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Best Cheap Mattress For A Tight Budget

You can still find a great mattress for an affordable price. In this list, we will cover some of our favorite beds that won’t break the bank.

Whether you are looking to upgrade from the mattress you’ve been toting around since college, or you need to get a more comfortable bed without spending a fortune, there are plenty of great options in the bed-in-a-box category that will fit into your budget.

Last Updated: August 7, 2020

When shopping for a new bed, it is important to know what you intend on spending and what you are looking for. No matter how much you are willing to spend, we hope that this list helps you get a feel for what kind of mattress you can get for the money. SOme beds have special features or upgrades that will drive up the price, but if you just want a comfortable and dependable bed to spend your nights on, there is no need to go into debt. We definitely think that a mattress is an investment, after all, you spend ⅓ of your life on your mattress, so it should be something that you want to sleep on. Still, there are lots of options for folks who are looking to invest in a bed without spending an arm and a leg. 

We have tested tons of beds that range all across the board in terms of price. In this list, though, we have limited our choices to only those that cost $700 or less for a queen size.  This should be a fairly accessible price point for most shoppers, but we have also included a few beds that are even cheaper. 

The Best Cheap Mattresses

Over the past couple months, we’ve tested over 20 bed in a box mattresses, ranging from $250 all the way up to $1,500.

So with that said, we think we have a pretty good idea of which mattresses are the best bang for your buck. And we didn’t come up with any special algorithm or formula to determine this list.

We’re just average people here at MattressFinder that like to sleep. And the good news is that all of us contributed to this list and we are all quite different.

We’re different heights, different weights and we all have different sleep preferences. As such, we feel this list is pretty representative for the larger population.

And let me also just say that none of the companies on this list paid us to make this video or write this post—that would be lame. We are 100% independent and proud of it. Also, if you want more detail on any of these mattresses, make sure to check out our full mattress reviews and mattress comparisons.

The only criteria we did have for the list is that in order to be considered budget, a queen size mattress would have to fall below $700. Now a lot of these bed in a box companies are constantly running discounts and sales so we did take that into account when determining whether they should be eligible. Enough with the build-up – let’s get to the list!

Number 5 on our list is the 12″ Green Tea mattress from Zinus. Now if we were basing this solely on price, Zinus would be number 1 by a mile. A queen size is only $280 and we’ve seen it even cheaper on Amazon before.

The reason why it’s not higher on this list is that it’s very basic, as you would probably guess. It’s a proper memory foam bed and you definitely get that stuck-in-the-mud feeling. It also sleeps a little hotter than most other bed in a box mattresses out there. Overall, we give it a 4 out of 10 on our firmness scale so it’s the softest bed on this list by a pretty good margin.

Overall, it’s comfortable, I’m just not so sure the support would be there long term for back and stomach sleepers. It’s definitely more ideal for side sleepers.

Zinus Green Tea Mattress is a great pick for the guest room
Zinus is the ideal guest room bed

Bottom line, unless you’re on a very tight budget, I’m not sure this should be your every night bed. However, we view the Zinus 12′ Green Tea as the perfect guest room bed.

If you need to outfit an extra bedroom in your house, this is a great option. It’s ultra-cheap and more than good enough to get the job done for a few nights when your in-laws are in town visiting.

Another comfy addition to this list is the Brooklyn Bowery Mattress, which has a great value considering its quality construction. A queen size Brooklyn Bowery foam mattress will run you around $649 before discounts, and a hybrid Brooklyn Bowery bed is about $799 before discounts.

The foam Brooklyn Bowery mattress has a three layer construction and measures out to be 10” thick. It uses proprietary Energex foam in the top comfort layer, and it has a classic foam feel that’s very neutral (opposite to memory foam).

The foam is infused with cooling gel, but we wouldn’t say it sleeps cool. Overall, Brooklyn Bowery is more temperature neutral.

On our firmness scale, the foam Brooklyn Bowery mattress is around a 4-5 with 1 being soft, and 10 being firm. Though, if you think it’s too firm for you, the company will send you a FREE mattress topper. Therefore, it’s suitable for all sleeper types.

With that said, it’s not accommodating for all body types. If you are a heavyweight over 230 lbs, consider the Brooklyn Bedding Bowery Hybrid instead.

Coming in at number 3 is the Love & Sleep mattress from Nest Bedding. The price for a queen is $699, which is very affordable, plus you can use code RIZ8 for 8% off the Love & Sleep. And just for reference, we tested the medium feel option. Nest also offers a firmer option as well.

Now the Love & Sleep reminds us a lot of the Tuft & Needle mattress, which actually took our number two spot on this list. Regardless, we like the Love & Sleep a lot.

It’s comfortable, sinkage is minimal and you don’t get that stuck-in-the-mud feeling whatsoever. It doesn’t have that traditional memory foam feel, which some people may actually prefer.

We give it a 5.75 out of 10 on our firmness scale so it’s the most supportive bed we have on this list. It’s definitely better for back and stomach sleepers but we can see this bed softening over time.

At the end of the day, this mattress will still be fine for side sleepers, it’s just not the best. The primary reason we put it ahead of Zinus and Eve is that we felt it sleeps slightly cooler than those two since it does have that phase change material in the cover. As far as motion transfer, it is very, very minimal – I don’t think you’ll have any issue if you or partner happen to move around a lot in your sleep.

Jeff gives the Love & Sleep a big thumbs up

Bottom line with this mattress – if you’re a strict back and/or stomach sleeper and you’re on a budget, the Love & Sleep might be right for you. Also, if you’re a bit heavier, Love & Sleep is a great option since it’s a thicker, firmer mattress compared to some of the others on this list.

We really like the bed. As an FYI, Nest offers a limited lifetime warranty with all their mattresses, which is pretty unique for the industry.

Number two on the list is Tuft & Needle. As I eluded to earlier, the T&N mattress and Love & Sleep mattress are very similar in our eyes.

The Tuft & Needle mattress doesn’t have that traditional memory foam feel either. It’s still very comfortable though. We’d give it a 5.5 out of 10 on our firmness scale so we think it’s slightly softer and thus more accommodating for side sleepers than the Love & Sleep.

As such, combo sleepers should be just fine with the T&N mattress. And then the other reason why we have Tuft ahead of Nest is that it’s slightly more affordable at $575 for a queen. Plus, you can occasionally find the mattress even cheaper on Amazon.

tuft and needle is a great budget bed
Big fan of the Tuft and Needle mattress

Tuft & Needle is one of the best values out there. There’s a reason why the mattress has a 4.5 star rating with over 10,000 reviews on Amazon. It’s just a solid performer in pretty much all aspects.

Taking the number 1 spot on the list is Nectar. The company offers a 365 day risk free trial and a lifetime warranty, both of which beat industry standards. Now normally a queen size is $795 but Nectar is one of those companies that constantly have specials and discount codes. You can CLICK HERE for $100 off any mattress + two free pillows. So that means with the discount code, a queen size would be $670 and thus is eligible for this list.

Overall, we are just big fans of this mattress. In fact, it’s the only mattress on this list that also cracked our overall Top 5 Best Bed In A Box list.

Nectar definitely has that memory foam feel to it but it’s a unique memory foam feel. Yes, it’s soft, it’s plush, it’s very comfortable but it also provides a surprising amount of support as well.

There’s barely any sinkage with this bed, which is pretty unique for a memory foam mattress. We give it a 5.25 out of 10 on our firmness scale making the Nectar mattress great for back, side, stomach and combo sleepers. It just has a really nice balance to it.

We’d say its temperature neutral and motion transfer is extremely limited.

nectar is the best cheap mattress of 2020
Nectar also made our Top 5 Overall List

Bottom line, in our eyes, Nectar is tier 1 mattress with a very reasonable price tag. If you like memory foam but don’t want your mattress to be too soft where you feel like you’re actually sinking in, Nectar is the way to go.

About Our Best Lists

jargon and bargains, it is hard to determine what will work well for you and what will be the best value for the price. On top of looking for a bed that won’t break the bank, we know that it is also important to find a bed that will be comfortable and durable, suitable for every unique sleeper, whether you are a college student, a busy parent, a retired person, or anyone in between. That is why we have tested over 100 beds from all across the board and aim to bring you helpful and honest reviews. We have reviewed expensive luxury beds and beds that retail for well under $500 and we are never swayed by outside sources when writing our reviews. We are not owned or affiliated with any mattress brands or big corporations, we are a small company of people who are passionate about sleep and dedicated to bringing you the best information that we can.

Having over five years of experience in the bed-in-a-box industry, we have a good understanding of the trends and technologies that are worth the price, and the things that just aren’t quite up to snuff. No matter what you are after, we have compiled this list of our favorite mattresses with one major budgetary assumption in mind: the queen size sells for around $700. We feel that this is a fairly approachable price point as it is less than the average price for most mattresses but still allows for enough budgetary range to get a high-quality bed. We have also included beds that are below this price point though, if you want to stretch your dollar as far as possible. 

Finding A Budget Friendly Bed

If you are seeking an inexpensive bed, there are several ways that you can find a bed you’ll love without breaking the bank. In general, we find that decent queen sized beds will retail somewhere around $1000. But for a bed that is even more affordable, there are some fantastic deals that we have found and special coupon codes that you can use to bring down the price even more. Whether you are looking for a mattress that will host your in-laws in your guest room during the holidays, or a mattress that will serve as a sleeping/ studying/ eating surface in your college dorm room, there are plenty of great options out there.

Shipping And Return Policies

Every bed will have slightly different policies, but there are a few things that you can consider the norm when buying an inexpensive mail order mattress. Free shipping is fairly standard and the bed should arrive on your doorstep tightly rolled up in a box and ready to be set up. The process of setting up a boxed bed is pretty straightforward: you just pull it out of the box and unroll it onto your bed frame of choice. This should take no longer than 10 or 15 minutes tops and is made much easier if you have another person on hand to help you. Once the mattress has been set up, make sure you give it about 24 to 48 hours to fully inflate and retain its shape after being stuffed in a box for so long.

Once the bed is inside your house or apartment (or dorm room, or igloo, or yurt… wherever you call home), you should expect to have a risk-free trial period to test it out and make sure it will be right for you. Usually the trial period will be 100 nights, but some companies offer trials that are much longer. Nectar for example, will give you an entire year to decide if you want to keep or return your bed. If you opt to return your bed during this trial period you can arrange to have your mattress removed by the company and your money fully refunded. Because you can’t box your bed back up once it has been opened, returned beds are often picked up and returned via ground shipping or donated to a charity within your community. 

Amazon is usually a great place to purchase things for cheap, but when you order a mattress from Amazon, you will be constrained to Amazon’s standard 30 day return policy and any other specific policies that they may have. There are a lot of great beds available on Amazon, but always smart to be aware of the policies that are attached to your purchase. 

Additionally, you should expect your purchase to come with some sort of warranty coverage. A mattress is a major purchase and it should last you for around seven years, so making sure that your bed is insured for defects and damages is really wise. Most companies cover their beds with a standard ten year warranty, but don’t be surprised if you encounter warranties that are much longer. This kind of warranty speaks to the company’s belief in the quality of their product. Make sure to read all of the details of your warranty so that you know exactly what your warranty will and will not cover.

Common Mattress Materials

Certain mattress materials are more expensive than others, therefore the construction of a mattress can make a huge difference in the price. Beds that are made with several layers of natural & organic materials are obviously going to cost quite a bit more than beds that only have two or three layers of inexpensive and synthetic products.

There are two categories of beds that we are going to cover: hybrids and all-foam. Every bed is a little bit different, but in general, they should all fit into one of these categories. Foam beds can be made with a combination of foams (poly foam, memory foam, latex foam etc.) in varying layers and are generally plushy and comfortable and also fairly affordable. Hybrid beds contain a layer of pocketed coils or innersprings and usually a layer of some kind of foam.

When you purchase a bed that uses foam, pay attention to the certifications that the bed carries. Foams that carry the CertiPUR-US certification are manufactured safely and without harmful chemicals or materials.

Hybrid Mattresses

Coils come in two main styles and provide dozens of benefits. Pocketed coils are systems of springs that are individually siloed in fabric sleeves which are then attached to one another to form a solid layer of springs. Pocketed coils allow for each spring to move independently of the ones around them which means they are able to respond to the sleeper’s body weight without transferring the movement across the bed as severely. Traditional innerspring systems have mostly been replaced by pocketed coils in modern mattresses, but they are worth noting as well. In this kind of system, coils are linked to one another to form a sort of chassis system. When weight is applied to one part of this kind of mattress, it will send waves throughout the entire bed. 

In both instances, the inclusion of coils in a hybrid mattress means that the bed will be especially supportive and responsive, while also allowing for good air-flow. Coils also make the bed durable, so your investment will hold up to the test of time.

Memory Foam

A fairly dense but comfortable material, memory foam softens and conforms to your body when weight and heat is applied. A lot of people are fond of the cradling feeling that memory foam provides, but others feel a bit trapped or overheated when lying on the material.

Gel memory foam is a new solution to the problems that some folks have encountered with memory foam. It has a similar cushy feel to memory foam, but the addition of gel means that the material is able to breathe and regulate temperature a bit better, making it a great option for memory foam fans in need of a cooling mattress. 

Latex Foam

Latex mattresses are made from natural latex sap which is whipped into a foam. It is a sponge-like material that is really breathable, bouncy, and airy. Eco-conscious shoppers will be fond of this material as it is natural and organic, but it does tend to run a bit more on the pricey side, so might not be what you are looking for when trying to stick to a strict budget. 

Polyurethane Foam

This type of foam is really affordable to produce and can be made in varying densities. Commonly, poly foam is used as a support layer in all-foam beds. Some poly foams, though, are made softer and generally have a neutral feel–not squishy (like memory foam) nor bouncy (like latex). If you want a bed that will be the best value, poly foam is probably the way to go. 

Proprietary Materials

Finally, some companies will develop their own materials that are infused with certain properties. These can be gels or infused foams or something totally unique, like the hyper-elastic polymer used in all Purple mattresses. These also tend to cost a bit more money, so be wary of the price when considering proprietary materials.

Who Will Be Sleeping On The Bed?

No matter what kind of bed you might be looking for, it is important that it is comfortable and suitable for the person or people who will actually be sleeping on it. Being on a budget can actually be helpful when trying to narrow things down because, once you take your unique sleep type, body type, and a few considerations for couples into account, some inexpensive beds should emerge as front-runners. 

Certain bells and whistles that come with some beds can hike the price up a bit. If you think about your specific situation, you might be able to rule out some special features, therefore ensuring that you can stay within budget. For example, if you are a single person living in an apartment with great air conditioning (go you!) you probably don’t need a mattress that is especially cooling or especially large. If, though, you suffer from arthritis and your husband is prone to late night snacking, a mattress that cushions your pressure points and alleviates motion transfer might be worth investing a bit more money into so you can both sleep well. 

If you are a part of a couple and intend on sharing your mattress, we think that compromise is crucial. If you have vastly different body types and sleeper styles, opting for a mattress that is somewhere around medium to medium-firm and that offers a good amount of pressure relief and lumbar support might be the best way to keep your sleep sound and your relationship sane. Couples should also pay special attention to mattresses that offer good edge support. Good edge support can save you some money if you want to go for a full or queen sized bed instead of a king, which will be more expensive. 

Sleeper Types

The position that you prefer for sleep can help to determine what kind of mattress you need: Softer? Firmer? Somewhere in between?

Back And Stomach Sleepers

Folks who sleep flat on their back or stomach need a mattress that will help their spine stay aligned. Nothing ruins your morning quite like waking up with an achy back, so in order to avoid this issue, back sleepers should look for a firmer mattress that will provide proper lumbar support so that your bottom does not sag and put strain on your lower back as you sleep. Stomach sleepers also need a supportive mattress, but a bit more cushion in the top layer of your bed might also be important if you sleep on your stomach because you put a bit of pressure on the more delicate parts of your body when you sleep in this manner. 

Side And Combination Sleepers

People who sleep on their sides generally need a mattress that is a bit softer. When you sleep on your side for prolonged periods, whether that is all night or for spurts of time as a combination sleeper, a lot of pressure is isolated to your hip and shoulder. In order to avoid waking up sore, side sleepers need a bed with plenty of pressure relief that will cushion their body. 

Body Types

You should also consider your body shape and size when looking for a mattress. We try to rate mattresses based on how they would feel to the average sleeper, but larger folks might find that a bed feels softer than average while more petite people might feel that a mattress is firmer than they expected. This is because the amount of pressure that your body exerts on the bed relates to the amount of pressure relief that the bed provides. People who weigh over 225 lbs probably put a bit more pressure on the mattress, and therefore feel the effects of the comfort layer a bit more, feeling, at times, like they are sinking into the bed instead of sleeping on top of it. Lighter people (say, under 125 lbs) on the other hand, might not have quite enough body mass to fully reap the benefits of the bed’s comfort layer, therefore feeling like the mattress is a bit firmer than it is meant to be. 

If you are bigger, look for a bed that is on the firmer side. It is also a good idea to invest in a bed that has coils or a strong support core so that you don’t sink into the bed too much. There are some supportive and thick beds out there that are a good value, though they do tend to run a bit more expensive than all-foam beds do. Lighter folks, conversely, should look for a bed on the softer side of the spectrum so that they will feel properly cushioned by the bed. 

Mattress Sizing Guide

An important thing to discuss when it comes to finding an inexpensive mattress is the different sizes. The size that you are intending on buying can change the price range that you should expect to budget for. An affordable king sized mattress, for example, is typically over $1,000, which might be out of the budget for a lot of folks. If you are a college student looking for a bed that will be the best value for your dorm bed, you can probably opt for a twin or twin XL mattress, which will be large enough to crash on after hours of studying or to curl up and binge watch The Office on during the weekends. Twin and twin XL beds are also a great option if you are a parent on a budget and need to get a new bed for your growing child or for your teenager. A bed this size can be as cheap as $200-$400. Full sized mattresses are a great option if you are a single person but want a bit more of an “adult” bed. A full sized bed will fit nicely into your studio apartment and should fit nicely into your budget as well, usually available for around $300-$500. The most popular mattress size is a queen, which is suitable for couples, and single people alike. If you are looking for a queen sized mattress (all of the beds on this list are queen sized and under $700) you can find some great options for well under $1000, though some beds are well over that price threshold as well.