A Guide to buying an Online Mattress

Tuft & Needle: Online Mattress

Buying my first mattress was a terrible experience. I hadn’t done any research beforehand, and I was beyond-shocked at how expensive they were. Then, there was the vast showroom of bed upon bed, with prices differing wildly and no real sense of why one was more expensive than the other, other than the industry jargon and marketing speak I was being fed. The saleswoman was pushy and followed me around the store, even though I asked her not to. I lied on nearly every mattress in the showroom (germophobia notwithstanding), but it was all a blur— they all felt soft and comfortable and I couldn’t figure out why I’d buy one over the other.

In the end I bought what I could afford, and felt like I had completely wasted my time. A decade or so later, when it was time to replace it, I bought my next mattress over the phone, after a lovely 10 minute conversation with a sales lady who asked me all the right questions, and delivered a perfect fit. It continues to be the best mattress I ever slept on, and I yearn for it when I’m traveling for business.

So when the recent crop of online mattress stores started popping up, I wasn’t surprised: My experience shopping for a mattress without “trying it out” had been really positive, and online-only mattress companies were upping the benefits: With no local showrooms and limited models, they cut costs and pass along the savings. Plus there’s the cool factor: most will arrive at your doorstep rolled inside a box.

Chances are, you’ve seen ads for the originator, Casper. It’s been such a success (named one of TIME’s best inventions of 2015), that it’s inspired a slew of copycats, and each has its own unique selling points. If it’s time to buy a new mattress in your house, I promise you don’t need to flop around a showroom to choose one. Plus, they all offer free returns after enough nights to really decide if it’s for you, so the risk is pretty low. Here’s what you need to know about all the online mattress companies out there, and some tips on how to buy an online mattress.

online mattress


New York startup Casper was founded in 2013 and is now worth about half a billion dollars, according to Fortune. If you already know that you’re only happy on a board-hard mattress or a squishy-soft one, then Casper’s one-firmness-fits-all mattress is probably not for you. But if you’re comfortable in most hotels and guest rooms, it might suit you well. It generally feels firm with a subtle, sink-in sort of give, and isn’t springy like the type kids enjoy jumping on. Our tester noticed that when it came out of its box, it had a chemical smell (all memory foam mattresses and pillows have off-gassing), but that dissipated after a few days. Other than that, the convenience, cost and guarantees can’t be beat.

  • Price: Ranges $500 for a twin up to $900 for a California king.
  • Free shipping, free returns within 100 days (returns go to charity).
  • Materials: 7” “base foam” layer, a secondary 1.5” memory foam layer, and a top 1.5” latex layer. It has a removable, hand washable polyester cover.
  • Box spring? It doesn’t require one.
  • A few showrooms: You can see a Casper in person in New York, West Hollywood and Venice, California.
  • Where it’s made: All except for the outer border is made in America; that border is made in Belgium.
  • Warranty: 10 years.

Leesa Online Mattress


Virginia Beach-based Leesa launched in 2015. It offers a single firmness, and it also arrives rolled in a box. But you can sleep well at night knowing this: For every ten mattresses sold, this company gives one mattress to a homeless shelter. Its makeup is also slightly different than Casper, and may be slightly softer: while more than 1,000 reviewers liked it, the majority of those who didn’t said it was too soft and not cool enough. Reviewers across the board seem to feel it’s not a “luxury” mattress but very “decent.” That’s enough to give me pause, but the do-good aspect and the free returns for most might make it worth trying out.

  • Price: $525 for a twin up to $990 for a California king. The site is currently offering $75 off all sizes.
  • Free shipping, free returns within 100 nights (Alaska and Hawaii pay $100 for returns).
  • Materials: 6” foam at the bottom, 2” memory foam layer, 2” polyurethane foam layer. Cover is not removable.
  • Box spring? Not recommended.
  • Showrooms: None.
  • Where it’s made: America.
  • Warranty: 10 years.



Based in New York City and founded in 2015, Helix is also shipped rolled inside a box, but it’s different from the competition because it’s made to the buyer’s specs. Creating your personalized mattress is a little bit like answering a personality quiz—it’s quick and kind of fun. Couples can even choose a “split” or a “blended” bed: a split divides the two sides according to each user’s specs, while a blend averages out both members’ wishes. That said, completing an online survey doesn’t always mean a perfect fit— a number of reviewers weren’t happy with what they received. Almost universally, however, they say customer service and returns were a breeze.

  • Price: Varies according to your specs; prices start at $600. The queen we created was $900 (update: new price for queen is $995).
  • Free shipping, free returns within 100 days (Alaska and Hawaii is now free as well).
  • Materials: Helix Dynamic Foam (allergen-free), “microcoils” (hundreds of 1.5” steel coils), polyurethane. The cover is a nylon blend and isn’t removable.
  • Box spring? It doesn’t require one (update: Helix now offers a foundation if you would like one).
  • Showroom: New York.
  • Where it’s made: America.
  • Warranty: 10 years.

Yogabed: Online Mattress


Founded in 2015 in North Carolina, by mattress industry veterans, Yogabed—another mattress in a box with a single firmness—is a fledgling company with “mattress big boys” knowhow. The company also sells Yogabed branded linens, pillows, mattress protectors and mattress covers. Reviewers say it tends to be on the softer end of firm (not soft, but not very firm), with a memory foam-like feel.

  • Price: $549 for a twin to $949 for a California king.
  • Free shipping, free returns within 101 days.
  • Materials: 1” polyurethane foam support base, 6” “breathable foam” base, 2” YogaGel foam (similar to gel shoe inserts), 1” “instant response foam” (similar to memory foam) layer. Comes with a removable, machine-washable cotton/synthetic blend cover and two “instant response foam” pillows.
  • Box spring? It doesn’t require one.
  • Showrooms: None.
  • Where it’s made: America.
  • Warranty: 10 years.

Tuft & Needle: Online Mattress

Tuft & Needle

Calling itself “the Warby Parker of mattress companies,” San Francisco’s Tuft & Needle was launched in 2012. Like the others, this single-firmness mattress arrives rolled in a box, but it significantly undercuts its competition pricewise.Reviews are generally positive, while the negatives say it’s not the best for side sleepers. Some say it’s too firm; others say it softens after a few months, which firm mattress lovers dislike. All say customer service is outstanding.

  • Price: $350 for a twin up to $750 for a California king.
  • Materials: Two layers of proprietary polyurethane foam, and a rayon/polyester, removable (spot-clean only) cover.
  • Box spring? It doesn’t require one.
  • Showroom: Just one, in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Shipping: Free (except to Alaska and Hawaii), with free returns within 100 days. Exception: if purchased through Amazon, the 100-day period drops to 30 days.
  • Where it’s made: America.
  • Warranty: 10 years.

Saatva: Online Mattress High Tech Teen Room


Saatva is the one that looks like a Princess and the Pea mattress: tufted, high and satiny. Saatva considers itself the best-priced “high-end” mattress, and it doesn’t arrive rolled in a box. It’s a spring mattress with a pillow top and an organic cotton cover, and you can choose from Soft, Luxury Firm and Firm. Its delivery fee includes in-home setup. Reviews are generally positive, comparing it to mattresses in the $3,000 range. This is the mattress we put in our High Tech Teen Room, and the reviews from my teenager are glowing.

  • Price: From $599 for a “custom slim” twin (11.5” high) to $1300 for a 14.5”-high California king, not including the foundation and frame, which cost about $250 more. You can get a split foundation for a $39 surcharge—it lets you split the bed in order to move it in through a narrow doorway or hallway. For an additional $39, Saatva will take away your old mattress. There’s a $50 discount for the military, and a small discount if you order five or more mattresses.
  • Materials: Organic cotton, wood pulp, polyester, plant-based foams, polyurethane, Dacron, recycled steel springs, memory foam, rayon and Kevlar thread. The covering is not removable.
  • Box spring? Recommended.
  • Showrooms: None.
  • Shipping: Free with a $99 delivery and setup fee. Free returns permitted within 75 days.
  • Where it’s made: America.
  • Warranty: 15 years.

Loom & Leaf: Online Mattress

Loom & Leaf

Made by Saatva, Loom & Leaf is the company’s springless, memory foam-style mattress. Loom & Leaf also uses organic cotton and plant-based foams, so it has an eco-friendly angle. It isn’t shipped rolled in a box, and reviewers say it has a springier feel than most memory foam. Unlike competitors, Loom & Leaf offers two firmnesses: “Relaxed Firm” (better for side sleepers) and “Firm” for strictly back and stomach sleepers. Many reviewers say it compares favorably to mattresses that are twice the price.

  • Price: $699 for a Twin up to $1399 for a California king.
  • Materials: polyurethane foam, gel, plant-based memory foam. The non-removable covering is organic cotton.
  • Box spring? Recommended. You can use your own, or purchase a foundation from the company.
  • Showroom: None.
  • Shipping: About $99. (Shipping isn’t offered directly to Hawaii or Alaska; call the company for more info). Returns are free within a 75-day in-home trial, but you will pay the $99 delivery fee if you exchange your mattress for a different firmness.
  • Where it’s made: America.
  • Warranty: 15 years.

Winkbed Online Mattress


WinkBed arrives in a full-size box, not compressed and rolled. It’s a combo of polyurethane foam, cooling gel, and two layers of spring coils, giving it a “buoyant” feel rather than a slow sink-in à la memory foam. It comes in only one firmness, and reviewers are generally fans, with some negative reviews of the low-profile proprietary box spring.

  • Price: $599 for a twin to $1,348 for a California King, not including a foundation.
  • Shipping: Delivery is free, with free returns within a 101-night free trial period. For $99, you can add “white glove” service, which sets up the mattress in your bedroom.
  • Materials: A blend of two softnesses of polyurethane foams, plus two layers of spring coils. The covering is non-removable.
  • Box spring? Recommended, though the mattress can also work on a platform.
  • Showrooms: None.
  • Where it’s made: America.
  • Warranty: 10 years.

Is one of these your dream mattress? What do you think about buying mattresses online? Let me know in the comments!

8 comments on “A Guide to buying an Online Mattress”

  1. Very timely article. We just placed an order for a Saatva bed (luxury firm) about a week ago. This was our first on line purchase. Placed the order last Sunday afternoon. The ‘can I help you’ box that pops up actually had a person monitoring it and i had a couple of questions answered immediately. They were helpful and not pushy at all. We received a personal phone call from the company within 24 hours to confirm the order and to be available to answer any further questions. On Friday I received an email saying when the mattress will be coming of the manufacturing line and when our delivery is expected (next week). So far the ordering process has been great. Looking forward to getting the mattress. I’ll give an update once we get acclimated.

      1. We’ve had our Saatva for a couple of weeks now and we are thrilled with it. We got the Luxury firm and have been pleased. We are going to be ordering another mattress set for our guest room. 🙂

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