As a professional mattress reviewer, friends and family often ask me for expert advice when they come to buying a new bed. They'll often ask me what the best mattress is, but I'll counter with several questions of my own – for instance, 'What's your sleep style?' and 'Which sleep concerns are you looking to remedy with a new mattress?'
That's because the right mattress for one person will be very different to what is right for the next person. Thoroughly testing a wide spectrum of mattress brands and types over the last several years has given me and other Tom's Guide mattress testers a deep understanding of how personal preferences can (and should) influence a new bed purchase.
With the Presidents' Day mattress sales in full swing, now is a great time to score a bargain ... but only if you know what to look for. And although substantial risk-free trial periods have become standard among bed-in-a-box brands, you'll still want to do your homework to make a great choice from the start.
So before you browse this year's Presidents' Day sales, here are seven things to look for when purchasing a new mattress. Plus, I've highlighted three great mattresses to look out for in the sales because they're comfy, great value, and suit all sleepers. Here they are...
Top 3 mattresses to buy in the Presidents' Day sales
1. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress: from
$798 $499 at Nectar
Save up to $499 - The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress provides ample comfort and pressure relief for all types of sleepers at prices well below mid-range rivals Purple and Casper. Right now you can save $100 on the mattress and get $399 of free bedding. As we note in our Nectar Memory Foam Mattress review, this one suits every type of sleeper.
2. Tuft & Needle Original Mattress: from
$645 $516 at T&N
Save up to $219 - In our Tuft & Needle Original Mattress review, we called it 'a basic memory foam mattress with an attractive price tag.' The price looks even more appealing now as T&N knocks 20% off its Original Mattress. Buy it in a queen for $716 (was $895). No matter how you sleep, you'll enjoy a soft, plushy feel with great pressure relief. It's also an excellent choice for a kids bed or a guest bedroom.
3. Awara Natural Luxury Hybrid mattress: from
$1,398 $899 at Awara
Save up to $699 - This premium hybrid features in our best organic mattress guide and is made with natural latex, New Zealand wool and organic cotton. A twin size Awara now costs $899 (was $1,398) and includes $299 in gifts, while a queen is $1,199 (was $1,898) and comes with $499 of gifts. You'll also get a 365-night trial and a Forever Warranty.
Expert tips for Presidents' Day mattress shopping
Tip 1. Consider your sleep style
Understanding your typical resting position is key to determining the level of firmness you'll need to for optimum pressure relief, proper alignment, and overall comfort. Here's what to consider according to the three most common sleep styles...
- Side sleepers want to keep their shoulders, hips, and knees aligned, so a medium or medium-soft mattress will contour to those areas. Anything too plush will compress the spine, and a firmer bed will place too much pressure on the hips and shoulders.
- Back sleepers should seek a medium-firm mattress to maintain neutral spinal alignment while supporting the hips and shoulders. A soft bed will cause the spine to dip into a 'U' shape; a firm mattress won't contour to the spine's natural 'S' shape.
- Stomach sleepers fare best with a medium-firm mattress that'll lift the hips so they're in alignment with the spine. A plush mattress will cause the hips to dip too low, and anything too firm will hinder the spine's natural curve.
Combination sleepers who tend to change positions throughout the night should choose a mattress that suits your dominant sleep style. If you don't have one, a medium-firm mattress will be your best bet for all-over support.
Tip 2. Factor in your body type
A heavier sleeper with a broad build will benefit from something different than a lighter, more petite individual. Here's a brief rundown of what to look for in the current mattress sales accordance to body type and weight...
- Sleepers under 130lbs are well-suited to a softer mattress. Anything too firm will limit pressure relief since there will be minimal contouring of key pressure points.
- Sleepers between 130lbs and 230lbs will be fine with a medium-firm mattress that'll provide the ideal amount of pressure relief without an uncomfortable sinking feeling.
- Sleepers above 230lbs can seek a firmer mattress that'll lend adequate support for the back, shoulders, and hips. A soft or medium-firm mattress will give way too much.
Mattresses can typically withstand as much as 500lbs of body weight; of course, that varies by brand and model so check the specs carefully before buying. There are mattresses specifically made with larger sleepers in mind, such as the Avocado Green Mattress, (from $1,099) which supports up to 700lbs.
Tip 3. Look for pressure relief
Pressure relief ties into the previous two points, but it's a crucial feature to consider because it can dramatically impact the quality of your sleep and your overall health.
Your mattress should sufficiently relive pressure from your shoulders, hips, and back. Improper support in those areas can result in restlessness, soreness, and even loss of circulation. Once again, your sleep style and build will greatly influence which type of mattress will provide the ideal level of pressure relief.
Tip 4. Prioritize temperature regulation
Are you prone to waking up in a sweat, regardless of the season? If temperature regulation is a concern for you, a cooling mattress will be your saving grace.
This specialty mattress is comprised of one or more layers made with gel-infused foam and/or proprietary cooling technology. The top cover is usually constructed of copper, cotton, or another breathable material. Combined, these elements work together to dissipate body heat, improve airflow, and wick away moisture.
Tip 5. Couples, remember motion isolation
If you share a bed with someone, you'll want a mattress with excellent motion isolation. The less movement that can be felt on either side of the mattress, the more likely you won't be disturbed when you partner tosses-and-turns or gets out of bed before you do.
Hybrid and memory foam mattresses are becoming as adept as innerspring mattresses at limiting the amount of movement. However, if you and your partner are worlds apart when it comes to sleeping habits, a split mattress is a solid compromise. They cost more, but they could transform your sleep.
Tip 6. Don't forget edge support
Edge support ensures you can sit on or sleep up to the very edge of your bed. A mattress with poor edge support will sag and create discomfort in your back and hips if you're sitting – or cause you to roll right out of bed when you're sleeping.
Edge support also maintains overall stability and support for your mattress by creating a solid structure around it so you're properly secured, no matter where you're laying. Full foam beds tend to be weak in this area, but innersprings and hybrids are more likely to provide above-average edge support.
Tip 7. Check the trial period and return policy
It takes roughly 21 days for your body to get used to a new mattress, so look for one with at least a 30-day risk free trial. The standard trial period among the best mattress in a box brands is 100 nights, but some companies, like Nectar, WinkBeds and DreamCloud, give sleepers a full year's trial – which is useful for knowing how a mattress fares across the seasons.
If you're not satisfied with your new mattress, you can return it for a full refund. In many cases, the company will come by and haul the mattress away and usually donate it to charity afterwards.
Read the terms and conditions of any return policy so you're not surprised by removal fees or necessary criteria (such as needing a waterproof fabric covering – our best mattress protectors guide can help there). Also, peruse shopper feedback regarding the quality of customer service so you'll have an idea of how seamless or cumbersome the return process may be.
You'll find plenty of other mattress accessories on sale this Presidents' Day too, including the best mattress toppers for instant comfort and support, plus bedding essentials including pillows, bed sheet bundles and comforters. So now is a great time to invest in better sleep.
Extra mattress sales to check out
- Nectar (Editor's Choice): $499 off + free $399 sleep bundle
- Allswell: 20% off sitewide via coupon "PREZ20"
- Bear: 25% off sitewide + $325 free gift w/ mattress purchase
- Cocoon by Sealy: 35% off Chill mattress + free sleep bundle
- DreamCloud: $200 off mattresses + $399 of free gifts
- Ghostbed: 30% off mattresses + 2 free pillows
- Helix: save up to $200 on mattresses + 2 free pillows
- Layla: up to $200 off select mattresses + extra $10 off via "FUTURE10OFF"
- Nolah: up to $700 off + 2 free pillows
- Purple: up to $700 off mattress bundles
- Saatva: $270 off $1,000 or more
- Tempur-Pedic: 30% off select mattresses + BOGO pillows
- Tuft & Needle: 20% off mattresses + 10% off bedding