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The best mattresses in a box of 2019

The best mattresses in a box of 2019


The best mattresses in a box of 2019


— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA Today’s newsroom and any business incentives.

Finding the right mattress is no simple task, especially now that popular deliverable options usually can’t be tested in stores. Whether you know you want soft or firm, or don’t know where to start, it’s important to research before you buy. There are a lot of reviews out there from professionals like us and from everyday sleep-lovers, and we think you should read as many as you can: After all, you spend a third of your life on your mattress, so choosing the right one is crucial.

We tested the best mattresses in a box, blending scientific and experiential tests to find the best ones out there. Some reviewers slice up mattresses and analyze the materials under a microscope. Others sleep on one or two and write about their experiences. Reviewed landed in the middle, getting a well-rounded look at each mattress to see how they stack up. What else we found might surprise you.

1. The best mattress in a box in 2019: Nectar

Overall takeaway: The lightest and most comfortable mattress we’ve tested so far.

Delivery: Front door drop-off 2-3 days after placing an order. A Queen arrives in a 44″x16″x16″ box and weighs about 65 pounds.

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

Trial period: 365 nights.

Return protocol: Nectar helps you coordinate donation or local disposal.

What it’s made of: Two layers of foam: on top, a 1-inch fast-recovery gel memory foam and a 3-inch 3.5-pound memory foam with medical-grade cooling, and beneath, a high-density base foam layer for support.

The details: The Nectar is by far and away the best mattress we’ve tested to date, thanks to its perfect balance of firmness and plushness and its middle-tier price point. The first thing I noticed upon lugging the box up the two flights of stairs to my apartment was how unbelievably light it was compared to others. It’s actually only a few pounds lighter, but that can make all the difference for installation. They also offer white glove delivery that starts at $149. It did have a bit of a weird ‘packaged’ smell at first, despite the site claiming you shouldn’t notice any odors, but that dissipated after about 12 hours and was never an issue for me, my partner, or our cat.

I tend to sleep hot, but I rarely had any issues with the Nectar, and my partner, who swears by the Purple, even admitted one day that this was the most comfortable mattress he’s slept on so far. For me, that’s all the proof I need, but I kept testing. The most important test has proven to be the “wine glass” test to evaluate motion transfer, and when my partner thrashed around and kicked his legs on the bed, the wine glass hardly even wobbled, and never came close to tipping over, meaning you won’t get jostled awake if you share a bed with a restless sleeper or feel bad getting up to pee at 2 a.m.

Get the Nectar mattress from Nectar for $899.

2. The best value mattress in a box in 2019: Tuft & Needle

Overall takeaway: A fantastic budget option with great support.

Delivery: Front door drop-off. A Queen arrives in a 44″x16″x16″ box and weighs about 72 pounds.

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

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Tuft & Needle coordinates pickup with a local charity or nonprofit, free of charge.

What it’s made of: Two layers of foam: on top, a soft 3-inch layer infused with cooling gel and graphite, and beneath, a firm 7-inch layer for support.

The details: Tuft & Needle is a fantastic mattress for anyone looking for a bit more support in a mattress. By far the least expensive model we tested, it was a favorite for its firmness and comfort. It’s supportive yet soft, so getting in and out of bed isn’t difficult or painful. In both clinical and practical testing, we found that the mattress mitigates movement well which means that a tossing-and-turning partner won’t wake you up.

The mattress is cased in a slightly cheap-feeling mattress cover that’s designed to be breathable. It bunches up a bit beneath tight-fitting sheets, but not distractingly so. Tuft & Needle’s excellent, prompt, friendly customer service is a perk, as well. At this intersection of price and quality, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better pick.

Get the Tuft & Needle mattress on Amazon for $595

3. The best luxury mattress in a box of 2019: Purple

Overall takeaway: A super comfortable mattress with an irresistible, unique take on comfort.

Delivery: Front door drop-off. The Queen arrives in a 60-inch-long plastic purple tube with fabric handles and weighs about 72 pounds.

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

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Purple will send you a return label and then a customer service rep will help you through the process. They even have an option to have them handle all the details, including scheduling the pickup.

What it’s made of: Three layers: On top is a 2-inch “hyper-elastic polymer” in a grid design that feels similar to silicone. In the middle is a 3.5-inch layer of mid-density “comfort” foam, and on the bottom is a 4-inch layer of high-density “support” foam. It’s all wrapped in a soft, washable cover.

The details: Most every other mattress out there today is made of memory foam, coils, or some combination therein. Purple sets itself apart with its unique gel-like material that forms the top layer of its mattresses. The result is an undeniably comfortable surface that hugs your body without feeling like quicksand. The unusual material absorbs movement extremely well, and when my partner rolled and flopped around on his side of the bed, the filled wine glass I had balanced on my side hardly even wiggled from the motion.

The extreme squish and stretch of the top polymer layer makes it seem like you wouldn’t get much support, but it’s quite the opposite. It cradles you no matter if you’re a side, stomach, or back sleeper. This was the first mattress I tested, and I’d been dealing with the quintessential “I’m not 25 anymore and work at a desk all day” lower back pain. It wasn’t long after I started sleeping on the Purple that my pain diminished significantly, and that’s a big reason why I sleep on this mattress now (when I’m not testing other mattresses).

Purple also has no competition when it comes to delivery. The others, excluding the Saatva, all arrive in these massive boxes that are awkward and near-impossible to haul into your home, especially if your bedroom’s not on the first floor. Purple’s mattresses arrive wrapped in plastic tubing that has cloth straps stitched right in. There’s so much less waste, and they include a convenient cutting tool to slice right through the bag, so there’s no struggle to tug a 70-pound tube out of a big clumsy box.

Get the Purple mattress on Amazon for $999

4. Saatva

Overall takeaway: A plush mattress that’s very comfortable but a little too big.

Delivery: White-glove delivery service. The mattress is not just dropped at your doorstep, but brought inside and placed on the bed frame for you. No heavy-lifting on your part.

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

Trial period: 120 nights.

Return protocol: Saatva offers white-glove removal if you are not satisfied with your mattress, but you will be charged $99 for their efforts. They donate their mattresses to veterans’ shelters or give them to employees, and there’s no apparent option to handle the donation yourself for a full refund like other companies offer.

What it’s made of: Recycled steel rod coils, eco-friendly pillow-top foam, natural flame retardant barrier, and organic cotton cover.

The details: When you first lay down on the Saatva, you’ll think you’ve been transported to a suite at a luxury resort. This thing is comfortable as heck and it didn’t hurt that I did nothing more than hold open doors to let the delivery guys in and lead them to my waiting bed frame. I was honestly surprised that it didn’t tie with the Purple and Tuft & Needle. The reason? It’s inconveniently large and was one of the worst at absorbing movement—at $100 more than the Purple, it got knocked down just a couple pegs.

The model I tested was 14.5 inches thick, nearly double the thickness of most mattresses, which made it nearly impossible for my regular sheets to stay put. The mattress was also the worst at absorbing movement. When we conducted the wine glass test, this was one of the two mattresses that threatened to tip the glass and send the wine (ok, we tested with water) flying.

I’m a pretty tall lady at 5’10, and because the mattress is so thick, I had to sort of hop into the bed every night. While the added bed height felt luxurious in that “where’s my royal stepping stool, you peasant?” kind of way, it may not be ideal if you’re shorter than me, if you have any sort of pain or injury, or are otherwise restricted in movement. That said, Saatva does offer a thinner, 11.5-inch option that would probably be fantastic if you sleep alone or heavily enough that your partner’s midnight bathroom trip won’t wake you. You can also choose your ideal firmness. For the sake of this test, I went with “Luxury Firm,” the most popular option, but you can opt for “Plush Soft” or “Firm” as well.

Get the Saatva mattress from Saatva for $1,099

5. Casper

Overall takeaway: A beautiful aesthetic that is overshadowed by an unsupportive mattress.

Delivery: Front door drop-off. The Queen Casper box is 17″x17″x42″ and weighs about 90 pounds.

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

Trial period: 100 nights.

Return protocol: Casper arranges a pickup through a local charity or recycling partner and refunds you in full for any associated costs.

What it’s made of: A 10-inch thick mattress with four layers of foam: a breathable open-cell foam on top, followed by a layer of high-density foam, then a layer of “zoned transition foam” (meant to support different areas of the body appropriately), and finally, a durable support foam on the bottom.

The details: The ubiquitous mattress in a box, Casper has a very attractive, high-quality feel: but it’s simply just too soft to measure up to the competition. The luxe design aims to target zones like your shoulders and hips, and the mattress is cased in a high-quality zippered cover that fits snug around the mattress. However, the mattress feels spongy and that lack of firmness (and therefore, resistance) makes it difficult to move around and get in and out of bed.

You’ll also feel a lot of movement from a partner or pet moving around on the bed: when we balanced a filled wine glass on one side and kicked around on the other, the wine glass nearly toppled over. Worst, support at the edge of the mattress seemed markedly lower than at the center, and buckled beneath average pressure. Is it a bad mattress? No. Can you do better for the price? Yes.

Get the Casper mattress at Target for $950

6. Layla

Overall takeaway: An unusual mattress made with copper that’s firm and soft.  

Delivery: Front door drop-off. The Queen Layla box is 45″x19″x19″ and weighs about 80 pounds.

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

Trial period: 120 nights.

Return protocol: Layla offers a few different options, including coordinating pickup by a local charity, and will give you a full refund.

What it’s made of: Four layers: 3-inch copper-infused memory foam (soft side topper), 2-inch support foam with air flow, 4.5-inch base support foam, and 1-inch copper-infused memory foam (firm side topper).

The details: Layla sets itself apart from the rest with an unusual feature. This mattress has two sides. One is firm and the other soft. It’s a cool concept if you aren’t sure what you’d prefer, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. First off, the soft side is so soft that you sink in too far. And the ‘firm’ side really isn’t all that firm, considering it’s resting on a whole bunch of ultra-soft memory foam. It’s more like this mattress has a soft side and a too-soft side.

Aside from never quite getting used to how soft the soft side was, I didn’t notice any difference in how I was sleeping. The memory foam on both sides is infused with copper, which claims to help keep you cooler. I woke up dripping in sweat the first two nights, but I’d also just had oral surgery which could have influenced my reaction. After the first two nights, I seemed to settle into the mattress and didn’t have any further issues with overheating. But I didn’t notice that I felt cooler than usual, either.

Get the Layla mattress from Layla for $999

Prices are accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

This article features excerpts of product reviews published on Reviewed. To see thousands of other product reviews, check out our Best Right Now page.


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