Mattresses are an essential item in any household. They have become an integral part of the modern home, providing a safe, comfortable, warm space for us to rest. Although not all mattresses are made equal, you can hardly buy any of them for under a hundred dollars.
What we want to know is: if mattresses are such an integral part of our daily life, why do they cost so much? If you have arrived at this article, then the chances are that you want to know the answer to this, too.
Let’s investigate what makes a mattress so expensive and perhaps discuss how we can find one for cheaper.
In a hurry? If you don’t have time to read the full article, we recommend checking out the Saatva mattress range. These beds are ideal for shoppers on a budget who still want durability, comfort, and support.
What’s in My Mattress that Affects the Price?
No matter where you buy your modern mattress from, you are bound to come across four distinct styles. Each of these comprises different features and parts. Let’s take a closer look at those four styles below.
What are the Four Styles of Modern Mattress?
1 – The Sprung Mattress (Innerspring mattress)
These were made popular in the 20th century but have gradually faded in relevance since the mass rollout of memory foam. Sprung mattresses use a combination of metal springs and fabric to support you while you sleep.
The modern version of the sprung mattress is known as a pocket spring mattress. The manufacturing method usually involves encasing coils with their own memory foam pocket. The pocket protects the sleeper from some of the noise that made sprung mattresses unpopular, to begin with.
The cost of a sprung mattress is in the metal coils, the fabric that cushions them, and the layers of sturdy material that they need to form layers of support between the springs and the fabric sections.
2 – Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam was developed in the 70s by NASA contractors trying to account for the G-force in rocket-ship seating. The first memory foam mattress hit stores in the ’90s after well-known mattress manufacturer Tempur-Pedic applied the new knowledge to mattress making. The result was a comfortable material that molded to your body’s shape.
The modern-day memory foam mattress is a high-tech version of that first design. These beds tend to have a thick, dense base layer, a few middle layers of varying densities of foam, and sometimes a gel-infused layer on top for cushioning or cooling.
The reason a memory foam mattress costs so much is in the foam. It’s not that cheap to manufacture, and you need a lot of it for a whole bed. Add to this the research and development that goes into their creation, and you end up with a pricey product that you sink into like a cloud.
3 – Hybrid Mattresses
The hybrid mattress uses both coiled springs and memory foam together in one nifty little number. The combination of both springs and foam makes for a super comfortable experience, steadily dominating the luxury mattress market.
A hybrid mattress has pocketed springs, just like the modern sprung mattress. These springs usually sit inside their own memory foam casing, with more memory foam added above and below the section that houses the springs.
Hybrid mattresses can have all the benefits of both types of beds, which makes them innately more expensive. Added to that, you must include the cost of the foam, the springs, the research and development, and all the advertising to try and convince people that hybrid mattresses are better for them. Hybrids can get pricey, but they are also some of the best models available.
4 – The Latex Mattress
A latex mattress can be either a hybrid or a full foam bed. The only difference is that it features latex foam. Latex foam tends to sleep cooler than memory foam and is often denser material. Some people prefer a latex mattress because they don’t like the feel of a foam bed but still want the benefits.
Other Mattress Types
There are other types of mattresses, but for this article’s purposes, we will deal with the main four. You could have an air mattress, a water mattress, or another kind entirely. Whatever type of mattress you buy, expect to pay a considerable amount for a decent model.
How Much Do Mattresses Cost?
How much you can expect to pay for your mattress differs depending on the type you want to buy. It further differs per price point. For example, you can buy a budget mattress, a mid-range mattress, or a high-end mattress, each of which will have different ranges.
Let’s break it down into bite-sized chunks so you can get a good grasp on how much a mattress costs.
Sprung mattresses cost anything upwards of $300 for a budget model. A mid-range sprung mattress price is roughly $550, while a high-end one will cost around $900.
A memory foam mattress can cost as little as $250 on the low end. However, the higher you go in quality, the higher those prices are. A mid-range will fetch roughly $1,000, while a high-end one can set you back an average of $4,000.
A latex mattress will start from $300, hit mid-range at $1,500, and high-end at an average of $4,000.
A hybrid mattress will start from $250 on the budget end, rise to a medium price of $1,000, then finish at the high end for an average of $4,000.
Why is a New Mattress so Expensive?
With these pricy parts, the length of time you keep it for, and the amount of use you get out of it, a mattress can be an expensive purchase. You use it for more time than you spend driving your car. Even after you replace it, it might still see use elsewhere.
How long do you keep a mattress for?
Several factors affect the price manufacturers charge for mattresses, and one of the biggest of these is the length of time your new mattress will last. Typically speaking, mattress manufacturers recommend replacing your mattress at least once every decade.
The average lifespan is reportedly 7-10 years although there are mattress makers who specifically promise longer. Some even come with lifelong guarantees so that you can have the mattress replaced when it wears out. These brands cost more, but the savings are potentially immense.
Mattresses that come with lifelong guarantees include the Layla Mattress, the Nectar Memory Foam, and the Puffy and Puffy Lux.
Mattress Usage Affects Price
Another reason for the high prices for bedding is the amount of time you spend using it. A new mattress must comfortably accommodate your sleeping form for up to 12 hours a day, 365 days a year. You have pillow fights on it, you sleep on it, your kids jump on it, and you and your partner – er – sleep on it. Your mattress takes a lot of abuse.
Imagining how much use you get out of your mattress helps you to comprehend why manufacturers charge so much for one. It goes through a lot, so it needs to be tough. Companies must rigorously test it before it even makes it to your home, and all that testing adds to the price.
Brand’s Prices will Differ
As well as the material costs, the length of time you have it, and the amount you are going to use it, the branding behind the mattress seriously impacts the price. If you look at a brand such as Tempur-Pedic, those first users of memory foam, the same bed will cost you more than it would if you bought a budget version. Big brands need to pay for research and development. In a way, they are victims of their own success.
What happens to old mattresses?
When you buy a new mattress from a retailer, you will notice that they sometimes offer to haul away your old mattress. They may do this free of charge, but they may charge a small fee for the service, so do check.
What happens to your old mattress? The company may take them apart to recycle the parts. Sometimes, they will be donated to a homeless shelter or for animals to sleep on in similar shelters. This will only happen if the mattress has seen very little use.
If you don’t have them remove your mattress, you must consider the consequences. An average bed takes 120 years to decompose in the dump. Given that 98% of all people in America have a mattress, this amounts to literally millions of years of decomposition before the beds break down entirely.
How can I get a Cheaper Mattress?
If you can’t afford to pay full price for your mattress, there are several ways that you can get yours for less. Here are our top tips for getting a cheaper mattress.
1 – Shop During May
Mattress manufacturers refresh their stock in June. This means tying up old lines and introducing new ranges of bedding – and it also means significant discounts on last years’ produce for the consumer. If you buy from somewhere like Costco, this gives you access to deals across multiple brands.
2 – Shop for Used Mattresses
Some stores will let you buy returned mattresses for a bargain. They will have been sanitized and washed, don’t worry. If you can’t find a used bed in a store, you can check places like Facebook Marketplace to find a local one going spare.
If you do buy second-hand mattresses, you can always sanitize them yourself, at home.
3 – Buy Bigger
If you want to save money on your mattress, buy a more expensive option with a lifelong guarantee. If you can afford it, this means you use your bed until it wears out, then you get your replacement mattress free.
It’s a significant expense at the outset, but it makes financial sense in the long run. Not only do you get a free replacement, but the company is also on hand to repair damages to your mattresses.
4 – Or Buy Budget
You can get money off your next mattress purchase if you simply opt for a budget bed. Costco has some great affordable mattresses that won’t see you re-mortgage your house. Again, shop at a department store or discount retailer to get the best budget brand mattresses. Doing this in May means even bigger discounts.
5 – Find Discount Codes
The discount code is the modern way to apply a voucher for money off. It is used at the checkout for money off your shopping cart. You can find discount codes for your favorite mattress providers by searching Google, following the brand on social media, or from influencers that are associated with those brands.
Discount codes work even better if you buy your bed from a well-known store such as Costco. You can pick up your mattress alongside your groceries and save more the more you spend!
What are the Best Value Mattresses?
Those that want to know more about these value mattresses we have been talking about should pay particular attention to the following three mattress models. They represent good value for money and a comfortable night’s sleep.
1 – Saatva Mattresses
Saatva is a mattress seller of distinction that provides excellent value affordable bedding. Mattresses from Saatva are long-lasting, fuss-free, and provide pure comfort.
Saatva has a full range of memory foam and hybrid mattresses for you to choose from. The most expensive is the Saatva Zenhaven, which features a luxury plush finish, support, and pressure relief for all types of sleepers. It features five distinctive support zones to help you drift off peacefully.
2 – The Puffy Mattress
You have probably heard of Puffy and Puffy Luxe, if only because of their award-winning mattress technology. The company’s flagship mattress, the Puffy, is world-famous as a perfect sleep haven that can satisfy even the most troublesome sleeper.
The Puffy was so successful that the brand quickly followed it with the Puffy Luxe, a luxury version of their premium – yet affordable – mattress. Puffy includes a 101-night sleep trial, can match any bed frame, and will ship for free. When it comes to pleasing mattress consumers, they really do know their stuff.
3 – The Linenspa Mattress Range
Priced from under a hundred bucks and upwards, the Linenspa mattress range is renowned for offering excellent quality for low prices. The brand shot to fame selling its bed-in-a-box mattresses on Amazon for less than the price of a decent vacuum cleaner. Best of all, there are multiple bed types for the same price point, so you get some choice with your bargain.
What to Look for in a Budget Mattress?
What do you look for to make sure your budget mattress is cheap and cheerful, not cheap and nasty? Let’s review.
Bounce influences both noise reduction and springiness. If you want a mattress that pulls you in, go for memory foam. If you want one with springiness, try a sprung or a hybrid.
When you toss and turn in the night, you don’t want a mattress that wakes you up. Check to see how quiet the springs are.
If it is a full foam mattress, it will be hotter than a hybrid or sprung. Latex sleeps a little cooler. However, look out for cooling mattresses as they can help.
Choosing a smaller size can knock a few dollars off the asking price.
If you need a lot of support, a memory foam mattress won’t do. Similarly, those of a heavier build need to check the bed for weight limits.
If you do opt for a used mattress, be sure it has been cleaned.
FAQS About the Price of Mattresses
In the section below, we have tried to answer some of our reader’s commonly asked questions about the expense of a new mattress.
Q: Can you get a good mattress for less than $500?
A: Absolutely. See the section above regarding the top budget mattresses on the market. Linenspa offers a whole range of mattresses starting from $99, so it’s the best in terms of choice.
Q: What is the best mattress under $500?
A: Reviewers love both the Allswell Mattress and the Tuft & Needle. You can also check out the Dynasty Cooling Mattress if you tend to sleep hot.
Q: How can I get a mattress for cheap?
A: If you want to buy a cheap mattress, shop during May when mattress manufacturers bring out new stock. You can also search online for discount codes, buy used mattresses from locals, or negotiate with the sales team to get a better deal.
Q: What’s the best cheap mattress for back pain?
A: If your mattress is giving you back pain, you need more support. Up the firmness rating or try out the Memory foam hybrid from Linenspa. This one has conforming foam coupled with pressure-relieving springs and all for a reasonable price, too.
Q: What’s the best cheap mattress for hip pain?
A: The aforementioned Linenspa will also help with hip pain. If you have a higher budget, then check out the DreamCloud mattress. It comes with a lifetime warranty, free shipping and returns, and a full year’s worth of sleep trial. That’s a lot of mattress for your money.
Q: Can I get a cheap cooling mattress?
A: Yes, you can. The Dynasty Cool Breeze mattress comes in at less than $500 and contains cooling gel-infused foams. These cool you as you sleep, making for the perfect bed for those who sleep hot.
Q: What’s the best type of mattress for side sleepers?
A: Look into memory foam mattresses if you sleep on your side. They will contour to the shape of your body, allowing you to sink in and get support all along those sides. If you are already sleeping on foam and it still hurts, change to a firmer kind of foam.
Q: Which is the best type of mattress for stomach sleepers?
A: Stomach sleepers need more support than everyone else does. Go for a sprung (innerspring) or a hybrid mattress and keep that firmness rating at seven or higher. This should take away any pain you feel in the lower back and hips when you wake.
Q: What’s the best budget mattress if I sleep on my back?
A: All you lucky back sleepers can use any mattress, although aim for a mattress that’s reasonably firm. A medium-firm bed suits most sleepers pretty well.
Our Verdict on Why Mattresses Are So Expensive
Mattresses are so expensive because of all the hard work it takes to make sure the consumer gets a good night’s sleep. If you consider all the material elements used to build them, the recycling of their older counterparts, the cost of shipping, research, development of new technologies, and all the rest, we can quickly see why a mattress is so expensive.
Our final advice is that you be wary of accepting a mattress that is too cheap. If you buy a bargain-basement model, you are unlikely to get what you want from your new bedding. Be additionally cautious of used mattresses, making sure to check for sanitization before you agree to buy.
Otherwise, cheap mattresses are out there, and you can get one for under the $500 price point. Remember though: an investment in your bed is an investment in the next ten years of your life. Good sleep is second only to a healthy diet. Don’t sacrifice your wellbeing for the sake of a few dollars. It just isn’t worth it, in the end.