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The best mattress 2021: top options for all budgets compared

best mattress 2021: Nectar Memory Foam
(Image credit: Nectar)

The best mattress will give you a fantastic night's sleep, without breaking your budget. But there's a lot of choice out there, so how do you find exactly the right one? That's where we can help.

We've spent hundreds of hours researching and reviewing the latest mattresses, sleeping on them ourselves, as well as collating feedback from thousands of users. We've ranked all the top-performing options here, in our best mattress guide, making sure there's an option for everyone. No matter your budget or sleeping style, whether you need extra pressure relief or advanced cooling capabilities, or have a preference for a certain material - memory foam, innersprings, latex and so on - we've got you covered. 

If you haven't done it before, buying a mattress online is easy. Once you've found one you like the sound of, you can have it delivered to your home to try for yourself in just a few clicks. It's a much more effective method for choosing the right mattress than a quick showroom test, and we've made sure that all our top picks come with at least a 100-night risk-free trial. If you choose one and decide it isn't right, you'll be refunded and the company will collect it.

May and November tend to be the best times of year for mattress deals (most brands are just a few weeks away from announcing their Memorial Day mattress sales). But as you'll see below, the majority of leading brands offer very good discounts all year round - and there are some competitive offers now in the spring sales. Read on for our pick of the best mattresses for all budgets.  

The best mattress in 2021 - as reviewed by experts

best mattress: Nectar Memory Foam

(Image credit: Nectar)

1. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

The best mattress overall - it's exceptional value for money

Type: mattress in a box | Firmness (1-10): 6.5 | Material: memory foam | Height: 12 inches | Availability: online and some retailers | Trial length: 365 days | Warranty: lifetime | Best for: all sleepers | MSRP: $798 - $1,398

Very comfortable and supportive
Outstanding value for money
Huge trial and forever warranty
Not as bouncy as a spring mattress

When it comes to sheer value for money, the best-selling Nectar Memory Foam mattress is tough to beat. This all-foam, medium-firm, mattress in a box delivers superb comfort and support - and for a lot less than the competition. We tested it for two months and loved sleeping on it. The five layers of foam contour to your body, providing excellent pressure relief around your shoulders, hips and back, while also helping align your spine. We also found temperature regulation to be very good for a memory foam mattress. We didn’t overheat once at night, even during the hot summer months. 

This mattress is a very good choice for couples. It absorbs motion impressively well, so you won’t be disturbed by a restless partner. We found the edge support to be sturdier than most other memory foam mattresses too. We could sleep right up to the perimeter, which made it feel wider. 

Where the Nectar Memory Foam mattress really stands out, of course, is value. Thanks to a permanent $400 discount on most sizes, it’s dramatically cheaper than the competition, undercutting Casper and Purple by a few hundred dollars - and come with $399 of free gifts too. There’s also an industry-leading year-long trial, free shipping and returns, and a lifetime warranty, all of which makes it a very compelling proposition indeed.

Memory foam isn’t for everyone, so if you like the sound of the Nectar mattress (and want the free gifts) but prefer to sleep on top of your mattress rather than sinking into it, we'd recommend the hybrid DreamCloud at number seven. And if you have a bigger budget to play with, the luxury Saatva Classic mattress at number two is glorious. But Nectar beats them all on sheer value for money: if you’re looking for an extremely comfortable mattress and want the most bang for your buck, it's easily the best mattress around.

Nectar mattress: Save $400 + get $399 of free gifts at Nectar
The best place to buy the popular Nectar mattress is directly at Nectar, where the company is still running its biggest-ever offer: there's up to a $400 discount, and you'll get two pillows, a mattress protector and sheet set worth $399 added to your order, free. Plus, you'll get a 365-night trial and forever warranty.
View Deal

Best mattress: Saatva ClassicTop Pick

(Image credit: Saatva)

2. Saatva Classic mattress

The best luxury mattress - hotel comfort for less than its rivals

Type: traditional | Firmness (1-10): 3, 5.5, or 8 | Material: hybrid (coils and foam) | Height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches | Availability: online | Trial length: 180 days | Best for: all sleepers | Warranty: 15-year limited | MSRP: $849 - $2,099

Can customize firmness and height
More affordable than luxury rivals 
Free white glove delivery
$99 fee to refund or exchange 

The flagship Saatva Classic is a premium, hotel-quality mattress from luxury online brand Saatva. On quality alone, it’s the best mattress we’ve tested so far - the only reason it doesn’t take the top spot in our guide is the $1,000-plus price tag. But if you have the budget, this high-end hybrid innerspring is a sound investment and delivers a stunning night’s sleep.

One big selling point is how customizable it is. The Saatva Classic comes in soft, medium and firm versions, and your choice of height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches. We tested the 11.5-inch luxury firm option and were impressed: premium, eco-friendly foams and a plush pillow top provide soft cushioning, while a super-durable, dual steel coil system delivers exceptional support for your lower back. The Saatva Classic has been awarded a Seal of Approval from the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, and the luxury firm option is a great choice for anyone suffering from back pain. 

We love how buoyant this mattress is: you won’t sink into it while you sleep, which is good news for anyone who tends to overheat at night - we consistently slept cool. (If you do want the ‘hugging’ sensation that comes with memory foam, you’ll be better off with the Nectar above, or the Cocoon Chill at number six.) It's also durable. Some of our reviewers are one year in now, and their mattress is still performing well. Edge support, in particular, is as firm as it was 12 months ago, and we'd recommend it for anyone who struggles to get in and out of bed.

All this quality comes at a cost, of course. The Saatva Classic isn’t the cheapest option in our best mattress guide - but it is very good value for a premium mattress, undercutting its luxury hybrid rivals by up to a few hundred dollars. Plus it comes with free white glove delivery to the room of your choice, and a 180-night trial. If you're looking for pure luxury at an affordable price, this is it.

Saatva Classic: save $200 when you spend $1,000 at Saatva
Right now, there’s a $200 discount on the luxury Saatva Classic mattress when you spend $1,000 or more at Saatva. The only size this offer doesn’t apply to is the twin, which is priced at $799, but if you add bedding or a base to get your order over $1,000, you’ll be eligible for the discount. .View Deal

best mattress: Tuft & Needle

(Image credit: Tuft & Needle)

3. Tuft & Needle Original Mattress

The best mattress for lower budgets

Type: mattress in a box | Firmness (1-10): 6 | Material: foam | Height: 10 inches | Availability: online and retail showrooms | Trial length: 100 days | Warranty: 10-year limited | Best for: all sleepers | MSRP: $350 - $750

Customers rave about the service
Good for overall pressure relief
Experienced company
Edge support isn't great

The Tuft & Needle Original mattress is a very good budget mattress. It isn’t the cheapest in our guide - that’s the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress at number 10 - but when it comes to balancing performance with price, this no-frills mattress has a lot to offer. 

Made from two layers of foam, the Tuft & Needle Original is a surprisingly supportive medium-firm mattress. There’s no memory foam here, so you don’t get the contouring you’d expect from the other options in our best mattress guide, but we found T&N’s adaptive foam to be responsive, with good cushioning and pressure relief for back and side sleeping. 

Stomach sleeping wasn’t quite as comfortable, however - we’d have liked a little more support. Also, it’s worth noting that despite the mattress’s various cooling features (graphite and cooling gel), we woke up in a sweat a few times. If you're prone to overheating and need a budget mattress, we'd recommend a hybrid instead, such as the Allswell mattress at number nine.

Still, despite a few complaints about indents appearing after a year or so of use, the Tuft & Needle Original mattress has racked up over 40,000 positive user reviews across the T&N site, Amazon, Google and Yelp. And that’s because it's good at the basics. If you can do without the bells and whistles of more premium options, it’s a top choice for a budget mattress.

best mattress: Purple

(Image credit: Purple)

4. The Purple Mattress

The most innovative mattress in the US

Type: mattress in a box | Firmness (1-10): 6 | Material: foam | Height: 9.25 inches | Availability: online and some stores | Trial length: 100 days | Warranty: 10 years | Best for: All sleepers | MSRP: $649 - $1,449

Super responsive
Excellent temperature regulation 
Ultra durable 
Cover not machine washable 

The Purple mattress offers a premium night’s sleep at a mid-range price. Made by one of the most innovative mattress brands in the US, it stands out thanks to its unique ‘Purple grid’ technology. This patented material is a dynamic, hyper-elastic gel-like foam that instantly adapts and flexes under your body to deliver tailored support right where you need it.

We gave the Purple mattress high marks across the board when we reviewed it. It was easy to order, and when it arrived it was fairly simple for two people to unpack and unroll, with no off gassing or plastic smell. It does feel different to other foam mattresses: the gel grid instantly responds to movement, cradling pressure points and aligning your spine, and springing back into place when you adjust your position. We felt like we were floating, cushioned by the soft, plush top, while also being supported by the surprisingly firm durable base layers.

The Purple mattress is a particularly good choice for couples - the grid does an excellent job of isolating movement, so you won’t be disturbed by tossing and turning. It’s also a great option for anyone who overheats at night. There are over 2,800 open air channels to allow cooling throughout the mattress, plus breathable foams and a soft flex cover help prevent heat from building up. Not everyone gets on with the Purple grid - some people report that the unique soft but supportive feel takes a while to get used to. We say it’s totally worth the wait.

Purple mattress: save up to $300 with a bundle at Purple
Purple's knocked $100 off its flagship Purple mattress - but you can bump the saving up to $300 if you add a bundle to your order. There are a few different bundle options to choose between, each adding different products to give you a different saving, so you can choose the one that you prefer. View Deal

best mattress: The Helix Midnight

(Image credit: Helix)

5. The Helix Midnight

The best mattress for side sleepers

Type: mattress in a box | Firmness (1-10): 6 | Material: Hybrid (foam and coils) | Height: 12 inches | Availability: online | Trial length: 100 days | Warranty: 10 years | Best for: Side sleepers | MSRP: $600 - $1,249

Very good for couples
Great edge support
Sleeps cool
Some reviewers found it too firm

While all the top picks in our best mattress guide are well-suited to side sleepers, only one has been specifically designed for people who prefer this sleeping position: the Helix Midnight. This medium-firm hybrid is the brand’s most popular mattress, with five layers that are designed to support your body’s contours and cushion your shoulders and hips while you're sleeping on your side. Soothing memory foam and dynamic polyfoam hug your body and relieve pressure, while hundreds of individual coils cradle your body, provide extra support, and limit motion transfer.

We particularly like Helix as a brand because aside from making brilliant mattresses, the company also has one of the best websites for buying a mattress online. If you’re doing this for the first time, you’ll find a handy sleep quiz on the site that will help you decide whether the Helix Midnight is the best mattress for your sleeping style and preferences, or whether you (and your partner) might be better suited to another model from Helix’s excellent range.

Helix Midnight Mattress: save up to $150 + 2 free pillows
You can get a $100 discount on the Midnight mattress and two free Dream pillows in Helix's sale - just add discount code SPRINGSALE100 at checkout. Or, if you spend over $1,250, use code: SPRINGSALE150 for a $150 discount and two free pillows.View Deal

best mattress: Cocoon by Sealy Chill

(Image credit: Cocoon by Sealy)

6. Cocoon Chill mattress

The most affordable cooling mattress

Type: mattress in a box | Firmness (1-10): 6 | Material: memory foam | Height: 10 inches | Availability: online | Trial length: 100 days | Warranty: 10 years | Best for: all sleepers | MSRP: $730 - $1,310

Great temperature-regulation
Luxury contouring
Fully supportive
Some may find too soft

The Cocoon Chill is a premium memory foam mattress made by industry giant and household name Sealy. 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. 

But where the Cocoon Chill really stands out is its high-end stretch-knit cooling cover. It’s infused with phase-change material, which absorbs and dissipates heat from your body and helps you stay sweat free all night. It means this all-foam mattress is much cooler than lots of its rivals - as confirmed by many of the over 5,000 customers who have given it full five-star reviews on the Cocoon By Sealy website (it averages an excellent score of 4.7 out of 5 from over 9,000 user reviews). 

We've seen from our own data just how popular this mattress is with readers. That's why we called one in for review, and we'll be publishing the full results soon. In the meantime, it's safe to say we highly recommend it, with top marks for its comfort and cooling abilities, and superior marks for motion isolation and lack of sound. Given that it comes with a 100-night risk-free trial and free shipping, we think it’s worth finding out what all the fuss is about. 

Cocoon Chill mattress: save 35% + get free pillows and sheets
Sealy is still running its biggest-ever sale, but the company threatens to end it soon. For now though there's still a whopping 35% off the premium Cocoon Chill memory foam mattress, and you also get two free pillows and a sheet set worth up to $199 thrown in. Bargain.View Deal

best mattress: The DreamCloud

(Image credit: DreamCloud)

7. The DreamCloud mattress

A brilliant hybrid alternative to the all-foam Nectar mattress

Type: mattress in a box | Firmness (1-10): 6.5 | Material: hybrid (foam and coils) | Height: 14 inches | Availability: online | Trial length: 365 days | Warranty: lifetime | Best for: all sleepers | MSRP: $799 - $1,299

Sleeps cool
Hotel-quality comfort
Responsive, innerspring feel
Some may find too tall

If you liked the sound of the Nectar mattress at number one but don’t want an all-foam option, we highly recommend trying the DreamCloud. This popular, luxury hybrid mattress is sold at a lower-mid-range price: it isn't quite as plush as the premium Saatva Classic, but it's a few hundred dollars cheaper and comes with free pillows (plus free sheets and a mattress protector in the current sale too). 

At 14 inches, this medium-firm mattress is one of the tallest in our guide, and it comes packed with five generous layers that offer firm, responsive support as well as deep, soft cushioning. 

The core of the mattress consists of a layer of individually wrapped coils. These provide custom relief by adapting to your body shape, and give the DreamCloud a traditional innerspring mattress feel, with more bounce than you’ll get from an all-foam option. The springs also boost airflow, helping dissipate heat during the night. Above these sit a gel memory foam layer, which is designed to contour to your body, cradling your shoulders, hips and other pressure points. There’s also a cooling, quilted cashmere cover on top. 

Existing users love it: the DreamCloud averages a full five stars from almost 3,000 reviews on the DreamCloud website, and 4.2 out of 5 on independent review site TrustPilot, from a smaller pool of 800 users. The majority of reviewers comment on how comfortable the mattress is, how much better they sleep now, and how good the customer service is at DreamCloud. A few users say that edge support could be a little better for sitting on the side of the bed. 

Bear in mind that the DreamCloud is heavier than some other mattresses (a queen size weighs 85lbs compared to Nectar’s 74lbs, while a king size weighs 107lbs) so you’ll want two people to move it. Alternatively, in non-covid times you can pay an extra $149 for white glove delivery. We love that the DreamCloud comes with a huge 365-night trial and forever warranty. Shipping and returns are also free, which makes testing this mattress at home incredibly easy. 

DreamCloud mattress: $200 off + $399 of free gifts
There's a generous $200 discount on the luxury hybrid mattress when you buy it directly from DreamCloud - plus you'll get $399-worth of free gifts thrown in (cooling pillows, a sheet set and a mattress protector to keep your mattress box-fresh for longer). With a year-long trial and forever warranty, it's great value.View Deal

best mattress: Avocado Green Mattress

(Image credit: Avocado)

8. Avocado Green Mattress

The best mattress for those who want to go organic

Type: mattress in a box | Firmness (1-10): 5.5 | Material: hybrid (natural latex and springs) | Height: 11 inches, or 13 with pillow top | Availability: online | Trial length: 365 days | Warranty: 25 years | Best for: eco-conscious users | MSRP: $899 - $1,799

Made with non-toxic materials
Doesn't get too hot
Very durable
Some motion transfer

The Avocado Green mattress is the best organic mattress you can buy. Made from non-toxic, eco-friendly materials, this high-quality hybrid mattress offers a luxurious, gentle-but-firm sleeping environment, and has outstanding green credentials. 

Customers certainly love it. The Avocado Green mattress boasts an average score of 4.7 out of 5 from over 12,000 reviews on the Avocado website. Many people praise how comfortable it is - and some say their back pain has disappeared. There are two different versions to choose between: standard, which is 11 inches deep; or pillow top, which adds an extra two inches of luxury support. 

Both are made from premium, natural materials, including ethically sourced GOLS organic certified latex, wool, and cotton (GOLS is a global textile processing standard for organic fibers). There are also 1,414 pocketed coils to distribute your weight more evenly. And it’s incredibly resilient: this is one of the most durable mattresses you can buy. If you're looking for a comfortable, supportive, and sustainably produced mattress with no chemicals, you won't find better.

Best mattress: Allswell Hybrid Mattress

(Image credit: Allswell)

9. The Allswell Mattress

A great-value budget hybrid mattress

Type: mattress in a box | Firmness (1-10): 5 | Material: hybrid (foam and coils) | Height: 10 inches | Availability: online | Trial length: 100 days | Warranty: 10 years | Best for: lower budgets | MSRP: $265 - $475

Good value for money 
Great for kids' or guest rooms
Firmer than some people expected
No machine-washable cover

The Allswell is a hybrid bed-in-a-box mattress made from memory foam and coils. Backed by Walmart, it aims to deliver ‘luxury’ at a budget price - and while it doesn’t compare to mattresses that cost more, many reviewers say it does a good job for the money.

Inside, a generous layer of individually wrapped coils help reduce motion transfer, making it a good choice for couples. On top, cooling, breathable memory foam provides cushioning and extra support, while also preventing you from overheating. Allswell classifies the mattress as medium-firm.

Like the Nectar, The Allswell is a bed in a box. It'll be shipped for free and arrive at your door rolled-up in a conveniently sized box, ready to sleep on within 24-48 hours. It also comes with a 100-night trial and 10-year warranty. 

Bear in mind that some premium features have been sacrificed to achieve the budget price tag. It doesn't have a removable cover, for example. There also isn't a discount on this one in Allswell's holiday sale. Nevertheless, The Allswell mattress offers good value for money. If you're looking for a quality, budget option, it's one of the best mattresses you can buy. 

best mattress: Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam

(Image credit: Zinus)

10. Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress

The best mattress under $300 - cheap and cheerful

Type: mattress in a box | Firmness (1-10): 6 | Material: foam | Height: 6-12 inches | Availability: online and retail showrooms | Trial length: 100 days | Warranty: 10 years | Best for: tight budgets | MSRP: $151 - $464

Amazon best seller
Different thickness options
Thicker options cost more
Some find too warm

The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam isn’t the best mattress you can buy - let’s clear that up straight away. As you’ll have seen in this guide, there are plenty of higher-end options with luxury materials and more advanced features. But if you’re on a tight budget, or looking to furnish a spare room without breaking the bank, this Amazon best-seller is very good indeed and well worth considering. 

The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam is an all-foam mattress. As the name suggests, it features green tea-infused memory foam, plus purified charcoal particles, which aim to neutralize odors and absorb moisture. It comes in a range of different thickness options: 6, 8, 10 and 12 inches, and the price increases with depth. 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…)

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. It's also racked up a ridiculous amount of positive user reviews on Amazon - over 94,000 (April 2021), with an impressive average score of 4.4 out of 5. 

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 all in all, we think the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress is popular for good reason. If you’re looking for affordable support and comfort, or want to give memory foam a try for the first time, it’s a top choice for the money.

How to choose the best mattress

There are two golden rules to follow when buying a new mattress. Firstly, make sure you choose the right size. How? Well, a good rule of thumb is that your mattress should be 10cm longer than the tallest person sleeping in it. 

If you're sharing a bed, you and your partner should also be able to put your hands under your head without your elbows touching. If you're not sharing a bed, you want to be able to put your hands under your head without touching the edges of the mattress. Measure that distance, and as long as you choose a mattress that's wider than that, you're good. 

Secondly, make sure it's the right firmness. The best way to do this is by sleeping on the mattress for a few weeks - which is why all the best mattresses come with a risk-free trial period.

However, if you're testing a mattress in a showroom, there's a quick trick you can use to increase your chances of choosing an option that's right for you. Lie down and place your hand in the small of your back: if there's a big gap, it's too firm; if there's no gap, the mattress is too soft. Of course, this isn't a fool-proof test - you do need to sleep on a mattress to be sure - but it's a good way to narrow down options in a showroom. 

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Key considerations before buying a mattress

Bear in mind that mattresses are subjective. How firm or soft you find a mattress depends on a wide range of factors, including your weight, height, body shape, sleeping style, and body temperature. That means that every mattress's comfort level is relative, so each person (and mattress company) may gauge a firmness level differently. What feels supportive and pressure-relieving to you may feel too firm to someone else, even if you're both side sleepers and about the same height and weight. 

Keep this in mind when noting our "firmness gauge", which ranges from 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest. (Also, be aware that firmness ratings aren't regulated and can vary across brands.) The only way to know whether a mattress is right for you is to sleep on it - which is why all our selections here come with a risk-free trial. If you don't like one, you can send it back and try another. 

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Which is the best type of mattress?

There are a lot of different types of mattresses to choose between, and on first glance they can all seem a little overwhelming. But they needn't be: mattress materials have advanced dramatically over the last five years, and the differences between each are increasingly negligible. 

We've spent hours researching and reviewing the latest mattresses, and have pulled together a list of outstanding options here. We believe that you should be able to pick any of the options in our best mattress guide and be extremely happy with your choice, regardless of whether it's made from copper-infused memory foam, coils, latex or a cutting-edge combination of all-natural materials.

However, it can be helpful to know what each mattress material is before you make your final choice - so here we've walked through the different options. As you'll see, each has its pros and cons...  

Memory foam is a good option for anyone who likes to feel 'hugged' by their mattress. It uses your body heat to mold to your shape, providing tailored support at pressure points and all-over cushioning. Traditionally it's not been the best choice for anyone who tends to overheat at night, but memory foam has come a long way in recent years, and the best memory foam mattresses tend to come packed with special cooling materials. 

Spring mattresses have more bounce than memory foam, and can be cheaper. Traditionally they were a good choice for anyone who sleeps hot, due to the increased airflow throughout the mattress, but advancements in materials across the board means that's not necessarily the case now.

Hybrids can bring you the best of both worlds: the tailored support of foam, with the subtle bounce and increased airflow of springs. The coils in hybrid are usually smaller, though, and you'll have less memory foam too. Meanwhile, latex is a super durable material and a good choice if you want your mattress to really last. 

However, really, these days, all the materials have improved so much that there's little to tell the difference between them in reality. Again, we advise making use of the trial periods to find the best mattress for your specific preferences. 

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Mattress sizes

Most of the options listed in our best mattress guide are available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king and California king sizes - some come in split options too, which enable you to choose a different firmness to your partner. 

Generally speaking, the bigger the mattress, the higher the price. Most of the twin mattresses are a few hundred dollars less and the king and California king mattresses average about $200 more than the queen size.  Hybrid mattresses and Luxe or Premier versions generally cost more than the basic/original mattress prices listed.

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