The Best Mattress That Comes in a Box for Every Sleeper (And Every Budget)

Andrew Goble

Buying the best mattress in 2020 probably means buying a mattress on the internet. You’re trading the problems of brick-and-mortar mattresses stores (high prices, scheduling deliveries, creepy sales people that keep asking increasingly invasive questions about how you sleep), for the problem inherent to buying anything online: you can’t try it out first! But trust us, after comparing over 20 internet mattresses over the last few years with the conventional ones from our memory, the risk is worth the reward.

To begin our quest to find the best mattress last year, we built our own mattress emporium exclusively from internet mattress companies that ship right to your doorstep. A GQ brick-and-mortar, if you will. (We’re at 1 World Trade Center, so technically it’s more of a concrete-and-steel situation.) We sent staffers, the sleep-indifferent and sleep-obsessed alike, to put the mattresses through the same tests they would if they were buying them at a store. My favorite test? Testing the responsiveness and bounce by running across all 20 mattresses. In clean socks, of course.

Obviously, you can’t replace sleeping for months on a mattress with a series of catnaps. But by bringing all the mattresses in the same room, and bringing editors of all different sleeping types and mattress expertise levels, it became a lot easier to articulate differences in the small things, like, “Where is the line between feeling swaddled in memory foam and feeling like you’re drowning in it?” and “Does this mattress sleep hot, or is it just me?” Some people tested the edges of the bed, while others focused on heat or only considered mattresses that had spring coils instead of pure memory foam. Despite all the differences in preferences, some clear favorites emerged.

The best mattresses are comfortable and supportive. That’s it. Two factors. The materials, firmness, thickness, hyper-cooling gel-cushions, whatever—they all combine to offer some combination of comfort and support.

Comfort is easy. How comfortable does it feel to lay on this? How hot does it get? Do I like the cradling of the foam, or the bounce of a coil spring mattress—or a little bit of both, like in a “hybrid” mattress?

The support part is harder. Hammocks and bean bags are comfortable, but let us know how supported your back feels after sleeping in them for a year. Generally, thicker mattresses and denser materials are more supportive. As they get more expensive, mattresses get thicker and heavier, with an increasing amount of layers aimed at providing comfort (the top part) while giving you a solid foundation to support your body as it lays on it 2,000 hours a year (the bottom part).

If you are an average sized male adult, you already have some options eliminated for you: it is likely a medium-soft or soft mattress won’t provide enough support for your frame; you’ll sink into a medium or medium-firm mattress just like a child or someone closer to 100 pounds might sink into a soft or medium-soft mattress. Side sleepers, whose hips and shoulders dig into the bed and create uneven pressure, might lean toward medium options, though materials and mattress thickness also affect this, as memory foam mattresses can “sink” more and keep the spine aligned and pressure even while broad shoulders are digging into the mattress.

After that initial test in 2019, we’ve spent the last year tracking new mattresses releases, old mattress updates, and other editorial reviews that agree and disagree with our assessments. To make sure we’re we bring you the best and most up-to-date mattress reviews in 2020, we’ll keep testing new ones all year round. Here are our favorite mattresses for every price and sleeping style.

The Best Mattress According to GQ Staffers

Helix Midnight Luxe mattress

$895.00, Helix


Warranty/Guarantee: 100-night trial, 15-year warranty
Firmness: Medium
Type: Hybrid (spring coils and foam topper)

At its onset, Helix made fully customized mattresses, which I wrote about four years ago. In those days, every company had a one-size-fits-all solution, so this was a revolution. And as the one-size-fits-all brands became okay-a-few-sizes-fit-all brands, Helix changed too. Helix offers six different versions of mattresses at two price points (a “standard” and a “luxe”), giving a solid option for just about every type of sleeper. In fact, even if you don’t buy a Helix, it’s worth taking their nice mattress quiz just to get a better sense of what type of mattress will work best.

The Helix Midnight Luxe, a hybrid mattress with a coil base and a luxurious memory foam top, was a runaway favorite among GQ staffers. It’s just so damn comfortable ("nice pillow top, but not too soft, and healthy but forgiving spring," noted one enthusiastic tester). Several staff members also praised the mattress' comparative coolness, which can be attributed to a breathable woven stretch knit cover that keeps it from overheating.

As someone who has slept on memory foam mattresses for a few years, I forgot the appeal of a coil base, which adds a little bounce and, maybe just as importantly, a little familiarity for those new to the memory foam mattress world. The mattress is medium firmness and perfect for side sleepers: just enough “give” to distribute the pressure on your shoulders and hips, but not so much that you feel like you’re in sinking sand. But we found all types of sleepers enjoyed it. The obvious downside is the price, but if you’re looking for the most comfortable bed, start here.

What other people are saying: "I tried out a lot of mattresses, but only one put me to sleep...the lights were on and our testing room was loud, but I dozed off anyway." (WIRED)

The Best $600 Mattress

Tuft & Needle "Original" mattress

$595.00, Tuft & Needle


Warranty/Guarantee: 100-day trial, 10-year warranty
Firmness: Medium-firm
Type: Foam

At $595, Tuft & Needle’s Original mattress is a great value. Sure, there are only two layers of foam, but a comfort layer of softer foam and a base layer of more dense foam is really all you need. Basically, it takes all the bells and whistles out and gives you a luxurious bed at a comfortable price. One of our side-sleeping testers who has suffered from shoulder pain in the past found the Tuft & Needle to be the ideal combination of give and support. The mattress' foam contains a cooling gel to keep things from overheating, and the cover itself helps dissipate things too. At this price point, you should consider the Tuft & Needle and the Casper Essential (more on that below)—and, since Tuft & Needle’s offerings are available at some Walmarts, this might be the one you can easily go out and try if those 100-day trials sound kind of annoying.

What other people are saying: "The Tuft & Needle Original is good for every sleep position, and especially for people who rotate from position to position." (Wirecutter)

Note: When we tested the Tuft & Needle Original mattress, it was called the Standard mattress. It's still the same mattress that we liked.

The Best $1000 Mattress

Leesa Original mattress (was $995, now 19.50% off)

$995.00, Leesa


Warranty/Guarantee: 100-day trial, 10 year warranty
Firmness: Medium
Type: Foam

At $1000, you have a lot of different options for mattresses. And the Leesa Original is our favorite. It’s composed of three layers of foam, but doesn’t feel anything like the cheaper bricks of memory quicksand. It provides the best parts of the material—solid support, a really comfortable give—while staying cool and keeping just a little bit of bounce. Unlike our other favorite in the $1000 range, the Casper, this one feels a little closer to true medium firmness. It’s plush and supportive and my brain tried to fall asleep the second I laid on it.

What other people are saying: "I used a sleep tracker for five nights while testing this mattress, and every night I fell into a deep sleep quickly and stayed there. The mattress felt soft and plush, but I never sank down into it. My partner, who is so enamored with sleeping on hard surfaces that he sometimes naps on a yoga mat on our hardwood floor, raved about the pressure relief and comfort he felt from the foam filling in the small of his back while he slept." (The Strategist)

The Best Mattress for the Budget-Savvy and the Mattress-Indifferent

Allswell mattress

$375.00, Allswell


Warranty/Guarantee: 100-night trial, 10-year limited mattress warranty
Firmness: Medium
Type: Hybrid

It’s easy to forget that your current mattress is just fine—or that it was just fine before it got a little old and lumpy. It might feel like your only options are to stay with what you’ve got or upgrade to something that’s close to $1000. But there are very good cheaper options, too. If you don’t have a lot to spend, we’d suggest the Allswell mattress. At $345, it’s the best bang-for-your-buck out there. Allswell, a new-ish brand run by Walmart, is a hybrid mattress (like the Helix Midnight Luxe) consisting of an innerspring base and a memory foam top. It’s thinner and less supportive, but, shockingly, it’s still pretty comfortable. Nearly all our testers were shocked when they discovered how affordable this mattress was. "This is the kind of bed you'd be excited to jump on if you were a kid," said one editor who visited our mattress showroom. That a $345 mattress comes with a limited 10-year warranty and a 100-night risk-free trial, is well, crazy.

The Best Supportive Mattress

Casper Wave mattress

$2395.00, Casper


Warranty/Guarantee: 100-night trial, 10-year limited warranty
Firmness: Firm to Medium-Firm
Type: Foam

Casper is the mattress brand that sparked the online revolution. Once a “one size fits all” brand, they now carry three mattresses: the Essential ($600), the Casper ($1,000), and the Wave ($2,250). You could do worse than just picking a budget and going with the corresponding Casper, because they all size up well to their equally-priced competition.

The Wave is a medium-firm mattress that’s extremely supportive. I slept on one for a few months, and, while the additional firmness was initially a little jolting, I adjusted quickly and slept like a king. I sleep on my side, and the Wave, like many of the higher-end mattresses, did a much better job cushioning my shoulders and hips without making me feel like I was sinking.

Sure, it costs a lot and probably makes the most sense for those with support issues or an extreme dissatisfaction with their previous $1000 mattress. It's important to remember that at $2,250, you’re not buying a mattress because it’s twice as good as a $1000 one; you’re spending $2,250 because even marginal improvements in support and sleep are worth the extra $120 a year over its 10-year warranty. Which brings up another point: Casper has been around since 2014, which is eons in this world. It’s nice to have confidence that they’ll be around in 10 years to service that warranty.

The Best Weird Mattress

Purple Original mattress

$1099.00, Purple


Warranty/Guarantee: 100 Night Trial, 10-year-warranty
Firmness: Medium
Type: Polymer hybrid

The Purple Mattress was the most polarizing mattress tested. It's made out of a proprietary polymer and designed, basically, like an egg crate. A big, purple egg crate. It’s a weird mattress, but if you’ve always been dissatisfied by your traditional mattress options, it’s certainly worth checking out. As one staffer noted, "it's comfortable, but might be better suited for a space shuttle."

It’s a medium-firm mattress, but it feels so unlike other memory foam and spring mattresses that I would have guessed medium. I found that it distributed pressure extremely evenly while feeling nice and cushioned—like memory foam, but a little more responsive. Like I’d just fallen into one of those trapeze nets. Other staffers thought it slept hot and did feel like you were sinking into it. If you’ve got the time and the curiosity, a 100-night trial makes trying out something new like this much, much easier.

The Best Super-Firm Mattress

Brooklyn Bedding Plank mattress

$999.00, Brooklyn Bedding


Warranty/Guarantee: 120-night trial, 10-year warranty
Firmness: Firm+
Type: Foam

The Plank, made by Brooklyn Bedding, is for someone who wants the firmest bed possible short of laying on concrete. While most internet options are either medium or medium-firm, Brooklyn Bedding offers plenty of decidedly firm options, and the Plank is its firmest. And you actually have two options, a .75” top layer or, when flipped over, a slightly-less-firm 1.5” top layer. It’s not for everyone, but you’ll know immediately if it’s for you.

The Best Mattress for the Guy Who Wants to Spend as Little as Possible

AmazonBasics memory foam mattress

$252.00, AmazonBasics


Warranty/Guarantee: 1 year warranty
Firmness: Medium
Type: Foam

Say you want to go even cheaper than the Allswell. Like in all things buyable, there’s an AmazonBasics offering at a price that will drop your jaw. There are dozens of mattress brands that sell essentially the same mattresses (from the same factories) on Amazon, but the AmazonBasics stands out among them for several reasons. You have an 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch options, all made of three layers of memory foam. It’s not the most comfortable mattress in the world, but it’s still made of nice-enough memory foam. The 8-inch might be a little thin in support for an adult male, so we went with the 10-inch. The memory foam feels fairly standard, and the cover, combined with the middle section of foam, seems to do an adequate job preventing the mattress from getting hot. The memory foam might not stay as responsive for years and years, but out of the gate, it’d be hard to tell the difference unless you were able to test nicer mattresses immediately after. You get a 30-day return policy and a 1-year warranty, which doesn’t quite match up to the other offerings listed here. But do the other offerings even come close to this price?

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Originally Appeared on GQ