7 Things You Should Know While Shopping for a Mattress
What to keep in mind when you buy your bedroom’s biggest investment piece.
Know when it's time
The most important thing about choosing a mattress is making sure you're doing it often enough. Sales associates might urge you to replace your mattress every five to seven years, but Michael Magnuson, CEO of goodbed.com, an independent mattress review website, told Good Housekeeping a good mattress should last at least eight to 10 years. Signs you might want to get shopping sooner than later include lumps or bumps (or worse, an imprint of your body), back pain, or coils you can feel with your hand. To make your mattress last longer, vacuum regularly to keep allergens at bay, flip or turn the mattress once a year, and invest in a padded mattress cover.
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Leave time to shop around
If you're shopping for a new mattress ahead of a big move, we get it: You literally have no free time. But when it comes to an item that could affect your health and happiness for up to 10 years, it's worth it to make the investment. Finding a mattress could take anywhere from one day to several weeks. And because mattresses vary from store to store—even if you're looking at the same brand—you'll probably want to hit up a few shops.
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Do your research
Before you get to the store, read a few reviews online for brands that fit your price range. Websites like Consumer Reports are a great place to start, but so are the customer reviews on each seller's website. See what peoples' critiques are, and bring them up to the sales associate. Doing your research will also give you an idea of price points and general customer satisfaction.
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Test it out
And by "test," we don't mean to lie back for five seconds and hop off. If a mattress seems like a good fit, take your time with it. Spend at least five minutes on each side, as well as five minutes on your back and stomach. Don't miss our insider's guide to a deeper sleep.
Consider the trial period
Some mattress companies will let you test the mattress for free for a month, while others will offer a full refund after a month if you're not satisfied. But don't live and die by the one-month trial period. One Consumer Reports survey found participants who took mattresses home for a month-long trial rarely changed the opinion they formed after the first night. Turns out, your first impression is probably right.
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Read the return policy
You've tested the mattress in the store, but it's good to know that if you're not satisfied with it after a few months, you can return it. Some home furniture retailers might sneak restocking fees into their return policy, or might have you ship the mattress back to the store on your own dime. Regardless, check how long the policy lasts and how much it would cost to use.
Get that price down
Try not to pay any higher than the rates you see during seasonal mattress sales. "Many businesses, such as warehouse clubs, have fixed prices and won’t budge. But for retailers that do negotiate—particularly specialty chains—huge markups allow them to lower prices by 50 per cent or more during their frequent sales," writes Consumer Reports. "Our recommendation: Any time of year, insist on a sale price you’ve seen for the mattress you know you want, and don’t be afraid to walk out if you feel you’re getting a raw deal." And if you can't get that rate when you want it? Wait.