There’s no getting around it: Mattresses are expensive. But there are some affordable options out there. Whether you’re looking to outfit a guest bedroom, furnish your first apartment, or simply working with a smaller budget, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort and support.
Here at Reviewed, we tested dozens of the most popular mattresses on the market to help you choose the best one for you. We subjected each mattress to rigorous scrutiny in our Cambridge, Mass., lab and at our tester’s home. We then re-evaluated those based on their MSRP to find the best affordable options. The Tuft & Needle Original(available at Tuft & Needle) is the best affordable mattress right now and provides excellent support for an unbeatable price.
Here are the best affordable mattresses we tested:
Within a few minutes of lying down, this mattress softens and adapts to the pressure of body weight. It had just enough give to cushion pressure points, mainly when lying on her side. Stomach and back sleepers—who are generally more prone to spinal woes—will likely find they can sleep in their preferred position without any soreness. Our tester loves sleeping on her stomach, but she’s all too familiar with lower back strain. Yet it was never an issue with the Tuft & Needle Original.
The product’s edges are more supportive than many other foam beds. They still compressed when our tester sat right on the corner, but when she laid down and scooched over to the edge, she didn’t feel like she’d imminently fall off the bed. (If you prefer a softer, more supple mattress, read on for other recommendations.)
The MSRP is on the lower end. And while the site’s sales aren’t as substantial as other retailers, you’ll often come across 10% or 15% discounts.
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, 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. Also, if you’re looking for the sink-in sensation of memory foam, this isn’t the mattress for you—indeed, some sleepers may find the Tuft & Needle too firm. On the other hand, experts often say it’s easier to throw on a mattress topper to provide a bit of cushion than remedy a too-soft surface.
We think this is an incredible bed at the end of the day (and, of course, overnight). It balances supportiveness with just enough surface give. Our tester thought it worked well for all sleep positions. To put it simply, she says: “If I had to buy a mattress tomorrow, given my current budget, I would hands-down go for the Tuft & Needle.”
Materials: On top, a soft layer of foam infused with cooling gel and graphite; beneath, a thicker layer of foam provides support.
Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. A queen arrives in a box that measures 44 inches by 16 inches by 16 inches and weighs about 72 pounds.
Trial period: 100 nights
Return protocol: Tuft & Needle coordinates pickup with a local charity or nonprofit, free of charge.
Mattress testing here at Reviewed is usually two-pronged, with lab tests for scientific data gathering and home tests, which are what they sound like: Someone literally sleeps on the thing for at least 30 nights.
Our mattress tests are extensive, so we didn’t feel it necessary to bog you down with every last detail. Instead, here’s a smattering of the criteria:
Comfort: This is perhaps the most crucial aspect of a mattress, though comfort is subjective. Testers consider how supported their bodies feel throughout the night in different sleep positions and are mindful of their sleep habits. They even consider whether or not they find themselves rolling around at night to find a cooler spot on the bed.
Support: You know your body’s needs best, but we give a rough idea of the amount of support a mattress provides. Our testers lie on their backs, sides, and stomachs and check for gaps between their lower back and the top of the mattress. We place pressure sensors beneath either end of a foam-covered barbell and the middle to mimic the pressure points on a side sleepers’ shoulders and hips. The middle represents a lower pressure area, such as the waist or legs. We measure the difference in pressure between the two and average the pressure under the center on either end.
Heat retention: If a mattress cannot disperse heat quickly enough, you might be in for a warm sleep experience. While this could work for those who sleep cold, others may end up sweaty and miserable. We take our tester’s subjective opinion but also assess this by microwaving silicone bead-filled bags and placing them on the mattress for several hours as we monitor the temperature.
What to Know About Buying Affordable 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.
First: Do your research. Read expert and buyer reviews—and a lot of them. Given how much time you spend in bed, and the impact that sleep has on our waking hours, it’s a critical decision. A bad night's rest 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!).
While they are definitely a viable option, picking the right affordable mattresses will often require some form of compromise whether it be in the areas of heat retention, supportiveness, or in worst cases, durability. Reading reviews (like this one!) can give a good idea of what pros and cons to expect from each mattress.
As comfort is subjective and personal, we recommend researching multiple products to get a holistic look. Keep your own preferences in mind: For instance, we might not have liked the relatively low profile of the 9.25-inch Purple mattress, but that might be exactly what you need for your tall bed frame.
To help you find the right affordable option, the products in this guide are listed in order of their MSRP. But, here’s the thing with online mattresses: They’re almost always on sale. While there are many promotions around holidays, such as Presidents Day and Memorial Day, we see certain beds perennially marked down from 10% to 20%. Some brands also throw in freebies such as bed sheets and bed pillows.
Like higher-end models, these beds also come with a sleep trial, typically anywhere from 100 nights up to a full year. Customers can try a new mattress and then decide if they’d like to exchange or return it for a refund. If you think you’d like to go this route, we suggest digging into a brand’s policies before adding to your cart. For instance, some brands may charge a processing fee or mandate that you own the bed for several weeks before initiating the return.
Other Affordable Mattresses We Tested
Simmons Firm Hybrid
The Simmons Firm Hybrid is a budget mattress, and you can tell when sleeping on it. The legacy brand upgraded its packaging to match the times—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 alone. Unboxing it was also a breeze: After unwrapping, not only did it have no odor, it didn’t seem to require the usual expansion time—if needed, it could be made up and slept on fresh out of the box.
Unfortunately, those were the highlights of our tester’s experience. While sleeping, she could feel the springs thinly veiled beneath the memory foam topping—not so much that it was the dominant sensation or prevented her from sleeping, but enough that there was noticeable lumpiness throughout the night. After a few weeks of testing, it became apparent that the springs weren’t all that supportive. Our tester started noticing some strain in her lower back due to the springs’ sagginess. On the plus side, our home test and lab results show it doesn’t retain much heat, so some hot sleepers may be more interested.
Overall, the Simmons Firm Hybrid is a reasonable buy. We see a few scenarios where it may make sense: Your main concerns are cost and ease of unboxing; you need a mattress for a short period—say, you’re living somewhere for a year or less, or you’re looking for something for a guest bedroom or a kid who’s a low-maintenance sleeper But if you want a supportive mattress that will last you for a decade, look elsewhere.
Mattress materials: Foam, coils, and memory foam.
Delivery and packaging: A cardboard box that weighs about 66 pounds arrives at your front door.
Trial period: 100 nights
Return protocol: Email email@example.com before the end of your 100-night trial to start the return process. You must provide proof of purchase and a law tag to receive a refund.
Our tester loved the Casper Select—and that’s saying a lot, considering she couldn’t move on from testing the Casper Original fast enough.
Minutes after opening it, the Casper Select had great edge support even though most mattresses sometimes need 24 hours to fully take shape and reach their final firmness. This mattress felt consistently cool in the weeks our tester slept on it—and that included two Northeast heat waves when overnight temperatures didn’t dip below the low 70s.
The mattress starts at $649 for a full and goes up to $749 for a queen or $949 for a king or California king. Of course, if you’re not a Costco member, you’ll have to factor in the cost of an annual membership, which starts at $60. A potential dealbreaker: Costco doesn’t carry a twin or twin XL.
The Casper Select has officially joined the shortlist of mattresses our tester eagerly recommends to friends and family members. She felt like it would be a crowd-pleaser in that it wasn’t too firm or too forgiving. She's a stomach sleeper and also sleeps on her side, but even on her back, she never woke up with so much as a crick in her neck. It had the right balance of support to cushion.
Materials: 12 inches of four layers of foam
Delivery and packaging: Costco will deliver the mattress in a cardboard box. Delivery speed will depend on the customer's location.
Trial period: According to one customer service rep, the Casper Select can be returned up until 90 days after delivery. Another rep, however, indicated that it's covered by the 100% satisfaction guarantee and has no return limit. We suggest talking to your local Costco to clarify.
Return protocol: Costco can arrange for the mattress to be picked up on your behalf at no charge.
Our tester thought that the Serta Perfect Sleeper was a good value for its price and ideal for people who want a not-too-firm or not-too-soft option. The material felt buoyant and responsive enough that she didn’t feel mired by that sink-in sensation some foam mattresses have.
Its edge support held up in the lab, tying with the Lull Original for the highest score. Plus, it performed solidly in the middle of the pack when it came to diffusing heat.
Our tester liked the mattress enough to seriously consider buying her own Serta, though she wasn’t sure of its longevity. The mattresses’ outer layer—which felt thin and had stitching that appeared untidy—left her with a gut feeling that it wouldn’t last as long as some of the others she tried during her time at Reviewed.
Additionally, it took the mattress she received a whole week to expand. Serta says that while the bulk of the mattress’ growth will happen in the first minute it is opened, it will keep growing and expanding its last few inches for up to 72 hours.
In the end, if you’re looking for a medium-firm, all-foam mattress, the Perfect Sleeper Nestled Night could be your dream bed. If you want something firmer or softer, or springier, you’ll be better off considering options like the Tuft & Needle Original and the Nectar Original mattress.
Materials: The Nestled Night mattress comprises three layers: A top layer of Serta’s exclusive gel memory foam, followed by a layer of gel-infused foam, and finally, a foam core layer.
Delivery and packaging:: Front-door drop-off, 5-14 days after placing an order. The mattress arrives in a box measuring 19 inches by 19 inches by 29 inches.
Trial period: A 120-day free trial applies to mattresses purchased on Serta.com. If you buy the mattress through another website, check its return policy.
Return protocol: Serta will arrange a front door collection of the unwanted mattress. Serta will provide a full refund if the mattress is returned within 120 days, minus any upgraded delivery charges.
From her first night on the Lull Original, our tester was impressed. The mattress slept cool, was firm for a foam offering, and had excellent edge support (foam mattresses tend not to fare as well when it comes to this metric). Lab tests confirmed that the mattress is great at diffusing heat and has stellar edge support. When we rolled a heavyweight bag to the edge of the bed, it was well past its halfway point when the bed finally gave and the bag actually tipped off.
But what our tester likes most about the Lull Original is its great surface sensation. The bed strikes a balance between feeling overly cushy and too firm. It’s got just enough of a sink-in factor that you feel slightly cradled—yet it was comfortable enough for our tester to sleep on her stomach and side. She never felt like she was sleeping on a rock, nor did she feel like she was snoozing on a marshmallow. We think that it has something for everyone—though some may find it veers on the edge of too firm. Consider others on this list if you prefer a softer surface, such as the Nectar mattress.
We can’t say enough about this mattress. Plus, it’s reasonably priced—the evergreen sale cost is not too far off from that of the Tuft & Needle Original, our best affordable mattress.
Materials: The Lull Original has three layers of foam. The uppermost layer is a 1.5-inch piece of gel-infused memory foam designed to have cooling properties. The second layer is another 1.5-inch piece of foam that provides support, and the base is a 7-inch layer of polyurethane.
Delivery and packaging: Front door drop-off. A queen-size mattress arrives in an 80-pound box that measures 19 by 19 by 43 inches—according to the brand, that’s the size of a large mini-fridge.
Trial period: 365 nights
Return protocol: Contact the company to initiate a return. It makes “every effort possible to donate returned trial mattress[es] to charities and organizations in need of beds.”
Our tester says that the Chill is the true definition of a medium-firm mattress. It’s especially well-suited to back sleepers who prefer an overall softer sensation. And with the company’s evergreen discounts, it usually falls to about $800 for a queen and often includes freebies.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to the “Chill” name. Our lab tests indicated that it retains a bit of heat, though our tester never complained about it running hot. In fact, many reviewers say it feels cool. It’s likely a matter of personal preference that can only be settled by sleeping on the bed.
If you sleep on your side, you may want to consider another option. Our tester had discomfort in her lower back only when she slept on her side, which raised questions about whether it veered towards too soft.
Additionally, the Cocoon Chill doesn’t provide a rigid corner to perch on. Though this may not be a big deal for some consumers, it’s not great if you like to sleep near the edge of the bed.
The memory foam mattress won’t be for everyone. Someone who wants a very soft or very firm mattress may be disappointed. But in the end, it comes through on its promise: It stays relatively cool and provides cozy support at a reasonable price.
Materials: (original text: Three layers of foam —“support layer,” “comfort foam,” and memory foam—and a cooling cloth cover.) The Chill Mattress is comprised of four layers. Surrounding the mattress is a stretch-knit cover infused with a proprietary Phase Change Material that Sealy claims “absorbs and dissipates heat.” Under the cover are three layers of foam: a top layer of memory foam, a layer of “responsive comfort foam,” and a final layer of dense foam.
Delivery and packaging: Front-door drop-off. A queen arrives in a cardboard box that weighs about 75 pounds.
Trial period: 100 days
Return protocol:: Contact Cocoon by Sealy to 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.
When our recent tester tried the Nectar, it was immediately apparent to her that it was a memory foam mattress: The surface is ultra-soft with that sink-in sensation. For side sleepers looking for a cushy surface that eliminates strain or pain on the shoulder or hip, it could be a perfect choice. Indeed, our tester found the Nectar's uber-plush, compressive surface felt better when she slept on her side, as it allowed her shoulder and hip to sink in without any bothersome pressure points.
Still, she noted it might be too soft for some sleepers. While the Nectar was never uncomfortable for our tester, she didn't find it the most supportive. She couldn’t lie or sit on the bed while awake without frequently shifting positions, and her lower back felt a minor strain whenever she tried to sleep on her stomach. 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, so this could disrupt sleep. (But that's part of what you sign up for when buying memory foam.)
The Nectar was great at dissipating heat in lab testing, though it felt warm to our tester a couple of the nights she slept on it. The mattress also lacks edge support. Though it’s got a better structure than some other options on this list, it tends to cave under pressure. This makes it less 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.
Nectar has one of the most generous trial periods of all mattresses: a full 365 days. However, it bears noting that Nectar's customer service record is not spotless. The company has a history of complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, its parent company, Resident Home, has faced multiple FTC charges for falsely claiming it used materials made in the United States and assembled its products in the U.S.
Materials: Three layers of foam: From the top, a three-inch layer of "cushy, high-density, pressure-relieving" gel-infused memory foam, followed by a "dynamic support layer" that's two inches thick and provides support, and finally, a stable base layer that's seven-inches tall and supports the layers above.
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.
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.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.