Out of all the mattresses-in-a-box I've tested, these are the 3 I always recommend

Nectar mattress US
(Image credit: Nectar)

Are mattresses-in-a-box any good? Yes, and over the last decade, I would argue that they've improved so much that some of them even give the best traditional beds a run for their money. I would know – I've been testing mattresses for almost five years and some of my absolute favorites landed on my doorstep in a box. Below are my top three boxed beds, all of which cost less than $950 for a queen.

Savvy shoppers may notice that all of my choices not only have a place in our general best mattress guide, but they also share a parent company (Resident). While Resident may not have been the first player to enter the boxed bed scene, I think their mattresses stand out for offering the right balance of value and quality. Plus, Resident is known for offering the best extras in the sleep industry with a 1-year trial and a lifetime warranty included with most of its beds.

Of course, if you want to broaden your scope beyond Resident's offerings, take a look at our overall list of the best mattresses-in-a-box. Meanwhile, all of my picks are affordably priced but you'll have the potential to save even more during upcoming Memorial Day mattress sales. 

My top 3 mattresses-in-a-box picks

My All-Foam Pick: The Nectar Original
Was: 
Now:

My All-Foam Pick: The Nectar Original
Was:
From $699
Now:
<a href="https://nectar.xovt.net/c/221109/473932/8338?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nectarsleep.com%2Fmattress" data-link-merchant="nectarsleep.com"" target="_blank" rel="sponsored">From $359 at Nectar Sleep

Why I like it: Nectar is a brand many people think of when they hear 'bed-in-a-box' and for good reason. This memory foam mattress is among the most affordable out there but it doesn't skimp on quality. In my <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/nectar-mattress-review" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="nectarsleep.com"">Nectar Mattress review, I found it firmer than I had anticipated, but for side sleeping in particular It was comfortable and supportive. My test model included an upgraded cooling cover woven with polyethylene fibers, a major plus since foam is prone to trapping heat. Remarkably, I didn't overheat when sleeping on the Nectar, but for optimal relief from night sweats, I suggest taking a look at my <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/nectar-premier-copper-mattress-review" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="nectarsleep.com"">Nectar Premier Copper mattress review. If you share a bed with a fidgety partner, the Nectar's top-notch motion isolation should help you both sleep comfortably. However, heavier bodies (over 230lbs) may not find enough support here.

Price history: The current evergreen Nectar sale cuts 40% off, dropping the price of a queen-sized Nectar to $649. These are among the lowest prices we've tracked for the Nectar, and there's a possibility we'll see a flash sale that shaves even more money off in the lead-up to Memorial Day. Still, if you need a mattress right now, it's a great value.

Benefits: 365-night sleep trial | Lifetime warranty | free shipping 

My Hybrid Pick: The DreamCloud
Was:
Now:

My Hybrid Pick: The DreamCloud
Was:
From $839
Now:
<a href="https://dreamcloudsleep.xuok.net/c/221109/473934/8339?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dreamcloudsleep.com%2Fmattress" data-link-merchant="dreamcloudsleep.com"" target="_blank" rel="sponsored">From $419 at DreamCloud Sleep

Why I like it: The DreamCloud looks and feels like a mattress that's way beyond its mid-range price bracket, an impressive feat for a bed-in-a-box. Its cashmere-blend top cover gives it that luxe appearance while allowing the mattress to breathe. (The wrapped coils aid in airflow, as well.) In my <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/dreamcloud-mattress" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="dreamcloudsleep.com"">DreamCloud Mattress review, my fellow testers and I sang its praises for its pain relief. Those of us with sore backs and joints appreciated the gentle contouring of the top foam layers. (I think it's one of the <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-mattress-for-back-pain" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="dreamcloudsleep.com"">best mattresses for back pain, too.) While DreamCloud rates it a 6.5 (out of 10) in firmness, I felt it skewed closer to 8 so if you're not a fan of firm mattresses, this may not be it for you. (Consider spending a little more for a <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/dreamcloud-premier-hybrid-mattress" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="dreamcloudsleep.com"">DreamCloud Premier Hybrid mattress.)

Price history: The standard DreamCloud mattress sale cuts 50% off, which matched its previous flash sale offers. A queen is regularly discounted to $665 (was $1,332). You can't go wrong buying now, but if you prefer to wait for a better offer we may see a return of the 58% off flash sale we spotted in January.

Benefits: 365-night sleep trial | Lifetime warranty | free shipping 

My Organic Pick: The Awara Natural Hybrid
Was: 
Now:

My Organic Pick: The Awara Natural Hybrid
Was:
From $1,299
Now:
<a href="https://awarasleep.xwrk.net/c/221109/570759/9462?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.awarasleep.com%2Fmattress" data-link-merchant="awarasleep.com"" target="_blank" rel="sponsored">From $649 at Awara Sleep

Why I like it: Organic mattresses are known for using sustainably sourced, high-quality materials – and that often comes at a price. The Awara is an outlier among its rivals as it boasts a Dunlop latex comfort layer and an organic wool and cotton cover at a fraction of the cost of its rivals. The combo of springs and latex yields a firm, buoyant surface that combi back/stomach sleepers should like. (However, I found its subtle contouring comfy as a side sleeper, as I explain in my Awara Natural Hybrid mattress review.) Edge support is also excellent, but the bounciness of the Awara won't do much to help prevent sleep divorce among couples – invest in an <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/avocado-green-mattress" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="awarasleep.com"">Avocado Green mattress if you want an organic bed that handles motion transfer well.

Price history: The Awara received a 50% price cut from MSRP during Black Friday season 2023 and it's stuck around since. At $949 for a queen Awara mattress, it's the lowest price we've tracked. Could prices drop come Memorial Day?  Possibly, but you're still getting an incredible deal here.

Benefits: 365-night sleep trial | Lifetime warranty | free shipping 

How long do you have to wait to sleep on a mattress-in-a-box?

Boxed mattresses are convenient to ship, but not always easy to set up. Aside from some beds being clumsy to handle once you unbox and unwrap them, you'll also have to give them time to decompress. This can depend on how long your mattress has been boxed up; the longer it's been sealed away, the longer it'll take to expand.

You can sleep on a boxed bed the same night you set it up, but try to give yourself at least an 8-hour window. Even then, you might have to allow a few days for it to achieve its intended firmness and height. You may also have to wait for any off-gassing smells to dissipate, especially if the mattress has been boxed up for quite a while.

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.