A girl reading on a mattress

Bed-in-a-box marketing can be pretty sensational: You might see a stuntman falling back on a mattress with raw eggs strapped to his back (that’s a Purple commercial) or hear that buying a mattress is akin to ordering tacos (from a Tuft & Needle ad).

The ads are certainly memorable. But how do the mattresses from the dozens of direct-to-consumer companies stack up?

We put bed-in-a-box mattresses through the same rigorous testing we use for traditional mattresses. Using lab equipment and human subjects, we evaluate how well they support the body for both back and side sleepers, how easily sleepers can shift their weight without disturbing their partner, and how well the mattress keeps its shape over time.

More on Mattresses

To simulate the typical eight- to 10-year useful life span of a mattress, we conduct a mechanical test in which a 308-pound roller is pushed over each model 30,000 times. For firmness, rather than taking a manufacturer’s word for it, we measure that attribute with a highly calibrated instrument and score it on a scale of 1 to 10, with 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 bed-in-a-box models and those models purchased in standard brick-and-mortar stores,” says Chris Regan, the CR project leader who tests mattresses.

For some mattresses, Regan notes that it can be difficult to pull out the vacuum-packed, rolled-up product and free it from its plastic wrapping. “It’s nice to have a second pair of hands—and be very careful using a box cutter when opening and removing the plastic,” Regan says.

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 seven best direct-to-consumer mattresses from our tests, listed in rank order. Most are foam, but there's one innerspring mattress on the list (yep, an innerspring mattress-in-a-box), and a foam-and-innerspring hybrid, too.

Many of the companies that sell these mattress 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 bed-in-a-box companies offer a generous trial period—usually about 100 days—and return policy. We’ve noted these details below for each mattress.

Best Bed-in-a-Box Mattresses From CR’s Tests

Top Picks

1

Average back sleeper
Average side sleeper
Stabilization

2

Average back sleeper
Average side sleeper
Stabilization
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Bed-in-a-Box Basics

Is a bed-in-a-box mattress a good option for you? On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports expert Chris Regan explains to host Jack Rico what shoppers need to know about these widely sold products.