It used to be that the only way to get a mattress required going to a mattress store and testing them out on-site, with a persistent and persuasive salesman on hand pushing you to buy. The whole process was inconvenient and costly, so it's no wonder that companies found a new (and seriously successful) way to sell mattresses—direct-to-consumer, and delivered in a box. This strategy results in lower prices and better convenience. Plus, these mattresses don't require a box spring (goodbye extra bedding, hello platform beds). All of these companies offer free trial periods (the typical number is 100 days) so you can be even more sure of your choice than if you had tested out for a few minutes in a showroom.
This model has been so successful that the market is saturated with options—so much so that choosing one has become an increasingly impossible task. Through weeks of research and testing, we rounded up 10 of our favorites for you to check out and get started on achieving the bed (and sleep) of your dreams.
I just had to weigh in on this one. Watching the mattress in a box phenomenon unfold, I've heard so much and seen so much, that it was super fun to get to settle in and try a whole host of these brand spankin' new beds.
To begin, I have to say they are all extremely similar in price and feel. While there are some exceptions, you get the feeling that the differences are mainly visual and the way the company positions itself. Most of them had a lovely soft slightly squishy feel without being hot, and I eventually went for the Leesa because I loved the wrapper, was super comfortable on the bed and I respected their Earth First approach, which I believe is important in this day and age.
As I said, however, this category is a super close call. I'd love to know what you think in the comments below.
This mattress may be a major budget pick, but it's actually the one that I sleep on and I can confirm that it feels like it should be much more expensive. The memory foam is CertiPUR certified and infused with green tea extract to maintain freshness, and you can choose from 6, 8, 10, and 12-inch thickness depending on how firm or soft you prefer.
The company that started it all, Tuft & Needle keeps it simple with their mattresses, which are constructed of only two layers (because more does not mean better). T&N prides itself on quality, ensuring that their mattresses are constructed only with what's needed and leaving out the rest, resulting in lower prices for everyone else. This level of quality extends to every part of the process — T&N mattresses are CertiPUR-US certified, GreenGuard Gold-certified and OEKO-TEX certified.
Another great lower-priced option, the Nectar mattress is constructed of three layers of medium-firm and CertiPUR-US certified memory foam: one gel, one quilted, and one adaptive hi core. It also has a top layer made of Tencel fabric that wicks away heat and moisture for an ultra comfortable sleep. Compatible with all bed frames and boasting a 365-night trial period, the Nectar is a no brainer for every bedroom in your home.
If you're especially particular and need a mattress that's just right, fear not—Helix mattresses are custom-made to exactly suit your needs. Helix's Sleep Quiz considers factors like height and weight, preferred sleeping position, and pressure points to determine what your perfect mattress should be. The Helix is ideal for couples as well—you can customize both sides to suit each person's needs.
Allswell, a newcomer to the direct-to-consumer mattress game with Walmart's backing, has two classic mattresses—one a little softer and one a little firmer. Both are made of the same high-quality materials, although they're constructed differently: Certi-PUR certified foams, natural deodorizers, and a nice cooling exterior fabric. Allswell markets itself as a female-driven home company, also selling bedding through collaborations with female designers, to get you the Instagram-worthy bed of your dreams.
The Layla stands out from the rest because it's infused with copper (a highly conductive material that will keep you cool and supported), and it's flippable (one side is firmer and the other is softer). Layla also gives a 120-night trial period, which is a bit longer than other companies, so you can be absolutely certain you're loving your mattress without fully committing.
The Tomorrow Hybrid combines memory foam comfort with independent coil support to deliver the best of both worlds. If the idea of springs in your mattress makes you nervous, no worries—Tomorrow uses pocketed coils that flex individually, so there's still motion isolation. Tomorrow also has a Sleeptracker Monitor that lives under the mattress and connects to an app, so you can actually track your sleep habits.
Nolah's claim to fame is its commitment to being the coolest (temperature-wise) mattress out there. Their mattresses are made without viscoelastic chemicals (common in memory foam) that can trap heat—in fact, Nolah mattresses are built to be temperature neutral. Plus, Nolah supports the environment, pledging to adopt one wildlife for every mattress sold—you can even choose which endangered animal you'd like to help as you purchase your mattress!
Casper mattresses may be the most well-known of the box mattresses—and for good reason. The Zoned Support technology keeps your spine aligned and all your pressure points taken care of, and open-cell foams let excess heat escape to keep you cooler. Another great touch is the zip-off cover that can be easily cleaned, eliminating the need to buy a mattress pad.
Eight Sleep stands out because they are first and foremost a technology company, so their mattresses are nothing if not high-tech. Track your sleep patterns and bio signals on a mobile app, and then share that data with your favorite wellness apps to give you an even better overview of your health. You can also set a smart alarm that will wake you up at your most optimal time based on your body's signals, AND control your mattress's temperature. The future is here, people.
From the engineers behind Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel insoles comes Purple, a line of mattresses that are engineered to relieve pressure, adapt to any body type, and help with spinal alignment. The key is Purple's patented grid technology, which differs from memory foam due to its ability to flex under pressure and truly cradle any and all pressure points. Choose from three different mattress types, from firmer to extra soft bliss, and enjoy a 100-night trial run.
Our Best Mattress Posts:
- 13,000+ Amazon Reviewers Agree: This Might Be the Best Budget Mattress
- The Old-School Mattress Mistake You Might Be Making
- How To Clean Your Mattress
- This Huge Mattress Is Literally Twelve Feet Wide — And You Can Buy It
Tips for Picking the Right Mattress
- Decide on the type. The most popular mattress types are memory foam and coil, but gel, latex and hybrid are also common. Coil, otherwise known as innerspring, mattresses are better for hot sleepers (memory foam absorbs heat), while memory foam mattresses provide serious support and comfort.
- Consider what kind of sleeper you are. Stomach sleepers need a firm mattress to keep their spine aligned and comfortable, while side sleepers do better with something a bit softer. The sweet spot for all sleepers is in the 5-7 range on the firmness scale, but keep in mind that ideal firmness is highly subjective depending on the person.
- Take advantage of the trial period! Online mattress ordering usually comes with a free trial period—in fact, all of the mattress companies on our list offer a trial run of at least 100 days. Don't be afraid to sleep on your decision for awhile (pun intended, couldn't stop myself)—sleep is too important to settle for a mattress that is only okay.
Other Good Resources:
- How to Choose a Mattress – 6 Step Guide — Sleepopolis
- Is a Bed-in-a-Box Right for You? — Consumer Reports
- Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Mattress — The Strategist
- The Best Foam Mattresses You Can Buy Online — Wirecutter
Last updated October 22, 2018.