When is the best time to buy a mattress? A sleep editor investigates

Sleep and shopping experts advise the best time to buy a mattress, from major holidays to site-specific sales

(Image credit: Plushbeds)

A good mattress won't come cheap. It will cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to achieve the ideal balance of comfort and support. The average American might not have that kind of money lying around, especially not so soon after Christmas. 

Major holidays often mark the best time to buy a mattress, as sleep stores seek to entice shoppers with cut prices. You might have missed the Black Friday rush and the after-Christmas deals, but there's still time to shop: Presidents' Day discounts are just around the corner. With so much on sale for so little, it can be hard to find the real deals.

That's where I come in. As a shopping editor, I love a good bargain, but I'd never compromise quality for cost. As H&G's resident sleep writer, I know what makes the best mattress, as well as where to buy it. I've spoken with mattress makers and shopping experts to find out when to buy a mattress that will save you money and stand the test of time.

When are the major mattress sales periods?

Plushbeds Botanical Bliss mattress on a bed.

(Image credit: Plushbeds)

The best time to buy a mattress is often the best time to buy an air fryer, coffee maker, and vacuum cleaner, too – during a federal holiday, as home retailers and sleep stores drop deals and discounts to appeal to idle shoppers. 

You could make significant savings on big-ticket items, such as mattresses, in the MLK Day and Presidents' Day sales during the first few months of the year. You'll also find deep discounts on mattresses for Memorial Day and Independence Day, as we move from spring into summer.

But it's the end of the year from September through December that sees the biggest discounts. From Labor Day through to the new year, you'll see the best and biggest deals on mattresses across the widest range of stores.

With that said, you don't need to wait for a federal holiday to bag a mattress at a bargain price. If you already know the make and model of your dream mattress, you should keep an eye out for site-specific sales. While these discounts might not be as deep, you could still save a few hundred dollars on a mattress outside of the shopping season. You never know – you might get one of the best mattress protectors or the best mattress topper thrown in for free. 

When can you get the best deal on a mattress?

Sweetnight Prime Memory Foam Mattress on a bed.

(Image credit: Sweetnight)

There are plenty of opportunities to shop smart and save big on a new mattress when you take advantage of the seasonal sales. As for the best time to buy, it depends what you're looking for. I spoke to shopping expert David Bakke to get a sense of the difference in deals from season to season and store to store. 

For buyers on a budget, the best time to buy a mattress is in the first few months of the new year. 'The early springtime is when new mattresses hit the market,' explains David. Both major mattress stores and independent retailers will slash their prices to shift last season's stock. 'These older models aren't really that old,' assures David, and it's perfectly possible to get a good night's sleep on a great mattress in the clearance sales. If you're keen to consider options, I recommend shopping at Mattress Firm, which stocks thousands of premium mattresses at competitive prices. 

David believes that 'Black Friday is another great time to buy a mattress because, well, everything is on sale'. As part of the H&G eCommerce team, I covered Black Friday mattress sales, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. There were a few duds, but I found plenty of deep discounts and bundle deals: in particular at Plushbeds, where you could save more than $1,000 on the world's best luxury organic mattress, with sheets, pillows, and a mattress protector thrown in for free. 

Following Black Friday, your best bet is the after Christmas sales. David recommends holding out for a good deal. 'Although it might seem a little weird to shop for a mattress on New Year's Eve, remember this: the retailer or salesperson might be trying to hit their individual or store quota for the month, quarter, or year. You could get a steal if you negotiate effectively'. 

Headshot of David Bakke.
David Bakke

David has worked as a personal financial analyst for 18 years, offering assistance and advice to customers and consumers on how to save money on big-ticket items, such as mattresses. 

Are mattress sales even real?

Saatva Classic Mattress on a bed.

(Image credit: Saatva)

Are mattress sales real? That's the question our Head of eComms, Alex, was asking himself last Black Friday. Alex spends his days tracking product prices, and he found that a few of the biggest mattress brands barely changed their MSRPs. Instead, they sold their mattress 'on sale' at around the same price all year, and rarely, if ever, at the listed price.

Since an RRP isn't legally binding, it takes a lawsuit to prove if and when a mattress price has been mislabelled. Many mattress sales are 'real', in the legal sense of the word, but that doesn't mean they offer genuine value. 

Then, there's the issue of inventory management. 'Most mattress retailers need to make space for new products,' explains Michael, 'so they need to get rid of their older models.' In the best case scenario, this means 'huge discounts and great deals' for prospective shoppers. When you shop at less reputable retailers, however, you might get a low price on a poor product in a bid to shift stock. 

Headshot of Michael Gale.
Michael Gale

Michael is the VP of retail at Saatva, the smarter luxury sleep company, so he knows what makes a good mattress deal. He's been steeped in the world of sleep for more than four years, since he first joined Saatva.

Michael is quick to clarify that 'this does not apply to Saatva, which makes its mattresses to order for each customer'. If you have some cash to spare, and you're keen to invest in the best mattress to suit your sleep needs, you should consider going bespoke. These are a few of my favorite customizable mattress to suit every style of sleeper and size of budget.

When to buy a mattress FAQs

What do I need to know before buying a mattress?

There's no such thing as the best mattress, period − only the mattress that best suits your sleep needs. Since it's impossible to get the feel of a mattress from a picture, I've come up with a few top tips to assist online shoppers.

Most mattress retailers offer every size, from Twin to California King, and list their options clearly on their site. If you're shopping for a non-standard size, such as a Split King for couples or a Twin XL to suit taller teens, you should always check it's still in stock. 

Most people think they want a super-soft mattress. As a sleep editor, I know that such plush surfaces offer too much comfort and not enough support. Before you buy a mattress, it's important to consider your sleep style: whether you sleep on your front, back, or sides. While side sleepers might like a mattress with a bit of give to cushion their neck and shoulders, back and stomach sleepers should look for something firmer to maintain the natural alignment of their spine and keep from sinking in. 

If you suffer from night sweats or hot flashes, or you simply tend to run a little warm, then you're what I would call a 'hot sleeper'. You should opt for hybrid or innerspring mattresses, which offer more airflow than memory foam, or consider mattresses with cooling gels or covers. If you tend to sleep cold, and you appreciate a softer surface, then you might prefer a memory foam mattress. You could top it off with the best warm comforter to keep cozy.

How should I buy a mattress online?

On one level, it's easy. All you need to do is select your desired make, model, and size of mattress, hit 'add to cart' and wait a few weeks for delivery. If you're used to buying your mattress in store, in person, you might hesitate to make such a major purchase without ever seeing the product. 

Mattress sleep trials afford the opportunity to try before you buy. Under these policies, you can try out your mattress for as long as year before committing to the purchase. When you take advantage of sleep trials, you can test your mattress through several seasons to determine its comfort, cooling properties, and ultimate value for money. If you don't like it, you can return the mattress and get your money back. Just make sure to read the fine print: some mattress manufacturers offer shorter sleep trials, measured in weeks rather than months.  

Where should I buy a mattress?

The best places to buy a mattress are specialist sleep stores. While you could pick something up on the cheap from your average home retailer, it's unlikely to offer the right balance of comfort and support. 

Here at H&G, we think that Saatva makes the best mattress in the world. Each mattress is made to order in the USA, cutting down on warehouse costs and international tariffs to deliver a premium product for less. Casper make the best mattresses for hot sleepers, incorporating cooling technologies, as well as the natural airflow of innersprings. For buyers on a budget, I recommend shopping at Leesa, where there are regular sales on already affordable mattresses. 

Our verdict

With so many seasonal and site-specific sales, there are plenty of good times to buy a mattress. When is best depends on the sort of mattress you're searching for and the exact size of your budget. Casual shoppers should stick to federal holidays, while serious researchers could consider site-specific sales. If you want to get a real deal on a good mattress, you'll have to put the work in. I recommend scouring the specifications, checking the mattress warranty, and reading customer reviews to assess value for money.

Emilia Hitching
Sleep Editor

Emilia is our resident sleep writer. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the best bedding and spends her nights testing it out from the comfort of her own home – it's a dream job. Her quest to learn how to sleep better has taken her all around the world, from mattress factories in Arizona to sleep retreats in Scandinavia. Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford. She also worked on the other side of the aisle, writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky.