The beginner’s guide to Black Friday mattress shopping

A couple go mattress shopping and the woman lies on a white mattress with her arms outstretched
(Image credit: Getty)

The holiday shopping season is a good time to pick up a mattress for less than normal, so if you have been waiting to find a good price on the best mattress for your sleep needs, now is the time to buy. 

That’s because this year's Black Friday mattress deals have finally arrived (and we're tracking the Cyber Monday mattress sales too) and there are decent savings to choose from, with up to 50% off from leading sleep brands including Nectar, PlushBeds, Serta, Emma, DreamCloud, Saatva and more.

But choosing between these Black Friday deals can seem overwhelming at first, so where do you start? Right here, with our stress-free beginner’s guide to Black Friday mattress shopping. We’ve created it to help you find your dream bed with ease - and with the biggest possible discount.

So here’s what to keep in mind when shopping for a mattress during the Black Friday, beginning with two of our favourite offers so far...

Emma Original Mattress: Up to 45% off at Emma

Emma Original Mattress: Up to 45% off at Emma
You can save 40% in the US on this top-rated memory foam mattress, while in the UK you can save 45%. Emma is one of our top picks because it’s supportive and comfy for all sleeping positions, and this is a knock-out saving that we don’t expect to get any better this holiday season.

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress: Up to 45% off at Nectar

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress: Up to 45% off at Nectar
In the UK you can save 45% on any Nectar, while in the US you’ll save $100 and get up to $399 of free gifts when buying the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress. It's a strong choice for all-over pressure relief, but because the Nectar sleeps a little cooler than the Emma, it’s the better option for hot sleepers.

Black Friday mattress shopping: do's and dont's

  • Do buy from a trusted mattress brand or retailer
  • Don't buy a mattress if it comes without a trial period
  • Do check the warranty before buying to see what is covered
  • Don't just go for the cheapest option - it could be a false economy
  • Do factor in your sleep position and health needs when choosing

A man and a woman lie on a mattress, smiling at each other

(Image credit: Getty)

1. Know which type of mattress suits your needs

Memory foam mattresses are designed to provide pressure relief and a cradling effect on your body, where you sink slightly into the bed. This makes them a great choice for side sleepers who need extra cushioning around their hips, shoulders and knees. 

Innerspring mattresses combine coils with soft padding and are great for stomach sleepers. Latex is naturally cooling and bouncy, so these mattresses are fast to respond to changes in movement, making them ideal for combi sleepers and couples.

Hybrid mattresses combine springs with other materials such as memory foam, gel and latex. These suited all sleepers, especially back, stomach and combi sleepers. Memory foam tends to be the cheapest option, with latex at the priciest end. 

Below is a quick guide to mattresses and sleeping positions, and to learn more check out our feature on how to choose a mattress.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sleep positionMain pressure points affectedRecommended firmnessRecommended mattress type
SideShoulders, hips, kneesMediumLatex, memory foam, hybrid
FrontHead, shoulders, kneesMedium-firm, firmInnerspring, hybrid
BackHead, shoulder blades, sacrum, heels Medium-firm, firmHybrid, latex
CombinationAny of the aboveMediumLatex, memory foam

2. Get clued up on trusted mattress brands

Every manufacturer claims to make the best beds, but from our experience, a few brands stand apart from the rest. And for such an important health purchase you want to make sure that you’re buying from a trusted sleep brand.

What does that actually mean? We believe that a good mattress brand not only makes high quality beds that are built to last, but also asks a fair price for the build quality and sleep features. 

They should also offer a useful mattress trial period (100 nights is the average), a comprehensive warranty (10 years is the standard) and a clear returns policy that doesn’t make you jump through hoops. 

Man and woman move their double mattress

(Image credit: Getty UK)

You’ll also want strong customer service and plenty of ways to contact them before, during and after purchase. For expert shopping advice on some of the biggest mattress sales around, check out our following guides:

3. Don’t just go for the cheapest mattress

It can seem appealing to go for the cheapest option when you’re on a very tight budget. However, this is often a false economy for your bank balance and health. A cheap mattress won’t last long and it won’t support your body and sleep to the level you need. 

Chances are you’ll be looking for another mattress in a couple of Black Fridays’ time, so it pays to spend a little extra now and get a bed that will help you sleep better for several years to come.

Thankfully, the affordable mattress market is getting better each year, and that’s because innovative materials and various cooling and comfort technologies are trickling down from the higher-end beds. You’ll find a number of bed-in-a-box brands doing this, including Emma, Nectar, Zinus, Simba and DreamCloud. 

4. Buy a mattress that comes with a risk-free trial

With so many purchases being made online, how do you know whether a particular mattress will suit your body and sleep needs? Fortunately, most mattress manufacturers offer a risk-free trial period so that you can test your new bed at home and then return it if it isn’t right for you. 

You’ll need to make sure that the mattress is kept in good condition (use a mattress protector at all times). Provided you do this, you can return the mattress for a refund if you change your mind during the trial period.

Most manufacturers offer a trial of around 100 nights, although there are shorter and longer trials. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • 365 nights: Nectar, DreamCloud, Avocado
  • 180 nights: Saatva
  • 120 nights: Layla
  • 101 nights: GhostBed
  • 100 nights: Purple, Casper, Helix, Tuft & Needle, Cocoon by Sealy, Allswell, Zinus, AmeriSleep, Tempur-Pedic UK, Otty
  • 90 nights: Tempur-Pedic US

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress UK

The Nectar Mattress comes on a 365-night trial (Image credit: Nectar Sleep)

5. Look for money off and free gifts

The combination of money off and free gifts is the holy grail of mattress offers. Not only are you saving money, but you’re getting free bedding that would normally cost a fair amount to purchase separately. 

What free gifts should you expect? We’ve found that most brands offer a combination of products such as pillows, sheets sets and mattress protectors. Nectar, for example, even throws in a free Google Nest Hub 2nd Gen with sleep-sensing.

6. Let your sleep position lead the way

The right mattress for the way you sleep makes all the difference to how quickly you drift off, how often you wake up in the night, and how refreshed you feel in the morning. Back sleepers need a medium firm mattress to help keep the spine in alignment – hybrid mattresses are ideal here. 

Side sleepers usually need softer mattresses to provide pressure relief and nothing does the job better than memory foam. Stomach sleepers should look for a firm mattress to keep the hips and shoulders aligned. Combination sleepers should choose latex or hybrid models that provide medium firm support. 

Don’t panic – Black Friday isn’t the only sale

Not ready to buy yet or can’t find anything you like on Black Friday? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other opportunities to find cheap mattresses. Cyber Monday is just a few days after Black Friday, followed by Christmas and even the New Year sales. 

Beyond this, Memorial Day and Labor Day are great opportunities to buy a quality mattress at a cheaper price. Some of the top mattress brands also offer regular sales and bundle offers throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities to save.

That said, we’re now seeing some of the biggest discounts we’ve seen all year, so if you do need to buy now, we’d recommend checking out the following:

Jo Plumridge

Jo Plumridge is a freelance writer and photographer with over 20 years of experience writing for a variety of magazines, books and websites. She writes, perhaps unsurprisingly, about photography but also extensively on all things sleep and interior design related, alongside home and tech product reviews. She’s lived in the middle of a nature reserve in Botswana and written a guidebook to New Zealand, but now spends a lot of time trying to photograph the cats she and her husband foster for a local charity - without a doubt the most challenging subjects on earth!