How to Measure Mattress Sag

Maxwell Payne

Mattress sag is when a portion of the mattress sags inward because of a possible defect or damage to the coils or springs. Mattress sag is sometimes confused with normal wear such as indents in the mattress surface or sinking when weight is applied.

Mattress warranties often cover mattresses that have sags deeper than 1 1/2 inches when no weight is applied to the mattress. Consumers can measure the mattress sag themselves before calling a service person to do an inspection of the mattress.

  1. Strip the mattress of sheets and any covers or pads. Visually inspect the mattress, looking for visible signs of sagging such as deep indents or bends in the mattress. Run your hands over the mattress to locate potential sags, but don't apply pressure.

  2. Hold the string across the mattress so part of the string goes over the possible sag. If you have two other people around, have them hold the string on each end so it is flush to the mattress and taut. You can also secure the string tightly with duct tape if no one is available. Most of the mattress should touch the string, while the sagging area should not be touching the string.

  3. Place the end of the measuring tape into the sag so that the metal end of the tape is flush against the mattress. The measuring tape handle and reel should be held up in the air above the mattress and string.

  4. Look at the measurement marking where the string and the measuring tape meet. This number will indicate the amount of mattress sag and give you an idea of whether the mattress warranty will cover the replacement costs. Repeat for any other sags you notice on the mattress.


Use string that is a different color than the mattress fabric to make it easier to see. Do not lay on or apply weight to the mattress within a few hours of measuring for sag. If possible, flip your mattress every few months to prevent sags or to avoid sleeping on the side with a noticeable sag.


Jumping on or bending a mattress (while carrying or moving) can damage it and cause sagging.