The 6 Best Cheap Mattress in 2021 Are Easy on Your Back and Your Wallet

Investing in the best mattress for your specific sleeping style is critical to a good night’s sleep. But the best cheap mattress could almost as well suit your needs. Yes, you could lie on top of something that is a little less supportive. But the gap between the performance of a pretty good mattress and a decent mattress is much smaller than you think (and certainly disproportionate to the difference in cost).

Sure, you’ll spend a third of your life in a mattress. In general, a good one is well worth the investment. The cost-per-wear logic that has led many Grail seekers to break their budgets is telling here: spend $ 1,000 on a mattress, sleep on it for three years, and that thing got you less than a dollar cost per day. But! Consider all the scenarios and situations in which it might make sense to look for the best cheap mattress. Perhaps you move around a lot and would rather start over instead of tying a mattress on the roof of a car every 6 months. Maybe you equip a guest room that isn’t busy. Perhaps you’ve done the math and found that covering the floor of your child’s rumpus room with 6 cheap mattresses costs less than these colorful foam puzzle pieces. You might sleep better knowing you didn’t pay a full paycheck on a mattress. The point is, there is no shame in buying an ultra-budget mattress, and in many cases a good cheap mattress is the sensible and smart option. Whatever your reason, after years of research and field testing (read: Sleeping on a Bundle of Mattresses) we have found plenty of affordable mattresses that will rock you to sleep.

What to Expect with a Cheap Mattress

Even the best cheap mattress is likely to compromise on something more expensive. The first thing you will notice when laying down on a budget mattress is that they are … kind of stiff. Strength is very important. Cheap mattresses tend to be on the firm side, which makes them best for back sleepers who don’t need anything to rock their shoulders or hips. You’ll also find that most of them are foam or hybrid mattresses, as making innerspring mattresses that don’t suck is much more expensive than just cutting a bundle of foam. You may also notice that none of these foam mattresses put much strain on the Jargon-y specialty technology that is supposed to be used to make more expensive mattresses. It’s actually not a big deal. Most of the companies that advertise “X4 Cooling Gels” or “Organic Plush Wool Pillow Tops” have no real influence on what it feels like to sleep on their new mattresses. You can live without it.

More importantly, durability is often an issue with cheaper mattresses, especially those made entirely of foam. After a few months, this foam can wear off, causing your mattress to no longer hold you while you sleep. We didn’t have any issues with this type of bottoming in the mattresses we listed in this guide. However, if you do, it is a good idea to contact the manufacturer and try to see if your mattress is still under warranty.

Why do mattress prices vary?

The perfect answer to this question would require information that mattress manufacturers simply do not divulge. But based on what we can get from our experience comparing mattress listings and sleeping on them by yourself, it mostly depends on the material. In general, more expensive mattresses are made from higher quality materials – denser foam, heartier woven fabric outer surfaces, more stable inner springs. At higher prices, the mattresses also tend to have more intricate designs, with contours and adjustments providing greater pressure relief.

How to buy a cheap mattress (and not get stiff)

Before buying a mattress online, think about your needs. What kind of sleeper are you If you sleep on your side or on your stomach, you should look for a mattress that supports you. Do you sleep hot? Look for a mattress with a spring core, as these have built-in ventilation. Are you looking for a mattress that will last more than a decade? Think carefully about how much you want to spend.

The best affordable mattress overall: The Casper Element

What makes it great: Casper started the bed-in-a-box revolution. After a major overhaul of its line last year, the retailer released the Element, the cheapest mattress it has ever sold. It is clear that the company’s experience in making mattresses worked well as the item is a very comfortable mattress. The lower base layer consists of two layers of polyurethane foam and forms a dense solid base, while the upper foam layer is softer and perforated. These perforations ensure good breathability and air circulation so that this foam mattress does not overheat like some other foam mattresses. It’s solidly constructed for plenty of edge support (you won’t roll off the bed while you sleep). Our tester described the texture as a kind of hardened hair gel – medium firm and supportive, but with a little sagging. This support makes this mattress a comfortable mattress for any type of sleeper, coffin, or otherwise. For an affordable mattress, the high-quality element beats way beyond its weight.

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