There are many factors to keep in mind when shopping for a new mattress. Firmness, support, material are all important. And so is value. Getting a good mattress for a good price should always be the goal, and we are here to help.
With all of the information, transparency, retailers, and buying options now available, mattress buyers are more well positioned than ever before to get the most bang for their buck. Whether you’re looking to spend $400 or $4,000, you want to get the most mattress for your money.
This guide will explain the most important features to look for in any mattress and which ones are worth paying more for. We’ll walk you through the different types of mattresses available and what you can expect from each at different price points. Finally, we’ll give you our recommendations for the best mattresses at whatever price you want to pay.
Features to consider
A mattress isn’t worth a single penny if it doesn’t keep you comfortable. So however much you are willing to spend, there are a few important features and considerations you should keep in mind before buying a new mattress.
It’s important to consider your body weight when selecting a mattress. A larger sleeper (typically more than 200 pounds), will naturally exert more pressure on a mattress and therefore might be more comfortable with one that is more firm. (Firmness is rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least firm and 10 being the most firm.) Keep in mind, however, that firmness is a personal preference no matter your size.
The way you typically sleep will make a difference in your mattress selection. If you sleep on your back, your spine naturally aligns and your weight is already distributed equally. Side sleepers need a mattress that offers more support for the neck, shoulders, back, and hips in order to avoid uncomfortable pressure points in those areas.
If you sleep on your stomach, you sink further down into your mattress. So you might do well with a mattress that is firm enough to keep your spine aligned, yet soft enough to cushion your chest and stomach.
Edge support is what prevents sagging around the perimeter of the bed. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses often use a high-density polyfoam to reinforce around the edges and therefore offer stronger support around the perimeter. Foam and latex mattresses are rarely reinforced, so tend to offer little edge support. Edge support is particularly important to keep in mind if you often sit on the edge of your bed.
Motion isolation describes how well a mattresses absorbs movement – and therefore how well it keeps that movement from reaching another sleeper. It’s especially important to consider if you sleep with another person or a pet. Foam and latex mattresses offer the most movement isolation. Innersprings and hybrids don’t do as well in this category.
If you tend to naturally sleep hot, heat retention will be an important consideration. Some mattress materials, notably memory foam, trap heat against your body. Other materials, like latex and innerspring, offer more airflow and ventilation, staying cooler throughout the night.
Side sleepers in particular should think about pressure points, particularly in the neck, shoulders, lower back and hips. Memory foam and latex mattresses conform around your body, often alleviating pressure points along the spine. Innersprings, by contrast, don’t offer this contoured feel or provide the same pressure relief.
Proper support is necessary while sleeping in order to keep your body in alignment and thereby avoid back pain. Too little support and your body will dip into the mattress. Too much support and your body will arch. Both will result in aches and pains. The amount of support you need will depend on your body weight and your sleep position.
The materials that make up a mattress will largely determine its price point. A high-quality innerspring mattress, for example, will typically cost significantly less than a latex mattress of similar quality. Understanding the different materials available will help you decide how you want to spend your money.
Memory foam mattresses have gained popularity for the customized feel and support they offer sleepers. This foam was originally designed by NASA to aid in crash protection. It reacts to both heat and pressure, allowing it to adjust its shape and contour to a sleeper’s body.
How it’s built
Support core: Memory foam mattresses are not made entirely from memory foam, as it is too soft to provide adequate support on its own. A memory foam mattress will use a support core made from high-density polyfoam to create a sturdy base.
Comfort layers: Memory foam makes up the additional comfort layers. Typically, a memory foam mattress will be made of 25-40 percent memory foam.
- Foam density: High-density memory foam rated 6 PCF (pound per cubic foot) or higher is found in the most expensive mattresses. Medium-density foam (rated 4-5.9 PCF) provides motion isolation and pressure point relief. Low-density foam (rated under 3.9) returns to its original shape quickly and offers les motion isolation and pressure relief. It is found in cheaper mattresses.
- Amount of memory foam used: Usually, when more memory foam is used, the mattress will be more expensive.
- Added features: Some mattresses use a gel-memory foam, charcoal, copper, or even green tea-infused memory foam as a comfort layer for a variety of different reasons. Typically, these speciality memory foams come at a higher price point.
An innerspring mattress is constructed on a base of steel coils in a range of configurations. Innersprings are the most widely sold and often least expensive mattress option available.
How it’s built
Support core: The support core of an innerspring mattress is made up of steel coils (springs). These coils are measured in gauge and range in thickness from 12 (being the thickest coil wire and results in a firmer spring) to 18 (being the thinnest and results in most gentle spring). The coils are usually cushioned and encased in a quilted fabric.
Comfort layer: An innerspring mattress is typically topped with a foam or pillow-top layer. Memory foam or latex are sometimes used as well. These comfort layers are less than two inches thick. Mattresses with a comfort layer of more than two inches are considered a hybrid – more on that below.
- Coils are measured using gauge, or thickness. The lower the gauge, the thicker the coiler, the longer the lifespan, and the higher the price.
- The type of coil used will also affect price. Bonnell coils are hourglass-shaped and continuous wire coils are arranged in a straight line. These types tend to be found in cheaper mattresses, but are generally not used in mattresses today. Offset coils are hourglass-shaped with one end hinged for better weight support. Pocketed coils are spiral-shaped and encased in fabric. These two types are the most common tend to be in more expensive mattresses.
- Some manufacturers charge more for a higher coil count, though a higher count hasn’t been linked to higher customer satisfaction.
A hybrid mattress features an innerspring coil support system underneath at least one foam layer that is over two inches thick. A hybrid provides the pressure-relieving benefits of memory (or latex) foam with the more traditional and supportive feel of an innerspring mattress.
How it’s built
Support core: The foundation of a hybrid mattress uses the same coiled support system as a traditional innerspring mattress.
Comfort layer: The coiled support system is topped with a thick comfort layer of foam. This foam may be either memory foam, polyfoam or a natural or synthetic latex. On a hybrid mattress, this foam layer is at least two inches thick. It is the thickness of this foam layer that differentiates it from the thinner comfort layer found on some innerspring mattresses.
- Like an innerspring mattress, the type and thickness of coil used in a hybrid’s support core will affect price.
- A hybrid that is topped with memory foam will usually cost less than one that uses a latex foam.
- The thicker the foam comfort layer, the more expensive the mattress will be.
A latex mattress combines the contouring and, pressure-point relief associated with foam mattresses with the supportive features and traditional feel of hybrid and innerspring beds. Latex mattresses can be found a variety of firmness levels. The latex used in these mattresses is derived from the sap of a rubber tree plant.
How it’s made
Support core: An all-latex mattress uses a thick, dense latex as a base. Occasionally, if the bed is not all-latex, you will see the support core made with a high-density polyfoam.
Comfort layers: The all-latex mattresses feature comfort layers made entirely of a soft latex material. If the mattress isn’t 100 percent latex, you might see a polyfoam used in the comfort layers as well.
- Latex is derived in one of two ways. In the Dunlop process, latex is stirred, molded and stem-baked. It results in a dense, sturdy, heavy latex. In the newer Talalay process, latex is vacuum-sealed, frozen, and baked. Talalay produces a latex that is softer and bouncier by comparison. Both are considered 100 percent natural. Talalay latex tends to be more expensive.
- A mattress made of all natural latex will be more expensive, while blended and synthetic latex materials will be cheaper.
- Thicker comfort layers and more of them will increase your costs.
Finding a great value
A great value means getting excellent features and a reasonable price. If you’re not happy with your mattress, it doesn’t matter how much you spent (or didn’t) – it is still a waste of money. It’s important to prioritize the key components that will have the biggest impact on your sleeping experience.
Materials make or break a mattress. A mattress made with low-quality materials will likely not stand up to the test of time, and in the end result in low-quality sleep. As you read above, there are many materials to choose from when selecting your new mattress. Consider your sleep style, comfort preferences, and support needs as laid out above to decide what material best suits your personal situation. Then do some investigating. Whatever material you choose, you’ll want to get detailed specifications of each mattress you compare. That means knowing the gauge of the coils, the density of the foam, or the thickness of the comfort layers. Consider the quality and the lifespan of the material. Because you’re not really saving much money if you have to buy another mattress just a few years down the road.
The primary purpose of a mattress is to keep your spine in alignment while you sleep. To do this, a mattress must offer the proper support. Without it, you’ll wake up with uncomfortable aches and pains. Always find out about a mattress’ support core and make sure it uses high-quality materials and construction. And don’t think that just because a mattress has a high-quality top layer, the support core will match. It’s still important to get the specifications of both.
Firmness refers to how a mattress feels when you lie down on it. A firm mattress does not give and offers resistance, or push-back, when depressed. A softer (less firm) mattress will offer more “give” and allow the body to sink down slightly. A mattress’ firmness is rated on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the least firm and 10 being the most firm. There is no good or bad, right or wrong level of firmness – it’s all a matter of personal opinion. So be sure to try out any mattress to ensure it is suited to your preferences.
Because the only way to really know how a mattress feels is by sleeping on it for several hours, it’s important for a mattress to come with a free trial or warranty period. This lets you sleep on the mattress for a number of days (usually at least 30) to make sure that it is the right fit for you and not a waste of money.
Best mattresses under $500
At this low price point, there are a relatively low number of high-quality options for a queen size mattress. In this range, you will mostly find foam mattresses and you’ll have the most luck online. In fact, the best options under $500 will be sold exclusively online.
|Addale||Foam||10 inches||6.5 (medium firm)||10 years nonprorated||$499|
|Lucid||Foam||10 inches||6 (medium firm)||25 years||$275|
|Zinus||Foam||10 inches||6.5 (medium firm)||10 years nonprorated||$260|
Addable offers a gel memory foam mattress. The support core is a six-inch base made of 2 PCF high-resilience polyfoam. The comfort layer is made of two components: the bottom layer is two inches of 1.8 PCF polyfoam and the top layer is two inches of 4 PCF gel memory foam. The outer coverings is a woven blend of polyester, viscose, and spandex.
- Addable offers a long trial period of 181 nights, with additional trial nights available at a customer’s request.
- Addable’s high quality gel memory foam layer offers good motion isolation and provides pressure relief, a benefit of this material.
- The high density foams used in the Addable mattress are rare at this price point, making this mattress a solid value.
- Addable was founded in 2016. The company and the products haven’t established a history of long-term performance.
- Addable requires that customers keep the mattress for at least 30 days before they can receive a full refund. This can create confusion or become a hassle for some.
- The Addable mattress is only available in one firmness setting.
Lucid makes a quality 10-inch gel memory foam mattress. This dual-layer mattress features a 7.5-inch high-density foam base, topped with a 2.5-inch layer of gel-infused, ventilated memory foam. The cover is made of a Tencel® Lyocell fabric blend.
- Gel beads in the ventilated memory foam layer aid in airflow, allowing the Lucid to sleep much cooler than other memory foam mattresses.
- The Tencel® Lyocell cover also helps regulate temperature and control moisture.
- This mattress is below the average price point for beds of this material and quality.
- Lucid offers a relatively short trial period of only 30 days.
- Like Addable, Lucid launched in 2016. The company and the products don’t have a history of long-term performance.
The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress features a 5.5-inch support core of 1.8 PCF high-density polyfoam foam. This is topped with two comfort layers: 2 inches of polyfoam and 2.5 inches of 3 PCF memory foam.The foam is infused with green tea extract and castor seed oil, which retard odor and bacteria.
- This mattress is below the average price point for beds of this material and quality.
- The Zinus is widely available through various online retailers, so you have a better chance of finding it at a discount.
- Customers report that the memory foam conforms closely to the body and alleviates pressure points.
- This mattress has proven to have a shorter lifespan than comparable memory foam mattresses. Customers often report early sagging and a deteriorating of the foam.
- Zinus offers a relatively short trial period of 30 days.
Best mattresses under $1,000
There are several quality mattress options priced between $501-$1,000. Shoppers have a choice of innerspring, hybrid, foam, and latex models. Quality can still be questionable in this price range, but some mattresses have received excellent ratings and reviews.
|Leesa||Foam||10 inches||6 (medium firm)||10 year nonprorated||$840|
|Purple||Foam||9.5 inches||6.5 (medium firm)||10 year nonprorated||$990|
|Saatva||Innerspring||11.5/14.5 inches||3 (Soft)
6 (Medium Firm)
|15 year (2 years nonprorated)||$999|
Leesa offers a mixed foam mattress, constructed in three layers. The support core is 6 inches of 1.8 PCF polyfoam. This is topped with two comfort layers: one composed of two inches of memory foam topped with another layer composed of 2 inches of a latex-like Avena® foam. The cover is made of a breathable polyester blend.
- Customers often point out the unique feel of Avena® foam. This foam helps gives the mattress good bounce and a responsive feel.
- Sold since 2014, this mattress has been shown to hold up well over time.
- Leesa offers free shipping and a long trial period of 100 days.
- Some sleepers report that the Lessa mattress sleeps hot.
- As is common with foam mattresses, this one doesn’t offer edge support.
The Purple offers a unique buckling column gel and foam mattress. The support core is 4 inches of 2 PCF high-density polyfoam. That is topped with 3.25 inches of polyfoam, which provides compression support. The final comfort layer has two components: a bottom layer of 1.8 PCF polyfoam is topped with a hyper-elastic polymer grid structure reinforced with buckling column gel. The cover is a woven blend of polyester, viscose, and Lycra® spandex.
- The unique grid structure in this mattress helps with weight distribution and pressure relief.
- The grid structure also creates air pockets, allowing for more ventilation and a cooler night’s sleep.
- Purple offers free shipping and a 100-night trial period
- The Purple is only available in one firmness setting.
- There is not yet enough data to determine the lifespan of this mattress.
The Saatva offers an innerspring mattress available in 11.5- or 14.5-inch heights. The base layer of this mattress is made of high-density polyfoam that also functions as an edge support system. This foam encases a layer of tall, hourglass, steel coils that sit on top of the base layer. On top of this coil layer is a layer of individually wrapped, 14.5 gauge coils. The mattress is topped with a comfort layer of polyfoam and memory foam. The cover is 100 percent organic cotton.
- The Saatva’s coil-on-coil construction makes it responsive and gives it good bounce.
- Saatva is available in multiple height and firmness options.
- Saatva now offers free white glove delivery and mattress removal, along with long trial period of 120 nights.
- A common complaint of innerspring mattresses, including the Saatva, is poor motion isolation.
- This mattress has been found to have average to below-average durability. It is prone to sagging and does not have the lifespan of non-innerspring mattresses.
- Unlike a majority of online retailers, Saatva charges a $99 fee for returns.
Best mattresses under $2,000
It’s not necessary to spend more than $1,000 to get a high quality mattress. But raising the price point will give you more options with better materials. This is the range for an average latex and hybrid mattresses. You’ll also find high-end innerspring and hybrid mattresses here.
|Zenhaven||Latex||10 inches||Side 1: 4 (Medium soft)
Side 2: 7 (Firm)
|Loom and Leaf||Memory foam||12 inches||5.5 (Medium)
|Avocado||Latex hybrid||13 inches||8 (Firm)||25 year||$1,399|
The Zenhaven all-Talalay latex mattress is manufactured by Saatva. It is a dual-sided, flippable mattress that offers two firmness ratings. The Zenhaven is constructed in four layers. The first is 1.5 inches of a gentle-firm latex. Next are two distinct 3-inch layers of latex. Last is 1.5 inches of plush latex that is soft to the touch. Depending on how you orient the mattress, these layers serve different functions and provide different levels of firmness and support. The cover is 100 percent organic cotton.
- The Zenhaven latex conforms closely to your body, providing support while maintaining a bouncy, responsive feel.
- This mattress is flippable and offers two different firmness options in one mattress.
- Saatva, which manufactures Zenhaven, now offers free white glove delivery and mattress removal, along with long trial period of 120 nights.
- Like most latex mattress, edge support is poor with the Zenhaven.
- With no reinforcement, the Zenhaven has poor edge support.
- A queen weighs 125 pounds, making it difficult to move.
Loom and Leaf Mattress
The Loom and Leaf memory foam mattress is also manufactured by Saatva. Its support core combines 5.5 inches of high-density polyfoam with a transition layer of polyfoam. The comfort layer combines 5 PCF high-density visco elastic memory foam with a 2-inch layer of gel foam. The cover is organic cotton.
- The two components of the comfort layer work together to conform to the body and provide pressure relief.
- Multiple firmness options are available with this mattress.
- Saatva offers free white glove delivery and mattress removal, along with long trial period of 120 nights.
- The lifespan and durability of this mattress is not yet known.
- As is common with foam mattresses, this one is not reinforced and doesn’t offer edge support.
- Considering the materials, this mattress may sleep hot.
Avocado Green Mattress
The Avocado Green hybrid mattress features 100 percent natural Dunlop latex rubber, natural wool and organic cotton. The support core is an 8-inch layer of fabric-encased recycled-steel springs. The coils are topped with a dense 1-inch layer of Dunlop latex, followed by 2 inches of slightly softer latex in the comfort layer. Finally, there is a half-inch layer of hand-tufted Joma® wool. The cover is 100 percent organic cotton.
- The coils in the support core are arranged to float independent absorb motion transfer. They also reinforce the perimeter, resulting in good edge support.
- The coils vary in gauge (thickness) from 14-17 and are arranged to provide ideal pressure relief.
- Avocado offers free delivery and a 100-night trial period.
- With its coil support system, this mattress might be too firm for some sleepers.
Getting the best price
Once you’ve identified the mattress you want to try, it’s worth putting in a little time and energy to get the very best price available.
Always keep an eye out for sales
Whether you’re shopping in-store or online, sales are a common occurrence in the mattress world and they are often worth waiting for. While there is often an overlap between e-commerce and brick and mortar retailers, the timing of sales do tend to vary.
- Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving sees a wide range of great deals, traditionally offered only in-store. But many e-commerce retailers have followed suit with their own promotions in order to get in on the action.
- Holidays: The mattress industry typically offers the most significant sales on Labor Day and Memorial Day. Other holidays such as Fourth of July, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day are also often used to promote discounts.
- Cyber Monday: Many Black Friday deals now extend into Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving. Retailers often offer a new round of deals this day and into the week.
- Amazon Prime Day is a discounted shopping event offered exclusively to members of Amazon’s yearly subscription service. Typically held the second week in July, Prime Day usually offers significant discounts.
Other Ways to Save
Pay attention to shipping costs or delivery fees. Many online retailers offer free shipping, but it is important to confirm this before you buy. Particularly if you are purchasing from a third-party seller such as Amazon. It’s important to note any returns shipping fees as well, should you decide the mattress isn’t right for you. The same applies for any delivery or return fees if you’re buying at a brick and mortar store.
Remember, it is possible to negotiate. One of the benefits of buying in-store is that you have the opportunity to negotiate your price. Chain stores, like a Mattress Firm or Mattress Warehouse, tend to have higher markups and therefore more room to negotiate than the local mom and pop stores. Do your research before you talk price. Know what price you’re willing to pay and be ready to walk away.
Search for online savings. There are a number of other ways to save when shopping online. As you’re doing research online, keep an eye out for referral codes. Many sites offer promotional codes for the mattresses they review. And once you’ve identified the mattress you want to buy, sign up with the manufacturer’s website. You’ll be notified of sales and specials and you’ll often receive a discount code when you sign up.
When you’re ready to buy a new mattress, there’s no need to break the budget. With good options available at all price points, you can find a quality mattress that won’t give your bank account nightmares.