51 Top Tips To Consider When Buying a New Bed or Mattress

Buying a new mattress is daunting.

The last time I had to buy a new mattress I probably spent 4 weeks researching mattresses, visiting stores, lying on each mattress in the store and trying every sleeping position possible.

I read online reviews, asked questions from work colleagues and friends, and finally made the agonising decision to buy a memory foam mattress. 

I say agonising because I’m one of those people that always worry I’m buying the wrong thing. I know, it’s stupid but what can I do.

The memory foam mattress was a good choice, it provides a lot of support and I sleep really well, but to make it softer on top I added a mattress topper.

Either way, I still feel I could have made a better choice.

So here is my list of everything I can think of to consider when buying a new bed or mattress.

I also have some other reviews on this website for mattresses where I’ve already done the homework for you, helping you speed up the process of choosing your next mattress.

Simply keep reading.

bed with cream headboard

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Things to consider when buying a new bed or mattress:

  1. Price: 
  2. Comfort.
  3. Longevity.  Foam mattresses won’t last as long as spring or memory foam.
  4. Does it come with a warranty?  Don’t buy anything without at the very least a 1 year warranty against manufacturer defects.
  5. Trial nights?  Some companies offer a 30 trial period where you can sleep on the mattress and then decide if you want to keep it.  If not, then send it back.
  6. Firmness or softness.  Everyone has a preference.
  7. Firmness labels are not accurate, firmness is an arbitrary measure decided by the manufacturer based on their own opinions and experiences.
  8. What size do you want?  Queen size is a comfortable size for 2 people, a King size is even bigger. 
  9. Depth of the mattress?  This matters for your fitted sheets, and how high the mattress will end up being off the floor.
  10. What type of base do you have/want?  A memory foam mattress will require a solid base, not a slotted base.
  11. Do you currently have any back, neck, shoulder or other pain?
  12. Do you need to share it with someone?  If so, consider a multi-zone bed.
  13. Is it for a guest bedroom or for yourself?  Perhaps you can move your current mattress to the guest bedroom and get the new mattress for your own bed?
  14. Do you only need a temporary mattress? Most of us living in cities can only afford a one bedroom apartment, so visiting guests have to sleep on a sofa bed or a mattress on the floor in the living room.   An air mattress might be the answer here.
  15. Memory foam or springs?
  16. Do you toss and turn a lot during the night?  If you have to share your bed, consider either a gel memory foam mattress, or a pocket spring mattress (where the spring coils are encased in pockets to prevent them vibrating against each other).
  17. Do you have mobility issues?  If so, make sure your mattress is a certain height off the floor.  Too low and you might struggle to get up off the bed.
  18. Do you easily get hot?  Try a gel memory foam mattress or mattress topper.
  19. Or cold?  Go for a down mattress topper on top of your normal mattress.
  20. Any allergies?  If so, don’t get anything that has real duck or goose down in it.  Go for an artificial microfibre filling or a gel memory foam.
  21. Recommended by friends?
  22. Other reviews / Trustpilot / Google reviews
  23. Have you slept on a great mattress recently where you can look up the brand and model maybe? Like a friend’s house or a hotel?
  24. Certifications.  For memory foam look out for a CertiPUR-US certification.  It means the Memory Foam was made without harmful chemicals.
  25. Decide on a budget and stick with it.  Otherwise you’ll end up buying the most expensive mattress you can find in the hope it’s also the best.
  26. Take your time, you will be sleeping on this for a long time to come, don’t let anyone rush you into a choice.
  27. Is it cheaper online? 
  28. Can you have it delivered?   You might find a lovely mattress in your local store, but it’s possible that you can find it cheaper online.
  29. Vice versa, have you checked your local shops?  They might be willing to do you a deal face to face if you can prove that it’s cheaper online.
  30. Do you want to reuse your existing bedding / fitted sheets?  If so you’ll need to stick with the size you currently have, ie Queen, King.
  31. How tall are you?  If you are 6’5″ and taller consider getting a California Queen or King size, it is 4 inches longer than the standard size.
  32. How big or heavy are you?  If you are on the heavy side then you’ll need a firmer mattress to support your weight.
  33. Do you sleep on your side?  
  34. If so, how wide are your shoulders?  If you have wide shoulders and sleep on your side you will need to consider the right kind of support to ensure your spine remains straight.
  35. Do you like feeling you are sleeping on a “soft and puffy cloud”?  Consider a down mattress topper.
  36. How good is the customer service of the company behind the brand?  Amazon reviews usually give a good indication of how complaints are dealt with.
  37. Age:  How old are you?  Different ages have different requirements.  
  38. Older people tend to buy something they don’t have to replace soon.  
  39. Younger people are more used to a disposable instant shopping culture, and likely have a smaller budget.
  40. Do you plan on moving house soon?  Consider the size of the rooms in your new place as well as how easy it will be to get it up stairs or through narrow hallways.
  41. Expensive doesn’t mean the best.
  42. Do you often sit down on your bed?  Make sure that the mattress has reinforced edges, usually done by adding extra spring coils around the edge to prevent mattress collapse in spots where people sit.
  43. Only have money for a mattress?  Plan on buying the bed base later? Not every mattress can fit on a slatted bed base so plan ahead.
  44. Storage.  Under bed storage is awesome.  You can get a lift-up ottoman style bed or slim boxes that slide underneath the bed.
  45. Watching TV in bed?  Consider what you want to put behind your back.  A nice headboard could be the way to go.
  46. Enjoy reading in bed?  Consider a bed with built-in reading lights or some way to attach some.
  47. How small is your bedroom? If you don’t have space for bedside tables, get a headboard with hidden storage.
  48. Consider the brand name.  Is it a good brand, have they been around for a while or are they a new company?
  49. How old is your current mattress?  Perhaps you don’t need to replace it, all you need is a memory foam mattress topper to give it some support again.
  50. Sleeping positions.  If you sleep on your back you want something that will support your spine, for side sleepers, you need the mattress to conform to your body to keep your spine straight, for stomach sleepers, you really do not want the mattress to sink in underneath you.
  51. Still can’t decide?  A hybrid mattress is probably your best bet.
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