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

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

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

Even during a pandemic, a mattress-in-a box can be a hard sell. How do you know if a mattress is for you, if you don’t experience it in person?

Truth is, a mattress-in-a-box can be convenient, comfortable and dreamy—if you choose the right one. And with generous trial runs and warranties, your purchase is less likely to be a nightmare. Then, you can rest easy. So how do these mattresses from the dozens of direct-to-consumer companies stack up?

We put mattress-in-a-box beds through the same rigorous testing we use for all mattresses. Using lab equipment and human test subjects, we evaluate how well a mattress supports the body for both back and side sleepers, how easily sleepers can shift their weight without disturbing a partner, and how well the mattress keeps its shape over time. For that last test, on durability, we pass a 310-pound roller over each mattress 30,000 times to simulate the typical lifespan of eight to 10 years.

Rather than taking a manufacturer’s word for it, we measure firmness with a highly calibrated instrument and score it on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the firmest).

“Aside from the mattress showing up on your doorstep rolled up in a box, shoppers won’t notice any differences in performance between our top-rated mattress-in-a-box models and those models purchased in standard brick-and-mortar stores,” says Chris Regan, who oversees CR’s mattress tests.

More on Mattresses

Some mattresses might require unpacking magic. Regan says freeing the vacuum-packed, rolled-up mattress from its box and plastic wrapping can be challenging. “It’s nice to have a second pair of hands—and be very careful using a box cutter when opening and removing the plastic,” he says.

And while our scientific ratings for support are a good proxy for how well you might sleep on a mattress, we also provide ratings for comfort and satisfaction that come from people who’ve actually lived with these mattresses—for up to 10 years in some cases. Our comfort and owner satisfaction ratings are based on data from recent surveys on CR members’ experiences with nearly 70,000 mattresses purchased within the past decade. We asked members to rate the comfort of their mattress, and used the data to generate ratings by brand and type of mattress. Owner satisfaction is based on a member’s overall judgment of such factors as firmness/softness, value, quality of sleep, and more.

Not sure where to start when considering a mattress? CR’s mattress buying guide breaks down the different types on the market. You can browse even more options in our comprehensive mattress ratings.

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of the eight best direct-to-consumer mattresses from our tests—four innerspring and four foam.

Many of the companies that sell these mattresses have opened their own showrooms, where you can try a mattress out before you buy, or they’ve partnered with walk-in stores for the same reason. Many mattress-in-a-box companies offer a trial period—usually about 100 days—and return policy. We’ve noted these details below for each mattress.

Best Innerspring Mattresses-in-a-Box

Best Foam Mattresses-in-a-Box

BW Headshot of Consumer Reports author Keith Flamer

Keith Flamer

As a kid in Delaware, I lived a few blocks from Bob Marley, who once said, "It is better to live on the house top than to live in a house full of confusion." At CR, I'm psyched to help readers navigate this cluttered, hyper-commercialized world we live in. I've covered luxury real estate, interior design, and culture—reporting on everything from smart home technology to racial hypocrisy at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate. Since the pandemic started, I cherish simplicity, covering accessible topics like decorating, cooking, and cleaning. Give me a smoothie blender over a mansion any day. Blenders are slightly easier to clean.