Traditionally, buying a new mattress means visiting a brick-and-mortar retailer and lying down on different models, crossing your fingers that you’ve chosen the right one. Unfortunately, this Goldilocks method of sitting on a bed and hoping for the best does not guarantee it will be comfortable for longer than 15 minutes at a time.
Over the last few years, mattress companies have released a model that is come to be known as a “bed in a box.” Eliminating the inconvenience of trying out mattresses in-store while guaranteeing an elevated sleep experience, the bed in a box has surged in popularity. Before you shop, here are some pros and cons associated with a shippable mattress.
What is a Bed in a Box?
It’s what it sounds like — a bed in a box can arrive at your door, changing how we shop for mattresses forever. Touted for being a hassle-free buying option, this memory foam bed uses automated compression technology so it can be rolled up and packed in a box that is small enough to be shipped to your door. Once these beds are unboxed, their unique foam structure allows them to fully bounce back and expand to their original shape.
Mattress experts assess that it takes as much as five minutes to unbox this cloudlike bed. And yes, unboxing it is as easy as taking the mattress out of the box, carefully opening the plastic cover, and then allowing the mattress to expand. It takes between 24 and 48 hours for a mattress in a box to regain its full, glorious shape, so we’d hold off on replacing the one on your bed frame or box spring for at least two nights.
Its unique compression technology isn’t the only thing that sets a mattress in a box apart from the traditional models you can buy at the store. Typically, a bed in a box is more affordable than a coil mattress, with many retailers offering discounts more regularly than, say, the yearly Memorial Day and Fourth of July sales at brick-and-mortar businesses.
If you’re skeptical about the durability of a shippable foam mattress, a bed in a box is engineered to last as long as a traditional bed — anywhere between 5 to 15 years, although experts recommend that you replace your mattress every 7 to 10 years.
While a mattress in a box is invariably made of foam, that doesn’t mean this type of bed doesn’t accommodate a diversity of sleep positions or preferences. In general, memory foam beds typically fall somewhere in the medium-firmness range, making a mattress in a box a great median for a broad spectrum of sleepers. In addition, newer models are stocked with gel layers or copper-infused toppers for a cooling effect, and some mattresses arrange their layers of foam in varied ways to provide substantiated levels of comfort and support.
✓ Available in a variety of comfort levels
✓ Convenient delivery options
✓ Affordably priced compared to traditional mattresses
✓ Generous trial periods
✗ May not be able to try before you buy
✗ A platform base is required
✗ Premium cooling tech is unavailable for most models
✗ May have an unpleasant smell for the first few days
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