Best Mattress Under $500 (Year 2018)
Can a quality mattress be found for under $500? The answer is a resounding yes, but with one caveat: it has to be the right mattress for you. You could score the best deal in the world on a top-of-the-line mattress…but if it’s overly soft or firm for your needs, sleeps too warmly, or gives you an allergic reaction, that great deal quickly turns into a huge hassle.
$500 can get you a lot in today’s industry. In the old days of mattress showrooms, big brands were the go-to—and you didn’t even think about trying them out if you didn’t have a fistful of cash to fork over. Today, however, internet mattress retailers have made the market far more competitive. Prices are lower, options are higher, and there’s no pushy salesmen urging you to upgrade or spend more than you can afford.
Our buyer’s guide will answer a few consumer questions about buying mattresses at this price point, and assess some models shoppers should consider to get the most bang for their buck.
Best Price Mattress 10”
ZInus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort Memory Foam 12”
Signature Sleep Signature 13”
What are some important points to consider when buying a mattress on a budget?
The most crucial factor is determining your budget in the first place. A mattress is certainly not an area to skimp on—if you can afford more, you should. Consider it an investment, since you’ll be spending at least 5 years’ worth of nights sleeping on it. It’s more than a bed: you’re buying quality rest and improved health.
That said, don’t spend more than you can afford, either. If you need a mattress as soon as possible and can only afford a $150 model, then that’s where your search will begin.
After you’ve set your budget, consider your needs. Are you a back, stomach, or side sleeper? The former two need firm mattresses, while the latter requires enough give to contour to their hips and shoulder. Do you have chronic pain that could benefit from a memory foam mattress? Do you share your bed with a partner, kids, or pets? All of these are worth considering as you decide which type of mattress you’ll purchase.
Lastly, be prepared to give up some things. You won’t find the best-of-the-best memory foam in this price range, or the most luxurious covers and designs. Of course, you should still be discerning: just because your budget is low, doesn’t mean you should settle for poor quality. Good mattresses can be found in this price range, but finding them requires some research and healthy skepticism.
Are there advantages to memory foam over latex? What about hybrids vs. innersprings?
Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic foam, is a synthetic material that conforms closely to the curves of your body as you move. It softens with heat, so it takes a minute to “sink” after you lie down. Unfortunately, this also means a cold room equals a firm mattress, and a hot one equals a very soft mattress!
Latex foam—which is often all-natural, but not always—has a broader contour; it sinks, but doesn’t take the exact shape of your body, making it easier to turn over and get in and out of bed—especially for heavier or older individuals. It doesn’t provide the same level of pressure relief as memory foam, but also doesn’t retain as much body heat.
Innersprings are traditional models, and contain steel coils that compress and decompress under our changing weights as we move. They provide excellent support, but can cause painful pressure points on hips, shoulders, and upper back areas. Pillow-tops are another option worth considering, if you like the support of innerspring mattresses, but not the pressure; they contain a layer of foam in the top, which cushions you against the springs’ force.
Hybrids are like pillow-tops times ten: they have innersprings, but add a generous layer of foam (usually memory) on top, so you get the ventilation and support of innerspring models, but the contouring comfort of memory foam. The downside to these models is their price: they tend to get up there pretty quickly, the more foam/stronger springs you have.
As with many things in life, the question of “which is best” is up to you. Some people simply prefer one type over another, or want to try a new one and see if it helps them sleep better.
As a general rule of thumb, memory foam is best for side sleepers; latex is best for back, stomach, and overweight people; innersprings aren’t recommended for anyone, without sufficient padding or pillow-tops; and hybrids are recommended for everyone, thanks to varying thickness levels. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, and even their firmness and softness levels—which are already subjective between customers—can vary wildly from company to company, so it’s difficult to say which type will suit you best.
I sleep on my back, and my partner sleeps on his/her side. What firmness level should we look for?
For mixed sleeping positions (either between couples, or individuals—called combination or multi-positional sleepers), it’s hard to find a comfortable negotiation. Experts recommend firm mattresses for back and stomach sleepers, but soft ones for side sleepers; the reasonable compromise, then, is a mattress with medium firmness.
You can also choose mattresses that tip towards either end of the spectrum, if that’s what makes you most comfortable. Some back sleepers like soft mattresses, and some side sleepers prefer medium-firm models over soft to medium.
My budget is incredibly low. What are my options, and are they all terrible?
Your options are about the same as everyone else’s, believe it or not! Higher prices don’t always mean better quality; usually, you’re paying for the “brand name” attached to the mattress.
Of course, there are limits: if a deal seems too good to be true, listen to your instinct. There’s only so low a manufacturer can go in price before it cuts into their profits, so anything under a certain amount indicates their materials are cheap and of poor quality.
There’s no “magic number” to look for, of course, but under $150 for any two-person mattress is probably too low, barring sales, discontinuations, or promotions.
Best Mattress Under $500 Reviews
1. ZInus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort Memory Foam 12” Mattress Review
The Zinus Sleep Master Ultima offers a lot for its price; the fact it’s 12” thick with generous memory and comfort foam would warrant a significantly higher price from more well-known manufacturers. We like that the company has used natural plant oils in an effort to reduce the amount of petroleum in the mattress, as well.
The Ultima has a medium firmness, perfect for back and stomach sleepers. Some side sleepers might enjoy it, but it might need just a touch more softness for most. We also recommend this to heavier individuals, who want memory foam’s comfort—but not that sinking, trapped feeling.
2. Olee Sleep 13” Box Top Hybrid Gel-Infused Memory Foam and Innerspring Mattress Review
Hybrids are great for everyone, and come in a varying range of thicknesses and firmness levels. The Olee Sleep 13” is designed to sleep cool and reduce tossing and turning, which translates to a sounder, deeper sleep with fewer interruptions—something many of us sorely need.
The Olee hybrid is best for back and stomach sleepers; side sleepers might find it too firm, although combination sleepers (who change positions throughout the night) will probably deem it just soft enough to spend some time on their side. We could see this working well with a memory foam topper to increase softness, as well.
3. Signature Sleep Signature 13” Coil Pillow-Top Mattress Review
With a soft bamboo cover and 1” pillow-top, the Signature 13” is a soft but supportive option with excellent moisture wicking for a dryer night’s sleep (good news for sweaty sleepers!). It has 10” coils for even weight distribution, each encased to reduce noise and provide a more comfortable, contouring give.
This pillow-top is ideal for those who prefer or need a firmer sleeping surface, but still want pressure relief where it counts (especially near the shoulders). The zoned design is a thoughtful one, meant to provide a customized sleeping experience for each position and body weight.
4. Best Price Mattress 10” Memory Foam Mattress Review
This model from Best Price—which does, in fact, live up to its name—boasts a tri-layer design and a firm feel, making it ideal for those in need of back pain relief and a contouring surface that won’t swallow them up. It also features an activated charcoal infusion in the 3” memory foam layer, to absorb moisture and keep odors at bay naturally.
This mattress has an overall firm feel, but leans towards the medium point of the spectrum. We think it will suit all sleeping positions fairly well, but back and stomach sleepers will see the most benefit. It provides great motion separation, so it’s great for couples where one partner tosses and turns, or goes to sleep much later/wakes up earlier than the other. It’s not great, however, if you sleep warmly; this model doesn’t run very cool.
5. Lucid 12” Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress Review
Lucid is a fast-growing brand in online mattress manufacturing. They know that no single mattress is best for everyone, and offer a range of designs to accommodate this. The 12” model featured here has a dual-layer design: 3” of memory foam with cooling gel, to divert body heat away as you sleep, and a 9” support layer for unrelenting support to keep your spine in its proper alignment all night, for years to come—no matter what position you sleep in.
This model might not have the fancy multi-layer designs of other brands, but it seems to be engineered with the same attention to detail nonetheless. We recommend it to all sleepers and body weights who prefer a “just right” mattress, not too firm nor soft, and who don’t sleep overly warm as it is—though this model has gel and ventilation, it’s still solid foam, and will sleep at a neutral temperature, at best.
Bargain-hunting for a mattress seems like a lost cause, at first: it feels like the best ones are well in the thousands, but don’t worry—this definitely isn’t the case. Higher priced mattresses usually have a brand-name mark-up, just like any other product you could purchase. True, many are higher quality and will last longer, but you can’t spend what you don’t have; making do with the budget on hand is necessary, and thankfully, there are plenty of quality options to meet your needs for less.
Above all else, buyers should compare the price to what they’re getting, and then determine if it’s a good deal. A $100 mattress that’ll last five years and feels comfortable is better than a $500 or even $1,000 mattress that will last ten years, but isn’t right for you.