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Tom’s Guide
Tom’s Guide
Frances Daniels

Beginner’s guide to Black Friday mattress deals shopping – 5 key things to remember

A bare white mattress and two pillows sit on top of a beige bed in a pale grey bedroom. In the front of the picture, there is a green Black Friday Shopping banner.

If you’re in need of a new mattress, the holiday season is the perfect time to find many of the best mattresses at much cheaper prices. From organic latex beds to luxury hybrids, this year’s Black Friday mattress deals are a great opportunity to buy a top-rated mattress for less. 

However the frenzy of the holiday shopping period can lead bargain hunters to make some costly mistakes when buying a new mattress. Shoppers may be persuaded to buy a ridiculously cheap mattress with no sleep trial, or a mattress that’s firm enough for them but not their partner. 

To make sure you avoid these mistakes when mattress shopping in the Black Friday sales, we’re sharing our expert tips for navigating the overwhelming amount of mattress discounts flying around online. Let's get started... 

1. Know your sleep position and sleep needs

If there’s one golden rule of mattress bargain-hunting during the Black Friday sales, it’s this: get clear on your sleep needs beforehand. Memory foam, edge support, motion isolation – these terms are meaningless if you don’t know what they mean or why they’re important. 

We’ve produced a mattress jargon buster to help, but here’s a quick breakdown of different mattress types and terms – and which sleepers they benefit:

Motion Isolation: If a mattress is described as having good motion isolation, or no motion transfer, this simply means that the mattress materials limit the movement and disturbance that can be felt on either side of the mattress – particularly important for couples or anyone who shares a bed with a restless sleeper. 

Moisture wicking and temperature regulation: These mean the mattress keeps moisture away and won’t trap heat. In short, the mattress will stay cool, dry and fresh – particularly important for those who overheat and suffer from night sweats. 

(Image credit: Getty / Future)

Edge support: If a mattress has good edge support, it means you won’t sink down when you sit on the edge of the bed while getting up or to get dressed in the morning. 

Memory Foam: Soft and contouring, the best memory foam mattresses are excellent for lightweight to medium weight sleepers and those who sleep on their side. Memory foam also offers great motion isolation – particularly important if you or your partner is a restless sleeper. Foam mattresses do have a tendency to sink and can trap heat though, so heavyweight and hot sleepers should avoid them.

Innerspring: Made up of coils, these are the most affordable mattresses. Better airflow, bounce and firmness means they’re perfect for hot sleepers and those who sleep on their front or back. They have a shorter lifespan, though, and have poor motion isolation compared to all-foam options. Read our Saatva Classic mattress review for our look at the best innerspring mattress in the world right now.

Latex: The best organic mattresses are normally made from natural latex, which is an excellent cooling material, and these beds have good motion isolation and a much longer lifespan than the average eight years most mattresses last for. Latex mattresses are generally suitable for all types of sleepers (particularly heavyweight and stomach sleepers), but they are expensive.

Hybrid: As they combine spring and foam, hybrids are bursting with benefits and are generally suitable for all kinds of sleepers. The downside of their wide appeal is that they tend to be quite expensive. Our guide to the best hybrid mattresses of the year will walk you through all the top-rated options and what to look for when buying one.

2. Only buy a mattress if it has a good trial period

30 nights is the minimum recommended time to fully adjust to a new bed. In fact, major mattress brands such as Nectar and DreamCloud don’t allow customers to return their mattress until they’ve had it for at least 30 days. Mattress trials are a great way to literally sleep on your decision. 

Some discounted mattresses don’t offer a sleep trial (especially those marked as ‘Final Sale’), and some retailers, such as Costco, don’t offer sleep trials at all. If a sleep trial is offered, but it lasts less than 30 nights, walk away. 

Also, some mattress brands do offer a sleep trial but it’s not explicitly stated as being a ‘sleep trial’. For example Walmart and IKEA sometimes offer a ‘90-days returns’ window, which is effectively a 90-night sleep trial with caveats.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Check the returns policy and warranty

It’s important to know what the mattress warranty covers for two reasons: (1) It covers you against manufacturing defects such as sagging, broken coils, and unravelled seams, and (2) the warranty’s time span is a good indication of a mattresses’s durability. The longer the warranty lasts, the better the mattress quality. 

As we explain in our feature on how to clean a mattress, a bed that’s been properly cared for should last an average of 8-10 years and many brands reflect this by offering a 10-year warranty. However, many of the best mattresses in a box, such as the DreamCloud and Nectar, have warranties that can last a whole year – and even a whole lifetime.

Always remember to check the returns policy before you buy too, and don’t buy from a site with a hazy returns policy. When buying a mattress from sites such as Amazon, the returns policies can be a lot different to the returns policy of the brand’s official website. 

4. Don’t get swayed by the discount alone

It’s easy to become dazzled by a huge discount or a ridiculously low price and forget to read the fine print. While there are some great affordable mattresses out there, some will leave you remembering the old adage: you get what you pay for. 

Make sure you check whether the features suit your body type and sleep style, and remember to check returns policies, warranties, and even the materials. For example, a lot of cheap mattresses use fiberglass as a flame retardant, so check if this concerns you. Our guide to how to tell if there’s fiberglass in a mattress discusses this in detail.

That being said, an expensive mattress doesn’t automatically mean it’s perfect for you. In fact, some of the best cheap mattresses on the market outperform their price tag. 

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

5. Make sure the firmness suits the both of you

Couples who share a bed need to remember that mattresses come in a variety of firmness levels, with most common being soft, medium-firm and firm; each rated out of 10 on the firmness scale. When deciding how soft or firm you want your first mattress to be, you both need to consider your preferred sleeping positions, body types and weights. 

For example, if you're a side sleeper weighing under 130lbs, you'll benefit from a mattress that’s soft and contouring. However, if your partner is a stomach sleeper with a heavier build, they’ll need one of the best firm mattresses

To save arguments, and as an excellent compromise, we recommend buying a medium-firm mattress. This will suit a diverse range of sleepers, providing a good middle ground for couples who have different sleeping positions and body types. You may also want to consider adjustable air beds, which have firmness settings for customization, or a split king mattress, which pushes together two separate twin XL mattresses.

Top picks for early Black Friday mattress offers

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