Differences Between A Mattress In A Box & Traditional In-Store Mattresses

Differences Between A Mattress In A Box & Traditional In-Store Mattresses

When it comes to buying a mattress, there are now more options than ever. It was not too long ago when you would need to take a trip to your local bed retailer and test the mattresses out yourself before making a purchase. Nowadays, though, you can bypass the retail store – and, in fact, stay right at home while you order a mattress that suits your sleeping preferences perfectly.

There are plus points and negative points to both in-store mattresses and bed in a box mattresses. There is no “good” or “bad” option of the two, and your final decision will probably just come down to your own personal situation. But it certainly helps to know your stuff about both buying options before you settle on a mattress.


Douglas Mattress

This is where buying a mattress online comes out on top. Let us look at the scenario when you go to buy a mattress from a retail store. You will have to drive to the store, then walk around, checking out all the mattresses that are on offer. Some mattresses may not be too clearly presented, so you may not get a clear idea of how it would look and feel on your bed. You may be approached by a sales assistant, who distracts you, makes you feel pressured into a sale, or makes you feel so uncomfortable that you leave the store almost as soon as you have arrived.

You will probably end up rushing into making a mattress purchase right there and then. And then comes the next issue – taking your mattress home. You might need to attach it to your vehicle’s roof, put it on a trailer, or arrange for someone with a suitable vehicle to come and pick the mattress up for you. The retailer may offer delivery, but this normally always comes at a cost.

In comparison, the mattress-buying experience online is a lot more convenient. You can shop from the comfort of your own home, taking as much time as you want. You do not need to leave the house, or even get dressed, to look at mattress options. With no pressure to purchase, you can take your time comparing one option against the next until you find one that is perfect for you. Then, when it comes to delivery, you can sit back and relax in the knowledge that the online retailer is handling it for you. Delivery within your area in Canada is usually free, providing you purchase from a Canadian retailer. All you will need to do is get your mattress upstairs to your bedroom, which you can easily do with the help of another person.

Cost And Returns

Generally speaking, online retailers price their mattresses at a lower cost than physical stores. This is most likely because you can not actually visit a store to test the mattress – although you can still technically test it with a sleep trial (more on this below). Whatever the reason, this works out well if you are looking to buy a good quality product for a fraction of the price of a similar in-store design.

As mentioned above, nine times out of ten, delivery is also free from an online retailer. For a good quality memory foam mattress in Canada, you can expect to pay between $599 and $1500, depending on the size of the mattress you opt for. You may need to pay 10 or 20 percent more on a very similar mattress when you buy it from a retail store. So, online retailers generally offer a better value for money for their bed in a box mattresses.

With that said, in some instances, you may be able to negotiate a price with a retailer in-store. This is a handy way to knock the price off a mattress and make it worth paying for. In-store retailers also have the advantage of hosting sales, such as when they are looking to get rid of old stock to make space for new, which is a great way to pick up a good-quality mattress at a bargain discount price. Looking at returns, as we have mentioned briefly earlier, online retailers are a lot more generous with money-back, return and replacement schemes. Manufacturers that exists solely online know that they need to build your trust, which means offering a lengthy returns policy – usually between 100 and 120 days after the mattress arrives at your home – for your peace of mind when you make a purchase.

If you do decide to send your mattress back, providing you are still within your initial sleep trial, you can do so. You might need to have slept on your mattress for at least 30 nights, the time most manufacturers say it will take to get used to a mattress before you can return it. The manufacturer will take it off your hands, then either donate it to local charities and community organizations or arrange for it to be recycled. You can rest assured that old, used mattresses are not just boxed up and re-sold.

In-store retailers generally offer much shorter return periods. You may also need to pay the cost of delivery to the manufacturer, or even pay a returns fee. It is worth checking the returns policy for a mattress in-store before you buy it. In many cases, retailers will not let you return your mattress if you have slept on it, as it will not be fit for re-sale.

Testing The Mattress

Testing The Mattress

Obviously, the clear advantage of buying a mattress from a retail store is that you have the opportunity to test it out before you make a purchase. Many retail stores have several bed frames in-store, which you can pop your mattress on and physically lie down on to test it out. This allows you to get a good idea about things like comfort, firmness, and motion isolation before you make a purchase.

However, testing a mattress in this fashion does not always mean you will enjoy the mattress once you bring it home. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between lying on a mattress for two minutes in the store, and lying on it night after night for hours on end. It is only when you start sleeping on your mattress that you will know for sure whether it is the right option for you.

This is where online mattress in a box companies in Canada have got something right. Though you can not try out the mattress before you purchase it – that would be pretty impossible over a computer screen – you can still technically try it out with a sleep trial.

All of the best Canadian manufacturers of online mattresses offer a 100 or 120-night sleep trial for their products. This allows you to sleep on your mattress for up to 120 nights, during which time you will be able to arrange to return the mattress for free – and get your money back – if you decide it is not for you. In this way, you have the time to adjust to the mattress, which can take up to 30 days, plus plenty more time to test the mattress out.
As most mattresses have a lifespan of 7 years, the free returns and refund option means you will not have lost out on a significant sum of money for something you do not like, but feel you have to make use of now you have it. While some in-store mattresses come with a sleep trial, the majority of them do not, so keep them in mind if you are not sure what type of mattress (spring, all foam, latex, hybrid etc.) you will enjoy the most.

Reviews And Professional Advice

Reviews And Professional Advice

In many cases, you will probably find it easier to get professional advice about a mattress when you are buying in-store. This is because you will be able to speak to a sales representative whose job it is to inform you about the mattress you are interested in. When buying online, however, you will usually still be able to speak to an online rep in the same way about a mattress, through a company’s live chat option. The only difference is that you will be speaking to the rep over the computer, rather than engaging in a face-to-face conversation.

Remember, though, that sales reps are employed to sell mattresses, which means they are unlikely to go into too much depth about the drawbacks of a mattress. This is the case whether you buy online or in-store.
Another way to collect information about a mattress, aside from reading a product listing online, is to check out reviews. You can find a whole sphere of professional mattress reviewers online, all of whom share their opinions about a wide range of the most popular mattresses. These people are experts in what they do – they have tested hundreds of mattresses over time, and use specific methods and techniques to give an accurate representation of how a mattress holds up when it comes to durability, edge support, motion isolation and more.

Mattress comparison sites cover a broad range of mattresses in their reviews, but they are more likely to focus on those that are only available online, as their opinions for these are more important to customers who can not physically try out the mattress before purchasing. This means you will find a lot more helpful third-party information about an online bed in a box than you will about a traditional in-store mattress. On the topic of reviews, you will also be able to read up on what other customers think about a mattress in the “Review” section of a product page. Of course, it is wise to take all reviews with a grain of salt, as customers are far from professional mattress testers. That said, if you begin to notice a trend in reviews, such as a complaint that keeps cropping up, keep this in mind when you consider making a purchase.

As you can view many in-store mattresses on the retailer’s website, you will still be able to check out reviews for pretty much any mattress you are interested in. However, as more people are making in-store purchases, not everyone is going to bother to visit the retailer’s website to make a review. This means you will most likely find a lot more reviews about an online bed in a box mattress than you will about an in-store mattress.



So, you have bought your mattress, and it has arrived at your home. Now comes set-up. Normally, buying from an in-store retailer will give you an advantage here, as the mattress will arrive as just that – a mattress. It will hopefully have a protective outer layer of plastic surrounding it, which you will just need to cut off before you lay the mattress flat on your bed frame.

Bed in a box mattresses, as the name suggests, work a little differently. In most cases, the mattress will arrive rolled up tightly and stored in a box. This means you will need to do a few simple things when it arrives.

First, you will need to get it upstairs and into your bedroom – which is a lot quicker and easier to do, as the mattress is in a box a fraction of its size. You will then need to open the box, slide the mattress out, and cut through the protective plastic. Once you have laid it out on your bed frame, you can unroll it, cut through the second plastic layer, and leave it to expand.

You can sleep on most bed in a box mattresses immediately, but it usually takes them three days to fully expand. This means you may not get the most comfortable sleep during this period. Also note that bed in a box mattresses may release an odour when you first take them out of the box, known as off-gassing. This is completely normal, and the gases will not harm you if you inhale them, but some people find the smell unpleasant. In most cases, the odour will dissipate completely after three days.

Value And Quality

Value And Quality
Endy Mattress

The quality of the mattress is unique to the manufacturer and the mattress itself, whether you buy it from an online retailer or in-store. Of course, for every beautifully designed, well-thought-out mattress, there is one that is equally badly constructed and poor in quality. Professional and customer reviews are usually a good place to look to get an idea about the value of a mattress.

When it comes to shopping in-store, if you make a spontaneous purchase, you may come to regret your decision. It is always wise to research a brand in detail before you buy a mattress from them – which you can do a lot more easily when you are shopping online. If you prefer to shop physically, just make sure you go away and research a manufacturer before returning to the store to go through with the purchase. This is a good idea in many ways; having a bit of time between your initial impression of the mattress and your second impression will help you to more clearly decide whether it is the right one for you.

If you are shopping online, do not rely solely on the manufacturer’s marketing material relating to the mattress. This is one of the risks of online shopping for a bed in a box mattress – being so won-over by a product’s marketing materials that you buy it without looking at third-party reviews. Remember that marketing materials are essentially taking on the role of a real-life salesperson in a store. Take in what you read, but look for what other people are saying, too.


The majority of in-store mattress retailers are not loyal to one particular mattress type or brand. If they were, it would greatly reduce selection for their customers, which would mean they would be missing out on sales while customers went elsewhere to look for the mattress type they were after – which is not ideal.

This means that many in-store retailers will have a wide range of mattresses, but only a small selection of each. As a result, they may be able to provide you with the mattress that you want, but perhaps they have sold out in your size. Even worse, if you are interested in a particularly popular mattress, the retailer might run out of stock before you can go ahead and buy it.

In some cases, in-store retailers may need to order a mattress in for you, and you will just need to wait for several days for the mattress to arrive. In others, they may simply tell you that they are out of stock, and will no longer be replenishing their supply. After all, showrooms only have a certain capacity, which limits just how many mattresses the retailer can store at one time.

Buying a mattress from an online store is an entirely different experience. Rarely, a retailer will ever go out of stock, and selection may be just as plentiful. However, if you are buying from a marketplace like Amazon, you could still experience an item being out of stock, as, like in-store retailers, Amazon can only hold a certain number of products at a certain time in its warehouses. With that said, if you are willing to wait it out, providing the mattress is not discontinued, it will most likely come back in stock after time.

James is a writer based in Ontario who has a background in IT. In his free time, he loves to travel, swim and make a positive difference in the world.
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