The Best Mattress
How We Found the Best Mattress
65 Mattresses Evaluated
10 Brands Tested
3 Top Picks
The Best Mattress
The whole ethos of the bed-in-the-box industry is that a universally great mattress exists. And that you can get it into your bedroom with less effort and for less money than traditionally thought. After interviewing sleep experts, researching materials, and testing 10 of the top mattresses, we agree.
Our top picks — Loom & Leaf, Novosbed, and GhostBed — rose to the top of the stack thanks to their supportive, high-end construction and snuggly sensation. If we’re being honest, though, we’d be excited to crawl into any of these beds after a long day. The right choice comes down to what kind of sleeper you are, how soft you like your bed, and how much you’re ready to invest in a great night’s sleep. If you already know where you fall on that scale, feel free to jump straight to our detailed reviews of all 10 mattresses we tested. Otherwise, read on.
How We Chose the Best Mattress
Painless shopping, easy delivery
We started by tracking down the most promising contenders — 65 popular mattresses from the 29 best-known online brands. Why did we look online and not in-store? Put simply, the value is greater. Prices, purchasing, and shipping are straightforward and simple. Customer service also tends to be more convenient and responsive, with handy channels like web chat.
Besides the simplicity of having your bed delivered right to your door, online brands offer generous trial and return policies. This allows you to test out a bed the only way you really can: by sleeping on it night after night. The trial period is a better good-sleep-guarantee than briefly lying down on a mattress in-store.
All-foam, multi-layer construction
According to our mattress gurus, there are two key components to a comfortable night’s sleep. First: Your bed should be memory foam. “Memory foam has advantages,” Nick Robinson of Sleep Like the Dead told us. “Above average comfort. Conforms to body. Absorbs motion so it’s couple-friendly.” When surveyed, owners of memory foam beds rank their satisfaction higher than owners of any other bed type. We made this our first criteria.
The second thing we looked for was multi-layer construction. This allows for multiple points of interaction, as the layers support, respond to, and pull away from one another — rather than a single layer, which creates a direct relationship between your body weight and the foam. The result? A perfect sinkage-to-support ratio.
As an additional precaution, we also made sure that our top picks were approved by Certipur, a national organization that tests home furnishing foams for safe, high-quality materials. You can learn more about Certipur standards in our FAQ section.
As for softness, we narrowed in on medium-firm beds. Hear us out: Mattress feel is definitely personal, but we learned that most people actually have a pretty similar comfort window. The ticket is medium-firm support. JB Duke Hotel manager Gregg Hilker describes it as “the most neutral — not too hard, not too soft, but [with] a high-quality feel to it.”
Medium-firm is also key for durability, longevity, and a cooler night’s sleep (the less you sink into the mattress, the less your body heat forms a cocoon). Need proof? A 2007 sleep study had participants swap out their existing mattress for a generic medium-firm version, and all experienced better sleep and significant pain relief.
Tester-approved for full-body comfort
We combed through our initial list of 65 mattresses and found the ones that met all these expectations. From there, we selected the 10 most interesting, well-designed, and talked-about models to test out in our office.
After a week of practice naps — “no, really, we’re working” — we can tell you that all of these mattresses live up to their hype. Each one was truly comfortable and yawn-inducing: beds we’d be excited to climb into every night. In the end, our top picks were the models that were consistently pegged as testers’ favorites, garner excellent longevity ratings from Consumer Reports, and boast high-caliber construction that aligns with their asking price.
Testing also helped us develop a scale of firmness and identify where each mattress fell — so if you’re not sure about your squish-tolerance, you can sleep vicariously through our testers. Check out ratings and sensory descriptions for all 10 in our buying guide.
The 3 Best Mattresses
Why we chose it
Oftentimes people equate supreme sleeping comfort with an upscale hotel bed, and that means one thing: pillow-top. Loom & Leaf is unique amongst new-wave memory foam models for preserving this design standard. It doesn’t skimp on the extra layer of quilted foam, either, sewing in generous tufts to create a truly plush surface. Testers found it a much more dimensional and supportive bed as a result.
Excellent full-body support
While other memory foam beds might accept your weight, sinking in wherever you apply the most pressure, Loom & Leaf seems to expand against you. It fills in the curves of the spine, the hollow of the knee, and even the back of the neck if you try it out sans pillow like we did. It’s also free from that uncomfortable “hammock effect,” where the mattress dips and pulls you in at the center. Our testers felt evenly supported everywhere.
The Loom & Leaf also has the sturdiest edges of all the mattresses we tested: zero sag, even when putting your full body weight on the very edge. This tautness means that you can move around on the bed with greater ease and get out without disturbing a sleeping partner. It also means that if you like to curl up near the edge, you won’t be in danger of sliding off.
Most testers agreed that Loom & Leaf is in the upper echelon of comfort and support. And if you’re going for a full-scale luxury experience, get this: The company even offers “white-glove” delivery. Movers will bring your new mattress right into your bedroom and take the old one out for free. Our other top picks leave the heavy lifting up to you.
Points to consider
Pricier than competitors
Loom & Leaf was the uncontested favorite among our team, but that luxury comes at a price. Most of Loom & Leaf’s beds run at least $100 more than their closest competitors. Before making the leap, make sure you take a good look at our other top picks; the GhostBed offers similar support for $300 less. When you are ready to buy, rest easy knowing that every Loom & Leaf bed comes with a 120-day trial period — and a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
Why we chose it
Cooling top layer
Novosbed’s standout feature is its top layer: two inches of aerated foam, with holes punched through the surface to increase sink and airflow. This perforated top creates an active cooling sensation — particularly great if you’re a sweaty sleeper. While Loom & Leaf also boasts a “cooling gel panel” to prevent overheating, our testers agreed that Novosbed’s aerated foam does the best job regulating body temperature.
Uniquely responsive support
The perforated top layer on Novosbed also creates a singular sensation when you lie down. After climbing into bed, you sink quickly and deeply, as though the mattress is enveloping you. But then you hit its support layers. Thanks to this nesting-then-holding process, Novosbed is fully supportive while still being the softest and squishiest of our top picks. One tester — who was used to DIY-ing her perfect sink-to-support ratio with a collection of pillows and wedges — reported, “I don’t think I even need a pillow.”
Not sure where you lie on the squishiness scale? Novosbed solves this with its Comfort+ package — a layer of either firming or softening foam that can be zipped right into your mattress’ housing. If you’re having trouble sleeping at any point during the 120-day Novosbed trial, the company will send you a Comfort+ layer free of charge. Our other top picks do offer generous return policies if you’re unsatisfied, but we appreciate that Novosbed has a way to tweak the experience without the hassle of buying a whole new mattress.
Points to consider
Too squishy for some
If you don’t like the feeling of being cradled by your mattress, then Novosbed isn’t the choice for you. While many testers loved its cozy, sinking-yet-supported feel, others weren’t as thrilled. Some even described the initial settling process as being “enveloped in quicksand” or “sucked into another dimension.” Those who prefer to lie on top of their mattress rather than in it will prefer GhostBed — the firmest of our top picks — or Loom & Leaf, whose pillow-top strikes a very happy medium between springy and squishy.
Novosbed’s silky top also comes with one downfall: Its edges are exceptionally soft. If you like to curl up near the side of the bed, you will slowly slip off. Edge sleepers will fare better with the Loom & Leaf or GhostBed mattress — both of which are uniformly taut across their surfaces.
Why we chose it
More affordable than competitors
Don’t let this turn you off: GhostBed’s lower price tag is not in any way a mark of lower quality. In fact, our testers almost universally praised this mattress for its even support and slow sink. For $300 less than Loom & Leaf, the GhostBed provides a similarly taut and springy feel — although it lacks the luscious pillow-top that took our favorite bed to the top of the charts.
Comfortable, even support
Like the Loom & Leaf, GhostBed has a robust and even surface from edge to edge. It’s the firmest option among our top picks; this helped us relax from head to toe, since we weren’t just sinking in at our heaviest point. Testers also loved that they could move across and off of the bed with ease, and that they could sit on its sturdy edges without plopping to the floor. This strength is tempered with enough give that the mattress fills spine curves whether you’re a back or side sleeper. One tester affirmed, “Just the right mix of soft and supportive. I would buy this.”
GhostBed outperformed our other top picks in Consumer Reports’ durability testing, earning an “excellent” rating, while Loom & Leaf and Novosbed both took home “very good.” The test pummels mattresses with weights to simulate eight years of sleep, ensuring that your big investment will hold up over time. We were impressed that GhostBed — our most affordable mattress — is also likely to be the most long-lasting.
Points to consider
Too firm for some
GhostBed fell near the “firmest” end on our squish-scale. It has a bit less yield than either the Loom & Leaf (with its forgiving pillow-top) or the Novosbed (with its sinkable top layer). Our testers still approved of it pretty unanimously, maintaining that GhostBed’s firmness lent extra support and stability. Still, if you prefer a more deluxe feel, you may be better off with one of our other top picks.
As the most affordable mattress on our list, GhostBed lacks some of the luxury features that we loved from our other top picks. For instance, while GhostBed offers comparable support to the Loom & Leaf, it’s missing the plush pillow-top that gave Loom & Leaf its upscale, hotel feel. Hot sleepers will miss Novosbed’s layer of perforated foam, which allows for better airflow and dissipates heat throughout the night. In short: GhostBed is reliably comfortable and well worth its price tag. Just don’t expect anything fancy.
Guide to Mattresses
How to find the right mattress for you
Ultimately, the best mattress for you comes down to your own preferences regarding feel. If you know roughly where you fall on the soft/firm spectrum, you may fall in love with one of the other mattresses we tested. Below are our testers’ observations to help get you started.
The Best Mattresses: Summed Up
More Reviews for a Good Night's Sleep
Your mattress is the most critical part of a good night’s sleep — but it’s not the only thing that’ll help your REM cycle. Check out some of our other home goods reviews below. From a smart thermostat that adjusts your climate at bedtime to a pillow with perfect neck-to-shoulder alignment, we found what you need to feel rested and refreshed night after night.