DreamCloud flash sale starting November 8: Get 25% off all products + $599 in free accessories
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“Mattress in a box” is a catch-all term for any bed shipped directly to customers, and a recent boom in the online mattress industry has resulted in a vast number of beds in boxes to choose from. Prior to shipping, the mattress is compressed and vacuum-sealed in plastic. Mattresses begin to expand after you unbox them and are usually ready to use within 24 to 48 hours.
Our testing crew has evaluated hundreds of online mattresses, and below are our top picks. We looked closely at how each mattress is constructed and how firm or soft it feels for different sleepers. Our team is made up of people with varying body types and preferred sleep positions. This helps us incorporate feedback from a range of sleepers.
Watch our video below to learn more about our lab’s top picks for mattresses in a box.
Below you’ll find in-depth looks at each of our top picks, but keep scrolling to check out our guide to buying mattresses in a box. The guide offers all sorts of helpful information about the mattress delivery process, pros and cons about different mattress types, and answers to common questions about mattresses-in-a-box.
While you’re shopping for mattresses-in-a-box, check out our list of the Best Online Mattresses for more suggestions.
Black Friday is a great time to buy a mattress, with many companies offering some of their biggest discounts of the year. Head to our complete list of Black Friday discounts to learn about the most up-to-date deals. You can also check out our list of Cyber Monday mattress and bedding sales to learn about deals happening after Black Friday ends.
DreamCloud flash sale starting November 8: Get 25% off all products + $599 in free accessories
The DreamCloud hits a lot of marks, including a luxurious design, mid-range firmness, breathability, and solid edge support. This is one of the most universally appealing mattresses we’ve tested in our lab, especially at this price-point.
The DreamCloud Mattress is a luxury hybrid mattress that stood out to our testers for its impressive balance of support, pressure relief, and temperature neutrality. We found this mattress had a medium firm feel (6 out of 10), with a plush quilted surface and tall profile.
How It Performed
When our testers lied on the mattress, it conformed moderately to the body but didn’t produce that “sinking” feeling that we’ve observed in softer mattresses with foam layers. Performance-wise, the DreamCloud is a great all-around mattress, earning especially strong ratings for pressure relief, temperature control, and ease of movement. We recommend this mattress for most sleeper types except for side sleepers under 130 pounds.
What It’s Made of
The DreamCloud’s cover is made of a cashmere poly-blend fabric quilted with a polyfoam layer. Our test team found the surface very breathable and plush, and the gel-infused memory foam under the quilted cover offered excellent pressure relief. Beneath is a transition layer of polyfoam and a support core containing individually wrapped coils.
For a luxury mattress, the DreamCloud is fairly affordable, coming in at an average price-point for a standard hybrid bed. DreamCloud stands behind the mattress with excellent guarantees, which include a 1-year sleep trial and a lifetime limited warranty.
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The Nectar’s memory foam provides excellent cushioning but the mattress never felt overly soft or sagged too much for our testers. We think it’s a particularly good fit for side sleepers who need some extra support.
The Nectar is one of our best mattress in a box picks for sleepers on a budget seeking a high-performance memory foam model. The side sleepers on our team received ample cushioning for the shoulders and hips, ensuring good spinal alignment and less pressure, while the back and stomach sleepers felt even body-conforming without sinking too much.
How It Performed
Our testing showed that the Nectar isolates motion very well, which means testers barely felt each other’s movements when sharing the bed. This should cut down on sleep disruptions for couples. We also found the edge support is better than average for an all-foam model, thanks to a fairly thick support core that stabilizes the bed and reinforces the perimeter against excessive sinkage. Like other all-foam mattresses we’ve tested, the Nectar absorbs a fair amount of body heat and may sleep a bit warm for some.
What It’s Made of
This model features a thick comfort layer of memory foam over two layers of denser polyfoam. A cover made of polyester, nylon, and polyethylene encases the entire mattress. Our testers rate this bed as medium firm (6), resulting in a comfortable balance of conforming and support for sleepers across different body type and position groups. The Nectar is much cheaper than other memory foam mattresses we’ve seen on the market, making it a high-value pick.
Nectar 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.
Best for Side Sleepers
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The Helix Midnight was one of the most popular models among our testing team, earning its highest marks from side sleepers. The mattress is soft enough for side sleepers without sacrificing support for key areas like the lower back, and it’s easy to move across without sinking.
Helix Sleep’s mattress lineup includes more than a dozen hybrid models specifically designed for certain types of sleepers. The Helix Midnight is a versatile model that feels comfortable for a wide array of sleepers, but our testing shows that it’s particularly well suited for side sleepers. Its versatility can be attributed to a balanced medium firm (6) feel that combines the contouring of memory foam with robust coil support.
How It Performed
Our testers awarded the Midnight above-average ratings for pressure relief compared to other hybrids. The foam layers provided even cushioning for areas of the body prone to pressure buildup, such as the shoulders and hips. The transitional foam also served as a buffer for the support core, so testers up to 230 pounds didn’t sink too deeply into the mattress.
Edge support was another strength of the Midnight during our tests. Reinforced coils around the bed’s perimeter allowed testers to use the entire surface of the mattress, so you shouldn’t feel confined to the middle during sleep or sex. Steady airflow through the coils also helps the mattress sleep cool.
What It’s Made of
The mattress begins with a comfort layer of memory foam that conforms closely to your body, followed by a transitional polyfoam layer that provides additional contouring but also pushes back a bit more than the memory foam. Individually pocketed coils reinforced with high-density polyfoam make up the support core. The reinforced perimeter coils create pushback when you sleep near the edges of the mattress or get in and out of bed. A stretch-polyester cover encases the entire mattress.
The Midnight has a below-average price-point for a hybrid model and Helix Sleep offers free ground delivery to all 50 states. You’ll receive a 100-night sleep trial that includes free return shipping. If you decide to keep the mattress, you’ll also receive a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
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The WinkBed is one of the sturdiest hybrid models we’ve tested. The mattress comes in four firmness options, and all of them offer exceptional support while still feeling plush on the surface.
We’ve tested hundreds of beds, and the WinkBed stands out as a hybrid mattress that most sleepers should find comfortable. Four firmness levels — medium soft (4), medium firm (6), firm (7), and extra firm (8) — ensure back, side, and stomach sleepers from multiple weight groups are likely to find a WinkBed that fits their needs.
How It Performed
The WinkBed caters to different sleeper types based on the firmness level you pick. During our tests, we found that side sleepers and those under 130 pounds preferred the medium soft bed. The medium firm option offered a balance of cushioning and support, so a number of testers found this bed comfortable. Back and stomach sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds enjoyed the even sleep surface from the firm option, and the extra firm WinkBed Plus earned the highest marks from testers who weighed over 230 pounds.
All models performed well in our motion isolation tests, but couples seeking greater motion isolation may prefer the softer model. The cushioned surface greatly reduced motion transfer when two or more testers shared the bed. The WinkBed also performed well in our temperature regulation tests. Air circulates easily within the mattress’ coil core, and the Tencel cover offers additional cooling.
We found edge support to be another strength of the WinkBed. The coils are reinforced along the perimeter to provide pushback and reduce sinkage. Our testers felt secure along the edges of all WinkBed models regardless of firmness level.
What It’s Made of
The Euro-top is quilted with gel-infused polyfoam, which cushioned sharp pressure points during our lab tests. The cooling gel infusions are designed to absorb and dissipate excess body heat. Next is a layer of SupportCell polyfoam that kept our testers’ body weight evenly distributed across the mattress surface. The medium soft model has an extra transitional layer made from polyfoam for added plushness, and the Plus model features latex in lieu of foam for enhanced support. The zoned, pocketed coil support core helped maintain spinal alignment for our testers, and the Tencel fabric cover kept the surface cool and breathable.
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.
Best for Back Pain
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The Nolah Evolution 15 combines the even contouring of deep foam layers with the strong support of a zoned coil system. The mattress comes in three firmness levels and each option is distinct, so most people should be able to find a design that works for them.
A mattress that promotes even alignment can be highly beneficial for people who experience soreness in their lower back during the night. Our test lab found that the Nolah Evolution 15 serves these sleepers well thanks to a plush pillow-top surface and a robust support core containing zoned pocketed coils. The mattress is available in medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (8) models, so most people will find a comfortable option regardless of how much they weigh or which sleep position they prefer.
How It Performed
Performance ratings for the Evolution 15 largely depend on the firmness level. The medium feel earned the most favorable ratings from side sleepers on our test team weighing up to 230 pounds and back sleepers under 130 pounds. We noticed that this model also excels at motion isolation and pressure relief. The medium firm and firm versions fared better with testers who sleep on their back or stomach and weigh 130 pounds or more. We found that these models also offered very strong edge support, good responsiveness for sex, and easy movement across the surface.
All Evolution 15 models earned stellar ratings from our testers for temperature control, though the two firmer options took a slight edge over the medium feel. The combination of a cooling cover, breathable open-cell foams, and a coil system that promotes steady airflow makes the Evolution 15 one of the most comfortable mattresses we’ve tested for hot sleepers.
What It’s Made of
The Evolution 15 features 2 inches of adaptive foam quilted into the Euro-top, followed by a proprietary AirBreath border gusset designed to maximize airflow and reduce heat buildup. Next is a second comfort layer of AirFoamICE, an open-cell foam infused with graphite for added cooling. Two layers of denser foam provided transitional support that kept our testers on an even plane.
In the support core, thicker coils are used in the midsection to provide extra reinforcement and pushback in the area where most people carry a disproportionate amount of weight. Sturdier coils along the perimeter reduced sinkage when our testers got on and off the mattress. The foundational layer is composed of plant-based fiber. A cover made of breathable ArcticTex fabric encases the mattress, and each side is equipped with handles to aid you with lifting and moving.
Nolah provides free ground delivery for all orders in the contiguous U.S. The company also offers a 120-night sleep trial, but customers can forgo the trial period and reduce their up-front cost by up to $150. The Evolution 15 is also backed by a lifetime warranty against structural defects.
Best for Couples
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The flippable Layla Hybrid gives you the choice between close contouring or strong, even support. The two firmnesses in one give you and your partner options to find the best level for both of your needs.
If you share the bed with a partner, you may find your firmness preferences vary. The reversible Layla Hybrid features two sleep surfaces, one medium soft (4) and the other firm (7). Our testing shows the latter offers adequate support for most back and stomach sleepers, while the softer side contours deeply to promote even alignment for side sleepers.
How It Performed
After testing both sides of the Layla Hybrid, we found our side sleepers generally preferred the medium soft surface. This was especially true for those weighing up to 230 pounds. Thick foam layers ensure close conforming to improve alignment and reduce pressure points in the shoulders and hips, a common side effect from using the side position. Our tests also showed the firm side was more comfortable and supportive for back and stomach sleepers of at least 130 pounds, and side sleepers weighing more than 230 pounds.
Temperature control was a highlight of our tests. Using heat guns and thermal body sensors, we detected minimal heat retention on the softer side and next to none on the firmer side. Motion isolation was another strength of the Layla Hybrid. Our testers noticed very little motion transfer when lying next to each other on either side of the mattress.
What It’s Made of
The Layla Hybrid’s medium soft side contains 2.5 inches of copper-infused memory foam, followed by 2 inches of transitional polyfoam. The latter is zoned to provide extra reinforcement for your midsection and gentler cradling elsewhere. The firm side also features these components, but the layers are thinner to minimize cushioning and make this surface feel more supportive. A shared pocketed coil support core is located between the foam layers. The coils are doubled up along the perimeter to reduce sinkage when you lie or sit along the edges.
The copper infusions are meant to reduce heat buildup on the surface, and a breathable polyester-viscose cover encases the entire mattress. You can unzip and machine wash the cover whenever it needs to be cleaned. Comparatively, most mattresses made today feature non-removable covers that can only be spot cleaned.
The Layla Hybrid is competitively priced and shipping is free for all customers in the contiguous U.S. Your order includes a 120-night sleep trial, during which you can return the mattress for free if it doesn’t meet your needs. If you decide to keep the hybrid, Layla backs your purchase with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Best For Combination Sleepers
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We found the Bear Hybrid strikes a very nice balance between cushioning and support. This made it comfortable for many of our testers and should suit sleepers who change positions at night.
Sleepers who frequently switch between different sleeping positions often benefit from a mattress with a balance of cushioning and support. The Bear Hybrid is a quintessential foam hybrid with a mid-range feel that was comfortable for many members of our testing team, regardless of their sleeping position. The bed also stands apart with a set of cooling features that our hot-sleeping testers enjoyed.
How It Performed
The foam layers earned the bed high marks in our pressure relief tests, making this an ideal bed if you experience painful pressure buildup at night. At the same time, the bed also offers plenty of support, thanks to the coil system. This well-rounded construction best suited our team’s back and side sleepers, who usually need beds that offer strong lumbar support while also relieving pressure in the shoulders, hips, and spine.
Cooling was one of the Bear Hybrid’s major strengths during our tests. The cover is composed of Celliant fabric, intended to wick moisture and maintain temperature neutrality. The coils also allow air to circulate through the bed. Our heat guns detected minimal heat buildup on the surface. If you and your partner prioritize a responsive surface for sex, you may also enjoy the bounce from the coil system.
What It’s Made of
The mattress has a medium firm (6) feel, appealing to sleepers with various body types and sleep preferences. The cover is quilted with polyfoam, which cushions the body and gently relieves pressure. This layer features a cooling gel infusion designed to help regulate temperature. Next is a layer of memory foam that closely contours the body, followed by a layer of polyfoam that further promotes contouring but also has a responsiveness to prevent excessive sinkage.
Beneath is a pocketed coil support core, which reinforces the mattress and delivers sturdy but responsive support. The coils rest on a base layer of polyfoam for stability, and a polyester-Celliant blend cover encases the mattress.
Bear offers a 120-night sleep trial with the Hybrid, as well as a lifetime warranty. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S.
Best Pressure Relief
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The Leesa Sapira Hybrid combines adaptive foams with robust pocketed coils to create a highly balanced design. Our tests show the close contouring is an especially great fit for people who experience painful pressure points along their spines.
Many hybrids made today either feel too firm and don’t provide adequate cushioning for side sleepers, or lack the reinforcement needed to support back and stomach sleepers. With the Leesa Sapira Hybrid, you get the best of both worlds. A thick foam comfort system conforms to your body for optimal alignment and pressure relief along the spine, but a sturdy support core prevents most sleepers from sinking excessively.
How It Performed
Our testing team was very impressed with the Sapira Hybrid. The most favorable ratings came from our side sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds, and our back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds, but the mattress was popular across most weight and sleep position groups.
We also found that the Sapira Hybrid offers above-average motion isolation. Our testers didn’t notice too much motion transfer when lying side by side, and the coils provided a bit of responsiveness without making the surface feel overly bouncy. Temperature control was another strong point during our tests. Open-cell foams that retain little heat and steady airflow through the coils help ensure you’ll sleep cool.
What It’s Made of
The Sapira Hybrid’s three-tier comfort system begins with adaptive polyfoam, followed by a memory foam comfort layer and polyfoam transitional layer. These layers are progressively denser from top to bottom. You’ll feel gentle cushioning when you get into bed, but the underlying layers help maintain even support for your body.
The support core contains pocketed coils over high-density base foam. Extra coil reinforcement along the edges helps stabilize the perimeter and push back against your weight when you sleep near the edges, so bothersome feelings of “roll-off” shouldn’t be an issue. The cover is made from soft, stretchy poly-Lycra fabric and styled with Leesa’s signature stripe design.
The Sapira Hybrid’s price-point is on par with that of the average hybrid and shipping is free to customers in all 50 states. Each purchase includes two free down alternative pillows. Leesa’s sleep trial spans 100 nights in length. Should you decide to keep the mattress, you’ll also receive a 10-year warranty against structural defects.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Birch mattresses
The Birch Luxe lives up to its name with high-end materials and a long-lasting design. The mattress is also an appealing choice for eco-conscious individuals thanks to certifications from reputable organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Many luxury mattresses on the market today carry steep sticker prices. While the Birch Luxe isn’t exactly cheap, the mattress costs much less than the average latex hybrid. A slew of cooling materials also make the Luxe a good choice for hot sleepers, people who sweat at night, and those who reside in exceptionally warm or humid places.
How It Performed
The Birch Luxe earned strong sleeper ratings across the board during our tests. Our side sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds, and back and stomach sleepers weighing 130 to 230 pounds, were particularly impressed. The medium firm (6) feel and gentle contouring make the mattress a good option for anyone who needs some cushioning to sleep comfortably, but dislikes the deep hug of memory foam.
Our tests show cooling is one of the Luxe’s standout qualities. We’ve attributed this to the moisture-wicking wool and cashmere batting layer, a latex layer that retains minimal heat, pocketed coils to generate steady airflow, and a breathable organic cotton cover. Since latex is naturally responsive, we also recommend the Luxe to people who prefer sleeping “on” — as opposed to sleeping “in” – their mattress.
What It’s Made of
The Luxe begins with four batting layers. The topmost layer consisting of wool and rayon serves as a natural fire barrier, while the next three layers contain wool and cashmere to help keep the surface cool. Proprietary Pulse latex makes up the main comfort layer. This material offers a balance of cushioning and bounce to soothe pressure points and help you move across the surface with ease.
The support core contains pocketed coils over a base layer of wool and rayon batting, the latter of which provides additional fire protection. The coils are zoned to provide extra reinforcement around the lumbar region — a handy feature for people who live with lower back pain. The latex and cotton are certified by the Rainforest Alliance and GOTS, respectively, ensuring these materials have been sustainably sourced.
Birch offers free shipping to all 50 states, and each order includes two pillows at no extra cost. You’ll receive a 100-night sleep trial with your Birch Luxe, and a 25-year warranty if you choose to keep the mattress.
Best Firm/Extra Firm
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The Plank Firm Luxe is easily one of the firmest mattresses we’ve tested. The extra firm side was most popular for our back and stomach sleepers over 230 pounds, but the slightly softer side still provided plenty of support and reinforcement.
Most mattresses made today fall between 4 and 6 on the 10-point scale, making it somewhat difficult to find a suitable bed if you want a firmer feel. The Plank Firm Luxe from Brooklyn Bedding is a flippable mattress with a distinct feel on each side. Our testers found that the firm (7) side contours to a minimal extent while providing sturdy overall support, while the extra firm (9) side barely conforms at all.
How It Performed
As a mattress designed to feel exceptionally firm, we found that the Plank Firm Luxe excelled in some areas where softer models usually fall short. Both sides felt very sturdy along the perimeter and did not sag excessively when our testers lied near the edges or got in and out of bed. Temperature control was another major strength during our testing. The coil layers promoted steady circulation to cool off the interior of the mattress, and the firm surfaces ensured that our testers did not sink too deeply and lose their surface airflow. Those who sleep excessively hot should consider purchasing the optional phase change cooling panel.
Our testing found back and stomach sleepers feel most comfortable on the Plank Firm Luxe. This is especially true of those who weigh more than 230 pounds, but testers who favor these positions and fall within the range of 130 and 230 pounds also gave the mattress generally favorable reviews.
What It’s Made of
The firm side of the Plank Firm Luxe features adaptive foam quilted into the cover, followed by a comfort layer of TitanFlex polyfoam and a transitional layer of high-density polyfoam. Our testers noticed that this side combines the contouring of memory foam with the responsiveness of latex. The extra firm side has less foam quilted into the cover and does not include a TitanFlex layer, which our testers found distinctly firmer than the opposite surface. A shared support core of pocketed coils stabilizes both sides of the mattress.
You can choose to add a panel of phase change material, which is sewn into the cover on both sides. This cooling component is engineered to capture and release heat, which helps maintain a comfortable surface temperature. The panel increases the mattress’ price by $100 to $200, depending on the selected size.
Shipping is free of charge for all customers in the contiguous U.S. The Plank Firm Luxe is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
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 hundreds of mattress-in-a-box options to bring you these top picks, and we’ll continue to reassess and update our list if our findings change.
More information about our product research methodology is detailed below:
The term “mattress in a box” refers to any model from an online mattress brand that is compressed and placed in a box for delivery. The term “bed in a bag” may also be used. These mattresses are comparable to models sold in brick-and-mortar stores in terms of construction and performance. The key difference is pricing. Online brands face lower overhead costs because they do not operate many (if any) physical stores or employ commissioned salespeople. As a result, mattresses in a box tend to be a cheap mattress alternative. They are an ideal choice if you’d like to save money and if you prefer the convenience of delivery to your home.
Preparing a mattress for shipping in a box is fairly straightforward. The mattress is compressed using a large press, encased in plastic, and rolled into a cylindrical shape. This process — also known as “roll packing” — reduces the mattress to a much more compact size, allowing it to fit in a box that can be shipped via standard ground delivery.
A common misconception among consumers is that roll packing causes permanent damage to the mattress. In fact, mattresses in a box are designed to be highly resilient and are equally as durable as conventional beds from brick-and-mortar stores. Once the plastic wrapping is removed, the layers will expand until the bed reaches its full intended shape. The foams, coils, and other components should fully recover in one to two days without any sort of damage.
There are many reasons you may prefer an online mattress brand over a brick-and-mortar seller. These include the following:
Weighing your own needs and preferences as a sleeper is key to finding the right mattress in a box. Every mattress is uniquely constructed and suits some sleepers better than others. The ideal mattress for you will likely depend on factors like body type, sleep position, and the local climate where you live.
Our team has tested hundreds of mattresses, and we’ve found that firmness level is a good starting point for choosing a mattress. If you weigh less than 130 pounds, sleep on your side, or experience pressure points along your spine, our testing shows you’ll probably feel most comfortable on a softer mattress. Our testers who weigh more than 230 pounds and sleep on their back and/or stomach tend to prefer a firmer mattress instead, while those in the range of 130 to 230 pounds usually enjoy medium to medium firm mattresses.
From there, you should take other variables into account. If you sleep with a partner, then you may need a mattress that isolates motion well. If you reside in a hot or humid environment, you should 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, we recommend taking time to learn about different models. This can help you 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 you can choose from hundreds of brands.
Review the top pick(s): After extensive research, you should be able to narrow down your options to one or two mattresses. Spend a few more minutes reevaluating these models to ensure they are the best choices. Online product specs and images, as well as mattress in a box reviews, can be very helpful during this step.
Chat with customer support: Most online mattress brands offer some sort of live web chat with customer service representatives. They can answer any lingering questions about your top mattress picks. If webchat isn’t available, consider emailing or calling the company’s customer service department.
Look for promotions: Online mattress brands often offer coupons and discounts for certain models. In most cases, the details for these promotions will be prominently displayed on the bed’s product page or elsewhere on the company’s website. These discounts may amount to hundreds of dollars off the original asking price. Additionally, purchasing a mattress during a holiday sale can result in big savings. Sales are commonly held during major holidays such as Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and Veterans’ Day, as well as major shopping days like Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
Buy the mattress: As you would on other vendor websites, you should select the mattress in your desired size. You will be redirected to a purchasing page to enter your name, address, phone number, and payment information. You may also be asked to select a shipping method if more than one is available. After all of the required information has been entered, you may complete your purchase. You should receive a confirmation email from the brand shortly thereafter.
Mattresses in a box may be removed from their packaging as soon as they reach your residence. The process for unboxing a new bed is as follows:
Most new mattresses emit off-gassing smells due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are released when the bed is unboxed. VOCs are relatively harmless but they carry a distinct chemical odor that many people find unpleasant. In most cases, mattresses will stop producing these smells after a few days, if not sooner. However, some mattress materials are associated with stronger and/or more persistent odor.
Models with foam layers tend to emit more off-gassing smells. Memory foam and all-polyfoam mattresses usually receive the most odor-related complaints from owners. Innersprings, hybrids, and airbeds may also carry off-gassing smells due to foam components in their comfort and transitional layers, but their coil systems often promote strong airflow to make odors dissipate more quickly.
According to our research, the fewest reports of bothersome off-gassing smells come from latex mattress owners. Although organic and natural latex can carry a rubber-like odor, these materials do not produce VOCs. That said, mattresses with synthetic or blended latex may emit VOCs due to certain chemical fillers in the latex foam.
Off-gassing is rarely a serious long-term issue for mattress owners, but if you are sensitive to strong smells you may find memory foam or all-polyfoam beds a bit overwhelming. We recommend a latex, innerspring, hybrid, or airbed model to these individuals instead.
Rather than placing a mattress directly on the floor, many owners support their bed with a base of some kind. Options for these support systems include:
When choosing a foundation or base for a new mattress, be sure to check the bed’s product warranty. Many brands specify which support systems are acceptable. Conditions may include maximum slat widths and support system materials. Failure to use a proper support system may result in a voided warranty if damage occurs.
Vetting brands is an important step during the mattress selection process. How can consumers tell which companies are reputable?
We recommend starting with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), an independent nonprofit organization that reviews individual companies. The BBB awards letter grades based on a number of factors, such as time in business, number of customer complaints, and the company’s response (if any) to these complaints. Any brand with a BBB grade of ‘B’ or better should be considered fairly reputable. If the grade is lower, take a minute to read the reasons why an unfavorable rating was given.
Customer and owner reviews can also be a helpful source of information. However, we don’t recommend looking for reviews on the online mattress brand’s website. Many companies nest negative reviews in hard-to-find areas of the site or arrange all reviews in a way that makes them difficult to sort. Instead, visit online forums and message boards dedicated to mattress topics. The review and comment sections of mattress retailer websites may also offer insights into certain brands. Sites that distinguish “verified owners” from other reviewers are most trustworthy. Also consider visiting websites that rate businesses based on customer reviews.
Lastly, perform a quick web search about the company to check for recent news and updates. Take time to look into other areas of the brand, as well, such as the country in which their beds are manufactured and feedback from former employees.
Shipping, returns, and warranties are all very important factors to consider when buying a new mattress in a box. When comparing online mattress brands, information for these three topics should be easily accessible and clearly worded.
Shipping options: A mattress product page will normally contain an overview of the customer’s shipping options. For more detailed information, customers should visit the site’s dedicated shipping and delivery page. If this page does not exist, we’ve found that the FAQ page will likely contain all of the important details.
Shipping costs: Standard ground delivery is almost always free for customers in the contiguous U.S. Some brands also offer free shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and/or Canada. Additionally, a small number of companies provide free White Glove delivery, which includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal. However, most brands charge at least $100 for White Glove services and some include upcharges for old mattress removal. Expedited and overnight ground delivery will usually incur additional fees as well.
Delivery wait times: With standard ground shipping, customers should expect the mattress to arrive on their doorstep within 2 weeks of the original order. The customer’s address may factor into their wait time, as delivery to rural locations often takes longer. White Glove delivery may take two to three weeks, as the brand will need to coordinate the delivery with local couriers in the customer’s area. The upside to White Glove shipping is that you can usually pinpoint a delivery date and time, whereas standard ground shipping does not offer a specific delivery timetable.
Ground shipping: Mattresses sent via standard ground delivery will be compressed and shipped in a box. Couriers will leave the mattress on the customer’s doorstep unless otherwise directed. If you live in an apartment or other shared living space, the courier may choose to leave the box at the front desk. An adult does not need to be at the residence when the mattress arrives, and a signature will not be required for these deliveries.
White Glove delivery: Because White Glove couriers travel to your residence in a large truck, the mattress will not be compressed, but it may be wrapped in plastic or other materials to prevent external damage. Most White Glove deliveries require an adult to be present during the delivery, and a signature is also required. Prior to the couriers’ arrival, you may be asked to clear the path between the front door and the bedroom where the mattress will be kept.
Return policy: An online mattress brand’s return policy will often be listed alongside information about their sleep trial. As with delivery information, the return policy may be located on a dedicated “sleep trial and returns” page on the company’s website, or in the site FAQ.
Return costs: Online mattress brands almost always offer free returns within the sleep trial period. In most cases, the company will send a courier to your residence to retrieve the mattress and transport it for recycling or charitable donation. Once the mattress has been received by personnel, a full refund will be issued using your original form of payment. Some brands charge return fees, but these rarely exceed $100 if the return is requested during the trial period.
Return requirements: If couriers are not available to pick up the mattress, the brand may ask the customer to recycle or donate the bed themselves. Proof of either is often required to receive a full refund. The costs of recycling or donating the mattress may be reimbursed, as well.
Returns after the trial period ends: After the sleep trial concludes, mattress owners should defer to the product warranty. Very few companies offer full refunds for mattress returns beyond the trial period. However, refunds may be granted if the mattress develops a defect.
Warranty overview: A warranty is an agreement between a company and a consumer that offers protections against product defects and associated expenses. All mattresses come with some sort of warranty, which pledges the company will repair or replace any defective mattress at little to no extra cost to the owner (minus shipping charges). Most online mattress brands feature dedicated warranty pages on their website. If this information is not easily accessible, reach out to customer service representatives.
Warranty length: A standard mattress warranty spans 10 years in length, and begins either on the date of purchase or date of delivery. However, many brands offer longer warranties lasting 15, 20, or 25 years. “Lifetime warranties,” which cover the product until the owner relinquishes possession, are also fairly common.
Covered defects: Most mattress warranties include a list of “covered” defects that warrant a repair or replacement. These include “sagging depth,” referring to body impressions that form on the surface and can compromise support. A warranty may cover sagging that measures anywhere from a one-half inch to one and a half inches deep, depending on the brand. Other common covered defects include physical flaws in the mattress that cause materials to deteriorate prematurely, or manufacturing flaws related to the mattress cover.
Non-covered defects: A warranty should also list defects that do not qualify for free repairs or replacements. These often include impressions that do not reach the required sagging depth, issues that arise due to changes in the owner’s personal preferences, or physical damage such as burns, cuts, and stains. Problems that occur due to improper support systems or leaving the mattress in its box for too long may also be listed.
Prorated vs. non-prorated: A warranty may be either completely non-prorated or partially prorated. For a non-prorated warranty, the owner will not need to pay additional fees to have a defective mattress replaced. Prorated warranties work a bit differently. They begin with non-prorated coverage, but after a certain number of years owners will need to pay a certain percentage of the original price in order to replace their defective mattress. This percentage usually increases on an annual basis until the warranty expires.
For example, let’s say a 20-year warranty offers 10 years of non-prorated coverage. Beginning in year 11, owners must pay 50 percent of the original mattress price to replace their defective bed. In year 12, this rate increases to 55 percent, then 60 percent in year 13, and so on.
Transferability: Mattress warranties are non-transferable. This means anyone who buys or acquires the mattress from its original purchaser will not receive warranty coverage. Additionally, buyers who purchase their mattress from a non-authorized retailer do not qualify for the warranty.
Every mattress model is unique in terms of materials and construction, but we’ve found that most beds sold today fall into one of five general categories based on comfort layer and support core components. Each type shares consistent features, but there are variations in terms of durability, quality of materials, and other performance factors.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at the five most common mattress types.
Definition: A hybrid is a type of innerspring mattress. These models feature comfort layers of memory foam and/or latex, along with a pocketed coil support. Many hybrids also feature transitional polyfoam layers. The average queen size hybrid costs between $1,600 and $2,000, which is a mid-level price range.
Balanced construction: Hybrids represent the best of both worlds. Based on our extensive testing of hybrids, we’ve found that the memory foam and latex comfort layers provide decent body-conforming and pressure relief, as well as motion isolation for couples. Meanwhile, the coil layers ensure strong support and stability for the entire bed. Coils also promote steady airflow to keep the bed cool.
Definition: Innersprings are constructed with polyfoam comfort layers and steel coil support cores. The coils may be encased in fabric, or pocketed, or open and joined together with wires known as helicals. Innerspring mattresses are generally inexpensive, with an average price range of $900 to $1,100.
Responsive and supportive: As the name implies, innersprings have exceptionally bouncy surfaces. Our testing team finds that innersprings conform very little and feel responsive. The coils also offer enhanced support, making many innersprings well-suited to heavier people. Many couples find the responsive surfaces very good for sex, as well.
Definition: Latex is a material derived from the sap of rubber tree plants. An all-latex bed will typically consist of softer, contouring latex in the comfort layer and denser, firmer material in the support core. The latex may be organic or natural, meaning it contains few (if any) chemical fillers. Blended or synthetic latex is made with more chemical components. Latex beds have an average price range of $1,600 to $2,000.
Long-lasting comfort: Latex is exceptionally durable and will not deteriorate as quickly as mattresses made with foam. This is especially true for organic and natural latex. This ensures a healthy expected lifespan for most all-latex mattresses. When testing latex beds, our testers experience a comfortable balance of body-conforming and responsiveness. They also find that latex beds sleep fairly cool due to the material’s natural breathability.
Definition: An airbed contains motorized air chambers in the support core. Owners can add or release air from the chambers, which in turn adjusts the overall firmness of the mattress. Standard airbeds contain at least two chambers, but some feature eight or more. Many models are designed for dual firmness, meaning different firmness levels on each side of the bed for couples with differing preferences.
Customizable feel: Compared to other mattress types that our team has tested, the major benefit of airbeds is the high level of customization. The best airbeds can be programmed for a wide range of firmness levels, from soft and closely conforming to extra firm and supportive. However, customers should note airbeds are usually very expensive. The average model costs between $2,000 and $2,400 in a queen size, and some have price-points that exceed $4,000.
Definition: A foam mattress will feature memory foam and/or polyfoam comfort layers over a high-density polyfoam base. Foam models sold today offer the widest firmness range, and customers can choose from beds that are soft, firm, or somewhere in the middle. The average foam mattress costs $900 to $1,200.
Pressure-relieving cradle: Foam beds are one of the more common types of mattresses, and our testers have tried out hundreds of them. We’ve found that the comfort layers in a foam bed contour closely to your body to create a sinking feeling akin to sleeping “in” – as opposed to “on” – the mattress. This aligns the spine and reduces pressure on the shoulders, back, hips, and other sensitive areas. Most foam beds also excel at motion isolation and do not produce any noise.
When shopping for a mattress, we recommend making a checklist of important features and qualities when comparing different brands and models. This allows you to make a selection based on your own needs and preferences – especially since mattress companies can be somewhat misleading with their terminology, advertising beds with “high coil counts,” “universal comfort,” “eco-friendly foam,” and other features that are either exaggerated or inaccurate.
We recommend focusing on the following variables when choosing a new bed:
The best mattress for a sleeper depends on their preferred sleep position. We’ve found that side sleepers often need softer mattresses to cradle the body, align the spine, and reduce pressure. Back sleepers usually prefer a balance of body-conforming and support with minimal sinking beneath the shoulders and hips. For stomach sleepers, we recommend a mattress that is supportive enough to prevent deep sagging around the midsection.
As we discussed above, each mattress type offers distinct benefits and advantages. Our testing shows that hybrids and innersprings are very supportive and breathable, but offer limited pressure relief and motion isolation. All-foam and all-latex beds alleviate pressure very well in our performance tests, but many lack strong edge support and sink along the perimeter. Airbeds provide the best customization – but these are also the most expensive mattresses on average.
Our testers routinely find that mattresses that conform closely to the body provide the best pressure relief for sleepers. These include memory foam, polyfoam, and all-latex beds. Hybrids and airbeds may also conform well if their comfort layers are thick enough. Innersprings generally offer little to no conforming.
Material quality plays a role in mattress durability, as well as pressure relief, temperature neutrality, and other performance factors. Based on our extensive testing and research, we’ve noticed that first-rate mattress materials include high-density memory foam, organic or natural latex, and tempered steel coils.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest, most mattresses sold today fall between 3 and 8. Our test team notes that softer beds tend to be better for lighter people, especially side sleepers. Mid-level firmness may be a better choice for people of average weight. Lastly, firmer beds provide more support (and sag less) for heavier people.
A mattress should cradle the body and reduce pressure in sensitive areas, and not cause more pressure to occur. How well a mattress alleviates pressure depends on several factors, such as the comfort layer material, the bed’s firmness, and the sleeper’s body weight and preferred sleep position.
Some beds sink when owners sit or lie down near the edges. Other beds have thick support systems that reinforce the perimeter to prevent this sinkage. We find that many of the best mattresses for edge support have zoned base layers consisting of thicker coils bolstering the edges while thinner, softer coils support the sleeper’s body.
We’ve tested many beds for cooling, and our lab results show that the best beds for temperature regulation are usually hybrids and innersprings. The open coil systems in these beds tend to generate strong air circulation. Mattresses with thick foam comfort layers often absorb and trap body heat from sleepers, causing them to feel excessively warm. Latex beds may sleep cooler, especially if the latex is aerated with tiny holes to promote airflow to the surface.
“Mattresses in a box” are available in a staggering array of styles, so there is no single best option — instead, the best mattress will always depend on your personal needs and preferences. Independent mattress reviews will help you narrow the field once you decide on the mattress type, firmness options, and features you require from a bed.
Of course, it’s always possible that the mattress you choose won’t be a good fit, even if it is otherwise well-made. Most companies offer money-back sleep trials for this very reason, so double-check the terms and conditions of the sleep trial before purchasing if you’re nervous about choosing the right mattress.
A mattress in a box bought from reputable online-based manufacturers should last as long as those bought from a traditional showroom — anywhere from 5 to 9 years. The mattress’ lifespan depends on its type, design, quality, and materials, rather than where it was purchased. Innerspring mattresses are among the least durable, with most lasting 5 to 6 years. Pocketed coil hybrid and all-foam mattresses last slightly longer, at 6 to 7 years, while all-latex beds have an exceptionally long lifespan of 7 to 9 years.
Different manufacturers offer different warranties for their mattress in a box models, so customers who want their mattress covered for its full lifespan should comparison shop for a warranty that fits their needs.
The average mattress in a box price can be as low as $900 for a foam or innerspring bed or as high as $4,000 for an airbed. 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.
While prices usually directly reflect the mattress itself, a higher price doesn’t always mean a better-quality bed. For example, manufacturers who advertise broadly may price their mattresses higher than similar models from lesser-known competitors. As always when shopping online, customers should comparison shop and read independent reviews to ensure they’re getting the best mattress for their money. Mattresses in a box can also be purchased for less than their tag price through discounts and promotions or by waiting for a sales event.
A mattress in a box is no different from a mattress that you buy in a store. The only way it differs is that it is compressed and rolled up into a box for shipping. Once you unbox a mattress and allow it time to reach its full shape, it will offer the same performance features that you would find in a similar mattress purchased from a brick-and-mortar store. Mattresses in a box also tend to be less expensive than store-bought beds, since companies do not need to pay for as many overhead costs.
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Our team at Sleep Foundation conducts extensive hands-on tests for each mattress to provide you with the most reliable, data-driven recommendations and reviews. Below are key guidelines that inform our testing methodology: