9 Best Box Mattresses of 2024, Editor Tested and Reviewed

Updated: Apr. 05, 2024

Our editors and products testers selected the best mattress in a box for every type of sleeper

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10 Best Box Mattresses Of 2024 Katie Bandurski Megan Wood FtCONTRIBUTORS (2)

Back in the old days, buying a mattress involved walking into a brick-and-mortar store, flopping down on various options, haggling with a salesperson and paying a delivery service to haul the hundred-something pound mass of coils upstairs and into your bedroom. Not suprisingly, the mattress industry was rocked when the first bed-in-a-box mattresses were introduced. Now, there are endless boxed mattresses that can be purchased online and delivered to your door for a lot less money—no haggling involved.

However, the best mattress in a box for someone else might not be the best for you. If it’s time to replace your mattress, there are a number of factors to consider, especially your health, explains Peter G. Whang, MD, FAAOS, FACS, an orthopaedic spine surgeon at Yale Medicine and associate professor at Yale School of Medicine.

For starters, sleeping on an old mattress can impact your sleep, and “the ill effects of not getting enough sleep can affect everything from your mood to your cardiovascular health,” he says. “Certainly one of the most important issues is making sure that you select the right materials, which will help you find a balance between comfort and support,” he says.

Also, not having the right mattress for the type of sleeper you are can predispose you to a number of musculoskeletal conditions.

“You want to make sure that the mattress is firm enough to prevent the body from ‘sinking’ into it so that the body is maintained in proper alignment during the night,” he says.

Other things to consider? If you sleep hot, a cooling mattress can help regulate body temperature. If you are concerned about chemicals, you should opt for an organic mattress.

Our editors tested and reviewed dozens of the most popular bed-in-a-box options and narrowed down the list of the nine best mattress in a box options for everyone.

Helix Mattress
Katie Bandurski/Family Handyman KATIE BANDURSKI/FAMILY HANDYMAN

Best Overall Box Mattress

Helix Midnight Elite

Pros:

  • Medium-support mattress that provides deep, restful sleep
  • Luxurious feeling akin to a hotel bed
  • No box spring required
  • Ships in two boxes for easy setup
  • 100-night sleep trial and 15-year warranty
  • Made-to-order in the USA
  • OEKO-TEX and CertiPUR-US certified fabrics and foam
  • If not satisfied with firmness, can swap out insert

Cons:

  • On the pricey side
  • Only works with platform-style bed frames

While it might not hurt to try and save money on toppers and protectors, Dr. Wang cautions against penny-pinching when purchasing a mattress. “You really can’t put a price on getting a good night’s rest!” he says.

If you are looking for the best mattress in a box and are willing to invest in something high quality, Senior Editor Katie Bandurski recommends the Helix Midnight Elite. While it might not be the cheapest mattress in a box, this top-of-the-line option offers five layers of high-density medium firmness foam.

The mattress weighs a total of 172 pounds, but luckily, Helix divides the base and comfort insert into two separate boxes. This makes the process of hauling it up or down any stairs a whole lot easier. Immediately, Bandurski was impressed by the lack of any “new mattress smells” and that she was able to assemble the bed solo. Another unique aspect of the Helix is that if you aren’t happy with the firmness level, you can simply swap out the insert instead of having to purchase a new mattress altogether.

Helix Matress
Katie Bandurski/Family Handyman

The Helix Midnight Elite “looks like it came from a luxury mattress store, not a box,” notes Bandurski. In just a few weeks, her sleep quality “drastically improved,” as did her back pain. She adds that the mattress does a great job of minimizing movement, which equates to less sleep interruptions and higher quality sleep. “The Helix’s five foam layers and hundreds of individually wrapped steel coils do a great job absorbing shock,” she says.

Interested in learning more? Check out Bandurski’s full review of the Helix Mattress.

Zinus Green Tea Mattress
MEGAN MOWERY/FAMILY HANDYMAN MEGAN MOWERY/FAMILY HANDYMAN

Best Budget Box Mattress

Zinus Green Tea

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Available in multiple heights/firmness options
  • Available through Amazon Prime
  • Supportive stay-cool memory foam
  • Reduced motion transfer
  • CertiPUR certified
  • No off-gassing smell on arrival
  • Customization options for perfect size and fit

Cons:

  • Green tea infusion lacks research

Senior Editor Megan Mowery has been sleeping on the Zinus Green Tea mattress for years, maintaining that it is the best budget mattress in a box and one of the best overall options. Over 54,373 Amazon shoppers have given it five stars for an average 4.5-star rating, making it one of the top sellers on the marketplace.

Despite the affordable price point, the mattress offers a supportive, multi-layer memory foam infused with green tea and cooling gel, making it a great option for hot sleepers. You can choose from a variety of thickness options, ranging from 6 inches (firmer) to 12 inches (plusher).

Mowery opted for the plusher option, noting that it arrived in a tall, thin box weighing just under 50 pounds, was easy to unwrap, and had zero chemical smell to it. She does recommend following the directions and giving the mattress 72 hours to decompress and reinflate.

A box with a mattress sitting in front of a door.
Megan Mowery/Family Handyman

Not only does it live up to its cooling claims, but Mowery found the “perfect medium between the comforting softness of my favorite memory foam topper and the supportive firmness of a traditional innerspring” great for both stomach and side sleeping. No matter her position, she feels “supported and comfortable” and wakes up with zero “aches or pains,” nor any “stiffness or soreness” around her neck or hips.

And, after three years, she is still sleeping on the Zinus, adding that “it’s held up beautifully.” Check out her full review of the Zinus Green Tea mattress here.

The Emma Hybrid Mattress
Nicole Doster/Family Handyman NICOLE DOSTER/FAMILY HANDYMAN

Best Value Box Mattress

The Emma Hybrid Mattress

Pros:

  • High quality mattress at affordable price
  • Fast shipping
  • Firm comfort
  • Side straps make it easy to lift

Cons:

  • May be too firm for side sleepers

Whenever people ask me what mattress to buy on a budget, Emma is the first brand that comes to mind. I have tested several mattresses over the years, and the OG Emma, which my son has been sleeping on for five years, is one of the most comfortable options. However, if you are willing to spend a little extra, the Emma Hybrid mattress offers major value, says Nicole Doster, Content Director.

Once you order the Emma mattress, expect it to arrive within a few days. Set-up for the mattress is easy, “though it requires two people, as the king-size mattress unfurled quickly to its regular size,” she says. A nice feature is the built-in handles on each side, which make sliding the mattress onto your frame a breeze. “I’ve found that these handles also help lift the mattress when it comes time to changing the sheets,” she notes.

Fhma24 The Emma Hybrid Mattress Nicole Doster 02 Msedit
Nicole Doster/Family Handyman

Using both spring and foam materials, this bouncy, yet plush feeling mattress offers a firm sleeping surface topped off with super soft foam layers for extra comfort. “This makes it good for back and stomach sleepers who prefer extra support—but it may not be the best option for side sleepers,” she says.

What she appreciates most about the mattress is its lack of motion transfer. “I tend to toss and turn in my sleep—annoying my partner to no end—but with the Emma mattress, you can barely tell when there’s movement on the other side of the bed,” she says. “This helps us sleep sound when our pup decides to climb in and out of bed at night, too.”

Avocado Green Mattress Ft Megan Wood
MEGAN WOOD/RD.COM MEGAN WOOD/RD.COM

Best Organic Box Mattress

Avocado Green

Pros:

  • Organic, fair-trade and non-toxic
  • Produced with natural materials and renewable energy
  • Layers of plush materials and pocketed coils
  • 10-year full replacement, 25-year limited warranty
  • Stays cool throughout night
  • Reduced motion transfer
  • Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association

Cons:

  • Pricier than other options

Avocado Green, a brand that specializes in organic, non-toxic mattresses, pillows and bedding, debuted their “farm-to-mattress” bed in 2016. Megan Wood, former Executive Editor, was on the hunt for an organic mattress when she discovered the brand. Over a year later, Wood is “just as happy with it now” as she was on the first night.

In terms of first impressions, she notes that the Avocado is free of the “harsh chemical scent” of most mattresses. It “smelled faintly (and pleasantly) of wool,” she says. “I noticed it the most on the first night, but the odor faded within a few weeks.”

Glass Of Water On Avocado Green Mattress Megan Wood
Megan Wood/rd.com

The mattress looks and feels high-end and is incredibly comfortable, she adds. The interior is made up of 3,136 individually pocketed recycled steel coils combined with 21 layers of organic and natural latex, wool, mohair, silk, flax and cotton. In fact, the Avocado Green mattress is endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association.

“The coils are individually wrapped to reduce motion transfer,” she adds, noting that when sleeping with her boyfriend and dog, she rarely felt any movement.

I also have the Avocado in my guest room and agree that it is incredibly comfortable. Nearly every single person who sleeps on mattress inquires about it, and a handful have even ordered it after sleeping on it for a few nights.

Fhma24 Nolah Mattress Review Katie Bandurski Img 0250 Msedit 06
KATIE BANDURSKI/FAMILY HANDYMAN KATIE BANDURSKI/TASTE OF HOME

Best Box Mattress for Side Sleepers

Nolah Evolution

Pros:

  • Ample support for side sleepers
  • Minimal motion transfer
  • Edge support all the way around
  • Durable materials
  • Minimal off-gassing
  • 120-night sleep guarantee and lifetime warranty
  • CertiPUR-US® certified foams and fiberglass-free

Cons:

  • On the mid-to-pricier side
  • On the heavier side

Another mattress on Katie Bandurki’s best mattress in a box short list is the Nolah Evolution, which she notes is a game-changer for side sleepers. The brand specializes in developing foam, latex and hybrid medium to medium-firm mattresses specifically for people who sleep on their sides. While there are a variety of options, the Nolah Evolution 15 is their bestseller, boasting nine layers of comfort and support. Choose from seven sizes, three firmness levels, and even a Comfort+ selection for sleepers over 300 pounds.

Bandurski maintains that setup is easy (though it may take two people as the queen size weighs 117 pounds) but the brand recommends 24 hours for expansion. She also notes that there is also zero off-gassing odor.

White Nolah Mattress on bed
Katie Bandurski/Taste of Home

Not only is the mattress incredibly comfortable, but it does an incredible job with motion isolation. She even put a glass of cranberry juice on one side while rolling around on the other without any spillage. There is also ample edge support, but the most notable benefit of the bed is the pressure relief it offers. According to Bandurski, it is “best in its class at providing support for my head, neck and spine” and the “luxury firm support offers the Goldilocks of firmness—not too soft, not too hard.” Her husband, who weighs significantly more than her and also sleeps on his side plus his back, is also a fan. However, she doesn’t recommend it for stomach sleepers, who might prefer a plusher mattress.

Interested in hearing more before adding to cart? Check out Bandurski’s full review of the Nolah Mattress here.

Bear Mattress
COURTESY ALLISON ROBICELLI COURTESY ALLISON ROBICELLI

Best Hybrid Box Mattress

Bear Star Hybrid

Pros:

  • Comfortable hybrid mattress for all sleeping positions
  • 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
  • Eco-friendly and non-toxic materials
  • Free shipping and returns
  • Made in U.S.A.
  • Available in seven sizes
  • Offers third-party, in-home set up and removal
  • Financing available

Cons:

  • Pricey

Allison Robicelli selected the Bear Star Hybrid—the non-toxic and eco-friendly brand’s mid-level mattress— as the top hybrid mattress in a box after sleeping on it for eight months. What sets it apart from other hybrids? Like other models from the brand, it begins with a base of supportive and durable high-density foam, followed by layers of individually-encased coils that run edge-to-edge, which react to and support the body’s unique pressure points.

Next up, a layer of responsive foam cradles the body, “making this mattress ideal for all sleeping positions and providing additional airflow,” she adds. The mattress has a cooling gel layer and a hand-quilted cover with HydroCool technology and Celliant fiber, offering extra temperature regulating support.

Rda23 Bear Mattress Allison Robicelli 02a Ksedit
Courtesy Allison Robicelli

Robicelli maintains that while it’s literally a bear of a mattress, setup is a breeze. The mattress needs 48 hours to unfurl and there are zero off-gassing smells involved.

In terms of comfort, she notes the Bear Star Hybrid is “not too firm and not too soft.” It has softer edges than most innerspring models, nice cooling features and offers ample support no matter the sleeping position. “Every inch of my body feels so well-supported while lying on the Star Hybrid that I pretty much never struggle to get comfortable,” she says.

A bed with a mattress on top of it.
Mary Henn/Family Handyman MARY HENN/FAMILY HANDYMAN

Best Cooling Box Mattress

Purple Restore Premiere Firm Hybrid Mattress

Pros:

  • Advanced cooling technology
  • Cushioned comfort of foam layers with support of coils
  • Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial materials
  • 120-night sleep trial (through Mattress Firm)
  • Free delivery, with setup and haul away for additional price (through Mattress Firm)
  • 10-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • Quite heavy
  • May not be firm enough for extra-large individuals

Shopping Editor Mary Henn recommends the Purple Restore Premier Firm Hybrid Mattress as the best mattress in a box for anyone desiring a cooler sleeping experience.

If you sleep hot, you should consider buying a cooling mattress. “Certain materials are also more ‘breathable’ which allows air to circulate through it which can help to circulate excess body heat,” explains Dr. Whang.

Like other Purple mattresses, the Restore features the brand’s signature GelFlex Grid, which offers softness and support while helping to dissipate excess body heat. The dynamic CoolFlex Coils deliver pressure relief and all-over support. This model in particular also comes with a Cool Touch Cover with cooling fibers, “so the mattress keeps you cool from surface to core,” she explains.

Purple Restore Cool Touch Hybrid Mattress
Mary Henn/Family Handyman

This mattress is available in varying price points, albeit Mary tested the most affordable option: the Purple Restore Cool Touch. You can also choose from the Purple RestorePlus Cool Touch or the Purple RestorePremier Cool Touch.

Unlike some other bed-in-a-box brands, Purple and Mattress Firm hand-delivered the 148-pound King size mattress and offered to carry it into your bedroom, a great perk that comes with the higher price point. She also notes that you only have to wait a few hours for expansion before sleeping on it, though it will continue expanding for a few days.

According to Henn, the mattress excels in several categories, most notably pressure relief, motion separation, support and of course, temperature regulation. The surface is even “cool to the touch” she attests, “almost like a moisture-wicking athletic tee, but softer.” And, like most hybrid mattresses, “it’s a good in-between for people who like a mattress that has plenty of cushioning on top and firm support on bottom,” she says. “It’s also great for people who aren’t sure what they like or for sleeping partners who prefer different firmness levels in a mattress.”

Check out Henn’s full review of the Purple Restore mattress for even more insights.

Fhm We Tried It Cocoon Chill Mattress
MARY HENN/FAMILY HANDYMAN MARY HENN/FAMILY HANDYMAN

Best Cooling Box Mattress on a Budget

Cocoon Chill

Pros:

  • High quality cooling mattress at a wallet-friendly price point
  • Ready to use after 30 minutes of opening
  • Advanced cooling cover with option to add extra cooling technology
  • Increased edge support on hybrid model
  • Memory foam and coils deliver support and comfort
  • Free shipping
  • 100-night trial period and10-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • May not be best for people looking for an extra-soft memory foam mattress

For a cooling mattress that doesn’t break the bank, Mary Henn recommends the Cocoon Chill, a mattress from Sealy, which she also tested. The innerspring-slash-memory foam mattress is wrapped in a cooling cover, with the option of extra chill technology for super hot sleepers. Henn notes that the mattress is easy to set up, fully inflating in about 30 minutes.

In terms of comfort, the coils provide support and airflow, while upper layers of memory foam help relieve pressure and reduce motion transfer. Henn, who deals with severe sciatica (lower back pain), finds that the Chill hybrid mattress keeps her “back pain at bay throughout the night,” even when she flips from her back to her side and “does a good job of keeping my spine aligned, which helps prevent aches and pains in my lower back.”

Cocoon Chill Mattress
Mary Henn/Family Handyman

She does point out that in order to maximize the cooling effect, you need to use a cooling mattress protector, sheets and a cooling comforter as well. However, if you’re looking for extra cooling effects, “I would recommend adding the extra-chill technology,” she says.

Check out Henn’s full review of the Cocoon Chill mattress to learn more.

Fhma24 Nectar Premier Copper Memory Foam Mattress Reina Galhea Full Mattress 3 Msedit
REINA GALHEA/FAMILY HANDYMAN REINA GALHEA/FAMILY HANDYMAN

Best Mattress in a Box for Back Pain

Nectar Premier Copper

Pros:

  • Ideal firmness for those with back or shoulder pain
  • Great option for side and back sleepers
  • Threaded in copper, the cover is silky smooth and cooling
  • Zero motion transfer
  • Full-year, risk-free trial period and forever warranty
  • Free shipping and returns

Cons:

  • Mattress is thick and very heavy, so two are needed to set it up
  • Minimal edge support

Anyone who suffers from back issues understands how sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress for just one night can result in insufferable pain. “A mattress that does not provide sufficient support can lead to worsening back pain because it places the spine in an abnormal position which can also result in nerve irritation which can cause sciatica symptoms traveling down the legs,” explains Dr. Whang.

Deputy shopping editor Reina Galhea suffered from neck and back pain before discovering the Nectar Premier Copper. This five-layer hybrid mattress offers the stabilizing support of memory foam with breathable and cooling copper technology to combat overheating.

The mattress is heavy at around 100 pounds and requires two people to carry and set up, but the struggle is worth it. Galhea notes that the bed is quite “substantial” and “thicker and taller” compared to other boxed mattresses. “I was also immediately impressed by how plush and comfortable the mattress was, and the silky smooth-slash-cooling sensation of the copper threading,” she says. As for the smell, the initial “faint odor” dissipates within hours.

Nectar Premier Copper Memory Foam Mattress in bedroom
Reina Galhea/Family Handyman

After sleeping on it for “two restful years” with very little back pain, she maintains that the mattress has held up beautifully. As a “longtime side (and sometimes stomach) sleeper who is married to a back sleeper” she says it is comfortable for all sleeping positions. And, as her husband is a “thrasher,” she can also confirm that there is “virtually no motion transfer.”

For more details, check out Galhea’s full review on the Nectar Premier Copper mattress.

What to Look for When Buying a Mattress in a Box

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the best mattress in a box, as comfort is relative depending on your needs. The first thing to consider is your sleeping position. Back and stomach sleepers are generally more comfortable with a firm foam or hybrid mattress, while side sleepers need a softer mattress to cushion pressure points.

Also, consider your body temperature. If you sleep hot and often wake up sweating, you should consider investing in a cooling mattress. Other factors include body weight, motion transfer (especially if you are sleeping with another person or large pets) and chemical concerns. There is also preference, as some people prefer memory foam while others appreciate coils. And, as with any purchase, budget also has to be considered.

Why You Should Trust Us

We enlisted the help of our trusty editors to personally test out the best mattresses in a box and give us their honest feedback. We also talked with Peter G. Whang, MD, FAAOS, FACS, an orthopaedic spine surgeon at Yale Medicine, to offer insight from a health perspective in terms of what to look for in a mattress.

How We Found the Best Mattress in a Box

Here at Family Handyman, we strive to find the best products to make your shopping experience easier. Our editors and writers offer years of experience testing mattresses, cumulatively sleeping on dozens of options in a box for months. We considered everything from budget and quality to overall comfort. Only the best mattresses made it on our list.

FAQ

Is a mattress in a box worth it?

Mattresses in a box are definitely worth it, depending on the brand and model. In general, bed-in-a-box brands offer a longer trial period, meaning if you aren’t happy with your mattress, you can get a refund.

Do mattresses in a box last?

Yes, just like traditional mattresses, if you invest in a high-quality mattress in a box, it should last you for several years. And just like traditional mattresses, many brands offer generous warranties.

Does a bed-in-a-box need a box spring?

Mattresses in a box do not need a box spring if you have a platform or base. However, if you don’t, you will need to get a box spring.

Source:

  • Peter G. Whang, MD, FAAOS, FACS, an orthopaedic spine surgeon at Yale Medicine and associate professor at the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale School of Medicine