For students, a college mattress is more about utility than comfort, and you want to save as much money as possible when you’re on a budget. That’s why the Slumber Yard has put together this list of cheap mattresses for students, helping you furnish your dorm or apartment without breaking the bank. Keep reading to find individual reviews of our top-rated mattresses for college students.
It is important to note that selecting our list was a difficult process—and we could have easily picked 15 beds—but we wanted to keep things short and digestible. We’ve also posted individual reviews of each of these beds, so if you need more information, make sure to click the “See Full Review” button on the right of each mattress section.
Top 5 Mattresses for College Students
- Best Budget Hybrid :AllswellStarting at $279 Shop Now
- Best Foam Mattress For College Students :Tuft Needle OriginalStarting at $745 Shop Now
- Memory Foam Mattress For College :Cocoon by Sealy ChillStarting at $769 Shop Now
- Best Hybrid Mattress For Students :Brooklyn Bedding SignatureStarting at $599 Shop Now
- Cheapest Mattress For College Students :AmazonBasics Memory Foam MattressStarting at $146 Shop Now
Best College Student Mattress Review Video
Swipe to see why these made our list
Swipe to see why these made our list
How We Chose The Best College Student Mattress
Most of the individuals on our team went to college, so we understand that you’re not exactly flush with cash right now. As such, we’ve kept this list to just the best budget beds for college students and those with a small apartment space, but we made sure that they’re still fairly nice. You’re trying to save money, but you still want to be comfortable.
Compare The Best Mattresses For College Student Apartments & Dorms
Best Budget Hybrid
Why Allswell wins as best budget hybrid
It can be tricky to find a comfortable hybrid bed at an affordable price point, but the Allswell flagship mattress is exactly that. As a hybrid, this bed accommodates all body types, including heavier individuals. It’s also a solid option for all sleeping positions, thanks to its good balance of comfort and support.
Allswell’s best features
- Comfortable neutral-foam feeling that makes it easy to change sleeping positions
- Layers of coils and foam provide more airflow than all-foam beds
- Budget-friendly price point makes it ideal for college kids
- Accommodating for college students of all sizes
Why we picked this bed
If you’re on the heavier end of the spectrum (over 250 lbs), a hybrid bed will provide the extra support that you need — and the Allswell mattress makes for a cost-effective option. Although there are several affordable mattresses for college students, it’s hard to beat Allswell.
Best Foam Mattress for College Students
Why Tuft & Needle Original wins as best foam mattress for college students
Tuft & Needle is an incredibly popular college dorm mattress because of its affordable price, safe, neutral feel, and the fact it’s able to accommodate back, stomach, and side sleepers. It feels soft, but not too soft. It’s like the Goldie Locks of mattresses. The T&N Original is also highly responsive, making it easier to rotate positions during the night.
Tuft & Needle Original’s best features
- Suitable for all sleeping positions, including side, back, stomach, and combination
- Soft, accommodating neutral-foam feel with a medium firmness rating
- Lighter than most other 10” beds, so it’s easy for college students to move
- Best for students under 230 lbs.
Why we picked this bed
We consider T&N a safe pick. It’s soft, neutral, and really comfortable. It’s actually a bed that we would expect roughly 70% of people to be fine with. It also has a college-friendly price point, which is why it’s among our best-rated foam mattresses for college students.
Best Memory Foam Mattress for College
Why Cocoon by Sealy Chill wins as best memory foam mattress for college
The budget-friendly Cocoon Mattress has a dense memory foam feel for you sleepers out there who love that viscous, slow responding feel. The bed still contours to the shape of your body, but we think it’s best for back sleepers and stomach sleepers overall. It’s not an overly firm bed, but it’s not our favorite option for individuals who exclusively sleep on their side.
Cocoon by Sealy Chill’s best features
- Cooling technology is ideal for hot sleepers or people who get hot flashes
- Has a memory foam feel for people who like a hugging, contouring foam mattress
- Has a medium to medium-firm profile best for back, stomach, and combination sleepers
- All-foam and hybrid models available, so any body type will be supported by Cocoon Chill
Why we picked this bed
We noticed that a lot of college students are interested in memory foam beds. Cocoon is among the most affordable memory foam beds and is backed by a major industry player. It comes in numerous sizes, but we’d put it on a list of top twin XL mattresses for college students.
Best Hybrid Mattress for Student Apartment
Why Brooklyn Bedding Signature wins as best hybrid mattress for student apartment
When your college student moves from a dorm to an apartment, they could consider upgrading their mattress from a budget bed to something slightly nicer, like the Brooklyn Bedding Signature. With multiple firmness levels and hybrid construction, this mattress offers an option for all different types and sizes of sleepers. That means whether you’re a side, back, stomach, or combo sleeper, chances are you’ll find a BB Signature mattress that works for you.
Brooklyn Bedding Signature’s best features
- Sold in three firmness levels (Soft, Medium, and Firm) for all sleeping positions
- Highly durable and supportive bed made with pocketed coils to support all body types
- Brooklyn Bedding owns their own manufacturing facilities, allowing them to cut out the middleman and offer beds at great prices
Why we picked this bed
It’s somewhat rare to see a bed that has coils, is made in the USA, and retails for under $1,000 (queen size) — which is exactly why it made our best mattresses for college students list. If you talk about the best value bed for the money, Brooklyn Signature is a contender.
Cheapest Dorm Mattress
Why AmazonBasics Memory Foam wins as cheapest dorm mattress
You already get books, electronics, and other random necessities from Amazon, so why not your mattress? One nice thing about this mattress is that it’s available in multiple height profiles, ranging from 8″ to 12.” The most affordable version is the 8″, and it typically sells for under $200 for a full size. For college students who don’t plan on keeping this bed for the long term, we definitely recommend the 8” model.
AmazonBasics Memory Foam’s best features
- Mixed-foam feel that most college students will find sufficiently comfortable
- Made with CertiPUR and Oeko-Tex certified foams, so it’s free from toxins and harmful chemicals
- Offers a good balance between comfort and support that can accommodate all sleeping positions
Why we picked this bed
The entire reason to get this bed is that it’s a cheap college dorm mattress, but it’s still nice enough to provide a quality night’s sleep. It’s a three-layer foam bed, and if you’re making a decision based on price alone, you likely won’t find anything better
How We Select The Best Mattresses
The Slumber Yard has been around since the beginning of the bed in a box craze. Our team has personally tested and reviewed over 175 mattresses so far, and we keep more than 150 beds in our office so we can compare them (and take afternoon naps).
When testing mattresses, we evaluate the following factors:
- Construction: We cut beds open to see what’s inside and how it’s made.
- Feel: We check if it has a stuck-in-the-mud memory foam feel, or if it’s more of a neutral foam or a plush pillow top, etc.
- Firmness: We have our own firmness scale and evaluate how that may vary depending on your body and sleeper type.
- Pressure relief: We test what’s the sweet spot for different body and sleeper types. Support and how that changes by body/sleeper type
- Edge Support: This is important for couples who share a bed. Would you roll-out of the bed, or can you sleep confidently close to the edges?
- Motion Isolation: We use the water glass test to see how the bed fares with motion transfer. This is another important factor for couples that don’t want to wake up one another when they move.
- Temperature Regulation: We use a temperature gun to evaluate if the bed warms up, stays neutral or actively cools while you sleep.
- Noise: This could be an issue in beds with coils or innerspring.
- Off-Gassing: Some beds could have a smell for a few weeks after unpacking, and we try to warn you about it.
- Company policies: We also take into account policies such as shipping, returns, trial period and warranty.
- Value: We look at a bed’s price in the context of what it offers in terms of features and quality of materials and construction.
Buying A Dorm Or Apartment Mattress
So you’re a college kid (or a recent grad), and you’re probably looking to get the cheapest mattress that money can buy. And hey, we don’t blame you! You might be looking for a twin XL to replace that awful college bed for a year or two at most, trying to figure out what college bed size you need, or you’re across the country and want a bed you can use for a few years in your tiny studio apartment and don’t plan on bringing said dorm mattress with you once you get a job in who-knows-where.
College is a period of time that includes a lot of learning while also balancing a lot of uncertainty. You’re finally learning how to do your own laundry, but you’re not entirely sure if you’ll make it to your next class now that all your whites are pink. You’re learning all about the importance of communication, but you’re not entirely sure how it’s going to benefit you in your business career (trust us, it will come in handy).
Anyways, while getting the cheapest college mattress ever might sound like a great idea, we also beg you to think about comfort. If you’re getting the recommended eight hours of sleep a night (you won’t), you’re spending a third of your 24-hour day with your mattress. And considering you’re already getting less sleep than you should, we think it should be quality sleep. Most bed-in-a-box mattresses are a good balance between quality, affordable, and comfortable.
Best Dorm Mattress Topper
If you’re looking for the best mattress topper for college dorm room instead of a bed in order to save money, we have reviewed a few good (and cheap) ones you might be interested in. Take a look at our Best Mattress Topper list to find out which ones are the most comfortable to top your bed with.
Common Mattress Materials
Did you know that there are multiple types of mattresses, all giving you a different feel and features? Here are the main types that are on the market. Hopefully you can find something that sounds comfortable for you. Keep in mind though, if you’re a college student on a budget, some of these materials are cheaper than others.
Spring / Coil
These beds use springs or coils, and hopefully come with a pillow top for comfort. Your lame college mattress is probably a spring bed, but without a pillow top. Spring beds are responsive and bouncy, and tend to be more supportive and long lasting. We usually recommend mattresses with springs in them for heavier body types because they can support the weight better and won’t break down as fast as an all-foam bed would. These types of mattresses are best for pillow fights.
Memory foam heats up and softens to pressure, and then is slow to respond once that pressure is removed. When you lay down on it, you’ll probably notice that you slowly sink down into the material as it contours to your body. Memory foam is one of those things where you either love it or you hate it. Active sleepers tend to not like memory foam because it can be hard to move around on, giving you the sensation of feeling “stuck.” Also, cheaper memory foam tends to change firmness level with heat. In the summer, beds will be softer, and they’ll firm up in the winter.
Gel Memory Foam
This is just memory foam that has somehow incorporated some sort of gel into it. It’s usually for cooling reasons. Memory foam has a bad habit of retaining your body heat, so that it sleeps really warm and makes you sweat. Gross, right? If you really like memory foam but you really like sleeping cold, check out the Cocoon Chill, which isn’t technically a gel memory foam mattress, but does have a cooling cover.
Latex is a really cool material. It feels bouncy and responsive, while providing good support and pressure relief. Latex is made from the sap of rubber trees, and is typically punctured with a ton of tiny holes for good airflow. It’s eco-friendly, hypoallergenic (i.e. good for allergies and health), and anti-bacterial. However, it also can be really expensive. Here’s our list of the best latex foam mattresses and best natural/organic beds.
This is often a fancy way of saying “we made our own foam and don’t want to categorize it with your mainstream foams.” These brands are the indie kids of the online mattress community. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. Make sure they have a trial-period in the case of those beds that don’t work out.
Mostly these are the mattresses you whip out when you’re camping or your body is crashing on your floor for a week, but there are also some popular air mattress brands like Sleep Number.
This is neutral-feeling foam. It usually sleeps temperature neutral and is super popular in the bed-in-a-box market. Really popular brands like Tuft & Needle, Morphiis, and Casper Essential are (majority) poly foam beds.
This is a lot less commonly used material, but the most popular brand that makes a gel-like mattress is Purple. They have four different models (original Purple vs three Purple Hybrid beds) that all have really good airflow and support. People either love it or hate it. Ross the Boss sleeps on a Purple Hybrid Premier every night.
Body Type Analysis
How much you weigh directly correlates to how firm or soft a mattress will feel to you. This is because it dictates how much pressure you’re applying to the surface of the bed.
- Petite Sleepers
Let’s use some examples. Our first example is the teeny tiny art student. You wear black turtlenecks and a beret and you like to drink wine on the weekends with your friends while you discuss philosophy. Some of your paintings or sculptures probably weigh more than you do. Most mattresses will feel pretty firm to you, because you barely put any weight into the mattress, so you’re basically laying on top of the bed. You might want to look for softer beds, especially if you sleep on your side.
- Heavy Sleepers
Our next example is a college D1 athlete who has to live in the dorms as a part of his scholarship. He is probably too tall for the twin XL dorm bed, and he’s in need of some good sleep after his four-hour-long practice days. Because he’s a big dude, most beds are going to feel on the softer side, because he’s going to sink down into the mattress more. This guy might want to look for a firm mattress, especially if he sleeps on his back. Here’s our list of the best mattresses for heavy and overweight people.
If you’re a body type that’s somewhere in the middle, you can choose the firmness level of your bed at your own discretion.
Caring For Your Mattress In College
If you plan on giving away or re-selling your college mattress after you graduate and take that job in the big city (or moving back in with your parents, this is 2022), you should probably take care of your mattress while you have it.
Most mattresses don’t come with machine washable covers, unfortunately. If you’re concerned about stains or spills (coffee while studying in bed, anyone?) we recommend getting a mattress protector off Amazon. That will keep things worry-free, and can also protect against extra wear and tear on your college bed, which will prolong the life of your mattress and protect your warranty. If you think a mattress with a machine washable cover sounds cool, check out Yogabed or Novosbed.
Almost every online mattress brand will offer totally free shipping. The bed shows up in a box that’s about 4 feet tall. All you do is remove the packaging and let the bed inflate, which usually only takes a few minutes.
The great thing about buying an online mattress is that they typically come with a 100-night risk-free trial period. That means you can test the bed in your own home for at least a few months. If you don’t want it, typically returns are totally free.
In many cases, returns will be completely free during your trial period. In fact, the brands will usually send someone to your home to pick up your bed, at no extra cost to you.
For college students it’s probably best to spend less than $1,000 on a new mattress. You can find plenty of queen and full size mattresses for $1,000 or less.
Why Trust Us
Get the kind of sleep you’ve only dreamed of with some help from our team of mattress experts. We personally test more than 175 of the best sleep solutions from over 60 leading brands on site, so you can be sure you’re getting unbiased reviews, fair comparisons and personalized recommendations.
The Review Team