HOW WE DECIDED
Selecting The Most Affordable And Comfortable Mattresses
Shopping for a new bed in a box mattress online can be difficult, especially when you’re looking for bed that is affordable, yet also comfortable and durable. Lucky for you, we’ve tested well over 100 of the most popular online mattresses ranging from $200 beds to $4,000 luxury mattresses. As such, we feel like we have a pretty good grasp of the current market offerings and which budget beds offer the most value to consumers. Whether you’re after a firm mattress or just the best value available, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to.
- Best Cheap Memory Foam Mattress – Nectar
- Affordable Bed In A Box – Tuft & Needle
- Best Budget Foam Mattress – Casper Element
- Inexpensive Hybrid Mattress – Brooklyn Bowery
- Best Value Mattress on Amazon – Lucid Hybrid
In order to put together this list, we had to make one major assumption concerning price. In short, each online mattress on this list costs around $700 for a queen size after taking into consideration discounts and coupon codes. In other words, they’re all a good value.
We feel like this is a fair and approachable price point for most consumers on a tight budget given the average queen size bed in a box costs around $1,000. If $700 is a little too steep for you, don’t worry, we’ve also included options on this list in the $200-$400 range. Conversely, if you have a budget that is slightly above $700, you might want to check out our list of the Best Mattresses Under $1,000. If we’re talking about an affordable king mattress, the price would be around $1.5K or under. Now, that’s not cheap, but it is in our affordable range. Without further adieu, let’s get to the list.
|AT A GLANCE||PRICING||HEADLINE|
|Memory Foam Popular Pick!||Free Gifts w/ Mattress Purchase||Nectar could be the most popular memory foam mattress online. It’s affordable, comfortable, and usually comes with free pillows.|
|Soft Foam||Check Current Offers Applied in Cart||Tuft & Needle is quite possibly the most popular budget mattress online. The bed is comfortable and accommodates all types of sleepers.|
|Soft Foam||Check Current Offers Applied in Cart||The Element is Casper’s budget-tier mattress that’s made with two layers of foam.|
|Soft Foam Value Pick!||25% Off Code: INDEPENDENCE25||Bower Hybrid is an RV mattress that has coils for support and is made in the USA.|
|Memory Foam||See on Amazon Applied in Cart||The Lucid 10″ Memory Foam Hybrid is a budget-tier coil mattress that’s comfortable despite being cheap.|
Mattress Construction & Foam Layers
The construction of bed in a box mattress significantly plays into its cost because certain materials are more expensive than others. Also, if a mattress has a several-layer construction that comes together to form a 13″ thick bed, it’s going to cost more than a 10″ three-layer construction. The more material used, the more money required. It’s pretty logical, really. Having said that, value is distinct from price.
When it comes to materials, there are basically two categories: foam and coils. Of course, within those categories you have various options. For example, a bed can be made with memory foam, latex foam, poly foam, or a combination of those. A bed with coils may have pocketed coils or traditional innersprings.
Generally speaking, a cheap foam mattress is usually more affordable than a hybrid mattress that incorporates both some kind of foam and usually pocketed coils. We are, however, seeing more and more and more budget hybrid mattresses on the market as this whole online mattress space expands. We’ve even seen some of the prices drop to where the hybrid mattresses are quite affordable, comparatively speaking.
And as aside, when you are purchasing a foam mattress in a box online, you’ll want to look for one that is CeriPUR-US certified. This just means that it’s manufactured safely and without chemicals that could be harmful to you or the environment.
Even more, if you’re after a cheap firm mattress, you really don’t care about the construction in the support layers—it’s really all about the comfort layers. Same thing goes for a plush mattress.
Different Mattress Sizes
When you’re discussing cheap mattresses you have to ground the conversation by discussing the mattress size first. For instance, if you’re looking for a cheap queen size mattress, you usually are looking for a bed in the $300-$700 range. That is after-discount, but still, you get the point. Obviously, if you get a smaller size, it will be more affordable.
If you’re looking for an affordable king size mattress, the pricing is typically around $1,200 if you want to be in the “wall-friendly” sphere. To be honest, it’s not easy to find cheap king beds because most of the time you’re still looking at a price tag of at least $900. Having said that, we did our very best to identify some beds that are affordable for the king size.
Best Cheap Memory Foam Mattress
Nectar is one of the most popular budget bed in a box mattresses on the market. It’s an annual choice on this list and for good reason—it’s just a solid memory foam mattress all things considered. Unlike some inexpensive memory foam mattresses, though, Nectar has more of a viscose memory foam feel. As such, it provides more support than the typical memory foam bed, yet is still a comfortable mattress.
In fact, we think it’s around a medium (maybe a medium-firm) on the firmness scale. As a result, heavier folks may find that the bed is a little more supportive than the typical budget foam bed.
Lastly, not only does is this an affordable memory foam mattress, you almost always get two free pillows ($150 value) with your purchase. If you recently moved or you’re just tired of your current bedroom setup, the Nectar mattress plus pillow combination deal is hard to pass up if you’re on a tight budget. The company also sometimes offers discounts in the $100 range so keep an eye out for that.
In terms of the best price for Nectar, that is likely about $700 for the queen, plus some sort of accessory. For the king mattress, it’s affordable as well, and we usually see it go for around $1,000.
Affordable Bed In A Box
Tuft & Needle was one of the first players in the mattress in a box industry and is often credited for bringing the concept into the mainstream spotlight. This gave the company a huge leg up in terms of brand awareness and still to this day, Tuft & Needle is sort of known as THE BUDGET MATTRESS in the online industry.
The Tuft & Needle mattress is an all-foam bed that a has neutral, soft foam feel. It comes in around a medium on the firmness scale, making it a great option for back, stomach, side, and combo sleepers. There is a good chance that you will consider this the most comfortable affordable mattress.
Like most of the beds on this list, Tuft & Needle also performs well in terms of limiting motion transfer and edge support. That means couples sharing a queen size bed (or smaller) will be just fine.
Overall, Tuft & Needle is a solid mattress that we couldn’t leave off this list. Look, if you’re tired of mattress shopping and just want to go with a trusted brand and get a generally comfortable mattress that performs well in almost all categories, Tuft & Needle is your meal ticket.
How can you mention Tuft & Needle, though, without mentioning the price? After all, this very well could be the best cheap foam mattress. Last we checked, the best price for the queen mattress was about $600, but you can visit T&N’s website for current prices/deals.
Best Budget Foam Mattress
We are big fans of this bed. Casper first introduced the Element in early 2020 to compete in the budget mattress in a box space. And we have to say, they hit it out of the park. The Element checks a lot of boxes. We see it as a cheaper alternative to the popular Casper mattress.
The Element has soft, neutral-foam feel and also comes in around a medium+ on the firmness scale. This means not only will the majority of people out there like the feel of the bed, but it will also accommodate all sleeper types. It doesn’t matter whether you sleep on your side, your back, or your stomach. The Element finds a nice balance between pressure relief and support, and should be a comfortable mattress for a lot of people.
The Element is also a good choice for couples who share a smaller size bed (full size or queen). First, the mattress limits motion transfer extremely well. This is helpful when one (or both) partners tend to toss and turn or get up a lot during the night. This means you won’t be bothering or waking each other up every time you turn over.
The mattress also has fairly good edge support for an all-foam bed. Sure, innerspring or hybrid mattresses might be better in this regard, but the Element holds its own among other foam beds.
Lastly, the Element is on this list for a reason, right? It’s very affordable. Overall, the Element is a value mattress in a box considering all that it offers. For the king size mattress, it’s in the budget realm as well. Last time we were on Casper.com, the Element was ~$800 for the king mattress, which is just bonkers. There are definitely some people that will call it the best mattress for cheap, that’s for sure.
Inexpensive Hybrid Mattress
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Brooklyn Bedding, the company makes their own mattresses, unlike most online mattress in a box brands.
Technically, there are two different Bowery mattresses. There is the original mattress and Bower Hybrid, which contains coils and is an affordable firm mattress. To be specific, the bed contains individually pocketed coils, which serve as the primary support structure for the mattress. Generally speaking, coils are preferable to foam foundations as they tend to be more supportive and durable over the long-haul. As such, we think the Bowery Hybrid mattress is a good choice for people of all shapes and sizes.
In terms of firmness and feel, we think Bowery Hybrid is a firm mattress with a neutral-foam feel—technically it lands around a medium-firm on the firmness scale. Overall, we think the mattress is most ideal for back, stomach and combination sleepers. If you’re a strict side sleeper, you’ll likely be just fine, however, you’d probably prefer a bed like Nectar or T&N (mentioned above) that offer a little more pressure relief for your hips and shoulders.
Moving on, let’s get to the best part about this mattress…its price! The queen size Bowery Hybrid mattress has a MSRP of $800, however, you can often use a discount code to make the mattress even cheaper. We’ve seen the queen size drop down around $650 before. That’s crazy considering the high-quality construction of the mattress.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a comfy, well-made mattress for the one of the cheapest prices possible, it’s hard to find a better option than Bowery Hybrid. We would for sure put it on a short list of the best budget hybrid mattresses online.
Best Value Mattress on Amazon
Like the Bowery Hybrid mattress, the Lucid Memory Foam Hybrid incorporates both coils and layers of foam. However, despite its title, the mattress doesn’t have a prototypical memory foam feel. We’d say it actually has more of blended feel sort of between that of neutral foam and memory foam. Overall, we think the majority of people out there will find the bed to be quite comfortable.
Moving on, the bed comes in around a medium on the firmness scale, making it great for all kinds of sleepers. It provides enough pressure relief for side sleepers and a good amount of support for back and stomach sleepers.
Speaking of support, this is one area where this Lucid mattress performs well. As previously stated, the bed has coils, which are not only more durable than support foam, but also provide a little bi-directional support (i.e. the coils compress and push back). This makes this mattress a good option for heavier individuals (250 lb+) on a budget.
Lucid is a brand that is known for providing solid beds at very low price points and this mattress is no exception. You can often find a queen size below the $300 mark, but pricing is constantly changing, so you might want keep an eye out an Amazon. Despite being a hybrid mattress, this is also a fairly inexpensive memory foam mattress.
Policies For Bed In A Box Mattresses
Let’s quickly review how this whole bed in a box concept works. All of the products on this list are considered value mattresses for the price, meaning they ship for free and arrive at your doorstep rolled-up and compressed in a box (hence the name: mattress in a box). Once you unroll and unbox the mattress (shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes), make sure to let it inflate for about 24-48 hours before using it.
Once you get your new affordable mattress all set up and ready to go, pretty much all online mattresses give you a risk-free trial period to test out the bed. If you decide you don’t like the mattress during this trial period, just give the company a call and they will send someone to your house or apartment to pick it up and issue you a refund (usually between 8-10 days). Now, the industry standard is a 100-night trial, but some companies offer less and some more. For example, Nectar is a value mattress in a box that gives you 365 nights to test out the bed.
At the other end of the spectrum are mattresses you purchase on Amazon, otherwise largely known as inexpensive memory foam mattresses. If you go this route, you’ll basically be constrained to the retailer’s return policy (30 days) as your trial period. In certain instances, there are also other hoops you may have to jump through to return a mattress purchased via a retailer, so keep that in mind.
Beyond the trial period, most companies also back their beds with an extended warranty. The industry standard when it comes to this is 10 years, which should be more than enough time for most people. However, there are some companies that go above and beyond. For example, Nest Bedding offers a lifetime warranty. If you’re looking for an especially cheap queen mattress for the price, chances are the trial period will be 100 nights or under.
Consider Who Will Sleep On The Bed
When you’re looking for an inexpensive bed for two people, there are a few extra items to take into consideration. You want to be sure you choose a mattress that is comfortable for each sleeper. But this is also something to think about when deciding how much you’re willing to spend on a bed. Like with most other products, you pay more for more features.
But maybe you don’t need all those features. Maybe you’re a single person and you weigh 105 lb. You won’t need to spend as much to get a bed that will be comfortable for you. But say you’re a couple. Say one of you is a 200 lb back sleeper, and the other is a 140 lb side sleeper. In that case, you’ll need to spend more in order to get a mattress that let’s both of you sleep well.
Couples also want to look for an affordable mattress that has solid edge support. Particularly if you’re trying to save some money by opting for a queen rather than a king size bed. Couples should also consider motion transfer control. If a mattress has poor motion transfer control, one of you may end up jostled awake at night when the other turns over or gets up for a midnight snack.
Another point to discuss is the size of the mattress. If you have two people on the bed, you really need to consider the whether you get a queen size or king size mattress. The truth is that the king size bed offers 25% more space than the queen bed. That obviously means that it will be better for two people, particularly if they are “active” sleepers. If you ask us, if you’ve got the money, you should get a value king mattress.
Sleeper Type Analysis
It’s also important to shop for your sleeper type when you’re looking for a new mattress in a box. Whether you sleep on your back, stomach, side, or a combination of them all determines whether you get a firm mattress or a softer one.
If you’re a back sleeper or stomach sleeper, you need a firmer bed that provides support around your hips and trunk area to maintain proper alignment. If the bed is too soft, your hips will sink uncomfortably and you’ll likely wake up sore.
For side sleepers or combo sleepers, the mattress should be a bit softer with some give. That softer construction allows for pressure relief where you need it when sleeping on your side. Combo sleepers, however, can (and probably should) get away with a bed that’s a little firmer than what a strictly side sleeper would prefer.
It’s also important to remember that your size and body type will effect how a bed feels to you. A heavier person may think a certain mattress is quite soft, while that same mattress might be a medium-firm for someone who is very petite. Typically, heavy people lean toward getting a firm mattress only because they know it will appear softer to them.
Weight Affects How A Mattress Feels
We try to include this disclaimer in every written review and video that we make: Every mattress will feel different to each person based on weight and overall body type.
Generally, when we’re talking about how a bed feels, we’re talking in terms of how it will feel for the average sized person. If we want to make a point about a mattress being particularly good or bad for someone heavier or someone who’s quite petite, we’ll say that specifically. But it’s still important to remember that everything we talk about in terms of feel is going to be subjective. What we experience probably won’t be exactly what you will experience.
In simple terms, the same bed will feel softer for a heavier individual, but firmer for a lighter individual.
For heavier individuals, say 225 lb+, you’ll want to look for a firm mattress of the scale and you’ll also want a mattress that has a thicker construction. You don’t want a bed that lets you sink right through. You can bottom out on a mattress and nobody wants that.
For very petite individuals, say 110 lb give or take, you can definitely get away with beds rated on the softer side of the scale. However, you can also get away with firmer beds. They’re still going to feel different, but you won’t feel the difference as significantly as someone heavier.
If you’re a couple with a significant weight difference between the two of you, you’ll probably end up going for something in the middle because you’ve learned to compromise (as couples do). But if you’re going to lean one way, we suggest that you cater towards the heavier partner. Like we said, petite people can get a comfortable night’s sleep on a wider range of softness/firmness.
The Best Affordable Mattress Brands
However you define “affordable” there’s a select list of mattress brands that are simply fantastic. Here’s a look at some of our the best affordable mattress brands:
- Allswell Home
- Bear Mattress
- Brooklyn Bedding
- Nectar Sleep
- Tuft & Needle
Now, that’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a great place to start if you’re just perusing affordable mattresses. We’ve tried over 150 different beds and about 60 mattress brands, so we know what we’re talking about. If you’re looking just for firm mattresses, you might want to look primarily at Brooklyn Bedding, Allswell, Nectar, and Bear.
Materials In Your Cheap Bed
We briefly went over materials above, and like we said, there are quite a few options and they will make a difference both in price, value, and feel. Clearly, since you’re looking for an inexpensive mattress, you’re price-conscious, but you do need to consider other elements beyond just the out-the-door price.
Cheap Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam is typically more dense, but softens over time and when heat is applied. If you lay in one spot, you’ll get some of that stereotypical sink-in feel. This is regardless of the price, so even if you get an affordable memory foam mattress, it should have certain commonalities with a more expensive option. The foam cradles your body, but can also leave people feeling stuck. We’ve seen so many inexpensive memory foam mattresses online and in stores, and they largely all have a few things in common. Firstly, of course, they are affordable. Secondly, they tend to be thinner, and not as supportive since they are designed for a smaller body type. Thirdly, they frequently have a dense/viscous feel that you may like or not like. That’s not to say that all affordable memory foam mattresses have the same feel, but a good majority of them are fairly similar.
Gel memory foam is a newer technology that has a similar feel to memory foam, but incorporates gel for added temperature regulation. The idea here is to offer an inexpensive bed that’s also decent when it comes to temp. regulation. We have seen plenty of budget gel memory foam mattresses on the market. For example, Nectar is technically both a cheap memory foam mattress and budget gel memory foam mattress. We say this because it has gel memory foam in its comfort layers.
With all of that in mind, let’s look at the best cheap memory foam mattresses:
- Bear Mattress
- eLuxury Mattress
- Lucid Mattress
- Lull Sleep
- Nectar Sleep
For the list above, we actually narrowed it to just budget gel memory foam beds, but obviously there are plenty of worthwhile MF beds that don’t have gel.
Then there’s latex mattresses, which has a more sponge-like feel. It’s very bouncy and airy, so it tends to stay cooler than memory foam. A lot of latex beds tend to take the natural and organic angle. The only thing is that these do not tend to be inexpensive beds, and they will cost you a good deal more than a cheap foam mattress, as an example. These are often also considered to be a firm mattress because of how responsive they are. They still grant your pressure relief, but you’ll notice that they typically don’t “give way” as much as a memory foam bed will.
There’s also polyurethane foam (wow, so much foam), and that’s pretty commonly used for support in an all-foam bed. It comes in many different densities and is typically pretty affordable. Poly foam beds tend to be a good value. Interestingly, all the inexpensive memory foam mattresses out there are actually made of poly foam since MF is just poly foam that’s injected with a viscous material. That’s just a little inside baseball for you there. Having said all of that, we have seen more cheap foam mattresses made with poly foam than anything—and the interesting part is that most people find them to be incredibly comfortable. For instance, Casper Element uses mostly poly foam and it’s still quite comfortable.
Now, with coils, you have two options: pocketed coils or traditional innersprings. Both are bouncy and responsive, and both allow for good airflow. The difference is that pocketed coils are individually encased, while innersprings are all connected. That means the innersprings transfer motion quite a bit more since they have a very low point elasticity (you press on one part of the mattress and it spreads to the surrounding area).
Some mattresses will use gel or Hyper-Elastic Polymer (only Purple beds), which has a very unique feel and is heavy, but comfortable. However, beds with this stuff are puh-rice-ee (pricey, but exaggerated for emphasis). Probably not what you’re looking for if you’re this deep into a Cheap Mattress post.
Most of the time when you’re dealing with a budget hybrid mattress, you’re looking at 6″ pocketed coils and 2-3 comfort foams. Nothing wrong with this, but we like to point out that often times these more inexpensive beds will also be firm beds because they don’t have a ton of comfort foams. As an example, the Brooklyn Bowery Hybrid mattress is pretty firm because it has the coils and just a few layers of foam. Another example is Allswell, which is an affordable hybrid mattress that’s on the firm end of our ratings spectrum.
If you’re looking for the best value mattress in a box, you might want to think about a hybrid mattress. As much as we love the all-foam beds, it’s largely accepted that even the budget hybrid mattresses offer more long-term support, generally speaking.
No one likes an overly hot bed. And if you tend to be a hot sleeper, that can be a problem with a lot of mattress options. But if you know what to shop for, you can find a bed that will help you sleep cooler and it doesn’t have to cost you an exorbitant amount of money.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind while looking for a cool-sleeping mattress is to avoid anything especially dense. If a mattress is made up of all dense foam, it won’t allow for much airflow. Pocketed coils, on the other hand, do allow for good airflow. That’s not to say that foam is hopeless, just that some foam will be cooler than others. Latex foam, for example tends to sleep cooler than memory foam.
It also helps to think about the feel and firmness of the mattress. If a mattress is soft and has that sink-in feel to it, you’ll sleep more in the mattress as opposed to on it, which can trap heat around your body throughout the night.
Another point that often goes overlooked is the size of the mattress, particularly when you have two people on the bed. Most foams will trap and retain heat until external heat source (i.e. your body) is removed from the surface. So, if you have two people on a cheap queen mattress, it will sleep hotter than a king size mattress since the people do not have as much room to roll around and allow the heat to “burn off.”
Difference Between Cheap And Budget
If you ask our editors, cheap is the same as budget, which is also the same as inexpensive for the price. We roughly consider a budget mattress to be one that sells for under about $800 for the queen size. Having said that, we consider an affordable mattress to be one that’s not expensive, meaning it’s under about $2K for the queen. Sure, prices have gone up over time, but we still consider a cheap queen mattress to be something that’s under $800.
What Is The Most Comfortable Mattress
For those of you that are on the hunt for the most comfortable affordable mattress, it’s hard for us to tell you which is the best overall. We can make suggestions, but ultimately the most comfortable mattress will be different person to person because we are all different. That said, foam mattresses tend to be the most accommodating and comfortable to a wider range of sleepers. They are just neutral and unassuming, and the best known foam mattress is Tuft and Needle.
Top Rated Cheap Queen Mattresses Recap
|Product||Highlights||Price (Queen)||Learn More|
|Nectar||Best Cheap & Memory Foam Mattress||$799||Nectar Mattress Review|
|Tuft & Needle||Most Affordable Bed In A Box||$535||Tuft & Needle Review|
|Casper Element||Best Budget Foam Mattress||$595||Casper Element Review|
|Brooklyn Bowery||Best Affordable Hybrid Mattress||$799||Brooklyn Bedding Review|
|Lucid Hybrid||Best Value on Amazon||$423||Lucid Mattress Review|
|How much should I spend?||If you’re on a tight budget, you should be able to get a really nice bed for $700 or less (queen size).|
|What firmness level is best?||It depends on the person, but most people (90%) are “combination sleepers” meaning they rotate positions. As such, the “medium” firmness is the most popular.|
|What certifications should I look for?||If you’re buying a cheap mattress you want to make sure it has the CertiPUR-US certification.|
|What are the best brands?||There are plenty of fantastic budget mattress brands, but some of our favorites are Bear, Nectar, Casper, Leesa, and Tuft & Needle.|
|What happens if I don’t like the bed?||Good news. Nearly all of the online mattress brands offer 100% free returns if you live in the Contiguous United States.|