When it comes to investing in a new mattress, there are typically only a few things we consider; the material, the comfort level and the price. If one of these factors doesn’t line up, then there’s a good chance we just give up on getting a new mattress altogether.
However, if you know where to look and what to look for in a new mattress, especially a cheap mattress, you can get your hands on some pretty great products.
You don’t always need to spend top dollar to get great support, a long-lasting product and premier materials, and thankfully, with the rise of boxed mattresses, getting your hands on these plush pillow top and high-quality latex models is easier than ever.
If you’re looking for an affordable memory foam mattress, a great gel memory foam variant or just need some help navigating the world of affordable foam and pocket spring hybrids, we have some great tips for you below.
Buying Guide to An Affordable Mattress
First things first, you’ll need to understand where best to look and what to look for in an affordable mattress. Not all cheap mattresses are created equally and of course, getting the best mattress relies on a few considerations.
Here are a few of our top pointers when it comes to finding the best affordable mattress.
The Material Quality
At the top of our list is, of course, the quality of materials used in the mattress. In some cases, brands will be upfront about what’s inside their affordable mattresses, and that means you should be looking for words such as ‘density foam’ a ‘comfort layer’ ‘Bonnell springs’ and more.
When you notice a mattress brand touting a number of these materials, so long as they’re certified, you can rest assured that you’ll be buying into a good night’s sleep that lasts for years to come.
It’s also good to note that certain types of foam, springs and latex might be cheaper variants or poorly designed – depending on the price point and the brand – and for this, we suggest taking a look for customer reviews online.
If a mattress is cheap, there’s a good chance there have been a few buyers, so there will more often than not, be a tonne of reviews to look for.
Comfort Level and Firmness
Where affordable mattresses can really cause problems is in their comfort level and firmness. Materials might be ideal, such as memory foam and density foam, though if the firmness is on the more rigid side, you’re opening up yourself to back pain and other issues.
That said, we suggest looking out for firmness levels of between 4 and 6 for side sleepers and 7 through 8 for back sleepers. As you might know, back sleepers will need a more firm sleep surface, whereas side sleepers will need a little more soft one.
In all, a medium-firm mattress is going to be your best bet at a low price and a good sleeping experience.
Another consideration should be the bounce of the mattress. If you’re partial to a little bit of bounce in your bed, then an innerspring version might be best for you, or a hybrid mattress with foam and pocket springs to improve bounce.
A third key factor to keep in mind for an affordable mattress is its ability to reduce pain while you sleep.
For a mattress to be best at reducing pain while sleeping it will need a soft comfort layer for pressure point relief, along with a more firm core zone which will add support and keep the spine aligned.
If you’re of a heavier weight, a firm mattress around 7 to 8 with a comfort layer will be your best bet at pain relief. For lighter weight sleepers, pressure relief won’t be too difficult to come by on softer mattresses, so considering a pocket spring mattress that’s affordable won’t be too much of an issue.
When it comes to material-based pain relief, memory foam and latex mattresses may be your best bet at reducing pain. These materials are inherently soft and contouring, which means you’re kept supported during the night and aren’t having your joints and spine moved from their ideal alignment.
Shipping Costs or Delivery Fees
When it comes to the price range of a mattress, the hidden costs are the ones you’ll need to keep an eye out for. You might find some really fantastic mattresses with top-notch materials on Amazon, though if delivery fees soar into the hundreds of dollars, then you’re no longer buying into a budget mattress.
In some cases, budget mattresses don’t give you the option to pick-up in store, so be sure to take a look for information about delivery before you get your heart set on a product.
If delivery costs are a make or break for you, consider the famous mattress-in-a-box brands for the most affordable and seamless delivery experience.
Warranties and Trials
To gauge the quality of an affordable mattress, don’t look past the warranties. These will give you some insight into how long manufacturers expect their mattresses to last and what you can expect to get out of the mattress.
If there’s no warranty or very limited 6-month guarantees, then it might be a good idea to look for another affordable, comfortable mattress.
Of course, in Australia, you’ll be covered by clauses outlined in the ACCC which protects customers from dodgy products, though it’s a smoother experience if this support comes directly from the manufacturer.
Special Features or Inclusions
Just because a mattress is affordable doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect to get a few little extras here and there. Take a look at what comes with a mattress, or search explicitly for a mattress with bedding combos.
Smaller Australian mattress brands are often more affordable than their larger counterparts and throw in items like mattress toppers, pillows and more. These will certainly add some value to the best cheap mattress, no matter how few features it brings.
With those points out of the way, take a look at our top budget mattresses below.
The Best Affordable Mattresses
The Marley by Sleep Innovations
Kicking off our list is a bed landing at under $300 for a queen mattress, making it one of the more affordable models on the market right off the bat.
Coming in with a medium-firm firmness level, the mattress is ideal for all sleeping types, which means a comfortable, pain-relieving sleep. Side sleepers will enjoy the upper comfort layers the most, however, the firmness will be a perk for back and tummy sleepers who need optimal spinal alignment support.
For warmer climates, there is gel memory foam integrated into this mattress which works to absorb and expel any heat inside the mattress. This will be ideal in the summer months, but also for sleepers who find that they sleep a little hotter or wake up in a sweat too often during the night.
Online reviews have touted that this mattress is the best for those who sleep on their back, making the Marley a quality, comfortable mattress on a budget for pain relief.
The Original Mattress by Tuft & Needle
Over to one of the more premier mattress suppliers, the Original by Tuft and Needle is a little more costly than some other queen size mattresses on our list, though with fantastic edge support, an all-foam design and great engineering, it’s a quality mattress that we can’t overlook.
The mattress is going to be the most ideal model for anyone who sleeps on their sides and needs as much sinkage for hips and shoulders as possible. As expected, we would suggest side sleeping positions for this mattress over tummy and back sleeping.
Like the Marley, cooling gel is also integrated into this foam design, which negates the need for an innerspring mattress in warmer climates – the gel will do all the work for you.
For those sleeping with a partner, motion transfer is all but removed on the Original as the foam design absorbs all movement. There won’t be any annoying midnight wake-ups should a partner move too much during the night.
The firmness is a medium, however, which means this is a top mattress for side sleepers who like a little firmer sleep surface.
The Green Tea Memory Foam Pressure Relief Mattress by Zinus
With green tea extract making an appearance, the Zinus offers added value in that it won’t begin to age or smell as soon as other mattresses.
One standout feature from the Zinus Mattress is that it’s an all-foam design that has a relative thickness based on the size you choose. You’re able to select from 6 inches through to 10 inches depending on your weight and the level of sinkage you’re looking for.
We’re glad to say that the variable thickness means that you’re able to checkout with a mattress that is more suited to your sleeping style than other set-thickness designs.
For anyone with bed frames that have barriers that are a little too low, then this mattress is going to come in handy here, in that it will fit flush with more shallow designs.
This is also going to help out with bunk beds, as there are a few extra inches to free up space between bunks – so a reduced chance of sleepers hitting their heads in the guest room.
The Response Line Performance Collection by Sealy
To one of the most reputable brands in the mattress industry, Sealy offers a great affordable innerpsring mattress that comes in a queen size.
We’re glad to say that springs don’t mean lack of comfort with Sealy, as the company has offered up both soft and medium-firm designs that ensure you’re able to get your hands on a budget mattress that suits all users from stomach sleepers to side sleepers.
One thing to note is that customers online have highlighted that the mattress does have motion isolation that is a little lacking. Although springs often transfer motion a lot more than foam, this mattress’s design seems to cause just a little more movement than others on the list.
For trial periods, Sealy offers location-based trials, so be sure to check your local retailer for some more information on this mattress.
The Luxe Hybrid by Allswell
Our final affordable mattress is also on the higher end of the budget price point, though at under $650 we’re confident it’s still going to land in your price range.
Designed to be 12 inches tall, this mattress is one of the most heavily engineered on our list when it comes to the materials making up the core. There are multiple layers of gel-infused foam, high-density foam, innersprings and cooling foam. With all of these materials working together, you can expect an ultra-soft sleeping surface that is kept ventilated and is supportive from head to toe.
Customers online have touted that the Luxe Hybrid is one of the most comfortable mattresses they’ve slept on, and the innersprings have been designed in a way that simulates the feel of the adjoining foam. That said, there’s plenty of sinkage and contouring support here if you’re someone who’s looking for that ‘cradling’ feeling as they fall asleep.
With a 10-year warranty and 100-night sleep trial, the Allswell mattress is surely going to keep your well-rested and pain-free for years to come, and the trial period gives you a chance to test out the soft and supportive pocket springs.
Navigating Material Costs
If you’re new to mattress shopping, there are a few things we’d like to outline to ensure you’re in the know when it comes to understanding pricing.
Polyfoam, Memory Foam and Density Foam
In almost all cases, the foam mattresses will be some of the most costly on the market. These designs offer arguably the best sleeping experience though, so you’ll be getting what you pay for so long as you choose a reputable brand.
When it comes to pricing, polyfoam blends will generally be the most costly as these are a proprietary blend of multiple foams to create a unique material that is exclusive to a brand.
To add, memory foam is the ultra-plush foam that is used to offer that sinking feeling sleepers crave, though it is quite costly – and is usually only found in a thin sheet on top of a mattress.
The high-density foam is the foam type used to offer support or to wrap around pocket springs and coils inside hybrid mattresses. Density foams are often a little more affordable and are what’s used to give you the most spinal support.
Pocket Springs and Innersprings
Although the industry has made some significant moves away from springs and coils in mattresses, there are a still few brands out there offering spring mattresses.
It’s safe to say that there’s little that challenges the affordability of an all-spring mattress whether it’s a king mattress or a single variant. These designs are generally hundreds of dollars cheaper than foam and latex and are your best bet when it comes to getting a cheap mattress that offers the most back support.
To get the most out of a pocket spring mattress, look for a firmness level that’s medium and includes a plush pillowtop and you’ll be getting the best of both worlds – a solid, supportive core and a conforming upper layer.
Natural Latex or Proprietary Latex
The most expensive of the mattress materials are latex and for a good reason. Latex offers the firmness, bounce and support of pocket springs and simultaneously the contouring and sinking feeling of memory foam.
You’ll find that latex does offer one of the best sleeping experiences out of all the mattress materials, however, it does sleep warmer and can smell a little strange for the first few weeks to months.
Important to note is that latex mattresses will need very well ventilated bed frames to ensure you’re not heating up the bed too much. If there are no cooling gel beads integrated into the latex, you’ll be having a very hot sleep.
With all of the information above out of the way, you’re likely mulling over how long a cheap mattress will last following real-world use.
We’re glad to say that in most cases these mattresses do last a very long time and rival some of the more expensive models – but you’ll have to know where to look for a cheap mattress. As with costlier mattresses, ultra-cheap versions are still expected to last between 7 and 10 years depending on how you use the mattress and aren’t too rambunctious with it for example.
When it comes to replacing the mattress, you should stay on the lookout for lumps, sagging, body indentations and any loose springs or tears in the covering. Although these issues may seem cosmetic, it’s important to note that they can upset your back’s alignment and cause pain and other issues down the line.
Quick Tip: to ensure you’re buying into an affordable mattress that’s going to last as long as possible, it’s a good idea to make the material thickness a selling factor for you. The thickness of the layers that make up the bed will be the factor that reduces sagging and keeps you happily sleeping on an affordable mattress for a whole lot longer.
When it comes to investing in a new mattress, you don’t always have to spend top dollar to get a product that’s supportive, feature-packed and going to last for decades to come.
With a budget between $250 and $500, you’re still well on the way to getting a mattress that’s designed to support your sleeping style, alleviate back pain and give you hundreds of good nights of sleep without showing signs of ageing.
It’s important to keep in mind that shopping for an affordable mattress does require a level of diligence that more costly mattresses won’t. Be on the lookout for warranties you can trust, materials that won’t age too quickly and customer support services that are genuinely helpful should any issues arise down the line.
In all, do your research and purchase a mattress based on your sleep style and budget requirements and you’ll be getting a good night’s sleep without breaking the bank.