I'm a sleep writer, the best cheap mattresses all have these 5 key features

A couple go mattress shopping together
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As a sleep writer, I always recommend buying the best-quality mattress you can afford - which can often lead you towards shopping for a budget bed. While cheap mattresses may not have all the cutting-edge features of expensive models, there are still plenty of great budget-friendly beds out there that deliver excellent comfort, support, and value for money. 

When looking for the best mattress to suit your budget, it's important not to be influenced by price alone. An ultra-cheap mattress may seem like an amazing deal now, but it could cost you more in the long run. 

That's why I've compiled a list of the five essential features all the best cheap mattresses should have. So, if a cheap mattress has any of the following, then you know you're getting a lot of bang for your buck. Plus, we've rounded up some of our favourite affordable beds on the market today, which all meet our cheap mattress criteria.

The 5 key features of the best cheap mattresses

1. A warranty of at least 10 years

The average lifespan of the best cheap mattresses is eight to 10 years, so you should aim to replace your mattress after a decade of use. That's why a mattress warranty should be at least 10 years long, so you're covered for the whole time your mattress is in use. 

Mattress warranties cover issues such as premature sagging or manufacturing flaws, plus they are a good indication of how long the mattress is expected to last. For example, a 10 year warranty signals that your mattress has a minimum life expectancy of around 8 years. 

2. A CertiPUR-US certification

Man asleep on a bed, with CertiPUR-US logo overlaid

(Image credit: CertiPUR-US / Getty)

This isn't some fancy certification only awarded to the most premium mattresses. In fact, every mattress containing foam - no matter how small the price tag - should have this stamp of approval. The CertiPUR-US certification is awarded to mattresses as a way to verify that their foam meets certain safety and environmental standards.

To gain this certification the product must undergo rigorous testing to make sure it has low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions and is free of certain flame retardants that have negative environmental or medical effects. A CertiPUR-US certification is a good indication that your potential new mattress is non-toxic

3. A minimum depth of 10 inches

If you're wondering how thick a mattress should be, just remember this: no mattress under 10 inches in height is worth buying. Why? Because only a height of 10 inches or more is thick enough to support most adults and sleeping styles. Anything lower is only suitable for small children or those with mobility issues.

4. A reputable brand name

While you're never going to score a bargain from the best luxury mattress brands such as Saatva or Tempur-Pedic, that doesn't mean top-rated mattress brands don't offer budget-friendly models, too. Plenty of well-known sleep brands, such as Casper, DreamCloud, and Nectar offer the best mattresses under $1000 for a queen size.

Siena Mattress

(Image credit: Siena Sleep)

5. A trial period of at least 30 nights

When buying a mattress online, it's always a good idea to check if they offer a mattress trial, which allows you to sleep on the mattress at home for a certain number of nights, allowing you to test whether it rally is the right mattress for you. 

The minimum length of time to know whether a mattress is right for you is around 30 nights or 4 weeks, but the average sleep trial is usually 100 nights. Be wary if your looking at a cheap mattress marked as "final sale" as this means no returns or sleep trials are available. 

Our top picks for best cheap mattress

Siena Memory Foam Mattress: $499

Siena Memory Foam Mattress: <a href="https://siena.sjv.io/c/221109/1226250/15153?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sienasleep.com%2Fmattress" data-link-merchant="sienasleep.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">from $499 $199 at Siena Sleep
Boasting a 10-year warranty, 180-night sleep trial and free shipping and returns, this 10" all-foam bed ticks all of our boxes. Our <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/siena-memory-foam-mattress" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="sienasleep.com"">Siena Memory Foam mattress review praised this mattress for its excellent edge support, low motion transfer and good temperature regulation. Plus, with a permanent <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/deals/siena-mattress-deals" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="sienasleep.com"">Siena mattress deal that knocks up to 60% off, you don't have to be strategic about when you buy. 

The Dreamfoam Essential 10" Mattress$449 $338.80 at Brooklyn Bedding

The Dreamfoam Essential 10" Mattress: <a href="https://brooklynbedding.pxf.io/c/221109/1172830/14792?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fbrooklynbedding.com%2Fproducts%2Fbrooklyn-chill%2Ftwin-10-inch" data-link-merchant="brooklynbedding.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">from $449 $338.80 at Brooklyn Bedding
A 10" model available in a range of sizes, this mattress is great for RVs, kids, and those on a tight budget. The current evergreen 25% off spring sale means you'll never have to pay more than $700 for any model, and our <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/dreamfoam-essential-mattress-brooklyn-bedding" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="brooklynbedding.com"">DreamFoam Essential mattress review praised its comfort and support (and that review as for the 8" model, so the 10" is sure to be more luxurious and comfier). There's also 120-night sleep trial, 10-year warranty, and free shipping. 

Beautyrest®&nbsp;Select™$569 at Beautyrest

Beautyrest® Select™: <a href="https://beautyrest.7sb2uw.net/c/221109/689193/10598?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.beautyrest.com%2Fproducts%2Fbeautyrest-select" data-link-merchant="beautyrest.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">from $569 at Beautyrest
From trending sleep brand Beautyrest, the Beautyrest Select is a tad pricier than the other two picks, but all sizes are under $1,000. This hybrid mattress stands at a luxuriously thick 13 inches and is available in a Plsuh, Medium and Firm (this level of customisation is unheard of for budget mattresses). It also comes with a 100-night sleep trial, 10-year warranty, and free shipping and returns. 

Frances Daniels
Sleep Staff Writer

Frances Daniels recently joined the Tom's Guide team as Sleep Staff Writer, and her role includes covering all sleep and mattress news, in addition to mattress reviews and buyer's guides. Frances is a PPA-accredited journalist and is hugely interested in the relationship between good sleep and overall health. When not writing about sleep and mattresses for Tom's Guide, Frances enjoys writing about women's issues, health and wellbeing, the environment, and her native Wales.