Though these days pretty much all of our transactions occur online, from the weekly shop to a week in the sun, there’s something about the purchase of a new mattress that feels folly not to be made in person. Of course, comfort is a very personal thing, with views widely, wildly ranging about the perfect level of firmness, sink, support and the rest. A try before you buy mentality, then, is of course understandable. But buying your next mattress online isn’t as naive as it might first appear to be, as long as you go into the process well informed and savvy. We’re here to help with that; our IDEAL guide to buying a mattress online.

A GREATER VARIETY OF CHOICE

Without question, the laptop triumphs over even the most extensive real-life shop where mattresses and level of choice are concerned. Sure, aesthetics and comfort are tough to judge at a distance or through a screen, but a website helps make a much broader (and more precise) comparison between the different materials, sizes and extra accessories you might need. Though you may have gone into the process sceptical, it’s likely you’ll find yourself a little spoiled for choice once you get going.

THE ALL IMPORTANT TEST RUN

Of course, you’ll never know for certain if a mattress is right for you until you have actually slept in it yourself. But you won’t be able to catch a decent eight hours in the shop either, meaning buying one online isn’t actually as much of a handicap in this department as you’d first assume. A solid (not too solid, not too yielding, in our view) first impression is easier to make face to face (or should that be back to front?) with the mattress though. Online shopping retailers of mattresses have found a way to negate this, by offering the option to return your purchase within a set amount of time, free of charge, should you not be satisfied with the quality of your sleep. So, it’s important to ask yourself; how much do you value first impressions versus a genuine test run?

THE PROS & CONS OF AUTONOMY

A mattress if a proper investment, and as such, in the environment of a shop, you might feel a little under pressure to seal the deal before you’ve properly thought through your purchase. Everyone finds their ideal mattress at their own pace and you don’t want to end up in a scenario where you feel like you’re under pressure to make a purchase there and then.

Of course, the flipside is that those staff in store are trained to offer valuable advice which you’ll otherwise be lacking. Unless you have a friend or family member who is well-versed when it comes to mattress shopping, you aren’t going to know for certain whether your chosen mattress will fit all of your requirements, whereas a salesperson on hand to make some helpful recommendations is invaluable.

As a general rule of thumb though, when buying a mattress you should first consider the type you’re looking at. From sprung mattresses to memory foam, there are a variety of materials available that offer differing levels of support for your back. Firmness is also crucial. It’s a commonly held belief that the firmer the mattress, the better it is for your back. This is not necessarily true, but it’s important that you choose a mattress that is firm enough to ensure the spine remains properly aligned while you sleep. And comfort, of course, is king. You need to find a mattress comfortable enough to promote restful sleep.

DON’T SLEEP ON A BARGAIN

If you buy a mattress in-store, you’ll have to go with the prices that are on offer, unless you happen to be skilled in the art of haggling and the shop is susceptible to such practices. Unlikely, we think. Online, price comparison and discount hunting is certainly easier, though you’ll have to dedicate a fair amount of your time to the process if you’re to unearth a true bargain.

THE WAITING GAME

Of course, once you’ve decided to invest in a new mattress, taken the time to do thorough, diligent research, and clicked the ‘buy now’ button, you’ll be itching to get rid of the old one and embrace a better night’s sleep. The ideal solution would be to hand it over to the helpful guys bringing in your new mattress, which is the likely arrangement if you make an in-store purchase. Online orders often don’t offer much in the way of a trade-off though, meaning you’ll likely have to find your own way of disposing of your old mattress. Perhaps that’s why many a London street seems to have a stained, broken one nestled on its corner.

Ultimately, going the online route pretty much leaves you to your own devices, for better and for worse. You’ll be able to move at your own pace and make a more varied choice in your mattress. However, that depends on how much you feel you need that informed opinion and whether you can get it elsewhere. So, if you feel you have all the information you need, click here for the best mattress sales.