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Should you buy a floor model mattress?

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Buying a new mattress can be expensive. So, choosing a discounted ex-display mattress from a showroom may seem appealing. However, these mattresses often have wear and tear and may not come with extended warranties or return policies. Therefore, it’s crucial to assess their condition and suitability before purchasing.

Retailers often sell mattresses from display at reduced prices to make room for new stock. While these mattresses may not be in pristine condition, they can still offer comfort and quality at an affordable price. Floor models are typically ‘sold as seen’ and may be excluded from extended manufacturer warranties or returns policies. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate their condition and suitability before purchasing.

Young couple lying on a mattress in a showroom

Why do retailers sell floor model mattresses?

Retailers sell floor model mattresses to make room for new products and keep their showrooms up-to-date. Here are some common reasons why mattresses are cleared from display.

Poor sales on certain models

Mattresses take up valuable showroom space. Therefore, if a product line is performing poorly in sales, replacing it with more popular or newer models may be necessary.

The mattress has been discontinued

When a manufacturer discontinues a mattress, retailers sell off the display models to make room for new product lines. There are various reasons why manufacturers discontinue models, such as poor sales, difficulties sourcing the components, or simply because they change their approach or strategy. For example, if they move towards eco-friendly products.

Additionally, mattresses may be discontinued because the manufacturer is no longer trading. This can occur due to business decisions, financial challenges, or other factors that result in the closure of the business.

Furthermore, when a retailer and manufacturer end their business relationship, the showroom mattresses are typically sold rather than returned to the manufacturer.

The specification has changed

Mattresses may be sold off display because the manufacturer updates its specifications, which can change their look and feel. In most cases, the retailer will sell the showroom models and replace them with newer versions. Examples of specification changes can include modifications made by the manufacturer to the mattress’s design, ticking, or components to improve comfort and support.

To increase sales

Clearance sales or events are an effective way to attract shoppers, generate sales, and clear surplus stock. These events appeal to bargain shoppers and can also attract new customers because the product lines are more affordable.

Some retailers may sell ex-display mattresses below their cost price to create a buzz around the event and generate footfall. These loss leaders provide an excellent opportunity for customers to secure a significant bargain if they act promptly and avoid crowds.

The mattress is damaged

If a mattress is damaged during transportation, storage, or while on display, the retailer may choose to sell it to recoup some value and replace it with a brand-new model.

Poor quality or customer service issues        

Good-quality mattresses should last several years. So if customers complain about poor quality or service, this may raise concerns with retailers. They may decide to sell off the floor models and discontinue the range.

There may be situations where the store or the customer has ordered the wrong mattress, and it cannot be returned to the manufacturer. This typically occurs when someone has ordered the incorrect model or size by mistake. It can also sometimes occur with made-to-order mattresses that offer additional options, such as spring tension or ticking. As these mattresses are specifically tailored to the customer’s requirements, they cannot be easily returned or exchanged and, in most cases, will need to be reduced as clearance items.

Failed deliveries may occur when the mattress doesn’t fit into the intended room. If this happens, the mattress may be returned to the store, where it can be reduced to clear, and the customer will explore their options with the retailer.

What are the benefits of buying a floor model mattress?

Though floor model mattresses may have some wear and tear from being handled and tested in the showroom, they offer several benefits.


One of the main benefits of buying an ex-display mattress is the potential cost savings compared to buying a brand-new mattress. Some mattresses can be sold up to half price and more, or even below their cost price in some cases. Mattresses can be expensive, so any potential savings can make a significant difference. It also allows shoppers to invest in other items not usually factored into their budget, such as pillows and bedding.

Manufacturers may incentivise retailers to quickly sell their existing mattress stock at significantly reduced prices to make room for new product lines. To facilitate this process, manufacturers may compensate the retailer by offering generous discounts on product lines or even providing the new display models free of charge.

Though this approach can affect the retailer’s profit margins, they receive suitable compensation from the manufacturer. Ultimately, this arrangement benefits shoppers as they can secure bargains at vastly reduced prices.

Immediate delivery  

Buying an ex-display mattress offers the advantage of immediate delivery in most cases. This is especially appealing if the shopper has been looking at new mattresses with longer delivery times.

It’s important to check with the retailer regarding the delivery timeline, as certain mattresses may need to remain on display until the replacement models arrive.

The Breaking in period

New mattresses often feel firmer initially but tend to soften with use. When buying an ex-display mattress, one advantage is that it has already undergone a certain level of ‘breaking in’ when tested in the showroom by customers. However, it’s important to note that adjusting to a new mattress may still take some time, especially if you are accustomed to the feel of your old mattress.

What are the drawbacks of buying a floor model mattress?

Despite the potential cost savings, buying an ex-display mattress does have some drawbacks.

Wear and tear

If you’re buying an ex-display mattress, there may be some wear and tear. Floor model mattresses tend to get easily soiled, so look for visible marks and blemishes, particularly around the foot end of the bed where marks from shoes may be present.

Another common issue with display models is that they tend to have an uneven sleeping surface. This occurs because they are not regularly turned or flipped in the showroom to even out the wear.

When shoppers initially try out a bed in a showroom, they often sit on the edge and bounce up and down, causing the upholstery to settle in the areas where weight is applied. As a result, some individuals may feel like they are rolling out of bed when testing the showroom models because its edges have flattened and compressed.

Mattress indentations may also be noticeable in other areas, such as the shoulders, hips, and buttocks. However, these indentations generally disappear through regular mattress turning.

Limited options

Ex-display mattresses have limited options; typically, ‘what you see is what you get.’ You may be unable to change the size, cover, or firmness unless the retailer has additional stock to clear.

One consideration is when couples with different body weights share a bed. Each person may require a different level of firmness. For instance, a softer mattress may be suitable for a person weighing eight stone, but a heavier person may sink too far into the mattress and not feel adequately supported. In such cases, ordering a split tension mattress, for example, with one side soft and the other medium, or using two separate mattresses zipped together, can provide proper support for each partner.

When considering a clearance mattress, it’s important to be mindful of these limitations. While they offer cost savings, evaluating whether the mattress meets your specific needs is crucial. Given that a mattress is a significant investment that can last for several years with proper care, it’s essential to choose a mattress that is comfortable and supportive.

Limited availability

Ex-display mattresses are unique items sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to their popularity, they tend to sell out quickly, so your preferred model may no longer be available when you’re ready to buy. As a result, shoppers may feel pressured into choosing a mattress that may not be best suited to their needs or preferences, fearing they might miss out on a good deal.

To alleviate some of this pressure, certain retailers may allow you to reserve an item for a limited time, typically up to 24 hours, so you can consider your options before deciding.

No trial period

Unlike brand-new mattresses, clearance mattresses are usually excluded from trial periods. This means that once you make a purchase, returning the mattress may not be an option if you are unsatisfied. Therefore, trying out the ex-display mattress in the showroom for at least ten minutes is crucial to determine whether it’s comfortable.

Limited warranty

While some manufacturers offer extended warranties, sometimes up to ten years or longer on brand-new mattresses, these warranties may be excluded or limited for ex-display mattresses. This means that the coverage provided by the warranty may not be as comprehensive as with a new mattress.

Tips for buying ex-display mattresses

If you’re considering buying an ex-display mattress, here are some tips to consider.

Inspect the mattress thoroughly before purchasing

Examine the mattress thoroughly for any signs of wear and tear, including checking the underside. The retailer should make you aware of any issues and provide explanations for the reduced price. Take note of the location of marks, blemishes, or defects to ensure you’re protected if you notice additional wear and tear upon delivery. If need be, take photos on your phone. Typically, retailers will document the defects on the purchase paperwork.

Check the warranty and returns policies

Check if the warranty or return policies still apply. Some manufacturers and retailers exclude the extended warranty or trial periods on clearance items.

Ensure the floor model mattress is compatible with the base

If you’re buying the mattress separately from the base, ensure the two are suitable for use together. Some mattresses perform better on solid bases or slats, while others work better on sprung bases. If you’re placing the mattress on a slatted base, it’s essential to check the spacing between the slats. If the slats exceed the manufacturer’s recommendations, this can damage the mattress and invalidate its guarantee.

Also, be mindful that your choice of bed base can affect how the mattress feels. For example, placing a mattress on a sprung divan will provide a slightly softer feel. In contrast, placing the mattress on a solid top divan or a bed frame will result in a noticeably firmer feel. Therefore, if you’re buying a mattress from a store, trying it on a similar bed base to the one you will be using at home is beneficial.

Ensure you’re getting value for money

Before purchasing an ex-display mattress, it’s crucial to consider whether you are getting value for your money. While the discounted price may initially seem appealing, it’s essential to assess the overall quality and condition of the mattress to ensure it meets your expectations.

Ex-display mattresses may have been on the showroom floor for an extended period, and their lifespan may be shorter than a brand-new mattress. Therefore, it’s important to ask the retailer how long the mattress has been on display and why it has been reduced to clear.

Also, ensure you’re satisfied with its discounted price and specifications. Consider why the mattress is on offer at a significantly reduced price compared to its original price. Some retailers may inflate or create a fictitious original price to deceive shoppers into thinking they are getting a better deal.

Compare the discounted price of the ex-display mattress with the prices of other similar mattresses available. This will help you determine whether you’re getting a good deal. Remember, shop for the best value, not the lowest price.

Ensure you’re comfortable with the mattress specifications. If the mattress has pocket springs, ensure the spring count is clearly stated. Similarly, if you’re considering a memory foam or latex mattress, establish the material quantity and quality.

It’s also a good idea to read customer reviews online to ensure you’re satisfied with the mattress and the seller.

Negotiate the price

When purchasing an ex-display mattress, it’s worth negotiating with the retailer for a better deal. Even if the mattress has already been significantly reduced, there may still be some wiggle room on the price. If the retailer cannot lower the price further, they might be willing to throw in some extras, such as free pillows or services, like free delivery or mattress disposal, instead.

Check the availability

Purchasing a mattress off display offers the advantage of immediate delivery, but there are exceptions. For instance, when manufacturers update the mattress’s specification, the old model may need to stay on display until the replacement arrives to maintain sales. It is important to check with the retailer when they expect the new model to arrive. Avoid making plans, such as disposing of the old mattress or inviting overnight guests, until you have a confirmed delivery date.

Also, be aware that other shoppers may continue to try out the mattress while it remains on display. It’s advisable to ask the retailer to cover it in polythene packaging to help preserve its condition.

Aftercare, handling and storage 

After purchasing an ex-display mattress, it’s essential to establish what will happen to it when you leave the store.

Find out when the mattress will be removed from display. If it remains on the showroom floor, this allows other shoppers to try it out, which may affect its condition. Ask the retailer to wrap the mattress to ensure it remains clean and protected.

Determine where the mattress will be stored prior to delivery. Retailers typically have dedicated storage areas for mattresses. Ensure the mattress is stored correctly to maintain its condition. It should be kept flat and not bent, folded, or propped up against a wall to save space, as doing so can damage its components. There should not be any items stacked on top of the mattress, and it should be stored in a location where there is no risk of other items falling over and damaging the mattress.

Discuss the expected delivery time with the retailer, so you know when it will arrive and can plan accordingly. Upon delivery, carefully inspect the mattress for any damage, marks, or inconsistencies not noted at the time of purchase. You should contact the retailer immediately if you discover any issues.

Final thoughts

Sleep is a significant part of our lives, so it’s important to take your time when choosing a mattress. Avoid rushing into a decision or feeling pressured into parting with your money until you’re confident the mattress will satisfy your needs.

Finally, mattress offers and promotions take place throughout the year, so if you miss out on an ex-display mattress, there’s no need to worry. There will be plenty of other opportunities and bargains available.

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About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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