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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.
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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.
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The Leesa Original is a quality memory foam mattress sold at an affordable price point. This softer-than-average bed utilizes a simple and high-quality construction to provide a classic, close-conforming memory foam sleeping experience.
The Leesa features a minimal, three-layer all-foam design. The first two layers consist of equal parts polyfoam and memory foam. These layers conform closely to the sleeper’s body to relieve pressure in the back, shoulders, and hips. This results in the ‘cradling’ feeling commonly associated with memory foam. Under this is a support core of high-density polyfoam, which maintains an even sleep surface and prevents sleepers from sinking too far into the mattress.
The Leesa’s firmness has been rated as medium, or 5 out of 10 on our firmness scale. This is slightly softer than most beds, and results in a closer-conforming surface. We recommend the Leesa for Side and Back Sleepers under 230 pounds, as they will get the best pressure relief from the bed without sinking to fair in. The Leesa is also great for couples, since it isolates motion very well, preventing motion transfer from waking up co-sleepers.
The Leesa is sold at a below-average price point compared to other mattresses, making it a quality budget option. Leesa also offers a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty, and ships for free to the US.
Best for Back Pain
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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.
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The DreamCloud Mattress is a luxury hybrid mattress known for its impressive balance of support, pressure relief, and temperature neutrality. The mattress has a medium firm feel (6 out of 10) and is distinguished by its quilted surface and tall, 14-inch profile.
The cover of the DreamCloud is made of a cashmere poly-blend, and contains a layer of polyfoam quilted into the top. This makes for a breathable and plush sleep surface. Under this is a layer of gel-infused memory foam for extra pressure relief, followed by a transition layer of polyfoam. The support core consists of 8 inches of individually-wrapped coils.
By utilizing such a high-profile design, the DreamCloud mattress is capable of providing a balance of both pressure relief and support. The mattress conforms moderately to the body of the sleeper, but doesn’t provide that ‘sinking’ feeling associated with softer mattresses with more foam layers. Performance-wise, the DreamCloud is a great all-around mattress, performing especially well in pressure relief, temperature control, and ease of movement. We recommend this mattress for all sleeper types except for side sleepers under 130 pounds.
For a luxury mattress, the DreamCloud is fairly affordable, coming in at an average price point for a standard hybrid bed. DreamCloud is known for their excellent guarantees, which include a 1-year sleep trial and a lifetime limited warranty.
Best for Side Sleepers
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Made by Sealy, the Cocoon chill mattress is a quality all-foam bed available in both medium soft (4 out of 10) and medium firm (6) options. Sealy’s been in business since 1881, and the Chill is their latest model.
The Chill is topped with a cotton and polyester cover infused with phase-change material (PCM). PCM technology has been shown to absorb heat from your body and release it away from the mattress. Since all-foam beds tend to trap a lot of body heat and sleep hot throughout the night, this feature makes the Chill significantly cooler.
The comfort layer consists of memory foam, which conforms closely to the sleeper’s body in order to relieve pressure on the back, hips, and shoulders. Under this is a transition layer of polyfoam, which prevents the sleepers body from sinking too deeply into the mattress. The support core consists of high density polyfoam. In terms of construction, the only difference between the two firmness options is that the transition layer is denser on the medium firm option.
The cocoon tested very well in our pressure relief and motion isolation categories, proved to have better temperature control than most memory foam mattresses. We recommend the medium soft version for side sleepers 230 pounds, and back sleepers under 130 pounds, and recommend the medium firm version for everyone else.
The Chill features a pretty standard price for an all-foam mattress. Sealy backs the Cocoon Chill with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty. Plus, they ship free to the contiguous US.
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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 Mint features a unique antimicrobial protectant embedded into the fabric of the cover. The comfort system consists 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.
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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.
Best Pressure Relief
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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.
Best for Back Sleepers
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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.
Best for Athletes
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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 breathable cotton-polyester cover that helps the mattress sleep cool.
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.
Preparing a mattress for shipping in a box is fairly straightforward. The mattress is compressed using a large press, encased in plastic, and rolled into a cylindrical shape. This process – also known as “roll packing” – reduces the mattress to a much more compact size, allowing it to fit in a box that can be shipped via standard ground delivery.
A common misconception among consumers is that roll packing causes permanent damage to the mattress. However, mattresses in a box are designed to be highly resilient. Once the plastic wrapping is removed, the layers will expand until the bed reaches its full intended shape. The foams, coils, and other components should fully recover in one to two days without any sort of damage.
There are many reasons to choose an online mattress brand over a brick-and-mortar seller. These include the following:
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:
Research different brands: In order to find the most suitable mattress, shoppers should take time to learn about different models. This can help them understand differences in construction, pricing, and performance. Some of the best-known online mattress companies include Allswell, Brooklyn Bedding, Casper, Nectar, Saatva, and Tuft & Needle, but buyers can choose from hundreds of brands.
Review the top pick(s): After extensive research, shoppers should be able to narrow down their options to one or two mattresses. Spend a few more minutes reevaluating these models to ensure they are the best choices. Online product specs and images, as well as mattress in a box reviews, can be very helpful during this step.
Chat with customer support: Most online mattress brands offer some sort of live web chat with customer service representatives. They can answer any burning questions about the top mattress picks. If webchat isn’t available, consider emailing or calling the company’s customer service department.
Look for promotions: Online mattress brands often offer coupons and discounts for certain models. In most cases, the details for these promotions will be prominently displayed on the bed’s product page or elsewhere on the company’s website. These discounts may amount to hundreds of dollars off the original asking price. Additionally, purchasing a mattress during a holiday sale can result in big savings. Sales are commonly held during major holidays such as Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and Veterans’ Day, as well as major shopping days like Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
Buy the mattress: As they would on other vendor websites, customers should select the mattress they want in their desired size. They will be redirected to a purchasing page to enter their name, address, phone number, and payment information. They may also be asked to select a shipping method if more than one is available. After all of the required information has been entered, customers may complete their purchase. They should receive a confirmation email from the brand shortly thereafter.
Mattresses in a box may be removed from their packaging as soon as they reach the customer’s residence. The process for unboxing a new bed is as follows:
Most new mattresses emit off-gassing smells due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are released when the bed is unboxed. VOCs are relatively harmless but they carry a distinct chemical odor that many people find unpleasant. In most cases, mattresses will stop producing these smells after a few days, if not sooner. However, some mattress materials are associated with stronger and/or more persistent odor.
Models with foam layers tend to emit more off-gassing smells. Memory foam and all-polyfoam mattresses usually receive the most odor-related complaints from owners. Innersprings, hybrids, and airbeds may also carry off-gassing smells due to foam components in their comfort and transitional layers, but their coil systems often promote strong airflow to make odors dissipate more quickly.
The fewest reports of bothersome off-gassing smells come from latex mattress owners. Although organic and natural latex can carry a rubber-like odor, these materials do not produce VOCs. That said, mattresses with synthetic or blended latex may emit VOCs due to certain chemical fillers in the latex foam.
Off-gassing is rarely a serious long-term issue for mattress owners, but those who are sensitive to strong smells may find memory foam or all-polyfoam beds a bit overwhelming. We recommend a latex, innerspring, hybrid, or airbed model to these individuals instead.
Rather than placing a mattress directly on the floor, many owners support their bed with a base of some kind. Options for these support systems include:
When choosing a foundation or base for a new mattress, be sure to check the bed’s product warranty. Many brands specify which support systems are acceptable. Conditions may include maximum slat widths and support system materials. Failure to use a proper support system may result in a voided warranty if damage occurs.
Vetting brands is an important step during the mattress selection process. How can consumers tell which companies are reputable?
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 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 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.
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.
Warranty overview: A warranty is an agreement between a company and a consumer that offers protections against product defects and associated expenses. All mattresses come with some sort of warranty, which pledges the company will repair or replace any defective mattress at little to no extra cost to the owner (minus shipping charges). Most online mattress brands feature dedicated warranty pages on their website. If this information is not easily accessible, reach out to customer service representatives.
Warranty length: A standard mattress warranty spans 10 years in length, and begins either on the date of purchase or date of delivery. However, many brands offer longer warranties lasting 15, 20, or 25 years. “Lifetime warranties,” which cover the product until the owner relinquishes possession, are also fairly common.
Covered defects: Most mattress warranties include a list of “covered” defects that warrant a repair or replacement. These include “sagging depth,” referring to body impressions that form on the surface and can compromise support. A warranty may cover sagging that measures anywhere from a one-half inch to one and a half inches deep, depending on the brand. Other common covered defects include physical flaws in the mattress that cause materials to deteriorate prematurely, or manufacturing flaws related to the mattress cover.
Non-covered defects: A warranty should also list defects that do not qualify for free repairs or replacements. These often include impressions that do not reach the required sagging depth, issues that arise due to changes in the owner’s personal preferences, or physical damage such as burns, cuts, and stains. Problems that occur due to improper support systems or leaving the mattress in its box for too long may also be listed.
Prorated vs. non-prorated: A warranty may be either completely non-prorated or partially prorated. For a non-prorated warranty, the owner will not need to pay additional fees to have a defective mattress replaced. Prorated warranties work a bit differently. They begin with non-prorated coverage, but after a certain number of years owners will need to pay a certain percentage of the original price in order to replace their defective mattress. This percentage usually increases on an annual basis until the warranty expires.
For example, let’s say a 20-year warranty offers 10 years of non-prorated coverage. Beginning in year 11, owners must pay 50 percent of the original mattress price to replace their defective bed. In year 12, this rate increases to 55 percent, then 60 percent in year 13, and so on.
Transferability: Mattress warranties are non-transferable. This means anyone who buys or acquires the mattress from its original purchases will not receive warranty coverage. Additionally, buyers who purchase their mattress from a non-authorized retailer do not qualify for the warranty.
Every mattress model is unique in terms of materials and construction, but 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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. Examples of 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. 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. 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.
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.