Best Bed-in-a-Box Mattresses
What is a Bed-in-a-Box?
A bed-in-a-box is exactly what it sounds like—a mattress designed to be easily packaged and shipped in a standard-size box. While traditional mattresses were bulky and heavy, requiring oversized packaging and plenty of manpower for assembly, technological breakthroughs in the mattress industry have led to a much more convenient solution. Nowadays, many online mattress start-ups do bed-in-a-box shipping: this means they compress and roll up their mattresses to fit a narrow box for customers to easily move, unpack, and set up themselves. This cuts down on shipping costs and delivery time while also eliminating the need for white glove delivery services.
In this guide, we’ll answer the most common questions consumers have when it comes to buying bed-in-a-box mattresses online. You’ll also find brief, up-to-date reviews of our top six choices among the bed-in-a-box mattresses currently available on the market.
- Gel memory foam keeps sleepers cool
- Comes with 2 free pillows (retail price: $150)
- Risk-free year-long trial
- “Forever” warranty policy
Nectar’s flagship model is one of the most popular bed-in-a-box mattresses out there for a reason. To begin with, the company offers an exceptionally long sleep trial and warranty in a market flooded with good policies: all of Nectar’s mattresses come with a risk-free year-long trial and a “forever” warranty. Additionally, the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress includes two of the brand’s “Premium” pillows. Made of quilted memory foam and ventilated Tencel cooling fabric, the pillows are usually priced at $75 each.
The Nectar mattress is made out of five layers of foam, all of which work together to combat memory foam’s notorious heat-trapping and sinking properties. At the top sits a quilted memory foam cover that keeps the surface soft and fluffy. Underneath is a layer of gel memory foam that keeps you cool through the night by distributing your body heat throughout the bed. The third layer down is made out of adaptive hi core memory foam, making sure the middle of the bed is properly reinforced and preventing it from sinking down. After that comes a base layer, which stabilizes all the preceding layers and keeps the sleeper’s weight fully supported. Finally, a mattress cover on the bottom prevents the bed from slipping and moving around.
The Nectar is a medium-firm mattress (6.0) that works best for all sleeping positions and most sleepers in between 130 and 230 pounds. Sleepers above this weight range may find it insufficiently supports their bodies, while stomach sleepers below this weight range may find it too firm.
Interested in the Nectar Mattress?
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
- Temperature regulation technology keeps sleepers cool
- 120-night risk-free trial and 10-year warranty
- Made in the USA
Brooklyn Bedding’s Aurora Mattress is a high-tech foam hybrid that incorporates a variety of temperature regulation technologies to keep sleepers cool throughout the night. Since memory foam’s biggest problems are its tendency to sleep hot and its lack of edge-to-edge support, the Aurora’s construction effectively does away with both of these issues. Additionally, it sets itself apart from other foam hybrids by offering three firmness levels—Soft (3-4), Medium (5-6), Firm (7-8)—making it suitable for all sleeping positions and weights.
Almost every layer of the Aurora uses a different patented technology designed for different needs. At the top sits a 1.5’’ layer of CopperFlex™ foam, which has temperature regulation, contouring, targeted pressure point relief, and antimicrobial properties. Underneath sits a 2’’ layer of hyper-elastic TitanFlex™ foam, which responds immediately to any movement from the sleeper, keeping their pressure points cushioned at all times. The Aurora’s third layer is a 1’’ layer of swirl visco-elastic memory foam, which offers further contouring and cooling properties while keeping the sleeper supported. After that comes 8’’ of individually wrapped Ascension X™ coils, which isolate motion better than the average innerspring mattress. At the bottom sits a 1’’ high density foam base for further stability and durability, and the entire mattress is covered in a TitanCool™-infused fabric that keeps your body temperature at 88 degrees.
Interested in the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Mattress?
- Natural latex, New Zealand wool, and organic cotton
- Organic, chemical-free, and environmentally friendly
- For each mattress sold, Awara plants 10 trees
- Risk-free year-long trial and “forever” warranty
When it comes to mattress start-ups, you typically have to choose between good deals and environmentally friendly luxury. With its flagship mattress, however, Awara offers both. Every mattress comes with a risk-free year-long trial and a forever warranty, both of which are exceptionally long policies for the industry. Additionally, the materials used in the mattress boast Rainforest Alliance and CertiPUR-US certifications, which ensure it’s eco-conscious, ethically made, and chemical-free. Finally, for every mattress sold, Awara donates 10 fruit trees to a farmer in Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, Guinea, or Tanzania.
The Awara is a latex hybrid made of only three layers. At the top sits a quilted cover woven out of 100 percent organic cotton and New Zealand wool, which keep the bed breathable and cooling while absorbing moisture and repelling dust-mites. Underneath is a 4’’ layer of all-natural Dunlop latex, which offers sleepers as much contouring as a memory foam mattress and targeted support. Both layers sit on 9’’ of individually wrapped innerspring coils, which further promote contouring and targeted pressure relief while evenly distributing your weight throughout and keeping the spine aligned.
Because the Awara is a medium-firm mattress, it should be suitable for all sleeping positions and most weights. Some stomach sleepers above 130 pounds may find it too soft.
Interested in the Awara Mattress?
- Celliant® Cover promotes recovery
- Graphite-gel foam keeps sleepers cool
- Environmentally friendly
- 100-night risk-free trial and 10-year warranty
Bear sets its flag-ship mattress apart from the fold with its unique Celliant® Cover, which has been approved by the FDA as a medical device. Designed for athletes, the cover uses patented infrared technology to promote faster recovery, more restful sleep, thermoregulation, and better physical performance. Underneath the cover is 1’’ of memory foam infused with graphite-gel, which keeps your body heat dispersed throughout the mattress to help you stay cool. The Bear’s second and third layers, totaling 2.5’’, are made out of responsive transition foam and work together to offer pressure relief and targeted support. All of this sits on 6’’ of high-density support foam, which keeps the bed stabilized.
The Bear is a medium-firm (6.5) mattress, making it suitable for all sleeping positions and most weights. Stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds or more than 230 pounds may find the mattress too firm for their needs, as may side sleepers lighter than 130 pounds.
Interested in the Bear Mattress?
- Multiple layers designed for cooling
- Advanced technology
- Flippable, with two firmness levels
- 120-night money-back guarantee and “lifetime” warranty
The Layla Mattress’ most striking feature is its versatility. Designed to be completely flippable, it offers two firmness levels for sleepers to choose from—soft on top (5) and firm on top (7-8)—making it an excellent choice for all sleeping positions and all weights.
With the soft side on top, the Layla starts off with a hexagonally stitched cooling cover that utilizes Thermo-Gel cooling technology, activated by your body temperature, to regulate the warmth of your sleeping environment. Underneath sits 3’’ of copper-gel memory foam, which provides additional cooling properties while balancing deep compression support and antimicrobial odor control. The third layer down is 2’’ tall: made of airflow-promoting support foam, this layer reinforces the bed’s targeted support and maximizes its cooling properties. After that sits a 4’’ support core foam that keeps motion transfer to a minimum, which is followed by another 1’’ layer of the same copper-gel memory foam topping the soft side of the mattress. Finally, you’ll find another layer of the same hexagonally stitched cooling cover that covers the soft side.
Interested in the Layla Mattress?
- Made of natural and organic wool, cotton, and latex
- Anti-microbial, cooling, and chemical-free
- 100-night sleep trial and 25-year warranty
- Made in the USA
The Birch is a handmade, all-natural latex hybrid that gives back to the environment. The brand donates 1 percent of all sales to the National Forest Foundation, planting one tree for each dollar donated. Meanwhile, the mattress itself is notable for being made of only natural and organic materials that have been sustainably sourced from Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and parts of the US.
The mattress comes encased in an organic cotton cover that gives the surface of the bed a soft, stretchy feel. Underneath sits a fire-retardant layer made of natural wool fibers. Then comes the comfort layer, a 100 percent natural and organic New Zealand wool layer that retains its shape and regulates temperature. This is followed by a pressure-relief layer made of natural, super-breathable Talalay latex, which provides further temperature regulation while repelling microbes and dust mites. The second-to-last layer consists of individually wrapped coils. This layer gives the mattress full edge-to-edge support, which can’t be found in an all-latex mattress. Finally, a bottom layer of natural and organic wool batting ensures the mattress is long-lasting and fully stabilized.
As a medium-firm (6.5) mattress, the Birch works well with all sleeping positions and weights. Some side and stomach sleepers lighter than 130 pounds may find the mattress slightly too firm, which can be fixed by adding on the plush pillow top.
Interested in the Birch Mattress?
In order to pick the best bed in a box mattresses available on the market, we researched dozens of mattresses before narrowing down our choices. Each mattress on our list has been thoroughly tested and vetted by our team of sleep experts so that we can provide consumers with unbiased reviews and objective specs. Our methodology is based on a combination of facts-based research, user reviews, and independent review. Additionally, all of our sleep and health tips are backed up by research performed by medical professionals and other trusted experts at reputable institutions.
How Does a Bed-in-a-Box Work?
Bed-in-a-box mattresses can be made out of foam, latex, or a hybrid of any one of those materials mixed with innerspring coils. Whatever their materials, they’re always malleable to be compressed and tightly rolled up. First, the mattresses are wrapped in a layer of plastic packaging. Then, they’re compressed using special compression technology designed specifically for this purpose: it tightly flattens the mattress before rolling it in the shape of a cylinder. Finally, this roll is put in a medium-sized box and shipped to its destination.
Upon delivery, all customers have to do is unbox their mattress and allow it to fully decompress. During this process, the mattress will expand to its full size and release any off-gassing odors. When this process is complete (5-48 hours, depending on the brand), the mattress is ready for use.
Types of Bed-in-a-Box
Due to their softness and high conformity, memory foam mattresses are the most popular type of bed-in-a-box mattresses. Typically, they’re made out of several layers of foam at different densities and firmness levels, which work together to keep the sleeper comfortable and supported. Memory foam mattresses are famous for their signature “hugging” feel. Extremely sensitive to pressure and heat, this material wraps around the sleeper’s body and relieves their pressure points.
In general, foam mattresses tend to be softer than its latex and hybrid equivalents, lacking edge support and sinking more than other materials. This makes them the most suitable for light sleepers and side sleepers, who get the best support from medium-firm mattresses that keep their pressure points cushioned.
Foam mattresses can either be made out of traditional memory foam or newer types of memory foam that have extra cooling properties, like gel- and copper-infused foams, open-cell foams, and plant-based foams.
Bed-in-a-box mattresses can also be hybrids. Latex-innerspring hybrids and foam-innerspring hybrids all make suitable bed-in-a-box materials, so long as the layer of coils is malleable enough that the mattress can be compressed and rolled up safely.
Since they combine the best features of their respective materials, hybrids are suitable for all weights and sleeping positions. The most popular type of hybrid mattresses feature foam or latex comfort layers fortified by a thick support core of innerspring coils. This gives the mattress all the softness and conformity of foam and latex mattresses, while adding a level of edge support and resilience that can only be found in innerspring mattresses.
Like foam, latex also makes for great bed-in-a-box mattresses because of its softness and contouring abilities. A relatively newer type of mattress material, latex has all the conformity of foam but none of the heat-trapping or sinkage. Unlike foam, it’s bouncy and responsive, making it more suitable for sex and less likely to sag over time.
Latex mattresses can be made out of either natural latex (Talalay or Dunlop), synthetic latex, or a combination of the two. Natural latex tends to be far more expensive but much more durable, making latex mattresses a pricey but long-term investment that should last you far longer than memory foam.
Pros and Cons of a Bed-in-a-Box
- Convenience: Since bed in a box mattresses are only sold online, purchasing one removes all of the little inconveniences that add up when you shop in stores (pushy salespeople, traffic jams on the way, higher overheads, and more). It also takes away the hassle that comes with ordering a traditionally packed mattress—you can carry in and set up your bed by yourself without needing movers to transport a large awkward mattress.
- Savings: Buying directly from bed-in-a-box stores cuts out the middleman and keeps the overhead low. This means you’ll be paying a far lower price than customers who shop at brick-and-mortar stores.
- Sleep Trials: Most bed-in-a-box companies offer risk-free sleep trials, so you’ll be able to return your mattress for a full refund if it turns out to be a bad fit for your needs. Additionally, some brands require you to keep the mattress long enough for it to fully decompress and air out, so you won’t be making any premature returns.
- Variety: As more and more mattress companies transition to an online-only model, the bed-in-a-box industry is dominating the market, meaning you’ll have a variety of models to choose from.
- Not Able to Test Products: Ordering online means you’ll have to rely on reviews to make your initial decision and wait to test your mattress when it arrives.
- No Expert Employees: Although some bed-in-a-box brands have stores in certain major cities, if you’re doing all of your shopping online, you won’t have any employees on hand to answer your immediate questions.
- Smell: Due to their compression method, some mattresses give off a plastic-like smell when first unpackaged. Like with other types of off-gassing, this typically goes away within a week of unboxing.
Unboxing a Bed-in-a-Box
Once you receive your bed in a box mattress, you’ll have to put it through a simple unboxing process. Setting up a bed in a box mattress is simple. First, remove the shipping box. Inside, you’ll find your mattress rolled up in a plastic cover. Then, remove the plastic packaging, taking care not to accidentally puncture or cut your mattress, as it may sometimes be tightly packaged and sealed. Finally, unroll your mattress and let it fully decompress and air out in the middle of your room.
The length of the decompression stage depends on the brand. Some mattresses take just a few hours until they’re ready to use, while others can take up to 48 hours or more to expand to their full size. During this time, the mattress will aerate and gradually lose any off-gassing odors. In general, you should expect your mattress to be performing at full capacity by the end of 30 days. This is why some brands require customers to use the mattress for 30 days before starting a return.