As anyone who has listened to a podcast advertisement in the past few years could tell you, mattress-in-a-box brands are pretty ubiquitous.

Ever since Casper launched its flagship mattress in 2014, vacuum-packed foam and hybrid mattresses have scaled to completely disrupt the bedding space, and this social-media-friendly, buy-it-then-try-it business strategy is strongly influencing the way that people shop for mattresses today.

The Best Bed-in-a-Box Mattresses:

    What to Consider

    There's more choice than ever in the mattress space in terms of firmnesses, pricing, and material types — however, this doesn't make deciding on the right bed-in-a-box any easier.

    We asked Lexie Sachs, the textiles director at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, about what's most important to keep in mind when considering a bed-in-a-box mattress.

    Compare Trial Periods and Return Policies

    Sachs' first piece of advice, even before choosing a mattress-in-a-box brand, is to read the fine print from the ones you're considering.

    “I would say one of the most important things to look for when shopping for online mattresses is the return policy,” she says. This is your insurance in the event that the product doesn’t work for you. “Most online brands offer at least a 100-day return policy, but the specifics can vary with things like return pick-up fees and how to schedule the return. It’s also worth checking what happens to the mattress if you don’t keep it, like whether the brand will donate it to a local charity.”

    “One of the most important things to look for when shopping for online mattresses is the return policy.”

    There’s also the matter of mattress delivery options: doorstep drop-off vs. white-glove installation. “Ones that ship in the mail for you to set up on your own are convenient,” says Sachs, “because you don’t have to schedule a delivery and you don’t have to allow anyone in your home during the pandemic, but the downside is that you need to carry it and set it up yourself.”

    If a brand offers both options, you can consider what is most realistic for you. “The good thing about white-glove delivery services is that they’ll set it up for you and often haul away your old mattress,” she says.

    Decide on Your Mattress Type

        Once you've zeroed in on a brand with a solid return policy and the right delivery options, you'll have to decide whether you want a foam or hybrid model. Many mattress-in-a-box brands now offer both types.

        Sachs explains how to differentiate between them: "Consider the type of feel you’re looking for. Foam will give you a pressure-relieving, sinking-in feel, while innerspring mattresses have more of the bounce feel you expect from traditional mattresses." She also explains that special features like a cooling feel or sustainably sourced materials could also factor into your choice.

        "Foam will give you a pressure-relieving, sinking-in feel, while innerspring mattresses have more of the bounce feel you expect from traditional mattresses."

        Knowing what kind of a sleeper you (and your partner) are can also help guide you to the right material and firmness.

        Sachs says, “Side sleepers need something softer with pressure relief around their hips and shoulders, stomach sleepers should go for something firmer, and back sleepers (or people who move around) fall into the medium firmness range. Also, consider your body type; lightweight sleepers need softer, whereas heavier bodies need firmer.”

        Make Sure You Have the Right Foundation

            If you have a platform bed with rails or slats underneath that can hold a mattress sturdily in place, you don't need any other foundation for your bed in a box. If you don't have a platform bed, however, you may need to buy a separate mattress foundation so that your mattress is adequately supported. Box springs are best used with innerspring mattresses (so don’t buy one if you’re getting a bed in a box), but you can use it for a memory-foam mattress as a last resort if you already happen to own one.

            Check the Construction

                Always check the type of mattress you have before you flip it — most bed-in-a-box brands offer a handy diagram of their internal construction right on their website.

                While some dual-sided foam mattresses may be designed specifically to be flipped over, many other bed-in-a-box mattresses are usually constructed for one-sided use, because of the arrangement of the foam and/or spring layers. You might have to settle for rotating the mattress 180 degrees instead of flipping it if you really want to switch up the feel.

                Consider the Cost

                    The prices alone are a good reason to consider swapping your old sleep surface for a bed-in-a-box mattress. As with other direct-to-consumer business models, many mattress start-ups are able to keep their prices low by selling directly through their website instead of through a third-party marketplace. But as some brands begin to increase their product range by offering specialized or luxe versions of their flagship mattresses, the prices can climb.

                    Sach’s advice? “Don’t get hung up on marketing claims. We’ve noticed a lot of brands try to make their bed-in-a-box standout with unique claims (e.g., designed for athlete recovery), but they’re usually very similar to others on the market ... I’ve typically found that the mid-range, around $1,000, is always a safe bet.”

                    "Don’t get hung up on marketing claims ... I’ve typically found that the mid-range, around $1,000, is always a safe bet.”

                    Start-up mattress brands also seem to frequently run sales promotions. It's worth watching these brands on social media or through their email newsletters (especially around major shopping holidays), as you may be able to purchase a mattress and bedding bundle at a deep discount.

                    How We Chose

                    We've updated this piece twice since it was initially published in 2019, with this most recent revision taking into consideration new offerings in this retail space, reviewer feedback, and each brands' trial period and return policies. We've chosen the following nine bed-in-a-box mattresses for their crowd-pleasing quality, transparency in material construction, and positive feedback from customers.

                    Because all of these products have some memory-foam component to their construction, we've also ensured that all of the brands listed here use CertiPUR-US-certified foams in their products. This certification ensures that all of the foams used meet the standards of third-party testing for content, emissions, and durability.

                    Read on to learn more about the best bed-in-a-box mattresses you can buy.

                    Best Overall

                    Layla Memory Foam Mattress
                    Layla Sleep

                    While certain bed-in-a-box brands offer either just one type of mattress or a couple of different firmness options, Layla's foam mattress combines these two offerings into a meticulously designed product. We think it's the best bed-in-a-box choice for most sleepers because of its unique dual-sided construction — users can choose between sleeping on either its soft or firm side.

                    This mattress comprises four layers of slow-responding memory foam that are arranged specifically so that sleepers can reap the benefits of their chosen side, and the whole piece is covered by a smooth polyester/viscose/lycra cover that is woven with a cooling gel. Layla also has a hybrid mattress that has a similar construction to their memory-foam mattress, just with individually wrapped springs and enhanced edge support.

                    Layla's mattress has something else that other mattresses don't: copper cells that are infused within its foam core. Copper is antimicrobial in nature, adept at killing bacteria caused by skin cells, sweat, and other environmental allergens, and this addition to the material is meant to help prevent the mattress from becoming a hotbed for germs.

                    The Layla mattress starts at $499 and is available from sizes twin to California king. The brand offers a 120-night trial period but no white-glove delivery at this time.

                        Best Variety

                        Helix Sleep Midnight Mattress
                        Helix Sleep

                        Helix offers an unparalleled amount of firmness variety in the bed-in-a-box space, making it a great choice for folks who aren't sure where to begin their search for a new mattress. They currently offer seven different hybrid mattresses of varying pressure-relief and body-contouring support levels, along with a Luxe version of each mattress (except the Helix Plus) that provides more lumbar support, along with a pillow-top surface and a cooling cover.

                        Users can take a free quiz on their site to match with the mattress that is best suited for their sleep preferences.

                        All of Helix's mattresses have a hybrid design — they comprise two layers of memory foam above a layer of hundreds of individually wrapped coils, which is above a foundational foam base layer. All of their models are also equipped with a dual-layer cover, which simultaneously provides softness along with increased airflow. We've slept on the Helix Midnight for a little over 4 years and find it to be incredibly balanced, responsive, and a great match for side- and stomach sleepers.

                        The Helix Midnight mattress starts at $600 and is available from sizes twin to California king. The brand offers a 100-night trial period but no white-glove delivery at this time.

                        Best Budget Mattress

                        The Allswell Mattress

                        The Allswell bed in a box is the most inexpensive mattress that we could find that also boasts high-quality construction. This one is another hybrid model, and it comprises cooling, graphite-and-copper-infused memory foam atop hundreds of individually wrapped coils.

                        This 10-inch-high mattress also offers edge support, so the coils around the edges are considerably less malleable — this feature prevents that unstable, sinking feeling when you sit on the edge of the bed. The feel is described by reviewers as being quite soft, with the top layer of memory foam providing a contoured, "cradled" feeling.

                        Allswell also offers its own Luxe and Supreme versions of the mattress, which are slightly taller at 12 and 14 inches high, respectively, and equipped with different types of temperature-regulating foam. The Supreme also has a plush pillowtop, making it the softest mattress of the three.

                        The Allswell mattress starts at $265 and is available from sizes twin to California king. The brand offers a 100-night trial, mattress removal, along with a white-glove delivery option — though, according to Allswell's FAQ page, they've suspended these services due to the pandemic.

                        Best Trial Period

                        Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

                        An exceptional, year-long trial period isn't all that the Nectar mattress has going for it, but that certainly distinguishes it from nearly every other bedding brand, where 100 nights seems to be the standard. The Nectar is a four-layer memory-foam mattress that's covered by an Oeko-Tex-certified Tencel-fabric cover.

                        In my own experience in sleeping on this model for 7 months, there is no unstable sinking feeling or uncomfortable pushback. This 11-inch-high mattress is on the firm side (particularly for side sleepers), but its top quilted-gel memory-foam layer comfortably contours the body without any cratered feeling.

                        I also noticed in making this bed each week that the corners of the mattress are very light and easy to lift for changing out the sheets. There is also virtually no motion transfer from one side of the bed to the other, making this mattress a great pick for couples, as well.

                        The Nectar mattress starts at $499 and is available in sizes twin to California king. As mentioned, the brand offers a 365-day trial period and is only offering contactless drop-off delivery at this time.

                        Best Cooling Mattress

                        Bear Mattress
                        Bear Mattress

                        Most bed-in-a-box mattresses have some cooling element in their product, but optimal temperature regulation is the core idea behind the construction of the Bear Mattress. This 10-inch mattress comprises four layers of memory foam, starting with a graphite-gel layer at the very top, which is meant to wick away body heat, followed by a responsive comfort foam layer, a pressure-relieving foam layer, and a support foam layer at its base.

                        Another notable feature is its cool-to-the-touch cover, which is made from Celliant, a material that's been clinically proven to help users stay asleep through the night. Users report that this mattress has balanced support, and it is comfortably firm.

                        The Bear Mattress starts at $500 and is available in sizes twin to California king. The brand offers a 100-night trial period — they are only offering contactless delivery at this time and also mattress removal for a fee.

                        Best Mattress on Amazon

                        Tuft & Needle Mattress
                        Tuft & Needle

                        Just because you can immediately Prime-ship yourself the cheapest mattress you can find on Amazon, doesn't mean you shouldn't do your homework first!

                        The Tuft & Needle mattress may be made up of just two foam layers, but both of these components can be actively felt by the user. The 2-inch top layer consists of their own proprietary Adaptive Foam, which is a responsive material that contours and supports the body and is also infused with graphite and cooling gel for added heat-wicking properties. The foundational base layer is made of high-density foam, and the mattress's cover is made of a soft and breathable micro-polyamide and polyester blend.

                        For stomach and back sleepers, the Tuft & Needle mattress has all of the supportive elements for a comfy night's sleep. Side sleepers, however, may find there to be a little too much pushback at the hips. Though the Adaptive Foam may change over time with use, folks who are not used to sleeping on responsive foam may find it tough to adjust to this one.

                        Comfy tip: We loved testing Tuft & Needle's pillow during our in-house pillow trial, and we highly recommend it as an addition to this (or any) mattress. It's made entirely of the same Adaptive Foam that's in the mattress and has maintained its same cushy springiness, even with nightly use over the course of several months.

                        The Tuft & Needle mattress starts at $350 and is available in sizes twin to California king. It comes with a 100-night trial period and contactless, drop-off delivery.

                        Best for Pressure Relief

                        Purple Mattress

                        If memory-foam and hybrid mattresses have historically been a pain in the neck (and back) for you, the Purple Mattress is designed to address this sore subject.

                        The most unique feature is its top layer, which is a responsive grid-shaped layer that's made of a proprietary Hyper-Elastic Polymer. This layer is soft, stretchy, and highly responsive — its grid shape isolates motion transfer and conforms just enough to offer the right balance of sink and support for every user. It also allows air to flow through more freely than from a pure foam layer. Underneath the grid layer are two layers of foam: One that's designed for added responsiveness to complement the Hyper-Elastic Polymer and a foundational layer for support.

                        Keep in mind that you favor the uniform bounce of an innerspring mattress, the original Purple Mattress may be a major adjustment for you. The brand also offers a hybrid mattress, which keeps the top grid layer but swaps out the memory foam for wrapped coils. For folks who need a high level of pressure-point alleviation, however, the original Purple may be one of the best mattresses you can buy, and we think that any sleep position could benefit from using it.

                        The Purple mattress starts at $649 and is available in sizes twin to California king. It comes with a 100-night trial period, and the brand ordinarily offers white-glove delivery, which is on pause due to the pandemic at this time.

                        Best for Targeted Comfort

                        Casper Mattress

                        The Casper Mattress is one of the most name-brand-recognizable bedding products on the market, and what keeps it at the forefront of the bed-in-a-box marketplace is that it frequently updates its flagship product with new design features. Named the best overall boxed mattress from the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, the latest version of Casper's Original mattress has three foam layers — but it now offers Zoned Support, which provides a firmer feel to the hip area and a softer, more cushioned texture to the shoulder area.

                        The Zoned Support may be embedded in the very middle of this mattress, but having slept on it myself, it is definitely a noticeable feature. At the surface level, the mattress is pleasantly cushy, and its lack of pushback allows sleepers to nestle in without their back or shoulders getting thrown out of alignment. The mattress's firmness is very balanced, and I found it to be quite soft while also very supportive.

                        Our editor Stefan Vazharov also owns this mattress, and in his review, he specifically touts its cooling properties. “The cooling layer also works very effectively,” he says. “By helping my body maintain optimal temperature, it put an end to tossing and turning. On a few occasions, I even found my cat sound asleep at my feet, no longer swatting at them as I try to get comfortable.” The Original also comes in a hybrid form, for those who favor innerspring support over foam.

                        No longer the "one perfect mattress" brand, Casper now offers quite a range of different options. Along with the Original, the brand's slightly more premium Nova and Wave hybrid mattresses have enhanced ergonomic and cooling features integrated throughout their designs, and their Element is a two-layer foam mattress that is also the cheapest option of the bunch.

                        The Original Casper mattress starts at $595 and is available in sizes twin through California king. The brand offers a 100-night trial period, and while they ordinarily coordinate white-glove delivery, it is suspended due to the pandemic.

                        Best Hybrid Mattress

                        Leesa Hybrid Mattress

                        As aforementioned, many bed-in-a-box brands now offer a hybrid mattress in addition to an all-foam model. But the Leesa Hybrid Mattress is a standout product for its 11-inch-high, five-layer construction, comprising a ventilated memory-foam layer, a contouring memory-foam layer, a support memory-foam layer, 6 inches of individually wrapped coils, and a foundational memory-foam layer at the very bottom. It's also covered by a soft, quilted material.

                        This hybrid mattress has also garnered top marks from Wirecutter and Mattress Advisor, which tout the mattress's breathability, limited motion transfer, softness, and exceptional support as being well worth the slightly higher price tag.

                        Leesa is also a B Corporation brand with a charitable initiative of donating one mattress to a family for every 10 that they sell. In response to the pandemic, they are offering supplemental hospital bed kits to medical facilities upon request.

                        The Leesa Hybrid Mattress starts at $999 and is available in sizes twin through California king. It offers a 100-night trial and offers contactless delivery.

                        Read More:

                        Our Definitive Guide to the Best Bed Sheets You Can Buy

                        The Best Down Comforters, According to Editor Testing and Rave Reviews

                        The Coziest Throw Blankets to Complete Your Netflix Nook

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