Best Queen Mattress Under $500 (Year 2018)
Queen mattresses are the most popular size sold in today’s industry. They provide enough space for most adults to sleep comfortably, without taking up valuable floor space in our homes—many of which are becoming smaller, or designed with a conscious consideration for the ease of layout and mobility.
Finding a queen mattress takes more than selecting the right size, of course. There are multiple material types to consider, mattress thicknesses, and—of course—budget. Our buyer’s guide will address some concerns and questions about shopping for a new bed, and look at a few of our favorite queen mattresses priced under $500.
Brentwood Home Cypress Gel Memory Foam 11”
Arctic Dreams 10” Cooling Gel
Perfect Cloud UltraPlush Gel-Max 10”
Live and Sleep Resort Ultra 12” Gel
What’s the difference between a queen, king, and California king? Which should I get?
Bed size is a personal choice, but also a practical one. You need to find one that will fit you (and your partner…or kids and pets, too, if applicable!) without crowding your bedroom. This is subjective, of course, because some people want more room to stretch out than others. Below are standard sizes for two-person beds:
- Queen: 60×80”
- King: 76×80”
- California King: 72×84”
If any of these could sleep you and all bedmates you have comfortably, look at the size of your bedroom. Will a king leave you too little space for nightstands, or sufficient walkways? Likewise, will those extra inches at the foot of a California king make for tight quarters?
Queens are so popular because they can fit two adults (with a little room to spread out, usually), but still leave enough room on either side for accessibility.
Memory foam, latex, hybrid, innerspring—what’s the difference, and which is best?
The type of bed you buy is also a matter of preference…but you should think about what you need, too. Some materials are better for chronic pain or overweight individuals; some are more comfortable for back sleepers or side sleepers.
Here are the types of mattresses you’ll find in your search for one under $500, along with their pros and cons:
- These are the traditional beds most of us have slept on at some point in our lives. They contain steel springs and are upholstered with varying fabrics. The more coils a mattress of this type has, the better its support.
- Pros: Cheaper than other models; good support; great ventilation.
- Cons: Bad pressure point relief; “creaking” or squeaky springs; poor motion separation between partners.
- Pillow-top. Pillow tops are innersprings with a generous layer of fabric/soft material on top, sewn into the mattress. As the name suggests, these tops are fluffy and plush.
- Pros: Good ventilation, good support and pressure point relief; good motion separation, but not always ideal.
- Cons: Pricier than other models; not always soft enough for side sleepers.
- Hybrids are like the midpoint between pillow-tops and foam models. They contain pocketed springs like innersprings and pillow-tops, but have a very thick layer of foam on top (usually memory foam).
- Pros: Good compromise between models; offers support and weight distribution of innersprings, but comfort/pressure point relief of memory foam or latex; sleeps cooler than solid foam models.
- Cons: Can’t be flipped, like a plain innerspring, which reduces lifespan; no clear standard for what constitutes a hybrid, so you’ll see a wide range of padding levels and spring gauges in this category—all of which will feel quite different from one another.
- Memory foam. Also known as viscoelastic foam, these mattresses conform to your body and soften with body heat. They provide support to your spine and can relieve pain very well.
- Pros: Conform to body for customized support; reduce tossing and turning; excellent pressure relief; great motion separation between partners.
- Cons: Can be difficult to get out of/turn over if you “sink” too far; not ideal for people with higher-than-average weights; more prone to sagging and indentations over time; can be expensive; sleep warmly; off-gassing (odor after unpacking).
- Latex foam. This is a (sometimes) all-natural, firmer alternative to memory foam that’s become very popular in its own right.
- Pros: Wider range of firmness/softness levels than memory foam; retains less body heat; all-natural and often produced in eco-friendly manner (unless stated otherwise).
- Cons: Doesn’t sleep as cool as spring-based models; can be very heavy; off-gassing odors, although this is usually less than memory foam. Can also be synthetic and made of petroleum and chemicals that are dangerous to health, so read product descriptions carefully.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, of course: airbeds, waterbeds, cots, etc. also exist. For the purposes of this buying guide, however, we won’t look at options in these categories, as they’re usually temporary (or, in the case of waterbeds, expensive and require specialized maintenance).
I’m looking for a queen for my recreational vehicle. What are my options?
Short queens are 5” shorter than (but the same width as) standard queens, and manufactured with RVs in mind. Because these homes-on-wheels are short on space, but still need beds to comfortably fit two people, short queens are the most popular mattresses for travelers.
Our buyer’s guide won’t be focusing on short queens, but rest assured that options abound! Many companies produce short queens with the same materials and quality of construction as their standard mattresses, so you might be able to buy matching ones for your home and RV, if you like.
Is $500 a good price range? What can I expect at this level?
Yes—in fact, some experts think $500 to $1,000 is the best price range in terms of getting an adequate “return” on your investment, so staying near that ballpark is a smart idea. In other words, this price point is good for quality mattresses without a lot of flash and hype. They’ll last 5 to 10 years (depending on materials; some last up to 15 years!), without a decline in performance/comfort. Very cheap mattresses will break down quickly; very expensive ones often have brand-name mark-ups attached, but without a significant jump in quality.
Best Queen Mattress Reviews
1. Brentwood Home Cypress Gel Memory Foam 11”Mattress, Queen Review
The Cypress from Brentwood Home comes in just under the mark for this price range, but might be worth those extra dollars: it has a generous memory foam layer, but plenty of denser support foam to avoid that dreaded “sinking” feeling too many foam mattresses have. It also has gel and aeration, to counter memory foam’s tendency to sleep hot.
We recommend the Cypress to back and stomach sleepers, as well as heavier individuals who’ve been let down (pun not intended) by memory foam before. Sorry, side sleepers: this model might feel too firm for your liking, but it will suit everyone else well for that very reason.
2. Live and Sleep Resort Ultra 12” Gel Memory Foam Mattress, Queen Review
Buyers looking for a little more cushion will love the profile of the Resort Ultra from the start; its 12” thickness appears every bit as comfortable as it feels. 3.5” total of memory foam provide a generous contour, while the thicker-than-usual base layer will provide durable support night after night.
Live and Sleep’s Resort Ultra is a side sleeper’s dream. It has enough memory foam to hug your body and relieve pressure, but ample support to keep your spine in alignment. This balance also makes it great for back and stomach sleepers, or multi-positional ones (which also means it’s great for couples who can’t agree). It still sleeps a little warmly overall, despite its aeration and gel features, although that’s to be expected with memory foam of any kind.
3. Perfect Cloud UltraPlush Gel-Max 10” Memory Foam Mattress, Queen Review
Despite its name, the UltraPlush is a medium bed (not plush/soft) designed to suit multiple sleeping positions and preferences. Like most all-foam models on the market, this one features a gel-infused layer and a ventilated one, to help it retain less heat than standard memory foam. It also boasts a mesh cover for “easy care” cleaning and better airflow.
We don’t see this model working as well for heavy folks or those with chronic back pain, but for most customers, it will be a sound investment. Its medium feel is perfect for couples who fight the “too soft/too hard” battle on a regular basis.
4. LinenSpa 8” Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress, Queen Review
The least expensive model in this guide, this hybrid from LinenSpa is an attractive option in more ways than one. Even with a low price, it features a cushy layer of memory foam, soft knit cover, and tempered steel coils for even weight distribution and pressure relief.
This isn’t the best hybrid you’ll find on the market, but for the price, you’re still getting a great deal. It has a plush softness but support comparable to a medium model, which makes this suitable for a range of body weights; it’s best for side sleepers, but we expect some back and stomach sleepers will find it comfortable, as well.
5. Arctic Dreams 10” Cooling Gel Mattress from Dreamfoam Bedding, Queen Review
It seems like the mattress industry’s always forcing customers to choose: a cool night’s sleep, or a soft bed? Enter the Arctic Dreams from Dreamfoam, which utilizes patented memory foam with a faster response and lower heat retention, like latex, but with the same pressure relief and contouring properties. The result is a mattress that sleeps cooler, but feels like a made-just-for-you cloud.
This mattress definitely isn’t for fans of firm beds: the Arctic Dreams is very soft, and will be popular with side sleepers more than anyone else. It’s also affordable, so buyers on a budget will appreciate it, too.
Hunting down a queen mattress for less than $500 takes a fair amount of research, but should land you the best deal for your money: queens are the most popular mattress size because they provide just enough space (without filling up the entire room), and that $500 ballpark is an ideal price for value. Whether you decide on a hybrid, innerspring, memory or latex foam model, you can easily find the right mattress for you…and at the right price.