5 mattress buying mistakes you will never want to make


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It’s easy to go wrong when buying a bed. I should know – I did a big one recently. Our new mattress felt good in the store, but at home my wife and I slept badly from the start. Worse still, after a few days I woke up with sore hips and shoulders too.

“It can take me a week or two to get used to a new bed,” the clerk told me on the phone, but I knew we wouldn’t. Our exciting new bed quickly turned into an expensive nightmare.

“Buying a mattress can definitely be a difficult and confusing experience,” says CHOICE mattress expert Peter Zaluzny. “There is a huge variety of products, price points, materials, and features that can really turn your head. Given the importance of good sleep to your health, it’s a decision you really want to get right. “

With so many brands and types of beds out there, Peter says it’s easy to go wrong, as evidenced by my sad story of sleepless nights. So that you don’t experience similar mattress problems, here are the most common mistakes to avoid, as well as Peter’s expert tips to help you find the best mattress for your body and budget.

1. Not testing a mattress properly in the store

In retrospect, we screwed that up badly. I remember the saleswoman telling us, “Some people spend hours here testing mattresses,” but that sounded weird and uncomfortable to us. In retrospect, we should have done the same.

Instead, we made all sorts of mistakes. I lay on my back (when I was always sleeping on my side) while my wife and I tried different mattresses in the workshop, mostly separately (instead of next to each other).

The mattress we chose was soft and luxurious and we felt like we were in a posh hotel for the ten minutes we tried. But on our first night we found it too soft and both of them curled up in the middle which made it hot and uncomfortable.

“It’s really important to take your time and really test a mattress properly,” warns Peter. “Most people sleep seven to nine hours a night, so a few minutes in a store won’t even begin to repeat that experience. Since mattresses are designed to last around eight years, lie down for as long as you need to . “

He says it’s also important to mimic exactly how you sleep at home. Lie down as usual, turn around and see how easy it is for you to get in and out of bed (especially if you have limited mobility). Ask your partner to do the same next to you and see how much the mattress moves. Also check whether the slatted frame is similar to your home (e.g. ensemble, slatted frame) as this can affect the feeling.

If this all feels silly when the seller is around, ask them to walk a little so you can really relax. And finally, Peter says, never shop when you’re tired.

“All mattresses feel good when you’re tired, so don’t try them after a long day on your feet!”

Tips for buying mattresses

  1. Take your time and mirror how you would sleep at home
  2. Move around to assess stability
  3. Lie down next to your partner
  4. Check if the bed frame is similar to your own
  5. Ask how old the display model is
  6. Lift the mattress to see how heavy it is

2. Suppose more expensive is always better

The more you pay, the better the bed, right? Not so, says Peter, who is quick to point out that spending more money is never an automatic guarantee of better sleep.

“Our mattress tests regularly refute the adage ‘You get what you pay for’,” explains Peter. “In fact, some of the most expensive mattresses we tested – those that cost three to four grand – rated the lowest for comfort and sag, which is really alarming.”

The good news is that CHOICE testers also found much cheaper models that did well on our top tests, meaning you can get a better bed for a lot less.


Top tip: lift the mattress to see how heavy it is. Some mattresses are quite heavy, which can make it difficult to move, turn and rotate.

3. Don’t check the return policy

Fortunately, in my case, I was able to swap our mattress for a firmer one (although we had to wait two weeks and pay a processing fee as well). But be careful – different companies have different rules, so it’s important to check first, or you risk getting stuck with a bed you don’t want.

“It’s really important to understand a retailer’s return policy before you buy,” says Peter. “What are the refunds and exchanges? Are there waiting times or additional fees? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you close a deal.”

The same applies to shopping at online bed-in-a-box retailers. Instead of a showroom, most offer a “risk-free” trial period (which ranges from 30 to 120 days) and a refund if you’re not satisfied. Some, like Sleeping Duck, will also send you extra layers of removable foam to adjust firmness during your test.

It’s really important to understand a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase

“The trial periods can be quite generous, but there are a few important questions to clarify before you buy,” warns Peter. “Can you return it at any time or do you have to wait a certain period of time? Does the return of the mattress have to be paid for? Most companies collect it for free, but some do not, especially if you live in a regional area yourself.”

4. Pay full price

Let’s face it – asking for a discount on every purchase can feel uncomfortable and nerve-wracking, but Peter says it’s definitely worth it when it comes to mattresses.

“CHOICE has been buying mattresses for our tests for years and we have found that many retailers have a lot of leeway in terms of price,” he explains. “Sales are also quite frequent, so there really is no reason to pay the suggested retail price for a mattress.”

“If you’re confident and you’ve done your research, you can usually save a decent amount off the price tag by haggling. Just ask what is best for you to do. and start there. “

There is really no reason to pay the suggested retail price for a mattress. Many dealers have price leeway, so be sure to ask

Of course, negotiating in business is much easier than on the internet. Online retailers tend to have more fixed prices and a limited selection of mattresses, making discounts more difficult to negotiate. They do have sales on occasion, however, so keep your eyes peeled.

How to get the best bed deal in the business

  1. Shopping while on sale
  2. Go to stores with a larger assortment
  3. Haggle, haggle, haggle
  4. Buy in bulk if you need more than one
  5. Address the retailers’ own brands

5. Ignore brands you don’t know

When you are spending a lot of money on a mattress, it is tempting to play it safe and stick with the brands you know. But with more mattress manufacturers out there than ever before, Peter says, it’s worth staying open and exploring all of your options – especially given some of the test results CHOICE saw recently.

“In the past few years we’ve seen an influx of new bed-in-a-box products as well as recently launched private label retailers,” he explains.

“In our recent reviews, some of these lesser-known products rated very well and even outperformed brands that have been around for ages and advertised a lot. Many of them also cost less, which is great for buyers.”

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