide for Pet Owners.
- Does your mattress interfere with your sex life? If so, check out the article Best Mattresses for Sex.
Step 2: Decide the type of feel you want in your mattress. For example, do you prefer to feel like you are sleeping in the mattress or on top of the mattress? Do you prefer a firmer feel or a more plush and luxurious feel?
Step 3: Decide the type(s) of mattress that you think best suits your preferences. The answers to the previous questions should help you narrow down the types of mattresses that you are interested in. At this point, you don’t have to know for sure, but ideally you are at least able to rule out one or more mattress types. For example, if you know that you don’t want to feel like you sink into your mattress, you probably would want to rule out memory foam.
Step 4: Decide your general budget. Consider how much you are willing to spend on a new mattress. Make sure to also think about whether you will need to purchase other accessories along with a new mattress. For example, if you will also need a new frame, sheets, pillows, blankets, or any other bedding, take this into account when you determine your budget for the mattress itself.
Step 5: Use our guides to narrow down your options. In this process, winnow down your choices based on mattress type, price, and any key preferences that you settled on at the start of this process. Your goal at this point should be to pare your list down to 2-3 options.
Step 6: For those 2-3 options, look more closely at our reviews. You are looking for any issues that might be dealbreakers or tiebreakers among those options.
Step 7: Check with the mattress seller and/or search online for coupons or discounts. Your goal at this point is to determine the best price that you can get for your top potential choices. For help with this, check out our Guide to Mattress Sales and Discounts.
Step 8: Order your mattress! Make a final choice based on price and the research you’ve done.
Step 9: When your mattress arrives, set it up and make a note on your calendar or refrigerator about when your sleep trial ends. Before the end of the sleep trial, decide whether this is the right mattress for you. If so, congratulations! If not, initiate a return and go back through this process to consider what factors might have been off in your selection of that mattress.
Shipping and the Bed-in-a-Box Phenomenon
Two important trends converged to help enable the bed-in-a-box phenomenon and a huge rise in online mattress shopping. The first of those, thanks largely to the explosion of e-commerce driven by companies like Amazon, was a dramatic improvement in the ability for all types of products — including larger, heavier ones — to be shipped quickly and cost-effectively over long distances. The second was an improved ability to compress mattresses for easier shipping.
The compression of the mattress into plastic packaging, also referred to as roll-packing, makes it possible to fit even a queen or king size mattress into a box that can be carried by one person and placed on a doorstep.
When a roll-packed mattress is removed from the box and then removed from the plastic packaging, it expands to reach its full size. Some mattresses reach their full height and firmness almost immediately while others may take a few hours or even a few days. Initially, it was almost exclusively foam mattresses that were shipped this way, but now latex mattresses and even many hybrid mattresses that have layers of innerspring coils can be roll-packed.
When unboxing a mattress, keep a few things in mind. First, make sure to take the mattress to the location where you want it before you remove it from the packaging. It will always be easier to move while still compressed. Second, be careful not to puncture the mattress itself when you open the packaging. Some mattresses are even shipped with a special cutting tool to help you cut the plastic without damaging the mattress.
It is important to note that not all online mattresses are shipped as a bed-in-a-box. Some companies either offer or include white glove delivery, which includes placement and setup of the mattress. For example, mattresses made by Saatva, Inc. — including the Saatva, the Loom & Leaf, and the Zenhaven — are delivered in their full size without compression. In addition, there are some mattress models that are sold online that cannot be compressed when the largest size, such as a California King size, is purchased. Before you buy a mattress online, make sure to check out the delivery and shipping information, and remember that we always have this listed in our reviews.
Trial Periods, Returns, and Warranties
One of the linchpins of the growth of online mattress sales has been the no-risk sleep trial. Because customers cannot try out a mattress in a store, online mattress companies almost universally give them an opportunity to try them out for a period of time in their own home.
Most people familiar with the industry agree that an in-home trial provides a far better sense of whether a mattress is the right fit compared to a 10-15 minute stint on a mattress in a retail store. The most common length for a sleep trial for an online mattress is 100 days. On the longer end, some companies offer 180 or even 365 day sleep trials, while a few companies only provide 30 or 60 days to try the mattress out.
During the trial, you can contact the company to initiate a return. Some companies may require that you keep the mattress for 30 days before you can begin this return process. Each company then handles the return differently, but usually, there are a few possibilities:
- The company arranges to have someone pick up the mattress from your home.
- The company requires that you donate the mattress to a local charity and provide proof of the donation (a receipt). Sometimes the company can help find a charity to receive the donation.
- In rare circumstances, you may have to work with a shipping company like UPS to coordinate pickup of the mattress for a return.
Typically, there are no costs to the customer for any return shipping; however, there are a few exceptions, so make sure to review these details before you make your purchase. We always include this information in our individual mattress reviews.
Many people wonder what happens to the mattresses that get sent back. These returned mattresses are not resold. Most are either donated or are recycled.
A lot of customers also wonder about the difference between the sleep trial and the warranty. Remember that the sleep trial is just an opportunity to try out the mattress. The warranty, on the other hand, is a protection against a mattress that is defective, and it usually lasts for at least 10 years. Warranties cover defective materials or workmanship but not basic wear-and-tear (like minor sagging) that may occur from normal use. You can read more about warranties in our Guide to Mattress Warranties.
Getting Rid of Your Old Mattress
Unless you’re moving into a brand new place, buying a new mattress requires figuring out what to do with your old one. Because online mattress companies normally just deliver the bed-in-a-box to your doorstep, haul-away of an old mattress is usually not included.
If you have an old mattress to dispose of, here are a few different options to explore:
- Ask for help from the company that you are buying a new mattress from. Some online mattress companies do offer haul-away for a fee. Even if they don’t, they may have listings of places in your area that can help with mattress removal.
- Donate it. Many local charities or national organizations accept mattresses so long as they are clean and in good condition.
- Recycle it. Most of the components that are used to build mattresses can be recycled or repurposed. Sadly, despite this, a huge number of mattresses wind up in landfills.
- Give it away. Depending on the quality of your mattress, you may have friends or neighbors who are willing to take it off your hands. You can try posting on a Buy Nothing group or on Craigslist to look for people who may want an old mattress.
- Junk it. You can either take your mattress to a dump or can pay a junk pickup company to come and remove it from your property.
Keep in mind that most of these options have some cost involved. You can expect mattress disposal to cost between $10 and $75 depending on which avenue you choose.
For great resources, including links to organizations that can help you find places to donate, recycle, or junk a mattress, make sure to check out our Guide to Mattress Disposal.
Where Else Can You Buy a Mattress Online?
Besides buying a mattress online directly from a mattress company, you can also purchase them from large third party merchants. Remember that the nature of your purchase is different if you choose to buy from a third party. For example, for any issues related to billing, shipping, or returns, you usually work with the third party seller and not with the actual manufacturer of the mattress. As a result, it is crucial that you double check any specific terms and conditions of the merchant before making your purchase.
Below are a few of the most prominent online sites where you can find a selection of different mattress options.
Amazon: this giant of e-commerce has an enormous range of mattresses and other bedding products, many of which are available for quick shipping through Amazon Prime. Some companies that sell directly to consumers also offer their mattresses through Amazon. The company is known for its customer service reputation, affordable prices, and fast shipping.
Costco Wholesale: this titan of brick-and-mortar locations also has a huge online presence. You can purchase several lines of mattresses that are available exclusively through Costco. Many are delivered as a bed-in-a-box while others come with delivery from Costco. Costco is well-known for its flexible return policy and high level of customer service.
Jet.com: this competitor to Amazon carries a large selection of mattresses, including many at very affordable price points. Shipping is free on orders over $35 with packages usually arriving within 2-5 business days. The company offers free returns within 30 days on almost all products.
Wayfair: this e-commerce portal focuses on home products and has a number of mattresses for sale on their site. Shipping is free on orders over $49. Many products are eligible for returns, but make sure to check the fine print on any specific mattress.
Walmart: the online store of this brick-and-mortar giant includes many mattress lines, many of which are at bargain basement prices. Mattresses can be returned in their original packaging within 90 days to a store, or you can contact customer care about return options.
IKEA: this Swedish furniture giant offers latex, innerspring, and foam mattress choices both online and in their network of brick-and-mortar stores. Most of their mattresses are simple and straightforward but at very approachable prices.
Overstock.com: Overstock sells thousands of products at highly discounted prices. Numerous different mattress types and models can be found on this site, and shipping is free for orders over $49. Returns are limited, and you cannot receive a full refund unless a mattress is defective at the time of delivery.
Houzz: this website is a home design and decor marketplace with hundreds of mattresses available. Shipping and return policies can vary based on the specific merchant and product. While Houzz has many products for sale on its site, it is important to carefully read the shipping and return details for any particular item.
Bob-O-Pedic: Bob’s Discount Furniture is a large furniture retailer based in the midwest and eastern United States. While they do not have a national presence or the ability to ship to all 48 states of the continental U.S., their Bob-O-Pedic line of mattresses are available online for delivery in many states.
Target: another major brick-and-mortar site that offers an even larger selection online. Free shipping is available on orders over $35, and most products are able to returned to a Target store but only if they are new and unopened.