A mattress can be a major investment, but unfortunately, sometimes financial constraints require you to make that investment with a very limited budget. The sweet spot for value when buying a mattress online is often between $600-$1,000, but it’s not feasible for every shopper to be able to pay that much. If that’s your situation, this guide can help.
We’ll describe the types of mattresses on the market, the key shopping considerations, and mattress features to look for. We’ll also provide our recommendations for the top mattresses available for under $500. Keep scrolling to read the full guide or click here to jump straight to our top choices.
Can I Find a Quality Mattress for Less Than $500?
Yes. Even with a very tight budget of $500, you can find mattresses that should perform well and that can last for several years. It’s important to know, though, that your options will be more limited, and those options are going to be no-frills mattresses whose overall quality is going to be less than mattresses that are at a slightly higher price point.
As you shop and consider your choices, remember that the listed retail price is often not the final price that you will pay. In mattress stores, sales are extremely common, and you should virtually never pay the retail sticker price. Online, many direct-to-consumer retailers are regularly providing coupons or promotions that can significantly bring down your overall cost. Make sure to keep an eye out for these types of offers so that you can get the best price available. More tips for getting the best deal can be found in our Guide to Mattress Sales and Discounts.
Types of Mattresses
Mattress can be described in numerous ways, but by and large, most mattresses can be broken down into the following types:
This is a mattress built entirely with foam materials such as memory foam or polyfoam. Mattress companies tailor the mattress to have a certain feel based on the types of foams that they use. For example, the foam used in the bottom of the mattress (support foam) is usually different from the foam used in the top of the mattress (the comfort layer). Foam mattresses are often known for being very responsive to where a sleeper’s weight is distributed.
Innerspring mattresses are historically the most common. They use an array of metal coils as the fundamental support system. These coils may be topped with a comfort layer made up of a softer material.
Many mattress manufacturers have sought to create unique mattress designs through the inclusion of springs, latex, and/or foam. Specifically, we label mattresses as hybrids if they use innerspring coils as their base and then 2” or more of foam or latex layered on top for additional support or comfort. Given the many permutations of this type of design, no two hybrids are exactly alike.
Latex is a material made from rubber, and latex mattresses are built with one or more layers of latex. Most latex mattresses use natural rubber, but some may use a type of synthetic rubber or a blend of natural and synthetic materials. Latex is known for its bounciness while remaining supportive; however, it also has a reputation for a being an expensive mattress material.
Considerably more detail about these different kinds of mattresses can be found in our Buyer’s Guide.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the elements that go into buying a mattress. This section is designed to help you identify the most important issues to think through.
- Buy In-Store or Online? With the growth of the online mattress industry, your options for buying a mattress online have skyrocketed. There are pros and cons to buying a mattress online when compared to buying one in-person. If you’re still thinking about where to buy your mattress, make sure to read How to Buy A Mattress Online.
- Other Bedroom Needs: A mattress might not be the only bedding that you need. You might want new sheets or a more comfortable pillow. You’ll want to make sure that any other bedding that you need will fit your new mattress and that your pillow will also help with your spinal alignment. If you need a new bed frame, nightstands, or other furniture, this can also be a good time to invest in those as well. Keep all of these needs in mind when putting together your overall budget..
- Bed size: One big factor that can affect the price of a mattress is the size of the mattress. It seems obvious, but you don’t want to wind up with too much or too little bed. The most appropriate size bed for you can vary based on whether you share the bed with someone else, how tall you are, your sleeping position, the size of your bedroom, and more. If you have taken all these issues into account and determined the optimal bed size for your situation, you can then more easily comparison shop among competing brands.
- Sleeping Solo? Is this mattress one that you will share with a significant other? If so, then your mattress needs may be different than someone who is buying a mattress to use solo. A partner may want a different feel or support level, and it’s vital to discuss this before trying to settle on a best mattress. We go over this in great detail in our guide, the Best Mattresses for Couples.
- Firmness Level: one of the biggest things to consider when selecting a mattress is your firmness preference. Your natural sleeping position may affect this as a firmer or plusher mattress may be more comfortable depending on how you sleep. While there are no hard and fast rules about the “best” firmness level, most sleepers find that a medium-firm mattress, which falls from about a 5-7 on the typical firmness scale, is most comfortable and most supportive. This is the most common firmness level found in online mattresses, but some brands are offered in different firmness choices. If you are looking for something that is extra firm or plush, you can search out one of these brands.
- Sleeping Hot: Are you someone who is constantly kicking off the covers? If so, be aware that your mattress choice can influence your sleeping temperature. Some types of mattresses are prone to sleeping hot, especially memory foam, which can contour to the body in a way that lets heat build up. You don’t want to buy a mattress only to find that your nighttime temperature is causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. In-depth details about this topic are available on our site in our Best Mattresses for Hot Sleepers guide.
- Intimacy: when it comes to sex, not all mattresses are created equal. Some types of mattresses inhibit motion, and if a person feels like they are stuck in the mattress, it can be a barrier to sexual activity. Typically, the mattresses that are best for sex are ones that have a bouncier feel as this can facilitate quick motion on the bed. For each of our mattress reviews, we address whether the mattress is likely to pose problems for sexual activity, and you can also learn more about this in our guide to the Best Mattresses for Sex.
Features to Look For
Choosing the best value for the money means not sacrificing on important features that will help make sure that you have the best possible experience with your mattress. In this section, we’ll describe some of the main things that you’ll want to be on the lookout for as you consider how to get the most bang for your buck in selecting a mattress.
The quality of materials is one of the single most important things to evaluate if you’re looking for a mattress. Unfortunately, with mattresses under $500, you’re likely to encounter materials that are cheaper to produce and commonly of a lower quality. Nevertheless, you want to search for the best materials that you can. When looking at the materials, here are some elements to consider:
- Can you easily find full specifications? The types of things that you’d want to know about include the thickness of all the mattress layers, the density and/or ILD of any foam layers, the type of coils in any innerspring layers, etc. If this information isn’t readily available, it may be a reason to question whether low-quality materials were used.
- Are all the layers built with quality materials? You’re buying a whole mattress, not just one layer. So no matter how compelling a company’s pitch about a comfort layer might be, it could be irrelevant if the support layers fall apart quickly or don’t offer enough support.
- What’s the thickness of the comfort layer? The layer that you sleep on directly is the comfort layer, and if it’s not thick enough, you’ll end up without enough support and will also put potentially damaging pressure on the layers below. This can cause a mattress to give out prematurely. If you want a durable and supportive mattress, we recommend looking for at least 2″ of thickness for the comfort layer and even more than this if you weigh over 230 pounds or have especially pronounced pressure points.
You won’t save any money buying a low-cost mattress if you wind up just having to buy a new one shortly thereafter. While you may not be able to get a top-notch mattress, choosing one with more durable materials increases the likelihood that you’ll get good value for your purchase.
It’s important to consider the total cost of buying a mattress and not just the price of the mattress itself. Most online mattress companies offer free shipping. If you’re enticed by a mattress that has a shipping charge, just make sure to factor that into your total assessment of the value of the mattress.
Customer-Friendly Return Policy
When buying online, you obviously don’t have the opportunity to test out a mattress before having it delivered to your home. While this is disconcerting to some shoppers, it may be helpful to know that most online mattress sellers offer free returns. This is usually included as part of a sleep trial during which you can sleep on the mattress in your own bedroom. During the course of the sleep trial, you can initiate a return and get a full refund. In many cases, the company will even come pick up the mattress from you. While this type of sleep trial isn’t universal, it is commonplace, and we suggest that you seek out this type of no-hassle return policy whenever you can as a way of making sure that you wind up with a great mattress that fits your needs.
Quality Trusted Reviews
It can be easy to get lost in the fog of mattress reviews and the jargon surrounding all of the options that are out there. A way to avoid this problem is to instead focus only on reviews that come from verified purchases and from well-regarded independent testers. This is a huge part of our methodology, so you can always start by reading our mattress reviews.
With a budget limitation of $500, your range of options becomes much narrower. Nevertheless, we’ve outlined our top picks below for each mattress type.
Our top choice for a memory foam mattress under $500 is the Addable mattress.
Why? At just under $500, the Addable mattress offers 2” of gel-infused memory foam above 2” of transition foam with a base of 6” of support foam. The mattress comes with a 181-day sleep trial, which far exceeds the industry standard.
Why Not? Addable does not have a long track record in the industry, so we lack hard data about the performance and durability of their mattress.
The Bottom Line: While it’s not fancy or complicated, the Addable mattress is built using a tried-and-true formula for foam layering and is available at a very competitive price.
A second option for people who are looking for something that costs even less is the line of foam mattresses from Sleep Innovations.
Why? Sleep Innovations is a line of mattresses produced by Innocor, which makes foams for a large number of mattress companies. They have several foam options in different heights, firmness, and price choices — all at very reasonable prices.
Why Not? Sleep Innovations does not disclose their foam densities, so it is hard to clearly evaluate their different products. In addition, because they don’t sell directly to customers, your sleep trial and return options depend on the retailer.
The Bottom Line: for people who want a basic foam mattress at an extremely accessible price, Sleep Innovations is worth serious consideration.
Our recommendation for the top options for innerspring mattresses under $500 is the line of innerspring mattresses from IKEA.
Why? IKEA has several different choices for innerspring mattresses at bargain basement prices. The company offers a return window of 365 days and has a known and established presence and track record of customer service.
Why Not? These mattresses tend to have lower coil counts and less robust materials than what we’d like to see in an innerspring mattress. In addition, IKEA charges $99 for shipping if you buy online.
The Bottom Line: IKEA mattresses are about as simple as they get, but they offer a relatively reliable option from a reputable retailer at extremely low prices.
Because they involve more types of materials and a more detailed process of production, there are not reliable hybrid mattresses under $500 that we feel comfortable recommending. Instead, we suggest looking at one of the other mattress options or finding a way to stretch your budget for a hybrid like the Helix Mattress, which comes with a range of great features.
Latex mattresses tend to be more expensive, and as a result, there are very few options available under $500. If you really are working with a tight budget and are committed to getting a latex mattress, our top choices are the IKEA Latex mattresses.
Why? the IKEA latex mattresses won’t win any awards for their design, but they get generally good customer satisfaction ratings for a latex mattress at this price point. They also come with 365 days to try out the mattress.
Why Not? The amount and quality of latex in these mattresses is lower than most of the other latex options on the market. IKEA also charges $99 for shipping if you buy online.
The Bottom Line: there are many significantly higher-quality latex mattresses out there, but none of them are available for under $500. At this entry-level price, the IKEA mattresses are a viable option from a well-known and well-regarded furniture retailer.
If your current mattress still has some life in it but just isn’t doing the trick in terms of comfort, you might consider buying a mattress topper. A topper can give you the ability to change the level of firmness or support on your existing mattress. For information and recommendations about these products, check out our guide to the Best Mattress Toppers.
If after reading this you think you can stretch your budget to invest in a higher-quality but more expensive mattress, we invite you to check out our guides on better quality mattresses available at higher price points: