Determine your budget.There’s no way around it: Mattresses are a big-ticket item. Given the impact they can have on your quality of life and overall wellbeing, the investment is arguably worth it—but it’s still a major cost, and some options may be off limits to many of us because mattresses can rack up a price tag that’s well into the many thousands of dollars. (The good news is higher prices don’t necessarily equate to better mattresses.) Given all this, the first order of business when you set out to buy a new mattress is to determine how much you are willing and able to spend. This number will have a major impact on the options available to you as you undertake your mattress hunt.
Narrow in on a mattress type and size.The next order of business is to research the different types and sizes of mattresses and decide which sounds like the best fit for you. Most of us are familiar with the standard sizes of twin, double, queen, and king. What works for you will be determined by your own size and preferred sleeping position, the size of your bedroom, whether you sleep with a partner, and so on. When it comes to mattress types, there are several varieties on the market today. These include:
- Adjustable beds, which can be manually adjusted to various angles
- Air mattresses, which are filled with air chambers and covered by a layer of foam (These are different from inflatable varieties)
- Innerspring mattresses, which contain coiled springs
- Latex mattresses, which are made from natural or synthetic rubber
- Memory foam mattresses
Take it for a “test sleep.”Research can help point you in the right direction, but you can’t choose the perfect mattress for you without testing it out in person. Whether this happens in a store or during a trial period, the process is the same: Test the mattress as if you were actually sleeping on it. In the case of a trial period, you can do just that. In the case of shopping in a store, you’ll need to pretend. Do so by taking off your shoes and lying down on the mattress in your normal sleep position. Stay there (you might consider shifting positions a few times) for at least 15 to 20 minutes and observe whether you continue to feel comfortable and supported—your personal comfort is the most important factor when choosing a mattress. It’s also helpful to ask a friend or relative to help you determine whether the mattress supports your spine in a neutral position when you’re lying on your side. Don’t let yourself be pressured by a salesperson; this is a major purchase, and you should be afforded the space and time to give it the consideration it deserves.
Understand the return policies and warranty.Before committing to a purchase, it’s essential to understand the return policies (including any hidden fees or conditions) and warranty terms. The ideal situation includes:
- Delivery services and optional disposal services for your old mattress
- A full refund offer sans re-stocking or shipping fees (or credit for another new mattress)
- A return period (often referred to as a “comfort guarantee”) of at least several weeks or ideally more in the realm of 100 days
- A warranty of a minimum of 10 years full replacement or non-prorated warranty