If you’re a college student in the market for a new mattress, the task may seem as simple as testing out a few at a local mattress store. However, once you start researching the “perfect” mattress, you’ll soon realize just how many factors there are to consider.

This article highlights some top tier mattresses for college students and the important factors to keep in mind before making your decision.

When looking for the best mattresses for college students, there are a few things we kept in mind:

  • safety of the mattress (regarding federal flammability requirements)
  • company policies for returns, refunds, and in-home sleep trials
  • reputation and longevity of the company
  • customer reviews (especially from college students and users of twin XL mattresses).
  • any certifications given to the company or specific mattress

Pricing guide

Prices in this article are based on twin XL mattresses since that’s the size most commonly found in dorm rooms. If you’re living off-campus and you’re looking for a bigger bed, prices will vary.

  • $ = under $800
  • $$ = over $800

Best innerspring mattress for college students

Saatva Classic Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Innerspring
  • Height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches

The Saatva Classic Mattress comes in two heights, both featuring CertiPUR-US certified memory foam and Saatva’s “spinal zone technology.”

The middle zone of the mattress is reinforced with more support, which is supposed to help keep your spine in proper alignment and alleviate pressure from the low back. The mattress is apparently so back-friendly that the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations awarded it with a seal of approval.

The Classic Mattress has a 3-inch Euro pillow top, foam rails to help prevent the edges from sagging, individually pocketed coils, a memory foam layer, and a base of more coils. Customers can choose their level of firmness: plush soft, luxury firm, or firm.

Saatva offers free white-glove delivery, a 15-year warranty, and a 180-night trial.

Buy the Saatva Classic Mattress online.

Best gel memory foam mattress for college students

The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Foam
  • Height: 11 inches

Nectar conducted a survey of mattress owners to rank the comfort of their mattress, depending on which position they sleep in. The Memory Foam Mattress, which has a medium-firm feel, received high marks for all sleeping positions — especially those who experience back pain.

Nectar highlights the cooling features of this mattress, like the quilted mattress topper and gel foam. The gel memory foam is also designed to help reduce the feeling of being jostled at night if you share your bed with a partner who moves around.

What makes this mattress even sweeter for college students is the addition of two free pillows, free sheets, and a free mattress protector.

Plenty of college students have voiced their positive opinions in the reviews, praising the cooling sheets and the quality of sleep they’re getting.

Nectar offers a lifetime warranty and a 365-night home trial.

Buy The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress online.

Best boxed mattress for college students

Casper Original Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: Foam
  • Height: 11 inches

This mattress comes rolled up in a box straight to your door. Casper highlights the supportive and cooling features of the Original Mattress, and they say their mattress covers are made from recycled bottles.

The mattress has three zones of support with softer foam around the upper body and firmer foam around the lower body. The top layer of the mattress features a breathable foam, designed with tiny holes to filter away hot air and body heat.

Casper offers a 10-year warranty, a 100-night trial, and free shipping and free returns.

Buy the Casper Original Mattress online.

Best gridded foam mattress for college students

The Purple Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: Foam
  • Height: 9.5 inches

The Purple Mattress has more to offer than the free sheets it comes with. The mattress features a breathable gel grid, which reviewers praise highly — and plenty of them are college students.

The manufacturer claims that the grid technology helps the mattress stay cool, allows for a quick spring and flex to your body weight or movement, and helps alleviate tender pressure points. The gel grid is combined with two layers of foam: a soft layer for cushioning and a firmer layer for additional support.

Purple offers free shipping and free return, a 10-year warranty, and a 100-night trial. The Purple Mattress is also made in the United States.

Buy The Purple Mattress online.

Best hybrid mattress for college students

The Allswell Supreme Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 14 inches

Allswell prides themselves on what they call the “Very Unscientific Firmness Scale.” This claims that their mattresses are firm, but not too firm.

This hybrid mattress has a base of individually wrapped coils, which are supposed to reduce the motion transfer that commonly occurs in traditional innerspring mattresses.

A 2-inch layer of memory foam is followed by more foam made from graphite and cooling gel. A Euro-top finishes the mattress.

Allswell offers a 10-year mattress warranty as well as a 100-night risk-free trial.

Buy The Allswell Supreme Mattress online.

Most eco-friendly mattress for college students

Avocado Green Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 11 inches

For students with a bigger budget, or for those who are more eco-conscious, the Avocado Green Mattress is made from certified organic latex, wool, and cotton. The mattress is also endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association.

As a hybrid mattress, this pick features coils uniquely arranged in five ergonomic zones. It’s nontoxic and needle-tufted, which means the layers are sewn together rather than glued with unsafe adhesives.

The mattress is made in the United States, and it comes with a 1-year trial and 25-year warranty.

Buy the Avocado Green Mattress online.

Most affordable mattress for college students

La-Z-Boy Essential Twin XL Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 12 inches

This mattress has a hybrid construction of pocket coils layered with three types of memory foam. La-Z-Boy claims the mattress’s “breathable design” circulates air 28 percent better than a traditional, solid mattress. This is designed so that hot sleepers can enjoy a cooler slumber.

The mattress also features a patented stain-resistant cover, which the brand claims to prevent stains. The Essential Mattress is priced on the lower end, which is a bonus for students on a tight budget.

Bear in mind that this mattress is only sold online, so the in-home trial period is extremely important.

The mattress is made in the United States, and La-Z-Boy offers a 100-night trial.

Buy the La-Z-Boy Essential Twin XL Mattress online.

If you spend the recommended 7–10 hours a night sleeping, you’re likely in bed a lot. That makes picking the right mattress even more important. Here are some things to consider when shopping for yours.

Firmness

Some people might want to fall into their beds at night and be cocooned in their mattresses. Other people might prefer firmer surfaces.

Most companies use a 10-point firmness scale to rate the firmness of their mattresses. However, how firm a mattress feels will depend a lot on your body size and sleeping style. That’s one reason it’s a good idea to buy from a brand that offers a free trial period.

Type

Mattresses can be made of traditional springs, foam, individually pocketed coils, or a mixture of the latter two. Some mattresses are also organic or contain patented technology, like gel memory foam grids.

If you like the feeling of being cradled by your mattress, consider choosing one made of foam. Memory foam conforms the most to your body, while latex is springier.

If you prefer some bounce to your mattress, consider picking an innerspring or hybrid mattress.

Company

Do research on the company before making your purchase. Review their return policy, warranties, and in-home trials. Do they have a good reputation in terms of customer satisfaction, reviews, or awards and honors?

Reviews are a good indicator of a company and their products. Also consider the responsiveness of their customer service department.

Special features

If you’re a hot sleeper or if you toss and turn a lot, then looking for mattresses that tout cooling properties or anti-motion-transfer qualities might be beneficial.

Deciding whether or not you should buy a mattress for college can be tough, but weighing a few big factors can help.

Budget

Is it financially feasible for you to purchase a mattress right now? Keeping popular sales times in mind might be helpful. The mattress of your dreams could offer significant savings around the holiday season.

Size and long-term plans

Consider your long-term plans. Maybe you’ll want to invest in a size you’ll keep for years to come (such as a full or queen).

Keep in mind that some colleges and universities may have stipulations that require you to keep their dorm-issued mattresses. Check with your institution before making a purchase.

If you’re unable to make a large purchase at the moment, your future housing situation is uncertain, or your school won’t let you swap out your mattress, consider a mattress topper.

This is a budget-friendly alternative to fixing an uncomfortable sleeping situation. Toppers come in a variety of types with different features, such as cooling options or ones specifically designed for side sleepers.

Picking a mattress can be overwhelming, but it’s certainly something to consider if you’re not comfortable with your provided dorm mattress.

Conduct a little research to figure out which type of mattress you want (foam, spring, or hybrid), and consider visiting a store to decide on the level of firmness you prefer.

Once you have those elements lined up and you make your decision, an in-home sleep trial should help solidify your choice. If buying a new mattress isn’t an option, a mattress topper could be an affordable alternative.


Alex Shimalla

Alexandra Shimalla grew up writing princess stories on her family’s laptop in their makeshift laundry room/office. She’s now a freelance journalist based in Georgia. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and enjoys writing about health and wellness, gluten-free living, and higher education. Her writing has appeared in print and digital publications, such as Paste and Georgia Magazine. If she’s not at her computer, then she’s at the gym. Learn more about Alexandra by visiting her website (www.alexshimalla.com).