Top 10 bed shopping tips

Best mattress brands

Top 10 bed shopping tips

By Ben Slater

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Top 10 bed shopping tips

Want to get the best bed at the right price? Follow our expert bed shopping tips and you won't go far wrong, whatever your budget.

If it's time for you to get a new bed, don't hit the shops without our top 10 tips for bed shopping success.

1. Get the best type of bed for you

Looking for a space-saving bed with storage to put in a smaller bedroom, or a stylish four-poster bed? Your bed is likely to be the most prominent piece of furniture in your bedroom, so choose a bed type that fits with the style and size of the room. 

Our guide to the different types of bed takes you through the main options and their pros and cons. 

2. Measure your space

How much space do you have? Decide how large or small a bed you'd like - or can fit - in your bedroom. 

Measure your bedroom if you're moving into a new home, allowing ample space at either side of where the bed will fit to accommodate bedside tables or other furniture.

Typical UK bed sizes
  Imperial Metric
Small single 2'6" x 6'3" 75 x 190cm
Single 3' x 6'3" 90 x 190cm
Small double 4' x 6'3" 120 x 190cm
Double 4'6" x 6'3" 135 x 190cm
King-size 5' x 6'6" 150 x 200cm
Super king-size 6' x 6'6" 180 x 200cm
Source: UK Sleep Council

Mattress sizes do vary - so compare the size of the bed and the mattress to make sure they fit. 

3. Get the bed mattress right

Choosing the right mattress is crucial to ensure you get a long-lasting bed that gives you a comfortable night's sleep while properly supporting your body. Contrary to popular opinion, a mattress doesn’t have to be firm to be good for you. As long as it has a good supporting structure, the amount of padding on top is down to personal preference. 

In our mattress tests we measure the shape of a person's body at 36 different points when standing, and when lying on their back on the mattresses. We then measure the position of their spine when lying on the mattress - a good mattress keeps your spine in line and parallel to the mattress. We also simulate years of use by rolling heavy barrels over each mattress thousands of times. 

Our Best Buy mattresses start at less than £200

Our test results mean that when you get a Best Buy mattress, you can be sure you're buying a mattress that will support your body and last for years to come. Check out our mattress reviews to find the best for you - our Best Buy mattresses start at less than £200.

4. The best shops for buying a bed

There are countless bed shops to choose from - including specialist high street brands, such as Dreams and Bensons, small independents, and general furniture shops including Ikea, Furniture Village and Habitat. 

Online outlets and warehouse stores offering end-of-line and cheap beds can offer some low-cost options, but it's advisable to try a bed before you buy. 

Take a look at our guide to the best and worst shops to discover which bed shops were rated highly in our survey of thousands of Which? members.

5. Try out the bed in the shop

Four in five bed shoppers spend less than two minutes trying beds in the shop, according to The Sleep Council. You're going to spend a lot of hours sleeping on it, so it's worth spending time getting properly hands-on with different beds and mattresses.

When trying out a bed, lie down on it in the same way as you'd lie on your bed at home, to see how it feels. Ideally the mattress should mould to the shape of your body while also supporting it.

6. Bring your bed partner

If you're looking for a double bed for two, bring your partner along with you to try out potential purchases together. Individuals have different tastes - and not only when it comes to the feel of the bed and mattress - so there may have to be some compromise along the way.

In our mattress tests we get people with different body types to lie on each mattress - this means we can tell you which mattresses are suitable for a wide range of people. We also measure whether you'll feel the mattress moving when your partner turns on it. Find out which are our Best Buy mattresses.

7. What to ask in a bed shop

There are a few key questions to ask in the bed shop so you know exactly what you're getting for your money:

  • Does the bed come with a headboard?
  • How will the bed come - fully assembled, or will there be assembly needed?
  • Are there flexible storage design options?
  • Is a mattress included?
  • What does the bed's guarantee cover, and for how long?
  • How soon can it be delivered and how much will delivery cost?

8. Getting the best price for a bed

It's sensible to approach discounts on products such as beds with a healthy dose of cynicism. It's worth checking if a 'sale' might be coming up - you might benefit from a hefty price cut by waiting a few weeks longer.

That said, there are some good bargains to be had. Particularly if you go into a store armed with a better deal you've found on the same spec model online - some shops might be prepared to offer a price match. Don't be afraid to haggle either, particularly in an independent store where the shop assistants may have more power to reduce the price, or throw in a freebie.

Don't be afraid to haggle for the best price, especially if you've seen it cheaper elsewhere

9. Getting your bed delivered

Unless you've got access to a van, you'll need to arrange for the store to deliver your bed. There's likely to be a charge for this, so ensure you get a quote for delivery before parting with any money. 

Not all shops offer evening or weekend delivery slots, so check before you buy if this is important to you. 

10. Getting rid of your old bed

You'll need to dispose of your old bed, too. Ask the shop you're buying your new bed from if it will pick up your old bed when they deliver - some may charge extra to do this. You can ask your council to collect bulky items such as mattresses, but again some charge a small fee for this service.

Wooden bed frames can be recycled - contact your council for details of your nearest neighbourhood recycling centre or to arrange a pick-up, or get in touch with the Furniture Re-use Network to donate your bed.

Now you know all about buying a bed, find out how to buy the best mattress.