It usually ends with, "Well, I think this seems pretty comfortable." So you take out the credit card and hope for the best, because there is often a hefty (non-refundable) delivery fee, a stakeout fee and probably only 30 days to decide whether you really like the mattress.
And so you choose where you will spend a third of your life? Nah. Time to consider another option – namely the internet.
Wait, what? Buy a mail order mattress? I know, it sounds a bit crazy, but if the price is not enough to convince you, maybe the convenience will be. Let's see what you need to know when shopping for your next bed.
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Try it after buying
The large mattress-in-a-box companies – and there are many, including Casper, Layla, Leesa, Nectar, Purple and Tuft & Needle – all on the same basic principle: you order your mattress, this will be delivered to your door and you try it out a certain time. If you don't like it, you can return it for a full refund.
Of course, within these parameters, there are a few questions to consider.
What kind of mattress is it?
The reason that the whole bed-in-a-box thing works is that most mail order mattresses are made of memory foam, which means that they can be compressed and rolled up for easier transportation. Indeed, you would be surprised if you see the box that comes in. The usual response: "It can't contain an entire mattress!"
But that is true and it will expand considerably if you open it and roll it out. Note: if you are not used to it – which means that you have slept on a spring-based mattress so far – be prepared for an adjustment of at least a few nights. This brings us to the following question:
How long does the test last?
Most mail order companies offer you 100 days to test their product. That's good, because it can take up to eight weeks for your body to fully adapt to a new sleeping surface, according to mattress maker Live and Sleep.
A few companies offer longer trial periods. For example, Layla gives you 120 days, while Nectar offers a leading 365 days. That may seem too much, but if you live somewhere with cold winters and hot summers, you can sleep during all seasons thanks to the extensive return policy.
Knowing that some customers are reluctant to buy an expensive mattress before they can view it in person, you can now tryand more in certain stores.
What do these things cost?
As you would expect, prices can vary quite a bit. Below is an example: I have listed the current prices for the standard mattresses of each company in a queen size format. Almost all of them had current sales complete with urgent countdown timers, so prices are definitely subject to change.
Casper Essential (Queen, mattress only): $ 600
Layla (Queen, mattress only): $ 799
Leesa (Queen, mattress only): $ 845  Nectar (Queen plus two pillows): $ 699
Purple Original (Queen plus pillow or platform base): $ 999
Tuft & Needle (queen only, mattress): $ 595
As you can see, with a queen size mattress you can walk anywhere between $ 600 and 1,000. But the prices can be even higher, such as in the case of Casper & # 39; s Wave model ($ 1,995 for a queen) and Purple & # 39; s all-new ($ 1,599).
What happens to your old mattress?
Ah, there is friction. When you buy a mattress locally, the delivery people will usually remove the old one (free or for a small fee). Here it is basically the UPS driver that drops a box on your porch.
However, if you want help, some companies will offer it. For example, Nectar has a White Glove service option that includes installing the new mattress and removing the old one. It is $ 149.
My advice: if you have the space, keep the old mattress until you are sure you like the new one. That way you have a place to sleep until your next mattress arrives when you return it.
How do you return a mattress by post?
Your mattress has probably been put in a plastic tube and immediately expanded after being released from it – never to reclaim that size or shape. So how can you possibly return it?
You may not have to do this. Many mattress companies prefer that you donate your mattress locally and give you a full refund after receiving a copy of the donation receipt. So if you hear about "free collection" as part of the return process, it can come from an organization such as Purple Heart. The good news is that you probably don't have to try to put the thing in a box and drag it to a shipping store.
Do I have to return a mattress?
Usually no – a big part of the appeal here is the free return policy, which is offered by almost all mattress companies for mail order companies. Needless to say, you want to fully investigate the policy before you buy, just to prevent unexpected gotchas.
Do you need a special bed frame to use a memory foam mattress?
Not really, but the more support you can give it, the better. Most companies recommend a bunkie board, plywood or slatted frame (on condition that the slats are close together). A standard box spring can be risky, because a bent or ground spring can easily pierce the mattress.
What else do you need to know?
Because mattresses are so subjective, it is not a good idea to rely on a single assessment when making your decision. Wherever possible, crowdsource your research: ask friends and family for recommendations, search for Facebook fan groups (yes, they exist) and, above all, take your time.
Because I am a loser for freebies, I recently ordered a full-size Nectar mattress – with two free pillows – for my 16-year-old. (It also helped that it was one of the cheaper options.)
It arrived in a cardboard box with a long zipper with handles, making it easier to lug up. From there, we carefully cut open the plastic tray (using the tool provided) and placed it on the bed frame. Done! Although we noticed an odor from the new mattress – often with compressed foam – it was not overwhelming and disappeared quickly.
It is certainly on the firmer side, especially when compared to its previous jumping mattress, but Junior says the Nectar is "very comfortable" and he finds it better than the old one. (That was about as much as I could get out of him. Teens, am I right?)