Online vs. Traditional Mattress Shopping

Online mattress offer the convenience of shopping from home and not dealing with sales staff. But traditional stores offer the convenience of trying before buying. With more and more online companies appearing, we took a moment to look at the ups and downs of each option.


Of course, mattress stores offer a range of products and prices, but mattresses tend to be pretty expensive on the whole. The prices you see at a brick-and-mortar store have to cover the cost of the mattress, and the store owners’ overhead expenses, and then turn a profit. You’re not just paying for a mattress. You’re subsidizing rent on a storefront, employee wages, and more. Does that mean online stores are cheaper?

In general, online mattress companies do offer cheaper mattresses, but the savings might not be as extreme as you’d expect. Some online mattresses can be just as expensive as in-store models. You can pay $950 for a queen-sized bed over at Caspar, for instance. In the end, studies like the one at Sleep Like the Dead seem to indicate that online merchants can save you 15%, on average.


A huge issue with online mattress shopping is that you cannot test the mattress before you purchase it. You’re flying blind, sight unseen. Most of these companies offer some sort of risk-free trial but it’s sort of a hassle to backpedal on a bed once it’s already in your home. This is the one place you’d expect a physical store to have the edge. But shockingly, according to Sleep Like the Dead’s customer surveys, you’re just as likely to be satisfied online as you are in a store. In fact, Satisfaction ratings are actually slightly for online purchases than in-store ones. Bear in mind that these are averages, and that neither customer base seems incredibly happy. But buying online isn’t the liability you might expect.


One of the biggest hassles involved with purchasing a bed is bringing the mattress home and hauling the old one away. Most traditional mattress companies are more than happy to deliver your mattress and remove your old one. If they don’t offer the service themselves, they can at least refer you to a trusted third-party mover that can do the heavy lifting for you.

Online mattress companies don’t offer the same sort of service. While you obviously get delivery straight to your door, you’ll have to take care of your old mattress yourself. This can be difficult if you have trouble lifting the bed, or if you don’t have a truck to haul it away in. You’ll likely have to shop around for a third-party service to remove the old mattress and dispose of it, which is one more frustration to deal with during an already stressful purchase.


One of the worst parts about shopping is having a salesperson trying to push an upsell on you. For mattresses, it can be even worse. You’re trying to relax enough to imagine the experience of going to sleep, and you’re being hounded by someone trying to close a deal. Still, you do have the opportunity to lie down in your new bed for a few minutes to determine whether it’s a wise purchase.

Alternatively, you can’t really test out a mattress purchased at an online store. You have to buy the bed before you can decide whether it’s right for you. Thankfully, most online mattress companies offer a risk-free trial period that can last anywhere from 100 days to a year. But that’s not the same thing as getting to comparison shop. As we saw earlier, that doesn’t mean you’ll walk away less happy, necessarily. But it is a drawback.


Many mattress companies offer a warranty of some kind against sagging and manufacturing defects. These warranties will typically be some kind of five- to seven-year replacement warranty.

Many online companies have a warranty as well, but these warranties may have more leeway. For example, NECTAR has a “forever warranty” that will repair or replace your mattress within the first 10 years, completely free of cost. Afterward, they’ll still repair or replace the mattress. You’ll just have to pay for transportation costs, depending on whether they can confirm a defect in the manufacturing or materials. The best way to compare warranties is to ask the companies themselves. But a lot of these companies are aware of the trust involved in buying online and are making the necessary assurances to make that trust easy.

(Image credits: Left half via Instagram, right half Olena Fitzgerald)