7 Best Cheap Mattresses in 2023 That Are Easy on Your Back and Wallet
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Investing in the best mattress for your specific sleeping style is essential to getting a good night’s rest. But the best cheap mattress might suit your needs nearly as well. Yes, you might find yourself laying on something slightly less supportive. But the gap between the performance of a pretty good mattress and a just-okay mattress is much smaller than you think (and certainly wildly disproportionate to the cost difference).
Sure, you’re going to spend a third of your life cradled in a mattress. In general, a good one is worth the investment. The cost-per-wear logic that has spurred many a grail-seeker to blow their budgets is instructive here: Spend $1,000 on a mattress, sleep on it for three years, and the thing has cost you less than a dollar a day. But! Consider all the scenarios and situations where it might make sense to search for the best cheap mattress.
Maybe you move a lot and would rather start fresh instead of tying a mattress to the roof of a car every six months. Maybe you’re outfitting a guest room that won’t see a lot of action. Maybe you’ve done the math and realized covering the floor of your kid’s rumpus room with six cheap mattresses will cost less than those colorful foam puzzle pieces. Heck, maybe you’ll sleep better knowing you didn’t shell out an entire paycheck for a mattress. Point is, there’s no shame in shopping for an ultra-budget mattress, and in plenty of instances a good cheap mattress is the sensible and smart option. Whatever your reason, after years of research and hands-on testing (read: sleeping on a bunch of mattresses), we’ve found plenty of affordable mattresses that will cradle you to sleep.
The Best Cheap Mattresses, at a Glance
You may be as strapped for time as you are strapped for cash, so go ahead and skip ahead to our top tried-and-tested picks here. Plus, check out our runner-ups section below for even more worthwhile Amazon picks that’ll ship out in a jiff.
What to expect with a cheap mattress
Firmness: Even the best cheap mattress is likely going to be a compromise over something more expensive. The first thing you’ll notice the moment you lay down on a budget mattress is that they’re…kinda stiff. Firmness level is very important. Cheap mattresses tend to hew to the firmer end of things, which is actually perfect for back sleepers, who need a little bit of rigidity to keep their weight from sinking into the mattress. That’s not so ideal for side or stomach sleepers who might need a little more cushion for their joints.
Lots and lots of foam: You’ll also notice that most are foam or hybrid mattresses, since making innerspring mattresses that don’t suck is a lot more expensive than just cutting a bunch of foam. You might also notice that none of these foam mattresses are heavy on the jargon-y “special technology” that more expensive mattresses are supposedly made with. We’ll let you in on a little secret: That’s not such a big deal after all. Most of the “X4 cooling gels” or “organic plush wool pillow tops” companies like to promote don’t really have an actual effect on how it feels to sleep on their new mattresses. Your evening routine can survive without them. Two of our picks below are made with some razzle-dazzle green tea infusions in them (supposedly helping eliminate fusty odors, though you be the judge on how effective that sounds).
Longevity issues: More importantly, durability is often an issue with cheaper mattresses, especially ones entirely constructed from foam. After a couple of months, the foam can start to wear out, leading your mattress to stop actually holding you up while you sleep. We’ve had no issues with this kind of bottoming out from the mattresses we’ve included in this guide, but if you do, you should contact the manufacturer and try to see if your mattress is still under warranty. Speaking of warranties, we’ve included all that info below so you can make the most informed decision possible.
What factors into the cost of mattresses?
The perfect answer to this question would require information that mattress companies simply won’t disclose. But based on what we can gather from our experience comparing mattress listings and sleeping on them ourselves, it mostly hinges on material. Broadly, more expensive mattresses are made with higher quality materials—denser foam, heartier woven fabric exteriors, and sturdier innersprings. At higher price points, the mattresses also tend to have more complicated designs, with contouring and conforming that provide more pressure relief.
How to buy a cheap mattress and not get stiffed
Before you buy any online mattress, think about your needs. What kind of sleeper are you? If you sleep on your side or stomach, you should look for a mattress that will support you. Do you sleep hot? Look for a mattress with innersprings, since they’ll include built-in ventilation. Hunting for a mattress that’ll last you upwards of a decade? Think hard about how much you’re willing to spend. Below, a selection of mattresses that we’ve personally tested which deliver on quality for a shoestring price.
The Best Affordable Mattress, Overall: Allswell Hybrid
What makes it great: Allswell is a mattress brand owned by Walmart, and it’s been a leader in the sub-$400 cheap mattress game for awhile. The Allswell mattress is a hybrid, with a breathable innerspring base and a memory foam comfort layer on top, much like more expensive mattresses that have gotten the highest marks from our reviews crew. It’s much thinner than the other hybrid mattresses recommended here, and much less dense, but sleeping on it is still surprisingly comfortable, especially for side sleepers. Almost everyone who slept on the Allswell over the last few years was surprised to later learn how affordable it is. The more complicated hybrid construction could cause durability issues down the road, but that’s standard for any hybrid mattress in this price range. We also appreciated that it comes with a solid decade-long warranty and a primo-looking quilted surface that belies the low price point.
Risk-free trial details: The Allswell mattress comes with a 100-night free trial, but the company makes it clear that any shipping fees you paid to get the mattress to your door will not be refunded. You also have to pay out of pocket to have the mattress removed and recycled (and costs vary by state).
Warranty: An Allswell mattress is covered under a limited warranty against defects in workmanship and materials for 10 years. The company is not clear on what it defines as a defect, though it states a lot of things this warranty does not cover on its website.
The Best Dirt Cheap Mattress: Spa Sensations Serenity
What makes it great: Though Allswell has spun off into its own DTC site, Walmart’s a reliably good destination for low-budget bedding all-stars like this one, the retailer’s top-rated mattress. If you aren’t already personally familiar with Spa Sensations (a sister brand to Zinus, which also appears on this list), chances are you’ve heard about it. Our tester tells us this one came emphatically recommended to him by a friend, and word of mouth seems to be a common thread among enthusiastic shoppers in the reviews who claim that they were hesitant, but eventually convinced to buy one by friends and family. Now we’re evangelizing to you: This thing? For less than 200 bones? Absolutely, unswervingly worth it.
Our tester has owned this foam mattress for nearly a decade now and had nothing but positive insights to report back. With a medium to medium-firm give to it, he says it’ll please most people who sleep on it and it doesn’t look any worse for wear after years of moving around with this thing. It ships in a box and is “lightweight enough to haul up six flights of stairs,” with a support system that contours to your body and doesn’t overheat in even the hottest months of the year. His favorite part is the premium look and feel of the outer shell, which he says looks a lot more expensive than it actually is. There is some sinkage that occurs on the edges, but that’s pretty standard for foamy models like this one.
Risk-free trial details: No trial period.
Warranty: Spa Sensations mattresses come with a 10-year limited warranty that covers defects.
The Best Cheap Cooling Mattress: Zinus Hybrid
What makes it great: Zinus has been a big player in the cheap sleep universe for years. Its solid foam mattresses and bed frames are all over recommendation sites like this one. This is one of the company’s first hybrid mattress attempts, which it released last year. It’s constructed in a very similar way to the Allswell, though the Zinus is two inches thicker. In review, the high-density Zinus has proven to feel a little bit more like a traditional memory foam mattress, with a super soft top layer that you’ll sink into. It’s still supportive, and might be ideal if you’re a side or stomach sleeper, but we think that most sleepers will find the Allswell more comfortable in the long term.
Risk-free trial details: The Zinus mattress is also sold through Amazon, but when you buy it directly from Zinus you can take advantage of its 100-night risk-free trial.
Warranty: Regardless of where you purchase the mattress, you get a 10-year limited warranty against defects in workmanship and materials. Zinus isn’t super clear about what that means, but the company lists the requirements for cashing in on its website.
The Best Upgrade Mattress Over $500 (That’s Still Pretty Cheap): Tuft & Needle Original
What makes it great: We’ve recommended Tuft & Needle’s Original mattress since we started testing mattresses in earnest over a few years ago. It features a double-layered construction that ensures your body stays supported and cool as you sleep. (Hot sleepers rejoice!) And the Original does a good job of accommodating motion transfer—your movement isn’t going to wake your sleeping partner. The difference between is that the Tuft and Needle Original is about an inch and a half thicker. That might mean it’s a little bit more durable than the Element, but it also means it’s a bit firmer. Most people are combination sleepers that alternate between their side and back, so one might reason that most people will find sleeping on the Original just a little bit less comfortable. If you’re a back sleeper, or buying with durability in mind, this alternative is for you.
Risk-free trial details: You can try the mattress for 100-nights before deciding whether you want to keep it, no strings attached.
Warranty: Tuft and Needle mattresses come with a 10-year limited warranty that covers manufacturing and workmanship defects. The company clearly defines what this includes, like splits in the foam, on its website.
Another Upgrade Mattress Worth Considering: Casper Element Pro
What makes it great: In years past, we’ve named Casper’s Element as our favorite cheap mattress overall. Despite being the cheapest mattress in the entire brand’s line, the medium-firm mattress was still wildly comfy—made from two layers of polyurethane foam, comprised of a dense bottom base layer and a cushy perforated foam on top that kept the whole unit breathable—and sadly was discontinued during the pandemic. The brand just unveiled a new Element Pro, though (which we haven’t had the luxury of testing), that claims to take the best aspects of the original Element and dial it up with three layers of support. There’s that same perforated layer on top, a middle layer of cushy memory foam, plus a more solid foam base at the bottom. If it’s anything like the original, it’ll be solidly constructed for plenty of edge support, though we can’t really vouch for it ourselves.
This one’s not quite as affordable as the original, which is another adjustment. It falls closer to the $1,000 mark than some of the other truly cheap mattresses on this list, but if your budget can handle a little hike in price, we’d recommend taking one for a 100-day sleep trial to see how you like it.
Risk-free trial details: Casper gives you 100 days to try its mattress “commitment-free,” which starts the day your mattress box is delivered. If you decide to return the mattress, the company will come pick it up from you. Thankfully, you do not have to worry about getting the mattress back into the box.
Warranty: Casper mattresses are covered by a 10-year limited warranty against defects. That means something like a tear in the fabric or foam. The full list of what the warranty does and doesn’t cover is available here.
2 Other Mattresses We Like From the ‘Zon
Though our handful of picks above are still our most stood-behind recs on this list, you might want to secure something on a quick turnaround (say, two days before your Cousin Fred pops in for a stint in your guest bedroom). That’s where the ‘Zon comes in, ever a reliable choice for last-minute purchases of at least reasonable quality…according to reviews. Below, we’ve singled out two of its best cheap mattresses for slinging out to your pad without you needing to invest in a whole futon or put your guests up on an inflatable.
What makes it great: Many of the all-foam budget mattresses you’d find on Amazon are likely from the same manufacturer, potentially the same factory, just with a different algorithmically generated brand named slapped on top. Among this morass of practically identical foam beds, the cheapest ones with a significant threshold of reviews usually come from Amazon itself through its AmazonBasics brand. The queen size 10-inch memory foam, plush-feel AmazonBasics mattress clocks at just under $300. It’s not a mattress anyone will have dreams about. But it’s no source of nightmares either. Most people will sleep on the firm mattress fine for a night or two (and they’ll certainly like it more than an air mattress or a pull-out futon). If that’s all you need, it’ll do the trick.
Risk-free trial details: Amazon will let you return the mattress within 30 days. (This is a lot stingier than most risk-free trial periods.)
Warranty: The mattress comes with a one-year warranty against defects, which isn’t very long compared to the policy among other picks on this list.
What makes it great: Terrible, inaccurate name aside, the Best Price mattress is a decent option for people that want something firmer than the Allswell. Compared to the Allswell and the Zinus, the sleeping surface is kind of hard. There is a little bit of give, but not really enough to make sleeping on your side very comfortable. If you’re a back sleeper, however, this is a plus—softer mattresses can cradle you in a way that feels weird and unwelcome.
Risk-free trial details: Best Price does not offer a free trial period for its mattress.
Warranty: The company boasts a 10-year warranty, but reviews seem to indicate these are difficult to actually redeem.
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