Searching for the best mattress online is a waking nightmare, and picking the wrong one 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 dedicated mattress review sites than stars in the sky.
A few years ago, we started this guide by filling a room with dozens of beds from top mattress-in-a-box companies and spent several days examining, reclining, and even jumping on each of them. We’ve since upgraded our process. Testers now spend weeks or months sleeping on each mattress in their homes; we’ve only included mattresses WIRED reviewers have spent at least a week sleeping on. These are our favorites.
Be sure to read our other sleep guides, including the Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers, Best Organic Mattresses, Best Bed Sheets, Best Bed Frames, and Best Sleep Trackers.
Updated November 2023: We’ve added the Bear Elite, Saatva Classic, and Sealy Cocoon, plus added two even cheaper mattresses for tight budgets.
How To Pick A Mattress
You’ll spend a third of your life on a mattress, which means picking the right one is important. Start with your preferred sleeping position and how much support you need. Here are a few tips.
Firm or soft? Generally, heavier people and back or stomach sleepers will do better with firmer mattresses, while lighter people and side sleepers enjoy softer mattresses. Temperature is also an issue: Softer mattresses sleep warmer since your body is sinking into a layer of fabric and foam. Keep in mind that all mattresses have a break-in period, and the way the mattress feels on your first night won’t be how it feels after a week or two.
Hybrid or foam? The next big question is whether you want a foam mattress or a hybrid model that layers foam with built-in springs. We tend to recommend hybrids because they are more stable and supportive, and they usually stay cooler. Hybrids are often slightly pricier.
What size do you need? The prices below are based on the queen size, but almost all mattresses come in the standard sizes of Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King. You’ll want to buy a mattress based on the size of your bed frame.
Set up. Most of these mattresses are delivered in a box, vacuum-sealed, and rolled up. Some are pretty heavy—up to 150 pounds—so be sure you have someone to help you. After you unroll your bed-in-a-box mattress and cut the vacuum bag open, it’ll immediately begin to inflate, so unbox it on your bed frame or near it. We have a helpful guide on how to set up the mattress you bought online with more tips. The mattresses are usually ready to go in a few hours, but most manufacturers recommend giving them two days to reach their normal state.
Buy it on sale. Mattresses go on sale often. If you see one at full price, there’s a strong chance you can save hundreds of dollars by waiting for the next big sale event (every few months).
What if you don’t like it? Most of the mattresses we have tested and recommend have at least a 100-night testing period and a 10-year warranty. You may want to look at the company’s policy as you may be on the hook for a nominal return fee.