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How to Buy a Mattress Online? 5 Easy Steps

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Written By Alex Petrović

Certified Sleep Consultant

Featured image for How to Buy a Mattress Online

29 March 2024 17 min read

For a lot of people, online retailers are the best advancement since sliced bread. But it can get a bit confusing. So, today we're going to detail how to buy a mattress online and get the best mattress possible!

For some people, getting the perfect mattress means going down to the store and testing out every model until you're satisfied. However, with how advanced the internet has become, online mattress shopping has arguably become a lot more convenient!

So, today we're going to go over everything you need to consider before getting a mattress online. From determining what to look for to finally putting in the order, we'll guide you through the entire process. So, let's begin!

Things to consider before buying a mattress online

An image of a woman thinking

If you've ever gone online shopping, you know that it can be a bit overwhelming. There are dozens of different mattress brands with hundreds of models to consider! That's why, when choosing a mattress, online or otherwise, it's always best to set up some ground rules first.

This is so that you can immediately eliminate all those mattresses that don't fit what you're looking for. Not only will this save you a lot of time but it will also stop you from flip-flopping and committing to a mattress that doesn't suit you. So, what should you consider?

Your budget

Setting up a budget is arguably the most important step when getting a new mattress. And we urge you to be realistic here. If you can only afford a cheap mattress, that's fine! In fact, we even have a list of the best cheap mattresses you can get in the UK.

However, if you want to sleep like royalty or require a specific mattress type, take into account that it can cost you a bit more. Generally, we suggest setting up an upper and lower limit that are about 100 pounds apart. This way you can quickly use the filter option most online mattress companies have in order to narrow down your search and only look at relevant mattresses.

The mattress type you want

Now it's time to widdle down your selection even further. And we'll do this by focusing on one mattress type in particular. The easiest way to reach this decision is to first ask, do you want memory foam or springs? If you want a detailed guide on the difference between memory foam mattresses and spring mattresses, you can read that here. But in short, here's what you should consider.

Memory foam: great if you share the bed with someone due to good motion isolation. Provides significant pressure relief, which is great for avoiding joint pain. Provides a high level of comfort.

Springs: has significantly more support, which is especially useful if you're on the heavier side. They also have notably better breathability, which is a must-have for hot sleepers. They're usually a lot easier to find and cheaper. And you have two subtypes – innerspring mattresses and pocket spring mattresses. Innerspring mattresses are cheaper but have issues with motion transfer while pocket spring mattresses are more expensive but have motion isolation.

And then we also have more particular mattress types. Once again, we have entire articles dedicated to each specific category, but here, we're just going to give you a TL; DR.

Hybrids – utilise both foam and springs, ideally taking the best parts of both mattress types. Learn more about hybrid mattresses here.

Latex – in a lot of ways similar to memory foam mattresses, with a few key benefits. Namely, natural latex mattresses react more quickly to pressure and have fewer breathability problems. Learn more about latex mattresses here.

Waterbeds – they were originally designed to help people suffering from joint and back pain. High-end models also have completely unique features such as temperature control. Learn more about waterbed mattresses here.

Air mattress – one of the most portable mattress types. High-end models also have unique features such as dual-core mattresses with separate, controllable firmness levels. You can find everything you need to know about air mattresses here.

Your sleeping position

If the previous section seemed a bit overwhelming, don't worry, we'll explain everything. First off, let's break down how your sleeping position affects your mattress choice. While it's not an exact science, this is how it generally goes:

Side sleepers – if you're a side sleeper, the most important thing to keep in mind are your hips and shoulders. If you're slightly on the heavier side, getting a firmer mattress will allow your spine to retain a healthy position. However, if you're on the lighter side, a softer mattress should be more your style.

Front/stomach sleepers – for stomach sleepers, it's generally preferred to go for a slightly firmer mattress. This is because you don't want your gut to sink into the mattress and allow your spine to bend forwards. So, generally, spring mattresses are more likely to suit your needs.

Back sleepers – for back sleepers, as long as you have the appropriate pillow, you should be fine. But if you have any back aches, a mattress with pressure relief could help out. In this case, a memory foam mattress is especially useful.

Combination sleeper – since combination sleepers are constantly changing their sleeping position, there's no one “right” mattress. We advise looking at your current mattress and seeing how comfortable it was overall. It can also help if you ask your partner which position you end up sleeping in the most frequently.

Your current issues

For this step, we'd like you to carefully observe your current mattress. Take a few nights before buying a new mattress online and just jot down a few things about your sleeping experience. How often do you wake up with back pain? Do you wake up sweaty? Does it take you an oddly long time to fall asleep?

Then, based on all of the answers, you can start narrowing down which mattress purchase is going to give you the most optimal result overall. It can also help to keep the severity in mind.

For example, if you only occasionally wake up with slight back pain or only overheat during the summer, you could find cheaper fixes. For example, getting a firm mattress topper can likely give your current mattress that little push it needed in order to get you a good night's sleep. Likewise, getting a better all-season duvet can bridge the temperature gap and make your summers cool.

Which brand do you trust

It might seem arbitrary to some but having a rough idea of which online mattress brands you can trust can make quite a difference. On the most basic level, this can ensure that you're getting a good deal. However, there are also less obvious perks that can come with this. For example:

Getting good coverage – warranties and sleep trials aren't always included when it comes to online mattresses. And while this doesn't mean much if you luck out and get the perfect mattress straight away, it's incredibly important in case you make a mistake.

Having more reviews – the fact of the matter is that the bigger the brand, the more reviews you can find online. And having access to more reviews means getting a more realistic view of how the mattress performs.

Aligning your values – if you're an environmentally-conscious individual or a vegan, checking out the about us section can be very important while shopping online. While some brands do their best to keep things green and vegan, others might not have any such commitments.

And those are just a few examples. We'll cover this topic in more detail later on and even give you a few recommendations. But the bottom line is that, unlike a brick-and-mortar store, you have to do a bit of research in order to find out which brands offer what you want.

Must-have features

So far, we've used a lot of terminology that not everyone will be aware of. And when buying a mattress online, these terms are likely going to be plastered all over the website. So, we're going to detail all the terms you should know and explain whether they're must-haves for you!

Motion isolation/ no motion transfer – this just means that if your partner gets out of bed, your side of the mattress won't be affected. It's a must-have for light-sleepers who share the bed with someone (pets included).

Temperature regulation/ breathability – this refers to how much heat a mattress will trap and how well it will regulate your body temperature. If you tend to wake up sweaty, getting a mattress with good breathability/temperature regulation is recommended.

Pressure relief/support – a mattress with good pressure relief/support accommodates your joints and pressure points and takes on more of your weight. An excellent choice for anyone who commonly suffers from back/hip pain.

Mattress firmness – generally, most mattresses will be labelled as medium firmness. This model will suit most people. However, depending on your sleeping style and weight, you might want a soft mattress or a firmer model. Check the table below for more details.

What size do you need

This one likely needs the least explanation so, we're going to be rather quick. Making sure that your mattress fits your bed frame is quite important, as a mismatch can lead to plenty of discomfort. And if you don't know the exact sizes, here's our mattress size chart to help you out.

Buying a mattress online in 5 easy steps

An image of a woman sitting on the couch and buying something online

Now that we've gone through all of the things you should consider, let's get a bit more specific. Here are the steps we'd suggest you take in order to find your perfect mattress!

Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list.

Depending on who you are and your circumstances, you might need to put in less or more thought than what we've described.

However, it should serve as a good starting point!

Step 1 – Narrow down the mattress yype

In order to narrow down the mattress type you'd like, we suggest giving some thought to everything we've said so far. Which mattress type are you currently using and has your sleep quality been good? So, if you're currently using a memory foam mattress and have never had issues with overheating, for example, you can probably stick to foam or latex mattresses.

Are there any must-have features that you now need? If you can only get good sleep on a firm mattress while your partner can only relax on soft mattresses, getting a dual-core air mattress could be the way to go. Or you could even get two smaller mattresses, one memory foam and the other innerspring, and push them together.

Of course, you can always change your mind later on. However, it will make life a lot easier if you go into this shopping spree already aware of which mattress type is the most likely to suit your sleeping needs.

Step 2 – Settle on a few brands

After you've narrowed down your mattress type, it's time to look at brands. Just type in mattresses UK and lightly browse five or more of the websites that pop up. Take a general look at their catalogue in order to see how their prices vary and have a look at their about section in order to get a gist of their company values. And since many online mattress companies also have frequent sales, you can take that into account as well.

We'll delve into picking out a brand in more detail at the end of this article. But for now, have around five mattress brands online and have them all opened in their own tabs. Then go to each and filter the results based on the mattress type you're looking for.

Step 3 – Calculate your finances

Now that you have a few ranges of your preferred mattress type from a few different brands, it's time to put money into the equation. Most online mattress companies will have a price filter so, use it in order to narrow done your selection before even looking at any specific product.

It's important to remember that a bit of wiggle room is always important. However, if you know you'd never pay more than 800 pounds for a mattress, there's no point in even seeing those models. After all, you might end up with a bad case of FOMO and getting a mattress that you can't afford.

The only caveat here is that some mattress companies do offer delayed payments. So, if you don't plan on paying in full straight away, you should also take this into account. See which payment plans different brands are offering and adjust your price filter accordingly. And remember that free shipping isn't always included.

Step 4 – Look at specific models

By this point, you should have a relatively short list of suitable mattresses that can complete your new bed. Now it's time to put in the elbow grease and check out the specific models one by one. And we encourage you to be picky at this stage, as you want the most suitable mattress you can find and not something that “will do”.

So, whenever you see something you don't like, for example, no free shipping or it doesn't come in the size you'd like, immediately move on to the next one. You want to widdle down your choices to just a handful as quickly as possible so that you don't get burned out and settle.

Once you've narrowed down your selection to just a few mattresses, we recommend looking at online reviews and seeing which one sticks out. Overwhelmingly positive reviews carry the most weight at this point. However, things like mattress cost or available mattress sizes can still help you crown a victor if the models are of relatively similar quality.

Step 5 – Order the mattress

Now that you have picked out your favourite mattress, all that's left to do is to put in the order. When ordering mattresses online, it's typically best to order them from the brand's website, so that you can get coverage and have access to customer support.

However, you can usually also order the mattresses through Amazon if that's what you prefer. However, do note that you won't always get a warranty or a trial if you opt for this option.

The benefits of buying a mattress online

An image of a woman in bed shopping online

For people who are more used to traditional shopping, going to a mattress store seems like the best option.

And it certainly does come with a few benefits, which we will discuss later on.

However, online mattress shopping also comes with some very important perks!

So, if you're on the fence, here are the upsides of ordering mattresses online.

Variety

No single mattress shop can ever compete with the internet in terms of variety. After all, most shops these days have an online catalogue, meaning that there are very few if any “store exclusive” models.

On the flip side, you'd have to travel at the speed of light in order to view hundreds of different mattress models in a few minutes. But on the internet, you can do so with just a few clicks. And since you can view so many models so quickly, you can easily find the mattress that suits your needs the best.

Keep the price down

In a similar vein to the previous point, you can easily scope out the best prices on the market! After all, unlike a traditional shop, online retailers know that you're one Google search away from finding a more budget-friendly option. As a result, online shops tend to keep their prices as competitive as they can.

Not to mention that finding discount codes and vouchers is a lot easier online as well! Browser extensions like Honey can scan most retailer websites and give you a discount code in seconds (if one exists). And most brands will even e-mail you whenever they have a big sale going on.

Compared to collecting newspapers and magazines or visiting the same shop every week, online shopping is simply a lot easier.

Making an educated decision

When you're in the store, unless you're an avid The Sleep Advisors reader, you have to solely rely on the sales representative. And the fact is that they likely won't have the time to give you a detailed explanation of the differences between an innerspring mattress and a synthetic latex model right there on the spot.

So, unless you go to the bathroom every few minutes and Google every phrase you don't fully understand, you have to take the sales representative's word on it. Meanwhile, getting a bed online means you have all the time in the world.

You can search up mattress features, talk to people with a mattress collection on certain forums, and learn everything you need to know. Of course, this in no way suggests that the local sales representative can't give you all the information you need. They're professionals after all! But when it comes to knowing all the facts, online shopping is just a lot more convenient.

Convenience

We've mentioned convenience a few times already. And that's because online shopping will always be more convenient in certain aspects. For one, you can usually make the order without having to call anyone, which is a big plus for some people.

Secondly, you're not tied to a specific timetable as the store doesn't have to be open in order for you to place an order. Plus, you're not limited by where you live either! There's no travelling required and most online mattress brands cover the entire UK, so, you're selection pool is quite large.

Online-only features

Lastly, certain features are only available when you order the mattress online. Most notably, certain sales and deals. And if you're trying to maintain a good budget, this alone makes online shopping infinitely more tempting!

Not to mention that there are very few big sleeping brands that don't have an online store. However, online-only mattress stores are a bit more frequent. So, to see everything that's out there, going online is your best shot.

The disadvantages of buying a mattress online

An image of a person buying something online

If online shopping was all good, traditional mattress stores would've been out of business by now.

So, it only makes sense that online shopping comes with its own set of drawbacks.

And, depending on who you are, these drawbacks might just make buying a mattress online not worth the effort!

So, pay close attention and determine whether the benefits of online shopping outweight the following downsides.

No testing

The most obvious disadvantage of online mattress shopping is that you can't interact with the products! Sure, you can read about how soft they are all day long but at the end of the day, you can't actually take a seat and see for yourself.

On top of that, even once you get the mattress, it takes a bit of time for it to break in. On the other hand, showroom mattresses typically give you the exact feeling of a good slept-in mattress. So, knowing whether you made the right choice is a much longer process when ordering online.

Unauthorised sellers

With website building becoming easier than ever before, bad actors are a lot more common these days. And if you're not tech-savvy or if you're too tired to do any research, you can fall right into their trap.

Traditional stores on the other hand are a lot easier to figure out. And if you live in a smaller city, odds are that you'll even know the person who's running the shop itself. So, while this can all be avoided by doing some research, traditional stores are a lot easier to gauge.

Getting overwhelmed

Lastly, you'll notice that almost this entire article is about ways you can narrow your scope when buying mattresses online. That's because of the simple fact that there are too many products to look through!

Unlike a traditional store where you have 50-100 choices that you can realistically keep track of, the internet has thousands. And if you're a slightly indecisive person or a perfectionist, what used to be a perk is now a major drawback as you can't decide what to buy.

Picking out a trustworthy online mattress brand

An image of a mattress up close

One of the tips we've mentioned so far about buying a bed online is to find a trustworthy brand. However, that isn't always very easy. Not to mention that some sleeping brands have unique selling points that might not be immediately obvious.

So, in order to help you find the best mattresses online, we're going to list off a few of the brands we think stick out as well as their unique selling points. Of course, we encourage you to do further research yourself, this is just our list of recommendations!

Simba Sleep – if you want a high-quality memory foam mattress, a Simba mattress is likely going to be on your radar. We also want to highlight the Simba Hybrid mattress, as it's one of the best hybrid mattresses on the market.

Emma Sleep – just like Simba, Emma sports some of the best hybrid models in the UK. And both the Emma Hybrid mattress and the Emma Premium mattress are tough competitors to beat. You can see here how Emma compares to Simba overall.

Happy Beds – this is a brand that simply has a ton of variety! With a unique “build your bed” function, hundreds of different models, and relatively frequent sales, it's more than compelling. It's also an excellent spot to grab firmer mattresses such as the Tennyson 4000 Pocket Sprung Orthopaedic Mattress.

Nectar – in terms of coverage, there are few brands that can compete with Nectar! That's because they offer a lifetime guarantee. So, getting a Nectar Memory Foam mattress might just be a lifetime decision.

Panda – When it comes to sustainability, few mattress companies can compete with Panda! So, if you want to have the best sleep of your life while also helping the environment, the Panda Hybrid Bamboo mattress should be right up your alley.

Conclusion

Overall, buying a mattress online comes with some pretty amazing perks but also a few downsides. So, where do you land? Feel free to let us know down in the comments! And if there's anything you still don't get on how to buy a mattress online, feel free to ask.

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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