Buying a Mattress used to mean a long trip to a showroom, getting pressured by salesmen, and feeling self-conscious when you dared to mention the word “budget.” Today, though, ordering a new bed is as easy as clicking a Buy Now button…at least, in theory.
The reality of internet mattress buying is that, while the pushy salesman is gone, the dizzying plethora of choices—and the age-old issue of budgeting—is not. Fortunately, our buyer’s guide will help you determine what kind of mattress you need, as well as showcasing some of our favorite models. Best of all, each of our featured mattresses is priced under $1,000, so you can find a good night’s sleep for a great price.
Casper Sleep Mattress
Tuft & Needle Adaptive
What kind of mattress should I get—memory foam, latex, innerspring, or hybrid?
Before deciding on your ideal mattress type, consider your unique needs. Some models can accommodate these better than others:
- Sleeping position – The type of mattress you get will depend largely on whether you need a firm or soft mattress, since some materials can only deliver soft to medium, or medium to firm. Side sleepers will usually need a soft, more contoured material, like memory foam; back sleepers do best with innersprings or hybrids, and stomach sleepers often like hybrids and latex. This isn’t a hard-and-fast set of rules, of course, but worth considering.
- Sleeping temperature – If you sleep hot and often wake up overheated or sweating, look for hybrids or innerspring models. These have superior ventilation and are less dense, so they sleep cooler. Have your heart set on a foam mattress? Consider latex, which retains less heat, or memory foam with gel infusions and ventilated construction.
- Weight – Heavier individuals will compress mattresses more, so the cushy foam layers so comfortable to average weight or lighter people will flatten out and feel less soft. This also means the contouring aspect of memory foam won’t be as effective; heavy folks will feel like they’re sinking. Seek mattresses with very thick layers of memory foam, or latex foam instead; it doesn’t contour as closely, so you won’t feel trapped.
- Bed type – If your bed uses widely spaced slats or box springs, all-foam models will often sink into those spaces and provide uneven support. Hybrids or innerspring models, however, will do fine on these. Solid bed bases or platform beds can accommodate all mattress types.
- Budget – You can find any mattress type in any budget, but some do come with a noticeable price difference. Latex, for example, is generally pricier than memory foam. The more features the mattress has—cooling gels, all natural materials, scent or oil infusions, etc.—the more it will cost, too.
- Preference – Maybe you just really love memory foam, even if it’s not the “best type” for your weight or sleeping position. That’s totally fine! As long as you’re comfortable and sleep well (and wake up feeling refreshed), that’s what matters. No recommendation, even from experts, will suit everyone 100%.
- Allergies – If you’re more prone to dust mite allergies, look for less dense models (like hybrids) that are easy to clean. Some people are allergic to latex, so this type of foam might cause problems—although the industry insists the oils that cause reactions are removed during the manufacturing process, data on this front is still pretty inconclusive. Additionally, you might have sensitivities to certain chemicals or scents, and memory foam often contains these. If you aren’t sure if you’re allergic or sensitive to a certain material, you can often request a sample from the company to test before you buy their mattress.
- Special requirements – Health issues like a recurring back injury, limited mobility, morbid obesity, knee problems, or sleep apnea should also be taken into consideration, because they might dictate your sleeping position (which some mattresses are better for than others), or the kind of bed you have (an adjustable base, for instance). Consult your physician for recommendations specific to your condition.
Does a mattress’s thickness matter?
To an extent, yes—thinner mattresses, like those in the 6” to 8” realm, will compress at such a high percentage, users could feel the platform underneath. This can result in insufficient pressure point relief, especially for side sleepers.
Generally, mattresses in the 8” to 15” range are a good bet, depending on your preference and what kind of mattress you choose.
Obviously, you’ll feel a difference between 8” mattresses and 15” ones, but little to none between 10” and 12”, or 12” and 14”. Buyers should also think about their bed itself, since some are designed for thinner ones, as well as their ability to get in and out of bed, especially in the case of the elderly or injured: too low, and they might need help; too high, and they could fall or strain their ankles or hips.
Will I get a better mattress the more money I spend?
Yes, usually—but that doesn’t mean you can’t score a nice mattress on the cheap. Likewise, models in the $2,000+ bracket aren’t necessarily going to be the best option for you, even if you can afford it.
Aside from what you can comfortably spend, there are personal factors to consider. Do you suffer from chronic pain? Have cheap mattresses failed to live up to your needs and expectations in the past? If so, a pricier, high-end model might be wise—or even a necessity.
On the other hand, there are certainly reasons to bargain hunt. Is this mattress for irregular use, such as in a vacation home or guest room? Do you plan on replacing it soon, due to a remodel or move?
If you’re still on the fence about spending more, keep in mind that more expensive models have longer warranties, and (usually) better quality materials and construction, so they should last longer.
or a good middle-of-the-road budget, look for models in the $800-$1,000 range. These will be crafted well, last long enough to make your investment worthwhile, and provide a good night’s sleep without breaking the bank.
How can I make my mattress last as long as possible?
The lifespan of a mattress will depend on many things, such as your weight, the type of mattress it is, and how much you use it (some people also sit in it to work or watch television, for instance). There are, however, several things buyers can do to ensure their purchase lasts as long as possible, without losing its structure or comfort:
- Use the proper bed frame to support the mattress. Many all-foam models aren’t compatible with slatted bases, and can become warped and lumpy over time.
- Buy a mattress protector. There are encasement (full, zippered) styles, fitted sheet styles, and a few that simply go under the sheet, but don’t extend around the sides. All can help keep your mattress as clean as possible, which will extend its lifespan considerably.
- Wash bedding regularly, at least every other week (weekly is better).
- Don’t let your pets sleep in the bed with you.
- Rotate your mattress every two to six months. Most of today’s models can’t be flipped, because they have pillow tops or foam layers that don’t allow this, but rotating (switching the head and foot) will still help avoid “ruts” and impressions from sleeping in the same spot too long.
- Don’t let kids jump on the bed.
- Wrap your mattress well when you need to transport it, like during a move.
- Clean your mattress two to six times a year: vacuum, spot treat with a cleaner suitable for your mattress’s materials, steam if desired, then allow the bed to dry thoroughly. This process can be done just before flipping or rotating, if you’d like an easy way to remember when it’s time to clean.