Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Mattress Online

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Thanks to the dominance of Amazon Prime, Seamless, Instacart, Jet, and countless other apps and digital services, having everything delivered in a perfectly packed box is the norm today. Kale for smoothies? Check. Batteries for the remote? Check. Sheets for the bed? Check. Your actual bed? You guessed it. Check.

And with the recent introduction of Williams-Sonoma’s Robin, a specialty brand subset that focuses primarily on helping you catch those much-needed ZZZ's, the already-competitive bed-in-the-box game just got that much more crowded.

In addition to improving sleep quality, one underlying goal all boxed-mattress companies share is to create a better mattress buying experience. “Our company was born out of a personal need. When [my cofounders and I] moved to New York City for grad school, we all went through our own uniquely terrible mattress buying experience,” says Kristian von Rickenbach, co-founder of Helix. “We put our heads together to figure out why it’s always so bad.”

As the rise of alt-mattresses reaches a peak, how do you parse out what's what with your options (especially if you're shopping from the comfort of your own home or an empty room that will someday be your own home)? All the info you need to know, right this way.

Keep scrolling to find out what makes each bed-in-a-box unique?


Cost: The signature “Casper” mattress (there are also cost-efficient and premium options) ranges from $595 for a twin to $1,195 for a California King.

Trial run: 100 nights

Company launch: 2014

Material: The mattress boasts four layers of foam. Starting from the bottom, there’s the support layer followed by transition, memory, and breathable foam.

Where you can try it: Casper has 16 concept stores throughout the United States, including New York City and Los Angeles. Starting in 2017, the mattress became available to try at Target.

Warranty: 10-year limited

The difference: A bed-in-a-box pioneer, Casper may also be the most recognized. The brand has three models: the signature Casper mattress, the more cost-efficient “Essential,” and a luxe “Wave” option. The company was named one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies of 2017, and will likely be adding more sleep tech in the near future. If you like to be woken up to the ambient sounds of birds chirping or wind chimes, get psyched.

Try it: If you're looking for the tried-and-true option, Casper won't disappoint. With three distinct options, there's actually something to suit everyone in the market for a bed.


Cost: The signature Leesa mattress (there’s a luxury pocket-spring mattress option as well) ranges from $525 for a twin to $1,070 for a California King.

Trial run: 100 nights

Company Launch: 2015

Material: The all-foam mattress includes memory foam and a cooling two-inch Avena top layer.

Where You Can Try: Select Pottery Barn and West Elm stores, along with "Dream Galleries," (which combines checking out art with mattress shopping) in New York and Virginia.

Warranty: 10-year limited

The Difference: The aesthetically pleasing Leesa (the mattresses were designed with Audrey Hepburn's personality traits in mind), replaced Casper in West Elm stores in December 2017. Leesa is also the only bed-in-a-box brand with a charitable component, donating one mattress for every ten sold. To date, that number tallies around 24,000.

Try it: The mattresses themselves help you stay cool during the night, so if you run on the hotter side, these could be a good bet. Oh, and if you're looking for the TOMS shoes of mattresses, look no further. Knowing that you're supporting a company with a charitable mission will def help you sleep better at night.


Cost: Basic mattresses run from $600 for a twin to $1,245 for a California King.

Trial run: 100 nights

Company launch: 2015

Material: A hybrid mattress made of foam, individual pocketed micro-coils, and high-grade poly-foam

Where you can try: Helix has one showroom in the Flatiron District of New York City.

Warranty: 10-year limited


The difference: Customization is key for Helix. A “sleep quiz” helps the brand zero in on exactly the type of mattress you need, and though it only takes about two to three minutes to complete, it gathers many details—including how tall you are, how much you weigh, and if you get hot when you sleep. Sleeping next to someone special? Helix allows for two-sided customization (they split the mattress right down the middle) or a happy-medium blend, so it could be a good bet.

Try it: If you're all about personalization and want a mattress that suits your specific needs, Helix will let you customize from A to ZZZ. It's also a great option for couples who perhaps fall at different ends of the support-soft continuum. After all, opposites do attract.

Robin by Williams-Sonoma

Cost: Robin is more than just a mattress; the "sleep system" includes a sleep monitor, too. The mattresses alone range from $779 for a full to $999 for a King.

Trial run: None

Brand launch: 2018

Material: It's pocket spring mattress with the option for a “plush” or “cool comfort” topper.

Where you can try it : Select Pottery Barn, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma Home, Pottery Barn Kids, and PBteen stores.

Warranty: None

The difference: Technology is a major selling point here. With a Robin mattress, you have the option of buying an entire “sleep system,” which includes the newly launched, non-contact SleepScore Max Sleep Improvement Monitor, which is a super chic bedside tool with a smartphone app that tells you how well you've rested. According to the brand, over 50 percent of testers noted a substantial improvement in sleep quality.

Try it: If you want to trick-out your sleep sesh and take notes on how to get a better night, this is your go-to. Oh, and the ultra-cozy mattress will probably help with that.

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Tuft & Needle

Cost: Prices range from $325 for a twin to $700 for a California King.

Trial run: 100 days

Company launch: 2012

Material: The mattress is available in "T&N Adaptive Foam” AKA high-performance poly-foam.

Where you can try it: Tuft & Needle has brick-and-mortar stores in Scottsdale and Gilbert Arizona and Seattle, Washington.

Warranty: 10-year limited

The difference: Though Casper may get most of the credit for pioneering the bed-in-a-box model, Tuft & Needle was the first to the party. It’s also a firm mattress lover’s dream.

Try it: If you're looking for the most affordable option that's on the firmer side, this is your go-to. The two foam layers in the mattress are cozy, but still supportive in helping you sleep.

Now that you've got your mattress figured out, this is how to turn your bedroom into a full-on sanctuary and this is how to turn it into the ultimate recovery zone.

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