Best Mattress for the Money
Buying a new mattress is a big decision. Not only are you going to be investing in something that you’ll (hopefully) have for years, but you’re also going to be dropping some pretty serious coin in the process. It can feel overwhelming, especially when faced with the soaring price tags of some of the splashier brands on the market.
But can I let you in on a little secret? You don’t have to break the bank to find a fantastic mattress. In fact, there are a plethora of affordable options available online that are just as luxurious, supportive, and sleep-changing as any of the pricier models you might come across in your search.
For me, the key is in asking the right questions and figuring out which models are going to give you the absolute most bang for your buck. Unsure of where to begin? No worries! I’ve compiled my favorite value mattresses by category below, so no matter the kind of bed you seek, you’re bound to see one that feels like the perfect fit.
Check out my picks below! And in case you’re wondering how in the world I selected these mattresses, I included a quick section detailing my methodology at the end of this write-up.
Best Mattress for the Money of 2021 - Reviews & Buying Guide
Top Value Mattress Picks Detailed
Read on for more details on these top picks, or click here for more info on how to spot a great mattress value.
Best Memory Foam Mattress for the Money
Built with a thick top section of memory foam, the Nectar mattress is a great value option for those in search of deep body contouring and pressure relief. Side sleepers in particular could find a lot to love in this mattress as it actively works to alleviate tension at the shoulders, hips, and lower back.
However, it’s Nectar’s trial period and warranty that landed it a spot on this list. Not only can you try out the Nectar mattress for a full year (a rarity in the bed-in-a-box market), but you can also rest easy knowing it’s comfort is guaranteed for life. Now if that doesn’t spell value, I’m not sure what does.
Best Hybrid Mattress
If you are unfamiliar with hybrid mattresses they use a mix of foam and pocketed coils to provide support and pressure relief. In the case of the Helix Midnight there is a thick layer of memory foam on top that allows sleepers to sink in for a great contouring feel that I really like for side sleepers. The pocketed coils below provide some nice support as well as great bounce so you won’t feel stuck while changing positions. So the Helix Midnight makes this list as because of its ability to provide great comfort with support thanks to its hybrid build.
The Saatva evokes the feel of a classic innerspring with its coil-on-coil construction. This means it’s bouncy, supportive, and firm, scoring about a 7.5/10 on the firmness scale. In my opinion, the coils used here are super solid, making for a durable structure that’s likely to last long after you purchase it.
Additional value comes with Saatva’s awesome 15-year warranty, which basically extends the life of your bed beyond what other brands can offer. It’s a fantastic deal and one you should definitely consider if you like the buoyant lift of a traditional innerspring mattress.
Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers
If you’re someone that tends to sleep a little hot then you know just how uncomfortable it can be if your mattress traps body heat. Part of the reason that you may be overheating at night is because your mattress doesn’t use cooling materials. The DreamCloud is a bed-in-a-box hybrid that is not only comfortable, but also uses gel-infused memory foam to help you sleep cool through the night.
I would also recommend the DreamCloud because it has a nice firm support level that back sleepers should really enjoy. So if you’re a back sleeper looking for a cooling mattress at a good price, take a look at the DreamCloud.
Best Queen Mattress for the Money
Idle Sleep Gel Foam
Sometimes people will ask me what the best mattress is at a given size, and that can be tough to answer because everyone has their own personal preferences on mattress type and feel. If someone is looking for a specific size mattress I like to recommend a medium firm option, so that it will appeal to the widest array of sleep preferences. The Idle Gel Foam is an all-foam mattress that allows sleepers to sink in for a bit of relief, while still being supportive enough to keep their hips and shoulders in line to avoid back pain.
When I tested the Idle Gel Foam I found that I was comfortable sleeping on my back and my side, and that I got a little bit of a contouring hug around my body. I was also really impressed with the Gel Foam’s ability to sleep cool, which is something not all foam mattresses can accomplish. Overall I would say the Idle Gel Foam is a good option for those looking for a deal on a great queen size mattress.
Best Foam Mattress for the Money
If you’re looking for the pressure relieving benefits of memory foam but don’t want to feel stuck in bed when trying to change positions, then a foam combo mattress like the Leesa Original could be the way to go. Leesa uses a poly foam comfort layer over a layer of memory foam below it, which means that you’ll get to sink into bed, but will be able to roll around because the poly foam defends against memory foam’s slow response to pressure
The Leesa Original has a firm feel that makes it a good option for people that sleep in a lot of different positions. That mix of comfort and support is especially nice for back sleepers. People looking for a foam mattress at a great price should start their search with the Leesa Original.
Best for Side Sleepers
Built with the brand’s gentle Air Foam, the Nolah mattress is a super soft bed designed with side sleepers in mind. As these lateral recumbent dreamers sink into the plush, three-foam structure, they’re likely to experience a ton of pressure relief and sinkage as the materials contour to their shoulders and hips.
Another big plus of Air Foam is that it features a lot of the same body-contouring principles of memory foam without the heat retention, ensuring that you’ll sleep cool throughout the night.
Best Mattress for Shoulder Pain
For many folks, one of the most annoying problems they face at night is shoulder pain. And this makes total sense; most mattresses aren’t designed to both cushion and support the shoulder over the course of an entire evening. Thankfully, there are a few models that do manage to pull off this ambitious feat, like those found in the Amerisleep line of mattresses.
Amerisleep sells five different memory foam mattresses, which range from the ultra-firm AS1 model to the irresistibly plush AS5. Shoulder pain sufferers will likely want to focus on the AS4 and AS5 mattresses, both of which feature thick top layers of memory foam for deep contouring support at the shoulders and hips. Memory foam is known for its slow response to pressure, so provides plenty of room for sleepers to sink in for pressure relief at sensitive spots along the body. Plus, the memory foam here has been designed with an open-cell construction, so sleeps cooler than other memory foam options on the market.
Now that we’ve covered all the mattresses, I want to highlight a few things I look for when deciding if a bed is a true value buy:
- Warranty – Does the mattress have a solid warranty? If so, you’re likely to get more miles out of it, which extends your purchase far beyond checkout.
- Quality of Materials – Mattresses built with high-quality materials are going to last longer than those designed with cheaper ones. That’s why it’s crucial to consider whether investing in a slightly more expensive bed is actually going to be more cost-effective in the long run. If you are less concerned with getting more “bang for your buck” and just want to get the cheapest mattress, check out my top picks for the best affordable mattresses.
- Value by Category – It’s important to remember that “value” doesn’t always mean “inexpensive.” Sometimes a $2,500 luxury bed has great value when compared to other models in its category. Similarly, a $250 mattress may be a total dud when sized up to other “budget” brands. It’s all about assessing the materials used, the design elements at play, and the rest of the competitors in the space.
What Kind of Mattress Type is the Best Value?
While there isn’t a definitive answer to this, there are a few things that are good to know about each mattress type.
Coil/spring mattresses are the most traditional and feature layers of steel coils that help to provide support to the body. Sometimes, these coils can even be wrapped in foam for added comfort and pressure relief. While innerspring mattresses are typically the least expensive, they can also cause the most restless nights if the coil count is too low or the quality of steel used is poor. Additionally, you’ll need to replace your innerspring mattress every eight years.
Memory foam mattresses are another popular option, especially for those in need of deep pressure relief. These beds are comprised of layers of memory foam that adapt in real time to the curves of your body while you sleep. They’re typically more expensive than innerspring mattresses, though some folks find the added layers of pressure-relieving foam are well worth the price. A good memory foam mattress should last you about 10 years.
Latex foam mattresses are similar to memory foam mattresses in that they’re both made up of foam layers. Unlike memory foam, latex has a quick response to pressure, resulting in a bouncy material designed to keep the sleeper positioned on top of the bed. Latex also happens to sleep a little cooler than memory foam. With this added boots of temperature regulation and lift, you can expect to pay more for a latex bed than a memory foam one; however, it’s important to keep in mind that latex mattresses typically last for up to 12 years.
And finally, hybrid mattresses fall somewhere between memory foam, latex, and innerspring. These beds can make great value buys because they essentially combine all the great elements of the aforementioned mattress types (the pressure relief of memory foam, the bounce of latex, the support of innerspring) into one convenient package. A good hybrid mattress will last you about 10 years.
Pillow-top mattresses can come in many different styles. They are characterized by the plush pillow-top cushion sewn into the top of the mattress and can be applied to innerspring, memory foam, latex, or hybrid mattresses. When considering value, keep in mind that choosing a pillow-top mattress can mean a slightly lower than average life span. The pillow-top portion (especially traditional pillow-tops) tend to be the first to go in terms of long-range performance. The soft, plush top layer can be supportive and comfortable, but when shopping for the best mattress for your money, that shorter lifespan is definitely something to think about.
Do I Have to Buy a Box Spring?
“Do I even really need a box spring?” When trying to save money on a new mattress purchase, this question inevitably comes up. After all, the value of a bed greatly increases if you don’t have to immediately purchase a heavy box spring to go with it. In general, box springs are mostly used to provide some extra height and stability to your bed. To know for sure if you need one, make sure to check the warranty — if it’s not required, you may be able to save a few bucks by ditching the platform all together.
While you may not need a box spring, you will want some type of foundation. Box springs, wood foundations, minimal metal wire frames, platform beds, steel slat frames, wood slat frames, or adjustable bases can all get the job done equally well. If you do opt for a slat frame, make sure you find one with rigid slats that are no more than 3 to 4 inches apart. These will provide the best support.
How Can I Make My Mattress Last?
One quick way to add instant value to your mattress is to take care of it. From day one, use a high-quality mattress protector. Not only does this safeguard against spills and stains, it can also wards off bed bugs, dust mites, sweat, dirt, and other allergens that might try and make their way into your mattress. Make a point to wash your protector as often as you wash your sheets (at least every one to two weeks, ideally).
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure to spot clean your mattress regularly. Sprinkle it with baking soda and vacuum it for quick odor elimination. Consider bleach or enzymatic cleaners for the harder-to-clean areas. Proper maintenance of your mattress will ensure that you are getting the most for your money and it will last you for years to come.