The Nectar checks all of the boxes for our top award—Editor’s Pick!
Several years ago, a handful of companies started compressing mattresses, squeezing them into cardboard boxes, and shipping them straight to buyers’ homes. Buying a bed-in-a-box takes the mattress shopping experience entirely into the virtual realm, allowing shoppers to bypass mattress negotiation with sometimes pushy salespeople.
If you’re considering purchasing a mattress from an online bed-in-a-box company, you may be faced with a challenge. What was once an industry with just a handful of competitors is now flooded with companies offering mattresses with every size, style, price point, and special feature imaginable. Between the sheer amount of options, compelling advertising campaigns, and mattress industry jargon, the choice can feel overwhelming.
We created this guide to help you, the overwhelmed bed-in-a-box shopper. Below, you’ll find our top 10 bed-in-a-box mattresses and why we recommend them as well as a buyer’s guide to purchasing the best mattress-in-a-box. Be sure to check out our top picks for the best mattresses of 2021 overall as well.
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The Nectar checks all of the boxes for our top award—Editor’s Pick!
Best Bed-in-a-box on a budget
The Nectar mattress takes home our Editor’s Pick award not only because it’s a well-rounded, high-quality bed-in-a-box mattress, but because its high quality comes at a rather affordable price. The medium-firm feel will accommodate all sleeping positions for sleepers at a variety of body weights and sizes. The soft quilted cover and top layers of foam offer the slow sinking feel lovers of memory foam look for, but the quick-responding, firmer base layers offer support to keep your spine in alignment. The Nectar is available in sizes Twin through California King and comes with a 365-night trial, free shipping, and a forever warranty, at less than $1,000 for a queen. White glove delivery is available for an additional fee.
If you’re stressed out about looking into the ever-growing list of bed-in-a box companies that operate online, we think you can feel confident skipping the research and shopping with Nectar.
Read our full Nectar mattress review to learn more!
Helix makes buying a new mattress easy. With so many options, their online quiz will point you in the right direction.
Luxury zoned support made for side sleepers
Helix offers a wide variety of thickness and firmness options in their foam hybrid mattresses, ensuring that they have a mattress for your needs. We particularly love the Helix Midnight Luxe.
If you’re unsure what your mattress needs are or haven’t shopped for a new mattress in the past, Helix offers an online sleep quiz that will match you with a suitable option for your sleep style, height, weight, and preferences. You’ll have an informed decision along with control over the final firmness and support level. The Helix comes with free shipping, a 100-night sleep trial, two free pillows, and a 10-year warranty.
Read our full Helix Midnight mattress review for more info!
A great mattress for pain relief and all-around comfort
The DreamCloud is a luxury hybrid bed-in-a-box with five layers. The breathable fabric cover encases layers of medium- and high-density foam, a pocketed innerspring coil system, and a stabilizing foam base layer.
The DreamCloud features a luxurious construction for a relatively low price (a queen is just $1,009). This thoughtfully designed bed offers many advantages, including temperature neutrality, a medium-firm feel, and a supportive, durable core. With five layers, the DreamCloud uses more material than other luxury hybrids, meaning it may work well if you’re heavyweight or tall. If you’re looking to sink into your mattress, the DreamCloud won’t be your bed-in-a-box; it’s best for average to heavyweight sleepers who need support, enjoy floating “on” the mattress rather than sinking into it, and want luxury at a reasonable price. The DreamCloud is available in sizes Twin through California King and comes with a longer-than-average 365-night trial, free shipping in the contiguous U.S., and a lifetime warranty. Check out our other luxury mattress picks.
Read our full DreamCloud mattress review to learn more!
Promotes muscle recovery
The Bear mattress is designed with athletes in mind, especially with a Celliant cover and pressure-relieving memory foam that promotes quicker recovery. It is a firm memory foam mattress because of the combination of a gel memory foam top layer and more taut polyfoam underneath.
Because of this structure, the Bear will evenly distribute the weight of back or combination sleepers without letting their hips sink or get stuck in the mattress. Side sleepers might not opt for the Bear because it may not contour around their hips and shoulders and lead to painful pressure buildup.
See our full Bear Mattress Review to learn more.
High-Density Memory Foam Core
The GhostBed combines bouncy latex and body-hugging memory foam for a balanced mattress that supports the pressure points of sleepers. Gel-infused memory foam provides body-contouring around the hips and protecting the spine, while keeping the sleeper cool.
Best for back sleepers, this firmer mattress will evenly distribute the weight of the sleeper across the mattress. The latex also provides additional bounce and ease of movement for combination sleepers to shift positions while preventing sleepers from feeling stuck in the layers.
Read our full GhostBed Mattress Review to learn more.
The WinkBeds mattress is a luxury hybrid mattress with individually wrapped coils and multiple support zones to provide targeted back support. The tencel cover wicks away heat to keep sleepers cool while supporting the spines of back and stomach sleepers.
The seven layers of the hybrid mattress include a “lumbar support pad” made of dense cotton to support the lower back while the top layers curve around your body and the supportive pad. The supportive layer is made of dense memory foam that keeps average and heavier sleepers from sinking into the mattress, reducing the risk of back pain.
Read our full WinkBeds Mattress Review for more information.
This memory foam mattress features two sides (soft and firm), is copper-infused to improve airflow, and provides pressure points with relief. The cover design allows for flipping with ease. It is an excellent option for side sleepers and couples who are looking to get the most out of their bed in a box.
Layla updated its mattress in late 2018, and we’ve fallen in love with it. This memory foam bed is double-sided, has a fluffy, airy feel, and is below average in price. If you spend most of your night on your side and are petite, you’ll enjoy the soft side. If you’re an average weight or slightly heavier, you’ll enjoy the firm side. It’s available in sizes Twin through California King, comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime, non-prorated warranty, and ships free in the contiguous U.S. White glove delivery is currently not available.
Read our full Layla mattress review to learn more!
Great for most everyone! Excellent all-around mattress.
The Leesa is an affordable, mixed-foam mattress that features two comfort layers, a support core, and a cover woven from polyester and Lycra spandex. It’s considered medium-firm and measures 10” thick.
The Leesa is a great foam option for all types of sleepers. In 2018, the company added a new top layer of foam (LSA200) to make it even more soft and comfortable. The comfort layers cushion sleepers’ bodies without sagging, and the Leesa also does well isolating motion. It has a below-average price point when compared to other soft, all-foam beds, making it an excellent choice for sleepers who want a soft mattress but are on a budget. The Leesa is available in sizes Twin through California King and comes with a 100-night sleep trial, free shipping in all 50 states, and a 10-year non-prorated warranty. White glove delivery is currently not available for the original Leesa mattress. See: Best Affordable Mattresses
Read our full Leesa mattress review to learn more!
The Idle Sleep Hybrid mattress combines supportive coils and pressure relieving foam appealing to a large range of sleepers’ needs. In addition to being two-sided mattress with two firmness levels to choose from, it is known to be a long last mattress and comes with an 18 month trial period.
Individually encased coils decrease motion transfer to help couples sleep undisturbed and increase airflow to keep the sleep cool. The contouring and transitional layers provide the necessary support and contouring for back, stomach and side sleepers. It has the hugging feeling of memory foam to protect pressure points but may make it hard for combination sleepers to move around with ease.
Read our full Idle Hybrid Mattress Review to learn more!
If pressure relief is what you’re after when you turn in for the night, The Casper mattress’s comforting layers can accommodate you.
Affordable mattress made for all sleepers
The Casper is a memory foam mattress that offers close conforming, a medium-firm feel, and pressure relief. It features triple-layer memory foam and polyfoam comfort system that sits atop a high-density foam support core.
The thick foam comfort layers in the Casper make it ideal for sleepers who struggle with back, neck, or shoulder pain when they sleep. Its medium firmness makes it suitable for sleepers who are average weight, and it isolates motion well for couples. Most sleepers will experience excellent comfort and close conforming from the three top layers, and the mattress is lightweight, making it easy to move and rotate throughout the year. The Casper comes with a 100-night sleep trial, free shipping in the U.S. and Canada, and a 10-year non-prorated warranty. It’s available in sizes Twin through California King.
Read our full Casper mattress review to learn more!
A “mattress in a box”, also called “bed in a box”, is exactly what it sounds like. It is literally a mattress that has been vacuum-sealed, rolled up and put into a box that ships directly to your home. These mattresses range from memory foam to more traditional feeling hybrid mattresses, and perform just as good as mattresses sold at large retailers. You typically won’t find a strict innerspring mattress in a box, but you can find some innersprings with added comfort layers, making them a hybrid. Bed in a box mattresses allow customers to save money, cutting out overhead costs and additional fees.
While shopping for mattresses online is becoming more and more popular, there is still the question that looms in the minds of many consumers; “Does rolling up my mattress cause damage?” The short answer is no. The process allows the integrity of the bed to be maintained during its travel. Most brands do recommend not leaving your bed in the box too long after receiving because the longer it remains rolled up, the more difficult it will be to puff back up. When your mattress arrives, simply pull the rolled up mattress out of the box, and watch it expand.
When deciding whether to buy online or in-store, it can be helpful to consider the benefits of purchasing a bed-in-a-box.
Shop from home—Purchasing a mattress online is just as convenient as it sounds. It can be done anywhere and at any time. While there are more than 200 mattress-in-a-box manufacturers out there today, we recommend browsing the top players in the game (there are roughly 25). Most of these companies offer a handful of models that can be easily compared based on your sleep position, budget, material preferences, and more using our mattress comparison tool.
Quick shipping—A mattress sold in a box or bag will typically arrive within one week after your order has been placed.
Extensive sleep trial period—To lessen the blow of the fact that shoppers can’t try the mattress prior to purchase, the majority of bed-in-a-box companies offer generous mattress trials with free returns.
Cost savings—You’ll find everything from affordable, basic mattresses to luxury, multi-thousand dollar beds that come in a box. The variety is nice, but the cost savings are even nicer. The majority of these companies pass the cost savings they receive from eliminating a middle man onto their customers without forgoing the use of high-quality materials that contribute to a good night’s sleep. There are great mattresses available for every budget, many of which are included in our best mattresses under $500 and best mattresses under $1,000 roundups.
Related: Average Mattress Price
No pushy salespeople – Instead of being swarmed by sometimes dishonest mattress salespeople as you step into a traditional showroom, you can calmly scroll through your computer and buy on your own terms.
Originally pioneered by Casper, the first well known bed-in-a-box company, the boxed mattress market has evolved into a heavily populated industry in the last decade. Hundreds of online mattress retailers now compress and roll their mattresses into tall cardboard boxes or bags in order to ship them quickly to customers in the United States and beyond. In order to help you narrow down the best mattress-in-a-box for your bedroom, here’s a list of what to look for.
Most mattresses in a box ship to customers in the U.S. for free. Some brands do charge to ship to Hawaii and Alaska for a flat fee. If you are looking for expedited shipping or overnight that will cost you extra. Some brands offer white glove delivery, sometimes at an extra cost (around $100). White glove delivery means the mattress will not be left at your door, but will be carried into your home, unboxed and unwrapped. They will also take your old mattress and dispose of it if you want. Most mattresses are delivered within two weeks of the time you order.
The ability to try out a mattress and return it is one of the many benefits of buying a mattress online. These are often referred to as “sleep trials” by bed in a box brands; they are usually very easy to find on the brand’s website, and the industry standard is a 100-night trial. Some companies will ask that you hold on to the mattress for at least 30 days, since breaking in a mattress takes some time.
Most returns are free, and don’t worry, you aren’t expected to shove the mattress back into the box. Typically, someone will come to your home and remove the mattress and handle the return for you within your trial period. Occasionally, the brand will ask you to simply donate the mattress and issue you a refund upon proof of donation. After your sleep trial ends, returns will likely not result in a full refund or even a partial one at that. Unless the mattress is defective, you are probably stuck with your bed until you are ready to buy a new one.
In short, warranties protect against defects in a mattress. Most mattresses sold online have generous warranties ranging from 10 years to lifetime. This means that within the warranty period if a mattress stops performing or becomes defective, the company will replace it. The most common coverage includes sinking/sagging, lasting impressions, materials becoming broken or damaged, or flaws that existed when you purchased the mattress. There is an equally long, if not longer, list of things not covered by your warranty. These lists are usually easy to find on the brand’s website. Some warranties are prorated, meaning you are fully covered for a certain amount of time, and as the years increase, the amount of things covered, or the cost which they are willing to replace decreases. Other warranties simply end after X amount of years. One last thing you should know about a mattress warranty is that they are only applicable to the original owner. This means if you buy a mattress from a non-reputable place, you have voided any warranty that once was attached to that product.
We’ve put together a short description of what each of the four main mattress types offer; their benefits and their drawbacks. For a more comprehensive breakdown, though, check out our types of mattresses guide.
Foam – A foam mattress is one of the most common types that you will find as a bed in a box. They are easy to compress and have become a popular option for athletes, side sleepers, and those who like contouring feel when they sleep. Foam is also great for couples, as long as it is not too soft. It usually minimizes motion transfer, but if you sink too much it can be hard to move around on. Memory foam can also trap heat in its dense layers, which can be uncomfortable for some. That said, many companies utilize cooling gel foam which helps to dissipate heat.
Related: Best Foam Mattresses
Hybrid – Hybrid mattresses are popular due to their combination of coils and comfort layers of different materials, typically foam. Hybrids are good for every type of sleeper. If you are a heavier stomach sleeper, you still may experience some sinking in your hips. However, if you are an average weight side, stomach or back sleeper, finding a hybrid that is good for you should not be too difficult. Take a look at our best hybrid mattresses for our favorite options.
Innerspring – Traditional innerspring mattresses are the least common to be rolled in a box. These are what usually come to mind when you think of an “old-school” mattress. Constructed with coils, these mattresses are more bouncy than hybrid and foam mattresses, making them great for heavy sleepers and those who need a lot of support. There are many very good innerspring mattresses that we love at Mattress Nerd.
Latex – Latex mattresses are made of all-natural materials, meaning they have no off-gassing and are the safest option for sleepers with allergies or eco-friendly shopping habits. They vary in their firmness from very soft to very firm and are more supportive than foam mattresses. Latex mattresses are typically more expensive than other mattress types, but sleepers agree they are worth the splurge. These mattresses perform especially well for back and stomach sleepers, as well as those who do not want their body heat to be trapped since they combine comfort, support, and airflow. Latex mattresses are extremely durable and will last you longer than just about any other mattress.
Related: Best Latex Mattresses
When your new mattress arrives at your doorstep, you will likely be shocked that your brand new bed is in such a small box. There are few steps to keep in mind to ensure that you and your mattress make it to your room safely and efficiently.
Get Help – The mattress box can be deceptively heavy (especially if you are dealing with a King or California King mattress). We recommend getting someone to help you move the box inside, and to whatever room, the mattress is going to be in. The box really is only big enough for two people to carry, but if you have a hand truck or other tool it may come in handy!
Wait to unbox – We know it is exciting to get your new mattress in the mail, but it will be much easier to move to the desired room if it is still in the box. Once you and your helper have moved the box into the room, cut the top of the box open, then lay the box on its side on top of the foundation.
Unfold, then cut open – Have one person pull the mattress out of the box, while the other pulls the box in the other direction. Putting the box on the floor, unroll the mattress, ensure the bottom of the mattress is in the correct direction, and then unfold. After the mattress is laying flat, grab a pair of scissors and cut the plastic from the side and bottom of the bed, being careful not to cut the fabric.
Watch it expand – After the plastic is removed from the mattress it will immediately begin to expand. Most beds in a box brands recommend waiting a few hours to a day before sleeping on it.
When you cut the plastic off of the mattress, you will likely experience a smell that some describe as “chemically.” This is the mattress releasing VOCs (volatile organic compounds). They are harmless, but the odor can range from very faint to very powerful. The smell should go away within a few hours. If your mattress has a very strong off-gassing smell, you can crack a window and turn on the fan to increase airflow.
These smells come most often from the polyfoam (polyurethane foam) used in memory foam mattresses. Since foam of some type is used in almost every bed in a box mattress, most will have some odor. If you are very concerned about off-gassing, going with a latex mattress is your best bet. Since they are made with organic, all-natural materials, they do not produce any VOCs.
While some mattress companies make models that require the use of a specific bed frame (often their own), most mattresses in a box are compatible with any foundation, be it a box spring, wooden slats, adjustable bed, or even the floor in some cases. For a more complete overview on finding the perfect base for your bed, check out our mattress foundation guide.
Shopping for the best bed-in-a-box can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. We hope this guide was helpful for narrowing down your choices from a couple hundred to ten or so. Use the buyer’s guide as you get started on your shopping journey for a mattress-in-a-box, and we hope you find the bed that’s perfect for you!
If you still need guidance in your mattress buying journey, check out our ultimate mattress buying guide
|Helix Midnight Luxe||Best Bed in a Box for Side Sleepers|
|DreamCloud||Best Luxury Bed in a Box|
|Bear||Best Firm Mattress in a Box|
|GhostBed||Best Mattress in a Box for Back Sleepers|
|WinkBeds||Best Mattress in a Box for Back Pain|
|Layla||Best Cooling Bed in a Box|
|Leesa||Best Bed in a Box for Couples|
|Idle Sleep Hybrid||Best Hybrid Mattress in a Box|
|Casper||Best Memory Foam Bed in a Box|
Are memory foam or hybrid mattresses better? In this guide, we review both mattress types and explain the materials, how they feel, and the pros and cons of each.
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