The Best Mattresses in a Box, According to People Who Have Slept on Them

·12 min read

Like TikTok and CBD, boxed mattresses have become pretty much unavoidable over the past few years. And honestly, it’s for good reason: The delivery and installation process is ultra-simple, they’re often more cost efficient than those sold in brick-and-mortar mattress stores and, most importantly, they’re damn comfortable. But as they’ve become more popular, the number of boxed mattress companies has skyrocketed, which begs the question: Which should you buy? That’s why we polled our friends, family members and coworkers to take a deep dive into nine of the most popular mattress-in-a-box brands. Read on for pricing info, return policies and real-life user reviews to see if any of these are right for you.

RELATED: How to Deep Clean a Mattress (Because You Should Every 6 Months)

How to Choose the Best Mattress

Step 1: Choose Your Ideal Type of Mattress

There are lots of different kinds out there with super-confusing terminology (what the heck is polyurethane foam?), but here are three main ones you should know: Innerspring, memory and latex. Innerspring mattresses are made from individually wrapped coils and offer high levels of support and breathability (great for hot sleepers). Memory foam mattresses are made from moldable material that will contour to your shape—perfect for relieving aches, but it can get pretty warm at night. And latex foam is both breathable and supportive (with a "bounce back" feel), plus it’s hypoallergenic. You can choose one of these types or opt for a hybrid.

Step 2: Consider Firmness

Some brands offer a one-size-fits-all firmness level, while others feature a numbered scale or a simple soft, medium and firm option. The key thing to remember is that firmness is highly subjective (what feels rock solid to you might feel like a fluffy cloud to someone else). Plus, a person’s body type, weight and other factors will also play a role. What you want is a mattress that is soft enough to let you sink into it, yet firm enough to support you. How do you find that? Read on.

Step 3: Take it for a Test Drive

Awkwardly hopping from bed to bed in-store with a salesman hovering over you isn’t exactly our idea of a fun Saturday afternoon. But trying out your mattress is essential if you want a good night’s slumber—even if you’re not going to a mattress store. Our advice? Take advantage of the trial period, and don’t be afraid to return it if it’s not 100 percent up to your standards.

Step 4: Check the Warranty

Make sure your new sleeper comes with a decent warranty (ten years or so). And remember to protect said warranty by investing in a mattress protector. Icky stain = no gain.

Step 5: Get Your Best Night’s Sleep Yet

The Better Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every seven to ten years, but if you’re constantly waking up with aches and pains, it’s time for an upgrade. And if you can’t even remember how long you’ve had your mattress, then it’s definitely time to say buh-bye.

The Best Boxed Mattresses at a Glance:

Best Overall: Casper Original Foam Mattress

Best Value: Signature Sleep Store Reversible Encased Coil Mattress

Best for Couples: DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Best for Hot Sleepers: Nectar Gel Memory Foam Mattress

Best for Side Sleepers: 14-Inch Idle Plush Mattress

Most Splurge-Worth: Parachute ‘The Mattress’

Best Starter Mattress: Tuft & Needle Original Adaptive Foam Mattress

Best for Guest Rooms: Leesa Original Bed-in-a-Box

Best for a Budget: Linenspa 8-Inch Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid-Mattress

The 9 Best Mattresses in a Box

1. Casper Original Foam

Best Overall

Sleep Improvement: 19/20
Price: 17/20
Materials: 18/20
Firmness: 19/20
Shipping and Returns: 20/20
TOTAL: 93/100

While Casper wasn’t the first boxed mattress on the market, it’s certainly become one of the most popular—and it makes sense. Billed as a mattress for sleepers who want both support and cooling, the original model is the brand’s most popular for a reason. Softer foam under your shoulders relieves pressure and keeps you comfortable, while firmer foam under your hips and core provides a little extra support where you need it for proper spine alignment. Casper mattresses also use open-cell foams that have tiny pores to let excess hot air escape (for a cooler sleep). Casper devotee Caroline says, “It’s great for co-sleeping—I barely notice when my husband gets in and out of bed.” She adds, though, that “It's definitely firm and thus, might not be great for side sleeping.” Noted. If the $1,000-plus price is more than you’re hoping to spend, the brand also has a more affordable line called Element. (Shipping and returns are also free, plus you get a 100-night trial, and if you opt to send it back, many returned mattresses are donated to charity.)

Buy it (from $1,095 for a queen)

2. Signature Sleep Store Reversible Encased Coil Mattress

Best Value

Sleep Improvement: 18/20
Price: 20/20
Materials: 16/20
Firmness: 17/20
Shipping and Returns: 20/20
TOTAL: 91/100

You know that saying, ‘You get what you pay for?’ Yeah, that really doesn’t seem to be the case with this mattress. “I bought this mattress because I wasn’t sure how long I’d be staying in an apartment and didn’t feel like spending a ton of money on something that could be a little temporary,” Signature Sleep Store shopper Maggie told us. “I had no idea I was buying the best mattress I’ve ever slept on.” Independently encased coils provide an equal weight distribution by contouring the curves of your body and relieving pressure points, while a layer of high-density foam at the top and bottom of this mattress minimizes the feeling of the coils. Plus, the reversible feature enables you to flip and rotate the mattress to even out the wear and last for years to come. Raves Maggie, “I’ve recommended this mattress to, like, five friends, and they’re all as happy with it as I am.”

Buy it (from $286 for queen size)

3. The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Best for Couples

Sleep Improvement: 19/20
Price: 17/20
Materials: 18/20
Firmness: 17/20
Shipping and Returns: 20/20
TOTAL: 91/100

Another hybrid mattress, DreamCloud combines layers of foam and coils. Gel-infused memory foam provides you with heat distribution and support that contours to your body. Organized into five comfort zones, DreamCloud’s patented "BestRest" Coils provide the precise level of support you need, where you need it. Notes DreamCloud user Jillian, “This mattress has a super plush topper that makes the fairly springy mattress below extra cushy, for back, stomach and side-sleepers alike.” But that’s not the best part, in her opinion. “The best thing is probably how little motion transfer other sleepers experience in the bed. I'm a noted tosser-and-turner, and my husband noticed absolutely no movement, even with me right beside him in bed. Highly recommended for couples with different bedtimes and sleep really don't annoy each other.”

Buy it (from $899 for queen size)

4. Nectar Gel Memory Foam Mattress

Best for Hot Sleepers

Sleep Improvement: 19/20
Price: 18/20
Materials: 17/20
Firmness: 17/20
Shipping and Returns: 20/20
TOTAL: 91/100

Kara was skeptical about sleeping on a mattress that arrived in a small-ish box, but says, after experiencing Nectar’s mattress, “I’m a total bed-in-a-box convert now.” The mattress’s five layers are designed to relieve common pressure points, while its gel memory foam ensures that body heat gets distributed evenly throughout (a total game-changer for hot sleepers). Kara says, “After a few nights of sleeping on the soft-yet-supportive layers of memory foam, I was impressed. My middle back pain was gone, and I noticed that I fell asleep in a few minutes flat instead of tossing and turning like I was used to.” In fact, her only real complaint is about Nectar’s packaging. “It comes encased in a ton of plastic, which doesn’t exactly feel eco-friendly. But plastic is the reason the brand is able to package it so compactly, so it seems kind of unavoidable when it comes to the whole bed-in-a-box thing,” she reasons.

Buy it (from $699 for queen size)

5. 14-Inch Idle Plush Mattress

Best for Side Sleepers

Sleep improvement: 16/20
Price: 12/20
Materials: 20/20
Firmness: 20/20
Shipping and Returns: 20/20
TOTAL: 88/100

Looking for a hotel-like sleep every single night? (Um, yes please?) Check out Idle Sleep’s 14-inch mattress, but be aware that it might take some getting used to. Satisfied customer Emily says, “While I’m definitely sleeping much more comfortably now, a few points were knocked off here for the transition period. Given the firmness of this particular model, it took a week or so of tossing and turning before getting used to it. But once you do, if you’re anything like me, your haggard old back will thank you.” Material-wise, this model features gel cooling technology layers, which—Emily confirms—result in a considerably less sweaty night’s sleep, even in the height of New York summer (the ultimate test). And while it’s definitely on the pricier side where boxed mattresses are concerned, it comes with two free memory foam pillows included, so you can try to convince yourself the price point is worth it. (Plus, on top of free shipping, Idle guarantees free returns, an 18-month trial period and a lifetime warranty, which even covers “body impressions.”)

Buy it (from $1,249 for queen size)

6. Parachute

Most Splurge-Worthy

Sleep Improvement: 18/20
Price: 15/20
Materials: 18/20
Firmness: 17/20
Shipping and Returns: 19/20
Total: 87/100

OK, let’s address the elephant in the room: This is the most expensive mattress on this list. But if you’re comfortable with splurging, it might be worth it, says Parachute customer Allie. “I was a little nervous that it wasn’t going to be worth the money, but oh my god, I was wrong. I love this bed.” Made to be firm in the middle for back support, and softer at the head and feet for pressure point relief and spinal alignment, this mattress is made from layers of pure New Zealand wool, 100 percent organic cotton and pocketed steel coils. Delivery and returns are free (plus a 100-night trial), but be aware that it’s quite heavy. Allie says, “If I hadn’t gotten the White Glove delivery service, I definitely would’ve needed to enlist the help of a friend to get this upstairs.”

Buy it (from $1,899 for queen size)

7. Tuft & Needle Original Adaptive Mattress

Best Starter Mattress

Sleep Improvement: 17/20
Price: 19/20
Materials: 16/20
Firmness: 17/20
Shipping and Returns: 20/20
TOTAL: 89/100

If you’re looking to buy your first mattress, Tuft & Needle is a great place to start, thanks to its affordable price and ease of assembly (including free shipping and returns, plus a 100-night trial). “Getting a box shipped to my apartment was so clutch, given the horrors of NYC moving in general,” says New Yorker Helen. “I literally just cut the plastic and had a bed instantly—genius.” As for the sleep experience, there’s a pressure relief layer of adaptive foam, with an additional layer of foam for added support. Tuft & Needle mattresses are also made with heat-wicking graphite to keep you cool. Heads up, though, that the lower price point could mean sacrificing a little quality. Helen notes, “The ends of the mattress are not as sturdy as many mattresses, so when you sit on the end (like maybe to put on shoes or something), it caves in.” She also advises, “I've used the mattress on two different frames: It felt much better on a more expensive frame.”

Buy it (from $595 for queen size)

8. Leesa Original Bed-in-a-Box

Best for Guest Rooms

Sleep Improvement: 15/20
Price: 17/20
Materials: 15/20
Firmness: 16/20
Shipping and Returns: 20/20
TOTAL: 82/100

Megan’s experience with Leesa started out fabulously: “What I appreciated about the Leesa was the ease in ordering and setting up the mattress. Typically, mattress deliveries need to be scheduled ahead of time, but the box arrived pretty promptly in the mail, you unfolded the mattress and in a few hours (as it settled into its shape), it was ready to go.” Each Leesa mattress has three layers of foam: Comfort (two inches), Recovery (two inches) and Support (six inches). While the bed was super-comfortable at the beginning, Megan realized that it might be better suited for short-term use or as a guest room bed. “The mattress does not hold up well over time,” she says. “After two years, we found that both my husband and myself would roll into the center of the bed, despite positioning ourselves on the edge of the bed when we went to sleep. It was not a durable mattress, and what started out as comfortable ended up being pretty unsupportive to sleep on. I wish we had put it in the guest room, where it would have lasted longer.”

Buy it (from $668 for queen size)

9. Linenspa Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress

Best for a Budget

Sleep improvement: 11/20
Price: 18/20
Materials: 14/20
Firmness: 16/20
Shipping and Returns: 20/20TOTAL: 77/100

It’s hard to beat a $179 queen size mattress, but Linenspa user Candace warns that restless sleepers might want to stay away. “If you toss and turn, Linenspa’s mattress may not be cushy and supportive enough for you (and to that end, you may want to spring for a mattress topper),” she says. “That said, it’s pretty neutral in terms of its impact on your sleep—it wasn’t so stiff that it’d deter sleep, but it wasn’t the most luxurious mattress I’ve ever tried.” Linenspa’s model features an innerspring-memory foam hybrid, which makes it springy without feeling stiff or squishy. It’s only 8 inches thick, so you can easily add a mattress topper without fighting to put on a fitted sheet. Candace also notes that there’s a slight chemical smell when you first unbox it, but it quickly goes away as the mattress airs out. She calls it “like a high-end version of your college dorm mattress,” but also lauds Amazon’s speedy, efficient and free shipping, and Linenspa’s compact packaging, which made it easy to transport.

Buy it (from $179 for queen size)

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