Why Are Mattresses So Expensive?

There's no getting around it – mattresses are expensive. But why? What makes them so much more costly than, say, a couch or a table? Is it just the cost of materials and manufacturing? Or is there something else at play here? In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at what goes into making a mattress and explore some of the reasons why they can be so pricey.

Huge Markup

The standard markup on a mattress is 100%. That means that if a store bought a $1,000 mattress from a manufacturer, they’d charge you $2,000. Some luxury brands mark their products up even higher. It’s not uncommon to see a 400% markup on a mattress! So, if you’re paying $4000 for a mattress, the store may have only paid $1000 for it.

The high cost of advertising

Advertising is one of the biggest expenses for any business – and mattress companies are no exception. They spend millions of dollars every year on advertising, and that cost gets passed down to the consumer.

When a company is calculating their profit margins, they have to take out all expenses, and advertising is considered an expense. Therefore, they'll need to dump some of those crumbs into the selling price to cover these costs.

The mattress industry is also very competitive, which means companies have to spend even more to stand out from the crowd. All of this advertising and marketing costs money, and it’s one of the main reasons why mattresses are so expensive.

High-quality materials

Another factor that contributes to the cost of a mattress is the materials used to make it. Many mattresses are made with good quality materials that are durable. These include a latex mattress, spring mattresses, memory foam mattresses, and hybrid mattresses. These materials can be costly, but they’re also built to last – which means you won’t have to replace your mattress as often. Typically, the materials can last for up to a decade standing strong, especially if you keep them clean and well-maintained by vacuum cleaning them, removing urine stains, vomit stains, and even vomit smell.

Low Purchase Frequency

Speaking of years of durability, believe it or not, this is one huge factor for expensive mattresses. Why should they sell you cheap mattresses for purchases that seem like a once-in-a-lifetime endeavor? Unlike furniture that we often replenish, mattresses actually last. And when they start to wear and tear, we run for the toppers and pads to keep them lasting even longer. Your mattress guy sees your face just once, so he has to make the most of it.

Mattress Manufacturers

Another thing that contributes to the cost of a mattress is manufacturing; which includes labor costs. Mattresses are complex products that take a lot of workers to make, and they need to be paid for their time and effort. In addition, mattresses are often made with machinery that is expensive to buy and maintain, which further adds to the cost that a manufacturer offers the mattress company. Materials and any chemicals used have to be tested for safety and all that is not cheap to achieve. These costs get passed down to the consumer in the form of a higher mattress costs

Research and Development

Before, during, and after manufacturing a mattress a lot of research and consultation is done. Maybe sleep experts will be involved, maybe medical specialists too, and chemists and scientists may also be brought into the equation. If the mattress is a smart bed - for example - then tech experts will also come into the picture. These are experts who charge thousands per consultation for each mattress version. Depending on the mattress's complexity, research and development may cost more which adds up to the selling price.

Shipping Costs

We all know that one of the greatest selling points for mattress brands is "free shipping". Yes, I made that in quotes because is it really free? The answer is NO. They took that into account when pricing the mattresses.

What happens is that these brands will offer free shipping only for certain locations, but charge for others. For example, they can offer free shipping around the US but charge to Hawaii or Canada. Sometimes they can make deals with a freight company like FedEx, get pricing for shipping and add it to the selling price. If lucky, they can get discounts from the freight company if they make a contract to solely ship with them. If you reside in places where shipping isn't covered, remember to budget for customs duty for your country.

Sales Tax and VAT

Oh, we just can't go a day without discussing tax, can we? Well, neither can mattress companies. They have to pay taxes on the materials they use, the workers they employ, and their profits. Value-added Tax (VAT) is always charged at every point of sale. The manufacturers, the mattress brand wholesaler, the mattress retailers, etc., and everyone else in the supply chain; all these parties have to pay VAT on the mattresses. The good news is that some countries exempt mattresses from sales tax. For example, in the US, most states don't charge sales tax on mattresses. However, other countries like Australia and Canada do charge a pretty penny for taxes.

Overhead Costs

Mattresses are sold in either a brick-and-mortar store or online. Both types of businesses have overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, and employee salaries, that are passed on to the consumer.

Buying from a mattress store will have its pros such as delivery and setup. If you're lucky, they'll set up the mattress for you for free as an after-sale service. The cons for buying from physical stores is that you may only get 5 minutes to test the mattress. Stores will have more employees as compared to an online company and will also require more electronics and furniture to set up mattress displays.

Online retailers will offer you night sleep trials to test the mattress which is more efficient than limited minutes at the store. Unfortunately, they aren't delivered by someone who can assist in the setup. Luckily, most of these mattresses online are easy to set up so that's not a deal breaker. Overhead costs for an online brand include storage fees. The mattresses need to be stored somewhere, it's often impossible to make them on demand, mostly for competitive brands that want to deliver them within 24 hours.

Additional Features and Accessories

To stay competitive, some mattress brands offer accessories with each purchase. A mattress can come in a bundle with pillows, bedsheet sets, a mattress protector, or even mattress pads. Obviously, a pack means spending a little bit more on the purchase. Usually, they make the price seem cheaper than buying each item individually. But when it comes down to it, they do make a profit on each item - it's just business.

Additional features strictly depend on your personal needs and preferences. Someone buying a twin mattress will pay less than someone buying a California King size of the same mattress type. If you want a mattress with cooling technology you'll add some dollars to your budget. Every mattress has its features and the more features you need, the more money you'll spend on buying a mattress. The upside is that these features are a game changer for comfortable sleep, so they are worth the price.


A good mattress is a certified mattress, periodt! A certified mattress is safe for use without buyers just "taking the seller's word for it". A bad mattress, on the other hand, can be made with potentially toxic chemicals and materials that can pose a health risk to the user such as growth defects in an unborn child. To prevent such catastrophic results, mattress brands take their products for thorough testing and retesting. Yes, some certifications require frequent testing, not just a one-time thing.

Once tested they can get certified. Certification is also a massive selling point for brands because everyone loves something the government puts a stamp on. Some common certifications include; GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold, CertiPUR-US, Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Global Organic Textile Standard(GOTS), USDA Certified Organic, and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) among others.

Certifications may cost thousands of dollars leading to the overall mattress prices being high.

How much should a mattress cost?

How much should you spend on a mattress? A general rule of thumb is to spend at least 15% of your annual income on a mattress but no more than 30%. So, if you make $50,000 a year, you should be spending between $750 and $1500 on a mattress.

Of course, there are always ways to get around these numbers. If you wait for a holiday sale, you can often find a mattress on sale for up to 50% off. Or, you could look for a cheaper mattress option like an online mattress that doesn't have all the bells and whistles of a more expensive store-bought mattress. Online mattresses also offer some great discounts and free accessories that'd help you save money.

At the end of the day, it's important to find a mattress that fits both your budget and your sleep needs. Don't be afraid to spend a little extra on a mattress if it means getting a good night's sleep. Your health is worth it! Luckily, there are numerous ways which can help you add a few more years to your expensive bed. See our post on how to extend the life of your mattress for more information.

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Questions to ask a seller before spending on a mattress

What is the firmness level of the mattress?
Depending on your height, weight and any special needs you may have, the firmness requirement of the mattress you buy will vary from soft to extra firm. The firmness also affects the selling price significantly.

Is there a night trial and what's the return policy?
If a mattress offers a night trial then they'll also allow returns. Since mattresses come with a hefty price, you don't want to get stuck with a mattress not suited for your needs. Most mattresses offer 100 or more night trials and free shipping and returns.

Is there an offer on the mattress?
Brands always have a mattress sale on throughout the year - mostly online brands. If not, look for coupons from mattress reviewers online before you make a purchase. If you're buying from a mattress store, then compare prices from different stores to see if you can get something cheaper.

What is the make-up of the mattress?
Construction of a mattress is essential, and not just for the final mattress price, but also for sleep quality. You want to spend on a comfortable mattress not just an expensive mattress that won't serve you. Ask the mattress salesman what the mattress you're eyeing is made of. Learn about its layers and their benefits. Is it a memory foam mattress that'll heat up or it has a gel foam or gel properties to keep you cool?

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Will the mattress be good for my sleep position?

Most mattresses aren't ideal for all sleeping positions. Often, mattresses are made keeping back and side sleepers in mind, forgetting the common stomach sleepers. If the sales person can test for you pressure using a body map, that'll help make a more informed and accurate decision.

Do you have a mattress under my budget?

Don't panic, you can get a good quality mattress at below $700. You don't always have to break the bank. Inquire from the mattress salesman or from online review platforms and pay keen attention on the features of the mattress you get.

What's the warranty on the mattress

Once you find a mattress that's right for you, you need to be sure that you can return it in case of any issues down the line. Most mattress warranties run from 5 to 15 years. While some offer up to 20 years, we recommend that you replace the old with a new mattress after 8 years. Remember, something as simple as how you clean a mattress can void the warranty. So, always check the mattress label for guidelines on how to use and take care of your mattress.

Related Content: How to disinfect a used mattress


So there you have it – those are some of the main reasons why mattresses are so expensive. Of course, other factors contribute to the cost as well, but these are some of the big ones. Next time you’re in the market for a new mattress, keep these things in mind and you’ll be better equipped to make a decision that’s right for you.