Best Mattress Buying Guide 2018
Sleep plays a vital role in our health and well being – and with nearly 70 million Americans suffering from sleep problems, the importance of having a great mattress can’t be overstated. Finding the best mattress shouldn’t be a chore, but it can sure feel like it some times…
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I remember the frustration of my first mattress buying experience – haggling with pushy salesmen over astronomically overpriced beds, trying to sort out the plush from the ultra plush, the memory foam from the comfort foam. Attempting to comparison shop across town, before realizing that every mattress store offers more or less the same thing.
My difficulty in finding the best mattress for my needs led me to think that there must be a better way to do this. And I knew if I was having a hard time, millions of others must be struggling with how to buy a mattress without getting misled or ripped off.
This experience spurred me to do my research and become a Certified Sleep Science Coach. Shortly after, I started this website to help show people that there is a better way, and that the best place to buy a mattress might just be in the comfort of your own home!
Fast forward to today, and my team and I have hand-tested a ridiculous number of beds. We researched and tested dozens of mattress models from online bed sellers to find the best mattresses on the market.
Beyond actual testing, we conducted hundreds (thousands?) of hours of online research, digging into not just the beds themselves but the materials they are made with, the science behind their designs, and the companies who manufacture them.
Our team’s fascination (okay, obsession) with sleep has lead to some fantastic results: we’re all sleeping better, waking up more rested, and feeling better than we ever did before! Now, we want to share our knowledge with you and help you find the best mattress 2018 has to offer.
My goal with this website is, quite simply, to help you get a better night’s sleep. Through my experiences I’ve come to learn that there is no single “best mattress”, because the best option for my needs might not be the right fit for you. I understand that every body is different, and that your comfort preferences and body type play a huge role in selecting the right mattress for you.
Thus, I cannot make the decision for you – in the end, it will be your responsibility to select the right bed for your needs and preferences. But what I can do is arm you with the knowledge, resources and recommendations that you need to make an informed decision.
So, what’s the solution? Where is the best place to buy a mattress?
You’re looking at it – the best place to buy a mattress is online! I know you’re hesitant, but stay with me and I promise by the end you’ll see that the best mattresses can be purchased online.
Quick Picks for Best Mattresses
- Best Mattress Overall–Layla Mattress
- Best Soft Mattress–Nolah Mattress
- Best Firm Mattress–Kaya Mattress
- Best Budget Mattress–Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress
Benefits of Buying a Mattress Online
While the concept of buying a bed online might seem foreign, it really is the best way to buy a mattress nowadays. Here’s why:
Value – buying a mattress online can save you a TON of money. Shopping online means you can get a luxury foam or hybrid mattress for under $1,000. A similar model might run you $2,000 or more at the mattress store down the street. Online retailers just don’t have much overhead – they don’t pay for salesmen or expensive retail space, and they pass most of those savings on to you.
Selection – while the mattress store down the road might have 50 models to choose from, chances are they are all from 2 or 3 brands. Online mattress shopping gives you the ultimate selection, allowing you to easily choose from tons of different mattress models from many different companies.
Fit – it’s vitally important to pick a mattress that suits your body type and preferences. Thus, it might seem like shopping in-person – where you can actually lay down on the bed – might be ideal. Ironically, this is another area where online retailers excel, thanks to the risk-free trials they offer – which leads to our next point…
Flexibility – most online mattress retailers – and all of the retailers we recommend – offer lengthy risk-free trial periods, typically of at least 90 days. That means that if you buy a mattress and it ends up not being the right fit for you, you can return it for a full refund within 90+ days. Brick-and-mortar retailers sometimes offer return/exchange policies, but they’re typically much shorter and restrictive.
Convenience – while mattress shopping in your underwear is generally frowned upon, the Internet doesn’t judge. You can shop mattress options online any time, anywhere – offering the ultimate convenience.
Expertise – mattress salesmen are great at their job. Unfortunately, their job is to sell you a mattress to earn a commission, so they are not necessarily motivated to recommend the best mattresses, and certainly not the cheapest mattresses. Our team is experienced and dedicated to helping you find the best bed for your needs – even if that means shopping elsewhere.
Experience – overall, we think you’ll find the online mattress shopping experience to be less stressful, quicker and overall more enjoyable than shopping in person. Online, you won’t find pushy salesmen or neon fluorescent lighting, but you will find massive savings and excellent beds. And while here at SleepZoo we do earn a commission if you buy one of our recommended mattresses, we’re not pushy about it. Plus, given that this is a website and not an in-your-face salesman, you can literally just walk away if you don’t like us! We won’t be offended.
How to Buy a Mattress Online: Step by Step
With the right tools and resources, buying a mattress online can actually be a smooth and painless process – and it can save you a ton of money. Follow the steps below for best results, then check out our recommendations for the best mattresses in each category.
Step 1: Create a Budget
Before you even begin looking for the best mattress 2018 has to offer, you need to know how much you can afford to spend. It’s best to pick a rough number with a little leeway in either direction and then begin your search.
Keep in mind that online mattress options are WAY cheaper than traditional retailers. We recommend a budget of $600 to $1,200 to start with, unless you’re looking for a really high-end bed with smart features.
Step 2: Identify your Sleeping Needs
Once you know how much you can afford, you need to think about your own sleeping habits and preferences. Consider the following:
- Are you a side, stomach or a back sleeper?
- Do you have back pain?
- Do you share your bed with a partner?
- If so, does your sleep style match the preferences of your partner?
These are important factors to think about. If you’ve got a bad back, you may find you need a firmer mattress. If you’re a side sleeper, a softer mattress with good contouring might be in your best interest. Once you determine how you sleep, you can research to find and compare the best mattress for these sleep styles.
Step 3: Consider Your Options
Next up, it’s time to look at top mattress options based on your needs and budget. The good news is that we’ve already done the work for you – further down this page you’ll see our top picks for the best mattress of 2018 in each category. For further reading, you’ll also find links to more detailed guides for each type of sleeper, where we recommend additional models.
Step 4: Utilize Your Free Trial
Almost every online mattress retailer offers an extensive risk-free trial offer. Typically this offer ranges from 90 to 120+ days. These guarantees basically allow you to return the mattress – for a full refund – at any point within the first 3 or 4 months.
This is an incredible perk of shopping online, because it gives you the peace of mind that you can get your money back if the mattress doesn’t work for you. Many companies will even pay for the return shipping. It also means that you have months to get used to your mattress, as you won’t necessarily know if it’s the best mattress for you right away.
What is the Best Mattress?
Without further ado, here are our picks for the best mattresses available online – broken down into categories for your convenience.
Best Mattress Overall: Layla
Key Features: Unique flippable design with two firmness levels makes it ideally suited for most sleepers; very supportive and comfortable; excellent cooling due to copper-infused memory foam and air flow layer
Price Range (Twin-Cal. King): $499-$999
Risk-Free Trial: Try it risk-free for 120 nights
The Layla Mattress is our overall pick for the best bed of 2018. There’s a lot to love about Layla, but perhaps the most unique feature is the fact that you can flip the mattress over and sleep on either side. This allows for both a soft and a medium-firm option, making it suitable for a wide variety of sleep positions and preferences. Either side offers great comfort, with pressure relief and support in all the right places.
Both sides of the mattress are covered in a copper-infused memory foam. Copper has antimicrobial properties which helps to keep the mattress clean. Copper is also an excellent conductor, so it helps to disperse body heat – allowing Layla to be one of the coolest mattresses we tested (literally).
Best Soft Mattress: Nolah
Key Features: Excellent pressure relief; patented Aveno foam and Nolah Air Foam provide comfort and cooling; soft but supportive
Price Range (Twin-Cal. King): $549-$1069
Risk-Free Trial: Try it risk-free for 120 nights
The Nolah mattress is perhaps the best soft mattress on the market. In our testing, it demonstrated the best blend of softness and support of all the beds we looked at. Whether you sleep on your side or your back, you’ll find that Nolah lets you sink in just the right amount, which makes for optimal comfort and superior support.
Nolah is a foam mattress, but it’s made with 3 different layers of proprietary foams including Nolah Air Foam and Aveno foam. These foams are significantly cooler than traditional memory foam, so Nolah will keep you cool and comfortable at night. It also has excellent bounce and minimal motion transfer, making it a good option for couples.
Nolah comes with a 120-night risk-free trial offer, so you can test it out for several months to make sure it’s the right fit for you. After that, it’s backed by a 15-year warranty. If you want to browse other soft bed options, check out our guide to the best soft mattresses. Learn more in our Nolah mattress review.
Best Firm Mattress: Kaya
Key Features: Hybrid design combines coils for support and memory foam for comfort; medium-firm feel; built to last
Price Range (Twin-Cal. King): $725-$1245
Risk-Free Trial: Try it risk-free for 120 days
Kaya is a medium-firm mattress that sports a hybrid design. It uses a traditional pocketed coil base, along with 3 layers of foam. This design provides an excellent blend of solid support from the coils, with the comfort and soft feel of memory foam.
In our testing, we found Kaya to be ideal for back sleepers and anyone who prefers a firmer mattress. It’s quite comfortable, and the perfect level of firmness in our opinion. It offers a great combination of support, pressure relief, and comfort – and it’s a bed that is truly built to last.
You can start off with a 120-day risk-free trial offer, so there’s a lot of flexibility with this mattress. It’s also backed by a 20-year limited warranty, which is great for further peace of mind. If you want to browse other firm options, read through our guide to the best firm mattresses. Learn more in our Kaya mattress review.
Best Budget Mattress: Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam
Key Features: Incredible value with a Queen mattress starting at only $250; lots of customization options; surprisingly comfortable for the price range
Price Range (Twin-Cal. King): $180-$499
Risk-Free Trial: 100-night risk-free trial
The Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam mattress is a fantastic budget-friendly option. You can get a Queen mattress for as little as $250, which is pretty incredible if you ask me! If you’re on a tight budget, this is our top mattress pick for you. In our testing, Zinus was surprisingly comfortable and supportive – although it didn’t quite compare to our top recommendations.
Zinus also offers a lot of customization options. You can choose the thickness of your mattress, ranging from 8″ to 14″ (for most people, we recommend 10-12″ thickness), which also allows for a variety of firmness levels. Prices vary depending on the options you choose, but even the thickest mattress is still only $400 for a Queen!
Other Great Mattresses
Eight Sleep Jupiter+ – a luxury smart mattress at an amazing price. Features a smart cover that tracks your sleep quality to help you get better rest. Medium-firm, 4-layer foam design.
Click here to learn more.
Casper – a 4-layer foam mattress that’s great for couples. Continually improved upon over the years, based on customer feedback. Medium firmness rating, and priced affordably.
Click here to learn more.
Leesa – a comfortable medium foam mattress with 10,000+ 5-star reviews. Good cooling, bounce, and support with 3 layers of foam – at a great price.
Click here to learn more.
Tuck – a hybrid mattress with ample customization options. Dual-firmness option available, making it a great choice for couples with different comfort preferences.
Click here to learn more.
tulo – a budget-friendly customizable mattress made by Mattress Firm, a brick-and-mortar mattress dealer. Great value for the price.
Click here to learn more.
How We Chose the Best Mattress 2018
Me and my team spent a lot of time researching and testing beds to select the best mattresses for every need and budget. Our process looked something like this:
Research – we combed the internet to find the beds with the best reviews from real customers and the best rankings from industry professionals. We narrowed the selection down to a couple dozen models, and contacted the manufacturers. In some cases we were given free beds to evaluate, and in others we purchased the models to test. We ordered all Queen models, because it’s the most common size.
Testing – we had our team rigorously test each model by sleeping on them in every position imaginable. We tested on our backs, on our sides, on our stomachs, and with our dogs. We tested solo and with our significant others. We took detailed notes on each model, that we later used to determine which beds were right for each type of sleeper. After testing was completed, we donated the beds to a local charity – because, believe it or not, we don’t actually need 30 mattresses!
In our search for the best beds, we focused on these factors:
Comfort in each position – obviously comfort is a huge factor in choosing a bed, so we focused first on how each mattress felt. We took notes on comfort in each sleep position.
Support in each position – comfort and support and certainly linked, but they are not the same thing. Beyond just selecting beds that felt comfortable, we tested support levels and multi-night sleep comfort in each common sleeping position.
Motion transfer – since many readers share a bed with a partner, dog, cat, or all three, we focused on models with good motion isolation. The beds we chose offer minimal motion transfer, which means you can move around or get out of bed without disturbing your sleeping buddies.
Temperature regulation – some beds tend to sleep warm, meaning they are not very good at distributing body heat. There’s nothing worse than waking up hot and sweaty, so we focused on beds with good temperature regulation/cooling.
Build quality – we sourced material and build specs from the manufacturers, and in some cases actually dismantled mattresses in order to examine the bed’s build quality. We evaluated the quality of materials and craftsmanship to determine how well the beds would last over the typical 8-10 year mattress lifespan.
Customer reviews – while our own physical testing was the most important input into our decisions, we also looked closely at hundreds of verified customer reviews. We gauged how real customers were enjoying their beds, and if they had any specific complaints.
If you didn’t quite find what you were looking for, check out the resources below to learn more:
- The best mattresses for side sleepers
- The best mattresses for back sleepers
- The best mattresses for stomach sleepers
- The best mattresses for hot sleepers
- The best mattresses for arthritis
- The best mattresses for kids
- The best mattresses for couples
- The best mattresses for heavy people
- The best mattresses for sex
- The best mattresses for sciatica
- The best memory foam mattresses