Bed in a box: What is it and is it worth it?

Last Updated January 2020

A quality mattress is essential for achieving optimal back and sleep health, but choosing one can prove to be a difficult task. Mattresses are made of materials such as gel, latex, spring coils, or memory foam, which are wonderfully comfortable to sleep on but also unfortunately heavy and difficult to maneuver.

Buying a new mattress used to mean lugging at least 100 pounds up flights of stairs or squeezing the bulk into a too-small elevator. Now, thanks to the rising popularity of the bed in a box, getting a mattress delivered compactly to your front door has never been easier.

Of course, ordering a bed in a box changes the process of selecting a mattress because you can’t try it in a showroom before you buy it. However, this doesn’t have to deter you from choosing the convenience of online mattress purchasing; with the right amount of research and the built-in trial periods provided by most delivery mattress brands, you can secure the perfect mattress with minimal hassle.

What to consider when buying a bed in a box

  • Warranty and trial nights: These are a critical consideration when purchasing a bed in a box, as they help you figure out if the investment is worth it before you fully commit. Trial nights are the number of nights that you can test out a bed before returning it, which makes up for the inability to try before you buy. Additionally, look for a 10-year to lifetime warranty policy.

  • Return protocols: Most mattress brands offering door delivery are generous with their return policies within the trial window, and many offer disposal or return services either for free or at an extra cost. Keep an eye out for brands that donate unwanted mattresses to charities and other organizations.

  • Shipping cost: Free shipping is offered by most brands, with additional costs for those who want white-glove delivery.

  • Competitive pricing: Most of the below mattress brands sell at competitive prices — as they try to disrupt the market — though there are always outliers when it comes to cost.

  • Size: You can order a bed in a box in any typical mattress size, including Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King.

Online bed in a box vs. traditional mattresses

  • Weight: Moving a mattress is a hassle. Bed in a box brands use materials that compress into a single box that delivers to your doorstep. Though the bed likely won’t be able to fold back into the box after it’s opened, it will still be lighter and easier to transport than a traditional mattress.

  • Price: Most bed in a box brands operate fully online and sell directly to customers, which slashes the price tag drastically. A traditional mattress can cost between $1,400 to $3,200, while beds in a box range from $400 to $1,500.

Before you buy, make sure you know the length of the trial period, and add it to your calendar or planner. Odds are, you won't have to make a return, but the last thing you want is to be stuck with a mattress that isn't the right fit.

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Is it worth it?

The delivered-mattress revolution offers more transparency with materials that correlate accurately to price. A high-quality mattress can be purchased for $500 to $600, and more expensive models often use premium, higher density materials derived from natural sources.

Purchasing a bed in a box online lets you compare hundreds of verified and unbiased reviews, and detailed FAQ pages that many companies offer on their sites. This provides more transparency than your average sales pitch, allowing you to make a truly informed decision.

If you’re selective or sensitive when it comes to your sleep preferences, you might prefer the option of a more conventional mattress shopping experience. However, it’s a buyer’s market for the bed in a box right now, and there are plenty of competitively priced, high-quality options to choose from.

Ultimately, if saving money matters and you don’t care about being able to lie on the mattress before purchasing, then yes. Buying a bed in a box is absolutely worth it.

The top bed in a box brands

1. Casper is a bed in a box pioneer, and their delivered mattresses are easy to set up with a luxurious but sturdy design. The multilayer support system provides extra firmness in the center of the mattress and promotes spinal alignment, which is helpful for combination sleepers. Returned mattresses are picked up by a pre-arranged recycling partner or nearby charity. This brand might not be suitable for hot sleepers or those who prefer a firmer mattress.

  • Cost: Queen mattresses start at $595.

  • Trial Period: 100 nights

  • Delivery: Front door drop-off in a box. 90 lbs. queen size box measures 17”x17”x42".

2. Nectar’s lightweight, medium-firm mattress is a popular choice among consumers and is suitable for hot sleepers and those sensitive to motion transfer. The 11-inch mattress is filled with premium, high-density materials and comes with two free pillows. If Nectar isn’t the mattress of your dreams, they help you out with instructions on donation or local disposal.

  • Cost: A queen mattress is $799.

  • Trial period: 365 nights

  • Delivery: Front door drop off within 48-72 hours of order placement with a white glove option. 65-pound queen mattress arrives in 44"x16"x16" box.

3. Leesa makes a versatile medium mattress for side, back, and stomach sleepers that adapts to each individual. The Leesa mattress has been a best-seller since 2014, providing evenness without sag for back and side sleepers. Its updated LSA200 foam technology has enhanced density for pressure relief. If Leesa doesn’t meet your needs within the trial period, a pickup is arranged and all costs are refunded.

  • Cost: The basic queen mattress is $995.

  • Trial period: 100 nights

  • Delivery: Free front door shipping with white glove delivery for an extra cost. Option for disposal of old mattress and box spring for $50.

4. Purple mattresses have an innovative, gel-like top layer is unlike any other material out there, setting Purple apart from the rest. It avoids the dreaded sinking of memory foam but contours to your body with ease and has an impressive ability to absorb movement. If you’re unsatisfied, you can let Purple handle all the details or get one of their agents to send you a return label and help you with the process.

  • Cost: Queen size mattress starts at $999.

  • Trial period: 100 nights

  • Delivery: Front door delivery comes in a long, plastic purple tube with fabric handles, making it the most portable mattress on our list.

5. Puffy carries two kinds of memory foam mattresses. The Puffy is their original 10”, three layer memory foam mattress with a polyfoam base, while the updated Puffy Luxe has four layers of memory foam, is 12” tall, and has the same base. Superb motion isolation is a perk with The Puffy. The foams that comprise these mattresses are softer than others, making Puffy an ideal option for average weight to lighter sleepers, but poor edge support can be a concern.

  • Cost: Queens start at $1,150.

  • Trial period: 101 nights

  • Delivery: Free and expedited delivery to front door.
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