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If you’re looking to switch your current mattress, don’t think you have to shell out the big bucks.

While mattresses can be pricey, it’s possible to get something inexpensive that’ll still carry you into dreamland. Buying a mattress-in-a-box is a great way to get a memory foam mattress at a lower price point.

Read on for our top picks to help you get the sleep you need without breaking the bank.

Traditionally, the way to choose a mattress has been to flop down on it and check it for comfort. Would you be happy sleeping on it for years?

But with mail-order and direct-to-consumer companies, it’s easier to order a quality mattress online (including cheap ones!) by looking for a few key criteria.

Here’s what we considered while making our choices.

  • Price. Your average queen-size mattress will run you $1,000 or more. To help you find the best budget picks, we only included mattresses that are under $600 for a queen. We also included some other mattress sizes.
  • Safety. All mattresses below comply with Federal Flammability Standard 16 CFR part 1633, and 16 CFR part 1632.
  • Quality. Some mattresses are equipped with third-party material certifications to verify they meet certain health and safety standards. We prioritized picks that come with these certifications.
  • Reputation. We took a look at each brand’s reputation, choosing only those that are rated well on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), have no recent lawsuits, and don’t promote their products as curing or treating specific health conditions.
  • Customer service. Because a mattress is an investment, many companies offer a warranty and free in-home trial. We only picked mattresses that offer these things.

Pricing guide

Prices in our list are for queen-size mattresses unless otherwise indicated:

  • $ = under $150
  • $$ = $150–$400
  • $$$ = over $400

Best cheap 12-inch memory foam mattress

Dreamfoam by Brooklyn Bedding Chill Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Height: 12 inches

If you want a thicker mattress without the big price tag, this mattress from Dreamfoam is a great budget pick.

Along with a 12-inch rise, this U.S.-made mattress is equipped with a 2-inch top layer of gel memory foam, which contours to your body and keeps you cool.

Since the mattress works with platform and slat beds, you might be able to skip buying a box spring, helping you save even more.

As far as firmness level goes, this mattress is rated medium, making it a good middle-of-the-road choice. Reviewers love the ease of setup for this mattress-in-a-box, since it pops up to full size quickly after opening.

With the purchase of this mattress, you’ll get a 120-night trial and 10-year warranty.

Buy the Dreamfoam by Brooklyn Bedding Chill Memory Foam Mattress online.

Best cheap cooling memory foam mattress

Casper Element Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Height: 10 inches

Do you sleep hot? This is your new best sleep friend. With a perforated foam top, it fosters air flow and allows body heat to escape.

Happy reviewers say they find they fall asleep more quickly on this mattress and are less likely to wake up during the night. They like how there are no off-gassing odors when unboxing, and say the softer mattress is back- and joint-friendly.

The foams are CertiPUR-US certified and are regulated for low VOC emissions by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Casper offers free shipping, same-day delivery in certain neighborhoods of New York City and Los Angeles, a 100-night trial, and a 10-year limited warranty.

Buy the Casper Element Mattress online.

Best cheap California king memory foam mattress

Tuft & Needle Original Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Height: 10 inches

California king-size mattresses are extra-large, and they tend to be pretty expensive. But despite its size, this one from Tuft & Needle is still affordable.

The 10-inch rise and medium-firm feel make this mattress supportive, not flimsy. While it’s suited to all sleepers, the company does recommend a different mattress if you’re a committed side sleeper.

Reviewers say it’s comfortable, though some say they needed to add a mattress topper for a more pillowy feel.

This mattress is built with materials like graphite, ceramic gel cooling beads, and breathable foam — all good news for people who sleep hot, since research shows being hot at night may affect sleep quality.

It has a few material certifications, including:

Tuft & Needle offers a 100-night sleep trial and easy returns. The mattress also comes with a 10-year limited warranty for sagging or lasting “body impressions,” as well as material breakdown or deterioration.

Buy the Tuft & Needle Original Mattress online.

Best cheap twin-size memory foam mattress

Sealy 8-Inch Medium Memory Foam Mattress in a Box

  • Price: $$$
  • Height: 8 inches

This mattress stays cool and breathable, doesn’t bounce, and has supportive edges to keep you or your kiddo aligned on the bed. It works with several types of bed bases, including adjustable ones. Another bonus is that the cover can be removed and washed for easy cleanup.

Reviewers are impressed with the delivery and arrival of the mattress, appreciate the 100-night trial, and say they turned around and ordered another (for a different room) after realizing how good quality this mattress is.

One downside is that this is a thinner mattress than many. For that reason, some reviewers complained that it felt flimsy.

Buy the Sealy 8-Inch Medium Memory Foam Mattress in a Box online.

Best cheap gel memory foam mattress

Linenspa 5 Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Height: 5 inches

If you have kids with bunk or trundle beds, this one is for you because of its low 5-inch profile. With a 1-inch gel memory foam topper that cradles your body, it’s a comfy pick with a budget price.

Reviewers say it does make a certain crunchy sound when you first lie down on it, but overall that’s not enough to decrease enjoyment.

Some people say the mattress gave off a chemical smell when opened, while others said there was no odor. Also, this doesn’t pop up and reach size immediately like some mattresses. You’ll need an hour or two to reach full potential.

Linenspa offers a 10-year warranty and free returns within 30 days.

Buy the Linenspa 5 Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress online.

One of the best qualities of a memory foam mattress is that there’s no “bounce.” That can make it a great choice if you sleep with someone in your bed — whether a partner, kids, or pet — since the mattress won’t move when they do.

They’re also often more affordable than other types of mattresses.

Some people may find memory foam to be a little soft. Memory foam mattresses can give you the feeling of sinking into the bed, especially compared to hybrid mattresses or even latex mattresses.

Though latex is a type of foam, compared to memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses are often better at returning to their normal shape once you change positions. And hybrid mattresses, which combine foam and springs, may feel sturdier.

Memory foam mattresses also have a tendency to off-gas, or emit a chemical smell when you first set them up.

Forgo the bells and whistles

When you’re having trouble sleeping, you might assume your mattress is the problem.

While lumps, bumps, and sags can impair slumber, sleep problems may or may not be caused by a poor mattress, says Shelby Harris, PsyD, CBSM, author of “The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia: Get a Good Night’s Sleep Without Relying on Medication” and a licensed psychologist in private practice in Westchester, New York.

That’s an important perspective, because it can help you slow down, do your research, and make a sound — not rushed — decision.

It also adds levity to the shopping experience. If you need to let go of some of the bells and whistles for budget concerns, you don’t have to worry that you’re going to affect your sleep in a big way.

If your mattress is about 15 years old, you’ll want to look into buying a new one, says Harris.

That can seem like an expensive reality, but a costlier mattress “doesn’t guarantee a better night’s sleep,” she adds. Budget buys can still be high quality and just as comfortable, supportive, and cooling.

Consider your sleep style

Let your sleep preferences and needs guide you here.

For instance, says Harris: Do you like loads of room to spread out? Consider a larger mattress, or even a California king.

Are you a cuddler? A smaller mattress will hit that need for security and intimacy. (You don’t even need to get one mattress that makes both you and your bed partner happy: As Harris mentions, some couples buy separate twin-size mattresses and push them together, which is a genius solution.)

The main takeaway is that your mattress needs to feel comfortable for you, says Harris. That’s the number-one requirement.

Any feature that doesn’t specifically enhance your own comfort doesn’t need to be in your mattress, and thus isn’t something you have to pay for, she says.

Think practically

Along with comfort, think about practicality. Where are you putting this mattress? In your primary bedroom? A guest room? Is it going in a kid’s room in a bunk bed?

This will help inform the size and thickness of the mattress you’re looking for.

Memory foam mattresses are a comfy way to get a great night’s sleep. They can be expensive, but there are a number of brands selling budget buys that reviewers say have given them their best night of Zzz’s in a long time.

Look for an option that lets you try before you buy, and you’ll be snoozing in no time.


Jessica Migala is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, and fitness content. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two young sons, and rescue pup. Find her on LinkedIn or on Instagram.