Mattress on the Cheap: Don’t Get Ripped Off

By Emily Alford

“How to Shop for a ” Series

A good mattress is definitely a smart investment, but buying one doesn’t have to bottom out your bank account. In fact, the average consumer paid just $286.29 for a mattress in 2013. But can you get a comfortable bed at that price? Absolutely, providing you know a few tricks for finding great deals.

Don’t Be Misled By Ads

According to Kendal Perez, savings expert at, if an ad for a mattress looks too good to be true, it probably is. “When advertisements claim the best prices of the year and highlight mattresses for $99, don’t buy it,” Perez says. “Prices discussed in advertisements are the starting prices for the lowest-grade mattresses you can buy, and you should avoid these at all costs.”

Also, pay attention to when these sales are happening. “Mattresses are often on sale during holiday weekends, but the best time to buy is during Memorial Day sales, followed by Labor Day sales, with a few sprinkled in during Black Friday,” says Perez.

Look for High-End Mattresses with Discount Names

As crazy as it sounds, Perez says that mattress manufacturers often make the same product at different price points depending on the retailer! This means that it’s possible to buy the exact same mattress at a lower price depending on where you shop.

“Mattress manufacturers offer different names of similar lines for each retailer,” Perez says. “This strategy makes it nearly impossible to comparison shop, and also makes it easier for sales people to tout product superiority, even if they’re comparing their mattress line to the exact same line at a different store. Research brand names of the mattresses you’re considering and read user reviews for honest feedback on comfort and support.”

Coil Counts Don’t Count (For Much)

If a mattress salesperson is going on and on about the high coil count in a mattress, he or she may be trying to talk up an inferior product. According to a report by Utah State University, it’s coil quality, not quantity that offers mattress support.

A good mattress has thick coils that make for a durable, supportive bed. So instead of asking how many coils a mattress has, ask about the quality of the wire. Good mattresses use at least a 13-gauge wire, and softer beds use higher gauges. And don’t be put off by thin coils; the higher the gauge, the thinner the wire.

Pay Attention to Warranties

Unfortunately, warranties can often be misleading, according to consumer savings and expert Andrea Woroch. “While most mattress warranties offer 10-year coverage, they’re often prorated,” Woroch says. “This means the number of years you own the mattress will be subtracted from that warranty, and the manufacturer will only cover an amount associated with the remaining time. Ask your sales associate about your bed’s warranty terms.”

Also, don’t rip that tag!

“Heed the onerous warning on mattress tags by keeping them attached,” Woroch says. “Removing them can cause holdups within the warranty redemption process.”

Be Careful About Haggling

While it may feel good to negotiate the price of a mattress, you may still be getting ripped off. Mattress manufacturers set the minimum price at which they allow retailers to sell their product, so if the store is willing to negotiate, it means the mattress was overpriced to begin with.

And finally, don’t be intimidated in the mattress store! Try them out and ask questions. Any salesperson worth his or her salt will be more than happy to help.

Tags:  Mattress Money Sleep

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