According to most industry experts, the average mattress will perform for roughly seven years before it should be replaced. However, the durability and lifespan of a given mattress model will depend on the mattress type, as well as the materials used to construct it. Generally speaking, the lifespan of a mattress may range from less than four years to eight or more.
This page will look at lifespan and durability expectations for different types of mattresses sold today. First, let’s define some key terms.
Lifespan and Durability
The terms lifespan (or longevity) and durability are often used interchangeably when describing mattress performance. However, it’s important to differentiate between these two criteria.
The lifespan of a mattress refers to how long a mattress offers sufficient comfort and support for the sleeper(s) using it. Most mattresses begin to lose these qualities after a few years of consistent nightly use due to general wear and tear, but they will remain comfortable and supportive to some degree.
The ‘durability’ of a mattress, on the other hand, refers to how long a mattress performs before its components begin to deteriorate. Common types of mattress deterioration include sagging, body impressions, softening, and mechanical malfunctions. See the next section for more information.
As a result, the lifespan and durability of a mattress are not necessarily linked. A mattress with a seven-year lifespan, for instance, may begin to deteriorate within two to three years due to the components in its comfort layer and/or support core. However, it will provide sufficient comfort and support for up to seven years, regardless of deterioration.
How Do Mattresses Deteriorate?
Common types of mattress deterioration include the following:
Sagging: Sagging is an issue that occurs when the mattress no longer has an even, supportive sleep surface. Mattress foam is designed to ‘recover’ its shape after sleepers get up, but over time the material will lose its ability to retain the original shape. When this occurs, sleepers may notice a sagging effect in the mattress. This is particularly common with couples, since both people tend to sleep in the same positions and occupy the same areas of the mattress each night.
Body Impressions:Body impressions are a distinct effect of mattress sagging. Over time, the sleeper’s body will form a semi-permanent imprint in the mattress, creating an uneven sleep surface that limits movement on the bed. Body impressions often occur with foam, memory foam, and latex mattresses, as well as hybrids, airbeds, and other models with foam or latex layers in the comfort system.
Softening:The foam and latex used in mattresses will gradually soften over time. As this occurs, the mattress may lose some of its pain- and pressure-relieving abilities. Normal increases in mattress softness are to be expected, but excessive softening can lead to a higher risk for back pain and bodily pressure. Softening is especially common in mattresses rated as Medium Firm, Firm, or Very Firm.
Mechanical Malfunctions:Many airbeds feature pumps, adjustable controls, and other mechanical components that are susceptible to malfunctioning or breaking down over time.
Lifespan and Durability of Different Mattress Types
Next, let’s look at lifespan and durability expectations for mattresses based on how they’re constructed.
Innersprings: The average innerspring has a lifespan of six to six and a half years, one of the lowest lifespans among all mattress types. Additionally, sagging is a chief complaint among owners of innersprings; a large number report noticeable sagging within three years of consistent nightly use.
Memory Foam: Over time, memory foam loses its ability to recover its original shape. As a result, body impressions and foam softening are two common complaints among memory foam sleepers. These mattresses have an average lifespan of six and a half to seven years.
Latex:Latex mattresses have one of the longest average lifespans: seven and a half to eight years. Softening can be an issue with latex, and a relatively small number of latex sleepers report body impressions after two to three years of use. Some latex mattresses have a modular design that allows owners to swap out comfort layer components; this increases the overall lifespan by a considerable margin.
Hybrids:Like innersprings, hybrids are particularly susceptible to sagging; roughly one-fifth of hybrid owners report significant sagging after three to four years of consistent use. However, hybrids have a slightly longer average lifespan — six and a half to seven years — than innersprings.
Mixed Foam:Polyfoam does not recover its shape as long as memory foam. As a result, mattresses with mixed foam (polyfoam and memory foam components) are not as durable as mattresses with 100% memory foam comfort layers. The average lifespan for a mixed foam mattress is five and a half to six years — one of the lowest among all mattress types.
Airbeds:Airbeds are tricky to evaluate for long-term performance. Their mechanical components are highly susceptible to malfunctions; more than a quarter of airbed owners report at least one breakdown within two to three years. However, they often feature modular designs and are designed for in-home self-repair; as a result, they have one of the longest lifespans among all mattress types: seven and a half to eight years.
6 to 6.5 Years
6.5 to 7 Years
7.5 to 8 Years
6.5 to 7 Years
5.5 to 6 Years
7.5 to 8 Years
Poor to Fair
Fair to Good
Good to Very Good
Fair to Good
Poor to Fair
Poor to Fair
Most mattress warranties span at least 10 years. Manufacturers will often allow mattress owners to replace their existing model if it is deemed defective. In most cases, the following defects will warrant a mattress replacement:
Sagging or indentations that measure to a certain depth. The sagging/indentation depth is critical. Some warranties will replace a mattress if the sagging or indentations measure more than half an inch; others will not cover sagging or indentations unless they measure at least one and a half inches.
Manufacturing in the mattress that cause foams or latex to split or crack.
Coils, wires and other metal components that protrude through the sidewall.
Defects related to the mattress cover, including loose threads and cracked or broken zippers.
Likewise, the following issues are not covered under the majority of mattress warranties:
Sagging or indentations that do not measure to the depth noted in the mattress warranty terms.
Softening of comfort layer materials that does not affect the bed’s pain- and pressure-relieving abilities.
Physical damage that occurs as a direct result of owner misuse, including improper cleaning or inadequate foundational support.
Another important consideration associated with mattress warranties is the cost of replacing a defective model. Warranties are divided into two coverage periods: nonprorated and prorated. Nonprorated coverage means that, aside from shipping and handling costs, the mattress owner will not be required to pay any additional fees for replacing their defective mattress. Prorated coverage means that, in addition to shipping and handling costs, the mattress owner will be required to pay a certain amount of the original mattress price for their replacement model, based on how long the warranty has been active.
Let’s say a mattress costs $1,000 and has a 20-year warranty. The first 10 years of the warranty are nonprorated, while the last 10 years are prorated. According to the warranty, the prorated charge increases by 5% of the original mattress price for each year the mattress is owned. If the mattress needs to be replaced in the ninth year of ownership (during the nonprorated period), the owner will only have to pay shipping and handling costs. If the mattress needs to be replaced during the eleventh year of ownership (during the prorated period), then — on top of shipping and handling costs — the owner will be required to pay a prorated charge equal to 5% of the original mattress price multiplied by 11, or $550.
It’s also important to note that most replacement mattresses are covered under the same warranty as the original model. So, for instance, if a mattress under a 10-year warranty is replaced after seven years, then the replacement model will only be covered under the same warranty for three years before the warranty expires. In most cases, replacing a mattress will neither extend the warranty nor result in the implementation of a new warranty.
The bottom line: replacing a mattress under an existing warranty can save you a great deal of money — but doing so can cost you money just as easily. Be sure to read the fine print of your mattress warranty, particularly in regard to nonprorated and prorated coverage periods.
While industry experts agree that you should replace your mattress after seven years of consistent nightly use, you may want to consider a replacement sooner than that if you experience certain issues with your mattress. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before deciding whether or not it’s time for a new mattress:
Do you and/or your sleep partner experience sagging or sinking in the mattress?
Is your sleep surface uneven? This may be due to semi-permanent body impressions in the mattress.
Are you experiencing increased pain or pressure? This may mean the comfort layer materials have softened to the point of discomfort.
Do you own an airbed with mechanical components that break down more frequently than they did when the mattress was new? Airbeds frequently perform for eight years or longer if they are properly maintained, but owners may want to consider a replacement if the parts seem to break down on a regular basis.
If your current mattress is covered under a warranty, what are the costs associated with replacing it when the coverage is prorated? In some cases, you will be required to pay up to 80% or more of the original mattress price — and run the risk of having your warranty expire.