It usually ends with, "Well, this one seems pretty comfortable, I think." So, pull out the credit card and hope for the best, because there's often a hefty (non-refundable) delivery charge, a top up fee, and probably just 30 days to decide if you really like the mattress.
And so choose where you will spend a third of your life? No. Time to consider another option – the Internet.
Wait, what? To buy a mattress delivery? I know, it sounds a bit crazy, but if the price is not enough to convince you, the convenience may be. Let's take a look at what you should know when shopping for your next bed.
Disclaimer: CNET may receive a share of the sales by selling the products on this site.
Try to Buy
The Great Mattresses in a Boxing Company – and there are many, including Casper, Layla, Leesa, Nectar, Purple and Tuft & Needle – all work on the same rationale: You order your mattress, it will be sent to your door and you will try it for a certain time. If you do not like it, you can return it for a full refund.
Of course, there are some questions to be considered within these parameters.
What kind of mattress is that?
The reason the whole bed in-a-box feature works is that most shipping mattresses are made from memory foam, which means that they can be compressed and rolled to facilitate shipping. In fact, you may be surprised to see the box it comes in. The usual reaction: "An entire mattress could not be in there!"
But it is, and it will expand significantly if you open and unroll it. Please note: If you are not used to it – that is, you have been sleeping on a spring mattress – you should adjust to at least a few nights' accommodation. That brings us to the next question.
How long does the process take?
Most mail-order companies give you 100 days to test their product. That's good, because according to mattress maker Live and Sleep, it can take up to eight weeks for your body to fully adjust to a new sleeping surface.
Some companies offer longer trial periods. Layla, for example, gives you 120 days, while Nectar offers an industry-leading 365 days. This may seem like an overkill, but if you live in a place with cold winters and hot summers, the extended return policy lets you sleep in all seasons.
What do these things cost?
As you might expect, prices can vary. Below, a sample: I have listed the current prices for each company's baseline mattress in a queen size. Almost all of them had sales, complete with urgent countdown timers, so prices can definitely change.
Casper Essential (Queen, Mattress Only): $ 600
See in at Casper
Layla (Queen, Mattress Only): $ 799
View at Layla  Leesa (Queen, only mattress): $ 845
View at Leesa
Nectar (Queen plus two pillows): $ 699
See at Nectar
Purple Original (Queen plus Cushion or Platform Base): $ 999
See it in Purple
Tuft & Needle (Queen, Mattress Only): $ 595
See it at Tuft & Needle
How As you can see, a queen size mattress will let you run anywhere from $ 600 to $ 1,000. But the prices can be even higher, as in the case of Casper's Wave model (1,995 for a queen) and Purple All-New (1,599).
What happens to your old mattress?
Ah, there's the catch. If you buy a mattress on site, the delivery boys usually take the old one away (either for free or for a small fee). Here it is basically the UPS driver dropping a box on your porch.
However, if you need help, some companies offer it. Nectar, for example, has a white-glove service option that includes installing the new mattress and removing the old mattress. It's $ 149.
My advice: if you have room, keep the old mattress until you're sure you like the new one. In this way, if you return the latter, you will have a place to sleep until your next mattress arrives.
How do you return a mattress by mail?
Her mattress probably came in a plastic tube and expanded immediately after being freed – never to regain that size or shape. So how can you send it back?
Maybe you do not have to. Many mattress companies prefer to donate their mattress locally and will receive a full refund if they receive a copy of the donation receipt. So if you hear about "free pickup" as part of the return process, this may be from an organization like Purple Heart. The good news is that you probably do not have to try to put the thing in a box and bring it to a mail order business.
Is there a fee to return a mattress?
Usually no – a big part of the appeal here is the return policy that is offered by almost all shipping mattress companies. Needless to say, you want to thoroughly investigate the policy before you buy, just to avoid unexpected pitfalls.
Need a special bed frame to use a memory foam mattress?
Not really, but the more support you can accommodate, the better. Most companies recommend a bunkie plate, plywood or slatted base (assuming the slats are close together). A standard box spring can be risky because a bent or sharpened spring can easily pierce the mattress.
What else should you know?
Since mattresses are so subjective, it is not a good idea to rely on a single rating when making your decision. Whenever possible, crowdsource your inquiry: Ask friends and relatives for referrals, search for Facebook fan groups (yep, they exist) and most of all, take your time.
Because I'm a giveaway, I recently ordered a full-size Nectar mattress – which came with two free pillows – for my 16-year-old. (It helped that it was also one of the less expensive options.)
It came in a cardboard box containing a long, zippered case with handles, making it easier to pull up the stairs. From there, we carefully cut the plastic tray (with the included tool) and place it on the bed frame. Done! Although we noticed a smell from the new mattress – usually with compressed foam – it was not overwhelming and dissipated quickly.
It's definitely on the firmer side, especially compared to its previous spring mattress, but Junior says the nectar is "very comfortable" and he likes it better than the old one. (That was about as much as I could get out of it.) Teens, am I right?)