I've tested all the best mattresses in a box — these are 3 I'd buy in Black Friday sales

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress on a yellow bed frame in a yellow bedroom with a Black Friday mattress deals badge overlaid on the main image
(Image credit: Nectar Sleep)

I've spent my fair share of nights sleeping on all kinds of boxed mattresses and truth be told, some of them are among the best mattresses I've ever tried. Mattresses in a box have seen a boom in the last decade as consumers are more keen to buy online in favor of convenience and lower costs. Of course, it helps that many brands offer generous at-home trials plus fast, free shipping right to your doorstep. 

As Black Friday mattress deals start to trickle in, you might be wondering which mattress-in-a-box deal is the one to shop. My top pick is the Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress, a latex-and-spring hybrid that's now up to 50% off at Awara, dropping the price of a queen to $949 (was $1,699) – which is a great price for a latex mattress. It also comes with a one-year trial and a lifetime warranty.

The Awara is a dream for anyone craving a buoyant, weightless sleep feel with ample support and loads of pressure relief. However, it won't suit couples who share a bed with a fidgety partner, nor will it be cushy enough for some side sleepers to get on comfortably. That's why I've got a couple more Black Friday mattress-in-a-box deal contenders that are worth a look...

from $599 at Awara

1. Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress

from $1,299
from $599 at Awara
up to $765

Overview: The Awara is an affordable organic mattress that punches well above its weight when it comes to comfort and build quality. As I note in my Awara Natural Hybrid mattress review, its firm support and outstanding pressure relief will be a boon for those with back and joint pain regardless of their sleep style, while its bouncy, weightless feel will benefit combi sleepers. The Awara also boasts sturdy edges so you can comfortably take up the whole of the bed or sit on the sides if you need to push off when you stand up. Plus, if you tend to sleep warm, the Awara's breathable combo of natural Dunlop latex springs, New Zealand wool, and organic cotton will help keep the air flowing so you don't overheat. 

Price history: We see Awara mattress deals all the time  – its evergreen offer takes $300 off. However, prices have never been this low from Awara. For Black Friday, Awara's slashing as much as $765 off, dropping the price of a queen to below $1,000 for the first time ever ($949). This deal has been around for a few weeks now and I think it'll hold until Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You might be able to save even more with an Awara promo code.

Extras: 365-night trial | Lifetime warranty | Free shipping and returns

Alternatives to consider: Lightweight sleepers (under 130lbs) and side sleepers may find the Awara too unyielding so I'd recommend checking out our Helix Midnight mattress review instead. Meanwhile, for couples seeking top-notch motion isolation, have a look at the Nectar below.


2. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

from $699
from $359 at Nectar
up to $720

Summary: The Nectar heads our best memory foam mattress guide and is consistently one of America's top-selling brands. And those accolades are well-deserved. In my Nectar mattress review, I found it exceptionally comfortable and supportive for side sleeping with outstanding motion isolation and above-average temperature regulation for an all-foam build. While the Nectar is one of the firmer memory foam mattresses I've tried, there's still plenty of cushioned contouring to ease your joints. For most sleepers, it's a good middle ground.

Price history: The evergreen Nectar mattress sale cuts 33% off, dropping a queen to $699. Nectar has hosted  40% off flash sales at random points throughout the year – and bringing it back weeks ahead of Black Friday is right on schedule for them. (They did this last November, too.) At $659 for a queen, these are among the lowest prices we've seen from Nectar in light of steady MSRP increases. That said, I'd recommend taking advantage of this offer while you can because Nectar will likely revert back to its standard 33% off on Black Friday proper.

Extras: 365-night trial | Lifetime warranty | Free shipping and returns

Alternatives to consider: The Nectar does an exceptional job of keeping cool, but chronically hot sleepers will want to read my Nectar Premier Copper mattress review for a more advanced option. Meanwhile, heavier front and back sleepers should read my Saatva Loom & Leaf mattress review for a foam bed with more robust support.

from $374 with 'EXTRA25' at Cocoon by Sealy

3. Cocoon by Sealy Chill Memory Foam mattress

from $619
from $374 with 'EXTRA25' at Cocoon by Sealy
up to $515

Overview: The Cocoon by Sealy Chill is the most affordable cooling mattress you'll be able to find during this year's Black Friday sales. I slept on this bed for partner site TechRadar and was impressed at just how cool this all-foam bed kept me, a credit to its phase-changing top cover. Meanwhile, one of my fellow testers noted in her Cocoon Chill mattress review that this medium-firm mattress oozes pressure relief (especially for side sleepers) – and motion isolation is aces, too. You can upgrade to the Extra Chill model (which adds a layer of cooling foam) or turn it into a hybrid with springs for a nominal fee.

Price history: Unlike most brands, which have been raising their MSRPs, Sealy actually dropped the price of its Cocoon Chill mattress in early 2023. A queen went from $1,239 to $1,079 – or after ongoing Cocoon by Sealy mattress sales, $774 to $699. Better yet, code 'EXTRA25' knocks another $25 off, and you'll get free sheets and pillows with your purchase. While I doubt Sealy will do anything out of the ordinary for Black Friday, I'd be remiss to ignore one of the best mattress values out there right now.

Extras: 100-night trial | 10-year warranty | Free shipping and returns | Free sheets and pillows

Alternatives to consider: The Cocoon Chill sleeps remarkably cool for a foam bed, but it may not be enough to stave off severe night flashes. For a mattress with advanced cooling capabilities, read our GhostBed Luxe mattress review. Edge support is okay but if you need something top-notch in that area the Awara above is a much better choice.

How long does it take a bed-in-a-box to inflate?

Boxed mattresses can make it to your doorstep faster than a traditional mattress, which is delivered flat and often requires scheduling a time for someone to come out and set it up. However, you can sleep on a traditional mattress once it hits your bed frame but for a mattress-in-a-box, it may take much longer than you'd like.

You could get lucky and have your boxed mattress spring into shape within an hour but you'll typically have to wait several hours – or even several days – before it reaches its full height and intended bed feel. Some brands caution that it could take up to 72 hours for your mattress to be sleep-ready. 

A mattress that's been boxed up for quite some time will have a slower decompression time, and it could also emit more of an unpleasant off-gassing smell as a result. Admittedly, some brands are better with this than others. (In one case, I unboxed a mattress that was manufactured a year and a half before I even received it!)

In any case, unbox your mattress as soon as you get it, especially if it's been wrapped up for a while. Try to do it in the morning instead of right before bed, and have a backup plan in place in case your boxed mattress takes a long time to inflate.

Alison Barretta
Freelance reviewer and writer

Freelance writer and editor Alison is an expert mattress tester for Tom's Guide, and hails from Philadelphia, USA. Alison has reviewed a wide range of mattresses, pillows and other sleep accessories for Tom's Guide, putting the latest hybrid, memory foam and cooling mattresses from Casper, Nectar, Awara, Brooklinen and other leading brands through their paces. Alison has been sharing buying advice and retail news for over a decade. When she isn't reviewing mattresses, other home products or hunting for great deals to save you money, Alison can be found teaching/training in martial arts, fawning over skincare, and indulging in her quarantine-borne hobby: cooking.