Mail Order Mattress Buying Guide
Read on to learn more about choosing and purchasing a mail order mattress. This buyer’s guide includes some tips for selecting a mattress model, an overview of standard shipping policies from online brands, and answers to some common questions about the mattress by mail delivery process.
Buyer’s Guide for Mail Order Mattresses
Buying a Mail Order Mattress
Most online mattress brands make purchasing a bed fairly straightforward and convenient. However, buyers should research different mattress types and designs to determine which model best suits them. Important considerations for mattress shoppers include:
Most mattresses sold today fall into one of five product categories. These are:
- Foam: Foam mattresses feature polyfoam and/or memory foam comfort layers over high-density foam support cores. These mattresses usually conform closely to the body and provide great pressure relief. Other key strengths include strong motion isolation and no noise. However, foam beds may trap heat and sleep warm for some, and they often sag around the perimeter due to weak edge support.
- Latex: Latex is a substance derived from the sap of rubber tree plants. The material is naturally flexible and durable. As a result, most latex mattresses feel fairly responsive and have longer-than-average lifespans. Latex beds also sleep cool due to the material’s natural breathability. That said, most latex mattresses do not isolate motion or alleviate pressure as well as foam beds.
- Innerspring: Innersprings feature foam comfort layers over open coil systems. These mattresses feel very responsive and bouncy, and most offer strong edge support. They are also temperature-neutral due to strong airflow through their coil layers. In terms of weaknesses, innersprings provide minimal pressure relief for most sleepers. Many models have questionable durability, as well.
- Hybrid: A hybrid is usually made with latex and/or memory foam comfort layers and a pocketed coil support core. These beds provide body-contouring and pressure relief much like all-foam and all-latex beds, but also offer the strong support and temperature neutrality of innersprings.
- Airbed: An airbed is equipped with adjustable air chambers. Owners can add or release air from the chambers to change the bed’s firmness. This level of customization is not available with other mattress models and many airbeds offer dual-firmness designs for couples with differing preferences. The biggest downside to airbeds is the price-tag, as they tend to be very expensive, and the air chambers may produce disruptive noises when in use.
Firmness refers to how soft or firm the bed’s surface feels. We evaluate mattress firmness using a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. Most beds sold today have firmnesses that fall between 3 (soft) and 8.5 (firm).
Soft to medium soft (1-4.5) beds conform very closely to the body. Sleepers sink deeply beneath the surface and experience a cradle-like sensation as the comfort layers alleviate pressure. These firmness levels are best suited to lighter sleepers. Heavier people often find soft to medium soft beds uncomfortable and prone to excessive sagging.
Medium to medium firm (5-6.5) beds have a more balanced feel. The comfort layers conform somewhat to the body but the mattress also feels supportive and keeps sleepers on an even plane. People in the average weight group often prefer medium to medium firm feels because they experience some contouring without sagging too much.
Firm to extra firm beds (7-10) conform very little and feel exceptionally supportive. Heavier people tend to like these firmness levels because they don’t sink into the mattress too deeply and feel more supported. Lighter people, on the other hand, may not experience enough contouring to alleviate their pressure points.
Online mattress brands typically offer their beds at lower prices than companies with brick-and-mortar locations. This is due to lower overhead costs of maintaining a website compared to the expenses of operating physical stores and employing onsite sales staff.
Prices vary by brand, as well as by mattress type. Foam and innerspring models tend to be the cheapest options, with average price-points in the $800 to $1,200 range for queen size beds. Hybrids usually have mid-range price-points. Expect to pay $1,500 to $2,200 for a queen size hybrid – though some brands (including the Awara listed above) offer hybrid models at much lower prices.
Latex beds can be somewhat pricey with an average queen size price range of $1,500 to $2,500. Airbeds are easily the most expensive mattress type. The starting price for most models is at least $1,800, and the price-tag for some exceeds $3,000.
Shipping and Delivery
Once customers have picked out a model, they should look into the brand’s shipping options, delivery timetable, return policy, and other variables related to purchasing the mattress by mail. In the next section, we’ll break down the important details to look for when coordinating a mattress delivery.
What to Expect When Ordering a Mattress by Mail
Key considerations for mattress deliveries include the following.
Shipping Options: The vast majority of online mattress brands offer free shipping within the contiguous U.S. via FedEx, UPS, or USPS. Some brands also ship for free to Alaska, Hawaii, or Canada, but customers in these locations will probably need to pay extra delivery charges for mattresses from U.S. brands.
Expedited shipping is often available for an extra charge – often $50 or less. White Glove delivery may also be an option. This service includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal, and customers can usually coordinate a delivery date and time. For most sellers, the starting price for White Glove delivery is $100, but a small number of mattress brands offer free White Glove services.
Although expected wait times vary, buyers who opt for standard delivery usually receive their delivery within 10 days of the original order. Expedited deliveries arrive sooner – in as little as one to two days, depending on the specific shipping terms.
UPS, FedEx, and USPS will email customers with an order number that allows them to track their mattress once it has shipped. For White Glove deliveries, the courier will make arrangements with the customer regarding a specific day and time.
The Delivery Date
Unless otherwise specified, online mattress brands that offer free ground delivery will compress their beds and ship them in a box. This process makes the package much more compact and easier to move. The compression does not damage the mattress (please see the FAQ below for more information).
For standard and expedited ground deliveries, the courier will leave the mattress in its box on the customer’s doorstep. If the purchaser lives in an apartment, the courier may leave the box with someone at the front desk. A customer signature is not required for these deliveries, and no one needs to be present at the residence when the mattress arrives.
Mattress buyers should receive a call or email from White Glove delivery personnel to coordinate a delivery date and time. Two- to four-hour delivery windows are fairly standard. After arriving at the pre-agreed time, White Glove couriers will set up the mattress inside the customer’s residence and remove all mattress packaging from the premises. Upon request (and sometimes for an extra fee), they will remove the homeowner’s old mattress.
Please note: for White Glove deliveries, an adult 18 or older must be at the residence to receive and direct personnel. A recipient signature is usually required.
Trial Period and Returns
Nearly all online mattress brands offer sleep trials, during which customers can test out the mattress for a certain length of time and return or exchange the bed if they are not satisfied. Some sleep trials begin on the date of purchase, while others kick off after the mattress has been delivered.
Every company has a different return policy. Some require customers to complete a 30-night break-in period before requesting returns, while others allow returns at any point of the trial. In either case, those who wish to initiate a return should reach out to the company before the sleep trial ends.
The brand may send couriers to fetch the mattress from the customer’s residence and transport it for recycling or donation. Alternatively, they may ask the customer to dispose of the mattress and hold their refund until receiving proof of disposal.