What is a Mattress in a Box?
Updated: Jul 15, 2021
If you’ve started your hunt for a new mattress, you’ve seen how many of these mattresses can now be shipped in a compact box.
As apposed to older, clunkier models, these mattresses are designed to compress into a box that is much smaller than the expanded mattress.
These mattresses delivered in a box are much, much easier to maneuver around tight corners or up the stairs, making them ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to pay extra for someone to come in and install the mattress for them.
In the market for a new mattress?
If you are in the market for a new mattress, keep in mind that they are a serious investment.
Your bed is probably the piece of furniture you use the most, other than maybe your couch or favorite chair. Making sure you find something that works for you is incredibly important.
And since every mattress is slightly different, from the different firmness levels found in different mattresses to the different styles of construction, you need to be absolutely sure you pick the right one for you. Find our mattress reviews here.
Want to try out the mattress first?
Many companies are now offering trial periods on mattresses that ship in a box, meaning you don’t need to go into a furniture store to lay on any potential options you may have found for a few seconds only to realize that sleeping on it for the entire night isn’t as comfortable as you thought it’d be.
These free trial periods are perfect for anyone looking to try out a few different options. You can often take at least a week, and sometimes up to a few months, to try out the bed at home, for full nights, before buying.
These beds, along with the trial periods that are often provided by online mattress companies, allow you to receive a bed in the mail that is easy to get into the bedroom and that you can genuinely test out for an extended period of time.
If you don’t like the bed for whatever reason, they are able to be packed up and shipped back to the mattress company just like any other mattress.
What are the benefits of a mattress in a box?
The most basic, and important, benefit to buying a mattress in a box from an online retailer is the ease of use.
A normal mattress is huge, heavy, and generally bulky. With the new technology available with these beds, they are shipped in a box much smaller than the full-size mattress.
This makes all those tight corners, staircases, and doorways that are between your front door and your bedroom so much easier to maneuver around. These beds are much more nimble than traditional mattresses, making the installation process a breeze.
Buying a mattress in a box often means you are buying a mattress straight from the manufacturer. This would be like buying a produce directly from a local farmer, or clothing from a factory outlet store.
Obviously, companies mark their products up to make a profit, but cutting out the brick and mortar mattress store means you are cutting out one of the times the product would be marked up.
The bottom line is that this means you are almost guaranteed a better deal than you would get in a physical store.
Another advantage to buying a mattress in a box is that you can do so from the comfort of your current bed, if you really want to.
Never having to leave the house means you’re free to do as much research as you want to before making the decision on which bed you want to try out.
It also means no hokey salesman to deal with, no lines, and no pressure to make a spur of the moment decision that you’ll regret in a few weeks. You are free to take your time, do your research, and make a better decision because of it.
If you do want the experience of actually laying in a bed before you buy it though, you can sometimes still do that with mattress in a box companies. Some of these companies, though they are based online instead of in a physical location, will have showrooms like a traditional mattress retailer.
These locations allow you to go try out a bed before you buy the way you would with any other bed retailer. This benefit varies between companies, and usually even those that do have showrooms often only have them in larger cities.
Even so, this option may be available depending on the company you’re buying from and where you live. So, if you do want the experience of trying a mattress, talking to a salesman, etc., you can sometimes still get it when you buy a bed from an online retailer.
Since you are often buying these beds direct from the manufacturer, you can often find deals that they offer, like those you would find in factory outlet stores from clothing manufacturers.
These coupons can range in savings between companies and depending on what time of year it is. Often, mattress companies will offer deals around Presidents Day, Labor Day, Black Friday, and more.
This information is sometimes available right on the company’s website, and discounts often start at $50.
What are the downsides of a mattress in a box?
The only real downside to buying a mattress in a box is that you’ll have to wait a bit for the mattress to fully expand.
While this could be a deal breaker for anyone who needs a bed immediately, for the rest of the world this is not a concern at all. And it usually only takes a couple days, up to three is pretty typical, for the bed to be ready to sleep on.
A consideration for people that do need to start using their bed immediately is that reviewers often say the bed seems ready to use much faster than the manufacturer recommends.
Considering manufacturer recommendations is important for obvious reasons, but some beds have a number of reviewers that say their bed expanded much faster than the provided information said it would.
The other thing to look out for while doing research is smell.
While some of these beds are refined, well researched, technologically advanced products, not all mattresses are created equal.
Doing your research and reading as many customer reviews as possible is important for any purchase, but especially one you will have and use every day for several years.
Some of these beds have a reputation for having a chemical smell when they are taken out of the package. This smell has something to do with the packing process of these specific beds.
Others don’t have this issue at all. Reading a few reviews is a great way to figure out if this is the case with the bed you’re thinking about buying.
You’ll have to do the research yourself. The one advantage of brick and mortar storefronts is the staff that may have knowledge about a bed that you don’t. This is a disadvantage to these beds that you can easily remedy yourself by simply doing a little extra research.
Many internet-based mattress companies have detailed websites that give insight into things like bed construction, materials, and more. And, as already stated a few times in this article, reading reviews is the best way to figure out if the bed you’re looking at will be right for you.
While company websites are a great way to get general information, they are, at their core, still trying to sell you their product. Customer reviews are much less biased, and can often give you both the good and the bad of any bed you’re looking at buying.
One more quick consideration is that while the smaller box does make the mattress less bulky to move through the house, it doesn’t make the bed any lighter.
These beds can often weigh around 70 pounds, depending on mattress brand and size. While this isn’t really a disadvantage when compared to buying a pre-expanded traditional mattress, it is something to keep in mind.
Just because the box is smaller than a traditional bed doesn’t mean it’s lighter, which means you still may need a few sets of hands to move it from the doorstep to the bedroom.
How does it work, exactly?
While the idea is simple enough, the methods used to compress these mattresses is far from it. The exact method used to compress these mattresses varies from company to company, but the general process is about the same no matter where you buy your bed.
These beds are first compressed to a fraction their normal width before being rolled or folded into the box they are to be shipped in. There are countless videos online that show this process in detail, and they are fascinating to watch.
For anyone who hasn’t seen how small the boxes are that these boxes can be shipped in, watching one of these videos or just looking up the dimensions of one of these boxes is a great way to get perspective on just how much more convenient these beds are compared to a bed that doesn’t fold or roll into a box.
The exact size of the box will often depend on how big a mattress you got, with a twin bed able to be rolled up much smaller than a king, for example.
The beds don’t roll up to half, or even a quarter their original size. One specific bed, the Tuft and Needle queen size memory foam mattress, ships in a box just 16”x16”x44”, with the fully expanded bed reaching a size of 80”x60”x10”.
This means the box is just under one fourth the size of the inflated bed.
Why buy a mattress in a box?
If you are like the vast majority of people, you would rather stay at home to order any product without the hassle of leaving the house, navigating to a physical store location, and dealing with salesmen and women that are just trying to get you out of the store with a new product that you may or may not need that may or may not work for you.
Instead of dealing with all of these problems, you can buy mattresses on retail sites like Amazon, that most people are familiar with and use every day, or direct from the mattress companies website, where you can often get deals you wouldn’t be able to find in a store.
In addition to being more convenient to buy, the size of the boxes that these beds are shipped in makes them much more convenient to set up.
While this can depend on your exact needs, like how quickly you need to be able to sleep on your new bed, it is hard to imagine a scenario where waiting for a few days to let your new bed in a box expand would be that much of an inconvenience.
And trying to get through your house with a fully expanded mattress sounds much more difficult than simply waiting a few nights.
My final thoughts on mattress in a box mattresses
The quality of mattresses shipped in a box are the same as those shipped and sold the traditional way.
The bottom line is that these products make the installation exponentially easier than it used to be.
Simply getting through doorways can be a huge annoyance with a fully expanded bed, especially a king or queen sized one. These beds eliminate that difficulty.
Assuming you can safely and comfortably lift 70 pounds by yourself or with the help of a friend, you could have your bed set up in a matter of minutes by yourself, something no traditional mattress company could ever claim.
And even if you do need help, these boxes are significantly easier to move around than traditional beds.
As with any product, reading reviews and trying these beds out before buying is important.
Many companies offer risk free trials, and some have traditional showrooms where you can try the bed out in person. Most of these beds have hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews either on Amazon or the companies own website.
This makes it easy to see how consumers responded to their latest purchase, and can give you a great idea on the advantages and disadvantages of each bed.