Trying a Mattress Before Buying
How to Compare and Evaluate Mattresses in the Store

Last updated on April 28, 2015

Even if you plan to buy your mattress online, you should visit at least one store to try out mattresses before you buy. Choose a local mattress retailer that has a good reputation and that carries the models you are interested in trying. Our Mattress Store Locator can help.

Wear comfortable clothes you can move and recline in easily (pants are better than skirts or dresses) and shoes that can be easily removed. Tell a knowledgeable salesperson what you're looking for and ask to see beds that fit your criteria across a range of different price points. Don’t be afraid to try as many beds as necessary to find the ones that feel right for you. Once you’ve answered these questions, make a “short list” of mattresses that fit your preferences and are in your price range.

How to Evaluate a Mattress in the Store

Mattresses of the same type have a way of looking and feeling similar in the store. Here’s how to assess and compare mattresses to determine which is best for you.

Lie down on the mattress in your favorite sleep position, ideally with a pillow, and ask yourself the following questions:

Is your spine supported in neutral alignment? You can ask a friend to look at your back. Your spine should maintain its natural “S” curve when you are on your belly or your back, and it should be straight when you’re on your side.

Lie still for at least 10 minutes. Do you feel pressure on your shoulders, hips, or elbows? This will give you a sense of the mattress’ ability to provide pressure relief, which can affect how comfortably you sleep.

Does the mattress feel comfortable? Comfort is a matter of personal preference—there’s no “right” answer. Does it feel too hard, too soft, or just right?

How much does the mattress move underneath you if someone sits down or moves around on the other side of the bed? If you’re disturbed by your partner’s movements in the night, a mattress’ motion isolation is something you’ll want to test out.

When you lie close to the edge of the bed, does the edge feel stable? Or does it compress so that you feel like you’re going to roll off? This will tell you something about the quality of the mattress’ edge support, and whether or not that’s important to you.

Find the Right Bed

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This is awesome. Now I feel equipped to walk in somewhere and say with certainty, "This is exactly what I'm looking for."
— Sara in Phoenix, AZ

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