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Best Mattresses in a Box – 2021 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Written by Brad Nehring

Quick Overview

Over the past decade, “bed-in-a-box” brands have greatly impacted the mattress industry. Bed-in-a-box models, which can be ordered online, remove the need for in-person purchases at mattress stores. These beds are also generally cheaper because most online brands have few (if any) brick-and-mortar locations, and thus face lower overhead costs.

Many bed-in-a-box brands also provide free shipping for U.S. customers, and some also offer low-cost in-home delivery options. In most cases, the mattresses are compressed, vacuum-sealed, and shipped in a box that is delivered to the customer’s residence (hence the name, bed-in-a-box). To ensure customer satisfaction, online mattress brands often back their beds with sleep trials spanning anywhere from 90 days to more than one year. These trials give buyers the opportunity to test out a new bed and – if they choose – return their mattress for a refund or exchange it for a new model.

Next, you’ll find our top six picks among bed-in-a-box mattresses sold today. These selections are based on experiences from verified owners, as well as our own product testing. You can also check out our Buyer’s Guide below to learn about the pros and cons of bed-in-a-box models, shipping options for customers, sleep trials, and other key aspects of an online mattress purchase.

First Time Buying a Mattress in a Box?

Hop down to our Buyer’s Guide for a crash course on finding the right bed-in-a-box mattress model.

 

Best Mattresses in a Box - Reviewed

Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress

Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress

Highlights

  • Medium-firm (6)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Good balance of conforming and responsiveness
  • Excellent pressure relief for sleepers up to 230 pounds
Read Our Full Review
Buy a T&N Mint Mattress at the lowest available price.
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Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress

tuftandneedle.com

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The Mint Mattress from Tuft & Needle is an all-polyfoam model. The mattress is constructed with top layers of graphite- and gel-infused foam that conforms to the sleeper’s body, but also feels more responsive than memory foam. Most experience a combined feeling of sleeping “on” and sleeping “in” their mattress.

The Mint Mattress also features a thick support core made of high-density foam. The bed has a medium-firm feel, making it best suited to sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less. Side sleepers receive ample cushioning for their shoulders and hips, resulting in even spinal alignment and less pressure, while the layers provide a good balance of body-conforming and even support for back and stomach sleepers. The mattress also has a lower-density comfort layer for more breathability and temperature neutrality on the surface.

Tuft & Needle generally offers low prices for their beds, and the Mint Mattress is no exception – it costs much less than the average all-foam model. The company also provides free shipping within the contiguous U.S.

The Bottom Line.

The Mint Mattress from Tuft & Needle delivers the exceptional motion isolation and pressure relief of an all-foam bed without sleeping warm or sagging too much.

  • People who weigh 230 pounds or less. The Mint Mattress has a medium-firm feel, making it best suited to sleepers in the lightweight and average weight groups.
  • Those who prefer a balance of body-conforming and responsiveness. The polyfoam layers of the mattress conform to a noticeable extent but also have some bounce. This produces a feeling of both sleeping “on” and sleeping “in” the mattress.
  • Couples. The mattress isolates motion very well and does not make any noise, which can reduce sleep disruptions for co-sleepers.
  • People who usually sleep hot on all-foam beds. The Mint Mattress features a low-density comfort layer infused with graphite and cooling gel. The material absorbs minimal body heat and sleeps cooler as a result.

Not Recommended for...

  • People who weigh more than 230 pounds. Those in the heavyweight group may find the Mint Mattress too soft and prone to deep sagging.
  • Sleepers who prefer the close conforming of memory foam. The polyfoam layers contour to the body, but they do not provide the same body hug as memory foam layers.

Molecule 2

Molecule 2

Highlights

  • Medium (5.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Comfortable balance of contouring and responsiveness
  • Open-cell foam helps the mattress sleep cool
Read Our Full Review
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Molecule 2

onmolecule.com

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The Molecule 2 is a standout bed-in-a-box model thanks in part to its unique construction. This all-foam mattress contains four individual layers of proprietary materials. The uppermost comfort layer is composed of BioCHARGE foam, and this is followed by a secondary comfort layer of open-cell AirTEC foam. These foams provide close body-contouring to improve spinal alignment and alleviate pressure, and they also absorb a minimal amount of body heat to help you stay cool in bed.

The transitional layer of RecoveryFLO foam is divided into five different zones based on firmness. This ensures added reinforcement for heavier areas of the body, such as the torso and hips, along with more cradling for the head, shoulders, and legs. The base layer is made of dense ContourFLO foam for added stability.

These signature foams offer a balanced feel that combines the conforming of memory foam and the responsiveness of latex. As a result, most people find the Molecule 2 easy to move across when getting in and out of bed. The foams also absorb movements well and reduce most transfer, so you can sleep soundly even if your partner is tossing and turning.

Molecule provides free ground shipping to customers in the lower 48 states, and for an added fee, you can arrange for couriers to pick up your old mattress when they deliver the Molecule 2. You’ll receive a 100-night sleep trial with your purchase, as well as a lifetime warranty that covers structural defects for as long as you own the mattress.

The Bottom Line.

Proprietary materials engineered for responsiveness and breathability set the Molecule 2 apart from its all-foam competitors. The mattress also contours closely to alleviate pressure throughout the body.

  • Side and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds. The Molecule 2 conforms closely enough to ensure even alignment and less pressure for side sleepers, while back sleepers in this weight group can rest comfortably without sinking excessively.
  • People with pain or pressure points along the spine. The Molecule 2’s unique foams are designed to contour along the spine and alleviate discomfort in sensitive areas.
  • Those who normally feel hot on all-foam beds. Open-cell foams near the surface of the Molecule 2 won’t retain too much body heat, allowing you to remain cool and comfortable.
  • Couples. The Molecule 2’s foam layers absorb movements and minimize transfer across the surface, making the mattress a good choice for people who awaken easily due to their co-sleeper’s movements.

Not Recommended for...

  • People who weigh more than 230 pounds. Due to its medium feel and close contouring, heavyweight sleepers will likely find the Molecule 2 too soft and sink to an uncomfortable extent.
  • Those who prefer very responsive mattresses. While the Molecule 2’s proprietary foams offer some springiness, the mattress is not as bouncy as most competing innersprings and hybrids.

Nectar Mattress

Nectar Mattress

Highlights

  • Medium-firm (6)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Breathable, open-cell comfort layers
  • Excellent motion isolation for couples
Read Our Full Review
Get $399 worth of free accessories with every Nectar mattress purchase.
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Nectar Mattress

nectarsleep.com

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The Nectar Mattress is a great choice for sleepers who like a close, pressure-relieving cradle for their bodies. Built with three layers of memory foam, the mattress has a medium-firm feel but also conforms closely to evenly distribute weight, alleviate pressure points, and align the spine. The Nectar Mattress also features a high-density foam base to stabilize the sleep surface and prevent excessive sagging.

As is the case with other memory foam models, the Nectar Mattress absorbs motion to eliminate most transfer and does not produce any noise. This makes the mattress ideal for people who awaken easily due to their sleep partner’s movements. The top two layers are also made from lower-density open-cell foam, giving the surface a more breathable feel that allows people to sleep cool.

The Nectar Mattress has a very low price-point compared to other memory foam mattresses. The company also offers a 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty, along with free shipping within the contiguous U.S.

The Bottom Line.

Constructed with three memory foam layers, the Nectar Mattress offers close body-conforming and very good pressure relief.

  • Those who like sleeping “in” – and not “on” – their mattress. Three layers of memory foam conform closely to the sleeper to create a deep cradle for their bodies.
  • Couples. Co-sleepers should experience fewer sleep disruptions on the Nectar Mattress thanks to its excellent motion isolation and noise-free design.
  • People who usually sleep hot on all-foam beds. The mattress features two layers of open-cell, lower-density memory foam. This material absorbs less heat than the denser foams found in other all-foam mattresses, allowing the Nectar to sleep reasonably cool by comparison.
  • Sleepers with pressure point issues. The mattress excels at pressure relief by aligning the spine and cushioning the sleeper’s shoulders and hips.

Not Recommended for...

  • Those who prefer softer mattresses. The Nectar Mattress has a medium-firm feel. Though it conforms closely, sleepers who prefer softer beds may find this model a bit too firm.
  • Sleepers who like very responsive beds. The memory foam layers respond very slowly to the sleeper’s body, and may not be comfortable for those who prefer the exceptional springiness of models with coil systems.

DreamCloud

DreamCloud

Highlights

  • Medium-firm (6.5)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Thick comfort layers and strong coils
  • Exceptionally responsive and supportive
Read Our Full Review
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DreamCloud

dreamcloudsleep.com

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Another luxury hybrid option for bed-in-a-box shoppers, the DreamCloud features a thick comfort system of polyfoam and memory foam layers, along with an 8-inch pocketed coil system. Altogether, the mattress measures 15 inches thick, giving it a higher profile than most competing mattresses sold online. Heavier and/or taller individuals tend to have an easier time getting on and off thicker mattresses.

The DreamCloud has a medium-firm feel. Sleepers experience even body-conforming from the comfort layers, but the mattress also feels very supportive and responsive. This creates a feeling of sleeping “on” – as opposed to “in” – the mattress, and the bed is particularly well-suited to those who weigh at least 130 pounds. The thick coils ensure very strong edge support and minimal sinkage along the perimeter. Many couples also consider the DreamCloud ideal for sex due to its highly responsive surface.

The DreamCloud has a very reasonable price-point given its high-quality construction. The company also offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S., and backs the mattress with a 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty – both much longer than average.

The Bottom Line.

A luxury mattress available at a high-value price, the DreamCloud combines thick comfort materials with a strong support system.

  • People who weigh at least 130 pounds. The mattress has a medium-firm feel and provides great support for side, back, and stomach sleepers in the average weight and heavyweight groups.
  • Those who prefer high-profile mattresses. Measuring 15 inches, the DreamCloud is thicker than most competing mattresses.
  • People who prefer sleeping “on” a mattress. The DreamCloud is very responsive. Most sleepers experience a floating feeling on top of the surface, rather than sinking deeply.
  • Hot sleepers. Strong airflow through the coil layer ensures good overall breathability for the DreamCloud and a temperature-neutral surface for people who run warm at night.

Not Recommended for...

  • People who weigh less than 130 pounds. Due to its medium-firm feel, the DreamCloud will likely feel too firm and not conform enough for sleepers in the lightweight group.
  • Those who like the feel of memory foam. The mattress conforms a bit to sleepers, but not to the same extent as mattresses with thicker memory foam comfort layers.

Brooklyn Bedding Signature

Brooklyn Bedding Signature

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (3.5, 5.5, 7.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Premium foams ensure optimal sleeper comfort
  • Above-average motion isolation and pressure relief for a hybrid model
Read Our Full Review
Save 20% on the Brooklyn Bedding Signature with this code = TUCKSLEEP20
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Brooklyn Bedding Signature

brooklynbedding.com

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The Brooklyn Bedding Signature is a hybrid model with an exceptionally durable design. Premium comfort foams and sturdy pocketed coils give the mattress an expected lifespan of at least eight years. Customers can choose three firmness options for their Signature model: soft (3.5), medium (5.5), or firm (7.5). This broad selection should accommodate most people regardless of their body type, normal sleep position, or comfort preferences.

Soft and medium Signature mattresses are optimal for lighter people and side sleepers. The comfort layer conforms rather closely to align the spine and reduce pressure in the shoulders and hips. Back and stomach sleepers will probably find the medium or firm designs more comfortable because they feel more supportive and sag less beneath the midsection. The mattress is also a great choice for hot sleepers due to steady airflow through the coil layer, and it isolates motion better than most competing hybrids.

The Signature has a very low price-point for a hybrid, and Brooklyn Bedding provides free shipping to all 50 states.

The Bottom Line.

The Brooklyn Bedding Signature is a durable, breathable hybrid mattress with a firmness selection that caters to most sleeper types.

  • Sleepers who prefer a balance of conforming and responsiveness. The Signature contains comfort layers made of polyfoam, a body-conforming material that is also a bit bouncier than memory foam. Most sleepers feel as though they are both sleeping “on” and sleeping “in” the mattress.
  • Hot sleepers. Like other hybrids, the Brooklyn Bedding Signature circulates air through its coil layer to keep the mattress feeling cool.
  • Couples. Although the mattress has some responsiveness, the Signature isolates motion transfer very well and also produces very little noises. Couples should experience fewer sleep disruptions.
  • Value seekers. The mattress has a very durable design and should outlast most competing hybrid models, but its price-point is quite reasonable.

Not Recommended for...

  • Those who like the feel of memory foam. The bed’s polyfoam comfort layer conforms to a noticeable extent, but it does not provide the close body cradle of memory foam.

Mattress in a Box Buyer's Guide

Read on for more information about purchasing a mattress online. Our comprehensive buyer’s guide includes a few pros and cons of bed-in-a-box models, some shipping and delivery questions for first-time buyers, and some answers to common mattress shopping questions.

What Is a Bed-in-a-Box?

Historically, most mattress purchases took place at brick-and-mortar retail stores. Customers would consult with onsite salespeople to determine the most suitable brand and model, then either leave the store with their new mattress or arrange for home delivery.

The bed-in-a-box trend – which kicked off about 10 years ago – has completely changed the way mattresses are bought and sold. Rather than visiting mattress stores, customers purchase directly from brands via the company’s website. Most of these sites offer detailed product descriptions and live chat options with customer service personnel. Within minutes, shoppers can make their purchase and coordinate home delivery.

Bed-in-a-box mattress models are generally compressed and vacuum-sealed for delivery, then shipped in boxes to the purchaser’s residence. Some companies offer in-home assembly and old mattress removal, as well. Customers may test out their mattress for a predetermined length of time – also known as the company’s sleep trial – before choosing to keep the bed, return it for a refund, or exchange it for another size or model.

Today, mattress shoppers can choose from a wide range of bed-in-a-box models. These include various materials and designs, firmness and thickness options, and price-points.

Pros and Cons of Mattresses in a Box

  • Most online brands do not operate brick-and-mortar locations or employ commissioned sales staff, both of which can drive down price-points. As a result, bed-in-a-box models typically costs much less than models sold in stores.
  • Purchasing a mattress online is a fairly quick and convenient process, whereas visiting a mattress store can be time-consuming.
  • Onsite mattress salespeople have been known to pressure customers into purchasing certain models. Websites offer a much more relaxed and pressure-free environment for shoppers.
  • The vast majority of online mattress brands offer free shipping and returns within the contiguous U.S.
  • Most sleep trials from online mattress brands last at least 90 nights, and some exceed one year in length. Customers should receive sufficient time for testing out their new bed and determining whether or not it suits their needs.

Cons

  • Customers cannot test out a mattress before placing their order. Sleep trials can help them make a final decision, but first they must make a purchase.
  • Some online brands sort their customer reviews in a misleading manner, such as displaying more positive ratings before negative ones.
  • Although some brands extend free shipping and returns to Alaska, Hawaii, and/or Canada, customers outside the contiguous U.S. often face steep delivery surcharges.

Ordering a Mattress in a Box

Purchasing a bed-in-a-box is fairly straightforward, and many brands offer user-friendly websites to make the process even easier. We recommend the following steps for buying a mattress online.

  1. Comparison shop. Comparing different brands and models is the best way to find a suitable mattress. Pay close attention to firmness levels, thickness measurements, customer reviews, prices, and shipping rates.
  2. Review the final choice. After selecting a model, take time to peruse the bed’s product page one last time. Contact customer support on the brand’s website (if available) if questions or concerns arise. If web chat is not available, consider placing a call or sending an email to the company.
  3. Double-check the size. Purchasers should measure their bed frame and bedroom to ensure their desired size will fit. Some bed-in-a-box brands will not provide refunds or exchanges for different mattress sizes, so selecting the right dimensions prior to finalizing the order is very important.
  4. Check for discounts. Online mattress brands routinely offer coupons and promotional codes that can knock hundreds of dollars off a bed’s original asking price. Tuck.com also provides mattress discounts for certain brands and models.
  5. Determine the best shipping option. For customers in the contiguous U.S., the cheapest delivery method will most likely be standard ground shipping. Some companies offer expedited ground shipping at an extra charge. White Glove delivery – which includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal – may also be available, but this service is rarely free.
  6. Purchase the mattress. Please note some customers must pay additional charges, such as sales tax and/or recycling fees (more on this in the FAQ below).
  7. Track the order. Once the mattress ships from the company’s facility, purchasers should receive a tracking number to monitor their delivery’s status. Expected wait times vary, but in most cases the customer will receive their bed within 10 business days of their original order. After the mattress ships, the customer’s main point-of-contact will be with the courier company (such as USPS or FedEx), but they can also contact the mattress brand they experience shipping issues.
  8. Make delivery arrangements as needed. For ground shipping orders, the courier will most likely leave the mattress on the customer’s doorstep. Some buyers may need to make special arrangements for a neighbor to retrieve the mattress after delivery, or for the courier to place the box in a secure location. If the purchaser lives in an apartment or condominium, the courier will most likely leave the mattress at the front desk unless requested otherwise.
  9. Unbox and enjoy. To remove a bed-in-a-box from its packaging, customers should carefully cut the plastic wrapping without damaging the mattress. The mattress will slowly expand until reaching its full shape. The recovery process takes about 24 to 48 hours for most beds.

Remember: the mattress brand can provide valuable assistance during each step of this process. Don’t hesitate to reach out via phone, email, or live webchat if questions or problems arise.

Online vs. Brick-and-Mortar Mattress Buying

There are several key differences between buying a mattress in a brick-and-mortar store and ordering a bed-in-a-box online, though there are also a few similarities. The table below illustrates the pros and cons of each.

Criteria Brick-and-Mortar Bed-in-a-Box
Brand Selection High
Customers may select from a wide range of brands and models
Low
Customers are limited to one brand’s mattress selection
Mattress Inventory Customers are limited to the store’s onsite selection, and availability may be limited for some models Online brands typically carry a large inventory, ensuring their supply for each model does not run out
Customer Service Brick-and-mortar stores employ sales specialists to address customer questions and recommend models. While helpful, sales staff can also be somewhat pushy because many work on commission Most bed-in-a-box brands offer live web chat with company personnel. Many also provide customer service phone numbers and/or email addresses.
Mattress Prices Tend to be higher due to overhead costs from brick-and-mortar operations and onsite staff Typically lower, as bed-in-a-box brands usually operate a limited number of physical stores and do not employ commissioned sales staff
Delivery? Many brick-and-mortar mattress stores offer residential delivery, though this service may carry additional charges. Most bed-in-a-box brands offer free shipping within the contiguous U.S. For customers outside the contiguous U.S., steep delivery charges may apply.
Mattress Pickup? Brick-and-mortar customers may be able to pick up their mattress at the store if it is not in-stock at the time of purchase. Store pickups are almost always free-of-charge. Unless the brand operates a physical location or has an agreement with a brick-and-mortar retailer, mattress pickup will not be available.
Sleep Trials and Returns Many brick-and-mortar stores offer sleep trials, but they are generally shorter than those available from bed-in-a-box brands and returns may not be free. Trial periods generally span at least 90 days, and returns are usually free. The company will usually send personnel to the customer’s house to retrieve the mattress and either donate it to charity or drop it off at a recycling facility.

Bed-in-a-Box FAQ

  • How Do Bed-in-a-Box Exchanges Work?

    For brands that allow mattress exchanges during the sleep trial, customers must first contact customer service. Those who select a more expensive size or model will need to pay an additional upgrade charge, while cheaper sizes or models will usually result in a partial refund.

    In most cases, the company will arrange for personnel to pick up the old mattress from the customer’s residence. The personnel may also drop off the new model, or it will be delivered via standard shipping.

  • Does Compressing the Mattress for Shipping Cause Permanent Damage?

    No – at least, it shouldn’t. Bed-in-a-box models are designed to be compressed for shipping, then expand to their full shape once the plastic wrapping has been removed. If damage does occur, it is probably due to a defect with that particular model or mishandling during shipping, rather than an issue with the mattress design. Customers should contact the mattress brand immediately to report any type of damage to their mattress upon delivery or unboxing.

  • Why Do Customers in Certain States Pay Additional Charges at Checkout?

    By law, customers living in certain states must pay sales tax for their mattress purchase. In states that do not have a sales tax, this extra charge will not be applied to the purchase.

    Additionally, customers in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island must pay a mandatory mattress recycling fee when buying a new bed. This fee ranges from $9 to $10.50, depending on the state.

  • How Long Before Mattresses Reach the Customer's Address?

    Mattresses that are made-to-order may take several days to assemble, while pre-made beds will be ready to ship once the customer’s order is finished. In any case, buyers should expect their mattress to arrive in 10 days or less after it ships from the company’s warehouse or manufacturing facility.

    Specific wait times vary by courier. Customers who live in remote locations and/or purchase mattresses during busier times of the year (such as holiday shopping periods) may have a longer wait time.

  • Can Customers Choose a Date and Time for Their Mattress Delivery?

    Bed-in-a-box brands typically coordinate free ground shipping with UPS, FedEx, and other couriers. By rule, these couriers usually do not allow customers to select a specific date and time for their delivery. However, they may be able to accommodate buyers in some circumstances. Contact the courier if conflicts occur with the expected delivery date.

  • Do Customers Need to Be at Home When the Mattress Arrives?

    Standard mattress deliveries do not require a customer signature, nor does anyone need to be at home when the bed arrives. However, those who are concerned about “porch pirates” or other security issues may wish to be on hand to meet their courier.

  • Can Customers Return Their Mattress at Any Point During a Sleep Trial?

    This depends on the mattress brand. For some sleep trials, the customer may return their mattress at any point for a full refund. Other brands want buyers to “break in” the mattress for a certain amount of time before returning it, and will not issue full refunds until a certain amount of time has elapsed – 30 nights, in most cases.

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