How Do You Buy A Mattress Online?

How To Buy A Mattress Online - UK Guide (2024)

Last updated: 31.10.2023 Reading time: 2.5 Min.

We all love online shopping. 🛍

But how exactly do you buy a mattress online?

This may surprise you, but buying mattresses online is becoming more and more popular and beats heading into a brick-and-mortar retailer.

This makes sense, of course - it's faster, easier, and solves all your logistics problems.

But you may still have some questions about buying a mattress online, which we'll aim to address in this guide on how purchasing a mattress online even works.

So let's dive straight in.

How To Buy A Mattress Online

How to get started with your online mattress purchase

You need a new mattress.

Now what?

Do you spend hours - or even days - trekking from retailer to retailer, lying on a wide range of mattresses for a few minutes, talking to sales assistants, and leaving more confused than you were before you got started?

Or, do you simply head to your favourite mattress review website (that's us 😉), read a few guides, read some reviews, and choose your new mattress, knowing fully well that it's a risk-free purchase because all the mattresses come with money-back guarantees?

We'd choose the latter too.

But don't worry if you're still uncertain about the online buying process.

There are a few simple steps to buying a mattress online and we'll take you through all of them right here.

Step 1: Choose your mattress

This is probably the most complicated step.

But this is also where Sleep Hero comes to the rescue 🥳

We've created a whole guide to help you choose your perfect mattress, but here is a quick overview.

Decide on your budget

This is probably the most important, as you can't begin looking for a new mattress if you don't know how much you can afford to spend.

Don't forget that you want to enjoy your new mattress for a number of years, so it's worth investing in a high-quality mattress that will serve you well.

But, you don't necessarily have to invest in Tempur Sealy to receive a good-quality product.

Most of the bed-in-a-box mattresses we recommend are high-quality products at relatively affordable prices.

Decide which firmness level you want

Mattresses can be soft, medium-firm, or firm.

Firmness level is largely a matter of personal preference, and you can decide on the level of comfort you want to feel when you lie on your mattress.

Make sure, though, that your mattress offers good support and stability,

As a guideline, side sleepers and lighter-weight people can choose a softer mattress, while back sleepers, stomach sleeper, or larger builds should choose a firm mattress.

You can still opt for a firm mattress with a pillow top for extra comfort if you like that fluffy, sleeping-on-a-cloud feeling ☁️

Firmness according to sleeping position

Decide which mattress material to choose

There are dozens of different types of mattresses available.

The mattress materials we recommend most often include:

  • Memory foam mattresses, usually with a more stable, contoured cold foam base layer for ortho properties
  • Pocket sprung mattresses
  • Hybrid mattresses, usually with a memory foam comfort layer

There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to mattress composition, but the mattress material you choose will largely impact the characteristics of the mattress, including its firmness, comfort, motion isolation, and temperature regulation.

Memory foam mattresses, for example, offer great pressure relief and can help with back pain.

They are often recommended as orthopaedic mattresses.

Spring mattresses are generally more breathable and are better suited to heavier sweaters.

But there are many inferior spring mattresses out there.

As a guideline, avoid open coil mattresses and opt for pocket spring mattresses instead.

If choosing an organic, natural mattress is important to you, you may wish to opt for natural latex mattresses or mattresses made of coir or wool.

You can read up about different mattress materials in our best mattress guides.

Step 2: Order your mattress

Once you've chosen your mattress, you can order it at the click of a button.

But, make sure you've selected the right mattress size first!

UK mattress sizes

Most of the bed-in-a-box mattresses we recommend are available in all of the standard UK mattress sizes.

These include:

  • Small single mattresses
  • Single mattresses: 90 x 190 cm
  • Small double mattresses: 120 x 190 cm
  • Double mattresses: 135 x 190 cm
  • King-size mattresses: 150 x 200 cm
  • Super-king-size mattresses: 180 x 200 cm

But, some mattresses, especially the more premium ones, will only be available in the larger mattress sizes.

Finding an emperor bed is also a little bit more difficult, as very few online mattress brands offer emperor mattresses.

Luckily, we have a guide on the best emperor beds to help you.

Some online mattress brands will also offer custom sizes if you need an extra-length mattress, for example. This will affect the price and delivery conditions.

Our mattress size guide can help you choose the right size for you.

UK mattress sizes

Apply your coupon

If you have a discount code for your mattress, you can apply it upon checkout and your cart should automatically update to reflect the new price.

Sleep Hero can help you get the best discount codes for online purchases.

We have close relationships with many of the bed-in-a-box mattress brands and often know about discounts before they're published elsewhere.

We even have access to some Sleep Hero exclusive discount codes.

You can grab all the best coupon codes on our discounts page.

Double-check your order

Always double-check your order before making payment.

Things to look out for:

  • Make sure your discount code was applied.
  • Check that your address falls within the delivery areas (most mainland UK addresses will benefit from free delivery).
  • Check the delivery period.
  • Some mattress brands will allow you to select set delivery days/times or next-day delivery at an additional cost.

If you're happy with everything, simply click a button, make your payment, and, voila, your mattress will be on its way!

You'll receive an order confirmation via text message or e-mail (or both) immediately after ordering. You'll also be notified once your mattress has been shipped.

Delivery will usually take place within 2 - 10 business days, depending on the mattress brand and the mattress ordered.

Step 3: Receive & unpack your new mattress

Bed-in-a-box mattresses are delivered tightly rolled up in a vacuum-sealed bag and placed in a compact box 📦

These delivery boxes are small enough to fit through narrow passageways and staircases.

They are also designed to easily be handled by one person.

But, be careful:

Some mattresses can be quite heavy, and you may need help unpacking them.

The weight of a mattress is usually listed on the mattress's information page before you buy. We also list weights in our mattress reviews.

Your new mattress will usually be delivered to the front door of your building, but some online mattress brands give you the option of selecting a two-man delivery service, where the mattress will be carried to a room of your choice.

You'll need to select this option during the checkout process.

Often, they'll also unpack the mattress for you.

How do you unpack your new mattress?

Unpacking your new bed-in-a-box mattress is very simple.

Follow these steps:

  • Take your new mattress out of the box and place it directly on your bed frame. This will eliminate the hassle of having to move it later on.
  • Cut open the plastic wrapping and make sure not to damage your mattress (most mattress brands include a handy cutter).
  • Unfold your mattress and remove any additional wrapping.
  • Your mattress will expand automatically and return to its original shape and size.

Your mattress should begin expanding as soon as you remove the plastic wrapping, but may take a few hours to reach its full size.

There is no set bed frame you need to use for your bed-in-a-box mattress, and you can easily choose a slatted base or divan base, with or without a headboard.

Off-gassing is normal

Most bed-in-a-box mattresses emit a chemical smell when first unpacked.

This may be alarming but is actually completely normal.

Off-gassing is merely a side effect of the manufacturing and vacuum-seal process.

The smell will disappear within a few hours, but it can still be quite unpleasant.

We recommend that you unpack your new mattress in a well-ventilated room and let it air out until the smell disappears completely.

Your risk-free trial period begins with delivery

Don't forget that your risk-free trial period begins as soon as your mattress is delivered 🚛

Trial periods are one of the many reasons we love buying mattresses online.

We don't think that it's sufficient to try a mattress in-store under the scrutinising eyes of a sales assistant - or other shoppers!

After all, it may take your body a few weeks to get used to a new mattress, especially if your new mattress is very different to your old mattress.

Most bed-in-a-box mattress brands offer you a period of 30, 100, or 200 days to try the mattress in the comfort of your own home.

The Nectar mattress even comes with a 365-night trial period!

This really gives you the chance to see if the mattress is right for you.

And if you're not happy, you can simply return the mattress and get a full refund.

Trial periods

Step 4: Cover your new mattress

Once you've unpacked your new mattress and let it air for all smells to disappear, you can begin to make it feel like home.

While most mattresses sold online come with sleek designs, you still need to cover your mattress with bedding 🛌

This not only protects your mattress but also ensures that you can sleep comfortably.

Our recommended bedding and sleep accessories include:

  • A waterproof mattress protector to safeguard your new mattress from spills, stains, moisture, and bacteria.
  • A luxurious sheet to enhance your sleeping comfort.
  • Pillows (with pillow covers) to support your head and neck.
  • A duvet (with a duvet cover) to keep you warm and comfortable.

Optional extras may include a mattress topper (if your mattress is a bit too firm), a weighted blanket, or a quilt.

We've recommended a few of our favourites below:

Step 5: Relax and enjoy

This is our favourite step 😴

With your brand new mattress paid for, unpacked, and covered in beautiful bedding, there's nothing left to do other than lie back and enjoy.

Of course, you may still wish to assess your mattress and return it if you notice that it's not quite as comfortable as you'd hoped.

But, most bed-in-a-box mattresses have low return rates, so, hopefully, you'll be very happy with your purchase!

You may visit us at Sleep Hero again to help you make another purchasing decision when you're ready to buy a new bed frame, pillows, duvets, and more!

We have a whole guide on sleep accessories to help you with that!

Buying a mattress online really is easy and stress-free. Your dream mattress is literally only a few clicks away.



Editor & Certified Sleep Therapist

Nicky is an experienced writer and editor with numerous qualifications. As a certified sleep coach, her interests lie in understanding how sleep problems arise from hormonal and environmental issues, particularly as part of stress and anxiety management.

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