We evaluate mattresses using a handful of different performance categories. How well or poorly a mattress performs in any category largely depends on its material construction and firmness level. Our criteria for judging mattress performance include the following:
- Durability: The average mattress performs for about seven years before a replacement is needed. Mattresses with the longest lifespans are often firmer and more supportive, which makes them less susceptible to indentations in the surface. Additionally, mattresses with latex layers hold up better than those with foam layers due to the natural longevity of latex.
- Motion Isolation: Mattresses that isolate motion well absorb movement on one side of the bed and prevent it from transferring elsewhere. People who share their bed with a partner are more likely to experience motion-related sleep disturbances on mattresses that provide minimal motion isolation. All-foam and foam hybrids typically earn the best ratings in this category, as latex is more responsive and prone to bounciness.
- Pressure Relief: Your mattress should contour evenly and distribute your weight across the surface. This helps ensure less pressure buildup in areas like the shoulders, lower back, and hips. Memory foam and adaptive polyfoam contour more closely than latex, so mattresses with these materials often perform best when it comes to pressure relief.
- Temperature Neutrality: Breathable mattress components can make a big difference if you tend to sleep hot. The best mattresses for cooling feature ventilated latex, coil systems that promote internal airflow, and covers made of fabrics like cotton and viscose derived from bamboo. Some mattresses also feature surfaces with phase change material, which is engineered to absorb and dissipate body heat on contact.
- Edge Support: A mattress is particularly vulnerable to sinkage along its perimeter when you get in and out of bed or sleep close to the edges. Innersprings and hybrids typically perform best for edge support because their coils provide more push-back and stability than foam or latex base layers.
- Ease of Movement: If your mattress is too soft, then you may sink too much and feel “trapped” when moving across the surface. This is particularly true for models with thick foam layers. Latex is more responsive and usually easier to move across, and mattresses with coils deliver extra reinforcement to reduce sinkage.
- Sex: To evaluate a mattress for sex, we look at other variables that will impact how a mattress feels and performs during amorous activities. Most couples prefer responsive mattresses that don’t sink too much and feel secure along the edges. Good temperature control also helps ensure you and your partner won’t feel excessively warm.
- Off-Gassing: Off-gassing refers to chemical smells you may notice after unboxing your mattress. This issue is most common for mattresses with foam layers that release volatile organic compounds, which are relatively harmless but carry a distinct chemical smell. Off-gassing eventually dissipates, but some smells take longer to go away than others and persistent mattress odor can be unpleasant for sleeping.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a New Mattress
Once you’ve chosen a mattress model based on the criteria we’ve described above, you’ll be ready to make your purchase. Important aspects of ordering a mattress online include the following.
Most online Canadian mattress brands offer free ground delivery to customers in all Canadian provinces. Some also ship for free to Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon, but most charge delivery fees because these territories are more remote. If you order your mattress from a U.S.-based brand, you may need to pay shipping fees regardless of where you live in Canada – though some companies provide free delivery to Canadian provinces.
If you need assistance setting up your mattress, you may want to consider a brand that offers White Glove delivery. For this shipping method, couriers bring the mattress to your house and set it up in a room of your choice. They may also haul away your old mattress either for free or with an additional charge. White Glove delivery typically starts at $125 CAD and may not be available for customers in certain locations.
Some shoppers have reservations about buying a mattress online before they’ve had the opportunity to sleep on it. For this reason, most online mattress brands offer sleep trials for new customers. These trials allow you to test out the mattress in your home and return it for a full refund if you aren’t satisfied. Most sleep trials last at least 90 nights.
Most online mattresses also come with free return shipping, though some charge a processing fee for returns. You may need to test out the mattress for a certain length of time before returns are accepted. These “break-in periods” are in place to ensure you have enough time to adjust and acclimate to the new sleep surface.
Virtually all online mattresses come with a manufacturer’s warranty and the vast majority cover the mattress for at least 10 years. A warranty is essentially a guarantee that the mattress won’t have any structural or material defects. If you find the mattress is defective, the company will repair or replace it for you – often for free.
Common defects covered under a mattress warranty include indentations in the surface that measure 1 inch or deeper, materials that deteriorate prematurely, and issues with the cover fabric or zipper. Other issues, such as shallow indentations and physical damage that occurs after the mattress is delivered, won’t be covered under the warranty.
If you have a standard non-prorated warranty, then repairs and replacements for a defective mattress will be free for as long as you own the mattress. A prorated warranty gradually increases the cost of a replacement mattress for each year you own it. Most prorated warranties cover the mattress for at least 15 years. A “lifetime” warranty – also known as a “forever” warranty – covers the mattress for as long as you retain original ownership.
Online mattress brands frequently offer discounts, free sleep accessories, and other perks to incentivize new customers. Some of these deals are ongoing, while others coincide with federal holidays or major shopping dates like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you want to save some money on your new mattress, we suggest researching different brands to see which ones provide the largest discounts.
Mattress Accessories for Canadian Shoppers
Buying a new mattress can significantly improve your sleep quality, but the same is true with other sleep products. And like mattresses, sleep accessories come with their own unique set of considerations.
A pillow should cushion the head and neck without sinking too much or excessively elevating these areas. The most common materials used as pillow fill include shredded or solid foam, shredded or solid latex, down and feathers, down alternative fibers made of polyester, and buckwheat hulls.
Important considerations when buying a pillow include:
- Loft: The best pillow loft, or thickness, for you largely depends on your sleep position. Side sleepers usually need high-loft pillows of 5 inches or thicker to keep the head and neck aligned with the spine. Back sleepers don’t experience the same alignment issues as side sleepers but a thicker pillow can help prevent snoring, so these individuals often find mid-loft pillows of 3 to 5 inches most comfortable. For stomach sleepers, a low-loft pillow less than 3 inches thick – or perhaps no pillow at all – will provide adequate cushioning without lifting the head too much.
- Adjustability: Some pillows can be adjusted, meaning the fill can be added or removed to change the loft. This allows you to customize the pillow based on your needs and preferences, rather than sleeping on a surface that feels too thin or too thick. Most adjustable pillows are filled with shredded foam, shredded latex, or buckwheat hulls.
- Moldability: Moldability refers to how squishy and snuggly a pillow feels. This can be an important consideration if you enjoy cuddling with a secondary pillow while you sleep. People with lower back pain can also benefit from tucking a moldable pillow beneath their legs or between their knees.
- Size: Pillows typically come in standard, queen, and king sizes. Many brands also offer body pillows, which are exceptionally long and well suited to people with back pain. Pregnant individuals can also alleviate pressure using a body pillow.
Sheets and pillowcases are another bedroom essential because they protect your mattress and sleep accessories from contaminants. Most standard sheet sets include a fitted sheet to be tucked around the corners of your mattress, a flat sheet that rests freely on top of the fitted sheet, and one to two pillowcases. Some sheet sets also include duvet covers. The most common bedding materials include cotton, polyester, Tencel, viscose derived from bamboo, and linen.
Sheet considerations to take into account include:
- Weave: Most cotton, Tencel, and bamboo-derived sheets come in one of two weaves. The percale weave makes sheets crisp and breathable, while sateen weaves create a silky-soft feel and drape closely to the body. The best weave for you depends on your personal preferences.
- Pocket Depth: This measurement refers to the maximum height the fitted sheet will reach when tucked around the corners of your mattress. If your mattress is taller than the sheet’s pocket depth, then you may not be able to securely fit the sheet.
- Thread Count: Thread count refers to the number of individual threads comprising a square inch of fabric. Many brands inflate the thread counts of their sheets to make them seem more luxurious than they actually are. While you can use thread count to determine how breathable and cozy your sheets will feel, we suggest focusing on materials and weave instead.
- Sizes: Most sheet sets are available in sizes that correspond to standard mattress dimensions. Some are also available in split sizes for couples who use adjustable beds and need two fitted sheets. Twin and twin XL sheet sets typically include one pillowcase, and larger sizes feature two.
A mattress topper is a layer of cushioning material that rests on the surface of your mattress. Toppers are designed to make your mattress feel softer or firmer. Some toppers have elastic straps to secure them to your mattress, while others should be placed beneath your fitted sheet. The most common topper materials include memory foam, convoluted (or “egg crate”) polyfoam, latex, down and feathers, and wool.
Considerations for first-time topper buyers include:
- Profile: Most toppers measure between 1 and 4 inches thick. The thicker the topper, the more your sleep surface’s feel will change. Lower-profile toppers are suitable for mattresses with minor to moderate wear and tear, whereas thicker toppers can provide enough cushioning for a mattress that is near the end of its lifespan.
- Sizes: Like sheets, topper sizes usually correspond with standard mattress dimensions. If you and your partner share a larger mattress but only one of you is dissatisfied with how it feels, then a smaller topper might be a good option for that person.
- Long-Term Use: A topper can help you squeeze a bit of extra time out of a mattress that is close to retirement. You should see toppers as a temporary fix before you’re ready to buy a new mattress, rather than a permanent solution.