The best mattress in a box 2023: top bed-in-a-box brands reviewed
Buying one of the best mattress in a box options is a convenient way to get set up with a new bed. Once upon a time, mattresses were delivered flat, to be awkwardly wrangled into your room, knocking over furniture and getting stuck in stairwells along the way. Now, mattresses are compressed, vacuum-sealed and rolled into a much more manageable package. They can then be easily maneuvered into place in your room before being unleashed from their wrappings and left to expand.
Originally, beds in boxes were associated with more basic offerings, but these days the market spans every kind of mattress you can think of (many of our best mattress picks are bed in a box models). The main difference between bed in a box vs traditional mattresses is one of convenience – most boxed mattress brands are online-only, and come with generous free trial periods, giving shoppers time to test their purchase out properly in the comfort of their own homes before fully committing.
Because these brands don’t have the overheads of bricks-and-mortar stores, they can often offer lower pricing, too. Mattress sales happen all year round, but the forthcoming Black Friday mattress deals at the end of November usually offer the most competitive prices of the year. So what’s the best mattress in a box out there? Below are our top picks – which we’ve either slept on and reviewed ourselves, or plan to in the near future.
Best mattress in a box: Quick list
If you’re short on time, we’ve put together a highlight reel of the best mattress in a box picks, based on our in-house testing and our own consumer research. Keep scrolling for in-depth reviews of each mattress, as well as expert buying advice.
Best for most people
Price: from $359
Trial period: 365 nights
The Nectar is an affordable all-rounder that balances spine-aligning support with cushioned pressure relief that’ll appeal to most people. Although it sleeps cool, the Cocoon Chill (#4) will provide better relief for overheaters at roughly the same cost.
Best for side sleepers
2. Helix Midnight Mattress
Price: From $936
Trial period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
Side sleepers will revel in the plush contouring of the Helix Midnight. It also does an excellent job of dampening movement so it’s a good pick for couples, too. Edge support is lacking so if that’s a priority for you, consider the Layla Hybrid (#7).
Read more below
Best value hybrid
Price: From $499
Trial period: 365 nights
The DreamCloud exudes hotel-quality comfort at a fraction of the cost of its luxury rivals. Multiple foam layers plus an innerspring base work together to provide ample support and pain relief. However, side sleepers may fare better with the softer Helix Midnight (#2).
Read more below
Best for cooling
4. GhostBed Luxe Mattress
Price: From $1,298
Trial period: 101 nights
Warranty: 25 years
The GhostBed Luxe is loaded with cooling tech that’ll help hot sleepers battle those dreaded night sweats, from a cool-to-the-touch cover to thermo-sensitive foam that adapts to body temperature. But if you want something firmer and more affordable, check out the Cocoon Chill (#5).
Best budget cooling
Price: From $399
Trial period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
The Cocoon Chill is a fantastic value for a cooling mattress. It’s priced similarly to the Nectar (#1) but also comes with free bedding. Although the pricier GhostBed Luxe (#5) boasts more sophisticated cooling tech, the Chill’s phase-change cover does a great job of wicking away heat.
Read more below
Best for joint pain
Price: From $799
Trial period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
For an alternative to memory foam models like the Nectar (#1), take a look at the Purple Original, which features a two-inch hyper-elastic gel grid that’ll gently cradle your sore joints. As a bonus: the Purple Grid also enhances airflow for cooler sleep.
Best for dual comfort
Price: From $1,299
Trial period: 120 nights
Warranty: 10 years
The Layla Hybrid offers dual comfort. One side is plush for side sleeping, and the other is firm for back and front sleeping. Its biggest flaw is that it runs warm. If you sleep hot, the GhostBed Luxe (#4) or DreamCloud (#3) are better hybrid options.
Best for couples
8. Bear Original Mattress
Price: From $998
Trial period: 120 nights
If you share a bed with a restless partner, the Bear Original will minimize their movements so you can sleep in peace. It’s firm at first but becomes more contouring over time. However, it traps heat so consider the Cocoon Chill (#5) or DreamCloud (#3) instead if you sleep warm.
Best for back/front sleepers
9. Amerisleep AS2 Mattress
Price: From $849
Trial period: 100 nights
Warranty: 20 years
Similar to how the Helix Midnight (#2) caters to side sleepers, the Amerisleep AS2 is a mattress made for back and stomach sleepers. A zoned design offers more cushioning at the shoulders and hips, with firmer support under the head, back, and legs.
Best premium organic bed
10. Avocado Green Mattress
Price: From $1,399
Trial period: 365 nights
Warranty: 25 years
The Avocado Green comes in three comfort levels, with firm as the standard option. (Medium and plush cost extra.) Unlike the Birch Natural (#11), which uses Talalay latex, Avocado opts for denser Dunlop latex – which contributes to its higher cost.
Best value organic bed
11. Birch Natural Mattress
Price: From $1,124
Trial period: 100 nights
Warranty: 25 years
No worries if the Avocado Green (#10) is out of your price range – the Birch Natural is another excellent choice for eco-friendly sleep at a lower price. A layer of Talalay latex gives it a buoyant bed feel that’ll suit combi sleepers; however, it’s too bouncy for co-sleeping.
Best under $300
Price: From $169
Trial period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
This Zinus memory foam mattress earns a spot here for its convenience and affordability It’s a solid choice for a temporary fix or a guest bed. A 6-inch queen starts at around $240, with prices rising for thicker versions up to 12 inches. Still, you’ll be saving a lot.
Best mattress in a box overall
Nectar’s incredibly popular five-layer all-foam mattress has nabbed the top spot in our best mattress in a box guide because it hits that sweet spot between price and performance. In short, you’re getting a superbly comfortable and good-quality mattress for an extremely reasonable price.
We tested this 12-inch tall, all-foam mattress for two months and loved it. The medium-firm memory foam offers a fantastic balance of softness and firmness, providing luxury comfort without the feeling of sinking into the mattress. When our reviewers lay down, the mattress contoured to their bodies, providing full, tailored support and helping align their spines, while cushioning pressure points like shoulders and hips. We also noticed good edge support and very little motion transfer, making it a particularly good choice for couples.
Let’s take a closer look at the design. At the top you’ll find a quilted cover, which can be removed but, annoyingly, isn’t suitable for machine washing. Next up, there’s a layer of gel-infused memory foam. The gel is to help regulate temperature, as memory foam can trap body heat. We found it worked well on this front – none of our testers found they overheated on this mattress (although if you know you sleep hot, you should check out the GhostBed below). Underneath this you’ll find a layer of hi-core memory foam for extra support so you don’t sink too far into the mattress. Finally, a base layer helps stabilize the sleeper, and a bottom mattress cover keeps it from slipping on your bed frame or floor.
Where the Nectar Memory Foam mattress really stands out is value for money. You can ignore that MSRP, because these beds are never sold at full price; a queen will typically set you back around $779 – considerably cheaper than rivals Casper and Purple. You’ll almost always get a big bedding bundle thrown in for free too (worth up to $499). Add to that a generous one-year trial period to decide whether it’s right for you, and a lifetime warranty. When it comes to sheer value for money, we think the Nectar is the best memory foam mattress you can buy. You’ll just need to be prepared to wait a little longer than usual to actually sleep on it – our test model took 48 hours to full expand.
Best mattress in a box for side sleepers
The Helix Midnight is a medium-softness hybrid mattress in a box that excels when it comes to pressure relief. We rate it as the very best mattress for side sleepers, because that plush surface is dreamily comfortable around the shoulders and hips in this position. That cushioning is thanks to Helix’s own version of memory foam, which provides soft sinkage and deep body contouring, as well as cradling pressure points. A lower level of 8-inch coils that boosts breathability, as well as adding a touch of bounce. The sleep surface also absorbs motion exceptionally well, making this a good choice for couples on different sleep schedules.
Although it’s not billed as a cooling mattress (like the GhostBed Luxe and Cocoon by Sealy Chill, elsewhere in this list), we were impressed by the temperature regulation here – none of our reviewers overheated during the testing period. A stretchy, soft-touch cover comes as standard, but there is also the option to upgrade to a GlacioTex Cooling cover if you need a little extra cooling power.
In fact, our only slight complaint is that the edge support could be better. It’s fine for sleeping, but sitting on the edge of this mattress for long periods feels a little unstable. You have 100 nights to test it out (and you’re required to give it a go for at least 30 nights), and it comes backed with a 10-year warranty.
Best value hybrid mattress in a box
The DreamCloud sits right at the top of our best hybrid mattress list, and it’s our favorite springs-and-foam pick here, too. As a rule, hybrids tend to cost more than all-foam mattresses, and especially luxe-feeling ones like the DreamCloud, but this mattress comes in at a mid-range price, or sometimes lower-mid, depending when you buy. It stands out for undercutting most of the competition, and delivering excellent value for money, too.
At the top of the mattress you’ll find thick layers of foams, which contour comfortably around the sleeper’s joints and relieve pressure. Beneath these is a tier of springs that amp up the support and create space for air to circulate within the mattress (we found the DreamCloud mattress regulated temperature well, and would recommend it for hot sleepers).
DreamCloud rates it a 6.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale but during our tests we found it firmer than that – around an 8. It offers excellent hip and back support, and would be suitable for many back pain sufferers. It should suit most body types and sleep positions, although some side sleepers (and especially those under 130lb) might find it a bit too firm. If that’s you, consider the Helix (#2), which is softer.
Because it’s from the same parent company as the Nectar, it comes with the same ridiculously good extras. You’ll have a year to try it out before fully committing, and it’s backed by a Forever warranty.
Best cooling mattress in a box
The GhostBed Luxe mattress is a premium all-foam mattress in a box. It’s USP is that it’s jam-packed with cooling tech, making it an excellent choice for anyone who overheats at night. GhostBed calls it ‘the coolest bed in the world’, and we were certainly impressed when we tested it out.
On top, a luxurious quilted cover is made from ‘Ghost Ice’ fabric, which is designed to absorb heat throughout the night. Our testers were surprised that this cover was cold to the touch – something that they hadn’t come across before. Inside the mattress you’ll also find gel memory foam (designed to promote airflow and breathability) and thermo-sensitive foam (which responds to your body temperature and adjusts accordingly).
This is hands-down one of the very best cooling mattresses we’ve tried. We slept comfortably cool on this mattress and didn’t overheat once. In fact, on occasion, one of our testers had to don socks and long pants to warm up. This bed’s cooling powers are all the most impressive when you consider it’s all-foam, which can be a recipe for overheating. Factoring in the permanent 50% off deal, this it’s well priced for a cooling bed (although if it’s out of your budget you should check out the Cocoon by Sealy Chill further down the page).
There were other features that delighted, too. This bed’s contouring memory foam and supportive foam layers effectively soothe pressure points and create an almost weightless feeling (be aware that this otherwise medium-plush mattress tends to feel firmer in cooler temps and softer when it’s warm, which is a little unusual). It’s billed as beneficial for back sleepers, but found the most relief when resting on our sides, with our joints comfortably cushioned in this position. Motion isolation is superb, making the GhostBed Luxe a good choice for anyone who shares a bed with a restless partner.
So what are the potential downsides? The GhostBed Luxe can take up to 24 hours to fully expand and adjust to your bedroom’s temperature (which, to be fair, isn’t as long as the Nectar #1 – that took 48 hours). Our review model also emitted some of the most potent off-gassing we’ve experienced in a full-foam mattress.
Best budget cooling mattress in a box
The Cocoon Chill Memory Foam is one of the best cooling mattresses around if you’re on a budget. This mattress in a box is made by industry giant Sealy, and features a special, stretch-knit cover that’s infused with an advanced phase-change material. While it doesn’t have quite the chilling powers of the pricier GhostBed above, during our review period we were very impressed with the temperature regulation on offer here, especially considering it’s an all-foam design, at such an affordable price. Our positive experience is echoed by other customers; the Chill has an average of 4.7 out of 5 from over 8,300 user reviews (Aug 2023).
Designed to adapt to your body to provide tailored support all over, this medium-firm mattress has three different foam layers, including luxury memory foam for deep contouring, responsive comfort foam to reduce motion transfer and prevent you sinking into the mattress, and a durable support layer.
At 10-inches deep the Cocoon Chill is a decent height, but bear in mind that its memory foam layer is one inch thinner than the Nectar Memory Foam mattress higher up our list. If you weigh more than 230lb you may sink through to the firmer support layers, and not get the full benefit of the foams (our guide to the best mattress for heavy bodies can help you out if you’re over 250lb).
Overall, we were impressed with the comfort and cooling abilities of the Cocoon by Sealy Chill bed in a box, and gave it superior marks for motion isolation. There’s no denying you get a lot for your money here.
Best mattress in a box for achy joints
The Purple mattress is one of the best-known mattresses in a box. What sets this brand apart is its use of ‘Purple Grid’ technology – essentially a hyper-elastic, gel-like grid that’s designed to cushion your body’s pressure points. Like memory foam, it’ll mold to your body to provide tailored support right where you need it most, but unlike a foam, the grid has an open design that allows air to circulate through it, helping ensure a cool night’s sleep.
Our pick is the Purple Original Mattress, which features a two-inch Purple grid, followed by a dual-layer comfort base for support. Many users comment that it took them some time to get used to the unique feeling of the Purple mattress, especially if they were previously sleeping on an innerspring mattress. You have a 100-night sleep trial, which should be plenty of time to gauge if this is the right bed for you.
In our tests, our reviewers were seriously impressed with the Purple mattress. We loved the responsive, soft yet firm surface, and found this bed very comfortable and supportive to sleep on. It absorbed motion well, and slept nice and cool, too. At under 10″ deep, it’s on the thinner side, and we wouldn’t recommend it to sleepers over 300lb, who will likely find this bed too firm.
Our findings were backed up by other customer reviews. The Purple mattress has an excellent average score of 4.5 out of 5 from nearly 12,000 user reviews on the Purple website (September 2023). Many people report that it relieved their pressure points and eased joint pain, and lots of people say that since switching to the Purple mattress they’ve been sleeping far better than they were before. We think for couples, especially, and anyone who overheats at night, the flagship Purple mattress is one of the best mattress in a box options out there. Read our Nectar vs Purple breakdown if you can’t choose between the brands.
The best 2-in-1 mattress in a box
The Layla Hybrid Mattress in a box is two mattresses for the price of one, thanks to a versatile flippable design. For lightweight sleepers or side sleepers seeking softness around their hips and shoulders, the paler gray side of this mattress has a cushiony soft 4 out of 10 sleep feel. Back or stomach sleepers who need a bit more support can flip the whole thing over to the darker side for a much more supportive 7 out of 10 sleep feel.
While some bed brands let you choose from a range of firmness options, this is the only mattress we’ve seen that offers two different comfort levels in one. Granted, the practical applications are limited – there can’t be loads of people who want an ultra-soft bed one night and a fairly firm one the next. However, we can see this kind of bed being useful for a guest room, with different people sleeping in it at different times, or for anyone who’s just not sure what kind of mattress will suit them, and wants to keep their options open. Helpfully, there are sturdy handles on the sides to make turning it over easy.
Layla is one of only a few bed brands that publishes the foam density – this is an indicator of quality and longevity, and Layla passes with flying colors, with top-quality 3.5lb memory foam in its comfort layers. When we reviewed this model, we found it isolated movement incredibly well, making this a good choice for light sleepers or anyone who shares a bed. We were also impressed by the sturdy edge support.
Any down-sides to be aware of? Despite various cooling features, we found this mattress could on occasion sleep a little warm. And the firmer side might not be firm enough for heavier bodies. If the hybrid is out of your price range but the concept appeals, there’s an all-foam version that sits in the mid-range bracket.
Best mattress in a box for couples
If you sleep with a restless partner, you need a mattress that will absorb movement so their nocturnal wriggling doesn’t disturb your sleep. Our top pick is the Bear Original, a memory foam mattress in a box that excels when it comes to motion isolation. In our tests, even when we dropped a 15lb weight 4 inches away from an empty wine glass, the glass barely budged.
Depending on the firmness of bed you’re used to, it may take your body a few days to adjust to the medium-firm feel of the Bear Original mattress (you get 120 nights to try it at home). Once you settle into it, you’ll appreciate this mattress’ contouring support, which we found comfortable in all sleep positions. No need to worry about falling off if you gravitate towards the edge while you sleep, either, as the Bear Original’s edge support is among the best we’ve ever tested.
One area where the Bear Original mattress falls short is temperature regulation. Despite a Celliant quilt cover and cooling gel memory foam, our testers felt overheated on warmer nights. However, it was quite cozy in cooler temperatures; we’d recommend the Bear Original to anyone who lives in a temperate or cold environment, or who tends to sleep cold. Warmer sleepers should consider the Cocoon by Sealy Chill earlier in this list for around the same price. At around $649 for a queen size, it also hits the sweet spot between quality and price – we consider it one of the best affordable mattresses around.
Best mattress in a box for back or stomach sleepers
The Amerisleep AS2 mattress in a box is designed specifically for those who like to sleep on their stomach or back; positions that typically require a slightly harder sleep surface to keep the spine properly aligned and avoid back pain in the longer term. The AS2 has a medium-firm feel, but it’s zoned so it’s more cushioned around the shoulders and hips, with firmer support under the head, back and legs. This zoning is thanks to a ‘HIVE transition layer’ of flexible foam hexagons.
That’s not the only unusual part of this bed’s design. Rather than regular memory foam, here you’ll find plant-based Bio-Pur foam. Amerisleep says it’s more breathable than traditional memory foam, and it’s bouncier and more responsive, so you won’t get ‘stuck’ in it either.
The AS2 is highly rated on the Amerisleep site, with an average of 4.7/5 stars from over 3,300 user reviews (September 2023). Lots of customers comment that this mattress is supportive yet comfortable. A handful found it slept slightly warm, and some found it too firm. If you’re concerned about that, do be aware that Amerisleep’s mattress lineup covers the full range of firmness levels.
Best premium organic mattress in a box
If you’re looking for a luxurious yet eco-friendly bed, the Avocado Green is the best mattress in a box you can buy. The company uses quality, organic materials – without polyester, polyurethane foams, or toxic fire retardants – to produce this premium quality mattress. Our tester found this bed delivered plenty of support and slept comfortably cool.
Rather than being glued, the Avocado green is hand-tufted, which means ribbons are pulled up through the mattress to hold the layers together. As a result, you’ll see soft, organic wool rosettes on the top cover (note, if you want to avoid animal products, Avocado does do a vegan version of this mattress). Comfort and support come via a three-inch layer of GOLS-certified organic latex foam, alongside a layer of steel coils, arranged into five ergonomic zones.
Avocado rates this a 7 on the firmness scale (there is the option to pay extra to soften it up with a pillowtop), and we’d agree. We think this is best suited to back or stomach sleepers, as well as being suitable for heavier bodies that need that bit of extra support. Side sleepers and lightweight individuals will likely find it too firm, though.
The most expensive mattress in our ranking by a fair margin, the Avocado Green is undoubtedly an investment bed. Natural mattresses almost always do cost more (the Birch Natural right below it is cheaper but still not cheap in the wider market). Is it worth it? Maybe. There’s little doubt you’re getting a top quality product here – there’s plenty of information on the company’s website detailing where all the materials come from and explaining the brand’s ethos, alongside a long list of certifications confirming various eco-friendly, natural credentials. What we find harder to justify is the hefty delivery fee – $99 for standard, going up to $249 if you want white glove delivery. At least the trial period is generous, at 365 nights.
Best value organic mattress in a box
The Birch Natural mattress uses organic materials, and is designed to be a more eco-friendly bed option. One main point of difference compared to most of the other mattresses in this guide is that instead of foam, this bed uses the natural alternative of Talalay latex to provide that body-molding cushioning around your joints (it’s hypoallergenic, too).
Elsewhere, you’ll find layers of wool – a natural fire-retardant, as well as being breathable and cushioning – and steel coils for further support. The coils are targeted to promote correct spinal alignment, and reinforced all the way around the edges, so you can use the full sleep surface without fear of rolling off.
We slept on a Birch Natural mattress and believe it’s terrific for combination sleepers who change positions throughout the night since it has plenty of bounce so you won’t feel ‘stuck’ in your mattress. (On the flip side, that trait also makes it less-than-ideal for couples who sleep with a restless partner.) We found its medium-firm feel most accommodating for front and back sleeping. Hot sleepers are likely to find cooling relief with the Birch Natural, as well – our usually-warm tester didn’t wake up sweaty once.
Although we call it a value organic mattress, we stress that it’s a value mattress within its category – on a broader scale, you’re still paying a premium price (or close). However, if the Avocado Green above is too expensive then the Birch Natural is an excellent alternative. We even rank it amongst the best organic mattresses you can buy. This thoughtfully designed bed is handmade in the USA, with free shipping to US customers and a 25-year warranty on the mattress. You’ll have 100 nights to try it out, which is on the short side for a pricier mattress like this, but still long enough to give it a good test.
Best cheap mattress in a box
We’ll make this clear from the start: the Zinus Green Tea isn’t the best mattress in a box in our guide – it has few of the bells and whistles found in the other options here, and there are questions over its long-term durability. However, if you’re looking for a budget option, you can’t really argue with that ridiculously low price.
The Zinus Green Tea is among the best mattresses on Amazon, with an average score of 4.4 out of 5 from over 140K reviews (January 2022). It uses green tea-infused memory foam and purified charcoal particles to neutralize odors, and comes in a range of different thickness options: 6, 8, 10 and 12 inches.
The cheapest is the 6 inch: you could get a queen-size delivered to your front door for around $200. However, for most adults, we wouldn’t recommend anything thinner than around 10 inches. We tested the 10-inch version for three months and found it to be comfortable and supportive, with good edge support and minimal motion transfer, so you won’t be disturbed by a restless partner. (In case you’re wondering, no, it doesn’t smell of tea…)
There are a few questions about long-term durability: we don’t know how this mattress will perform after a few years of use. It’s not the best choice if you overheat at night, either – a few of our reviewers became uncomfortably warm while sleeping on this mattress. But the fantastic price is, of course, where this mattress really stands out, and for occasional use, this should do the job nicely. It isn’t often you can buy a king size mattress for under $300. Before buying, read our how to return a mattress to Amazon guide to get clued up on the returns process so you know what to expect should you change your mind.
Mattress in a box FAQs
What is a mattress in a box?
A mattress in a box is a memory foam or hybrid mattress that has been machine-compressed into a smaller size, tightly rolled, then packed into a tough cardboard box for shipping to your home. Shipping times vary by brand, but you can get a boxed mattress as fast as within two working days.
Once that box arrives at your door, your job is to unbox it. Each mattress in a box is covered in a reinforced plastic cover, and many brands give you a tool to slice through that covering more easily. Once the mattress has been fully unpacked, pop it on your bed base where it will begin to regain its full shape.
While they are the same as regular mattresses once fully decompressed, a mattress in a box takes anywhere from a few hours to a few days to be ready to sleep on. Emma mattresses, for example, are ready to sleep on in a few hours, while Nectar mattresses take up to 72 hours.
You may notice a bit of a smell at first, but this mattress off-gassing is normal. Just open the windows and it should soon pass, leaving you to enjoy your comfy new bed. To care for your new mattress in a box, cover it with one of the best mattress protectors to safeguard against stains.
Casper has been credited with making beds-in-a-box popular since its launch nearly 10 years ago, and now we also have the likes of Purple, Layla, Nectar, Helix and many others.
In terms of warranty, coverage ranges from 10 years to a Forever Warranty (Nectar and DreamCloud), but we’d advise you to check the small print so that you know what will and won’t be covered. For further guidance, read our feature on how do mattress warranties work.
Are mattresses in a box any good?
Yes, boxed mattresses can be excellent if you pick the right one. We’ve spoken to experts from the mattress industry to get a definitive answer on if beds that come in a box are good, and the short answer is that the quality of the mattress is much more to do with the specific model than whether it has been compressed or not. There are plenty of fantastic boxed options – such as those included in our ranking – but also plenty of rubbish cheap boxed mattresses that should be avoided.
Boxed mattresses are often delivered quicker and are easier to maneuver, but you’ll avoid decompression time and perhaps also off-gassing if you go for a traditional option.
It’s easy to look at the cheaper price tags of some mattresses in a box and dismiss them as being too cheap to be supportive or comfortable, but that simply isn’t the case. We have spent hundreds of hours sleeping on some of the top boxed mattresses and find them equally as comfortable as traditional mattresses sold in store.
How to choose the best mattress in a box
With more and more options available for buying a mattress in a box, it’s now easier than ever to find something that suits your sleeping position, body weight and any particular needs you might have when it comes to getting a restful night’s sleep.
Things to look out for when buying a bed-in-a-box online include:
Features – If you need extra features from a mattress to help you sleep, then there’ll be something for you, whether you sleep hot, need more pressure relief, or extra support for backache. Plenty of mattresses now come with innovative tech and eco-friendly materials too, so whatever your concerns, it should be covered.
Firmness – just like standard mattresses, beds in a box come in a variety of firmnesses. If you know you will likely need a firmer mattress for instance, check before you buy to ensure you are getting the most comfortable choice for you.
Trial period and free delivery/returns – many top brands offer mattress trials on their mattresses, giving you the chance to try the mattress out for yourself. It’s always a good idea to take advantage of trial periods, and if you decide the mattress isn’t for you, check that you can get a full refund.
This takes a lot of the stress out of buying a mattress online, especially if the mattress is expensive. Also check if the company offers free returns so there’ll be no surprises if you do need to send the mattress back.
Reviews – online reviews often give you extra information about the mattress, including feedback after a few weeks’ use and a closer assessment of the feel and comfort for different body weights. If you have decided on a boxed mattress, compare a few user reviews on the brand websites with those elsewhere too.
How to open a bed-in-a-box
The best way to unbox your new mattress is to follow the instructions provided by the mattress manufacturer. As these guidelines are similar, we can provide you with some general guidance here. The main difference between brands is how long they recommend that you leave the bed-in-a-box to inflate before you sleep on it.
For example, Emma Sleep says that its Original memory foam mattress is ready to sleep on within 60 minutes, while the Nectar Mattress can take up to 72 hours to decompress fully.
Allowing your mattress in a box the time it needs to properly inflate (decompress) means that it will be in the best position to properly support your body. If you use the mattress before the manufacturer says it’s ready to sleep on, you may damage the materials and risk voiding your warranty.
In general, here’s how to open a mattress in a box:
- Take it through to your bedroom of choice
- Open the top of the cardboard box and remove any printed instructions or packaging cutting tools (see image above for an example)
- Now lay the cardboard box on its side
- Pull the rolled mattress out of the box so that it’s resting on the floor
- If you have been given a packaging cutting tool, use this to carefully cut through the tough plastic covering the mattress. Some brands, like Avocado Green, wrap their mattresses in paper, which is easy to remove.
- One the boxed mattress is out of its protective packaging, place it onto your bed frame because it will start inflating (decompressing) immediately.
- Open a window to let the smell of off-gassing dissipate.
- Leave the mattress to decompress for the number of minutes or hours stated by the brand you purchased it from.
When is the best time to buy a mattress in a box?
There are definitely key periods throughout the year when it’s better to buy a boxed mattress, and chief among these is the Black Friday mattress deals, where prices are at their lowest and discounts are at their highest.
These often roll over into Cyber Monday mattress deals, which is the first Monday immediately following Black Friday, and you may even see some higher discounts on Cyber Monday when brand’s mount last-ditch efforts to attract your custom before Christmas.
Beyond that, the Memorial Day mattress sales in May are another key time to buy a mattress in a box for less than normal, with retailers looking to shift older stock before new ranges arrive in the summer. Labor Day mattress sales in September are also a good time to look, as they feature some of the lowest prices before Black Friday season.
How we test mattresses
The Tom’s Guide mattress review process is editorially independent and not influenced by any third parties. Our expert mattress testers sleep on each mattress for at least three weeks – that’s roughly how long it takes for your body to get used to a new mattress – and spend hours scientifically testing the performance of each product.
Mattress firmness is subjective, so each lead reviewer also forms a trusted and experienced testing panel made up of people with different sleep needs and body types. We have side sleepers, back sleepers and stomach sleepers, with lighter, average and heavier bodies, who rate each mattress using a specific set of performance criteria.
Together, these processes enable us to produce accurate, well-balanced and data-backed mattress reviews, to help you easily decide whether the mattress you’re interested in really is the best choice for you. Read our full mattress methodology for more.
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