The search for The best mattress online is a waking nightmare, and choosing the wrong mattress can literally cause bad dreams or kill your back. It doesn’t help that the online market is flooded with options or that there are more sites dedicated to mattress reviews than there are stars in the sky.
A few years ago, we started this guide by filling a room with dozens of beds from the best mattress-in-a-box companies and spent several days examining, laying down, and even jumping on each one. Since then, we have improved our process. Testers now spend weeks or months sleeping on every mattress in their home; We’ve only included mattresses that WIRED reviewers have spent at least a week sleeping on. These are our favorites.
Updated November 2023: We’ve added the Bear Elite, Saatva Classic, and Sealy Cocoon, plus two even cheaper mattresses for those on a tight budget.
How to choose a mattress
You’ll spend a third of your life on a mattress, which means it’s important to choose the right one. Start with your preferred sleeping position and the support you need. Here are a few tips.
Firm or soft? In general, heavier people and those who sleep on their backs or stomachs will do better with firmer mattresses, while lighter people and those who sleep on their sides will enjoy softer mattresses. Temperature is also an issue: Softer mattresses sleep hotter since your body sinks into a layer of fabric and foam. Keep in mind that all mattresses have a break-in period and the feel of the mattress on your first night will not be the same as it will be after a week or two.
Hybrid or foam? The next big question is whether you want a foam mattress or a foam-overlay hybrid model with built-in coils. We tend to recommend hybrids because they are more stable and supportive, and they generally stay cooler. Hybrids are often slightly more expensive.
What size do you need? The prices below are based on queen size, but almost all mattresses are available in standard sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King. You will want to purchase a mattress based on the size of your bed frame.
Facility. Most of these mattresses come in a box, vacuum sealed and rolled up. Some are quite heavy – up to 150 pounds – so make sure you have someone to help you. After unrolling your bed-in-a-box mattress and opening the vacuum bag, it will immediately begin to expand, so unwrap it on or near your bed frame. We have a helpful guide on how to install the mattress you bought online with more tips. Mattresses are usually ready to use within a few hours, but most manufacturers recommend giving them two days to return to normal.
Buy it on sale. Mattresses are often on sale. If you see one at full price, chances are you can save hundreds of dollars while you wait for the next big sales event (every few months).
What if you don’t like it? Most of the mattresses we have tested and recommended have a testing period of at least 100 nights and a 10-year warranty. You may want to review the company’s policy, as you may have to pay a nominal return shipping fee.