Black Friday mattress shopping: 9 biggest dos and don’ts

A man in a blue shirt goes mattress shopping
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Buying a new bed is fun, and this time of year is a superb chance to bag one of the best mattresses for your sleep at a far cheaper price. That’s because the holiday shopping period brings with it an influx of Black Friday mattress deals, many of which have staggering discounts. But how do you choose from the hundreds of sales? Our expert tips will help.

Here we go through what to look for when navigating the holiday mattress sales to ensure you save as much as possible. From learning how to check if a price drop is genuine, to knowing when to walk away, we’re sharing our best tips, gleaned from years of Black Friday deals experience. These are our biggest do’s and don’ts… 

Black Friday mattress shopping: Do’s and don’ts

  • Do check the price history
  • Don’t buy without a mattress trial
  • Do shop around for bigger discounts
  • Don’t buy based on price alone
  • Do look for money off and free bedding
  • Don’t assume a bed-in-a-box is the inferior choice
  • Do know which mattress type you need
  • Don’t buy from a retailer with a fuzzy returns policy
  • Do check the warranty and what it covers

1. Do check the price history of the mattress

Mattress prices jump around all the time, so it isn’t uncommon to see a different price on a mattress today compared to what you saw last month. But based on past sales, Black Friday is one of the cheapest times of the year to buy, whether you’re after the best memory foam mattress or an affordable mattress in a box

When buying a mattress on Amazon, consider using a price history site like CamelCamelCamel to get an overview of whether the sale price is higher or lower than it was recently. 

You can also use our various guides, which contain price history for plenty of top sleep brands. These include:

2. Don’t buy a mattress that has zero trial period

Most online mattress manufacturers offer a trial period so that you can test the bed for yourself. If you decide it isn't for you, you’ll get a refund. This is a risk-free way to try out a mattress, especially if you aren't sure what you need. 

And this is important because it can take around 21 days for your body to adjust to a new bed. If a brand doesn’t offer a trial, it will be harder to return the mattress if you change your mind a couple of months into owning it.

The average mattress trial period is 100 nights, while the likes of Nectar and DreamCloud offer 365 night trials.

A person positions two white bed pillows on a bed

(Image credit: Getty)

3. Do shop around for the most helpful discounts

What do we mean by this? Sometimes, free bedding isn’t helpful - you have a cupboard full of pillows and sheets and don’t need any more. In that instance you’re better off picking a deal that gives you money off. 

In our experience, the best deals usually come directly from the brands, but on occasion third-party retailers will undercut them, so it pays to shop around before you commit to one site.

4. Don’t buy a mattress based on price alone

While it’s easy to be lured in by a bargain, it doesn’t always mean it’s the right choice for your sleep and could cause health issues down the line. For instance, does the mattress have the correct firmness for your body weight? Does it offer the pressure relief you need? Sometimes a cheap mattress is a false economy.

On the flipside, expensive mattresses aren’t automatically better just because they’re pricier. There are plenty of affordable options that punch well above their ticket price, so there’s no need to pay over the odds.

For a handcrafted luxury innerspring with a reasonable price tag, read our Saatva Classic mattress review. Do you sleep hot? The Nectar Premier Copper Mattress offers excellent cooling and a 365-night trial. Side sleepers on the lookout for a comfy yet affordable mattress , head to our Helix Midnight Mattress review.

5. Do look for brands that offer free gifts too

If you have difficulty deciding between two deals, take a look at what other perks each brand is offering. Usually, this includes free bedding such as pillows or bed sheets. Some brands offer free gifts with a mattress purchase, while others dish out free accessories and money off.

The reason why bed-in-a-box brands can do this is because they have no bricks and mortar stores, so they can charge less for their mattresses and give away free bedding too.

The Emma Original Mattress shown with a grey base and white top

(Image credit: Future)

6. Don’t assume beds-in-a-box are inferior

Boxed mattresses have come a long way and are the same quality that you’d find in an in-store only mattress. This is possible due to innovations in mattress materials and design, and with packaging too. 

In a nutshell, these types of mattress are compressed with a very heavy weight then rolled into reinforced plastic packaging before being placed in a box for shipping. All you have to do is then unpack the mattress and let it decompress (inflate). 

So you’re getting the same quality of bed but at a cheaper price because online companies don’t have the overheads of bricks and mortar stores. Even some of the best organic mattresses now come boxed for shipping, so it's getting easier to buy a large variety of high quality beds this way.

7. Do know which type of mattress you need

If you share a bed, then you might prefer a memory foam mattress as this type is less likely to cause motion transfer if one of you moves around a lot in bed. All-foam models are good for side sleepers too, as they have plenty of cushioning around the knees and hips. (For extra comfort, consider using a good mattress topper too).

You should also bear in mind your body weight, as lighter weights often need a softer mattress, while heavier bodies are better supported on a firmer surface. A good hybrid would be an excellent choice too, and these are usually more breathable than all-foam options.

If you do sleep hot, then one of the best cooling mattresses is in order. These use a range of materials such as cooling gel memory foam or graphite-infused foam to regulate temperature.

A corner of a white mattress on a white bed frame

(Image credit: Getty)

8. Don’t buy from a site with an unclear returns policy

When mattress shopping, we recommend checking the brand's returns policy before you. This will spell out any conditions of return, such as the state of the mattress and whether you have to sleep on it for at least 21 nights before returning it.

More brands are offering free returns as well as free delivery now, but some do charge a returns fee. If there is no clear returns policy on the site, or the terms are unreasonable, walk away and look elsewhere.

9. Do check the warranty and what it covers

A mattress warranty is set in place to cover you against manufacturing defects such as a certain amount of sagging, broken coils, and seams coming undone. 

A good warranty reflects the manufacturer’s faith in the quality of its beds. 10 years is average, while lifetime warranties (offered by brands such as Nectar Sleep, Avocado Green, and DreamCloud) are market-leading. Read our guide on how do mattress warranties work for more information.

How to care for your new mattress

Once you’ve bought your new bed, you can help it last longer (saving you money in the long-term) by taking care of it from the start. This includes regularly airing and cleaning it. But as we explain in our how to clean a mattress guide, read the manufacturer’s care instructions first as not all beds can be cleaned in the same way.

Another tip is to check how often you should rotate your mattress, as this will keep its surface even, prevent wear and tear, and be more comfortable to sleep on for years to come. 

To keep your mattress in better condition, use a mattress protector. This is essential during the trial period, as the mattress needs to be in good condition if you need to return it.

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Grace Franks

Grace is an experienced sleep writer and mattress reviewer who also contributes to our sister site TechRadar, among other Future plc brands. She's a big fan of organic sleep products and has recently invested in a wool mattress topper that she quite happily describes as "life-changing." (Hey, we're serious about our sleep products). When she isn't testing mattresses or writing about sleep, Grace enjoys reading and creative writing, and incorporates meditation and yoga into her wellness routine.