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By Brad Tuttle
Updated: October 15, 2020 3:32 PM ET | Originally published: May 14, 2020
Getty Images

Buying a mattress used to be a real pain. The main options were limited to department stores and mattress specialty retailers. They typically sold the same major mattress brands, but each chain of stores often had slightly different products, making it difficult to shop around and compare prices and promotions. At the same time retailers advertised non-stop “sales,” yet shoppers faced puzzlingly high pricing, and it was impossible to tell whether you were getting a good deal or being ripped off.

The rise of online retailers like Casper and Purple changed the game, making it significantly easier (and cheaper) to buy a mattress. But online mattress sales come with their own complications. Obviously, you can’t lie down on a mattress before you purchase it online, and reviews and ratings can sometimes seem confusing and contradictory. Generous return policies from online mattress sellers certainly help — sales often come with a 100-day return policy, and free shipping — but the purchase is always something of a leap of faith.

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As for online mattress sales and promotions, they can seem pretty darn complicated too. It’s still difficult to tell if you’re truly getting the lowest price possible, and whether the best mattress sales take place on July 4th, Labor Day, Black Friday, or just some random Tuesday. Many online mattress brands are only sold in-house or through select retail partners, and they tend to feature the same prices no matter where you shop. So you are rarely or never are able to compare products or prices across a range of competitors, in an apples-to-apples way.

Best Time to Buy a Mattress? Smart Shopping Strategies

Here are a few more things to keep in mind when shopping for mattress sales online:

• Never Pay Full Price. Online mattress deals are available nonstop. In fact, online sellers rarely if ever offer mattresses at full price. Deals giving roughly 20% off are routine, and from what we’ve seen during Memorial Day, Presidents Day, July 4th, and Black Friday sales (and many random weeks in between), the promotions tend to be the same or very similar year-round. So there isn’t necessarily a specific “best time” to buy a mattress. Make sure that you’re taking advantage of the latest sale or promo code — when one expires, another is sure to follow — and you’ll get a decent price. Also, while some sites ask you to sign up for their email newsletter in exchange for a discount, the discount is often readily available to all shoppers. Just look under “sale” or “offers” at the site, to save yourself the hassle of getting promotional emails. And be aware that online mattress sellers often state that a sale or discount is ending on a specific date, only to extend the deal again and again.

• Examine the Return Policy. Because you generally can’t lie down on a mattress being sold online and test it out before you purchase, the seller’s return policy is critical. Most online mattress sellers offer trials of 100 nights or more, with full refunds and free shipping for returns if you’re not happy. Look closely at the fine print, though; some retailers charge restocking fees or delivery fees for returns — and certain sellers have more generous return policies than others. (More on this below our list of the current deals.)

• Check Out Mattress Reviews and Ratings. But browse them with a skeptical eye, while keeping in mind exactly what it is you want (or don’t want) in a mattress and filtering out the rest. It’s actually often smart to scan the lowest-rated reviews first, to see if there’s any consensus from the critics. If many people are complaining that a certain product is too soft or too hot, or it smells weird for the first couple weeks, these critiques could affect your purchasing decision. (For more about online mattress reviews, check out the fascinating Fast Company story from 2017, which jumped down the bizarre rabbit hole of legal battles and backroom negotiations between prominent mattress review sites and mattress sellers.)

• Ask Friends for Recommendations. Online reviews from strangers can only tell you so much. Odds are, you know people on social media who have purchased mattresses from one (or several) of the major brands. Hit them up for their unvarnished opinions, good and bad, on whether you should buy a mattress that’s memory foam, gel-infused, innerspring, latex, or a luxury hybrid that combines materials. Heck, if it’s a close friend and they sleep on a DreamCloud or Nectar mattress every night, ask if you can come by and lie down on it, just like you would at a traditional mattress store. (Be careful, though — we could see such a request being misinterpreted by a “friend” who thinks you want to be more than friends.)

So what are the best online mattress deals at the moment? Memorial Day mattress sales are everywhere — and most deals last well beyond the holiday. Here’s a list of mattress deals we’ll keep updated.

Best Mattress Deals & Sales: Updated October 2020

Amerisleep

Amerisleep is offering 30% off any mattress when you use the discount code FALL30 at checkout. (The 30% mattress discount has been available for several months, though during certain promotional periods, like Labor Day, the brand has thrown in an extra couple of free pillows to sweeten the deal.)

Sample Deal: Queen-size AS3 for $979.30 (list price $1,399).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free returns and no fees.

Avocado Green Mattress

Use the promo code GREEN175 to save $175 on select Avocado mattresses. (During previous sales from Avocado, mattresses have been $200 off.)

Sample Deal: Queen-size Avocado Green mattress for $1,224 (list price $1,399).

Return Policy: One-year trial, with free returns and no fees.

Awara

Awara’s latest sale gives $300 off most mattresses, plus the brand promises to plant 10 new trees with every mattress purchases. (FYI, Awara was offering $350 off mattresses around July 4th.)

Sample Deal: Queen-size Organic Luxury Latex Hybrid mattress for $1,199 (list price $1,499).

Return Policy: 365-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Bear Mattress

Use the code FALL20 to get 20% off everything at Bear Mattress, plus two free pillows with a mattress purchase.

Sample Deal: Queen-size original Bear mattress for $640 (list price $800).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Casper

Use the code DREAMON to get 10% off select Casper mattresses.

Sample Deal: Queen-size original Casper mattress for $931 (list price $1,095).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Cocoon by Sealy

You can get 35% off select Chill Mattress purchases during the latest Cocoon by Sealy sale. (FYI, the brand has had 35% off deals for at least three months in a row.)

Sample Deal: Queen-size Chill mattress for $599 (list price $930).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

DreamCloud

DreamCloud has a special offer featuring $200 off mattresses, and the deal comes with a free mattress protector and set of sheets.

Sample Deal: Queen-size Luxury Hybrid mattress for $899 (list price $1,099).

Return Policy: 365-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Ecosa

The online mattress seller Ecosa has regularly been offering $200 off its standard mattress, in any size.

Sample Deal: Queen-size Ecosa mattress for $530 (list price $730).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Helix

During the Helix Labor Day sale (still live as of early October), you’ll get the same deal as the brand offered during its extended Fourth of July sale: $100 to $200 off mattresses, plus two free pillows.

Sample Deal: Queen-size Helix Midnight mattress for $899 (list price $999).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Idle Sleep

Idle Sleep is offering 25% off mattresses plus two free pillows and free sheets during its fall sale. (In the past, we’ve seen the brand have a buy one, get one free mattress deal right now, as well as 35% off mattress sales.)

Sample Deal: Queen-size Idle Hybrid mattress for $1,065 (list price $1,420).

Return Policy: 18-month trial, with free shipping on returns on no fees.

Layla

Layla’s current sale offers $150 off memory foam mattresses, and $200 off hybrids, plus two free pillows with either purchase.

Sample Deal: Queen-size Layla Memory Foam mattress for $849 (list price $999).

Return Policy: 120-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Leesa

Leesa’s latest promotion gives up to $350 off mattresses.

Sample Deal: Queen-size Leesa Original mattress for $874 (list price $999).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Nectar

Nectar’s current promotion gives $399 worth of accessories with any mattress purchase.

Sample Deal: Queen-size Nectar Memory Foam mattress for $799, with free bundle include two pillows, mattress protector, and sheet set.

Return Policy: 365-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Nest Bedding

You can get 15% off mattresses, and 10% off everything else, at Nest. (We’ve seen better deals, like when Nest was offering 20% off, sitewide, over the summer.)

Sample Deal: Queen-size Alexander Signature Hybrid mattress for $1,274.15 (list price $1,499).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Puffy

Puffy’s latest promotion is a continuation of one that seems to be running for months: Get $300 off any mattress plus a free pillow.

Sample Deal: Queen-size original Puffy mattress for $850 (list price $1,150).

Return Policy: 101-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Purple

Purple’s fall sale gives a free set of sheets and a free pillow with select mattress purchases — a $183 value. (We’ve seen better deals in the past, including sales offering $150 off mattresses and discounted extras.)

Sample Deal: Queen-size Purple Hybrid Premier mattress for $2,299, with free sheets and pillow.

Return Policy: 100-night trial with refunds available “less the value of any discount, interest accrued, and/or shipping charges.”

Saatva

Saatva’s current sale is one that has been extended several times. You get $200 off orders of $1,000 or more.

Sample Deal: Queen-size Saatva Classic mattress for $1,099 (list price $1,299).

Return Policy: 120-night trial, with $99 fee for shipping on returns.

Zoma

Zoma is offering $150 any mattress right now. Enter the promo code WIN150 to make sure you get the discount.

Sample Deal: Queen on sale for $999 (list price $1,149)

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

Expired Mattress Deals

Airweave

Use the promo code EXTRA10 to get 10% off Airweave mattresses on sale.

Best Deal We’ve Seen: Queen-size Airweave Mattress Advanced for $1,728 (list price $2,160).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free returns and no fees (as long as you keep the mattress for at least 30 days).

Tuft and Needle

Tuft and Needle does not have any specific promotions or discounts at the moment. The best deal we’ve seen in the past gave 15% off everything.

Best Deal We’ve Seen: Queen-size Tuft & Needle Hybrid mattress for $1,345.50 (list price $1,495).

Return Policy: 100-night trial, with free shipping on returns and no fees.

What Are the Best Mattress Sales at Amazon and Walmart?

There are pros and cons to buying mattresses (or anything else) at Amazon, but our advice is that it’s at least worth your time to browse Amazon to compare prices and look for deals.

While some mattress brands are sold only by their own websites, you can also buy select mattress labels at Amazon. Popular online mattress brands like Casper, DreamCloud, Nectar, Leesa, and Tuft and Needle are all sold on Amazon. Amazon’s prices generally line up with what you’d find at the brands’ own websites, but Amazon is sometimes cheaper. For example, at one point we saw a queen-size T&N Original Mattress on sale for $505.75 at Amazon, compared to $536 at Tuft and Needle. Also, leading up to July 4, Casper mattress sale prices were basically the same at Amazon and the Casper site, but Amazon was offering a special extra 10% off coupon (that coupon has since expired).

Before buying a mattress at Amazon, Walmart, Target, or another retailer rather than directly from the brand’s website, double-check that you are comparing prices for the same model, in the same size. (Walmart and Target sell a Casper “Snug” mattress for about half the price of a Casper Original, but the Snug is only 8.5 inches thick, compared to 11 inches for the Original. Meanwhile, Costco also sells a Cocoon by Sealy mattress that’s different from what you’d find at the brand’s website.) Also, take a close look to compare their return policies, because sometimes you get a longer return window and guaranteed free shipping and pickup only when purchasing directly.

All that said, you can often find great mattress sales at Walmart and Amazon. That goes especially for Amazon’s house brand, AmazonBasics, when the e-retail giant is having a big promotion. Recently, we spotted a sale on Signature Sleep mattresses at Amazon, including a 12-inch queen memory foam mattress for $319 (list price $344.99).

Online Mattress Returns

What happens when you try to return a mattress? The answer depends on where you purchased it. Mattress Firm, a traditional brick-and-mortar-based mattress retailer, has a seemingly good 120-night return period. But if you decide you want to exchange the mattress within this time window, you are charged a $99.99 delivery fee and a 10% restocking fee. If you want to return the mattress for a refund, you’re charged the same delivery fee, plus a 20% restocking fee.

Online mattress sellers typically have more generous return policies. The standard trial is 100 nights (some go up to 365 nights), and most offer free shipping on returns and exchanges, with no fees.

There is some fine print you should pay attention, though. Free shipping is sometimes limited to the lower 48 states, so you could be charged for delivery (or pickup) for addresses in Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada. Online retailers often require that you remove the mattress from the box and actually sleep on it for a specified time period — often, 30 days — before you’re eligible for a free return, which seems reasonable. Some e-retailers limit the number of returns you can make, perhaps allowing only one return per household per year, which also seems reasonable. If you bought a mattress through a partner retailer like Amazon or Lowe’s rather than directly through the mattress company’s website, you’ll be required to process the return where you made the purchase.

Before processing your return and giving you a refund, mattress customer service agents are likely to nudge you into exchanging your mattress for another one of its products instead. (They’d rather avoid giving your money back.) Our advice is for you to be specific about why the original mattress was unsatisfactory, and then go with an exchange only if it seems the new mattress will truly be a better fit.

What happens to a mattress you want to return? Again, the answer depends on where you purchased it. While some retailers work with Federal Express or another shipping company to handle mattress pickups, many online sellers work with local charity organizations that are happy to accept barely-used unwanted mattresses. So, if you’re returning your mattress, it might be picked up by volunteers from a local shelter, rather than a professional delivery service.

In most cases, you won’t have to try to repack your mattress back into the tiny box it arrived in. The workers picking it up will generally handle that chore. Also, in most cases, there is no return shipping fee or restocking fee for transactions with major online mattress sellers. But, as with anything, check the fine print.

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Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

EDIT POST