CONSUMER REPORTS: Should you buy a bed in a box?


Tired of the hassle and stress of navigating the mattress store? You might want to join the growing trend of bed-in-a-box owners. Consumer Reports says some of them will help you to sleep it off.

Americans spend roughly a third of their lives in bed - so why not make the best of that rest? Those so-called “beds-in-a-box” are becoming more and more popular - sales have nearly quadrupled since 2015. Consumer Reports tests mattresses extensively, and tells us whether good things come in those big packages.

If you’ve ever been mattress-shopping, you know how frustrating it can be - different brands often sell different beds in different stores. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal of the bed-in-a-box. Usually a compressed foam mattress, rolled or folded into a package or box, delivered to your doorstep. You can order online, with no sales pressure, and your bed comes in about a week.

And if you do want to try before you buy, some popular manufacturers have teamed up with retail stores so you can go in and lie down. For example Leesa mattresses can be found at West Elm, and Casper mattresses at certain Targets.

Be aware they can weigh from 60 to 140 pounds. So when you open it - place the bundle right on the base first, then simply unwrap it. Most lack handles on the sides and can be pretty unwieldy once opened.

So what are they like to sleep on? To find out, Consumer Reports has run 41 beds-in-a-box through its rigorous tests - checking wear, support for different body types, firmness and bounciness, and pressure points.

Many of these foam mattresses perform really well and hold top spots in Consumer Reports' ratings, which include traditional mattresses.

Both The Casper and the The Lull mattresses are Consumer Reports Best Buys.

But if you find you and your mattress aren’t a love-match, most bed-in-a-box makers offer friendly return policies - some over 100 days - including finding a place to donate the mattress near you. And no, you don’t have to smush it back in that box.

Policies may differ if the mattress is purchased from a third-party retailer, such as Amazon - so check before you buy - and don’t lose any sleep over it.

Consumer Reports surveys have shown that the longer people try out a mattress, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their purchase. They suggest you lie on a mattress to try it out for at least ten to fifteen minutes. So don’t be shy, and lie on each side, your back and even on your stomach if that’s how you actually sleep.

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