The best bed in a box 2019: buying a mattress online has never been easier

Mattresses delivered to your door in a box are a growing phenomenon. But with so many to choose from, what's the best bed in a box for a great night's sleep?

best bed in a box

The burgeoning bed-in-a-box market has revolutionised the way we buy mattresses. Continually topping the world's best mattress buying guides, bed-in-a-box mattresses have made it much easier for people with busy lives to choose and arrange delivery of the most comfortable, supportive mattresses – all without setting foot in a showroom. 

So what's the best bed in a box? And how can you choose between the different options? In this guide we'll help you choose the right bed in a box for you, and we'll share our pro tips for how to buy a mattress online as well. (Starting with: buy a mattress protector while you're at it, to keep your bed in a box mattress in prime condition for longer.)

The good news? The May bank holiday means there are all kinds of cheap mattress deals running right now – you'll find today's cheapest prices below.

What is a bed in a box? 

A bed in a box is a vacuumed-packed mattress that you order online. It arrives at your door rolled up in a small, conveniently sized box, and springs into shape once opened. Made possible by new packaging techniques and improvements in mattress materials, the bed in a box model has changed mattress buying forever. 

Not only are they cheaper because they cut out the middle man and are small enough to be shipped via standard methods, they also let you skip the rushed showroom testing experience, which could result in a poor choice. Instead, you can try these mattresses from the luxury of your own home, in your own time. Most bed-in-a-box mattresses come with a generous return policy, giving you between 90 days and a whole year to test whether it's right for you. If it isn't, they're easy (and usually free) to return.

What's the best bed in a box?

Right now, we think the Emma Original is the best bed in a box you can buy. Not only is it superbly comfortable and supportive, it's also the highest scoring mattress Which? has ever tested. But there's a huge amount of choice out there...

Most mattresses in boxes are made up of layers of advanced memory foam, or a mixture of foam and other materials, such as latex or springs. Although they’re fairly heavy, they're easily transportable by two people to the room of your choice, and unwrapping the mattress can definitely be managed by one person. 

Once it’s unfurled, your bed in a box will take some time to fill out to its full depth – some manufacturers advise up to 72 hours; others say just four. Just be aware that some memory foam gives off a slightly chemical odour, so you might want to open a window while your bed in a box is inflating. 

Bed-in-a-box mattresses tend to be designed for every type of sleeper – but they're an especially good choice for allergy sufferers. They've also proven to be helpful for people who suffer from bad or join pain, because when it’s warm the mattress moulds to your body, relieving pressure on joints. Here's our pick of the best bed-in-a-box mattresses you can buy.

The best bed-in-a-box mattresses right now

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Best bed in a box: Emma Original

1. Emma Original memory foam mattress

One of the highest scoring mattresses Which? has ever tested – and there's 30% off!

Specifications
Best for: Most sleepers
Sizes: 8, single - super king
Depth: 25cm
Turn: No
Filling: Memory foam
Comfort: Medium to medium-firm
Trial period: 100 nights
Guarantee: 10 years
RRP: Single £479, double £699, king £749
Reasons to buy
+No unpleasant smell+Suits most sleep positions+Cover washable at 60˚C
Reasons to avoid
-Side sleepers might find it a tad hard

Made in the UK, the Emma Original memory foam mattress doesn't just get the thumbs up from us, it's also one of the highest scoring mattress Which? has ever tested, and comes highly recommended by Amazon reviewers as well. Delivered in a compact, easy-to-move box, it's designed to suit all types of sleeper and boasts three layers of foam, including an Airgocell layer to keep sleepers cool – which we found works. One of our reviewers tends to overheat at night and traditionally isn't a good bedfellow with a memory foam mattress, but they found the Emma Original kept night-time sweats at bay. 

Elsewhere, a 25mm pressure-relieving layer means there's little or no sign of creaky-knee syndrome in the morning, while the foam base is supportive for both shoulders and the lower spine. There's also a machine-washable cover that's soft and breathable too. The Emma Original is extremely comfortable, supportive in all the right places and when you factor in the huge 30% off deal currently running on Amazon, we think it's the best bed in a box you can buy right now. 

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Best mattress sleep

Best bed in a box: Simba Hybrid mattress

2. Simba Hybrid Mattress

Prefer memory foam and pocket springs? This brilliant bed in a box is for you

Specifications
Best for: Restless sleepers
Sizes: 12, small single - emperor
Depth: 25cm
Turn: No
Filling: Memory foam and pocket springs
Comfort: Medium to medium soft
Trial period: 100 nights
Guarantee: 10 years
RRP: Single: £449, double £649, king £749
Reasons to buy
+Great for restless sleepers+Great spinal support+Price match guarantee and 0% interest deal
Reasons to avoid
-On the softer side of medium

The Simba Hybrid mattress offers a winning combination of memory foam and traditional spring construction, and best suits people who are unsure if a full memory foam mattress is right for them. We found this bed in a box to be quick to inflate and it didn’t initially smell overly, either, which is a plus. Inside, a Simbatex synthetic latex layer contains charcoal extracts to keep you cool, while a layer of 2,500 pocket springs below help cradle you, resulting in a reduction in motion transfer during the night - so you won't be disturbed by your partner tossing and turning. 

Underneath that, a thick layer of responsive memory foam provides support, although this won't be suitable for anyone who likes a really firm bed. We found the Simba to be a very good, all-round mattress, particularly for our restless side sleeper, and it wins plaudits from Amazon buyers as well as being a Which? Best Buy. 

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3. Eve Original Memory Foam mattress

Just the ticket for restless sleepers – and their partners

Specifications
Best for: An undisturbed night
Sizes: 9, single - emperor
Depth: 25cm
Turn: No
Filling: Memory foam
Comfort: Medium to medium-firm
Trial period: 100 nights
Guarantee: 10 years
RRP: Single £349, double £599, king: £699
Reasons to buy
+Moisture-wicking and breathable+Zoned support areas+Good for neck and back pain
Reasons to avoid
-Could feel too soft for some 

The Eve Original bed-in-a-box mattress hits the medium-firm sweet spot, which means it’s a good choice if your partner is a very different kind of sleeper to you. On top, there’s the usual moisture-wicking material we’ve come to love in our favourite memory foam mattresses, followed by pressure-absorbing memory foam, and below that a base layer with ribbed support zones that are designed to target specific areas such as shoulders, lower spine and hips to ensure a restful night. 

Online reviews talk of improved back and neck pain, and it’s another Which? Best Buy. Most helpful seems to be that restless sleepers have reported sleeping sounder than usual, which has a knock-on effect of them not disturbing their partners. Everyone’s a winner. Our reviewers felt the top layer made this bed in a box feel softer than our usual mattress at first, but found it still to be supportive nonetheless. 

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4. Nectar memory foam mattress

Get a great trial period and forever guarantee – plus £100 off and free pillows – with this excellent bed in a box

Specifications
Best for: Back sleepers
Sizes: 5, single - king
Depth: 28cm (11 inches)
Turn: No
Filling: memory foam
Comfort: Medium-firm to firm
Trial period: 365 days
Guarantee: Lifetime
RRP: Single £399, double £599, super king £799
Reasons to buy
+365-day trial+Very supportive+Excellent pillows free
Reasons to avoid
-Too firm for some

The Nectar bed in a box offers a medium-to-firm support level. It boasts three layers of memory foam below the outer cooling cover, with different zoned areas to target particular trouble areas. As it’s firmer than some we tried, we felt it was more suited to front and back sleepers who require more spinal support, but probably not the best choice for heavy side sleepers. And as with some of the other bed-in-a-box mattresses we tried, there was a faint, lingering odour initially, but it wasn’t noticeable by day two and certainly didn’t trouble our sleep. 

Nectar is so confident you're going to like it, you get an entire year to decide whether it’s right for you. The company is also climate neutral, offsetting all emissions by various global schemes, including an Amazon forest protection programme. Right now, there's a huge £100 off all mattresses and you get two pillows free with every purchase, making this bed-in-a-box mattress very good value indeed.

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5. OTTY hybrid mattress

A great value hybrid mattress that will leave you with a spring in your step – and there's up to 30% off now

Specifications
Best for: a great value hybrid
Sizes: 9, single - emperor
Depth: 25cm
Turn: No
Filling: Combination of memory foam and pocket springs
Comfort: Medium-firm to firm
Trial period: 100 days
Guarantee: 10 years
RRP: Single £349, double £500, super king, £750
Reasons to buy
+Very competitively priced with 0% finance+Free pillows +Gel-infused memory foam for cool nights
Reasons to avoid
-May be too firm for some

If you share your bed with a tosser – OTTY’s words, not ours – then the 2,000 pocket springs (14cm deep) in this bed-in-a-box mattress might be just what you need. They're sandwiched between layers of memory foam to significantly reduce motion transfer, ensuring a good night's sleep for all concerned. The OTTY Hybrid comes with ‘white glove service’, which is a nice touch and means you won't have to lug it upstairs yourself. Once out of the plastic, it fills to its full height in just a few hours. The memory foam panels at the side and on top add structure, and prevent ’side sag’, which is something that can happen with solid memory foam mattresses. 

Our back and side-sleeping reviewers liked the medium-firm comfort level, which provided good support and just enough give without that sinking feeling. As with the Nectar bed in a box, the OTTY currently comes with two free pillows (or one, if you order the single mattress). Bargain.

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6. Morgedal memory foam mattress

A great value choice that comes in an easy-to-transport roll

Specifications
Best for: On a budget
Sizes: 5, single - super king
Depth: 18cm
Turn: No
Filling: Memory foam
Comfort: Firm
Trial period: 90 days
Guarantee: 25 years
RRP: Single £125, double £165, £195 king
Reasons to buy
+Great price+Less packaging
Reasons to avoid
-Takes a while to fully fill-Slight chemical smell

We like the fact that the Morgedal memory foam mattress is a 'bed in a roll' and ditches the box, meaning less packaging. It comes with Velcro carry handles that are easy to store away, and are reusable, too. Once on the bed base, we found it took a while to fill out to its full 18mm depth. It's also thinner than some other mattresses we tried, which generally measure around 25cm. 

The Morgedal probably won’t suit heavy side sleepers as it’s firmest we tested, and the single layer of memory foam doesn’t feature zoned support areas. However, our back sleeper found it perfectly comfortable, although did note a slight chemical smell that lingered for a day or two. The low price means this mattress is a good choice if you’re trying memory foam for the first time, or need a mattress for a spare room. There’s a 90-day return window, and it was also one of the few we tested that can actually be tried in-store as well as ordered online. If you're on a tight budget, the Morgedal represents great value.