The best mattress in a box for 2021 – CNET

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The internet has made it easier than ever to buy almost anything and get it delivered straight to your front door, and that includes your mattress. Online bedding companies have figured out how to fit an entire bed inside a cardboard box, to ship anywhere in the country. If you’re wondering how comfortable a mattress that comes out of a box can be, the answer may be found in the fact that online mattresses are now a billion-dollar industry.

The one downside to bed-in-a-box mattresses is how many there are on the market. When you have so many boxed mattress options to choose from, making a confident decision about the best mattress in a box for your needs can become practically impossible. It doesn’t help that nearly every mattress brand touts their bed as the most comfortable option you can buy. That’s why I set out to curate this list. I wanted to find, from the average person’s perspective, the most comfortable mattress in a box the internet has to offer. 

When you’re looking for a new bed, there are three key things to consider: your favorite sleeping position, body type and budget. Your most dominant sleeping position should help dictate the mattress type and firmness level of your bed. Your weight, on the other hand, should help you determine whether you’d be OK on a foam mattress, or if you should opt for a hybrid mattress bed for extra support. And, of course, your budget will help you narrow down the type of mattress you have the means to spend money on. 

Here, you’ll find the best mattress in a box for all types of sleepers, from heavier people over 230 pounds to the best memory foam mattress in a box. Luckily, all of the beds mentioned on this list come with risk-free trials and free shipping and returns, which lowers the stakes of blindly making a mattress purchase online. We’ll update this list periodically.

Note: All prices shown below are for queen-size mattresses.

Casper

Casper is one of the best-known mattress brands in the bed-in-a-box game. It’s become such a popular mattress company that it’s broken out of the online market and into the aisles of popular retail stores like Target. One of the best things about the Casper Original is its neutral, nonconforming feel. It’s not like memory foam, which takes a few moments to bounce back to normal after applying pressure to it. If you’re a combination sleeper, like me, this Casper mattress makes it easier to switch positions throughout the night. 

Another plus about this bed is its “zoned support” construction. The middle layer of the bed is split into three sections; the top and bottom sections are soft to offer pressure relief, while the middle section is more firm to support your back and promote proper spinal alignment. Most 11-inch foam mattresses don’t come with this feature and it helps set it apart from the sea of other bed in-a-box mattresses. 

I also appreciate the firmness profile of this mattress. It’s not too soft, nor is it too firm. There is ample support for my back, but at the same time, it’s soft enough to cradle my shoulders and trunk. With that said, I think it’s ideal for every sleeper position whether it be side, back, stomach or a combination of them all. I dubbed it the best bed-in-a-box mattress in terms of value because it offers both quality and comfort at an accessible price. It’s not the cheapest online bed, but it is a great value. 

The Casper Original is available in sizes twin through California king and its retail prices range from $595 to $1,295. 

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For most side sleepers, there’s nothing like the feeling of a plush, pressure-relieving mattress. A firm mattress can push into your side and throw off the natural curvature of your spine, so if you primarily sleep on your side (or sides), you typically want a softer mattress for your bed that’ll cradle and contour your body’s curves. 

Laying down on the Layla Hybrid mattress makes soft memory foam lovers sigh in relief as you sink into the light and airy top foam layer. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out it was flippable; both sides were meant to be slept on. One side of the bed has a softer profile, while the flip side has more of a medium firm or middle-of-the-road feel. This gives you two chances to find your perfect firmness level; if you don’t like one side, all you have to do is flip it over. I preferred the “firm” side because I’m a combo sleeper, but the “soft” side is extra plush for strict side sleepers or lightweight body types looking for a soft profile. 

It’s also a hybrid mattress, meaning it has a layer of coils for additional support and durability. These types of beds are ideal for any body type, but especially heavier people who weigh over 230 pounds or so. 

The Layla Hybrid is available in sizes twin to California king and its retail prices range from $1,249 to $1,849. 

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Like organic produce or cosmetics, you can also find natural and organic mattresses that are safer for your body and manufactured more sustainably. The Avocado Green mattress is one of the better-known options in the bed-in-a-box market and I learned why once I tested it out. Right away, it gives off an earthy vibe with its natural, beige-colored cover and green trim. It also has a more organic, outdoorsy smell than other bed-in-a-box mattresses I’ve tested, which have an off-gassing odor right when you pull them out of the box. 

The bread and butter of this bed is its certified organic materials. You can find organic Dunlop latex foam in Avocado’s comfort layer, which is made from the baked sap of a Brazilian rubber tree. It may sound strange, but this latex mattress foam is bouncy, supportive and breathable — essentially the exact opposite of traditional memory foam. Allergy sufferers can also rejoice because the material is antimicrobial and hypoallergenic. Materials like organic latex foam, organic cotton and organic wool are naturally resistant to microbes, meaning household allergens like dust mites, mildew or mold are unable to grow inside. 

This is one of the firmest bed-in-a-box mattresses I’ve tested, so it’s most ideal for people who favor their back or stomach when they sleep. Though, I think it’ll be supportive for any body type, whether you weigh 110 or 240 pounds. 

The Avocado Green mattress is available in sizes twin to California king and its retail prices range from $999 to $1,899. 

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Amerisleep

If you primarily sleep on your back and/or stomach, you typically want a medium to firm mattress that provides proper support. Otherwise, you risk waking up with back pain because your lower back was sagging into a mattress that was too soft. The AS2 Hybrid is a mattress specifically designed with support in mind.

The AS2 Hybrid comes from Amerisleep, which has eight mattresses ranging from soft to firm. The AS2 Hybrid lands on the firmer end of the scale. It dubs it the best for back sleepers on its website and I’d have to agree. Its foam-comfort layers mold around the curves of your body, but it still feels firm enough to keep your spine in neutral alignment. It’s also reinforced with additional support from the pocketed coil foundation layer below, making it accommodating for all body types (lightweight to 230 pounds plus). Not to mention, these coils are extra dense on the left and right sides to improve edge support for couples. 

The cherry on top of AS2 Hybrid is its machine-washable cover. Surprisingly, many of the bed-in-a-box mattresses I’ve tested don’t come with removable or machine-washable covers. After normal wear and tear and a few stains from coffee spills in bed, it’s useful to have the option to run it through the washing machine for a good cleaning. Though I wouldn’t say the cover and mattress are cooling, as it infers on the website. 

Overall, if you’re a back or stomach sleeper who likes memory foam, the AS2 Hybrid might be a good option for you. 

The AS2 Hybrid is available in sizes twin to split king and its retail prices range from $1,449 to $2,998.

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There are a lot of hybrid bed-in-a-box mattresses out there that suit larger and taller sleepers, but Helix Plus stands out as one of the best for a number of reasons. For one, this bad boy is one hefty bed, standing at 13 inches tall with “XL Wrapped Coils” in the foundation layer. If you weigh over 230 pounds, support and durability are characteristics that should be high on your list. The Helix mattress checks both of those boxes. 

It seems it wanted to make it comfortable for all sleeper positions whether it was back, side, stomach or combination. If you have a plus-size body type, this mattress will likely feel like a medium on a soft to firm rating scale, whereas it feels more like a firm mattress for lighter individuals. 

The feel was really comfortable and neutral — it wasn’t like memory foam where you slowly sink into the layers and create a body impression. It’s bouncy, responsive and pressure-relieving, making it easy for combination sleepers to switch positions without feeling “stuck” in the layers. 

Another great thing about this mattress is its price. Oftentimes, thick and supportive hybrid mattresses get a little pricey. This bed-in-a-box mattress, however, has an amazing value (especially if Helix is running a promotion). 

It’s available in sizes twin to California king and its retail prices range from $825 to $1,999. 

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Finding a mattress that’s perfect for you is hard enough, let alone a bed that accommodates two different sleepers. This is the trouble some couples face during their mattress hunt: One person is a petite side sleeper looking for a plush mattress, the other is a heavy firm mattress bed lover who’d rather sleep on the floor than a fluffy bed. The trick is to find a comfortable, widely accommodating mattress like Helix Midnight Luxe.

Helix Sleep is similar to Amerisleep in that it wants to make a mattress for everyone and Helix has its own Sleep Quiz to match you with one of its 10-plus beds. The Midnight Luxe model is its thick, premium hybrid offering, which contains six layers and stands at 14 inches tall. This makes it a comfy mattress for any body type, regardless of how much your significant other weighs.

It has a middle-of-the-road firmness level that will appeal to all sleeper positions; back, side, stomach and combination. I’m in love with the feel of this bed. It’s not like memory foam, which some couples can disagree about, but it’s responsive and soft. The large pillow-top on Helix Midnight Luxe gives it a fluffy, luxurious feel and look that you just want to dive into.

The Helix Luxe is available in sizes twin to California king and retail prices range from $995 to $2,145.

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GhostBed

When you are a hot sleeper, there’s almost nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night with a moist shirt and a sweaty forehead. It also doesn’t help that a significant number of mattress brands falsely market their mattresses as cool-sleeping. I’m happy to report that the GhostBed Luxe is actually a cooling mattress. When I touched the top of the mattress for the first time, it literally felt cold. Your sheet on top will neutralize the feel a little, but that cooling sensation still peeks through. As someone who sleeps hot every night, the GhostBed Luxe was definitely able to provide relief.

Aside from its cooling abilities, this is one of the thicker foam mattresses on the market, sitting at 13 inches high. This means most people, including heavier sleepers over 230 pounds, will get more longevity and support from this than other foam mattresses, which are typically 10 to 11 inches tall. I also think it has a medium firmness level, because it offered good pressure relief for my hips and shoulders when I slept on my side, but it also felt supportive enough when I was on my back or stomach. 

The top layers are made with memory foam so you do get that conforming, quicksand-like feel on this bed. Though unlike a lot of traditional memory foam mattresses, this one should keep you feeling much cooler. 

The GhostBed Luxe is available in sizes twin to California king and retail prices range from $995 to $1,925. 

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Editor’s note, May 11, 2021: The Nectar Lush has been discontinued and replaced with the Nectar Premier, which is similar in construction, with gel memory foam and a denser comfort layer. We are currently in the process of testing the new model and will update this story when testing is complete.

I know there are some die-hard memory-foam mattress fans out there who love the hugging, conforming feel that memory foam provides. Nectar Lush, the brand’s upper-level foam option, does just that. This Nectar mattress is dense and takes a few seconds for your whole body to be cocooned by the material, but once you are, it feels really cozy and pressure relieving. Especially when I’m sleeping on my side. 

It’s not ultrasoft, but it does feel a tad more pressure-relieving than supportive. I’d rate it around a medium to medium-soft, or a four out of 10, with 10 being the firmest. I think it’ll be comfortable for people who favor their side during the night, whether it be strict side sleepers or people who alternate between their side and another position. 

The Nectar Lush is 12 inches thick, solely made out of foam and it’s one of the thicker foam beds I’ve tested out (the average is around 10 inches). I think it’s best for individuals who weigh under 230 pounds, but with that being said, some larger body types can get away with it if a foam bed is what you’re after. 

Some memory-foam mattresses are known for sleeping hot, but Nectar Lush is designed with an “AquaCool” material in the top center to help prevent heat retention. It also has a cooling cover, which admittedly doesn’t actually feel cool, but it contributes towards the bed’s overall neutral temperature. 

The Nectar Lush is available in sizes twin to California king and retail prices range from $1,398 to $1,799. 

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    <em>The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.</em>
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