The mattress store shopping guide

Mattress buyers guide
Woman lies on mattress in mattress store to try it out

Of course, we'd love for you to consider a Sherman mattress, but we know that when people start their research around buying a new mattress, some will want to go to a bricks-and-mortar mattress store and try some out.

This can be exhausting, confusing and not much fun! Whilst you're probably hoping to get in and out as fast as you can - a new mattress is a large investment so it's worth taking some time to make sure that your new mattress is right for you.

Here's our guide to shopping in the mattress stores, and the questions that you should be asking to cut through the confusion.

When you enter a typical mattress store, you’ll quickly be approached by a salesperson. Mattress store staff believe that when it comes to customers, no one is really “browsing” and no one can choose a mattress without assistance from them. The best thing that you can do is to ask the sales person to leave you be for a while so that you can actually browse.

Most stores organise their mattress choices in two ways:

Lowest price to highest price

Softest mattresses to the firmest mattresses

If organised by price, simply find this row of mattresses that are in the price range that you’re comfortable with and start there.

If organised by feel, you’ll need to lie down on a few mattresses to see if you instantly like the softness or firmness. Once you find one that feels about right (like Goldilocks did), stick to the three of four mattresses grouped around that one.

From there, you’ll have some questions. There’s a chance that the display material will answer some of these questions for you, if not you’ll have to find that salesperson (who is probably lurking nearby anyway).


Question 1. "What type of mattress is this?"

Here’s where the salesperson might start throwing a lot of jargon into the conversation. You can cut through all of this by asking them to give you a straight answer to this question: "What is it that provides the foundational support in the mattress?"

All mattresses will fall into one of these categories: Solid foam or Innerspring (Bonnell coil, Continuous coil, LFK or Offset coil or Pocket spring).

Our article about mattress types here will help you to figure out which type suits you. Once you’ve decided on the mattress type, ask the salesperson to show you only that type.


Question 2. "What type of foam is used in this mattress?"

Ask the sales person for the types of foam in the comfort layers of the mattress.

All mattresses will have one, or a combination of these foams: Normal polyurethane foam (Density rating should be between 10 and 38), Memory foam (Density rating should be between 35 and 55) or Latex (Density rating should be between 45 and 60). Don't accept something vague like "oh, this is a cross between memory foam and latex". All bedding foams fall into one of the 3 above, nothing else!

Ask the salesperson the thickness of each of the separate layers of foam. Ideally you are looking for no more than 4 layers. Any of the layers should be at least 20mm thick to have an impact on your comfort.

Ask the salesperson what is the density rating of each of those layers. The number should be anywhere between 10 and 60 (indicating that the density of the foam per cubic meter is between 10kg and 60kg). The lower the rating, the worse the quality. Don't accept an answer like "We can't tell you that" - this is crucial information to know, otherwise you are buying blind! These metrics are crucial to objectively compare mattresses and work out whether the price of the mattress is good value. Read our article about foam grades and layers here.

Ideally, these foam grades will be published somewhere. This will stop the salesperson from rattling off a list of fictional metrics. Also, ignore the fancy, made-up names that companies give foams to make them sound more impressive, like "Techno-soft Feather Cell" or "Future Cloud Royale". These are completely meaningless, they are just marketing spin designed to hide the information that you are entitled to know.


Question 3. "What else do you have like this one?"

Ask to see another mattress with the same foundational support (ie: Pocket spring) and comparable foams. Don’t let the sales person tell you that the mattress you like is unique. There will be several others in the store that have similar specifications. This will give you something to compare price-wise.


Question 4. "What is this mattress called in other stores?"

If the mattress that you like is made by any of the three large Australian manufacturers, then the same specifications will be available in other stores - under another name. The sales person will be reluctant to share this with you, but at least you’ll be armed with the specifications. Take these to the other big-brand mattress stores and you will probably find the duplicates of the mattress that you want to buy, with very different price tags.


Question 5. "Is the mattress available now?"

You may be surprised to know that most of the big-brand bedding stores don't hold any stock, this is the true example of a "middle man". They will place the order for your mattress with the manufacturer once you've left a deposit, and this could mean that you will be waiting for weeks for that mattress to be ready to deliver.

If you're needing a new mattress quickly, you'll save yourself a lot of time by only looking at the mattresses that the store has ready to deliver in the back room.


Question 6. "What is the delivery fee?"

You would think that when you spend a considerable amount of money, the mattress store would happily deliver it to your home for free. However, not all stores have their own truck and delivery staff so they might not be able to organise delivery for you without a hefty charge.

Any mattress that is larger than a double size will be difficult to transport without a small truck or van so getting it home yourself might be out of the question.

These days, with the advent of "Airtasker" and other sites enabling you to book jobs online, you can probably find someone experienced in delivering bulky goods who will be able to deliver the mattress for you. In fact, a lot of mattress stores will just book a delivery this way, and then inflate the price to make a cut on the delivery charge.


Question 7. "What about the warranty?"

How long is the warranty term and what exactly does it cover? Who deals with my complaint if I have an issue?

Read the reviews of the big brand mattresses and a common complaint is from people who had an issue with the mattress but couldn’t get any help from the retailer or the manufacturer. Ask the salesperson if the store handles any warranty claims or do they fob customers off to the manufacturer?

If you ever have an issue, it is much easier to know that the person who sold you the mattress will be the one who deals with your complaint.


Question 8. "Can I return the mattress if I don't like it?"

Trying a mattress in a store for 5 minutes can never compare to spending a couple of nights sleeping on that mattress. It is extremely common for shoppers to find that the mattress is too firm or too soft after sleeping on it, even though it felt terrific when they tried it in the store.

You’ll need to know the exact terms and conditions of the store’s return policy before you buy. Will the store give you a refund or just an exchange? Is there a return fee? Is there a pick up fee? How long do I have to sleep on the mattress before I can return it?


We are here to help! One of our core values is to help all Australian’s to sleep better, whether that is on a Sherman mattress, or not.

We hope this guide makes it easier for you to find your perfect mattress. If not, our Customer Care team love answering mattress questions!

Call us 7 days a week on 1300 982 325 or email us at

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