Unbiased Research Based on Data From 4,300 Mattress Owners
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.
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.
These can fully void a mattress warranty. Even if the 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.
Therefore, it is wise to use a mattress protector / pad from the first night onward. See mattress pad reviews for the top-rated pads.
Most mattress warranties are for a length of 5, 10, or 20 years. Our research strongly suggests that in most cases you should not believe that your mattress will last the length of its warranty with regular, everyday adult use.
Sleep Like The Dead collected data from over 4,000 owners regarding how long they kept their mattress or how long they reported that it maintained most of its original comfort and support. This data was then compared to the length of the mattress warranty.
The results suggest – as the table shows – that the useful life of a mattress is often a fraction of its warranty length, and the fraction becomes smaller as the warranty length increases.
|Warranty Length||Average Useful Lifespan|
|5 years||4.7 years|
|10 years||7.1 years|
|20 years||8.2 years|
Keep in mind that our findings are true only in general. In other words, individual brands, individual models, and individual mattresses may perform somewhat better or worse. (Refer to the rating page of a particular mattress for information on its expected lifespan.)
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.
The main complaint people have with their mattress is sagging – especially in regard to innerspring beds in general and to a lesser extent foam, latex and air mattresses.
Owner experience data suggests that even moderate sagging can and often does result in less comfort and support. It may also cause back pain, especially for side and stomach sleepers. (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.
Making a warranty claim and replacing a mattress under warranty 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.
Mattress warranties with impressive length, namely 15 years or longer, usually have a catch. For example, most airbeds including Sleep Number have a 25-year warranty. This causes many owners to wrongly believe that if any manufacturer defect pops up in the next 25 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 two 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.
Therefore, make sure to read the fine print of a mattress warranty that's over 10 years.
Mattresses are discarded for a variety of reasons, but the main reason not surprisingly is usually related to a loss of comfort and support that occurs through normal wear.
As is true for virtually all product warranties, normal wear is not covered under mattress warranties; only faulty workmanship / materials as defined by the manufacturer are covered. These defects are problems that can be objectively measured or observed, such as sagging depth. Problems not objectively measurable or clearly observable, such as excessive softening or loss of support, are not commonly covered under warranty.
A mattress warranty is only as good as the manufacturer's willingness to honor it. Often a mattress manufacturer's BBB rating and or the number of BBB complaints from consumers in regard to warranty-related issues can be a good indicator of how well the company stands behind its warranty.