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    Best Mattresses-in-a-Box From Consumer Reports' Tests

    We rated models from Avocado, Casper, Essentia, SleepFresh, and other brands. Find out which mattresses are worth buying online.

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    CR technician unboxing a mattress Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

    As many online shoppers have discovered during the pandemic, buying a mattress-in-a-box can be convenient and stress-free. No lines. No salespeople. No need to leave the comfort of your home.

    What’s more, the options for online mattresses have proliferated in recent years. And many companies have opened showrooms or partnered with walk-in mattress and furniture stores—so if you prefer, you can try mattresses before you buy one.

    At the same time, the generous free trials, which mattresses-in-a-box have long been known for, remain. Often, you still have as many as 100 days to try an online mattress and return it for a full refund if you don’t end up liking it.

    More on Mattresses

    Still, returns can be a hassle, particularly when you’re dealing with big, floppy, heavy items. That’s why it’s worth knowing what you want—and how your options stack up—before you buy. To that end, start with CR’s mattress buying guide, which breaks down the different mattress categories and provides strategies for separating the truth from the hype.

    For CR members who already know they prefer an online mattress, this article highlights the top eight—four innerspring and four foam—as determined by our exhaustive lab tests and responses from our CR member surveys. To explore beyond mattresses-in-a-box, or to see how they rate among conventional brands, members can browse through the more than 250 mattresses we’ve tested in our comprehensive mattress ratings. We also offer a mattress selector, which customizes recommendations to a person’s needs, such as size, sleep position, firmness preferences, and budget.

    How CR Tests Mattresses

    We put mattress-in-a-box beds through the same rigorous testing we use for all mattresses. With the help of lab equipment and human subjects, we evaluate how well a mattress might support the body for both back and side sleepers, and how easily sleepers can shift their weight without disturbing a partner.

    Rather than taking a manufacturer’s word for it, we use a highly calibrated instrument to measure firmness and score it on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the firmest.

    To test how well a mattress might keep its shape over time, we pass a 310-pound roller over it 30,000 times to simulate the typical life span of eight to 10 years. It turns out, says Chris Regan, who oversees CR’s mattress tests, there’s no noticeable difference in performance between our top-rated mattress-in-a-box models and those purchased in standard walk-in stores. In fact, all the online mattresses in the lists featured here earn an Excellent rating for durability.

    Leveraging data from recent surveys of CR members’ experiences on nearly 70,000 mattresses purchased within the past decade, we also provide ratings for comfort and owner satisfaction. These respondents have actually lived with these mattresses, in some cases for up to 10 years. The owner satisfaction score is based on a member’s overall judgment of such factors as firmness/softness, value, and quality of sleep. This data is also used to generate ratings by brand and type of mattress. Every mattress-in-a-box listed here receives at least a Very Good rating for both comfort and owner satisfaction.

    Best Innerspring Mattresses-in-a-Box

    Innerspring mattresses combine coils with layers of fiber padding, foam, or latex. This offers a buoyant feel, though many innersprings, including most on this list, have lower stabilization ratings than foam mattresses.

    Best Foam Mattresses-in-a-Box

    Most foam mattresses-in-a-box, like the Casper Original, are made with synthetic foams. But three of our four top picks consist of latex, a typically more durable material. Foam mattresses of all types generally receive higher marks than innersprings for stabilization, so there’s little motion transfer when a partner shifts position.

    Headshot of CRO Home Editor Tanya Christian

    Tanya A. Christian

    I've spent more than a decade covering lifestyle, news, and policy. At Consumer Reports, I'm happy to sit at the intersection of these specialties, writing about appliances, product safety and advocacy, consumer fairness, and the best tools and products to help you spruce up your home. When I'm not putting pen to paper, I'm exploring new cultures through travel and taking on home makeover projects, one room at a time.