A big box warehouse store like Costco may not be the first place you think of when looking for your new mattress. However, you can be certain that they are one of the largest retailers of mattresses in the World. Most of us know them, love them, and have a great deal of confidence in them, but does this make them the best place to buy a mattress? Can a store that sells everything be the perfect place to find and buy your dream bed? Should we be okay with simply pulling one off a shelf and spending one third of our life in it?
Just like a carpenter who must have the proper tools to do the job, when trying to get good sleep a mattress is the essential tool supplying us with proper support and comfort in the rejuvenation process for our bodies. Does Costco give us the necessary tools to accomplish the task at hand? Can you try it before you buy it? Can someone help us pick the right one? Is there someone that can explain the complicated details and differences? We don’t think so.
A Little Bit About Them
Costco does not make mattresses for themselves. They carry four recognizable brand names which include Spring Air, Sealy, Stearns and Foster. Stearns and Foster was recently acquired by Tempurpedic, a company who went through controversial antitrust concerns. The selection is limited and while you wouldn’t normally think of this as a problem with a store like Costco, we found that each line does not give consumers the kind of selection often found in a dedicated furniture or specialty mattress store. While their staff is usually helpful and friendly they are not equipped with the proper training that is typically needed in your quest for comfort, support, and a well rounded mattress educated.
The Rules for Picking the Right Mattress
Most will agree the three most important qualities when buying a new mattress is the need to be able to educate yourself with knowledge about the product, getting a fair value, and excellent customer service. A recognizable brand name doesn’t correlate to a better mattress. While many models are just fine, online reviews and comments are beginning to question the durability of these brand names. Select models are falling well short of prestigious brand name expectations. These same brand names are essentially the only choices shoppers will find in nationwide box stores. Our feelings? We found that equivalent models and, in some cases, superior mattresses can be found at independent small retailers for the same or less money with easy convenient delivery and installation.
Companies That Will Stand Behind What They Sell
We’ve researched Costco and are impressed in many areas, one of these being mattress returns. The company appears to have a good return policy because they make returns so easy. According to everything we studied, Costco will never accept a return beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. In the case of most mattresses, we are to assume this is 10 years. Mattress warranty complaints by themselves, if Googled, are often found to be less than stellar. Simply visit any mattress review site or forum like Sleep Like The Dead, What’s The Best Mattress, and the Mattress Underground. Please take note that warranties are often said to be very weak with little substance and excessively long. Because of such long warranties we have found that Costco’s policy is quite easy to abuse as we found many instances where mattresses were simply returned 2,3 and even 4 years later.
We found abuses of their policy in many mattress forums, among comments with one website flaunting, “The Costco Return policy 7 ways to make it work for you.” After reading such abuses we believe it will be the demise of the mattress Costco return policy one day, leaving buyers without the option of return. Abuses like the return of empty bottles of wine that gave the lady a headache, a package of opened underwear, a used chicken coop, and a broken 15-year old pressure washer are just such examples of abuse. Mattresses have been abused in the same manner and are far more expensive. We don’t believe Costco will take those kinds of losses for very long.
One feasible way the company may deal with such issues is the tracking of all your purchase returns. We also believe that if they think a customer is abusing their return policy, Costco could be more likely to flag an account or perhaps could even maintain their right to revoke a customer membership.
Novaform and Sleep Innovations are Costco’s private labeled mattress line which we are told is manufactured specifically for them. While having mattresses privately labeled for them sounds grandiose, there are some real drawbacks that could affect consumer’s durability, value and bottom line. Large retailers such as Costco have the power to have mattresses made as they wish. Being Costco has its advantages and because their forte is NOT building mattresses, we and many others think mattresses are built more to increase profits. Costco does not participate in production lines found in national retailers like furniture and mattress stores, giving them a line they can call their own. This has been documented time and time again in mattress review websites, forums, and magazines like Consumer Reports.
One example of the shortfall is the grade of a C+ Sleep found on Sleep Innovations / Novaform mattresses. They received an overall 77% owner satisfaction on Sleep Like the Dead Mattress Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons. According to them other websites mattress forums durability has been a consistent issue. The lesson here is to do your homework and compare.
As mentioned Costco doesn’t make mattresses themselves and they retail only a handful of lines …. The Novaform reviews consistently mentioned this as a problem, while potential drawbacks include possible durability issues, inadequate firmness options (especially for foam), and rather limited information on quality specifications that are very important.
Potential Drawbacks of Buying from Big Box Stores
Its difficult to test for proper pressure relief, spinal alignment, comfort, and other important considerations on a shelf or in the massive concrete isles of a warehouse. It simply is not conducive place for picking the right mattress.
Mattress professionals encourage a trial or test rest of a potential mattress and we agree. Take your time to lay on it. Feel how it contours. Make certain it supports your unique posture and gives you proper pressure relief. The reason is because you will be spending an average 6-8 hours a night on your new bed. You need to be certain it’s the right one. Boxstores are famous for not having demonstration models so buyer beware.
Returning a mattress
Returning your mattress is not easy. It’s big and bulky, heavy. Taking one back is not like returning a shirt that is the wrong size. We will just leave it at that and let your imagination fill in the rest of the hassles in returning such a heavy and large item like a mattress by yourself. We found no information that Costco offers a service that will pick it up and take it back for you. We did find instances where people paid someone to do it for them such as friends or moving companies which can be inconvenient and quite expensive. Coordinating the return and the refund was also described as awkward.
Understanding Complicated Specifications and Details
Look at and understand construction and know the pros and the cons. Best Mattress Brand.org listed these issues
- Below-average durability/longevity
- Difficulty moving on mattress
- Firmness consistency issues
- Above-average reports of off-gassing
- Quality information may be limited
Many people buy mattresses from Costco and are quite happy. The important thing to understand is there can be a few down sides and questions to consider; comfort, longevity, mattress education, and support. If you must return it remember this is not a letter you simply stick in your mailbox. The work and logistics of returning a mattress could be quite the task. Our personal feeling is this, don’t be surprised if you need a new mattress sooner than you expected and yes, while returns to Costco’s still seems to be a good viable option, laxness in the policy could one day shut this privilege down making your return more difficult or impossible.