How much should you spend on a mattress? Experts offer their advice

Is an expensive mattress a sign of good quality? Sleep experts have their say

A Close up on the corner of a new mattress
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Mattress prices vary depending on brand, size, and type, so just how much should you spend on a mattress? And are high prices really a sign of high quality? 

Trying to find the best mattress is one of life's more complicated chores, especially when some luxury or larger options can cost upwards of $1,000. A good mattress can help us sleep better, but fluctuating prices make it hard to figure out which mattresses are quality.

Here, sleep experts have shared their thoughts on how much you should be spending on a mattress and whether or not you need to splurge on the most expensive model. 

How much should you spend on a mattress?

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While there are no straightforward answers to exactly how much you should be spending on a mattress, there are multiple factors that may help make buying a mattress a little simpler. Understanding the different types of mattresses, the size you need, and the firmness you prefer can all help you to set a budget, and avoid common mattress-buying mistakes

‘When choosing a new mattress, it’s more important to focus on finding one that suits your needs and ensures a great night’s sleep, as opposed to focusing on the price,’ says Theresa Schnorbach, a sleep scientist at Emma – The Sleep Company. ‘After all, you spend around a third of your life sleeping. At Emma, we believe a great night’s sleep should be accessible to everyone, which is why we offer a range of products at a range of price points.’ 

sleep expert Theresa Schnorbach from Emma
Theresa Schnorbach

Theresa Schnorbach is a psychologist and sleep scientist, specializing in Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Neuropsychology. She has completed post-graduate training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) with the German Sleep Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schlafforschung und Schlafmedizin (DGSM), endorsed by the European Research Society.

The average cost of a mattress

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One of the main things you should know before buying a mattress and setting your budget is the average price. ‘At the low end, the average cost of a mattress can start at $850 and escalate from there,’ Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT, President and Clinical Sleep Educator at Valley Sleep Center begins. ‘Mattress clearance stores sometimes put mattresses on sale for much less than that – imagine a queen or king mattress going for $500 or even less. But buyers beware. These mattresses may be upcycled, meaning restuffed and rethreaded, and sold as “new”.

‘A new mattress can run anywhere from $500-$850 at the low end, to $2500 plus at the high end,’ Lauri continues. ‘Luxury mattresses have multiple layers of different materials. These expensive mattresses can also be made of high-density materials such as memory foam. You can find a good mattress for $1500-$2000. But keep comfort in mind,’ she adds. ‘I always spend more on mattresses and shoes – my back and my feet take me everywhere!’

Lauri
Lauri Leadley

Lauri is the founder and President of Valley Sleep Center, one of the largest independent sleep diagnostics centers in Arizona with the facilities to diagnose and treat a variety of sleep-related issues such as insomnia, sleepwalking, snoring, and more. The center has five locations in the Phoenix area including Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Glendale, and Phoenix. 

You should always avoid buying suspiciously cheap mattresses, however, Lauri warns. ‘Cheaper ones are thinner with just a few layers of material. Like most furniture, mattresses are expensive, and not something we expect or want to buy on a regular basis. They are easy to forget about once a purchase has been made. In fact, many people hold on to their mattresses long after the time to replace them has passed. Buy what you can afford – but buy new, with a warranty.’ 

There's no precise answer when it comes to how often you should change your mattress, but there are rules of thumb to follow. Flipping your mattress regularly helps keep it in top condition.

High prices don’t always mean high quality

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(Image credit: Tim D Coy Photography / Margaret Ash Design & Home)

As with buying furniture, a higher price usually equals higher quality and craftsmanship, Lauri Leadley of Valley Sleep Center explains. ‘Quality truly comes down to the material,’ she says. ‘The more layers, the thicker the mattress, and the greater the detail, however, the pricier it becomes.’

When choosing a mattress, it is important to consider not just the price, but what it offers you as a sleeper. The best mattress for side sleepers, for example, might not be right for someone who needs the best firm mattress, even if they are a similar price or contain similar compositions. At this point, it is wiser to test the mattresses and pick one based on comfort as opposed to picking the most expensive ones. You might find the slightly cheaper option is better for you.  

Leesa Original Mattress| was $1199, now $1,099 at Amazon

Leesa Original Mattress| was $1199, now $1,099 at Amazon
The Leesa Original offers the squishy feeling of a soft mattress it's pretty hard to beat and is perfect for al sleepers

There's more detail in our full Leesa Original Mattress review, as well as a rare nod of approval from our editor-in-chief. 

However, the price of a mattress may also increase with the size or type of the mattress too, not just the quality, Theresa Schnorbach of Emma adds. ‘Mattresses can vary in price as the result of many factors, so the price can not always be used as an indicator of quality. My recommendation is to find a mattress that fits your sleep needs, focusing on a mattress that promotes good spine alignment and distributes your weight evenly to ensure quality rest. 

‘Size, quality of materials, and complexity of how these materials are combined will have an impact on the cost of your mattress. Hybrid mattresses, for example, can often be more expensive than other mattresses as they combine coil springs and memory foam to help remove that feeling of “sinking in” that is part and parcel of a memory foam mattress.’ 

What you should look for in a new mattress

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Knowing what to look for in a new mattress can also help you to set a budget. ‘There are five things you should look for in a new mattress,’ Lauri explains. ‘Firstly, always opt for a newly manufactured mattress – not recycled or upcycled, then prioritize craftsmanship to ensure quality. Next, find what is comfortable for you before deciding on a price point,’ she says. 

‘Finally, always look for an excellent warranty. A good mattress should last you for eight to ten years, so while you should never need to rely on your warranty, it is good to have in case anything goes wrong prematurely.’ 

FAQs

Is it worth spending money on an expensive mattress?

The price of a mattress will partially be a sign of quality, but it is pointless buying an expensive mattress if you do not find it comfortable. Try to test mattresses without paying attention to the price first in order to develop an unbiased opinion on how the mattress feels to lay on and then consider your budget.

What is the lifespan of a good mattress?

‘You should plan to replace a quality mattress every eight to ten years,’ suggests Lauri Leadley, clinical sleep educator at Valley Sleep Center. ‘Knowing this may impact your buying decision and how much you spend.’ 

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.