A good budget mattress can help you sleep better for less, and these days there are quite a few to choose from thanks to advanced mattress technologies trickling down to cheaper beds. Some are made by trusted brands that feature in our best mattress guide while others come from smaller companies you may not have heard of but are very well-rated by existing customers – we have analyzed those user reviews closely. Our selection of budget mattresses all cost less than $500 for a queen size, and they come on a trial basis so that you can test them at home to make sure the one you pick really is the best for your needs.
Choosing the best budget mattress for your body and sleep is no different to taking your pick of more expensive models. Over the years at Tom’s Guide we’ve tested a wide range of mattresses and recommend that you factor in your sleep position (stomach, back, side or combination), your body type, whether you share a bed, and any health needs you have. For example, if you struggle with overheating, look at the Brooklyn Bedding Chill cooling budget mattress below.
The good thing about many of these budget mattresses is that they are often on sale, especially now with the Memorial Day mattress sales nearly upon us. To help you secure the cheapest prices on these already affordable mattresses without having to do the research yourself, we’ve also included today’s lowest price beneath each product, along with any relevant mattress sale offers. Let’s now take a look at this year’s best budget mattresses to help you upgrade your sleep comfort for less.
The best budget mattresses – chosen by experts
The Allswell Mattress is a popular budget mattress made by a well-known manufacturer, and it’s currently the cheapest option in the Allswell Home range of memory foam and hybrid models. The quilted top is designed to feel soft and plush to the touch, creating an air of luxury for less. The base houses individually wrapped coils to minimize motion transfer from your partner to you and vice versa, making it a good choice for couples. There’s also an edge support system so that you can spread out and use more of the mattress for sleeping, as well as sitting on the edge to get dressed. We haven’t reviewed The Allswell yet so can’t vouch for these features, but user reviews published on the site claim that the motion isolation and edge support are decent for a cheap bed.
While the Allswell Mattress isn’t a proper cooling mattress, Allswell Home has opted for a layer of charcoal and copper gel-infused memory foam here. Based on our experience of reviewing mattresses made with similar materials (for an example, read our Nectar Premier Copper mattress review), this type of gel should transfer heat away from your body during sleep. That means excess heat is less likely to pool in the mattress and contribute to any overheating you may be experiencing due to health issues.
How comfortable is it to sleep on? The Allswell is designed to offer a medium firmness (the manufacturer rates it as a 4.5-6.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale) that should suit most sleeping positions, but it may not suit every body weight. Some lighter than average users complain that it’s too firm for comfortable side sleeping, while customers with heavier than average bodies say that it’s prone to premature sagging. Budget mattresses simply don’t last as long as mid-range and premium models, but there is a 10-year limited warranty on this model. Existing user reviews will also give you more insight into durability.
Allswell Home also offers a 100-night trial to help you get a better idea of whether the firmness suits your body type and sleep position. 89% of customers recommend this mattress in a box if you’re on a tight budget, though we’ll also flag up the IKEA Hasvåg (number 4) that costs $199 for a queen size.
If you overheat during sleep yet you prefer the feel of a comfy memory foam mattress and you have a small budget, the Brooklyn Bedding Chill is one of the cheapest cooling beds you’ll find. It’s made of open-cell gel memory foam to promote better airflow, so it should feel more breathable. There are more advanced cooling beds out there, but their prices often run into the thousands whereas a queen size Chill costs from $366 on sale.
The Brooklyn Bedding Chill has a massive range of sizes (RV and standard) and five different heights (6, 8, 10, 12 and 14”). The thinner the mattress the firmer the feel, yet we’ve spotted user reviews that say even the 14” version is too firm and that a topper is needed to soften it up. Considering how cheap the Chill is and how you can get a decent mattress topper for under $100, this could still be an option for your budget.
One area where the Chill falls down is edge support, so keep in mind if you’re planning on sharing a smaller size with another sleeper – you may not feel supported enough sleeping up to the edge. In that case, check out The Allswell Mattress above, which has stronger edge support. That said, user reviews are decent for the Brooklyn Bedding Chill Memory Foam Mattress, with a 4.7 out of 5 stars rating generated from nearly 2,700 user reviews. Brooklyn Bedding also gives you 120 nights to trial the Chill at home. If you change your mind during that time, return it for a refund.
If you can spring to $799 for a queen size mattress, check out our Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress review. This Cocoon by Sealy mattress has a stronger cooling performance and comes with free cooling bedding.
The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam bed-in-a-box is one of the most well-known budget mattresses in America, and a popular choice on Amazon with over 128,000 user reviews. During testing we slept on the 10” version and found that it delivered a perfectly adequate night’s sleep for the low price, making it the best option for upgrading your main mattress without spending much. In fact, along with the IKEA Hasvåg (number four), it’s one of the cheapest mattresses in this guide.
The Zinus is made with toxin-free memory foam, plus green tea-infused foam with ActivCharcoal microparticles to naturally control odors and bacteria. During testing we found that its medium-firm rating (a 6.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale) was accurate, and we would recommend the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam as one of the best mattresses for side sleepers on a super-tight budget. Why? Because it offers support along the shoulders, hips and knees without too much sinkage. You’ll have 100 nights to get a better idea of whether it suits you, which is over three times the recommended period for testing a mattress.
We also found that the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam offered good pressure relief, so while it won’t be enough for people with long term back and hip pain, it should be enough to boost general sleep comfort for most child and adult sleepers. We also noticed zero motion transfer with this mattress, making it a budget alternative to The Allswell for couples and restless sleepers.
The user reviews on both the Zinus website and on Amazon (the brand’s authorised third-party retailer) are largely positive, with most customers recommending it as a good balance of value for money versus comfort and support. We did spot some user reviews complaining that it’s too firm for lighter side sleepers, and others who said they had issues returning the Zinus during the trial period, but the brand’s customer services team responded in most cases with a solution. Overall, if you want a decent memory foam budget mattress at some of the cheapest prices online, the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam should be on your list.
There are three scenarios where the IKEA Hasvåg mattress could come to the rescue: firstly, if you’re looking for a cheap mattress for your guest bed that gets occasional use. The second is if you want an innerspring kids mattress or something for your older child. The third is if you’re on a very tight budget for your main bed. The Hasvåg could be your best budget mattress in any of those scenarios as long as you don’t have any specific sleep health issues, such as joint pain or overheating, and you’re aware that it’s only available in three sizes: twin, full and queen. So if you need a king size or larger, check out the other options in this guide.
The IKEA Hasvåg mattress is described as having a medium-firm feel, and from our experience testing other medium-firm mattresses it should feel comfortable enough for most sleeping positions. IKEA has made it with up to 375 Bonnell springs (in the queen size), which is an hour-glass shaped coil interconnected with mesh metal that we often find in traditional innerspring mattresses. With these onboard, the Hasvåg should offer a little more bounce and responsiveness than a full memory foam model. The downsides are that those springs will be noisier (and this may increase with frequent use over the years) and the motion transfer will be higher. So restless sleepers who share a bed are better off looking at The Allswell Mattress (number one) or the Zinus below.
IKEA has also opted for PU foam instead of memory foam to keep costs down, and the entire mattress is spot-clean only. It should be rotated (never flipped) every three to six months to spread out wear and tear. User reviews state that it takes the full 72 hours to inflate, otherwise some of the corners are uneven. Positive user reviews focus on the value for money and simple yet effective support and comfort, while customers who didn’t like the Hasvåg complain that it’s too thin at 8.1/4” for heavier bodies and only suitable for short-term use.
You’ll have 90 nights to get a refund if you change your mind (IKEA does not refer to this as a mattress trial) as long as you have your original proof of purchase. You can also use IKEA’s ‘Love It or Exchange It’ mattress policy to exchange the Hasvåg within 365 days of the original purchase date.
How to choose the best budget mattress for you
There’s no denying that cheaper mattresses are not as long-lasting as mid-range and premium models, which is why many of them come with limited warranties that only cover you for certain defects. It’s also fair to expect that you’ll be sacrificing some features in return for the cheapest prices, but as our list of budget mattresses shows, you don’t have to skimp on support and comfort if you’re clever about the mattress you pick.
Our best tip is to only buy a budget mattress that comes on a trial basis or that offers a money-back guarantee that extends for longer than 30 days. All of our top choices above tick this box. We’d also recommend looking through existing user reviews to see what customers think of the mattress – especially if they have been using it for longer than a year and can comment on durability; one of the biggest issues with budget mattresses.
When choosing the best budget mattress for you, consider the following:
- Your sleep position (side, stomach, back or combi)
- Your body type (thinner mattresses won’t offer enough support for heavier bodies)
- Whether you share your bed (you’ll need motion isolation and good edge support)
- The base you’re using it on (most budget mattresses are compatible with all bed types, though some can’t be used directly on the floor)
- Whether you can return or exchange it for a better alternative
Are budget mattresses worth it?
Sometimes we have no choice but to buy a cheaper mattress. The current cost of living crisis means that many of us are looking to tighten our belts, and a mattress can be a big expense depending on the one you opt for. Memory foam and innerspring mattresses are cheaper than hybrids, while organic mattresses are the most expensive – that’s why you rarely see queen size latex beds for under $500.
From our experience, budget mattresses are a good stop-gap to get you through a period of time where you need a new mattress but have little to spend on one. You can get a decent queen size for under $300 or less, and many manufacturers are now offering finance plans to help spread the cost. Of course this applies to mid-range and luxury beds too, so you could consider whether a more expensive mattress bought in that way is better value in the long-term.
The other option is to take a good look at your current mattress and decide whether its lifespan can be extended by a great mattress topper. You can find some very effective ones for under $100 for a queen size, picking one to add softness, firmness or extra cooling. This really depends on the state of your current mattress though – if it’s sagging badly, then it’s time to move on for the sake of your back health. If the sagging is slight, a topper could help it to last for another year or two. We cover this more in our feature on how to fix a saggy mattress.