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The best mattress in a box 2021: top bed-in-a-box brands reviewed

best mattress in a box 2021: Nectar Memory Foam
(Image credit: Nectar)

The mattress in a box industry has never been more relevant than in 2021. If you’re looking to buy the best mattress for your budget this month, then you’ve probably already noticed that some of the strongest competitors are bed-in-a box mattresses: vacuum-packed foam or hybrid mattresses that you buy online. 

New advances in material tech, manufacturing and packaging processes mean these mattresses can be rolled up and delivered direct to your door in a conveniently sized box. Simply remove the mattress from the box, and watch as it ‘inflates’ - most are ready to sleep on within a few minutes or hours, depending on the mattress. 

On this page, we've rounded up the best bed-in-box mattresses in the US. This spring, many of them are on sale with their best-ever mattress deals - you'll find today's lowest prices below.

Of course, most of the best mattresses in a box were already cheaper than their traditional counterparts. That’s because online mattress brands avoid the overheads of physical stores, so they can offer the same levels of comfort, support and durability - while dramatically undercutting the price of their bricks-and-mortar rivals. 

All the best bed-in-a-box mattresses in our guide come with at least a 100-night risk-free trial, so you can test yours from the comfort and safety of your own home. (After all, a quick five-minute test in a showroom isn’t enough to know whether a mattress is right: you need to sleep on it.) 

If you don’t absolutely love it, you’ll get a refund and the company will collect it for free. Just keep in mind that many queen-size bed-in-a-box mattresses can weigh 70 pounds or more when shipped, so if you need to carry it up steps, you might want to enlist help or pay extra for white-glove delivery service.

The best mattress in a box in 2021

Best mattress in a box: Nectar Memory Foam

(Image credit: Nectar)

1. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

The best mattress in a box for most people, with $399 of free gifts

Firmness (1-10): 6.5 | Material: Memory foam | Depth: 11 inches | Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king) | Availability: Online, and in 1,500 retailers | Trial length: 365 days | Warranty: Lifetime | Best for: All sleepers | RRP: $798 - $1,398

Outstanding value for money
Extremely comfortable
Very supportive
One-year trial period
Lacks bounce

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. 

Nectar mattress: Save $400 + get $399 of FREE gifts at Nectar
Nectar is still running its biggest-ever offer on the popular Memory Foam mattress. Not only is there up to $400 off all sizes, you'll also get $399-worth of free accessories added to your mattress order - two premium pillows, a mattress protector and sheet set. That's incredible value. Deal ends: soon  
View Deal

best mattress in a box: GhostBed

(Image credit: GhostBed)

2. GhostBed Luxe mattress

The best luxury bed in a box - and the coolest mattress too

Firmness (1-10): 5.5 | Material: Memory foam | Depth: 13 inches | Sizes: 7 (twin - split king) | Availability: Online | Trial length: 101 days | Warranty: 25 years | Best for: All sleepers | RRP: $1,345 - $3,100

Exceptionally high quality
Superb pressure relief
Sleeps cool
May be too soft for some 

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. 

best mattress in a box: Zinus Pressure Relief Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress

(Image credit: Zinus)

3. Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress

The best cheap mattress in a box for tight budgets

Firmness (1-10): 5.9-6.6 | Material: Memory foam | Depth: 6-12 inches | Sizes: 7 (twin - split king) | Availability: Online | Trial length: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 years | Best for: All sleepers | RRP: $151 - $464

Best-selling mattress on Amazon
Charcoal particles minimize odor
Four different thickness options
Excellent value
Some find it too firm

Not only is the Zinus Green Tea the best mattress in a box for lower budgets, it’s also the top-rated memory foam mattress on Amazon, with an average score of 4.4 out of 5 from over 94,000 user reviews (March 2021). 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. The ‘short queen’ size is a favorite for campers, while the 10 and 12-inch models are the highest reviewed and preferred among users for optimal comfort. 

Whichever depth you choose, the mattress mixes a memory foam layer with an airflow-enhancing comfort foam layer to help you sleep cool, followed by a durable, high-density base support layer. Many user reviews comment that the Zinus Pressure Relief Green Tea Memory Foam mattress has ended back pain. Lots of people say they were surprised at how comfortable it was for the price, and report that it’s still maintaining the same level of support and comfort a few years into use. 

However, although this bed in a box mattress is designed to accommodate people who weigh up to 500 pounds, some heavier reviewers said they didn’t find it supportive enough. Also, a few people reported a strong off-gassing odor that remained longer than expected. That said, with 73 per cent of users on Amazon awarding the mattress a full five stars - plus the 100-night trial, and very low cost - there’s no reason not to try this brilliant, budget mattress in a box. 

best mattress in a box: Helix Midnight Luxe

(Image credit: Helix)

4. Helix Midnight Luxe mattress

The best hybrid bed-in-a-box mattress

Material: Memory foam and coils | Firmness (1-10): 5.5 | Depth: 14 inches | Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king | Availability: Online and in show rooms | Trial length: 100 nights | Warranty: 15 years | Best for: Side sleepers | RRP: $995 - $2,249

Zoned coils support hips
Great for side sleepers
Bouncier than all-foam mattresses
Some find it too firm

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.

best mattress in a box: Purple

(Image credit: Purple)

5. The Purple Mattress

The most innovative bed-in-a-box mattress in the US

Firmness (1-10): 6-7 | Material: Foam | Depth: 9.25 inches | Availability: Online and in store | Trial length: 100 days | Warranty: 10 years | Best for: All sleepers | RRP : $599 - $1,598

Super responsive
Excellent temperature regulation 
Ultra durable 
Cover not machine washable 

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.

best mattress in a box: Amerisleep AS2

(Image credit: Amerisleep)

6. Amerisleep AS2

The best mattress in a box for back pain

Firmness (1-10): 6.5 | Material: Memory foam | Depth: 12 inches | Availability: Online and in store | Trial length: 100 days | Warranty: 20 years | Best for: Back and stomach sleepers | RRP : $1,049 - $2,198

Very responsive
Ultra durable
Side sleepers may prefer the AS3
Some say edge support could be better

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.   

best mattress in a box: Avocado Green

(Image credit: Avocado)

7. Avocado Green mattress

The most eco-friendly mattress in a box

Firmness (1-10): 7 | Material: Organic foam and coils | Depth: 11 inches | Availability: Online | Trial length: 365 days | Warranty: 25 years | Best for: All sleepers | RRP : $899 - $1,799

All natural materials
Very little motion transfer
Some side sleepers find too firm
Expensive materials

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-per cent 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.

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