Best Mattress for the Price of 2018 & Buying Guide

We’d all love to buy the absolute best, top-of-the-line mattress; after all, we spend a third of our lives in bed!  The reality, though, is that budgets have limits.  Rather than buying the best of the best, consumers need the “best of the budget.”  And when they do spend more, they want to make sure they get their money’s worth.

Our buyer’s guide will answer common questions when shopping for a new mattress, and includes our list of budget-friendly picks.  These models are neither the cheapest, nor the most expensive; instead, they’re options with both quality and fair pricing, so you can get the best of both worlds.

Product

Quality

Our Rating

Price

Zinus Memory Foam 12

A+

Olee Sleep 13

A+

Modway Aveline 6

Valencia 6

LinenSpa 8

A-

Fear not: a good night’s sleep doesn’t require waking up to a big bill.

Buying Guide

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Doesn’t a higher price tag mean a better mattress?

Everyone knows that old saying, “You get what you pay for.”  It’s usually true, but a higher demand and cheaper business costs (i.e., online sellers can now sell mattresses, not just brick-and-mortar stores) means the mattress market is more competitive—and this translates to lower prices for consumers.

Generally speaking, a higher price tag does mean a better mattress, but there are plenty of affordable or downright cheap mattresses available that don’t sacrifice quality.

I’ll be replacing this mattress in under 10 years.  Is cheap the way to go?

While ten years is the average lifespan of a quality mattress, some models last much longer; some last less. The general consensus is that 5 years is still reasonable and worth the investment, although this is largely personal.

That said, yes: if you plan on replacing your mattress soon—like if your child will outgrow theirs, you plan on moving and can’t transport your bed, etc.—it’s probably best to choose a cheaper model.  If you need a very temporary arrangement, consider investing in an air mattress that can travel with you, or a rollaway memory foam mat.

Does brand really matter?

Yes and no.  On the one hand, recognizable, big-name mattress brands have higher prices, but higher levels of customer satisfaction, as well.  Because these companies are larger, their customer service lines are usually easier to reach and better able to assist you in the event of problems.

On the other hand, there are plenty of small companies with incredible products and service, but without that “brand name mark-up” that adds unnecessary dollars to your total.

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I can’t afford much at all.  Is my mattress going to be awful?

With diligent research, a cheap mattress can still be the best purchase you’ve ever made.  While you might not recognize the brand, you can look for other marks of quality construction: shape retention for memory foam, positive customer reviews, a reasonable warranty, overall comfort, and motion separation (how much your partner can move without you feeling it).

There’s an inherent consumer bias against the inexpensive, but it’s important to note the difference between cheap price and cheap construction. A poorly made mattress will have negative or no customer reviews, customer service reps that are hard to reach (or no reps whatsoever), signs of damage in the stitches on the mattress, uneven surfaces, or a vague list of materials and features that don’t really explain what you’re getting.

So be wary, and be picky . When in doubt, it’s always better to spend a little more on a mattress you feel emotionally comfortable buying.  Trust your instincts: if it sounds way too good to be true, it probably is.

Can I just get a cheap mattress and nice pillow top?

Yes—as long as your mattress isn’t poorly constructed, or worn out and sagging.

Putting a pillow top on an already good mattress is a frugal solution to too-firm models, and has the advantage over built-in pillow top models: you can remove the top and flip the mattress, rather than simply rotating, which extends its lifespan.

Modway Aveline 6

Modway Aveline 6

If, however, you’re using a pillow top on an old or ill-designed mattress, that’s a bit like building a house on a flimsy foundation: it’ll work for a few days, but ultimately, the problem won’t be solved.  In time, the pillow top will mold itself to fit the mattress; if it sags in the middle, so will the pillow top.

If it’s made with dangerous synthetic materials, these particles can migrate into the top layers and cause skin reactions or respiratory problems.  Additionally, pillow tops and additions decrease ventilation, which raises temperatures.  If you already wake up sweating, this can aggravate the problem.

In short, it’s still imperative to get a quality mattress, even if you plan on supplementing with memory foam or down pillow tops.  The bright side, though, is that you can skip the bells and whistles of the built-in models, and seek a more basic mattress as your bed’s “foundation.”


Best Mattress for the Price Reviews

1. LinenSpa 8″ Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Review

LinenSpa 8

The LinenSpa8″ Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid is a pretty luxe option for less-than-stellar budgets.  It features foam for comfort, but a spring system reminiscent of traditional spring mattresses.

To be sure, it isn’t the fanciest mattress you’ll find in this general price range, but it is one of the cheapest, and worth mentioning.

Pros

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    Very firm, making it ideal for back sleepers and a good option for stomach sleepers.
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    High motion separation; if one partner tosses and turns, most of that motion won’t be transferred to other partners.
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    Springs don’t creak or groan, as with traditional spring mattresses of the past.
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    Hybrid design allows for softness and pressure relief from the top layer, while springs in core encourage ventilation to disperse body heat more effectively.

Cons

  • Not recommended for side sleepers, although its top foam layer might be suitable for those who side-sleep only part of the night.
  • Spring models can become uncomfortable and noisy over time; it’s unclear if this hybrid design will correct that problem or not.

2. Modway Aveline 6″ Gel Infused Memory Foam Review

Modway Aveline 6

Another reasonably priced model, the Modway Aveline actually comes in a range of sizes and thicknesses (6″, 8″, and 10″).  We’ll review the 6″ Queen, as it’s the cheapest of the larger sizes.

Pros

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    All foam, with a gel-infused top layer for low heat retention, and open-cell design to ventilate body heat.
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    Retains shape well, quickly springing back after movement to contour to the spine, hips, and neck for multi-positional support.
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    Impressive motion separation.

Cons

  • Foam construction means it’s less than ideal for slatted bed bases; would likely require a box spring or plank base, so the foam doesn’t mold to slats over time.
  • 6″ might be too firm for some; the 8″ model or 10″ model will provide more softness, but at a higher price.

The Modway Aveline 6″ mattress is an inexpensive total-foam option, although thicker models are probably best if you require more softness (such as side sleepers).  It’s quite firm for a foam mattress, so it’s best suited for back and stomach sleepers.  The motion separation is high: if you or your partner frequently wake one another when rolling over, consider the Modway.

3. Valencia 6″ Gel Memory Foam Review

Valencia 6″ Gel Memory Foam

Affordable and made entirely in America, the Valencia 6″ Gel Memory Foam bed is another all-foam option for frugal shoppers.  With a 2″ top and 4″ core, it provides more softness and support than similar mattresses of the same thickness.

Pros

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    Thin and lightweight (40 lbs.); ideal for frequent movers, or those who will be assembling the bed by themselves.
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    10-year warranty; American company.
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    On the softer side, providing both support and comfort for side sleepers and couples with mismatched positions.

Cons

  • Overall thinness might leave something to be desired for those who prefer a very plush bed, and can affect ventilation as mattress settles.
  • Top memory foam layer is 2″ thick, and might not accommodate body shape quickly enough for sleepers who change position throughout the night.

The Valencia features a low-range price and mid-range softness.  While it’s not as soft as side sleepers might like, it does offer just enough comfort to relieve pressure on joints for stomach sleepers.  Slow shape “spring back” means this isn’t the best choice for people who shift frequently.  Overall, consider this model if you’re a back or stomach sleeper who’s strapped for cash.

4. Zinus Memory Foam 12″ Green Tea Mattress Review

Zinus Memory Foam 12

Pros

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    Features 3″ of memory foam and 2″ of denser foam for a soft and effective contour, yet sturdy support.
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    Foam is infused with a green tea and castor oil blend, which naturally reduces bacteria and allegedly mitigates the common “foam smell” upon unpacking.

Cons

  • Limited warranty only lasts for 5 years; most companies offer 10-year warranties, especially on memory-foam models (which can break down over time if not manufactured properly).
  • Despite 7″ of support foam designed to “maximize airflow,” this mattress is not the coolest on the market.
  • Scent infusion, though made of all-natural ingredients, could potentially irritate those with respiratory problems.

If you overheat very easily at night, skip this model; otherwise, it’s worth checking out.  The thickness provides a plush yet supportive surface, perfect for partners who don’t sleep in the same position.  For those with sensitive noses, the unique scent infusion can be a pleasant replacement for the chemical smell so common with new foam mattresses.

5. Olee Sleep 13″ Box Top Hybrid Review

Olee Sleep 13″ Box Top Hybrid

Another fairly priced option, the Olee Sleep Hybrid features springs in the support layer, while its top layers of memory foam, support foam, and gel eliminate the problems of traditional spring mattresses (namely, feeling the springs through the mattress, and that dreaded “groan”).  In theory, this hybrid design should make it last longer than all-foam choices.

Pros

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    1″ gel layer is designed to diffuse body heat as you sleep and keep you cool.  Inner spring system allows for higher airflow, which also helps this issue.
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    Soft and pliable enough for side sleepers, yet firm enough for back and stomach sleepers.

Cons

  • At 94 lbs., it’s rather heavy and will most likely require two adults for set-up.

If you have a mismatched sleeping partner, the Olee Sleep Hybrid might be the answer to your nighttime prayers. Its triple-layer foam sections relieve pressure, while the coil spring section provides greater stability and ventilation than solid-foam options.  It’s not exactly butter-soft, but very far from that “sleeping on the floor” feeling.

To Conclude

Budget-friendly mattress options abound, but there does seem to be a measure of that aforementioned “you get what you pay for” factor at play: the very cheapest models usually (though not always) have more cons than pricier choices.  If you can stand the wait, it might be worth saving just a little more before you click that “Add to Cart” button.

That said, don’t assume big figures translate to big comfort; some of the most expensive models on the market still have the same problems as inexpensive ones.  In the end, it comes down to diligent research on the part of the consumer.  If you find a cheaper bed with specifications to suit your unique needs, and plenty of positive reviews to back up the claims, don’t feel put off by the low price.  It’s not always a marker for quality, but rather, the result of an increasingly