7 Ways to Test a Mattress Before Buying It

Choosing the right mattress is important for a good night's sleep. To test a mattress before buying, it's crucial to define your personal needs based on sleeping position, firmness preference, and material. Research different types of mattresses and ask salespeople for guidance. Spend at least 15 minutes lying on the mattress in various positions, using your own pillow, and involving your partner if applicable. Look for certifications that ensure the mattress meets safety standards. Read the fine print regarding delivery, returns, and warranty. Opt for a mattress with a home trial period of at least a few months to fully assess its suitability.

Buying a new mattress is a big decision. It’s an important decision too because you’ll be spending about a third of your life lying on it. So you want to get it right and choose the mattress that’s best suited to your individual needs. This article will explore the best ways to test out a mattress before you buy so you can be sure you get the mattress that’s right for you.

How to test a mattress before buying

When I bought my last mattress, I went into a discount mattress store in Washington, DC, thinking I was going to purchase the queen-size mattress and box spring they advertised as being “on sale.” But after trying out the “sale” mattress and a bunch of others, I kept going back to one mattress in particular because it was so comfortable. I wound up buying that one—even though it cost more than twice the price of the sale mattress. It provided many years of extreme comfort and support.

Here are some of the best ways to test out a mattress before you make a purchase:

Define your personal needs

This requires thinking about your sleeping position, which will affect the level of firmness, support, and material you should look for. Whether you choose a soft, medium, or firm mattress will also depend on your weight, body type, and, of course, your personal preference.

Do your research beforehand

Make sure you have an idea of what type of mattress you’d be interested in as this will ensure you can find the right option for you. The main types of mattresses include:

  • Memory foam, which offers pressure relief, excellent spinal alignment, and motion isolation and is ideal for side and back sleepers
  • Innerspring, which provides many firmness options for all sleep positions
  • Hybrid, a good choice for couples and excellent for side, back, and stomach sleepers
  • Natural latex, which is durable, naturally hypallergenic, eco-friendly, and sleeps cool
  • Adjustable firmness mattresses, which have a long lifespan, customized firmness, and suitability for all sleep positions and body types

Ask an expert for help

Salespeople are there to help, so don’t hesitate to ask one for guidance on matching a mattress to your needs, preferences, and sleep style. (Here’s how to buy a mattress without trying it first.)

Get a feel for the mattress

The best way to test a mattress is to lie down on it. Bring along your favorite pillow and your partner (if you share the bed) so you can recreate your “real-life” sleep experience. Sit on the edge of the bed. Get in and out of bed. Move around. Be sure to lie in your usual sleep position and try different positions if you usually alternate them during your sleep. Stay on the mattress for 15 minutes. In fact, a Consumer Reports survey found that 77% of people who spent more than 15 minutes on a mattress before buying were happier with their purchases.

Look for certifications

Third-party certifications, such as CertiPUR-US®1 for foam mattresses, can ensure the mattress is free of harmful chemicals and meets the highest standards for safety.

Read the fine print

It’s important to know what you’re getting into when it comes to the mattress retailer’s policies on delivery, setup, returns, and warranty. Protect your investment by understanding all you’re buying besides “just” the mattress.

Choose a mattress with a home trial

A home trial will allow you time to test out the mattress in the comfort of your home so you can ensure it’s right for you. It can take time—upwards of three months—to break in a new mattress, so you’ll want to give it time to adjust to your body at home. Trial periods can last anywhere from 90 days to a full year and may include fees for returning the mattress if you decide it’s not right for you.

Get a 365-night home trial with these Saatva mattresses

Saatva Classic Innerspring Mattress

Our flagship luxury mattress is expertly engineered with coil-on-coil construction for durability, a layer of memory foam for enhanced back support, and a cushiony Euro pillow top for extra comfort.

Contour5 Mattress

Luxurious body-hugging feel and pressure relief with 3” of ultra-premium, high-density 5-lb memory foam.

Zenhaven Latex Mattress

Natural latex responds to every curve for pressure-free support and responsive comfort. Natural latex is supple, resilient, and durable, for the ultimate in elevated sleep. (It's naturally hypoallergenic too.)


Should I test a mattress before buying it?

It’s helpful to test a mattress before you buy it, either in a retailer’s brick-and-mortar store or an online retailer’s showroom. But whether you buy from a traditional or online retailer, it’s important to educate yourself about different mattresses; be familiar with your personal sleep style, weight, any particular aches or joint issues you need to accommodate; and, of course, know your own needs and preferences.

What methods can I use to test a mattress before buying it?

You can either visit a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer or an online mattress company’s showroom to test mattresses before settling on the one you want. To determine if a mattress is right for you, experts suggest lying on it in your normal sleeping position for at least 15 minutes. Pay particular attention to how the mattress contours to your body and whether it provides the support you need. Your neck, shoulders, and hips are where you want adequate support, so be sure to test the mattress’s support for those areas.

How long should I test a mattress to ensure it’s right for me?

If you’re testing a mattress in a store, spend at least 15 minutes lying on it, moving around, and getting up and down off of it. Once you make a purchase—and have ensured the retailer provides you with enough time in its home trial to test it out at home long enough to get used to a new mattress—at least a couple of months is a reasonable time to determine if it’s really right for you.

Find the perfect mattress for you at Saatva

Saatva offers a wide range of high-quality mattresses to suit all sleep styles. We have a number of Viewing Rooms across the country where customers can come in and try out our mattresses to find their ideal mattress. We also have an online mattress quiz that you can take to determine which one is right for you.

Saatva offers free white glove delivery and setup of your new mattress, removal of your old mattress and foundation, as well as a 365-night home trial so you have plenty of time to try out your new mattress in the comfort of your own home.

  1. CertiPUR-US® is a registered trademark of the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam, Inc. ↩︎

Was This Article Helpful?
Yes No

Related Stories