While many pricier mattresses are superior, you don’t have to pay a fortune for good quality. Today’s Mattress industry has changed quite a bit: without the middleman of mattress showrooms, buyers can enjoy quality mattresses straight from the manufacturers themselves, simply by buying online, and get a deeply discounted price they couldn’t find in a traditional store.
Our buyer’s guide will answer some common questions about budget mattresses, online buying, and which brands will deliver the most for your money. All models featured here are under $300, so you can find an affordable, well-crafted mattress as comfortable for you as it is for your wallet.
Signature Sleep Contour 8”
Classic Brands Cool Gel Ventilated Memory Foam 8”
Zinus 12” Performance Plus Extra-Firm
Classic Brand Pillow-Top Innerspring 10”
What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a mattress online?
There are quite a few pros and cons to mull over when debating online purchasing vs. in-store shopping, and ultimately it comes down to a person’s particular comfort level and familiarity with internet shopping/research.
Pros of buying online:
- Customers save 15% or more on mattresses purchased online than in showrooms.
- Less pressure. No salesmen forcing add-ons or pushing sales.
- Many mattresses sold exclusively online have superior craftsmanship to some in-store models; not true in all cases, however.
- Buyers have far more options with online purchasing, whereas in a showroom, what you see is what you get.
- Side-by-side comparisons. It’s far simpler to compare several models at once on a computer screen than trying to do so with three or four models scattered across a room.
- Lower or non-existent return fees.
- You can buy a mattress at 2 am, if that’s the only time that fits with your schedule. Brick-and-mortar showrooms have specific hours that might not work for everyone.
- Customer service. Many online stores have better and quicker customer service when it comes to complaints and questions.
Cons of buying online:
- “Try before you buy” is not an option. While you can test showroom models right then and there, online purchases have to be bought, delivered, and set up before you can try them out. Keep in mind, however, that many online retailers offer “sleep trials” of 60 to 100 nights on average, so you can accurately judge a model before deciding to keep it. This allows for a more comprehensive decision than a couple minutes in a showroom.
- Delivery speed. Online mattresses can take up to two weeks to arrive; stores offer same- or next-day delivery.
- No mattress haul-away service. Showrooms often offer to take your old mattress away when they deliver the new one; most online retailers do not provide this service.
- Delivers to your front door; showrooms often deliver to the bedroom itself, and some will set up the bed at no charge.
- While no salesman is a plus for many people, some would like a knowledgeable person available to help.
Again, this is a decision that only you as the consumer can make. Online certainly has its benefits, but if you like the idea of visiting a showroom instead, you should. Keep in mind, however, that you can also visit a showroom to try some big-brand models, then order similar or identical models online for a considerable discount.
I’ve heard a lot about memory foam, and it seems like most mattresses these days are made from it. Should I get one, too?
Memory foam is very popular, but don’t be fooled by all the hype: latex foam, hybrid, and innerspring models are all still big sellers, so you’ll have your pick of the lot if memory foam just doesn’t do it for you.
Memory foam is an adaptive material, so making beds from it means a wider range of people will find it comfortable. Of course, this isn’t always the case: some people prefer or need firmer mattresses with less give, and some memory foam mattresses are designed quite differently: what works for one person might feel terrible to someone else. Heavier bodyweights, for example, will often feel “trapped” by memory foam, and might need a broader contour, like latex.
Memory foam also sleeps more warmly than any other mattress material. The industry has tried to combat this by including gel- and charcoal-infusions for body heat and moisture control; aerated designs for greater ventilation and airflow; and cotton or bamboo covers to wick away sweat. All elements certainly help, but the bottom line is that the same quality that makes memory foam so comfortable, also makes it retain body heat: its density.
In short, memory foam is worth considering if you need a pliable but supportive sleep surface. It’s great for side sleepers and many back sleepers, but not ideal for stomach sleeping (although that position itself is widely regarded as the worst a sleeper can choose). Memory foam is also a bit of a gamble if you sleep hot and often wake up sweating, or if your BMI is higher; the foam could compress too much to feel comfortable and contour properly.
I’m a heavier individual (and/or my partner is). Do we need a special mattress? Will it cost more?
Yes and no. You don’t need a “special” mattress designed for heavier people, such as a bariatric mattress of medical-grade quality, unless you’re in the morbidly obese category. You do, however, need a mattress that is built to accommodate heavier-than-average folks, which can be a tough find; not all manufacturers clearly state their products’ weight capacities.
Generally speaking, you’ll need something towards the firmer end. This means it will have stronger materials and construction, and won’t sag or form impressions too quickly. While firm memory foam options do exist, you’re probably going to find more in the latex, hybrid, and innerspring categories.
Price-wise, you might have to spend a little bit more for an appropriate mattress (although you can still find many options under $300), simply because you’ll likely need stronger materials than lighter to average BMIs. This difference should be quite minimal, however. More than anything, you’re simply paying for a higher quality.
I’ve heard anything under $300 isn’t going to last as long. Is this true?
Thankfully, no. Mattresses at or below this price can still be of impressive caliber, and perform and last just as long as some of the most expensive models on the market. In fact, 40% of buyers in a recent survey purchased their current beds for under $500.
Most beds last 5 to 10 years, with 7 being the average. Some materials last shorter times than others: memory foam lasts a shorter time than latex, which lasts a shorter time than hybrids, which last less than innersprings. Not coincidentally, that’s also the order of general softness to firmness: in other words, the softer your bed, the shorter lifespan it has, simply because its natural decline in quality (due to normal use) will be noticeable more quickly.
Some mattresses might only last 3 years, regardless of price, because of how they’re constructed. This makes the $300 or less price tag much more attractive, doesn’t it?
Of course, price does matter to an extent. Expensive mattresses (in theory) have higher quality materials you just can’t find in budget models, which means a slower decline of quality and a longer lifespan. But, again, that’s just in theory; some simply charge more because they’re a big brand name. And in the end, the price-per-year calculation will probably end up about he same for most models.
Best Mattress Under $300 Reviews
1. Signature Sleep Contour 8” Hybrid Mattress Review
Perhaps the best trait of innerspring mattresses is that they can be flipped to maximize their lifespan, unlike today’s pillow-top models and foam mattresses. This hybrid from Signature Sleep solves that dilemma with a double-sided design: two la