How to Get Free and Discounted Mattresses


Written by David Rubin

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There are plenty of affordably priced mattresses out there — but if your budget is limited or you don’t have extra money to spend, even a cheap mattress may be out of reach. There are ways to acquire a mattress free of charge or with a substantial discount. However, you may need to meet certain financial criteria to qualify for these programs.

How to Qualify for a Free or Discounted Mattress

Specific qualifications for free mattresses vary by program, but most share the same general criteria. Income is often the biggest deciding factor. Many organizations reserve free mattresses for people who are considered very low income, homeless, or transitioning from homeless. Some programs have specific income thresholds.

Other criteria may include:

  • Family size: Free mattress programs may reserve beds for families with children. Even if this is not a requirement, many organizations prioritize families with children.
  • Sponsorship: For some programs, free mattress recipients need to be nominated by social workers, case managers, and other individuals with firsthand knowledge of their income status.
  • Location: Regionally based organizations may only be able to provide free mattresses to people who reside in one of their chapter locations.
  • Home size: In order to qualify for a free mattress, recipients may need a residence with a room large enough to accommodate a bed.
  • Specific demographic: While not as common, some organizations and programs exclusively provide free mattresses to certain populations such as people with disabilities, seniors, and military veterans.

In addition to free mattress programs, many organizations sell mattresses at heavily discounted prices. Shoppers with some buying flexibility may also be able to find an online mattress sale that aligns with their budget. Many of the biggest online mattress sales coincide with major holidays such as Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, and Black Friday.

If you live with a disability, you may be able to receive financial assistance for an adjustable bed through Medicaid and other programs in your home state. Health insurance and Medicare may also cover a large portion of the adjustable bed’s cost, provided it is hospital-grade.

Organizations That Provide Free or Discounted Mattresses

Below, you’ll find a list of national programs and organizations that help people across the country acquire free or discounted beds. This list is not exhaustive. We also encourage people seeking a free or discounted mattress to inquire at shelters, thrift stores, and other locally based resources within their communities.

  • Ashley Furniture Hope to Dream: Ashley Furniture’s Hope to Dream program provides children with a free twin size mattress, bed frame, pillow, and bedding. Recipients must be between the ages of 3 and 16, and belong to families considered very low income, living in poverty, or transitioning from homelessness. Sponsorship is also required.
  • Beds4Vets: This nationwide nonprofit organization assists U.S. military veterans facing or transitioning out of homelessness. Each approved recipient is given a free bed, sheet set, and comforter, along with kitchen and bathroom essentials. Beds4Vets is supported entirely through corporate donations, so all of these products are new and have not been used.
  • Freecycle: Freecycle is a worldwide nonprofit organization that connects people within local communities. Site users in need of a mattress, bed frame, and other sleep products can post on the Freecycle website and receive messages from people who are willing to donate these items. The organization’s goal is to limit the amount of used products that enter landfills.
  • Goodwill: Goodwill operates donation-based thrift stores across the country. The organization accepts donations for mattresses, beds, and other gently used products. People who meet certain income needs may qualify for furniture vouchers, which can be redeemed at their local Goodwill branches.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore: Another option for discounted mattresses and beds is Habitat for Humanity Restore. These home improvement stores are found across the country, and accept gently used donations for various household goods and furnishings.
  • Salvation Army: The Salvation Army offers a wide range of services for low-income individuals and families, including the furniture voucher program. Recipients may obtain and use these vouchers at Salvation Army thrift stores to purchase mattresses and beds. Qualifications for the vouchers vary by local chapter, but income level and family size are typically the main considerations.
  • Sleep in Heavenly Peace: This nationwide nonprofit supplies free mattresses to children between the ages of 3 and 17. SHP operates local chapters throughout the U.S., but recipients must live close to a chapter location to qualify. A completed application and access to a phone or email account are also required. 
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul: Known as SVdP, this nationwide organization operates thrift stores across the country. Individuals and families may receive free or discounted mattresses, beds, and other sleep products that have been gently used and donated to their local branch.

Additional Resources for Free or Discounted Mattresses

Other resources in your local community for finding free or discounted mattresses include:

  • Furniture banks: Most cities and towns have at least one furniture bank, where people can purchase mattresses, beds, and other home furnishings at a discounted price. 
  • Shelters: For people and families experiencing homelessness, local shelters can be a critical lifeline. These establishments offer beds for sleeping, bathroom and shower facilities, and meals. Requirements for entry vary by shelter.
  • Religious centers: Local churches, mosques, temples, and other religious centers can be a good resource for advice on securing mattresses and other home furnishings. These establishments may also host donation raffles and other events where people can acquire these items at a low price or for free.

What to Check for with a Free or Discounted Mattress

If you receive a free or discounted mattress that’s been gently used, some light wear is to be expected. However, you should check it for the following.

  • Mold and mildew: Mattresses are susceptible to mold and mildew buildup, especially in hot and humid climates. These contaminants can trigger allergic reactions, cause illnesses, and negatively impact sleep quality. If you receive a free or discounted mattress and suspect it’s been contaminated with mold or mildew, contact the organization that supplied you with the bed to inquire about exchange options.
  • Bed bugs: Bed bugs are parasitic insects that subsist on blood from humans and other mammals. Their bites leave small red marks that cause extreme itchiness for days — weeks in some cases. Most free and discounted mattress programs will screen donated beds for bed bugs before making them available to the public, but we recommend re-checking the mattress as an extra precaution.
  • Heavy wear: Most free and discounted mattress programs only accept gently used beds. However, some types of mattress wear and tear can be hard to detect. If you sink too deeply into your mattress, or suspect the internal components may be damaged or broken, contact the supplier to ask about an exchange.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a mattress cost?

The average new mattress costs between $700 and $1,500 in a queen size. In addition to size, other factors that affect price include the type of mattress and whether you buy it in a store or online.

Plenty of mattresses fall below this average price range. Some options are available for under $500, $300, and even $200. Check product specs to ensure a mattress meets all of your needs before making your purchase.

Can anyone get a free or discounted mattress?

Most free mattress programs require recipients to meet certain qualifications regarding their income level, housing, and family size. Discounted mattress programs may have looser guidelines, but generally prioritize giving beds to low-income individuals and families.

Can I use health insurance to pay for a mattress?

You cannot use health insurance or Medicare to pay for mattresses or beds unless they are classified as durable medical equipment and have been approved by a licensed physician. If approved, your insurance provider will likely cover some — but not all — of the total cost. Medicare covers 80% of costs related to hospital-grade adjustable beds and other sleep products that serve a medical purpose.

Can I find free or discounted mattresses on Craigslist?

Plenty of people use Craigslist and other online marketplaces to sell mattresses or give them away for free. However, we do not recommend obtaining a mattress in this manner.

Most free mattresses on Craigslist are of poor quality, even if the listing’s photos suggest otherwise. You may not get a chance to check the mattress for damage, mold, and other problems before the transaction is completed. Warranty coverage is another issue. Once the original owner gives their mattress to someone else, the manufacturer’s warranty is voided. This leaves you with little to no recourse if a defect affects mattress performance down the road.

About The Author

David Rubin

Certified Sleep Science Coach, Director of Product Testing

David is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with a lifelong passion for well-being and health optimization. His interest in sleep developed with the arrival of his son, when sleep suddenly became a precious commodity.

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