Please help me pick a "Bed in a Box"!

I’ve been casually mattress shopping for about a year now, but I keep being overwhelmed by all the options. I finally want to bite the bullet and just order something. I realize I may need to go through a few different online mattresses to find the perfect one, but I’m stuck on which mattress to start with. All I know is that I want a mattress I can order online and try out for ~100 days with no commitment.

Sleeping positions: I typically sleep on my side, but I also sometimes sleep on my stomach or back.

Body Type: I’m 5’6" and weigh 135 lbs. I have very wide shoulders, which makes side sleeping hard on firmer mattresses. Most nights I sleep in my bed alone, but my boyfriend visits sometimes – he’s 180 lbs.

My preferences: I think I’m looking for a mattress with medium firmness. I like feeling like the mattress is hugging me, but I also don’t want to sink into the mattress. Comfort when side sleeping is a priority for me. During the night I tend to move around a bit, and while I don’t want a mattress that encourages rolling around per se, I also don’t want to feel trapped. Good support for activities like sex is also important, as is good edge support (either for sex or just for sitting on the edge of the bed to put on socks in the morning). I think this means I’m looking for a mattress with a softer top layer and a firmer underlayer. I also dislike “hot” mattresses, but my body runs cool and I have AC so I don’t normally have problems with overheating.

Past experiences: I thought I disliked memory foam mattresses, but recently I’ve been looking at beds in hotels that I think are comfy and finding that a lot of them are memory foam. I think what I actually dislike is the really heavy, stiff type of memory foam. I’ve owned an IKEA mattress before, and while I think they’re perfectly fine, I want something that screams “extreme comfort” every time I lay down. I’ve slept on my boyfriend’s Purple mattress and thought it was fine, but again it didn’t make me love getting into bed.

Budget: I can honestly afford anything, but practically speaking I would prefer to spend $800-$1100 on a queen size mattress. I already have a bedframe (from IKEA!), and it has slats so I don’t need a box spring or any type of foundation. While I’m not seeking a low quality mattress (who does?), I realistically might only be using this mattress for 5 years so long-term durability isn’t especially important to me.

I think what I want to do is generate a list of 3-5 mattresses that look ideal and then order the least expensive first, try it out, and if I don’t like it go to the next one on the list. But I’m having trouble cutting it down to even 5 brands to try. Honestly all of them start sounding pretty identical after you read enough reviews.

Brands that I’ve been considering: Nolah, Leesa, Helix, Luma, OSO, Spindle, Novosbed, Sedona, Kiss, Brooklyn Bedding.

Hi abigail.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum! :slight_smile:

While I can certainly help with “how” to choose … It’s not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, or PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

I’m not sure what you’ve read since you found the site but just in case you haven’t read it yet … the first place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice … and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.
Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for).

In general I find that most people know within 30 days if a mattress is a “fit” for them, but if you personally want 100 days, then you can make that a part of your list in your personal value equation.

As side sleeping seems to be your primary sleeping position I would keep in mind that side sleepers generally need a bit more pressure point relief on the surface to accommodate the wider dimensional variances between the shoulders and the hips and the waist. You can find much of the relevant information you would need in the sections about sleeping style, preferences, and statistics along withputting the layers together and the page on tips and tricks here ) that can give you some general concepts, guidelines, and insights about the effects of different body types, sleeping styles, and mattress designs for different people but this is only generic and not specific to any particular person so you would need to adapt them to your particular body type, sleeping positions, and circumstances. (May be more complex than you really need to know.)

Latex seems to be a material that may fit your preferences for, comfort/plushness, deep support, and also motion requirements as it has an unusual combination of surface softness and deeper firmness/support that comes from its elasticity, it’s point elasticity (ability to conform to the shape of a body) and its compression modulus (the ability to get firmer faster with deeper compression than other types of foam). This means that it can enhance the pressure relieving layers above it because of its surface softness and point elasticity but it is also very supportive and can “stop” the heavier parts of the body from “sinking I” too deeply. It is also very resilient (it returns a high percentage of the energy of compression instead of absorbing it like memory foam which has very low resilience) so it can enhance the “feel” of the mattress by making it more responsive and more adaptable to different body profiles and sleeping positions rather than the less responsive feeling of memory foam or the stiffer and less adaptable characteristics of polyfoam. Latex is also a very durable material (it’s the most durable of all the foam types) so it can add to the durability of a mattress compared to other materials but the deeper layers of a mattress have less effect on mattress durability (a mattress will soften and break down from the top down) and more of an effect on performance and support/alignment so this would be less of a factor in its use.

On the other hand memory foam not only that has temperature regulation issues, but it has very low resilience, has a more “in the mattress” feel that you are trying to get away from. It also changes its feel and response with pressure, temperature, humidity, and length of time it is subject to compression forces. It can feel firm in some conditions or circumstances and soft under different conditions. If you are still considering a memory foam system you can read more about the pros and cons of memory foam in this article and more about the different formulations of memory foam in post #8 here .

It’s not really possible to quantify the sleeping temperature of a mattress for any particular person with any real accuracy because there are so many variables involved including the type of mattress protector and the sheets and bedding that you use (which in many cases can have just as significant an effect on sleeping temperature as the type of foam in a mattress) and on where you are in the “oven to iceberg” range and because there is no standardized testing for temperature regulation with different combinations of materials … there is more about the many variables that can affect the sleeping temperature of a mattress or sleeping system inpost #2 here that can help you choose the types of materials and components that are most likely to keep you in a comfortable temperature range.

In very general terms … the materials, layers, and components of a sleeping system that are closer to your skin will have a bigger effect on airflow, moisture transport, and temperature regulation than materials, layers, and components that are further away from your skin and softer mattresses or foam toppers will tend to be more “insulating” and for some people can sleep warmer than firmer versions of the same material.

While you may have recently experienced some hotels using memory foam in their mattress, that is not the norm within the industry and innerspring products tend to be the most common by far. Overall, hotel mattresses are not a single “type” of mattress and have a wide variety of different feels to them. They do however tend to be in the general category of what many would call “medium firm” which means that they have a medium plush layer over a firmer support core. This “feel” tends towards the average preference of a wide cross section of the population, including yours from the preferences you described at length in your post.

A more recent trend has seen hotels choose items that are a bit firmer feeling and then customizing their mattresses with various “top of bed” products such as plush mattress pads and polyfill toppers. These are easier to replace and launder, and offer a more cost-effective solution to add a bit of plushness to a mattress. Additionally, the items closest to your skin – the sheets and pillows – can have a dramatic impact on the overall impression of comfort made by a hotel mattress.

I would also bear in mind that sometimes it takes sleeping on a different product (hotel, vacation rental, relative’s house) to notice the deficiencies in your own.

All of the layers of a mattress work together to provide overall comfort, and there are also different versions of memory foam that give at different rates, recover faster or slower, and are more or less temperature sensitive and the initial feeling can also be influenced by the room temperature and humidity. Again, should you decide to go with a memory foam product, you’d want to speak directly with any manufacturer you’re considering regarding the “initial feel” of their memory foams.

The price point would obviously be another part of your personal value equation. While durability may be for a shorter time, you’ll still want to make sure that whatever you choose uses good quality and durable materials (as linked to earlier in reply about durability and things you need to know about any mattress), as you’ll want as consistent of a comfort life during the time you’ll be using the mattress, and there are many lower-quality materials that can initially feel good but only have a comfort life of just a few years.

There are now over 170 boxed-bed mattresses available all with very good return/exchange programs and what differentiates them is the quality and well thought construction and design of their mattresses which is why it is so important that before considering any mattress you carefully assess the details of its componentry (as outlined in the mattress shopping tutorial) and not rely on something that “looks ideal” or online reviews of certain products.
While other people’s comments about the knowledge and service of a particular business can certainly be very helpful … I would always keep in mind that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and I would be cautious about using anyone else’s suggestions, experiences or reviews on a specific mattress (either positive or negative) or review sites in general as a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress or how suitable or how durable a mattress may be for you. In many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful because a mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (even if they are in a similar weight range). In other words … reviews or other people’s experiences in general won’t tell you much if anything about the suitability, quality, durability, or “value” of a mattress for any particular person (see post #13 here).

When faced with too many options I would further narrow them down by placing a phone call and having a detailed conversation with each of manufacturer/retailer to acquire their recommendations as they apply to your particular situation, as they will have the best frame of reference for your specific needs based upon their knowledge of their own products and a wealth of information from previous clients with similar needs.

Many of the options you are considering Luma, OSO, Spindle, Novosbed, Sedona, Kiss, Brooklyn Bedding, are our trusted members here, which means that I think highly of them and that I believe that they compete well with the best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, knowledge, and transparency. All of their mattresses use high quality materials and there are no lower quality materials or weak links in any of them so they would certainly make a great quality/value choice. Each one of them would be happy to assist you in finding a suitable system that meets your needs and preferences.

When you narrow your options down to a few finalists and if you have any other more specific questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.


The most important factor to consider when choosing a bed is comfort. Make sure to test out the bed in the store before purchasing to ensure that it is the right level of firmness for you. Other factors to consider include the size of the bed and the style. Make sure to measure your bedroom before shopping to ensure that the bed will fit in the space.

When it comes to style, there are many different options available. You can choose a traditional bed frame or opt for a more modern design. There are also many different materials to choose from, such as wood, metal, or upholstered beds. Consider your personal style and the overall décor of your bedroom when making your selection.