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We don’t often think about how much time we actually spend on a mattress, but if you get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, then it’s estimated that you will spend about a ⅓ of your life on your mattress. This amount of time is reason enough to invest in a quality mattress. If you’re not sure where to start, three basic mattress categories are specialty foam, innerspring, and hybrid (a combination of the two).
Finding a mattress that’s right for you comes down to personal preference in comfort and support, sleep habits, and budget. We tracked down the best mattress-in-a-box you can find covering a variety of categories—price range, comfort level, sleep style, and mattress size. Read on for our findings.
Best Overall: Helix Midnight Mattress
The Helix mattress was tough to nail down into a single “best of” category, because it qualified for so many — which is why we ultimately decided to deem it the best overall choice. Helix offers soft, medium, and firm mattresses and a range in pricing from it’s more affordable core options to its pricier “Luxe” models, so it’s easy to customize according to your comfort level, budget, and sleep habits. Their site includes a quiz, so it’s easy to determine which model might be best for you.
All options are hybrids, meaning they are a combination of coil and foam, so they have more bounce than memory foam. The base of every model is made of individually wrapped coils while the top layer features a cooling foam gel, then depending on the mattress, it includes denser foam in different areas depending on your support needs. This is what makes the mattress great for anyone with back pain, as well as stomach and side sleepers. Customers reported that the ordering and setup process was very easy. It also comes with a 100-day trial period and enforces at least a 30-day trial to give it a real try before returning.
Best Budget: Allswell Luxe Hybrid
For luxe-level quality at an affordable price, check out Allswell’s Luxe mattresses. Most queen-sized hybrid mattresses have a starting price of about $1300, whereas Allswell has a starting price of just under $700, making it one of the best buys you can find with a variety of features for almost any sleep preference. This hybrid mattress has the support of an innerspring coil base plus antimicrobial memory foam for comfort. Its individually wrapped coils minimize motion transfer for fewer sleep disruptions, so it’s great for those with restless partners or pets.
It also has a 2-inch copper-infused memory foam layer to help relieve typical pressure points for those who suffer from joint and muscle pain. This mattress is described as medium-firm with a plush, built-in topper made of cooling memory foam for additional comfort and temperature control. Allswell offers a 100-night risk-free trial and 10-year limited warranty, which is about the recommended lifespan of an average mattress.
Best Splurge: Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress with 6 Premium Layers
It’s now easier than ever to have your dream mattress sent directly to your home, no matter your price range. Dreamcloud’s Luxury Hybrid mattress may come inside a box, but it doesn’t skimp on high-end features. This mattress has a quilted memory foam cover made from a blend of cashmere and polyester for instant body-contouring comfort. The mattress combines several layers of memory and poly foams with pocketed coils to give you the most supportive and comfortable sleep.
Its luxe Eurotop construction is made with gel-infused memory foam on top for pressure relief and a bottom layer made with slightly firmer polyfoam. This mattress offers an equal amount of comfort and support allowing you to sink into the bed while the added base coils provide just enough bounce. It’s good for sleepers of all positions but could appeal particularly to back and side sleepers. It also comes with a 365-night trial as well as an impressive lifetime warranty.
Best Memory Foam: Layla Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses have many benefits. They offer pressure relief to joints and heavier areas of the body and help maintain neutral alignment in the spine. Memory foam also tends to be cheaper than hybrids, quieter than mattresses with springs, and better at cutting down on motion transfer, making them a good option for couples that have partners who move more during their sleep. Our favorite memory foam mattress is made by Layla. This copper-infused memory foam mattress is certified by CertiPUR-US, meaning it’s made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants, mercury, lead, other heavy metals, formaldehyde, or phthalates.
The mattress arrives rolled up in a box about the size of a mini-fridge and takes about 24-48 hours to decompress and air out (about the average waiting period of most boxed mattresses). This 10-inch memory foam mattress is flippable and double-sided (a medium-firm side and a medium-soft side) and the copper-infused foam offers cooling benefits for temperature control. Layla offers a 120-night in-home trial period with a 100 percent money-back guarantee, which is about 20 days more than the average mattress trial.
Best Firm: Helix Dawn Mattress
When sleeping on a firmer mattress, there is less stress on muscles, veins, and arteries, so the bones absorb most of the pressure. Firmer mattresses also keep the lower back from collapsing, which can allow for more oxygen intake. Helix Dawn is a hybrid mattress and one of the more firm models offered by the brand. It’s great for sleepers looking for relief from back pain and other muscle aches.
This mattress features a strong, supportive base from its individually wrapped coils and a firm layer of poly-foam which prevent you from sinking too far into the mattress. It helps keep the spine in neutral alignment, so it works well for back and stomach sleepers. It also offers temperature control with a cooling cover to help dissipate and distribute heat. Similar to its Core models we ranked for our “Best Overall Mattress”, the Dawn also comes with a 100-day trial period with at least a 30-day trial and an easy setup/return process.
Best for Side Sleepers: Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress
According to the National Sleep Foundation, side sleeping is considered the most common sleep position. Experts say side sleeping can be linked to improved digestion, better breathing, and neutral spine alignment, but unless you’re using a mattress that can support the natural curvature of the spine, then all of these benefits can be negated. Casper’s Wave Zoned Support mattress evenly distributes body weight and supports pressure points specifically in the hips, back, and shoulders using their “Natural Geometry System” design.
The precisely contoured foam has grooves cut directly into the material to provide relief to areas where you typically experience most pressure when sleeping on your side. The upper half of the mattress is made of softer foam to support shoulders and firmer foam at the hips for added support. Casper’s Wave Zoned Support mattress comes at a premium price, but we believe it’s worth the splurge if you find that your sleep is often disturbed due to aches and pains. Casper offers free shipping and a 100-day trial period.
Best King: Nectar Gel Memory Foam Mattress + 2 Pillows Included
Aside from the obvious perks of having more room while you sleep, king-sized mattresses also offer relief for restless sleepers and those with joint pain and arthritis who have a tough time sleeping in one position the entire night. We think Nectar’s king-sized mattress is one of the most comfortable and affordable on the market. They offer a 365-day trial (which is about 265 days more than average!) and are one of the few memory foam mattress companies that offers a durable option for heavier customers (250+ pounds) that prefer memory foam over hybrid or coil.
The mattress is 11-inches thick and consists of four layers. The base is foam, the second layer is a denser “Adaptive Hi Core Memory Foam," and the third layer is a gel memory foam. The top layer is an additional layer of gel memory foam that’s quilted into the cover. This is a highly supportive, firm mattress with a distinct, dense memory foam feel.
Best Hybrid: WinkBed Mattress
Hybrids are a mix of two different styles of mattresses; coils and a softer layer made from latex, polyfoam, or memory foam. Hybrids are a comfortable and supportive option to accommodate couples who have a partner with different sleeping positions. Hybrids are also known for being more durable than other mattresses, so they tend to last longer. Winkbeds are highly supportive yet bouncy. The base layer is made of pocketed coils, which are zoned into seven sections to provide pressure relief at different contact points, so you get more sinkage at the shoulders and hips but more support at the spine and lower body.
Their medium-firm mattress features four layers of pressure-relieving foam, microcoils, and pocketed coils. Most foam mattresses tend to overheat but Winkbeds are made with a gel-infused foam that disperses heat throughout the mattress. On top, is an all-natural, eco-friendly Tencel made from eucalyptus wood cellulose, which is also known for being light and breathable, so the combination works great for those who desire a cooler sleep.
What to Look for in a Mattress in a Box
There are various brands that have jumped onto the boxed mattress train, and with options come plenty of different price points. While there are budget-friendly options that can save some money without compromising on quality, there are other higher-end models that may include features that are necessary. Keep in mind how much you're willing to spend and what features you're not willing to compromise on.
One of the positives of purchasing a boxed mattress is for the convenience; you don't have to go to a store and wait on a delivery truck to bring it to your home. However, this means you won't been able to test the mattress in person to see how it feels. Check to see if the mattress has a free trial (most typically do) that will allow you to get the full experience of the mattress, as well as what the warranty covers and how long it lasts—ideally, you want it to cover at least the average lifespan of a typical mattress.
Hybrid Vs. Non-Hybrid
Hybrid mattresses are versions that include multiple layers with mixed materials, such as memory foam and coil springs, to offer the benefits of both. Non-hybrid options tend to stick with one material, which can also be beneficial if it's what you're looking for.
Your comfort level and potential backaches often play a factor in what level of firmness you require. While plenty of boxed mattresses offer a variety of levels, these levels can differ between companies. What is firm to one brand may not for another. Also, some brands can only offer certain options, so it's worth it to see what is available before purchasing.
Are you a light sleeper? Chronic aches and pains? Need more support to sleep through the night? Your sleeping habits and preferences should certainly be taken into account when selecting the type and style of boxed mattress to invest in.
How long can you leave a memory foam mattress in a box?
Time frames vary depending on the manufacturer (some allow for anywhere from one week to a few months), but ideally unbox your mattress within 3 days to prevent any damage.
How does a mattress in a box work?
The mattress is compressed in an air sealed bag, rolled tightly, and placed in a box (roughly the size of a mini fridge) and shipped to your home. Once unboxed, the mattress retains its original shape and size.
What does mattress in a box mean?
Mattress in a box means exactly as it sounds: a mattress is compressed, rolled up, and delivered in a box to your front door. This allows for convenience and flexibility on your end to not have to visit a store or haul a mattress on to a truck to bring it home.
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Meredith Hurd is a writer who has written for I AM & CO, The Swim Report, Pressed Juicery, TOMS Shoes, and more. Additional reporting was done by Lacey Ramburger, a personality assessments expert and writer whose work has appeared on Thought Catalog.