Mattresses in a box are a convenient way to upgrade your bed, and quite often for a smaller price too. So if you want the best mattress for your budget, and one that’s easy to order, a bed-in-a-box (as they're also known) is the way to go. You’ll recognize many of the names behind these vacuum-packed memory foam and hybrid models too, and they all offer trial periods (100 nights is the average) so you can test yours at home to make sure it’s right. Boxed mattresses offer the same support and comfort as traditional models, yet the shipping method is different...
Thanks to improved material technologies and innovative packaging methods, a bed-in-a-box is compressed and rolled tightly, before being wrapped in plastic and packaged in a sturdy cardboard box. This makes it easier to deliver, and all you have to do is then unbox it in the room of choice. The very best mattress in a box brands will also unbox and set up the mattress for you (White Glove Delivery service), and this is worth considering if you are buying a larger bed as they can be very heavy, especially the hybrid models.
Even without a discount, mattresses in a box are much more affordable than comparable models sold in-store, as these manufacturers don’t have the overheads of bricks and mortar stores. So in our round-up of the best mattress in a box you'll find options for all budgets (and sleeping positions), with prices starting from under $200.
With Black Friday mattress deals just around the corner, you may want to wait a little longer to see what’s on offer. But if you need a bed-in-a-box delivered urgently, then there are plenty of fantastic choices available right now and you could bag yourself a bargain (check out our cheap mattress deals to see what’s on offer). We’ve also highlighted today’s lowest prices for each of our best mattress in a box picks below.
The best mattress in a box in 2021
Nectar’s incredibly popular five-layer memory foam mattress has nabbed the top spot in our best mattress in a box guide because it’s exceptional value for money, delivering premium materials at an extremely competitive price.
We tested the medium-firm mattress for two months and loved it. The 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.
You're unlikely to overheat at night too, because this award-winning mattress has a quilted cooling cover on top, followed by a gel memory foam layer to help you sleep cool. There's then a layer of hi-core memory foam for extra support so you don’t sink 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, though, is value for money. It’s often generously discounted, making it considerably cheaper than rivals including Casper and Purple. Right now, there's up to $400 off - and it comes with $399-worth of free sleep accessories too (luxury pillows, a mattress protector and sheets). There's also 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 it's the best memory foam mattress you can buy.
- Read more: Nectar mattress review
Nectar mattress: Save $100 + get $399 of free gifts
This excellent November to Remember deal from Nectar knocks $100 off the price of its superb Memory Foam Mattress and you'll get $399 worth of free gifts thrown in. Choose your mattress size and the discount will be automatically added at checkout, with your free cooling pillow, mattress protector and sheets set bundled in.
The GhostBed Luxe mattress is a premium all-foam mattress that's jam-packed with cooling tech, making it one of the best mattress in a box options for anyone who overheats at night. GhostBed call it 'the coolest bed in the world' - and plenty of industry reviewers agree, voting it as the best mattress for hot sleepers.
The cooling happens in two stages. On top, a luxurious quilted cover is made from cool-to-touch 'Ghost Ice' fabric and cooling fibres, with one-inch of gel memory foam to promote airflow and breathability. Under this, a two-inch layer of thermo-sensitive foam responds to your body temperature and adjusts to keep you cool all night long. The rest of the mattress is made up of responsive, contouring memory foam and supportive foam layers, which soothe pressure points and alleviate back pain, making you feel like you're floating.
According to user reviewers, the Ghostbed Luxe has good edge support, so you can maximize every inch of the mattress, making this bed in a box feel wider than it actually is. Recurring comments include that the mattress feels extremely comfortable and luxurious, has helped with back pain, and is good at reducing motion transfer - so you won't feel a partner moving around.
Bear in mind that the Ghostbed Luxe can take up to 24 hours to fully expand and adjust to your bedroom’s temperature. It's also slightly softer than the original GhostBed, so if you prefer a firmer mattress you may wish to choose that version instead. (Like the sound of this but out of your budget? Try the Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress further down the page or check out our best cooling mattress guide.)
GhostBed Luxe mattress: Save 30% + two free pillows
This deal gives you a luxe cooling mattress for less. There’s 30% off all sizes, and like the Nectar you’ll get two free pillows (but Nectar offers more free gifts). A queen size GhostBed Luxe now costs $1,572 (was $2,245), saving you $843. You also get a 25-year warranty. There's a 101-night risk-free trial too.
The Helix Midnight Luxe mattress is a top-rated bed in a box that's been designed with side sleepers in mind. It provides pressure relief to shoulders and hips, to help you sleep comfortably throughout the night on your side. (Like most bed-in-a-box mattresses though, it's good for sleeping in all positions.)
The Helix Midnight Luxe is two inches taller than the company's standard mattresses. It's a medium firmness, with zoned lumbar support for enhanced contouring, and a premium quilted pillow top with an ultra-breathable Tencel cover that aims to help aids airflow, so you sleep cool throughout the night. This hybrid bed-in-a-box mattress also boasts a layer of 1,000 wrapped coils for optimal spinal alignment and increased pressure relief.
Users like that this premium mattress feels bouncy and balanced, and does a good job of contouring to the body. The Helix Midnight Luxe also gets high marks for its lack of motion transfer, and the extra support makes it a great choice for heavier people too. It isn’t cheap but users report that it is durable, so it should be a good investment.
Alternatively, if you can't stretch to the Luxe, try the standard version instead. It's almost $400 cheaper and we loved it when we tested it - you can read our Helix Midnight mattress review for more.
Helix Midnight Luxe: Up to $200 off + two free pillows
You can save $200 on the queen size (now $1,749), with $150 off the full size (now $1,499) and $100 off the twin (now $999). You’ll get two free down-alternative pillows with your mattress order too, but GhostBed is offering the biggest savings so take a second look at that deal if you’re undecided.
The Cocoon Chill Memory Foam is easily one of the best budget cooling mattresses around. This mattress in a box is made by industry giant and household name Sealy - and it's the perfect option for anyone who liked the sound of the luxury Ghostbed above, but couldn't justify the cost.
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.
However, the headline feature is Sealy’s advanced phase-change material, which is infused into a high-end, stretch-knit cooling cover. This does an excellent job of regulating temperature throughout the night - we slept on it for two weeks, and even our hot sleeper didn't overheat once - and helps this mattress stand out from similarly priced rivals. Its high performance is also confirmed by many of the over 5,000 customers who have given it five-star reviews on the Cocoon By Sealy website (it averages an impressive score of 4.7 out of 5 from over 9,000 user reviews).
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 above - if you weigh more than 230lbs you may sink through to the firmer support layers. For most people, though, this won't be an issue.
Overall, we were impressed with the comfort and cooling abilities of the mattress, and gave it superior marks for motion isolation. There's no denying you get a lot for your money here. If you're looking for an affordable medium-firm memory foam mattress, there's a lot to like about the Cocoon Chill.
- Read more: Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress review
Cocoon Chill mattress: save 35% + free bedding
Sealy’s November Kick-Off sale is similar to last month’s deal with 35% off all Chill mattresses. You’ll also get two free pillows and a sheets set worth up to $199 thrown in, increasing your overall savings up to $739, depending on the size you buy. This is a good value deal to snap up ahead of the Black Friday sales.
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, it's one of the best low-cost mattresses out there.
The Zinus Green Tea is the top-rated memory foam mattress on Amazon, with an average score of 4.4 out of 5 from over 100,000 user reviews. 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. We tested the 10-inch version - which starts from $217 - for three months and found it to be very 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. But the fantastic price is, of course, where this mattress really stands out. It isn’t often you can buy a quality king size mattress for under $300. If you're looking for a budget mattress in a box, the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress is worth considering.
- Read more: Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress review
The Purple mattress is one of the best-known mattresses in a box. It's extremely popular, thanks to its innovative 'Purple Grid' technology, which is designed to flex under your body’s pressure points, providing tailored support right where you need it most. The Purple grid doesn't just offer high-end support though. This hyper-elastic, gel-like grid (which looks like an empty ice cube tray) has thousands of air channels inside it, helping you sleep cool
Inside the Purple Mattress there's two inches of the 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. Purple itself advises giving the mattress 21 days to get used to it.
Still, the Purple mattress has an excellent average score of 4.4 out of 5 from over 25,000 user reviews on the Purple website. It’s rated similarly on Amazon, with 4.3 out of 5 (from a much smaller user review pool). 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 more: Purple mattress review
Purple Mattress: Save 10% + get free sheets at Purple
In the current site-wide sale, Purple’s best-selling mattress (from size Twin XL up) is now 10% cheaper – this means you can now pick up a Queen size Purple Mattress for $1,149. Purple is also throwing in freebies so you get Complete Comfort Sheets (up to $289 value) when you select a Purple mattress from Twin XL size and larger.
This eco-friendly hybrid mattress from Birch by Helix features an organic cotton cover, plus a layer of organic wool and breathable natural Talalay latex to help maintain healthy airflow and keep you cool as you sleep. And with hypoallergenic non-toxic materials, this is a safe surface to sleep on too.
A layer of hundreds of individual steel coils also work to cradle your body and offer plenty of support for your spine, while also keeping motion transfer to a minimum. The Birch mattress has a luxury medium-firm feel, making it perfect for all sleeping styles.
Because the Birch is at the higher end of the market, the cost naturally reflects this and prices start at $1,249 for a Twin, but with generous discounts and sales available throughout the year, it’s easy to pick up one of these excellent mattresses for even less.
Handmade in the USA, Birch offers free shipping to US customers as well as a 100-night sleep trial. There is also a 25-year warranty on the mattress – an indication of the brand’s trust in this organic bed in a box.
The AmeriSleep AS2 is our go-to mattress for back pain relief. This 12-inch medium-firm mattress is designed for back and stomach sleepers, and blends targeted, responsive support with contouring comfort to deliver enhanced pressure relief.
Underneath a soft, ultra-breathable and cooling cover, the AS2 mattress uses a plant-based Bio-Pur foam to relieve pressure points. This open-cell foam is more breathable and responsive than traditional memory foam, so it’ll keep you cooler through the night while it supports your body. Next comes a layer of ‘Hive’ foam - lots of flexible foam hexagons grouped into comfort zones that ease tension and deliver extra support and cushioning under your head, shoulders, back, hips, knees, and lower legs. Finally, a durable base foam is designed to prevent sagging and keep you from sinking in. AmeriSleep puts its money where its mouth is here, with a 20-year warranty.
The AS2 is highly rated on the Amerisleep site, with an average of 4.7/5 stars from over 3,000 user reviews, and 97% of respondents say they would recommend the mattress to a friend (March 2021). Some customers comment that they no longer have chronic back pain and many agree that it’s a high-quality product.
If you’re a side-sleeper with back pain, you may find the AS2 doesn't offer quite the right targeted support - we'd recommend the Amerisleep AS3 or AS4 instead. And if you prefer a softer mattress, the AS2 may be too firm - again, the AS3 will be a better choice. But if you’re a back sleeper, or suffering from back pain, the Amerisleep AS2 could be just what you need.
AmeriSleep AS2 mattress: 30% off at Amerisleep
From $949 - Buy AmeriSleep’s popular memory foam AS2 mattress (all-foam or hybrid version) and get $300 off when you use the code AS300. You'll also get one or two free pillows, depending on which size of mattress you choose. This is a good deal for hot sleepers as the AS2 uses AmeriSleep's unique Bio-Pur material that keeps you cool.
If you're looking for an eco-friendly, all-natural mattress, we think the Avocado Green is the best mattress in a box you can buy. The company uses quality, organic ingredients - there's no polyester, polyurethane foams, or toxic fire retardants - to produce a premium mattress that's GreenGuard Gold Certified, which means that it meets high standards for low emissions.
Made from 100%certified organic latex, wool and cotton, the Avocado Green mattress offers plush cushioning, and ranks highly amongst users for its strong support. A zoned, pressure-point support system gives proper back support, while recycled steel coils help align your back and distribute your weight. Plus, an optional organic wool pillow top version will help regulate your body temperature.
If you've got a higher budget and eco-friendly credentials are particularly important, then Avocado's Latex mattress is the company's most sustainable - it isn't just 100% organic certified and non-toxic, but it's biodegradable too. However, it's more expensive (a queen costs $1,799 - that's $300 more), which is why, on balance, we recommend the Avocado Green as the best bed in a box in the all-natural category.
Avocado Green: $150 off mattresses at Avocado
Save big on hybrid and latex mattresses in Avocado’s new Early Black Friday sale with a $150 discount. Just use the code ORGANIC at checkout to pick up the Green or Vegan Hybrid mattress, now starting from $949, or if you’re looking for plenty of support as you sleep, then the Latex or Vegan Latex can be yours from $1,449.
This versatile mattress in a box has twice the value for money with a soft side and a firm side to give you precise levels of comfort. Made in the USA, the Layla Mattress uses copper-gel infused foam to offer variable support as the copper reacts to pressure, delivering support where the body needs it most. The copper is also microbial and helps keep you cool, carrying heat away from your body for sleep that is not only more restful but refreshing too.
At the core of the mattress is a layer of Max AirFlow support foam and 4.5 inches of support foam for superb motion-transfer control and a little bounce too, no matter what side you choose to sleep on. The cover has reactive cooling that responds to your body temperature keeping it at a comfortable level for sleep. The cover is also removable and can be dry-cleaned, so whether you sleep on the firm side or the soft side you can stay feeling fresh. You can also buy replacement covers from Layla.
Layla offers a risk-free 120-night trial so you can try out the mattress on both sides to see which suits you best. Delivery is prompt and free within the lower 48 states. However, shipping charges to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada may apply at checkout. The Layla Mattress in a box comes with a lifetime warranty.
How to choose a good 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 trial periods 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 will 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 particular body weights. If you have decided on a mattress, check a few reviews in the brand website and elsewhere too, to see if it sounds like a good fit for you.
What is a mattress in a box?
A mattress in a box is a memory foam or hybrid mattress that has been compressed and rolled tightly to fit into a cardboard box for shipping direct to your door. There are some latex models available, but these aren’t as common. While they are the same as regular mattresses once fully decompressed, a mattress in a box (also known as a bed 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. Most mattresses in a box can be used with any type of bed frame, from divan to box spring. They are super-convenient to buy too, as you simply purchase them online and have them delivered to your door – shipping times vary by brand, but you can get them as fast as within two working days if you have an urgent need.
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 before buying so that you know what will and won’t be covered. For further guidance, read our feature on how do mattress warranties work.
Caring from your mattress in a box is exactly the same as with a standard model. They will need to be flipped or rotated according to the manufacturer’s instructions – read our feature answering how often should you rotate or flip your mattress for guidance – and either spot-cleaned or steam cleaned. Again, read the brand’s advice on how to care for your chosen model.
How do mattresses in a box work?
Bed-in-a-box mattresses are relatively new compared to traditional mattresses sold in stores. Casper has been credited with making the sector more popular since its launch in 2014, and since then a load of ace sleep brands have stepped into the bustling mattress in a box space. Now we have the likes of Purple, Layla, Nectar, Helix and so many others.
But first, how does something as big as a mattress get into such a small-ish box? It’s an impressive mix of manufacturing and packaging magic, with each mattress machine-compressed (flattened) into a smaller size, tightly rolled, then packed into a tough cardboard box for shipping.
Once that box arrives at your door – and assuming you haven’t paid for white glove delivery service (where someone unpacks the mattress for you) – your job is to unbox it. Each mattress in a box is covered in a reinforced plastic cover, and many brands give you a little 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 decompress and regain its full shape. You may notice a bit of a smell at first, but this is called mattress off-gassing and it’s normal. Just open the windows and it should soon pass, leaving you to enjoy your comfy new bed.