Mattress Stores: A Shopper’s Guide

Updated on October 26, 2020 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about our affiliate program here.
 

Nowadays, there are multiple ways to shop for a mattress. In fact, many brands are online-only, meaning you can easily pick out, evaluate, finalize, try, and return different mattresses without leaving the comfort of your home.

That said, buying a mattress in-person still has its advantages. If you end up not liking a mattress that you purchased online, it can be quite a hassle to arrange a return that falls under the terms of the sleep trial and doesn’t incur large extra fees. Meanwhile, shopping for mattresses in person allows you to decide much quicker whether certain features—like contouring, firmness, and support—are to your liking. On the other hand, you have to deal with drawbacks like pushy salespeople, higher prices, and shorter sleep trials.

This guide will compare the two methods and walk you through everything you need to know about shopping for a mattress in a brick-and-mortar store, including tips and tricks for getting a good deal.

Mattress Store Options

There are four main categories of brick-and-mortar mattress stores.

  1. Mattress Specialty Store: (E.g. Mattress Firm, Denver Mattress) These stores only sell mattresses and other sleep accessories. Not beholden to any one brand or type of mattress, they collect a range of different materials and models from a variety of mattress companies under one roof. This is also where you’ll find most mattresses that are difficult or impossible to purchase online, and is also where you’ll find pushier/more attentive sales associates. 
  2. Department/Furniture Store: (E.g. Macy’s, Ikea) Like mattress specialty stores, department stores offer a variety of mattresses and sleep accessories from different companies, tending to skew towards luxury and designer brands. Meanwhile, depending on the furniture store, you may find either a selection of different brands or a single brand, if you’re shopping at a store like Ikea. 
  3. Big Box Store: (E.g. Walmart, Costco) As with department stores and mattress specialty stores, Big Box Stores like Walmart carry a wide selection of different mattresses from across a range of brands. Additionally, they may carry sleep accessories, bed-frames, and often the tools required to fully set up your bed. 
  4. Direct from Company: (E.g. Casper, Nest Bedding) Finally, some online mattress companies also have brick-and-mortar storefronts or showrooms where you can try out their mattresses in person. Depending on the brand, some showrooms are only by appointment, while others operate just like any other retail store.

Online Mattress Options

For online shopping options, you can choose between buying directly from the company or from an online retailer/marketplace like Amazon.

  • Direct from Company: (E.g. Purple, Saatva) Most online mattress companies have their own online shop, where you can buy mattresses directly from the brand. These websites tend to have the most complete information about the history of the brand and the specific features of their mattresses, as well as a dedicated customer service team reachable by phone, email, and/or chat. Many brands allow customers to leave reviews directly on their site, and the vast majority carry other sleep accessories including sheets, bed-frames, pillows, mattress toppers, and more. In some cases, sleep trials and warranty policies may only apply to mattresses purchased directly from the company. 
  • Online Retailer: (E.g. Amazon) Many online mattress companies also sell their products via online marketplaces and retailers like Amazon. Not all models or sizes may be available through these websites, although some brands will offer Amazon-exclusive products. In some cases, a brand’s sleep trials and warranty policies may not apply if you buy through a retailer.

Advantages of Buying a Mattress in a Store

Despite the rise of online-only mattress companies, many people still prefer shopping in person due to its advantages.

  • Ability to Try Mattress: The biggest disadvantage of online shopping is the inability to try anything until it arrives. While most online mattress companies offer free returns and trial periods, their policies can be hard to navigate, and shipping unwanted mattresses back and forth can be a huge hassle—especially if the brand requires you to try out the mattress for a minimum period of time before starting a return. When you shop in person, however, you can try out a bunch of mattresses right then and there, and decide immediately if something feels off.
  • Access to Salespeople: It’s hard to get instant help online if you happen to have a question about your mattress. Most companies can only be reached via phone or email, and while some companies have chat features, they usually only operate during business hours. If you shop in person, you can address any questions to a store associate.
  • Multiple Models in One Location: Unless you’re shopping on Amazon (which has its own set of pros and cons), buying a mattress online can involve hopping from site to site in search of a mattress that fits your needs. Brick-and-mortar stores, however, put a number of different brands and models under one roof. 
  • Only Option for Certain Brands: Some brands have no internet presence available to the public, meaning their mattresses are only available to be purchased in person through certain partner stores. Other companies offer in-store exclusives that cannot be found online. 
  • Opportunity to Negotiate Price: Mattresses sold online have a set price. Some mattress stores, however, are open to haggling, which means you could walk out with a much better deal than you’d see on a brand’s website.

Disadvantages of Buying a Mattress in a Store

That said, there are some reasons why many customers prefer shopping online to stepping foot in a store.

  • Higher Price: With the exception of sleep brands’ dedicated brick-and-mortar stores, mattress stores tend to price their mattresses higher than online retailers. This is due to the higher overhead that comes with running a business, which factors into their higher prices. Online companies, however, often have sales and discounts, while Amazon frequently offers a lower price for Prime members. 
  • Limited Selection: Because of the limited space, stores can only fit so many mattresses in one location. Therefore, while you’ll find plenty of variety in terms of brands, the actual selection of available models may not be as large as you’d like. If you’re early on in the mattress shopping process and just want to get an idea of what’s out there, you’re better off starting on Amazon. 
  • Pushy Salespeople: One huge advantage to shopping online is the lack of pushy salespeople. Especially if they work on commission, it can be hard to shop in person without feeling like you’re being pressured to buy something right then and there. This isn’t the case with online stores, where representatives can only be contacted if you initiate a conversation through phone, email, or chat. Even then, they tend to be more informative than promotional—focusing on giving you the specs rather than pushing a specific product. 
  • Need to Drive Around: Many mattress stores are located in metropolitan areas or remote shopping centers, meaning you’ll need access to a car—especially if you want to bring your mattress home yourself the same day. 
  • Shorter Trial Period: Mattress stores tend to offer shorter trial periods than online companies, so if you need more time to figure out whether a bed is the right fit, you may want to order online.

Top Mattress Stores

RetailerMajor BrandsDelivery CostReturn PolicyBBB Rating
CostcoTempur-Pedic
Novaform
Molecule
GhostBed
Casper
Shipping charges included in priceReturns for a full refund accepted indefinitely for members, with some exceptionsA+
Sam’s ClubTempur-Pedic
Serta
Sealy
Purple
Beautyrest

Free shipping, with additional fees for expedited and white glove deliveryFree return shipping within 365 days, with returns for a full refund accepted indefinitely for members, with some exceptionsA-
IkeaIkeaFree in-store pickup, with delivery ranging from $9 to $99Exchanged once or returned for a refund within 365 days, with an additional transport fee applicable in some casesA+
Denver MattressDenver Mattress
Purple
Tempur-Pedic
Vispring
Sealy 
Stearns & Foster
Free in-store pickup, with delivery starting at $150Exchanged or returned for a store credit refund within 365 days, with 100% full store credit within 4 months, 75% store credit within 4-8 months, and 50% store credit between 8-12 months

*Must be kept for at least 30 days
A+
SearsTempur-Pedic
Stearns & Foster
Serta
Sealy
Free, plus old mattress removal for orders of $599+Returned for a 15% fee within 180 to 365 days, depending on the mattress

*Must be kept for at least 30 days
A-
Mattress One Sealy
Simmons
Serta
Stearns & Foster
Tempur Pedic
Free for orders $799+Exchanged within 180 daysF
Macy’s Tempur-Pedic
Serta
Sealy
Purple
Beautyrest
Free white glove delivery for orders below $787, with fees starting at $85 for orders $787+Returns accepted within 180 daysA+
Slumberland Tempur-Pedic
Stearns & Foster
Simmons
Sealy
Delivery starts at $70Exchanges only within 120 days for $99, plus any redelivery feesA+
Mattress FirmTulo
Serta
Sealy
Purple 
Beautyrest
Free shipping for mattresses $499+Returned with $79.99 fee within 120 nights

*Must be kept for at least 21 nights
C+
Sit ‘n SleepTempur-Pedic
Serta
Sealy
Nectar
Beautyrest
Free delivery for mattresses $399+ within a 25 mile radius of a Sit ‘n Sleep storeReturned or exchanged for an additional 20% stocking fee, capped at $500, within 60 to 120 nights

*Must be kept for at least 30
A-
Sleep NumberSleep NumberMandatory white glove delivery service, which starts at $199Returned, with all shipping fees, within 100 nights

*Must be kept for at least 30 nights
A+
Bob’s Discount FurnitureBob-O-PedicFree in-store pickup, with delivery starting at $29.99 and white glove delivery service starting at $59.99Exchanged or returned for a refund within 90 nights

*Must be kept for at least 30 nights

A+
WalmartSerta
Sealy
Lucid
Beautyrest
Allswell
Free in-store pickup and free shipping, with heavy freight charges applicable to some locationsReturned for a refund within 90 nights in original, unopened/unused packagingN/A
American MattressTempur-Pedic
Serta
Sealy 
Nectar
Beautyrest

$59.99 to $79.99 fee for local deliveries
$99.99 for White Glove service
$299.99 for out-of-state deliveries
Exchanges only within 30 to 90 days, depending on specific model

*Must be kept for 15 to 30 nights
C+
Big LotsSerta
Sealy
Delivery fee starts at $150, including white glove delivery service and old mattress removalReturns in original packaging within 30 nights, with a potential 20% processing fee B
Raymour & FlaniganTempur-Pedic
Restonic
King Koil
Aireloom
Simmons
Stearns & Foster
Free with $500+ purchaseExchanges available with protection plan within 45 days, plus re-delivery fee

*Must be kept for at least 30 days
A+
Haverty’sTempur-Pedic
Serta
Sealy
Beautyrest
Free in-store pickup
Shipping varies by location, with some locations off-limits
Exchanges only within 3 days of deliveryA+
Ashley HomestoreTempur-Pedic
Stearns & Foster
Serta
Sealy
Beautyrest
In-home delivery service fee varies by locationReturns for defective or damaged mattresses only, if initiated within 72 hours of deliveryA+
Rooms to GoTempur-Pedic
Serta
Sealy
Beautyrest
In-home delivery service fee varies by locationReturns for full refund if initiated within 48 hours of deliveryA+
Mattress WarehouseTempur-Pedic
Stearns & Foster
Serta
Sealy
Nectar
Free in-store pickup and Tempur-Pedic deliveries
$99 local delivery
$199 national delivery
No returns for clearance itemsA+

Considerations When Buying a Mattress

Regardless of whether you buy your mattress online or in person, there are key features to keep in mind. While narrowing down your selection and deciding on brands and materials, make sure you consider all of the following details.

Mattress Type

Generally speaking, the type of mattress is the best place to start. What material your mattress is made out of will dictate other features like support, contouring, bounce, breathability, temperature regulation, motion isolation, and more.

  • Innerspring – As the oldest and most traditional type of mattress on the market, innerspring mattresses tend to be free of bells and whistles and on the more affordable side. These mattresses feature a support core of metal coils, which can be either interlocked or individually wrapped. Interlocked innerspring coils tend to create rigid and firm mattresses, while individually wrapped or pocket coils conform better to the body.
  • Memory Foam – Memory foam mattresses are famous for offering plenty of contouring properties, with many sleepers describing the feel as a “hugging” sensation. The mattresses also tend to be the softest and least supportive. Traditional memory foam mattresses are notorious for sleeping quite hot, but newer foam mattresses incorporate open-cell materials or gel/copper infusions for better temperature control and breathability.
  • Latex – Latex combines the bounce and breathability of innerspring mattresses with the hugging contour of memory foam. These mattresses tend to be soft, supportive, and naturally cooling, which is why they also tend to be some of the most expensive mattresses on the market. They can be made out of synthetic or natural latex.
  • Hybrid – Hybrid mattresses combine any of the above materials to cancel out one another’s shortcomings while boosting their signature advantages. Most tend to feature foam or latex comfort layers in the upper part of the bed, with innerspring coils (usually of the pocket variety) making up the support core.

Sleep Position

Different sleep positions require different types of mattresses. Sleeping on a mattress that’s incompatible with your sleep position can lead to discomfort and a lack of support that prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep.

  • Back – Back sleepers require firmer and more supportive mattresses to keep their hips from sinking and their spines aligned. In general, they should look for medium-firm mattresses, with innerspring mattresses and innerspring hybrids tending to be the most suitable. 
  • Side – Side sleepers require high amounts of contour to keep their pressure points (shoulders, pelvic bones, etc.) cushioned and their spines aligned. They should look for a balance of medium-soft to medium firmnesses with plenty of support, so thicker memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses, and hybrid mattresses will all provide good choices. 
  • Stomach – Stomach sleepers require the firmest and most supportive mattresses to prevent their chests from sinking into the mattress. As with back sleepers, they should look for innerspring mattresses and innerspring hybrids.

Firmness

Mattresses can fall anywhere on the firmness scale, which spans from 1 (extremely soft) to 10 (extremely firm). In general, most mattresses tend to rank between 4 and 7. Memory foam mattresses are the softest, with latex and hybrids falling somewhere in the middle, and innerspring mattresses at the firmer end of the spectrum.

Support

The support of a mattress refers to how adequately it keeps your spine in its natural alignment. This means what can be considered to be a “supportive” mattress will vary from person to person, depending on factors like weight, sleeping position, and personal preference. In general, sleepers of above-average weight require firmer mattresses for adequate support, while sleepers of below-average weight should err on the side of softer mattresses.

Tips for Buying a Mattress from a Store

Successfully buying a mattress in person takes some strategizing. To protect yourself against bad deals, high-pressure sales tactics, restrictive policies, and unwanted purchases, follow these tips when you go shopping at a brick-and-mortar store.

  • Give it a try: While you’re physically in the store, make sure you try out the mattress as thoroughly as you can. Lie down on the mattress for as long as it takes for you to get a good gauge of its support, firmness, contouring, motion isolation, responsiveness, and other properties. The testing process doesn’t have to end there. After you ask a store associate about trial and return policies, don’t be afraid to purchase it and try out the mattress at home before initiating a return. This is the best way to get a full picture of the mattress’ features overnight. 
  • Don’t feel intimidated: Don’t feel like you have to give in to salespeople who use aggressive sales tactics. Even if they pressure you to make a final decision, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for more time to consider or to keep your options open by visiting multiple stores. You don’t have to leave the store with a purchase. 
  • Negotiate the price: Depending on the store, you may be able to negotiate a lower price than what it says on the tag. This includes shipping fees, white glove delivery service, old mattress removal, and any discounts for in-person pickup. 
  • Keep an eye on sales events: You can also score a lower price by visiting a brick-and-mortar store during a sales event. Many stores offer grand opening and closing sales, blowout sales, Black Friday sales, and more on a frequent basis, with discounts ranging anywhere from 20-80%. 
  • Nail down the details: Before making that final purchase, make sure you get a very clear, detailed idea of all the fine print. Ask the store associate about policies like delivery zones, shipping fees, warranties, return terms, old mattress removal options, and more. The more information you can get in writing, the better.

Additional Resources

For more tips on buying mattresses, including in-depth guides on different types of mattresses, check out the rest of our resources.