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“Mattress in a box” is a catch-all term for any bed shipped directly to customers, and a recent boom in the online mattress industry has resulted in a vast number of beds in boxes to choose from. Prior to shipping, the mattress is compressed and vacuum-sealed in plastic. Mattresses begin to expand after you unbox them and are usually ready to use within 24 to 48 hours.
Our testing crew has evaluated hundreds of online mattresses, and below are our top picks. We looked closely at how each mattress is constructed and how firm or soft it feels for different body types. Our testing team is made up of people with varying body types and preferred sleep positions. This helped us incorporate feedback from a range of sleepers. We also factored in how cool the bed surface felt, how much it cost, and how durably it was designed.
Watch our video below to learn more about our lab’s top picks for mattresses in a box.
Below you’ll find in-depth looks at each of our top picks, but keep scrolling to check out our guide to buying mattresses in a box. The guide offers all sorts of helpful information about the mattress delivery process, pros and cons about different mattress types, and answers to common questions about mattresses-in-a-box.
While you’re shopping for mattresses-in-a-box, check out our list of the Best Online Mattresses for more suggestions.
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The DreamCloud Mattress is a luxury hybrid mattress that stood out to our testers for its impressive balance of support, pressure relief, and temperature neutrality. We found this mattress had a medium firm feel (6 out of 10), with a plush quilted surface and tall profile.
What It’s Made of
The DreamCloud’s cover is made of a cashmere poly-blend fabric quilted with a polyfoam layer. Our test team found the surface very breathable and plush, and the gel-infused memory foam under the quilted cover offered excellent pressure relief. Beneath is a transition layer of polyfoam and a support core containing individually wrapped coils.
How It Performed
When our testers lied on the mattress, it conformed moderately to the body but didn’t produce that “sinking” feeling that we’ve observed in softer mattresses with more foam layers. Performance-wise, the DreamCloud is a great all-around mattress, earning especially strong ratings for pressure relief, temperature control, and ease of movement. We recommend this mattress for most sleeper types except for side sleepers under 130 pounds.
For a luxury mattress, the DreamCloud is fairly affordable, coming in at an average price-point for a standard hybrid bed. DreamCloud stands behind the mattress with excellent guarantees, which include a 1-year sleep trial and a lifetime limited warranty.
The DreamCloud hits a lot of marks, including a luxurious design, mid-range firmness, breathability, and solid edge support. This is one of the most universally appealing mattresses we’ve tested in our lab, especially at this price-point.
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The Nectar is one of our best mattress-in-a-box picks for sleepers who enjoy the feel of memory foam. The side sleepers on our team received ample cushioning for the shoulders and hips, ensuring good spinal alignment and less pressure, while the back and stomach sleepers felt even body-conforming without sinking too much. Compared to other high performing foam models, the Nectar has an approachable price-point for shoppers on a budget.
What It’s Made of
This model features a thick comfort layer of memory foam over two layers of denser polyfoam. A cover made of polyester, nylon, and polyethylene encases the entire mattress. Our testers rate this bed as medium firm (6), resulting in a comfortable balance of conforming and support for sleepers across different body type and position groups.
How It Performed
Our testing showed that the Nectar isolates motion very well, which means testers barely felt each other’s movements when sharing the bed. This cuts down on sleep disruptions for couples. We also found the edge support is better than average for an all-foam bed, thanks to a fairly thick support core that stabilizes the bed and reinforces the perimeter against excessive sinkage. Like other all-foam beds we’ve tested, the Nectar absorbs a fair amount of body heat and may sleep a bit warm for some.
The Nectar is much cheaper than other memory foam mattresses we’ve seen on the market, making it a high-value pick. The company also backs the mattress with a 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty, both of which are much longer than average. Nectar offers free delivery to customers anywhere in the contiguous U.S.
The Nectar’s memory foam provides excellent cushioning but the mattress never felt overly soft or sagged too much for our testers. We think it’s a particularly good fit for side sleepers who need some extra support.
Best for Side Sleepers
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Helix Sleep’s mattress lineup includes more than a dozen hybrid models specifically designed for certain types of sleepers. The Helix Midnight is a versatile model that feels comfortable for a wide array of sleepers, but our testing shows that it’s particularly well suited for side sleepers. Its versatility can be attributed to a balanced medium firm (6) feel that combines the contouring of memory foam with robust coil support.
What It’s Made of
The mattress begins with a comfort layer of memory foam, followed by a transitional polyfoam layer. Individually pocketed coils reinforced with high-density polyfoam make up the support core. The coils are reinforced along the perimeter to create pushback when you sleep near the edges of the mattress or get in and out of bed. A stretch-polyester cover encases the entire mattress.
How It Performed
The Midnight earns above-average ratings for pressure relief compared to other hybrids. The foam layers provide even cushioning for areas of the body prone to pressure buildup, such as the shoulders and hips. The transitional foam also serves as a buffer for the support core, so sleepers up to 230 pounds shouldn’t sink too deeply into the mattress.
Edge support is another strength of the Midnight. The reinforced coils allow you and your partner to use the entire surface of the mattress, so you shouldn’t feel confined to the middle during sleep or sex. Steady airflow through the coils also helps the mattress sleep cool.
The Midnight has a below-average price-point for a hybrid model and Helix Sleep offers free ground delivery to all 50 states. Each order comes with a 100-night sleep trial that includes free return shipping, and those who choose to keep the mattress also receive a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
The Helix Midnight was one of the most popular models among our testing team, with highest marks from side sleepers. It’s soft enough for side sleepers without sacrificing support for key areas like the lower back, and it’s very easy to move across without sinking.
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We’ve tested hundreds of beds, and the WinkBed stands out as a hybrid mattress that many sleepers should find comfortable. Four firmness levels – medium soft (4), medium firm (6), firm (7), and extra firm (8) – ensure back, side, and stomach sleepers from multiple weight groups are likely to find a WinkBed that fits their needs.
What It’s Made of
The Euro-top is quilted with gel-infused polyfoam, which cushioned sharp pressure points during our lab tests. The cooling gel infusions are designed to absorb and dissipate excess body heat. Next is a layer of SupportCell polyfoam that kept our testers’ body weight evenly distributed across the mattress surface. In the medium soft model, a transitional layer made from denser polyfoam added extra softness to the overall feel. A zoned, pocketed coil support core helped maintain spinal alignment for our testers, and the Tencel fabric cover kept the surface cool and breathable.
How It Performed
The WinkBed caters to different sleeper types based on the firmness level you pick. During our tests, we found that side sleepers and those under 130 pounds preferred the medium soft bed. The medium firm option offered a balance of cushioning and support, so a number of testers found this bed comfortable. Back and stomach sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds enjoyed the even sleep surface from the firm option, and the extra firm WinkBed Plus earned the highest marks from testers who weighed over 230 pounds.
All models performed well in our motion isolation tests, but couples seeking greater motion isolation may prefer the softer model. The cushioned surface greatly reduced motion transfer when two or more testers shared the bed. The WinkBed also performed well in our temperature regulation tests. Air circulates easily within the mattress’ core, and the Tencel cover offers additional cooling.
We found edge support to be another strength of the WinkBed. The coils are reinforced along the perimeter to provide pushback and reduce sinkage. Our testers felt secure along the edges of all WinkBed models regardless of firmness level.
The WinkBed ships for free to states within the contiguous U.S. and includes a 120-night sleep trial. The mattress carries a lifetime warranty.
The WinkBed is one of the sturdiest hybrid models we’ve tested. It offers exceptional support but still manages to feel plush on the surface.
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The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe uses proprietary cooling technology and phase change material to keep you cooler than many other mattresses made with foam layers. These features, along with the breathable coil support core, earned the mattress high marks in our temperature neutrality tests.
What It’s Made of
The Aurora Luxe’s three firmness levels – medium soft (4), medium firm (6), and firm (7) – all have a top layer of CopperFlex polyfoam infused with phase change material. Phase change material is meant to absorb and dissipate excess body heat to keep you cool. Underneath is a layer of TitanFlex polyfoam, which has a denser feel to prevent your body from sinking too deeply into the mattress.
The third comfort layer differs slightly depending on the firmness you choose. The medium soft and medium firm models have a layer of gel-infused memory foam, which our tests found enhances pressure relief. Meanwhile, the firm option has a layer of TitanFlex foam that provided extra support. All models have a support core made from zoned pocketed coils. Thinner coils cradle the legs and shoulders, while thicker ones line the perimeter and offer targeted support to the midsection. The coils rest on a polyfoam base layer to prevent shifting. A fabric cover infused with phase change material encases the mattress.
How It Perfomed
Throughout our sleeping position and body type tests, we noticed all Aurora Luxe models felt very balanced. However, each offered benefits to different sleeper types. The softest model has a plush and adaptive feel that our side and back sleepers under 130 pounds thoroughly enjoyed. We found the medium firm option to be the most balanced, but it performed particularly well among our side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds and back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds. Our back and stomach sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds preferred the firmest option’s even contouring.
Cooling was a standout feature for every model, but we noticed great performance in other categories as well. Our testers with sharp pressure points found significant relief from all three models, thanks to the foam comfort system. We also recommend the Aurora Luxe for couples, regardless if they prioritize motion isolation or responsiveness for sex. We found the softest model absorbed a bit more motion than the firmer ones. If you are frequently disturbed by your partner changing positions or getting up at night, we recommend opting for this model.
If you live in the contiguous U.S., you are eligible for free shipping. Brooklyn Bedding also offers a 120-night sleep trial where you can test the mattress and return it for a full refund anytime after the 30-night break-in period. The Aurora Luxe is backed by a 10-year warranty against structural defects.
The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe is a foam hybrid with exceptional cooling capabilities. Our testing found the phase change material and breathable coil support core excellent at regulating internal and surface temperature.
Best for Back Pain
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A mattress that promotes even alignment can be highly beneficial for people who experience soreness in the lower back during the night. Our test lab found that the Nolah Evolution 15 serves these sleepers well, thanks to a plush pillow-top surface and a robust support core containing zoned pocketed coils. The mattress is available in three firmness levels – medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (8) – so most people will find a comfortable option regardless of how much they weigh or which sleep position they prefer.
What It’s Made of
The Evolution 15 features 2 inches of adaptive foam quilted into the Euro-top, followed by a proprietary AirBreath border gusset designed to maximize airflow and reduce heat buildup. Next is a second comfort layer of AirFoamICE, an open-cell foam infused with graphite for added cooling. Two layers of denser foam provided transitional support that kept our testers on an even plane.
In the support core, thicker coils are used in the midsection to provide extra reinforcement and pushback in the area where most people carry a disproportionate amount of weight. Sturdier coils along the perimeter reduced sinkage when our testers got on and off the mattress. The foundational layer is composed of plant-based fiber. A cover made of breathable ArcticTex fabric encases the mattress, and each side is equipped with durable handles to aid you with lifting and moving.
How It Performed
Performance ratings for the Evolution 15 largely depend on the firmness level. The medium feel earned the most favorable ratings from side sleepers on our test team weighing up to 230 pounds and back sleepers under 130 pounds. We noticed that this model also excels at motion isolation and pressure relief. The medium firm and firm versions fared better with testers who sleep on their back or stomach and weigh 130 pounds or more. We found that these models also offered very strong edge support, good responsiveness for sex, and easy movement across the surface.
All Evolution 15 models earned stellar ratings from our testers for temperature control, though the two firmer options took a slight edge over the medium feel. The combination of a cooling cover, breathable open-cell foams, and a coil system that promotes steady airflow makes the Evolution 15 one of the most comfortable mattresses we’ve tested for hot sleepers.
Nolah provides free ground delivery for all orders in the contiguous U.S. The company also offers a 120-night sleep trial, but customers can forgo the trial period and reduce their up-front cost by up to $160. The Evolution 15 is also backed by a lifetime warranty against structural defects.
The Nolah Evolution combines the even contouring of deep foam layers with the strong support of a zoned coil system. Each firmness level is distinct, so most people should be able to find an option that works for them.
Best for Couples
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The Bear Elite Hybrid comes in three firmness levels – medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (8) – so most sleepers should find a model that’s equally comfortable and supportive. The memory foam layers absorbed a good amount of movement and noise during our motion isolation tests, while the coils offer great responsiveness for sex. Thanks to these features, we recommend the Elite Hybrid for couples.
What It’s Made of
The top comfort layer is copper-infused memory foam. Our team found the memory foam slowly adapts to your body to relieve pressure in sensitive areas, and the copper infusion is designed to conduct heat away from the surface. Next is a layer of aerated polyfoam that acts as a cushion between the comfort system and the coils. This layer has five zones, and our testers found this zoned design helped relieve pressure points while supporting the lower back. It also ensures your body weight is evenly distributed across the surface.
The support core features pocketed coils that provided ample pushback to our testers’ hips and shoulders during testing, preventing uncomfortable sagging. The coils rest on a base layer of polyfoam for extra stability. A cooling cover made from a blend of Celliant and polyester encases the mattress. The cover also features phase change material meant to help keep you cool.
How It Performed
Thanks to the variety of firmness levels, our testing team found the Elite Hybrid was a solid choice for a wide array of sleepers. The softest option provided extra contouring that best suited our testers who sleep on their side or back and who weighed under 130 pounds. The medium firm feel was the most versatile, appealing to our side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds and back sleepers up to 230 pounds. Our team’s side sleepers over 230 pounds, back sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds, and stomach sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds appreciated the even sleep surface from the firm model.
The three distinct feels varied in their performance across our testing criteria. All three regulate temperature well, but we noticed that the two firmer options tend to trap less heat than the softest model.
Bear ships free to customers living in the contiguous U.S. Orders come with a 120-night sleep trial, where customers can return a mattress anytime after the 30-night break-in period. Elite Hybrid purchases come with a lifetime warranty that covers structural defects.
The Bear Elite Hybrid has aerated foams and a breathable support core to regulate temperature. Hot sleepers on our testing team who like the “body hug” of foam appreciated this mattress.
Best Firm/Extra Firm
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Most mattresses made today fall between 4 and 6 on the 10-point scale, making it somewhat difficult to find a suitable bed if you want a firmer feel. The Plank Firm Luxe from Brooklyn Bedding is a flippable mattress with a distinct feel on each side. Our testers found that the firm (7) side contours to a minimal extent while providing sturdy overall support, while the extra firm (9) side barely conforms at all.
What It’s Made of
The firm side of the Plank Firm Luxe features adaptive foam quilted into the cover, followed by a comfort layer of TitanFlex polyfoam and a transitional layer of high-density polyfoam. Our testers noticed that this side combines the contouring of memory foam with the responsiveness of latex. The extra firm side has less foam quilted into the cover and does not include a TitanFlex layer, which our testers found distinctly firmer than the opposite surface. A shared support core of pocketed coils stabilizes both sides of the mattress.
You can choose to add a panel of phase change material, which is sewn into the cover on both sides. This cooling component is engineered to capture and release heat, which helps maintain a comfortable surface temperature. The panel increases the mattress’ price by $100 to $200, depending on the selected size.
How It Performed
As a mattress designed to feel exceptionally firm, we found that the Plank Firm Luxe excelled in some areas where softer models usually fall short. Both sides feel very sturdy along the perimeter and did not sag excessively when our testers lay near the edges or got in and out of bed. Temperature control was another major strength during our testing. The coil layers promoted steady circulation to cool off the interior of the mattress, and the firm surfaces ensured that our testers did not sink too deeply and lose their surface airflow. Those who sleep excessively hot should opt for the phase change cooling panel.
Our testing found back and stomach sleepers feel most comfortable on the Plank Firm Luxe. This is especially true of those who weigh more than 230 pounds, but testers who favor these positions and fall within the range of 130 and 230 pounds also gave the mattress generally favorable reviews.
Brooklyn Bedding offers an extensive size selection for this mattress. In addition to the six standard mattress sizes, you can choose a split California king, short queen or king, and two RV-friendly options. Even if you add the cooling panel, the Plank Firm Luxe has a below-average price-point compared to the average hybrid model. Shipping is also free of charge for all customers in the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
The Plank Firm Luxe is easily one of the firmest mattresses we’ve tested. The extra firm side was most popular for our back and stomach sleepers over 230 pounds, but the slightly softer side still provided plenty of support and reinforcement.
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The Leesa Legend is a luxury foam hybrid with a thoughtful design and eco-friendly materials. The breathable cover is made from a blend of recycled polyester from water bottles, and the microcoils and coil support core are made from recycled steel. We recommend this mattress for sleepers willing to spend a bit more on a mattress made with high-quality materials.
What It’s Made of
The mattress begins with a layer of aerated polyfoam that closely contoured to our testers’ bodies to relieve pressure while facilitating airflow. Next is adaptive memory foam resting on a layer of pocketed microcoils. These coils are zoned at the head and foot of the bed, which eased pressure points in our hips and shoulders of our testers. Polyfoam in the center of this layer reduced motion transfer from the coils.
A polyfoam transitional layer adds cushioning between the comfort system and the support core, while evenly distributing body weight across the surface. Pocketed coils make up the support core, with thicker coils lining the perimeter for extra reinforcement. The coils rest on a polyfoam base layer for stability.
How It Performed
The Legend’s medium firm (6) feel and thoughtful comfort system performed best among side sleepers on our team, especially those who weigh at least 130 pounds. The foam layers and microcoils provided targeted relief to the hips and shoulders, which is where side sleepers tend to experience pressure buildup.
We also recommend the Legend to couples who value a nice balance of motion isolation and responsiveness. During our tests, the coil-on-coil design offered a certain amount of bounce that many prefer for easy movement across the surface. Meanwhile, the foam layers and polyfoam in the microcoil layer prevented excessive motion transfer, so testers didn’t feel too much movement from each other when sharing the bed. The breathable coils, cover, and aerated foams also kept the mattress quite cool.
Leesa offers free shipping to all 50 states and a 100-night sleep trial. Customers can return a mattress anytime after the 30-night break-in period for a full refund. Legend purchases come with a 10-year warranty, covering structural defects.
Our testers loved the Leesa Legend’s supportive coil-on-coil construction and thoughtful design touches. Eco-conscious shoppers should also appreciate the use of organic and recycled materials.
Best Pressure Relief
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The Birch Mattress is a latex hybrid made with organic materials, making it a great choice for eco-conscious shoppers. The mattress has a medium firm (6) feel that delivered very good pressure relief for most sleepers during our tests. The latex hybrid design also excelled at temperature regulation, and the breathable cover felt cool to the touch.
What It’s Made of
The Birch features a breathable, organic cotton cover that sits on top of two comfort layers: one made of wool and the other made of natural Talalay latex. Our testers found that the wool excelled at keeping the surface breathable while wicking moisture away from the body, and the latex provided a moderately conforming surface with a bit of bounce. Under the comfort layers is a sturdy pocketed coil support core. These individually pocketed coils provided ample support for all our testers and also allowed airflow throughout the mattress.
How It Performed
The Birch stood out to our testers in terms of durability, ease of movement, temperature control, and pressure relief. Side and back sleepers on our team benefitted from the strong cushioning, which helped relieve pressure points, and ample support for the lower back. The balanced medium firm feel and supportive build made the mattress a good fit for many body types, though side sleepers under 130 pounds observed that a softer bed might be more beneficial. Our testers also noted very good edge support, which can mostly be attributed to the robust coil system.
Birch ships free to the contiguous U.S. They also guarantee their mattress with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty, which is fairly high relative to other mattress companies.
A true medium firm, the Birch stands out for its gentle contouring and excellent overall support. It’s comparable to a lot of other latex hybrids that we’ve tested, but the sticker price is much more approachable.
Every mattress we review undergoes rigorous hands-on testing to determine its key strengths, as well as shortcomings that can negatively affect your sleep experience. For the selections above, we’ve exclusively focused on mattresses from online brands that are compressed and vacuum-sealed for shipping.
Our multifaceted testing process allows us to evaluate mattresses for different performance areas such as durability, pressure relief, edge support, and temperature control. Our team consists of testers with different body types and position preferences, so our results should represent the majority of sleepers today. We’ve tested more than 200 mattress-in-a-box options to bring you these top picks, and we’ll continue to reassess and update our list if our findings change.
More information about our product research methodology is detailed below:
The term “mattress in a box” refers to any model from an online mattress brand that is compressed and placed in a box for delivery. The term “bed in a bag” may also be used. These mattresses are comparable to models sold in brick-and-mortar stores in terms of construction and performance. The key difference is pricing. Online brands face lower overhead costs because they do not operate many (if any) physical stores or employ commissioned salespeople. As a result, mattresses in a box tend to be a cheap mattress alternative. They are an ideal choice for shoppers who’d like to save money and who prefer the convenience of delivery to your home.
Preparing a mattress for shipping in a box is fairly straightforward. The mattress is compressed using a large press, encased in plastic, and rolled into a cylindrical shape. This process – also known as “roll packing” – reduces the mattress to a much more compact size, allowing it to fit in a box that can be shipped via standard ground delivery.
A common misconception among consumers is that roll packing causes permanent damage to the mattress. However, mattresses in a box are designed to be highly resilient. Once the plastic wrapping is removed, the layers will expand until the bed reaches its full intended shape. The foams, coils, and other components should fully recover in one to two days without any sort of damage.
There are many reasons to choose an online mattress brand over a brick-and-mortar seller. These include the following:
Weighing your own needs and preferences as a sleeper is key to finding the right mattress in a box. Every mattress is uniquely constructed and suits some sleepers better than others. The ideal mattress for you will likely depend on factors like body type, sleep position, and the local climate where you live.
Our team has tested hundreds of mattresses, and we’ve found that firmness level is a good starting point for choosing a mattress. If you weigh less than 130 pounds, sleep on your side, or experience pressure points along your spine, our testing shows you’ll probably feel most comfortable on a softer mattress. Our testers who weigh more than 230 pounds and sleep on their back and/or stomach tend to prefer a firmer mattress instead, while those in the range of 130 to 230 pounds usually enjoy medium to medium firm mattresses.
From there, you should take other variables into account. If you sleep with a partner, then you may need a mattress that isolates motion well. Those who reside in hot or humid environments should also consider a mattress with cooling components. Once you’ve nailed down these personal criteria, you can follow these steps to complete your purchase:
Research different brands: In order to find the most suitable mattress, shoppers should take time to learn about different models. This can help understand differences in construction, pricing, and performance. Some of the best-known online mattress companies include Allswell, Brooklyn Bedding, Casper, Nectar, Saatva, and Tuft & Needle, but buyers can choose from hundreds of brands.
Review the top pick(s): After extensive research, shoppers should be able to narrow down their options to one or two mattresses. Spend a few more minutes reevaluating these models to ensure they are the best choices. Online product specs and images, as well as mattress in a box reviews, can be very helpful during this step.
Chat with customer support: Most online mattress brands offer some sort of live web chat with customer service representatives. They can answer any lingering questions about your top mattress picks. If webchat isn’t available, consider emailing or calling the company’s customer service department.
Look for promotions: Online mattress brands often offer coupons and discounts for certain models. In most cases, the details for these promotions will be prominently displayed on the bed’s product page or elsewhere on the company’s website. These discounts may amount to hundreds of dollars off the original asking price. Additionally, purchasing a mattress during a holiday sale can result in big savings. Sales are commonly held during major holidays such as Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and Veterans’ Day, as well as major shopping days like Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
Buy the mattress: As they would on other vendor websites, customers should select the mattress they want in their desired size. They will be redirected to a purchasing page to enter their name, address, phone number, and payment information. They may also be asked to select a shipping method if more than one is available. After all of the required information has been entered, customers may complete their purchase. They should receive a confirmation email from the brand shortly thereafter.
Mattresses in a box may be removed from their packaging as soon as they reach the customer’s residence. The process for unboxing a new bed is as follows:
Most new mattresses emit off-gassing smells due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are released when the bed is unboxed. VOCs are relatively harmless but they carry a distinct chemical odor that many people find unpleasant. In most cases, mattresses will stop producing these smells after a few days, if not sooner. However, some mattress materials are associated with stronger and/or more persistent odor.
Models with foam layers tend to emit more off-gassing smells. Memory foam and all-polyfoam mattresses usually receive the most odor-related complaints from owners. Innersprings, hybrids, and airbeds may also carry off-gassing smells due to foam components in their comfort and transitional layers, but their coil systems often promote strong airflow to make odors dissipate more quickly.
According to our research, the fewest reports of bothersome off-gassing smells come from latex mattress owners. Although organic and natural latex can carry a rubber-like odor, these materials do not produce VOCs. That said, mattresses with synthetic or blended latex may emit VOCs due to certain chemical fillers in the latex foam.
Off-gassing is rarely a serious long-term issue for mattress owners, but those who are sensitive to strong smells may find memory foam or all-polyfoam beds a bit overwhelming. We recommend a latex, innerspring, hybrid, or airbed model to these individuals instead.
Rather than placing a mattress directly on the floor, many owners support their bed with a base of some kind. Options for these support systems include:
When choosing a foundation or base for a new mattress, be sure to check the bed’s product warranty. Many brands specify which support systems are acceptable. Conditions may include maximum slat widths and support system materials. Failure to use a proper support system may result in a voided warranty if damage occurs.
Vetting brands is an important step during the mattress selection process. How can consumers tell which companies are reputable?
We recommend starting with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), an independent nonprofit organization that reviews individual companies. The BBB awards letter grades based on a number of factors, such as time in business, number of customer complaints, and the company’s response (if any) to these complaints. Any brand with a BBB grade of ‘B’ or better should be considered fairly reputable. If the grade is lower, take a minute to read the reasons why an unfavorable rating was given.
Customer and owner reviews can also be a helpful source of information. However, we don’t recommend looking for reviews on the online mattress brand’s website. Many companies nest negative reviews in hard-to-find areas of the site or arrange all reviews in a way that makes them difficult to sort. Instead, visit online forums and message boards dedicated to mattress topics. The review and comment sections of mattress retailer websites may also offer insights into certain brands. Sites that distinguish “verified owners” from other reviewers are most trustworthy. Also consider visiting websites that rate businesses based on customer reviews, such as Yelp And Trustpilot.
Lastly, perform a quick web search about the company to check for recent news and updates. Take time to look into other areas of the brand, as well, such as the country in which their beds are manufactured and feedback from former employees.
Shipping, returns, and warranties are all very important factors to consider when buying a new mattress in a box. When comparing online mattress brands, information for these three topics should be easily accessible and clearly worded.
Shipping options: A mattress product page will normally contain an overview of the customer’s shipping options. For more detailed information, customers should visit the site’s dedicated shipping and delivery page. If this page does not exist, we’ve found that the FAQ page will likely contain all of the important details.
Shipping costs: Standard ground delivery is almost always free for customers in the contiguous U.S. Some brands also offer free shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and/or Canada. Additionally, a small number of companies provide free White Glove delivery, which includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal. However, most brands charge at least $100 for White Glove services and some include upcharges for old mattress removal. Expedited and overnight ground delivery will usually incur additional fees as well.
Delivery wait times: With standard ground shipping, customers should expect the mattress to arrive on their doorstep within 2 weeks of the original order. The customer’s address may factor into their wait time, as delivery to rural locations often takes longer. White Glove delivery may take two to three weeks, as the brand will need to coordinate the delivery with local couriers in the customer’s area. The upside to White Glove shipping is that you can usually pinpoint a delivery date and time, whereas standard ground shipping does not offer a specific delivery timetable.
Ground shipping: Mattresses sent via standard ground delivery will be compressed and shipped in a box. Couriers will leave the mattress on the customer’s doorstep unless otherwise directed. If you live in an apartment or other shared living space, the courier may choose to leave the box at the front desk. An adult does not need to be at the residence when the mattress arrives, and a signature will not be required for these deliveries.
White Glove delivery: Because White Glove couriers travel to your residence in a large truck, the mattress will not be compressed, but it may be wrapped in plastic or other materials to prevent external damage. Most White Glove deliveries require an adult to be present during the delivery, and a signature is also required. Prior to the couriers’ arrival, you may be asked to clear the path between the front door and the bedroom where the mattress will be kept.
Return policy: An online mattress brand’s return policy will often be listed alongside information about their mattress sleep trial. As with delivery information, the return policy may be located on a dedicated “sleep trial and returns” page on the company’s website, or in the site FAQ.
Return costs: Online mattress brands almost always offer free returns within the sleep trial period. In most cases, the company will send a courier to your residence to retrieve the mattress and transport it for recycling or charitable donation. Once the mattress has been received by personnel, a full refund will be issued using your original form of payment. Some brands charge return fees, but these rarely exceed $100 if the return is requested during the trial period.
Return requirements: If couriers are not available to pick up the mattress, the brand may ask the customer to recycle or donate the bed themselves. Proof of either is often required to receive a full refund. The costs of recycling or donating the mattress may be reimbursed, as well.
Returns after the trial period ends: After the sleep trial concludes, mattress owners should defer to the product warranty. Very few companies offer full refunds for mattress returns beyond the trial period. However, refunds may be granted if the mattress develops a defect.
Warranty overview: A warranty is an agreement between a company and a consumer that offers protections against product defects and associated expenses. All mattresses come with some sort of warranty, which pledges the company will repair or replace any defective mattress at little to no extra cost to the owner (minus shipping charges). Most online mattress brands feature dedicated warranty pages on their website. If this information is not easily accessible, reach out to customer service representatives.
Warranty length: A standard mattress warranty spans 10 years in length, and begins either on the date of purchase or date of delivery. However, many brands offer longer warranties lasting 15, 20, or 25 years. “Lifetime warranties,” which cover the product until the owner relinquishes possession, are also fairly common.
Covered defects: Most mattress warranties include a list of “covered” defects that warrant a repair or replacement. These include “sagging depth,” referring to body impressions that form on the surface and can compromise support. A warranty may cover sagging that measures anywhere from a one-half inch to one and a half inches deep, depending on the brand. Other common covered defects include physical flaws in the mattress that cause materials to deteriorate prematurely, or manufacturing flaws related to the mattress cover.
Non-covered defects: A warranty should also list defects that do not qualify for free repairs or replacements. These often include impressions that do not reach the required sagging depth, issues that arise due to changes in the owner’s personal preferences, or physical damage such as burns, cuts, and stains. Problems that occur due to improper support systems or leaving the mattress in its box for too long may also be listed.
Prorated vs. non-prorated: A warranty may be either completely non-prorated or partially prorated. For a non-prorated warranty, the owner will not need to pay additional fees to have a defective mattress replaced. Prorated warranties work a bit differently. They begin with non-prorated coverage, but after a certain number of years owners will need to pay a certain percentage of the original price in order to replace their defective mattress. This percentage usually increases on an annual basis until the warranty expires.
For example, let’s say a 20-year warranty offers 10 years of non-prorated coverage. Beginning in year 11, owners must pay 50 percent of the original mattress price to replace their defective bed. In year 12, this rate increases to 55 percent, then 60 percent in year 13, and so on.
Transferability: Mattress warranties are non-transferable. This means anyone who buys or acquires the mattress from its original purchases will not receive warranty coverage. Additionally, buyers who purchase their mattress from a non-authorized retailer do not qualify for the warranty.
Every mattress model is unique in terms of materials and construction, but we’ve found that most beds sold today fall into one of five general categories based on comfort layer and support core components. Each type shares consistent features, but there are variations in terms of durability, quality of materials, and other performance factors.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at the five most common mattress types.
Definition: A hybrid is a type of innerspring mattress. These models feature comfort layers of memory foam and/or latex, along with a pocketed coil support. Many hybrids also feature transitional polyfoam layers. The average queen size hybrid costs between $1,600 and $2,000, which is a mid-level price range.
Balanced construction: Hybrids represent the best of both worlds. Based on our extensive testing of hybrids, we’ve found that the memory foam and latex comfort layers provide decent body-conforming and pressure relief, as well as motion isolation for couples. Meanwhile, the coil layers ensure strong support and stability for the entire bed. Coils also promote steady airflow to keep the bed cool.
Definition: Innersprings are constructed with polyfoam comfort layers and steel coil support cores. The coils may be encased in fabric, or pocketed, or open and joined together with wires known as helicals. Innerspring mattresses are generally inexpensive, with an average price range of $900 to $1,100.
Responsive and supportive: As the name implies, innersprings have exceptionally bouncy surfaces. Our testing team finds that innersprings conform very little and feel responsive. The coils also offer enhanced support, making many innersprings well-suited to heavier people. Many couples find the responsive surfaces very good for sex, as well.
Definition: Latex is a material derived from the sap of rubber tree plants. An all-latex bed will typically consist of softer, contouring latex in the comfort layer and denser, firmer material in the support core. The latex may be organic or natural, meaning it contains few (if any) chemical fillers. Blended or synthetic latex is made with more chemical components. Latex beds have an average price range of $1,600 to $2,000.
Long-lasting comfort: Latex is exceptionally durable and will not deteriorate as quickly as mattresses made with foam. This is especially true for organic and natural latex. This ensures a healthy expected lifespan for most all-latex mattresses. When testing latex beds, our testers experience a comfortable balance of body-conforming and responsiveness. They also find that latex beds sleep fairly cool due to the material’s natural breathability.
Definition: An airbed contains motorized air chambers in the support core. Owners can add or release air from the chambers, which in turn adjusts the overall firmness of the mattress. Standard airbeds contain at least two chambers, but some feature eight or more. Many models are designed for dual firmness, meaning different firmness levels on each side of the bed for couples with differing preferences.
Customizable feel: Compared to other mattress types that our team has tested, the major benefit of airbeds is the high level of customization. The best airbeds can be programmed for a wide range of firmness levels, from soft and closely conforming to extra firm and supportive. However, customers should note airbeds are usually very expensive. The average model costs between $2,000 and $2,400 in a queen size, and some have price-points that exceed $4,000.
Definition: A foam mattress will feature memory foam and/or polyfoam comfort layers over a high-density polyfoam base. Foam models sold today offer the widest firmness range, and customers can choose from beds that are soft, firm, or somewhere in the middle. The average foam mattress costs $900 to $1,200.
Pressure-relieving cradle: Foam beds are one of the more common types of mattresses, and our testers have tried out hundreds of them. We’ve found that the comfort layers in a foam bed contour closely to your body to create a sinking feeling akin to sleeping “in” – as opposed to “on” – the mattress. This aligns the spine and reduces pressure on the shoulders, back, hips, and other sensitive areas. Most foam beds also excel at motion isolation and do not produce any noise.
When shopping for a mattress, we recommend making a checklist of important features and qualities when comparing different brands and models. This allows you to make a selection based on your own needs and preferences – especially since mattress companies can be somewhat misleading with their terminology, advertising beds with “high coil counts,” “universal comfort,” “eco-friendly foam,” and other features that are either exaggerated or inaccurate.
We recommend focusing on the following variables when choosing a new bed:
The best mattress for a sleeper depends on their preferred sleep position. We’ve found that side sleepers often need softer mattresses to cradle the body, align the spine, and reduce pressure. Back sleepers usually prefer a balance of body-conforming and support with minimal sinking beneath the shoulders and hips. For stomach sleepers, we recommend a mattress that is supportive enough to prevent deep sagging around the midsection.
As we discussed above, each mattress type offers distinct benefits and advantages. Our testing shows that hybrids and innersprings are very supportive and breathable, but offer limited pressure relief and motion isolation. All-foam and all-latex beds alleviate pressure very well in our performance tests, but many lack strong edge support and sink along the perimeter. Airbeds provide the best customization – but these are also the most expensive mattresses on average.
Our testers routinely find that mattresses that conform closely to the body provide the best pressure relief for sleepers. These include memory foam, polyfoam, and all-latex beds. Hybrids and airbeds may also conform well if their comfort layers are thick enough. Innersprings generally offer little to no conforming.
Material quality plays a role in mattress durability, as well as pressure relief, temperature neutrality, and other performance factors. Based on our extensive testing and research, we’ve noticed that first-rate mattress materials include high-density memory foam, organic or natural latex, and tempered steel coils.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest, most mattresses sold today fall between 3 and 8. Our test team notes that softer beds tend to be better for lighter people, especially side sleepers. Mid-level firmness may be a better choice for people of average weight. Lastly, firmer beds provide more support (and sag less) for heavier people.
A mattress should cradle the body and reduce pressure in sensitive areas, and not cause more pressure to occur. How well a mattress alleviates pressure depends on several factors, such as the comfort layer material, the bed’s firmness, and the sleeper’s body weight and preferred sleep position.
Some beds sink when owners sit or lie down near the edges. Other beds have thick support systems that reinforce the perimeter to prevent this sinkage. We find that many of the best mattresses for edge support have zoned base layers consisting of thicker coils bolstering the edges while thinner, softer coils support the sleeper’s body.
We’ve tested many beds for cooling, and our lab results show that the best beds for temperature regulation are usually hybrids and innersprings. The open coil systems in these beds tend to generate strong air circulation. Mattresses with thick foam comfort layers often absorb and trap body heat from sleepers, causing them to feel excessively warm. Latex beds may sleep cooler, especially if the latex is aerated with tiny holes to promote airflow to the surface.
“Mattresses in a box” are available in a staggering array of styles, so there is no single best option — instead, the best mattress will always depend on your personal needs and preferences. Independent mattress reviews will help you narrow the field once you decide on the mattress type, firmness options, and features you require from a bed.
Of course, it’s always possible that the mattress you choose won’t be a good fit, even if it is otherwise well-made. Most companies offer money-back sleep trials for this very reason, so double-check the terms and conditions of the sleep trial before purchasing if you’re nervous about choosing the right mattress.
Mattresses bought from reputable online-based manufacturers should be just as durable as those bought from a traditional showroom, with a lifespan dependent on its type and design rather than where it was purchased. Innerspring mattresses are among the least durable, with the majority lasting 5 to 6 years. Pocketed coil hybrid and all-foam mattresses last slightly longer, at 6 to 7 years, while all-latex beds have an exceptionally long lifespan of 7 to 9 years.
Different manufacturers offer different warranties for their mattress in a box models, so customers who want their mattress covered for its full lifespan should comparison shop for a warranty that fits their needs.
The low overhead costs for mattress in a box manufacturers translate to lower prices for you, but the cost varies significantly depending on factors like mattress type, materials, extra features, and more. The average price can be as low as $900 for a foam or innerspring bed or as high as $4,000 for an airbed.
While prices usually directly reflect the mattress itself, a higher price doesn’t always mean a better-quality bed. For example, manufacturers who advertise broadly may price their mattresses higher than similar models from lesser-known competitors. As always when shopping online, customers should comparison shop and read independent reviews to ensure they’re getting the best mattress for their money. Mattresses in a box can also be purchased for less than their tag price through discounts and promotions or by waiting for a sales event.
A mattress in a box is no different from a mattress that you buy in a store. The only way it differs is that it is compressed and rolled up into a box for shipping. Once you unbox a mattress and allow it time to reach its full shape, it will offer the same performance features that you would find in a similar mattress purchased from a brick-and-mortar store. Mattresses in a box also tend to be less expensive than store-bought beds, since companies do not need to pay for as many overhead costs.
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