Woman lays face down on a mattress

How to test a mattress before buying

So what is it that you don’t like about mattress testing? That it’s a bit weird lying on a bed in your coat and shoes? That you have a salesperson hovering around watching you? Perhaps you don’t like the idea of a stranger telling you what mattress you should or shouldn’t like.

Read on for our top tips on how to test a mattress before buying. 

1. Choose a quiet time to test a mattress in the store 

Nothing is worse than mattress testing in a store packed full of people. For a hassle-free time, try and pick a quiet time of day – either midweek, when the shop is quieter, or first thing on a Sunday morning when everyone else is still in bed!

By going at an obscure time, you’ll avoid the crowds, and fewer people will be there to watch you testing out the mattresses.

Two children try out a mattress in a showroom

2. Don’t do any reading before mattress testing 

Avoid doing extensive research until you’ve tested out a few mattresses; otherwise, you’ll be swayed by what you think you’re supposed to like – or what the latest influencer bought.

Reading too many mattress reviews can only confuse you. Just because someone else loves a mattress doesn’t mean you will.

The best way to know which mattress is right for you is to test them for comfort and support. If you hate it, move on; if you love it, make sure you ask what it’s called and make a note of the mattress brand!

That doesn’t mean it’s not helpful to know the difference between the basic types of mattresses – like open coil vs pocket sprung. This will help you narrow your search before you set out. 

3. Remove your clothes (but not entirely) 

I don’t mean turn up in your PJs (although nothing is stopping you). But don’t expect to lie down on a mattress in your coat, scarf and hat and still be able to feel it under all those clothes.

The same goes for your shoes. When do we ever sleep in shoes? Unless maybe you’ve had a few too many at the local pub (and even then, I’m sure you’d remember to take them off). 

When testing a mattress in-store, you won’t get anything out of it if you are dressed for snow and rain. Although taking your shoes off may feel weird initially, it can make a big difference.  

Woman feels the pressure of a mattress

4. Lie down as you would normally

Almost everyone visiting our showroom lies down completely straight like a pencil to begin. I get why because lying in your natural sleep position (like a starfish) feels uncomfortable in a shop, but this is the best way to test a mattress. 

You’ll be lying on this mattress for the next ten years, so make sure you’re testing it under real-world conditions – in other words, how you would sleep in real life. We actively encourage it at Furl. 

5. Don’t rush your mattress testing

As embarrassing as it may be, it takes time to find the right mattress. It’s okay to walk into a shop and not like any of the beds there. It’s also okay not to want to spend £3,000 on a mattress.

Remember, cost doesn’t determine mattress quality. The best mattress feels right for you. The only way to find the right one is to try them. The more testing you do, the less awkward it will feel.

Couple testing out a mattress in a showroom

6. Go with your sleep partner

If you share a bed with someone, then try out mattresses together. This is important for getting a grip on how much movement transfers across the mattress when one of you rolls over or gets out of bed. 

You’ll get a feel for how well a mattress can cope by laying on opposite sides of the bed and noticing how much of your partner’s movements you can feel.

Some mattresses are better than others at minimising movement, but the proof is in the testing. You’re more likely to feel the rise and fall of the bed with an open coil system mattress than with a pocket-sprung or memory foam mattress.

What if you’re buying a mattress online? 

If you’re considering buying a mattress that you’ve found online and the retailer doesn’t have a showroom you can visit, then check out the returns policy. Many companies offer trial periods for up to 100 days on their mattresses.

Some will let you return the mattress after a trial period if you’re not happy with it. Of course, this is not practical if it’s your first time trying a mattress because it could take a long time to figure out what you like and don’t like.

We recommend starting with a brick-and-mortar store to narrow your search before ordering online. 

How to test a mattress – the bottom line

When it comes to mattress testing, there are some dos and don’ts that we think you might find helpful. 

  • DO take off your coat and shoes and wear something light so you can feel the mattress. 
  • DO keep an open mind and don’t be influenced by other people’s likes and dislikes. 
  • DO lay in your natural sleeping position to test the mattresses on offer in-store.
  • DON’T visit the store at peak visitor times if you’re self-conscious about trying the mattresses. 
  • DON’T do extensive research before you go. Knowing the basic types of mattresses is all you need. 

On average, a quality mattress lasts between seven and ten years, so this is a buying decision you’ll have to live with for a long time. Investing time and effort in picking out the right mattress will pay off in the future.