What Is a Bed in a Box, and How Is it Changing the Way People Buy Mattresses?
The bed-in-a-box is first and foremost radically reshaping the mattress industry. It's also reshaping the way a lot of people sleep—and how much they pay to get that sleep. We'll explain what you need to know about this exciting new approach to beds.

What is a bed-in-a-box?

The Topicist Top Pick: Casper Mattresses

A Bed-in-a-Box

The name bed-in-a-box refers to mattresses that are packed and shipped in a box—and a surprisingly small box at that. They're able to do so because the mattresses are made from memory foam. That memory foam can compress into a very small space, and once taken out of the box, it will naturally expand to its proper size in an hour or two.

They're usually purchased online, sight unseen, and often directly by the company making them. BedinaBox Mattresses was one of the first companies in this space, but today there are many. Casper was probably the first widely-known brand, and that company was able to make waves in part because their mattresses are made and shipped directly from their factory in New York, making them American-made. Purple is also making a splash with an aggressive marketing campaign online and on TV, but there are many other companies competing in this space, too.

The key to this new business model is the lack of showrooms or need for commissioned sales-people. Shipping direct to the customer from the manufacturer allows these beds to offer a quality sleep at prices that are simply far lower than what you'll pay in most reputable mattress stores.

Modern Memory Foam Mattresses

The other key, however, is advances in materials. While memory foam mattresses have been around for a while, they developed a reputation for leaving the sleeper hot. The modern generation of memory foam mattresses utilize multiple layers of different types of memory foam that each do a different job. The top layers tend to focus on breathability so that you don't overheat, while lower levels focus on support and strength. I've been sleeping on a Casper for years, and every night I get the best sleep I've ever had in my life.

Casper has models with up to five layers of different foams. Purple takes different tact, using a lattice work that they say supports you better and distributes pressure evenly. BedinaBox Mattresses features up to three layers of foam with different materials for mattress cover.

Other things to know include the fact that you can use them with or without a box spring. You should also know that you won't be able to stuff a fully reflated mattress back in the box that it came in. You can fold them, however, and even when in their fully-reflated state, they're not particularly heavy.

Trying a Bed-in-a-Box

You can't lay on a bed-in-a-box before you order it, but most of these companies offer some kind of return policy if you don't like their mattress. Make sure to check the terms and conditions of your purchase if you have any concerns about this issue.