Buying a mattress online

You don’t need to try a mattress in a shop to get the right mattress. You don’t need to endure busy shopping centers and showrooms to get the right mattress. In fact, it is in your interests not to. This article will ensure you set off with the right criteria when searching for a new mattress online, making sure you know exactly what to look for and how to avoid costly mattress mistakes.

Origins Pocket spring 1500 mattress
Buying a bed from a retail store can leave you sorely out of pocket

You really don’t need to try a mattress in a showroom.

Don’t believe us? Let us explain.

It is a well known and accepted statistic that most people (80%) try out a mattress in a shop for less than two minutes.

This is not long enough at all. There is no better way of finding out if a mattress is suitable for you than to try it over at least 2 weeks in your home environment. Obviously, you do require the correct guidance and information before being presented with a list of ‘Suitable’ options, but getting this is so unlikely. You don’t need a showroom to buy a mattress, in fact, it’s in your best interests not to.

Here are three scenarios to explain exactly why.

1. Try a mattress it in a bed shop

After 2 mins of bouncing on and off mattresses, a salesperson tries to upsell you whatever has the biggest markup, you pick, get it home, find you don’t like it and then have to pay to return it or choose another from that store or the alternative. You’re limited by whatever ever they have and you always have to pay to rectify. Have you ever noticed that there are no specifics about the fillings, the grams per square meter or any other details?

The only way a salesperson can accurately recommend a suitable mattress model is by knowing, exactly, your height and weight. However, they hardly ever ask this question. Without this information there is no way to choose the correct spring tension, it’s just guesswork. The only other questions they will ask are what your budget is and how does this one feel?

Luxury mattress retailer
Retailers will never tell you the GSM of their mattress. If they did it would allow you to correctly compare them.

There is no way that in 2 minutes you’re going to get an accurate representation of how you will sleep on that mattress. Meaning you’re going to have to gamble and then get stuck in their tricky returns or exchange process.

2. Buying a bed in a box online

You may have seen the influx of ‘bed in a box’ sold online from different companies such as Simba, Eve and Casper. The issue with these mattresses that arrive boxed is that they are a one size fits all these companies only offer one model, no spring tension options just a few different foam options. There again is no consideration for your bodyweight or height. Most of them just state a ‘medium feel’ with a ‘softer sink’. So unless you’re the ideal weight for the foams contained within these beds you have no idea whether it will be suitable until you get it home.

Of course they won’t give you the exact data sheets of the foam making it impossible to know or compare to other mattresses. How frustrating!

Boxed mattress

We’ve written extensively about why you should approach these models with caution. A high-quality pocket spring mattress simply can’t be crushed and rolled like cheaper foam alternatives. It’s worthwhile also noting that boxed mattresses are nearly always one-sided. Which means they have a considerably shorter lifespan than a two-sided mattress as you can only ever sleep on side of them.

Boxed rolled mattresses are crushed then boxed. You need to let them unroll and return to shape when they arrive over time.

3. Buy a mattress online from John Ryan By Design

Let our friendly experts advise based on weight, height and your tension preference, using our in-depth knowledge of mattress upholstery and spring counts/tensions. Then your mattress is delivered and you have a 60 day love it or return it guarantee. If it is unsuitable you can either exchange for a different tension/model or return it free of charge. No ifs or buts. It is a risk-free option.

Artisan Bespoke
You should always match your weight to the spring tension then choose the comfort layer preferences such as soft, medium or firm

Your bodyweight should dictate what mattress is right for you. An 18 stone man needs support, an 8 stone woman doesn’t. So how on earth a mattress that is described as “medium” for example, be suitable for the individual requirements of these two people? Spring tensions change dependant on your weight and this is the first area you need to consider.

Spring TensionWire diameterWeight Range
Soft1.2mmUpto 8 stone
Medium1.4mm8-16 stone
Firm1.6mm16 stone plus
Extra Firm / Orthopaedic1.9mm20 stone plus

The next area to consider is how you want to comfort layers to feel and this is based on the fibres and layers on top of the spring unit. Our team can provide a number of options based on your height and weight to get your prefered feel.

What are you comparing these mattresses to? 

Usually, it is the mattress you already have at home. The one that you are looking to replace because it is worn out. Sales staff know this and they also know that anything they show you will infinitely be better than the one you are looking to replace.

In addition to this, the mattresses in the stores are new so will feel different again after they have bedded in. Any new mattress will also take a few weeks to fully get used to and then will bed in over time.  This is why mattress maintenance is vital to ensure that this bedding in is even across the mattress. 

So apart from physically seeing the mattress, the cover and whatnot, your not really trialling the mattress at all. You’re just going through the motions, the awkward lying fully clothed on a show bed, the sales patter about foams, NASA and such.artisan bespoke mattress

By all means, go and inspect the build quality and general feel of mattresses in showrooms but don’t expect them to be completely accurate and certainly don’t just buy the first bed that ‘feels alright’ as you may well regret it after the first few weeks of bedding in.

At John Ryan By Design we don’t have showrooms. We prefer having our small friendly team providing you with tailored recommendations based on your requirements. We don’t have huge overheads of retail stores and marketing campaigns. This means we can offer you significantly more for your money.

We have over 4,000 detailed Q&A’s on this site from people which is a great way to get a tailored recommendation or troubleshoot your existing mattress.

Top Tips for buying a mattress online

  1. Read our best tip about buying a mattress article to get a solid overview of the world of mattresses
  2. Understand how much to spend on a mattress
  3. Know your GSM timestable as its essential to know what those sumptuous layers actually mean
  4. Learn all about the upholstery, materials and foams before you start, there’s plenty to choose from so knowing which materials you’re more suited to will save you much time
  5. Take some advice from our small expert team, to help you cut through some of the sometimes endless detail


Being educated on how mattresses are built and what the established construction methods puts you in a much stronger position when choosing a new mattress. Unless you want to physically check the finish and detailing of the mattress, then spending weekends at busy shopping centres and retail outlets is really pointless. Unless those sales assistants can tell you the exact GSM, the spring gauge and explain how those components will work for you, which we guarantee they can not, you still have to wait until you get it home to properly try the mattress.

Why not get in touch with our small friendly team of experts for guidance on your new bed on 0161 437 4419?