When We Say Best Affordable Mattresses, We’re Talking Queens Under $695
Budget-friendly doesn’t mean bad quality.
Updated Apr 13, 2022 4:56 PM
Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
You don’t need a degree in mathematics to know that we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so it should come as no surprise that mattress shopping can seem like a nail-biting experience. After all, a good mattress can mean the difference between sleepless nights and waking up feeling refreshed. That doesn’t mean, however, that finding the right mattress for you—based on your sleep style, your body temp, and the type of material—should be stressful (or drain your bank account). Whether you’re looking for a mattress in a box or checking out some millennial-favorite brands, we’ve done the research to address your biggest concerns: How long a mattress should last, when you should replace it, and where you can find the most budget-friendly options. If you’re ready to invest in rest, take a look at our recommendations for the best affordable mattresses on the market, below.
- Best overall: Casper Element Mattress
- Best value: Mainstays Memory Foam Mattress
- Best soft foam: Sweetnight Sunkiss Memory Foam Mattress
- Best firm foam: IKEA Matrand Memory Foam
- Best hybrid: Allswell From Allswell Home
- Best for couples: Sweetnight Twilight Hybrid Mattress
Best Overall: Casper Element Mattress
Sleep trial: 100 nights | Firmness: Firm | Cost for a queen: $695
What we like:
- Body-contouring topper
- Made with 121 recycled plastic bottles
- Perforated foam promotes airflow
- Takes up to 72 hours for product to fully inflate
Why we chose it: Rivals the comfort (albeit a bit firmer) of a Casper original, but at a fraction of the cost.
With a durable base bottom for long-lasting support and a responsive, soft foam top, Casper’s Element mattress is soft—but not too soft. At 10 inches thick, the Element falls nicely within the range of standard mattress depths but provides Casper’s signature 4-D Sleep Technology that has enough airflow to keep you cool, plus a knit cover that won’t feel itchy underneath sheets. But our absolute favorite feature? It’s designed for any sleep position.
Best Value: Mainstays Memory Foam Mattress
Sleep trial: 90 days | Firmness: Medium | Cost for a queen: $395
What we like:
- Choose the height of your memory foam
- Reduced movement transfer (a good fit for couples!)
- Great for back and stomach sleepers
- Compatible with adjustable bed frames
- It’s possible it may not inflate to the full standard size
Why we chose it: A mattress-in-a-box that’s the most affordable on this list (a 6-inch profile for a queen is only $189; a thicker foam at 12 inches is $359).
Supportive yet soft, this memory foam mattress is made to conform to your body’s shape. At its core is a 6.5-inch base foam that provides deep support, followed by subsequent layers of memory foam. The top layer is a 1.5-inch firm foam that minimizes movement transfer, isolating your partner’s tossing and turning to their side of the bed. While the mattress is available in four profiles (6, 8, 10, and 12 inches deep), the 12-inch mattress offers the most durability and support at a great price point. One important note: Multiple reviewers revealed this mattress sometimes struggles to inflate to a full standard size, so be sure to give it plenty of time to do so before use.
Best Soft Foam: Sweetnight Sunkiss Memory Foam Mattress
Sleep trial: 100 nights | Firmness: Medium soft and firm | Cost for a queen: $440
What we like:
- Flip for a soft or firm side
- Reduced movement transfer (great for couples)
- A rayon-and-cotton blend cover resists heat and moisture for skin-friendly sleep
- Company claims the design is scientifically proven to provide four times less peak pressure on hips, shoulders, and back
Why we chose it: Easily alternate between the supportive, high-density foam base and a marshmallowy pillow-soft top.
Not sure if you need a soft or firm mattress because of your sleep position? The Sunkiss from Sweetnight is a flippable mattress that provides two different levels of firmness on either side: There’s a soft memory foam top ideal for side sleepers on one, while the reverse has a firmer memory foam designed for back and stomach sleepers, but both are pretty comfortable. In other words, it’s great for people whose sleep position might change over time due to life changes, and, as Robert Pagano, cofounder of Sleepline, points out, “The gel foam does a great job of conforming to your body shape.”
Best Firm Foam: IKEA Matrand Memory Foam
Sleep trial: 90 nights | Firmness: Medium firm | Cost for a queen: $329
What we like:
- Washable cover
- Roll packed
- IKEA comfort quiz is available so you can find your best fit
- Cotton blended with polyester and viscose
Why we chose it: Don’t let the brand name fool you—this is a surprisingly comfortable and firm bed.
IKEA mattresses may have gotten a bad rap over the years, but that doesn’t mean they are all back pain–inducing. In fact, Samantha Weiss-Hills, our deputy commerce editor, strongly recommends this memory foam one. “It’s not plushy soft by any means, but the memory foam is pretty good for people who like a medium-firm mattress,” she says. “It gives in as you rest into it, like memory foam should.”
Best Hybrid: Allswell From Allswell Home
Sleep trial: 100 nights | Firmness: Medium firm | Cost for a queen: $449
What we like:
- Individually wrapped coils
- Charcoal-and-copper–infused foam
- Edge support along the perimeter
- Removal costs $149
Why we chose it: It’s possible to have the best of both worlds with a hybrid mattress.
Hybrid mattresses combine the firm support of a traditional coil or spring mattress with the plushness and comfort of a memory foam mattress, but tend to skew toward the pricier side. This model from Allswell starts with a layer of individually wrapped coils that minimize motion transfer, followed by a gel layer infused with charcoal and copper to reduce body heat. It’s sold at a price you’d swear was too good to be true. Plus the top of the mattress is quilted for a bouncy, sink-into-the-bed feel.
Best for Couples: Sweetnight Twilight Hybrid Mattress
Sleep Trial: 100 nights | Firmness: Medium firm | Cost for a queen: $498
What we like:
- Three layers of plush foam, including a pillow top
- Pocketed steel coils for a protective bounce
- Luxurious look and feel
- Compatible with multiple frame types
- Labeled as medium firm; described as plush
Why we chose it: Individually wrapped coils mean you’ll stay cool, comfortable, and cozy, even when your partner gets up in the middle of the night.
As a hybrid mattress, the Twilight from Sweetnight was specifically designed to provide excellent motion isolation with individually wrapped coils that give that traditional bouncy feel—without transferring across the whole mattress. If you’re a light sleeper or have a partner who tosses and turns all night long, the combination of coils and foam will keep your partner’s movements confined to their side of the bed.
How We Chose These Products
A quality night’s sleep doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, the best affordable mattresses are constructed with the same supportive materials (memory foam, a hybrid combo of coils and latex) for sleepers of all persuasions as the most luxurious offerings. So whether you sleep hot or cold, or on your back or stomach, our bedding lists try to offer an option for everyone. But here’s the thing—while we’ve done the research, chatted with sleep experts and designers, and prioritized brands that tout eco-friendly characteristics and business practices, there’s no shortcut to your dream snooze sanctuary. When it comes to finding the best mattress for you, even the affordable kind, you really have to try them for yourself, so in addition to identifying different mattress types, we provided sleep trial information. For this list in particular, you won’t find a queen, even from the design-forward brands we love, that costs more than $700.
Our Shopping Checklist
The firmness of a mattress is subjective, but most fall within three general categories: soft, medium, and firm. Your preference is usually dependent on your sleeping position. Side and back sleepers often look for a softer mattress, whereas stomach sleepers generally opt for a firmer mattress, says family practice physician Peter Bailey, M.D. Looking to relieve achy joints or back pain? “Medium-level firmness tends to be good for pressure and tension relief for people with lower back pain,” says Alex Savy, a certified sleep science coach and the founder of SleepingOcean.com.
Or if you find yourself sliding off when you sit at the edge of your mattress, a firmer mattress can help. Poor edge support—where the outer edges and corners of the mattress are soft and flexible—is likely the culprit.
Think of mattresses like a sandwich composed of many different components. Quality mattresses will not only be constructed of high-density foam that provides the structure you need, but also layered in a way that optimizes both comfort and support. This usually means a heavier, denser foam (or coils) on the bottom and lighter, softer foam on top that gives in to your body weight.
Packaging and Delivery
Most foam or hybrid mattresses that are ordered online arrive in a box for easy shipping and delivery. After it’s removed, the mattress can typically be released from its vacuum-sealed bag and unrolled, after which it might take a few days to fully inflate and reach its final depth. One final note to keep in mind: Just because it’s in a box doesn’t mean that it’s easy for one person to pick up and maneuver!
Q: Could my old mattress be causing my back pain?
“One sign that your current mattress might be causing your back pain is if you wake up sore with backaches in the morning but not when you wake up after taking a nap,” says Pagano. The right mattress will be supportive enough to help your spine maintain a neutral position—preventing that pesky back pain and soreness.
Q: How long does a mattress last?
Experts generally recommend replacing a mattress every five to eight years, depending on the frequency of use, how often you move and change position while sleeping, and your weight. But there are a few telltale signs that your mattress has outlived its expiration date. For example, if you feel muscle stiffness in the morning, it’s a pretty fair bet that it’s time for something new, says Savy. “Usually this indicates that the mattress has degraded and is unable to offer spine support,” he explains. Pagano adds, “If you don’t feel refreshed upon waking, it’s likely that a fresh mattress would help.”
Q: If I buy a new mattress, will I need new sheets, too?
Some foam or hybrid mattresses can be thicker than traditional mattresses at 12 to 20 inches high (standard mattresses clock in at 8 to 12 inches). This means that the fitted sheets you already have might not fit anymore, so make sure you check before you purchase—otherwise you may find yourself needing to buy brand-new sheets with deep pockets along with that brand-new mattress (which, come to think about it, doesn’t sound so bad!).
The Last Word
A good mattress is the key to good sleep, and it can be tempting to feel like you need to spend a fortune in order to find the right mattress for you. But the reality is that not everyone has the same needs when it comes to a mattress, and that sleeping position and personal preference play an important role in what feels best. Our selection of the best affordable mattresses aims to include different types of construction and materials for a range of sleepers—without worrying about overspending.
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