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Bed in a Box 101 & Our Top 4 Picks

TSA reviewer Connie Hack

Written By Connie

CPD Sleep Consultant

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3 April 2024 7 min read

The sleep industry all over the world has made strides in recent decades. The bed-in-a-box concept is certainly one of the most important improvements that have taken place to help the sleep industry keep up the pace with the ever-growing e-commerce space. Find out more about these vacuum-packed and rolled mattresses.

Back in the day, you had to go to a brick-and-mortar store to buy a traditional mattress. But when the Internet came along, online shopping became more and more popular. In the last 10 years, online shopping has come very close to traditional shopping, and the situation is no different in the sleep industry either.

In fact, in some countries (like the US), more people buy a mattress online than from a store!

Why? Simple – it's a lot more convenient. After all, mattresses are big and bulky, so strapping one to your car can be more trouble than its worth.

With that being said, not everyone is sold on bed in a box mattresses yet. So, let's take a closer look and see whether box mattresses are in fact the future or just a fad that will die out.

Our 4 best bed a in box picks

Before we go in-depth on what makes box mattresses so great, we're going to throw out a few recommendations. That way you can get a general feel of what bed-in-a-box mattresses tend to offer. And if one does catch your eye, you can always get it now and see what makes it so great once it arrives!
    Blog 1
    our reviewer Connie testing the edge support of Emma Nextgen Premium mattress
    Emma NextGen Premium Mattress
    Best Overall
    Blog 2
    a product image of Nectar memory foam mattress.
    Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
    Best for Neck and Back Pain
    Blog 3
    a product image of Dormeo Octaspring Hybrid
    Dormeo Octaspring Hybrid Plus
    Best Cooling
    Blog 4
    a product image of simba hybrid pro mattress with 7 layers
    Simba Hybrid Pro
    Best Eco-Friendly

Best Overall: Emma NextGen Premium Mattress

For our number one spot, we had to give it to the Emma NextGen Premium Mattress – the newest premium mattress on this list!
Best Overall
our reviewer Connie testing the edge support of Emma Nextgen Premium mattress

The Emma NextGen Premium Mattress is, at the time of writing this, Emma's newest premium mattress and it is making quite a scene!

With larger springs than before, this mattress focuses a lot on support while also being more breathable and therefore cooler during the night.

But don't worry, their patented Halo memory foam is also still there, meaning that most people will be sleeping in absolute comfort. Lastly, the cover is both nice to the touch and removable, meaning that both maintenance and the feeling of the mattress are top-tier!

Also, since we are talking about box mattresses, it's worth noting how easy it was the set up the mattress. While the mattress itself was heavy, it gets delivered to your room of choice and it does come with side handles that make life a lot easier.

Plus, the shipping is free and (from our experience) quite quick!

Click here to read our full review of the Emma NextGen Premium mattress.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: Single, Small Double, Double, King, Super King
  • Material: Memory foam
  • Cover: 99% polyester, 1% elastane
  • Height: 25cm
  • Trial: 200 nights
  • Warranty: 10 years

Advantages

An icon depicting different groups of people
Will suit most people
It's not too firm and not too soft.
An icon depicting air passing through a fabric
Improved breathability
No need to worry about overheating.
an icon depicting a removable cover
Removable cover
Easily take the cover off and wash it separately.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting a non motion isolating product
Slight motion transfer
Might be an issue for some couples.
An icon depicting a non-firm & supportive surface
Luckluster edge support
We expected better edge support.

Best for Neck and Back Pain: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

If you have aches in the morning, a good memory foam mattress is bound to change your life. And we think it should be the Nectar Memory Foam mattress!
Best for Neck and Back Pain
a product image of Nectar memory foam mattress.

Do you know what's really convenient? Having one mattress for the rest of your life! The fact that it also comes in a compact box to your doorstep is just a bonus.

If you want your new mattress to stick around, this is the perfect choice. After all, you get a lifetime guarantee. On top of that, we've found the Nectar Memory Foam mattress to be among the best when it comes to easing back pain.

The way they do this is with simple, yet effective engineering. The seven-zone support base helps distribute weight evenly, while the pressure-relieving memory foam contours to your body’s natural curves.

Additionally, the mattress is created with open-cell foam, which allows for enhanced breathability and keeps you cool during the night.

Make sure you check our Nectar Memory Foam mattress video review.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: Single, Small Double, Double, King, Super king
  • Material: Memory foam
  • Cover: Polyester
  • Height: 25cm
  • Trial: 1 year
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Advantages

An icon presenting perpetual motion balls indicating low motion transfer
No motion transfer
A great feature for couples!
An icon depicting a man with pain in back
Good for back, hip or shoulder pain
The mattress has excellent pain and pressure relief.
An icon depicting a medal indicating a warranty
Forever warranty
You literally can't get a better warranty than this.

Disadvantages

an icon depicting lack of straps
Lack of handles
A bit annoying when you want to move the mattress.
An icon depicting off gassing
Slight off gassing
The memory foam will have an odour the first night.

Best Cooling: Dormeo Octaspring Hybrid Plus

If you're a hot sleeper, a breathable mattress is necessary. After all, who wants to wake up covered in sweat? And in that deparment, this mattress from Dormeo is king!
Best Cooling
a product image of Dormeo Octaspring Hybrid

If there is one major handicap of memory foam, then it is certainly heat retention. Of all the attempts to improve the breathability of memory foam, Dormeo has gone the furthest.

They created highly breathable springs made of foam. That’s why the Dormeo Octaspring Hybrid Plus is 8x more breathable than traditional memory foam mattresses.

And breathability isn't even the only selling point! We really liked the support and pressure relief the mattress had to offer. So, it's also rather decent in terms of dealing with back pain.

It is also very popular among couples since it has very good motion isolation. So, tossing and turning on one side of the mattress won't disrupt the other.

And lastly, it comes vacuum-packed in a pretty small box. So, in our experience, it was one of the easier box mattresses to get through the door.

Click here to read our full review of the Dormeo Octaspring Hybrid Plus mattress.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: Single, Double, King, Super King
  • Material: Memory foam
  • Cover: Superstretch fabric
  • Height: 27cm
  • Trial: 60 nights
  • Warranty: 20 years

Advantages

An icon depicting good cooling properties
Extra cooling
The mattress is very breathable and can keep you cool.
An icon depicting a medal indicating a warranty
Great warranty
The mattress has a 20-year warranty, which is above standard.
An icon depicting a man with pain in back
Great for back pain
If you have body aches, this mattress might just help.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting a money bag indicating an expensive product
Pricey
This isn't a budget-friendly mattress.

Best Eco-Friendly: Simba Hybrid Pro

While most of these mattresses are pretty eco-friendly, Simba is likely the greenest mattress brand – at least for us. And their Hybrid Pro mattress is an excellent example of exactly why!
Best Eco-Friendly
a product image of simba hybrid pro mattress with 7 layers

While box mattresses are very convenient, they're not always very eco-friendly. After all, they come with quite a bit of packaging.

However, with the Simba Hybrid Pro mattress, the packaging is up to 60% recycled, from approved FSC sources. Plus, you can even have your old mattress removed for a small extra fee!

But even if we ignore those perks, this is just a very solid high-end mattress.

It has extremely good temperature regulation, thanks to the wool layer. It will keep the vast majority of peole very comfortable, especially side sleepers.

And it's an excellent choice for couples since it has next to no motion transfer. Throw in the added perks of also having side handles and a removable cover and you get quite a formidable box mattress!

Click here to read our full review of the Simba Hybrid Pro mattress.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Size: Single, Small Double, Double, EU Double, EU Queen, King, Super King
  • Material: Memory foam & wool
  • Cover: Knitted fabric
  • Height: 28cm
  • Trial: 100 nights
  • Warranty: 10 years

Advantages

An icon depicting a thermometer illustrating a good thermo regulating properties
Great thermo regulation
This mattress can keep your body at an optimal temperature.
An icon depicting a firm & supportive surface indicating support & firmness
Very supportive
The mattress gently cradles your body.
An icon depicting a medal indicating a warranty
10-year warranty
While not the longest, it's more than decent.

Disadvantages

An icon depicting a money bag indicating an expensive product
Expensive
There are cheaper mattresses.

How is a bed in a box delivered?

an image of rolled eve sleep away mattress

If you've never bought a bed in a box, you might be wondering how exactly are box beds delivered and packed?

To oversimplify, a mattress in a box is put into a bag that then has all the air sucked out. This allows the mattress to become incredibly thin.

The mattress is then rolled up and secured. Lastly, they're put inside of a medium to large box and sent out for shipping.

It's thanks to this method that box mattresses are a lot smaller than their “regular” mattress counterparts. And to give you a point of reference, you can go from a mattress that can't even fit through the door to a box that's up to your hip (although bigger mattress will be closer to your shoulder).

How to set up a mattress in a box

You're mattress in a box has been delivered. Great! But what do you do now? Well, don't worry, it's very simple to set up a mattress in a box.

Firstly, we recommend getting someone to help you, especially if you can't lift heavy objects. Place the entire box on its side and slide the rolled-up mattress outside. Then, carefully remove the outer layer of protection.

Your mattress should still be in the packaging but you can now unroll it. Place it on the bed and unroll it so that it covers the entire bed frame. If the mattress is one sided, also make sure the correct side is up.

Now carefully remove the packaging, making sure that you do not damage the mattress itself. You should see the mattress start to expand the second you break the seal.

Now just remove the rest of the packaging and let the mattress sit on the bed frame for a while. It also helps to open up a window or create a draft to speed up the off-gassing process. And you're good to go!

Is it safe to order a bed in a box?

an image of a woman holding a mattress rolled and packed

The compression process does not damage the mattress in any way, so it is completely safe to order a bed in a box. Of course, it is essential that you buy box mattresses from reputable manufacturers that take the necessary precautious to keep everything on the up and up.

But most of the time, you have nothing to worry about. But if you do tend to worry a lot, just read the reviews and see whether other people have run into any trouble. It's also smart to carefully read their return policy so that you can return the mattress if something is amiss.

Is a bed in a box durable?

Since box mattresses come vacuum packed, some people might have concerns when it comes to their durability. After all, the memory foam is completely squished and rolled up. However, box mattresses are just as durable as any traditional mattress.

That is to say that the materials used is a lot more important than how the mattress was delivered. So, as long as you're getting a high-quality mattress, it doesn't matter whether it's a bed in a box or a traditional mattress.

For example, even though the Nectar Memory Foam mattress is vacuum packed, it comes with a lifetime warranty! And if that isn't a sign of good durability, we don't know what is. So, just focus on getting the best mattress and choose the delivery method that best suits your needs.

What to consider when buying a bed in a box?

an image of a man holding a packed mattress

If you've decided that you want a bed in a box and none of the box mattresses we've recommended seem to suit your taste, don't worry. After all, just like when getting any mattress, there are ways for you to narrow down your choices and find the best mattress for you.

So, let's just quickly go over what you need to consider to ensure your new mattress is a comfortable mattress! And if you want a more in-depth guide on choosing the right mattress, we have a step-by-step guide you can also read.

Material & construction

an image of dormeo aloe vera memory foam deluxe mattress

When it comes to the construction of box mattresses, things don't tend to be too complicated. More often than not, you'll be looking at memory foam mattresses as they're the easiest to compress and roll up.

However, some hybrids can also be made into a bed in a box. They usually feature smaller springs than classic pocket spring models but they can still offer a bit more support.

It's also worth mentioning that not all memory foam mattresses are made equal. Some will have more memory foam than others. And depending on the density of the foam, their firmness can also differ greatly.

So, as a general rule of thumb, if you want a softer mattress, look for models that have 2cm or more of memory foam. And if you want a firmer model, see if you can find a hybrid or a mattress that utilises high-density foam.

Delivery & fees

Delivery options as well as the price of it vary considerably among manufacturers. Since the mattress is usually the most expensive thing in your bedroom, delivery is often free. But you have to check if it is free only if it is to the door, and not to the room of choice for example.

Sure, box mattresses can be carried in by one or two people but they're not exactly light. They're easier to move than a full mattress but don't expect them to be as light as a feather.

So, if you don't have anyone who can help you and don't want to bank on your own strength, see if the mattress can be delivered to your bedroom. It's better to pay a bit extra than to throw your back out!

Trial period & return policy

An image of emma free trial period of 200 nights.

When it comes to box mattresses, it's very important that they come with some sort of return policy or trial. After all, you can’t go to the store and try out a bed in a box. And even once it has arrived, the mattress needs a bit of time to fully expand. So the first thing you should check is the trial period and return policy.

If the manufacturer or retailer does not offer a trial period, getting that new mattress can be a bit risky. In these cases, at the very least, check out a few reviews and see what people generally say about its quality.

You sleep position and preferences

Your sleep position is by far the most important thing to consider when choosing not only a mattress but also a pillow. Consider whether you sleep on your stomach, back, or side, or perhaps combine multiple sleep positions.

Based on your sleeping position, as well as your body weight, you can quickly narrow down your choices. This hast mostly to do with the mattress firmness. However, don't overlook this detail! A mattress that is too firm or too soft can cause back pain in the long run.

So, check out the table below to see which mattress firmenss is right for you. This way you can make sure you get a comfortable mattress that also properly supports your hips and back.

A table with firmness ratings

The bed frame you own

When it comes to regular or box mattresses, bed frames are very important. After all, they hold up your mattress and offer additional support. Plus, they often offer added utility such as storage or added height.

But if you already have a good bed frame, the most important thing is to match up the size of the box mattress with the frame. After all, you want it to be a perfect fit! First off, make sure that the bed frame matches with your new mattress in length and width. You can see the standard mattress sizes in the UK below.

An infographic showing the standard mattress and bed sizes in the UK

However, you want to consider the depth of the mattress as well. For example, if you're going from a 25cm mattress to a 32cm mattress, make sure that the bed frame can still offer a proper fit. Also note that the bed will be slightly higher now, which might feel a bit odd at first.

Recommended reading:

Safety certificates

Customers are often concerned about off-gassing when buying memory foam or box mattresses. When it arrives packed in a box and when you unpack it, you will probably smell the chemical odour for a few days.

Most of the time, this is completely natural off-gassing. And this isn't really a problem as you can speed up the off-gassing process and have it go away quickly. But the only way you can be sure is to check for certificates. Certificates not only guarantee the use of safe chemicals, but also sustainability, protection of the workers and much more.

Warranty

Mattresses aren't cheap. So, it's generally advised that you check out the mattress warranty and see how long your new mattress will stay in tip-top shape. A good warranty will typically last at least 5 years, and preferably over one decade. 

To make sure you protect your investment, inquire about the duration of the warranty as well as the terms, as a limited warranty is not the same as a full mattress warranty.

The advantages of owning a bed in a box

A young couple hugging and laying on a new mattress in a box they've just unpacked.

The bed-in-a-box concept has revolutionised and transformed the sleep industry. And there are many advantages of owning a bed in a box. The first advantage you will notice is the price. Since you mostly buy directly from reputable brands, the price will be lower than when you buy from an intermediary, such as a local store.

Then, you get the opportunity to try these box mattresses in your home for several nights to be 100% sure that you want to sleep on it for years to come.

All these advantages are not at the expense of performance either, since compressing and packing a mattress in a box does not damage the mattress. So you get exactly what you paid for, with fast and easy delivery. Many manufacturers offer free shipping on a bed in a box as well. A minor downside is off-gassing, but it will disappear in a few days, maybe less, so it's not worth mentioning.

Are there any disadvantages to owning a bed in a box?

In the name of balance, it's important to note that box mattresses aren't always perfect. After all, if getting a bed in a box came with only upsides, then every mattress would come with this option. With that being said, we don't think any of these disadvantages should be deal-breakers.

The most notable disadvantage is that you can't try the mattress out. Yes, box mattresses often come with trials but that's not always the case. And it's not the same as jumping on a mattress in a mattress store and imemdiately seeing whether you like it.

On a similar note, if you're in a pinch, it's important to note that most mattresses in a box can't be used right away. It takes time for them to expand and if you jump onto the mattress right away, they might end up slightly lumpy.

Conclusion

Now that you know all there is to know, are you going to get a bed in a box? If so, which one? Let us know in the comment section! And if you have any questions, check out the FAQ section or contact us directly.

Spread the word

FAQs about your bed in a box

To avoid leaving any question unanswered, we have singled out some of the frequently asked questions for the final section of our guide.

How long does a bed in a box last?

Since most box mattresses are made of memory foam, the average service life is 7 to 10 years.

Do I need a box spring for a bed in box mattress?

No, you don’t need a box spring for a bed in a box mattress, different bed bases are fine.

What does a bed in a box include?

It includes a compressed and rolled mattress, packed in a box for shipping.

Do box mattresses come with a warranty and trial period?

Yes, 99.9% of them come with a warranty and trail period.

How do I know that the bed in a box is going to be the right fit for me?

You can either try to find it in a store near you and try it or buy one that comes with a trial period.

Are memory foam mattresses not suitable for hot sleepers?

It depends on the costruction of the foam mattress. Some foam mattresses are treated to help with staying cool. A good mattress cover is also very important.

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About the author

Connie
As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant I know how important sleep is. And as a combination sleeper, I have found it difficult to get products to suit my sleep style. I have more than 2 years product testing experience with The Sleep Advisors which means I have slept on, with and under more than 500 products with varying degrees of success. This is added to more than 2 years experience as a product reviewer for Closer, Heat and Grazia magazines, so I've got a rigorous process. I love sharing my sleep testimonials with our readers and hearing their experiences too.
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