Problems With Buying a Secondhand Mattress

Mattresses in the trash

Buying a mattress second-hand may seem like a great idea at first. They’re usually cheaper than a new mattress, and already broken in. If it fits your bed and the price is right, nothing else matters, right?

Wrong. Buying a secondhand mattress can be a bargain, but it comes with more cons than pros. You spend roughly a third of your life on your mattress, so you require something high-quality to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep that will last you a long while.

Secondhand Mattresses Have A Shorter Lifespan

For starters, a secondhand mattress isn’t going to last you as long as a brand-new one. Mattresses usually have a lifespan between 7 and 10 years, though high-quality and flippable mattresses can last even longer. Unless you can confirm the mattress you’re buying secondhand has never been slept on, it’s highly likely that it’s already used up at least part of its lifespan. This means you may have to replace it again in just a few years.

They’re Not as Cheap as You Think

Unless you’re buying that secondhand mattress for literally nothing, you’re not really saving money. In fact, it might even end up being more expensive in the long run. As we said, a used mattress has a shorter lifespan than new, so you’ll likely have to replace it within 2-4 years instead of 7-10.

How does that make it more expensive? Because the cost of constantly replacing your mattress adds up. If you spent half of what you would have for a new mattress on a used one, but it only has a third of its lifespan, you’ll need to spend money again to replace it. And if the next secondhand mattress you buy only has a few years left, you’ll have to replace it again. If you keep buying mattresses at half the price with only a third of the lifespan, within ten years you will have spent 50% more than if you had just bought it new.

You Don’t Know How Clean It Is

The third problem with secondhand mattresses is cleanliness. Any item you spend between 6-8 hours a day on is going to get dirty. Whether it’s crumbs from food, shedding skin, spills, dirt, or hair, your mattress gets its fair share of grime. Ideally, the mattress’ original owner would have cleaned it regularly and thoroughly cleaned it before selling. However, can you really be sure of that?

Even if the mattress is unused, it could still be dirty. The previous owners could have kept it in their basement for a few years, or an unused guest room. That means it’s still been collecting dust or mildew. With a new mattress, you can at least be certain that, even if you bought it from some kind of mattress warehouse, it was kept wrapped up in temperature-controlled conditions meant to keep it clean.

Cleaning a stained mattress

Possible Pest Infestation

While on the topic of cleanliness, we have to talk about the very real possibility of bed bugs. Bed bugs are not an uncommon problem, even in Massachusetts. In fact, the most common way for these disgusting parasites to get into your home is to hitch a ride on secondhand furniture. As the name implies, mattresses are the most common culprit. These little pests are hard to get rid of once they’re in your home without a professional exterminator. So the money you’ve allegedly saved on a cheaper, secondhand mattress has just been spent on eliminating the pests it brought into your home.

New Means Made for You

The best part about a new mattress is that it’s made to fit your body and sleep needs, not someone else’s. When you get a hand-crafted mattress from one of our showrooms, you get to discuss with the manufacturers exactly what materials, firmness, and size will suit you best. If you’re a night-sweater, you can get materials that will help regulate your temperature. If you or your partner toss and turn, you can get a mattress that will reduce motion transfer.

Secondhand mattresses don’t have that kind of customization. In fact, when you buy a mattress secondhand, you’re settling for what suited the previous owner best, not yourself. If they preferred a softer mattress while you like firm, you’re not going to be as comfortable as you’d like.

But some people feel that brand-new mattresses aren’t the most comfortable to sleep on and would prefer something that’s already broken in. New mattresses can feel stiff at first because the materials haven’t had time to mold to your body, so why not buy it secondhand when someone’s already done the hard work? Well, because the body that’s broken it in likely isn’t the exact same shape and size as yours. When we use a mattress for long enough, we leave an impression of our hips, shoulders, back, and sides that is perfect for us, but not ideal for another. Worst-case scenario, you may end up with back and sleeping problems when using a mattress that’s already been molded to someone else.

A Gardner Mattress employee hand crafting a mattress in Salem, Massachusetts Showroom

Secondhand Mattresses Could Have Unseen Issues

With how often a mattress is used, a secondhand mattress is naturally going to have some wear and tear. It’s quite likely that it will be lumpy, have started to sag, worn spots in the fabric, and stains. But there could be other problems that you might not have noticed. There could be damaged springs, tears in the underside of the fabric, and perhaps even a crack in the base. This of course shortens the lifespan further and could cost you money to either replace or repair it. On top of that, these issues usually bring down the comfort level of the mattress. This means you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, which can cause long-term health issues.

Secondhand mattresses may seem like a clever way to save some money, but they’re genuinely not worth it. The risks far outweigh the rewards. In fact, it could cost you more than you’re hoping to save in the long run. It’s better to budget carefully and invest in a new, high-quality mattress that will last you at least a decade and will ensure you have the level of comfort you need.


Visit one of our three conveniently located showrooms. Our original factory and showroom in Salem, Massachusetts, or one of our newer showrooms in Needham and Woburn.

Gardner Mattress Showroom in Salem, Massachusetts

Hours of Operation

Sunday: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Monday-Saturday: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Hours of Operation

Sunday & Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Hours of Operation

Sunday & Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Friday: 10:00am – 2:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm