Best Mattress in a Box

Written by

David Rubin , Certified Sleep Science Coach, Lead Product Tester

Reviewed by

Dr. Michael Breus, PhD, DABSM, FAASM , Clinical Psychologist, Sleep Medicine Expert
Expert tested
Every product undergoes rigorous testing with a variety of hands-on methods to give you the most accurate, unbiased reviews possible. Our methodology.
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A mattress in a box is compressed for shipping and arrives at your home in compact packaging, making it easy to deliver through FedEx, UPS, or other carriers. With a mattress in a box, there’s no need to visit a store in person, have a bed delivered by professionals, or borrow or rent a truck for mattress transportation. 

We’ll discuss our top picks and provide the details you need to choose the best mattress in a box for you. We’ll also provide in-depth information about the mattress-in-a-box delivery method and answer frequently asked questions about how the process works and why most shoppers choose this type of mattress.

“With the sheer amount of direct-to-consumer mattresses on the market nowadays, I know it can be hard to find an option that meets your needs. Your ideal mattress will be one that feels both comfortable and supportive, which your body weight and preferred sleeping position often determine.” – Dr. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.

Best Overall

Nectar Premier


  • Type: Foam

  • Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King

  • Price Range: $799 – $1,698

  • Warranty: Lifetime, Limited


  • Comfortable and supportive for a variety of sleep styles and body types
  • Provides great pressure relief
  • Durable foam construction

Ideal For

  • Side sleepers over 130 pounds
  • Couples
  • Hot sleepers who like the feel of an all-foam mattress

The Nectar Premier provides excellent pressure relief and comfort to side sleepers weighing more than 130 pounds. Our testers in this weight category appreciated the mattress’ 3-inch gel-infused memory foam and polyfoam comfort layers, which responded to their bodies and contoured to high-pressure areas. We also noticed the 7-inch polyfoam core added support and firmness.

The supportive but conforming Nectar Premier cushioned the hips and shoulders of our side sleepers, while the versatile medium firm (6) feel helped our stomach and back sleepers achieve a good night’s sleep. The gel-infused foam includes phase change material designed for temperature regulation, and our testers found that its quilted cover made with a polyethylene, polyester, and nylon blend promoted breathability. 

While the lack of good edge support was a negative for our testers who sleep toward the edge of the mattress, they noticed the 13-inch height made getting in and out of bed easy. We found the mattress met the overall needs of a range of sleep and body types, and its above-average motion isolation made it a good option for couples.

The mattress ships free within the contiguous U.S. Nectar also offers White Glove delivery service for an extra charge. Each Nectar Premier purchase includes a 365-night sleep trial and a limited lifetime warranty. 

The Nectar Premier is a durable mattress that accommodates a wide range of sleepers, including couples and those who enjoy the feel of an all-foam bed.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “The Nectar Premier's foam construction and mid-range feel made it popular with all our team members regardless of preferred sleeping position. We also found it stays much cooler than other all-foam models.” opening quote icon
David Rubin, Certified Sleep Science Coach, Lead Product Tester and Side Sleeper

Best Value

Allswell Luxe Hybrid


  • Type: Hybrid

  • Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

  • Price Range: $469 – $875+

  • Warranty: 10 Year, Limited


  • Adaptive foam layers over robust coils create a balanced, medium firm feel
  • Perimeter reinforcement reduces sinkage when you get in and out of bed
  • Steady airflow and a breathable cover help the mattress sleep cool

Ideal For

  • Side sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds
  • Back sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds
  • Those who tend to sleep hot

Hybrids are among the most expensive mattress types, but the Allswell Luxe Hybrid is a notable exception. While its price-point is well below average, our testers found the mattress offers a balance of pressure relief and support comparable to many more expensive hybrid models on the market today.

The Luxe Hybrid is constructed with a layer of gel-infused polyfoam quilted into the cover, followed by memory foam and polyfoam layers. Though the mattress has a medium firm (6) feel, our testers noticed these layers provided deep cushioning and even weight distribution. The support core contains sturdy pocketed coils. We found that the extra reinforcement along the perimeter reduced sinkage when we slept near the edges of the mattress or got in and out of bed.

Our testing shows the Luxe Hybrid is most comfortable for side sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds and back sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds. The foam layers provided adequate cushioning for our testers’ shoulders and hips — two areas where side sleepers tend to experience pressure points. The coils were supportive enough to keep our team’s back sleepers on an even plane. 

The mattress also performed well during our temperature control tests. Thanks to a breathable cover and steady airflow through the coil layer, we detected very little heat buildup on the surface. The responsive surface also made the mattress easy for our testers to move across, and it should suit couples who prefer a bouncy mattress for sex.

In addition to its affordable price tag, the Allswell Luxe Hybrid qualifies for free ground shipping to most locations in the contiguous U.S. Each order includes a sleep trial that runs 100 nights, and those who keep their mattress also receive a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.

With excellent pressure-relieving abilities and deep contouring, we recommend the Allswell Luxe Hybrid to sleepers looking for a quality hybrid mattress at an affordable price-point.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “I found the Allswell Luxe Hybrid to be an exceptionally balanced model at an approachable price point. It's a quintessential hybrid with adaptive foam comfort layers that cushion the body over supportive pocketed coils.” opening quote icon
Alison Deshong, Staff Writer, Product Testing Team and Stomach Sleeper

Most Comfortable

GelFoamBed Gel Tech Original


  • Type: Foam

  • Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

  • Price Range: $699 – $1,299

  • Warranty: 10 Year, Limited


  • Thick foam layers offer deep contouring
  • Two firmness options
  • Available in 12-inch and 14-inch profiles

Ideal For

  • Side and back sleepers
  • People with sharp pressure points
  • Couples

The Gel Tech Original Mattress from GelFoamBed is a quintessential all-foam mattress with a plush surface. You can purchase the bed in two height and firmness options, with both models conforming closely to your body.

The mattress is available in a 12-inch or 14-inch profile. The shorter model has a medium firm (6) feel and the thicker profile has a soft (3) feel. Both models begin with a top layer of memory foam that cradles your body, followed by several polyfoam layers with a firmer feel. The base layer contains higher density foam to provide sturdiness.

Our testers found both models ideal for side and back sleeping, since these sleep positions benefit from deep cradling to relieve pressure in the shoulders, hips, and spine. The plusher model is ideal if you experience painful pressure buildup at night. Thanks to the bed’s excellent contouring, the mattress earned high marks during our motion isolation tests. This means you’ll barely feel movement when your co-sleeper shifts in the middle of the night.

Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S., and the mattress comes with a 365-night sleep trial. GelFoamBed also offers a 10-year warranty beyond the sleep trial.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon The Gel Tech Original Mattress is perfect for fans of foam beds. You get that deep body hug and excellent contouring that foam is known for. opening quote icon
Alison Deshong, Staff Writer, Product Testing Team and Stomach Sleeper

Best Luxury



  • Type: Innerspring

  • Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7), Firm (8)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

  • Price Range: $1,149 – $2,049

  • Warranty: Lifetime, Limited


  • Available in four designs, each with a distinct firmness level
  • Zoned coils reinforce the midsection and protect the perimeter from excessive sinkage
  • Excellent cooling thanks to moisture-wicking cover and steady internal airflow

Ideal For

  • All weight groups and preferred sleeping positions
  • People who tend to sleep near the edges of their mattress
  • Hot Sleepers

The WinkBed is sold in four firmness levels to accommodate different types of sleepers. Standard WinkBed models — which feature comfort layers consisting of adaptive polyfoam — are available with medium soft (4), medium firm (6), and firm (7) feels. The WinkBed Plus is a fourth option specifically designed for people who weigh more than 250 pounds. It features a firm (8) feel and includes a latex comfort layer for extra support.

The WinkBed is categorized as a luxury innerspring, though it has construction features typical of a hybrid model. All versions of the WinkBed feature pocketed coil support cores. Thicker coils resting beneath the midsection provide more pushback to areas of the body where people tend to carry a disproportionate amount of weight. The perimeter is also reinforced with lower-gauge coils, which we noticed minimized sinkage when we slept near the edges of the mattress or got in and out of bed. 

Our testers found that the steady air circulation through the coil layer helped the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature. Another cooling component is the cover made of Tencel. This breathable, eucalyptus-derived fabric has moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry while you sleep.

Our team tested all four of the WinkBed’s firmness levels. The medium soft model received its best ratings from side and back sleepers weighing less than 130 pounds. The most popular model was the medium firm. Side sleepers weighing 130 to 230 pounds and back and stomach sleepers weighing less than 230 pounds all found this design exceptionally comfortable. Testers over 230 pounds enjoyed the enhanced support of the firm and Plus designs.

WinkBeds offers a 120-night sleep trial. If you are not satisfied with your initial firmness selection, you can exchange the mattress for a new model with a different design at no extra cost. The replacement mattress comes with a 60-night trial period. Shipping is free within the contiguous U.S., and all WinkBed mattresses are backed by limited lifetime warranties.

With multiple firmness options, zoned coils, and multiple cooling properties, our testing team recommends the WinkBed to sleepers looking for a comfortable and supportive sleep surface.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “The WinkBed is a high-end model with four firmness options. This ensured a comfortable option for most of our testers, including those over 230 pounds who often have trouble finding an adequately supportive mattress.” opening quote icon
David Rubin, Certified Sleep Science Coach, Lead Product Tester and Side Sleeper

Best for Side Sleepers

Nolah Signature 12


  • Type: Foam

  • Firmness: Medium (5)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

  • Price Range: $849 – $1,499

  • Warranty: Lifetime, Limited


  • Durable, quality foam materials
  • Good ease of movement for an all-foam mattress
  • Very good motion isolation

Ideal For

  • Those sharing a bed with a partner
  • Hot sleepers
  • Active sleepers who prefer a foam mattress

The Nolah Signature 12 features an organic cotton cover, a responsive 5-inch polyfoam comfort system, and a 7-inch polyfoam support core. Its all-foam construction best supported our testers who weigh less than 130 pounds. While our side sleepers in all weight groups found it provided good comfort and support, it received the highest overall grades from those under 130 pounds.

We found the deep foam comfort layers offered very good motion isolation for couples, ensuring that movement did not spread easily across the surface. This made it easier for our testers to sleep undisturbed when their partner got in and out of bed. 

We noticed the foam materials of the Nolah Signature 12 responded to our bodies, providing good pressure relief in our shoulders and hips. The company’s proprietary AirFoam features an open-cell composition that we noticed slept cooler than traditional memory foam. The medium (5) firmness also provided our testers with an easy-to-navigate surface that allowed them to move across the bed without sinking.

The Nolah Signature 12 ships free within the contiguous U.S. The bed includes a limited lifetime warranty and a 120-night sleep trial. Shoppers can choose to remove the trial period to receive extra savings on the bed. New mattress setup and old mattress removal is available for an additional fee.

Our testing team found the Nolah Signature 12 suits most side sleepers, and they also recommend the bed for active sleepers looking for good motion isolation, ease of movement, and a cool sleep.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “Those of us who sleep on our sides loved the Nolah Signature 12. The mattress' thick foam layers and medium (5) feel offered great cushioning for my sore shoulders and hips.” opening quote icon
Garen Glazier, Staff Writer, Product Testing Team and Side Sleeper

Best for Couples

Molecule 2 AirTEC Mattress


  • Type: Foam

  • Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

  • Price(Queen): $1,299

  • Warranty: Lifetime, Limited


  • Breathable surface foams limit heat retention and promote cooling
  • Zoned transitional layer feels firmer and more supportive around the midsection
  • Excellent motion isolation for co-sleepers

Ideal For

  • People who are easily awakened by their partner’s movements
  • Those who usually sleep hot on foam beds
  • Side and back sleepers

The Molecule 2 AirTEC is an all-foam mattress designed with balance in mind. Its comfort system consists of three foam layers that are progressively denser from top to bottom, allowing your body to settle comfortably into the mattress without too much sink. These layers excel at motion isolation, so you and your partner shouldn’t experience sleep disruptions when the other person changes positions or gets up in the middle of the night. The top two foam layers are also treated with cooling components to prevent you from feeling excessively hot.

The third foam layer is zoned for a firmer feel beneath the torso and hips, where people tend to carry a disproportionate amount of weight, and gentler cradling for lighter areas of the body. A base layer of high-density polyfoam provides good overall stability. The Molecule 2 AirTEC has a medium firm (6) feel, so you’ll notice moderate yet even contouring. Our hands-on mattress tests show the mattress is most comfortable for side and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds. Side sleepers receive the cushioning they need around the shoulders and hips, two areas where people who use this position tend to feel pressure buildup. The zoned foam allows back sleepers to lie comfortably without sinking too much around the midsection.

All Molecule 2 AirTEC mattresses are treated with Microban, which is intended to provide antimicrobial protection against mold, mildew, and other contaminants that can compromise the hygiene of your sleep surface. Competitive pricing and free shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. make the mattress a good option for shoppers with mid-range budgets. If you reside in California, Molecule will also arrange for your old mattress to be removed at no extra cost. All orders come with 100-night trial periods. If you decide to keep the Molecule 2 AirTEC, you’ll also receive a lifetime warranty.

What our tester thinks
opening quote icon “The Molecule 2 AirTEC's foam layers absorbed most movement transfer and noise during our motion isolation tests. I highly recommend this model if you share the bed with a restless sleep partner.” opening quote icon
Garen Glazier, Staff Writer, Product Testing Team and Side Sleeper

Why You Should Trust Us

Our team has years of experience in the sleep product industry. We’ve reviewed a wide range of products, including mattresses, and we personally research and test each product before offering a fair and unbiased review.

To provide you with the best information, each mattress is tested by several sleep experts. Our team members have a variety of body types and preferred sleeping positions to help us give the most accurate feedback possible.

What Do You Really Need to Know Before Buying a Mattress in a Box?

We’ll discuss everything you need to know to choose the best online mattress to suit your needs, covering a range of factors that could influence your buying decision.

What We Mean by a Mattress in a Box

A mattress in a box is compressed and folded or rolled for shipping. Once the shopper removes it from the packaging, it will decompress and return to its original shape. Most mattresses decompress within a few hours, though some may take up to 48 hours to fully expand.

Foam mattresses adapt best to this shipping method, and hybrid beds also work well. However, we don’t recommend purchasing a latex mattress, airbed, or traditional innerspring model in a box due to difficulties with shipping.

Why Would You Want to Buy a Mattress in a Box?

When shopping online, you have access to all types of mattresses at a wide range of prices, giving you almost limitless options. You can also take your time browsing online to find the best mattress in a box without sales staff hovering nearby, which makes for a more relaxing shopping experience.

However, if you need any help while shopping or have questions about a specific mattress or policy, customer service and chat support are typically readily available with online mattress companies. Additionally, most companies offer longer sleep trials for mattresses purchased online compared to in-store.

How Do You Shop for a Mattress in a Box?

Before purchasing a mattress in a box, research what mattress types are best for you and consider your price range.

Once you have a type of bed in mind, read mattress reviews to find out how specific models perform. Be sure to check each mattress’ warranty and sleep trial period, and read the fine print to ensure you know exactly what is included with your purchase.

Finally, look for sales and promotions, especially during the holidays, to get the best online deal.

Tips Before Buying a Mattress in a Box

Most mattresses — especially all-foam beds — produce off-gassing, which is a chemical-like smell that typically fades after several hours or days. While this odor isn’t generally harmful, it can cause headaches or allergy-like symptoms for those with sensitivities.

To prevent an abundance of off-gassing, remove the mattress from the box promptly after delivery and allow it to air out in a room with good ventilation.

Bear in mind that most mattresses require a break-in period before they achieve their full comfort and support, which is why most companies won’t accept a mattress for return unless it’s been in use for at least a few weeks.

What Is a Mattress in a Box?

A mattress in a box refers to a package and delivery method in which the mattress is compressed, then rolled or folded and packed into a box. The company then ships the box directly to the customer, who removes and decompresses the mattress.

The following mattress types work well for this shipping method because they are easily compressed.

Foam Mattresses

Foam beds — and particularly memory foam beds — are an ideal option if you wish to purchase a mattress in a box. The memory foam compresses easily without compromising the integrity of the mattress and resumes its shape quickly when decompressed.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses typically contain both foam and coils. While this construction isn’t as ideal for the mattress-in-a-box delivery method as an all-foam mattress, it’s still possible to compress and ship a hybrid mattress in a box and have it return to its original shape in a short amount of time.

What About Innerspring Beds?

While hybrid beds generally include both coils and foam, most innerspring mattresses have a coil-only design, making compression difficult, if not impossible.

While traditional innerspring mattresses used to be popular, they aren’t as common now and are often associated with cheaper models that aren’t ideal for the mattress-in-a-box shipping method.

Latex Mattresses

While it’s possible to ship a latex mattress in a box, it’s not the most convenient method. Latex mattresses are often very heavy, which sometimes means they must be shipped in multiple boxes. The customer then assembles the mattress from multiple parts once they’ve unboxed it.

Airbed Mattresses

Airbed mattresses require similar assembly to latex models. An airbed mattress often ships in multiple pieces and the buyer must assemble the bed themselves once they receive all the boxes, making the process inconvenient for many shoppers.

Advantages to Buying a Mattress in a Box

While online shopping doesn’t let you personally test the feel of a mattress before making a purchase, there are definite advantages to the process.

  • You can look at mattresses online from virtually anywhere: Whether you live in a city or rural area, as long as you have access to the internet you can easily shop for a mattress online, which the company will ship directly to you.
  • Online prices are often lower than in-store: Since the online price may be lower than the in-store price for a mattress, shopping online often saves money, making the mattress more budget-friendly.
  • Longer sleep trials: When you purchase a mattress online, companies often offer a longer sleep trial than they would if you bought it in person, giving you longer to decide if it’s the right mattress for you.
  • No sales staff hovering over you: When shopping online, you have plenty of time to browse. And you can avoid the added pressure from sales staff, who may encourage you to make a purchase before you’re ready.
  • Customer service and chat support at the ready: With customer service and chat support only a click away in most cases, sales staff is still available when needed during your online shopping experience, allowing you to ask questions and clarify information.

How to Shop for a Mattress in a Box

While browsing for a mattress from your home offers greater convenience than driving to a brick-and-mortar location, it’s important to have a shopping strategy before diving into the myriad online options.

Do Your Research Online and Make a List of Top Picks

Before purchasing a mattress in a box, we recommend that you take time to research your options online and browse through popular models to get an idea of what’s available. Once you’ve done some research, make a list of your top mattress picks.

Read Customer Reviews of Your Top Picks to Get Firsthand Feedback

Once you have your list of top picks, you can use customer reviews to get personal feedback and details about the performance of the bed.

It’s also a good idea to search for reviews relevant to your specific needs. For example, if you’re concerned about durability, search for reviews from customers who have had the bed for a long time and are pleased with its performance.

Compare Sleep Trials and Warranties

When buying a bed online, it’s important to know if it includes a sleep trial and, if so, what its terms and duration are. Since you can’t test the bed in person, the sleep trial ensures that you get a chance to try it out before fully committing to the purchase.

Knowing the bed’s warranty information can also provide peace of mind. We urge you to read the fine print of the sleep trial and warranty before making your purchase.

Look for Holiday Sales and Other Promotions

It may seem like generic shopping advice, but we always advise that you look for holiday sales and other promotions when purchasing a mattress. Shoppers who find a mattress on sale can save significant sums of money.

What Are Some Last Things You Should Know Before Buying a Mattress in a Box?

Before you click the purchase button on a new mattress in a box, there are a few final considerations.

Off-Gassing and Other Boxed Mattress Smells

Many mattresses emit a chemical-like odor when removed from their packaging for the first time, with foam mattresses often producing the most off-gassing. However, the aroma should fade within a few hours or days and generally isn’t harmful.

If off-gassing bothers you, place the mattress in a well-ventilated room, with the window or door open if needed, until the smell fades.

Break-in Periods

While we all want a new bed to perform at its best the first night we use it, most mattresses have some sort of adjustment period. If you have trouble sleeping at first, know that it is normal and give it time.

Many online mattress companies have a break-in period and won’t allow customers to initiate a return for a bed that’s been in use for less than three or four weeks. This is to ensure that you’ve had time to get used to the bed and know for certain that it’s not working for you.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Unbox

While a mattress in a box ships conveniently, it shouldn’t be left in the box for a prolonged period of time after you receive it. Leaving a compressed mattress in a box for too long could damage it or reduce its lifespan.

About The Author

David Rubin

Certified Sleep Science Coach, Lead Product Tester

David is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with a lifelong passion for well-being and health optimization. His interest in sleep developed with the arrival of his son, when sleep suddenly became a precious commodity.

  • Position: Side Sleeper
  • Temperature: Hot Sleeper
  • Chronotype: Lion

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