Best Time to Buy a Mattress
Finding the Right Time to Buy
A new mattress should be comfortable and restful. Unfortunately, shopping for a mattress can be anything but relaxing. Information is key to getting the best deal, and one essential thing to know is the best time to buy a mattress. Mattress prices vary widely during the year, so if you have leeway on when you must purchase a bed, you may pay less by waiting.
Even if you can afford to spend several thousand dollars on a bed, why pay more than you must? Paying full price is a rookie mistake. This guide will tell you the best time to buy your mattress and provides info on average costs, pros and cons of buying in-store versus online, where to find deep discounts, and when and how to negotiate to get a better deal than sticker price.
Average Cost of a Mattress
To know whether a mattress price is reasonable, you must understand the construction of the bed you’re buying. There are four types of beds available in mattress stores and online. These include foam, latex, innerspring, and hybrid (a blend of these materials). Some materials are costlier than others and knowing what’s inside the bed informs your purchase decision.
Foam beds are either polyurethane foam, memory foam, or a blend of the two. Foam is a synthetic material made by a chemical process. Polyfoam can be regular, high density (HD), or high resiliency (HR). Beds made only of regular foam are low quality.
Look for HR or HD foam. Memory foam is denser and more durable than other foam. The average cost for a quality queen size foam bed is around $850 and about $1,000 for memory foam. You can find a cheaper bed, but it might not last as long or be as comfortable as you want.
Latex can be natural, synthetic, or a blend of the two. Natural latex is costlier than synthetic, and latex is the most expensive mattress material. Natural latex is made from rubber tree sap and is a superior material. Synthetic latex is made of chemicals and designed to feel like natural latex.
The higher the density of the latex, the more durable the mattress. A queen natural latex mattress averages around $2,000 and a synthetic latex mattress will be a little less. Lower quality latex averages closer to $1,500. These will always be the costliest of the four types of beds.
Innerspring mattresses are the oldest type of bed and are made of coils of wire attached to one another. There are four types of coils: Bonnell, offset, continuous, and pocket. Bonnell is the cheapest and pocket coils the costliest. Coils offer support and foam comfort layers go on top to cushion you.
The quality of these beds depends on the number of coils, thickness of wire, angle of coils, and how they’re attached to each other plus the grade of the foam on top. Cheaper innerspring beds are usually less durable, so be careful. A queen averages around $900.
Hybrid beds are made with an innerspring support layer topped with polyfoam, memory foam, or latex as the comfort layer that cushions your body. Look for high-quality individual components to be sure the hybrid bed is an overall good deal that will provide good sleep.
Because they offer the benefits of all materials, hybrid beds are costlier but run less than latex mattresses. A queen hybrid averages roughly $1,600 but can be much costlier depending on the quality of components in the hybrid design.
Buying Online vs. In-Store
The best time to buy a mattress depends on whether you plan to shop online or at a mattress shop or department store. Years ago, your only choice when buying a bed was to head to a store, but now you can get a high-quality mattress direct from a manufacturer online, delivered right to your door, and with a better refund policy and guarantee than most stores offer.
Here’s a snapshot of the pros and cons of buying online versus in-store and below are some details about the differences to help you decide where to shop. Once you know where it’s easier to decide when.
|Where to Buy:||In-Store||Online|
|Pros:||Able to lie down and try the mattress
Test multiple beds at one location
Go store to store to compare
Many locations nearby
|Get a better value
See a wider selection
Enjoy free delivery
Read lots of reviews
Shop anytime, day or night
Can’t lie down on bed for long
Selection is limited
Industry jargon is confusing
High delivery charge
|Can’t test the bed
Delivery is the only option
Must chat via website
Need to learn before you buy
Selection may be overwhelming
Buying in a store
It might seem easier to go into a mattress shop, lie on a bed, pay and go, but there’s more to it than that. First, mattress store and department store prices are higher because they have lots of overhead expenses. Have you noticed you’ll sometimes see several mattress chain stores within just a few miles of each other? Building and staffing brick and mortar stores is costly, and that’s why they charge higher prices.
You can go store to store to compare beds, but manufacturers (Sealy, Serta, etc.) give the identical bed a different model name at different stores. That means you can’t easily compare prices on the same product because it’s deliberately confusing. Further complicating shopping in-store is that although you can ask questions, you might not get straight answers, or the salesperson might not be knowledgeable.
A study by nonprofit health science firm RTI found that customers that shop in a showroom buy the best bed for them just 38% of the time. The study authors found that “standard showroom testing does not lead individuals to select the bed that will provide their best sleep.” Knowing how you sleep (hot vs. cold, side vs. back, etc.) and using that criteria may give better results than lying on a bed in a store.
A decade ago, it was hard to imagine shopping online for most of our needs as we now do. Mattress buying on the web is just as simple. While you can’t lie down on the bed to test it, you can narrow your selection by understanding your needs, reading reviews, and chatting online with customer service. Plus, the study mentioned above demonstrates that showroom testing may not work out for you.
Because there is much less overhead compared to mattress stores, the markup is not as high, so you can get a much better bed for the money. Most manufacturers offer a lengthy sleep night trial (100-365 days, on average) so you can test the bed and, if you don’t like it, they’ll come get it, usually at no cost. The warranty is typically the same whether you buy online versus in-store.
To get the best mattress for you when buying online, you need to know about materials (foam, latex, innerspring, memory foam, hybrid), understand your sleep style and preferences, and shop from an educated perspective. Even if you decide to buy in-store, with this information, you’ll make a much better choice and won’t be confused by industry jargon and sales tactics common in showrooms.
When to Buy a Mattress Online?
There are many benefits to buying a mattress online starting with convenience. Most of us are accustomed to shopping online day or night for everything. You can do the same when looking for a mattress. Online, you can read reviews of best mattresses by type, get detailed information on every component of the bed, and see photos of the innards of a mattress to know exactly what you’re buying.
In addition to a wealth of information, you can get a better-quality bed for the money because the manufacturer doesn’t finance stores, pay salesperson bonuses, or have a ton of overhead. That translates to lower prices and you’ll typically pay 20-50% less online versus in-store. On top of this automatic savings, you can get an even better price if you shop at the best time to buy a bed.
Mattress prices online are more consistent than showrooms year-round, but they do run sales on key days, and if you are flexible on when you buy, you can often get a lower price. Here’s a look at when is the best time to buy a mattress online:
- Black Friday – Just as physical retailers go all out with sales the day after Thanksgiving, many online mattress makers often drop prices on Black Friday or offer incentives such as free upgrades or bonus items like pillows.
- Cyber Monday – The Monday after Thanksgiving is a big day for online retailers and mattress firms may offer deals on this key shopping day as well. Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals may stretch all week long to give you more time to buy.
- Amazon Prime Day – You must be a Prime member to enjoy the deals, but you can get a free trial if you’re not already enrolled. These members-only deals can be great but buying from Amazon versus direct from the maker may affect your warranty and sleep trial.
- Labor Day – The first Monday in September is a big sales period for mattress showrooms. To compete more effectively, online mattress sellers often run a sale the same day. In fact, this holiday usually offers the lowest prices you’ll find all year.
What if you must buy right now?
Sometimes you need a new bed ASAP. Some situations where you can’t wait to buy include:
- Your existing mattress breaks or falls apart.
- You are moving and want to start fresh with a new bed.
- You have a guest coming but no bed for them.
- You’re moving in with a partner and need a bigger bed.
- You have a health condition that demands a new bed now.
Alternately, you might just want your new mattress now and don’t want to wait for the best time to buy. No matter the reason, if you decide to buy without regard to online sales windows, you can still get a better deal if you look for referral deals, promos, and coupons.
- Referrals – If you know someone that recently bought a bed online, they may have been sent a referral coupon to get a dollar amount or percent off by encouraging friends and family to transact with the same manufacturer.
- Coupons and codes – Some online mattress brands publish coupons and promo codes to get dollars or a percent off the standard bed price, but these can be hit and miss.
When to Buy a Mattress In a Store?
If you prefer to buy a mattress in a showroom, there are specific times of year that you can get a lower price. It’s important to know why mattress stores can afford to run sales all year long. The fact that they can sell at up to 50% off during a given sale tells you that their markups are enormous. That’s something to bear in mind when deciding to buy online versus in-store.
Before you head into a showroom, arm yourself with information about what you want ahead of time. Understand what type of mattress is better if you sleep on your side, back, or stomach. Learn about the density and quality of foams, so you don’t get bamboozled. Salespeople may push you towards a bed they need to get out of the showroom rather than one that’s best for you.
When you’re ready to go lie down on some beds and comparison shop, bear in mind that there are key sales days during the year. If you can wait a few weeks or a month, you’ll get a better deal. Here are some of the best times to buy a mattress in-store:
Month of May
Just as new car dealers clear out last year’s vehicles before the new model year begins, mattress showrooms do the same. New products come out each year in June, so stores try and pare down their stock in May to make room and will slash prices.
There are eight recurring sales where you can get a better deal on a bed in-store. These roll around like clockwork but will vary in how deeply they discount products. Here’s a look at the holiday sales in order by date:
- President’s Day – (Third Monday in February) President’s Day began as a sales day because it’s a three-day weekend and husbands and wives could shop together.
- Memorial Day – (Last Monday in May) With new models coming into their stores in June, mattress shops and department stores slash prices on this holiday to make room.
- Independence Day – (July 4th) Most retailers from mattresses to malls offer big sales in the middle of the year to align with the national holiday and annual day off work.
- Labor Day – (First Monday in September) Historically, President’s Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day are huge sales days with Labor Day offering the biggest discounts.
- Columbus Day – (Second Monday in October) Although this isn’t a big party holiday, stores celebrate by lowering prices, but usually not as much as on other dates.
- Veterans Day – (November 11) Veterans Day sales once primarily targeted active-duty and retired military members, but now are open to everyone with money to spend.
- Black Friday/Cyber Week – (After Thanksgiving) The day and week after Thanksgiving are huge for retailers, but the best deals are often limited-quantity doorbusters.
- New Year’s Day – (January 1) Mattress showrooms and department stores often try and clear out excess inventory that didn’t sell over the holidays starting on New Year’s Day.
In addition to getting your mattress at one of these best times to buy, it’s worth knowing that January is the cheapest time to pick up sheets and bed accessories. Back in the late 1800s, when these sales began, all sheets were white, so they’re now known as white sales even though bedding now comes in every color imaginable.
Buying at a Close-Out Sale?
If you want to buy in-store but don’t have a lot to spend, clearance items and close-outs might be the answer for you. Going out of business sales, flawed returns, factory seconds, mismatched sets, and liquidators are all sources of cut-rate mattresses, but there are some drawbacks.
At mattress showrooms, there is usually an area at the back of the store with stuff piled up that ranges from deliveries gone bad where the ticking was ripped to returns from dissatisfied customers, to leftovers of items they no longer sell. These items may not come with a warranty and can’t be returned.
With going out of business sales and liquidators, sales are usually final. Because of this significant risk, you should be cautious, check reviews, and understand that you’ll have no recourse if the mattress isn’t what you want once you get it home. Caveat emptor!
Haggling on a Mattress Purchase
Some people are comfortable asking for a lower price while others get itchy at the idea of haggling. But when it comes to buying a mattress in-store, haggling is a must. Paying sticker price from a retailer is a fool’s game. Mattress markups in showrooms are enormous, and there’s lots of wiggle room.
You might be able to get the mattress for up to half off, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get the lower price you deserve. If you’re not accustomed to haggling or not comfortable bargaining with a salesperson, here are some tips to get a better price for the showroom bed you want:
#1 Show what you know
An informed consumer is a mattress salesperson’s nightmare. They rely on customers’ lack of knowledge to push the product they want to move at the price they want you to pay. By doing your homework, you’ll be able to use technical terms and let them know you understand latex versus foam, average prices, and tricks of their trade. This lets them know you can’t be hoodwinked.
#2 Offer a specific price
Research on haggling by TIME’s science division found that offering a specific dollar amount that’s not a round number with a reason why you’re offering it can compel the other person to accept your offer. So, if the sticker price on a bed is $2,000, you can offer $1,457 and tell them you found a comparable mattress at another store for that price or online.
#3 Don’t stop at one exchange
Haggling should be a back and forth negotiation. If the salesperson turns down your first offer, ask them what’s the best price they can offer. See what they offer, then come back at them with a price point lower than that, but higher than your initial suggestion. You can hammer away at them, chipping down to a gradually lower price until you hit their absolute best offer.
#4 Ask for free stuff
If the salesperson isn’t moving as much as you want on the sales price, try the tactic of getting them to throw in upgrades and extra items. Mattress showrooms also sell foundations, accessories, pillows, and more. Ask them to give you the foundation for free or to include a couple of costly premium pillows with the mattress to seal the deal and save you money overall.
#5 Be prepared to walk away
Abandoning the negotiation is always an option because mattresses are not a scarce product no matter what the salesperson says. The world is full of mattress stores, products, and online retailers. Be prepared to walk out if you don’t give you the price you want. This tactic might get the salesperson to change their tune to save the sale. If not, go somewhere else and look for a better deal.
When to haggle? Always!
If you’re unsure when to try and negotiate a mattress price, the answer is always. You should never pay the sticker price for a bed. Even if you’re looking at the clearance section at the back of the store, at a mattress liquidator, or close-out sale, you should always ask for a further discount. Stores are often more motivated to haggle on clearance and close-outs just to get rid of them.
Remember the best time to buy a mattress varies depends on whether you’re shopping online or in-store, but there is some overlap on sales (Labor Day, Black Friday, etc.). When you’re ready to buy a mattress, remember that education is key. As an informed consumer, you’ll get a better mattress for the price.
Please browse these resources before you shop for your next bed, so you’ll have the information you need to find the best mattress for you:
- Comprehensive guide to buying a mattress
- How to choose an innerspring mattress
- How to choose a memory foam mattress
- How to choose a latex mattress
- How to choose a hybrid mattress