How to Test a Mattress at Home and in Store?

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Mattress Types: Familiarize yourself with different mattress types (memory foam, innerspring, latex, hybrid) and their unique characteristics to find the best fit for your comfort and support needs.
  • Effective Mattress Testing: Whether testing in-store or at home with a trial period, prioritize factors like support, firmness, motion isolation, and temperature regulation to ensure you select the right mattress.
  • Warranty, Care, and Negotiation: Understand mattress warranties, practice proper care and maintenance, and don’t hesitate to negotiate prices when shopping in-store to maximize the value and lifespan of your mattress purchase.

Are you in the market for a new mattress but feeling overwhelmed by the countless options available?

Whether you’re upgrading your sleep setup or replacing an old mattress, the quest for a good night’s rest starts with selecting the right mattress.

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The key to making a wise choice lies in effective mattress testing.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore two primary avenues for testing mattresses: from the comfort of your home and in-store.

We’ll reveal insider tips and tricks to ensure you choose a mattress that suits your unique sleep needs, comfort preferences, and budget.

Testing a mattress is not just about lying down for a few minutes; it’s about assessing essential factors like support, comfort, durability, and alignment.

Whether you’re leaning toward an in-store experience or prefer to order online, our expert advice will empower you to confidently make the best decision for your sleep quality.

Understanding Mattress Types

When it comes to choosing a mattress, understanding the different types available is the first step to finding your ideal sleeping surface.

Each mattress type has unique characteristics that affect both comfort and support. Let’s dive into the four main mattress types: memory foam, innerspring, latex, and hybrid.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses are known for their exceptional contouring ability. They conform to the shape of your body, providing a “hug-like” sensation.

This type of mattress is excellent at isolating motion, making it a great choice for couples.

Memory foam mattresses offer excellent pressure relief, making them ideal for people with joint or back pain.

However, they may retain heat, so if you tend to sleep hot, look for models with cooling features.

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses are traditional and widely recognized. They consist of coil springs covered with various comfort layers, such as foam or fiberfill.

These mattresses tend to be more responsive and bouncy.

Innerspring mattresses offer good support and are often more breathable than memory foam. However, they may not provide as much pressure relief, so they might not be the best choice for those with chronic pain.

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses are made from natural or synthetic latex foam.

They are known for their durability and resilience. Latex is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites and other allergens.

Latex mattresses offer a balance of comfort and support.

They provide a buoyant feel, which can be especially beneficial for those who want a responsive surface that relieves pressure points.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses combine elements of both innerspring and foam mattresses. They typically feature a pocketed coil support system with layers of memory foam or latex on top.

Hybrid mattresses aim to provide the best of both worlds. They offer the support of innerspring coils and the comfort of foam or latex layers. These mattresses are versatile and can suit a wide range of sleep preferences.

Pre-Test Tips for Mattress Testing

Before diving into the mattress testing process, here are some crucial pre-test tips to consider:

  1. Research and Budget: Determine your budget and research mattress types, materials, and brands that align with your preferences and price range.
  2. Sleep Position and Preferences: Understand your preferred sleep position (back, side, stomach) and any specific mattress features you desire, like firmness level, cooling properties, or motion isolation.
  3. Dress Comfortably: Wear comfortable clothing when heading to the store, as you’ll want to simulate your typical sleep environment as closely as possible.

What to Test For in a Mattress

While testing a mattress, pay attention to these key factors:

  1. Support and Alignment: Lie down in your usual sleep position and check if the mattress provides adequate support to keep your spine aligned. Your spine should maintain its natural curve.
  2. Firmness Level: Test different firmness levels (soft, medium, firm) to determine which one feels most comfortable and supportive for your body.
  3. Motion Isolation: If you share a bed, assess how well the mattress isolates motion to avoid disturbances when your partner moves.
  4. Edge Support: Sit or lie on the edge of the mattress to ensure it offers adequate support and stability.
  5. Temperature Regulation: Evaluate the mattress’s ability to regulate temperature, especially if you tend to sleep hot or cold.

Testing a Mattress In The Store

When you’re at the store, follow these steps for effective mattress testing:

  1. Take Your Time: Don’t rush the process. Spend at least 10-15 minutes lying on each mattress you’re interested in to get a real feel for it.
  2. Bring a Pillow: If you have a preferred pillow, bring it along. Your pillow can significantly impact your comfort and alignment.
  3. Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask the salesperson for information about the mattress’s materials, construction, and warranty.
  4. Lie in Your Sleep Position: Test the mattress in the position you usually sleep in. If you sleep with a partner, have them join you to assess motion isolation.
  5. Compare and Contrast: Take notes or use your phone to record your thoughts and impressions for each mattress you test. This will help you make an informed decision later.

Mattress Testing At Home with a Trial Period

Many mattress companies offer trial periods that allow you to test the mattress in your own home. Here’s how to make the most of it:

  1. Read the Trial Terms: Understand the trial period’s terms and conditions, including return policies and any associated fees.
  2. Unpack and Set Up Properly: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for unpacking and setting up the mattress. Give it a few days to fully expand and off-gas if necessary.
  3. Sleep on it: Spend at least a few weeks sleeping on the mattress at home to ensure it meets your comfort and support needs.
  4. Assess Your Sleep Quality: Pay attention to how well you sleep during the trial period. Note any changes in your sleep quality, comfort, or pain levels.
  5. Return If Necessary: If the mattress doesn’t meet your expectations, contact the manufacturer within the trial period to initiate a return or exchange.

The Importance Of Mattress Warranties and Care

When it comes to your mattress, understanding warranties and practicing proper care can extend its lifespan and ensure you get the most value out of your investment.

Understanding Mattress Warranties:

Length of Warranty: The length of a mattress warranty can vary from a few years to 20 years or more. Longer warranties often indicate the manufacturer’s confidence in their product’s durability.

What’s Covered: Warranties typically cover manufacturing defects like sagging, broken springs, or seams coming apart. Some may also cover issues like loss of support or excessive wear and tear.

What’s Not Covered: Most warranties don’t cover normal wear and tear, comfort preferences (e.g., finding the mattress too firm or too soft), or stains. Always read the fine print to understand the specific terms and conditions.

Prorated vs. Non-Prorated: Prorated warranties mean the manufacturer may cover less of the repair or replacement cost as the mattress ages. Non-prorated warranties typically offer full coverage for a specified period.

The Importance Of Mattress Care and Maintenance:

Here’s why mattress care and maintenance is important:

  1. Use a Mattress Protector: Invest in a quality mattress protector to shield your mattress from spills, stains, and dust mites. This can significantly extend its lifespan.
  2. Regular Cleaning: Vacuum your mattress regularly to remove dust and allergens. If stains occur, follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to avoid voiding the warranty.
  3. Rotate the Mattress: Some mattresses benefit from regular rotation to distribute wear evenly. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  4. Proper Support: Ensure your mattress is placed on a suitable foundation or bed frame. Using the wrong support can lead to damage and void the warranty.
  5. Avoid Jumping: Jumping on the bed can damage the springs or foam. Encourage children to avoid this habit.
  6. Keep Pets Away: If you have pets, it’s a good idea to keep them off the bed to prevent damage from claws and accidents.

The Importance Of Negotiating Prices

When shopping for a mattress in-store, negotiating prices can help you secure the best deal. Here are some tips and strategies:

Do Your Homework:

Know the approximate price range for the mattress you’re interested in. Online research can give you a baseline for negotiation.

Visit multiple stores to compare prices, sales, and promotions.

Be Ready to Haggle:

Salespeople in mattress stores often expect customers to negotiate, so don’t hesitate to ask for a better price or additional perks.

Inquire about bundle deals, which may include accessories like pillows or mattress protectors at a reduced price.

Timing Matters:

Mattress retailers often have sales during holidays like Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Black Friday.

These can be excellent opportunities to snag a discount.

Salespeople may be more willing to negotiate to meet their sales quotas toward the end of the month or fiscal quarter.

Be Polite and Flexible:

Approach negotiations with a friendly attitude. Being courteous can make the process smoother.

If the store won’t lower the price, ask about extras like free delivery, removal of your old mattress, or extended warranties.


In conclusion, selecting the right mattress is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your sleep quality and overall well-being.

Whether you opt for testing at home or in-store, this guide has equipped you with the knowledge and tools needed to make an informed choice.

At home, remember to consider your sleep position, preferred firmness, and any special requirements, such as alleviating back pain or accommodating a partner’s sleep needs.

Take advantage of trial periods offered by online mattress retailers to thoroughly test your chosen mattress in your own space.

When testing in-store, use our tips to evaluate various options for support, comfort, and durability. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek assistance from knowledgeable sales associates.

Ultimately, the perfect mattress for you aligns with your unique sleep preferences and budget.

Armed with the insights from this guide, you can now confidently embark on your quest for a restful night’s sleep.

Sweet dreams, and rest well!

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Sarah Anderson, Certified Sleep Science Coach Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson is a sleep, health, and wellness writer and product reviewer. She has written articles on changing and improving your sleep schedule, choosing the right mattress for chronic pain conditions, and finding the best pillow for you. Sarah Anderson has her Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University in Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to working for Zoma, she wrote for a variety of news publications. Sarah's work has been featured on Bustle, PureWow, and other publications.

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