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Mattress Buying Guide – Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Mattress

In the good ol’ days, buying a mattress was easy. Mom and Pop hopped down to the mattress store, signed a check, and soon, there was a big springy mattress squeezing its way through your door.

But mattress shopping has changed. A LOT. Online shopping, bed-in-box shipping, and crazy new mattress technology have made choosing a quality mattress quite a task. Luckily, we’ve got all the answers for you in this complete mattress buying guide.

8 Tips for Choosing the Best Mattress

  1. Read Mattress Reviews
  2. Determine Your Budget
  3. Consider Mattress Firmness
  4. Figure out Which Features You Want
  5. Choose a Mattress Type
  6. Select a Mattress Size
  7. Check the Return Policy and Warranty
  8. Give It a Try

Choosing the best mattress involves a lot more than hopping onto the fluffiest option and hoping for the best. You need to consider how you sleep, what features you want, and the reliability of the mattress brand you choose. It might seem tough, but this mattress buying guide makes finding the right mattress as easy as counting sheep.

Read a few tips and get years of amazing sleep in return. Not a bad deal. Speaking of deals, let’s get to our tips on how to choose the best mattress for your health and your budget.

Read Mattress Reviews

Looking up product reviews is pretty common these days, but checking online mattress reviews is especially crucial. Why? Because when people sleep poorly, they get CRANKY. And when they get cranky, they want the world to know about it. Lucky for you, these make for the best mattress reviews.

Reading mattress reviews is one of the best ways to immediately identify problem points in a mattress and to understand if you might experience the same problems. Just be sure to pay attention to the physical attributes of the reviewer. If the reviewer is a 6’4” male and you are a petite female, the mattress review may not be reliable for you.

To find the best-rated mattress that fits your needs, search Google, Amazon, and YouTube. And don’t forget to ask friends and family for their recommendations on buying a new mattress.

Determine a Budget

money for budgeting

Now that you have a feel for the most reliable mattresses and mattress brands on the market, it’s time to determine a budget. This will allow you to quickly arrive at a shortlist of top-rated mattresses by eliminating those that are out of your price range.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why are mattresses so expensive?” Luckily, finding a great mattress is more affordable than ever… but cheap knockoffs still lure in unsuspecting customers. Here’s a pricing guide on how to buy a mattress in your budget (the prices below are for a queen mattress).

  • Below $250: A very cheap mattress. Ideal for a dorm room. It might last 2 years if you’re lucky.  
     
  • $250-500: A cheap mattress that could pass on a spare bed.  
     
  • $500-700: Nicer materials and better support, but not something you want to spend every night on. A guest bed, perhaps?  
     
  • $700-1000: An average mattress for daily use. Many decent mattresses fall within this range.  
     
  • $1000-2000: Now we’re talking. For this price, you get a nice mix of luxurious comfort, affordability, and durability. Most of these mattresses come with a 10+ year warranty. The Purple Mattress and Purple Hybrid fall in this range.  
     
  • $2000-3000: For the connoisseurs of sleep, no expense is spared to deliver the ultimate slumber experience. The Purple Hybrid Premier falls in this range.  
     
  • $3000-5000: Wow, so expensive. Mattresses in this range are usually foam mattresses made with hundreds of pounds of expensive foam. A price tag like this might get you a super soft mattress, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will provide proper support for your body types or sleep style.  
     
  • Over $5000: Unless your name is Kanye West and you want your bed woven from authentic unicorn mane, you shouldn’t pay this much for a mattress.

Consider Mattress Firmness

man testing mattress firmness

There are a bunch of features to consider when buying a mattress, but the most important is probably mattress firmness. Mattresses come in a range of firmness options which are indicated with a scale from 1-10 (1-softest, 10-firmest).

Most mattresses fall in the 4-8 range, because super soft mattresses can’t really support the spine, and super firm ones can aggravate pressure points.

So, which firmness level is right for you? It depends on your sleep position. Take a look at the different sleep styles and corresponding firmness options.

  • Back Sleepers: These sleepers lie on their spine, so they tend to prefer firmer mattresses in the 6-7 range.  
     
  • Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleepers need a medium-firm mattress to support spinal alignment in the neck. Depending on the weight of a sleeper, a firmness of 5-7 is recommended.  
     
  • Side Sleepers: These sleepers need a softer mattress that contours to the body to keep the spine in a straight line. Mattresses in the 4-6 range are usually the best.  
     
  • Combination Sleepers: Most of us are combination sleepers. A medium-firm mattress of a level 6 is a good option for balanced support and pressure relief.

Many mattress brands offer various firmness options for the same mattress. Purple mattresses are rated as Universal firmness to satisfy sleepers of every shape, size, and sleep style.

Figure Out Which Features You Want

We all have a different definition of a good night’s sleep. Some like to be snuggly and warm. Others like to sleep cool. Some like a bouncy surface and others like to sink in. Here are some features you may want in your mattress.

  • Breathability: Cooling gel and perforated foam are used in some mattresses to boost breathability. The Purple Mattress features the unique Purple Grid, a natural elastic polymer grid with thousands of air channels that neutralize body heat.  
     
  • Portability: Planning a move or a remodel in the future? Some mattresses weigh a lot, especially foam mattresses made from memory foam or foam latex.  
     
  • Bounce: A bit of bounce makes it easier to get into and out of bed (good for seniors), and it’s also ideal for those who like to enjoy bedtime activities with their partner.  
     
  • Motion Transfer: Low motion transfer ensures your partner will remain asleep if you toss and turn. Think of the famous bowling-ball-and-glass-of-wine demonstration.  
     
  • Moisture Wicking: If you’re prone to sweating at night, you want that moisture kept away from your skin. Moisture-wicking mattress covers can keep you dry and help prolong the life of your mattress.  
     
  • Responsiveness: How fast does your mattress respond to your movements? Highly responsive mattresses don’t leave an impression of your body after you move. Innerspring mattresses are the most responsive, while memory foam mattresses are the least responsive. Low responsivity can make it harder to adjust your position while sleeping.  
     
  • Hypoallergenic: Mold, mites, and bacteria can make you sick and take years off the life of a mattress. Hypoallergenic models are immune to these invaders.

Decide which features sound good to you and you’ll be ready to select a mattress type.

Choosing a Mattress Type

There are a number of different mattress types, and all of them have different features. Choosing a high-quality mattress type is not so much about finding the best mattress but more about finding a type that has the features you need.

Let’s take a look at the most common mattress types.

  • Air Mattresses: Easy and portable, but let’s be real—you don’t want an air mattress for a bed.  
     
  • Futons: Popular adjustable beds, futons are convenient but not responsive, bouncy, or supportive to a healthy spine. Sleeping on a futon is basically like sleeping on a couch.  
     
  • Waterbeds: All the rage in the 80s, waterbeds are still around today. They’re not great for motion transfer (and may cause mild seasickness), but modern models feature more layers and better comfort.  
     
  • Innerspring: These old-school mattresses sit on a box spring and feature coils (springs) that are all connected, meaning the heaviest part of your body (or the heaviest bed occupant) pulls everything else in. Not super comfortable.  
     
  • Pocket Coils: Updated innerspring technology, pocket coil mattresses feature individually wrapped coils that are more supportive. These mattresses are high in bounce and responsiveness. They are also quite breathable. Features sometimes depend on the coil count.  
     
  • Memory Foam: Memory foam mattresses are dense and heavy. They are good at contouring to the shape of your body and have low motion transfer. They are also naturally hypoallergenic. Some negatives include a foul off-gassing smell, low bounce and responsiveness, and poor breathability. Hot sleepers beware, as these mattresses sleep hot.  
     
  • Gel-Infused Memory Foam: Cooling gel memory foam is added to the classic memory foam mix to improve breathability. It is definitely cooler than classic memory foam but is still not as cool as other mattress types.  
  • Latex: Latex is a natural foam option. Foam latex is a bit more breathable than memory foam, though it’s quite expensive. Latex mattresses are a good option for those who want more responsiveness and bounce than memory foam. Latex has more motion transfer and may lack some of the support of other mattresses.  
     
  • Pillow-Top: Pillow-top mattresses are a combo of innersprings and a soft, cushioned top layer for extra comfort. A plush mattress like this provides a good balance of firm support and soft comfort.  
     
  • Purple Grid™: The Purple® Mattress is in a class of its own, as it features an elastic polymer comfort layer called the Purple Grid™. This grid is ultra-supportive and super breathable. It also manages to have a great bounce and low motion transfer, which is rare. It’s quite responsive and contours to the curves of the body for perfect spinal alignment. Multiple thickness options are available to accommodate sleepers who need a specific level of firmness and support.  
     
  • Hybrid: The best mattresses for those who like to mix and match, hybrid mattresses combine innersprings with a comfort layer of foam or the Purple Grid™. These mattresses are more luxurious options that offer an ideal balance of all the features we covered, though they are quite heavy and can be expensive. The Purple® Hybrid and Purple® Hybrid Premier fall into this category with their responsive pocketed coil technology.

Select a Mattress Size

mattress size chart

You don’t want your feet hanging off the edge of the bed, but you also don’t want your mattress to take up 90% of your floor space. Getting an XL mattress may seem luxurious, but it’s better to find the right dimensions for the size of your body and bedroom. The following mattress sizes are standard to almost all mattresses on sale today and correspond to similarly named bed frame sizes.

  • Crib (28” x 52”): For the babes.  
     
  • Toddler (28” x 52”): The same size as a crib mattress but made for a toddler-size bed. Definitely for big kids.  
     
  • Twin (38” x 75”): The smallest standard-size mattress, the twin fits a small space comfortably and is ideal for petite sleepers and children.  
     
  • Twin XL (38” x 80”): A bit longer than the standard twin, this bed is for taller people with limited space. A good dorm room option.  
     
  • Full/ Double (54” x 75”): This traditional mattress provides ample space for a single sleeper to stretch out and rest. A double bed also works for two sleepers who aren’t very big or who have limited space.  
     
  • Queen (60” x 80”): The most popular mattress for couples, the queen mattress is spacious and affordable.  
     
  • King (76” x 80”): True luxury, the king is a full 16” wider than the queen-size mattress, providing more than enough space for two large sleepers, a few kids, and the dog.  
     
  • California King (72” x 84”): The California king mattress is for the tallest sleepers, providing more length than the standard king in exchange for less width.

Purple mattresses are available in all the most popular bed sizes, making shopping easy online or at the store.

Check the Return Policy and Warranty

At this point, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of which mattress you want to buy. But before going all-in, you need to do a little sleuthing to make sure the mattress you’ve chosen isn’t up to no good.

By checking the return policy and warranty, you can tell if a company stands by its products or if it’s just trying to offload something cheap that won’t last.

Top mattresses should come with a lengthy warranty. A 7-year warranty may be good, but a 10-year warranty is great. You should also be able to return the mattress without a hassle if there is some defect. If a company makes you jump through hoops to initiate a return, they’re probably going to make you jump through even more to get your money back.

Give It a Try

woman trying out mattress

The only real way to know if you love a mattress is to give it a test drive. But getting to know a mattress personally takes more than a few minutes of horizontal time at a mattress store.

If you’re used to sleeping on a different type of mattress, it may take some time for your body to readjust. To know if a mattress is truly the one for you, you need to try it out for at least 30 days.

For this reason, we recommend buying a mattress that includes a risk-free sleep trial of at least 90 days. This provides enough time to get used to the mattress (30 days), experience the benefits of the mattress (30 more days), and to have plenty of time to make a decision (a final 30 days). You should never feel pressured to make a purchase as important as this.

Purple mattresses all feature a 100-day risk-free sleep trial, allowing customers plenty of time to make an informed decision. And unlike other online mattress companies, Purple is also featured at mattress stores around the country, so you can feel the Purple Grid™ for yourself even before taking 100 days to sleep on it.

When Should I Buy a New Mattress?

How often should you replace a mattress? And how long does a mattress last, anyway? This depends largely on the type of mattress, but it also depends on the way a mattress is treated during its life.

Let’s start with the average lifespan of a mattress:

  • Air: 5-10 years
  • Futon: 10+ years
  • Waterbed: 10-20 years
  • Innerspring: 10 years
  • Memory Foam: 8-10 years
  • Latex: Varies
  • Standard Hybrid Mattress: 7-10 years
  • Purple: 10-20 years

The way you treat your mattress can also dramatically increase or decrease its lifespan. Adding a mattress cover, mattress protector, or mattress topper can prevent your mattress from degrading over time. For cheaper mattresses, flipping or rotating your mattress might help avoid pressure being applied to the same spot every night, decreasing the chance of sagging.

Some signs that it’s time to buy a new mattress include the following:

  • Your mattress is discolored: This could be a sign of moisture damage or mold.  
     
  • Your mattress has an odor: Lots of things can grow inside an old mattress. Years of sweat, dead skin, and grime can create a breeding ground for… well, you don’t want to know.  
     
  • Your mattress is torn: A torn mattress is less taught and supportive. It also allows easy access for mites and allergens.  
     
  • Visible sagging or buckling has occurred: Once your mattress lacks uniform support from edge to edge, it will no longer promote healthy posture and spinal alignment, leading to poor sleep, snoring, and pain.  
     
  • You experience aches and pains: This is a sign that you are not getting proper support from your mattress. It’s time to upgrade.  
     
  • You suffer from poor sleep: If can’t figure out why you are always tired, it could be your mattress’ fault. Even if you sleep through the night, poor support could be aggravating your heart, airways, joints, and more. This prevents your body from experiencing fulfilling sleep.  
     
  • Mattress sales are on! Labor Day, President’s Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. Choose your timing wisely and grab a great mattress for a steal.
chart showing when to buy a mattress and mattress lifespan

A study by the University of Oklahoma showed that about 65% of people experienced improved sleep quality simply by getting new mattresses. What are you waiting for?

What is the Best Mattress?

Choosing the best mattress is about finding a mattress type that has the right features for your body and sleeping position. But as far as features, support, and affordability go, Purple is as good as it gets. This is because Purple mattresses feature a unique elastic polymer comfort layer called the Purple Grid™. It is made from all-natural elastic, and it perfectly form-fits to the contours of the body while keeping thousands of air channels open to diffuse heat.

The Purple Grid™ was designed to achieve a perfect balance of all the best mattress features. It’s breathable without sacrificing support, it’s responsive and has good bounce without increasing motion transfer, and it’s highly durable without being overly heavy or pricy. Purple mattresses even come in a variety of firmness and thickness options to suit any sleeper.

For luxury sleep at a budget price, the original Purple® Mattress is a high-density poly foam mattress topped with the Purple Grid™ and a SoftFlex moisture-wicking cover. For the best in support and a truly pampered slumber, the Purple® Hybrid mattress and Hybrid® Premier feature pocketed coils topped with a cushy Purple Grid™ for a great night’s sleep.

Is it Better to Buy a Mattress Online?

When thinking of how to buy a mattress, your first thought might be to go to a mattress store. But when it comes to price, service, and variety, you may have a better experience shopping online.

Buying a mattress online is ultra-convenient and much more affordable than buying a mattress from a store. This is because mattress retailers are middlemen in a long line of middlemen in the mattress industry. When you buy a mattress online, you’re buying directly from the source and bypassing all the price hikes.

Service online is also highly dependable, as you don’t have to worry about salespeople trying to sell you the most expensive bed in the showroom. When you buy online, service representatives want to prevent a poor online review or a returned product, so they try to find the best bed for you. Besides, it’s always helpful to have thousands of trusted reviews from other customers to act as your mattress buying guide.

When it comes to face-to-face interaction and testing out different mattresses, the store may have online shopping beat. But we still think online shopping is the way to go for trust, savings, and convenience.

Is Purple the best online mattress? We might be biased, but hear us out.

When you buy a Purple mattress online, it ships to your house for free. Then, you have 100 days to try it out risk-free (better than a 3-minute test at the mattress store!). If you aren’t satisfied, Purple will cover the cost of a return without penalty. That’s something you won’t find at most mattress stores.

Want to see the Purple mattress in person before starting your 100-day risk-free trial? Lucky for you, Purple is also on display at a mattress store near you, and mattress financing is available for all models.

Less Shopping, More Sleeping

You spend more time on your mattress than you do in your car, with your friends, or on social media (hopefully). While buying a new mattress deserves a little time and attention, it shouldn’t be something you lose sleep over.

Start by reading some reviews (or a helpful mattress buying guide like this one) and setting a budget. Then, get down and dirty with the details on firmness and features. Finally, you’ll be ready to choose a mattress type and try one out for yourself with a sleep-trial from a trusted mattress brand.

Speaking of trusted mattress brands, did you know that Purple is one of the top-rated mattresses on the market? It also features a no-questions-asked return policy, a 10-year warranty, and a 100-day risk-free sleep trial so you can rest easy.

Thanks to the revolutionary Purple™ Grid, a cushy, bouncy, ultra-breathable comfort layer found ONLY in Purple mattresses, sleepers are experiencing more fulfilling sleep at night and feeling refreshed and pain-free in the morning.

If you’re on the hunt for the most comfortable mattress, why not try a Purple today? The only thing you’ll risk is falling in love.