Buying a mattress online is so easy – find the best price, add to cart, and check out. But if you're too cavalier in your quest for the best mattress, you could wind up with a bed that's totally wrong for your preferences. I don't want to see that happen to you, so I'd like to offer my advice as a professional mattress tester and deal hunter who's been covering Black Friday sales for the last 15 years.
Below are my three golden rules for winning this year's Black Friday mattress deals. However, this is advice worth following at any time – especially since mattress sales take place all year round. If you're looking for more information on a specific model, we have a vast library of reviews for you to peruse.
Top 7 Black Friday mattress deals to shop now
- Helix Sleep: 25% off + free sleep bundle via "BF25"
- Saatva (exclusive): $400 off $1,000 or more via this link
- Emma: up to 58% off boxed mattresses
- Bear: 35% off + free bedding worth up to $400
- Nolah: 35% off sitewide + free bedding worth up to $259
- Sleep Number: up to 50% off adjustable smart beds
- Tempur-Pedic: up to $2,399 off last season cooling beds
#1: Don't buy without a decent trial period
Purchasing a mattress sight unseen may seem like a risky endeavor but to ease shoppers' minds, reputable sleep companies offer a trial period of at least 30 days, which is roughly the amount of time your body needs to acclimatize to a new sleep surface. The average mattress trial is 100 nights from the best mattress in a box brands, but some, like Nectar Sleep and Saatva, provide up to a full year for you to break it in before making a final decision.
Know that not every mattress trial is risk-free. In some cases, you may be on the hook for a return fee – and in other instances, your return may not be honored unless you offer proof that you donated your mattress to a local charity. Always read the fine print so you know what to expect.
Final sale and clearance items are often exempt from returns, which essentially means they don't come with a trial. You may be scoring a mattress at a dirt-cheap price going this route, but you'll still want to proceed with caution.
#2: Shop around to compare deals
Like any big-ticket item, it's smart to browse a variety of retailers to find the best mattress deal – which is easy to do online. Most brands behind the best hybrid mattresses and memory foam mattresses are available to purchase from at least one third-party store (typically Amazon), so you may be able to find a lower price or a bundle offer that's worth your while.
That said, I strongly advise buying directly from the brand when possible to ensure the best aftercare. Third parties usually offer lesser perks – for example, Nectar provides a one-year trial plus a lifetime warranty when you purchase directly from them, but buying a Nectar from Mattress Firm will only avail you of a 120-night trial and a 10-year warranty.
Keep in mind that a small number of mattress brands, especially luxury mattresses, aren't sold anywhere else. That includes Saatva and WinkBed, who make their beds to order and deliver them flat (as opposed to beds in a box).
#3: Put your sleep needs ahead of the discount
There's a common misconception that price is the most important thing to consider when buying a new mattress. You don't always have to splash out a disgusting amount of cash on a top-of-the-line mattress, nor do you have to skimp on something that'll be uncomfortable in the long term.
What you should always do is know what features are most important to you ahead of time, and narrow your search from there. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before buying a new mattress:
- Am I a side, back, or front sleeper – or a mix of each?
- Do I want to sink into my bed, or feel like I'm floating on it?
- How often do I overheat and kick the covers off at night?
- Do I sleep with a fidgety partner (or am I that partner)?
- What aches and pains keep me from sleeping peacefully?
- What is my ideal budget – and am I willing to stretch that?
Evaluating your sleep needs and preferences will prevent you from buying the wrong type of bed. Sure, you'll (hopefully) have a trial to back you up, but returning a mattress can be a hassle and you'll be back to square one.
Be honest in your assessment and you'll land something that'll send you straight to dreamland every night. If you don't get it right on the first try but only need a slight boost in comfort, seek a mattress topper deal. In most cases, it'll cost a lot less than returning your mattress and buying a new one outright – but it can dramatically alter the feel of your bed for the better.
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Freelance writer and editor Alison is an expert mattress tester for Tom's Guide, and hails from Philadelphia, USA. Alison has reviewed a wide range of mattresses, pillows and other sleep accessories for Tom's Guide, putting the latest hybrid, memory foam and cooling mattresses from Casper, Nectar, Awara, Brooklinen and other leading brands through their paces. Alison has been sharing buying advice and retail news for over a decade. When she isn't reviewing mattresses, other home products or hunting for great deals to save you money, Alison can be found teaching/training in martial arts, fawning over skincare, and indulging in her quarantine-borne hobby: cooking.