What are the advantages to buying a mattress in a box versus buying a mattress in a bed store? If you don’t know already, prepare to find out. We take a look at the innovative way mattress companies are changing and what that means to a shopper.
You might think that mattress showrooms in retail stores are the best place to pick a bed, but there is much evidence to the contrary. There are some advantages to buying a mattress online. Take a look at what we found in this mattress buying guide and try to get the best bed for the money.
Mattress in a Box Brand Reviews
Data from SleepLikeTheDead.com and retail sites.
Amerisleep 94.7% – plant-based memory foam covered in Celliant-infused fabric.
Bed In A Box 86% – gel memory foam, one latex model available.
Casper 84% – latex comfort layer, memory foam support layer and foam core.
Leesa 84% – traditional memory foam on a foam core.
Tuft & Needle 77% – traditional memory foam over a foam core.
Bed Store Brand Reviews
Data from SleepLikeTheDead.com and retail sites.
Temper-Pedic 81% – memory foam and hybrid.
Sealy Posturepedic 65% – innerspring and hybrid.
Serta 65% – innerspring and hybrid.
Simmons BeautyRest 63% – innerspring and hybrid.
Stearns and Foster 59% – innerspring and hybrid.
What to Consider When Buying a Mattress
The average person doesn’t buy very many mattresses in their lifetime, so there aren’t a lot of expert bed shoppers walking around. That doesn’t mean you should walk blindly into your quest for the best bed. Here are some things to keep with you when you are shopping.
Knowing the Mattress Types
Memory foam, latex, innerspring….what does it all mean? You need to know what you are shopping for before you can find it. There are essentially three different types of mattresses.
Memory foam – these beds are made from viscoelastic polyurethane foam what was developed by NASA. There are traditional, gel and plant-based memory foam beds. Traditional and gel foams are derived from petroleum while plant-based foams are made from soybean oil.
Petroleum-based foams have higher than average complaints of heat retention and offgassing. Gels were introduced to help keep the mattress feeling cooler to the touch, but they have about the same rates of complaints. Plant-based memory foams have a more open-cell structure, allowing air to flow through more easily. This helps to keep the mattress cool. Plant-based foams are also eco-friendly and emit far fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Latex – Latex can be either synthetic or natural as well. Natural latex is made from the sap of the rubber tree. The sap is collected, purified, baked and cured to become latex rubber. Organic latex is latex from all -natural sources that is certified organic. Don’t trust an organic label if all the components of the bed are not organic.
Synthetic latex is derived from petroleum. Owner satisfaction rates are lower for synthetic latex mattresses compared to natural ones. Odor is a major complaint from owners of synthetic latex beds. Be careful. Retailers will label latex that is blended with natural and synthetic latex as “natural.” There are few regulations governing such practices. If a retailer makes a claim, be sure they can back it up. Ask for certifications and proof of their marketing claims.
Innerspring – These are the most commonly purchased and widely available mattresses currently. They have had the same basic design for over 100 years. Innerspring mattresses are metal frames supported with springs, topped with soft filling and covered with a fabric. There are a few types of spring mattresses that are being used by manufacturers today: Bonnell, continuous and pocketed.
Bonnell coil systems have many individual, hour-glass-shaped coils for support. They come in many gauges and coil counts. Typically, higher-quality beds have higher coil counts and a lower gauge is a more firm spring. These systems are much less expensive than alternatives.
Continuous coil systems are made with a single long wire that is shaped into a single piece. The springs are S-shaped and interconnected, drawing support from the adjacent springs. These are typically a less expensive option than pocketed sysytems.
Pocketed coil mattress systems have many individual coils that are encased in a fabric pocket. These provide the best motion isolation of any innerspring system. They have a broad range of durability, dependent on the coil counts and gauges.
Buying a Mattress in a Box
As you can see from the charts above, mattress-in-a-box brands have better owner satisfaction rates than bed store brands. There are a number of reasons for this, but . You can’t stuff an innerspring into a space the size of a mattress-in-a-box package with doing serious harm to the mattress and potentially anyone near it. Foam and latex beds are ideal for the compression, however.
Owner Satisfaction by Mattress Type
Data provided by SleepLikeTheDead.com.
As the chart above illustrates, memory foam and latex beds tend to rate better than innerspring and hybrid beds in general. Owner satisfaction is a solid indicator for mattresses. A high owner satisfaction rate tells us a lot. People won’t claim to be satisfied if a mattress doesn’t last long enough or a number of reasons. A bed with a high rate has few weak characteristics and will probably keep you satisfied as well. Memory foam mattresses are available from brick-and-mortar businesses, but you will have a hard time finding latex beds in a store.
Since mattress-in-a-box retailers don’t have showrooms, you will have to find your bed another way. Read the specifications from the manufacturer or retailer, but make sure to find some reviews from actual customers or independent reviewers. Customer reviews are invaluable, but make sure they are from verified as customers from a third party. Independent mattress review sites can be helpful, too.
Buying from a Bed Store
Trying beds in a mattress showroom is not a good way to get to know a bed. A study from RTI International showed people who selected a bed in a showroom-like setting were less likely to choose the most comfortable mattress for their bodies. You should have a more natural setting to try a bed in.
Some models will have different names depending on the store they are at. The same bed could be called by many different names. This is an intentional endeavor done by companies to make it difficult to comparison shop and find reviews on certain beds. Ask retailers or do some research to see which beds are being called by what names and pay close attention to avoid being fooled.
Whether you are buying a bed online or in a store, mattress reviews are great resources. Take there time to see what others have to say about the beds you are considering. Try to find if the models you are looking at are known by other names and keep track of which is which.
Getting to Know Your Bed
If you order a mattress in a box, you’ll probably have a decent trial period to get to know your bed. Many are offering 90 days or more to try their product out. You shouldn’t settle for less than a 30-day return policy for any bed you purchase, whether online or from a store, but 90 is much better. It takes some time for your body to get used to a new sleep surface. Using your bed as you normally would for at least four to six weeks is the only way to know if it will be a good fit or not.
Saving Money by Shopping Online
There is no need to spend more than you have to for a good night’s sleep. There are deals abound, especially near holidays, but you can save any time of year by shopping for a mattress online. Mattress prices at online retailers are on average about 15% less than asking prices at brick-and-mortar stores according to research from SleepLikeTheDead.com. Take a look at the potential savings from these estimations.
|Typical Mattress||Online Retailer||Brick & Mortar|
|Sales Tax||$0||$101 (7%)|
Data from SleepLikeTheDead.com.
As you can see, shopping online has some very distinct cost advantages. You have probably noticed when purchasing things online from a retailer that is out of the state, you don’t pay sales tax on that purchase. With a larger purchase like a bed, you can save hundreds of dollars by avoiding sales tax.
You may find that some brick-and-mortar retailers offer delivery for free, but it is a rare thing. It is a common feature for online mattress retailers to offer free delivery with a purchase. An average of $70 can be saved when the delivery fee is waived. Use the money to buy a nice pair of sheets and pillow cases for your new bed.
Shopping Online is Less Stressful
If you’ve ever been on a car lot, you know what it is like to be pressured to buy something. When you walk into a mattress retailer, it is often very similar. Salespeople typically work on commission, so they will push more expensive beds and offer higher prices. You can negotiate, but you may not get anywhere. You can avoid high pressure situations by shopping online. People make better decisions when they are not under pressure.
The Better Business Bureau advises walking away when you recognize high-pressure-sales tactics being used on you. This includes everything from “first-time-only” offers to holiday sales at mattress stores
Buying a Mattress Should be Fun!
Don’t forget, at the end of all this, you get a brand new bed. While the first few nights might feel different from what you’re used to, after you get used to your bed you will probably sleep better. Almost any new bed will improve your sleep if your mattress is old or showing signs of wear. Whether you get a mattress in a box or from a bed store, you will probably see improvement in your sleep and health.