Have you ever gone to mattresses in a store? It usually is about as fun as car shopping, what with the countless confusing options, the often pushy salesmen and the awkward "test units". (In fact, I'm going to drive with a stranger over lying completely on a bed. On the public. Repeatedly.)
It usually ends with, "Well, this seems pretty comfortable, I guess." So you're pulling out the credit card and hoping for the best, as it's often a hefty (refundable) delivery fee, a refund fee and probably just 30 days to decide if you really like the mattress.
And so are you choosing where to spend a third of your life? Nah. Time to consider another option – namely the internet.
Wait, what? Buy a Mattress Mail Order? I know it sounds a bit nuts, but if the price is not enough to convince you maybe it will be the convenience. Let's take a look at what you should know when shopping for your next bed.
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Try after you bought
The big mattress-in-a-box company – and there are many, including Casper, Layla, Leesa, Nectar, Purple and Tuft & Needle – all work on the same basic principle: You order your mattress, it is sent to your door and you try it out for a certain time. If you don't like it, you can return it for a full refund.
Of course, there are some issues to consider within these parameters.
What kind of mattress is it?
The reason for the whole bed-in-a-box thing works is that most mail order mattresses are made of memory foam, which means they can be compressed and rolled for easier shipping. In fact, you may be surprised when you see the box as it enters. The usual reaction: "No way could a whole mattress be there!"
But it is and it will expand significantly when you open and roll it up. Just note: If you are not used to it – which means you have slept so far on a spring-based mattress – were prepared for at least some nights worth. Which takes us to the next question.
How long is the trial?
Most of the order-ordered mattress companies give 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 seam allowance, according to the mattress maker Live and Sleep.
Some companies offer longer trial periods. Layla, for example, gives you 120 days, while Nectar offers an industry-leading 365 days. It may seem like an upper jib, but if you live somewhere, which has cold winters and hot summers, you can, with the extended right of return, get sleep in all seasons.
What are these costs?
As you might expect, prices can vary quite a bit. Below a sampling: I have listed the current prices for each company's baseline mat in a queen size. Almost everyone had sales, complete with urgent countdown times, so pricing is definitely subject to change.
Casper Essential (mattress only): $ 600
See it at Casper
Layla (mattress only): $ 799
See it at Layla
Leesa (mattress only): $ 845
See it on Leesa
Nectar (Queen plus pillow or platform base): $ 999
See it on Lila
Tuft & Needle ] (Queen only, mattress): $ 595
See it at Tuft & Needle
As you can see, a queen-size mattress will run you anywhere from $ 600 to 1,000. But the prices can reach even higher, as in the case of the Casper's Wave model ($ 1,995 for one queen) and Purple's All-New ($ 1,599).
What happens to your old mattress?
Ah, there is rubbing. When you buy a mattress locally, the deliveries will usually pull the old one away (either free or for a small fee). Here it is basically that the UPS driver releases a box on the porch.
However, if you want help, some companies offer it. For example, Nectar has a White Glove service option that includes installing the new mattress and removing the old one. It's $ 149.
My advice: If you have the space, keep the old mattress until you are sure you like the new one. That way, if you stop returning to the latter, you'll get a place to sleep until your next mattress arrives.
How do you send a mattress by mail?
Your mattress probably came shoehorn in a plastic tube and expanded immediately after being freed from it – never to recycle that size or shape. So how can you possibly return it?
You may not need. In fact, many mattress companies prefer to donate your mattress locally and will issue a full refund upon receipt of a copy of the donation receipt. Thus, when you hear about "free download" as part of the return process, it can be from an organization like Purple Heart. The good news is that you probably won't have to try to pack the thing in a box and pick it up at a freight store.
Is there a fee to return a mattress?
Usually no big part Part of the appeal here is the repayment policy, which is offered by almost all mail order mattresses. Of course, you need to fully examine the policy before you buy, to avoid unexpected gotchas.
Do you need a special bed frame to use a foam mattress?
Nevertheless, the more support you can put into it, the better. Most companies recommend a bunkie board, plywood or slatted foundation (provided the slats are interconnected). A standard box spring can be risky, because a bent or sharp spring can easily puncture the mattress.
What more should you know?
Since mattresses are so subjective, it is not a good idea to trust a single review when making your decision. Whenever possible, crowdsource your inquiry: Ask friends and relatives for recommendations, look for Facebook capture groups (yep, they exist) and most of all, take your time.
Since I am a sucker for freebies, I recently ordered a full size Nectar mattress – which came with two free pillows – for my 16 year old. (It helped that it was one of the less expensive options.)
It came inside a carton containing a long, zippered case with handles, which made it easier to tip upstairs. From there we carefully cut the plastic shell (with the included tool) and place it on the bed frame. Done! Although we noticed a smell from the new mattress – plain with compressed foam – it was not overwhelming and spread quickly.
It is definitely on the firmer side, especially compared to its previous spring mattress, but Junior says Nectar is "very comfortable" and he likes it better than the old one. (It was about as much as I could get out of him. Teens, am I right?)