Understanding Mattress Warranties
When purchasing a new mattress, the conditions of the warranty should be one of your primary considerations. How long is the warranty valid? What are the prorated and non-prorated terms? How does the warranty address issues like sagging? These are some of the questions that all potential mattress buyers should ask before finalizing the sale. This guide will cover key terminology, processes and risk factors associated with mattress warranties. But first, let’s discuss some basic information about what warranties are and what they are designed to do.
Why Are Warranties Important?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines a warranty as a promise made by a seller or manufacturer to ‘stand behind’ a given product. A warranty guarantees that any product sold with structural flaws, faulty parts or other defects will be replaced or repaired at no added expense to the buyer. For this reason, most major purchases ? such as automobiles, homes, household appliances and electronic devices ? come with some sort of warranty. Per federal law, all product warranties must be available to consumers before a purchase is made.
For mattresses, two types of warranties typically apply.
- The manufacturer or seller of the mattress will provide awritten warranty, which promises to repair or replace a defective product as long as certain conditions are met. Written warranties provide coverage for a given length of time; most written warranties for mattresses are valid for five, 10, 15 or 20 years, depending on the brand and the seller. Written warranties are not required by law.
- Implied warranties, on the other hand, are protected by law in all 50 states. Implied warranties include two fundamental components. Awarranty of merchantabilityensures the product will perform all essential functions and meet consumer expectations. Additionally, awarranty of fitnessguarantees that the product can be used for any and all specific purposes agreed upon by the buyer and seller.
For example, ‘warranty of merchantability’ is a promise that a mattress sold to a customer will provide a suitable place for sleeping. If the customer chooses to buy a self-heating mattress, then ‘warrant of fitness’ guarantees the mattress will be self-heating.
It’s important to note that even products not covered by a written warranty are still protected under implied warranties unless the product is sold ‘as is’ to the consumer. ‘As is’ sales are prohibited by law in several states and the District of Columbia.
What Is Covered in a Mattress Warranty?
Next, let’s look at problems that are protected – and not protected – under most mattress warranties. First we’ll look at recognized defects. Although specific warranty conditions vary between brands and sellers, most mattress warranties cover the same general defects.
Sagging, or sinking, is the most common mattress defect covered under warranty. Today’s mattresses are designed to retain a firm, comfortable shape for long periods of time. While some sagging will naturally occur after years of use, premature or excessive sagging is often the result of a product defect ? faulty inner springs, in most cases.
Mattress warranties will include a specific sagging depth; if the mattress sags below this threshold, then the manufacturer must replace the product free-of-charge. The sagging depth for most mattress warranties is one inch (1″), although sagging depth may fall anywhere between half an inch (1/2″) and two inches (2″). To accurately measure the sagging depth, first stretch a length of string over the entire width of a fully stripped mattress; when the line is taut, use a ruler or tape to measure the distance between the string and the deepest indentation.
Other physical defects covered under most mattress warranties include:
- Coils that break, bend or burst out of the side.
- Seams that come undone.
- Irregular bunching in certain areas (usually associated with foam mattresses)
What Is Not Covered in a Mattress Warranty?
Warranties are designed to protect consumers against product defects, but not normal wear and tear that occurs after prolonged use. For mattresses, normal wear and tear may include:
- Sagging that does not reach the minimum depth threshold as covered in the warranty.
- Lumpiness or uneven surfaces caused by long-term use.
- Discoloration as a result of machine or hand washing.
Furthermore, warranties do not cover structural damage caused by the owner. Examples include scuffs or tears that occur when moving, pet-related scratches or bites, and permanent indentations caused by someone jumping or falling on the mattress. Foundational support is another common consideration. Most mattress warranties will specify which types of bases or foundations are permitted, including materials, number of legs, and slat gap measurements.
Another important consideration: mattress warranties do not guarantee that the buyer will ‘like’ the mattress after using it, or that he or she will be satisfied with the product for as long as the warranty is valid. Unless caused by a measurable product defect, problems like ‘reduced comfort’ or ‘lack of softness’ are considered normal wear and tear, and will not be covered under standard mattress warranties. These types of issues are normally handled during the sleep trial.
Finally, warranties will not cover the cost of replacing non-defective pieces or parts. If, for example, a mattress comes with a single defect, then the manufacturer or seller is only responsible for replacing that particular component.
Things that Void a Warranty
The most common factors that lead to a mattress warranty being voided by the seller or manufacturer include the following:
- Removal of the Law Tag:All mattresses will be sold with a small tag attached, usually somewhere on the back surface. This tag, referred to as thelaw tag, will read ‘Do not remove this tag under penalty of law’. The ‘penalty of law’ in this case only applies to the seller or manufacturer, and the buyer is allowed to remove the tag at will without facing any legal repercussions. However, the law tag is considered a proof of purchase, and removing it will automatically void the warranty.
- Improper Support:Warranties assume the buyer will utilize a box spring and/or bed frame that provides adequate support for the mattress. A warranty may be voided if the box spring is old, misshapen or damaged, or if the bed frame is not equipped with a stable metal bar that supports the mattress in the center. A standard mattress warranty will include specific support guidelines that the buyer must follow.
- Stains:Many liquids can corrode mattress foam, causing the product to break down and lose its structural integrity. Mattresses with irremovable stains are also considered unsanitary, and thus legally unfit for storage in company warehouses. For these two reasons, even small stains from water, coffee and other innocuous fluids can void the entire warranty. In order to keep their mattress stain-free, buyers are encouraged to use a mattress protector starting with the first night of use.
- Failure to Unpackage the Mattress Quickly:Although compressing mattresses for shipping will not damage the bed, owners should remove their mattress from its boxes as quickly as possible. Some brands stipulate that the mattress must be removed from its boxes within a certain period of time, typically two to four weeks after the delivery date.
- Failure to Follow Rotation Schedule:In some cases, mattress warranties will require the buyer to periodically flip over the mattress. This process rejuvenates the upholstery fabric and internal foam layers, and can prevent premature sagging.
- The Mattress Has Been Sold or Given to Someone Else:Warranties normally do not extend to anyone who buys or receives a mattress from the original purchaser. Therefore, most mattress warranties will be voided if the mattress changes hands.
Warranty Length and Mattress Lifespan
Next, let’s take a closer look at warranty length and mattress lifespan expectations. For the purposes of this guide, the ‘lifespan’ of a mattress is the length of time it is considered useful and comfortable for sleeping.
Many buyers assume that a warranty will cover a mattress for its entire lifespan. However, this is rarely the case because the lifespan of a mattress usually falls short of the warranty length. Findings from this survey are featured in the table to the right.
The Better Sleep Council notes that most good-quality mattresses should be replaced after seven years, regardless of the warranty length. For this reason, prospective buyers should carefully consider purchasing a mattress with a warranty that extends beyond 10 years – especially if the bed has a high price-point due in part to its lengthy warranty coverage.
Prorated vs. Non-prorated Warranties
Warranty coverage is not always cut-and-dry when it comes to costs for the owner. Most warranties includenon-proratedandprorated coverage.
Non-prorated coveragemeans that the owner will not pay out-of-pocket to repair or replace a mattress that has been deemed defective. However, the owner will often be responsible for transportation and inspection costs. Most mattress warranties of 10 years or less will feature exclusively non-prorated coverage; for warranties longer than 10 years, the non-prorated coverage will usually be in effect for some ? but not all ? of the warranty length.
Prorated coveragemeans that the owner is responsible for covering a certain percentage of repair and replacement costs. Prorated coverage will kick in as soon as non-prorated coverage is invalid, and will continue until the warranty expires. In most cases, the percentage paid by the owner for prorated coverage will gradually increase every year until the warranty expires.
Let’s say a mattress has a 20-year warranty with 10 years of non-prorated coverage. When prorated coverage begins at the beginning of the 11th year, the owner will typically be required to pay 50% of the replacement and repair costs; this number will then rise by increments of 5% for each successive year until the warranty ends.
Mattress buyers should carefully study the non-prorated and prorated terms of their mattress warranty. The two most important considerations are:
- The length of non-prorated coverage compared to the overall warranty length
- The percentage owed by the owner for repairs and replacement expenses during the prorated coverage period
How to File a Warranty Claim
If a mattress is defective or not performing up to par with the conditions of its written and implied warranties, then the owner is most likely eligible to file awarranty claim. Consumers should be aware of certain costs they stand to incur during the claim-filing process.
- Mattress companies will usually send an inspector to the owner’s home, where they will take measurements of the mattress and evaluate its overall condition to ensure the claim is valid. If the inspector determines that the mattress is defective, then this service may be covered by the manufacturer or seller. However, many owners will be required to pay for the inspection out-of-pocket. Home inspection services typically cost between $40 and $60. In some cases, the mattress owner will have the option of performing a ‘self-inspection’ using a kit that is mailed to them. This option costs roughly $25 to $30, and kits generally arrive within five to seven business days.
- If a claim is filed during the warranty’s prorated coverage period, then the owner will be responsible for a percentage of the repair or replacement costs. This percentage will depend on the prorated coverage schedule listed in the warranty (see previous section).
- Individuals who purchased their defective mattress are typically required to pay shipping fees for for their replacement mattress. New mattress shipping costs usually start at $80 to $100, but some sellers and manufacturers will discount the shipping fee if they are replacing a defective mattress.
Now that you’re familiar with standard mattress warranties, let’s compare the length, non-prorated/prorated terms, sagging depth and other warranty terms for some of the nation’s leading mattress brands. To read the warranties in full, please click the links found in the left-hand column.
|Brand||Models||Warranty Length||Type of Coverage||Sagging Depth||Additional Notes|
|Avocado||Avocado Green||25 years||First 10 years are nonprorated|
Years 11-20 are prorated at 5% multiplied by each year of ownership
Years 21-25 are prorated at a flat rate of 95%
|1″||Warranty will be voided if mattress is not removed from its packaging within two weeks of delivery|
|10 years for the Bear Mattress|
20 years for the Bear Hybrid
|Bear Mattress warranty is nonprorated|
Bear Hybrid warranty is nonprorated for the first 10 years; years 11-20 are prorated at 5% multiplied by each year of ownership
|1″ (Bear Mattress)|
1 1/2″ (Bear Hybrid)
|The mattress cover for both models is covered under a separate 1-year warranty|
|Brooklyn Bedding||Brooklyn Aurora,|
Brooklyn Bloom Hybrid,
Brooklyn Bowery Hybrid,
|10 years (all models)||The warranty is completely nonprorated||1″ (all models)||Mattresses must be used on foundations or bases with slats that are no more than 4″ apart|
|10 years (all models)||The warranty is completely nonprorated||1″ (all models)||Mattresses must be used on foundations or bases with slats that are no more than 4″ apart|
|Helix Sleep||Helix Dawn,|
Helix Dual Balanced,
Helix Dual Extra,
Helix LUXE models
|10 years (non-LUXE)|
15 years (LUXE)
|Both the 10- and 15-year warranties are completely nonprorated||1″||If a defect develops and owners must ship their mattress for repair or replacement, Helix will reimburse owners up to $100|
|Layla||Layla Mattress||Lifetime||The warranty is completely nonprorated||1″||Layla owners may pay up to $50 for mattress repairs or replacements|
Pinching the foam while flipping the bed may cause tearing, which is not covered as a defect
|Nectar||Nectar Memory Foam Mattress||Lifetime||The warranty is completely nonprorated||1 1/2″||Beginning in Year 10, owners must pay $100 ($50 each way) to have a defective mattress repaired or replaced; this money is refunded to the owner if a defect is confirmed|
|Lifetime||The warranty is completely nonprorated||1 1/2″||After 10 years have elapsed, owners may choose the Quick Sleep option if a defect develops; this allows them to order a replacement mattress at half the original price and keep the original mattress|
|Saatva||Saatva Mattress||15 years||The warranty is completely nonprorated.|
In Years 3-15, Saatva will repair and re-cover a defective mattress for a transportation charge of $198 ($99 each way)
|Saatva’s Fairness Replacement option allows customers to purchase a new mattress at 25% of the original price between years 3-5; 50% of the original price between years 6-10; and 75% of the original price until the warranty expires|
Owners do not pay shipping charges with this option
|Tuft & Needle||T&N Mattress,|
|10 years (both models)||The warranty is completely nonprorated||3/4″||Mattresses must remain in the U.S. to qualify for warranty coverage|
|Lifetime (both models)||The warranty is completely nonprorated||1 1/2″||WinkBeds offers the ‘Any Reason’ lifetime guarantee, which allows owners to replace their mattress for a new model at 50% of the original price|
A mattress warranty ensures that the manufacturer or seller will cover costs related to defects and other specific problems. You can further protect yourself from by exercising the following precautions:
- Make sure the law tag is intact once the mattress has been installed.
- Use a mattress protector from day one. This will shield the mattress from stain-causing liquids and substances.
- Make sure the box spring and bed frame are in good condition.
- Flip the mattress according to the warranty’s rotation requirements.
- If the mattress is defective, research inspection, removal and replacement costs to make sure filing a claim is within your budget.
- Compare mattress warranties before making a final purchase, and research different manufacturers and sellers using the Tuck Mattress Database and other consumer advocacy sites like the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports.
What You Should Know About Mattress Warranties
Anytime you’re making a significant investment in a new product for your home — whether it’s a TV, an appliance, or a mattress — it’s natural to think about what happens if things go wrong. A warranty that kicks in if the product is defective can offer both protection and peace of mind.
But anyone who’s ever had to file a warranty claim can tell you that while warranties may sound simple, they are actually defined by detailed terms and conditions. This fine print can affect how and when you may use a warranty and what you’ll receive if you successfully file a warranty claim.
In the mattress industry, there can be many variables that affect a warranty and how much protection it actually offers to you as a customer. In this guide, we’ll cover the important concepts and terminology related to mattress warranties, and we’ll help make sure that you can confidently assess how valuable any specific mattress warranty will be for you before you make a purchase.
What is a Warranty?
At its most basic level, a warranty is a way that a customer is protected if a product is faulty. It works to make sure that customers have recourse if the product they purchase is a “lemon.”
While there are some unstated warranties that apply to most products — known as “warranties of merchantability” and “warranties of fitness” — the more relevant type of warranties when it comes to mattresses are written warranties. That means that they are explicitly offered by the company and have defined terms and conditions.
Almost all mattresses are sold with a written warranty. Though they share many characteristics, not all warranties are created equal. For this reason, we strongly suggest reading the fine print of any warranty before purchasing a mattress.
If the mattress seller does not have the warranty terms available for you to read, we suggest waiting to make your purchase until those terms are provided to you.
How is a Warranty Different From a Sleep Trial?
One of the keys that have enabled the rapid expansion of the online, direct-to-consumer mattress industry is the in-home sleep trial. After purchasing the mattress and having it delivered, the sleep trial gives you a grace period during which you can return the mattress and get a refund if you’re unsatisfied with the mattress for any reason. Most sleep trials are for 100 nights, but they can range from 30-365 nights depending on the company. Most sleep trials also offer free return shipping or even pickup of a mattress from your home if you decide to return it.
This sleep trial model is distinct from a warranty. The point of the sleep trial is to let you test out the mattress to see if you like it. The point of the warranty is to protect you as the customer if the mattress was built improperly. The sleep trial usually allows returns for any reason, including general dissatisfaction with the mattress, whereas a warranty applies specifically to defects with the mattress. Warranties last much longer than sleep trials and tend to be much more restrictive in their application.
You can read more about sleep trials in our guide, How to Buy a Mattress Online.
Does a Warranty Apply to the Whole Mattress?
A mattress is made up of multiple different parts including its internal components and its cover. In most cases, the warranty will cover defects or flaws in any of these parts. However, it is important to read the warranty carefully because some may be more restricted when it comes to the cover.
In addition, some mattresses are built with electrical components. For example, airbeds have remote controls and pumps that regulate air in the mattress. Mattresses that have sensor technology (often referred to as smart mattresses) may have these sensors built into a layer of the mattress. Keep in mind that often these components are not covered under the same terms as the other mattress components. Usually, they have a shorter time period for warranty coverage. If you’re buying this type of mattress, make sure to look closely to know for how long the warranty will apply to these parts of the mattress.
What Is Covered By a Mattress Warranty?
Mattress warranties do not provide coverage for everything that can go wrong with your mattress. Instead, they tend to focus on specific problems that may arise. Remember that every warranty is written with its own specific terms, but this section gives an overview of what is usually covered.
Mattress warranties typically provide recourse if the mattress starts to sag significantly. However, the way that the mattress company defines “significantly” may be different from the way that you would. In order to have a warranty claim, most mattress companies require that an indentation in the mattress measure 1.5” in depth. Though you might notice indentations of a lesser depth, they would not be covered unless they reached the 1.5″ level. This also means that the warranty generally provides no coverage for minor sagging that just occurs as a result of regular use. Instead, it has to be a pronounced and deep level of sink for the warranty to kick in.
Faulty Workmanship or Materials
You likely have a legitimate warranty claim if there is a clear example of poor workmanship for your mattress. Some examples of this could include:
- Defective seams that do not hold and that come apart
- Coils that break and/or puncture the mattress exterior (in the case of an innerspring mattress)
- Broken or torn mattress handles
- Significant bunching of materials
What Is Not Covered by a Mattress Warranty?
Unfortunately, the list of things that are not covered by a warranty tends to be longer than the list of covered items. Items not covered by most warranties include:
- Sagging below the stated threshold:if your mattress starts to give out or indent, but it’s less than the stated threshold in the warranty (1.5” in most warranties), there won’t be any coverage provided, even if this sagging is having a major effect on the support and comfort that you receive from your mattress.
- Natural wear and tear:if the problem with the mattress comes about from its use rather than from faulty construction or materials, then you shouldn’t expect the warranty to provide any coverage. This includes natural weakening of materials, scuffs, scratches, discoloration of the cover (from use or washing), or minor lumps or bunching.
- User-inflicted damage:if you accidentally rip your mattress or cause damage to it in regular use or in moving it, it won’t be covered. This also includes damage that might be inflicted by a pet or by a child jumping on the mattress. If the damage happened by your hand, don’t expect warranty coverage.
- Dissatisfaction with size, feel, or performance of the mattress:the warranty is not designed to assure your satisfaction with the performance of the mattress from the perspective of support or comfort. It also doesn’t cover any issues related to the size or height of the mattress, whether it sleeps hot, whether it’s good for sex, or whether it permits too much motion transfer.
It’s critical to know in advance that your warranty won’t cover your purchase in these cases, and it makes it all the more important that you choose wisely when shopping for a mattress.
How Does a Mattress Warranty Become Void?
In order to be able to file a warranty claim if something goes wrong, the warranty has to be valid. The fine print of a warranty generally states various actions that can cause the warranty to become voided. For example, almost all of these issues would be likely to void a mattress warranty:
Removing the law tag
Every mattress has a tag on it that gives some basic details on the mattress. On the tag, you’ll see some variation of this phrase clearly printed: “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law.” That phrase is why this is known as the “law tag.” For mattress makers, this is part of your proof of purchase, and they generally will immediately reject a warranty claim if this tag has been removed from the mattress.
A standard stipulation in the fine print in mattress warranties is that any transferring of the mattress to another person voids the warranty. This means that if you sell the mattress or give it to a family member or friend, they will not be able to make a warranty claim even if something goes wrong.
Because the warranty is designed to offer protection if the mattress was not built properly, mattress companies are quick to void a warranty if there are signs of customer misuse that could relate to the problem with the mattress. Examples of customer misuse that can void a warranty include:
- Not following instructions for supporting the mattress: most warranties state that the mattress must be used with a certain type of support base in order for the warranty to be valid. Make sure that any frame or box spring that you use complies with the terms stated in the warranty in order to avoid this issue.
- Failure to rotate the mattress as directed: the warranty may state a certain frequency with which the mattress must be rotated in order for the warranty to remain valid.
- Stains: many warranty claims are denied because of stains, even small stains and even ones that may not appear to be related to the issue that the customer is having with the mattress. A mattress company may take stains as a sign of general misuse that can void a warranty. For tips on avoiding stains and cleaning them up when they happen, check out our guide, How to Clean Your Mattress.
As you look at different mattresses on the market, you may notice that there’s a wide variation in the length of the warranties that are offered. Warranties may range from 5 years to a full lifetime warranty. The most common range is between 10 and 20 years.
It’s common for shoppers to assume that the length of the warranty is the same as the expected lifespan of the mattress, but this is not the case. In most cases, a mattress gives out from wear-and-tear well before the end of the warranty period. In order to judge the likely durability and useful life of a mattress, look at the quality of its materials and construction, not at the length of its warranty.
One important element of mattress warranties that you need to be aware of is that some are prorated while others are not. This relates to what kind of remedy you are entitled to if you have a valid warranty claim. As a general rule, non-prorated warranties are better for you as the customer.
In a non-prorated warranty,the remedy for a defective mattress is the same throughout the entire warranty period. In most non-prorated warranties, for example, this means that if the mattress is defective at any point during the warranty coverage, the company will repair or replace your mattress at no cost to you. Usually the only costs that you might have with a non-prorated warranty could be for transportation of the mattresses and/or for the inspection of your mattress to validate your warranty claim.
In a prorated warranty,the remedy changes depending on how long the warranty has been in effect. For example, as time elapses, the company may not offer a refund or replacement but may provide only a percentage of the value of the mattress as a refund. These types of gradual declines in the value of your remedy can be different for each manufacturer, so this is yet another reason to carefully read through the warranty before purchasing a mattress.
Not all warranties fit neatly into the categories of “prorated” or “non-prorated.” Some mattresses also come with a warranty that is a combination of prorated and non-prorated timeframes. An example would be a 25-year warranty that would be non-prorated for the first 10 years (offering a full refund or replacement) and then prorated for the last 15 years (with a gradually decreasing monetary value provided in case of a valid warranty claim).
How to File a Warranty Claim
If you notice a defect in your mattress that you think may meet conditions listed under your warranty, follow these steps:
- Take a series of photos of your mattress that provide the best evidence possible of any problems or defects.
- Find a copy of the mattress warranty and look at the terms and conditions in detail. Honestly assess whether your warranty is still valid and whether your situation meets the circumstances under which the warranty may apply. In this process, make sure to ask yourself, “how or why might this claim be denied?”
- Contact the company that you bought the mattress from. In some cases, you will need to deal with the retailer for warranty issues. If the retailer refers you to the mattress maker, or if you bought directly from the manufacturer, then contact the manufacturer to initiate a claim.
- File any required paperwork or forms in order to intiate a warranty claim. Make sure to read these forms carefully for any notations about costs involved with filing the claim. If requested, submit any photos or other evidence of the problem.
- The company likely will send an inspector to examine your mattress and review your claim. This usually comes at a cost to you of $25 to $50. This may be refunded if your claim is determined to be valid.
- If you have a valid claim, you may also be responsible for shipping the mattress back. This can cost between $50-$100 depending on the shipping method. Again, some companies may pay this cost if you have a valid claim.
- Communicate with the company directly about the process for processing your claim and determining your remedy. Make sure to advocate for yourself to try to speed this process up as much as possible.
Be aware that there is a strong chance that your warranty claim will be denied. This doesn’t mean that you should never file a claim, but it is necessary to be realistic, especially when assessing whether or not your mattress warranty will still be valid or whether it could be void due to things like stains or signs of misuse.
Tips for Extending the Life of Your Mattress
When most of us think about a warranty, what we’re really hoping for is to never have to use it at all. When we put good money into a major purchase, we want to make sure we get as much quality use out of that purchase as possible. In that vein, there are steps that you can take that will both help with upkeep of your mattress and make it more likely that your warranty will still be valid if you do need to file a claim:
- Try to keep pets and kids off of your mattress:children and animals can both put a great deal of strain on a mattress. Whether it be from spills, accidents, jumping, or sharp paws, it’s easy for a mattress to get damaged by your kids or pets, and this kind of damage is likely to invalidate a warranty.
- Use a mattress pad or protector:these are products that provide an extra layer or barrier to defend the mattress against things like spills and stains. A mattress protector offers more robust defense by fully encasing the mattress, but a mattress pad can still be helpful as well.
- Don’t skimp on your mattress base:it may be tempting to buy the cheapest frame on the market, but remember that both the frame and the mattress are involved in supporting you during sleep. In addition, a faulty frame or a frame that doesn’t meet certain characteristics can void your warranty.
- Follow a regular mattress cleaning routine:there are a number of ways that you can keep your mattress clean and fresh. For more on mattress maintenance, review our guide, How to Clean Your Mattress.
Mattress Warranties: What You Should Know вЂ“ 2018
Unbiased Research Based on Data From 4,300 Mattress Owners
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
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.
Warranty Length ≠ Mattress Lifespan
Most mattress warranties are for a length of 5, 10, or 20 years. Our research strongly suggests that in most cases you shouldnotbelieve 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 вЂ“ as the table shows вЂ“ 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 вЂ“ 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.
It Will Cost You
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.
Long Warranties Often Have A Catch
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.
Normal Wear Not Covered
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.
Better Business Bureau Rating
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.
Mattress Warranty Guide
What You Need to Know
First, know that a 25-year mattress warranty does NOT mean that your mattress will last 25 years, but mattress companies certainly want you to believe this.
While a warranty can be a gesture of good faith on the part of the manufacturer, and an indication that the company stands behind its products, you’ll want to understand what your warranty can and cannot do for you. And there are several “gotcha” scenarios where you might inadvertently void your own warranty.
Your new mattress will probably be between 10 and 25 years in length for most manufacturers and some offer a “lifetime” warranty.
Also know that many of those super-long warranties are pro-rated after 5 or 10 years, meaning that a fee can be subtracted for the amount of time the mattress was used, in which case the warranty may not cover the full purchase price or replacement value of the mattress.
Problems Covered by a Mattress Warranty
While a long warranty might sound impressive, warranties are only designed to cover defects and construction flaws like broken springs and extreme breakdown of mattress materials. Keep in mind that true defects will likely become apparent in the first year of ownership.
Body impressions and sagging
If you’ve read some consumer-written mattress reviews, sagging and body impressions are THE biggest mattress complaint. You’ve probably been on an old mattress at some point and noticed yourself rolling into a sunken spot. The cause for this is compression of the top couple of layers of a mattress to the point where the mattress fails to come back to shape, leaving body impressions, generally where the heaviest parts of your body contact the bed.
Manufacturer warranties differ greatly by how deep a body impression must be before it triggers a warranty claim. The industry standard for innerspring mattresses is 1.5” while memory foam is typically 3/4," but there’s a lot of variation from brand to brand. And manufacturers measure body impressions in a very specific way. With no one in the bed, a string is stretched across the bed. Then the distance from the string and the lowest point of the bed is measured. The problem? You can feel the ‘sinkhole’ even if it isn’t deep enough to be measured in that specific way, so it’s worthwhile to consider buying from a company that has a body impression warranty of an inch or less. You’ll find that information within the warranty info.
Some mattresses have better than average body-indentation warranties. Examples include the King Koil World Extended Life bed (which is marketed to heavier and plus-size persons), which warrants body impressions of just ½”—that’s the best we’ve seen recently. Several have policies of ¾”, including Loom & Leaf, Spindle, Tuft & Needle, and Tempur-Pedic.
You can help prevent body impressions by rotating your mattress 180 degrees every 3 months. (Note that most mattresses cannot be flipped; check if your particular model is "flippable" and flip periodically according to the manufacturer guidelines.)
Flaws in design, materials, and construction
As a general rule, most warranty failures are the types of problems that will reveal themselves in the first few years of ownership. Examples include broken springs (on an innerspring mattress), poorly stitched seams that haven opened, broken zippers, and split/cracking foam. Be aware that in certain types of beds (like air beds, waterbeds, or beds that have remote controls or other electronics), the warranty for specific components might be shorter. Some warranties exclude the cover entirely or have a separate warranty for it.
What’s NOT Covered by a Warranty
Generally, only observable, measurable defects are covered by a mattress warranty. Some issues that are not covered include:
Changes in comfort
The fact is that all mattresses will change over time. Generally, they become softer over the years. Changes in firmness/softness are never covered by the warranty.
Loss of support
You might find over the years that a mattress is no longer reaching up to support your lumbar area, or you’re sinking in more deeply than you once did. That’s normal, and could be an indication that it might be time to replace your bed, but it’s not covered under the warranty.
Normal wear and tear
Handles can eventually break; trim or cording might become frayed, or the cover may show pilling or wear in certain spots. These are considered normal wear and tear and are typically not covered.
There are several ways you might accidentally void your own warranty, and they’re all spelled out in the mattress warranty. Most can be prevented, so it’s a great idea to read your warranty before you need it, and to take precautions. Mattress warranty claims can and do get rejected for these reasons:
The mattress is soiled or stained
Most manufacturers state they won’t honor the warranty if the mattress has stains–including sweat stains, spilled substances, etc.–even if the stains aren’t visible. We’ve even heard of warranty inspectors checking a mattress with a black light to find hidden stains. The solution? Get a mattress protector and use it from day one.
You didn’t use a supportive foundation/frame
The mattress must be supported properly in order to make a warranty claim. Check the owner’s manual or warranty for what types of foundations are required for your bed, as well as which are prohibited under the terms of your warranty. Check out our page on foundations.
You aren’t the original owner
Most warranties are not transferable. Especially those with “lifetime’ warranties are not valid if you aren’t the person who initially bought the mattress. The warranty applies only to the original owner, so be sure to save your receipts to prove ownership.
You didn’t buy it from an authorized seller
Think you’ve found a good deal on Overstock? Think again. If you purchase your bed from an unauthorized reseller, it will not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. (The retailer might offer a substitute warranty, but that’s not a given.)
You removed the tag that says “do not remove under penalty of law”
That tag (called a law label) really isn’t for you – it’s a guarantee by the manufacturer that all-new and sanitary materials were used in the mattress. It’s illegal for a new mattress to be sold without the tag. Once it’s in your home, you can remove it, but it’s a good idea to leave it on, as some warranties won’t be honored without it.
What Happens if I have a Warranty Claim?
In the event of a problem, the manufacturer will want to have the mattress inspected. Depending on the retailer, the store where you bought the mattress might help you coordinate the details of submitting your complaint to the manufacturer. Someone might come to your home to inspect the mattress, or arrange pickup. In both cases, be aware you may be on the hook for shipping or inspection fees. If your warranty claim is approved, those fees might be refunded.
If you do file a claim, document everything and keep copies of any submitted photographs or forms and note all important dates. Be sure to dig up your original receipt and be prepared to verify that the bed has been properly supported.
See our guide on Filing a Warranty Claim for more on what to do.
What is a Mattress Warranty and What Does it Cover?
Learn about the importance of your mattress warranty—what it is, what it covers, and how you could void it.
One common question I get is what a mattress warranty covers. Some customers remark that mattress warranties are never honored, and there is no point. Others don’t even realize that mattresses come with warranties. I hope to clear up a lot of this confusion in this post.
What does a warranty cover?
A mattress warranty covers physical defects in a mattress. The most common problem is sagging. If a mattress sags beyond a certain threshold when nobody is on it, that is a warranty issue. This threshold is 1.5 inches for most manufacturers, though it’s 3/4th of an inch for others, like Tempurpedic. This sag is usually measured by putting a string or other straight line across the surface of the mattress, and then measuring from the string to the bottom of the sag with a ruler.
Mattress warranties also usually cover coils breaking or popping out of the side, the foams up top bunching up, the seams coming out of the mattress, the boxspring breaking, or any other physical defect. If you suspect you have a warranty issue, contact the retail merchant first, and if you don’t get anywhere with them, contact the manufacturer.
What does a warranty NOT cover?
Mattress warranties do NOT cover against comfort issues. If your mattress feels a bit lumpy, or it doesn’t support you properly, or it causes pressure to your body, you are out of luck. This is one reason some people claim that warranties aren’t honored. Warranties only cover structural problems, not a product that doesn’t maintain its comfort over time.
Things that can void a warranty
There are several things that can void an otherwise legitimate warranty claim. Here are some of the most common.
- Removing the law tag. The law tag is the tag on the back of the mattress that says “do not remove under penalty of law.” The “law” part only refers to the mattress retailer and manufacturer. The end-user is free to remove it whenever he or she wants, butthis voids the warranty.It would be the equivalent of filing off the VIN from a car and expecting the warranty to be honored. There is no proof it’s the same mattress that you ordered.
- Stains. If a mattress is stained, the warranty is void. This even goes for problems in which the stain obviously didn’t cause the sag. Liquids can wear down the foams and cause them to deteriorate faster than they otherwise would. Additionally, stained mattresses are unsanitary, and no company wants to return those to the warehouse for a warranty claim. You can prevent stains to your mattress by using a waterproof mattress protector. These do NOT have to feel like plastic, and they are also NOT just for the incontinent. Even just perspiration, a little bit every night over the course of 10 years, can cause a stain and wear down the foams. Not to mention, there are other activities done in bed which can produce a wet spot… Protect-A-Bed makes a very popular mattress protector, but there are others as well.
- Improper support. You need proper support under your mattress. This can take several forms. The most common is the matching boxspring on top of a metal frame with a center support bar. Using an old boxspring will almost always void the warranty. If you don’t want a new boxspring, consider getting a platform bed with either a solid surface or slats which are very close together. If you use a frame, be sure that it has a center support bar with at least one leg going from the bar to the ground. It should look something like this.
I hope I have cleared up some of the confusion about mattress warranties. They only cover structural defects with the mattress (not comfort). They can be voided if you don’t take care of the mattress. Be sure to keep it properly supported by a frame or platform bed and protected with a mattress cover.