Best Cheap Mattresses of 2021 | Starting Under $500

By Ashley Little

Sep 21st, 2021

If you want to buy an affordable mattress without compromising on quality, Mattress Advisor can help you turn the dream into reality. Many of today’s best cheap mattresses cost under $1,000, and we’ve selected the top 10 mattresses for the money available anywhere.

Each one of our picks has been put to the test in the Mattress Advisor sleep lab and evaluated on everything from comfort to durability. Find out why “inexpensive quality mattress” doesn’t have to be a contradiction in terms.

Quick Links


By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Advisor may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read full disclosure statement.


Top 10 Budget Mattresses of 2021


 


GhostBed

ghostbed luxe mattress lifestyle 2
GhostBed

Best Cheap Mattress in a Box

Best for:

  • Sleepers who tend to overheat
  • Edge-of-the-bed sleepers
  • Plus-size people
CUSTOMER RATING

4.8

/

5

MA SCORE

8.6

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium-firm: 6.5/10

TRIAL PERIOD

101 days

Best Cheap Mattress in a Box

The GhostBed is top-notch as a bed in a box, which means you can count on ease in ordering and delivery. In fact, we gave this mattress a perfect score of 10 out of 10 in shipping, trial period, warranty, and return policy.

Pros

The original GhostBed might be very affordable, but you probably wouldn’t guess that by sleeping on it. Made with a combination of latex, gel memory foam, and high-density support foam, this mattress has high durability, superior temperature regulation, and solid responsiveness.

Cons

Set-up for this product only received a 7 out of 10 in our testing. We found that an 89-pound queen mattress takes a couple of people to set it up and there was some off-gassing when it was unpackaged, meaning there was an odor initially.

Read our full GhostBed mattress review.


Casper

casper original hero
Casper

Best Cheap Memory Foam Mattress

Best for:

  • Combination sleepers
  • People who need good edge support
  • Memory foam shoppers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.5

/

5

MA SCORE

9.1

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium-firm: 6/10

TRIAL PERIOD

100 days

Best Cheap Memory Foam Mattress

The Casper is designed with four different foam layers that provide durability, soft comfort, pressure relief, and support. That means you can count on relief in high-pressure areas such as the shoulders and hips.

Pros

In our testing, the Casper stood out for its outstanding edge support and great spine alignment at a reasonable price. It also performs well in responsiveness, making it a strong option for the sleeper who shifts about throughout the night.

Cons

The Casper doesn’t perform particularly well as a cooling mattress, earning only a 7 out of 10 in our lab. That’s not uncommon with foam mattresses, although there are foam mattresses that are designed to cool, such as the Cocoon Chill.

Read our full Casper mattress review.


Bowery Hybrid by Brooklyn Bedding

Bowery hybrid lifestyle
Brooklyn Bowery Hybrid

Best Cheap Hybrid Mattress

Best for:

  • Couples
  • People who sleep hot
  • Back sleepers
CUSTOMER RATING

5

/

5

MA SCORE

8.8

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium-firm: 6/10

TRIAL PERIOD

120 days

Best Cheap Hybrid Mattress

The gel memory foam topper combined with the coil spring layer keeps you from overheating, making it a great cooling mattress for hot sleepers. The high-density foam bottom provides extra support for people who sleep on their backs and plus-sized sleepers as well.

Related: Best Mattresses for Heavy People

Pros

This hybrid bed scored particularly well on our spinal alignment test, scoring a 8.75 out of 10, meaning you’ll wake up feeling well-rested and keep your back pain-free each night.

Cons

The Bowery Hybrid scored an 8 out of 10 in our lab for responsiveness, which isn’t shabby. However, if you move about a lot at night, you might want to turn elsewhere. We recommend the Casper.

Read our full Bowery Hybrid mattress review.


Cocoon

cocoon hero
Cocoon

Best Cheap Cooling Mattress

Best for:

  • People who sleep hot
  • Couples
  • Restless sleepers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.7

/

5

MA SCORE

8.7

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium-firm: 6/10

TRIAL PERIOD

100 days

Best Cheap Mattress for Cooling

The Cocoon Chill, a budget-friendly memory foam mattress, impressed us with its ability to keep cool throughout the night. The mattress cover actually remained cool to the touch, even as we tested it, thanks in large part to its design, which is infused with heat-dissipating material.

Pros

Even if you don’t sleep warm, the Cocoon’s impressive scores on the motion isolation, spine alignment, and responsiveness tests make this a great option for couples, people who suffer from back pain, or anyone who tosses and turns throughout the night.

Cons

There’s a lot to love about this mattress, but we did find that this may not be the best choice for sleepers who are heavy—the Cocoon can handle only 500 pounds in total weight. There was also some off-gassing, which should dissipate the first week.

Read our full Cocoon mattress review.


Studio by Leesa

studio by leesa lifestyle
Studio by Leesa

Best Cheap Mattress for Back Pain

Best for:

  • People with back pain
  • Couples
  • Combination sleepers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.6

/

5

MA SCORE

8.7

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium firm: 5-7/10

TRIAL PERIOD

100 days

Best Cheap Mattress for Back Pain

The cushiony pressure relief it offers eases your hips, shoulders, and lower back, so people with back and joint pain wake up feeling refreshed. And this memory foam mattress has great responsiveness for people who toss and turn at night.

Related: Best Mattresses for Back Pain

Pros

The Studio by Leesa is a good call for partners who share a bed. We gave it an 8.25 out of 10 for motion transfer, something that you’ll want to pay attention to if you share your bed, whether with a partner, kids, or pets.

Cons

If you’re older or have balance issues, this may not be your top choice in a mattress. We found that the edge support for this product was not what it could be, earning a 7 out of 10 in our mattress lab.

Read our full Leesa Studio mattress review.


Dreamfoam Elements Latex

advisor lifestyle 2 1 1
Elements Latex

Best Cheap Pillow Top Mattress

Best for:

  • Combination sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
  • Couples
CUSTOMER RATING

4.5

/

5

MA SCORE

8.4

/

10

FIRMNESS

Soft, Medium, Firm

TRIAL PERIOD

120 days

Best Cheap Pillow Top Mattress

This mattress consists of an optional quilted plush pillow top, a responsive latex layer, and a supportive polyfoam base layer. Together, these layers create a mattress great for every sleeping position and your wallet.

Related: Best Pillow Top Mattresses

Pros

As a hybrid, this mattress does a good job of keeping you cool at night—we gave it an 8.5 out of 10 in our lab for cooling. Pressure relief also did well, with an 8.7 out of 10 for that metric, as well as an 8/10 for spine alignment.

Cons

The Dreamfoam Elements Latex only scored a 7 out of 10 in our lab for edge support. That means this may not be the right option if you need support getting out of bed, if you like to put your shoes on in the morning on the edge of your bed, or if you sleep on the edge. If great edge support is a must for you, check out the WinkBeds Luxury Firm.

Read our full Elements Latex mattress review.


Nectar

nectar original lifestyle updated
Nectar

Best Cheap Mattress for Side Sleepers

Best for:

  • Side sleepers
  • All sleeping positions
  • Combination sleepers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.8

/

5

MA SCORE

8.7

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium-firm: 5.5-6/10

TRIAL PERIOD

365 days

Best Cheap Mattress for Side Sleepers

When you sleep on your side, it’s important to get the right amount of give in key areas of your body, particularly your shoulders and hips. The Nectar scored an 8.5 out of 10 in pressure relief in our testing, making it an excellent option for the side sleeper.

Pros

In terms of quality, the Nectar does not disappoint. In fact, less than 3% of Nectar’s customers end up returning this budget mattress! It offers great edge support, responsiveness, cooling air flow, and durability.

Cons

The Nectar has a cooling cover and breathable foam layers, but there have been complaints from customers about this mattress sometimes sleeping hot, which is not surprising since it is an all-foam product. However, its score in our testing was an acceptable 7.75 out of 10.

Read our full Nectar mattress review.


Layla Memory Foam

Layla room 1
Layla

Best Cheap Mattress for Sex

Best for:

  • Couples who want motion isolation
  • Back sleepers (firm side)
  • Side sleepers (soft side)
CUSTOMER RATING

4.5

/

5

MA SCORE

8.8

/

10

FIRMNESS

Soft side: 4-5/10; Firm side: 7/10

TRIAL PERIOD

120 days

Best Cheap Mattress for Sex

Let’s be honest—sleep isn’t the only thing that happens in bed. People looking for an affordable mattress conducive to sex as well as slumber might find the Layla Memory Foam a good match.

Pros

All-foam construction makes for noise-reducing qualities, which is a plus if you have children, a visitor in the guest room, or thin walls separating you from the neighboring apartment. The Layla Memory Foam also scored high for responsiveness.

Cons

One of the downsides of memory foam is that it’s not the coolest material, although the Layla’s top foam layers do incorporate copper particles with cooling properties. You might notice a “new mattress smell” after you unpack it —a result of off-gassing—so plan to let the mattress breathe for a few hours or even a few days before using it.

Read our full Layla Memory Foam mattress review.


Tuft & Needle

tuft and needle
Tuft & Needle

Best Cheap Queen Mattress

Best for:

  • Queen-size budget shoppers
  • Side sleepers
  • Restless sleepers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.6

/

5

MA SCORE

8.7

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium-firm: 6/10

TRIAL PERIOD

100 days

Best Cheap Queen Mattress

A queen-size Tuft & Needle mattress shouldn’t run you more than $770, not counting sales promotions or discounts. This mattress comes with the bed-in-a-box standard 100-night trial period and a 10-year warranty.

Pros

The Tuft & Needle is an affordable memory foam mattress that’s suitable for all types of sleepers. Because its medium firmness level works for all, we recommend this “universal mattress” for anyone who doesn’t have particular preferences or the average sleeper.

Cons

If you’re looking for a mattress with great edge support, you might want to keep shopping. We scored this product a 7.25 out of 10 for edge support, a good but not great score if you sleep on the edge or need support when getting out of bed.

Read our full Tuft & Needle mattress review.


Allswell

allswell headshot e1543444423655
The Allswell

Best Cheap King Mattress

Best for:

  • People who sleep with a partner
  • Those with back pain
  • Side sleepers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.8

/

5

MA SCORE

8.2

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium - 5/10

TRIAL PERIOD

100 days

Best Cheap King Mattress

Affordable hybrid mattresses are hard to come by, but the Allswell mattress is one of those rare finds. A king or California king will cost about $465, a rock-bottom price for a mattress that size.

Pros

Made with a breathable top layer of comfort foam and a base of supportive coils, Allswell is a great option for those looking for a guest room mattress. We also liked this mattress for couples; we scored it a 9/10 for motion transfer.

Cons

This product’s durability scored just 7 out of 10 in our testing. If you’re looking for a mattress that you will be using night in and night out, you might want to consider something with more staying power, such as the GhostBed.

Read our full Allswell mattress review.


Are Inexpensive Mattresses Worth It?

The answer might be yes, as long as you avoid the extremes. Buying a mattress at the lowest end of the price range—say, $300 or less—probably means making big compromises not just on comfort but also longevity. A mattress that starts to sag after just a few years could turn out to be a less economical choice than a mattress with a lifespan twice as long.

Although you can’t really put a price on comfort, you should also consider the value of getting more restful sleep every night. Spending more than the rock-bottom price could make a huge difference in your health and overall quality of life, especially if you struggle with back pain.

Terms like memory foam, hybrid and pocket coils might sound like the stuff of luxury, but plenty of budget-friendly mattresses offer these features, and more. There are plenty of affordable mattresses that can help you find a happy medium between price and quality for under $1,000—and in some cases, even less.

Related: Best Mattresses for the Money

How to Save Money on a Mattress

The best cheap mattresses do more than save you money. They also improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep without worrying about how much it costs. Follow these tips to find the right balance between spending wisely and sleeping comfortably.

Buy Online

The best place to look for a cheap or budget mattress is usually the internet. Direct-to-consumer beds go straight from the mattress manufacturer to your door, which means eliminating the retail middleman. You’re buying the same product available at mattress stores and big-box chains but without the sales commissions and dealer markups.

Shop at the Right Time

Certain times of the year are ideal for saving money on a mattress. Big “sales holidays” for mattresses include:

  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Presidents Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Labor Day

Use Coupons and Bundle Deals

Even when it’s not a holiday, many companies often have ongoing promotions and discounts so you can save some money on a mattress. Bundle deals are also a popular way to save money. If you’re getting a new mattress, you might want new sheets, pillows, or a bed frame. Bundling them into one transaction at a discount could save money in the long run.

What Affects the Price of a Mattress?

You may be wondering how there can be such a wide price range for mattresses. Actually, there are many factors that differentiate mattresses and can drive up costs. When you’re shopping for a mattress on a budget, think about which features and capabilities you’re willing to pay extra for, and which ones you’re not.

  • Size: Larger mattresses require more materials to make, and more weight could mean higher shipping costs.
  • Materials: High-density memory foam and organic or natural latex are higher-quality and can make a mattress more expensive (and comfortable).
  • Design: Innersprings or hybrids with zoned or targeted supportive coil layers require advanced construction and cost more.
  • Brand: Some brands market themselves as luxury brands, while others target the average consumer.
  • Cooling elements: Copper, gel-infused foam and other cooling technologies drive up the price of a mattress.

Another key question is, who’s using the mattress?

Heavier people often need their mattresses to be more durable and supportive, both qualities that can affect price. If you have a sleep partner, or even a pet, you might want to pay extra for a couples mattress that reduces motion transfer. If you’re a parent, keep in mind that kids and teenagers have different needs in a mattress.

Most Affordable Mattress Types

Mattresses also tend to vary in price by type. Here’s a quick rundown, starting with least expensive:

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are by far the most budget-friendly type of mattress you can buy. These beds are typically around $300–$1,000 and have a decent lifespan around five to seven years. Foam and memory foam mattresses curve to your body and offer lumbar support, pressure relief, and great motion transfer

Innerspring

Traditional innerspring mattresses are also usually pretty affordable, ranging around $800–$1,900. Innersprings are more firm and bouncy and have a lifespan around six to eight years. One potential drawback is that they don’t always offer the best pressure relief.

Hybrids

Hybrid mattresses combine innerspring coils with foam or latex materials and cost around $1,500–$3,000 plus. These mattresses are very durable and supportive and have a lifespan around six to 10 years.

Latex

Latex mattresses usually are marketed as luxury models and cost around the same as hybrids, around $1,500–$2,000, though you can find cheaper latex mattresses around $1,000. They offer the longest lifespan and are usually made with eco-friendly materials.

Airbeds

Different from air mattresses, airbeds are mattresses with customizable air chambers that you can adjust to change the firmness level. These luxury mattresses are often at least $2,000–$3,000.


Summary

Compare our top picks for the best budget mattresses below:

Mattress Award Our Rating (Out of 10)
GhostBed Best Mattress in a Box 8.6
Casper  Best Memory Foam Mattress  9.1
Bowery Hybrid by Brooklyn Bedding Best Hybrid Mattress 9
Cocoon Chill Best Cooling Mattress 8.7
Studio by Leesa  Best for Back Pain 8.7
Dreamfoam Elements Latex Best Pillow Top Mattress 8.4
Nectar  Best for Side Sleepers 8.7
Layla  Best Mattress for Sex 8.8
Tuft & Needle Best Queen Mattress 8.7
Allswell Best King Mattress 8.2

 

bed bedroom color 212269

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Answer a few quick questions on your budget and sleep preferences to be matched with the mattress of your dreams.


By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Advisor may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read full disclosure statement.


Frequently Asked Questions

Nowadays you can find a high-quality mattress for around $1,000 or less when you buy from an online-only or bed-in-a-box mattress brand. (For comparison, a quality mattress from a mattress store will typically cost you between $3,000 and $5,000.)

When the price is below $700 for a full-size or larger, chances are you’ll see a corresponding drop in quality (although there are exceptions). In most cases, affordable quality mattresses in the $500 range are probably for twin or twin XL sizes only.

If you go with the absolute cheapest mattress you can find, you may end up with one that cuts corners and lacks quality materials. As with any purchase, shopping for a mattress based on price alone carries potential risks. You could end up having to deal with:

  • Interrupted or uncomfortable sleep
  • A lingering, unpleasant chemical smell from low-grade foam
  • A shorter lifespan and quicker sagging in the mattress
  • No warranty
  • Subpar customer service