Before 2014, buying a new mattress involved driving into a bricks-and-mortar retailer and lying on tens of beds before deciding on one. Often, you’d be accompanied by a pesky salesperson who rushed you through all the available options with the promise of ‘a good deal just for you.’ After identifying your ideal bed, the next step of coordinating home delivery was even harder.
Today, the concept of bed in a box coupled with online shopping has simplified the entire process. You can now choose the best mattress for your sleep needs and have it shipped to your doorstep without leaving your home.
There are a few challenges to online mattress shopping, though. First, there’s no way to try out the bed before making the purchase. This means that it’s even harder to know how the mattress will feel. Secondly, unlike a few years back where we had only a few competing brands, the market is now overwhelmingly full of bed in a box manufacturers, all claiming to be the best in business. Most of these mattresses have seemingly similar construction that makes comparison shopping even harder.
To narrow down your options, this post brings our picks of the best mattresses in a box this year. We’ve also prepared a buying to take you through all the hurdles of buying a new mattress online in 2020.
Disclaimer: While SleepSharp endeavors to recommend the best products, we edited this post to offer general information only. As such, the content of this article can’t replace professional and expert advice and recommendation.
Quick Links: Top 5 Rated Bed in a Box Mattresses in 2020
- Best Memory Foam Mattress Bed in a Box: Casper
- Best Affordable Bed in a Box: Nectar
- Best Cooling Mattress: Purple
- Best Mattress in a Box Organic: Avocado
- Best Hybrid Bed in a Box: Helix
Best Memory Foam Mattress Bed in a Box – Casper
Why we like it:
- It behaves like memory foam but does not make you feel stuck
- Removable cover boosts hygiene
- Firmness: Medium-firm (5)
- Thickness: 12″
- Construction materials: proprietary memory foam, poly foam, and polyester and spandex fabric
You might like the Casper mattress if you:
- Weigh between 130 lbs to 230 lbs– with a rating of 5 on the firmness scale, the Casper offers just the right amounts of comfort and support to individuals within this range.
- Want a plush mattress – the Casper is notably softer than most of its competitors in our reviews. If you prefer a plush bed, this one could interest you the most.
- Are a hot sleeper– this mattress uses an open-cell comfort layer plus a breathable cover, both of which boost its temperature management attributes.
The original Casper is one of the flagship mattresses in the bed in a box craze. Close to 7 years after its inception, this mattress is still one of the best mattresses that the market has had.
The Casper is a 12-inch four-layer bed featuring two memory foam comfort layers, a poly foam transition layer, and a high-density poly foam core support.
One standout feature of this mattress is its top layer, which consists of a proprietary foam that feels like memory foam but does not have the stuck-in-bed feeling of classic viscoelastic foam. We believe this will be a key selling point, especially for people who want a bed that they can easily move on.
This proprietary foam is followed by yet another layer of memory foam. Together, these layers give the Casper a medium-firm feeling that is slightly on the plusher side. In that case, we’d strongly recommend it to lightweight and average-weight individuals not exceeding 230 lbs. People above this range may sink too much, and this may offset other issues, including excessive sinkage and lack of support.
Similar to other all-foam beds, the Casper falls short in terms of edge support. However, it shines in other areas, including motion isolation, pressure relief, and noise minimization. This mattress comes with a 100-night trial period and a 10-year warranty.
Read Our Full Casper Mattress Review
Best Affordable Bed in a Box – Nectar Mattress
Why we like it:
- Comes at a lower-than-average price tag
- Offers the best value in terms of memory foam usage
- Has a luxuriously soft cover
- Firmness: Medium-firm (6)
- Thickness: 11″
- Construction materials: memory foam, poly foam, Tencel and cotton blend fabric
You might like the Nectar mattress if you:
- Weigh between 130 lbs to 400 pounds– although it’s marketed as a medium-firm bed, the Nectar has a little bit more support than the Casper.
- Want the best bed in a box mattress for couples– with its wide weight coverage and ability to accommodate multiple sleeping positions, this mattress will make an excellent bed for couples with varying personalities and preferences.
- Are struggling with back pains– the Nectar boasts an incredible cradling comfort and support that people with bad backs seek for.
The Nectar wears several hats at Sleepsharp.com. Besides being one of the best mattresses for Murphy beds, it also tops our list of the best beds for back pain.
The Nectar is the bed to go for if you’re looking for a mattress with the best value for your money too. You see, as other mattresses flaunt 2-3 inches only of memory foam, the Nectar manages over 5 inches of this material.
Typically, this should make it very costly, but that’s not the case here. It’s quite surprising that the Nectar is the best cheap bed in a box in 2020 as well. This top-rated mattress rarely gets over the 1-grand mark even with its king-size beds.
As a medium-firm bed that is slightly on the firmer side, we’d recommend the Nectar to individuals who want a mattress that lets them sink in it for pressure-relief without compromising support.
If you’re wondering, “does the Nectar mattress sleep cool?” The answer is yes. Both of this bed’s comfort layers have gel-infusion, which helps a lot in absorbing heat, thereby offering you a cooler sleeping surface. Also, the cover, which is made from a blend of Tencel-Lyocell and cotton, takes temperature regulation a notch higher.
When you purchase the Nectar mattress, you’ll have a full year to decide whether or not to keep it. Even better, its lifetime warranty is the best deal that you can ever get on a memory foam mattress.
Read Our Full Nectar Mattress Review
Best Cooling Bed in a Box – Purple Mattress
Why we like it:
- Purple’s proprietary polymer grid is nothing else in terms of support
- This bed doesn’t sleep hot
- Firmness: Medium-firm
- Thickness: 9.5″
- Construction materials: Hyper-Elastic polymer, poly foam, and polyester-blend fabric
You might like the Purple mattress if you:
- Weigh below 230 lbs– in our experience with Purple’s polymer grid, we believe this will be a good mattress for average-weight folks. Heavier people may find it firmer than average.
- Like memory foam but hate the feeling of sleeping inside the mattress– although it still cradles you like memory foam, this mattress’s comfort layer won’t suck you in.
- Want an affordable bed in a box Purple– although this famous mattress brand has other beds, the Original Purple is still the most sought-after mattress partly due to its affordability.
The Purple mattress is ahead of its time with its 2-inch layer of patented polymer grid. This purple material has a grid-like structure consisting of 2500 plus squares that make all the difference when compared to other all-foam mattresses.
The tiny spaces between these squares work by promoting excellent airflow around the sleeping surface. Secondly, unlike memory foam that tends to suck you in, this polymer grid allows adequate sinkage while holding you atop the mattress. If you don’t like the feeling of being stuck in memory foam, you’re very likely going to appreciate this mattress.
Other than that, the Purple offers customized support for the different parts of your body. This way, this mattress succeeds in offering even support, which helps in pressure relief.
The Purple mattress does not compare to other memory foam beds in these reviews in terms of isolating motion. However, it’s a much-better performer in others areas, such as temperature neutrality, sex, pressure-relief, and durability.
Like other mattresses in our best bed in a box reviews, the Purple comes with a 100-night at-home trial period plus a 10-year warranty.
Read Our Full Purple Mattress Review
Best Organic Bed in a Box – Avocado Mattress
Why we like it:
- It’s organic
- Has tons of support
- Firmness: Medium-firm (6.5)
- Thickness: 13″
- Construction materials: Natural Dunlop latex, pocketed springs, and organic cotton cover
You might like the avocado mattress if you:
- Want a chemical-free bed– this mattress is made of Dunlop latex, which is obtained from natural sources. Its coils are made from recycled steel.
- Are after a bed with excellent edge support– as a hybrid mattress, the Avocado has a much better edge system than other all-foam mattresses here. This makes it ideal for couples and people who prefer sitting along the edge of the bed.
- Want the best bed in a box firm– at 6.5 on the firmness scale, this mattress has more support than most all-foam beds here.
The Avocado mattress will be our first recommendation if you’re in need of the best hybrid bed in a box. Also, this mattress demands your attention if you are mindful of your carbon footprint.
This is a 13-inch mattress flaunting 5 inches of Dunlop latex on top of an 8-inch system of pocketed springs. Its surface has a notably firmer feel thanks to the latex layers at the top. This firmness makes it the most comfortable mattress for heftier individuals above 230 lbs. You’re going to love it the most, especially if you sleep on your stomach and back. Most heavyweight side sleepers will also like it, although there is the risk of experiencing pressure points.
Its spring support aims to give you a good amount of bounce besides ensuring constant support. It also boosts its breathability by allowing air to circulate through the spaces between the coils.
Overall, the Avocado is the best bed in a box for sex in our reviews. It’s heavy and a bit pricey, yes, but no other mattress beats it in terms of minimizing your carbon footprint. It also gets a lot of marks for edge support, temperature neutrality, and overall durability.
Read Our Full Avocado Mattress Review
Best Hybrid Bed in a Box – Helix (Midnight)
Why we like it:
- Has an impressively balanced neutral feel
- Does not have the overwhelming classic feeling of memory foam
- Firmness: Medium-firm (5.5)
- Thickness: 12″
- Construction materials: gel memory foam, Helix Dynamic foam, pocketed springs, and poly foam.
You might like the Helix mattress if you:
- Weigh between 130 lbs and 230 lbs– the Helix Midnight has a firmness rating of 5.5, which for the most part, will feel neutral to individuals in this category.
- Want an affordable hybrid bed in a box– despite being one of the best in the business, this mattress is still much cheaper than most of its competitors.
- Want a memory foam mattress but tend to sleep overly hot– by incorporating pocketed coils, Helix manages to solve the issue of heat retention that plagues most memory foam mattresses.
The trickiest part of purchasing a mattress online is determining which bed will offer the best feel. One of the best bed in a box mattress brands, Helix is interesting to deal with because they ask you to take a simple quiz with which they suggest the best mattress from their 9 available options.
The Helix Midnight that we’re recommending here is their best selling mattress. This is a 12-inch bed featuring gel-infused memory foam, latex-like Helix Dynamic foam, 8-inch pocketed coils and a poly foam base. Altogether, these layers give the Midnight an unusual neutral feel with a medium-firm rating of around 5.5.on the soft-firm scale.
This mattress will interest most lightweight and average-weight folks who love memory foam but not its stuck-in-mud feeling. Worth noting, this mattress tends to accommodate all sleeping positions, although side and stomach sleepers tend to praise it the most.
One thing that you’re probably going to love about this mattress is that it does not make as much noise as most innerspring-based beds do. Also, it does a great job of isolating motion, relieving pressure points, and promoting a temperature-neutral sleeping surface.
Read Our Full Helix Midnight Mattress Review
Purchasing the best bed in a box may seem overwhelming due to all the available online brands. Having gone through our reviews of the best mattresses that are sold in a box, though, we expect this process to be a breeze for you now.
As a recap of our bed in a box buying guide, start by narrowing down to your go-to mattress type and size. From there, determine the best firmness level and finally identify a bed that fits your preferences from the most famous mattress brands. If you’re still not sure which brand to go with, our top rated picks above should offer a few solid suggestions.
Bed in a Box Buying Guide
What is a bed in a box?
A bed in a box is just as it sounds- this is a mattress that has been compressed to fit in a box the size of your mini-fridge. Once the mattress has been shipped to your doorstep, you only need to remove it from its packaging, and it will fluff up to its intended size and shape in a few hours.
Although it’s Casper that receives most of the credit for this concept, the idea of fitting a bed in a box first started with bedinabox.com in 2007. This was close to 7 years before Casper was founded. The brand’s founder and machinist, Bill Bradley from Johnson City, Tennessee, invented a machine that could compress foam mattresses into a size compact enough to fit into a box for easy shipping.
Around this period, most people were still hooked to the traditional method of buying mattresses from physical stores. This explains why bedinabox.com didn’t make so much of an impact. It was not until popular mattress brands, including Casper and Tuft and Needle got into this craze that people started considering the benefits of buying a bed in a box.
Benefits of Bed in a Box Mattress
We can’t despise that buying a mattress from a brick-and-mortar seller has its strengths. For instance, the mattress review team at SleepSharp considers it critical to sleep on a mattress for 10-15 minutes before making the decision. However, although buying a mattress online eliminates this possibility, there are still lots of other benefits that come with a mattress in a box.
When you purchase a mattress from a store, you’re on your own on how to transport it home unless your budget allows for arranged shipping. If you’ve ever tried it, you probably understand that moving a mattress isn’t fun at all. Unless you have a truck, pickup, or a van with removable seats, there are lots of things that can go wrong when transporting a mattress on top of a car. Another problem comes in when trying to fit the hugely bulky mattress through your narrow corridors, doors, or lift as you try to set it up at home.
All of these are the hassles that the best bed in a box eliminates. Most brands will ship the mattress to your doorsteps. Again, since the mattress is packed in a compact box, you can easily move it to your bedroom and set it up there. Some brands offer optional White Glove service to make the entire process a breeze too.
Lower price tags
Most bed-in-a-box brands operate online. This eliminates the need for lots of brick-and-mortar stores with staff and middle persons. As such, these brands can offer their mattresses at a price that is considerably lower than you’d get in a showroom. It’s possible to get a good high-quality bed in a box queen at around $700 and a twin at about $400. Of course, the price depends on the brand and the type of mattress.
It’s a risk-free investment
The biggest drawback that comes with purchasing a mattress online is that you can’t try it out before swiping the card. Pretty much all brands make this a non-issue by offering you a generous trial period of around 100 days. Some brands, such as Nectar allow you to try the mattress for a full year before deciding whether or not to keep it.
Even after the trial period, most brands today offer a warranty ranging from 5 years to a lifetime. In short, purchasing a mattress online is just as risk-free as buying it from a store.
Varieties of options
Brick-and-mortar stores offer the opportunity to try out different mattresses from various brands. However, online shopping offers you even more options to suit your exact sleep needs and preferences. The only difference is that the latter does not overwhelm you if you were to consider the mattresses brand after brand. Most bed in a box brands offer just a couple of mattresses that differ in terms of construction and firmness. So, it’s very easy to narrow down to a mattress that you’ll love.
Cons of mattress in a box
No chance to try before purchasing
Most experts affirm that sleeping on the bed for 10-15 minutes is critical to getting a mattress that will meet an individual’s needs. Since you can’t do this online when buying a bed in a box, you have to rely on reviews and feedback from previous buyers.
Most brands make up for this with their generous trial periods. However, let’s agree that it’s frustrating to wait for your mattress to be delivered only to realize that it’s not exactly what you hoped for. Again, keep in mind that some manufacturers advise breaking in the mattress for at least 30 days before initiating the return process.
Most of the beds that come in a box have foam (memory foam, poly foam, or latex) in their construction detail. After expanding, these mattresses first undergo an episode of off-gassing as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) break down. Although these chemical smells aren’t harmful, especially if the mattress is CertiPUR-US certified, most people may find them irritating. They tend to dissipate completely within a few days (sometimes hours), though.
So, is a mattress in a box worth it?
Well, beds in a box aren’t any different from store-bought mattresses. The biggest difference is that beds in a box mattresses have a slightly more resilient material that enables them to expand to their intended shape and size after unpacking. Otherwise, everything else remains the same, including edge support, firmness, and temperature management.
So, yes, a mattress in a box is worth it as long as you are able to get a bed that will perfectly meet your comfort and support needs. It also makes a lot of sense if you want to avoid driving to a physical store and dealing with salespersons. We can’t despise the importance of testing the mattress beforehand, though. If you can do so, for instance, at a showroom (some brands have them) or at your friend’s, we highly recommend it.
How to Choose the Best Bed in a Box- Factors and Considerations
Buying a mattress online is much easier than purchasing it from a furniture and mattress store. However, it is still a serious undertaking that requires a good understanding of what to look for. Here is a breakdown of the most important things to consider when narrowing down to the best bed in a box for the money.
Type of mattress
During its inception, the concept of a bed in a box mainly involved memory foam. Several years down the line, manufacturers have come up with ways to include pretty much all other types of mattresses from latex to coil-based hybrids. In short, it boils down to what type of mattress interests you.
- Memory foam– this is the most popular mattress at the moment credit to its comfort and pressure-relieving attributes. When choosing the best memory foam bed in a box, you want to double-check on the technologies that it employs to ensure temperature neutrality. This is the major issue that troubles these beds, but most manufacturers are now using gel-infusion, copper, and plant-based foams to mitigate it.
- Latex– these mattresses are popular for being highly comfortable. They are also the preferred bed of choice for individuals who want to keep their carbon footprint as low as possible. Although the best bed in a box latex mattresses tend to be super expensive, they also reign in terms of durability compared to memory foam. Importantly, they have a natural springiness that makes it much easier to move on top of the bed.
- Hybrid mattresses– most hybrid mattresses feature memory foam or latex on top of a system of coils. As you can imagine, these beds offer an option to experience the best of two (or more) mattress worlds. The best hybrid mattresses in a box have a little give that helps with pain relief. These beds also have incredible edge support and bounce, which are the two most essential features for a couple’s mattress. Even better, these beds sleep cooler than most all-foam mattresses and will, therefore, interest most people who sleep hot at night.
Regardless of your choice of mattress, firmness is a crucial aspect that will determine whether or not you’re going to keep it after delivery. Firmness in a mattress refers to how hard or soft it feels.
Although most people tend to look at it from a comfort point of view, firmness also determines the level of support that you get from the bed. As a rule of thumb, you need a mattress that strikes a balance in terms of comfort and support. This depends a lot on your weight and sleeping position.
Mattresses are classified as either soft (plush), medium-firm, or firm on a scale of 1-10. Soft mattresses (1-3) are the plushiest and are ideal for petite and lightweight individuals weighing less than 130 lbs. Medium-firm beds (4-6) offer nearly balanced levels of comfort and support and are popular with lightweight and average weight folks (130-230 lbs). Firm mattresses (7-10) offer minimal sinkage and are ideal for heftier people weighing (above 230 lbs).
Know the best bed in a box brands to go with
A few years back, Casper was the obvious manufacturer for anyone planning to buy their next mattress online. However, the increase in demand for these beds have led to a sudden increase in online mattress companies bringing the number to approximately 175!
Experts say that most of these mattresses are very similar, and this is what causes confusion for buyers. If it’s hard for you decide on the best bed in a box brands, here are a few suggestions of the best-sellers that you can rarely go wrong with;
Consider previous buyers’ feedback on durability
Whether you’re buying the mattress online or from a physical store, there are a few aspects that are hard to pick, including durability and how the bed holds up generally. This is where reports and reviews from previous buyers come in handy. So, before purchasing the mattress, consider what other people have to say about how it fairs in areas such as temperature management, edge support, and firmness.
Hunt for the best deals
Mattresses are generally expensive regardless of where you purchase yours. Beds that are sold in a box are slightly cheaper than their store-bought options, though. Most of the best bed in a box brands also throw attractive discounts during major shopping holidays, including the 4th of July, Labor Day, and the President’s day. If you want to snag the best bed in a box deal, this is the best time to buy a new mattress.
How to set up a mattress in a box
- Step 1: Lay the box horizontally on the floor and open it.
- Step 2: Slide the mattress out of the box. Using a pair of scissors, cut the outer packaging plastic with caution.
- Step 3: With the mattress still wrapped in its second layer of plastic, unroll it and arrange it on the frame or foundation of your bed.
- Step 4: Proceeding with caution, cut and remove the second layer of packaging plastic. Be sure not to cut into the cover or foam of the mattress. Again, understand that some mattress brands may use more than one layer of plastic. You want to remove all of it.
- Step 5: After removing all the plastic layers, let the mattress decompress and expand to its intended size. Most manufacturers recommend letting the mattress stay for at least 24 hours to allow the new mattress smell to dissipate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are boxed mattresses durable?
The best bed in a box mattress will last as long as a store-bought bed. That’s to say that you should expect your mattress to last for 5-15 years.
How do I return my bed in a box?
Most brands will make an arrangement to have the fully expanded mattress collected from your home for donation to a charity. In case you’re wondering, no, you won’t be required to compress and roll the mattress back into its box. This is almost impossible, actually.
Do you require a box spring for a mattress in a box?
No. A box spring is not necessary as your platform bed has enough support for the mattress.