Tips & Tricks

Deciding Where to Buy a Mattress: What You Need to Know

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Your mattress: it’s your comfort zone, your happy place, the solace you escape to after a long day of work. You can’t imagine life without it–until it breaks, or wears out, or your cat decides to use it as a litter box one too many times. You can google “mattress,” or go to a department store to try and find one, but you might be surprised to find that the choices are a bit more than you expected. Some estimate that over 150 online companies are trying to sell you a mattress just via the mattress-in-a-box model, and that’s on top of the thousands of mattress-specific stores across the U.S. Finding your new sleeping space shouldn’t be hard, but finding the best place to buy a mattress can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Every mattress company will try to tell you why their mattress shopping experience is the best mattress shopping experience…which could be more or less true, depending on who they’re saying the mattress is right for. There isn’t a one-size-fits all way to buy a mattress. Instead, you have to be like Goldilocks when reviewing mattresses for sale: you have to find the one that’s just right for you. So before you strike out on your mattress shopping expedition, check out these tips and tricks to help you decide where to buy a mattress.

Buying Mattresses Online vs. In-Store

Thanks to the internet age, you now have a choice about how you buy your mattress: you can go into a store and buy one from a salesperson, or you can sit at home on your computer and buy one online. Both have their benefits and downsides, and most mattress experts recommend a bit of both. Here’s what you need to know about both options before you commit to one or another.

The Pros of In-Store Mattress Shopping

Shopping for a mattress in a store means you can get an immediate sense of exactly what you’re getting. Lie down on the mattress, see how it feels. Don’t love it? Go five feet over and do the same on another mattress…and another…and another. You know exactly what you’re getting, and you know how it feels.

Most mattress and department stores offer a variety of brands to choose from, giving you plenty of options. A large mattress store, like Mattress Firm, will have dozens of brands, as well as different models from each brand. Again, that means more choices.

The Cons of In-Store Mattress Shopping

The downside of choices is that they’re difficult to navigate, and after a while, laying down on mattress after mattress after mattress will lead to them all blending together. In a large mattress store, the problems of choice paralysis come back, just as they did when you were first deciding where to buy a mattress.

There to help you–sort of–on the journey are mattress salespeople. But they may be less helpful than you think. They work off commission, so your spending more could mean a larger check for them. They may steer you towards a more expensive model, or try to upsell you into warranties and add-ons not included in the original price.You can negotiate with the salesperson, but for many, this just leads to a worse experience, and you may find that having someone hovering while you shop makes you frustrated, making it hard to decide which mattress makes you the most relaxed.

One other issue with in-store mattress choices is the delivery. Mattress delivery can be very expensive, suffer from long delivery windows, and conflict with your work schedule. However, you can always book a Dolly to deliver the mattress within a 30-minute window for a low price.

The Pros of Online Mattress Shopping

Who doesn’t want to shop from the comfort of their couch? Buying your mattress online requires less time and energy, making it the ultimate win for the low-effort mattress shopper.

Online buying also allows you to price compare in a way that’s harder to do in-store. When buying online, there’s nothing stopping you from searching twenty different sites for the cheapest mattress. And there’s no salesperson to sway you, so your decision is totally your own.

The Cons of Online Mattress Shopping

It can be risky to spend money on a mattress without having tested it yourself. When buying online, you’re often buying a mattress that may not be perfect for you, and you won’t know until after it arrives. Thankfully, many online mattress companies allow returns for up to 365 days after purchase, but coordinating how to get it back to the manufacturer isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Delivery is another downside of online mattress shopping. Some mattresses that are delivered in a box by traditional mail services can come while you’re at work and be left on your porch. Others…not so much. Ordering online means you’re at the mercy of that particular website’s delivery system, so if they have eight hour delivery windows or only deliver on weekdays, you may be stuck.

How Does the Mattress-in-a-Box Model Work?

Can you really get a real, queen-sized mattress delivered in a box? Yup. And yes, it’s a real mattress, one that will last just as long as any other foam mattress. It’s literally what it sounds like: a mattress like any other, that just happens to come vacuum-sealed in a box.

So why are mattress-in-a-box companies suddenly so popular? In addition to all the reasons why online mattress shopping has its pros, these companies have less expensive shipping, and overall cheaper prices because they don’t have any showhouses to operate.

You’re probably wondering, what’s the catch? For one, there’s the fact that you can’t always test a mattress-in-a-box out before you buy it (although some mattress-in-a-box brands have locations where you can test the mattresses before you buy them online). But returning these mattresses can also be a problem, though most of these companies outline their return policies–including how, exactly, you will be expected to get the mattress back–on their website. You’ll need to check that out and decide for yourself if it’s worth it before you buy. (Thankfully, you’re not expected to re-seal the mattress and put it back in the box to return it.)

Deciding where to buy a mattress is only half the battle. Figuring out how to get your new mattress home and get your old one to the dump is another battle–but that’s one Dolly can help you with. Dolly connects you with local pickup truck drivers who are ready to help move mattresses and more. Spend less time deciding on delivery options and more time enjoying your new mattress with Dolly.

Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.

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