Mattress In A Box
“Bed in a box” mattress models have become hugely popular with consumers in recent years. Historically, mattress shoppers visited brick-and-mortar stores to select a new bed and coordinate home delivery. Today’s bed in a box brands allow customers to purchase and order a mattress entirely online.
These brands face lower overhead costs than their brick-and-mortar competitors, allowing them to sell mattresses at much cheaper price-points. The best online mattress brands also provide free mattress delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. and provide sleep trials, during which buyers can test out the new bed to determine if it will be a suitable long-term investment.
Best Mattress in a Box Reviews and Buying Guide
What is a Mattress in a Box?
The term “mattress in a box” or “bed in a box” refers to any model from an online mattress brand that is compressed and placed in a box for delivery. The term “bed in a bag” may also be used. These mattresses are comparable to models sold in brick-and-mortar stores in terms of construction and performance. The key difference is pricing. Online brands face lower overhead costs because they do not operate many (if any) physical stores or employ commissioned salespeople. As a result, mattresses in a box tend to be much cheaper than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
Preparing a mattress for shipping in a box is fairly straightforward. The mattress is compressed using a large press, encased in plastic, and rolled into a cylindrical shape. This process – also known as “roll packing” – reduces the mattress to a much more compact size, allowing it to fit in a box that can be shipped via standard ground delivery.
A common misconception among consumers is that roll packing causes permanent damage to the mattress. However, mattresses in a box are designed to be highly resilient. Once the plastic wrapping is removed, the layers will expand until the bed reaches its full intended shape. The foams, coils, and other components should fully recover in one to two days without any sort of damage.
What Are the Benefits of Buying a Bed in a Box?
There are many reasons to choose an online mattress brand over a brick-and-mortar seller. These include the following:
- Lower prices: As we mentioned above, mattresses in a box tend to be fairly inexpensive compared to models sold in stores. This is largely due to higher overhead costs for brick-and-mortar brands, who need to operate physical locations and employ a large number of sales staff.
- More convenient shopping: Online mattress purchases can be completed with a few mouse clicks, and do not require any store visits. Buying online can be especially beneficial for people who live in rural areas.
- No sales staff: Most brick-and-mortar mattress stores employ salespeople who work on commission. These employees are certainly knowledgeable about products and often helpful sources of information for buyers. However, some customers find mattress sales staff a bit too pushy. Online brands often offer live web chat with customer service personnel, but shoppers can browse the website and ask questions as they arise without feeling pressure from salespeople. Most mattress websites also contain detailed product specs and images shoppers can use to compare different brands and models.
- Free delivery: Thanks to the compression process, mattresses in a box can be shipped for free via FedEx, USPS, and other ground couriers. Online brands generally offer free delivery throughout the contiguous U.S., and some extend this to customers in Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. territories and/or Canada. A small number of online brands offer free White Glove delivery, which includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal, but most charge an extra fee for this service.
- Sleep trials: Many consumers are apprehensive about buying a mattress they haven’t personally tried. At brick-and-mortar stores, customers may test out a variety of models. However, lying on a mattress for a few minutes may not provide an accurate representation of how the bed feels night after night. Most online brands offer sleep trials that allow customers to test out a mattress for a certain length of time, during which they can decide whether to keep the mattress, return it for a refund, or (if available) exchange it for a different model. Most sleep trials run at least 90 nights, and some span up to one year in length.
How to Buy a Mattress in a Box
The best online mattress brands strive to make the purchasing process as easy as possible for customers. We recommend the following steps for selecting and buying a new mattress:
Research different brands: In order to find the most suitable mattress, shoppers should take time to learn about different models. This can help them understand differences in construction, pricing, and performance. Some of the best-known online mattress companies include Allswell, Brooklyn Bedding, Casper, Nectar, Saatva, and Tuft & Needle, but buyers can choose from hundreds of brands.
Review the top pick(s): After extensive research, shoppers should be able to narrow down their options to one or two mattresses. Spend a few more minutes reevaluating these models to ensure they are the best choices. Online product specs and images, as well as mattress in a box reviews, can be very helpful during this step.
Chat with customer support: Most online mattress brands offer some sort of live web chat with customer service representatives. They can answer any burning questions about the top mattress picks. If webchat isn’t available, consider emailing or calling the company’s customer service department.
Look for promotions: Online mattress brands often offer coupons and discounts for certain models. In most cases, the details for these promotions will be prominently displayed on the bed’s product page or elsewhere on the company’s website. These discounts may amount to hundreds of dollars off the original asking price. Additionally, purchasing a mattress during a holiday sale can result in big savings. Sales are commonly held during major holidays such as Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and Veterans’ Day, as well as major shopping days like Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
Buy the mattress: As they would on other vendor websites, customers should select the mattress they want in their desired size. They will be redirected to a purchasing page to enter their name, address, phone number, and payment information. They may also be asked to select a shipping method if more than one is available. After all of the required information has been entered, customers may complete their purchase. They should receive a confirmation email from the brand shortly thereafter.
Mattresses in a box may be removed from their packaging as soon as they reach the customer’s residence. The process for unboxing a new bed is as follows:
- Bring the box to the bedroom where the mattress will be used. Though compact, the box may be quite heavy since compressing the mattress does not affect its overall weight (most queen size models weigh at least 75 pounds). Two or more people may be needed to carry the box into the bed’s intended room.
- Open the box and remove the roll-packed mattress. We recommend depositing it onto the foundation or base on which it will be used, since the bed may be more difficult to move once it fully expands.
- Carefully cut through the layers of plastic with a pair of scissors. The plastic is somewhat thin, so do not let the blade come into contact with the mattress itself. There will be multiple plastic layers. Before cutting the final layer, unroll the mattress until it is flat and arrange it on the foundation with the head and foot in their appropriate positions. Also make sure the mattress is not upside down.
- Cut the final plastic layer. The mattress will immediately begin to expand, but it will not be ready for use. The shape recovery process may take anywhere from six to 48 hours, depending on the mattress. Don’t worry if the mattress feels excessively saggy at first – this simply means more recovery time is needed.
- Don’t wait too long to unbox the mattress. Leaving a bed in its box for two weeks or longer can cause permanent structural damage. Many mattress brands specify the maximum number of days a mattress can remain in its original packaging. If the bed is not unboxed during this time and damage occurs, the warranty may be voided.
Most new mattresses emit off-gassing smells due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are released when the bed is unboxed. VOCs are relatively harmless but they carry a distinct chemical odor that many people find unpleasant. In most cases, mattresses will stop producing these smells after a few days, if not sooner. However, some mattress materials are associated with stronger and/or more persistent odor.
Models with foam layers tend to emit more off-gassing smells. Memory foam and all-polyfoam mattresses usually receive the most odor-related complaints from owners. Innersprings, hybrids, and airbeds may also carry off-gassing smells due to foam components in their comfort and transitional layers, but their coil systems often promote strong airflow to make odors dissipate more quickly.
The fewest reports of bothersome off-gassing smells come from latex mattress owners. Although organic and natural latex can carry a rubber-like odor, these materials do not produce VOCs. That said, mattresses with synthetic or blended latex may emit VOCs due to certain chemical fillers in the latex foam.
Off-gassing is rarely a serious long-term issue for mattress owners, but those who are sensitive to strong smells may find memory foam or all-polyfoam beds a bit overwhelming. We recommend a latex, innerspring, hybrid, or airbed model to these individuals instead.
Foundations and Platforms
Rather than placing a mattress directly on the floor, many owners support their bed with a base of some kind. Options for these support systems include:
- Box spring: Most box springs feature a wooden frame and steel springs encased in a cloth cover. Some newer models have metal frames, as well. Box springs usually measure between 5 and 9 inches thick. They provide sturdy support and the springs absorb shock from sleepers in order to preserve the mattress and prevent wear and tear.
- Foundation: Also known as a bed frame, foundations often consist of metal or wooden slats that support the bottom of the mattress and thick rails to prevent the bed from slipping off the edges. Foundations do not absorb shock as well as box springs, but they tend to provide more overall support.
- Platform bed: A platform bed is essentially a slatted foundation with a headboard. These beds may be a bit more stylish than standard foundations. Buyers can also select a panel bed, which features slats along with a headboard and footboard. Canopy and four-poster beds – both of which include corner posts – are also widely available.
- Adjustable base: An adjustable base can be elevated or lowered at the head and feet to change the sleeping angle. These bases can be particularly helpful for people with neck and back pain, chronic snorers, and others who experience discomfort lying on a flat mattress surface. However, they tend to be fairly pricey.
When choosing a foundation or base for a new mattress, be sure to check the bed’s product warranty. Many brands specify which support systems are acceptable. Conditions may include maximum slat widths and support system materials. Failure to use a proper support system may result in a voided warranty if damage occurs.
How Do You Know an Online Mattress Company Is Reputable?
Vetting brands is an important step during the mattress selection process. How can consumers tell which companies are reputable?
A good starting point is the Better Business Bureau (BBB), an independent nonprofit organization that reviews individual companies. The BBB awards letter grades based on a number of factors, such as time in business, number of customer complaints, and the company’s response (if any) to these complaints. Any brand with a BBB grade of ‘B’ or better should be considered fairly reputable. If the grade is lower, take a minute to read the reasons why an unfavorable rating was given.
Customer and owner reviews can also be a helpful source of information. However, we don’t recommend looking for reviews on the online mattress brand’s website. Many companies nest negative reviews in hard-to-find areas of the site or arrange all reviews in a way that makes them difficult to sort. Instead, visit online forums and message boards dedicated to mattress topics. The review and comment sections of mattress retailer websites may also offer insights into certain brands. Sites that distinguish “verified owners” from other reviewers are most trustworthy. Also consider visiting websites that rate businesses based on customer reviews, such as Yelp And Trustpilot.
Lastly, perform a quick web search about the company to check for recent news and updates. Take time to look into other areas of the brand, as well, such as the country in which their beds are manufactured and feedback from former employees.
Shipping, Returns, and Warranties
Shipping, returns, and warranties are all very important factors to consider when buying a new bed in a box. When comparing online mattress brands, information for these three topics should be easily accessible and clearly worded.
Shipping options: A mattress product page will normally contain an overview of the customer’s shipping options. For more detailed information, customers should visit the site’s dedicated shipping and delivery page. If this page does not exist, then the FAQ page will likely contain all of the important details.
Shipping costs: Standard ground delivery is almost always free for customers in the contiguous U.S. Some brands also offer free shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and/or Canada. Additionally, a small number of companies provide free White Glove delivery, which includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal. However, most brands charge at least $100 for White Glove services and some include upcharges for old mattress removal. Expedited and overnight ground delivery will usually incur additional fees as well.
Delivery wait times: With standard ground shipping, customers should expect the mattress to arrive on their doorstep within two weeks of the original order. The customer’s address may factor into their wait time, as delivery to rural locations often takes longer. White Glove delivery may take two to three weeks, as the brand will need to coordinate the delivery with local couriers in the customer’s area. The upside to White Glove shipping is that customers can usually pinpoint a delivery date and time, whereas standard ground shipping does not offer a specific delivery timetable.
Ground shipping: Mattresses sent via standard ground delivery will be compressed and shipped in a box. Couriers will leave the mattress on the customer’s doorstep unless otherwise directed. If the customer lives in an apartment or other shared living space, the courier may choose to leave the box at the front desk. An adult does not need to be at the residence when the mattress arrives, and a signature will not be required for these deliveries.
White Glove delivery: Because White Glove couriers travel to the customer’s residence in a large truck, the mattress will not be compressed, but it may be wrapped in plastic or other materials to prevent external damage. Most White Glove deliveries require an adult to be present during the delivery, and a signature is also required. Prior to the couriers’ arrival, homeowners may be asked to clear the path between the front door and the bedroom where the mattress will be kept.
Return policy: An online mattress brand’s return policy will often be listed alongside information about their mattress sleep trial. As with delivery information, the return policy may be located on a dedicated “sleep trial and returns” page on the company’s website, or in the site FAQ.
Return costs: Online mattress brands almost always offer free returns within the sleep trial period. In most cases, the company will send a courier to the customer’s residence to retrieve the mattress and transport it for recycling or charitable donation. Once the mattress has been received by personnel, a full refund will be issued to the customer using their original form of payment. Some brands charge return fees, but these rarely exceed $100 if the return is requested during the trial period.
Return requirements: If couriers are not available to pick up the mattress, the brand may ask the customer to recycle or donate the bed themselves. Proof of either is often required to receive a full refund. The costs of recycling or donating the mattress may be reimbursed, as well.
Returns after the trial period ends: After the sleep trial concludes, mattress owners should defer to the product warranty. Very few companies offer full refunds for mattress returns beyond the trial period. However, refunds may be granted if the mattress develops a defect.
Warranty overview: A warranty is an agreement between a company and a consumer that offers protections against product defects and associated expenses. All mattresses come with some sort of warranty, which pledges the company will repair or replace any defective mattress at little to no extra cost to the owner (minus shipping charges). Most online mattress brands feature dedicated warranty pages on their website. If this information is not easily accessible, reach out to customer service representatives.
Warranty length: A standard mattress warranty spans 10 years in length, and begins either on the date of purchase or date of delivery. However, many brands offer longer warranties lasting 15, 20, or 25 years. “Lifetime warranties,” which cover the product until the owner relinquishes possession, are also fairly common.
Covered defects: Most mattress warranties include a list of “covered” defects that warrant a repair or replacement. These include “sagging depth,” referring to body impressions that form on the surface and can compromise support. A warranty may cover sagging that measures anywhere from a one-half inch to one and a half inches deep, depending on the brand. Other common covered defects include physical flaws in the mattress that cause materials to deteriorate prematurely, or manufacturing flaws related to the mattress cover.
Non-covered defects: A warranty should also list defects that do not qualify for free repairs or replacements. These often include impressions that do not reach the required sagging depth, issues that arise due to changes in the owner’s personal preferences, or physical damage such as burns, cuts, and stains. Problems that occur due to improper support systems or leaving the mattress in its box for too long may also be listed.
Prorated vs. non-prorated: A warranty may be either completely non-prorated or partially prorated. For a non-prorated warranty, the owner will not need to pay additional fees to have a defective mattress replaced. Prorated warranties work a bit differently. They begin with non-prorated coverage, but after a certain number of years owners will need to pay a certain percentage of the original price in order to replace their defective mattress. This percentage usually increases on an annual basis until the warranty expires.
For example, let’s say a 20-year warranty offers 10 years of non-prorated coverage. Beginning in year 11, owners must pay 50 percent of the original mattress price to replace their defective bed. In year 12, this rate increases to 55 percent, then 60 percent in year 13, and so on.
Transferability: Mattress warranties are non-transferable. This means anyone who buys or acquires the mattress from its original purchases will not receive warranty coverage. Additionally, buyers who purchase their mattress from a non-authorized retailer do not qualify for the warranty.