Picking a new mattress can be confusing, overwhelming, and downright expensive. But it’s still important to make a good decision that suits your individual needs — and it’s surprisingly possible to do so on a budget.
Many companies offer mattresses with a luxurious feel at an affordable price point. We researched the best on the market to help you find an amazing mattress at an amazing price, without sacrificing quality.
Affordability: The most important consideration was finding luxury performance at an accessible price. Most of our mattress picks are under $1,500 for the queen size, with several mattresses even priced under $1,000. Note that these prices reflect non-sale pricing.
Company reputation and transparency: We only included mattresses from reputable brands that are known for making high quality products and engaging in ethical and transparent business practices.
Company policies: We made sure to recommend products that have great at-home sleep trials and warranties with purchase.
Customer reviews: We considered user reviews from each company’s website and third-party sellers to make sure the mattress was as fantastic in real life as the brand says it is.
Sleeping position: Mattresses aren’t one size fits all, so be sure to pick one that fits your specific sleeping style. Side sleepers should look for a mattress that contours to their body and keeps their spine aligned, while back sleepers may want something firmer that supports their neck, back, and hips.
Materials: Many affordable bed-in-a-box mattresses are made of foam, like polyurethane, latex, or memory foam. The price tends to go up in hybrid mattresses with more advanced or intricate coil systems.
Mattress performance: Figure out which mattress performance elements matter to you and narrow your search that way. If you want good motion isolation, your best bet is an all-foam option. If bounce is important to you, a hybrid mattress may be the way to go. For hot sleepers, look for cooling covers and designs that allow ventilation.
Look for sales: Keep your eye out for mattress sales that fall on Black Friday or President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, or New Year’s Day. You can save a lot of money by timing your purchase well.
Skip the add-ons: Don’t feel pressured to buy the add-ons companies suggest, like pillows or bases, even if they’re framed as a great deal. Almost all mattresses these days, especially foam ones, just need a flat surface to perform well, not a box spring or fancy base. Think about whether your new mattress will work with your existing bed frame and linens.
In-home trial and warranty: The best way to pick a new mattress is to try it out. Look for brands that offer extended at-home trials and have a simple and easy return process if it doesn’t work out. A good mattress should last around 10 years, so use that as a benchmark for warranty length.
Firmness level: You’ll want to purchase a mattress with a firmness level that suits your sleeping style. If you sleep on your back, for example, you may prefer a firmer surface for support. Side sleepers should opt for something with a little more give.
Pressure relief: If you’ve ever gone to sleep thinking a mattress is very comfortable, only to wake up the next morning with aches and pains, chances are you aggravated your pressure points as you slept. Look for a mattress that will allow you to sleep with good posture, minimizing contact with pressure points such as your shoulders, neck, and hips.
Noise: Before purchasing a new mattress, check to see how much noise it makes when you lie down and switch positions. You’d be surprised at the wide variety of sounds a mattress can make. A mattress could be the most comfortable one you’ve found, but the squeaks and squawks of a noisy mattress will cause you sleepless nights. Mattresses with springs and coils tend to be the noisiest, so scrutinize them.
One of the most affordable mattress types tends to be innerspring. While this type of mattress is easy on the wallet, you might not get as many years out of it compared with a higher quality mattress. Innerspring mattresses have the tendency to sag or become lumpy.
However, memory foam mattresses can be quite affordable as well and can give you more comfort than the traditional steel coils and foam of innerspring mattresses. If you need to be more budget-conscious, a cheap mattress doesn’t have to be uncomfortable to sleep on.
Overall, though, cheaper mattresses don’t hold up as well as more expensive mattresses. You may get 5 to 8 years out of a cheaper mattress, versus 10 or more years with a premium mattress.
But they can be a great option if your sleeping situation is temporary, such as using it for college, or if you just don’t have the budget for a high-end mattress.
Mattress prices might seem confusing, but several factors contribute to the sticker price:
Size: For starters, a twin mattress will be less expensive than a queen mattress of the same construction because of the additional materials necessary to make it.
Materials: Less expensive mattresses use more basic materials, such as foam. They may also have springs and not use much padding. Higher end mattresses may use latex and other high quality materials, like organic cotton or wool.
Location: Where you purchase your mattress can also greatly affect price. Brick-and-mortar stores will typically have higher prices than online-only retailers.
Policies: Any mattress company that offers flexible return policies and generous warranties will most likely cost more than those without trial periods and lengthy warranties.
If you can hold out for a sale, holidays are the best time to get a good deal on a mattress. You may find a mattress that’s out of your price range for a steal if you time it right. Or you can easily upgrade to a bigger mattress for the price of the smaller one.
Some of the biggest holidays to save on a mattress include:
If you’re purchasing a mattress for the first time, here are a few common questions you may have.
What’s the best type of affordable mattress?
The best type of affordable mattress depends on your sleeping style and comfort preferences. Look for a foam mattress if you prioritize pressure relief and motion isolation. Latex is typically bouncier than memory foam, but also more expensive. If you want more support, opt for a hybrid mattress.
No matter which type you purchase, you’ll likely find the best prices at an online retailer.
What’s the best time of year to buy a mattress?
If you’re flexible on your timeline, wait to buy your new mattress until late winter or early spring, when many companies are running promotions. May is considered the best time to get a good price on a mattress.
However, if you can’t wait, look around for any current promotions or coupon codes before you buy.
What size mattress should you buy?
You’ll want to consider several factors when choosing which size mattress to purchase. First, your budget: the bigger the mattress, the more expensive. After that, consider the size of your bedroom. Can you fit all your furniture if you opt for the king bed?
Other considerations will include whether you share your bed with another person, your sleeping style, and your body type.
What’s a good price for a mattress?
Expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,500 for an affordable queen mattress. Some picks may be even cheaper, but they might not last as long.
Which type of mattress is usually the least expensive?
The cheapest type of mattress is typically made from memory foam.
Should you test out a mattress before you buy?
Of course. It doesn’t hurt to lie down on a mattress in a store before buying. You’ll want to make sure the firmness feels comfortable for you.
Testing the edge support is also a good idea. Lie on the mattress and see if you feel like you’re going to roll off.
However, being able to test out a mattress at home over the course of 1 or 2 months is just as important, so you know how comfortable the mattress really is night after night.
Therefore, with the expansion of online mattress buying, you don’t technically have to try out a mattress before you buy. Make sure you note a company’s trial period or other guarantees. This tells you how long you can test the mattress to see if it works for you.
Many companies offer free delivery and free take-away if a mattress doesn’t work out. But make sure you know this in advance to save yourself a headache if you need to return it.
How do you know if it’s time to buy a new mattress?
One of the most obvious signs is waking up with pain in your back, shoulders, or hips. If you can’t get comfortable going to sleep, or if your mattress sags or feels lumpy, it may be time to upgrade.
Some other signs could be a squeaking noise when you move around in bed, worsening allergies, or a smell coming from the mattress.
With the affordable mattress market only getting more competitive, you have plenty of options to get the feel of higher end mattresses at prices that don’t break the bank.
When you’re shopping, be sure to prioritize features that suit your sleeping style. Take advantage of generous at-home trials to find the right mattress to fit your budget.
Sara Wilson is a freelance journalist interested in health policy, wellness, and politics. Her work has appeared in Morning Consult, MarketWatch, Sojourners, and others. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama and Northwestern University. She loves historical fiction, long trips to a museum, and chatting with her 8-year-old cat Ethel. Follow her on Twitter.
Last medically reviewed on October 13, 2023
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