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Why is Buying a Mattress So Difficult?

If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t shopped for a new mattress in at least a decade. Or if you’re reading this post, you might’ve started shopping and you’re quickly realizing just how overwhelming it is. You’re not alone; we’re going to explain why you’re confused and give some tips on how to avoid the rabbit hole.

It’s a big, important purchase.

This seems like common sense, but there are good reasons most shoppers take up to a year to make a decision and finally select a new bed. First, they’re expensive. Sticker shock is a real thing, and today’s beds have advanced to the point that they’re borrowing technology from NASA. That’s a true story. But today’s super-beds, while providing superior sleep, come at a steeper cost than the old steel and hay mats of yesteryear. The difference is justified too. You can still buy a basic steel coil mattress without much comfort for relatively little money. But after lying on the newer options, you won’t want to settle for less.

Secondly, sleep affects your whole life, so the stakes are high. You probably know how difficult it is to operate or think clearly after a bad night’s sleep. And if you’ve ever woken up with a sore neck or back, you know how even the simplest of tasks like driving a car can be a nightmare.

Lastly, mattresses should last about 10 years and you don’t want to make a decade-long mistake. That’s what first marriages are for. Kidding of course– if you’re still married to your high school sweetheart, then congratulations on beating the odds. But divorcing a mattress early is also an expensive mistake that we would all prefer to avoid.

They all look the same.

Seriously– the moment you step into a mattress store you’ll realize you’ve stumbled into a giant sea of white rectangles. What’s worse is if you start lying on all of them, not only will you waste an entire day, but you’ll be hard-pressed to even feel a difference after a while. It’s sort of like smelling too many perfumes in a row- they all start to stink. Avoid this by narrowing down your options before lying down. More on that at the end.

The industry floods the market with jargon.

What the heck does ultra-cushion-firm mean? How about luxury-euro-plush? Not sure? We’re not either, so don’t feel bad. But those are just a couple examples of the crazy comfort descriptions you’ll find on mattresses. If you start researching the various foam options and construction components, prepare to get even more confused. To top it off, none of the model names mean anything. Manufacturers often opt to name their mattresses something like a folk-art painting, calling them the “Haymeadow” collection or something equally as meaningless. Sherman’s developed a simple comfort rating system to measure all of the various Haymeadows and Sealillies on the exact same 1-10 scale. 1 is the firmest, 10 is the softest. We had to build our own machine to test them, but we wanted to ditch the jargon just as much as you do.

Processes and policies vary widely by store.

This is an important one, and you should do your homework before visiting a store. Some chains offer comfort exchanges, others make all sales final. Some offer free disposal of your old mattress, others expect you to get rid of it. Some give you the lowest price upfront, others mark their prices up and expect you to negotiate. By nature, buying a new mattress is a lot more complex than most everyday purchases, and hopefully, by now you’re convinced it’s worth spending a little extra time doing a bit of research. Never fear, it is possible to find the perfect mattress and get that deep, drooling night sleep your body so desperately craves.

So how do you make sure you get the right mattress?

  • Take your time trying them out. Don’t rush it - you should lay on a prospective mattress for at least 15 minutes to get a good feel for it.

  • Our team of helpful-but-not-pesky Sales Professionals are here to help explain all of the options and answer your questions.

  • Try a pressure mapping system. Some stores (Sherman’s is one of them) have pressure mapping systems that can help measure your body’s sleeping position to recommend the proper level of comfort and support. Ours takes less than 4 minutes and is absolutely free. Whatever result you get, you’ll narrow down your options to just a few beds.

Ready to shop? Browse our inventory here: You can also check out our other top mattress posts:


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