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Mattress Ratings > Mattress Warranties

Mattress Warranties: What You Should Know

Unbiased Research Based on Data From 3,300+ Mattress Owners

March 19, 2014
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Based on data from actual owner experiences, below are the most important points to remember about mattress warranties.

The "Divide By" Rule

Most mattress warranties are for a length of 10, 20 or 25 years. Our research strongly suggests that in most cases you should not believe that your mattress will last the length of its warranty.

Sleep Like The Dead collected data from over 3,300 owners regarding how long they kept their mattress or how long they regarded their mattress as useful, that is, how long it maintained at least some of its original comfort and support.

This data was then compared to the length of the mattress warranty.

The results of the analysis suggest that the useful life of a mattress can be determined by dividing the warranty period by 1.7 to 3.1 depending on warranty length – as the table below shows.

Warranty Length Divide By Average Useful Lifespan
10 years 1.7 5.9 years
20 years 2.6 7.7 years
25 years* 3.1 8 years

* A 25-year warranty length is fairly new. Analysis is based on limited owner experience data as well as the estimate of the Sleep Like The Dead editor.

Keep in mind

Keep in mind that our findings are true only in general. In other words, individual brands, models and mattresses may perform somewhat better or worse.

For example, Tempur-Pedic has recently reduced its warranty length for all of its models from 25 years to 10 years. Tempur-Pedic beds, nevertheless, still likely have an average useful lifespan of around eight years.

Also, our findings suggest that there is indeed somewhat of a correlation between warranty length and the quality / durability / longevity of a mattress. In other words, good mattresses usually have longer warranties, while not-so-good mattresses usually have shorter ones.

Normal Wear Not Covered

Mattresses are discarded for a variety of reasons, but of course the main reason is usually related to a loss of comfort or support that occurs through normal wear.

As is true for virtually all product warranties, normal wear is not covered under mattress warranties; only manufacturer defects as defined by the manufacturer are covered. These defects are problems that can be objectively measured or observed, such as sagging depth (see below). Problems not objectively measurable or clearly observable, such as excessive softening or loss of support, are not commonly covered under warranty.

Sagging

The main complaint – by far – people have with their mattress is sagging, especially in regard to innerspring beds and to a lesser extent memory foam, latex and air mattresses.

Owner experience data suggests that even moderate sagging can and often does result in less comfort and support, and may cause pain, especially back pain. (See mattresses and pain for more analysis.)

As a result, mattress shoppers should pay special attention to how sagging issues are covered by the warranty. Most warranties will cover sagging only when the problem becomes severe enough, that is, when it reaches a certain depth.

For example, innerspring mattress warranties will often provide coverage for sagging beginning at a depth of 1.5 inches. By contrast, some memory foam mattress warranties, including Tempur-Pedic's, will provide coverage for sagging beginning at a depth of .75 inches. In other words, innerspring bed warranties often require twice the depth of sagging that these memory foam bed warranties require before coverage kicks in.

Warranty Claims by Mattress Type

Innerspring mattresses (because of sagging) and air beds (largely because of mechanical breakdowns) have the most warranty claims, according to our collected owner data.

The chart below shows how mattress types compare on the issue of warranty claims. Keep in mind that this represents what is often, but not always, the case; a particular brand or model may go against these findings.

mattress warranty claims

In addition, our data shows that the more expensive a mattress is the more likely an owner will be to make a warranty claim if a problem arises.

By contrast, the less expensive a mattress is the less likely an owner will be to use the warranty if a problem arises. This helps to explain why waterbeds and futon mattresses (which are often less expensive than the other types) have fewer warranty claims.

It Will Cost You

Making a warranty claim can be expensive to the mattress owner.

There can be a fee to have someone come to your home to inspect the condition of your mattress to determine if it is eligible for warranty coverage. If it is eligible, there will be a fee to take the defective mattress away and to ship a new or repaired mattress to you. Given the heavy weight of many mattresses today, this fee may be substantial.

In addition, depending on the age of the mattress and the warranty terms of proration, you may have to pay a percentage of the replacement or repair costs.

Beware: Non-prorated vs Prorated Period

Many mattress owners realize too late that their warranty sounds more impressive than it actually is. For example, most airbeds have a 20-year warranty. This causes many owners to wrongly believe that if any manufacturer defect pops up in the next 20 years, the problem will be covered at little or no cost to them.

The whole story is that non-prorated coverage (coverage for which there is no cost to the owner to repair / replace the bed) often ends after just a few years. If something goes wrong with the airbed after this time, coverage is prorated which means the owner will often need to pay at least 20% of repair costs.

Make sure to read the fine print of a mattress warranty.

Better Business Bureau Rating

A mattress warranty is only as good as the manufacturer's willingness to honor it. Often a mattress manufacturer's Better Business Bureau rating can be a good indicator of how well the company stands behind its warranty. An "A" or "B" rating generally means that the company consistently honors its warranty; a "C" rating or lower can mean that it doesn't.

Top Mattress Warranty Tip: Avoid The Void

Mattresses can and often do have their warranties voided due to the use of an improper foundation / frame and the presence of staining, soiling or fluid penetration.

Improper foundation / frame

An improper foundation / frame can result in premature wear and sagging of the mattress. Read your warranty's foundation / frame guidelines and follow them to the letter. Mattress companies do not give leeway on this issue; your foundation / frame either meets their warranty guidelines or it doesn't.

Staining, soiling and fluid penetration

Staining, soiling and fluid penetration can fully void a mattress warranty. Even if staining, soiling or fluid penetration is not near a defective area, such as where sagging is located, the warranty will probably not cover the sagging.

As a result, it is wise to use a mattress protector / pad from the first night onward. See mattress pad reviews for the top-rated waterproof and non-waterproof pads.

At Amazon: A Top-Rated Mattress Protector

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