Online Or Not, Mattress Choice Is Critical
When shopping for a new mattress, you may be overwhelmed with options. There are more mattress companies than ever before offering a wide variety of mattress types, designs, warranties, trials, and price points. On top of this, you also have to decide on where you buy your mattress (we’re assuming you’ve decided online). Despite this, it’s worth doing the research! Selecting a mattress is a very important decision because your sleep quality and the amount of sleep you get impact almost every aspect of your health and daily life.
Determining which mattress is right for you usually comes down to a combination of your sleeping position, weight, budget, and sleep temperature. There are many other features to consider like eco-friendliness, motion transfer, edge support as well as warranty, trials, and return policies. However, this approach can help you quickly narrow down 100 options to find the one that’s right for you.
While choosing the right mattress is a very personal decision, we’ve created some common mattress buying categories that you may relate to depending on your sleeping position, weight, budget, or a combination of the three. For each of these categories, we’ll talk about our top recommended mattress. Click here to jump to the best mattress recommendations.
Buying a Mattress Online
As with almost any product nowadays you can buy it online and expect delivery in as little as two business days. Surprisingly, despite the size and weight, even a mattress now falls into this category! This has dramatically changed the way we buy mattresses.
The secret is in the packaging process. Most mattresses sold online are wrapped in a thick plastic cover, vacuum-compressed, and stuffed into a box that allows mattress companies to ship the mattress with normal parcel carriers like UPS, FedEx, and USPS. During the unboxing process, the mattress will expand (a lot) to the size you’re used to seeing. To learn more about mattresses in a box, read my other guide.
This process helps dramatically reduce the cost of mattresses, improves the delivery time and convenience, and allows you to comparison shop all brands online vs selecting from a handful at a physical mattress store, which often mark up their mattresses 2 or 3X their cost to cover the cost of the store, sales staff, and delivery.
The main drawback to buying online is not being able to try the mattress in person… more on that later!
Pros and Cons of Buying Online
- Cost - The main advantage of buying a mattress online vs in-store is the cost. The mattress business was one of the last businesses to transition online and when it did, it came with a major cost saving to customers. On Amazon, you can actually buy a queen mattress for less than $200, shipped to your house! This was unheard of 10 years ago.
- Warranty, Trials, and Returns - When the mattress business exploded online it came with a lot of competition which is great for you. Due to this level of competition, mattress companies are offering more and more in the way of warranties, trial periods, and ease of returns in case of an issue. Many companies are making it truly risk-free to try one of their mattresses.
- Selection - In the old days of buying a mattress in-store, many of the brands that were offered were all manufactured and owned by the same company, with the only main difference being the label, brand, and price.
- Quality - Due to the lack of competition in the mattress business there were very few companies innovating and improving the quality and design of their mattresses. Now we have companies like Purple that are taking entirely new approaches to mattress designs and engineering.
- Delivery Time and Convenience - Due to the mattress-in-a-box phenomenon, taking delivery of a mattress often takes no longer than receiving the paper towel you order on Amazon. This added convenience over picking up the mattress from a store or coordinating with a freight delivery service is great.
- Sales Experience - You can avoid the typical sales pressure you're likely to encounter at a mattress storefront.
- In-Person Experience - For most mattresses you buy online, you will not be able to try them out in person before you buy, but this is changing for many manufacturers. Big mattress companies like Casper are offering in-person experiences with their products before you buy, often in malls. Others are collaborating with existing mattress store chains to do the same. This gives you the benefits of buying online without the fear of getting a mattress you don’t like.
- Mattress Setup and Removal - Typically if you buy a mattress in-store it will come with some kind of help in setting it up and potentially the removal of your old mattress for free or for a small fee. While some online-focused companies like Saatva provide services like this, most do not. If you have a mattress that you’d like to remove, read our Mattress Disposal Guide. There are many options to consider before sending it to landfill.
Warranty and Returns
Worried about running into an issue with the mattress you purchased online? Buy from a reputable company (see our list) and you’ll have nothing to worry about. Due to the increased competition among mattress companies in the last 10 years, the warranties and return policies offered are pretty incredible (they really want your business!). Most companies that stand by their product will offer a 10-year warranty minimum, with many big names even offering 15 to 20 years and in the case of Nectar mattress a limited lifetime warranty. If you’ve decided the mattress you’ve bought online isn’t for you, reach out to customer service. Each company handles this a little differently but they will typically facilitate donating the mattress, offer you a discount to keep the mattress, and in some rare cases pick it up and haul it off to a landfill. The latter is becoming rarer.
Shipping and Delivery
When it comes to buying a mattress online you can expect to get free ground shipping (sometimes within two days) with minimal processing times between 1 day and 2 to 3 business days. So if you order your mattress on a Monday you could get it as early as Thursday.
While the box may look small, it’s still very heavy. We recommend getting some help moving it from your door to your bedroom. A queen memory foam mattress, for example, can weigh upwards of 80 pounds with all the packaging materials included.
Types of Mattresses Available Online
When online mattress shopping became popular around 10 years ago only memory foam or all-foam mattresses were being compressed and shipped out to customers in a box. Now nearly all types of mattresses can be bought online and shipped to your door:
- Memory Foam - Memory foam mattresses are typically made from layers of polyurethane foam with high density and soft outer comfort layers on top of a harder low-density support layer. The combination of the two layers gives you resistance while still contouring to the shape of your body. Generally, memory foam mattresses are great at contouring to your body, pressure point relief, and motion and noise isolation. They aren’t so great at providing firm support or keeping you cool.
- Traditional Innerspring - With a design well over 100 years old, innerspring mattresses provide support via a network of individual springs connected by a grid on both the bottom and top of the mattress. These days, traditional innerspring mattresses seem to be unanimously shunned but they still offer among the best cooling and can still be a comfortable option for back and stomach sleepers. Pressure point relief is the biggest drawback and why side sleepers should avoid them.
Hybrids - Hybrids (as the name suggests) combines the best of both innerspring and memory foam mattresses. By taking the outer comfort layer of a memory foam mattress and adding it on top of an innerspring core you get a mattress that can conform to your body, keep you cool all with a minor compromise to cooling ability and manage motion and noise transfer. Unfortunately, with the exception of Linenspa hybrids, most cost much more than the average mattress.
How to Choose Your Mattress Online
So if you can’t see or test the mattress in person, how do you know you’ll like it? Great question! Here’s how we approach it:
Ideal Sleep Position
Your goal in selecting a new mattress is to find one that gives you the right support for spinal alignment. When your spine has an optimal alignment, your neck, back, and hips are free from twisting, flexing, or strain. Sleeping with spinal alignment is sublime and provides that fresh feeling we’re all looking for when we wake up in the morning.
Sleep Position and Firmness
As mentioned above, your sleeping position has a lot to do with your mattress choice. For example, sleeping on your side requires a lot of pressure point relief while for back or stomach sleeping, pressure relief isn’t as critical.
- Side Sleeping - Generally side sleepers should shop for a memory foam mattress with medium firmness.
- Back Sleeping - Back sleeping calls for a firmer mattress and while memory foam mattresses can work just fine, a firm hybrid can be slightly more effective.
- Stomach Sleeping - Like for back sleeping, a firm mattress is ideal but stomach sleeping introduces a lot of other issues with your neck and hip positions that a mattress alone cannot solve. To learn more about stomach sleeping and mattress choice, read my guide on stomach sleeping.
- Combination Sleeping - If you’re a combination sleeper, meaning you transition from one position to another throughout the night, you’ll want a versatile mattress. Go with a medium firmness hybrid. The hybrid construction will give you some contouring for side sleeping, while still keeping you flat for back and stomach sleeping.
Since mattresses are designed to resist your weight and support your body, it’s natural that your own weight will play a factor in your mattress choice. Generally, the more you weigh, the firmer your mattress needs to be, but there are limits to different mattress designs and materials that are worth noting. Here are some general guidelines:
- Under 150 lbs - If you’re under 150 pounds, you want to be careful with some of the most popular options as they may be too firm. We recommend looking for a memory foam mattress that’s specifically designed to be soft. You may not get the contouring you need, with some mainstream “medium” firmness options, especially if you are a side sleeper.
- 150 to 250 lbs - If you’re between 150 and 250 pounds you have plenty of options. The mainstream options from all the big names in the online mattress world are great, as they are designed and tested for this weight group. If you’re on the lower end of the scale, a medium firmness memory foam mattress is great. As you move up the scale, consider either a medium-firm memory foam mattress or a hybrid for the best support and alignment.
- 250 lbs + - While more options are being developed for people 250 lbs and above, it’s still an underserved group. Our recommendation is to search for a hybrid mattress that has been designed for your specific weight. At 250 lbs+, firm memory foam mattresses lose their comfort as the 2" to 3" outer comfort layer becomes fully compressed/overloaded.
One of the biggest complaints about mattresses is their cooling ability or lack thereof. Certain mattress designs and types are better than others at keeping you cool while you sleep. Here’s what we recommend for different types of sleepers:
- Hot Sleeper: If you consider yourself a hot sleeper and someone that can never stay cool while they sleep, you may want to consider a hybrid mattress or at least a memory foam mattress with REAL cooling abilities (most mattress companies claim their mattresses keep you cool).
- Cold Sleeper: If you’re one of the few people who layers on blankets at night but still struggles to keep warm, you may be a great fit for a memory foam mattress, as it’s one way to keep you warm.
Best Online Mattresses
We’ve invested around 28 hours of research to create this guide on the best online mattresses and how to pair them with your sleeping position. As usual, we've also supplemented our research with an in-depth interview with a chiropractor who frequently helps patients with their sleeping positions and sleep-related back and neck pain. You can learn more about our review process here.
- The Nectar Mattress offers a great combination of quality and price backed up by one of the best warranties and trial periods around
- Limited Lifetime “Forever” warranty with a 365-night sleep trial, free shipping, and free returns
- Medium-firm firmness which is great for all sleeping positions if you’re between 150 and 250 lbs
- Currently includes two pillows with every mattress purchase
- The Zinus offers an almost unbeatable price point for a thick memory foam mattress
- Uses gel-infused memory foam to improve cooling with a 2.5” thick comfort layer for optimal contouring to your body
- 10-year limited warranty and 100-day trial period
- Medium-firm firmness (on the firm side) but still suitable for all sleeping positions
Best Budget Runner Up
- The Linenspa Hybrid combines the best of both memory foam mattress comfort and support of an innerspring mattress in one affordable option
- Available in a variety of firmness options based on mattress thickness (8", 10" and 12")
- Includes a gel-infused foam layer and individually pocketed coils
- 10-year limited warranty
Saatva Plush Soft
Best Mattress For Light Sleepers
- The Saatva in Plush Soft is one of the few hybrid mattress options available in a soft firmness
- Designed to contour and support someone light in weight, regardless of sleeping position
- 120-day trial and free "white glove" delivery service that includes setup of the new mattress and removal of your existing mattress (something no-one else really does)
The Casper (Foam)
Best For Side Sleeping
- The Casper in foam offers great value for money with a medium-firm memory foam construction
- Medium firmness coupled with a thick outer comfort layer means this mattress will conform to your body well and even properly support side sleepers
- Zoned support design with firm edges and versatility for all body types, sized and sleeping positions
Best For Back And Stomach Sleeping
- The Tuft and Needle Original makes use of a proprietary foam that is bouncy (unlike most memory foams) while providing pressure relief, motion isolation, and proper support
- The T&N foam is an improvement over conventional memory foam that doesn't trap heat
- 100-night sleep trial and 10-year limited warranty
Best Mattress for People 250 lbs+
- The TitanFlex is one of the only cost-effective mattress options designed and tested for people who weigh 250 lbs+ and makes it a go-to budget choice for heavy people looking for a mattress designed for them
- Hybrid design with individually pocketed coils that will stand up to years of use and provide the support you need
- Uses a 1" thick gel memory foam comfort layer in combination with a 2" TitanFlex foam layer to provide resistance and contouring that big people need in a mattress
Our Favorite Online Mattress Brands
Here are some of the top online mattress brands we recommend and what makes them different. If you’re searching for a new mattress it’s worth considering one of these brands.
- Casper - One of the first online-only mattress companies, Casper now makes three different mattresses at different price points, designs, and cooling abilities. Offering all-foam mattresses and hybrid options, there’s something for everyone.
- Tuft and Needle - Similar to Casper, Tuft and Needle was also early into the online mattress business and offers three different mattress options and different price points including a hybrid option.
- Nectar - Nectar is a relative newcomer to the mattress space, but is making a name for itself for its high value for money mattresses. One of the first mattress companies to offer a limited lifetime warranty coined the “Forever Warranty” Nectar offers a quality memory form mattress for a great price and gives you a truly risk-free experience.
- Layla - Layla makes unique double-sided memory foam mattresses that offer two firmness options. When you receive your mattress, it is recommended to sleep on one side then try the other to see what is most comfortable. Layla also makes innovative use of copper gel to improve the cooling of their mattresses over conventional memory foam.
- Purple - By now you’ve probably seen the funny purple commercials demonstrating the effectiveness of their patented grid. Purple developed this new material in order to improve pressure point relief and cooling. Purple mattresses are expensive but offer much better cooling than solid foam mattresses.
- Zinus - When it comes to budget-friendly memory foam mattresses, Zinus is pretty hard to beat. Zinus’s Green Tea Mattress is regularly one of the best-selling mattresses on Amazon. Not only is the price right for a lot of buyers, they also use green tea extract, cooling gel infusions and other sleep innovations not typically found in budget mattresses.
Linenspa - Linenspa is also another great budget option with a specialty in budget hybrid mattresses. Typically hybrid bed construction was reserved for higher price points, but their 10” queen hybrid is only $250 on Amazon and if you’re willing to go thinner, an 8” version is less than $200.
Online Mattress FAQ
Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions about the best online mattresses.
There is no best online mattress that will suit everyone. It is best to learn what type of support level, temperature, and price you would prefer, then find the mattress that meets your needs.