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Best Mattress For College Student Apartment & Dorm

Best Mattress For College Student Apartment & Dorm

Attention college students and recent grads. Looking for a new bed for your dorm room or apartment? Here's our top rated list!

Last Updated: October 19, 2020

Jeff Rizzo

College is already expensive, so why spend extra on a mattress? You shouldn’t, especially if you’re going to be moving frequently and perhaps even change mattress sizes soon. Here’s a list of cheap, budget—yet still pretty nice—mattresses. And if you still can’t afford a new bed, we’ve also posted an article about the best mattress topper pads.

HOW WE DECIDED

  • Mattresses Reviewed

    150+

  • Brands

    60+

  • Made the List

    4

  • Number of Contributors

    6

Outline For This Best Mattress For College List

Best Mattress For College Students

For students, a college mattress is more about utility than comfort, and you want to save as much money as possible. There’s no time to waste on looking for a luxury mattress with a fluffy pillow top. It’s all about buying a mattress that gets the job done. With that in mind, of the 130+ mattresses we’ve reviewed, here are those that we consider to be the best college mattress for your dorm room or apartment:

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 below.

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 budget beds for college students, but we made sure that they’re still fairly nice. You’re trying to save money, but you still want to be comfortable.

Top 4 Mattresses For College Students

Tuft & Needle Original – Best Foam Mattress For College Students

Why you might get the T&N Mattress — 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. After discount, a queen size bed sells for under $600 and a twin is less than $450.

tuft and needle mattress review cover and design
T&N is a heck of a mattress for the money

Tuft & Needle is able to accommodate back, stomach, and side sleepers. It’s softer, but not too soft. It also is highly responsive, making it easier to rotate positions during the night. Despite being one of the nicer budget mattresses, Tuft & Needle is actually pretty easy to move and would be a great mattress during and after college. We’d venture to say that it’s probably lighter than the majority of 10″ beds out there.

Cocoon Chill – Best Memory Foam Mattress For College

Why get Cocoon — We noticed that a lot of college students are interested in memory foam beds in particular. Cocoon is among the most affordable memory foam beds and is backed by a major player in the industry, Sealy. Additionally, Cocoon is available in a “soft” and “firm” option, so you have a little control over how firm the bed is.

cocoon chill cover cool
Sealy also makes Cocoon Chill, which is a cooling bed

The “firm” model will be about a medium-firm and the softer model lands between a medium and a medium firm. So there isn’t too big of a difference — they’re both on the firmer side of the spectrum. But if you like memory foam, we imagine that you’ll really like this bed. 

Cocoon has a dense memory foam feel. The bed still contours to the shape of your body, but it’s best for back sleepers and stomach sleepers overall. It’s not a properly firm bed, but it’s not our favorite option for individuals that exclusively sleep on their side.

Brooklyn Bedding Signature – Best Hybrid Mattress For Student Apartment

Why you should think about Brooklyn Signature — It’s somewhat rare to see a bed that has coils, is made in the USA, and retails for under $1,000 (queen size). If you talk about value for the money, Brooklyn Signature is hard to beat, although, technically it’s not the absolute cheapest bed out there. This is a durable, supportive, very nice mattress for a crazy reasonable price.

brooklyn bedding signature mattress review construction and design
I think we can all agree, Brooklyn Signature does not look like a “budget” mattress

The Signature comes in three firmness levels (Soft, Medium, and Firm). As such, there is 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. 

You might not know of the Brooklyn Bedding brand, but it’s actually more than a brand — they are a manufacturer as well. That means when you purchase from BB, they are shipping the mattress directly from their production warehouse to your house. What does that mean for college students? Since the brand cuts out the middleman, this bed comes with a great value.

AmazonBasics – Cheapest Dorm Mattress

Why get the AmazonBasics mattress — the entire reason to get this bed is that it’s cheap and is still somewhat nice. 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.

amazonbasics mattress review back sleeper
You get the AmazonBasics mattress if you want something cheap

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. 

You can check the current pricing on Amazon. This bed has a mixed-foam feel in that it uses memory foam and neutral foam. Considering you’re buying this bed for the price point, we think college students will find it to be sufficiently comfortable.

Review team

  • dillon lopez slumber yard
    Dillon Lopez

    Combo Sleeper

  • wesley-ott
    Wesley Ott

    Combo Sleeper

  • JD
    JD Christison

    Combo Sleeper

  • reynoso
    Jack Reynoso

    Combo Sleeper

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. 

We’re giving away a $100 gift card to a different student each working day for a year

These difficult times have hit students the hardest as they balance schoolwork with an uncertain future. We know that financial stress leads to poor sleep, which is a major contributor to academic performance in college.

That’s why we started the Slumber Yard Student Support Sweepstakes to assist students in need. We’re giving a different student $100 each (working) day for a year to mitigate financial stressors and support healthy sleep in the college environment.

How to apply for the Slumber Yard Student Support Sweepstakes

  1. Using a valid college email address, send an email to giveaways@myslumberyard.com with the words “Student Sweepstakes” in the subject line.
  2. In the body of the email, provide your name and graduation date. Only current students with a verifiable graduation date are eligible to win.
  3. Winners will be notified via email within 48 hours and given a $100 visa gift card.
  4. Didn’t win? You can re-enter for the next week’s sweepstakes following the same entry process.

Winners will be picked weekly from all entries submitted 12:00 am EST Saturday through 11:59pm EST Friday starting on 9/19/2020 and ending on 9/24/2021. Winners will be notified within 48 hours of determination, and will have 7 days to claim their prize. 

A new pool of entries starts each week. Previous winners are not eligible to enter to win again. By emailing giveaways@myslumberyard.com, you agree to the Official Rules, and to your information being collected and used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Haga clic aquí para la traducción al español

Regalaremos una tarjeta de regalo de $100 a un estudiante diferente cada día laboral durante un año
Estos tiempos difíciles han afectado más a los estudiantes, ya que equilibran el trabajo escolar con un futuro incierto. Sabemos que el estrés financiero conduce a la falta de sueño, que es un factor importante que contribuye al rendimiento académico en la universidad.

Es por eso que iniciamos el Sorteo de apoyo estudiantil Slumber Yard para ayudar a los estudiantes necesitados. Le daremos a un estudiante diferente $100 cada día (laboral) durante un año para mitigar los factores de estrés financiero y apoyar un sueño saludable en el entorno universitario.
Cómo solicitar el sorteo de apoyo para estudiantes de Slumber Yard:

  • Usando una dirección de correo electrónico universitaria válida, envíe un correo electrónico a giveaways@myslumberyard.com con las palabras “Student Sweepstakes” en la línea de asunto.
  • En el cuerpo del correo electrónico, proporcione su nombre y fecha de graduación. Solo los estudiantes actuales con una fecha de graduación verificable son elegibles para ganar.
  • Los ganadores serán notificados por correo electrónico dentro de las 48 horas y se les entregará una tarjeta de regalo visa de $ 100.
  • ¿No ganaste? Puede volver a participar en el sorteo de la próxima semana siguiendo el mismo proceso de participación.

Los ganadores serán elegidos semanalmente de todas las entradas enviadas a las 12:00 a. M. EST del sábado hasta las 11:59 p. M. EST del viernes a partir del 19/9/2020 y finalizando el 24/9/2021. Los ganadores serán notificados dentro de las 48 horas posteriores a la determinación y tendrán 7 días para reclamar su premio.

Cada semana comienza un nuevo grupo de entradas. Los ganadores anteriores no son elegibles para participar para ganar nuevamente. Al enviar un correo electrónico a giveaways@myslumberyard.com, acepta las Reglas oficiales y que su información se recopile y utilice de acuerdo con nuestra Política de privacidad

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.

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.

Pros

  • These types of mattress provide a lot of support, are affordable, and have some bounce.

Cons

  • Springs beds can be noisy when you move around on them and some people may consider them to be too firm.

Memory Foam 

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.

Pros

  • Memory foam mattresses are quiet and don’t have a lot of give when you move on them which may be ideal for those sharing a bed
  • These beds are made of soft material that contour to the shape of your body, and offer good pressure relief

Cons

  • If you are someone who moves around a lot in your sleep, you may find it’s harder to get comfortable
  • Memory foam also has a reputation of being a bit warmer to sleep on.\

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.

Pros

  • Gel memory foam tends to run cooler than regular memory foam beds, but they still offer ample pressure relief

Cons

  • Depending on the brand and technology used, the cooling properties of this mattress might not be a long-lasting feature

Latex Foam 

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. It also can be really expensive. Here’s our list of the best latex foam mattresses and best natural/organic beds.

Pros

  • Natural latex beds are environmentally-responsible products, anti-bacterial and great if you’re someone with allergies
  • All latex beds provide lots of support, bounce, and are more durable than most other foams

Cons

  • With all their positive qualities, latex foam mattresses can be pricey
  • These beds can also be heavy, which is not ideal if you have to move during your college career.

Proprietary Foam 

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 kinds 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.

Pros

  • These types of mattresses tend to run cooler, and less viscous than traditional memory foams

Cons

  • Because these materials are brand-specific, there is less consistency among materials

Air Mattress 

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.

Pros

  • Air mattresses are affordable bed options that are easily transportable
  • You can use them both indoors and outdoors

Cons

  • If your air mattress gets a hole in it, you’re in for a very uncomfortable night of sleep unless you can find and patch the hole
  • Setting up air mattresses can also be a long process depending on the brand

WaterBed 

Oh my god dude wouldn’t a waterbed be so cool?? No. It won’t. There is a reason the water beds died in the 90’s. They move and swoosh if you even move a fraction of an inch. And they pop more commonly than you’d think. Don’t make us say we told you so.

Pros

  • Because these beds have a lot of give, they can offer relief for your sore spots. The sound of water beneath you can also be relaxing

Cons

  • Waterbeds can pop which can leave you with quite a mess. These beds also have poor support and a lot of give, which can make getting comfortable difficult

Polyurethane Foam 

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.

Pros

  • Polyurethane foam mattresses tend to be more affordable, and are more breathable than memory foam

Cons

  • This type of mattress isn’t as durable as other options, and usually has some type of off-gassing odors

Gel-Like Materials 

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, Purple 2/3/4)that all have really good airflow and support. People either love it or hate it. Ross the Boss sleeps on a Purple 4 every night.

Pros

  • Solid airflow, comfort, and support are the hallmarks of gel-like mattresses

Cons

  • These types of beds can be quite expensive depending on the brand (Purple)
  • Gel-like mattresses can also be on the heavier side, which isn’t ideal if you’re on the move

Why Sleeper Type Is Important

If you didn’t know already, your sleeper type has a lot to do with what kind of mattress you should be getting.

College Mattresses For Side Sleepers

If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll probably want a softer mattress that can bend to the curves of your hips and shoulders instead of pushing against them and giving you a dead arm. Side sleepers want to make sure their spines are aligned, including their necks. Usually softer mattresses are best for this.

Dorm Mattresses For Back and Stomach Sleepers

If you sleep on your back or stomach, you will probably want a firmer mattress that will support the heavier areas of your body which are your hips, shoulders, and neck. Softer mattresses will let these areas sink into the bed and this will cause your spine to arch, which can lead to back pain in the morning. Firmer mattresses will keep your spine supported properly. Getting a firmer bed is important if you’re dealing with a lot of lower back pain in particular.

Weight Is Important Also

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 The 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 2019), 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.

Overview of the Best Mattresses For College Students

MattressBest Of TitleFirmness Level
Tuft And NeedleBest Foam MattressMedium
CocoonBest Memory Foam Mattress Between medium and medium-firm, or medium-firm
Brooklyn SignatureBest Hybrid MattressThree firmness options: soft, medium and firm
AmazonBasicsCheapest Option For College StudentsMedium

Best Mattress For College Students Price Table 

MattressTwinTwin XLFullQueenKing/Cal King
Tuft and Needle$350$395$495$595$750
Cocoon$600$650$760$930$1,150
Brooklyn Signature$599$649$799$949$1,149
AmazonBasics$160N/A$190$230$300

FAQs

How does shipping work?

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.

How do I test the mattress?

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.

What happens if I need to return a mattress?

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.

How much should I spend on a new mattress?

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.