How to Shop for a Mattress Online

Do they even sell mattresses in stores at this point?

January 30, 2023 12:00 pm
A Zinus mattress on a dark blue background
Getty Images

Please note: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

Sleep is essential to our health and overall mood, which is why it’s so important to find a good mattress that fits our sleep pattern. Wake up on the wrong side of the bed and your whole day can fall apart. You want to make sure that the mattress you choose is going to help you get the shuteye you need. Here’s how.

Review: The Japanese Have Made the Mattress of the Future
It comes in three parts and is completely washable. Not to mention extremely comfortable.

What to look for in a mattress:

There are many components of a mattress to consider before you click buy, most notably the material and firmness.


Some people like to fall asleep feeling like they’re on a puffy cloud, whereas others prefer to drift away on a rock. Firmness refers to how soft or hard a mattress is, and frankly it’s quite a subjective ruling. Many brands use a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest) to describe their mattresses.  It can still feel quite subjective, so you may find that a brand’s soft mattress is not soft enough for you. Or that one brand’s 7 is another brand’s 10. That said, it’s good to have a general sense of the firmness you like before you start the search.


These days, brands are getting more innovative with mattress materials, but there still are four general categories: memory foam, latex, innerspring, and hybrid. 

Memory Foam: For that feeling like you’re sinking into a bed, go for memory foam. With a slow response to pressure, memory foam molds to your body and offers superior pressure relief. Foam is also less likely to respond to motion, making it the better choice for anyone who shares a bed with a light sleeper. Top-notch memory foam mattresses include the Leesa Original Mattress, the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress, and the Bear Original.

Latex: A bouncier, more eco-friendly alternative to memory foam, latex is naturally cooling and provides a firmer foam experience. The Avocado Eco Organic Mattress, SleepOnLatex Mattress, and the Saatva Latex Hybrid Mattress are some of the best in this category. 

Innerspring: Keep it old-school with an innerspring mattress. If you dream of jumping on your bed, you’ll love a firm, bouncy coil mattress. There’s a reason these are classics — they’re very supportive and they have great edge support. They also tend to be cooler and more breathable unlike foam mattresses, which can insulate and tend to feel bad for hot sleepers. The Saatva Classic is a luxurious innerspring option. The Keetsa Plus offers firm support and a more modest price tag. 

Hybrid: A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Hybrid mattresses combine coils with memory foam or latex so you get the benefits of both, all wrapped into one mattress. Hybrids tend to have the best of both worlds, and are a great option for people who can’t decide between their ideal mattress type. The Zinus Hybrid Mattress is an affordable, top-rated hybrid, while the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress is a higher-end option.  

Other features to think about:

Firmness and materials are the most important features you should consider when buying a mattress, but you can’t neglect the smaller ones. Remember, every detail counts.

Mattress Height: A tall bed certainly exudes a sense of luxury, though some might find it a nuisance to have to make a 14-inch bed, or even get in and out of it. A mattress that’s a bit closer to the ground can seem a bit more relaxed, casual, and will likely be a bit cheaper, too. This is a really specific preference and may be dependent on the bed frame you choose as well. 

Edge Support: You know the feeling when you plop down on the edge of someone’s bed and feel like you’re slipping off. That is a bed with less edge support. If you sleep on the edge of the bed, you’ll probably want a bed with firmer edge support. Hybrid and supportive innerspring mattresses have more edge support than the softer options like memory foam.

Return Policy: Many online mattress brands offer generous warranties or trial periods that allow you to sleep on the bed for quite some time, and if you ultimately hate it, you can return it. It can take about 30 days for a mattress to break in, so if you can find an option that’ll give you the chance to do this, take advantage of it. 

Review: It’s the Smartest Mattress Ever. Does It Actually Work?
With a massive network of user data and regular software updates, Eight Sleep is fast becoming the Tesla of Zs

How you sleep:

You should also how’s ask yourself how you sleep. Most people sleep on their side, stomach, back, or some sort of combination of the three. I’ll stress this again, mattresses are quite subjective, but generally speaking here’s what you should look for in a mattress based on how you sleep.

Side Sleepers: The majority of people sleep on their side. If you count yourself as one of the many, soft, plush memory foam mattresses that reduce pressure are a popular choice for sleepers like you. 

Back Sleepers: Sleeping on your back is good for your spine, but many struggle to actually stay asleep in that position

Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleeping can strain your neck and spine. To prevent this, you’ll want a firm mattress that gives you support and diffuses some of that tension. 

Combo Sleepers: You’re probably tossing and turning quite a bit at night if you sleep in multiple positions. A firm mattress will keep you supported while you move, and sleep.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.