Buying A Mattress Online vs In-Store

Buying A Mattress Online vs In-Store: Pros & Cons and Tips for Getting the Best Deal

By jwilder

Buying A Mattress Online vs In-Store

In years past, the only way to get a new mattress was by heading to a local mattress showroom, furniture gallery, or department store.

While seniors still have that option, that isn’t the only way to do things anymore. Online shopping for mattresses is very popular and gets simpler each year. So, online stores or physical shops - which mattress buying method should you choose? Read our no-nonsense comparison of buying a mattress online vs in-store to find out!

Pros & Cons of Buying Online vs In-Store

Like many things, you have two options for buying a mattress: shopping online and visiting a physical mattress showroom. These options may seem similar on the outside, but they offer a very distinct set of advantages and drawbacks. Let’s explore the difference between buying a mattress on the internet and shopping in a showroom:

Buying a Mattress Online

Pros

  • Price: This might be the single biggest advantage of buying online. Because online mattress retailers don’t have to pay for physical stores or salespeople, they don’t have to charge prices that are quite as high.
  • Selection: This is part of the reason that online shopping- for anything- is so immensely popular. The selection you have isn’t limited by physical space or geography. You can compare mattresses from nearly any brand and of any type. This means you don’t have to settle for a mattress that isn’t a true and ideal fit for your body!
  • Convenience: It’s hard to beat not having to get off the couch to get your shopping done. Using your cell phone, tablet, or laptop, you can compare and price the mattress you want, all while sitting in your lounging clothes. Plus, your shopping times aren’t restricted to business hours- you can get this chore out of the way any time you like.
  • Helpful Reviews: Being able to read reviews from different websites and from other customers is a game-changer when it comes to a big purchase like a mattress. You are able to draw upon the experience of others and unbiased reviews from around the web. This lets you avoid making the mistake of getting a mattress that will feel more like a waste of money than a great night of sleep.

Cons

  • Selection Paralysis: This is a phenomenon that occurs when people simply too many options. When you’ve scoured the internet and narrowed your list down to 25 different mattresses that all sound exactly the same? That’s a tough spot to be in. It’s very hard to choose between similarly priced mattresses, with similar reviews, similar features. Sometimes, having a wide selection can be overwhelming, leaving you wishing your choices were a lot easier!
  • Untrustworthy Brands: It’s very easy for low-quality brands to disguise themselves as premium brands. They use good photography and claim their mattresses have features that aren’t actually there. The only way to truly verify if a brand can actually back up its claims is to try it out. With an expensive purchase like a mattress, that’s a big risk to take.
  • Difficult Setup: Mattresses, even light ones, are bulky and very awkward to move. Ordering a mattress online means that, most of the time, you’ll be unable to have someone help you get it inside your home and set it up on your bed. Many seniors may not be able to set up a heavy, bulky mattress by themselves. This makes shopping online a non-starter unless it’s a site that offers in-home setup.

Buying a Mattress in a Physical Store

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll restrict our discussion of “physical stores” to stores that are specifically dedicated to selling mattresses or furniture showrooms. There are many department stores that carry mattresses, but they often have a very limited selection and little to no expertise to offer. So, with that in mind, let’s look at the reasons why you should consider mattress shopping in a physical store:

Pros

  • Get Expert Advice: Mattress stores are filled with employees who get paid quite well for knowing their stuff. If you have questions about a specific type of mattress or a model you’re interested in, there are few ways to get better answers than from someone who makes a living by having the answers!
  • Test a Mattress: The best way to know if a mattress is right for you is to actually try it out! Many online companies offer 100-night or 1-year trial periods, but that still requires you to drop a load of cash on it before you can feel it yourself. Visiting a showroom lets you feel it in your hands, and see how it feels on your body. That kind of convenience is hard to overstate- the most important thing about a mattress is that it’s comfortable, and this is the best way to know if it’s actually comfortable!
  • Delivery and Installation: Mattress showrooms and furniture stores have dedicated teams for delivery and installation. While some online stores might have that available, it’s a guarantee with physical stores. They can take all the stress of buying a mattress off your hands. If you’re worried about being able to get your new mattress inside the house and set up on your bed by yourself, it might be a good idea to choose a physical mattress store that can help you out!

Cons

  • Higher Prices: Physical stores have a lot of overhead that online stores don’t: they have to pay for retail space, salespeople, and shipping. On top of that, many mattress stores operate on some form of commission for their salespeople. This means that the store is required to charge higher prices to break even, and that they are incentivized to sell the mattresses for as much as they possibly can. If you have a bit of confidence and willingness to walk away, though, you can usually talk them down. Keep in mind that not every mattress store operates this way, but many do.
  • Limited Selection: You can only fit so many mattresses into one store. This means that shopping in a physical store increases the chances that you won’t be able to find a mattress that fits you perfectly. You don’t want to settle when buying a mattress- it’s an expensive purchase that has a big impact on the quality of your sleep and your health in general.
  • Inconvenient: This is a minor negative factor to most people, but it is worth mentioning. When you shop in-person, you’re limited to that business’s hours and you’re forced to drive there. Again, most people won’t care about that, but it is significantly less convenient than shopping online.

Best Websites to Buy a Mattress

Like many things, you have two options for buying a mattress: shopping online and visiting a physical mattress showroom. These options may seem similar on the outside, but they offer a very distinct set of advantages and drawbacks. Let’s explore the difference between buying a mattress on the internet and shopping in a showroom:

Amazon

As the world’s largest online marketplace, it stands to reason that Amazon would have a very large selection of mattresses- and they do. You can select from premium brands such as Sealy, Beautyrest, and Tempur-Pedic, alongside high-quality budget brands like Classic Brands and Dynasty Mattress.


Shopping on Amazon for mattresses is a great way to compare the brands you know with brands you’ve never heard of, read customer reviews, and find the best prices. Plus, Amazon has very good return policies. This makes it very easy to return a mattress that doesn’t suit your needs without worrying about losing out on your money!

Mattress Firm

It’s not just the nation’s largest chain of mattress stores; Mattress Firm is also one of the best places to buy a mattress online. With hundreds of mattresses available from the world’s top brands and sales running all the time, it’s very easy to buy a new mattress from Mattress Firm’s website.


If you are worried about delivery and setup from an Amazon purchase, opting to buy online from Mattress Firm is a great idea. They’ll be able to dispatch a delivery/installation team from one of their thousands of retail stores around the country to get your mattress all set up for you.


Buying from Mattress Firm isn’t quite as affordable as Amazon because the brands they carry are more on the expensive side. However, Mattress Firm has made a name for itself as a place to get premium mattresses at a fair price- their website is no different!

Wayfair

Wayfair and Amazon have a lot in common when it comes to furniture and home goods- seemingly limitless selection, easy returns, and lightning-fast shipping times. However, Wayfair generally has products that come from higher-quality manufacturers, which means that they typically cost more as well.


You can think of mattresses on Wayfair as a sort of curated version of Amazon. While Amazon might have a larger selection and lower prices than Wayfair, it’s because Wayfair has weeded out the low-quality products. When you shop for a mattress on this site, you know you can trust the quality- even if you do have to pay a bit more!


One last thing- Wayfair’s website is designed to make it easy for people to make well-informed purchases. They have helpful diagrams, descriptions, and more. This demonstrates their commitment to helping you find the right mattress for your needs- not just make another sale.

Best Retail Stores to Buy a Mattress

Mattress Firm

With thousands of stores in the US and industry-leading selection, Mattress Firm is, far-and-away, the best place to buy a mattress in person. No matter where you live in the US, there is a store near you.


Each store has a large selection of mattresses for you to try, experts available to answer your questions, and a solid delivery/installation service. When it comes to buying a mattress in a store, it’s hard to go wrong with Mattress Firm! Keep in mind, though, that their prices aren’t exactly the lowest around; they’re fair, but not cheap.

Ashley Furniture

They might not focus exclusively on mattresses, but Ashely Furniture Homestore knows the ins and outs of all types of furniture and has a small but quality selection. If you can’t find the mattress- or the deal- you’re looking for elsewhere, Ashley Furniture may be able to help.


There are over 600 stores in the US- chances are high that there is one within driving distance of you. More than mattresses, Ashley Furniture has a great selection of bed frames, headboards, and footboards. If you can find the right mattress, you can make your trip to Ashley Furniture a one-stop-shopping experience!

Costco

With Costco, it’s all about the deals. They have a good selection (not great) of mattresses to choose from, and they’re all available at better prices than you’d find anywhere else. If you’re already a member, you should check the inventory at your local Costco before you go somewhere else!


Costco’s mattress selection may not be the best in the world in terms of size, but each of their mattresses is high quality and affordable compared to other brands. It’s in keeping with the rest of Costco’s offerings- similar quality and lower prices than the big brands.

Sleep Number

If Costco is all about finding a great mattress, Sleep Number is all about luxury. They’re some of the most expensive mattresses on the market, but also the most luxurious. When you get a Sleep Number mattress, you get a sleeping experience that’s tailored to your exact needs in a way that no other mattress can truly replicate.


Sleep Number has stores all across the US and a very helpful website to accompany it. If you’re looking for luxurious and beneficial sleep and have the budget to support the purchase, you cannot go wrong with Sleep Number!

Tips for Finding the Best Price on a Mattress

Be Willing to Negotiate

Mattress store employees are often caught between their desire to make a high-dollar sale and their fear of losing out to the internet stores yet again. This makes it easier than ever to haggle with them and try to walk them down to a lower price. It won’t always work, and you should always be respectful, but a little bit of friendly haggling never hurts anyone!

Do Your Research

The internet can be a frustrating and overwhelming place, but it’s hard to overstate the value of the knowledge that is at your fingertips. You have the ability to compare prices and features of thousands of mattresses- not just the four or five options at the department store. This means you are free to keep shopping and keep researching until you find the perfect mattress for your needs and budget. There is never a reason to settle for a bad deal!

Don’t Focus on Bargains

Buying a mattress is an investment that should be taken seriously. Often, focusing too much on finding a bargain deal can result in a mattress that leaves the user feeling sore, stiff, and anything but rested in the morning. It’s important to make sure you’re getting a fair deal, but you don’t want to make the mistake of getting a cheap mattress that does not do its job!

Conclusion

Online shopping is immensely popular for all sorts of purchases- you can even buy a car online and have it dropped off at your front door! Buying a mattress online, too, can be incredibly convenient and the right method for many people. For others, though, there is simply too much value in buying a mattress from a physical retail store. Each buying method has its own unique advantages, and as long as you do your research, you can find a great mattress no matter which method you choose!


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