Best Cheap Mattress
Not long ago, a new mattress could set the average sleeper back a thousand dollars or more. Fortunately, times have changed. These days, a comfortable, durable mattress made of high-quality materials can be had for significantly less — sometimes, a lot less.
Over the last twenty years, the mattress industry has expanded and dozens of new companies have entered the market, giving budget-conscious buyers more options than ever before. Direct-to-consumer sales of mattresses have reduced overhead and streamlined the purchasing process. Bed-in-a-box models (with their generous trial periods and easy return policies) have changed the game, putting memory foam, latex, and pocketed coil mattresses in the reach of many more consumers.
So, if you’re looking for a mattress that will give you a great night’s sleep, and last for years without breaking the bank, read on. We’ll tell you what goes into pricing a mattress, how more expensive options differ from lower-cost ones, and how to decide which model is right for you and your budget.
Best Cheap Mattress of 2021 - Reviews & Buying Guide
Best Cheap Memory Foam Mattress
Studio by Leesa
Just because a mattress is inexpensive doesn’t mean it isn’t comfortable! The Studio by Leesa is an all foam mattress that uses a 1.5″ memory foam comfort layer for nice pressure relief. That classic feel of memory foam allows the sleeper to sink into bed a little, a great sign for side sleepers. Along with great comfort, the Studio comes in at an affordable price, something that isn’t always true of memory foam mattresses.
Best Cheap Hybrid Mattress
Brooklyn Bedding Bowery Hybrid
If you want a cheap bed-in-a-box mattress, but you’re also looking for more bounce than a standard all-foam mattress can provide, consider the Brooklyn Bowery Hybrid. This bed uses a combination of memory and poly foams over pocketed coils to create a bouncy, traditional mattress feel. The bounce from the coils gives the bed great mobility, so it should be easy to move around without feeling too stuck.
In addition to bounciness, the hybrid construction also creates a medium firm feel. That feel is well suited to combo sleepers (particularly combo sleepers who switch between their back and side), because it provides a balance of comfort and support in multiple positions. The Brooklyn Bowery also stands out thanks to its impressive edge support, which should allow couples to utilize the full surface of the mattress.
Best Cheap Mattress for Side Sleepers
The Nectar mattress could help side sleepers avoid pressure at the shoulder and/or pressure at the hip. When a bed is too firm, side sleepers don’t have enough pressure relief in these areas, which can create a “jammed up” feeling and contribute to poor spinal alignment. But that shouldn’t be an issue on the Nectar. This all-foam, bed-in-a-box mattress features an impressive 5” of memory foam, which lets side sleepers sink deeply into the mattress to enjoy plenty of body-contouring and pressure relief.
Because it has such a thick layer of memory foam, you might assume the Nectar is an extra-soft mattress. But I actually found it to have a medium firm feel. It is soft on top, but then it has firmer foam layers (including a 6” foundation layer of high-density poly foam). This creates a balanced feel and also helps keep the hips aligned with the spine, which contributes to healthy spinal alignment. The Nectar offers a 365-day trial, so you’ve got plenty of time to test out whether it’s the bed for you. If the answer is “yes,” then you’ll enjoy an added perk in the form of a lifetime warranty.
Best Cheap Cooling Mattress
Tuft & Needle
Sick of waking up bathed in your own sweat? It might be time to consider a cooling mattress, such as the Tuft & Needle. At first glance, you might not expect this all-foam mattress to sleep cool — after all, some foams are infamous for trapping heat. But Tuft & Needle circumvents this issue with its proprietary foam, which is infused with gel to diffuse heat and keep the mattress sleeping cool. Meanwhile, the polyester cover is thin enough to allow decent airflow through the mattress.
Cooler sleep isn’t the only perk you’ll enjoy on the Tuft & Needle. This no-frills mattress has a firmer, supportive feel that could appeal to back and stomach sleepers, who need plenty of support to keep their hips elevated and spines aligned. This structure also provides decent mobility, so sleepers should be able to move around on the bed without feeling stuck. Meanwhile, the foam comfort layer does a great job of relieving pressure. All told? This cooling mattress provides a nice balance of support and comfort — and thanks to its straightforward design, it does so at a low-cost price.
The Cheap Mattress Buyer’s Guide
With so many low-cost options to choose from, how do you decide which mattress to buy? Below, we take you through the process of buying a low-cost mattress, from doing your research to getting a great deal on the bed of your dreams.
- Get educated – When it comes time to comparison shop, know what goes into manufacturing a lower-priced mattress. Thinner comfort layers, more poly foam, and memory foam without heat-reduction properties can help bring down the cost. All-foam construction or higher-gauge steel coils are other cost-saving measures. Mattresses without safety or environmental certifications are also less expensive, but may not offer the same quality standards.
- Understand your needs – Before you shop, decide what you need in a mattress. Will your new purchase be supporting just you or a partner, too? Are you both of average weight or will you need a little extra support? Sleeping position matters, too. Firmness will be particularly important if you tend to sleep on your stomach. Make a list of preferences such as edge support, limited motion transfer, and plush feel. And remember — there’s a budget mattress available for almost everyone.
- Shop online – When price is a deciding factor, shop for your mattress online. Without the expense of showrooms, salespeople, and other overhead costs, online mattress companies are more cost-competitive. Mattress websites usually offer in-depth descriptions, reviews, and pictures of their products as well as live chat with customer service specialists. If you are looking to get the best mattress at the best price, not just the cheapest one, check out my picks for the best mattress for your money.
- Go for a bed-in-a-box – The majority of bed-in-a-box brands are available exclusively online, and the few that make their products available to try out usually do so through the brick-and-mortar stores of other companies. Low overhead costs, simpler mattress designs, and direct-to-consumer shipping help bed-in-a-box companies stand out when it comes to price.
- Know what you’re buying – Watch for hidden costs such as sales tax, recycling or delivery fees, return shipment costs, and potential warranty expenses. Know which costs the company will cover if your mattress has flaws, develops premature sagging, or needs to be repaired. The warranties of some budget mattresses may be shorter or more limited, so read the fine print.
- Get it on sale – To save even more money on a mattress, buy it when it’s on sale. Mattress and furniture companies often time sales for holidays and shopping days such as Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Check out mattress stores and websites just before holidays for sales and other offers such as free shipping or extended warranties.
- Use a coupon – Coupons and promotion codes can make a value mattress even less expensive and a moderately-priced mattress more affordable. Check out bed-in-a-box and online mattress brands for discounts and promotion codes before deciding which model to buy.
- Give it a trial – Many mattress brands offer generous sleep trials and free returns to allow potential buyers to test out their products. If you’re not sure about the quality or features of a low-cost mattress, try it out. Most companies offer trials of at least 90 days with free return shipping or exchanges. Sleep trials are a risk-free way to discover a new brand or type of mattress, and are especially helpful for bargain-hunters.
How much should a mattress cost?
When it comes to mattresses, there is no “one cost fits all.” Instead, the cost of a mattress comes down to a lot of factors including size, materials, the type of mattress, and so on. The average price for queen-size mattresses from well-known online brands comes in around $1,000, but it’s definitely possible to find good options at lower price points.
What is the best time of year to buy a mattress?
Generally speaking, the five biggest weekends for mattress sales are: President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Black Friday. That said, a lot of companies have deals going on all the time, so check out the coupons page on Sleepopolis to find exclusive discounts!
How do I choose a good mattress?
There are several questions to consider, including: What position do you sleep in? Do you like sinking into bed or feeling more on top of it? Do you prefer specific materials? Then, consider these general rules: Side sleepers tend to feel best on a soft mattress; combo sleepers tend to do best on medium firm beds; and back and stomach sleepers are often best supported by firm mattresses. Using your preferences and these guidelines, you should be equipped to find a bed in the right price point.
Why are some mattresses more expensive than others made from the same materials?
Many mattresses can appear similar when you first begin to investigate inexpensive options. Most models on the market are constructed from a combination of memory foam, poly foam, latex, and/or coils. So why are some more expensive than others? The difference may come down to one or more of the following:
- Branding – Some mattress companies are associated with luxury and a higher-end shopping or sleeping experience. This can be due to branding and positioning in a competitive industry and may have little to do with the quality of a company’s products.
- Materials – Some pricier mattresses are constructed from components that cost more to produce, such as organic foams or textiles, wool, cotton, or durable, high-density materials. Higher manufacturing costs will be reflected in the final price of a mattress.
- A brick-and-mortar presence – Mattresses produced by a company with traditional stores tend to be expensive. Overhead costs can increase the price of the full range of a company’s products, even those that are considered entry-level.
- Country of origin – Mattresses made in the US, Canada, or the EU often build the cost of additional regulation and safety requirements into the price of their products. As more companies have entered the market, prices for mattresses made in these countries have decreased, making them an option even for budget-conscious buyers.
Bottom line: several factors other than quality and comfort can contribute to the cost of a mattress. Many budget models get high marks for performance and offer pressure relief, durable support, safer materials, and solid construction at a lower price.
How long will a low-cost mattress last?
Many value mattresses are built to last as long as some that cost much more. When in doubt, ask a mattress company representative and check your warranty. The length and conditions of a warranty will give you a good idea of the life expectancy of a mattress. Be careful to follow care instructions so your mattress performs as expected over the long-term.
I’m not on a strict budget. Why should I buy a lower-cost mattress?
A low-priced mattress can be a great option in certain circumstances for certain buyers, even those who don’t have to bargain-hunt. Consider purchasing a budget mattress if:
- You need to furnish a guest room. A guest room mattress isn’t used as often as a primary mattress, and typically doesn’t need to be as durable.
- Your child needs a new bed. A reasonably-priced mattress can work well for children, who usually aren’t as heavy as adults and may need to change mattresses frequently as they grow.
- You’re sending a kid to college. A budget mattress can be great for a dorm room or student housing. Many dorms don’t provide the right mattress base, which may void the warranty and cause premature sagging. A student mattress might be left behind after a year or two of use, as well, making an economical model more practical.
- You need a mattress just in case. Maybe you have an older parent recovering from surgery or a bunch of relatives coming for the holidays. A budget mattress can fill the bill when your house is overflowing with guests or your child has lots of sleepovers, and can be stashed in a basement or garage between uses.