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The Savvy Sleeper’s Guide to The Best Mattress in a Box


Over the past few years, there has been a revelation in the mattress industry. Now, the bed-in-a-box is one of the most popular types of bed, and they’ve become so popular for a good reason. In this guide, we’ll talk about how to find the best mattress in a box for your own sleep needs.

In this article:

  1. What to Expect from this Guide
  2. Benefits of a Mattress in a Box
  3. The Most Prominent Mattress in a Box Brands
  4. How to Choose the Best Mattress for You
  5. Our Editors’ Choice for Best Mattress in a Box For 2019

What to Expect from this Guide

If you’re looking to buy a new mattress soon, chances are you will consider buying a mattress online. But, like with most things, not every online bed-in-a-box mattress is the same. Some mattresses are better than others. Not only do you need to know which brands will last a long time and are worth your money, but you also need to know which bed is right for you.

Everyone has unique sleeping needs. A back sleeper may need a different mattress than a side sleeper, someone with back pain will need a different mattress than someone who prefers softer beds, and anyone with joint issues will want to consider a different mattress than people who don’t have those pains. Fortunately, there is a mattress in a box for everyone. The key to buying a comfortable bed is understanding your own sleep needs and choosing a mattress that will meet those needs.

Buying a mattress is a big decision. It affects not only your night’s sleep but also how you feel during your waking hours. To make this search easier, we’ve written this article with information to help you best understand what you need from your next mattress.

Benefits of a Mattress in a Box

There are a lot of reasons to choose a mattress in a box over other types of mattresses. One of the most obvious reasons is convenience. You don’t have to drive to a store to try it out, you don’t have to figure out how to transport it to your home, and you don’t have to worry about getting a bulky bed through your house to your bedroom.

However, there are quite a few other reasons to pick a mattress in a box over a traditional in-store bed. Below, you will find our top reasons why you should consider a mattress in a box for your next bed:

Price

A mattress in a box is one of the least expensive types of mattress on the market. By buying directly from the brand and eliminating the middleman, you’re eliminating the fees mattress and furniture stores charge for their products.

While prices between brands and models vary, some of the best online mattress brands sell their products for cheaper than similar in-store models. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, many bed-in-a-box brands make each mattress as they are ordered, so they are only spending money on a mattress they are guaranteed to sell. Therefore, they are not paying for extra beds, extra materials, extra shipping, and extra costs. Because of this, the price of individual mattresses goes down.

Second, because these online brands sell directly to consumers, there is no need for a middleman. Most in-store mattress companies they make their mattresses off-site, so they’re paying to ship them to their storefront and paying to staff their stores. The extra payments these companies have to make are usually reflected in a higher price tag on their products. Additionally, when it comes to larger mattress retailers, they usually carry a variety of brands and models; because both the retailer and the mattress brand itself are aiming to make a profit on the products they sell, a third party retailer would need to hike the price up to make a profit for both parties. When companies sell their products straight to their buyers, they cut costs drastically.

Convenience

As we already addressed, the convenience of a mattress in a box goes unmatched.

When you buy a mattress at a store, you’re usually met with a large variety of mattress types. While you are there, you will probably deal with salesmen who are pushing for the sale. All of the mattresses you will lay on have also been tried by a countless number of other customers. Then, if you find a mattress you want, you need to get it back to your home; so, you’re either dealing with transporting the mattress yourself, or you’re stuck paying for delivery.

When you purchase your mattress online, shipping is usually part of the cost. Or, if you buy a mattress from certain companies, they’ll cover the shipping costs. The mattress arrives at your doorstep in an easy-to-transport box. You take the box inside, clear out the area it’s going in, and then you unroll the mattress and it expands into shape exactly where you want it. Typically, a much simpler process.

Trial Periods

Most people’s initial concern about ordering a mattress online is whether or not they will like it because they’re unable to try it out before ordering. Though this is true, many online mattress brands offer in-home sleep trials to try their mattress out.  Having the opportunity to sleep on a mattress in your home is a more telling experience than the in-store mattress test run.

These trial periods offer a certain amount of time, usually somewhere between 90-120 nights, to try the mattress. If you decide within that period of time the mattress you ordered may not be the best fit for your sleep style, you have the option to return it.

During the return process, most of these companies will offer to pick up your unwanted mattress from your home and have it either donated locally or recycled. Additionally, they’ll usually issue you a full refund if you decide against keeping their mattress during the trial period.

It’s important to note when you switch mattresses, your body goes through an adjustment cycle. The adjustment cycle can last around 30 days, so some mattress companies will require you to keep their mattress for at least 30 days, to give it an honest chance.

Each mattress company has its own trial period. Before you buy, ask, and do not assume that you are getting a risk-free sleep trial with your new mattress.

Warranties

Another major aspect of buying online mattresses is the warranty. Like trial periods, most online mattress companies offer impressive warranties. A quality mattress should be expected to last between 8 and 10 years, so make sure the brand you buy from offers at least a 10-year warranty to ensure you’ll get your money’s worth.

Not all warranties are the same. Before buying, be sure to ask about the warranty information and specifically what the warranty covers. Additionally, read reviews mentioning the quality of their customer service. If you find most customers have negative comments about communicating with the company or having a warranty claim approved, take caution before buying. A warranty is no good if a company is reported to often find ways out of their deal.

Quality

Some of the best mattresses available today are sold online, with many being compressed and shipped in a box.

One of the main reasons most of these mattresses are high quality goes back to cost. Because an online bed company doesn’t have to spend as much money on other aspects of their business, they can invest their funds into quality materials for their products. Also, because most of these companies make their mattresses to order, they can focus on making each mattress the best it can be.

A lot of bed-in-a-box companies also specialize in just a few models. Unlike other in-store brands, most online companies have fewer options. Since they offer a limited selection, they can truly focus on the quality of each model.

If you decide the quality isn’t up to your standards after you buy, you can always return the bed during the sleep trial for a full refund. For the most part, buying a bed in a box is a positive experience all around.

The Most Prominent Mattress in a Box Brands

best mattress in a box

Since the mattress in a box is so desirable, there are a lot of options to choose from. You’ve probably seen commercials and advertisements for a lot (if not most) of these mattress companies. Many of them are very commercially popular and provide high quality products.

Top 5 Mattress in a Box Brands

RELATED: Guide to Comparing Mattresses and Deciphering Value

How to Choose the Best Mattress for You

A lot goes into a mattress as it’s a major piece of furniture for both your comfort and more importantly, your health. To make a bed as comfortable as possible, there are many different aspects that make each bed compatible with a specific type of sleeper. To know what bed is made just for you, you need to understand the different aspects of a bed.

Company

Not everything about a mattress can be understood by looking at the bed alone. The company that makes the mattress also matters a lot. We suggest one of the first things you consider is a company’s reviews and their overall brand message. While they are just beginning to pick up traction, online mattress companies have been around for over a decade. The most reliable and dependable companies have been around since the beginning, and they continue to grow with the times.

Reviews

While there are a lot of newer companies that make a good product, the companies that have been around longer have at least two things going for them. One, they have more reviews and a more reliable base of consumer opinions. Two, their products have been around long enough to have truly been tested. If a company has been around for a while in this industry, it means they are doing something right.

If a company has high reviews and good reports, it probably means they take care of their customers. Mattresses break down and life happens. When that’s the case, it’s best to deal with a company that cares about its customers.

Mission

Mattress companies have more than just a responsibility to their customer, they also have a responsibility to care for the environment and communities they serve. Therefore, we urge you to consider buying from an eco-friendly company.

For starters, read about how they handle returned mattresses. Over 50,000 mattresses are put into the trash every day. Does this brand recycle their returned mattresses? A quality mattress in a box company should consider this as part of their mission.

The materials that mattresses are made of also affect the environment. Companies have the ability to use eco-friendly methods and material when making beds. Choosing a company that does this means you are choosing a company that cares about more than the profit they make.

Price

Especially with a purchase as big as a mattress, your budget matters. Don’t pick a bed that’s out of your budget just because it’s supposed to be a good mattress. There are always options that won’t break the bank. That said, don’t choose a low-quality mattress just because it fits within your budget.

If you’re specifically looking for budget-friendly beds, chances are you’ll run into a slew of low-quality options. Though they may save you money now, chances are you’ll end up needing to replace the bed a few years down the line. Additionally, low-quality beds aren’t usually the most comfortable, either. A bed isn’t worth it if you don’t sleep well on it, even if it is cheap.

Regardless of what you are getting from a mattress, you shouldn’t pay more than what you can realistically afford. Fortunately, there are a lot of bed in a box companies that offer luxury mattresses for competitive prices. If you feel you’ve found the perfect bed for yourself and it’s out of your price range, ask the brand about financing options or any mattress sales they have coming up. Waiting to make your purchase when the price is discounted can usually save you a few hundred dollars.

When considering price, look at everything that you are buying with your mattress. How long do people say it lasts? If a mattress lasts a long time, you will save money in the long-run by getting a quality mattress. What materials does it use? If you pick a bed that has higher quality materials, you may pay more for the mattress, but it may be worth it in the long-run. Better materials means better durability and usually, longer lasting.

As we discussed above, the price of a mattress in a box is going to generally be less than other mattresses of its same caliber. You can assume in most cases that you are already saving money by choosing to purchase a bed in a box.

Also, remember, that a bed is often preventative. If you frequently experience joint or lower back pain, a bad mattress is probably only going to make the problem worse. In the long run, having a better mattress may save money on other medical expenses. If you’re looking for a bed because you’re commonly experiencing pain after sleeping on your current mattress, talk with your doctor before buying a new mattress for possible suggestions or things to avoid.

Size Options

There is a range of standard size options available for most mattresses. Below is a list of the sizes and their standard dimensions, along with a brief description of who they are generally made for:

Twin

  • 38 X 74 inches
  • This bed is great for small children and anyone living with room restrictions.

Twin XL

  • 38 X 80 inches
  • This bed is ideal for teenagers, college students, and taller adults wanting a bed that takes up less space.

Full

  • 54 X 75 inches
  • Full mattresses are great for single sleepers as it will comfortably fit a single adult. Couples may find this size to be a bit cramped.

Queen

  • 60 X 80 inches
  • The Queen size is often used as the standard when measuring and comparing prices of beds. It offers plenty of room for couples, even leaving enough room for a small pet or a child. That said, a Queen bed offers plenty of space for a single sleeper. Although, at this size, it’s crucial you make sure it will fit in your bedroom.

King

  • 76 X 80 inches
  • Both this and the California King offer the most space of any bed. It is perfect for couples who want extra space, people who share their bed with large pets, or families that expect a kid to be sharing the bed with them. Make sure you measure your room before you choose this size.

California King

  • 72 X 84 inches
  • The California King is the same overall size as a regular King. The difference being, a California King offers four more inches in length and four less inches in width. Meaning, you’re sacrificing wiggle room on the sides of the bed to have a longer bed overall. Considering this, this mattress is a great option for a taller individual who values the length of their bed more than the width.

Before you make your final bed in a box decision, consider a few key things:

  • Think about the size of bed you have now. If it is too big or too small, adjust accordingly.
  • Consider who is sleeping with you, how many pets you have, and if you have kids. All of these things factor into how big of a mattress you should get.
  • Make sure there is enough space in your room for your new mattress. For a Queen sized mattress, we suggest putting it in a room that is at least 12’ x 12’. Any smaller, and you may find that you don’t have enough room to live comfortably or put any other furniture in your bedroom.
  • Also, note that the bigger the mattress, the more material it takes to make it. Therefore, the bigger the mattress, the more it is going to cost. Keep this in mind as you are budgeting for your next new mattress.

Most companies will offer all of these sizes. However, there are a few online companies that do not offer every size.

Firmness

One of the most important aspects of a mattress is its firmness level because it is the primary way to measure a mattress’ compatibility with any one sleeper. Mattresses are measured on a scale from Soft to Firm. Your primary sleeping position, or positions, will dictate which level of firmness you need from your mattress.  Additionally, if you have certain issues with your back or joints, you will want a certain firmness in your mattress.

There are three primary types of sleepers: back sleepers, side sleepers, and stomach sleepers. Here is a quick explanation of what each of these types needs in a mattress, generally:

Back Sleepers

Sleeping on your back is considered the healthiest sleeping position. When you sleep on your back, you promote your body’s natural alignment. Throughout the night, your spine rests in a neutral position, correcting and healing itself after a day of sitting and standing.

Back sleepers will most likely want a medium-firm or firm mattress, depending on your preferences for a firmer or softer bed. A  medium-firm mattress should provide a back sleeper with the comfort and support they need from a bed.

Back sleepers need a mattress that has especially good support. If you have a mattress that sags too much because it is too soft or because it is too worn, your back will curve. Over time, this may cause an unaligned spine, which could lead to further pain and discomfort.

If you choose a medium-firm mattress, your bed should feel plush on the surface, and firm when you lay on it. A firm mattress is great for people who prefer sleeping on much harder surfaces, and for those that need or prefer extra support. Typically, softer beds should relieve pressure points more effectively than a firm sleeping surface will.

Side Sleepers

Side sleeping is by far the most popular sleep position, with 76% of people identifying as side sleepers. If you sleep on your side, you will probably want to consider a medium or a medium-soft mattress.

When you sleep on your side, joints and key parts of your body take on a lot of pressure. Places like your shoulders and hips are pressed directly against the mattress, supporting your weight while you sleep. These pressure points, over time, will start to hurt. If you sleep on a firm enough mattress, you may even notice bruising.

While it’s important you don’t buy a mattress that is too firm, you don’t want to buy a super soft mattress because you still need some support to promote your body’s natural alignment. For these reasons, medium or medium-soft is the best mattress for side sleepers; they offer an extra level of comfort for those pressure points while also offering enough support to keep your body healthily aligned.

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleeping is considered the least healthy sleeping position, and usually doctors and sleep scientists will recommend you do your best to not sleep on your stomach. However, if you do primarily sleep on your stomach, you will want to consider a firmer mattress.

The unhealthiest part of sleeping on your stomach is the strain your spine and neck undergo throughout the night. If you sleep on a softer mattress, your back will easily sink into the bed and your body will bend. An unnatural curve in your spine may cause serious alignment issues over time; this could lead to discomfort both while you sleep and while you’re awake.  However, if you buy a mattress with the proper support to allow you to sleep on your stomach healthily, you should reduce your risk of experiencing discomfort as a result of sleeping on your stomach.

Available Firmness Levels

One of the downsides to many bed-in-a-box brands is they do not offer a wide range of firmness levels. Many online brands aim to offer a universally comfortable bed, making it a good fit for anybody. But, as we know, every person has different sleeping needs, and it’s almost impossible to make a mattress that’ll be comfortable for every type of sleeper.

Some online mattress brands, such as Loom & Leaf or Tuft & Needle, will carry one or two models, typically of medium or medium-firm firmness. Though they’re making beds with the majority of sleepers in mind, they’re missing a market of people shopping for their own sleep needs.

On the other hand, other online companies, such as Helix and Amerisleep, design their mattresses based on firmness and for types of sleepers. If you find you have pretty average sleep needs, and aren’t looking for anything too specific in a bed, you’re probably fine shopping with a brand that carries only one or two models. If you’re somebody who’s buying a mattress to relieve aches and pains, or you have unique sleep needs, shopping with a brand that customizes their mattresses for types of sleepers is a better option.  

Material and Technology

What a mattress is made of is what determines how firm it is, how durable it is, how comfortable it sleeps, and most importantly, how long it should last. Usually, online companies are more transparent about the materials they use and their manufacturing process. When you buy from a third party retailer, they may not know the answers to your specific questions about the material or manufacturing.

Also, it’s important to mention, there are plenty of online companies that claim to be transparent about the materials they use, when in reality, they’re not actually specifying the materials they use. For example, TempurPedic uses their own TEMPUR-APR™ foam in their mattresses, but don’t disclose what their TEMPUR-APR™ is made from. All we know as the consumer is their beds contain a layer of TEMPUR-APR™. An example of a company that uses their own proprietary materials but discloses what those materials are made from is Purple. Purple’s biggest selling point is their Smart Comfort Grid™. On their website, they discuss at length the pros of using their Smart Comfort Grid™ in the design of their beds, but they also go further to talk about what the grid is made from, a hyper-elastic polymer material.

Each company should have a description of the actual materials and technology they use in their mattresses, whether it be poly-foam, an innerspring coil system, hyper-elastic polymer, latex, gel beads, etc. If you have additional questions about the materials inside the mattress, don’t be afraid to reach out to the company and ask. If a mattress brand is shying away from answering your questions, they probably aren’t the best company to be shopping with.

With how much technology in the mattress industry is changing and improving, it’s important to make sure you are buying something worth the money. The quality of the material goes a long way in making your night’s sleep more comfortable and in improving the lifespan of the mattress.

Durability

It doesn’t matter how comfortable a mattress is if it doesn’t withstand the test of time. A quality mattress should last years. If it doesn’t, you aren’t getting your money’s worth. There are two things to look at when considering a mattress’ durability: the material and the reviews.

If a brand uses cheap materials to make their bed, it should be a sure sign their product won’t be long-lasting. A more telling sign of the average lifespan of a brand’s mattress is the brand’s reviews. Mattress reviews for mattress brands or specific mattress models should mention the lifespan of the mattress, or at least mention how long certain customers have been sleeping on their bed for. If you’re seeing mostly positive reviews, chances are you’ll be buying a quality product. If you’re seeing a majority of negative reviews, it’s probably best to look at another mattress or at another brand.

Keep in mind that most memory foam mattresses should last somewhere between 8 and 10 years. Anything shorter than that speaks to the lack of quality, and anything more than that is impressive!

RELATED: How to Find the Best Memory Foam Mattress

Trial Period

As addressed above, the trial period is one of the biggest immediate bonuses of going with a bed in a box; so, you want to make sure that you are purchasing a bed that has at least some sort of trial period. Buying from an online mattress brand that does not offer a sleep trial is just a downright bad idea because if you end up hating the mattress, you’re now stuck with an unwanted mattress and out a couple hundred bucks.

Make sure to look for trial periods that are at least 30 nights long. After 30 nights, your body should be adjusted to the new mattress and you should be able to determine if it’s a good fit for you and your overall health. We suggest looking for mattresses that offer longer trials than just 30 nights.

A mattress is a big purchase, don’t rush your decisions. Take your time and decide on something that will truly give you the best night’s sleep possible.

Our Editors’ Choice for Best Mattress in a Box For 2019

While there are many different brands to choose from, there is one, in particular, we find the most competitive, Amerisleep. We recommend Amerisleep as our Editor’s Choice for Best Mattress in a Box for a few reasons: they make beds tailored to individual sleep needs, their beds are reasonably priced, they’ve been in the industry for over a decade now, they’re eco-friendly, and they offer an impressive 20-year warranty. Their Amerisleep AS3 was even listed by Allure as one of the best beds available online.

Price

Amerisleep offers a luxury mattress for the same cost as other, cheaper brands of the same style. One of Amerisleep’s biggest differentiators is their use of plant-based foam, an eco-friendly material. By using plant-based foam, they aim to make their beds more comfortable and better for the environment. Their plant-based foam is designed to enhance the breathability throughout the bed. A major concern with memory foam is its tendency to sleep hot. By using plant-based foam instead of traditional memory foam in their beds, Amerisleep aims to reduce your chance of heating up while sleeping on their mattresses. The fact that they use plant-based foam in their beds and still offer a competitive price with traditional memory foam beds is impressive.

Durability

Amerisleep’s mattresses are known to last up to 10 years before showing real signs of aging. Not only does this meet the average lifespan of a memory foam mattress, but it surpasses it. Combine the durability with the warranty, and your sleep needs should be covered by Amerisleep for the next two decades.

Variety

Amerisleep’s mattresses vary by firmness, and are designed with types of sleepers in mind. Whether you want firm, medium-firm, medium, medium-soft, or soft, Amerisleep has a mattress for you. There are few companies that offer products that are tailored to such specific needs.

Additionally, Amerisleep gives you the option to exchange your bed during your sleep trial, so you can try other models if you find the bed you originally ordered isn’t a fit for you. If you decide to exchange your bed, your new bed comes with a whole new sleep trial, giving you time to make your decision as to which mattress to go with.  

Customer Service

Amerisleep has been around since 2007. Over their years of service, they have gathered a collection of reviews and testimonials that prove they have an amazing product and a great team backing it up.

If you need help choosing which one of their mattresses to get, their customer service team also provides personalized mattress recommendations. If you experience any discomfort on their mattresses after you buy, they’ll also help you customize your bed with a mattress topper, or exchange it for a different model if you feel the mattress you originally bought is not the best for you.

Materials and Technology

Amerisleep uses high-quality materials such as poly-foam and plant-based foam in their beds, as well as newer mattress technology such as HIVE® and Celliant®.

HIVE® technology is located in the Affinity Layer of their mattresses; this technology is designed to relieve pressure points and provide support for your feet, hips, back, shoulders, and neck while you sleep. In a recent clinical study, HIVE® technology was found to reduce pressure points by 49%.

Celliant® fabric is used in the covers of their mattresses; this material is made from 13 thermoreactive minerals and is designed to recycle body heat into infrared energy. Infrared energy is known to promote local blood flow, which in turn should regulate your body temperature. By using Celliant® fabric in its cover, Amerisleep aims to decrease your chance of sleeping hot on their beds.

Overall Value

Amerisleep offers an incredible mattress at an affordable price. They have a variety of models to choose from, a customer service team to help you find the best bed for yourself, high-quality materials, and reasonable prices. If you’re considering going with a bed-in-a-box brand, Amerisleep is worth considering.

Have You Found Your Next Mattress in a Box?

We hope this mattress buying guide has helped you decide if a mattress in a box is right for you. When deciding between brands, reading customer reviews is a great way to narrow down your choices. Keep in mind mattresses are not one-size-fits-all items— what works well for others may not necessarily work for you. Always consider your specific needs and preferences above all else to ensure you’ll find a mattress that will provide you with the comfort and support you need.


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