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Best Mattress in a Box

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Written by

Logan Foley

author

“Mattress in a box” is a catch-all term for any bed shipped directly to customers via standard ground delivery. A recent boom in the online mattress industry has made beds in boxes more accessible to consumers. Prior to shipping, the mattress undergoes a process called “roll-packing,” during which it is compressed, wrapped in plastic, and vacuum-sealed. These mattresses immediately begin to expand after you unbox them, and will usually be ready for use within 24 to 48 hours.

Our testing crew has evaluated hundreds of mattresses from online brands to create the list of top picks below. They tested each mattress for performance factors such as pressure relief, temperature neutrality, and motion isolation, assigning a rating for every category. The testing team is made up of people with varying body types and primary sleep positions, so we also scored these mattresses based on how comfortable – or uncomfortable – they feel for different sleeper types.

The Best Mattresses in a Box

This list of the best mattresses-in-a-box reflects the findings of our testing crew. The profiles below include in-depth looks at each of our top picks. If you’re in the market for an online mattress, also make sure to check out this page’s detailed buyer’s guide. You’ll find all information about prices and the mattress delivery process, pros and cons about different mattress types, and answers to common questions about mattress-in-a-box models.

Product Details

DreamCloud Mattress

Best Overall

DreamCloud Mattress

DreamCloud Mattress
Price Range: $1,198 - $1,798
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Any type of sleeper (back, side, stomach, combination)
  • People who sleep hot at night
  • Heavier sleepers
  • Value seekers
Highlights:
  • Luxury 14-inch profile
  • Plush quilted top is soft and breathable
  • Thick layer of individually wrapped coils provides deep compression support
DreamCloud Mattress

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The DreamCloud Mattress is a luxury hybrid mattress known for its impressive balance of support, pressure relief, and temperature neutrality. The mattress has a medium firm feel (6 out of 10) and is distinguished by its quilted surface and tall, 14-inch profile.

What It’s Made of

The cover of the DreamCloud is made of a cashmere poly-blend, and contains a layer of polyfoam quilted into the top. This makes for a breathable and plush sleep surface. Under this is a layer of gel-infused memory foam for extra pressure relief, followed by a transition layer of polyfoam. The support core consists of 8 inches of individually-wrapped coils.

How It Performed

By utilizing such a high-profile design, the DreamCloud mattress is capable of providing a balance of both pressure relief and support. The mattress conforms moderately to the body of the sleeper, but doesn’t provide that ‘sinking’ feeling associated with softer mattresses with more foam layers. Performance-wise, the DreamCloud is a great all-around mattress, performing especially well in pressure relief, temperature control, and ease of movement. We recommend this mattress for all 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 is known for their excellent guarantees, which include a 1-year sleep trial and a lifetime limited warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“The DreamCloud hits a lot of marks for sleepers, including a luxurious design, mid-range firmness, consistent breathability, and solid edge support. This is one of the most universally appealing mattresses we tried out, especially at its price-point.”

Nectar Mattress

Best Value

Nectar Mattress

Nectar Mattress
Price Range: $499 - $1,099
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights
Trial length: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Any type of sleeper (back, side, stomach, combination)
  • People who prefer the close conforming of memory foam
  • Couples
  • Value seekers
Highlights:
  • Three layers of pressure-relieving memory foam
  • Lifetime warranty and generous 365-night sleep trial
  • Medium firm feel presents a versatile choice for most sleep preferences
Nectar Mattress

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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. Side sleepers receive ample cushioning for the shoulders and hips, ensuring good spinal alignment and less pressure, while back and stomach sleepers feel even body-conforming without sinking too much.

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. The surface has a medium firm (6) feel, resulting in a comfortable balance of conforming and support for sleepers across different body type and position groups.

How It Performed

The mattress isolates motion very well to eliminate transfer when moving in bed and to cut down on sleep disruptions for couples. Edge support is also better than average thanks to a fairly thick support core, which stabilizes the bed and reinforces the perimeter against excessive sinkage.

Like other all-foam beds, the Nectar absorbs a fair amount of body heat from sleepers and may sleep a bit warm for some. Another drawback is lack of responsiveness, which may affect how the mattress feels for couples during sex.

The Nectar is much cheaper than the average memory foam mattress, 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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“I liked the Nectar because the memory foam provides enough cushioning but the mattress never felt overly soft or sagged too much. We think it’s a particularly good fit for side sleepers who need some extra support.”

WinkBed

Most Comfortable

WinkBed

WinkBed
Price Range: $1,149 - $2,049
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Couples
  • Back, side, and stomach sleepers
  • Shoppers looking for a blend of comfort and support
Highlights:
  • Four firmness options to choose from
  • Hybrid construction sleeps cool
  • Offers a balance of cushioning and responsiveness
WinkBed

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The WinkBed is a hybrid mattress that a wide range of sleepers are likely to find comfortable. Since it’s available in four firmness levels, back, side, and stomach sleepers from multiple weight groups are likely to find a WinkBed that fits their needs. While each version varies slightly, all models offer sleepers an appealing balance of support, cushioning, and bounce.

What It’s Made of

Shoppers can choose a firmness level that’s medium soft (4), medium firm (6), firm (7), or ‘Plus’ (8). Each mattress has a zoned, pocketed coil support core that helps sleepers maintain spinal alignment. Many couples will enjoy the mattress’ blend of motion isolation and ease of movement.

Comfort systems differ slightly between models. The medium soft, medium firm, and firm mattresses all feature a quilted, gel-infused polyfoam top that cushions pressure points, and a layer of pocketed microcoils designed to support and respond. A transitional polyfoam layer is also added to the medium soft mattress to provide a buffer between the comfort system and support core.

The PLUS is crafted to be resilient and supportive for sleepers over 230 pounds. This version of the WinkBed has a 2.5-inch latex layer that increases the mattress’ responsiveness. The topmost layer is durable high-density polyfoam. Thanks to these components, the PLUS should provide sleepers with long-lasting comfort and support.

How It Performed

Regardless of which option they choose, sleepers should find that the WinkBed performs well when it comes to temperature regulation. Air circulates easily within the mattress’ core, allowing sleepers to stay cool throughout the night. A Tencel cover wraps the mattress and offers additional temperature regulation. The coils also provide sleepers with a sturdy edge and responsive feel.

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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“The WinkBed is one of the sturdiest hybrid models we’ve tested firsthand. Even the softer firmness levels offer exceptional support, and the WinkBed Plus is one of our top choices for people who weigh more than 230 pounds.”

Helix Midnight Luxe

Best Luxury

Helix Midnight Luxe

Helix Midnight Luxe
Price Range: $1,099 - $2,349
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • Those who usually sleep hot
Highlights:
  • Pillow-top surface with a strong support system creates a balanced medium firm feel
  • Very good temperature control thanks to breathable cover and steady internal airflow
  • Zoned coils protect the edges and reinforce heavier areas of the body
Helix Midnight Luxe

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Helix Sleep specializes in hybrid mattresses designed for certain people based on body weight, sleep position, firmness preferences, and budget. The Midnight Luxe has proven to be one of the brand’s most popular models due in part to its balanced construction. The feel is medium firm (6) and best suited to side and back sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less, but those who want a softer or firmer bed can choose from Helix Sleep’s other models.

What It’s Made of

The Midnight Luxe begins with a pillow-top encasing a comfort layer of soft, adaptive memory foam. This gives the mattress an invitingly plush feel when you get in and out of bed without reducing its overall support and stability. A second memory foam comfort layer and transitional polyfoam layer offer extra cushioning and conforming while keeping your body on a flat, even plane.

The support core contains pocketed coils divided into different gauge zones. Thicker coils along the perimeter deliver push-back and prevent excessive sinkage when you sleep near the edges or get on and off of the mattress. The coils beneath your torso and hips are also stronger to ensure extra support since people tend to carry more weight in these areas. Meanwhile, thinner coils cradle your head, shoulders, and legs. A base layer of dense polyfoam completes the bed’s support system.

How It Performed

The coils circulate air throughout the interior to help the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature. Another component that promotes cooling is the cover made of breathable Tencel fabric derived from botanical sources. Anyone who sleeps hot or resides in a warm climate should find the Midnight Luxe comfortable.

Some shoppers may want the Midnight Luxe’s medium firm feel and balance of contouring and support, but the bed’s sticker price will be too steep. These individuals are great candidates for the standard Helix Midnight. This mattress forgos the pillow-top and zoned interior coils, but it has still proven popular with side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds.

Those who opt for the Midnight Luxe will receive a 100-night sleep trial and 15-year warranty with their purchase. Ground shipping is free of charge for customers in all 50 states.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“Each Helix Luxe model has its strong points, but we all agreed the Midnight Luxe was the most balanced option for people who want both contouring and support.”

Puffy Mattress

Best for Side Sleepers

Puffy Mattress

Puffy Mattress
Price Range: $799 - $1,349
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 101 Nights
Trial length: 101 Nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers weighing 230 pounds or less
  • Couples
  • People who experience pressure in the shoulders, back, or hips
Highlights:
  • Plush foam layers provide comfortable cradling and pressure relief
  • Superior motion isolation
  • Stain-resistant and machine-washable cover
Puffy Mattress

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Each sleep position has unique needs regarding mattress construction. For most side sleepers, the ideal mattress will support the spine and cradle the shoulders and hips, since this position is associated with pressure buildup in these areas. The Puffy Mattress is an all-foam mattressthat provides eep contouring to create a cloud-like feel, which can reduce pressure for those who favor the side position.

What It’s Made of

The Puffy Mattress features two thick layers of memory foam over a dense polyfoam base. It is considered medium (5) in terms of firmness and measures 10 inches thick.

Most mattress-in-a-box models sold today have non-removable covers that must be spot-cleaned. The Puffy Mattress is a bit different because its cover fabric is engineered to be stain-resistant. The cover can also be removed and machine-washed whenever it needs to be cleaned.

How It Performed

The Puffy Mattress is particularly well suited to side sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds. Back and stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds should also receive enough support. The all-foam design excels at motion isolation by absorbing movement on each side of the bed and preventing transfer to other areas of the sleep surface. This can greatly benefit anyone whose sleep is easily disturbed by their partner’s movements in bed.

Ground shipping is free of charge for all customers in the contiguous U.S. The Puffy Mattress comes with a 101-night sleep trial that includes free returns after you’ve tested it out for at least 14 nights. Those who keep the mattress are also entitled to a lifetime warranty against structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“If you enjoy the slow response and deep hug of memory foam, the Puffy will probably be right up your alley. This mattress was especially popular with the side sleepers on our team.”

Birch Mattress

Best Cooling

Birch Mattress

Birch Mattress
Price Range: $1,249 - $1,999
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Any type of sleeper (back, side, stomach combination)
  • Those who prefer very responsive mattresses
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Responsive, medium firm surface
  • Latex, wool, and steady airflow helps the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature
  • Made with a number of natural materials
Birch Mattress

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The Birch Mattress is a unique latex hybrid that keeps hot sleepers cool. The latex construction traps less heat, and the breathable cover stays cool to the touch. Featuring a medium-firm feel, the balanced and responsive surface of the Birch suits the needs of most sleepers.

What It’s Made of

The Birch features a breathable, organic cover. Under this are two comfort layers: one of wool and one of natural Talalay latex. Wool is known for its breathability and ability to wick moisture away from the body, while the latex provides a moderately conforming surface with a bit of bounce to it.

Under the comfort layers is a substantial pocketed coil support core. These individually pocketed coils provide support, allow airflow through the mattress, and tend to isolate motion fairly well.

How It Performed

The Birch mattress stands out in terms of durability, ease of movement, temperature control, and to a lesser extent, pressure relief. The balanced medium firm feel and supportive build makes it suitable for most sleepers, although lighter-weight side sleepers may want to opt for something softer.

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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“A true medium firm, I liked the Birch 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.”

GhostBed Luxe

Best for Couples

GhostBed Luxe

GhostBed Luxe
Price Range: $1,795 - $3,900
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 101 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 101 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds
  • Couples
  • People who usually overheat on all-foam mattresses
Highlights:
  • Deep contouring can improve alignment and alleviate pressure along the spine
  • Above-average temperature neutrality for an all-foam bed
  • Foam layers absorb motion and significantly reduce surface-level transfer
GhostBed Luxe

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The GhostBed Luxe’s foam construction absorbs most movement. Couples should notice few disturbances from motion throughout the night. Additionally, those who feel pressure points along the spine but tend to overheat in bed may find the GhostBed Luxe not only reduces pressure but also retains less body heat than the average all-foam model.

What It’s Made of

The memory foam comfort layer is infused with gel meant to draw heat away from the body, while the Ghost Ice cover is engineered to feel cool to the touch. While the memory foam contours closely to the body, transitional and base layers of dense polyfoam stabilize the mattress to prevent excessive sinkage for these weight groups.

How It Performed

The Luxe’s medium (5) feel is ideal for many side sleepers in the range of 230 pounds or less. Back and stomach sleepers weighing less than 130 pounds also find the mattress comfortable. The all-foam design excels at motion isolation, so you and your partner should be able to sleep soundly regardless of how much the other person moves around during the night.

All GhostBed customers in the contiguous U.S. receive free ground delivery with their Luxe mattress purchase. The company’s sleep trial extends 101 nights in length and includes complimentary return shipping. The Luxe is also backed by a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty against structural and material defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“It’s hard to find a softer foam mattress that doesn’t sleep too hot, but the Luxe definitely meets that criteria. Most of our testers also gave the mattress high marks for pain and pressure relief.”

Casper Original Hybrid

Best for Back Pain

Casper Original Hybrid

Casper Original Hybrid
Price Range: $995 - $1,795
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 100 Nights (30-Night Requirement)
Trial length: 100 Nights (30-Night Requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who feel pressure points
  • Back and side sleepers
Highlights:
  • Zoned support system targets spinal alignment
  • Perforated foam and hybrid design regulate temperature
  • Foam comfort system alleviates pressure
Casper Original Hybrid

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The Casper Original Hybrid is a carefully designed mattress that’s constructed to relieve back pain and maintain spinal alignment. This mattress ranks as a 5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, corresponding to a medium feel that’s best suited to back and side sleepers. Stomach sleepers, particularly those who weigh above 230 pounds, may prefer a mattress with more robust support. Value seekers will appreciate this model’s price-point, which is within the average range for a premium hybrid mattress.

What It’s Made of

The Original Hybrid’s construction begins with a pocketed coil core that’s reinforced at the perimeter, providing substantial edge support. The comfort system features zoned memory foam that’s engineered to enhance spinal alignment. The foam is softer at your shoulders and firmer beneath your hips and lower back which relieves shoulder pressure while supporting your midsection. The uppermost layer is crafted from proprietary polyfoam called AirScape that has thousands of tiny perforations designed to increase airflow.

How It Performed

The Original Hybrid excelled in multiple performance categories, with top marks going to temperature neutrality, pressure relief, and motion isolation. Casper offers a 10-year warranty with your purchase that covers material defects, foam cracks, and indentations greater than 1 inch. Shipping is free to shoppers within the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. Sleepers have 100 nights to try the Casper Original Hybrid with a mandatory 30-night break-in period.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“This mattress feels like a quintessential hybrid. Thick foam layers to cushion the body without too much sink and reinforced coils that provide great stability. We recommend the Casper Original Hybrid to anyone looking for a softer-than-average coil mattress.”

Amerisleep AS5

Softest

Amerisleep AS5

Amerisleep AS5
Price Range: $1,949 - $3,698
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Soft (3)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night try-out)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night try-out)
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers
  • Those easily disturbed by a partner’s nightly movement
  • Sleepers with pressure-induced pain in the hips or shoulders
Highlights:
  • Deeply contouring memory foam comfort layer
  • Exceptional motion isolation
  • Zoned polyfoam transition layer for extra support
Amerisleep AS5

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With a soft (3) feel and all-foam construction, the Amerisleep AS5 has a very plush surface. Side sleepers and people with pain may want to consider this mattress, as it is the company’s softest foam model.

What It’s Made of

A cover made of polyester and cotton encases the AS5. The fabric is breathable and cool to the touch. Proprietary Bio-Pur memory foam makes up the first comfort layer. This layer deeply contours to the body and relieves pressure in the hips and shoulders. The second comfort layer is ActiveFlex polyfoam, designed to have a more responsive feel and further relieve pressure.

Zoned polyfoam makes up the transition layer. Five zones in the head, back, legs, hips, and shoulders support the body and promote spinal alignment. The support core features 7 inches of high-density polyfoam to provide stability and help maintain an even sleep surface.

How It Performed

Side sleepers should appreciate the deep contour from the soft feel and foam comfort layers, relieving and preventing pressure-induced pain. Their hips and shoulders should comfortably sink in while the zoned support in the polyfoam transition layer keeps their spine in healthy alignment. The plush comfort layers also isolate motion very well. Sleepers who easily awaken from a partner’s movement should notice very few disturbances.

Amerisleep offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S. If you want to try out the AS5, a 100-night sleep trial is available. Mattress purchases come with a 20-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“The Amerisleep AS5 is luxuriously plush. I love the way it contours my hips and shoulders. I’ve noticed less pain in those areas since sleeping on the AS5.”

Layla Mattress

Best Pressure Relief

Layla Mattress

Layla Mattress
Price Range: $749 - $1,249
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Reversible: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights
Trial length: 120 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Any type of sleeper (back, side, stomach, combination)
  • Those who prefer beds with more than one firmness option
  • Couples
  • People who sleep hot on all-foam beds
Highlights:
  • Flippable, dual-firmness design
  • Copper-infused comfort foams aid in cooling
  • High-density polyfoam support core prevents excessive sinkage
Layla Mattress

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The Layla is a flippable memory foam mattress with a sleepable surface on the top and bottom sides. Since each surface has a distinct feel, the mattress can accommodate a wide range of sleepers regardless of their body type, sleep position, or general firmness preferences. Those who feel pressure in the hips and shoulders should find the soft side relieves and prevents a great amount of pain.

What It’s Made of

One side of the Layla Mattress has a medium soft (4) feel for close body-conforming, while the other side is firm (7) and offers enhanced support for the sleeper’s shoulders, back, and hips. To adjust the firmness, simply flip over the mattress. Both sides feature comfort layers of copper-infused memory foam. The shared support core consists of high-density polyfoam.

How It Performed

Each side of the Layla offers distinct benefits and disadvantages. The medium soft surface is optimal for lighter people, side sleepers, and those with pressure point issues. The memory foam forms a deep cradle for the sleeper in order to reduce pressure and strain throughout the body.

The firmer side is better suited to heavier people who need more support from their bed. This side also feels more responsive for sex. Both of the Layla’s sleep surfaces isolate motion very well, and the mattress is virtually silent no matter which side is in use. The copper infusion in the comfort layers also makes the mattress more breathable and temperature-neutral than the average memory foam model.

The Layla’s price-point is on par with the average all-foam mattress. Shipping is free throughout the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed with a 120-night sleep trial, which is longer than average, as well as a lifetime warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“The Layla is a true flippable mattress, in that each side feels distinct from the other. We suspect most people will primarily use one side, but it’s lightweight enough to change sides easily for people who like to mix up their firmness levels from time to time.”

Why You Should Trust Us

Our experienced team of experts is committed to bringing you accurate, unbiased information about different sleep products. 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.

What is a Mattress in a Box?


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 much cheaper than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

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.

What Are the Benefits of Buying a Mattress in a Box?

There are many reasons to choose an online mattress brand over a brick-and-mortar seller. These include the following:

  • Lower prices: As we mentioned above, mattresses in a box tend to be fairly inexpensive compared to models sold in stores. This is largely due to higher overhead costs for brick-and-mortar brands, who need to operate physical locations and employ a large number of sales staff.
  • More convenient shopping: Online mattress purchases can be completed with a few mouse clicks, and do not require any store visits. Buying online can be especially beneficial for people who live in rural areas.
  • No sales staff: Most brick-and-mortar mattress stores employ salespeople who work on commission. These employees are certainly knowledgeable about products and often helpful sources of information for buyers. However, some customers find mattress sales staff a bit too pushy. Online brands often offer live web chat with customer service personnel, but shoppers can browse the website and ask questions as they arise without feeling pressure from salespeople. Most mattress websites also contain detailed product specs and images shoppers can use to compare different brands and models.
  • Free delivery: Thanks to the compression process, mattresses in a box can be shipped for free via FedEx, USPS, and other ground couriers. Online brands generally offer free delivery throughout the contiguous U.S., and some extend this to customers in Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. territories and/or Canada. A small number of online brands offer free White Glove delivery, which includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal, but most charge an extra fee for this service.
  • Sleep trials: Many consumers are apprehensive about buying a mattress they haven’t personally tried. At brick-and-mortar stores, customers may test out a variety of models. However, lying on a mattress for a few minutes may not provide an accurate representation of how the bed feels night after night. Most online brands offer sleep trials that allow customers to test out a mattress for a certain length of time, during which they can decide whether to keep the mattress, return it for a refund, or (if available) exchange it for a different model. Most sleep trials run at least 90 nights, and some span up to one year in length.

How to Buy a Mattress in a Box

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.

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. People who weigh more than 230 pounds and sleep on their back and/or stomach may 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 them 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 burning questions about the 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.

Unboxing

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:

  1. Bring the box to the bedroom where the mattress will be used. Though compact, the box may be quite heavy since compressing the mattress does not affect its overall weight (most queen size models weigh at least 75 pounds). Two or more people may be needed to carry the box into the bed’s intended room.
  2. Open the box and remove the roll-packed mattress. We recommend depositing it onto the foundation or base on which it will be used, since the bed may be more difficult to move once it fully expands.
  3. Carefully cut through the layers of plastic with a pair of scissors. The plastic is somewhat thin, so do not let the blade come into contact with the mattress itself. There will be multiple plastic layers. Before cutting the final layer, unroll the mattress until it is flat and arrange it on the foundation with the head and foot in their appropriate positions. Also make sure the mattress is not upside down.
  4. Cut the final plastic layer. The mattress will immediately begin to expand, but it will not be ready for use. The shape recovery process may take anywhere from six to 48 hours, depending on the mattress. Don’t worry if the mattress feels excessively saggy at first – this simply means more recovery time is needed.
  5. Don’t wait too long to unbox the mattress. Leaving a bed in its box for two weeks or longer can cause permanent structural damage. Many mattress brands specify the maximum number of days a mattress can remain in its original packaging. If the bed is not unboxed during this time and damage occurs, the warranty may be voided.

Off-Gassing

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.

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.

Foundations and Platforms

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:

  • Box spring: Most box springs feature a wooden frame and steel springs encased in a cloth cover. Some newer models have metal frames, as well. Box springs usually measure between 5 and 9 inches thick. They provide sturdy support and the springs absorb shock from sleepers in order to preserve the mattress and prevent wear and tear.
  • Foundation: Also known as a bed frame, foundations often consist of metal or wooden slats that support the bottom of the mattress and thick rails to prevent the bed from slipping off the edges. Foundations do not absorb shock as well as box springs, but they tend to provide more overall support.
  • Platform bed: A platform bed is essentially a slatted foundation with a headboard. These beds may be a bit more stylish than standard foundations. Buyers can also select a panel bed, which features slats along with a headboard and footboard. Canopy and four-poster beds – both of which include corner posts – are also widely available.
  • Adjustable base: An adjustable base can be elevated or lowered at the head and feet to change the sleeping angle. These bases can be particularly helpful for people with neck and back pain, chronic snorers, and others who experience discomfort lying on a flat mattress surface. However, they tend to be fairly pricey.

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.

How Do You Know an Online Mattress Company Is Reputable?

Vetting brands is an important step during the mattress selection process. How can consumers tell which companies are reputable?

A good starting point is 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

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

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, then 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 two 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 customers 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 the customer lives 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 the customer’s 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, homeowners may be asked to clear the path between the front door and the bedroom where the mattress will be kept.

Returns

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 the customer’s 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 to the customer using their 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.

Warranties

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.

Types of Mattresses Sold in a Box

Every mattress model is unique in terms of materials and construction, but 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 model-to-model 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.

Hybrid

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: For many sleepers, hybrids represent the best of both worlds. 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.

Innerspring

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 that conform very little and feel responsive to sleepers. 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.

Latex

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 mattress foam. This is especially true for organic and natural latex. This ensures a healthy expected lifespan for most all-latex mattresses. The material offers a comfortable balance of body-conforming and responsiveness, and also sleeps fairly cool due to its natural breathability.

Airbed

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: 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.

Foam

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 mattresses have a unique feel. The comfort layers contour closely to the sleepers 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.

Important Considerations When Buying a Mattress in a Box

Lastly, mattress shoppers should make a checklist of important features and qualities when comparing different brands and models. This allows them to make a selection based on their own needs and preferences. 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:

Sleeping Position
The best mattress for a sleeper depends on their normal sleep position. 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, a mattress should be supportive enough to prevent deep sagging around the midsection.

Mattress Type
As we discussed above, each mattress type offers distinct benefits and advantages. 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, 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.

Contouring
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.

Quality Materials
Material quality plays a role in mattress durability, as well as pressure relief, temperature neutrality, and other performance factors. Examples of first-rate mattress materials include high-density memory foam, organic or natural latex, and tempered steel coils.

Firmness Level
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. 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.

Pressure Relief
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.

Edge Support
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. 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.

Temperature Regulation
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. The best beds for temperature regulation are usually hybrids and innersprings because their open coil systems generate strong air circulation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best mattress in a box?

    “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.

  • How long do mattresses in a box last?

    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.

  • How much do mattresses in a box cost?

    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.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Logan Foley

Certified Sleep Coach

Logan has extensive experience testing sleep products and producing sleep content. She is also a Certified Sleep Science Coach.

About Our Editorial Team

author
Logan Foley

Certified Sleep Coach

Logan has extensive experience testing sleep products and producing sleep content. She is also a Certified Sleep Science Coach.