A Closer Look at Bed-in-a-Box Mattresses

Logos of 4 mattress brands

With a Comparison of Four Top-Rated Brands

Memory Foam Dominance

Most boxed mattresses are memory foam or memory foam hybrids. Some have quasi memory foam – foam that performs like memory foam, or is really memory foam called by another name. As is explained in Memory Foam and the Boxable Beds Trend, foam mattresses are more easily compressed and rolled to fit into a box for shipping by a package delivery service, such as UPS and FedEx, and memory foam mattresses are the most popular type of foam mattress.


For help in selecting a mattress, read Choosing the Correct Mattress and Sleeping Position.


Bed-in-a-Box Brand Comparisons

We are comparing four online mattress-in-a-box brands in the order of their market introductions. We could have started with Magniflex or BedInABox, but they each have multiple models. Instead, we are focusing on the current market trend, beginning with Tuft & Needle and expanding with Casper and Yogabed, then going on with more new players. Last year, Snuggle-Pedic, the maker of the top memory foam pillow and top body pillow on Amazon, introduced its mattress, which is now the top rated memory foam mattress on Amazon.

  • Tuft & Needle

Two software engineers from Silicon Valley, Dahee Park and J. T. Marino, wanted to start a business together. Instead of information technology, they designed a mattress to sell. Why? Both of them and their wives were dissatisfied with the experience of shopping for mattresses. They wanted to make a better mattress for themselves. They also aimed to improve the marketing process and make it less expensive. The name Tuft & Needle (T&N) came from their research into mattress manufacturing. In 2012 they started making the new mattress in Phoenix and selling it online. Responding to customers’ reviews and comments, T&N has made improvements to the mattress, which is now 10” high.

T&N can be called a quasi memory foam mattress. Park & Marino didn’t like latex as too springy, nor memory foam as too trapping (and gets hot). They had a foam maker formulate a polyurethane foam with in-between properties, and called it “Adaptive Foam.” It is more like a lower-density memory foam, with a quicker recovery than the traditional 5-lb. memory foam.

Dr. Rick Swartzburg faced the problem of slow response and heat buildup in memory foam. His solution, the Tri-Pedic Mattress, has two memory foam comfort layers. The top one is 4-lbs, and the lower one 5-lbs. The 4-lb. foam is more pressure-sensitive, so has a faster response. It is also less temperature-sensitive, so it has less heat build-up.

10,366 customers have reviewed the Tuft & Needle Mattress on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. It is covered by a 100‐night sleep trial and a 10-Year Limited Mattress Warranty.

  • Casper

This is the brand that in April 2014 ignited the rapid growth of single-model, online only boxed mattresses. The concept of a bed-in-the-box was not new, but this was when it caught on with the public. Unlike T&N, Casper Sleep was founded by mattress industry veterans. Not only that, it is based in New York City, the media and advertising capital of America. Local deliveries are made by bicycle, an image bound to catch attention.

The 10” Casper Mattress is a latex-memory foam hybrid. Unlike Selectabed’s Fibro-Pedic and Soft-Pedic, which have a layer of memory foam atop the latex, Casper has 1½” latex on top to keep the memory foam from getting too warm.

Casper uses synthetic Dunlop latex, chosen to avoid triggering the latex allergies that some persons have. However, in making Talalay latex, rinsing removes remaining allergens, so using the synthetic latex serves to allay allergy fears that many have. It is also less expensive, reducing the overall cost of the product. Although the latex is on top, its 3.3-lb. density makes it more conforming.

The 1½” of memory foam in the second comfort layer has a 4-lb. density, the same as the top Tri-Pedic layer. The gives it quicker recovery than 5-lb. foam has. However, the real reason for this memory foam density is probably heat control, since that is also the reason for its second level placement.

Casper is a 4-layer mattress. Between the comfort layers and the very firm base support layer is a 1½” transition layer of 2½”-lb. polyurethane foam. The density of the 5” support base is 1.8 lbs.

On Amazon, the Casper Mattress has an average rating of 4.3/5 with 873 customer reviews. The sleep trial with free returns is for 100 nights, and the limited warranty is for 10 years.

  • Yogabed

In December 2014, eight months after Casper Sleep, came the second big splash of online boxed mattresses: Yogabed. Like Casper Sleep, Yoga Sleep was started by mattress veterans, its mattress has four layers, the second layer has memory foam, and the mattress is made in Georgia.

Unlike Casper, Yogabed is not a latex-memory foam hybrid. The 1” top layer is not latex. The Yoga Instant Response Foam™ is polyurethane foam which is springy to give it a latex feel.

The YogaGel Cooling Memory Foam in the 2” second layer is there to keep the mattress cool as well as providing pressure relief. Gel does cool initially by absorbing heat, but eventually reaches its limit.

The Yogabed also employs airflow to cool the bed.  The top two foams are ventilated, as is the 5’ support core (Breathable High Density Foam Base). We are assured of vertical airflow in the Yogabed, but there is no disclosure of how the air gets to the outside, unless they depend on filtering through the foam. This is not as efficient as the patented Airflow Transfer System™ (ATS) utilized in the Snuggle-Pedic (see below).

The average customer rating on Amazon (out of only 26 reviews) is 4.2. Like T&N and Casper, it has a 10-year warranty, but its 101-Night Comfort Trial is a day longer.

  • Snuggle-Pedic

In 2016, the Snuggle-Pedic Mattress joined the growing list of bed-in-a-box mattresses sold only online. Unlike the Tri-Pedic models made by parent company Selectabed, this is a two-layer model. It is the same 10” height as the T&N, Casper, and Yogabed.

Snuggle-Pedic is advertised as “The Mattress That Breathes.” It features the patented Airflow Transfer System™ (designed by Dr. Swartzburg), which is an option on Selectabed memory foam mattresses, and a standard feature on Tempflow models. The 3” memory foam Snuggle-Flex Comfort Layer is ventilated to let air flow through vertically. The top surface of the 7” Channeled Support Layer is channel-cut for horizontal airflow to the sides. The Kool-Flow cover of knit bamboo rayon lets air flow through freely. The air can flow both directions, with warm air going down and out while cool air comes in and up, as seen in this video: https://youtu.be/r21t4qec2ZI.

The Selectabed mattresses cannot be compressed for shipping in a box. The company researched materials and design to make a mattress which could be compressed and rolled, yet still have the benefits of the Tri-Pedic and the Airflow Transfer System™.

Of these four bed-in-a-box brands, Snuggle-Pedic has the longest trial period (4 months) and warranty (20 years). It also has free customization within the trial period for changing the mattress’s firmness.

On Amazon, the Snuggle-Pedic also has higher ratings than the other three: 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Conclusion

Memory foam has been a key part of the current trend of marketing boxed beds online. Even though a number of innerspring mattresses are sold and delivered this way, most mattresses in this category have memory foam.