Cheap vs Expensive Mattresses

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When searching for a new mattress, you may notice there can be a huge disparity in cost between different mattresses. Some mattresses require an investment of thousands of dollars, while others request just a few hundred bucks for the product. So what’s the difference between these cheap and expensive mattresses, and how do you know which to choose? I’m here to break down the differences between these products and answer your questions about cheap vs expensive mattresses.

What Price Qualifies a Mattress to be “Cheap” or “Expensive”

The terms “cheap” and “expensive” can be subjective, so what qualifies as cheap and expensive when it comes to mattresses? In the sleep world, a mattress is typically considered cheap if it is less than $1,000 for a queen size. We consider a mattress to be expensive if the queen size is more than $2,000. An averaged priced mattress would be somewhere in between. There are a variety of factors that go into determining the price point of a mattress. The quality of the materials, durability, and comfort are just a few mattress qualities that will determine its price. 

Materials

The quality and price of the materials will typically influence the price of the mattress. Many mattresses contain foam, for example, but the specific type used will affect how much it costs. Memory foam and latex foam are high-quality materials and will therefore increase the price of the mattress. Alternate foams, like poly foam, are a bit lower quality and can usually be found in cheaper mattresses. These cheaper mattresses can also have lower grade coils if they’re hybrid or innerspring beds. 

The expensive mattresses can sometimes be so pricey because of the extra perks they have. Mattresses made with hypoallergenic and/or organic materials will cost more. Added cooling features will also drive up the price. Some mattresses will come with uber-advanced technology, such as the Ghost SmartBed 3D Matrix Mattress, which comes with its own wifi box and mobile app that changes its feel with the touch of a button. This type of technology wouldn’t be found in a cheap mattress.

A look at the construction of the Nolah Natural mattress, which is an eco-friendly bed made with organic materials.

Check out some of our picks for the best mattresses in each materials category:

Trial/Warranty Periods

Another big difference between cheap and expensive mattresses can be the trial and warranty periods the company offers. The standard for cheap mattresses is a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty. For expensive mattresses, you’ll typically see a 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty. 

Companies providing long sleep trials and lifetime warranties shows they have confidence you’ll love their product and it will last you a long time. That being said, we’ve tested and reviewed some great mattresses, like the Nectar or Bear, that are still affordably priced despite having longer trials and/or warranties.

Remember, it takes about 30 days to get used to a new mattress, so take advantage of those trial periods! Most sellers should have these details listed on their website, so be sure to look for them. See our buying guide for more important factors to look out for.

Density/Height

Another big difference you’ll tend to get between cheap and expensive mattresses is their height and density. Cheaper mattresses tend to be thinner with just a few layers of material. Expensive mattresses will usually be lofted higher due to multiple layers of different materials. These pricey mattresses can also be made of high-density materials such as memory foam. However, it’s important to note that cheap mattresses can easily be upgraded in height and density with the addition of a mattress topper.

Durability

Expensive mattresses can typically last longer than cheaper ones due to the high-quality materials. These materials make the mattress more durable and able to withstand the natural wear and tear that happens over the years. When the mattress has higher durability, you won’t be needing to replace it quite as often. The price is higher on these because they’re meant to last you a decade or even longer, not just a few years. Check out our piece on how often you should replace your mattress for more information.

Comfort

You’ll sometimes be able to tell if a mattress is cheap or expensive simply by the way it feels. However, don’t assume you’ll love a mattress just because it’s the most expensive one on the market. Every sleeper is different, and the comfort of a mattress can be determined by your sleeping position and weight, among other factors. Not everyone needs all the flair that high-tech mattresses offer, and some may be more comfortable on a simple mattress that happens to be on the cheaper side. There are plenty of great quality “cheap” mattresses out there, and one price tag doesn’t fit all! Check out the full list of our favorite cheap mattresses and our favorites that are under $1,000.

For more options, also check out our favorite mattresses for: 

Final Thoughts

Whether your mattress is classified as “cheap” or “expensive,” what really matters isn’t the price -– it’s the way you feel after sleeping on it. There are pros and cons to both, and most people end up being satisfied with a mattress that is somewhere in the middle of cheap and luxury. But, when in doubt, our article on how much you should spend on a mattress could ease any worries and questions you may have about mattress pricing. 

For a more visual representation of the difference between a very cheap mattress and a very expensive one, see our video below that cuts and compares two extremes on the market.

Riley Otis

Riley Otis

Riley is the former editorial intern at Sleepopolis. She's a firm believer that there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep. Riley is a student at Elon University and currently working towards a degree in journalism and creative writing. In her free time, she loves to paint, cook, and spend time with family (especially her pets).