Mattresses often fall to the bottom of the priority list when decorating our homes. When we're young, we spend years sleeping on hand-me-down mattresses brought from our childhood homes or left behind by old roommates. Unlike other home purchases like bedding, sofas, and rugs, a mattress is something you seldom see—which makes the shopping underwhelming. In a sense, shopping for a mattress is a little like shopping for a washer/dryer that will be hidden in a closet—you'll never look at it, but you want it to do the job right.
While we spend a large part of our 20s essentially ignoring the importance of a good mattress, there usually comes a breaking point. Maybe it's due to intense chronic back pain, or a particularly comfortable night at a five-star hotel, but it usually comes as a revelation: Yes, it is possible to have a good night's sleep and wake up feeling great—and it has more to do with our mattress than waking up sans hangover. But unlike other large purchases where you can see the quality of the wood or feel the softness of the fabrics, mattresses all come perfectly packaged, their quality securely sealed beyond what eyes can see.
A new crop of mattress-in-a-box companies is hoping to change the way we shop for the perfect night's sleep. Instead of awkwardly lying down in large mattress showrooms, we now purchase online—with the promise of easy return if we're not entirely satisfied. To help guide your search for the perfect mattress, our editors tested many of the direct-to-consumer mattresses and reviewed every last detail on a scale of one to five. Ready to take the leap to a brand-new mattress? Read each of these in-depth mattress reviews carefully—your best sleep ever awaits.
First Impressions: "The first time I saw it was when the delivery crew unboxed it in my room. I was shocked by how quickly the mattress took its form after unpacking it. I could tell by looking at it, it was going to be like sleeping on a cloud. 5/5
The Delivery: "The delivery was flawless, the team arranging a time for the mattress s to arrive and the whole process only took around 15 mins. The men were in and out and they took my old mattress with them which was super convenient." 5/5
The Ease of Install: "Couldn't have been easier, the men were super helpful and even helped me adjust my bed frame." 5/5
The Softness/Firmness: "The first few nights were like sleeping on the fluffiest cloud.
After sleeping on it for a few weeks I did notice it was actually a bit firmer than my old mattress since I prefer a softer feel the team sent me a feather topper to add to my experience and it's been delightful. It's just what I need in terms of support and comfort." 4/5
The Price: "Ringing in right under $2000, I'd say it hits a great price point." 5/5
The Support: "With the feather topper and linen sheets from Parachute, I can say my night's sleep has definitely been given an upgrade. The medium firm mattress is great for sleepers who prefer a bit of firmness." 4/5
Final Score: 28/30
First Impressions: "The first time I saw it, it looked like a cloud, literally. And being that my former mattress was not the highest quality I was super impressed by the fabric and stitching on the mattress. You can tell from looking at it that it's really well made." 5/5
The Delivery: "We had a few hiccups in the delivery process. I found it a bit hard to take time out of work to call and sort out details, but overall the company was super helpful and attentive to my needs and worked with my schedule to accommodate delivery dates and finalization of details. Plus they were super nice!" 4/5
The Ease of Install: "It took 10 minutes tops to get it off the truck and set it up in my room. Overall the actual installation was very fluid and the delivery men were helpful." 4/5
The Softness/Firmness: "I don't think I've actually slept that well in a really long time. I got the relaxed firm memory foam mattress, so when I laid down it would essentially 'wrap' itself around me, burrito style—which I love. It's a great choice if you kind of like to sink into a bed and have it push you back up. I also found that my old bed would often become overheated, but based on how this mattress shapes to your body, I never felt overly cold or hot during the night." 5/5
The Price: "Considering that it's a memory foam mattress, it's a really good price compared to other brands which can run you up to $3000. What I learned by transferring from my cheap $300 mattress to this one is that you really do get what you pay for, and this mattress is a great price for people who want to invest in a good mattress but aren't trying to spend too much." 5/5
The Support: "I normally wake up a bit sore from tossing and turning and from the stiffness of my previous mattress, but I woke up feeling energized. It has the right amount of support—it's not stiff and matches your body perfectly. It's literally a cloud." 5/5
Final Score: 28/30
First Impressions: "Having fallen in love with my parent's Tempurpedic bed when I was younger, I've always wanted a mattress with a similar softness and consistency. For me, the Sonno mattress is perfect—you sort of melt into it a bit as you fall asleep, to the point where it's that much harder for me to get out of bed in the morning. The pillows are extremely comfortable as well. The only complaint here is they are probably not the best option for someone who likes a very flat, cushy pillow, as they hold their form surprisingly well/keep your head a bit propped up." 5/5
The Delivery: "Having gotten multiple email updates regarding the mattress delivery, I planned to work a half day from home in order to buzz in the UPS worker upon arrival. Given a four-hour delivery window from 2:45 to 6:45 p.m., I left work around two, only to find the two large mattress boxes sitting in my building entryway when I returned home (earlier than I had anticipated). Considering I live in a fifth-floor walk-up and was alone at the time, this was a bit problematic. Thankfully, I enlisted the help of two men who happened to be in the midst of re-tiling my apartment building, who graciously agreed to help me carry the boxes up the 10 flights of stairs.
Aside from the consistent email updates regarding delivery, the delivery was more stressful than anticipated—more UPS's fault, however." 1/5
The Ease of Install: "Although the mattress was easy to install, the bed frame assembly was a three-hour process I did not complete until around 11 p.m. after work. I'll accept the blame for not double-checking the website regarding assembly, but I was very surprised how much there was to put together—especially considering that the whole idea behind the mattress is portability and ease of install. That being said, I also probably struggled with this more than the average person would, considering I'm not at all industrious and live in a very small apartment.
As far as the mattress itself, aside from it being a little heavy, the roll-out was simple, convenient, and done within 10 minutes." 2/5
The Softness/Firmness: "As I previously mentioned, the Sonno mattress is the perfect combination of softness and firmness for me. While you definitely melt into it just a touch, it's in no way too much, and it doesn't give you the sense that it could be bad for your back. I wouldn't say it's the best option for someone who likes a really hard bed, but I think it toes the line between softness and firmness perfectly. For reference, I ordered a firm/medium mattress." 5/5
The Price: "For the quality, I think the Sonno mattress is very reasonably priced! I would recommend to a friend/family member." 4/5
The Support: "Although I have only slept on the mattress for a little under a week now, I do think it provides a good sense of back support and doesn't seem to have too much give to it. As a person who likes a softer mattress/something you can sink into a bit, it's the perfect combination for me. I toss and turn a lot in my sleep, and I can take anywhere from a half hour to two hours to actually fall asleep. But I actually think I fall asleep more quickly on this mattress, because it doesn't have the same bounciness as a regular spring mattress and absorbs my movements throughout the night.
That's probably my favorite part about it!" 4/5
Final Score: 21/30
First Impressions: "The fact that I was able to buy online, unpack the mattress and lift it on my bed on my own makes me want to never go back to the days of traditional in-store mattress shopping and delivery. I love that I was able to shop my mattress online and have it delivered to my door." 5/5
The Delivery: "The delivery man was kind to bring the box up to my apartment and into the hallway, but dragging the box three feet to my bed made me sweat a few drops. I also came this close to unwrapping it upside down—I'm so glad I didn't! Turning it over might have been a little tricky on my own." 4/5
The Ease of Install: "After propping it on the bed, and cutting through the multiple layers of packaging—vacuum seal is real—I watched the mattress come to life like magic. I only wish I had gotten my Snapchat ready!" 5/5
The Softness/Firmness: "The first time I sat on the mattress, it didn’t really bounce, and I remember being worried that it would be too firm. As it turns out—it’s absolutely perfect. I never wake up with backaches—unless I’m sleeping at a hotel. In fact, even the cushiest of hotel beds now give me backaches. I notice the difference right away." 5/5
The Price: "Given that I once spent three times the Tuft & Needle price for a memory foam mattress that didn’t feel as comfortable, I consider this mattress a steal." 5/5
The Support: "I had read that Tuft & Needle was on the firmer side, and it made me a little nervous at first, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I feel like my back feels much better now that I’ve had my mattress for a while. I also can’t get out of bed in the morning—which is a testament of how comfortable it is. I’m definitely a firm-mattress convert. To get that cozy feeling, I just make sure that everything else—the pillows and the duvet—are extra fluffy. It’s the best of both worlds." 5/5
Final Score: 29/30
First Impressions: "I was into their packaging—it's cheeky and conversational, with text on the box that said something like, "Read me before opening further." Then it read my impatient mind and said "Didn't read the guide? That's okay, just puncture the bag and watch your mattress come to life." It's creepy how the mattress can come to life, but at least it lives up to its big talk!" 5/5
The Delivery: "The delivery was super easy! The customer service agent, Diane, sent me the tracking info and when they didn't deliver it the first time (FedEx's fault, not YogaBed's), she called them for me! Saint Diane." 5/5
The Ease of Install: "I'm a 5'4" lady with zero strength in the deltoid/bicep region, yet I was able to do the entire process alone! The boxes are designed with handle cutouts to make it easier to carry. There wasn't an excess of packing materials, and it's vacuum packed, so the compression makes it easy to lift onto your box spring." 5/5
The Softness/Firmness: "Being of the memory foam sort, it's a lot cushier than what I'm used to. It's also slimmer and less deep than my previous mattress, so I'm adjusting. After four nights of sleeping on it, though, I'm well rested. This weekend, I lounged around in bed a lot longer than I usually do because it's so comfortable. Like a cloud!" 5/5
The Price: "I think for a queen mattress, [it] is really affordable. It also comes with two memory foam pillows and there's a removable zipper cover to make it easy to wash." 5/5
The Support: "I'm not well-versed in mattress jargon, but the memory foam feels pretty supportive. I had a more traditional mattress before, and I don't ever wake up sore or stiff with this one since it adjusts to your body."
Final Score: 30/30
First Impressions: "I was shocked an entire mattress could fit in such a compact box. It wasn't difficult to get up my third-floor walkup on my own, which is a feat, so that was incredible news. First impression—definitely favorable." 5/5
The Delivery: "The delivery came early! It's usually pretty difficult to rely on packages to my house because I live in New York, work full time, and don't have a doorman." 5/5
The Ease of Install: "It was super easy to unwrap and set up on my bed. In fact, in comparison to how difficult it was to move and deal with my old mattress, it was basically mind-blowing." 5/5
The Softness/Firmness: "The mattress itself is thinner than I expected, so I was worried it wouldn't be comfortable. It's firm but still kind of mushy, which I love." 4/5
The Price: "I'm really, really impressed! For the price, this mattress was everything it claims and more." 5/5
The Support: "I would have liked it to be a bit thicker with more a pillow-top if I had my druthers." 4/5
Final Score: 28/30
First Impressions: "Customer service was impeccable and everything was just as described. The size and weight of the box was a bit intimidating, but the fact that an entire mattress fits in a box is pretty amazing! I'd recommend having your partner there or a BFF and a bottle of wine for the unrolling process." 5/5
The Delivery: "I was so happy to receive email updates about the status of my mattress and knew exactly when I would expect it, which was perfect for me since I needed to plan on being at home. However, the delivery attendant wouldn't bring the box up my stairs, so I had to carry it quite far, which I was not prepared to do. An option for old mattress removal would be a great addition to Helix's website." 2/5
The Ease of Install: "I had to phone a friend to help me move the mattress! If I could do it all over again, I would've rolled the box into my bedroom instead of taking it out of the box and carrying the rolled up mattress to my bedroom." 3/5
The Softness/Firmness: "Before I filled out the customization quiz on Helix's website, I perused some reviews which said their mattress tended to be on the firmer side. So, I opted for 'semi-firm' although with a typical mattress I would've gone for 'firm'. Semi-firm seemed like the right fit; I just wish it was slightly firmer." 4/5
The Price: "The retail price of my custom full-size Helix mattress is $850 and given that one of the three layers is made of polyurethane, I didn't think this was a great value. However, I'm on board with the micro coil and natural latex layers. After doing some research, I found that the most toxic part of polyurethane mattress foam is usually the flame-retardant chemical that is required by law. After calling up Helix's customer service line and speaking to a wonderful agent, my mind was eased knowing that the flame-retardant casing around the three-layered mattress contains silica instead of one of the harmful sprays or chemicals I was worried about.
I also found it completely necessary to order a mattress topper, so unless you're used to sleeping on a foam mattress you may want to add that expense to your budget." 2/5
The Support: "The Helix customization quiz asks you about your height, weight, and body shape. After sleeping on the mattress, it did feel like the natural latex layer gave me more hip support than I've felt with other mattresses. Consider me impressed." 5/5
Final Score: 21/30
First Impressions: "Packaging is everything, and the mattress arrived in one large box that came with easy-to-read instruction and a thank-you note. Adorable." 5/5
The Delivery: "It arrived exactly when I requested it on a Sunday afternoon, and inside the box was instructions on how exactly to unravel the rolled-up mattress." 5/5
The Ease of Install: "The mattress is huge and so it took two of us to pull it out of the box and then I needed a pair of scissors to remove the binding. Would've been nice if the binding was able to be removed with one swift rip, like a UPS envelope." 4/5
The Softness/Firmness: "I wish the mattress was a tad firmer." 3/5
The Price: "Beyond affordable." 5/5
The Support: "Even though it's not as firm as I would prefer, the mattress is so deep that it feels like nothing could derail my sleep. Whenever I'm climbing into bed, it feels like I'm climbing onto a mountain, like The Princess and the Pea. The height of the mattress makes me feel like I'm miles away from any uncomfortable element—be it my phone or a pea. It's so comfortable, I really could only use one word to describe it: dreamy." 4/5
Final Score: 26/30
First Impressions: "The design of this mattress is really clean and modern, which I like. And each side is clearly marked with a + sign for firm and a – sign for soft, so it was easy to identify which side is which. When I first laid down on the bed it was a great feeling. The mattress was very soft and immediately started contouring to my body." 5/5
The Delivery: "When I ordered my mattress, I received a confirmation email saying that I would receive it in less than a week. Unfortunately, due to some technological errors with UPS, it was more like 10–14 business days. When the mattress arrived, the box was in pretty poor condition due to what looked like some rough travels." 3/5
The Ease of Install: "Setting up the mattress is the fun part! When you cut open the vacuum-packed bag, the mattress immediately comes to life, expanding to its normal size and shape—definitely a Snapchat-worthy moment! While the mattress is quite heavy, I was able to maneuver it on my own." 5/5
The Softness/Firmness: "The Fleep bed is reversible, allowing you to choose between a firm or soft side. I started with the firm, but after two nights of tossing and turning, I decided to give the soft side a try, which was considerably more comfortable. That being said, I’m still waking up with some back discomfort, so it might be that both sides are not able to offer the support I really need." 3/5
The Price: "I’ve been shopping for a new bed for quite a while and found the prices in most department stores and mattress shops to be quite steep. So a two-in-one king mattress is a great deal!" 5/5
The Support: "The memory foam molds to your body, which is cozy at first, but I didn’t feel that it really supported me throughout the evening." 3/5
Final Score: 24/30
First Impressions: "Probably more the fault of FedEx than of Luxi, but the packaging arrived pretty beat-up and almost open at the top. I was a little nervous, but hopeful! The first impression of the mattress itself was great—the gray and white zip-off exterior cover is oddly elegant. I was kind of sad to put my sheets on it." 4/5
The Delivery: "Super simple. No one loves waiting around during a delivery window, but it was just like getting any other package delivered, although the FedEx guy was a little flustered by the density of the box." 4/5
The Ease of Install: "The first thing you see as you open the Luxi box is a clever little letter opener and a sheet of instructions that are basically foolproof. They instruct you to unbox the mattress in the same room in which it is going to be used, ideally on the bed itself, and then use the letter opener to slice off the vacuum-sealed plastic covering. Opening it anywhere but on the bed would have been a total disaster, as it's quite heavy and expands very quickly once opened, but luckily, we followed directions and after some minor shifting around, the mattress was in place and ready to go in five minutes flat.
There was no weird foam smell like we'd been warned about, too, which was great." 5/5
The Softness/Firmness: "I lost many minutes during my delivery window watching Luxi's weirdly hypnotic informational video, so I was irrationally excited to unzip the mattress cover and poke around all the weird-shaped foam. It arrives on the "medium" setting, which we both liked when we laid down, so we decided to try out their go-to first. The only thing either I or my partner felt was a downside was that unlike with a more traditionally structured mattress, the edges of the Luxi, and really all memory foam mattresses, sort of collapse when you put weight directly on them.
Since one of us kicks in his sleep like a Labrador dreaming of squirrels (more on that later!), banishment to the edge of the bed is a regular part of our sleep ritual, and it felt a little unstable over there." 5/5
The Price: "Luxi is a little more expensive than some of the other mattress-in-a-box companies, but it felt like a really good value to me. I've slept happily on a traditional spring mattress with a memory-foam pillowtop for years that was about $200 less than Luxi, but had been wanting to make the leap to the brand-name memory foam mattress that everyone can't stop talking about, which is about $500 more than Luxi. Since my mattress was due to be replaced anyway, it felt like a really reasonable upgrade." 4/5
The Support: "My back and hips were plenty sore after a solid ModelFit class in the morning, and I woke up feeling great. I tend to sleep on my side, and often wake up with one hipbone numb from being pressed into my mattress springs all night; I could definitely feel the benefit of having a little more room to sink in. I was also impressed with how cool the mattress was to sleep on—I was worried something dense enough to support us would hold a lot of heat, but I didn't notice that at all. It wasn't as soft as either of us expected, just really, really comfortable.
We're going to keep experimenting with the different settings to see if there is anything better for us, because what could be more fun than making my partner flip parts of our mattress literally every single week for the next month and then making him answer detailed questions first thing in the morning? Very little, I suspect.
In short, I cannot say enough about how much this mattress is going to do for my relationship. We moved in together less than a month ago, and I've basically been sleep-deprived ever since—between the kicking and the snoring and getting up in the night, I haven't really been well-rested in weeks. I didn't notice him move or get out of bed once the first night we slept on the Luxi, and apart from a few truly egregious minutes, he was either in a better sleeping position and not snoring, or I was simply too deeply asleep to notice, but it was bliss.
My partner would like it to be known that I elbowed him in the head because I was so comfortable I actually fell sleep on my back, something I rarely do, but otherwise he didn't feel any motion either, so we agree it's an all-around win." 5/5
Final Score: 27/30
First Impressions: "Well, this is awesome! I was sleeping on a mattress that was left behind by the woman who used to live in my apartment (gross, I know, but cut me a break, I graduated four months ago!), and I honestly didn't realize how terrible it was until I used all of my body weight to push it down my stairwell and onto the sidewalk where it belongs. (Seriously, how did I sleep on that thing for three months?) So this mattress was basically a lifesaver." 5/5
The Delivery: "It magically arrived in front of my bedroom door. Someone carried it all the way up my four flights of stairs, and the box was heavy! (I know because I had to move it approximately three inches from my door into my bedroom, which was obviously really strenuous.)" 5/5
The Ease of Install: "So easy. So easy, in fact, that there were only four instructions that were printed on the box itself, no need for a 20-page instruction manual. Each instruction had maybe five words; it was quite impressive. When I first saw the instructions, I thought there was NO WAY installing this thing was actually that easy but it was. The most difficult step was getting the thing out of the very intense plastic wrapping. I plopped it on my box spring, undid the aforementioned wrapping, and immediately it started expanding into the perfect mattress that it is.
It was some serious sorcery." 5/5
The Softness/Firmness: "I'm super into it. Can we talk about how amazing it is that I didn't die on my old mattress?" 5/5
The Price: "To be honest, if I was buying a mattress right now, I definitely couldn't afford this baby, but maybe I would take the plunge and invest and just not eat for three months to pay for it because that's how life-changing it is. Yes, that was a long sentence that maybe divulged too much about my financial situation, but the moral of the story is that I'd probably fork over $1 million for it and never look back because I could sleep on this cloud for the rest of my life (and probably will!)." 4/5
The Support: "Compared to my old mattress, this thing is a dream. I think the support is *100* but that could just be because I was sleeping on a literal pile of rocks before the Leesa entered my life." 5/5
Final Score: 29/30
Next up: Here's a look at the coolest bedrooms on Pinterest.
Disclaimer: The products above were sent to MyDomaine for editorial review.
This story was originally published on October 9, 2016, and has since been updated.