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A mattress should be supportive and able to adapt to your body.
But when you don’t get either from your bed, sleeping becomes a problem. Your nights get shorter, and you risk waking up with body aches.
Getting a great mattress can be the simplest solution here.
But how do you get a great mattress without breaking the bank? In today’s post, I will give you some shopping tips and share our reviews of 5 best cheap mattresses that will guarantee sound sleep like no other.
A Quick Preview
Best Cheap Mattress in A Box
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Best for Side Sleepers
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Best Mattress for Back Pain
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Best for Cool Tension Release
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Best for Pressure Relief
Brooklyn Bowery by Brooklyn Bedding
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Our Reviews of 5 Best Cheap Mattresses
Best Cheap Mattress in A Box - Zoma
- zoned comfort layer for better contouring;
- temperature-neutral design;
- sturdy foam base.
When you have a really limited budget, you may think that you can only choose among low-quality beds with a mediocre lifespan. The Zoma mattress, however, can easily prove you wrong, as it’s made of quality materials and can easily withstand years of active use without sacrificing comfort. This is a great reason to include it in my review of the best cheap mattresses.
If we take a closer look, we’ll see that the Zoma offers a basic construction with a couple of unexpected twists. First, there goes a zoned comfort layer designed to properly position your body on the mattress and promote healthy spinal alignment regardless of your sleeping style.
The great motion absorption and that familiar cradling feel are the results of the responsive transition layer made of the Reactiv foam. It has some bounce to it and can closely conform to major pressure points, offering you the desired relief.
The overall construction also works great to remove excessive heat. The Zoma is made of temperature-neutral materials that don’t retain your body warmth. Plus, the perforated cover enhances air circulation within the mattress layers and helps you deal with sweating.
All things considered, I was impressed to find the Zoma in the budget-friendly category. It can easily outscore more expensive models in performance and deliver to you a restoring and peaceful sleep.
- Those who appreciate good cradling. The zoned comfort layer and pretty responsive transition layer are united to deliver to you that familiar hugging feel without trapping your movements.
- Individuals with a demanding lifestyle. Once you lie on the Zoma, you’ll instantly doze off. This mattress feels like a cradle and relaxes your muscles, so your sleep will be deep and uninterrupted.
- Active sleepers and their partners. The Zoma comes with good motion isolation, so even if you share a bed with a restless sleeper, you can still get a sound sleep for yourself.
- the mattress might need a good bed foundation to compensate for weak edges;
- may take some time to properly expand.
Best for Side Sleepers — Vaya Mattress
- open-cell Vaya foam to create a temperature-neutral sleeping environment;
- dense and sturdy support foam to minimize motion transfer and increase the mattress’s lifespan;
- hugging and contouring to aid tension alleviation.
The second place on our list of the best cheap mattresses belongs to the Vaya. This model can boast of a sturdy build while offering a rather attractive price tag. But the best part, however, is the Vaya’s feel. This mattress is pleasantly cradling and kind of envelopes the sleeper’s body. When I was sleeping on the Vaya, it felt like a gentle hug. And that may come in handy for side sleepers. This sleeping style often causes sharp pressure points, but the Vaya can prevent that by gently hugging the sleeper’s protruding body parts.
Another aspect that impressed me when testing the Vaya mattress was the fact that it remained neutral all through the night. I mean, it did not make me feel cooler than I was, but it didn’t make me overheat either. That's courtesy of the Vaya’s open-cell foam. It is quite breathable and thus, doesn’t cause night sweats.
- Side sleepers. This is a medium model (maybe even medium-soft, depending on your weight). The Vaya is super gentle on the protruding body parts and thus, should be perfect for strict side sleepers.
- Partnered sleepers. The Vaya mattress is a rather slow-moving model. Plus, it’s more on the softer side and doesn’t feel that responsive. That’s why it would work great for couples who don’t wish to disturb each other during sleep.
- Those who want to find a good mattress for the guest bedroom. This mattress is very affordably priced but does not sacrifice quality for affordability. Therefore, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make sure your guests are comfortable (but also won’t force them to sleep on a terrible mattress).
- might not be supportive enough for heavier users;
- may allow for unwanted sinkage when sleeping on the back or stomach.
Best Budget Mattress for Back Pain - Nectar
The first on our list of the best value mattresses is the Nectar. Just like the title suggests, this model will work great for users who have back pain issues, because of how conforming and contouring it is.
The Nectar, unlike many memory foam models, does not make you feel stuck in your bed. Thanks to the dense foam base, it is highly effective with proper spine alignment. The top memory foam layers ensure the mattress molds to your body within a matter of seconds, allowing for equal distribution of your body weight. The surface of the bed feels cool and nice to the skin, thanks to the Tencel cover.
Overall, it’s one of the best low-cost beds for people who appreciate the contouring properties of memory foam but tend to sleep cool on regular memory foam. With this mattress, your spine will be in proper alignment without pressure points. And the gel infusion will allow you to stay cool all through the night.
- Active sleepers and their partners. Low motion transfer of the Nectar mattress helps you sleep without any interruptions if you or your bedmate tosses and turns often.
- Back pain sufferers. Awesome cradling properties of this memory foam mattress ensure that your spine will be aligned and relaxed in any position you choose, which may help you reduce pain.
- Hot sleepers. Unlike many memory foam mattresses, the Nectar sleeps cool due to the gel-infused foam layer and Tencel cover.
- may need a sturdier bed foundation to ensure uniform support;
- might have slight off-gassing during the first couple of nights.
Best for Cool Tension Release - Nolah
Another model I want to mention in my review of the best cheap mattresses is the Nolah. Coming at a very attractive price, this model offers great pressure relief, helps reduce tension in one’s body, and doesn’t make sleepers feel hot while doing that.
The Nolah has a Tencel cover, which is breathable and ensures proper air circulation during the night. The comfort layer uses Nolah’s proprietary AirFoam. It has an open-cell design and allows for unobstructed air circulation, creating a temperature-neutral sleeping environment. Additionally, this foam offers close conforming and gently cradles the pressure points, eliminating tension fast.
The transition layer is more resilient, so you won’t feel stuck when sleeping on your new Nolah mattress. And the 7-inch high-density base layer is meant to deliver sturdy, reliable support. It also works to distribute the body weight evenly, contributing to proper spinal alignment.
All in all, the Nolah deserves to be among the best cheap mattresses. It’s quality-made, reliable, and great for tension release and fast relaxation.
- Those who hate sleeping hot. The Nolah has a smart construction that allows it to remain neutral all through the night.
- Side and combination sleepers. This mattress has a medium or a soft-to-medium feel (depending on your weight) and would work the best for side sleepers or those who often switch positions during the night.
- Users seeking a mattress with good pressure-relieving properties. The Nolah uses conforming foam in its construction and does a great job of minimizing pressure points.
- not stiff enough for strict stomach sleepers;
- may not be supportive enough for larger folks (heavier than 230 pounds).
Best for Pressure Relief - Brooklyn Bowery by Brooklyn Bedding
- high-grade proprietary materials;
- great pain-relieving properties;
- works for almost any sleeping style.
The next model on today’s list of the top-rated inexpensive beds is the Brooklyn Bowery mattress by Brooklyn Bedding. Being made of quality materials and offering a balanced feel, this model is here thanks to the value for money it has.
This inexpensive mattress works ideally for sound sleep due to its medium firmness. This is an excellent pick if you have back or neck pain, as the mattress will hug your body and remove your pressure points as soon as you lay your head on it. At the same time, this model uses Energex foam, which apart from decent pressure relief, offers a more bouncy feel and improved breathability. The cover is made of premium soft weave to let the air in and keep you cool during the night.
Overall, the Brooklyn Bowery is a very comfortable mattress in every aspect. (Top 10 most comfortable mattresses you can find here) It’s a more responsive and more breathable alternative for memory foam fans. Plus, it performs equally well in all sleeping positions.
- Individuals with pain issues. The Brooklyn Bowery features proprietary foams with great cradling and pressure-relieving effects, so it can support your spine and help alleviate pain.
- Mixed sleepers. Medium is an optimal firmness level for those who shift between different positions during sleep.
- Couples. The Brooklyn Bowery has incredibly low motion transfer due to the foam construction. It can be a perfect pick for those who share a bed with a restless sleeper.
- because of the proprietary materials, it’s hard to predict the durability;
- might not work for heavy users.
How Important Is a Good Night’s Sleep?
Getting quality sleep is one of the keys to leading a healthy life.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends getting between seven and nine hours of sleep for adults (1).
Even though not all adults adhere to this amount of recommended sleep time, many do manage to get some decent sleep thanks to the comfortability of their bed.
For most adults with stressful jobs, the thought of getting rest as soon as they come home keeps them going during the day. So, you can understand the vitality of having all the tools available for a good night’s sleep, like a good mattress.
Now, when your mattress prevents you from getting enough of quality sleep, you risk having issues with:
- Alertness. A good sleep enables your mind to regain focus, drive creativity, and even tackle complex mental challenges.
- Fighting infection. Sleep is your body’s mechanism for fighting off infections. When you don’t get enough of it, your immune system weakens and makes you vulnerable to sickness.
- Energy. After a healthy night rest, your energy level increases and your mental alertness sharpens. Plus, you get improved athletic performance, e.g. increased speed, agility, and reflexes.
- Memory. Sleeping is a critical time for shaping memories and bridging the gap between past events, feelings, and occurrences. In fact, sleep is fundamental to developing memory pathways in the brain.
- Regeneration. During sleep, your body repairs damages caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, muscle injuries, and sometimes traumas.
So, you not only lose out on the benefits of sleep but also become defenseless to some health hazards.
Research shows that people who experience sleep deprivation are lacking either one or all of these factors:
- a quiet and dark room;
- a supportive mattress;
- a cool room temperature (2).
None of these may apply to you, but one cannot deny the importance of the mattress quality when it comes to the quality of sleep you get.
Mahatma Gandhi once said that each night, when he goes to sleep, he dies. And the next morning, he feels like a newborn when he wakes up.
Yes, this is what a good bed does to you. Not that you will die, but that you will get relieved of stress and drift off in oblivion on the comfort of a cozy bed.
What Makes a Good Budget Mattress
I bet we can all agree that good mattresses are often expensive. So, finding the right one at an affordable price is golden.
For those who are contemplating buying a new mattress, starting with planning a budget might be a sensible thing to do. But let me clear one thing up:
Budgeting doesn’t immediately mean lowering your standards for the cheapest product.
It merely means planning your finances appropriately to afford a new bed.
So, before you go shopping for just any kind of low-cost mattress, let’s take a look at some of the qualities a great mattress must have. Generally, it should:
- Provide comfort. The level of firmness of your bed is very crucial. Your sleeping position affects how firm you need your bed to be. You want to avoid beds that are either too soft or too hard. Both are not ideal for a decent sleep.
- Be supportive. It is important to go with a mattress that ensures even distribution of your weight and supports all parts of your body equally well. The last thing you need is a bed that feels saggy or allows too much sinkage, as this means constantly waking to backaches.
- Be suitable personally for you. A good affordable mattress should cater to your individual needs. For instance, if you are a couple, you want to enjoy lying next to your partner without being constantly woken at their every toss and turn. So, you definitely want a bed that can absorb noise and isolate motion, etc. In the same manner, if you are a hot sleeper, then it is ideal to get a mattress that withdraws body heat.
- Stay within budget. You want to make sure that you are not overpaying for the features you possibly don’t need. Therefore, look for the models that offer good value for the money.
Potential Risks Involved with Having a Cheap Mattress
Just like with most low-cost products, a budget mattress might come with certain negative issues. Knowing them will give you a leg-up in case of surprises.
- lower-quality materials (hence, shorter lifespan);
- safety issues;
- quicker wear out (hence, extra expenses for repair or replacement);
- sooner sagging and loss of comfort levels;
- shorter warranty coverage.
These can be especially true for the imported mattresses that aren’t manufactured by US standards. They may use different chemicals to produce their foams, which may take a toll on your health in the long run (3).
Thus, when researching available options, it makes sense to pay attention to mattress reviews that describe how this or that model performs in terms of the aforementioned aspects.
What Is the Best Cheap Mattress Type?
When looking for a good affordable mattress, it’s crucial to distinguish between their types. The thing is, each of them has a unique feel and a set of specific properties.
The most common mattress type among cheaper models is innerspring. Spring mattresses are bouncy and responsive. They can offer reliable, sturdy support. Innerspring mattresses usually have strong edges, which gives sleepers more space. This mattress type is also favored for its breathability. Because the coils allow the air to travel through freely, spring mattresses do not sleep hot.
At the same time, it’s worth mentioning that innerspring models often lack cushioning. Because of that, they can cause pressure on the protruding body parts and don’t usually work for strict side sleepers.
Now, because spring mattresses are rather bouncy, they also aren’t ideal for partnered sleep. If one of the sleepers moves on an innerspring mattress, their partner is certainly going to feel that. This might be an issue for light sleepers and couples that have different schedules.
Another mattress type available among affordable models is foam. Polyfoam is more common among cheaper mattresses, but it’s also possible to find good memory foam models (the selection will just be a bit limited).
Now, foam mattresses are famous for their contouring properties. Foam is cradling and gentle on one’s pressure points. This material adapts to the shape of one’s body and thus, helps distribute the pressure evenly. That’s why foam mattresses are popular among back pain sufferers and those sleepers who have tender joints.
Foam usually responds slowly to the applied pressure. Therefore, foam mattresses are usually a great choice for partnered sleep, as this type is not that bouncy. At the same type, because of such a slow-moving feel, foam mattresses often feel restricting.
It’s also worth mentioning that foam tends to trap body heat and can cause night sweats. Luckily, even among cheaper mattresses, there are models that use cooling gel beads or have a breathable open-cell structure. Such foam mattresses don’t tend to cause overheating.
There’s also a chance to find a reasonably priced hybrid mattress, but to tell the truth, those chances are slim. Hybrid mattresses typically combine wrapped coils with foam (sometimes latex, but it’s quite expensive). They have a very balanced feel and offer the best from both worlds: responsive coils for reliable support and cradling foam for effective pressure alleviation. And yes, hybrids usually belong to a more expensive category. But some simpler models (or mattresses on sale) might work for budget shoppers.
How to Pick a Good Affordable Mattress?
Even if the mattress comes with an attractive price tag, it still has to possess certain characteristics that would make it a good investment.
So, to make the best choice, sleepers need to consider certain factors. They include:
- Sleeping style. A good mattress has to be suitable for the sleeper’s favorite sleep position, regardless of the price. Now, side sleepers usually feel the most comfortable using softer mattresses. This way, their protruding body parts don’t crush into the surface of the mattress and thus, don’t develop painful pressure points. Back sleepers are advised to choose medium to medium-firm models. This way, they should achieve optimal support and spinal alignment. And strict stomach sleepers are recommended to pick firmer mattresses. This would help them avoid unhealthy back curvatures during sleep.
- Weight. In this case, the rule of thumb is as follows: for each sleeping position mentioned above, petite users (130 pounds and less) should choose a slightly softer mattress. As for heavier folks (250 pounds and more), they need to go one step firmer for each sleeping style.
- Allergies. For allergy-prone sleepers, it might be a good idea to pick a more breathable mattress (innerspring or open-cell foam). A removable cover would also come in handy. If the users can unzip the cover, they can regularly wash it to get rid of potential allergens.
- Thermoregulation. Ideally, a good mattress should have cooling properties. After all, people tend to sleep better in comfortably cool environments. Of course, among cheap mattresses, it might be hard to find a truly cooling model. But there are still options. For instance, spring mattresses usually sleep cool. The same goes for gel-infused foam. Open-cell foam is quite neutral as well and shouldn’t lead to night sweats.
- Sleep trial. Shopping for a mattress online can be risky (as sleepers often don’t know what they might get). Therefore, the safest option is to get a model that comes with a sleep trial. Most companies offer 100-120 nights, which should be enough for the majority of sleepers. During this period, users can test the new mattress and return it for a full refund if it doesn't feel perfectly comfortable.
How to make a cheap mattress more comfortable?
The easiest way to enhance the comfort of a cheap mattress is to invest in a mattress topper. You can choose the needed thickness and firmness level and alter the feel of your bed to make it more comfortable.
How long does a cheap mattress last?
Typically, the lifespan of a cheap mattress will be at least 2-3 years shorter than that of a mid-priced one. However, you can still make the most of your bed if you take proper care for it (clean, rotate, use a protector on it, etc.)
How much is a cheap mattress?
Generally, any model under $1,000 is considered affordable. But if you search thoroughly, you can find a decent mattress even under $150.
The modern market allows you to easily find a mattress for any budget. And some beds, including those reviewed above, will offer you almost the same level of support as some higher-end brands.
The main recommendation when buying a cheaper mattress is to be careful and go for options with a trial period. Also, choose brands with some history on the market, real user reviews, and trusted certifications — in this case, you’ll decrease the chances of disappointment.
Speaking of my favorite among the cheap mattresses, it’s the Nectar. I love that this bed delivers that familiar memory foam feel, which relaxes your body and sets you to sleep. Along with that, the Nectar doesn’t sleep hot and is durable enough to serve you for years.
Which of these low-cost mattresses appealed to you the most? Do you believe that a low price doesn’t always mean worse quality? You’re welcome to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
- The National Sleep Foundation (n.d.). National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times
- Infographic: 10 Reasons You’re Getting Poor Sleep (2015, January 13). Retrieved from https://share.upmc.com/2015/01/infographic-10-reasons-youre-getting-poor-sleep/
- Sean Mallon (2019, March 19). What Are the Health Risks of Low-Quality Memory Foam Mattresses? Retrieved from https://www.healthworkscollective.com/what-are-health-risks-of-low-quality-memory-foam-mattresses/
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