What to Know When Buying a New Mattress

Buying a new mattress is like buying a car, it’s an important purchase that can be a little stressful when you don’t know what to look for. Shopping in physical mattress stores can cost more money, take more time, and interrupt your valuable time off. Allow this mattress buying guide to help you search for a comfortable new mattress.  

With the advancement of modern mattress technologybuying a new mattress now means you could choose a mattress that is more beneficial to your sleep health

13 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Mattress 

  1. Not understanding your options
  2. Not knowing your sleep position
  3. Not sticking to your budget
  4. Higher prices does not always equal higher quality
  5. Overspending on the foundation
  6. Believing that firm mattress are always the best
  7. Relying on an in-store trial ONLY
  8. Paying full sticker price in the mattress store
  9. Not checking the return/restocking fees
  10. Not searching for your new mattress online
  11. Buying a mattress without checking the warranty and return policies
  12. Buying a mattress before reading real customer reviews
  13. Reading too many mattress affiliate reviews 

Not Understanding Your Options

If your current mattress is many years old, you may be considering replacing it with a newer model. But, there are comfortable mattress styles out there to choose from. With the advancement of modern mattress technology, buying a new mattress now means you could choose a mattress that is more beneficial to your sleep health than older styles. 

Innerspring Mattresses 

You’ve probably slept on an innerspring mattress at some point in your life, perhaps when you were a child. Innerspring mattresses are cheap, readily available, lightweight and easy to move around. The innerspring system is topped with fabric and can be quite bouncy. Innerspring mattresses may not be as durable as some newer styles. 

Memory Foam Mattresses 

Memory foam mattresses range in price and are much less bouncy than innerspring mattresses. What to know when buying a memory foam mattress is that they sleep hot and create sinkholes. This is due to the viscoelastic chemicals that are used in memory foam mattress construction. A memory foam mattress could be a reasonable short term option as they are widely available and some can be under $200.  

Latex Mattresses 

Latex mattresses may use synthetic latex or natural latex made from the sap of rubber trees. Natural Talalay latex, in particular, makes an ideal mattress material due to its natural bounce, durability, and temperate-neutral properties. While memory foam conforms to the body and allows you to sink deep into the mattress, Talalay latex offers subtle contouring that cushions bones and joints without allowing sinkage that misaligns your spine as you sleep. Natural latex mattresses have a few drawbacks, including a higher sticker price than most foam or innerspring models. Latex also weighs more than other mattress materials, making latex beds harder to move.

Hybrid Mattresses 

If you enjoy an innerspring mattress but want a more comfortable top layer, a hybrid mattress could be for you. The base of a hybrid is an innerspring system topped with foam or latex. The spring system could offer more breathability than an all-memory foam mattress. But, as some hybrids contain memory foam, they may sleep hot and create sinkholes at the hips and shoulders, despite the circulation an innerspring system can allow. 

AirFoam™ Mattresses  

AirFoam™ mattresses are 100% temperature neutral and sleep cool because they don’t retain heat. Your body heat is pulled away from the mattress surface and released through the lower levels of foam, keeping you cool all night. AirFoam™mattresses are pressure relieving so your sensitive shoulder and hip areas are gently supported, NO hard pushback and NO sinking creates a comfortable, supportive, and cooling sleep at an affordable price that is built to last.   

Which bed height is best for you? Find out, here

Knowing your sleep position can help you determine which mattress type is best for you

Not Knowing Your Sleep Position 

Knowing your sleep position can help you determine which mattress type is best for you. Watch how you're positioned when you wake up in the morning as this is usually your default sleep style. Most mattresses are made to suit all sleep styles as this allows the manufacturer to cover a wide ranging customer base. But, this simply means that the retailer is not interested in helping you find the best mattress for your needs. 

Take AirFoam™ for instance, AirFoam™ mattresses are made for side sleepers and as such, provide superior pressure relief to the shoulder and hip areas, as these require a special targeted support. While back, stomach, and combi sleepers will feel comfortable on Airfoam™, side sleepers will especially appreciate the gentle support on the hips and shoulders. 

A one-size-fits-all mattress could disappoint you, be too firm, too soft, too bouncy, or noisy. Therefore, knowing your sleep style is a good place to start. Most people have two sleep positions a lesser and major, you’ll typically fall asleep on your lesser position and wake up on your major position, or gravitate between the two.  

Pro Tip: According to The Better Sleep Council about 69% of people sleep on their side, only 13% on their back and a mere 7% on their stomach. Sleep specialists recommend sleeping on the side with a slightly elevated head position as the healthiest of all sleep positions.

Not Sticking to a Set Budget 

Buying a new mattress is stressful enough without the added pressure of going over budget. As mattress prices vary from $100 to $1,000s, check your budget carefully and shop online so you’re not pressured into overspending by a pushy salesperson at a physical store. 

Higher Price Does Not Always Equal Quality 

One of the most valuable mattress buying tips around is to not equate price with quality. There are many insanely expensive mattresses out there that are sub-par quality. Ensure your mattress is made of quality materials and has been through rigorous testing to ensure durability. High quality can be found at a reasonable price.   

Overspending on the Foundation

Unless you’re upgrading to an adjustable base, you can save money on a foundation by using your current bed base, or use wooden pallets (if you’re feeling crafty). You could buy a second-hand bed base, or search for a sale item.  

Believing That Firm Mattress Are Always the Best 

It is a long standing fallacy that a firm mattress is always best, especially for those with back pain. With thanks to modern research and science techniques, we have discovered that pressure relief is what matters most in a quality mattress. Pressure relief is universal to all sleep styles, body shapes, and weights. If you enjoy a firmer feeling mattress but crave pressure relieving softness, opt for a 7-8 medium firm mattress. 

Learn more about mattress firmness scales, here

Trying out your mattress in-store ONLY is a surefire way to end up with the wrong mattress

Relying on an In-Store Trial ONLY 

Trying out your mattress in-store ONLY is a surefire way to end up with the wrong mattress.

The only proven way to assess whether a mattress is right for you or not is to sleep on it. You cannot evaluate a mattress in a showroom by just laying down on it for a few minutes while a sales person stands over you! So how can I sleep on the mattress before buying it from the mattress store? The sad truth is that you can’t.

Instead, we recommend that you include into your budget the fees for returning the mattress. Doing so will allow you to buy the mattress in the store and then pay the $199 return fee if the mattress is not perfect for you. Yes, you’ll lose the $199 but it’s better than having to cope with a bad mattress for the next ten years. 

A better option is to shop online and enjoy a trial, with free delivery and easy returns. 

Pro Tip: You can try our Nolah mattress for 120 nights before making your final judgment. Returns are easy and hassle-free should you against expectations not love your Nolah mattress.

Paying a Full Sticker Price in the Mattress Store 

Never pay full sticker price in the mattress store! Period.

The full retail prices in mattress stores appear to be discounted but look closely and you’ll see a mattress listed at $5,000 in a retail store and sold with 50% discount at $2.500 is still way overpriced, but it looks good with a discount of 50%/$2,500 when in reality, it's not.

Because the starting point of $5,000 is so outrageously high, the discounted price of $2,500 suddenly looks attractive. This is the whole idea and it's a well known mattress store marketing gimmick designed specifically to get you, the consumer, to pay more for your mattress. So please don’t fall for it, you’ll end up overpaying tremendously for your mattress.

Pro Tip: Our Original 10 Nolah mattresses is $549 for a Twin and $1,099 for a King/Cal King. 

Not Searching for Your New Mattress Online 

Today, you no longer have to buy your mattress in a mattress store. You can buy it conveniently online from companies like Nolah that offer risk-free trial periods for you to sleep on the mattress before making your final decision. Shipping is free and and Return are easy and hassle-free if you find your new mattress unsuitable. 

Pro Tip: Nolah offers a 120 night trial period, with free shipping and easy returns. We’ll send a driver to pick up your Nolah mattress if you don’t love it. 

Buying a Mattress Without Checking the Warranty and Return Policies 

What to know when buying a mattress, either online or from a physical store, is to be clear on the store's return policy and warranty. If the store wants to charge you for a return, or offers a warranty of less than 10-years, avoid this company. Standard practice for online mattress retailers is to give a minimum of 10-year warranty and easy returns should you change your mind. 

Buying a Mattress Before Reading Real Customer Reviews 

When figuring out how to choose a mattress, some online research can help. Reading the experiences of genuine customers can put your mind at ease. Have a look at Facebook groups, give a shout out to friends and family for their advice, and check out these AirFoam™ reviews if you’re considering a Nolah mattress. 

Reading Too Many Mattress Affiliate Reviews 

Affiliate reviews can take many shapes and forms, be confusing, and give misleading information. Do your best to source expert reviews from trusted sources. These are sleep experts who make it their business give honest mattress reviews. They live for good quality sleep and want to help you find a mattress within your budget that is comfortable and durable.   


What to know when buying a mattress falls into many categories but durability and price are typically the first two things people look for. Buying a new mattress from a reputable online retailer saves you time, money, and hassle. You get to enjoy a minimum 100-night trial, with free delivery and easy returns. 

Compare and Shop Nolah's Premium Mattresses