A bed with a used mattress, blanket and pillows

Should I buy a used mattress?

March 19, 2009
Green LivingIn the Bedroom

Buying a used mattress requires a discerning eye and a thoughtful approach. Whether driven by budget constraints or a desire for sustainable consumption, buyers must navigate through a myriad of considerations to make an informed decision. In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the nuances of purchasing a used mattress, shedding light on the advantages, drawbacks, and essential factors to consider.

Unveiling the Age

The journey into purchasing a used mattress often begins with a seemingly inconsequential detail—the law label or tag. Despite its mundane appearance, this label harbors vital information, divulging the mattress’s original manufacturing date. Armed with this knowledge, buyers gain insight into the mattress’s age, a critical factor in assessing its potential longevity and value. However, while an older mattress may come at a lower price, it may also harbor hidden wear and tear that could compromise its comfort and durability over time.

Warranty Considerations

A crucial aspect influencing the decision-making process is the presence—or absence—of a warranty. Inquiring about the mattress’s warranty status is paramount, as it not only offers protection but also impacts the final cost. A mattress boasting a full warranty commands a higher price, reflecting added value and peace of mind for the buyer. Conversely, a lack of warranty may translate to a significant discount, enticing budget-conscious shoppers. Balancing these factors is essential in determining the true worth of the purchase, ensuring that buyers are adequately protected against unforeseen defects or issues.

Foot Traffic and Wear

One advantage often overlooked in the realm of mattress shopping is the impact of foot traffic on floor model mattresses. Unlike bustling retail environments, mattress and furniture stores typically experience low volume and minimal foot traffic. This translates to less wear and tear on display mattresses, making them a potentially attractive option for bargain hunters seeking quality at a reduced price. However, buyers should exercise caution and inspect the mattress thoroughly for any signs of wear, such as sagging or indentations, which may affect its comfort and longevity.

Variety and Limited Testing

Venturing into a mattress showroom reveals a cornucopia of options, ranging from traditional innerspring mattresses to innovative memory foam and all-natural latex varieties. However, the sheer variety also implies that not every mattress undergoes rigorous testing with each customer. Consequently, floor models may exhibit minimal wear and tear despite sporadic testing, offering buyers a pristine product at a discounted rate. Nevertheless, buyers should take the time to test the mattress thoroughly and ensure that it meets their comfort and support needs before making a purchase.

Model Changes and Inventory Management

Brand-name mattresses undergo periodic model changes, rendering floor models slightly outdated compared to their newer counterparts. Furthermore, retailers facing inventory shortages may swiftly sell off floor models to salvage a sale, anticipating restocking in the near future. Understanding these dynamics allows buyers to gauge the true value proposition of purchasing a floor model mattress. While an older model may come at a lower price, buyers should consider whether the savings outweigh the potential drawbacks of purchasing a slightly outdated mattress.

Testing Practices and Wear

Surprisingly, many customers forego the industry-recommended 15-minute test rest, with some even making purchases without trying the mattress at all. Consequently, demo models often exhibit minimal wear, despite their time on the showroom floor. Understanding these testing practices provides insight into the true condition of floor model mattresses, aiding buyers in their decision-making process. However, buyers should exercise caution and thoroughly inspect the mattress for any signs of wear or damage before making a purchase.

Seeking Assurance

In the face of uncertainty, it’s essential to trust one’s instincts and seek assurance from reliable sources. Seeking advice from friends, family members, or coworkers who have experience with the retailer can provide valuable insights. Additionally, consulting organizations like the Better Business Bureau can shed light on the retailer’s reputation and past customer experiences, aiding buyers in making an informed decision. By conducting thorough research and seeking assurance from trusted sources, buyers can proceed with confidence, knowing that they’ve made a well-informed decision.


Buying a used mattress requires careful consideration and thorough evaluation of various factors. While the allure of discounted floor models may be enticing, buyers must weigh the advantages against the potential drawbacks to make an informed decision. By considering factors such as age, warranty status, and testing practices, buyers can navigate the intricacies of purchasing a used mattress with confidence, ensuring a satisfactory investment that aligns with their needs and preferences.