“where cheap is chic” — wisebread
In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Mattresses
  2. Mattress Reviews
  3. Innerspring Mattress Features: Design, Coils, and Warranty
  4. Mattress Deals
  5. Discount Cheap Mattresses Features Comparison Table

Cheap Mattresses Buying Guide

In the innerspring mattress category, you could find yourself in restful bliss or toss-crazed slumber every night whether you spend $500 on cheap mattress set or upward of $5,000 on a luxurious model.

Mattress makers would have you believe that every one of their models -- be it a traditional innerspring, an off-brand that arrives at your door in a vacuum-packed box, an innovative memory foam or latex mattress, or one filled with water or air -- offers a great night's sleep at the best price ever. Our picks for the best cheap mattresses are all innerspring mattress lines, which account for about three-quarters of the mattress market.

The top three on our list of cheap mattress sets (queen-size, including box spring) are the Serta Perfect Sleeper (starting at $560), Simmons Beautyrest Classic (starting at $477), and Sealy Posturepedic Titanium SS (starting at $391).

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These mid-level mattress lines include several budget models that the majority of consumer reviews say provide sleeping comfort over the long-term. Our second-best picks are the entry-level Sertapedic (starting at $330), Simmons BeautySleep (starting at $319), and Sealy Brand Traditional Innerspring (starting at $279) lines, all of which offer a decent product that users say make good choices for lighter adults and children and for occasional use by overnight guests. Concerns about durability and comfort relegate Spring Air Back Supporter (starting around $479) and off-brand/no-name mattresses to the "don't bother" end of the list.

Review continues below

Cheap mattresses are sold most often as a set with a box spring (i.e., foundation), and the starting prices noted in this report reflect that norm. Although mattress reviews say box springs aren't always necessary, the warranty may require that you use the one designed for the mattress, so ask the salesperson or read the information online closely.

The cheap mattress market is dominated by Sealy, Serta, and Simmons, which offer models at all price points, including the $300 to $700 Cheapism niche for a mattress/box spring set. Other brands, such as Stearns & Foster, Bassett, Kingsdown, and Englander, show up in the mid to high end of the market. Competitors such as Spring Air and Comfort Solutions (which owns the King Koil brand) sell some inexpensive innerspring mattresses, as do no-name and private label manufacturers that supply warehouse outlets and furniture stores and also sell online.

Experts are adamant about the importance of trying out a mattress before making a purchase. So if you're about to start shopping for a cheap mattress set, pick a moment when you're feeling really tired. Then quickly get yourself to the nearest mattress retailer, find the displays that fit your budget, pick one, and lie down. Take a nap for 20 minutes, assess how refreshed you feel upon waking, then move on to the next possibility. Repeat. And then repeat a few more times. Were you comfortable? Was your spine straight and your waist adequately supported? How about your neck and shoulders?

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Sounds silly, perhaps, but mattress preferences are notoriously subjective and the range of possibilities -- even at the lower end of the innerspring market -- is extensive and varied. Firm, plush, or pillow-top? Pocketed coils or continuous? Polyester ticking or cotton? Eight inches thick or 13? For a product that was once more like a commodity, the amount of differentiation in today's low-priced mattress world could keep you awake at night.

And yet, it's practically impossible to comparison shop on the basis of comfort, features, or price. Online shoppers are obviously stymied on the comfort front because they can't actually test out a mattress. Wandering into a store may not help due to the industry practice of selling similar (but not necessarily identical) mattresses under different names depending on the retailer and the geographic region. Once you find a model on the showroom floor that appeals, the exact same mattress going by the same name may not be available online. Then too, some retailers continue to sell older product lines that the manufacturers' websites no longer feature. And, what's really likely to throw you, are the nonstandard names and descriptors for the guts -- the various foams, fibers, fabrics, padding, insulation, and innerspring coils -- of whatever mattress you might be considering.

Further complicating matters is the industry tradition of running near continuous sales. You can go to almost any online site and find two, and often three, prices for any given mattress: list, 50% off, and/or "our price" or "sale price" or something to that effect. There might also be a note saying the sale ends in three days, or at the solstice, or whenever. The point is, the sale is likely to start up again immediately. And if it doesn't, wait a while and check back. Almost no one pays list price for a mattress, cheap or otherwise.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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Best Cheap Mattresses

Serta Perfect Sleeper
Gold Medal

Serta Perfect Sleeper

Budget buys are available in the lower end of this series, which concentrates rows of continuous coils in the center third of select models for extra support. This line scores high with most users for its firm yet comfortable feel.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Simmons Beautyrest Classic
Gold Medal

Simmons Beautyrest Classic

The pocketed coils in these mattresses minimize motion transfer for co-sleepers and provide comfort and support. Several Beautyrest models fall within the cheap price range.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Sealy Posturepedic
Gold Medal

Sealy Posturepedic

In a study of user satisfaction, Sealy proves to be the most comfortable and least likely to sag. The Posturepedic line is designed to provide more back support and pressure relief for hips and shoulders.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »

Good Cheap Mattresses

Sertapedic
Gold Medal

Sertapedic

This value line from Serta features a patented coil design for added support. Consumer reviews are mostly good, and many report using these mattresses in a child's room or spare bedroom.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Simmons BeautySleep
Gold Medal

Simmons BeautySleep

An entry-level line, BeautySleep mattresses contain moderate amounts of padding and users say they're rather firm. Some report reduced back pain while others report discomfort.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Sealy Brand Traditional Innerspring
Gold Medal

Sealy Brand Traditional Innerspring

The lowest priced Sealy brand mattress, it's built with twice-tempered coils and minimal padding; spending a few more dollars can boost the padding layers on some models.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
 

Don't Bother

Spring Air Back Supporter

Consumers seem disgruntled with these mattresses, citing problems with durability and comfort. The brand scores poorly in user satisfaction surveys conducted by review sites.

Read more »

Off-brand/No-name Mattresses

Prices may be appealing, but experts and consumers urge shoppers to step up a level or risk sagging coils, lumpy padding, and other comfort/durability/quality issues.

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