If you’ve read any of our other articles on this site you’ll probably already know that we like to recommend people pay as much as they can for a mattress. We say this as there’s no other product in your home you’re going to use as much as your mattress (8 hours a day, every day).

That being said, there are times when you should consider a cheap mattress instead of getting something a little more premium. With that in mind today we’re going to talk about what we feel are 6 of the best cheap mattresses on the market at the moment. We’ll impartially review and contrast them, and we’ll explain a little bit more about where and when we think a cheap mattress is appropriate.

Let’s get started.

In What Situations Do We Recommend A Cheaper Mattress?

As we just mentioned, 99 times out of 100 we recommend budgeting as much as you can afford to for your mattress. However, here are a few situations where you might want to consider a lower cost mattress instead.

Guest Bedrooms

Our advice on spending as much as possible on your mattress only applies if you’re going to be using it every night, so for guest bedrooms, this is obviously not the case. They’re going to be used much less regularly and as such the additional comfort and satisfaction is often not worth the additional expense compared to a cheaper mattress.

Dorm Bedrooms

If you’re shopping for a cheaper mattress in a dorm room, then you’re on the right track. The chances are that you’ll only be using the mattress in a dorm room for 3 years or so – but good mattresses last 5 times that (and more). Once you leave your dorm room it’s highly unlikely you’re going to have a bed that’s the same size, so you’re going to be left with a useless mattress. It makes sense to get an inexpensive mattress and simply “make do” with it until you’ve got a more permanent living situation.

First Apartments

In an ideal world when you move into your first apartment you’d have a large amount of disposable income to set aside for a mattress. However, this is obviously not the case for most people. It pains us to say this, but there are probably more important things to be budgeting for than a good mattress when you’re moving into your first apartment. Get a cheaper mattress to start with, and when you’re settled in and have some disposable income – get a better one.

Kids Bedrooms

While this might sound a little unfair, it’s often a good idea to get a low-cost mattress for the kids’ bedroom – especially while they are very young. There’s a whole host of reasons for this, the most obvious of which is that they grow up so darn fast. Unless you’ve gotten them a full sized bed, getting a good mattress for them is going to be a waste of money – they’ll outgrow it within a few years. Additionally, for young children “little liquid accidents” can happen throughout the night – you’re going to be happy you purchased an inexpensive mattress when this happens, trust us.

Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals are perhaps the only other time we’d be recommending cheaper mattresses over something a little more special – but it does come with a caveat. If you’re offering a low-cost budget-friendly vacation rental, then a cheap mattress is fine (people are not going to be expecting luxury on a budget). However, if you’ve got a property that’s a little more upmarket – you may get complaints. Weigh up the pros and cons of a cheap mattress in your specific situation (and remember to factor in potential damages caused by guests).

What Will Be Different About A Cheap Mattress?

Ok, so now we know about the few very specific situations where we recommend saving your money and picking a budget mattress. But what’s going to be different compared to a better product? And how different will it be?

Material Quality

Inexpensive mattresses are generally made from lower quality materials compared to premium products. To be honest, the budget end of the pricing spectrum has seen huge improvements over the last decade – and you can get an amazing amount of quality without splashing the cash.

You’re not going to be getting the best night’s sleep possible, but if you choose your product wisely – you can still get a great night’s sleep.

Longevity

This goes hand in hand with the material quality point above. A cheaper mattress made from cheaper materials will inevitably wear out and start to degrade quicker than a more expensive product. It’s not deal breaking considering the price point of the products we’re talking about – but just bear in mind you’re going to be shopping for another mattress sooner than you would be with a premium product.

Technology

You’re probably going to be looking at the bare basics of both material and design technology in a cheaper mattress. Things, like cooling gel memory foam and open cell memory foam, will largely be out of budget (but there are a few exceptions to this as we’ll see in the review section below). Similarly, special advanced design patterns that are used to provide optimal support and efficient thermal regulation will also be off the menu for the most part.

Our Top 6 Cheap Mattresses: Reviewed

From reading the points we’ve made above, we’re willing to bet that some of you are a little nervous at this point – we’ve not painted inexpensive mattresses in a particularly good light so far.

There’s a huge amount of rubbish out there on the market in this price bracket that needs to be avoided. To make matters worse, many of the terrible products invest a huge amount into their marketing and sales strategies to make them seem much better than they are…

But don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

We’ve searched high and low to find 6 excellent low cost, budget friendly mattresses that provide excellent value for money. We think you’re about to be pleasantly surprised…

The Nectar

The Nectar mattress is quietly becoming one of the most popular low-cost mattresses on the planet. Year on year their sales are improving, and word is starting to spread about this amazing value product.

It’s a 5 layer hybrid mattress that utilizes some incredibly advanced materials and technologies considering the low price point.

The top layer is a Tencel cooling cover. Tencel is a natural product that is made from wood fibers – and it’s incredibly soft (It’s only been used in a few products so far). Tencel is an excellent wicking material, which means that any liquids (sweat) that it comes into contact with in the night will be taken away from the sleeper to keep the sleeping surface cool.

As the proverbial cherry on top, Tencel naturally wards off bed bugs and it’s extremely environmentally friendly too.

The next layer down is the most interesting layer of the product – quilted cooling gel memory foam.

We’re shocked that Nectar is able to offer this kind of technology at this price point – cooling gel memory foam is arguably the most advanced form of memory foam on the planet. The way it works is reasonably simple in theory, it’s just hard to actually produce.

Cooling gel memory foam is infused with a substance (that varies from mattress to mattress) that’s an excellent thermal conductor. When heat enters a normal memory foam mattress it gets trapped inside and starts to heat up. When heat enters a cooling gel infused memory foam mattress, much of the heat is absorbed by the cooling gel instead of the memory foam.

The cooling gel then distributes the heat evenly across the entire sleeping surface reducing hotspots for the sleeper and resulting in a cooler sensation.

As an added bonus, Nectar has made this layer of cooling gel memory foam quilted. This adds a little bit of loft to the product to make it extremely comfortable, but it also creates channels for air to flow through to further aid cooling through ventilation.

The next layer down is made from hi-core memory foam. This is an advanced type of foam that’s worthy of its own article due to its complexities. All you need to know is it’s extremely supportive, contours quickly, and is very durable.

The final layer of the Nectar is a solid base layer of high-density breathable foam. It’s the least interesting layer of the product (as is the case with most base layers), but it does the job of providing a supportive base well.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Cooling gel memory foam
  • Lofted memory foam
  • Tencel cover
  • Very supportive
  • Great brand

Con

  • None

Tuft And Needle

Tuft And Needle’s slogan is “an exceptional mattress at a fair price”. If that doesn’t sound like the kind of product that’s perfect for this article, then we don’t know what is.

Tuft And Needle use only 3 layers in this hybrid mattress, choosing to focus on quality instead of quantity.

The top layer of the mattress is made from a substance called Polyamide that’s blended with normal polyester. Like the top layer in the Nest above it has been designed to be a wicking layer that takes moisture away from the sleeper. It’s not a natural product, so it’s less eco-friendly – but it’s exceptionally good at what it does.

The second layer of this mattress is the most interesting, it’s made from a proprietary foam called T&N Adaptive Foam that has been created and patented by Tuft And Needle. It’s an ambitious material that aims to combat the problems of memory foam by giving the layer some latex like properties.

T&N Adaptive Foam is a little less contouring as a result of this, it’s still in a similar “league” to memory foam in terms of support – but the difference is noticeable. However, the upside to this material can be found in its thermal regulation properties (it’s much cooler than memory foam). It’s also more eco-friendly than memory foam, and it lasts much longer than a latex product too.

Again, we’re going to skip over the bottom layer – it’s standard high-density support foam that provides a stable base for the more interesting layers above.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • T&N Adaptive Foam
  • Cool sleeping surface
  • More durable than latex products
  • Reputable brand

Con

  • Not as contouring as memory foam

Nest

We love the Nest brand, they’ve got several products in their range that are mainly variations of the same mattress and materials in different configurations. Instead of focusing on one particular Nest product here we’re going to outline the materials that you’ll find in all of their products.

The covering of most Nest products is reasonably uninteresting – it’s a soft knit, durable cotton weave that’s got a limited (yet sufficient) amount of wicking capability. But underneath that is where the good stuff starts…

Reminder: The order of the layers below changes between different Nest products.

You’ll find a thick layer of cooling gel memory foam in most Nest products. It works in exactly the same way as the cooling gel memory foam in the Nectar we mentioned at the start of this review section (and it’s of an equally high quality).

You’ll also probably find a layer of “premium Visco foam” somewhere in your Nest mattress. Nest is trying to be a little bit cheeky here to make their product sound more fancy than it is. Visco foam is nothing more than the technical term for normal memory foam.

However, don’t let their marketing put you off this product, this layer is a high-quality memory foam (closed cell and no cooling gel) that provides the bulk of the support of Nest’s mattresses.

There will probably also be a layer of firmer foam underneath the Visco layer that Nest likes to call “SmartFlow Airflow Foam”. Again, Nest’s marketing department has run wild here – it’s not that special. It’s a standard (yet quality) layer of ventilated comfort foam that’s quite firm. It provides ventilation for the top layers and acts as a transition layer to soften the gradient to the layer below.

As you might have guessed, the final layer is standard high-density support foam – it gets the job done, but it’s not worth us repeating ourselves over.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Great brand
  • Cooling gel memory foam
  • Cool sleeping surface
  • Multiple layers
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • We don’t like their “marketing speak”

Eve

We’re big fans of the Eve here, there are few products that offer the kind of quality and materials that this product does at this price point.

The covering of the mattress is around 0.5cm thick and is made from a polyester blend that’s been designed to be soft yet durable. It has got great wicking properties and is a 4-way stretch knit (it’s machine washable at 40 degrees too).

The first layer of memory foam in the Eve is what makes us love this product so much – it’s made from open cell memory foam. Open cell memory foam is the other way engineers have combated the overheating problem that plagues standard memory foam (the other way is cooling gel). It’s a very expensive material to create, so we’re stunned Eve has managed to include it in a budget mattress.

The way normal memory foam works is that it has countless little pockets of air inside of it (or cells). When you apply pressure to the mattress the cells contract and the foam contours to your body shape. When heat enters the mattress from your body the air inside these cells begins to heat up, and as the cells are completely closed the air can’t escape and the mattress begins to heat up too.

As you might have guessed, open-cell memory foam creates a small opening in each cell to allow the air to move around the mattress freely. This means the warm air can ventilate into the bedroom much easier and the mattress stays much cooler.

Underneath the open cell memory foam layer is a layer of “Active Response” memory foam. This is a variation of standard memory foam that has been made to be 30 times more breathable. It’s still a closed cell foam, but as it’s not in direct contact with the sleeper – this isn’t a problem. Its job is to take the air from the open cell layer above and help it ventilate into the bedroom.

There are two layers of support foam below the Active Response memory foam layer. One is denser than the other, but they’re standard and boring, so we’re going to skip them.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Open cell memory foam
  • Active response memory foam
  • Very supportive
  • Cool sleeping surface

Cons

  • None

Zinus

Zinus make several budget mattresses, they are a low-cost manufacturer that manages to provide a massive amount of quality at a super low price point. Despite being one of the cheapest mattress brands on this list, they’re also one of the most highly regarded. Zinus has the most reviewed mattress on Amazon (20,000 reviews) and they also have the highest rated mattress on Amazon too!

We’ll take a look at some of the materials Zinus use in their products here. Not all of their mattresses will contain all of these materials – but it should give you an idea of the kind of quality to expect…

Green Tea Memory Foam

Green tea memory foam sounds like a marketing gimmick, but trust us – it’s not. While it doesn’t change the supportiveness or comfort of your mattress it goes a long way to keeping it fresh and clean. Green tea naturally fights odor-causing bacteria and it also resists bedbugs too.

Standard Memory Foam

You’ll find reasonably standard memory foam in many of Zinus’s products. Quite honestly it’s not the best memory foam in the world – it’s durable, but it can get warm. However, as it’s never used as a top layer that’s in contact with the sleeper this is not a huge problem.

Comfort Foam / High-Density Foam

Almost all of Zinus’s products will have layers of standard comfort foam and high-density foam in them. Despite the budget price point, they’re all high quality (but reasonably basic) foams that will stand the test of time.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Green tea memory foam
  • Excellent build quality
  • Staggeringly cheap
  • Decent warranty
  • Huge number of positive reviews

Con

  • Standard memory foam can get a little hot

Signature Sleep

The final brand we’re going to be recommending here for low-cost mattresses is Signature Sleep. Again they’ve got many products on the market so we’ll talk about their construction in a general sense here.

One of the most interesting things about signature sleep is their use of individually wrapped coils in most of their products. These coils are the latest evolution in sprung mattress design, and they’re miles away from the old innerspring mattresses you probably slept on as a child.

The main improvement comes from the fact that the coils are completely independent of one another, which means they only compress when direct pressure is applied to them. This allows the coil layer to conform to your body in a similar fashion to memory foam (but much less precisely).

Signature sleep rarely uses memory foam in their products, instead, they let the coil layer provide the support and they place layers of high-quality comfort foam to add a little cushioning.

This is something that is not going to be to everyone’s tastes – especially if you like the feel of a memory foam product, but it’s a super cool sleeping surface. Perhaps the main benefit of a mattress that’s not made from memory foam is that many of Signature sleep’s products are reversible, which means they can be flipped over after a few years and feel like new again.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Reversible
  • Long life
  • Supportive
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Not a memory foam product

Conclusion

So there you have it, a little bit of insight into the world of cheap mattresses.

As we hope you will agree, there’s no reason that shopping for a mattress on a budget needs to result in a poor night’s sleep. Any of the products we have talked about today are more than worthy of your consideration (and they won’t break the bank).

Sweet dreams!

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