Affordable Mattress Hunt: Finding the Best Bed for the Money

Affordable Mattress Hunt: Finding the Best Bed for the Money


No one likes to waste hard-earned cash, so when shopping for a new affordable mattress, you probably want to get the best bed for the money.

Now, the best mattress can look quite a bit different from one person to the next, since we all have different preferences and budgets. Even the definition of an affordable mattress can mean different things to different shoppers. In our 2015 mattress guide, we found that the top-rated beds from brands like Amerisleep, Serta and others often fell in between $800 and $1500, which would be considered in the low to mid-range of prices.

But, getting a good value relies more on knowing how to compare different brands, what to look for in a bed, and where to find affordable mattress brands and information. In this guide, we’ll be going over tips on how to choose the best bed for the money so you can make a selection that both your back and your wallet will be happy with.

Best Affordable Mattress Brands

If you want to dive right into the best bed for the money, we have our top picks for both memory foam and innersprings highlighted in the table below for quick comparison. Read on further for in depth pointers and information.

Mattress ModelSpecsGuaranteesPrice / Reviews
Amerisleep Americana BedMedium
10" profile
3" 4.0 lb memory foam
7" plant foam base
20 Year Warranty
100 Day Returns
$1049
4.6 / 5 stars
99% recommend
Denver Mattress Doctor’s
Choice Euro Top Set
Firm
13" profile
5.5" 1.8 lb poly foam
1" poly foam
750 pocketed coils
15 Year Warranty
120 Day Returns
$649
4.6 / 5 stars
90% recommend

Amerisleep Americana Bed

Amerisleep is an affordable memory foam mattress brand that offers five different models, with prices starting below $1000. Their specifications, including plant-based, 4 lb density memory foam and advanced Celliant fiber covers, combine with strong owner reviews to indicate a good value. This innovative fabric is thermoreactive, converting your excess body heat into infrared light, which has clinically-proven therapeutic benefits. Infrared light is a proven vasodilator, which means it increases tissue oxygen levels, enhances cell vitality improves circulation and regulates body temperature. 

There aren’t many beds that offer so much for so little. Buyers seeking the best foam mattress for the money will likely be impressed with the Amerisleep Americana bed compared to other leading brands, many of which use lower quality materials or inflate pricing markup.

Denver Mattress Doctor’s Choice Euro Top

Denver Mattress retails their own brand and big name brands, focusing primarily on innersprings. Their house Doctor’s Choice brand tends to have fairly good reviews and options with reasonable prices, as well as more information on material quality than other innersprings brands provide. Shoppers looking for affordable beds in the innerspring category with decent guarantees may find their match with the Doctor’s Choice Euro Top model. This model contains over five inches of 1.8 lb poly foam and pocketed coils.

Getting the Best Bed for the Money

The key to coming away with a affordable mattress that is comfortable, durable, and a good deal is essentially doing your homework. The factors below are some of the most helpful one to know and compare.

How Much Should You Pay?

According to research by Sleep Like The Dead, the average price paid for a new bed is around $1500 to $1600, though mattresses can be found as low as a couple hundred dollars or as high as tens of thousands of dollars. You shouldn’t spend five figures on a mattress. There are plenty of good choices for much, much less money. 

  • Innerspring mattresses:
    • Range from $100 to $4000 and up.
    • The average buyer pays around $1500 for queen size.
  • Memory foam mattresses
    • Range from $100 to $8000 and up.
    • The average buyer pays around $1600 for queen size.

They’ve found that the most affordable beds, low-priced options under $700 in queen, have lower satisfaction (especially for heavier people) and tend to last around 5 years. However, mid-priced beds ($700-$1800) have similar satisfaction to high-priced beds ($1800 and up), and similar durability and warranties, meaning the best bed for the money is likely in the middle price range.

You should determine what your budget practically allows for, as well as how long you plan to use the bed. Something for short-term use (like a dorm) or infrequent guest use doesn’t need to last as long as your every-night mattress, for example. Heavier people may need to spend more to get a durable mattress that will last. Before using credit, you should also see if it makes sense – remember, interest can add up significantly over time, making a good deal not so great.

Where to Find an Affordable Mattress

Online BrandsLocal ManufacturersShowrooms/
Department Stores
Low Overhead = Low MarkupModerate Overhead =
Low to Moderate Markup
High Overhead = High Markup
Low Sales PressureLow to Moderate Sales PressureOften High Sales Pressure
Good Information AvailabilityGood Information AvailabilityFair to Good Information Availability
Good Return PoliciesFair to Good Return PoliciesFair to Good Return Policies
Easier to find reviewsMay have reviewsOften limited reviews on
individual mattresses
Typically Ship NationwideLocation-LimitedTypically in Most Major Metros
Selection may be limitedSelection may be limitedOften carry several brands

Is there an magical store with nothing but great, affordable mattresses? No there isn’t. But learning what makes one mattress worth more than another will allow you to find them yourself. Mattress prices are determined by a few factors. Of course, higher quality materials cost more, but quality only accounts for a small portion of pricing, especially for big name brands.

Major national brands spend hundreds of thousands to millions on advertising, storefronts, and other overhead expenses, meaning their prices necessarily have considerable markup built in. Individual stores and dealers also need to make their cut of the profit, so again, more markup. And, these big brands are largely consolidated into two conglomerates, so they can both price high and remain competitive with each other.

This is one major reason that independently owned, low-overhead online mattress brands are gaining quick favor with shoppers. Brands like Amerisleep, Denver Mattress, Saatva, Tuft and Needle, or Keetsa make and sell their own beds, and largely sell online, meaning they can offer similar quality at much lower prices compared to the large brands like Tempur-Sealy and Serta-Simmons.

Where you’ll likely find the best mix of quality and price (hence, value) on affordable mattresses are online (low overhead, more competition), and from smaller, local manufacturers and stores (lower overhead).

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Finding the best bed for the money means looking deeper than just the price tag. Cheap, affordable beds may not be a good buy in the long run if they leave your back aching within a year or two, or sooner. As with most products, a better understanding of the parts that make the whole will help in finding the diamonds in the rough. 

Every mattress is a little different on the inside. Don’t buy one until you know what is beneath the cover. It is the components that make the bed, so consider and compare the inside carefully.

Memory Foam Beds

There are three types of memory foam you will likely encounter while searching for a bed. Each has unique characteristics which should be explored.

Traditional – Produced using polyols derived from petroleum oil, traditional memory foams are the oldest and most commonly used type of foam. Traditional foams tend to have more complaints of off-gassing and heat retention than gels and plant-based foams.

Gel – These are essentially petroleum-based traditional foams with gel either added throughout the foam or in layers near the sleeper with the intention of combating heat-retention problems.

Plant-based – Instead of using petroleum-based oils for their construction, plant-based foams are made from oils from the soybean or castor plants. These eco-friendly mattresses have a more open-cell structure which allows for better airflow. This helps to keep temperatures neutral and improves breathability. Plant-based memory foam mattresses also have fewer complaints of offgassing and many are low-VOC beds. Volatile organic compounds may impact indoor air quality and contribute to numerous adverse health effects.

Innerspring Beds

Understanding the basics of mattress materials can help you compare and determine quality this potential lifespan and durability. Beware of a brand or retailer that won’t disclose mattress specification details.

The best-rated memory foam mattresses tend to have:

  • Medium density memory foam (3.5 to 5.0 lb)
  • Quality base foam (1.5 lb and higher)
  • At least 2” of memory foam
  • Breathable cover fabric
  • Foams with low temperature sensitivity (lower density and plant-based foams)

The best-rated innerspring mattresses tend to have:

  • Individually pocketed coils (for support and motion isolation)
  • Coil counts over 500 (but those over 700+ aren’t necessarily better)
  • Firmer support (holds up better, can always add a topper)
  • Memory foam, latex, or high density poly foam (more durable)

Using Mattress Reviews

If you want to know how a bed feels or how well it stands up over time, mattress reviews are perhaps the best tool at your disposal.

Many online brands and stores encourage customers to leave reviews, and will have many for you to read through. Even if you’re buying in a store, it’s wise to take some time to research reviews before committing. They can alert you of any trends in customer service or product durability, as well as how consistent descriptions are with owners’ actual experiences.

Look for websites that use a verified review system (shows which reviewers are verified customers) as well as third party verification (better transparency and less chance of manipulation). Websites like ResellerRatings.com, Viewpoints.com, or Consumer Reports can also be good sources, as can social media. If the reviews aren’t verified by a third party, they may be fake or manipulated in some way by retailers. Make sure you know the reviews are honest and from a verified customer. 

Here’s a look at average mattress reviews for a few top brands that focus on the affordable mattress sector.

Affordable Mattress Brands: Satisfaction

Data from SleepLikeTheDead.com and third-party-verified consumer reviews.

Read the Fine Print

Return policies and warranties are two things you want to pay particular attention to when looking for the best bed for the money. If you end up not liking a bed, the ability to return can be a big money saver. Likewise, you want to make sure a company will stand by their product for a bigger expense like a mattress.

Check return policies for:

  • How long do you have to return from when it is delivered?
  • Do you have to keep the mattress for set period of time before returning?
  • What is the return process?
  • What costs are associated with returning? Restock fee, return fees, shipping fees (both original and return)?
  • Are you refunded or store credit for exchange?

Check warranties for:

  • What is the length of the “full coverage” or “full replacement” period? Many warranties will have a full period followed by a partial coverage or “pro-rated” period.
  • What depth of impressions are covered? Typically, brands consider impressions defects when they range from 0.75” to 1.5”, sometimes more. This is important because deep impressions can cause pain and discomfort.
  • Are there any restrictions, such as type of foundation you must use or what paperwork/tags you need to keep?
  • How are warranty claims determined?

By focusing on the middle price range, shopping online or local, looking into specifications and reviews, and checking out the fine print, you’ll have the information you need to assess the quality and potential value of affordable beds. Finding the best bed for the money ultimately comes down to being an informed shopper, and taking the time to compare the affordable mattress brands out there.

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