Best Cheap Mattresses

Sleep like a log with any of these budget-priced mattresses — from memory foam to innerspring, and even adjustable air. Many cost less than $500 for a queen.

What We Considered

Regardless of price, mattress reviews agree that the most critical criterion is what feels right. The physical characteristics of budget innerspring mattresses certainly matter, but only up to a point. We read reviews posted by thrifty consumers reporting complete satisfaction with mattresses that seem skimpy and other reviews indicating total disappointment with more fully-loaded models that seem to have all the right features. With mattresses, two things are clear: There's no accounting for personal preference in terms of comfort and no arguing with personal experience when it comes to durability.  

We Looked At

Mattress buyers' sleeping style and size play a big role in how comfortable a mattress feels. Sleep Like the Dead finds that average-size back sleepers typically prefer medium or medium-firm mattresses, stomach sleepers gravitate toward a firmer mattress, and side sleepers tend to favor a softer mattress. Size also factors in: In general, smaller sleepers may be happier with softer mattresses, while larger, heavier people often like a firmer feel.

Medium or medium-firm mattresses may stand the greatest chance of satisfying the widest range of buyers. That's important to note, especially for those who are purchasing a mattress online without getting to try it out in a store. The mattresses we recommend among our top picks that qualify as medium or medium-firm include the memory foam Sleep Innovations Shiloh and Zinus Cloud, as well as the foam-topped innerspring Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort. On the softer side of our official pick list is the Classic Brands Mercer Hybrid, an innerspring with foam on top that also boasts a cushiony quilted "pillow top."

Although all marketing terms should be taken with a grain of salt, it makes sense to pay some attention to style designations such as plush, Euro top (also called box top or Euro box), or pillow top when considering mattresses. A firm mattress contains the stiffest and the least amount of padding, plush is softer, and a Euro-top mattress has more soft/comfort upholstery than the plush and that padding is usually fully enclosed by the ticking, like an added "box" on top of the bed. Pillow-top mattresses contain extra cushioning in a stuffed pad that seems to float on, but is fully attached to, the top of the mattress. Technically, the main difference between a Euro top and a pillow top mattress is aesthetic and lies in how the extra padding is affixed to the foundation, but some feel that pillow top mattresses are the softer of the two. Manufacturers make things even more confusing, however, by sometimes merging the designations, such as "Euro pillow top" or "plush pillow top."

Whatever the official label a mattress has been given in terms of firmness or softness, it may have little bearing on whether users find that mattress "comfortable." While mattress owners always touch on comfort in online reviews, these opinions are notoriously subjective -- what feels like cardboard to one reviewer may be paradise for another. A good example is our pricier memory-foam contender, the Novaform Comfort Grande, which Sleep Like the Dead rates 8.5 out of 10 on its firmness scale. Many reviews posted on Costco agree it's a firm pick even as some complain it's way too soft; one even likens it to a pile of down comforters.

Sleep Like the Dead also maintains data on how many owners say their mattress causes them pain. Owners of innerspring mattresses are more likely to report aches and soreness. Adjustable air mattresses actually have the happiest owners when it comes to lower pain levels, and are closely followed by memory foam, foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses. Adjustable air mattresses aren't cheap enough to be one of our main picks, but the Sleep Number c2 (starting around $900), with independently adjustable sides, may be worth a splurge for anyone who has more far-reaching comfort concerns or a partner with vastly different firmness preferences.

Experts assert that memory foam mattresses do a much better job of isolating motion than other mattress types, making them a better choice for buyers who are tired of losing sleep because they feel their partners toss and turn. All of our memory-foam picks are a good bet for motion isolation, getting strong reviews from both experts and owners. And while innersprings are generally weaker in this category, the Zinus Sleep Master Ultima still draws high marks from users, likely because it features individually wrapped or "pocket" coils that help cut down on motion transfer. The Sealy Posturepedic Cooper Mountain Plush Pillow Top also features individually wrapped coils. Of the other types of coils that might be commonly found in cheap mattresses, continuous coils tend to be least effective at motion isolation and should definitely be avoided if this is a real concern.

Warranties vary by brand, but are longer for budget-friendly mattresses than buyers might expect. Several models we researched (the Zinus Cloud and Sleep Master Ultima Comfort; the Classic Brands Mercer; the Sealy Posturepedic Cooper Mountain Plush Pillow Top; and the Tuft & Needle) come with 10-year warranties. The Novaform Comfort Grande and Sleep Innovations Shiloh double that with a warranty of 20 years. The Lucid Plush, Lucid Latex Foam, and Sleep Number c2 offer the longest coverage at 25 years.

Buyers should beware, however, that mattress warranties are not created equal. Some offer prorated coverage for the warranty period, which means the owner still has to pay for a portion of the repair. For example, after two years owners of the Sleep Number c2 must pony up 20 percent of any product or part that fulfills a warranty claim, plus 4 percent for each year of ownership. In other words, someone who has used a c2 for nine years will be covering around half the cost of a repair or replacement.

Moreover, normal wear isn't covered under warranties; the problem must be observable and measureable, like excessive sagging or broken coils. There may be glaring exclusions, too. For instance, the 10-Year Worry Free Warranty that Zinus offers on all of its mattresses expressly excludes "any deterioration of the foam, with an indentation of less than 1.5 inches, not associated with a sag in the foundation, box spring or platform or mattress." Buyers should read the fine print to make sure they don't do anything to void the warranty. Manufacturers can refuse warranty coverage if the mattress is stained, inadequately supported, or lacking the "under penalty of law" tag, which serves as proof that it is indeed the manufacturer's product. Bottom line: While owners may deem their mattress a lost cause -- that is, comfort has turned to perceived discomfort -- proving the warranty applies is difficult.

Our Top Pick

Sleep Innovations Shiloh, 12"

Sleep Innovations Shiloh, 12" Review

Our Picks
Sleep Innovations Shiloh, 12"

Sleep Innovations Shiloh, 12" Review

One of the most popular mattresses sold on Amazon, the Sleep Innovations Shiloh is a good bet for buyers who don't want to spend a mint on a pricier name brand. Reviewers say it's definitely on the firmer side, but they appreciate the support and motion isolation that memory foam provides. The plush quilted cover that's been added to the latest version may be a real improvement in comfort level for many.

  • Top layer of memory foam helps promote airflow; relatively few reviewer complaints about too much heat retention.

  • Memory foam limits motion transfer.

  • Receives relatively high marks for owner satisfaction.

  • Comes with 20-year warranty.

  • May be too firm for side sleepers, those who prefer softer feel, and those who are smaller.

  • 30-day return window.

Sleep Innovations Shiloh, 12"

Sleep Innovations Shiloh, 12" Review

One of the most popular mattresses sold on Amazon, the Sleep Innovations Shiloh is a good bet for buyers who don't want to spend a mint on a pricier name brand. Reviewers say it's definitely on the firmer side, but they appreciate the support and motion isolation that memory foam provides. The plush quilted cover that's been added to the latest version may be a real improvement in comfort level for many.

  • Top layer of memory foam helps promote airflow; relatively few reviewer complaints about too much heat retention.

  • Memory foam limits motion transfer.

  • Receives relatively high marks for owner satisfaction.

  • Comes with 20-year warranty.

  • May be too firm for side sleepers, those who prefer softer feel, and those who are smaller.

  • 30-day return window.

Sleep Innovations Shiloh, 12"

Sleep Innovations Shiloh, 12" Review

One of the most popular mattresses sold on Amazon, the Sleep Innovations Shiloh is a good bet for buyers who don't want to spend a mint on a pricier name brand. Reviewers say it's definitely on the firmer side, but they appreciate the support and motion isolation that memory foam provides. The plush quilted cover that's been added to the latest version may be a real improvement in comfort level for many.

  • Top layer of memory foam helps promote airflow; relatively few reviewer complaints about too much heat retention.

  • Memory foam limits motion transfer.

  • Receives relatively high marks for owner satisfaction.

  • Comes with 20-year warranty.

  • May be too firm for side sleepers, those who prefer softer feel, and those who are smaller.

  • 30-day return window.

Zinus 12" Cloud

Zinus Memory Foam 12" Cloud Review

Despite the soft-sounding name, the 12-inch Zinus is a solid pick for buyers who want middle-of-the-road firmness at a great price and relief from a partner's motion transfer. Four layers of foam provide solid support for most sleepers, and praise isn't limited to guest-room or occasional use.

  • Medium firmness stands greater chance of satisfying a larger range of sleepers; mattress earns above-average marks from experts for comfort for all but heaviest users.

  • Memory foam limits motion transfer.

  • Very inexpensive compared with many similar memory foam mattresses.

  • Mixed reviews for heat retention.

  • Some users complain of chemical smell; experts report more off-gassing with Zinus-brand foam mattresses.

  • 30-day return window.

Zinus 12" Cloud

Zinus Memory Foam 12" Cloud Review

Despite the soft-sounding name, the 12-inch Zinus is a solid pick for buyers who want middle-of-the-road firmness at a great price and relief from a partner's motion transfer. Four layers of foam provide solid support for most sleepers, and praise isn't limited to guest-room or occasional use.

  • Medium firmness stands greater chance of satisfying a larger range of sleepers; mattress earns above-average marks from experts for comfort for all but heaviest users.

  • Memory foam limits motion transfer.

  • Very inexpensive compared with many similar memory foam mattresses.

  • Mixed reviews for heat retention.

  • Some users complain of chemical smell; experts report more off-gassing with Zinus-brand foam mattresses.

  • 30-day return window.

Classic Brands Mercer Hybrid, 12"

Classic Brands Mercer Hybrid, 12" Review

For a traditional innerspring that offers a softer feel, the Classic Brands Mercer hybrid mattress with memory foam gives shoppers terrific value, with the added bonus of sleeping cool and keeping a lid on too much motion transfer.

  • "Hybrid" pillow top mattress that pairs innerspring base with memory foam layer is ideal for side sleepers and those who like contoured support and feeling a bit cradled.

  • Gel-infused memory foam layer helps promote cooling airflow and additional comfort foam layers aid in pressure point relief.

  • Individually wrapped coils provide more even support and help reduce motion transfer compared with other innersprings.

  • High marks in experts' simulated durability testing.

  • May not provide enough support for most back sleepers, especially those who are larger and heavier.

  • 30-day return window.

Zinus 12" Cloud

Zinus Memory Foam 12" Cloud Review

Despite the soft-sounding name, the 12-inch Zinus is a solid pick for buyers who want middle-of-the-road firmness at a great price and relief from a partner's motion transfer. Four layers of foam provide solid support for most sleepers, and praise isn't limited to guest-room or occasional use.

  • Medium firmness stands greater chance of satisfying a larger range of sleepers; mattress earns above-average marks from experts for comfort for all but heaviest users.

  • Memory foam limits motion transfer.

  • Very inexpensive compared with many similar memory foam mattresses.

  • Mixed reviews for heat retention.

  • Some users complain of chemical smell; experts report more off-gassing with Zinus-brand foam mattresses.

  • 30-day return window.

Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort, 10"

Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort, 10" Review

Reviews of the medium-firm Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort are on par with more recognizable names, but the price tag is a lot more budget-friendly. This could be a good pick for anyone who is not a fan of memory foam mattresses and likes a cooler, more traditional innerspring feeling. Can't get it on Amazon? Buy direct from Zinus https://www.zinus.com/product/pocketed-spring-10-inch-pillow-top-icoil-mattress/ for a little bit more (starting around $290).

  • Owners report satisfaction comparable to that of much pricier, name-brand innerspring models.

  • Pillow top mattress with 2.5 inches of comfort foam layering offers more cushioning than innersprings without foam.

  • Does not retain as much heat as memory foam mattresses.

  • Individually wrapped coils provide more even support and help reduce motion transfer compared with other innersprings.

  • Lower satisfaction and longevity compared with company's foam models; some owners report sagging after longer-term use.

  • Offers only average comfort regardless of preferred sleeping position, according to experts.

  • 30-day return window.

Classic Brands Mercer Hybrid, 12"

Classic Brands Mercer Hybrid, 12" Review

For a traditional innerspring that offers a softer feel, the Classic Brands Mercer hybrid mattress with memory foam gives shoppers terrific value, with the added bonus of sleeping cool and keeping a lid on too much motion transfer.

  • "Hybrid" pillow top mattress that pairs innerspring base with memory foam layer is ideal for side sleepers and those who like contoured support and feeling a bit cradled.

  • Gel-infused memory foam layer helps promote cooling airflow and additional comfort foam layers aid in pressure point relief.

  • Individually wrapped coils provide more even support and help reduce motion transfer compared with other innersprings.

  • High marks in experts' simulated durability testing.

  • May not provide enough support for most back sleepers, especially those who are larger and heavier.

  • 30-day return window.

Classic Brands Mercer Hybrid, 12"

Classic Brands Mercer Hybrid, 12" Review

For a traditional innerspring that offers a softer feel, the Classic Brands Mercer hybrid mattress with memory foam gives shoppers terrific value, with the added bonus of sleeping cool and keeping a lid on too much motion transfer.

  • "Hybrid" pillow top mattress that pairs innerspring base with memory foam layer is ideal for side sleepers and those who like contoured support and feeling a bit cradled.

  • Gel-infused memory foam layer helps promote cooling airflow and additional comfort foam layers aid in pressure point relief.

  • Individually wrapped coils provide more even support and help reduce motion transfer compared with other innersprings.

  • High marks in experts' simulated durability testing.

  • May not provide enough support for most back sleepers, especially those who are larger and heavier.

  • 30-day return window.

Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort, 10"

Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort, 10" Review

Reviews of the medium-firm Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort are on par with more recognizable names, but the price tag is a lot more budget-friendly. This could be a good pick for anyone who is not a fan of memory foam mattresses and likes a cooler, more traditional innerspring feeling. Can't get it on Amazon? Buy direct from Zinus https://www.zinus.com/product/pocketed-spring-10-inch-pillow-top-icoil-mattress/ for a little bit more (starting around $290).

  • Owners report satisfaction comparable to that of much pricier, name-brand innerspring models.

  • Pillow top mattress with 2.5 inches of comfort foam layering offers more cushioning than innersprings without foam.

  • Does not retain as much heat as memory foam mattresses.

  • Individually wrapped coils provide more even support and help reduce motion transfer compared with other innersprings.

  • Lower satisfaction and longevity compared with company's foam models; some owners report sagging after longer-term use.

  • Offers only average comfort regardless of preferred sleeping position, according to experts.

  • 30-day return window.

Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort, 10"

Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort, 10" Review

Reviews of the medium-firm Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort are on par with more recognizable names, but the price tag is a lot more budget-friendly. This could be a good pick for anyone who is not a fan of memory foam mattresses and likes a cooler, more traditional innerspring feeling. Can't get it on Amazon? Buy direct from Zinus https://www.zinus.com/product/pocketed-spring-10-inch-pillow-top-icoil-mattress/ for a little bit more (starting around $290).

  • Owners report satisfaction comparable to that of much pricier, name-brand innerspring models.

  • Pillow top mattress with 2.5 inches of comfort foam layering offers more cushioning than innersprings without foam.

  • Does not retain as much heat as memory foam mattresses.

  • Individually wrapped coils provide more even support and help reduce motion transfer compared with other innersprings.

  • Lower satisfaction and longevity compared with company's foam models; some owners report sagging after longer-term use.

  • Offers only average comfort regardless of preferred sleeping position, according to experts.

  • 30-day return window.

Ikea Haugesund, 9.8"

Ikea Haugesund, 9.8" Review

The innerspring Haugesund is temptingly inexpensive, and Ikea's warranty and exchange program are undeniably attractive. But this mattress probably doesn't offer enough comfort or support to function as anything but a kids' bed or a spare for infrequent guests.

  • 25-year warranty among the longest in the industry.

  • 365-day "love it or exchange it" policy.

  • Individually wrapped coils help reduce motion transfer compared with other innersprings.

  • Adult owners report low satisfaction when used as everyday mattress.

  • Relatively low coil count, which may mean insufficient support for larger, heavier users.

  • Ikea's innerspring mattresses receive below-average reviews for durability/longevity.

Other Products We Reviewed

Serta Perfect Sleeper reviews are often laudatory. In a study by sleeplikethedead.com, nearly two-thirds of 532 (starting at $560) owners express satisfaction with the product. They award high marks for the first year, the report continues, but one-fifth mention problems with sagging within the next two years. Still, Perfect Sleeper reviews have good things to say about the budget price and options for different levels of firmness. Reviewers suggest that people who sleep on their back are better off choosing a medium or firm model; those who sleep on their stomach should opt for a medium-firm model; and side sleepers would do best with a medium or soft mattress, although early onset of sagging is bad for spinal alignment.

Specific models in the Perfect Sleeper line often garner strongly positive reviews. One model -- the Knollcrest Plush Super Pillowtop -- earns an almost perfect rating in comments posted at Sam's Club where consumers say it's firm, yet soft (owing to the pillow top) and a good night's sleep is enjoyed from the very first night; one owner says it feels just like the mattress at his preferred hotel. The Gallagher Tight Top Firm Product NA provides such restful sleep without any symptoms of back pain that a daughter just ordered the same set as her parents have, according to a Perfect Sleeper review at Macy's.

The Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress is made up of continuous support innerspring coils -- 532 of them to be exact - that are supposed to prevent the movements of one sleeper from bothering the other. The coils extend from edge to edge and the edges are reinforced with foam and a steel rod for additional stability and support. The padding consists of a combination of memory foam, latex foam, and quilt layers. This mattress line was recently redesigned in partnership with the National Sleep Foundation and it comes with a warranty of up to 10 years (depending on the model).

Despite complaints from some owners about premature sagging (common in the budget innerspring mattress segment), Serta Perfect Sleeper is a good, cheap, mid-tier choice. The price is right and for many consumers, so is the comfort.

The Simmons Beautyrest (starting at $477) line commands mostly positive reviews from sleepers. Although prices hover near the upper end of the Cheapism niche and beyond, budget models can still be found. The Classic Wyloway Plush Firm, for example, starts at $674 and needed just a 2-inch foam topper to make it perfect, according to a Beautyrest review at US-Mattress. For $399, the Verona Tight Top Firm is just that -- firm -- but also good for snuggling and refreshing sleep, say posts at Macy's.

Indeed, after analyzing more than 500 Beautyrest reviews written by consumers, sleeplikethedead.com reports more than three-fifths are satisfied with the product, with the most positive comments reserved for the variety of firmness levels and the near elimination of "motion transfer" (one sleeping partner can turn over or get out of bed without disturbing the other). A number of reviews posted on Viewpoints agree and add that these mattresses provide a good balance of soft and hard. Like other budget innerspring mattresses, the Beautyrest line takes some knocks for durability (i.e., premature sagging and padding components that break down).

The isolation of motion transfer is the result of the unique pocketed coil system (each coil is encased in a sac-like pocket) found exclusively in the Simmons Beautyrest line. Beautyrest mattresses have 800 coils as well as extra foam along the edges for edge support and a larger sleeping surface. These are no-flip, no-rotate mattresses and they come with a 10-year warranty. The padding in Beautyrest mattresses varies by model, and some feature memory foam and a knit cover.

The quality materials used in the Simmons Beautyrest line and the pocketed coil system that minimizes motion transfer have a lot of appeal. Gripes about durability seem par for the course, so if you find a model for a budget price and it feels right on a test rest in the store, go for it.

An analysis of consumer reviews by sleeplikethedead.com reveals that innerspring mattresses provide the least satisfaction, but Sealy Posturepedic reviews indicate that this line claims top honors. Consumers favorably comment on the budget price, the report continues, and, at least initially, the comfort. What they don't like, according to Posturepedic reviews, is the uncertain durability (a frequent gripe about cheap innerspring mattresses) and inadequate motion isolation (one sleeping partner may be disturbed when the other gets out of bed or rolls over).

Sealy Posturepedic (starting at $391) mattresses are available in either firm or plush styles, and consumers generally describe both as comfortably firm. A Sealy Posturepedic review on US-Mattress says the Beresan Firm provides support while cradling the sleeper's body and another on the same site says the American Trail Plush isn't as soft as feared and gives good back support without stressing the usual pressure points.

The entry-level series in the Posturepedic line is made with the company's Titanium SS single-stage coils; coil count varies by mattress size but reaches 736 for a queen. Many models also feature what Sealy calls a CoreSupport Center in the middle third of the mattress for extra support. All Posturepedic mattresses feature edge support for a larger sleep surface and stability, and a rubberized cover on the box spring to keep the mattress and sheets in place. The company also offers a path to customizing your order and a 10-year warranty. Sealy Posturepedic mattresses have a no-flip design, although occasional rotation may be a good idea.

While it's hard to find strong consensus among user reviews -- as with most mattresses, the user experience is highly subjective -- those we found suggest that many consumers find Posturepedic mattresses to be quite comfortable. But do check one out for yourself before purchasing.

Sertapedic reviews generally say mattresses in this value-priced line are comfortable for as long as they don't start to sag. The Blissful Pillow Top is sufficiently soft that it affords a heavenly sleep, according to a post at Walmart, and the Lonewood Pillowtop is cozy despite its firm feel and as restful as a high-end memory foam mattress, assert Sertapedic reviews at Sears. Sleeplikethedead.com found a relatively high level of satisfaction among purchasers of Sertapedic mattresses, but its review notes that about one-third of these consumers sleep on the mattress only occasionally or for short periods; satisfaction levels dip slightly among consumers who use the mattress regularly. Back and stomach sleepers like the firm feel, according to this analysis, but side sleepers may be irritated by pressure on hips and shoulders. Finally, some consumers complain about premature sagging, and the review site estimates longevity at about four years with daily use.

Sertapedic (starting at $330) mattresses contain the proprietary VertiCoil Premier innerspring coils, and the coil count on most queen-size models reaches 504. Some models feature extra comfort layers made of memory foam and latex foam. A wire rod runs around the perimeter of the mattress for additional stability and support. The warranty coverage on most Sertapedic models is five years.

Consumer comments about the Sertapedic line are relatively sparse, but those that we found were generally positive. Reported comfort levels are good and the budget pricing is attractive. Your best bet in this line is a firm model with less memory or latex foam padding to minimize the chances that the comfort layers will break down and leave the impression of a sagging bed.

A promotional, entry-level line from Simmons, BeautySleep (starting at $319) mattresses are simple, no frills affairs that reviews indicate win over consumers with their comfort and affordability. One consumer writes in a BeautySleep review on US-Mattress that the Huntcliff Pillow Top was the budget choice to replace a worn-out mattress that's part of Simmons's higher-cost Beautyrest line. The Ridgebrook Plush is softer than what the purchaser had in mind, according to a post at Sleepy's, but this firmness turns out to be a good fit for someone who sleeps on their back or side. Assessments of the Ravenspur Pillow Top are also quite favorable. Consumers posting on the same site say this 10-inch innerspring mattress with plush and convoluted foam is relatively firm, supportive, and an excellent value, although there's no consensus on the suitability for side and stomach sleepers; one review, however, says pain from the writer's sciatica disappeared after lying on it for a while. Other BeautySleep reviews assert that mattresses in this line have helped relieve back pain.

Innerspring mattresses are not always known for their durability, so it is is unsurprising that “sagging” is a common complaint amongst consumers posting critical reviews for the BeautySleep.

The manufacturer's specs for BeautySleep are somewhat vague. The coils are described as heavy gauge and high performance, and most queen-size models contain 460 coils. Padding is described as luxury, but the actual composition of the comfort and quilting layers varies by model. Some models carry a 10-year warranty, so check this feature carefully before signing on the dotted line.

The positive user remarks that BeautySleep mattresses receive are a strong selling point, especially given their lower-end placement along the price ladder. If you can get past the limited availability of technical information and find a model that feels right in a store test, you'll be landing a good buy.

Sealy Brand reviews note that padding is relatively thin, so consumers on the hefty side may find these bare-bones, entry-level, and budget-priced mattresses way too firm. For a 4-year-old child, however, the Brooks Point Select is just right, asserts a Sealy Brand review at Sears, and even nicer than higher-price varieties. The feel of the Candlewick Plush Euro Pillow Top is too hard for a couple, one of whom is a side-sleeper and the other suffers from shoulder problems, although another review at Macy's says the plush pillowtop nicely supports her side-sleeping position. Indeed, sleeplikethedead.com's examination of more than 150 Sealy Brand reviews (for both the traditional innerspring and foam core series) recommends these mattresses for occasional or short-term use -- in a guest room, for example, or college dorm -- even as three-fifths of the reviews indicate that the Sealy Brand mattress is used every day. Satisfaction is quite high, according to the review site, and the low price is at least a partial explanation. Durability is limited to about four years when sagging becomes evident.

Sealy Brand Traditional Innerspring (starting at $279) mattresses have twice-tempered coils, with the count numbering 420 or 667 depending on model and mattress size. Sealy offers an opportunity to upgrade the basic mattress -- for a price, of course -- by adding (gel) memory foam for comfort, a nicer ticking, more responsive innerspring coils, and firmer edge support. Comfort levels for this line are firm, cushion firm, plush, and ultra plush. The mattresses are backed by a warranty, which again varies by model, and tops out at 10 years.

Sealy’s Posturepedic line rates very well with consumers, but for rock-bottom budget shoppers, the Sealy Brand Traditional Innerspring seems to be a good deal, especially for a spare bed. If this is your main mattress, you might need a replacement in a few years, or you might consider a non-innerspring option like memory foam or latex.

Consumer opinion is divided about the lower-end line of Spring Air Back Supporter innerspring mattresses, according to reviews. On Good Bed, for example, one Spring Air Back Supporter review complains about deep depressions in the middle of the bed while another says two people sleep comfortably without rolling onto each other. Spring Air Back Supporter reviews of the Camilla Euro Top on US-Mattress are likewise split: One purchaser likes the price but cautions that this model isn't suited for daily use by anyone who stands on the heavier side of the scale; another says the shape seems off so she and her husband don't sleep well; yet another contends the mattress provides appropriately firm support under a soft and comfortable pillowtop.

Sleeplikethedead.com looked at more than 150 Spring Air reviews written by consumers about several of its mattress lines, including Back Supporter, and found comparatively low rates of consumer satisfaction (particularly when stacked against the other brands in the study). The biggest gripe concerned early onset sagging -- within three or four years -- that was often associated with aches and pains. The Spring Air review notes, however, that at least some complaints concerned older mattresses and newer models may hold up better.

Spring Air's Back Supporter (starting around $479) line is the cheapest in its portfolio. The mattresses are foam-encased and contain five zones of Conforma Coils. Most feature memory and latex foams but the number and thickness of the layers vary by model; coil count also depends on the model and mattress size. Back Supporter mattresses have a firmer edge for better seating. At least some models carry a 10-year warranty.

Spring Air Back Supporter mattresses are no bargain. And given the mediocre consumer feedback, you could spend the same amount of money on a mattress set bearing a brand label that garners far more enthusiasm from purchasers.

Novaform Comfort Grande, 14"

For shoppers looking for a firmer, thicker memory foam mattress with enough top-layer cushioning, the Novaform Comfort Grande is an excellent value, owners and experts say. It's well-suited to buyers who "sleep hot," are disturbed by a partner's motion transfer, and are large in body. This mattress also benefits from a long warranty and Costco's liberal return policy.

  • A 3-inch layer of gel memory foam coupled with another thick layer of air-channel foam set atop the 10-inch support base promote more effective air flow than other memory foam mattresses.

  • Higher degree of firmness than many budget mattresses.

  • Memory foam limits motion transfer.

  • 20-year warranty; buying through Costco means lifetime satisfaction guarantee.

  • May be too firm for smaller users, side sleepers, and those who prefer softer feel.

  • Some reports about mattress failing to fully regain original shape after compression inside delivery box.

If softness is the No. 1 priority, the Lucid Plush is among the best memory-foam choices online. Four layers of foam, including natural latex, work together to cradle the body, and a 25-year warranty should help inspire buyer confidence.

  • Softer mattress appeals to side sleepers, anyone who likes feeling cradled, or desires contoured support.

  • Top layer of bamboo charcoal memory foam and breathable wood-pulp-based cover help promote cooler feel, especially for a soft memory foam mattress.

  • 25-year warranty is among the longest in the industry.

  • May not provide adequate cooling or support for heavier users and stomach sleepers.

  • Several reviewers complain mattress is very heavy and hard to move without a partner; 16-inch thickness requires deep-pocket sheets.

  • 30-day return window.

While all-latex mattresses fall outside the Cheapism price range, this 10-inch Lucid Latex Foam mattress includes a thick layer of bouncy natural latex on top of a foam base. It could be a good compromise for buyers who don't want an innerspring mattress but dislike the feeling of sinking into memory foam.

  • Top layer of natural latex provides a springier, more responsive feel than memory foam.

  • Reviewers report less sinkage, say it's easier to move around on than memory foam.

  • 25-year warranty among the longest in the industry.

  • Not as durable as mattresses made entirely of latex; some reviewers report issues with sagging/indentations.

  • Some reviewers complain of excessively strong smell.

  • 30-day return window.

Tuft & Needle is among the most recognizable online mattress companies, and its one-model offering helps keep costs down. The lack of memory foam means it stays cooler than similar mattresses, and the 100-day trial might make buying this mattress online a little less scary for risk-averse shoppers.

  • Owners report relatively high levels of satisfaction; average and heavier users report highest comfort levels.

  • Proprietary foam, with gel and graphite infused, and breathable fabric allow bed to stay cooler than many competing memory foam mattresses.

  • Customer service gets especially high marks.

  • 100-day free trial; returns donated to charity.

  • Offers less edge support than other models, experts say.

The Cooper Mountain Plush Pillow Top, now in its fourth iteration, is among the more popular Sealy Posturepedic models available online. This innerspring mattress is definitely on the softer side -- better for side sleepers -- and some compare it to sleeping on a cloud. The price continues to hover above the Cheapism zone, but recent improvements in the mattresses' covering and support structure suggest the additional cost will continue to be worth it for many.

  • Softer mattress ideal for side sleepers or those who like contoured support or a cradled feeling.

  • Innerspring base with included layers of gel memory foam, air foam, and extra soft cushioning foam, to add comfort while promoting cooling airflow.

  • Individually wrapped coils provide more even support and help reduce motion transfer compared with other innersprings.

  • 100-day trial through US-Mattress.com.

  • Posturepedics have lower owner satisfaction, less durability/longevity than other inexpensive mattresses, experts report.

  • Might not provide enough support for larger, heavier users or couples.

The adjustable-air c2 is the least expensive mattress that Sleep Number offers, and while it's more of an investment than many foam and innerspring models, it may be worth the splurge for buyers who suffer from chronic pain or couples who want vastly different levels of firmness.

  • Owners give this adjustable air mattress high marks for sleep quality, minimizing pain, and little heat retention.

  • Independently controlled firmness on both sides.

  • Mechanical components can be repaired.

  • Expensive compared with other types of mattresses.

  • 25-year warranty is prorated.

  • Unlike other Sleep Number beds, lacks a top comfort layer of foam.

Buying Guide

Choosing a Mattress

In a previous report on cheap mattresses, we recommended only traditional, name-brand innerspring models and cautioned readers against buying off-brand or "no name" mattresses. Much has changed in the mattress industry in the years since -- memory foam mattresses rule over innersprings in terms of consumer preferences, prices have dropped fairly significantly, and many of the best-selling, highly recommended models come from brands that aren't exactly household names. These days, you can get a reasonably comfortable, durable mattress for less than $500, although the very best budget models cost upward of $600. High-end mattresses start around $1,500 and skyrocket from there.

Mattress Brands

Online startups that ship inexpensive foam mattresses directly to the customer have shaken up the market in the past few years. Some of the best-known include Bed in a Box, Casper, Leesa, and Tuft & Needle. Most of the offerings are a bit beyond the Cheapism price limit of $500 for a queen size but within range for consumers with slightly higher budgets. Less-familiar online brands with cheaper mattresses well within our price range include Lucid, Sleep Innovations, Signature Sleep, Classic Brands, and Zinus. These mattresses may be rebranded depending on where they're sold, according to the review site Sleep Like the Dead. For instance, Zinus mattresses are sold as Zinus on Amazon, Spa Sensations at Walmart, and Night Therapy at Sam's Club, while Sleep Innovations makes Novaform mattresses for Costco.

Of course, big names including Sealy, Serta, and Simmons are still out there -- and still massive compared with the startups. These brands offer most major types of mattresses ranging from about $500 for the cheapest innerspring/box-spring set to more than $5,000 for ultra-thick, multi-layer foam-innerspring hybrids. Competitors such as Spring Air and Comfort Solutions (which owns the King Koil brand) also sell some inexpensive innerspring mattresses, as do lesser-known private-label manufacturers that supply warehouse outlets and furniture stores. And don't forget Ikea, which makes inexpensive foam, innerspring, and latex mattresses ranging from about $100 to $1,000. Other brands such as Stearns & Foster, Bassett, and Kingsdown are firmly in the middle to high end of the market. Tempur-Pedic manufactures upscale memory foam mattresses, while Sleep Number dominates the adjustable air mattress market; its cheapest model is also beyond the Cheapism ceiling.

Memory Foam Mattresses

The type of mattress you pick comes down largely to personal preference and budget. The primary advantage of memory foam vs. innerspring mattresses is that they offer a "custom fit," contouring to the body as the foam heats up and adjusts to the shape of the sleeper. This can make for a less painful night's slumber -- foam mattresses are a go-to choice for many side sleepers -- and reduce disturbances caused by motion from bed partners. Memory foam mattresses also tend to last longer than traditional innerspring mattresses and be more resistant to bedbugs and dust mites, which cannot take up residence within the foam. (On top of the mattress, or within the bedding, is another matter!)

On the flip side, not only do memory foam mattresses tend to cost a bit more upfront, but some users shy away because they don't like the sensation of sinking into the bed as the foam gives way or find it difficult to change position. Others assert that these mattresses don't offer as much overall support -- particularly for those who are back sleepers -- and some say they can be too hot. Another concern is whether memory foam mattresses are safe due to the polyurethane bases in many models.

For shoppers who decide the foam route is right for them, our research revealed two solid choices among cheap memory foam mattresses. Our top pick is the Sleep Innovations Shiloh (starting around $323), a medium-firm, 12-inch-deep mattress. A second-tier pick at an even lower price is the 12-inch Zinus Cloud (starting around $234), which offers a less firm, medium level of support. The foam used in both of these mattresses, and in all of our picks, is non-toxic and has met the standards of CertiPur-US for chemical content.

Consumers willing to spend a bit more on a thicker and, hence, more comfortable and durable memory foam mattress might consider the Novaform Comfort Grande (starting around $600) from Costco. The 16-inch Lucid Plush (starting around $620) is a step up in plumpness and price.

For anyone who doesn't like the sinkage associated with memory foam, the Lucid 10" Latex Foam mattress (starting around $389) is worth a look. Its 3-inch thick top layer of latex is springier and more responsive, say user reviews on Amazon. Another foam option of potential interest comes from online retailer Tuft & Needle. Their signature 10-inch Tuft & Needle mattress (starting around $750) features a proprietary foam blend that claims to be both cooler and more adaptive than memory foam. Consumer feedback is prolific and overwhelmingly positive. And not only are T&N mattresses approved by CertiPUR-US for their inner materials, their cover textiles meet OEKO-TEX standards for harmful substances. If it were in Cheapism's price range, this mattress would certainly be a frontrunner.

Innerspring Mattresses

Despite the trend toward memory foam mattresses, many consumers remain innerspring loyalists. Not only are these mattresses cheaper, but there are a huge range of options out there, so there's something readily available for every type of sleeper (stomach, side, or back) and every body type; people with heavier frames certainly tend to favor innerspring over foam. Innerspring mattresses offer a bouncier, more responsive feel for those whose nighttime routines contain a lot of movement -- whether that's repositioning during sleep, frequent need to get up out of bed, or being otherwise active (ahem).

On the downside, innersprings -- especially cheaply made mattresses with insufficient or poor-quality padding -- are more prone to cause pain due to pressure points or prove otherwise uncomfortable. And all these mattresses, regardless of cost, are eventually prone to sagging, unevenness, and decreased elasticity. Some say they can be expected to wear out as much as one to two years before comparable memory foam mattresses.

Despite the potential pitfalls, we were able to find two cheap innersprings that seem to satisfy both experts and consumers. One good choice is the Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort (starting around $239). Although it's a bit on the thinner side, this medium-firm, 10-inch model has many positives to recommend it, not least of which is its super-low cost. Like many of today's innerspring mattresses, this one includes specialized foam layers in addition to metal coils, an attempt to incorporate the pliability that makes memory foam so popular. Another top pick is the pricier 12-inch Classic Brands Mercer Hybrid (starting around $376). Although it's a softer mattress that may not appeal to everyone, it includes actual memory foam among the numerous, intricately dispersed levels of foam that top its springs. This is one of the best hybrid mattresses under $500.

If, for whatever reason, you've got your heart set on a traditional name brand, the 14-inch Sealy Posturepedic Cooper Mountain Plush Pillow Top (starting around $730) is relatively affordable. While this "Performance" mattress from Sealy's Response line sells well above the Cheapism price ceiling, many users seem to consider it worth the added outlay and say it feels comfortingly soft. The latest iteration, the Cooper Mountain IV, includes a memory foam layer among its custom foam toppers. (Note that when looking for the best price on Sealy mattresses, the same mattress often can be found under other names at different retailers for different prices. This Cooper Mountain innerspring, for example, appears as the "Dolby" at Sears and the "Shore Drive" at Macy's.)

All the prices above are for mattresses only and do not include a foundation or box spring, which adds $100 to $200 to the total. Foam mattresses require some sort of solid foundation; manufacturers say traditional box springs are a no-go with foam mattresses, as they typically provide inadequate support. Suitable foundations could include the solid wooden bases or wooden slats found on many platform beds, a steel grid that can attach to an existing headboard, or -- for true minimalists and budget buyers -- the floor.

Consumers should keep in mind that prices are constantly changing in the mattress world. Like many major consumer durables, they go on sale often. A major holiday -- especially Memorial Day (when sellers typically clear out inventory for new arrivals) or July Fourth -- may be the best opportunity to snag a deal. Prices listed here were accurate at the time of publishing in late June 2107.

Expensive vs. Cheap Mattresses

Pricey mattresses may have more features than cheap mattresses; for example, more comfort layers topping the bed's main support layer, more or higher quality coils in an innerspring mattress, and longer warranties, according to The Mattress Nerd. They tend to be thicker and more plush as a group and may be more supportive for larger, heavier users. And they generally have longer lifespans than their cheaper counterparts.

Sleep Like the Dead, which rates sleep products based on thousands of consumer reviews, reports that owners are more likely to be satisfied by a mid- or high-priced mattress than a cheap mattress -- defined by the site as $700 and under for a queen. Nevertheless, the gap is not huge. In fact, owners of cheap mattresses report a satisfaction rate of 68 percent compared with 74 and 73 percent, respectively, for mid- and high-priced models. And satisfaction with cheap mattresses jumps to 89 percent for more limited use (in a guest room, say) or use by a child. It's also interesting to note that a 2016 study of seven major sellers by J.D. Power found that, although Ikea mattress owners reported slightly below-average satisfaction, the bargain brand still scored higher than pricier names Sealy, Stearns & Foster, and Serta in overall satisfaction.

Features Comparison

Sort by:
Review Score:
Product Title
Cheapism Ranking
Type
Thickness
Support layers
Firmness*
Warranty
Product Title
Cheapism Ranking
Type
Thickness
Support layers
Firmness*
Warranty

Sleep Innovations...

$323
Best
Memory foam
12 inches
2.5 inches memory foam; 9.5 inches support foam
Medium-firm
20 years

Zinus Memory Foam 12" Cloud

$234
Best
Memory foam
12 inches
1 inch quick response foam; 2 inches memory foam; 3 inches comfort...
Medium
10 years

Classic Brands Mercer...

$376
Good
Innerspring
12 inches
.5 inches gel-infused memory foam; 1.75 inches comfort foam; 8 inches...
Soft
10 years

Zinus Sleep Master...

$239
Good
Innerspring
10 inches
1 inch of pressure-relieving comfort foam; 1.5 inches of comfort...
Medium-firm
10 years

Novaform Comfort Grande, 14"

$600
Other
Memory foam
14 inches
3 inches gel memory foam; 3 inches air-channel foam; 8 inches support foam
Medium to medium-firm
20 years

Lucid Plush, 16"

$620
Other
Memory foam
16 inches
1 inch bamboo charcoal memory foam; 3 inches ventilated gel memory...
Soft
25 years

Lucid 10" Latex Foam

$389
Other
Latex/Foam
10 inches
3 inches ventilated natural latex; 7 inches polyurethane support foam
Medium-firm
25 years

Tuft & Needle, 10"

$750
Other
Foam
10 inches
3 inches gel- and graphite-infused foam; 7 inches support foam
Medium to medium-firm
10 years

Sealy Posturepedic...

$730
Other
Innerspring
14 inches
.5 inches gel memory foam; 2 inches air foam, 3.5 inches layered...
Soft
10 years

Sleep Number c2 Classic...

$900
Other
Adjustable air
8 inches
8 inches adjustable air pockets
Adjustable
25 years