Image courtesy of Tuft & Needle.
Buying a mattress is no longer like buying a car, requiring showroom visits that put us at the mercy of unctuous sales agents and an SUV-sized investment. The advent of “bed-in-a-box” disruptors changed the game, but this new era has brought so many options that it’s almost impossible to comparison shop. There’s no perfect formula, and it really comes down to personal preference, so while we can’t tell you which mattress is perfect for you, below is a roundup of the current important entries in the mattress field, and why they’re so popular.
When it comes to mattresses, you get what you pay for, to some extent. More expensive mattresses tend to keep their shape longer than the bargain-basement models–but that doesn’t mean you have to choose between a college education and a decent mattress. As with most things, the disruption factor has democratized prices and put a crimp in the price puffery of the department store mattress racket of the past. And current brands offer perpetual sales and discounts.
Customer service is also a big factor. One of the biggest upsides to modern mattress buying is that you can seriously try out the goods for weeks, and if you’re not thrilled, the manufacturers will give you a refund. In some cases, you’re actually required to keep the mattress for 30 days before returning it. It’s highly recommended that buyers take advantage of this option. Keep in mind that you can often still find a showroom and test the wares first for many brands to help rule out absolute no-gos.
Deciphering the types of mattresses that are available is less complicated than it may sound. The main differences are as follows:
All of these products have been hand-selected by team 6sqft. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these affiliate links. All prices reflect those at the time of publishing.
Foam (or Memory Foam)
Once more of a niche item, this type of mattress has rapidly been gaining favor with brands like Casper bringing it to the masses. Layered polyurethane and/or latex foam mattresses mold to your body shape so it feels like pressure points are being supported. “Hot” sleepers may find foam too warm; A subset, gel mattresses, are known for being cooler.
|As the best-known of the new breed, Casper may the first name that comes to mind. The all-foam mattress is a top comfort choice for just about every type of sleeper, and buyers love the price and convenience of ordering. We can personally attest that after seven years, their basic model is as good as the day it arrived.
The brand offers a 100-night trial with a refund if you’re not thrilled. In addition to the original all-foam model, a pricier Wave Mattress is ergonomically designed to relieve pressure at shoulders and hips, and a hybrid variation gets high marks as well. There are five NYC showrooms.
Photo courtesy of Casper
|Boutique brand Tuft & Needle has been getting lots of buzz for a top-quality basic foam mattress at an astonishingly reasonable price point. Their mid-tier Mint mattress gets high ratings from Consumer Reports and elsewhere.
Photo courtesy of Tuft & Needle
|This foam mattress sold by Costco is a favorite of bargain lovers of all types for being easy to unpack and cozy in any position as well as a good value.|
|PlushBeds are unique in that they’re 100 percent organic and free of harmful chemicals and toxins. A breathable cotton cover keeps you cool and dry; a second layer of wool provides soothing support and regulates temperature; and several layers of latex (a comfort layer of talalay latex on top of two layers of dunlop latex from Arpico) add pressure point relief and support. You can choose from two firmness levels and three heights.|
Hybrid and Innerspring
Innerspring is the traditional mattress. Made with a core of steel coils, they can have special layers of cushioning including a pillow-top or gel layers. These mattresses are bouncier but can be more disruptive to one person who’s asleep when another person–or pet–gets up or tosses and turns. Hybrid mattresses have one or several layers of foam–and sometimes gel or other material–surrounding basic inner springs. These tend to be pricier but can be a good choice for someone who can’t choose between the two.
|Getting top ratings in every category from a wide sampling of reviewers, the Avocado Green Mattress is a made-in-America natural, organic wonder featuring organic certified latex, wool, and cotton, as well as up to 1,414 pocketed support coils (there’s also a vegan model made without wool). The company claims their product offers the most durable and supportive innerspring unit available in any mattress, anywhere. They have a store in Hoboken, NJ if you want to try it out.
Photo © 2017 Avocado Mattress. All rights reserved. Photography by Melissa Kruse.
|The Leesa Hybrid mattress is another well-known disruptor that gets top ratings in a number of places. The company simplifies the choices by offering only three models, and the hybrid is the sweet spot for sleepers who want both foams and springs for enhanced pressure relief and consistent edge-to-edge support. Leesa is also sold at West Elm, Macy’s, and Pottery Barn.|
|Combining coils with layers of foam, this mattress-in-a-box from boutique brand Nest Bedding is stable and durable; it’s on the soft side for sleepers who like a soft bed. The 14-inch height means you should make sure your fitted sheets will actually fit.
Photo courtesy of Nest Bedding
|This American-made innerspring mattress from Saatva targets buyers who don’t want to give up the traditional coils–with a layer of foam as a “euro pillow-top” to provide a gentle introduction to the concept. The mattress gets points from Consumer Reports for durability, too. They have a 180-day trial, as well as military and nurse discounts.
Photo courtesy of Saatva
|From this familiar name comes a top-rated innerspring mattress from the company’s Hybrid Performance Collection, pairing the responsive support of an innerspring with the body-conforming feel of memory foam. Consumer Report gives it big points for support|
The luxury mattress
|These Scandinavian beds are said to be the most expensive in the world. Each one is assembled by hand as part of the company’s 167-year quest for an ideal sleep. Five generations of craftsmanship have used layers of horsetail, cotton, and wool, hand-ruffling the fibers together for a “dreamily airy, pliable result.” Reviewers who have been lucky enough to give them a test drive say the premium mattress did indeed convey the best sleep of their lives. The all-in-one beds start at around $7,000 for a twin and go all the way up to over $100,000, depending on the customization.
Photo courtesy of Hastens
|Though they don’t drift into the six-figure zone, high-end Swedish brand Duxiana’s DUX mattresses are known as the finest money can buy. Innovations like steel springs that move with you and a replaceable top pad add to the practical side of luxury.
Photo courtesy of Duxiana
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on February 24, 2020, and has been updated.
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