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Bed in a box? Consumer Reports says some stack up against traditional mattresses

Posted February 22, 2018 7:59 a.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:41 p.m. EDT

Sales of mattresses that come in boxes, delivered to your front door, have nearly quadrupled since 2015, but the question of comfort lingers around the new-age products.

The mattresses, usually made of memory foam, are squished down and rolled up to fit in a box. When it arrives, the mattress unfurls and decompresses into a more familiar shape.

To find out if the bed-in-a-box craze is worth it, Consumer Reports put 41 mattresses through rigorous tests to check for wear, support for different body types, firmness, bounciness and pressure points. The results found many of the boxed versions held their own against more traditional pads.

"Many of these foam mattresses perform really well and hold top spots in our ratings, which include traditional mattresses," said Chris Regan, Consumer Reports' mattress expert

Mattresses from Casper and the Lull were rated Consumer Reports Best Buys.

One of the pluses of a bed in a box is customers can order online with no sales pressure, and the bed is delivered to your doorstep in about a week.

Some popular manufacturers teamed up with retail stores so customers can test out a mattress before buying one. For example, Leesa mattresses can be found at West Elm, and Casper mattresses are shown at some Target stores.

For people shopping for mattresses, though, the boxed versions can weigh from 60 to 140 pounds. So, when you open it, place the bundle right on the base first, then unwrap it. Most don't have handles, so they can be difficult to handle.

If you find you and your mattress are not a match, most bed-in-a-box makers offer friendly return policies — some give customers more than 100 days — though the rules can differ for third party purchases, like through Amazon. If it isn't working out, some companies will help find a place to donate the mattress.

Consumer Reports surveys show the longer people try out a mattress, the more likely they are to be satisfied with it. Testers suggest you lie on a mattress for at least 10 to 15 minutes while trying it out, and try out different sleep positions to see if you're comfortable.