Buying a Mattress Online
Lately there has a been a real explosion in mattresses hitting the market at a very low price point and promising similar comfort and durability as higher-end mattresses. Buying a mattress online has never been easier, and there are a lot of companies out there trying to get your business.
These mattresses are sold online by direct-shipment vendors such as Nectar, Loom and Leaf, Layla, Helix Sleep, and other manufacturers who are successfully competing against the established in-store mattresses sold by Sealy, Serta, Tempur-Pedic, and Simmons.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing in-store, or buying a mattress online, and which method should you choose for your next mattress purchase? Last updated
Purchasing a memory foam mattress in the store has arguably some advantages over purchasing site unseen over the internet, although when looking at the total picture these advantages turn out to not be that much better in the end.
The “Big 4” mattress manufacturers who offer mattresses for in-store purchase, Sealy, Serta, Simmons, and Tempur-Pedic, sell their beds at a variety of retail stores found in every major city.
You see their advertisements on TV promoting low or zero-cost financing, special “holiday deals” on mattresses, and other specials trying to entice buyers into the store.
Once you get there, you are presented with a huge array of different mattresses to choose from and often pushy sales representatives looking to make a quite expensive sale to you.
Yes, you are able to lie down on the mattress and feel it in the store for a few minutes which is something you can’t do vs. an online purchase. However, this is often misleading itself as many beds are so similar it is difficult to make any real comparison between them.
In addition, the layout of the store is often presented in a way that makes the much more expensive model so much more comfortable compared to the lower model right next to it.
This often leads you to spend more money thinking the comfort level is that much better and worth the thousands of dollars they want to charge. Plus the salesperson telling you things like that and pushing for their commission also influences your purchase price and which mattress you go home with.
Then let’s get down to the price of the mattress you are looking at. Leading memory foam models such as iComfort and Tempur-Pedic are in the $2-5,000 range.
This is often 3-5x or MORE what you would pay for a comparable model from an online vendor such as Nectar, Lull, Loom and Leaf, Helix, Brentwood Home, Leesa, and many others, who use comparable and in many cases better materials than these large manufacturers.
An important difference, however, is that an online-only direct sale mattress company such as the ones listed above don’t have the expensive overhead to support on store inventory, sales commissions, advertising, and other costs that inflate the price of the mattress to such a high price.
In conclusion, with in-store mattress purchases, you really don’t get what you pay for. Especially when there are much better alternatives ordering online as there are today.
Ordering online, by comparison, is a much simpler process than the in-store process. You simply visit the retailer’s website, enter the size of bed you like and maybe a certain model or firmness, enter your payment and shipping information, and it will soon be on the way.
No high-pressure sales tactics or confusion on which mattress from a selection of 20 or more you may want.
As we noted above, of course this means you can’t try it out in person. Or can you? Most if not all online memory foam mattress companies offer trial periods ranging from around 75-200 days where you can return the mattress if you are unhappy with it and get your money back.
So you may have to deal with a little shipping time here and there, but you aren’t stuck with something you don’t like if it didn’t fit your needs as desired.
Online Delivery Models
There are two different delivery models offered by memory foam mattress manufacturers, In-Home Delivery vs. Bed-In-A-Box.
The Bed in A Box model, compresses the foam mattress and puts it in a box that is delivered by a carrier such as UPS. An example of this is the Nectar, Lull, Layla, DreamCloud, and pretty much every other online mattress retailer.
The Bed in A Box model arrives on your doorstep in a generally quicker time frame than direct in-home delivery, as often the bed is already boxed up and ready to ship.
However, in-home delivery is a better model in almost all cases as the mattress quality is better as it does not have to be compressed, your old mattress is often removed in the process, and professional delivery people bring in and install your mattress in your home while you wait.
This does restrict your choices to Loom and Leaf (memory foam), Zenhaven (latex), and WinkBeds (hybrid coil), the only online retailers that have adopted this model, but these are some of our personal favorite beds for a variety of reasons anyway so you can’t go wrong.
Not to be confused with price, purchasing from an online memory foam retailer provides much more value. Because they don’t have the exorbitant overhead that in store retailers must factor into their prices, purchasing a memory foam mattress online is simply a better deal.
Prices on average range from around $500-$1200 for a queen mattress depending on the vendor, which is 3-4x cheaper than most in-store models.
Because the cost of construction is generally about the same to make a memory foam mattress (with some exceptions regarding the really cheap memory foam beds), this translates into money in your pocket, not the mattress store’s.
All in all, a much better reason to purchase online vs. in-store.
In conclusion, the when buying a mattress online vs. purchasing one in a store for the most part centers on value.
You get much more value for your money when purchasing from a direct-to-home shipment online mattress company compared to in store purchases.
This does vary by vendor as discussed above, with the cheaper mattresses that are shipped in a box being less comparable to the in store brands.
However, as mentioned, this is not an issue for higher quality mattresses from companies like Nectar, Brentwood Home, Layla, and DreamCloud who ship in a box, nor from Loom and Leaf, Zenhaven, or WinkBeds who have adopted the in-home delivery model to compete with the bigger mattress brands.
All in all, it makes much more sense to purchase a mattress online these days due to the cost advantage, coupled with generous trial periods for returning a mattress that you may not like.