As different as people can be from one another, there are a few things we all have in common. We all need to eat food, drink water, and breathe air in order to survive, for instance. And, if we want to function at our best (or even a passable amount), we all need somewhere between 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Furthermore, if we want to ensure that our rest is good and allows for the optimum amount of recovery in order to get up the next day and do it all over again, we’re going to need a good mattress.
Recently, there’s been a fairly marked change in the way that mattresses are bought and sold — driven largely by smaller companies trying to make a name for themselves outside of traditional furniture stores. You’ve probably heard of their offerings referred to by several different names/terms, including mattresses-in-a-box, mail-order mattresses, and (put bluntly) mattresses you can buy online. Regardless of what they’re called, the idea remains the same: these are mattresses you purchase remotely that are then shipped to your home — with no need for retail spaces. This cutting-out of retail spaces allows brands to put more money into R&D and pass some of the savings onto the end-user. Whether you’re a side-sleeper that runs hot or a dead-on-your-back cold-blooded snorer, you’ll find the ideal mattress in the following guide.
Our Approach To Mail-Order Mattresses
The Three Bears Conundrum
If you recall, in the old Goldilocks fairy tale, the titular heroine (or anti-hero, depending on your point of view) happens upon the home of a trio of bears. Inside that home, she discovers that each of the bears has a different bed — one that’s too hard, one that’s too soft, and another that’s “just right.” This sums up what we’re going to refer to as the “Three Bears Conundrum.” That is to say, mattresses are a remarkably personal thing. One that works perfectly for you and your sleeping habits likely won’t be ideal even amongst people in your own household. In fact, some couples discover, when sleeping on the same bed, that one prefers a bed that’s plush and allows their body to sink in while the other wants one that’s stiffer with less give. And that’s not even the only criteria. Other factors include how a person sleeps physically (back, side, stomach, or some combination therein), one’s overall temperature (hot vs. cold), applicable physical conditions (sciatica, apnea, scoliosis, etc.), and even one’s level of physical activity (there are beds designed to aid in athletic recovery).
With all that in mind, you might be wondering how anyone could narrow down a list of best mattresses you can buy online to just 12, as we have. Well, the truth is we haven’t. Since picking out a mattress is so personal and relates to so many different metrics, we’ve instead chosen to focus on some of the most impactful, innovative, and interesting brands on the market — many of whom offer numerous different kinds of mattresses to suit a wide variety of sleepers. This way, you can garner an understanding of the major players in the mattress-in-a-box world and make a more informed decision regarding which mattress, if any, you pick for yourself. We’re here to make your search a bit easier and less time-consuming, but the ultimate choice is going to be yours. Thankfully, many of these brands also offer fairly lengthy trial periods, meaning you can return the mattress and try again until you find the one that’s just right for you.
Factors To Consider
While we can’t decide which mail-order mattress is right for you, we can help tune you into some of the industry lingo in order to help you make a more informed decision. These are some of the most significant and impactful metrics to look for when seeking out your next mattress-in-a-box.
Firmness: This metric is simultaneously the most easily discerned (every brand lists the firmness of their mattresses in a clearly marked section of the sales page) and the most important, as it will determine your overall comfort and, therefore, your ability to sleep on a given mattress. There’s a pretty good chance that, since you’ve presumably been sleeping on a bed your whole life, you already know whether you like your mattress to be firm, soft, or somewhere in-between. But it’s also worth keeping in mind that a firm mattress may offer better overall support for your spine and that you can always add on a mattress topper after the fact to soften it up a touch. Furthermore, newer hybrid mattresses have been blurring the lines between soft and hard by incorporating sturdy support structures topped by layers of soft, sinking foam — which could be the best of both worlds for most folks. At the end of the day, the decision will ultimately be yours.
Spring vs. Foam: While these aren’t the only two options (air mattresses and water beds both still exist, for example), the two biggest categories of mattresses are probably those with coiled springs and those made from some kind of foam (be that memory, latex, or otherwise). It’s not a hard and fast rule, but spring mattresses tend to offer more overall support and stiffness, whereas foam conforms better to your body and has less bounce. There is also an increasing number of mattress brands, many of which are on this list, which offer hybrid-style mail-order mattresses — meaning they combine both springs and foams to give users the best of both worlds.
Topper: Not unlike hybrid mattresses (see above), mattress toppers are often a means of creating a plush and/or softer thin upper layer on top of an otherwise stiff mattress — the intention being to give users a cushion into which they can sink without sacrificing the overall support of the rest of the mattress beneath. Toppers can also be purchased separately from a mattress and can even be made from memory foam if you’re looking for a quick fix for a too-rigid mattress you bought online.
Sleep Style: Knowing your predominant sleep style is integral to picking out the right mattress. This is because someone that sleeps on their back needs different overall support and structure than someone who sleeps on their side or stomach and vice-versa. There are even beds best suited to people that roll around a lot. Learn how you sleep and keep that in mind while you search, as this can have a significant impact on the mattress you end up choosing to purchase.
Hot/Cool Sleeping: Just as your sleep style will have a significant impact on the mattress you choose, so too will your resting body temperature. Many mattresses, especially those with fancy new technologies built in, have some kind of cooling element or fabrics that are very breathable — making them ideal for warm sleepers. However, if you’re frequently cold in the middle of the night, there are also mattresses better suited to keeping you warm — even those with built-in heating elements.
As far as modern mail-order mattresses are concerned, Casper is undoubtedly one of the most significant pioneering brands — to the point where they’re widely credited for kicking off the craze. As it turns out, they’re still here and still going strong. In fact, they’re not only still amongst the best, but they also offer some of the best pricing in the industry. They offer four different mattress types — with their price, complexity, and integrated technology increasing in parallel with one another — across six sizes, all of which are outlined in great detail so you know exactly which mattress suits which kinds of sleeper(s). You can even order any of their mattresses using Affirm — a 0% interest rate pay-over-time program — if you can’t drop the full price on the day of purchase. And don’t let the approachable pricing fool you; Casper is still a formidable online mattress brand with an exceptional suite of offerings.
Brentwood Home Mattresses
One of the biggest things that Brentwood Home’s suite of mattresses-in-a-box has going for it — or at least one of the many things that helps them stand out — is that they’re all made with some combination of organic latex, memory foam, and BioFoam. This means, if you have any issues with chemicals and/or you have allergies to specific materials, you can more easily find a mattress that suits your needs in that regard. Of course, even without that factor, the brand’s collection of six unique mattress types — including memory foam, latex, and hybrids — is enough to pique anyone’s interest. Just keep in mind that there’s a significant jump in the starting price from the kids’ mattress up to the entry-level adult-sized and -featured mattress. Still, you’ll see that the tech and the pricing all line up with these exceptional mail-order mattresses.
Cocoon By Sealy Mattresses
Online mattresses and/or mail-order mattresses have had such a game-changing effect on the overall sleep furniture industry that even big-name brands are getting into the space in some form or another. And that’s what the Cocoon by Sealy represents on our list. However, we’re not simply including these offerings because of the brand backing them. Rather, the admittedly-limited range — just two mattresses called the Chill Memory Foam and Chill Hybrid, respectively — has earned its spot. As you might have gathered from the name, these mattresses-in-a-box hinge on their cooling technology, which helps keep sleepers at a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Furthermore, buyers can choose between the motion isolation of the all-memory foam option or scale up and get the support of a traditional spring mattress with a thick layer of memory foam on top for the best of both worlds.
As it can start to be hard to tell what the real difference is between these online mattress brands, perhaps it would serve you best to let you know what stands out, specifically, about Nectar — besides the rave reviews, of course. Well, that probably starts with the brand’s 365-night risk-free sleep trial, meaning you can test out any of their mattresses for a full year before you decide whether you want to keep it and/or return it. But it goes even deeper than that — if you try out the mattress and don’t like it, you’ll be fully refunded and Nectar will help you get the mattress recycled or donated. Better still, all of the brand’s mattresses — be that the Standard or Lush — come with a lifetime warranty. Not to mention, both the 365-night trial and lifetime warranty are industry-leading factors that should please anyone looking for a good-faith purchase on a mattress-in-a-box.
Tuft & Needle Mattresses
Tuft & Needle was built upon and remains committed to a few specific, customer-friendly tenets: honest pricing, high-quality products, and superb customer service. As it turns out, that seemingly-obvious combination has not only allowed the brand to carve out their own niche, but they’ve helped shape the entire mattress and bedding industry, as a result (and for the better). In fact, all the information you need to know about the brand’s trio of mattress types — the Original, Mint, and Hybrid — is laid out for all to see, similarly to how car brands show off their vehicle trims. And that makes it super simple to garner what the mattresses are composed of, who they’re best suited to, their firmness, cooling features, the cover material, and even the user reviews. It’s the transparency that will draw you in, but it’s everything else that will have you coming back to Tuft & Needle for more.
If any of the mail-order mattress brands on our list has had a rise that could be referred to as “meteoric,” it’s Purple. And while much of that can be credited to the company’s uniquely bizarre marketing campaign — including television commercials featuring Goldilocks, sasquatch, quirky scientists, and more — the real star of the show is the brand’s proprietary Grid technology. Included in all three of the brand’s different mattresses — the Purple, the Hybrid, and the Hybrid Premier — this technology consists of a layer of 2″ gel that’s cool, breathable, and helps diffuse pressure and motion. This means, as shown in the brand’s commercials, that you could literally place a glass of red wine on one corner of the bed, jump on the other, and you won’t spill a drop. Furthermore, the gentle support is enough that an adult human could literally lay on top of a chicken egg without cracking the shell. Purple is a game-changer and, even amongst its peers, stands out from the crowd in all the best ways.
Sometimes, the mark of a great brand isn’t exclusive to the products they offer, but how they approach business as a whole. And that’s one of the many things that Leesa has going for it. You see, this brand makes a trio of exceptional USA-made mattresses you can buy online — an Original memory foam mattress, a Hybrid combining springs and foam, and a Legend that doubles up on the springs with a foam topper — and has a tremendous amount of info on each to help you pick out the one that’s best for you. But, they also have a lot of great things going on behind the scenes. Perhaps the biggest highlight therein is that, for every ten mattresses Leesa sells, they donate one free-of-charge to a family in need. As of now, they’ve donated over 37,000 — which is a pretty massive number considering the fact that this is pure charity on their behalf. And, they share information regarding their positive impact each year, so customers can see all the good they’re helping make happen.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options available on the market and you just want someone to make things easy for you, you may be drawn to Helix’s value proposition. Rather than offering numerous mattress types with only slight variations, Helix has pared it down to just two — the Helix Mattress and the Helix LUXE — of which both are exceptional. But that’s not all; the brand has also developed a simple and quick sleep quiz, which you can take to help you figure out which mattress, exactly, is the right one for you. The quiz takes quite a bit into account — including things like your age, height, weight, sleep style, the firmness you prefer, whether or not you frequently experience pain in the morning, and even how many people will be sharing the mattress. Helix takes the guesswork out of everything, and that convenience alone might be enough to put them on your radar.
As we mentioned earlier, there are some mattresses designed specifically with athletic recovery in mind — and Molecule is the mack daddy of them all. If you need proof that these are spectacular for top-level athletes, just look at their spokespeople — a list that includes Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps, United States Women’s National Soccer team star Alex Morgan, and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Of course, even without these athletes backing these online mattresses, they’d still be impressive. That’s due, in part, to the fact that they are comprised of USA-made CertiPUR-US foam, RestoreFLO foam, and (in the case of the upgraded Molecule 2 option) Proprietary AirTEC Extreme Open Cell foam (which, together, is 3-5 times more breathable than traditional memory foam). Other features include adaptive support layers, cooling covers, and more. If you were wondering if Molecule was the real deal, you can cease because it definitely is.
If you have a latex allergy, let’s go ahead and stop you right here because all the mattresses made by PlushBeds use the material. If you’re not and you’ve got an aversion to any other kind of chemicals or animal products, you’re in luck — PlushBeds specializes in natural and organic materials in their mail-order mattresses. In fact, they’re even GreenGuard Gold Certified — meaning they’re free of harmful chemicals and about as pure as it gets. Furthermore, all three of their mattress offerings come backed by a 25-year guarantee. And if that’s not enough, they’ve won a slew of awards for their suite of offerings. Perhaps best of all, they can offer all that — alongside technologies that can stand up to the best of them — at a remarkably approachable price point, considering just how exceptional their mattress-in-a-box offerings truly are.
It might seem odd or just straight-up wrong, but there are a lot of mattress companies out there that utilize a wide variety of potentially harmful chemicals (to both the user and the planet itself) in the construction of their mattresses. By contrast, Avocado prides themselves on using none of these said chemicals. In fact, their entire suite of mattresses support vegan, organic, and bio-friendly lifestyles — making these some of the best mail-order mattresses you can find if you have a single eco-friendly bone in your body. They’ve even gotten PETA, the animal rights organization, to sign off on their wool-free hybrid mattress. Of course, even without all the hoity-toity buzzwords, Avocado’s full suite of offerings is exceptionally built and each mattress is carefully designed to allow for spectacular rest for people of all ages, sleep styles, and more.
Eight Sleep Mattresses
By a fairly wide margin, Eight Sleep’s offerings are the most expensive of all the mail-order mattresses on our list. But that’s because, by a much wider margin, they’re also the most high-tech, feature-laden options around. You see, these aren’t simply mattresses; they’re customizable sleeping stations that are so loaded with tech, they might seem like something out of a science-fiction movie. Along with the mattress itself, each Eight Sleep Mattress also connects to what they call the Hub, a hydro control center that actually feeds water through a thin layer within the mattress — allowing for control over the temperature of the mattress (meaning it can heat and cool on-demand) and also acting as the housing for the mattress’s biometric tracking sensors. Best of all, you can control the heating/cooling, dual-zone customization (meaning each side of the mattress can be its own temperature), GentleRise technology (like a built-in alarm clock), and more all from a convenient and easy-to-use app.
The 12 Best Bed Sheets
If you’re getting a new bed, you’re going to obviously need some bedding to go along with it. But you can’t just grab the simplest set off the shelf, not if you really care about your own comfort. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best bed sheets you can buy.