The best mattress for 2021


Buying a mattress online is about as easy as it gets. No schlepping to multiple stores to try out rows of mattresses. No awkward, in-person interactions with a salesperson who’s claiming to give you an “amazing deal.” Instead, you can pick out a bed from the comfort of your own home and have it delivered within a few days.

And don’t worry if you don’t like a mattress once you try it at home. Most online mattress companies offer at-home sleep trials that last between a few months to a whole year. If you decide to return the new mattress once you’ve slept on it for a few nights or weeks, the company will pick it up and refund your purchase.

However, it’s important to choose wisely when shopping online — the wrong mattress for you can wreck your sleep and you don’t want to have to buy and return a bunch to find the right one. To do that, you’ll want to narrow down your choices to the one or two mattresses that seem like the best mattress for your preferred sleeping position and the kind of support you need. And, of course, it needs to be a good fit for your budget.

But who has the time and patience to sort through all of these mattress options when they want their mattress shopping experience to be easier and faster? I do. I’ve sorted through the many online mattresses to find the best of the best. 

I went through all of the online mattress manufacturers and companies (there are around 175 right now, by the way), scouring social media and reviews to find the best of the best to test. After all of my research and testing, here’s what I came up with for the 10 best mattresses you can buy online.

No matter what kind of mattress you prefer, whether you’re a back sleeper, a stomach sleeper, need pressure relief, want a firmer mattress, an adjustable mattress, one that offers motion isolation or are just on the hunt for a super comfortable mattress, I am sure you will find the best mattress for you and your sleeping style on this list.

Online mattresses, compared

Mattress Buying Info Mattress Type Price (Queen) Sleep Trial Period Warranty
Layla Hybrid See at Layla Hybrid $1,699 120 nights 10-year limited
Casper Original See at Casper Foam $1,095 100 nights 10-year limited
Tuft and Needle The Hybrid See at Tuft and Needle Hybrid $1,595 100 nights 10-year limited
Avocado Green See at Avocado Hybrid $1,399 365 nights 25-year limited
Nectar Lush See at Nectar Hybrid $1,499 365 nights Lifetime
Leesa Legend See at Leesa Hybrid $2,299 100 nights 10-year limited
Helix Midnight Luxe See at Helix Hybrid $1,849 100 nights 15-year limited
Helix Plus See at Helix Hybrid $1,599 100 nights 15-year limited
Ghostbed Flex Hybrid See at Ghostbed Hybrid $1,745 101 nights 25-year limited
Purple Hybrid Premier 4 See at Purple Hybrid $2,299 100 nights 10-year limited

Foam mattresses are made entirely of layers of foam, including memory foam, latex foam or gel memory foam. Typically each foam layer is a different density, with high density foam on the bottom for support and softer foam comprising the top layer for comfort.

Hybrid mattresses use both foam and metal coils to provide support. They are closer in design to the innerspring mattress most of us grew up sleeping on, but with added foam for comfort and additional support.

Note that pricing is shown below for a queen mattress, but I list the full range of available sizes and prices within each entry. I update this list periodically.

Read more: How to break in a new mattress: What to do and how long it takes

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As I mentioned, mattresses require an adjustment period, and that’s true of the Layla Hybrid too, but as soon as I plopped down on this mattress, I knew it was going to be my favorite. It’s made of a layered combination of gel memory foam, airflow support foam and individually wrapped pocketed coils that provide plenty of firmness level support while also allowing enough give to make the mattress feel plush and comfortable right away. 

The middle layer is made from copper infused foam which is great for a hot sleeper because it is designed to pull heat away from your body so you stay cool while you sleep, and the technology worked impressively well. I stayed cool throughout the night, even in the middle of summer in a house without central AC. The copper is also anti-microbial so it helps prevent a buildup of bacteria that can cause breakdown and odors over time. I haven’t had the mattress long enough to speak to that, but the thought of sleeping on a cleaner mattress, especially since the goal is to keep them for a decade or so, adds another layer of appeal.

The Layla Hybrid had the least motion transfer out of any other on the list, so I didn’t wake up at all when my boyfriend tossed and turned — this motion isolation feature is a huge comfort level perk to someone who’s been seriously considering getting a sleep divorce. The Layla is also the only mattress brand on this list with a flippable mattress. And not only can you flip it, one side is soft and one side is firm, so you can truly customize your sleeping experience based on how your body feels at any given time. 

The Layla Hybrid comes in twin to California king and prices range from $1,299 to $1,899.

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If you’re looking for a firm mattress, you can end your search with the Casper Original. While I’m more of a soft mattress kind of gal, firmer mattresses like the Casper mattress are designed to align your spine and relieve pressure in all of the right places so you can have a pain-free night and a stiffness-free morning. And this Casper mattress did just that.

When I first got into bed, I didn’t have that “ahhh” moment that comes from a plush, softer mattress, but as I settled in, the mattress started to slowly form to my body. The longer I lay there, the more comfortable I felt. When I woke up in the morning, I didn’t have any throbbing neck or back pain, something that I have been struggling with since my last spring mattress started caving in. I attribute that to the Zoned Support technology of the Casper.

The mattress is separated into three zones that are designed to provide the ideal spinal alignment. The foam near the shoulders and upper body is softer to give you relief in those areas, while the firmer foam under the hips, waist and lower back keeps your spine properly aligned. Because of this zoned system, you may have to experiment to find the right sleeping position on the mattress, but once you do, you’ll likely notice a reduction in pain over time. And, as an added bonus, the mattress cover is made from recycled bottles — 57 of them to be exact — so you can help save your back and the planet at the same time.

The Casper Original comes in twin to California king and prices range from $595 to $1,295.

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When it comes to comfort, I always considered big plush pillow top mattresses the holy grail, so I was skeptical of these memory foam type mattresses. But the Tuft and Needle Hybrid mattress stepped up to the plate and almost hit a home run. The foam mattress is made of carbon fiber foam, individually wrapped pocketed coils, and ceramic gel all wrapped up in a tufted pillow-top mattress cover that’s ideal for those who prefer a side sleeping position.

The T&N Adaptive foam felt soft and comfortable and allowed just enough give to take the pressure off my shoulders and hips without making me feel like I was sinking or rocking from side to side. The mattress cover added an extra layer of comfort that felt similar to what you’d get if you added a mattress topper.

The only thing I’d knock about it is that it did seem to have more motion transfer than some of the other options on the list. If you sleep alone, it’s not a big deal. But if you sleep with a partner who tosses and turns a lot, or a German Shepherd mix who likes to act out his vivid running dreams in the middle of the night, you may want to go with something with better motion isolation or opt for Tuft and Needle’s original mattress, which is made almost solely of memory foam and absorbs movement better.

The Tuft and Needle Hybrid mattress comes in twin to California king and prices range from $895 to $1,745.

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Unfortunately, many mattresses are sprayed with chemicals and flame retardants and made from potentially toxic foams that have been linked to some health problems. Because of this, the Environmental Working Group recommends choosing a mattress that’s made from at least 95% cotton, wool or natural latex. And that’s where the Avocado Green mattress comes in. 

Their original mattress, which is the one I tested, is actually made from a combination of all three materials — or you can go for the vegan mattress, which is the same sans wool. Neither contains any polyester, polyurethane foam or fire retardants. But while that’s all great, ultimately it has to be comfortable or it really doesn’t do you much good in the long run. The good news is: it is.

When I first lay down on the mattress, it felt a little too firm for my personal tastes, but as soon as I settled in, it started to form to my body, hugging me in all the right places. I felt comfortable sleeping on my back and on my side and the bed adjusted quickly as I transitioned from each sleep position, unlike other memory foam mattress styles that can lag when it comes to that. Mine came with the optional (and $300 to $600 extra depending on the size) permanently affixed pillow top, so I can’t judge the mattress without it, but I think it definitely adds a layer of plushness that’s worth the additional cost.

The Avocado Green comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $899 to $1,799, without the added pillow top. If you want the pillow top attached, prices go up to $1,199 to $2,099.

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While other mattresses on this list made a big difference in back pain, the aptly named Nectar Lush, which really did feel lush, earned the spot of best mattress for back pain. This Nectar mattress has five layers — a dense foam base, a high-density memory foam, a gel-coated memory foam and a cooling cover — that provided the most pressure relief and the best edge to edge support of any mattress on this list. Immediately after lying down on the Nectar mattress, I felt the foam layers give way to my weight and simultaneously rise up to hug my body and make sure my spine was completely aligned.

For some reason, even if I’m all alone in a king size bed, I tend to gravitate toward the very edge of the bed with barely an inch to spare. When I did this on my old mattress, I could feel the edge start to cave under my weight and I would have to back up or risk rolling off right onto the ground. But that wasn’t the case with the Nectar Lush. It was supportive all the way around and even when I got within an inch of the edge, I felt completely aligned, safe and secure. I woke up pain-free every morning and my chronically pained boyfriend noticed a significant improvement in his morning pain levels and comfort while he slept.

As an added bonus, unlike some of the other options, the Nectar Lush is compatible with any type of bed frame, so you can work with what you have instead of having to shell out more cash on a new frame too.

The Nectar Lush comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $1,099 to $1,799.

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The Leesa Legend was designed with all types of sleepers in mind, but while it was comfortable no matter what my sleeping position, I thought it really shone when I was sleeping on my back. Throughout the night, I frequently shift from sleeping on my side to sleeping on my back. Typically, I start as a back sleeper and as soon as I’m in the only-partly-conscious, I’m-about-to-fall-asleep zone, I switch to my side. But with the Leesa Legend, I actually settled in on my back and stayed there most of the night.

The Leesa Legend is made from two layers of springs and two layers of memory foam topped with a wool and 100% cotton cover that provides an additional layer of comfort. This Leesa mattress immediately felt soft and inviting (with just the right amount of bounce) and had the best body contouring when I was lying on my back. It also had edge-to-edge support that was comparable to the Nectar Lush with minimal motion transfer.

And, like the Casper, the mattress cover is made partly from recycled water bottles, so you can feel good about the planet while you sleep.

The Leesa Legend comes in sizes twin XL to California king and prices range from $1,699 to $2,499.

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If you’ve ever gone mattress shopping with a significant other, you already know how big of a disaster that can be. Unless you opt for a customizable Sleep Number luxury mattress, which has a hefty price tag with average reviews, you’re pretty much forced to find a mattress that will make you both happy — a task that isn’t always easy, especially if your tastes and sleeping styles fall on different ends of the spectrum. I’ve been down this road before and I wish that I had found the Helix Midnight Luxe sooner.

There were things my boyfriend and I liked about all of the mattresses, but after settling into the Helix Midnight Luxe for the first night, we both looked at each other and simultaneously said “ohhhh, this is nice.” The mattress is made from a combination of high-density memory foam, gel visco and support pocketed coils wrapped up in a breathable, quilted pillow-top cover. Out of all the mattresses, the Helix Midnight Luxe had the most lumbar support, which really provided some relief for my boyfriend’s chronic lower back pain.

Although this particular mattress is marketed toward the side sleeper, it’s beyond comfortable when you’re on your back or stomach too. There’s hardly any motion transfer and it falls directly in the middle of the mattress firmness scale — Helix rates it a 4 to 7 out of 10 — so it really is designed to please almost everybody, or at least serve as a really great compromise if you can’t agree on firmness level.

The Helix Midnight Luxe comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $995 to $2,249.

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The Helix Plus mattress, which is marketed toward the plus-size population or anyone who’s “big and tall,” is designed to offer extra support for those with higher BMIs (or body mass indexes). It’s 13 inches tall and has an extra layer of high density foam that helps provide adequate support and comfort all in one. But while I deemed it the best mattress for heavy people, I think that does it a big disservice. It’s actually a great mattress for everyone, no matter your size or sleeping style.

This mattress was one of the few on the list that I felt like I sank into in all the right ways. The mattress was supportive, while also providing the right amount of “give” to relieve pressure where I needed it the most. It was comfortable in any position and adequately absorbed movement, even if your sleeping partner is tossing and turning. One night while sleeping on this mattress, my boyfriend actually got up twice to go to the bathroom and I didn’t feel him get out or back into the bed — something I can’t say for many other mattresses I’ve tried.

The only knock I would give is that it’s a medium to firm feel — Helix rates it a 7 to 8 out of 10 on the firmness level scale — and I wish it was a little bit plusher. That being said, this mattress was designed to support more weight, so the extra firmness makes sense. Also, mattresses tend to break in and soften over time, so I imagine it would be perfect for me after several months.

The Helix Plus comes in sizes twin to California king and prices range from $825 to $1,999.

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Ghostbed’s major claim to fame is their cooling technology and it really did deliver. I tested this hybrid mattress in the middle of July with temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s. While I could definitely tell we were in the middle of a heatwave — I mean, the mattress isn’t magic — I felt surprisingly cool considering how warm and sticky the room started to get as soon as the sun came through the windows.

The bed itself was comfortable too. While it didn’t feel as lush and inviting as some of the others on this list, the Ghostbed was second most bouncy (right behind the Purple mattress), so it didn’t have that slow sinking memory foam feel that’s typical of these types of mattresses. If you’re someone who isn’t totally sure about memory foam and likes a traditional spring mattress, this is a good middle ground.

The Ghostbed Flex Hybrid comes in sizes twin to split king and prices range from $1,295 to $3,100.

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I want to start by saying that I’m not a stomach sleeper, but the Purple Hybrid Premier 4 (almost) made me want to become one. When lying on my stomach, the Purple Grid, which is a hyper-elastic polymer grid formation that’s meant to absorb and relieve pressure and used in place of memory foam, magically gave way to all my lady lumps and bumps like it was designed just for me. I know that sounds dramatic, but its ability to perfectly form around my body was really impressive. It was equally comfortable when sleeping on my back. In fact, it was so comfortable that, when I was lying on my back, I was able to snooze sans pillow and still feel like my spine was perfectly aligned. Coming from someone who typically needs two pillows to hold up her oversized head, and wakes up with serious neck pain because of it, this was another impressive feature.

The Purple also had the most bounce out of all of the mattresses. Pure memory foam tends to feel a little stiff to me, no matter how plush the mattress claims to be, but the grid bends and moves in ways that make the mattress feel bouncy and plush, while also still providing ample support for your back and spine.

The grid did take a little while to get used to. For the first several nights, I could feel gridlines whenever I shifted or moved. I wouldn’t call it an uncomfortable feeling, but it was definitely different. This mattress is also really heavy. Not like normal king size mattress heavy, but more like “what the heck do they make this thing out of?” heavy. My intention was to open the mattress in the guest room downstairs to give it time to expand and then to bring it up to my bedroom when it was time to test it and take pictures. But even after enlisting the help of two stronger-than-me volunteers, we gave up on moving it and I relocated to the guest room for testing. I assume you’re not planning to lug your mattress around too often, but it’s worth noting, just in case.

The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 comes in sizes twin XL to split king and prices range from $1,999 to $3,998.

Not recommended

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I wanted to love the Birch mattress, but when stacked against the others, it just didn’t make the cut. It has great selling points — it’s free of polyurethane foams and harsh chemicals, it’s made from sustainable materials and it’s wrapped in an organic cotton cover. But even though I appreciate the importance of a toxic chemical-free sleeping space, I couldn’t really get comfortable and, ultimately, when it comes to my mattress, comfort wins.

It wasn’t that the Birch was entirely uncomfortable, but it didn’t feel as plush as the others I tested and since the price is the same as the Helix Midnight Luxe (the two mattresses are actually both produced by Helix), I’d recommend choosing the Midnight Luxe. 

If you want to make your own call, the Birch Natural Mattress comes in sizes twin to California king mattress and prices range from $1,049 to $1,799.

How I tested

I tested each mattress for a week, making sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. For half the week, I slept on the mattress with my boyfriend and whichever one (or several) of our five pets wanted to join us. During these nights, I was able to test the motion transfer and whether or not the mattresses could appease different tastes — I like a really soft mattress and he prefers something firmer with a little more back support. For the remaining half of the week, I kicked everyone out to the guest room so I could focus on the feel of the mattress without any outside sleep disturbances.

In addition to sleeping on the mattresses during the night, I also spent some time lying on them reading or working on my laptop (I know, I know I shouldn’t be working from bed, but I wanted to give each mattress as much time as possible). Once I felt like I had enough information to give an accurate assessment, I moved on to the next mattress.

I set up each new mattress on the same platform bed frame and used the same pillow and the same sheets, which I washed between each mattress. We all know there’s nothing better than getting into bed with freshly washed sheets, so I wanted to make sure that every mattress had that same initial advantage. The only exception to testing location was the Purple mattress. I initially opened it in the guest room with the intent of bringing it upstairs later, but it was too heavy to move, so I tested it where it was.

More mattress and sleep advice 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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