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7 Things You Should Know While Shopping for a Mattress

What to keep in mind when you buy your bedroom's biggest investment piece.

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Know when it’s time

The most important thing about choosing a mattress is making sure you’re doing it often enough. Sales associates might urge you to replace your mattress every five to seven years, but Michael Magnuson, CEO of goodbed.com, an independent mattress review website, told Good Housekeeping a good mattress should last at least eight to 10 years. Signs you might want to get shopping sooner than later include lumps or bumps (or worse, an imprint of your body), back pain, or coils you can feel with your hand. To make your mattress last longer, vacuum regularly to keep allergens at bay, flip or turn the mattress once a year, and invest in a padded mattress cover. Here’s how your mattress accumulates nearly 10 pounds of dead skin cells in its lifetime.

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Leave time to shop around

If you’re shopping for a new mattress ahead of a big move, we get it: You literally have no free time. But when it comes to an item that could affect your health and happiness for up to 10 years, it’s worth it to make the investment. Finding a mattress could take anywhere from one day to several weeks. And because mattresses vary from store to store—even if you’re looking at the same brand—you’ll probably want to hit up a few shops. This is the best month to buy a mattress—as well as 43 other household necessities.

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Do your research

Before you get to the store, read a few reviews online for brands that fit your price range. Websites like Consumer Reports are a great place to start, but so are the customer reviews on each seller’s website. See what peoples’ critiques are, and bring them up to the sales associate. Doing your research will also give you an idea of price points and general customer satisfaction. Don’t miss the telltale signs of a fake online review—which could skew your research.

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Test it out

And by “test,” we don’t mean to lie back for five seconds and hop off. If a mattress seems like a good fit, take your time with it. Spend at least five minutes on each side, as well as five minutes on your back and stomach. Don’t miss our insider’s guide to a deeper sleep.

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Consider the trial period

Some matress companies will let you test the matress for free for a month, while others will offer a full refund after a month if you’re not satisfied. But don’t live and die by the one-month trial period. One Consumer Reports survey found participants who took mattresses home for a month-long trial rarely changed the opinion they formed after the first night. Turns out, you’re first impression is probably right. These are the 32 retail scams you need to avoid.

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Read the return policy

You’ve tested the matress in the store, but it’s good to know that if you’re not satisfied with it after a few months, you can return it. Some retailers might sneak restocking fees into their return policy, or might have you ship the mattress back to the store on your own dime. Regardless, check how long the policy lasts and how much it would cost to use. These are the 10 genius ways to save big at Bed Bath & Beyond.

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Get that price down

All those seasonal mattress sales you see around Memorial Day Weekend and the Fourth of July? Try not to pay any higher than the rates you see on those days. “Many businesses, such as warehouse clubs, have fixed prices and won’t budge. But for retailers that do negotiate—particularly specialty chains—huge markups allow them to lower prices by 50 percent or more during their frequent sales,” writes Consumer Reports. “Our recommendation: Any time of year, insist on a sale price you’ve seen for the mattress you know you want, and don’t be afraid to walk out if you feel you’re getting a raw deal.” And if you can’t get that rate when you want it? Wait.