The Best Cheap Mattresses of 2019

Good sleep is correlated with a longer, happier and healthier life.

There are free ways to get better sleep (including diet and lifestyle changes), yet a good mattress (and pillow) plays an important role in our sleep routine. This is especially true for those who suffer from back pain. 

Mattresses come in many varieties: foam, gel, spring, water, air and latex among them. But, despite the competing claims of mattress companies, clinical research suggests that the firmness of a mattress is more important than the material a mattress is made from. 

A review of clinical sleep trials from 2000 to 2015 concludes that a medium-firm mattress "is optimal for promoting sleep comfort, quality, and spinal alignment."

There are more than one-hundred mattress brands on the market today. Despite the competition, the average selling price for a queen-sized mattress is a hefty $1,534 (based on the MSRP of 115 bestsellers). However, the rise of "mattress-in-a-box" companies like Casper, Nectar and Leesa has had two effects on the market:

  1. Many types of mattresses sell more cheaply than they once did; and

  2. Memory foam is now as common as springs and coils once were.

This article won't look at the pros and cons of each mattress type. (Sleep Like the Dead is a great resource for buying guides and detailed specifications.) Rather, the goal of this article is to highlight the best queen-sized mattresses that have a CertiPUR-US certification and sell for $500 or less.

CertiPUR-US is an independent, third-party testing lab that tests foam products for heavy metals, EPA-banned flame retardants and chemicals that hurt indoor air quality. But, a certification seal doesn't necessarily mean that a mattress is "safe" or "non-toxic." In fact, many certified mattresses use a non-chemical flame retardant that can be equally dangerous: fiberglass.

Never unzip the outer cover of a foam mattress. Many of them contain a protective insert that is made of glass fibers. These fibers can cause respiratory issues, itching and other allergy-like reactions, according to the National Library of Medicine

A waterproof mattress pad is a cheap way to keep a mattress clean without having to expose the fiberglass "fire sock" within.

Here are the best-reviewed queen-sized mattresses that are at least 10 inches deep and have sold for $500 or less on Amazon in the last 12 months:


Good Price: $270 | Great Deal: $219

Trial Period: 30 Days

Warranty: 20 Years

This budget mattress is surprisingly firm, comfortable and good for lower back pain, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers say this mattress sleeps hot; others wish the sides of the mattress didn't sink so deeply while under pressure. Some say this mattress sags in the middle after a few years of use.


Good Price: $314 | Great Deal: $210

Trial Period: N/A

Warranty: 10 Years

This mattress is well-packaged and expands quickly, though it takes a few days to air out, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers say this mattress is firm and comfortable; however, some reviewers who suffer from back pain say that it is too firm.


Good Price: $452 | Great Deal: $360

Trial Period: N/A

Warranty: 10 Years

Sweetnight's hybrid mattress has excellent reviews overall, but there are contradictory comments: Some say it is firm; others say it is soft. Several reviewers agree that this mattress is best suited for back sleepers.


Good Price: $325 | Great Deal: $275

Trial Period: 101 Days

Warranty: 10 Years

Inofia's hybrid mattress is firm, comfortable and relatively odor-free, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers say that they accidentally tore a hole in the mattress with the included tool (and caution others to open the mattress carefully).


Good Price: $468 | Great Deal: $400

Trial Period: 120 Days

Warranty: 20 Years

This mattress is well-made, odor free and extremely firm, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers added a 2-inch mattress topper for comfort. A few side-sleeping customers say this mattress is too firm for comfort.


Good Price: $224 | Great Deal: $207

Trial Period: N/A

Warranty: 1 Year

This lightweight mattress is on the softer side, making it a good choice for side sleepers, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers say the mattress smells like chemicals when it is unfurled. "Big and tall" customers say the mattress is not supportive enough.



 
 
John DeFeo