How to Evaluate a Mattress Brand
Every mattress offers a unique sleep experience. When buying a new bed, customers should research different models in order to make an informed decision. Important comparisons include price, material construction, firmness, thickness, and performance factors like durability, conforming ability, temperature neutrality, and motion isolation.
Additionally, we encourage bed buyers to research certain aspects of mattress brands. Key brand considerations include the following:
As online mattress sales have become more common, many brands now place a strong emphasis on customer service and communication. Most offer customers multiple ways of contacting customer service personnel, including toll-free phone numbers, email, and/or live web chat on the brand’s website. Some brands also work directly with customers to facilitate mattress shipping and deliveries. However, some brands do not offer the same level of customer service. Poor communication is most common customer service issue buyers encounter with mattress brands.
The majority of online mattress brands offer free delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S.; a smaller number provide free delivery to Alaska, Hawaii, and/or Canada, as well. UPS and/or FedEx facilitate most free mattress deliveries, meaning that specific delivery date requests may not be available. In most of these cases, the mattress will be left on the customer’s front door and a signature will not be needed. Customers who are concerned about theft should notify the mattress brand to explore other options, such as requiring a signature.
Keep in mind that standard delivery is coordinated through UPS, FedEx, or another third-party courier. This means that, once the mattress ships, customers may need to deal with the courier – and not the mattress brand – if shipping issues arise. However, most brands will offer assistance to customers experiencing shipping delays, courier communication problems, and other delivery issues.
In addition to free delivery, some brands offer other UPS or FedEx delivery options, such as expedited delivery. Many brands also provide White Glove delivery – which includes in-home mattress assembly – for an additional charge, typically at least $99. However, a small number of brands offer free White Glove delivery to customers in the contiguous U.S. Most White Glove delivery options also allow customers to nail down a specific delivery date and time. The service may also include old mattress removal at no extra charge or for an additional fee (usually about $40 to $50). If old mattress removal is important, customers should opt for White Glove delivery; this option is almost never available via standard delivery.
Sleep trials are quite common in the mattress industry. These trials enable customers to test out the mattress in their home for a pre-agreed number of nights, and then return the bed for a full or partial refund before the trial ends if they are not satisfied. Most sleep trials last between 90 and 120 nights, though some are up to 1,000 nights long.
One consideration with sleep trials is the break-in period. Some trials require customers to sleep on their mattress for a certain amount of time (usually 30 nights) in order to allow the bed to adapt to their body. Refunds will not be issued before the break-in period is over – forcing customers to commit to the bed whether or not they find it comfortable. The refund amount is also key. Most brands will issue a full refund – and some will also coordinate free mattress pickup from the customer’s residence – but some charge return fees that can be somewhat pricey.
The vast majority of mattress warranties last at least 10 years, and many cover the bed for up to 20 years. Lifetime warranties – 25 years or longer – are somewhat common. However, warranty length is not nearly as important as the length of the warranty’s nonprorated coverage period.
During nonprorated coverage, the brand will repair or replace mattresses with defects for free; either the brand or the owner will cover shipping and transportation costs associated with repairs and replacements. During prorated coverage, owners must pay a fee to replace their mattress if a defect develops. The prorated fee is usually a percentage of the original mattress price multiplied by the number of years of ownership. Prorated fees normally increase with each successive year until the warranty is expired.
For example, let’s say a mattress brand offers a 20-year warranty with 10 years of nonprorated coverage and 10 years of prorated coverage. Beginning in year 11, the owner must pay 55% of the original mattress price (5% of the price multiplied by 11 years). In year 12, they will pay 60% (5% multiplied by 12), and so on. Prorated coverage in warranties is considered a disadvantage because it can lead to high replacement costs.
Defect identification is another warranty consideration. Most sleepers claim that indentations in the sleep surface that measure one inch (1″) or deeper cause more discomfort than shallower indentations. However, some mattress warranties only consider indentations of one and a half inches (1 1/2″) or deeper to be defects. This means owners may not be able to have their mattress replaced or repaired for free even if it causes them major discomfort.
Lastly, it’s important to note that the average mattress will perform to its best abilities for seven years. The maximum lifespan for most beds is about nine years. This means that warranty coverage past 10 years will be unnecessary in most cases, so customers should not necessarily give preference to the mattress brand with the longest warranty.
Customer reviews are a common feature on mattress website product pages. Most utilize the star method and list an average score based on collected reviews. Some brands list all reviews for a certain model, including negative reviews, and allow site visitors to easily access and reorder them. Others can be less transparent by listing a sampling of positive reviews or making it difficult to access negative reviews.
Customers should scrutinize the marketing claims found on mattress websites and question them if they seem unrealistic or hyperbolic. These may include claims about ‘universal comfort’ or ‘one firmness fits all’; in reality, the sleeper’s experience with a certain mattress firmness will depend on their height, weight, and sleep position. Mattresses that ‘cure’ sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea are also erroneous, as there are no established cures for these conditions. If a claim sounds somewhat dubious, consider writing the company an email or reaching out to a customer service rep via online chat to inquire about it.
Individual product pages on mattress websites frequently list the model’s materials and dimensions. Some brands offer detailed specs such as foam densities, individual layer thicknesses, and cover fabrication. Others do not disclose these or other specs, leaving customers wondering how the mattress is made. Online web chat can be helpful if specs are not available – provided the customer service personnel are responsive.
Many mattresses sold online are American-made. In some cases, the bed may be made in the U.S. but some/all of its components are manufactured elsewhere. For other brands, their mattresses are assembled entirely outside the U.S. or Canada. Imported mattresses are not necessarily of poorer quality than domestic-made models, but consumers should opt for an American-made bed if they are concerned about material quality or unfair working conditions for factory workers.
Green mattresses have become quite popular in recent years – but some models are eco-friendlier than others. Organic certifications, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for fabrics and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), can be used to determine if a mattress is actually comprised of sustainable components. Remember: just because a mattress contains latex does not mean the bed is eco-friendly, as synthetic and blended latex (which contain petrochemicals) is commonly used instead.
Company history is tied to mattress durability. A brand that has been around for at least 10 years can demonstrate that its beds will perform for at least seven years (the average mattress lifespan). A company created last year may make the same claims, but they are merely estimates.
All of the factors listed above can add to a mattress brand’s overall reputation. If customers need more assurance, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a great resource. The BBB is a private, nonprofit organization that evaluates individual companies based on criteria such as time in business, customer complaints, and marketing inaccuracies. These evaluations yield a letter grade of A+ to F; companies that are relatively new and/or small may receive a non-rating (NR). Each BBB company page lists all past and present complaints, allowing visitors to learn about prevalent issues with the brand – and, if needed, lodge a complaint of their own.
Each of the mattress reviews listed above takes these factors into account. Please visit our links for more information about specific brands, and feel free to drop us a line if you would like to discuss a mattress brand with us.
To check out our overall top mattress recommendations and review our full mattress review database which is organized by both brand and model, visit our Best Mattress Reviews and Comparisons Page