In the modern world, there’s pretty much nothing you can’t buy online if you look hard enough.

Thanks to the free market and lack of overhead, it’s not unusual to find online retailers selling products at a fraction of the price you’d find them in a brick-and-mortar store.

One of the fastest-growing online marketplaces out there is the mattress industry.

Online mattress sales have been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years – but not without their fair share of skeptics.

Is it really worth it to buy a mattress online?

What is it really like, buying such a vital product without even having seen it in person?

In this article, we’ll take you step-by-step through the entire mattress buying process.

Image: couple asleep in bed

Advantages to Buying Mattresses Online

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, let’s first take a second to consider the perks that come with purchasing a mattress online instead of in your local showroom.

As it turns out, there are actually some pretty serious benefits!

Online Shopping Is Cheaper

First of all, there’s the matter of simple economics.

Online mattress shopping is often many times less expensive than any physical vendor, simply because online retailers don’t have the same kind of expenses as more traditional venues.

A brick-and-mortar store has got to pay for a ton of overhead: electricity, building maintenance, employee salaries, etc.

In addition to that, their salesmen are typically working on commission, which means they have an incentive to sell you the most expensive product out there, regardless of whether or not it’s actually worthwhile.

These stores are middlemen.

That’s their entire business model, and we all know it’s impossible for a middleman to consistently sell products at prices lower than their suppliers!

While it’s true that some stores have price-matching policies that claim to compete with online vendors, if most people actually stood to substantially benefit from this, the stores would quickly go out of business.

In reality, most stores will only offer equal or lower prices if you can find that exact same product online – which is almost never possible.

Mattress showrooms cannot exist without overpricing.

You Don’t Have to Deal With Pushy Salesmen

Another advantage to online retailers is that they free you from having to deal with sleazy salesmen.

 Most people do not appreciate the stress that comes with being pressured into buying an expensive product they don’t know that much about, and it’s the salesman’s job to take advantage of that.

Also remember that their job is to make sales – not to help you make the best decision.

While it’s true that some salesmen are actually honest and informed, this obviously isn’t the case 100% of the time.

There’s just not that much incentive for them to treat you fairly.

Online Products Are Often Better

Finally, it’s also important to realize that a lot of the best mattresses out there today are being sold online rather than in stores.

Mattress showrooms are a dying industry, so today’s smartest, most forward-thinking mattress manufacturers are all operating almost exclusively online.

The internet allows for direct competition between manufacturers, too, so you can actually see the beauty of the free market in action.

Everyone is competing for the lowest prices and the best reviews, which forces these companies to make the kind of products you need most!

Image: hands on a keyboard typingShopping Step #1: Do Your Research

So, now that you’re convinced shopping online is the way to go for your next mattress, you now have to deal with a new question: Where do you start?

Getting a good handle on the kind of mattress you’re looking for is often a good place to go. is actually perfectly suited for that kind of research.

To see answers to our most commonly-asked questions on mattresses, you can just mouse over the big “Guides” button at the top of this page.

For more specific questions, you can also click on “Guides” to see a complete list of our signature articles.

You can also try checking out our straightforward guide to the best mattresses of the year, or our article on the seven steps to choosing the right mattress.

 If you have one or two particular mattress brands in mind, meanwhile, you can also check out our thoroughly-researched reviews by clicking the “Reviews” button at the top of this page.

Step #2: Buy Your Mattress

Once you’ve done all that research, the next step is simply buying your mattress.

You can typically do this directly from the mattress vendor’s website (no middlemen!), although you’ll sometimes find even better deals if you can find reviews for your mattress on

Mattress manufacturers often offer exclusive sales through our site, which can end up saving you pretty sizable chunks of money!

If you’re looking for the most economical time to purchase a mattress, the best times are usually around major holidays like Black Friday and Labor Day.

But don’t put off buying your mattress for too long!

The low-quality sleep that tends to come with sleeping on a mattress past its prime has real consequences, both for your day-to-day functioning and happiness and for your long-term health.

Step #3: Receive Your Mattress

While you might think buying your mattress would be the final step in this process, there’s actually a bit more to it than that.

First of all, you’re going to have to actually get that thing inside your house!

There are two main schools of thought in the mattress industry when it comes to this: so-called “bed-in-a-box” delivery, or white glove delivery.

Bed-In-A-Box Delivery

The bed-in-a-box approach is by far the most common track.

First pioneered by mattress giant Casper back in 2014, these kinds of mattresses are invariably made of memory foam basically been crammed into a box and trucked off to your house.

Upon receiving one of these beds-in-a-box, all you need to do is take it out of its packaging and wait for it to expand. 

This can sometimes take a couple hours.

Once it’s fully expanded, your newborn mattress will still smell pretty bad for a little while afterwards as it goes through a process known as “off-gassing.”

Off-gassing usually lasts no more than a few days, but in lower-quality mattresses it may take longer.

White Glove Delivery

The other, somewhat fancier option for mattress buying is referred to as “white glove” delivery.

Mattresses delivered this way can be of any variety – memory foam, innerspring, or latex.

They come to your house fully-formed, with no strange expansion process required and often little to no off-gassing.

Unlike bed-in-a-box options, white glove delivery services involve a team of a couple people coming to your house with your mattress to help you get set up.

You just show them where you want it, and they take care of the rest!

One of our most highly-recommended mattress companies, Saatva, works off of this model.

The experience is a bit more luxurious than the alternative, although the one disadvantage is that Saatva actually charges a small fee if you decide to return your mattress.

Which brings us to…

Step #3: Try Out Your MattressImage: woman fast asleep in bed

After you’ve received your mattress, you’re now entitled to something known as a “trial period.”

This is just a time for you and your mattress to get acquainted.

Sleep on the mattress in different positions, get a good feel for it, and decide whether you really think this one is a keeper.

You don’t get to try out online mattresses before purchasing them, so retailers are typically extremely generous when it comes to these trial periods.

Most last 100 days (although some companies, like Nectar, offer a full year), and during this time you’re able to return your mattress either free of charge or, with a few companies, for a small fee.

Around 90 to 95% of shoppers at reputable dealer wind up keeping their purchase.

If you do want your full refund, however, the company will be happy to take the unwanted mattress off your hands – although there’s sometimes a minimum amount of time they request you wait before you can go for this option.

And don’t worry – these mattresses are always disposed of, recycled, or donated to local charities.

Nobody’s going to be sold a used mattress without knowing it!

Step #4: Keep Track of Your Warranty

Once your trial period has passed and you’re set on keeping your mattress, it should be more or less smooth sailing.

All of our recommended mattress dealers will provide you with truly top-notch products, and you’re unlikely to experience any issues until the mattresses start to pass their prime about 7 to 10 years down the road.

If you do experience any unexpected manufacturing issues, however, you may be eligible for a full or partial refund if your mattress is still under warranty.

Mattress manufacturers can often be kind of tricky when it comes to this stuff, though.

It varies from company to company, but there are often a lot of things that aren’t covered, and it’s often easy to accidentally void your warranty.


You should now have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into when you buy a mattress online.

The system really is set up with the consumer in mind, and this very website can actually be a great tool as you continue in your buying process.

So happy shopping, y’all – and pleasant dreams!

Ted Wilson

Ted Wilson

Founder and Owner

Ted is the founder and owner of Mattress Guides and is an expert in his field. Ted believes that having the right mattress is key to getting a good night’s sleep and feeling well-rested in the morning.

Updated at March 24, 2022