It used to be that finding the best mattress brand involved a long day of trying out different beds in a few different mattress stores until you finally found one that you (and maybe your partner) liked. Now, the advent of the internet has brought with it a more convenient way to shop for mattresses.
One big difference between online mattress shopping and shopping in person is the customer experience— online mattresses often come with sleep trials, allowing you to try out the bed in your own home. If you don’t end up liking the mattress after sleeping on it for a few weeks, you can send it back for a full refund.
The elimination of the mattress salesman and showroom experience also cuts inflated costs and high mark-ups often associated with mattresses. Now, you can easily find the best online mattress for a great price without stepping foot in a store.
Before you go out and buy the first top-rated online mattress you see, consider your sleeping position, budget, brand transparency, customer reviews, and even mattress type.
How We Made the Amerisleep AS3
Here’s a breakdown of the technology and materials we used to make the Amerisleep AS3 the best online mattress.
Bio-Pur® comfort layer: The top comfort layer in the AS3 is Amerisleep’s own Bio-Pur®, a plant-based, breathable foam. Bio-Pur® is ten times more responsive than traditional memory foam, so instead of feeling trapped or stuck on the mattress, you’ll be able to move around freely without sacrificing any comfort or contouring.
Affinity transition layer with HIVE® technology: The Affinity layer with HIVE® functions as a transition layer— essentially, it keeps you feeling “lifted” on the mattress while supporting your sensitive pressure points.
HIVE® stands for “Harnessing Intelligent Ventilation & Energy,” which is exactly what this technology does. Hexagon cut-outs in this layer are closer together in areas where you need more support, and further apart where you need more softness.
Bio-Core® base layer: The Bio-Core® base layer is the reason Amerisleep can offer our generous 20-year warranty. Bio-Core® supports all the layers above it and deters any sags.
We’re so confident in this mattress that we back it up with a 20-year warranty (10 years longer than the industry average), a 100-night sleep trial, and free shipping to the contiguous United States.
What types of mattresses are available online?
The traditional innerspring mattress is still one of the most popular types, and you can find it in any mattress store, almost any hotel, and of course, online. But innerspring beds aren’t for everyone, and customer feedback shows these mattresses break down faster than any other type— the average lifespan is only 5 years.
What’s more, the online market has made it easy for manufacturers to add all the bells and whistles to a mattress without inflating the cost; so no matter the type of mattress you want, you can find a nice one for a good price.
A basic innerspring mattress has steel coils in the base and a pillow top or Euro top layer for extra padded cushioning. Sometimes the innerspring base and soft comfort layer is separated by a thin layer of plywood, wool, or a combination of similar materials.
The coils in the base can be different types and gauges (thicknesses), and the differences will affect the overall feel and durability of the mattress.
Hourglass: Hourglass coils get their name from their shape. They can be squeaky and do not isolate motion very well. Two common types of hourglass coils are Bonnell and offset. Bonnell coils are cheap to make and found in many innerspring models, but offset coils are a bit more sturdy because they are linked together by a thin wire known as a “helical.”
Continuous: Continuous coils are linked together by one long wire, and the coils themselves are shaped like an S. Because of their structure, they are known to be more durable.
Pocketed: Pocketed coils, or Marshall coils, are becoming more popular in innersprings and hybrid mattresses because they minimize motion transfer— a common problem associated with coil mattresses. Have you ever shared a bed with a restless partner whose movements kept you up all night? Well, pocketed coils absorb movement rather than transferring it to you.
Pocketed coils are individually-wrapped in fabric or foam and a mattress containing them is usually more expensive.
The popularity of foam mattresses is quickly rising, especially with online mattress brands. That’s probably partly because foam can be easily compressed and put into a small box for quick, convenient shipping. Not all foams are the same, and some are cheaper and break down faster than others.
Memory foam, or viscoelastic foam, is made with polyurethane foam and other chemicals to give it a very soft, responsive feel. It contours closely to the body, has excellent motion isolation and makes no noise at all (unlike innerspring beds).
Beware of some companies marketing their foams as “memory foam” or with a “memory-foam feel”—they are not always made of actual memory foam, but instead with polyurethane foam, which is cheaper and breaks down faster.
Polyurethane foam, or poly-foam, is made using petroleum and other chemicals to give it a soft, responsive feel like memory foam. The difference between the two is memory foam is much more contouring and longer-lasting. However, poly-foam is a good budget-friendly option for those who like a memory-foam feel without the higher price tag.
While foam is comfortable and supportive, it’s also very good at overheating. But brands have come up with solutions to this problem by infusing heat-conductive materials into their foams, such as gel, copper, graphite, or charcoal. The most popular cooling foam is gel memory foam, but each one basically works the same by drawing heat away from the body and preventing it from getting trapped in the mattress.
Other methods for cooling foam involve its construction; advanced open-cell foams or plant-based foams, like those found in Amerisleep mattresses, result in excellent breathability.
Hybrid mattresses are unique because they combine foam and innerspring mattresses together in one. A hybrid always has coils in its base and 2-3 inches of foam in the top layers. The soft, top foam layers are usually separated by another layer of transitional foam.
Hybrids are cooling thanks to the coil cores and pressure-relieving due to their foam layers. However, they are bouncier than a typical memory foam mattress, so if you prefer the close-conformity of memory foam, a hybrid wouldn’t be right for you.
Latex mattresses are similar to memory foam–they offer excellent pressure relief and responsiveness, but they are a little more firm and bouncy. In mattresses, latex is either synthetic, blended, or 100% natural. Natural latex is the most durable and the most expensive; it’s made from the sap of a rubber tree and processed using either the Talalay or Dunlop method. Dunlop is typically more dense and firm, while Talalay is slightly softer. Both are extremely durable.
Blended and synthetic latex breaks down faster than natural latex, but they feel quite similar, so if you’re on a tighter budget, you can consider these options.
Considering Your Sleeping Position
Your sleeping position plays a large part in how comfortable your mattress feels. In fact, it might be the number one thing you need to think about before buying a new mattress, especially if you’re buying one online without trying it first.
Side-sleeping is the most common way we choose to sleep, and it’s also the healthiest (over 40 percent of Americans sleep on their sides). Those who sleep on their sides are less likely to snore, develop acid reflux, and wake up with aches and pains. Side sleepers should choose a medium to a medium-firm mattress that balances both softness and support. A medium mattress supports the hips, spine, and shoulders while offering some cushioning to sensitive pressure points.
If you’re one of the 8 percent who sleeps on their backs, you’re in the best position for a healthy sleep posture. Because your back is flat on the mattress, there’s little risk of bending or twisting your back into an uncomfortable position and waking up in pain. However, back sleepers are at a higher risk for snoring or sleep apnea.
If you already suffer from one of these breathing conditions, try sleeping on a higher loft pillow or wedge pillow to slightly elevate the head. Back sleepers can also try using an adjustable bed frame to alleviate snoring or acid reflux.
We don’t recommend sleeping on your stomach because it puts you at a greater risk of waking up with back pain. Your spine needs the right amount of support each night in order to stay aligned and neutral; sleeping on the stomach naturally bows it out of shape unless you’re on a firm mattress and your head is not elevated.
Stomach sleepers should choose a mattress with very little give to avoid any misalignment. Additionally, their pillow should not be high-loft, since this increases the risk of a sore neck in the morning.
Mattress Size Options
If you’ve gotten this far in your mattress research, you probably already know the mattress size you’re going to get. A queen size mattress is the most popular choice because it fits in almost any room and it’s big enough for couples or for singles who need some room to stretch out.
|Mattress Size||Best for…|
|Twin: 38 inches by 37 inches||Toddlers, big kids, teenagers|
|Twin XL: 38 inches by 80 inches||Teenagers, young adults|
|Full: 54 by 75 inches||Teenagers, young adults, some couples|
|Queen: 60 by 80 inches||Single adults, couples|
|King: 76 by 80 inches||Single adults w/ extra space, couples|
|California King: 72 by 84 inches||Tall adults, couples|
Best Mattress Firmness
When your bed in a box arrives at your door, you may be wondering how a comfortable mattress could really fit inside that small of a box! If it’s a foam mattress, it will expand as soon as you open it. The feel of the mattress is completely unaffected by being compressed.
Since you don’t have the luxury of trying out all the firmness options before buying an online mattress, you’ll need a good idea of your preferred firmness before you buy it. One hurdle here is most of us don’t replace our old mattress until well after it’s gotten uncomfortable, and our bodies get used to the feel of it. Sleeping on a new mattress more suited for your sleeping position and preferences can be really uncomfortable at first!
Most online mattress companies give you a minimum of 30 days to “break” in your new mattress and get used to its firmness and feel. To minimize the risk of having to return your new bed, familiarize yourself with the best firmness option for your sleeping position.
You may have noticed a “firmness scale” on some mattress websites to help customers differentiate between the various mattress offerings. This scale is based on ILD, or Indentation Load Deflection ratings. Essentially, to measure firmness, testers place a weight on the surface of the mattress— the amount of weight that manages to indent the mattress up to 1 inch (or 25% of the mattress’ thickness) becomes the ILD rating. Therefore, the heavier the weight, the firmer the mattress.
The firmness scale is simpler and more accessible to consumers; if you can’t find a firmness rating on the company website, contact their customer service representatives for more information. Most mattresses fall between 3-8 on the firmness scale with a few exceptions, and a medium mattress— considered to be the “universally comfortable” feel, falls between 5-7.
|Soft, 1-2: extremely plush, soft, not supportive||This firmness is best for pillows, not mattresses|
|Medium-soft, 2-3: soft but with some support||Best for side-sleepers, combination sleepers, heavyweight and lightweight sleepers|
|Medium, 4-6: balanced softness and support||Best for side-sleepers, combination sleepers, couples with differing sleep preferences|
|Medium-Firm, 7-8: fewer comfort layers, but enough to provide some give||Best for back and stomach sleepers, heavyweight sleepers|
|Firm, 9-10: thin comfort layers and thick base core layers||Best for back and stomach sleepers, lightweight sleepers|
Certain mattress types have are inherently firm or soft; for example, memory foam and poly-foam tend to fall on the medium-soft to medium side, latex is typically medium to medium-firm, and innerspring beds usually have a medium to firm feel. It depends on the thickness of the comfort layers as well as the material used in the core (usually high-density foam or springs).
Cost is probably one of the main things you’re concerned about as you shop for a mattress, second only to comfort and durability. The good news is online mattresses offer a wide variety of high-quality beds within a generous price range.
A high-quality queen-size mattress, no matter the type, costs about $800-1,000 on average. Now, you will find some variation in this price range because most mattresses are more than just a few layers of foam and springs, and additional features can hike up the price.
For instance, a basic foam bed can cost as little as $300— if it’s that cheap, it’s probably made with poly-foam, which is less expensive to make than memory foam, and it breaks down faster. It’s probably made without cooling gel or foam, and so it’s more likely to trap heat. While it’s a great price, it won’t last long.
On the other hand, a queen mattress marked up to 2 or $3,000 is most likely made with proprietary foams, wrapped coils, and more. However, if the high price tag doesn’t come with a generous return policy, sleep trial, and warranty, look elsewhere.
Most of the bells and whistles that seem to justify a high price tag are just marketing techniques meant to convince you the mattress is better than it is. Common mattress features that increase the price include:
- Cooling foams, cooling gel, infused foams
- Wrapped coils
- Firmness level (softer beds use more material and are therefore more expensive)
- Proprietary foams (look for trademarked foams and materials unique to the mattress brand)
- A longer than average warranty (more than 10 years, which is the industry standard)
- A longer than average sleep trial (more than 90-120 days)
- Eco-friendly foams or organic textiles
Return Policies and Sleep Trials
After you nail down the perfect mattress type, firmness, and price, you need to take a close look at the company policies. If the mattress you choose ends up not working out, you need to know what provisions and protections are in place to make returning the mattress hassle-free.
Online mattress companies usually offer a sleep trial that goes hand in hand with their return policy. For instance, a “risk-free trial” of 100 days stipulates the customer may return their mattress any time within the 100 days for a full refund.
Check if the company has a minimum trial requirement giving you time to break in the mattress (usually 21-30 days); if they do, they won’t let you initiate a return until you’ve slept on the bed for the minimum amount of time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it gives you time to make sure the bed is right for you.
Sleep trials are quickly becoming expected in the online mattress world; buying your mattress online eliminates the time you’d take to try out a mattress in the store and replaces it with an in-home sleep trial.
Mattresses without a sleep trial come with more risk; most companies without sleep trials offer a “customer satisfaction guarantee” in their place, allowing you to return the mattress within 30 days of purchase. However, these return policies often come with stricter stipulations, such as the mattress being unopened and unused.
We always recommend choosing a mattress with a sleep trial over one with just a return policy. Also, look for a mattress with at least a 90 to 100-day trial to give you ample time to try out the bed.
The standard 10-year warranty in the mattress industry still applies to online mattress brands. Most mattress warranties cover the same basic things with some variation depending on the brand:
- Sagging or indentations below a certain point, usually 1 inch or more
- Ripped or bunched foam
- Tears in the cover or pillow top
- Burst or broken coils
- Broken zipper
Any warranty, no matter the product it’s attached to, should give the customer some peace of mind regarding the product they’re buying. The thing about mattresses is most people don’t need to look at their warranty until years after they’ve bought the mattress, and so most people don’t do heavy warranty research before purchasing.
Another common issue with mattress warranties is the sagging covered by the warranty is fairly deep— a 1-inch indent may not seem like much, but if your mattress has 1-inch sags (and that’s without you laying on it), you’re probably pretty uncomfortable.
“Waiting” for your mattress to sag that deeply can be detrimental to your health; most people either continue to sleep on their mattress well after the warranty ends or well past the time the mattress is still comfortable. Instead, look for generous warranties that cover sagging less than an inch. This will ensure you aren’t sleeping on an unsupportive mattress.
Online Mattress Lifespan
So, how long will your new mattress last? This question is probably at the forefront of your mind as you invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in your new bed.
If the standard warranty is 10 years, you can safely assume a good mattress will last somewhere around 10 years. However, the actual lifespan depends on the mattress type, materials, and how well you maintain it. Additionally, if you only use your new mattress in a guest room, it will most likely last much longer than the one in your bedroom.
To extend the life of your mattress, always use a mattress protector or encasement— this shields the bed from stains, spills, dust mites, and bed bugs, all of which can ruin your bed and void your warranty. Read the warranty terms and make sure you are using your mattress on the correct foundation— using it with a compatible base can void your warranty as well (and damage the mattress).
|Mattress Type||Average Lifespan|
|Memory Foam||7-8 years|
|Latex Foam||8-10 years|
*keep in mind these lifespans are average amounts, and some brands’ beds may last even longer than the average lifespan
If you buy your mattress online, you don’t need to worry about picking it up, getting it home, or carrying it upstairs and around corners into your home— that may have been the old procedure when you bought your mattress from a brick and mortar store, but the biggest perk of buying your mattress online is it’s shipped directly to your door.
Most online mattress brands offer free shipping and free returns with your mattress. However, some do charge a restocking fee if you return the mattress, and free shipping isn’t often available to Hawaii or Alaska.
Other delivery options include:
- White Glove Delivery: The company will send delivery people to set up your new mattress and remove your old one. Some companies include this with your mattress purchase, while others offer it for an extra cost.
- Free shipping and free returns: Pretty self-explanatory; it’s not always offered depending on where you live.
What qualities does my mattress really need?
After reading this article or others like it, you’re probably feeling more overwhelmed than informed. There are hundreds of online mattress brands out there and they are all trying to persuade you to buy their mattresses.
So what does your mattress really need? Let’s go over the basic features often marketed by mattress companies.
|Edge support||It depends on the mattress type; if you find you’re falling off your mattress a lot, a bed with edge support could be beneficial. In summary: not always necessary.|
|Cushioning/softness||It depends on your body type and weight as well as your sleeping position; most of us like at least some level of cushioning on our mattress.|
|Body contouring||It depends; a mattress that conforms closely to the body is great for athletes, back pain sufferers, or those who dislike the “bounce” of a traditional innerspring.|
|Cooling||If you tend to sleep hot, a bed with cooling features such as gel memory foam or innersprings is best.|
|Trial period||Yes; look for a sleep trial period of at least 90 days|
|Noise||Most of us prefer a bed that makes little to no noise; the quietest mattress types are memory foam and latex.|
|Odor||An off-gassing odor can accompany foam beds; while not dangerous, it can be irritating. If this is a major concern, look for plant-based foams, CertiPUR-US® foams, or choose a bed made with very little foam (like an innerspring).|
|Responsiveness||It depends; if you like more bounce, go for a hybrid or innerspring. If you like more contouring, go for a memory foam or latex bed.|
|Eco-friendly||Eco-friendly beds, such as those made with organic cotton, natural latex, or CertiPUR-US® certified foams, give peace of mind, but they aren’t absolutely necessary for the bed to be comfortable. It depends on your priorities and preferences.|
Is an Online Mattress For You?
We all have different sleep preferences and circumstances; these things affect our buying choices, including mattresses. Along with reading mattress reviews or articles like this one, scour customer reviews. Look for reviews from customers who purchased their beds at least three months ago; almost any bed will feel good the first night you try it, but the real test comes after you’ve slept on it for a few months.
It is possible to find a high-quality, comfortable mattress online— you just need to have a complete idea of your preferences and budget before you commit to a new mattress and hopefully, a good night’s sleep.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.