The advent of bed-in-a-box technology has made choosing the best mattress convenient than ever before. Today, it’s no longer necessary to drive into a store to select a bed from a bunch of different brands. Perhaps the most significant advantage to this is that it eliminates all dishonest salespersons who are only after making a commission off you.
Wait a minute, though. While buying a mattress online is meant to make the process easier, there are still a ton of things to understand before narrowing down to the perfect bed for your needs. In addition to the type of mattress, you also want to think about firmness, density, and edge support. Even more important is how the mattress tackles issues like temperature neutrality, pressure relief, motion transfer, and off-gassing, among others.
This means that unless you’re experienced in buying a quality mattress online, the risk of making an uneducated decision is very high.
To assist you, we’ve come up with a comprehensive mattress buying guide with answers to most of your queries. We’ll explain in detail how different types of mattresses perform in all the factors that we’ve mentioned above. We’ve also scoured the market to bring you the 6 best mattresses to buy in 2020.
Quick Links: 5 Top Rated Mattresses for 2020
- Best Memory Foam Mattress – Casper
- Best Mattress for Budget – Nectar Mattress
- Best Mattress for Back Pain – Amerisleep AS3
- Best Mattress for Side Sleepers – Loom and Leaf
- Best Organic Mattress – Avocado
- Best Mattress for Heavy People – Saatva
Best Memory Foam Mattress – Casper
Why we like it:
- It lacks the quicksand feeling of classic memory foam.
- Its cover is removable for washing.
- Medium-density feel accommodates most people.
- Firmness: Medium-firm (5)
- Thickness: 12″
- Construction materials: Proprietary Memory Foam, Poly foam, Polyester & Spandex
You might like the Casper mattress if you:
- Are an average-weight individual (less than 230 lbs) – average weight folks are going to enjoy the medium-range sinkage that this mattress provides. Heavier people may sink excessively, and this may lead to discomfort and pressure points.
- Prefer a bed without the stuck in bed feeling – the proprietary comfort layer of this mattress works like memory foam but does not leave you feeling like you’re sucked up into the mattress.
- Want to try out memory foam but fear sleeping hot – this mattress’s comfort layer has a porous structure that allows body heat to pass through, thereby providing a cool sleeping surface.
Casper is among the pioneers of bed-in-a-box technology. So, it’s not surprising that it is the most famous mattress brand in the business today.
Our recommendation from this US-based manufacturer is a 12-inch tall, 4-layer bed that also makes our other list of the best mattresses for arthritis. This bed has a medium-firm feeling that our review team rates 5 on the 10-point soft-firm scale. As such, we’d recommend it to lightweight and average weight sleepers who prefer a mattress that is notably soft to let them sink comfortably.
What makes this mattress unique is its proprietary comfort system. This layer contours to the sleeper’s unique shape, just like memory foam does for excellent pressure relief. However, it has a notable amount of bounce that significantly eliminates the quicksand feeling of classic memory foam. This bounciness makes it somewhat easier to move on or get up off the mattress even with its molding ability.
The other notable attribute of this mattress is its zoned transition system. This layer offers a firmer feel towards the center and a slightly soft feel around the upper body. Casper explains that this design should provide more support to stomach and back sleepers and more comfort and pressure relief to side sleepers.
As indicated on our Casper mattress review, this mattress also has fantastic motion isolation and decent edge support. As such, it should make a good mattress for most couples.
Best Mattress for Budget – Nectar Mattress
Why we like it:
- Comes at a notably lower price tag
- Uses a generous amount of memory foam
- Has a forever warranty
- Firmness: Medium-firm (6)
- Thickness: 11″
- Construction materials: Gel-infused Memory Foam, Poly foam, and Tencel & Cotton blend fabric.
You might like the Nectar mattress if you:
- Are looking for a relatively affordable bed– although this mattress isn’t dirt cheap, it’s relatively more affordable than other memory foam beds in these reviews.
- Want a mattress that can support a couple with varying weights and sleeping positions– credit to its construction, the Nectar is able to support average-weight to heavy couples in the range of 130 lbs to 400 lbs. Again, its medium-firm feel allows it to accommodate pretty much all sleeping positions making it perfect for couples.
- Are in need of a mattress that will sleep cool– the Nectar employs a generous amount of gel in its comfort layers to curb the issue of heat retention that plagues most all-foam mattresses. Its Tencel cover also does a great job at managing moisture.
A quality mattress is going to cost you handsomely, but not all of them as the Original Nectar bed proves. This is one of the best memory foam mattresses in 2020, especially if you were to judge from the amount of high-quality memory foam in it. Amazingly, it still ranks as one of the most affordable mattresses this year.
This mattress has 4 layers that together give it a thickness of 11 inches and a medium-firmness level of 6. Although it still has a notable degree of sinkage to it, it leans more on the side of support compared to Casper. This explains why the Nectar is able to accommodate heavier individuals of up to 400 lbs and a combined weight of up to 800 pounds.
Its firmness rating on our Nectar mattress review suggests that this mattress is best used by average-weight and heftier individuals. Most lightweight people may find it a little too firm for their liking.
This mattress has 5.75 inches of memory foam that makes its comfort system and transition layer. It has enough give to allow broad shoulders and hips to sink slightly while side-sleeping. Its firm core base, on the other hand, has incredible support to maintain your spine’s natural alignment when sleeping on your back.
The Nectar mattress does all the above while maintaining a cool sleeping surface thanks to its generous use of gel plus its breathable cover.
Best Mattress for Back Pain – Amerisleep AS3
Why we like it:
- It accommodates all sleeping positions.
- Uses Celliant technology to promote pressure relief.
- Firmness: Medium-firm (5.5/10)
- Thickness: 12″
- Construction materials: Bio-Pur foam, poly foam, polyester, Celliant, and spandex
You might like the Amerisleep AS3 if you;
- Prefer the classic feel of memory foam– the AS3 has the traditional slow-moving feel of memory foam and will allow you to sink slowly into the top layers.
- Dislike memory foam’s feeling of getting stuck– the comfort layer of this mattress is much more responsive than typical memory foam. As such, it’s able to provide excellent pressure relief without creating the uncomfortable feeling of being stuck in bed.
- Have achy and painful joints– besides its contouring ability, this mattress uses Celliant technology that supposedly boosts the quality of sleep, thereby boosting recovery.
Amerisleeep has a line of 5 mattresses, all of which we can recommend wholeheartedly. What we are reviewing in these best mattresses reviews is the AS3. With a firmness rating of 5.5, this mattress sits in the middle of the firmness space compared to its siblings. Since most people tend to gravitate towards medium-firm mattresses, it’s not surprising that the AS3 is the best-selling of the 5 Amerisleep beds.
This mattress is 12 inches thick, so we expect most people to have an easy time climbing on and off the bed.
Its first layer is made of bio-based 4 PCF foam, which replaces a part of its petroleum products with bio-based oils. This offers you a slightly greener mattress that also sleeps cooler than most classic memory foam beds.
This comfort layer has a reputation for being the most comfortable mattress. Its high-density comfort layer has a significant hug and sinkage that result in enhanced contouring necessary for back pain and pressure relief.
With regard to heat retention, this mattress has an open-cell top layer that promotes air circulation. Its soft and stretchy cover also has Celliant technology that is proved to prevent heat retention. This technology is also argued to improve oxygenation, which is paramount for pressure point relief and muscle recovery.
In our review of Amerisleep AS3, we also found this mattress to have excellent motion isolation as well as edge support.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers – Loom and Leaf (Relaxed Firm)
Why we like it:
- It balances comfort and support
- Cradles the spine for natural alignment
- Has a unique springiness
- Firmness: Medium-firm (6.5)
- Thickness: 12″
- Construction materials: gel memory foam, poly foam, and organic cotton cover
You might like the Loom and Leaf mattress if you:
- Sleep on your stomach, back, side, or a combination of all of these positions– this mattress’s medium-firm layers support almost all sleeping positions magnificently.
- Are looking for a mattress that will offer excellent value in durability– this mattress uses ultra-premium foams that we expect to last well above average.
- Share your mattress with someone else– the Loom and Leaf shines in most aspects that make the best mattress for couples, including motion and noise reduction and edge support.
The Loom and Leaf is one of the three mattresses by Saatva. This mattress is available in two firmness levels- Relaxed Firm and Firm. The Relaxed Firm version that we are reviewing here feels like a 6.5 to us in regard to firmness level.
This firmness level makes it a perfect choice for people who value a comfortable mattress with a little bit more support.
The Loom and Leaf has a total of 4.5 inches of gel-infused memory foam comfort layer. This is a high-quality 4 PCF memory that contours to your unique body shape for a gentle cradle without letting you sink excessively through the top layers.
Importantly, this Loom and Leaf mattress has a generous amount of gel technology that reduces heat retention. The top comfort layer is also convoluted to boost air circulation, which further cools the sleeping surface.
Thanks to its generous memory layer and firm support system, the Loom and Leaf offers enough cradle to support the shoulders and hips as you sleep on your side. Stomach and back sleepers should also experience a good amount of support as this mattress does not allow excessive sinkage. However, those who particularly prefer a firmer bed may want to consider the Firm version of this mattress.
Another reason why you might appreciate this mattress, even more, is that it does not come in a box like other mattresses in these reviews. The Loom and Leaf ships ready to use, and it will also be set up for you by the delivery personnel.
Best Organic Mattress – Avocado
Why we like it:
- It uses certified construction materials
- Its innerspring-foam hybrid design offers the best of both worlds
- Firmness: Medium-firm (6.5)
- Thickness: 13″
- Construction materials: Organic cotton, organic wool, Dunlop latex, and individually pocketed coils.
You might like the Avocado mattress if you:
- Weigh over 230 lbs– as an innerspring-based mattress, the Avocado mattress (without pillow top) offers more support to individuals with large bodies without burying them in layers of foam.
- Are an average-weight folk– if you weigh less than 230 lbs, the pillow-top version of this mattress offers a mix of comfort and support across all sleeping positions without being overly firm.
- Are environmentally conscious– most of the materials that go into this mattress meet strict certification standards for being eco-friendly.
The Avocado Green mattress debuted in 2015 and targets individuals who want tons of comfort and support while keeping their carbon footprint at a minimum.
This mattress comes in two versions. The first is a standard version that features 3″ of Dunlop latex and 8″ of coils for a total height of 11″. The second is the pillow-top version that boasts 5″ of Dunlop latex plus 8″ of spring system for an overall height of 13″.
The major difference between these mattresses is how they feel. Thanks to the extra layer of latex, the pillow-top version has a medium-firm feel with a notable degree of sinkage that favors average-weight individuals of all sleeping positions.
Since this is natural Dunlop latex, you’ll also experience a fantastic bounce that tends to keep you afloat as opposed to letting the layers suck you in.
Again, the denser feel of the comfort layer of this mattress means that it won’t be creating pockets around your lumpy body parts that could lead to heat retention. That aside, the pinholes in these latex layers, coupled with the open spaces between the coils, also significantly boost air circulation. This will further help in regulating the temperatures allowing you to sleep cool throughout the night.
We also appreciate the thoughtful construction design of this mattress’s support system. We’re not talking about its individually-pocketed springs as that’s nothing new. Instead, we’re referring to the five strategic zones that, according to the manufacturer, supports the hips, lower back, and shoulders differently. The essence of this is to accord each part of your body the level of support that it requires.
Switching gear to what makes it one of the best mattresses in 2020, the Avocado uses organic and certified materials (cotton, wool, and latex) plus recycled steel springs.
Best Mattress for Heavy People – Saatva
Why we like it:
- It’s very supportive
- Has a good amount of comfort that isn’t common with innerspring beds
- Uses high-quality materials
- Firmness: Firm (7/10)
- Thickness: 11.5″ and 14.5″
- Construction materials: Organic cotton, Dacron fiber, memory foam, poly foam, pocketed coils, and Bonnell springs.
You might like the Saatva Classic if you:
- Are heavy– the firm bed that we’re reviewing here has a firmness feel of 7, which is ideal for most folks above 230 lbs.
- Prefer a bouncy bed– this mattress employs two layers of coils to offer a good amount of manageable bounce.
- Are looking for a mattress with luxury hotel comfort– the Saatva Classic combines two coil technologies, memory foam, and a euro pillow-top to create a good balance of comfort and support akin to luxurious hotel mattresses.
- Want the best hybrid mattress for couples– by having a layer of pocketed coils atop Bonnells, this mattress is able to minimize most of the motion transfer that innerspring-based beds are known for while maintaining a good amount of bounce.
One of the best mattresses to buy this year, the Saatva Classic, is a unique bed that features coil-on-coil construction design. The bulk layer of this mattress features Bonnell springs that are known for their traditional bouncines. On top of this spring system, there’s another layer of individually pocketed coils that curb excessive bounciness besides minimizing motion transfer.
The Saatva Classic mattress features a comfort layer consisting of memory foam and poly foam. It also has a Euro pillow-top made of Dacron fiber, poly foam, and organic cotton cover. These layers work together to offer a high degree of comfort and support. The Euro pillow-top,in particular, makes it easy to get a comfortable sleeping position.
Regarding temperature neutrality, the Saatva Classic tends to retain some heat debit to its thick foam comfort layer. However, as you’ll find out in our Saatva mattress review, it makes up for that in other areas, including edge support, low noise performance, motion isolation, and pressure relief.
Lastly, the Saatva mattress offers two height options. Depending on your preference, you can get it in an 11.5″ or 14.5″ version.
Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a New Mattress
1: Understanding different types of mattresses
If it’s time to ditch your beaten bed for a new one, your first dilemma will be to determine the best type of mattress from all the available options. So, let’s begin this best mattress buying guide by explaining the different types of mattresses available today and why you may, or you may not like them.
An innerspring mattress is a bed with a support system made of springs. These mattresses have been around since the 1870s. Although their popularity has declined over the years, they are still among the most widely used today.
Innerspring mattresses get their staying power from their excellent breathability, support, bounce, as well as affordability. New technologies that have helped solve some of these mattresses’ significant drawbacks, including motion transfer, noise, and short lifespan, have also contributed to their continued popularity.
Innerspring mattresses come in 4 different types depending on the type of coil used;
- Bonnell coils– these are the oldest types of springs and the most popular too. They have an hourglass shape (wider at the top and bottom than the middle) and are reinforced with helicals to accommodate heavy compressions.
Besides being the most affordable, Bonnell coil mattresses are highly rated for offering even support and for being durable. However, these coils also get a bad press for aggravating pressure points.
- Offset coils– similar to Bonnell coils, offset springs have an hourglass shape and helicals reinforcement. The difference, however, is that offset coils have flattened top and bottom portions that create a higher hinging effect. As a result, offset coil mattresses conform to the sleeper’s body shape much better than Bonnell.
Their hinging design also means that these coils are a little bit more durable than Bonnell and pricier as well.
- Continuous coils– these are s-shaped coils that are crafted from a single wire. These coils also have the hinging effect that offset springs are known for. All the springs are interconnected, and this helps in distributing the weight of the sleeper throughout the sleeping surface. Their biggest drawback is poor motion isolation, which may be an issue for couples.
- Pocketed coils– also called Marshall coils, these springs are the latest entrants in the world of innerspring. They are individually encased in pocket cloths, a design that allows each coil to respond to compressions independently of other springs. This design helps in minimizing motion transfer besides helping with pressure point relief. However, as you can imagine, this versatility comes at a price. This explains why pocketed innerspring mattresses are slightly pricier than other models.
Advantages of innerspring mattresses
- They are cheap– these mattresses don’t cost much to manufacture. As a result, they offer the most affordable solution for buyers on a budget.
- Better air circulation– due to their open structure design, innerspring mattresses allow more air to circulate, thereby offering a much cooler sleeping surface compared to foam mattresses.
- Spring beds are bouncy– alongside other reasons, most people who go with these beds also value the traditional bounce that they come with. Bounciness makes it easy to get in and out of bed besides being suitable for sex.
Disadvantages of innerspring mattresses
- These beds tend to be too firm due to their minimal contouring- this may be an issue for average-weight and lightweight individuals who prefer a medium-firm mattress.
- They are poor motion isolators– since the coils in these mattresses are connected, they all tend to react to pressure at the same time. This means that you can hear movements from your partner. However, individually pocketed coils minimize this by a greater margin as each coil responds to pressure independently.
- Premature sagging– owing to their construction design that puts a very thin layer between the springs and your body, these mattresses tend to sag a bit faster.
Memory foam is currently very popular, and probably what comes into most people’s minds when thinking about the best mattress to buy.
NASA invented this material and originally used it as cushioning for airplanes’ seats to protect pilots during takeoff and landing.
Memory foam is made from viscoelastic polyurethane foam. Visco (derived from the word viscosity) refers to a material that is thick and runny. On the other hand, elastic refers to being able to deform or stretch and later return to the original shape. That’s precisely what memory foam does and what makes it unique.
How does memory foam work?
As a viscous and elastic material, memory foam will react to your pressure and body heat to deform and mold to your exact body shape. As you move on the bed when sleeping, the mattress adapts by molding to the body parts that are intimately in contact with it. This ensures continued support and pressure relief.
Advantages of memory foam mattress
- It offers a true body fit as it actively responds to your body heat and pressure to mold to your body shape.
- It provides pressure and pain relief comfort– unlike innerspring mattresses where all the coils move together, memory foam responds differently to various parts of your body. Painful joints tend to have a slightly higher temperature than the rest of the body. As such, memory foam becomes less viscous around these points and molds accordingly without exerting a lot of pressure.
- It is dustmite-resistant– over time, a typical innerspring mattress accumulates anywhere between 100,000 and 10 million dust mites in its spring system. This isn’t an issue with memory foam mattresses thanks to their blocky foam that restricts allergens from making it through the polyurethane fibers.
- It has excellent motion transfer resistance– the polyurethane material used to make memory foam is more or less like millions of tiny shock absorbers that trap movement energy, thereby curbing its transfer to the other side of the bed. This is what makes memory foam mattresses a perfect choice for partners.
- Memory foam accommodates all sleeping positions– credit to its viscoelasticity feature, memory foam is able to support all sleeping styles nicely. You only need to get the firmness right according to your sleeping position and body weight. For instance, heavyweight stomach sleepers prefer a firmer bed than lightweight side sleepers.
Disadvantages of memory foam mattress
- Sleeps hot– there are several reasons why memory foam mattresses sleep hot. First, as the mattress molds to your body shape, it creates pockets that trap warm air around you, leading to sweating. Also, the blocky feature of memory foam restricts airflow. This means that hot air stays trapped in the foam, which could be quite uncomfortable for most people.
- It’s heavy– although the dense foam of these mattresses is good at providing support, the downside of it is that it makes the bed very heavy. This may be an issue, for instance, when turning or moving the mattress.
- Smelly– memory foam mattresses are made mainly of chemicals. This could explain why they have a toxic smell when you first take them off their packaging. This emission is called off-gassing, and it occurs as volatile organic compounds break down and get into the air.
Latex mattresses are the third in popularity after memory foam. These mattresses are made from rubber tree sap and are known for combining luxurious comfort and support.
There are 2 types of latex that are used to make these mattresses: Talalay and Dunlop. While there are a couple of other underlying differences between these two, the major distinction is on the firmness level. Talalay latex feels relatively less dense than Dunlop. This makes it perfect for side sleepers as it cradles hips and shoulders to relief pressure points.
On the other hand, Dunlop is denser and makes a great choice for people who prefer a firmer and more supportive bed.
It’s important to note that not all latex mattresses are natural. The market also has synthetic latex mattresses, which are made from Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR) as a substitute for natural rubber. Although SBR plastic is argued to be safe, it does not offer the same springiness and durability as natural latex.
Advantages of Latex mattress
- It promotes natural spine alignment by allowing heavier parts to sink more than the lighter parts. This leads to excellent pressure distribution and blood circulation, which is necessary for your body’s natural healing capabilities.
- It has fewer chemicals– although the phrase ‘100% Natural Latex’ is often misleading, these mattresses have far much fewer chemicals compared to memory foam. Precisely, the best latex mattresses, for instance, Savvy, are 95-97% natural, which is still a very good deal.
- Latex is naturally hypoallergenic– another strength of these mattresses is their natural ability to resist allergens. If you suffer from allergies year-round, these mattresses may help.
- Springy– latex also has a unique springiness that makes all the difference when you compare it to memory foam. Although it’s not as pronounced as in innerspring mattresses, it’s just enough to make moving on the bed easier.
Disadvantages of latex mattress
- Price– due to its natural source, latex is notably pricier than memory foam. However, we feel that its extra value in terms of durability, comfort, and support is worth the additional cost.
- Heavy– although this differs from one mattress to the other depending on thickness, latex beds are generally heavier than memory foam. As such, they tend to require a little more effort when flipping or turning.
2: Firmness level
Mattress firmness refers to how soft or firm it feels. This is a tricky topic as how firm a mattress feels also depends on an individual’s weight. For instance, one person weighing 300 lbs may find a particular mattress soft, whereas the same bed may feel firm for a 150-pound folk.
Mattresses are described as Extra Firm, Firm, Medium Firm, or Plush. However, since these terms may not consistently refer to the same feeling across all mattress brands, firmness is also expressed in a 1-10 rating as shown below;
- 2-3- soft– ideal for lightweight individuals weighing less than 130 pounds.
- 4-6– Medium-firm– these beds tend to accommodate most lightweight and average-weight people (130-230 lbs).
- 7-9- Firm– these are best for heavyweight folks and anyone else who prefers sleeping on a rock-firm bed.
- 10- Extra firm- best for overweight individuals. They are rare, though.
3: Motion isolation
Motion isolation refers to how well a mattress prevents the transfer of movement to other parts of the bed. For instance, as you turn on one side of the mattress, what will be the effects on the other side of the bed? A bed that is able to deaden the motion is particularly important to couples and people who share their bed with others or pets. All-foam mattresses are king in this aspect while innerspring mattresses are the lowest rated.
More often than not, heat buildup on the bed tends to interrupt our sleep and, consequently, the quality of rest that we get each night. However, that does not mean that you need a mattress that sleeps overly cold. Instead, our bodies crave for a bed that maintains temperature neutrality.
Spring-based mattresses are the best at minimizing heat buildup since they promote air circulation. Latex mattresses, on the other hand, perform much better than memory foam. However, modern memory mattresses now incorporate a number of technologies that help in maintaining a cooler sleeping surface, including the use of gel.
5: Pressure relief
The ability of the mattress to relieve pressure points is an important attribute, especially for people who spend more time on the bed. Memory foam is the best at reducing pressure points since it contours to your body shape, thereby cushioning the hips, shoulders, and knees.
Latex comes second. Although it contours less than memory foam, it’s a much better performer than innerspring.
6: Edge support
Edge support refers to the amount of resistance that you get along the edges of the bed. A mattress with excellent edge support allows you to use the entire surface of the bed without the fear of rolling off. Excellent edge support is vital not only for couples but for folks with joint and hip pain that make it hard for them to get up from the bed.
Which mattresses provide the best edge support?
Spring-based mattresses offer the most support along the edges. Some foam mattress manufacturers also use high-density foams along the sides for extra support. Generally, latex has much better support along the edges than memory foam.