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Logan Foley

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“Bed in a box” mattress models have become hugely popular with consumers in recent years. Historically, mattress shoppers visited brick-and-mortar stores to select a new bed and coordinate home delivery. Today’s bed in a box brands allow customers to purchase and order a mattress entirely online.

These brands face lower overhead costs than their brick-and-mortar competitors, allowing them to sell mattresses at much cheaper price-points. The best online mattress brands also provide free mattress delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. and provide sleep trials, during which buyers can test out the new bed to determine if it will be a suitable long-term investment.

Some shoppers remain skeptical about ordering a mattress without personally testing it beforehand. Others have concerns about the shipping process, which requires the bed to be compressed into a compact box or bag. This guide will discuss these and other common concerns about mattress models. We’ll also provide our best mattress in a box picks, and discuss different mattress types and considerations for first-time buyers.

The Best Mattresses in a Box

Product Details

Helix Mattress

Helix Mattress
Mattress Type:
Hybrid
Firmness:
Soft (2-3), Medium (5), Firm (7-8)
Helix Mattress
Highlights:

Available in multiple firmness options, the Helix Mattress provides a good balance of body-conforming and responsiveness along with better-than-average temperature neutrality.

Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who like a balance of conforming and responsiveness
  • Couples
  • Those who usually sleep hot

Helix offers a versatile and innovative line of hybrid mattresses that should cater to any type of sleeper. This includes three memory foam hybrid models and three proprietary Dynamic polyfoam hybrid models. From softest to firmest, the former line includes the Helix Sunset, Midnight, and Twilight while the latter contains the Moonlight, Dusk, and Dawn. Additionally, Helix offers all the models in thicker, higher-quality “Luxe” versions.

The memory foam models (Sunset, Midnight, and Twilight) conform closely to the sleepers body to relieve pressure points, but still feature a layer of the Dynamic polyfoam underneath for some extra support and bounce. While the polyfoam models (Moonlight, Dusk, and Dawn), conform somewhat significantly, they have a more springy surface that’s easier to move around on. All models have a substantial pocketed coil support core that provides sufficient support and allows for airflow throughout the mattress.

The Luxe version includes an extra pillow-top component for a luxurious, ‘plush’ feel. Since Helix offers their beds in a variety of different firmness levels and degrees of conforming, sleepers of all body weights and preferred sleeping positions should be able to find a bed that fits their needs.

Helix mattresses come at a low-price point for a hybrid mattress. Plus, they offer a 100-night sleep trial, and ship for free to the 50 U.S. states.

Read Our Full Helix Mattress Review

Nectar

Nectar
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6)
Nectar
Highlights:

With three layers of pressure-relieving memory foam, the Nectar Mattress offers excellent motion isolation and is backed by a 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty.

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

The Nectar is one of our best bed in a box picks for sleepers who enjoy the feel of memory foam mattresses. This model features three layers of memory foam over a high-density foam base. 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. 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.

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.

Read Our Full Nectar Mattress Review

DreamCloud

DreamCloud
Mattress Type:
Hybrid
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6.5)
DreamCloud
Highlights:

The DreamCloud is a luxury hybrid mattress with a tall-profile, plush Euro-top, and a 365-night sleep trial.

Who it's best for:
  • Any type of sleeper (back, side, stomach, combination)
  • People who sleep hot at night
  • Heavier sleepers
  • Value seekers

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 Euro-top surface and tall, 14-inch profile.

The cover of the DreamCloud’s Euro-top is made of a quilted cashmere blend, and contains a layer of gel-infused memory foam quilted in. This makes for a breathable and plush sleep surface. Under this is an added 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 pocketed coils.

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 guarantee, which is a 1-year sleep trial and a lifetime limited warranty.

Read Our Full DreamCloud Mattress Review

Birch Mattress

Birch Mattress
Mattress Type:
Hybrid
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6)
Birch Mattress
Highlights:
  • Responsive, medium firm surface
  • Latex, wool, and steady airflow helps the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature
  • Made with a number of natural materials
Who it's best for:
  • Any type of sleeper (back, side, stomach combination)
  • Those who prefer very responsive mattresses
  • Hot sleepers

The Birch Mattress is a unique latex hybrid that performs well across the board. Featuring a medium-firm feel, the balanced and responsive surface of the Birch suits the needs of most sleepers.

On top, 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.

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.

Read Our Full Birch Mattress Review

Layla

Layla
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium Soft (4), Firm (7-8)
Layla
Highlights:

With a flippable design that offers two distinct feels, the Layla features copper-infused comfort foams that regulate surface temperatures as well as absorbing motion and reducing transfer very well.

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

The Layla is a flippable memory foam mattress. One side 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.

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.

Read Our Full Layla Mattress Review

Nolah Original

Nolah Original
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium (5)
Nolah Original
Highlights:

Nolah donates to wildlife protection organizations with each mattress order, and the bed conforms closely while providing even support and provides very good motion isolation for co-sleepers.

Who it's best for:
  • People who weigh less than 130 pounds
  • Sleepers who like all-foam beds with a bit of responsiveness
  • Couples
  • People with pressure point issues

The Nolah Original 10 is a mattress with a medium (5) feel. A 2-inch polyfoam comfort layer conforms closely to the body but also feels fairly responsive. Sleepers don’t experience the deep, cradling feeling of memory foam, but the mattress still offers excellent pressure relief for side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds. Heavier individuals, on the other hand, may find the mattress too soft.

Due to its all-foam construction, the Nolah Original 10 absorbs and isolates motion to prevent surface transfer when people move in bed. The mattress is also silent when bearing weight. These characteristics make the bed a good choice for couples who experience movement-related sleep disruptions. The transitional and support foams are also fairly dense. This results in above-average edge support and less sinkage when people get in and out of bed, as well as a relatively long expected lifespan. One notable drawback is odor potential, as the Nolah Original 10 emits a fair amount of off-gassing.

The bed’s price-point is on par with other all-foam models, but Nolah backs the mattress with a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty – both longer than average. Free ground shipping is also available with all orders.

Read Our Full Nolah Original Mattress Review

Tuft & Needle Mint

Tuft & Needle Mint
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6)
Tuft & Needle Mint
Highlights:

The T&N Mint Mattress contains polyfoam layers that are responsive yet conforming, and breathable, open-cell comfort foam that absorbs minimal body heat that combine to offer great motion isolation for couples.

Who it's best for:
  • People who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • Those who prefer the adaptive yet responsive feel of polyfoam
  • Couples

The Mint Mattress from Tuft & Needle is constructed with two layers of adaptive, graphite-infused polyfoam over a high-density polyfoam base. This construction builds on the two-layer design of Tuft & Needle’s flagship bed, resulting in a plusher feel for the Mint Mattress. The top layer offers noticeable contouring, but the bed’s overall feel is medium firm (6) and the polyfoam won’t cradle the body or sink like memory foam. This creates a balanced feeling of sleeping “on” and sleeping “in” the mattress, ensuring a comfortable combination of pressure relief and even support.

The top layers consist of open-cell foams that shouldn’t absorb and trap too much body heat, making the Mint Mattress a good option for people who normally sleep hot on all-foam beds. Other major strengths of the mattress include excellent motion isolation, better-than-average durability, and no noise when bearing weight. Due to its medium firm feel, the mattress provides adequate support for most side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds.

The Mint Mattress is an affordable bed that also offers substantial value thanks to its quality of materials and strong performance across different sleep categories. Tuft & Needle also offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Read Our Full Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress Review

Brooklyn Bedding Aurora

Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
Mattress Type:
Hybrid
Firmness:
Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7-8)
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
Highlights:

The Brookyln Bedding Aurora features phase-change material that keeps the surface very cool, excellent edge support thanks to thick pocketed coils, and above-average conforming and motion isolation for a hybrid.

Who it's best for:
  • Any type of sleeper (back, side, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers who prefer a mix of conforming and responsiveness
  • Hot sleepers
  • Couples

The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora is a luxury hybrid available in three firmness levels: medium soft (4), medium firm (6), and firm (7-8). This wide selection accommodates most sleepers in terms of body type and sleepign position, ensuring most buyers can find an option that offers the right balance of pressure relief and support. Lighter people will likely find the soft and medium models most comfortable due to their closer conforming abilities, while heavier individuals may find the medium and firm options more supportive and less prone to deep sagging.

The Aurora is constructed with two polyfoam comfort layers that hug the sleeper’s body without sinking too much or feeling overly constrictive. The bed’s cover is woven with phase-change material, which is designed to keep the surface at a comfortable temperature. The top comfort layer is infused with copper for added cooling. The Aurora also features 8-inch pocketed coils that keep sleepers on an even plane and reinforce the edges very well. Drawbacks of the mattress vary by the selected firmness. The firmer settings do not isolate motion as well, while the softer settings provide less responsiveness for sex.

The Aurora’s price-point is somewhat high, but a durable design and high-quality materials ensure a longer-than-average expected lifespan. Brooklyn Bedding also offers free shipping to all 50 states, and backs the mattress with a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Read Our Full Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Mattress Review

Muse Mattress

Muse Mattress
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7-8)
Muse Mattress
Highlights:

Built with two comfort layers of pressure-relieving foam, the Muse Mattress offers excellent motion isolation and above-average durability.

Who it's best for:
  • Any type of sleeper (back, side, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers who prefer all-foam beds that are somewhat responsive
  • People with pressure point issues
  • Couples

The Muse Mattress is another mixed-foam model featuring polyfoam and memory foam comfort layers over high-density polyfoam support layers. The memory foam conforms to the body to support the spine and alleviate pressure points in the shoulders, hips, and other sensitive areas. The top polyfoam layer has a lightly responsive feel, giving the surface a bit of bounciness. This makes the mattress optimal for those who do not like the deep body-cradling sensation of other memory foam beds.

Customers can choose from medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (7-8) feels for their Muse Mattress. The medium feel is best suited to lighter people, side sleepers, and others who prefer more cushioning for the body and deeper contouring. Heavier people – especially back and stomach sleepers – may find the medium firm or firm models more supportive and less likely to sag too much. The softer options offer better motion isolation and overall pressure relief. The firmer feels are better for sex due to their more responsive feel, and also offer stronger edge support. All versions of the Muse Mattress are fairly durable thanks to an exceptionally dense support core.

The Muse Mattress is affordably priced compared to competing mixed-foam mattresses in a box. Muse Sleep offers free shipping, along with a 120-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty for the mattress.

Read Our Full Muse Mattress Review

Amerisleep AS3

Amerisleep AS3
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium (5.5)
Amerisleep AS3
Highlights:

The AS3’s high-quality memory foam ensures comfortable contouring and even weight distribution, while its breathable components help the mattress sleep cool.

Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who enjoy the body-cradling feel of memory foam
  • Couples
  • People who normally feel too hot on beds with foam layers

The AS3 is Amerisleep’s best-selling all-foam model. This mattress is constructed with 3 inches of contouring memory foam, followed by denser polyfoam in the transitional and base layers. In addition to this all-foam design, Amerisleep recently unveiled the AS3 Hybrid. This model shares the same comfort and transitional layers as its all-foam counterpart, but its support system is composed of pocketed coils instead of foam. The hybrid offers more overall support and may be better suited to people who weigh more than 130 pounds.

Both versions of the AS3 offer a medium (5) feel that makes them best suited to people who weigh up to 230 pounds. You’ll feel a close body contour from the memory foam on either bed, but the hybrid’s coil system adds more responsiveness and surface-level bounce. The AS3 mattresses also sleep fairly cool compared to other models with memory foam. The top layer is constructed from open-cell memory foam that traps a minimal amount of body heat, and the mattress is encased in a Celliant textile cover that promotes thermoregulation and muscle recovery.

The AS3 Hybrid costs slightly more than the all-foam version, but both mattresses are reasonably priced given their quality of construction and strong performance. Amerisleep offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The AS3 models are also backed by 100-night sleep trials and 20-year warranties.

Read Our Full Amerisleep AS3 Mattress Review

What is a Mattress in a Box?

The term “mattress in a box” or “bed 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 Bed 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

The best online mattress brands strive to make the purchasing process as easy as possible for customers. We recommend the following steps for selecting and buying a new mattress:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 bed 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 Bed 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.