Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the idea of purchasing a mattress online particularly appealing. There’s no denying the convenience factor, but how do you choose a mattress without trying it first? Much like buying a car, it can be daunting to purchase without a test-drive, but these tips will help:
- Do your homework. Carefully check reviews and consumer safeguards before buying. Look at the 4- or 5-star reviews, often the first to show up on a website, but also read less favorable reviews and look for most recent reviews, too, to see patterns that either give you greater comfort — or raise a red flag.
- Be sure your purchase is returnable or exchangeable. Many online retailers are savvy about consumers’ concerns and offer money-back trial periods and exchange programs. But take time to read the fine print on the return policy and options. Who pays for shipping — and how does a mattress get packaged for return?
- Can you reach the company? Make sure there is a phone number or a responsive virtual chat system. It’s a good idea to test customer service with a pre-purchase question. If you cannot connect with customer service when you are planning to buy, it is going to be more difficult, if not impossible, when you are trying to return!
- What type of mattress are you used to? If you have always had a conventional mattress with innersprings or one with memory foam, buying the same type of mattress can increase the likelihood that the feel of the mattress will be a good fit for you. However, memory foam and innerspring technology has improved significantly in recent years. Catch up on the changes and know what kind of sleeper you are (side, back, stomach) before ordering.
- The bed in a box option. Now offered by virtually every major bedding manufacturer, mattresses are compressed and rolled for shipment into manageably sized cartons. The mattress expands when released — often in a matter of hours. Most beds packaged this way are made with memory foam, but today some innerspring and adjustable air mattresses are also available. This can be a delivery-friendly approach when a small elevator, stairwell, or hallway complicates the arrival of your new mattress.
- Beware of misleading marketing. Many retailers make health-based claims like “organic,” “natural” and “chemical-free” (read my previous blog post, Chemical-free Claims: Don’t Be Duped), but not all are supportable or science-based. Many don’t meet the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, which are guidelines marketers are supposed to use to avoid deceptive marketing practices.
- A certification you can count on. A recent survey of mattress shoppers found that nearly 90% were much more likely to purchase a mattress containing CertiPUR-US® certified foam. That is because our program, administered by a nonprofit, has a reputation for integrity and transparency. Certified foams meet rigorous standards for content, emissions and durability and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. Find a list of companies offering products containing certified foam on this website.
- What happens to your old mattress? One benefit of buying from a traditional store is that you can usually arrange for your old mattress to be hauled away for free or a nominal fee. Some online retailers do offer a removal option. Don’t rely on donating your used mattress to a charitable organization. Most do not accept used mattresses for reasons related to hygiene and local laws.
If the mattress arrives and doesn’t feel quite right, don’t worry — it can take a few days or weeks to adapt to a new mattress. You may be able to adjust the feel with a mattress topper that provides more or less softness on top based on your personal preferences.
If you decide to wait to buy a new mattress, it’s likely that many retail outlets will be reopening soon and taking special hygienic precautions, such as limiting the number of shoppers allowed in the store, covering showroom mattresses with disposable protective covers and establishing disinfecting protocols.
Whatever you decide, take the time to research your options, but don’t delay too long. Investing in a good night’s sleep has never been more important.