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How Can I Find The Best Place To Buy A Mattress?

It seems like there is a different mattress warehouse around every corner. Besides the traditional mattress store, you’ll also find mattresses in other department stores and places like Sam’s Club. On one extreme you are worried about running into a pushy salesmen who will talk you into buying something you don’t want, but on the other hand you don’t want to be completely without guidance in the process. So we are left with the question of “What is the best place to buy a mattress?”

The answer of course is that it depends. However, there are some very specific questions you should ask and things you should be looking for when you go to buy your next mattress. The answers and advice you receive in return should either raise a red flag or make you feel good about the notion that this store may be the best place to buy a mattress in your area.

First, don’t underestimate the importance of this decision. You’ll spend about 2,000 hours on that mattress just in the first year, so spending a couple hours at the mattress store is certainly worth it. Back to our question of how to find the best place to buy a mattress… First, ask friends and family for referrals. You can also search for mattress stores on a review site like Yelp, if you don’t have any luck getting a personal referral. While this is subjective, you’ll at least have better odds starting with a winner as opposed to showing up at a store which doesn’t have your best interest in mind. Once you have narrowed it down by referrals and reviews, start by asking the right questions.

What Should I Ask?

According to Scott Olsen at Parklane Mattress in Seattle, the “First question to ask is does the store fit mattresses to specific sleep positions?  For example “I’m a back sleeper can you direct me to the models designed specifically for back sleepers.” Once directed to the models.  “Can you explain why this model is best for how I sleep.” The next question to ask is if the store has a similar model to what you are currently sleeping on. (So come to the store knowing the current brand/model that you use now) It is a great frame of reference to understand what the customer is comfortable sleeping on by knowing what type/brand of mattress they currently have.”

If you come to the store prepared with these questions, the salesperson will know you are an educated buyer. In the car world, this could be akin to saying “show me the Carfax!” If the answers to these first couple of questions are satisfactory, or you feel your “B.S.” radar beeping, it is time to move on to another store. If the person is serious and knowledgeable about the mattresses they sell, these should be pretty routine questions.

You should also be on the look out for some red flags that may tell you this isn’t the best place to buy a mattress. Again according to Scott Olsen some of those red flags are “if the first question from a store is “what is your budget?” or “this mattress is on sale/special” the store is not interested in fitting you to a mattress that will improve your sleep and work best for your body and sleep style.  More than likely the mattress being offered is what provides the store the highest profit or biggest spiff/commission for the salesperson.” Read the entire Scott Olsen interview here.

If you’ve already started your mattress shopping, you may have noticed that you hardly ever see the same exact mattress from one store to the next, despite all of the big national brands. According to Josh at Northwest Mattress Outlet, there is a reason for this. “That identical mattress you’re looking at probably has 30-40 different names unfortunately. There’s a reason retailers do this, makes it virtually impossible to compare apples to apples.” Therefore, Josh says it is important to find out about the features that you like. For instance, if you lay on a mattress that is really comfortable you should ask “Is it individually wrapped coils? Traditional innerspring unit?” Focusing on these basic features of a bed will keep you from getting overwhelmed by brand names or the specs they provide. “Are you annoyed when you feel your partner toss and turn in bed? Individually wrapped coils would be the way to go, or a foam core mattress. Knowing and understanding those 2 key things will cut out a ton of unnecessary time bouncing from one mattress to another.” It is good to be able to eliminate types of mattresses you don’t like, so you can spend more time on the ones you do.

How To Test Out A Mattress

When searching for the best place to buy a mattress you should also feel comfortable in spending some quality time on the mattress while in the store. The mattress sales person should have no issue with this, and respect the fact that this is an important decision. If honest, they’ll also know that this is a necessary step to making an informed decision. Here are some tips (again from Scott Olsen) about how a smart buyer should approach their trip to the mattress retailer:

If possible wear comfortable clothes, nothing tight or restrictive, remove any jackets or bulky items and shoes if you can.  Try to find a pillow that matches how you sleep at home and supports your neck properly, once you find a comfortable pillow in the store carry it from mattress to mattress to get a better comparison between different models.  Try and limit your mattress choices to a maximum of 3 models (ideally 2 models) within the first 10-15 minutes of shopping.

Once you have narrowed your selection spend the next 20-30 minutes on the mattress.  The goal is to try the mattress in the same sleep position as you sleep at home, this is huge hurdle for most customers as few stores have privacy built into their showrooms and few feel comfortable trying to sleep in front of other people.  If you are a side sleeper, laying on the mattress on your back with your feet crossed (the top position most customers try when laying on a mattress) will provide a dramatically different feel than actually laying on your side or in your “normal” sleep position.

The top reason customers return a mattress is that it feels different once they have it delivered then what they felt in the showroom.  The primary reason for this is that in the showroom the customer tested in a “not normal” sleep position, once at home they are able to sleep in their “normal” sleep position and the mattress feel is markedly different then either what they remember or is uncomfortable for their “true” sleep position.

Again, you should be able to do this without feeling pressured or hurried from the store. If you get that feeling, this is another sign that maybe you should move on to another place to shop for your next bed.

There are many helpful tips listed that you can put into practice, but ultimately finding the best place to buy a mattress is a subjective decision. Trust your gut when you walk into a place, and as mentioned start by looking for some reviews or referrals that you trust. Once you have that, simply be prepared to ask the right questions and take your time making a selection. Before you buy a mattress on a “sale” price, remember how much time you will be spending on this over the next 10 years or so. Wouldn’t you rather pay a couple hundred more dollars now and sleep comfortably for a decade? The answer should be obvious.

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