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What Is A Bed In A Box?

What is a bed in a box? It sounds strange doesn't it! The short answer is, it's a mattress that comes rolled up in a box, which you then open, let expand, and sleep on!I think it's name is a play on that classic children's' toy: the Jack in a Box, which springs out of its box to give giggly children a surprise. Mattresses in a box tend to pop out of their boxes and start expanding quickly, so that's why it draws the comparison. Further down the post, you'll see a fun action video of a mattress expanding.

what is a bed in a boxWhat Is A Bed In A Box?

What is a bed in a box? It sounds strange doesn’t it! The short answer is, it’s a mattress that comes rolled up in a box, which you then open, let expand, and sleep on! Further down the post, you’ll see a fun action video of a mattress expanding.

What mattresses are sold in boxes? Are they any good? Why are they so cheap? How can I know if it’s right for me if I haven’t tried it in the shop first? Do I buy just a mattress or do I need to buy a new box spring or frame all at once? These are probably just some of the questions going through your mind as you consider beds in boxes. I’ll answer them for you, and tell you about the best options on the market.

What Kind of Mattresses Are Sold In Boxes?

Thanks to the evolution of the roll pack machine, most mattress types can compacted down for shipping in a box. The three most popular types for every day use are:

  • memory foam mattress (which usually have a soft memory foam comfort layer and a firmer polyfoam core)
  • latex mattress (which is made of latex: it might be organic, natural, or synthetic)
  • hybrid mattress (this mattress type has a coil support system and a foam comfort layer, the foam could be memory foam or latex)

These mattress types all have their pros and cons, and most people can find a mattress that works very well for them within this range. From my experience of the online mattress market, memory foam mattresses are by far the most common and are very popular.

My personal preference is a hybrid mattress, because I prefer the support of coils over foam, but like the feel foam or latex can give as a comfort layer. They are also good air circulation and strong edges.

Are They Any Good?

The answer here is, like with most things, it depends.

I am brutally honest in my mattress reviews, and I’ll let you know if I think a mattress is poor quality or if there are lots of customers complaining about the same problem over and over with a mattress.

There are lots of really great beds in boxes out there, and here are some of the key indicators I look for in determining mattress quality:

  • Transparency with materials used. I like it when companies are happy to show you all their figures for foam densitys, and all their certifications for their organic and non toxic claims. If a company won’t supply these to you it’s a red flag.
  • Reviews from people who have owned the mattress for more than a year: how is it holding up?
  • Good quality covers with materials such as organic cotton
  • Natural or organic latex when latex is used
  • Exceptional customer service (you want to feel looked after when making the choice about spending money on your bed)
  • At least 3 inches of great quality foams in the comfort layers of the mattress (any less and the mattress may feel too firm)
  • Made in the country you live in (for most of my readers, this means you’re looking for made in the USA). This is important because it means a shorter time between the mattress being made, compressed into a box, and arriving at your house. A mattress that sits around in a box too long may take longer to decompress or may not decompress to its full height evenly.

What else should I look out for?

  • A good warranty of at least 10 years
  • A sleep trial of more than 30 night. This one is critical because you’re trying the mattress out in your own home. It takes around 30 nights to truly know if a mattress is right for you, so I recommend you look for mattresses that have at least a 100 night sleep trial so you can really get a good feel for it. If you think about it, it’s so much better to have this option of trying a mattress in your very own home, instead of just sitting on one in a store for 5 minutes.

Here are some of the best of the best mattresses in boxes you can buy in 2020, each reviewed with my critical eye:

My Top 3 Mattresses For 2020

The Tom Brady Mattress

The Top Rated Organic Latex Mattress

The Best Firm Mattress

The Best Mattresses For Hot Sleepers

My Top Pick For Side Sleepers

The Best New Memory Foam Mattress On The Market

Why Are They So Cheap?

A high quality mattress in a box can be just as comfortable, and in many cases more comfortable, than the big names you’re familiar with from your local mattress store. However, you can pick up an excellent quality “bed in a box” mattress from around $600-$2000 depending on the materials (organic latex is the priciest, memory foam tends to be cheaper). This is often thousands of dollars less than you would expect to pay for a top quality mattress. How is that?

Bed in a box companies sell directly to you online. There are no overheads from running stores, and no sales people to pay. Basically, by selling direct to you, they cut out a whole layer of cost which is built into the price of a mattress when you try it out in store. The companies that offer 100-365 night sleep trials can do so because they are confident in the quality of their mattress, and that you will love it and not want to return it!

If I Buy A Mattress In A Box Do I Need To Buy A New Box Spring Or Frame At The Same Time?

If you have an old and worn out box spring (here’s how to tell), then yes, you will need to replace it. In fact, just do that! An old box spring will make any mattress sag, and I would be a millionaire if I had a dollar for every time someone complained their new mattress was saggy when actually they’d just put it straight on an old box spring. Here’s a great option from an American company who have been specializing in just making box springs for decades.

If you want to upgrade the whole look of your bed, then you might want to get a nice frame or platform base to support your mattress. You can use these without box springs, I recommend you choose frames with slats no more than 3 inches apart to give your new mattress the best base possible.

How Do I Use My Mattress In A Box?

It’s really simple, but these key steps will help you get the most from your mattress:

  1. Open it up to expand as soon as you can (leaving the mattress in its box for more than a few days can lead to decompression issues where the mattress does not expand evenly – if this did happen you’d get an instant replacement though)
  2. Ventilate the room the mattress is expanding in to get rid of any odor (most will have a slight odor from both the packaging and from the mattress materials expanding, this is normal and harmless)
  3. Use a breathable mattress protector (this will help keep your mattress clean, which you will need to do for warranty purposes, and allow you to make the most of the technologies within your mattress: a non-breathable protector will negate any cooling properties your mattress may have)
  4. Rotate your mattress regularly to allow even wear and to maximize its life
  5. Don’t be afraid to contact the company you bought it from if you have any issues. I see many people complaining that because the mattress won’t fit back in its box that they can’t return it. This is not the case at all. If you need to return your mattress within its trial period, the company must help you with this.

Here’s a short video from popular mattress manufacturer Zinus to show you how to unbox your new mattress:

Lots Of People Enjoy Buying Beds In Boxes

People have fun with their beds in boxes. They are (generally) MUCH cheaper than mattresses you buy in store, and can be more comfortable. Many mattress in box companies use high quality materials to make their mattresses, but you get a great price still, because you are not paying for the upkeep of a store.

I have seen loads reviews where people have delighted in getting the mattress out of the box and watching it expand, watch the video above to see this in action!

If you think a bed in a box sounds like something that could work well for you but want to do more research, I recommend you read my article about buying a mattress online or my mattress buying guide. Alternatively, you can go straight to my bed in a box reviews (the good and the bad) here.