Best Mattress 2020 (60+ Tested, 10+ Selected , The Winner?)
Yeh! It’s time to buy a new mattress. If you’re looking forward to sleeping better but dreading the research involved to get comfortable making such a big decision, you’re in the right place. You’ll find information about every aspect of buying a mattress that you need to know to make a comfortable decision about where you’ll spend 1/3 of your life for the next decade right here.
Deciding which mattress to buy is a big decision. A new mattress is often a major purchase, and you’ll spend the equivalent of more than 3 of the next ten years in close proximity to your mattress. How do you know which is the best mattress for your needs and budget?
We’ll cover the best overall mattress, runner up, budget and luxury picks, memory foam, latex, innerspring, and hybrids as well as the best mattress for pain, sex, and eco-friendliness. Then we’ll add some educational elements so your search for the best mattress will lead to sweet dreams not nightmares.
If you like to understand everything about the topic before you decide, you’ll love the education section at the bottom of this article. If you just want to know which mattresses our sleepers chose as the top of their class, the first part of the article provides you with that information.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could spend weeks sleeping on dozens of different mattresses until you find the one that is just right for you? That’s what we do. We try new mattresses all the time and learn about the materials used to make it, the warranty, and the company’s reputation for honesty and service after the sale. The best mattresses we’ve found are brought to you in this list that makes it easy to narrow your search based on the criteria that are most important to you.
Now, the right mattress for you may be different from my favorite because you may sleep in different positions or prefer a different feel, that’s why we use multiple testers to try each mattress we test. We keep up with the latest sleep research to bring you the latest information to help you sleep better. After you identify a mattress that looks promising from our list of the best mattresses, you can see in-depth reviews for many of our favorites.
If you’re in a hurry and just want to know what to buy and aren’t interested in learning a lot about mattresses, our Top 7 Best Overall Mattresses for Most People is the place to begin. Our longer list of the best mattresses in many categories is another quick way to see the winners in this year’s line-up. If you know the type of mattress you want but not the brand, you can’t go wrong with our Best Mattresses Based on Materials list.
After that, you’ll find sections that provide educational content that describes the different types of materials used to make today’s best mattresses, the difference between a value mattress and a cheap mattress, and most importantly, how to avoid problems.
TOP 7 BEST OVERALL MATTRESSES FOR MOST PEOPLE (2020)
If you have the time, we encourage you to learn about all the mattress options available today. After a lifetime of complacency, the mattress industry has finally become innovative and sleep has stopped being the redheaded stepchild of the 3-legged stool of major factors that contribute to or detract from good health. Sleep is as important as good nutrition and exercise and, in many ways, sleep is more important in the shorter term. Eating poorly for a few years isn’t likely to kill you. Sleeping poorly could because it increases your risk of accidents and injuries.
Although we think it is important to take your time choosing a mattress, we realized that some people simply don’t have the time and just want someone they trust to tell them what they should do. For that reason, we begin by telling you about seven products that meet the needs of most people who are focused on the area where each one performs the best.
Methodology: This category is determined by evaluating the features and cost of all the mattresses we’ve reviewed and determining the one that provides the best value that will work well for a lot of people.
Nectar wins the best mattress overall due to the combination of an affordable price, great warranty and 365-night sleep-trial, suitability for all sleeping positions, and the other benefits it provides at this price level. Above all, a good sleep trial allows you to try the product in your home for months before you are required to make a final decision about whether or not to keep it. Nectar provides high value for the price and most people who have a Nectar are very happy with it.
Nectar designed a mattress with a Universal firmness level that suits sleepers who enjoy sleeping on their back, stomach, and on their side so couples who like different sleep positions can agree on Nectar.
Nectar has additional accolades including:
Best Memory Foam for the money
Best for affordable Back Pain Relief
Best couples’ mattress for the money
BEST AFFORDABLE LUXURY
Methodology: One factor we consider when we evaluate luxury is customer service. There is no luxury in poor customer service or restrictive policies, so we look at return policies and warranties. The materials in a luxury mattress will provide durability, comfort, and multiple layers with each one achieving a specific purpose that, added together, provide the basis for a quality night’s sleep every night.
Luxury mattresses provide far more than the basics. Generally, it will be deeper than ordinary mattresses and include more layers designed to ease pain and support you while you slumber.
Many of us dream of living a life filled with luxurious experiences but most of the time, we focus on sports cars, exotic vacations, and roomy homes while ignoring an achievable way to spend 1/3 of our life as luxuriously as wealthy people do. A luxury mattress combined with nice bedding allows you to enjoy the same luxury those with ultra-high-net-worth enjoy. A good night’s sleep helps us achieve goals that bring other luxuries into our experience.
Luxury mattresses are for those who want everything—not just what they need. You can expect them to come with features like cashmere covers, extra height, and premium materials so they can deliver a comfortable oasis for you to dream in every night.
Although you can spend more than most people do on a car or even a house to buy the world’s most expensive luxury beds, there are affordable luxury products that provide their owners with a fantastic place to sleep every night. There are a number of luxury beds in the $4,000 – $6,000 range, but most of our picks come in at about half that which means affordable luxury is available to many people.
Loom & Leaf provides luxury at a reasonable price (less than half the price of many luxury mattresses) while delivering on their promise to bring luxury into your bedroom. Their white glove delivery service, included with every purchase, ensures you are treated like royalty from the very beginning. They’ll also haul your old mattress away.
Methodology: Foam and latex are great materials for building comfortable mattresses, but they don’t provide the bounce many people want to keep the momentum going during intimate moments. To be a good mattress for sex, you need bounce. To be eco-friendly, the materials in the mattress have to be sustainable and not pollute the planet during production.
Birch combines Talalay latex with springs to give you an eco-friendly mattress with a 20-year warranty that provides the bounce you want to keep your sex life healthy and fun. Using cotton and wool as a fire retardant means no dangerous chemicals are used in the mattress. The steel is made in the USA, so it meets US regulations.
BEST FOR SLEEPING COOL
Mattresses that retain heat can cause sleepless nights and, if you like to cuddle, make you too sweaty to cuddle comfortably. Early memory foam mattresses tended to sleep hot. Newer versions overcome that in a variety of ways including reducing or eliminating petroleum products from the manufacturing process, open cell foams, gel infused foams, charcoal infused foams, copper infused foams, wool flame retardants, and other innovations. Today, a memory foam mattress that sleeps hot is the exception not the rule unless you’re buying a cheap mattress.
Methodology: To win in this category, the mattress not only has to not add heat that makes a sleeper feel hot, it must have a way to draw heat away from the sleeper’s body to keep them cool enough to sleep well.
Some people’s bodies put out so much heat their partners refer to them as furnaces. These people can improve the quality of their sleep significantly by using a mattress that helps them keep from overheating or becoming sticky and sweaty while they sleep. We’ve chosen a winner in the memory foam category and another in the latex category for those who want to sleep on a green mattress.
BEST MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS FOR SLEEPING COOL
CoolBliss is the winner in the cool memory foam mattress category.
CoolBliss promises you’ll sleep 30% cooler on this gel infused mattress. The 4-layer mattress was designed to improve air flow, dissipate heat and moisture three times faster than swirl gels, and keep you cool and dry throughout the night. The layers were thoughtfully designed to support your body while you sleep. The mattress is GreenGuard certified which is a higher standard than CertiPUR-US certification which it also has.
AWARA is the winner in the coolest latex mattress category.
If sleeping green is important to you, AWARA checks the box while delivering an organic mattress with a cotton and wool cover that wicks moisture away. The zoned individually encased spring coil system allows airflow throughout the mattress to help you sleep cool. The coils restrict motion transfer. AWARA’s zones make it ideal for sleepers in any position.
BEST MATTRESS FOR PAIN
Results from a study published by the National Institute of Health revealed that physical pain is a problem for more than half of Americans, with 17.6% (40 million people) experiencing severe levels of pain, 11.2% experiencing chronic pain (no pain free days for three months, and 55.7% (126 million adults) reporting some pain during the past three months.
Chronic pain can be debilitating, cause depression and disability, interfere with the ability to maintain or establish healthy relationships, and decrease the overall quality of life experienced.
A shoddy or worn out mattress can cause pain. The right mattress can eliminate pain caused by a bad mattress and some leading-edge mattresses contain Celliant™ which is a revolutionary way to help the body heal and reduce pain from underlying problems caused by chronic diseases.
If your pain is the result of an old mattress that no longer provides support, a new mattress that provides the support you need will often decrease or eliminate pain. Individuals with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, diabetic foot pain, or arthritis benefit from Celliant™ in their mattress. Athletes can also increase performance and speed recovery times using Celliant™.
Methodology: We separate the best mattress for pain into four categories, each is linked to the source of the pain.
Methodology: Heavier bodies can cause a mattress to wear out too quickly, so people who have heavier bodies need a mattress that is designed specifically for individuals with bodies that weigh 230 pounds or more. This class of mattress will be durable even when the occupant is heavier. Additionally, many heavy people sleep hot so the mattress must have cooling properties that will keep them dry and cool.
Helix Nightfall is designed specifically to provide a cool and durable mattress for people with heavier bodies. The Nightfall model as well as their Luxe models are designed to handle up to 1,000 pounds. The foams used in the mattress are 3.75 and 4.0 pounds per cubic foot foams, a high-density foam that ensures durability. The foams are supported by individually pocketed 8” steel, which helps it sleep cool and durability. It also limits motion transfer which is more important when your sleeping partner weighs above 230 pounds. The top level is springy and covered with healing Celliant™, so the combination of the top layer of foam and the 8” springs also make this a good mattress for sex. There is also an optional cooling cover that will pull heat away from you as you sleep.
Both big and tall and plus-sized sleepers will love the Helix Nightfall for many years.
Methodology: When someone adopts a vegan lifestyle, it isn’t just what they eat that they commit to. What they wear and the ingredients in their mattress are also adjusted to reflect their commitment. To meet the requirement to be called a vegan mattress, the product must not include any animal products, not even wool.
It is finally easier to find a safe, eco-friendly, vegan mattress. Plushbeds offers a vegan mattress at much lower prices than many other eco-friendly options. They even let you take eco-friendly products on the road with RV and customized versions. This mattress is sustainably sourced and doesn’t contain any animal products.
OTHER MATTRESSES WE REVIEWED
Thousands of hours of research went into the articles we wrote from which we extracted the winners in each category for this guide. This chart helps you quickly identify products that took the top spot or runner up in the categories you care about the most.
The best mattress for one person isn’t the best mattress for everyone else. Factors that should be considered include sleeping position, weight, age, health conditions, temperature and breathability, allergies, pain or injuries as well as personal preferences including eco-friendliness, sustainable production, budget, and the way the mattress feels.
Rather than read everything we’ve written; you can skip right to the categories that interest you. The categories in this article include the best mattresses for the following types.
WINNERS BY CATEGORY
BEST SPLIT FIRMNESS MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS
Many people believe that compromise is the key to a long and happy marriage. While there may be areas where that holds true, your mattress isn’t one of them. Both pain and inadequate quantities of quality sleep lead to irritability. Irritable spouses aren’t fun! When you’re both suffering because you compromised and bought the mattress that neither of you hated or loved, you can end up both being grouchy to the detriment of your relationship. It’s not worth it when there are alternatives that can please everyone.
Methodology: Split-firmness mattresses are one mattress with a different firmness level on each half of the mattress. If she likes to settle into a cozy soft mattress and he gets a backache if he doesn’t have a medium-firm, each can enjoy the mattress they prefer in one luxurious mattress.
We’ve selected two winners in this category. One is a memory foam hybrid that will also provide plenty of bounce during couple’s intimate activities the other is an organic latex mattress. Latex bounces less than innersprings but much more than memory foam; both mattresses are good for sex.
Best Split Firmness Memory Foam Hybrid with Coils
The winner in this category is Helix, a memory foam hybrid for couples who need split firmness levels. In this mattress, couples can have their cake and eat it, too. One mattress that provides different firmness levels on either side of the bed.
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY ORGANIC WITH SPLIT FIRMNESS
The winner in the organic split firmness category is a 3-layer latex mattress that allows you to adjust the firmness level of each side of the mattress independently – Botanical Bliss. An added benefit is the ability to change the firmness level as your needs change.
BEST MATTRESSES FOR PAIN RELIEF
The solution to chronic back pain may be as simple as a new mattress if your current mattress isn’t providing adequate support. You’ll also want to consider other muscular-skeletal sources such as an office chair where you spend a lot of time sitting.
Aches and pains can come from a variety of sources. It is not uncommon for someone who begins waking up sore to blame their pain on aging only to realize when they finally buy a new bed that their morning aches and pains disappear. During sleep, your muscles need to be able to relax. If your muscles have to work to keep your body in a particular position while you’re sleeping, they’re getting a workout that can lead to sore muscles. When this is happening to you, you won’t be sleeping as deeply as you should optimize your ability to function.
It is also not unusual for someone who finds it difficult to stay in bed for more than six hours to find they can sleep deeper and longer on a new mattress.
Individuals who have pain from an illness, disease, or injury will get the best relief from their pain on a surface that provides the support they need where they need it and Celliant™ to help them heal and reduce inflammation. Side sleepers often develop shoulder and hip pain without realizing it is the result of pressure on their joints while they sleep. Stomach and back sleepers can develop back problems if their mattress is too soft.
Mattress companies and scientists have been working hard to find solutions that reduce pain. The pain-relieving benefits of at least one product are so well documented that you can use your HSA (Health Spending Account) or FSA (Flexible Spending Account) to purchase it as a medical device if you have a prescription from your doctor.
Before deciding you’ll have to take pain pills for the rest of your life or that your pain is just a sign that you’re getting old, you may want to see if a new sleeping surface provides relief. With no-risk sleep trials, you can try it out and if it doesn’t help, you can send it back. There are several pain-relieving products in our Best Mattress for Pain list.
The best mattress for pain depends on the cause of the pain. If the cause is a mattress that doesn’t provide adequate support, Nectar is the best choice. If you have back issues, Level Sleep may be the best choice. If the cause is an underlying condition related to chronic inflammation, a mattress that contains Celliant™ will provide more relief. For athletes that put a lot of wear and tear on their bodies, Celliant™ can speed healing.
BEST FOR BACK PAIN
Methodology: Your mattress should support your neck and spine regardless of your sleeping position. Memory foam is ideal because it gives where you need give and provides support where you need it.
Nectar mattress is the best option when your pain is associated with not getting adequate support from your current mattress. Many people who have skeletal issues also report that Nectar provides relief from their pain. Nectar provides three layers of supportive conforming memory foam layered over a firmer support layer. The mattress is also designed to be cooling with gel and breathability built into the design.
The runner up is Level Sleep. There are some situations where Level Sleep will win, including times when you have a prescription for a firmer mattress because Level Sleep can be purchased with tax-free funds from your HSA or FSA account.
BEST FOR HIP OR SHOULDER PAIN
Methodology: Mattresses that do well in this category provide enough support to keep the neck and spine aligned while allowing the hip and shoulder to sink in without creating painful pressure points.
Side sleepers often experience hip and shoulder pain and even numbness when their mattress doesn’t allow their hips and shoulders to sink in while supporting their spine. Side sleepers need a mattress that allows their hips and shoulders to rest comfortably against the mattress without creating painful pressure points.
If you want to spend less money, you can try Nectar. There’s no risk because of their free sleep trial. If Nectar doesn’t provide enough relief, you can return it and try Layla if you want a memory foam mattress and Dreamcloud, if you prefer a hybrid. All three of these mattresses get excellent marks from side sleepers.
BEST MATTRESS FOR ATHLETES AND ATHLETIC PAIN
Everyone’s body heals itself at night. Muscles recover from the stresses and strains of the day while we sleep. Because athletes put more stress and strain on their bodies, more work must be done while they sleep. Celliant™ is a fabric created using 13 natural minerals that is scientifically shown to increase blood circulation, reduce pain, and speed healing.
Methodology: The best mattress for an athlete must provide good support for the body and improve the body’s ability to recover from the day’s exertions.
Zoma has moved into first place for the best athletic mattress, beating out the Bear Mattress that held 1st place in this category last year. Zoma is slightly less expensive than last year’s winner but has a superior warranty. Mattress warranties generally specify how much indentation is considered too much which is the point where the warranty coverage kicks in. It’s not unusual to see a 1.5” visible indentation requirement and Bear’s 1” requirement is very good, but Zoma’s .75” requirement is excellent.
Zoma has zoned firmness levels that make it a better fit for side and combo sleepers. Both have the benefits of Celliant™. Bear has introduced two new mattresses, the pro and hybrid that are suitable for side sleepers, but they are $200 – $400 more expensive than the original Bear and the Zoma.
Sleeping on Celliant™ could improve your performance. The quartz, silicon oxide, and titanium oxide particles imbedded in the fabric increased grip strength by 12.44% when volunteers wore a shirt with Celliant™ fibers for just 90 minutes.
BEST MATTRESS FOR FIBROMYALGIA, DIABETIC NEUROPATHY, ARTHRITIS, AND INFLAMMATION
Methodology: A decade ago, the criteria we use to evaluate the best mattress for Fibromyalgia and other painful conditions would have seemed like science fiction. Today, there are fabrics that can actually speed healing, reduce pain, and increase oxygenation so the best mattress for painful chronic conditions must include these advances. Additionally, the spine and neck must be supported while being soft enough to cushion painful pressure points.
Pain is a common cause of disrupted sleep. Brief treatments with IF (infrared light) are successfully employed to treat a variety of painful conditions. Celliant™ is a synthetic fiber that absorbs energy radiated by the body, converts it to infrared energy and returns it to the body. Although the intensity is much lower than the medically supervised application of IF treatments, researchers report improvements in a wide array of healing needs including foot pain from diabetic neuropathy and other causes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, wound healing, muscle soreness from exertion, as well as reduction in inflammation from Celliant™ woven into wearable fabrics and mattresses.
They speculate that although the dose is lower, the duration of the application is much longer than the few minutes usually involved in an IF treatment when Celliant™ is in a mattress or in wearable clothing. Scientific studies have reported specific biological changes including increased oxygenation and blood flow from the use of Celliant™.
Fibromyalgia presents its own challenges and sleep deprivation is a frequent co-occurring problem for those afflicted with this frustrating condition. Amerisleep’s AS5 mattress contains Celliant™ fibers that have been scientifically shown to reduce pressure points, self-administered medication, and pain. We strongly recommend a mattress with Celliant™ to anyone who has a condition associated with chronic inflammation. Amerisleep’s AS5 is the best mattress for Fibromyalgia because it is both soft and supportive which provides relief to tender pressure points while preventing problems associated with an unsupported neck and spine.
The FDA has determined that Celliant™ increases circulation to speed recovery and provides the basis for a more restful sleep. Their 20-year warranty and 100-night sleep trial also contributes to your ability to sleep well knowing you’re protected.
BEST FOR HEAVY COUPLES
The durability of a mattress is affected by the weight of those who sleep on the mattress. Individuals who weigh over 230 pounds are considered “heavy sleepers” in the mattress industry. Heavy sleepers should choose a mattress that is built for someone with a more substantial body mass or they’ll find themselves with a mattress that degrades too quickly.
Methodology: Mattress built specifically for individuals over 230 pounds and able to support individuals weighing 500 pounds or higher and maintain support and durability required for healthy sleep. This is accomplished by the use of high density (ILD) foams and sturdier springs.
Wink provides a lifetime warranty and durability guarantee. The Tencel in the cover helps it sleep cooler which is often important for heavy individuals. The mattress is built to support heavy bodies by supporting the spine using a combination of foams and springs. This mattress shouldn’t sag more than 2% after 20 years of use. The King is 13.5 inches deep, which means it shouldn’t sag more than ¼ of an inch in twenty years (2% of 13.5”).
This bed isn’t cheap, but its durability is guaranteed. If you sleep on it for twenty years, the costs works out to be less than a quarter per night for a high-quality mattress.
BEST PILLOW TOP
Pillow Top mattresses aren’t my favorite because the pillow top can hide sagging in the underlying mattress that makes it impossible to claim warranty coverage even when the bed has sagged and is no longer providing a comfortable place to sleep.
Methodology: Materials that are unlikely to sag under the pillow top.
The winner for Best Pillow Top is Avocado Green because the same mattress is sold without the pillowtop for back and stomach sleepers so you know they’re not hiding a shoddy mattress under a pillow top to avoid warranty claims. Also, the mattress is a latex hybrid and latex is highly durable, often retaining its qualities for two decades.
This pillow top is designed to make the mattress comfortable for side and combination sleepers. Side sleepers will love the comfort and eco-friendliness of Avocado Green.
BEST FOR AN ADJUSTABLE BED
Adjustable beds require a mattress that will withstand the bending the adjustable bed will cause. The first thing to remember if your mattress will be used on an adjustable bed is that it is important to verify that the mattress will hold up to that type of use. For instance, there is one mattress that would work on an adjustable bed frame, but the warranty becomes void if you use the mattress for sitting rather than laying down. Even though the mattress would work, it wouldn’t be a good choice if you plan to sit up in bed.
Methodology: A mattress that will work well for all types of sleepers and handle the rigors of being raised and lowered on an adjustable bed that is also affordable.
Nectar wins in this category because it handles the movement of an adjustable bed without degrading the mattress and the Nectar is comfortable for back, front, side, and combo sleepers. It is also highly affordable with a year-long sleep trial so you can see how it works on with the adjustable bed.
Remember, mattresses with a sleep trial are easy to find. Your adjustable bed probably won’t be returnable.
BEST SPILL RESISTANT MATTRESS
Methodology: Memory foam mattresses can be ruined if they get wet. This category is based on whether the cover protects the mattress from spills.
We always encourage adding a waterproof mattress encasement but Polysleep builds spill resistance into their mattress. Whether you have a child who has the occasional accident, someone experiencing incontinence, or the risk of spilling coffee in bed, Polysleep protects your mattress.
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY MATTRESSES
Eco-friendly mattresses consider the entire life cycle of the product beginning with the impact on the environment during production and transportation, the use of toxic chemicals, the durability of the mattress, organic or vegan materials, and whether it can be recycled at the end of its life.
Although eco-friendly varieties can be made with other materials, for the most part, eco-friendly mattresses will have latex as the primary material because latex is made from the sap of rubber trees that clean carbon from the atmosphere. Each tree produces sap for about thirty years, and, at the end of the tree’s life cycle, the wood is used to create furniture and new trees are planted.
There are memory foams that use plant-based oils instead of some or all of the petroleum that was used in early memory foam models. Latex can also be synthetic, which means it won’t be as eco-friendly as natural latex. Manufacturers of latex products tend to use natural materials like wool or plant fiber as a fire retardant so they don’t need to add toxic chemicals that can cause health problems.
Due to an increased demand for eco-friendly and healthy alternatives, the number of options has expanded the choices that are available in this category. You can easily find a vegan and/or organic mattress to satisfy your demands. Just a few years ago, that was a very difficult task.
A double-sided mattress is designed so that you can sleep on either side of the mattress. We like them for guest rooms because most of the current designs have two different firmness levels. One side is usually firm while the other side is a medium-firm feel. This allows you to provide a comfortable bed for your guests in multiple firmness options. It is also economical if you’re comfortable on both firmness levels because it will last longer if you flip it about every six months.
There are other times when someone who usually sleeps on a firm surface will want a softer mattress. For example, during pregnancy, women are encouraged not to sleep on their back. Sleeping on your side on a firm surface adds to the discomfort of pregnancy. Being able to switch to the medium firm side of a flippable product during pregnancy could save you the expense of buying a new bed.
The best mattress for one couple may not be the best mattress for another couple. The best mattress for a specific couple depends on their sleeping styles, personal preferences, weight, budget, and other priorities. Some couple want the traditional feel of an innerspring during intimate moments while other couple don’t care about that aspect of their mattress or they care more about motion isolation than bounce during intimate moments.
The features that make a mattress great for sex may not be the same features that make it the best bed for a couple to sleep in together. The best beds for couples provide each person with a comfortable sleeping platform even if they don’t enjoy the same firmness level as the person they sleep with. The best beds for sex are responsive and provide bounce, won’t bottom out when the weight of two people is concentrated in one area, and include great edge support. There is nothing sexy about worrying if you’re going to slide out of bed onto your head.
Couples usually want motion transfer control, so they don’t feel their partner move when they’re trying to sleep. If they are different sizes, they don’t want it to depress where the heavier person is which can make the lighter person feel like they have to fight rolling downhill toward their heavier partner. A split firmness mattress allows each person to choose the firmness level they prefer for their side of the bed without resorting to trying to keep two twin sizes together with a sheet.
We don’t name an overall best mattress for couples because the best mattress for any specific couple will vary based on the individual preferences of two people. With so much potential variety, you’ll have to choose based on the features that are most important to you. We do encourage you to consider split firmness options.
Methodology: We don’t recommend a cheap mattress for long-term use. However, we recognize that sometimes you only need a mattress for a short period of time – maybe you’re getting married soon and you’ll use your partner’s mattress after you’re married. Or maybe you’re moving overseas soon. Or maybe you’ve just started your first job out of college and need too many things right now to invest in a good mattress. The best cheap mattress category is included for these types of situations. Some cheap mattresses are awful from the first night. These two are better and will serve you well for a period of time. The criteria we use for the best cheap mattress includes a low price with a mattress that provides a decent night’s sleep, at least for a while.
Lucid has a number of inexpensive options. This dual layer mattress is gel infused to keep you cool while you sleep. The memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified. It has a 10-year warranty.
Another option when your budget is limited is to finance your new mattress. Many mattress manufacturers have arrangements with finance companies to finance their products.
Standard mattress sizes don’t work for every situation. RVs, campers, and travel trailers often require sizes that don’t line up with the standard King, Queen, Full, and Twin-size mattresses that are readily available from any mattress retailer. Because some RVs use sizes that are unusual, they have to be replaced with custom made mattresses.
The mattresses RVs come with as original equipment are notorious for being uncomfortable. What is the point of traveling to the great outdoors if you’re sleepy all day because the mattress in your RV is uncomfortable? As a result, many RV owners replace the original mattresses within two years of purchasing their rig. I wouldn’t suffer from a bad mattress that long—I’d consider new mattresses part of the price of the RV and get comfortable ones as soon as I knew what sizes I needed. If it is uncomfortable, then why suffer when you don’t have to spend your vacations on an uncomfortable mattress?
How do I know if it is time for a new mattress? There are three ways we recommend.
Mattress innovations are entering a new era. Many of the early mattresses had issues with off-gassing and noxious odors when they were new. Now that the online mattress industry has grown past its infancy, they have turned their attention to mattress safety and are making great progress making mattresses with healthier ingredients, low or no VOC emissions, and using environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. That’s great news!
In smaller doses, we may not recognize that we’re being exposed to VOCs but in larger doses, they can have significant impacts on our health in a short period of time. As an example, recently I was excited to visit a new Home Goods store that had opened near us with my daughters. Home Goods carries a variety of household items including linens, rugs, furniture, and other textiles – all of which can emit VOCs. After about 15 minutes of wandering around I began feeling ill, queasy, lightheaded, and I was feeling as if I was in distress. I moved toward the area of the store where the merchandise was primarily glass and ceramic and felt a little better but was still not well. I asked one of my daughters to walk me to the car as I felt that if I became much weaker, I’d be in trouble.
After I sat in my car with the windows down and the sunroof open for a few minutes, I began feeling better. It is not unusual for VOCs from new textiles to off-gas and for some people to experience problems. Mercedes Lackey, a New York Times best-selling author was hospitalized after one night in a recently remodeled hotel room because of VOC emissions.
Remember, you are in close contact with your mattress for about 8 hours every day. Your children may also spend time on your mattress.
The Environmental Protection Agency provides detailed background information on VOCs and physical symptoms associated with exposure. Evidence of off-gassing of VOCs can often be detected by smells given off by the product. For this reason, you’ll want to avoid mattresses that are known to off-gas or, if you choose one, plan to allow it to air out for several days before sleeping on the mattress.
Another source of chemicals is fire retardants used to meet Federal standards. Foams made with polyurethane foam can be highly flammable and some mattress manufacturers use chemical fire retardant. For that reason, we reach out to the manufacturer to learn exactly how they meet the Federal standards. A mattress that uses chemical fire retardants won’t make our list of best mattresses. Many mattress manufacturers have moved to foam formulas made from plant-based materials to reduce flammability and eliminate unhealthy ingredients.
VOCs are an important reason to make sure your mattress is returnable. Exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat, headaches, nausea, and a loss of coordination. Longer exposure can cause asthma attacks, skin inflammation, general chemical sensitivity, respiratory diseases, and damage the central nervous system, kidneys, liver, and some are suspected of causing cancer.
If you co-sleep with an infant or your children cuddle in your bed, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the safety certifications of your mattress. The requirements for infant mattresses are much stricter than those for adults but it is possible to purchase an adult mattress that meets the requirements that apply to crib mattresses.
MISTAKES YOU SHOULD AVOID WHEN CHOOSING AND FAQS
WHAT TO AVOID
There are some things you absolutely should not do when you buy a mattress. For example, the biggest mistake many people make is buying in a retail store. We have nothing against mattress stores, it is the store policies we find abhorrent.
However, most retail stores do not allow returns. In addition, most that allow exchanges heavily penalize customers who exercise their right to exchange a bed that isn’t working for them by charging re-stocking fees and charging the full retail price of the product they exchange for, even if it is on sale at the time. Also, most of them don’t provide a warranty after an exchange.
Once a retail bedding store has your money, you’re not getting it back. For instance, we tried to find a retail store that treated customers with the respect they deserve and gave up after spending over 100 hours reading complaints and reviews. The result of that work is summarized in this article.
Let me ask you a question. If you were given two options for choosing the partner you will spend 3 out of the next ten years with and you had two options, which would you choose?
Option A: Spend 15 minutes with them while supervised, or
Option B: Spend 100 – 365 unsupervised days with them with no risks if you decide they’re not a good match?
Most Americans would choose Option B when choosing a partner. Why would you make a different choice when you choose a mattress?
KNOWLEDGE HELPS YOU AVOID MISTAKES
But most people who go to a mattress store are either unaware of the variety of mattresses available online or they think they need to try laying on it before they buy. Most importantly, if they read all the reviews where dissatisfied customers complain that the product that was delivered doesn’t feel like the one they tried in the store, they’d see how futile that approach is if your goal is to be sure you will be comfortable.
The second thing they don’t realize is that online retailers almost all have a no-risk sleep trial that allows you to try their products in your home on your bed for months before deciding if it is right for you. Sleep trials leave the risk with the manufacturer.
BEST MATTRESSES BASED ON MATERIALS
Mattress innovations have exploded during the past decade. Consequently, if you’re shopping for a new mattress, most of the options that are available now didn’t exist when you bought your last one 8 – 10 years ago. The type you choose will depend on your priorities.
If you want a comfortable and affordable mattress, you’ll go with a memory foam. Because memory foam contours to your body’s curves to provide support so your muscles can relax while you sleep. As a result, it can alleviate aches and pains many people feel when they wake up in the morning.
You used to have to avoid memory foam if you didn’t want to sleep hot. Now, newer models add cooling gel layers, graphite, copper, silver, and even diamond dust to reduce the amount of heat the mattress retains. Today, you can find memory foam products that sleep cool in any style today.
If price is your primary consideration, memory foam will give you the best features at the lowest prices. On the other hand, you might be able to find an innerspring product for a similar price at a discount store, but it won’t be comfortable—not even in the beginning.
If you’re willing to do your best for the planet regardless of the cost, you’ll go with a latex mattress. Because latex is the most durable eco-friendly material. First of all, latex is made from the sap from rubber trees, it is sustainable and eco-friendly. Secondly, organic and vegan versions of latex are available.
Innerspring mattresses have coils topped by a thin layer of latex, foam, or other padding. In addition, the springs give the bounciness that made beds fun to jump on when you were a child. This type is also available in Euro Top and Pillow Top versions that provide additional padding between your body and the springs. To clarify, most people grew up sleeping on innerspring products. Therefore, if you want what you’ve always had, you’ll go with an innerspring model.
Hybrid mattresses come in every style you can imagine. The newest type of design is created by combining two or more types in one. With this in mind, the varieties are endless. Generally speaking, common versions combine latex and innerspring coils, memory foam and coils, and latex with memory foam.
You can get a more affordable latex product with many of the health and eco-benefits of latex by going the hybrid route. Thus, if you want the contouring and hug of memory foam but also want bounce during intimate moments, a combination of coils and memory foam will give you the best of both those worlds.
You’ll be drawn to the hybrids if you prefer the qualities of more than one type of product.
Air mattresses have come a long way since their early designs. While they are still frequently used as guest beds because they can be packed away when they are not in use, many people use air mattresses for their own bed. Some offer dual-sided controls that allow couples who prefer different firmness levels to choose their own comfort level and automatic pumps, so you don’t have to blow it up or physically pump it up.
The popularity of water beds has declined since they reached their pinnacle in the 1980’s, but they still have die-hard fans who love the feel of sleeping on water. With firm-sided designs, a waterbed can look just like a traditional bed. The ability to heat the water makes getting into a waterbed something you’ll look forward to on a cold winter night. Low motion designs don’t feel as if you are drifting on water.
If the firmness level is most important to you, it won’t narrow things down for you because you can find any type of mattress in any firmness feel. We have selected the product we feel is the best in each category.
Our favorites from those that made the final cut on the Best Mattress Lists on our site are shown below.
Our Best Affordable and Best Value Mattresses consider price, durability, and comfort as well as other personal preferences such as sleeping cool, firmness level, and motion isolation. Secondly, we consider the expected life of the product when we determine affordability. There are less expensive mattresses that may be as good during the first six months or year, but they won’t last as long or provide the support and comfort you need as long as the most affordable products do. (We call those cheap mattresses.) Remember, the best affordable mattress won’t be the best mattress, but for the money, it is the best value.
WHAT IS A HEAVY BODY FOR MATTRESS SHOPPING PURPOSES?
One of the most difficult problems to overcome is a body that just isn’t that comfortable—whether it is due to pain or carrying extra weight. For this reason, when someone is carrying more weight than their frame can comfortably carry, it can be difficult to find a comfortable mattress and position, given that the body can’t rest well if the muscles are working to support the body’s weight. As a result, a product that is designed to support a larger person is one of the most important considerations for someone living in a large body.
Many mattresses will degrade quickly if the people sleeping in them weigh more than they are designed to support. However, buying a product that is designed to support heavier bodies can greatly improve the quality of sleep you achieve and provide you with a satisfying purchase that lasts much longer.
In the mattress industry, a body is considered heavy when the person weighs over 230 pounds. A heavy body might not be overweight—just big. Because of this, even a lean person who weighs 230 should consider a product designed to support more weight. Mattresses that are not designed for heavier bodies will degrade quicker than one built to support more weight. Keep in mind that it is the amount of weight, not whether the person is overweight, that determines a heavy body for the purpose of deciding which mattress to purchase.
Other than your arms, your baby’s bed should be the safest place for them to be. This means a non-toxic environment with a bed that will help their growing spine and bones develop so they’ll have a healthy body to live in throughout their life. Because the government recognizes that babies are vulnerable when they are exposed to certain chemicals, it places higher restrictions on mattresses designed for babies and children under age three.
In our line up of three crib mattresses, we’ve included one for those whose budget is tight as it so often is when a baby is on the way as well as eco-friendly options. Keep in mind that you’ll want your crib mattress to fit snuggly so there aren’t any crevasses where the baby could get stuck on the sides of the crib. Additionally, you’ll also want some protection against wetness because babies sometimes make messes no matter how attentive the parents are to the child’s needs.
Babies should have a fairly firm mattress. In light of research showing that pillow top designs put babies at risk for SIDS, make sure you follow your pediatricians’ recommendations to keep your little one safe. This topic is so important, we’ve written an article dedicated to the topic of keeping your baby safe in bed.
You should know that most adult mattresses do not meet the safety standards required for a baby’s bedding.
When your baby is a toddler, they will be safe on a larger variety of designs although innerspring designs make using it like a trampoline a significant temptation. Given that latex and memory foam won’t spring like a trampoline, your child isn’t as likely to fall off the bed because they won’t be tempted to jump on the mattress. My neck is still scarred from falling while using furniture as a trampoline.
For in-depth information on keeping your children healthy and choosing beds that will help their spine develop healthy, we offer the following resources:
Firmness is very subjective. You will experience the mattress as firmer or softer depending on how much you weigh. They feel softer to people with heavier bodies and firmer to people with lighter bodies.
In general, back and stomach sleepers prefer (and need) a firmer surface to support their body while they sleep. Side sleepers need a softer surface that fits the curves of their body to keep their spine aligned when they are on their side.
If your bed doesn’t allow good alignment of your spine while you sleep, you won’t sleep as well and you are more likely to wake up with aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, back, or hips. The illustration shows you the correct sleeping position for side and back sleepers.
DUAL SIDED VS. SPLIT FIRMNESS VS. FLEXIBLE FIRMNESS
Two types of mattresses come with multiple firmness levels but the ability to benefit from more than one firmness level at the same time is only available in a dual sided mattress. A split firmness mattress is ideal for couples who have different sleeping preferences. On a split firmness mattress, they can have their cake and eat it, too. Each person gets to enjoy the firmness level and feel they prefer in a single Queen, King, or California King mattress.
One example is this Helix mattress that provides a medium-firm feel on one side and a softer feel on the other. Air mattresses will also provide adjustable split firmness levels.
A mattress with double sided firmness levels is better suited to guest rooms where you have sleepers with different preferences sleeping in the bed. One side of the entire mattress will be firmer than the other side. The mattress can then be flipped over so that the preferred firmness level is provided. A flippable, double sided mattress can also be useful if a firmer mattress is needed temporarily, such as during recovery from surgery. Once the requirement for the firmer mattress is gone, simply flip it over to enjoy your preferred firmness level.
This Latex for Less mattress is flippable. Layla and Zenhaven also offer flippable mattresses.
Some manufacturers have introduced mattresses that allow the customer can open up the mattress and adjust the insides to change the firmness level by rearranging the layers or moving foam pieces around like a jigsaw puzzle. We haven’t seen one of these options stay around long enough to make our list.
There are other ways to increase or decrease the firmness of a mattress such as adding toppers or changing the type of foundation being used.
CUSTOM MATTRESS OR DIY?
Custom sized mattresses can be expensive. As a result, some people take a do-it-yourself approach and cut down a regular size mattress to fit the dimensions they need to fit a nonstandard size. While their ingenuity is commendable, they need to be sure the mattress they choose to cut won’t expose them to harmful chemicals.
Keep in mind that many mattresses aren’t designed to be opened. Due to the use of fire protection that can contain fiberglass or toxic chemicals that are not too dangerous as long as they are sealed within the mattress, you should know what is in a mattress before you open it up. Know before you cut because some materials can quickly cause issues, especially lung issues, if you are exposed to them.
CHEAP VS. BEST VALUE
We don’t recommend buying a cheap mattress if you have other options because sleep is so important for your health, but we understand that sometimes you don’t have another choice. We’ve read thousands of reviews to help you quickly identify the best cheap mattress because we know that time is often tight when money is limited and you have more important things to do.
Products in the Best Cheap Mattress category won’t last as long as other choices. For that reason, they aren’t the best value. However, if you need one now and a cheap product is what you’re able to afford, our best cheap mattress list will help you avoid a lemon. If you need a cheap bed quickly, check out our list of mattresses in the $200 – $400 range for a queen.
Another option when money is tight is buying a more durable product on credit. Many mattress companies offer financing, some with interest rates as low as zero percent. Be wary of layaway plans at retail bedding stores; they are not a good option. Financing at such stores and department stores is usually high.
HONEST REVIEWS ARE IMPORTANT TO US
This synopsis of in-depth reviews helps you quickly identify mattresses you may be interested in without having to spend days researching the options because we’ve already done the research for you. For example, we continually watch the bedding market, identify the highest rated, most popular, and newest products for testing. We read reviews written by other customers because enjoying a mattress is a very subjective experience. As a result, manufacturers often reach out to us and send us a sample that we test. Several people try each product before we write our review.
We also keep up with the latest sleep research to understand the newest innovations, as well as topics related to solving sleep problems and safety. Depending on the topic of the article, we research around 5 – 50 research reports. For example, while writing our most recent article on eco-friendly mattresses we read research so we could write a second article on chemicals that might be in the products, as well as whether organic is defined by governmental agencies when the product is not edible, and other research on health and safety-related to textiles and the mattress industry. In addition, we take the following steps:
We look for research published in peer-reviewed journals (Free, Downloadable) and consider any conflicts of interest the authors may have before considering a source as credible.
We also reach out to the founders and other employees at the manufacturers to get additional information, such as which materials they use to meet the fire safety requirements in each of their products.
Although we receive a small commission when you use one of our coupons or links to make a purchase, it doesn’t cost you more. Above all, our main goal is to provide you with accurate and useful information. In addition, because sleep is important for your health, we want you to get a bed that gives everything you need to sleep well every night. Your trust is important to us.
We keep ourselves and our reviews honest by focusing on earning our followers trust and refusing to accept any samples that are conditioned on whether we like the product or not. For instance, we won’t agree to give specific ratings for any reason. Our ratings are based on the qualities of the product including comfort, support, price, firmness, pressure relief, responsiveness, materials, motion transfer, edge support, temperature, warranty, return policy and the reputation of the company.
If you want to compare mattresses the right way, you have to compare the features that matter the most. You can download our checklist to help you compare various mattresses.
Many factors need to be considered when evaluating a mattress purchase. Remember, over the time you own it, you’ll spend thousands of hours on your mattress. Most importantly, the quality of your life while you are awake is affected by the quality of the rest you get at night. As a result, this is an important decision.
We also know that many people are busy and don’t have a spare twenty hours to research which mattress would be best for themselves. That’s why our list is designed to save you time by guiding you to mattresses that are the best in each category. Because individual preferences vary, we can’t guarantee that you will be happy with a choice from this list, but the products wouldn’t be on our list if we didn’t think most people would be happy if they used this list to select their next mattress.
Also, with the exception of purchases from Amazon where return policies vary, the products on this list have no-risk sleep trials that allow you to try them and return them for a refund if it doesn’t isn’t comfortable for you. Be sure you know the terms before you buy.
If the rest of the vendors in the industry disappeared tomorrow, most people would still be able to get a bed they really like out of those choices. We’re not suggesting that the rest of the companies don’t offer value, they do.
Competition is good. Maybe, in time, increased competition will make retail stores come around and adopt less punitive policies for customers who don’t get the comfort they need on their first try. In the meantime, use our coupon codes to save on your next purchase.
If you have any questions, leave a comment and we’ll do our best to help.
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