Mattresses - Buying tips
Science vs shopping sense
The secret to buying mattresses is to avoid being blinded with science. Mattresses at the top end of the market are usually marketed as being the ultra-scientific answer to all your aches and pains. They have mysterious, but essential-sounding features such as "lumbar cradles" and "mega-edge support", and they all compete to have the largest coil count.
It's easy to get carried away by the hype and start thinking that all these whistles and bells are essential to your health and happiness. That's the mindset that stops people taking advantage of good deals on discount mattresses; they worry that buying a no-frills mattress will lead to a poor night's sleep, or even back pain.
This belief is almost always false; if you have no existing back problems, it's unlikely that you need an expensive specialist mattress. As a general rule, if you don't understand the scientific principles behind a mattress's design - and the salesperson in the store can't explain in a way you understand - then it's probably not necessary that you pay extra for this special design.
Where to find discount mattresses
The Internet is the best place to start shopping around for discount mattresses. You can easily compare the deals from different manufacturers without moving from your home. You should also visit your local furnishing stores and look out for sales. The sale price of a mattress in a store isn't always the lowest price you can get for it, so always check the Internet to see if it's possible to get a lower price, either directly from the manufacturer or from a discount site. One good trick is to approach the manager of your local furnishing store and offer to buy the display mattress. They can't sell this at the regular price, as it is considered shop-soiled, so they may be willing to offer you a good price.
Costs of discount mattresses
The discount price you pay for a mattress depends on a variety of factors: the brand, the quality and your luck. Well-known brands of mattress normally cost between a few hundred dollars and a couple of thousand dollars. If you shop around for bargains, you might be able to find such brand mattresses for less than half the price. Mattresses from less well-known retailers are cheaper, and you might be able to find one for less than $100. The discount price is usually in proportion to the recommended retail price for the mattress, so, for example, don’t expect to buy a genuine foam memory mattress for less than $700. If you're shopping online, remember to factor in the costs of shipping - is it free as part of the deal, or do you have to pay extra?
Other tips for buying discount mattresses:
Never buy a second-hand mattress. You don't get a manufacturer's guarantee, you can't be sure it's hygienic and many older mattresses aren't fire-retardant. They're not even much cheaper than discounted new mattresses.
Always check that the mattress is fire-retardant. State law varies about mattress fireproofing, so you will need to check for yourself.
Don't pay extra for features such as attractive ticking - decorative details are a waste of money when you're going to throw a sheet over the mattress anyway.
Always make sure there's a returns policy that allows you to get your money back if the mattress doesn't work for you. Returns policies usually let you bring the mattress back within either 30 or 60 days.