The best mattresses you can buy online in 2020

Posted On Mon, February 24, 2020 By

Posted On Mon, February 24, 2020 By In apartment living 101, Features, Products, Shop

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 (and your new mattress may very well arrive in a bafflingly small box). But this new era has brought so many options that it’s impossible to comparison shop. Articles and sites that attempt to evaluate the contenders use criteria as diverse as sleeping style (back, side, etc), weight, softness, heat, bounce, and durability. But there’s no perfect formula, and it really comes down to personal preference–which isn’t always easy to put into words. 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.

mattresses, nest, casper, leesa, tuft and needle, purple, saatva, avacado, shopping, products, sleepImage courtesy of Tuft & Needle.

A few truths: 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.

There’s no “demystifying” the mattress-buying process. The good news, though, is there’s no real mystery behind it, only personal preference. As far as the actual box part of the process: Follow instructions. Unroll it, let it breathe for a day. We promise it will become an actual mattress. And don’t worry about off-gassing unless you have a particular sensitivity. Mattresses aren’t toxic and don’t smell bad.

The choice: As far as which one you should choose, it’s hard to come up with a list of “top picks,” since we haven’t undertaken a formal study where we’ve had every mattress ever made delivered and test-driven. Even if we had, every week seems to bring new options. Consumer Reports (membership required) is a good standby for reviews; they review an exhaustive list of choices and update regularly.

In addition to the aforementioned criteria, customer service is a big factor. One of the biggest upsides to modern mattress-buying is that you can–in some cases you’re actually required to keep the mattress for 30 days before returning it–seriously try out the goods for weeks, and if you’re not thrilled, the manufacturers will give you a refund. 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.

As for the items below, remember that mattress companies are constantly attempting to innovate, coming out with new models with new bells & whistles, and new brands are joining the fray just as frequently. It’s worth looking at the latest news if it’s been a while since your last dive.

mattresses, nest, casper, leesa, tuft and needle, purple, saatva, avacado, shopping, products, sleep

Image courtesy of Nest Bedding.

Mattress 101: Deciphering the types of mattresses that are available is less complicated than it may sound. The main differences are as follows:

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.

Innerspring
These are the traditional mattresses, 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
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. There are other variations: Adjustable air mattresses inflate according to the firmness the sleeper desires using an attached electric pump. They often contain foam as well. These are usually divided into individual halves so each sleep partner can choose their firmness level.

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. 

The standouts:

Foam 

As the best-known of the new breed, the Casper may the first name that comes to mind–how could we resist those subway ads–when we think “mattress-in-a-box.” 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. 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.

Casper Sleep Foam Mattress, queen 12-inch; $995 at Amazon

Boutique brand Tuft & Needle has been getting lots of buzz lately for a top-quality basic foam mattress at an astonishingly reasonable price point. Their higher-priced Mint mattress gets high ratings from Consumer Reports and elsewhere.

Tuft & Needle queen mattress; $535.50 at Amazon

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.

Novaform 14″ Serafina Pearl Gel queen memory foam mattress, from $939.95 via Amazon (Also available for $799 at Costco)

Hybrid and innerspring

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 and 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.

Avocado Green Mattress, $1,399 from Avocado

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 Hybrid queen mattress; $1,407.88 at Amazon

mattresses, nest, casper, leesa, tuft and needle, purple, saatva, avacado, shopping, products, sleep 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.

Alexander Signature Hybrid queen  mattress, $1,599 from Nest Bedding

Photo courtesy of Nest Bedding

Mattress - Saatva Mattress This 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.

Saatva Luxury Firm queen mattress, $1,199 from Saatva

Unlike many of the new kids on this block, Charles P. Rogers has been in the bed business since 1855, but they’re still likely to be mentioned as a top contender in any conversation involving classic innerspring mattress picks, for durability as well as supportive comfort. The company has kept up with technology, adding a latex topper to their classic innerspring Powercore model.

Powercore Estate 5000 queen mattress; $1,699 (sale price) from Charles P. Rogers.

Sealy Hybrid Performance Copper II 13.5 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

Sealy Posturepedic Performance Copper II mattress; $1,499 from Wayfair

Niche notables

The whimsically-named Purple bedding company has a near-cult following by fans who tried every mattress under the sun until they met this innovative offering with a unique “purple grid,” a 2-inch honeycomb-structured top layer that adapts to your body and stays cool for comfort, support, and, they claim, better sleep. Mattresses come in foam, hybrid and luxury models.

Purple queen mattress, $1,099 via Amazon.

Breeze 12 The claim for this classic early high-end memory foam favorite is that is keeps you cool where regular foam runs warm.

Tempur-pedic Breeze 12-inch medium hybrid queen mattress; $3,499.00 from Wayfair.

With everything in our homes getting smarter by the day, beds should be no exception; the “smart” part of this classic brand’s offering is that it’s adjustable: Sleep Number mattresses are filled with adjustable air chambers so both sides of the bed effortlessly respond and automatically adjust firmness separately (there’s an app, of course). Though expensive, the mattress gets rave reviews from couples who have tried it. Durability gets high marks, too.

Sleep Number 360 p6 Smart Bed; $2,499 from Sleep Number

Photo courtesy of Sleep Number

Some people just won’t find a bed hard enough unless it’s the floor. Those folks will love the aptly-named, reasonably priced Plank with a firm, flat surface that allows for neutral spine position. Even better: it’s designed to be flippable, with a quilted top layer on the opposite side.

Plank by Brooklyn Bedding 11-inch TitanFlex Two-Sided Firm Mattress, queen, $799 from Amazon.

Another couples-oriented high-tech offering with a unique patented modular design that offers dual-sided personalization with interchangeable spring support.

Bedgear M3 1.0 Medium Firm queen mattress; from $1,649 at Bedgear.

The luxury mattress. Yes, the six-figure mattress exists.

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 ideal sleep and five generations of craftsmanship using 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 $7K for a twin and go all the way up to over $100,000, depending on customization.

Queen Hastens 2000T Continental Bed; $36,190 from Hastens Detroit via US Mattress

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.

Duxiana DUX 1001 mattress; From $3,860 at Duxiana

Photo courtesy of Duxiana

What about IKEA?
The IKEA Myrbacka mattress ($499 from IKEA) gets decent reviews from Consumer Reports, and anecdotally, IKEA mattresses have their loyal fans. The Swedes really do know how to do beds and bedding, so it’s a good bet that they’re ahead of the curve when it comes to comfort.

A word about frames and box springs

Necessary heavy box spring platforms that often doubled the cost of the mattress purchase have gone the way of the horse and buggy. Most of the mattresses mentioned here require no special support other than a platform bed–or the floor if you’re a super minimalist (though you certainly can use an old-school box spring if you so choose, and some mattress makers still sell them). That said, some–i.e. the pricier options–are part of systems that include platforms and box-spring-like supports. Most mattress companies offer a wide range of frame options from the most minimal to high-end and high-tech beds. And most now offer frames that allow you to adjust the head and foot of your bed, either on both sides with twin mattresses or all at once.

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