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The Best Place to Buy a Mattress in 2021: Online or In-Store?

by SleePare

By Emily Stringer | 3 Minute Read

In the past decade, the mattress industry has evolved thanks to technology. Buying a mattress today is much different from it was twenty years ago. Even today with the hundreds of different online mattress companies to choose from, buying a mattress in-store is the best place. Buying a mattress in-store is the only way to test out a mattress before you commit to buying and ensures that you’re getting the perfect mattress for you. 

Even with all the options available, it might be difficult to know where to begin when shopping for a mattress. The good news is you can buy a mattress from a variety of locations, including traditional mattress stores, department stores, and even from your own couch! 

Read on to find out the pros and cons of each way to buy a mattress and decide what’s the best option for you. 

Mattress Stores

Mattress stores like Mattress Firm or Sleep Outfitters are still popular places to buy mattresses. It’s easy to find mattress stores in your area, depending on where you live. At a mattress store, you can test out different products and decide then and there whether the mattress is right for you. Trained salespeople will be able to show you a variety of brands and models and guide you through the buying process. 

If you decide to shop in a store, keep in mind that you will pay a higher price than if you shop online or purchase from a direct-to-consumer shop online. If you want to shop for a new mattress in-store and want to save a few bucks, wait for a holiday sale like President’s Day or Black Friday or the best deal.

Pros: 

  • Staff can guide you through the process and provide recommendations.
  • Testing in-person.
  • Testing out different types of mattresses like memory foam, hybrids, latex, etc.

Cons: 

  • Prices are higher than online stores. 
  • Product offerings and brands are limited. 
  • A salesperson may try to persuade you to purchase a mattress in order to get a commission. 

Mattress Hybrid Showrooms

Hybrid stores are a new concept that combines both in-store and online shopping–SleePare is a hybrid mattress showroom. Hybrid stores offer both in-store and online fulfillment. This retail model utilizes online content, buy online and pickup in store purchase options, online chat, and an online store. SleePare partners with the best-selling online-only mattresses, allows customers to test and sometimes purchase in store, and/or buy the product with an exclusive coupon online.  

Pros: 

  • Multiple fulfillment options that allow customers to buy online and pickup in store, etc. 
  • Special discounts. 
  • Heavy online presence and content informs customers about products ahead of time.
  • In-store testing for select products. 
  • Both in-store and online customer service.

Cons: 

  • Prices can be higher due to increased overhead to pay for staff and store location. 
  • Not all products will be available in store for testing. 

General Furniture Stores

Regular furniture stores are another place you can find mattresses but the selection will probably be limited. Many smaller towns have furniture stores but not chains or stores that carry just mattresses. In some situations, a general furniture store may be a more convenient and accessible option. The staff at a furniture store are unlikely to be as educated about different types of mattresses compared to the staff at a mattress store. 

Pros: 

  • More likely to have a furniture store near you in a smaller town. 
  • More products available for purchase than a mattress store (bed frames, other furniture, etc.).

Cons: 

  • Limited inventory.
  • Sales and discounts will likely be lesser in value than at mattress stores or online.
  • Staff likely will not be as educated on mattresses as employees at mattress stores. 

Department Stores

Mattresses are also available at department stores like Macy’s, Sears, and JC Penney. Department stores usually carry home goods, clothing, and accessories, so it might be more difficult to find a variety of mattresses in these stores. Unlike mattress stores and even some furniture stores, the employees at a department store might be as knowledgeable about mattresses as they are about other products in the store. If department stores have mattresses, you might be able to get one on sale at certain times of the year.c 

Department stores are likely to have a limited selection of mattresses and may not have a showroom-style display where you can test out the mattresses. 

Pros:

  • Numerous products are available in one location. 
  • You can shop for a variety of household items in one place. 
  • Convenience–there are plenty of department stores. 
  • Opportunity for sales and discounts.

Cons:

  • Limited selection.
  • Might not be able to test mattresses in department stores.
  • Salespeople might not be as knowledgeable about mattresses. 

Online Mattress Stores

Buying a mattress online is where you will find the most variety and information about different types and styles of mattresses. When shopping for a mattress online, you can directly buy from the manufacturer. This way, you know exactly what you’re getting and will pay a lower price because you’re buying directly from the manufacturer so overhead costs are lower. 

Some shoppers are hesitant to buy a mattress online since you can’t test them out before buying. Online mattress companies have found a way around this by putting policies in place to help you out on your mattress shopping journey. Many companies have implemented trial periods, free returns, and guarantees that make returning a mattress purchased online easy. Along with generous return policies, trials, and guarantees, you can easily find good sales on these websites and by searching for coupons online.  

Some of these online mattress companies also have their products available for purchase on Amazon. If you decide to purchase on Amazon, make sure the trials and warranties still apply. 

Pros: 

  • You can choose from a variety of brands and types. 
  • Easily find discounts, sales, and promos. 
  • You can purchase products directly from companies. 
  • Some offer white glove delivery and disposal of your old mattress.

Cons: 

  • You can’t try out mattresses before you buy them. 
  • Customers have to do their own research on which products would work best for them.

Online Hybrid Stores 

Many online mattress companies like Casper and Helix have opened brick and mortar stores in select locations. These stores allow customers to try out products in person that are usually available online only (similar to SleePare). At these stores, you can experience products in-person and then buy them online at your convenience. Inventory for purchase might not be guaranteed. If there is a certain mattress you want to try, check with the store to make sure it is in stock. 

The staff at these stores are highly trained on company products and can help guide you through the process of buying their brand mattress. Online hybrid stores are a great option for people who don’t have the ability to transport a mattress to their homes from a store. Customers can also test and view products in-store and then buy them online with discounts and promos that might not be available at the hybrid store.

Pros: 

  • You can try out products in-person.
  • Products can either be purchased in the store or online. 
  • Knowledgeable staff can help you find the right product.

Cons:

  • Stores are only in select locations and can only reach a limited number of customers. 
  • Sales and promos available online might not be available in the store. 
  • Inventory may be limited.

Online or In-Store? Which Is Better?

Wherever you decide to buy a mattress, either in a store or online, is ultimately up to you. Both options have clear advantages and disadvantages. No matter which way you decide to shop for a new mattress, doing your research is the most important thing you can do when testing our mattresses and making your decision. 

Here are a few things to consider when deciding where to buy your mattress: 

Shop online if…

  • You’re looking for the best deal and want to save money. 
  • You want to look at as many mattresses as possible. 
  • You want the convenience of buying from the comfort of your own home and having your mattress delivered right to your door.

Shop in-store if...

  • You want the hands-on experience of testing in person. 
  • You don’t want to do your own research on mattresses. 
  • You don’t mind paying more. 
  • You want to discuss options with a salesperson. 

The Best Online Mattress Stores

There are many online mattress companies and stores to choose from. Since the bed-in-a-box industry exploded a few years ago, hundreds of options have popped up on the market. With so many options, it can be difficult to know which one will work best for you. 

Not sure where to start? Here are five of our favorite online mattress companies. 

Helix

Known for their hybrid options and sleep quiz, Helix mattresses are some of the most popular online mattresses today and have a wide assortment of mattresses to cater to a wide range of sleepers. Helix has a mattress for everyone, from all-foam to hybrid to organic. 

Check Out Our Review

Buy Online

 

Nectar

Nectar’s award-winning memory foam mattress has been dubbed "America's most comfortable mattress" and one of Forbes' best memory foam mattresses of 2019. Nectar combines both quality and affordability that customers love.

Check Out Our Review

Buy Online

 

Winkbeds 

WinkBeds aims to provide “the best sleep of your life” with their plush hotel-style mattresses. With three mattresses to choose from including an eco-friendly option, Winkbeds has an option for everyone. 

Check Out Our Review

Buy Online

 

Saatva 

Known for their innerspring models, Saatva set out to change the mattress industry's image by providing convenience, luxury products, excellent customer service, home delivery, and generous trial and return policies–-this fully online mattress company did just that. 

Check Out Our Review

Buy Online

 

Tuft & Needle 

Tuft & Needle is a popular and highly rated online mattress company. Their claim to online mattress fame? A gel and graphite layer that removes heat from the mattress to promote a cool and comfortable sleep surface.

Check Out Our Review

Buy Online

6 Frequently Asked Questions About Buying a Mattress

Still have some questions about buying a mattress? Here are a few FAQs to help guide you when deciding where to buy a mattress. 

1. Where can I find the best-priced mattress?

If you're looking for a good mattress deal, you should look online instead of going to a local store. Online retailers have lower overhead costs so they can keep their prices lower. Also, most online stores will have coupons and promos available on their website or through email sign-ups. 

2. Will the store let me buy the floor model? 

This will depend on the store. It’s not uncommon for stores to allow customers to buy a floor model at a lower price when clearing out stock and moving in more inventory. If a store allows you to purchase a floor model, check it for damage and ensure that it is still covered under the manufacturer warranty. 

3. Is it better to buy online or in store? 

There are advantages to purchasing a mattress online, including reduced prices and longer sleep trials. You can easily compare prices, discounts, trials, and warranties online. If you need a new mattress ASAP, you might want to consider shopping at a store as online mattress orders can take several days to possibly a week or more to arrive.

4. Can I buy a used mattress to save some money?

Buying a used mattress is not recommended. Typically, you are unaware of the bed's history, which can expose you to bed bugs, mold, and allergens. A mattress warranty is usually voided when ownership is transferred. 

5. When is the best time of year to buy a mattress?

Most stores, both online and traditional retail will hold sales on mattresses during President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or other major holidays. If there is a mattress you are interested in, sign up for their mailing list to learn about upcoming sales and discounts. 

6. How do I know if my mattress needs to be replaced?

One of the first ways to tell it is time for a new mattress is if you’re waking up fatigued or experiencing aches and pains. If this is the case, your mattress probably isn’t as supportive as it used to be. If you sleep somewhere else, like in a hotel or on your couch and notice your sleep has improved, then it’s time to start shopping for a new mattress. 

 

Ultimately, where you decide to buy your mattress is up to you, your budget, location, and other factors like if you’re moving soon, transportation considerations, and the type of mattress you want. If you want the best experience when buying a mattress, we recommend buying a mattress in store so you can test out the mattress beforehand, get expert advice, and test out other options if the one you were looking at originally isn’t what you thought. 

Regardless of where you buy your mattress, make sure it is from a reputable website, store, or dealer. This way you will ensure you are getting a quality and legitimate product. If you want to get a head start on some mattress research, mattress recommendations, and mattress comparisons, visit our website! 

 
Emily Stringer

Emily Stringer


Emily is a sleep expert and content creator at SleePare. With over five years of experience writing and extensive experience reviewing mattresses, curating comparisons and advising on "best of" guides, she's well-versed in mattress technology.

Emily has perfected this method by personally testing over 200 different mattresses, so she's not only able to discern the overall value of a specific bed, but to assign its value to different types of sleepers.

Along with creating honest and straightforward mattress features, Emily enjoys spending time with her dogs and exploring her home town of Lexington, Kentucky.