Update, late August 2020: Nearly all of the mattress vendors here are having Labor Day sales, so the prices are lower than what’s shown here. See our roundup of the best Labor Day mattress sales for details.
Around 2014, emergingset out to shake up the mattress industry by offering a way to buy online. Somehow, these companies figured out how to vacuum seal mattresses (yes, even king size ones), roll them up and put them in a box that could be shipped right to your door through regular carriers, such as FedEx and UPS. No going to the store, no awkward sales interactions and no waiting four to six weeks for delivery. All you have to do is purchase the mattress and it’s on your doorstep within days.
When these startups first emerged, one of the most common hesitations people had was that they couldn’t try the mattress before they spent the money. But these companies came up with a solution for this too: an at-home sleep trial that lasts anywhere from 100 days to a full year, depending on the company. If at any time, after sleeping on your mattress for 30 nights, you don’t like it, these companies will either try to make it right or come and get it and give you your money back.
This peace of mind is important, since a mattress is probably one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. The— or the — can totally change your quality of life. And there are so many kinds. You can get a memory foam mattress, an innerspring mattress, a hybrid mattress, a latex mattress, and so many more.
Beyond that, different sleepers need different mattresses! The perfect mattress for a side sleeper may be horrible for a stomach sleeper. Maybe medium firm is fine, or or maybe you need a firmer mattress. Maybe you need a pillow top or some other kind of mattress topper.
But who has the time or patience to sift through all of the options? Luckily, I do.
I went through all of the online mattress companies (there are around 175 right now, by the way) to find the best of the best. I read customer reviews, I scoured through social media pages and read user comments and then I came up with a list of mattresses to test in person for you. After all of my research and testing, here’s what I came up with for the 10 best mattresses you can buy online.
Note that pricing is shown for a queen mattress in the chart and buy buttons, but I list the full range of available sizes and prices within each entry.
Online mattresses, compared
|Mattress||Buying Info||Mattress Type||Price (Queen)||Sleep Trial Period||Warranty|
|Layla Hybrid||See at Layla||Hybrid||$1,649||120 nights||Lifetime|
|Casper Original||See at Casper||Foam||$1,095||100 nights||10-year limited|
|Tuft and Needle The Hybrid||See at Tuft and Needle||Hybrid||$1,495||100 nights||10-year limited|
|Avocado Green||See at Avocado||Hybrid||$1,399||365 nights||25-year limited|
|Nectar Lush||See at Nectar||Hybrid||$1,499||365 nights||Lifetime|
|Leesa Legend||See at Leesa||Hybrid||$2,199||100 nights||10-year limited|
|Helix Midnight Luxe||See at Helix||Hybrid||$1,799||100 nights||15-year limited|
|Helix Plus||See at Helix||Hybrid||$1,599||100 nights||15-year limited|
|Ghostbed Flex Hybrid||See at Ghostbed||Hybrid||$1,645||101 nights||25-year limited|
|Purple Hybrid Premier 4||See at Purple||Hybrid||$2,999||100 nights||10-year limited|
Foam mattresses are made entirely of layers of foam, including memory foam or latex foam. Typically each layer is a different density, with high density foam on the bottom for support and softer foam on top for comfort.
Hybrid mattresses use both foam and metal coils to provide support. They are closer in design to the mattresses most of us grew up sleeping on, but with added foam for comfort and additional support.
As I mentioned, mattresses require an adjustment period, and that’s true of the Layla Hybrid too, but as soon as I plopped down on this mattress, I knew it was going to be my favorite. It’s made of a layered combination of gel memory foam, airflow support foam and individually wrapped coils that provide plenty of support while also allowing enough give to make the mattress feel plush and comfortable right away.
The middle layer is made from copper infused foam, which is designed to pull heat away from your body so you stay cool while you sleep, and the technology worked impressively well. I stayed cool throughout the night, even in the middle of summer in a house without central AC. The copper is also anti-microbial so it helps prevent a buildup of bacteria that can cause breakdown and odors over time. I haven’t had the mattress long enough to speak to that, but the thought of sleeping on a cleaner mattress, especially since the goal is to keep them for a decade or so, adds another layer of appeal.
The Layla Hybrid had the least motion transfer out of any other on the list, so I didn’t wake up at all when my boyfriend tossed and turned — a huge perk to someone who’s been seriously considering getting a sleep divorce. The Layla is also the only mattress on this list that’s flippable. And not only can you flip it, one side is soft and one side is firm, so you can truly customize your sleeping experience based on how your body feels at any given time.
The Layla Hybrid comes in twin to California king and prices range from $1,249 to $1,849.
If you’re looking for a firm mattress, you can end your search with the Casper Original. While I’m more of a soft mattress kind of gal, firmer mattresses like the Casper are designed to align your spine and relieve pressure in all of the right places so you can have a pain-free night and a stiffness-free morning. And this mattress did just that.
When I first got into bed, I didn’t have that “ahhh” moment that comes from a soft, plush mattress, but as I settled in, the mattress started to slowly form to my body. The longer I lay there, the more comfortable I felt. When I woke up in the morning, I didn’t have any throbbing neck or back pain, something that I have been struggling with since my last spring mattress started caving in. I attribute that to the Zoned Support technology of the Casper.
The mattress is separated into three zones that are designed to provide the ideal spinal alignment. The foam near the shoulders and upper body is softer to give you relief in those areas, while the firmer foam under the hips, waist and lower back keeps your spine properly aligned. Because of this zoned system, you may have to experiment to find the right positioning on the mattress, but once you do, you’ll likely notice a reduction in pain over time. And, as an added bonus, the mattress cover is made from recycled bottles — 57 of them to be exact — so you can help save your back and the planet at the same time.
The Casper Original comes in twin to California king and prices range from $595 to $1,295.
When it comes to comfort, I always considered big plush pillow top mattresses the holy grail, so I was skeptical of these memory foam type mattresses. But the Tuft and Needle Hybrid stepped up to the plate and almost hit a home run. The mattress is made of carbon fiber foam, individually wrapped steel coils, and ceramic gel all wrapped up in a tufted pillow-top mattress cover that’s ideal for side sleepers.
The T&N Adaptive foam felt soft and comfortable and allowed just enough give to take the pressure off my shoulders and hips without making me feel like I was sinking or rocking from side to side. The mattress cover added an extra layer of comfort that felt similar to what you’d get if you added a mattress topper.
The only thing I’d knock about it is that it did seem to have more motion transfer than some of the other options on the list. If you sleep alone, it’s not a big deal. But if you sleep with a partner who tosses and turns a lot, or a German Shepherd mix who likes to act out his vivid running dreams in the middle of the night, you may want to go with something else or opt for Tuft and Needle’s original mattress, which is made almost solely of memory foam and absorbs movement better.
The Tuft and Needle Hybrid comes in twin to California king and prices range from $895 to $1,745.
Unfortunately, many mattresses are sprayed with chemicals and flame retardants and made from potentially toxic foams that have been linked to some health problems. Because of this, the Environmental Working Group recommends choosing a mattress that’s made from at least 95% cotton, wool or natural latex. And that’s where the Avocado Green comes in.
Their original mattress, which is the one I tested, is actually made from a combination of all three materials — or you can go for the vegan mattress, which is the same sans wool. Neither contains any polyester, polyurethane foam or fire retardants. But while that’s all great, ultimately it has to be comfortable or it really doesn’t do you much good in the long run. The good news is: it is.
When I first lay down on the mattress, it felt a little too firm for my personal tastes, but as soon as I settled in, it started to form to my body, hugging me in all the right places. I felt comfortable sleeping on my back and on my side and the bed adjusted quickly as I transitioned from each position, unlike other memory foam mattresses that can lag when it comes to that. Mine came with the optional (and $300 to $600 extra depending on the size) permanently affixed pillow top, so I can’t judge the mattress without it, but I think it definitely adds a layer of plushness that’s worth the additional cost.
The Avocado Green comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $899 to $1,799, without the added pillow top. If you want the pillow top attached, prices go up to $1,199 to $2,099.
While other mattresses on this list made a big difference in back pain, the aptly named Nectar Lush, which really did feel lush, earned the spot of best mattress for back pain. It has five layers — a dense foam base, a high-density memory foam, a gel-coated memory foam and a cooling cover — that provided the most pressure relief and the best edge to edge support of any mattress on this list. Immediately after lying down on the Nectar Lush, I felt the foam layers give way to my weight and simultaneously rise up to hug my body and make sure my spine was completely aligned.
For some reason, even if I’m all alone in a king size bed, I tend to gravitate toward the very edge of the bed with barely an inch to spare. When I did this on my old mattress, I could feel the edge start to cave under my weight and I would have to back up or risk rolling off right onto the ground. But that wasn’t the case with the Nectar Lush. It was supportive all the way around and even when I got within an inch of the edge, I felt completely aligned, safe and secure. I woke up pain-free every morning and my chronically pained boyfriend noticed a significant improvement in his morning pain levels and comfort while he slept.
As an added bonus, unlike some of the other options, the Nectar Lush is compatible with any type of bed frame, so you can work with what you have instead of having to shell out more cash on a new frame too.
The Nectar Lush comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $1,099 to $1,799.
The Leesa Legend was designed with all types of sleepers in mind, but while it was comfortable no matter what my position, I thought it really shone when I was sleeping on my back. Throughout the night, I frequently shift from sleeping on my side to sleeping on my back. Typically, I start on my back and as soon as I’m in the only-partly-conscious, I’m-about-to-fall-asleep zone, I switch to my side. But with the Leesa Legend, I actually settled in on my back and stayed there most of the night.
The Leesa Legend is made from two layers of springs and two layers of memory foam topped with a wool and 100% cotton cover that provides an additional layer of comfort. The mattress immediately felt soft and inviting (with just the right amount of bounce) and had the best body contouring when I was lying on my back. It also had edge-to-edge support that was comparable to the Nectar Lush with minimal motion transfer.
And, like the Casper, the mattress cover is made partly from recycled water bottles, so you can feel good about the planet while you sleep.
The Leesa Legend comes in sizes twin XL to California king and prices range from $1,699 to $2,499.
If you’ve ever gone mattress shopping with a significant other, you already know how big of a disaster that can be. Unless you opt for a customizable Sleep Number, which has a hefty price tag with average reviews, you’re pretty much forced to find a mattress that will make you both happy — a task that isn’t always easy, especially if your tastes fall on different ends of the spectrum. I’ve been down this road before and I wish that I had found the Helix Midnight Luxe sooner.
There were things my boyfriend and I liked about all of the mattresses, but after settling into the Helix Midnight Luxe for the first night, we both looked at each other and simultaneously said “ohhhh, this is nice.” The mattress is made from a combination of high-density memory foam, gel visco and support coils wrapped up in a breathable, quilted pillow-top cover. Out of all the mattresses, the Helix Midnight Luxe had the most lumbar support, which really provided some relief for my boyfriend’s chronic lower back pain.
Although this particular mattress is marketed toward the side sleeper, it’s beyond comfortable when you’re on your back or stomach too. There’s hardly any motion transfer and it falls directly in the middle of the firmness scale — Helix rates it a 4 to 7 out of 10 — so it really is designed to please almost everybody, or at least serve as a really great compromise if you can’t agree.
The Helix Midnight Luxe comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $999 to $2,199.
The Helix Plus mattress, which is marketed toward the plus-size population or anyone who’s “big and tall,” is designed to offer extra support for those with higher BMIs (or body mass indexes). It’s 13 inches tall and has an extra layer of high density foam that helps provide adequate support and comfort all in one. But while I deemed it the best mattress for heavy people, I think that does it a big disservice. It’s actually a great mattress for everyone, no matter your size.
This mattress was one of the few on the list that I felt like I sank into in all the right ways. The mattress was supportive, while also providing the right amount of “give” to relieve pressure where I needed it the most. It was comfortable in any position and adequately absorbed movement, even if your sleeping partner is tossing and turning. One night while sleeping on this mattress, my boyfriend actually got up twice to go to the bathroom and I didn’t feel him get out or back into the bed — something I can’t say for many other mattresses I’ve tried.
The only knock I would give is that it’s a medium to firm feel — Helix rates it a 7 to 8 out of 10 on the firmness scale — and I wish it was a little bit plusher. That being said, this mattress was designed to support more weight, so the extra firmness makes sense. Also, mattresses tend to break in and soften over time, so I imagine it would be perfect for me after several months.
The Helix Plus comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $825 to $1,999.
Ghostbed’s major claim to fame is their cooling technology and it really did deliver. I tested this mattress in the middle of July with temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s. While I could definitely tell we were in the middle of a heatwave — I mean, the mattress isn’t magic — I felt surprisingly cool considering how warm and sticky the room started to get as soon as the sun came through the windows.
The bed itself was comfortable too. While it didn’t feel as lush and inviting as some of the others on this list, the Ghostbed was second most bouncy ( Right behind the Purple), so it didn’t have that slow sinking memory foam feel that’s typical of these types of mattresses. If you’re someone who isn’t totally sure about memory foam and likes a traditional spring mattress, this is a good middle ground.
The Ghostbed Flex Hybrid comes in sizes twin to split king and prices range from $1,145 to $2,700.
I want to start by saying that I’m not a stomach sleeper, but the Purple Hybrid Premier 4 (almost) made me want to become one. When lying on my stomach, the Purple Grid, which is a hyper-elastic polymer grid formation that’s meant to absorb and relieve pressure and used in place of memory foam, magically gave way to all my lady lumps and bumps like it was designed just for me. I know that sounds dramatic, but its ability to perfectly form around my body was really impressive. It was equally comfortable when sleeping on my back. In fact, it was so comfortable that, when I was lying on my back, I was able to snooze sans pillow and still feel like my spine was perfectly aligned. Coming from someone who typically needs two pillows to hold up her oversized head, and wakes up with serious neck pain because of it, this was another impressive feature.
The Purple also had the most bounce out of all of the mattresses. Pure memory foam tends to feel a little stiff to me, no matter how plush the mattress claims to be, but the grid bends and moves in ways that make the mattress feel bouncy and plush, while also still providing ample support for your back and spine.
The grid did take a little while to get used to. For the first several nights, I could feel gridlines whenever I shifted or moved. I wouldn’t call it an uncomfortable feeling, but it was definitely different. This mattress is also really heavy. Not like normal king size mattress heavy, but more like “what the heck do they make this thing out of?” heavy. My intention was to open the mattress in the guest room downstairs to give it time to expand and then to bring it up to my bedroom when it was time to test it and take pictures. But even after enlisting the help of two stronger-than-me volunteers, we gave up on moving it and I relocated to the guest room for testing. I assume you’re not planning to lug your mattress around too often, but it’s worth noting, just in case.
The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 comes in sizes twin XL to split king and prices range from $1,999 to $3,998.
I wanted to love the Birch mattress, but when stacked against the others, it just didn’t make the cut. It has great selling points — it’s free of polyurethane foams and harsh chemicals, it’s made from sustainable materials and it’s wrapped in an organic cotton cover. But even though I appreciate the importance of a toxic chemical-free sleeping space, I couldn’t really get comfortable and, ultimately, when it comes to my mattress, comfort wins.
It wasn’t that the Birch was entirely uncomfortable, but it didn’t feel as plush as the others I tested and since the price is the same as the Helix Midnight Luxe (the two mattresses are actually both produced by Helix), I’d recommend choosing the Midnight Luxe.
If you want to make your own call, the Birch Natural Mattress comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $1,049 to $1,799.
How I tested
I tested each mattress for a week, making sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. For half the week, I slept on the mattress with my boyfriend and whichever one (or several) of our five pets wanted to join us. During these nights, I was able to test the motion transfer and whether or not the mattresses could appease different tastes — I like a really soft mattress and he prefers something firmer with a little more back support. For the remaining half of the week, I kicked everyone out to the guest room so I could focus on the feel of the mattress without any outside sleep disturbances.
In addition to sleeping on the mattresses during the night, I also spent some time lying on them reading or working on my laptop (I know, I know I shouldn’t be, but I wanted to give each mattress as much time as possible). Once I felt like I had enough information to give an accurate assessment, I moved on to the next mattress.
I set up each mattress on the same platform bed frame and used the same pillow and the same sheets, which I washed between each mattress. We all know there’s nothing better than getting into bed with freshly washed sheets, so I wanted to make sure that every mattress had that same initial advantage. The only exception to testing location was the Purple mattress. I initially opened it in the guest room with the intent of bringing it upstairs later, but it was too heavy to move, so I tested it where it was.
More mattress advice
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.