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Sink into a super-soft plush or pillowtop mattress, the best memory foam mattress that conforms to you, or find something firmer in a mattress if you prefer. Find great temperature control options, from built-in memory foam and cooling fabrics to new mattress toppers & pads. Make it a set with a supportive box spring and bed frame. Whether you choose a pillowtop mattress, a foam mattress or a traditional inner spring mattress, get more restful sleep than ever before knowing you have a mattress to keep you comfortable and sleeping easy for years to come.
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Writer Justin Redman conducted research and testing for the first version of this guide. He interviewed Stephen Carr, a professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University and an expert on the polyurethane foams commonly used in inexpensive mattresses. He also interviewed Christine Hibbard, vice president of consumer insights for FXI, a company that supplies foam to many mattress companies; Jamie Diamonstein, chief product officer at Leesa, the company that makes one of the top picks in our foam and hybrid mattress guides; and Hilary Murphy, vice president of merchandising for Mattress Firm, a national chain of mattress stores.
When we began researching this guide in 2020, we focused on mattresses that cost less than $400 for a queen. We settled on that cutoff because some of the most popular mattresses on Amazon were in that price range, and our testing had demonstrated that it was hard to find a decent-feeling mattress for much less.
But since we first published this guide in late 2020, prices for mattresses (along with goods in general) have increased. The cost and availability of cheap mattresses in particular tend to fluctuate frequently, likely because these brands and manufacturers are less able to tolerate turbulence in production and cost. When we conducted a new round of research and testing in 2021 and early 2022, we raised our threshold to $500 for our main picks.
The Cooling Swirl Memory Foam Hybrid comes in 10-, 12-, and 14-inch thicknesses. We tested the 10-inch mattress, and the 12-inch and 14-inch versions are likely to feel even more supportive and substantial.
Using FindOurView, an artificial-intelligence-driven data-analysis tool, we evaluated 1,350 owner reviews submitted from May 2019 to November 2021, and we found that 20% of them said this mattress was very firm, whereas only 1% thought it was too soft.
We first tested the Green Tea Memory Foam in 2018, when we compared it against pricier beds for our guide to the best foam mattresses. We included it as a budget pick in that guide because it felt cushy but sturdy for the price, and for a long time it was the best inexpensive foam mattress we could find. More recently, the company updated the Green Tea Memory Foam to make it feel significantly firmer. The result is an all-foam mattress that feels supportive with a dense, slightly conforming memory-foam top.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Like many other foam mattresses, the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress contain fiberglass as its protective fire-resistant barrier. If you want to avoid buying a mattress that contains fiberglass, consider the Novaform ComfortGrande, the IKEA Hesstun, and the Best Price Mattress Memory Foam.
One Wirecutter staffer bought the Novaform ComfortGrande to furnish an Airbnb a year and a half ago, and have received nothing but compliments on it. They said they find it more comfortable to sleep on than the more-expensive Sealy mattress in their own bedroom.
Materials: memory foam, polyfoam; quilted coverThickness: 14 inchesFree trial period: According to Costco policy, you can return the mattress for a full refund at any time.Warranty: 20-year warranty (PDF)
We conducted the initial research for this guide in 2020, evaluating about two dozen cheap mattresses and testing nine in the office. In our 2021 round of testing, we evaluated nearly two dozen additional mattresses and then narrowed down our in-office testing to another nine finalists, two of which we had tested before. In both trials, we used criteria similar to what we use for our main foam, hybrid, and innerspring mattress guides:
We started researching cheap mattresses in 2020, focusing on mattresses that cost less than $400 for a queen. Due to the pandemic, we had to adapt our testing: Instead of setting up the mattresses and inviting staffers to try them out in a brand-concealed group test, writer Justin Redman evaluated them on his own. He tried 10 mattresses that met our criteria and narrowed the list down to five of his top-ranked mattresses to sleep-test at home. After sleeping on each mattress for at least a week, he concluded that the Best Price Mattress Memory Foam Mattress, the Zinus Cooling Copper Adaptive Hybrid Mattress, and the Classic Brands Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress were the best cheap mattresses available at the time.
Because our picks underwent price increases and availability issues over the course of 2021 (along with many other goods), we conducted a new round of testing in October 2021. After performing a fresh search (and raising our price threshold to under $500 for a queen), we identified eight mattresses to test: the 12-inch Linenspa Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress, the Tulo Memory Foam Bamboo with Green Tea, the Tulo Memory Foam Lavender, the Wayfair Sleep Medium Hybrid Mattress, the Wayfair Sleep Medium Memory Foam Mattress, the Zinus Blackstone Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress, the 10-inch Zinus Green Tea Cooling Swirl Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress, and the 12-inch Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress.
Eventually, after taking feedback from our 16 testers as well as online-review data into account, I settled on three finalists: the Linenspa Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress, the Zinus Green Tea Cooling Swirl Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress, and the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress. I then spent at least a week sleeping on each of those three mattresses at home. I measure 5 feet 7 inches tall and weigh 128 pounds, and I am primarily a side-sleeper who tends to run hot when I sleep. I share a bed with my partner, who measures 6 feet 4 inches and weighs about 160 pounds (also a side-sleeper, but one who gets cold in the middle of the night), and my cat, who is probably 1 foot 5 inches tall and 13 pounds (and a side-, stomach-, and back-sleeper who twitches a lot). During the time I slept on these mattresses, I took note of the edge support, the motion isolation, whether I felt notably hot or cold on the mattress, and any issues that popped up within the week.
Tulo Memory Foam Lavender: This mattress looked flat next to the others we had lined up in the office. It also felt both unyieldingly firm and then sinky. Sitting down on it from a height produced the same sensation as hitting water: a sudden slap and then a deep sinking that left a sizable body impression long after we got up. Shifting from one side to another was difficult because of this effect, and though the edge support was decent while we were lying down, sitting on the edge directly flattened it significantly. We found that the Tulo Memory Foam Bamboo with Green Tea had the same issues.
Wayfair Sleep Medium Memory Foam Mattress: This mattress hugged comfortably while still being supportive, and testers who preferred to sleep on their sides liked the way their hips and shoulders sank in without feeling engulfed by the mattress. However, many others thought the lack of bounce on this mattress made shifting positions too hard, and the edge support was noticeably bad.
Caira Blackwell is a staff writer at Wirecutter covering sleep and mattresses. Her work has previously been published in Okayplayer, The Knockturnal, and Nylon magazine, and her book A Lullaby for the End of the World is available on Amazon.
Our unbiased review of the best mattresses for shoppers on a budget was compiled by our 360 Reviews team which does not accept samples, gifts, or products on loan. To create our mattress ratings, we drew upon our analysis of more than 340 mattresses from 32 companies.
Those that qualify for our Best Budget Mattresses of 2023 fall under $700 for a queen size. The Best Lower-Priced Mattresses have slightly higher price points, ranging between $900 and $1,200, and include both foam and hybrid mattresses with different firmness levels.
To determine the Best Budget Mattresses of 2023, we looked at the most affordable mattresses in our Best Mattresses of 2023 ratings. Only the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress met the requirement of costing less than $700 for a queen-size mattress. The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress costs about $200 for the 6-inch version and up to around $400 for a 12-inch queen mattress. Even the 12-inch king-size model falls under the $700 bar, costing just $408. 041b061a72