• Tuft & Needle Original

  • Leesa Hybrid

  • Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress

  • How We Tested Mattresses in a Box

  • What Should You Know About Mattresses

  • What To Consider When Buying a Mattress in a Box

  • Other Mattresses in a Box We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Mattresses in a Box of 2021

  1. Best Overall

    Tuft & Needle Original Mattress

    Pros

    • Affordable

    • Comfortable

    • Supportive

    Cons

    • May be too firm for some

    • Some heat retention

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Upgrade

    Leesa Hybrid

    Pros

    • Comfortable for all sleep positions

    • Balances firm and soft

    • Luxury feel

    Cons

    • Pricey

    • Strong initial odor

    • Heavy

    Skip to the full review below
Tuft & Needle Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Tuft & Needle's Original Mattress offers a lot of bang for your buck.

Best Overall
Tuft & Needle Original

Our tester adored the Tuft & Needle Original mattress. She’s slept on a lot of mattresses, but this was one of only two that she felt deeply sad to see toted away after their month-long sleep tests (the other, unsurprisingly, is our Upgrade Pick, the Leesa Hybrid, below).

At first she was dubious about how firm the Tuft & Needle Original felt. But within a few minutes of lying down, she found that this product softens and adjusts enough to adapt to the pressure of her body weight. She felt it had just enough give to cushion pressure points, particularly when lying on her side. Stomach and back sleepers, who are generally more prone to spinal woes than side sleepers, will likely find the mattress allows them to sleep in their preferred position without noticing any soreness or strain because of how supportive it is. Our tester loves sleeping on her stomach, but she’s all too familiar with the lower back strain that sometimes comes with it. It was never an issue in her time with the Tuft & Needle Original. The product’s firmness also makes its edges more supportive than many foam mattresses we tested. They still compressed under pressure when our tester sat right on the corner and edge, but when she lay down and scooched over to the edge and wriggled around a bit, she didn’t feel as though falling off the bed was imminent. (If you prefer a softer, more supple mattress, read on, as some of the others we’ve tested will better fit the bill.)

The Tuft & Needle Original was our former “Best Value” pick following earlier testing because it carries an unbeatable price. Mattresses in a box may seem as though they’re always on sale. Yet even at a discounted price, most of the mattresses we’ve tested still won’t beat out the Tuft & Needle Original queen size at its full retail price of $695. The site’s sales aren’t as substantive as those of other mattress retailers, but you can still get it at a 10% or 15% discount, which you’ll find out about if you sign up for the marketing emails.

For all its upshots, the Tuft & Needle Original has a couple of downsides. For one, the product retained some heat in lab testing, though it was far from the worst culprit in this regard, and heat retention tends to be an issue with foam mattresses in general. Perhaps more telling, our tester didn’t think it felt too warm, but she tested it in the dead of winter (in her heated apartment). Also, if you’re looking for the hugging and sink-in sensation of memory foam, it isn’t the mattress for you—indeed, some sleepers may find the Tuft & Needle too firm. But experts suggest people are better off erring on the side of mattresses that are too firm—as it’s easy to throw on a topper or something to provide a bit of cushion—rather than too soft, which is harder to remedy.

At the end of the day (and, of course, overnight), we think this is an incredible bed. It balances supportiveness with just enough surface give. Our tester thought it worked well for all sleep positions: She favors sleeping on her stomach and side and swore off back sleeping long ago but found the Tuft & Needle Original was comfortable even when she lay on it in that position. She’s the main sleep person here at Reviewed, and to put it simply: “If I had to buy a mattress tomorrow, given my current budget, I would hands-down go for the Tuft & Needle.”

Mattress materials: Two layers of foam: on top, a soft layer infused with cooling gel and graphite, and beneath, a thicker layer for support.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. A queen-size arrives in a box measuring 44 inches by 16 inches by 16 inches box and weighing about 72 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Tuft & Needle coordinates pickup with a local charity or nonprofit, free of charge.

Pros

  • Affordable

  • Comfortable

  • Supportive

Cons

  • May be too firm for some

  • Some heat retention

Leesa Hybrid
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

We think everyone will love the Leesa Hybrid, and that it's worth every penny.

Best Upgrade
Leesa Hybrid

We think it’s worth investing as much as is feasible for your budget in a mattress—after all, you spend up to a third of your life on it. The Tuft & Needle Original offers top-notch support at a low price but, based on our testing, it’s hard to beat the Leesa Hybrid if you can afford to spend the cash.

The product’s top two layers are foam, which provide softness and give, and allow it to contour to the body. As a hybrid mattress, the foam sits atop pocket springs, which are coils that are individually wrapped in quilted fabric, giving the bed a sturdy yet buoyant base. This provides adaptable support for all sleep positions, without leaving a stomach sleeper’s back sagging down, or a side sleeper’s shoulder or hip aching the next morning. The bed is a crowd-pleaser that’s amazing to sleep on in any position.

For consumers, the Leesa Hybrid’s construction and support aren’t visible. What our tester felt was the responsiveness of its inner workings when she plopped down on the mattress. On a superficial level, though, she noticed and appreciated the super-soft and aesthetically pleasing cover (a.k.a., its ticking). The cover doesn’t have a huge bearing on functionality, but the devil’s in the details, and that’s another place where the Leesa Hybrid Mattress shines.

The Leesa Hybrid mattress only had a couple of downsides. It retained heat in our lab testing—a consideration for people who sleep hot. That said, our tester considers herself a hot sleeper, yet she didn’t find herself switching sides of the bed in hopes of finding a cool spot (like flipping the pillow over to get the “cool” side).

In addition, the Leesa Hybrid had a noticeable odor when it was first opened, which lasted several days. The mattress is CertiPUR-certified, so the smell, though annoying, isn’t caused by certain harmful flame retardants, and the bed meets indoor-air-quality requirements for certain types of pollutants. In addition, moving the mattress once it’s expanded is a task due to its heftier-than-most, 115-pound weight.

Leesa’s 100-night guarantee, along with its responsive customer service, make this product a worry-free investment. If you don’t vibe with the Leesa as well as our tester did, you may send it back for a full refund—though we doubt you'll want to part with it.

Mattress materials: Two layers of foam, a top comfort layer designed with holes for breathability, and a regular memory-foam layer that provides contouring. The foam layers sit above a pocket-spring base.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. A queen size arrives in a box measuring 45 inches by 16 inches by 16 inches and weighing a total of 121 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Leesa will coordinate the pick-up and donation of unwanted mattresses to “charity partners that serve children.”

Pros

  • Comfortable for all sleep positions

  • Balances firm and soft

  • Luxury feel

Cons

  • Pricey

  • Strong initial odor

  • Heavy

Related content

Awara mattress
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Awara Mattress has great edge support and a firm, but comfortable, sleep surface.

Most like a traditional mattress
Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress

The Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress is made up of cotton, latex foam, coils, and wool. The first thing to know about the Awara mattress is that it’s heavy—129 pounds for a queen size, according to the manufacturer—which meant our tester had to enlist help to drag it up the two flights of stairs to her bedroom (with other mattresses she’s tested, she’s been able to do this alone). Because it’s so heavy, it was also difficult to unbox and get on the bed frame.

After unboxing, though, things turned up. It had no odor when it was first opened, so there was no waiting for it to off-gas. And, perhaps unsurprisingly given its weight, the product felt really sturdy—which our tester thought was a good thing, as it made it feel extra supportive. Its coils also give it a pleasant amount of bounce. As such, she thinks it offers a similar feel to a luxe traditional innerspring mattress. (Our tester usually sleeps on her side and back, and felt comfortable in both positions, though side sleepers with a propensity for aggravated pressure points may be better off opting for a softer mattress.) Its dense interior seemed to absorb motion well—which was confirmed by our Newton’s cradle test—so it's a good choice for light sleepers who are often disturbed by the movements of a partner or pet. It also had great edge support (especially for a mattress in a box), with a firmer ledge on the perimeter of the mattress that resisted collapsing either from sitting or lying on the edge of the bed. And both our tester and lab tests confirm the Awara doesn’t retain much heat, making it a good option for folks who tend to sleep warm. All in all, it feels more like a conventional mattress that you’d get at an in-person store than most mattresses that come out of boxes.

Awara also makes a concerted effort in its organic and health-conscious practices. It holds three materials certifications for the latex used and the fabric in its mattress’s ticking; a health and low off-gassing certification from Greenguard; and the Rainforest Alliance Seal, which demonstrates the latex in the mattress meets certain environmental, social, and economic sustainability benchmarks.

Bottom line: It’s really, really heavy and pricier than many. But if you want something that feels like a classic mattress, with a lot of support and a little bit of bounce, and great heat dispersion, the Awara could be right for you.

Mattress materials: Four layers made up of cotton, latex foam, coils, and wool.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off, arrives in a cardboard box that weighs 129 pounds.

Trial period: 365 nights.

Return protocol: Contact Awara’s “Sleep Concierge” to donate or dispose of the mattress locally.

Pros

  • Supportive

  • Good edge support

  • No off-gassing odor

Cons

  • Heavy and difficult to unbox

  • May be too firm for some

How We Tested Mattresses in a Box

How we tested
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

We tests mattresses for a range of criteria—from heat retention to edge support—at our labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Testers

I’m Lindsey Vickers, the sleep writer here at Reviewed. I joined the team in 2020, so earlier versions of this guide to mattresses pre-dated my time at Reviewed. Several testers helped develop and contributed to this comprehensive list of mattresses, including writer Sara Hendricks and former editors Jessica Teich and Samantha Gordon.

We all have an extra-special place in our hearts for naps, sleeping in on weekends, and all things sleep-related. To keep up with changing attitudes towards and consumer preferences in mattresses, our testing methods have evolved over time so that we can provide you with the information you need to pick the mattress that’s right for your life and sleep style.

The Tests

the tests
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

We use a barbell in lab tests to assess how well a mattress does (or doesn't) curve up under pressure.

We test mattresses the same way you might: We sleep on them for at least 30 nights to see how they hold up. Unlike you, though, we also subjected some of these mattresses to a series of standardized tests into our state-of-the-art testing labs in Cambridge, Mass. Between the at-home testing and the lab testing, we gather data related the following attributes:

Comfort: Perhaps the most important part of a mattress is the comfort it provides. Of course, comfort is subjective and differs from person to person. Instead of assessing how just one tester felt on the bed, testers considered how supported their body felt throughout the night, and in different sleep positions. Testers were mindful of their own sleep habits, even considering whether or not they found themselves rolling around at night to find a cooler spot on the bed.

Motion transfer and bounciness: We asked our testers to have another person (or sometimes a pet) join them on the mattress to see how noticeable the movement caused by a bedmate might be. If you’re a light sleeper, sleeping on a mattress that does nothing to buffer you from a tossing and turning bed partner isn’t going to do your sleep quality any favors. For most of the mattresses, we double-checked our assessment of the mattress’s motion transfer by placing a water-filled wine glass or a Newton’s cradle (that famous desk toy with the ball bearings suspended on strings) on one side of the bed, and asking our testers to climb onto the other side and move around a bit. If their movements were enough to spill water from the wine glass or make the balls in the Newton’s cradle clack together, we could confirm that that mattress would not be a good pick for a light sleeper.

Unsurprisingly, motion transfer is closely related to bounciness. In some cases, we gauged a mattress’s bounciness by jumping up and down on the mattress like small children with energy to burn. In the lab, though, the bounciness test is much more sedate. The tester makes a video recording of dropping a bowling ball onto the center of the mattress from about waist height; after checking the video, we determined the bounciness by noting how much air (if any) the bowling ball got on the first bounce.

Edge support: Testers assessed the support provided by the edge of the bed by determining whether the mattress edges sloped beneath their weight while they were lying down along it or sitting down on it. While this may not matter to some sleepers, when a mattress is crowded with a partner or a pet, too-little edge support can mean the difference between staying aloft or falling off the bed. If the mattress edges provide too little support, it could also make it difficult for you to put your shoes on in the morning, or complete any other task that is often done while sitting on the mattress corners or edges.

For the mattresses that were tested in our labs, we placed a bowling ball on the edges and corners of the mattress. If the bowling ball stays in place and doesn’t roll away, then we conclude there’s enough support at mattress edges for you to sleep on without having to worry about falling out of bed in the middle of the night.

Heat retention: One of the more recent hot-button issues in mattresses is heat retention. If a mattress cannot vent or disperse the heat you give off quickly enough, you might be in for a warmer sleeping experience than you were expecting. While this could be ideal for those of us who sleep cold, people who sleep warm can end up sweating and miserable in the middle of the night.

In our earlier tests, we relied on our testers’ subjective responses to heat retention. In more recent iterations of our mattress testing, we started measuring it in our labs. First, we place temperature sensors on the mattress, cover the mattress with a heated blanket, and turn it on a high setting for an hour. Then, we turn the heated blanket on and off every fifteen minutes. In order to see if a mattress retains heat, we check the temperature spikes over time. If a mattress vents the heat from the heated blanket efficiently, then the temperature peaks should not rise over time (in fact, with cooling mattresses, those peaks should go down as the minutes tick by). For mattresses that retain heat, though, we’d expect to see those temperature values go up over time. By looking at the temperature, it’s easy to see whether a given mattress will keep you (too) warm or leave you cool.

Support: While you know your body’s needs best, we can give you a rough idea of the amount of support a mattress provides, whether we test it in someone’s home or in the lab. For at-home testing, our testers lie on their back, side, and stomach on the mattress and check for any gaps between their lower back and the top of the mattress. If the gaps are present, then it is unlikely that the mattress will be able to provide you with adequate back support.

Future lab tests will confirm the at-home testing by placing weight plates on either end of a barbell, placing the barbell on the mattress, and seeing how much the mattress attempts to fill in the gap between the two weights.

Memory: Some people want the memory foam experience where their mattress perfectly conforms to the contours of their body. Typically, memory foam retains the imprint of a person’s body for a longer period of time than a standard coil-constructed mattress. To verify that a memory foam mattress lives up to its name, we place 150 pounds of weight onto the mattress, leave it overnight, and then remove the weight. If the mattress springs back instantaneously (or didn’t seem to change shape at all under the weight), then the mattress has very little memory. However, if we can actually see the mattress returning to its original shape in real time, then the mattress has some degree of memory and shape retention.

Moving and unboxing: Mattresses-in-a-box are a beast to unpack and to move once they’re open to their full size. We asked testers to describe how difficult it was to remove the mattress from its packaging, as well as how feasible they thought it would be for someone to move that mattress by themselves once fully expanded.

Odor: Foam mattresses aren’t known for smelling like daisies, especially when they first are sprung from their packaging. The packaging and manufacturing processes cause chemicals to become trapped within the mattress; these smelly chemicals are released into the air once the plastic around the mattress is cut open. Testers noted the smell of the mattress when they first opened it, and again 24 hours later (the minimum time it’s recommended you let a mattress off-gas before sleeping on it).

Customer experience: We asked testers to answer questions related to the experience of ordering and receiving the mattress itself. What was the delivery process like? How easy is it to install the mattress? How long are the trial period and the warranty period? How seamless is the return process?

Because the requirements for a comfortable mattress can vary so much from person to person, some of the aforementioned tests are opportunities to gather data about a mattress, rather than grade it objectively. For example, some people may prefer bouncy mattresses over stiff mattresses, or vice versa. In this case, we don’t penalize a mattress for being bouncy (or stiff); we passively collect this data so as to provide you with the information you need to determine whether a specific mattress is right for you.

What Should You Know About Mattresses

Let’s face it: Mattresses are expensive. And everyone needs a bed, so you don’t have many options other than coughing up the cash. What’s more, most mattresses last you a decade—and you don’t want to be stuck sleeping on a bed you find uncomfortable for 10 years. You want to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth, and a mattress you’ll love for years to come. But where do you even begin?

First: You need to do your research. Seeing as you’re already here, you’re headed in the right direction! But also read expert and buyer reviews—and a lot of them. Given how much time you spend in bed, and the impact that quality sleep has on our waking hours, it’s critical you choose what's best for you. A bad night's sleep can be a literal pain in the neck or back that impacts your mood, memory, and productivity the next day (or even for months on end!). As comfort is subjective and personal, we recommend researching multiple products to get a holistic look at your options. Keep your own preferences in mind: For instance, we might not have liked the comparatively large 14.5-inch height of the otherwise comfortable Saatva, but that might be exactly what you’re looking for to fit your ultra-low bed frame.

One of the best parts of the online mattress industry is that most bed-in-a-box companies offer a trial period so that you can literally sleep on it. That said, it's important to take each company’s return policy into account. Some companies make it super-easy by retrieving the mattress free of cost, but others require you to coordinate the return, donation, or disposal of the mattress in order to receive a full refund.

What To Consider When Buying a Mattress in a Box

Mattress in a box
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

There are many things to keep in mind when you're shopping for a mattress in a box.

  • Can you try the mattress in a store before you buy? While Purple and Tuft & Needle are online-only retailers, Casper has a handful of brick-and-mortar stores where you can feel the mattresses in person—just like a traditional mattress store. Other companies partner with specific retailers. Leesa, for example, teamed up with West Elm and Pottery Barn, so you can buy the mattress straight from these vendors and visit some of their physical locations to test it out.

  • What level of firmness do you want? Mattresses range from extra firm, almost like sleeping on a carpeted floor (or a slab of rock, depending on your preferences), to soft and squishy, like a cloud (or quicksand). Finding the right firmness for you is essential to getting a good night’s rest. If you’re not sure what you want, you can always visit a mattress showroom to get a sense of your preferences before buying online.

  • What fabrication are you looking for? Boxed mattresses come in a myriad of materials. You can choose among memory foam, traditional coiled springs, hybrid mattresses (which combine foam and coils), or something off the beaten path, such as Purple’s unique polymer. Each type has benefits and drawbacks. Memory foam, for example, contours well to your body under the pressure of your weight, but can feel too enveloping to some people and retain heat. Coils can provide more support, but will also feel bouncier and may transfer more motion, say, from a restless partner.

  • Do you want more edge support? If you’re an active sleeper, or your bed is home to a party of more than one, edge support can help prevent you, a partner, the kids, and even pets from rolling overboard, which can be an issue with some memory foam mattresses. Or if you like to sit on the edge of the bed as you put on shoes or socks, you might not want to feel the mattress sloping down or collapsing underneath you. Coil and some hybrid mattresses have an encasement around the bed to help provide support around the edges.

  • Does the mattress require a box spring or a foundation? Many newer mattresses work fine without a box spring (a fabric-covered wood frame that contains springs to increase bed buoyancy and boosts up the mattress for additional height), as long as you have a platform bed or adequate slats to provide support and/or the height you’d like your bed to be. Just be sure to check the mattress specifications before it shows up at your door. If you do need a base, these companies sell them to match their mattresses.

  • Does the mattress require special accessories? Some mattresses, such as the extra-thick Saatva, may not work well with standard sheets or bed frames. That might mean you need to replace your favorite sheets with a deep-pocket set or, if your bed frame isn't compatible, new furniture, which can get expensive.

  • Do you have (or plan to get) an adjustable base? If you have or are hoping to get a motorized adjustable base, you’ll want to buy a mattress that is compatible. Some mattresses aren’t designed to fold up and using them with a motorized adjustable could damage the mattress and potentially break the base.


Other Mattresses in a Box We Tested

Amerisleep AS3

The key word for this mattress is firm. It has some give without losing all bounciness, but if you’re used to a soft, memory-foam-type mattress, the Amerisleep may feel a little dense. Our tester tried the Amerisleep right after a super-squishy mattress, and though she generally prefers firm mattresses, it took a few nights to get used to the Amerisleep’s comparable lack of give. In the beginning, there were nights our tester woke up with tension in her lower back, though this didn’t happen frequently enough for her to know whether it was due to the product itself or poor posture when hunched over her desk during the day.

But after this breaking-in (or getting-used-to) period, the mattress felt great. It has a sturdy core and a supple upper layer, so lying on it makes the sleeper feel cradled but not coddled. It retained heat, albeit a minimal amount, in our tester’s experience and in our lab testing. Even so, our tester found it comfortable, maybe thanks to the mattress’s BioPur foam topper, which has open cells that increase breathability, according to Amerisleep. Our tester thinks this feature likely made it feel comfortable, even when she snuggled up with blankets in a stuffy apartment.

Finally, there’s at least one thing that any prospective Amerisleep buyers think of as a positive: Because it’s so firm, it’s really easy to make the bed. Its sturdy edges make it so that bottom sheets snap easily over one side, then slide over to the other with very little tugging—something that isn’t quite as vital as sleeping on it every night, but an important consideration if you change your sheets often. Overall, it’s a great mattress, especially for those who sleep hot and favor firm beds.

Mattress materials: Foam—three layers of it. A top layer of the company's "Bio-Pur" foam, followed by a transition layer to give support and cushion, all on top of a "durable Bio-core."

Delivery and packaging: Arrives in a box measuring 45 inches by 19 inches, with a boxed queen size weighing just under 95 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: If you want to return your Amerisleep mattress, email customer service within 100 days of purchase to set up a return. They will send someone to pick it up and issue a refund once it is received.

Pros

  • Sturdy core with a soft upper layer

  • Firm and supportive

  • Doesn’t sag

Cons

  • May be too firm for some sleepers

  • Slight heat retention

The Nectar Mattress

Nectar was previously our top pick, but after testing according to our updated rubric and scoring, it slipped a bit in our rankings and we no longer recommend it as the best mattress for most people. The main reason: its surface is ultra-soft, which led our tester to feel as though it wasn’t sufficiently supportive.

The Nectar Mattress went through two new rounds of testing. Our first tester, who relied almost exclusively on anecdotal experience, found it balanced firmness and softness, but our most recent results found it was just too squishy to suit the widest number of sleepers. The mattress was never uncomfortable for our new tester, but it wasn’t the most supportive, either. She couldn’t lie or sit on the bed in her waking hours without frequently shifting positions, and her lower back felt a little strain whenever she tried to sleep on her stomach during the month she had it in her home. She found its uber-plush, compressive surface felt better when she slept on her side, as it allowed her shoulder and hip to sink in without any uncomfortable pressure points. The marshmallow-like texture also means that it’s harder to roll around on the mattress without feeling mired—as most people aren’t stationary all night, this could prove disruptive to their sleep.

In lab testing, it was great at dissipating heat, though it felt warm to our tester a handful of the nights she slept on it (in wintertime in her heated bedroom). The Nectar Mattress also lacks edge support. Though it’s got better structure than some all-foam mattresses, it still tends to cave under pressure. This makes it less than ideal for folks who sleep near the edge of the bed, especially if they thrash around, as we think it could cause them to roll off (or wake with a start if they feel like they might) in the middle of the night.

If you’re a side sleeper who likes softer mattresses, this could be the bed for you. But seeing as experts recommend erring on the side of firmer mattresses, we think there are some better options out there.

Mattress materials: Three layers of foam: From the top, a one-inch “fast-recovery” gel memory foam, then a three-inch memory foam layer with “medical-grade” cooling, and beneath, a high-density base foam layer for support.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off, two to three days after placing an order. A queen-size mattress arrives in a box measuring 44 inches by 16 inches by 16 inches and weighing about 65 pounds.

Trial period: 365 nights.

Return protocol: Nectar helps you coordinate donation or local disposal.

Pros

  • Cradles body

  • Stays cool

  • May be good for side sleepers

Cons

  • May be too soft

  • Felt warm at times

  • Limited edge support

Purple Mattress

Purple is one sleep company that everyone seems to know about thanks to its pervasive advertising, and actual purple-colored products. Our tester wanted to rag on the Purple Mattress for no good reason—she was biased against it before it even showed up. But by the end of her 30-day sleep test, she was sad to see the mattress go. And even more irritated to admit her initial bias was wrong: It’s a good mattress.

The company generates a lot of hubbub about the “signature polymer grid,” which it claims remains cool and cushions pressure points without compromising on support. Our tester was skeptical of the coolness claims—lots of mattress companies make these statements, but few come through in actual testing. (After all, it's difficult to stay in one spot, radiating body heat for hours on end, and keep cool.) Nonetheless, the Purple mattress proved us wrong. Our tester never woke up feeling stifled, and no matter how much infrared we blasted at the Purple Mattress during lab tests, it didn’t heat up. It took the mattress three hours of heating to reach its highest temperature—and it was still lower than the off-peak temperatures of other products we’ve tested. In other words: You’ll have a hard time getting the Purple Mattress to suck in body heat and hold onto it. It’s just not in the mattress’s nature.

Aside from sleeping cool, the Purple Mattress was surprisingly supportive and works well for a variety of sleep positions. Because of the mattress’s squishy polymer, our tester was worried about how it would fare for stomach and side sleeping. It was for naught: The bed was great for both. In the month she had it, she regularly fell asleep prone, but was also able to doze off on her side. Despite the mattress’s buoyant surface, its edge support didn’t hold up in our testing. The edges, collapsing beneath our tester when she sat on them. And when we lightly dropped a bowling ball on the bed’s periphery it didn’t just collapse—the ball almost immediately bounced off.

Our tester isn't the lone Reviewed staffer who loves Purple. Kyle Hamilton, a test technician who works in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, lab, loves his new Purple Mattress. Another recent employee swore by Purple for hip pain, too.

Kyle, however, noted one downside that our tester was also keenly aware of: The mattress is incredibly difficult to move. Our tester has put more than 10 mattresses into giant plastic bags, and moved them in and out of her bedroom solo. Moving the Purple Mattress alone was out of the question. It was simply too floppy and jiggly to go through her door upright when she first received it, so she and the mover hefted it into the room in taco form. If you’re in a permanent location, or settled within at least the same city, this is a non-issue. But if you move frequently, well, know that this mattress is impossible to move for one, and can still trigger a back ache for two—something our lab tech personally attested to about his experience moving the bed with his wife.

Overall, the cons are minimal and the upshots are tremendous. Our tester didn’t buy into the marketing hype, but after sleeping on it she can confirm it is all that—you just have to be willing to pay Purple’s premium price.

Mattress materials: Three layers: On top is a two-inch "hyper-elastic polymer" in a grid design that feels most similar to silicone. The polymer sits atop two layers of polyurethane foam that provide support and a stable base.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. The queen arrives in a 60-inch long, 16-inch diameter plastic tube with fabric handles and weighs about 110 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: The company requires a minimum three-week trial of the mattress. If you still don’t jive with it, contact customer service via phone to begin the return process.

Pros

  • Firm

  • Sleeps cool

  • Limited motion transfer

Cons

  • Difficult to unbox

  • Hard to move

The Chill Mattress from Cocoon by Sealy

The all-foam Chill Mattress—a boxed mattress offering from Cocoon by Sealy, an offshoot of the well-known mattress brand—has a medium-firm feel with a tiny bit of bounce. Its three layers of foam, which include a “support layer,” “comfort foam,” and memory foam, are topped with a polyester and cotton cover that purports to have cooling properties. Our tester—usually a back or side sleeper—found that the foam’s top layer conformed to her body with enough support from the firmer layer below to prevent potential uncomfortable pressure in areas like the hips. Because there’s some sinking into the foam, the mattress traps a bit of body heat, but the cooling top layer seemed to offset anything that might cause intense night sweats. Lab tests show it retained minimal, but not zero, heat—but our tester, who tends to sleep hot, thought the mattress felt cozy, not cloying and thinks this isn't a deal-breaker.

Our tester found the mattress comfortable and supportive when she slept on her side, but sometimes woke up with some discomfort in her lower back, which indicates it isn’t quite as supportive as it could be for that sleeping position. For some reason, she also woke up on her stomach a few times while testing the mattress (even though she almost never sleeps on her stomach), and thought it felt comfortable like this, so it’s probably a fine option for stomach sleepers, too.

Overall, the Chill Mattress from Cocoon by Sealy should be a great choice for someone who wants a medium-firm mattress with some cooling properties at a reasonable price, starting at $730 for a twin—our tester falls right into that category and was sad to send it back. People who want a very soft or very firm mattress may be disappointed, as might someone who sleeps on their back all the time. But for what it promises to do—stay cool and provide cozy support—the Chill comes through.

Mattress materials: Foam mattress with three layers of foam —“support layer,” “comfort foam,” and memory foam—and cooling cloth cover.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off, arrives in a cardboard box that weighs about 75 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Contact Cocoon by Sealy and the company will arrange for the mattress to be picked up and donated to a local agency—no need to box the bed or even break a sweat.

Pros

  • Medium-firmness will have broad appeal

  • Conforms to body without overheating

Cons

  • Not very supportive of lower back

Puffy Lux

The Puffy Lux is a great mattress, but it isn’t for everyone. For better and worse, the Lux’s standout attribute is its softness. Our tester, a hybrid side and stomach sleeper, found herself looking forward to sleeping on it each night. The mattress’s surface is responsive and has a nice amount of immediate give—it doesn’t take time to gradually contour to your form like some foams, which also means you dodge the quicksand effect. The mattress perfectly cradled our tester without making her feel as though she was sinking in too deeply, and she loved that sensation while sleeping and lying on it in every sleep position—back, side, and stomach.

The Puffy’s cushiony surface that cradles, however, is a double-edged sword. Though our tester loved it, she thinks some will find it too soft. Folks who have larger frames—especially those who prefer catching zzz’s prone or supine, both positions that require more support for the back—may find the mattress isn’t firm enough to maintain spinal alignment, which could even lead to back strain.

The mattress is made with Puffy’s “Cooling Cloud” foam material, which is a bit of a misnomer, as it’s just designed to keep your temperature neutral, not actually “cool” you. Our tester felt the “temperature neutral” claim held in her experience sleeping on the bed. The mattress never retained heat, nor did it actively cool in our tester’s experience and lab results. The Lux is made with four layers of foam. Despite containing so much foam, the mattress is surprisingly lightweight and our tester had no difficulty maneuvering the unfurled queen size bed through her apartment alone, making it a great option for anyone who relocates frequently.

Mattress materials: Four layers of foam—two layers of Puffy’s Cloud foam atop a piece of “climate-comfort” foam, which all sits on a supportive (also foam) base layer.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. The Puffy comes in a box that measures 44 inches by 16 inches by 16 inches, and weighs 59 pounds.

Trial period: 101 nights

Return protocol: Mattresses must be purchased directly from Puffy, not a third-party retailer, to be eligible for returns. To make a return, just email Puffy and they’ll take it from there—pick-up and all.

Pros

  • Ample surface cushion

  • Cradling sensation

  • Doesn’t retain heat

Cons

  • May not provide enough support

  • Some will find too soft

  • Expensive

Avocado Green Mattress

The Avocado Green Mattress is a fairly well-rounded bed that doesn’t quite cater to everyone. Our tester felt the mattress stood out temperature wise—it was consistently cool, even on hot summer nights, and she never woke up overbaked. Lab testing confirmed that it’s among the coolest mattresses we’ve tested. It was also just comfortable. It’s not the same comfort offered by the Leesa and other top picks, but it gives sleepers a cozy feel that our tester enjoyed.

This mattress is a hybrid, meaning its construction incorporates springs and foam. It has hundreds of coils sandwiched between two layers of latex, which is known for being cooler than memory foam and its springy with a responsive surface, meaning it quickly responds to pressure or weight. Latex doesn’t yield the sinking, molding, or cradling sensation you get from memory foam, rather the surface has some plushness, but little give or tendency to compact beneath body weight. Our tester felt the springiness of this mattress might be too much for some, but that it’s a great option for people who prefer the feeling of coils, and don’t want to completely sacrifice plushness.

The Avocado Green Mattress holds more certifications than any other we've tested. Its roster includes three certifications for organic materials and components (such as the internal latex and fabrics used in the ticking); one for forest management and sustainability; and four for safe ingredients and limited off-gassing, including Greenguard, which is known for its strict criteria. Avocado is also a Certified B Corporation, meaning its business practices meet certain environmental, social, and community guidelines.

It scored lower than others because it isn’t as versatile in terms of the sleep positions it accommodates. Side and back sleepers will enjoy it, but our tester found that her lumbar spine was unsupported when she slept on her stomach for more than one consecutive night, making the mattress less than ideal for people who prefer stomach sleeping.

Our tester also noticed the mattress she received was two inches short of a standard queen in width and length, coming in at 78 inches by 58 inches. For our tester, who is just accompanied by her cat each night, it wasn’t a problem. However, anyone who is joined by a partner, kids, or large pets, this might be an issue. When our tester asked customer service about the size discrepancy, the representative said it was something Avocado heard about often, and suggested jumping on the bed to encourage it to expand to its full size, which seemed questionable, at best.

Mattress materials: The Avocado Green Mattress is made with two layers of organic latex rubber foam that sandwich pocketed coils, and it’s covered in organic fabric.

Delivery and packaging: Avocado’s delivery takes longer than many mattress-in-a-box companies because the products are handmade. Our tester’s mattress took just over three weeks to arrive at her door.

Trial period: 365 nights.

Return protocol: Avocado requires customers submit photos of the mattress condition. Once it’s verified, they coordinate with a local charity to pick up the mattress for donation.

Pros

  • Cool

  • Comfortable

  • Eco-conscious

Cons

  • Bad for stomach sleepers

  • May be too springy for some

  • Hard to move

Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid

The Brooklyn Signature Hybrid comes in three firmness levels—soft, medium-firm, and firm. Our tester tried out the most popular version, medium firm. While the innerspring base provides the expected support, its top layer of foam didn’t feel like a “medium” firm option, but rather a soft one—which ended up being her biggest gripe. After a couple of weeks of sleeping on the Signature Hybrid, it became apparent that its surface was too forgiving for comfortable stomach sleeping, the position she sometimes favors. She pivoted to sleeping on her side and discovered it was much better for that position. On a handful of mornings she woke up on her back, and found the mattress struck the right balance for her in that sleep position, too. (To be fair, Brooklyn Bedding recommends the firm option if you “sleep mainly on your stomach and/or back.”)

The company claims it uses a different type of springs around the perimeter of the mattress, versus those throughout the main sleeping area, to give the edges more structure. Our tester found this was half accurate. The sides of the bed were more supportive than those of many of the other mattresses we’ve tested. Yet somehow the foot of the bed told a different story: It completely collapsed beneath our tester when she sat on it. In addition, in lab tests—and our tester’s experience—this product was on the warmer side, so it may not be optimal for folks who run hot.

For the price, it’s not a bad bed, by any means, especially for those who want a hybrid, which tend to run pricier. The medium-firm version of this mattress felt like the softer, squishier counterpart to the ultra-firm and similarly priced DreamCloud (which comes in just below this mattress on our list). Many will find this mattress strikes a great balance—but others may find it doesn’t hit that Goldilocks sweet spot, and it could be too soft or too warm for their liking.

Mattress materials: Foam, coils, and polyester-cotton blend fabric

Delivery and packaging: Home delivery, queen size arrives in a box that weighs about 105 pounds.

Trial period: 120 nights

Return protocol: You must try the mattress for at least 30 days from delivery. If you decide it’s not the bed for you, Brooklyn Bedding asks you to find a local charity and donate it. After you email a copy of the donation slip, the company will issue a full refund.

Pros

  • Multiple firmnesses available

  • Balances cushion and bounce

Cons

  • Tends to warm up

  • Medium-firm feels soft

  • Inconsistent edge support

DreamCloud Standard

The DreamCloud mattress is firm and supportive, and works well for most sleep positions. Our tester, who generally has a strong aversion to back sleeping, often woke up in the morning facing the ceiling, despite falling asleep on her stomach or side. Even then, she never noticed the typical discomfort that she feels when she lies on her back. She found the mattress’s firm surface makes it well-suited to stomach sleeping as well. That said, people who prefer a softer surface sensation, and side sleepers with this preference in particular, will likely find a softer bed more comfortable. This mattress also isn’t prone to any heat retention—our tester always woke feeling cool and comfortable, and lab tests corroborated her experience.

But even so, the mattress has some issues. There’s an expanding process when you free a mattress in a box from its shipping confines. However, with the DreamCloud, the corners lagged behind the middle, puffing up like some peculiarly shaped baked good in the oven. What’s more, the foot of the bed didn’t rise to its full height until about three weeks into our at-home testing, just before it was schlepped back to the lab for additional tests. While the sagging foot wasn’t a bother for our 5-foot-9-inch tester—admittedly, she’s tall but has also been waking up diagonal as of late—it could leave taller folks’ calves and feet unsupported, albeit temporarily.

Most mattresses take a few days to fully air out—the DreamCloud, however, was another beast entirely. Our tester didn’t realize how much it smelled until it was on her bed frame for the first night of sleeping, after it had already aired out for 24 hours in a decently ventilated room. It reeked. The bed smelled so bad that she couldn’t sleep with her head off her pillow. If her nose so much as passed the pillow’s perimeter, the mattress’s noxious odor would waft up into her face. And it didn’t smell for just a couple of days—she noticed the smell every night for over two weeks.

Mattress materials: A soft cashmere cover followed by two layers of foam atop a platform of individually wrapped springs, followed by a base layer to support the ones above.

Delivery and packaging: The mattress arrives in a box that measures 43 inches by 18.5 inches by 18.5 inches. It weighs 85 pounds, and even comes with a little slicer to help you cut through the plastic.

Trial period: 365 nights

Return protocol: DreamCloud asks that you donate the mattress to a local charity or organization. Once you’ve contacted them, they will aid you in finding a recipient, but if you incur a cost moving the mattress, it’s on you.

Pros

  • Firm and supportive

  • Comfortable for different sleep positions

  • Cool overnight

Cons

  • Bad odor for weeks

  • May be too firm for some

  • Slow to take shape after unwrapping

Helix Midnight

Before ordering a Helix mattress, potential buyers can take a brief survey on their website that uses height, weight, usual sleeping position, and preferred mattress firmness to determine their ideal mattress. Our tester sleeps on her side and prefers a medium-to-firm mattress, as such, her results yielded the Helix Midnight, a 12-inch mattress with medium support and a hybrid foam-spring composition. This also happens to be the brand’s best-selling mattress.

Overall, our tester slept really well on the Helix Midnight. It has a nice medium-firm feel with some give when she lay down on it, but a distinctive sensation of deeper support at its core. She has always been a side sleeper, and on her old spring-filled mattress, she would sometimes wake up with a sore, crooked-feeling back and aches in her hips where the springs had dug into them. On the Midnight, however, it felt as though she was aligned sleeping on her side, and when she woke up, the familiar, piercing hip pain her old mattress caused was no more. She also felt comfortable in other positions on the mattress.

In addition, our tester tends to sleep hot (and lacks air conditioning), so she was pleased that the mattress didn’t retain too much body heat, even when she sweat at night. All in all, it’s a great mattress at a decent price, particularly for side sleepers.

That said, our tester had some difficulties with its delivery. The box that was dropped off outside her door had no handles, and it was heavy at about 70 pounds, so she had to enlist two of her roommates to help her hoist it up the stairs to her bedroom. There was also a strong chemical smell on the mattress that stuck around after she unwrapped it, but that dissipated a little bit each day and went away fully in about a week.

Mattress materials: The Helix Midnight mattress is constructed from memory foam, polyfoam, wrapped coils, and hard foam called “Duradense” foam at the base.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. The queen arrived in a rectangular cardboard box measuring 48 inches by 16 inches by 16 inches. It weighs about 70 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Helix’s removal partners come to your house to take away an unwanted mattress to donate or recycle it.

Pros

  • Great for side-sleepers

  • Supportive core helps align back and hips while resting

Cons

  • May be too hot for some sleepers

  • Strong chemical smell after unwrapping

PlushBeds EcoBliss

The PlushBeds box containing our queen-size EcoBliss test mattress was heavy, about 129 pounds, surprising for an all-foam bed, though it contains latex, which weighs more than other foams. It’s also stapled shut, unlike most others we’ve tested which are taped. This makes it tough to open, because each flap of cardboard is lined with so many staples that their sharp points are tough to avoid—our tester didn’t cut her hands, but we’d be surprised if that wasn’t a relatively common issue. On the plus side, the mattress didn’t require any time to expand, nor did it release any noxious off-gassing scents.

The EcoBliss’ layers of latex and foam helps it live up to its claim of medium firmness. You don’t sink into it as much as some other foam mattresses, nor do you get the springy rebound of mattresses with coils. During testing, it felt ideal for sleeping on the back and side, because the material created a cozy cocooning sensation that supported each part of our tester’s body in those positions. The foam also retained some heat, but not too much, so it could be a good option for people who often feel chilly at night.

One thing we found really lacking was its edge support, all the way around. The corners and edges of the mattress tended to sink downward much more than other products we’ve tried, which could make it easier to fall off. Our tester never took a tumble, but found that it was difficult to prop herself up if she wanted to read in bed because the top edge would sag dramatically as she leaned against her pillows on the wall. Our other tester noticed this, too, when she went into the office and sat down on the long edge of the bed to write an email—the mattress was so forgiving that when she plunked down, she felt her tailbone hit the bed frame. It didn’t hurt, but it was funny.

The mattress holds three certifications for organic materials and components, as well as a Greenguard certification that demonstrates it won't take a significant toll on indoor air quality.

Mattress materials: Latex, foam, and cotton

Delivery and packaging: Front-door dropoff, arrives in box that weighs 129 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights

Return protocol: You must sleep on the mattress for 30 days. If you decide you want to return it after that, box up the mattress (along with any bonus items you received with it, which must be unopened) and PlushBeds will arrange for a curbside mattress pickup.

Pros

  • Latex material cocoons every part of the body

  • No off-gassing scent

Cons

  • Staple-lined packaging makes unboxing dangerous

  • Poor edge support

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud

The Tempur-Cloud is a fine mattress. Our tester didn’t think it was the best mattress or the worst mattress. It was just fine.

In keeping with Tempur-Pedic’s emblematic foam mattresses formula, this one is entirely foam. The top layer offers little immediate give—unlike plushy foams—instead slowly molding to our tester’s body. This makes it comfortable, but also prevents the quicksand effect that plagues some foam mattresses.

Our tester didn’t have many complaints, but she also didn’t have anything to rave about. On the plus side, the Tempur-Cloud had little noticeable "mattress" odor after opening and didn’t require an air-out period like most other mattresses in a box. It was also easier to move, weighing just 60 pounds and coming in a canvas bag that was well-designed with lugging in mind.

As for sleeping, the Tempur-Cloud is a mixed bag. When our tester laid on her side, she found the firm surface did not irritate common pressure points (on the hips and shoulders). On the negative, when she slept on her stomach (her preferred position for drifting off) she found the Tempur-Cloud to be uncomfortable, causing strain on her lower back.

One of the biggest downsides in our tester’s experience was temperature. Tempur-Pedic claims the Tempur-Cloud is covered in a fabric that provides airflow and breathability, but our tester found that it felt as though the mattress sucked in body heat and held onto it. Lab results showed it retained a noticeable amount of heat. Her hot take? Hot sleepers steer clear.

Mattress materials: Foam, foam, and more foam. The Tempur-Cloud is composed of a base layer of foam to provide support, topped with two layers of “tempur” material, which is a unique foam designed and made by Tempur-Pedic.

Delivery and packaging: Front door drop-off one to two weeks after you place an order. The mattress arrives in a cylindrical canvas bag with fabric handles measuring 43 inches long by 15 inches in diameter. It weighs about 60 pounds.

Trial period: 90 nights.

Return protocol: Tempur-Pedic will coordinate mattress removal and give you a refund.

Pros

  • Little motion transfer

  • Firmly supportive

Cons

  • Not great for hot sleepers

  • Top foam surface offers little immediate give

Saatva Classic

When our tester first lay down on the Saatva Classic mattress in "Luxury Firm," she thought she’d been transported to a suite at a high-end resort. It didn't hurt that she did nothing more than hold open doors to let the delivery guys in and lead them to her waiting bed frame. She was surprised that it didn't perform better on our tests. The reason? It's inconveniently large and one of the worst mattresses at absorbing movement.

The Classic model we tested measured 14.5 inches thick, nearly double the thickness of most mattresses (it also comes in a more standard “Custom Slim” 11.5-inch thickness). The added bulk made it nearly impossible for our tester’s regular sheets to stay put. The tester is a pretty tall lady at 5-foot-10, but due to the mattress’s thickness, she found herself almost hopping into bed every night. The added bed height felt luxurious in that "where's my royal stepping stool, you peasant?" kind of way, but it may not be ideal for people who are shorter, unless they have a lower mattress frame. The height could also prove challenging for people with chronic pain, injuries, or restricted movement.

More annoyingly, the Saatva Classic mattress was terrible at absorbing movement. When we conducted the wine glass test, this was one of the two mattresses that threatened to tip the glass and send the water flying.

That said, the thinner, 11.5-inch option (which Saatva claims “feels identical”) could work for people who sleep alone or so deeply that a partner or pet’s midnight fidgets won’t stir them.

Mattress materials: Recycled steel rod coils, eco-friendly pillow-top foam, natural flame retardant barrier, and organic cotton cover.

Delivery and packaging: White-glove delivery service. The mattress is brought inside and placed on the bed frame for you. No heavy-lifting on your part.

Trial period: 120 nights.

Return protocol: Saatva offers white-glove removal if you are not satisfied with your mattress, but you will be charged $99 for the service. There's no apparent option to handle the donation yourself for a full refund like some other companies offer.

Pros

  • Multiple firmness levels to choose from

  • Comfortable

Cons

  • May be too hot for some sleepers

  • Poor movement absorption

Allswell Supreme

Setting up the Allswell was pretty simple, as far as boxed mattresses go. Our tester had to drag it up two flights of stairs, which few people would find enjoyable, but it was still possible for one woman to do on her own. Allswell provided clear instructions on how to unbox it that made it easy enough to place on a bed frame. Once the mattress was unpacked, it gave off a pungent odor, but this dissipated after a few days.

Sleeping on the Allswell Supreme initially felt like a treat. It has a soft enough upper layer that our tester didn’t think an additional mattress pad was necessary (though your mileage may vary based on your own preferences), but the core was sturdy enough that it still felt supportive throughout the night. The mattress has coils at the base that are topped with two layers of memory foam, plus a plush quilted top, which help it absorb movement—if someone is tossing and turning on the other side of the bed, you don’t really feel it (unless your blanket gets stolen). Our tester also sleeps hot, and didn’t find that the mattress retained too much heat.

But the Allswell Supreme has one major issue: Its edge support. Our tester tends to sleep on one side of the bed, and often sits on the same side to put on shoes while getting ready in the morning. After a few months, a faint depression formed on this side that never fully re-plumped up, giving the mattress a slightly lopsided look and feel. This was easy to deal with by rolling over to the other side to sleep—which felt as comfortable as ever—but it was concerning that there was such a visible impact after a relatively short time of use.

Mattress materials: Coiled base topped with two layers of foam and a quilted enclosure.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. The shipping box for a Queen measures 43 inches long by 18.5 inches by 18.5” inches and weighs 96 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: To return a mattress, you initiate a return on Allswell’s site and someone from the company will call you within two days to arrange a pickup. You should get a refund in seven to 10 days.

Pros

  • Soft top layer

  • Supportive core

  • Absorbs movement well

Cons

  • Poor edge support

  • Mattress sags over time

Simmons Firm Hybrid

The Simmons Firm Hybrid is a budget mattress, and it feels like one. It’s from a legacy mattress brand and, as a hybrid, it’s made of memory foam and coils. It arrives in a cardboard box adorned with cool, funky colors, and it was easy for our tester to move it up two flights of stairs and unbox it. After unwrapping, not only did it have no odor, it didn’t seem to need the usual expansion time—if needed, it could be made up and slept on fresh out of the box.

Unfortunately, our tester could feel the springs beneath the thin memory foam topping—not so much that it was the dominant sensation of the mattress or prevented sleep, but enough that there was a sense of lumpiness throughout the night. After a few weeks of testing, our tester noticed some strain in her lower back due to the sagginess of its springs. On the plus side, our home test and lab results show it doesn’t retain much heat, so it could be a good option for some hot sleepers.

Overall, the Simmons Firm Hybrid is a decent buy. If your main concerns are cost and ease of unboxing, or you need a mattress for a short period of time—say, you’re living somewhere for a year or less—or you’re looking for something for your guest bedroom or kid who’s a low-maintenance sleeper, it’s worth considering.. But if you’re looking for something that’s supportive and will last you for a decade, look elsewhere.

Mattress materials: Foam, coils, and memory foam.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop off, arrives in a cardboard box that weighs about 66 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Email help@simmons.com before your 100-night trial is up to start your return process. You must provide proof of purchase and a law tag to receive a refund.

Pros

  • No odor when unboxed

  • Doesn’t retain too much heat

Cons

  • Can feel springs through mattress

  • Not very supportive

Casper

Though the brand is beloved, the Casper Original mattress absolutely tanked in our testing. Obviously many shoppers deem it a fine mattress, but our tester—who has slept on more beds in one year than most people will own in their lifetime—found its hyper-squishy with a surface that just caved beneath her. It also seemed to lack any sense of structural integrity, especially around the edges. When she rolled over to the edge in testing, she teetered—the foam just seemed to totally collapse beneath her. While sleeping on it, it just didn’t feel as supportive or substantial as other mattresses our tester has tried, especially standouts like the Tuft & Needle Original and Leesa Hybrid. And when she got rid of the Casper to move onto the next mattress for testing, she realized she hadn’t slept well for the entirety of the month she had it. It wasn’t overtly uncomfortable—but she’s a self-proclaimed “good sleeper” so it takes a lot for something to throw her off at night. Yet another bad omen for poor Casper.

One last complaint: While off-gassing odor is usually a short-term problem with boxed mattresses, the Casper made it a longer short-term problem than any other mattress we’ve tried. It stank for about two months after being opened, making it the winner of the “stinkiest for longest” award by a long stretch.

Our tester wanted to like Casper, but she couldn’t really pinpoint a single part of her experience with the mattress that was good. Others, including Reviewed’s editor in chief, love Casper (though he owns an older version). It just wasn’t the right fit for our tester who, at the end of testing, was grateful to see it go.

Mattress materials: A 10-inch thick mattress with four layers of foam: a breathable open-cell foam on top, followed by a layer of high-density foam, then a layer of "zoned transition foam" (meant to support different areas of the body appropriately), and a durable support foam on the bottom.

Delivery: Front-door drop-off. The queen-sized Casper box measures 42 inches by 17 inches by 17 inches and weighs about 90 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Casper arranges a pickup through a local charity or recycling partner and refunds you in full for any associated costs.

Pros

  • Soft

Cons

  • Uncomfortable

  • Long off-gassing period

  • Felt warm at times

Zinus Green Tea Mattress

The Zinus Green Tea Mattress, which we tested in the 12-inch thickness, is a soft mattress with minimal support but a super-affordable price. It’s different from some other mattresses on this list, because it’s available on Amazon and, at under $350 for a 12-inch thick Queen-size mattress, it’s a lot cheaper than most mattresses out there. It is also widely beloved, with nearly 40,000 reviews and an overall 4.2-star rating. Zinus’ mattress foam, called BioFoam, is made with green tea extract, castor seed oil, and charcoal. Zinus says these natural components are used to prevent the typical chemical-y smelling scent of a mattress in a box, but when our tester unboxed it, it had the same pungent smell we’ve come to expect. (It dissipated in about 24 hours, though.)

When our tester laid down on the Zinus, the first thing she noticed could be a plus or a minus, depending on personal preferences: It’s extremely soft. The mattress is composed of different kinds of foam, so it molds to pressure and weight, creating what felt to our tester like a divot underneath the body. In some ways, this is good—it has a nesting effect, so it’s cozy—but she tends to sleep hot, and found that the Zinus retained body heat more than other mattresses she’s tested (including the Helix Midnight). It also made it difficult to get out of bed in the morning because her 130-pound body had sunk so deep into the mattress. Still, she slept pretty well each night, despite not loving soft mattresses and occasionally feeling more overnight heat than she preferred.

And the Zinus has its fans (apart from all those Amazon shoppers), one of whom is another Reviewed staff member: Anna Lane, our parenting editor. She loves Zinus mattresses so much that she has one in every bedroom of her house. “I initially bought one for my son because I found that it was the most reasonably priced, not-super-toxic mattress,” she says. “I didn’t have high hopes for comfort because of the price point, but once we tried it out, both my husband and I agreed that it was super-comfortable. Then we bought two more: one for us and one for our daughter.”

Bottom line: It’s not for everyone. But buyers seeking a short queen size that measures 70 inches long, versus the regular 80 (a few people are), who like soft mattresses (some people do), and who prefer to save money (many people do), the Zinus is a solid option.

Mattress materials: Foam: Three inches of memory foam, two inches of “comfort” foam, seven inches of “high-density base support” foam.

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. The 12-inch thick queen size arrives in a rectangular cardboard box. It weighs about 60 pounds.

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Zinus instructs purchasers to contact customer service for instructions on returning decompressed (i.e., open) mattresses. These may prove a hassle to return if purchased anywhere other than Zinus’s site, if Amazon reviewers’ experiences are accurate.

Pros

  • Short queen size available

  • Odor dissipates quickly after opening

Cons

  • Lacks support

  • Difficult to get up from

Layla

Layla sets itself apart from the other mattresses we tested with a couple unusual features. Most notably, it has two sleep surfaces, depending which side of the mattress is facing up: One that's firm, while the other is soft. It's a cool concept for buyers who aren’t sure of their preferences, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. First off, the soft side is so soft that our tester felt she sank in too far. And the 'firm' side really isn't all that firm, considering it's resting on a whole bunch of ultra-soft memory foam. It's more like this mattress has a soft side and a too-soft side. Aside from never quite getting used to how soft the soft side was, our tester didn't experience any ill effects to her sleep.

The memory foam on both sides is infused with copper, which claims to help keep you cooler and has antimicrobial properties. But our tester woke up dripping in sweat the first two nights, (though she noted she’d just had oral surgery, which could have influenced her reaction). After that, she seemed to settle in to the mattress and didn't have any further issues with overheating, but she didn’t notice feeling cooler than usual, either.

Mattress materials: Four layers: A three-inch, copper-infused memory foam (soft side topper), two-inch “support foam with air flow”, 4.5-inch base support foam, and one-inch copper-infused memory foam (firm side topper).

Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. The queen-size Layla box is 45 inches by 19 inches by 19 inches and weighs about 80 pounds.

Trial period: 120 nights.

Return protocol: Layla offers a few different options, including coordinating pickup by a local charity, and will give you a full refund.

Pros

  • Two firmness options

  • Copper infused

Cons

  • May be too hot for some sleepers

  • Too soft, even on the "firm" side

Meet the tester

Lindsey Vickers

Lindsey Vickers

Staff Writer, Sleep

@lindseyvix

Lindsey writes about sleep, lifestyle, and more for Reviewed. In her waking hours, she likes to spend time outside, read, cook, and bake. She holds a master’s in journalism from Boston University and bachelors' degrees in English Literature and Anthropology from the University of Utah.

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