Consumer Reports' rigorous tests show that you can get a great bed for a reasonable price
By Tanya A. Christian
With mattresses, as with anything else you buy for your home, you often get what you pay for. But that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to find decent-quality options, as Consumer Reports’ rigorous testing has consistently shown. In fact, while our top mattresses (which typically cost $1,000 or more) often excel in our support tests for sleepers of a range of sizes and sleep positions, the best budget mattresses in our ratings aren’t too far behind.
For this article, we combed through our mattress ratings in search of high-scoring models that cost $600 or less for a queen size. Some cost even as little as $300 for a queen, especially if you catch them on sale. Note, however, that pricing can fluctuate, so the models featured below might creep above $600 now and then.
How Consumer Reports Picks the Best Budget Mattresses
Consumer Reports evaluates budget mattresses the way the way it tests any mattress: by performing an exhaustive battery of lab tests, as well as asking thousands of CR members about how well their mattress has served them. Put together, this information provides a good sense of what a mattress offers for a variety of body sizes and sleep positions. Whether a mattress costs $300 or $3,000, we hold them up to the same performance standards.
But certain qualities matter for some sleepers more than for others. For instance, is the cover organic or are grips (or handles) available? These “nice-to-haves” tend to raise the price and aren’t often found on a budget mattress. They’re noted on each model page from our comprehensive mattress ratings, but they don’t have an impact on the Overall Score.
What does factor into the Overall Score are the features that can affect the quality of your sleep and the longevity of your mattress. The best budget models score well in these crucial areas while still maintaining an affordable price. These aspects include (but are not limited to):
Support. We evaluate how well a mattress supports petite, average, and large sleepers, depending on their sleep position. Good support means the mattress will keep your spine aligned, whether you sleep on your back or on your side. Without good support, your back will experience strain as you sleep, causing you to toss and turn or wake up achy.
Durability. To understand how a mattress will hold up over time, we push a 300-plus-pound roller over each model 30,000 times. This simulates 10 years of use. Consumer Reports’ engineers have found that mattresses that ace this test come from all price points, not just the high ones.
Stability. Better-quality mattresses are designed to have adequate motion isolation—meaning, when you turn in your sleep on one side of the mattress, your sleep partner shouldn’t feel it on the other side. Cheaper innersprings are more likely than foam or higher-end innersprings to have stability problems, but our ratings have zeroed in on those that do better than others.
Owner satisfaction. To gauge how happy consumers are with the brand of mattress they own, we analyze data from surveys on CR members’ experiences with more than 74,000 mattresses purchased within the past decade. Owner satisfaction is based on their overall judgment of such factors as the firmness level of their mattress, value, quality of sleep, and more.
For a deeper dive on mattresses, including details on the factors you should consider when shopping, see our mattress buying guide. CR members with digital access can read on for details on five highly rated innerspring and foam mattresses that cost around $600 or less.
For more options, check out our mattress ratings for data-based comparisons of adjustable air, foam, and innerspring options. There, you can filter through more than 260 models according to mattress type, price, firmness preferences, and other criteria that may be important to you.
Best Budget Mattresses: Innerspring
CR’s take: For those who enjoy a satisfyingly soft yet durable mattress, the Molblly 12" delivers. With a score of 3 on our 1-to-10 firmness scale (1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest), it’s among the softest in our ratings. The Molblly earns high marks for all sizes and sleep positions in our support tests, except for large back sleepers (for whom it earns an average score). Individually wrapped coils help make this mattress quite stable, and it’s among the cheapest options in our lineup, costing as little as $300 when it’s on sale. But we don’t have enough data yet to offer an owner satisfaction score.
Sealy Response Essentials 10"
CR’s take: The Sealy Response Essentials 10" innerspring mattress is a great match for petite back sleepers, for whom it earns an Excellent rating in our support tests. The mattress also receives a Very Good rating for average back sleepers, and it isolates motion well. But it’s not as supportive for side sleepers and large back sleepers, nor is it the most durable mattress on this list. (It earns a rating of Very Good, as opposed to Excellent, in that test.) With a firmness score of 5, it has a medium feel. Sealy earns a score of Good for owner satisfaction for its innerspring mattresses.
Best Budget Mattresses: Foam
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