what is a bed in a box

What Is a Bed in a Box?

If you´re looking for a new mattress, in this article we´ll tell you what is a bed in a box mattress and how it works. Find out what are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a boxed mattress and why it´s best to invest in an organic mattress in a box.

How Does a Mattress in a Box Work?

A boxed mattress, aka a bed in a box, is an alternative to spending hours in a mattress store and laying on dozens of beds before you may or may not find the one you need and want.

The mattress buying process is cut in half because you can search online for one that suits your needs. Plus you can get the mattress easily delivered to your door in a conveniently compact box.

No need to worry about fitting it in your car.  It works by shipping to you directly from an online mattress company. This eliminates the middle-man and the overhead fees that go along with it, making the entire buying process smooth and hassle-free.

Once you’ve selected the mattress you want, they begin the shipping process by wrapping the mattress in protective plastic, then compressing it using cutting edge technology (a really heavy box that pushes down really hard) to make it as flat as possible, and rolling it up (again by machinery) until it’s a size suitable for shipping in a relatively small box.

The delivery is made right to your door and all you have to do is open the packaging and allow it to unroll itself. The unique foam structure will cause the bed to return to its regular size in just 24-48 hours despite its compressed journey to your home. 

box mattresses

Are Mattresses in a Box Toxic?

memory foam mattress can be made of a strong-smelling foam, so it will off-gas for some time after opening the box. The gases it releases will contain a mixture of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other harmful chemicals that can be toxic to humans.

If you decide to buy a memory foam mattress, make sure it's CertiPur-US certified. This will guarantee that the mattress is free from especially hazardous chemicals.

Any chemicals used in manufacturing CertiPur certified mattresses are regulated to be at such low amounts that they are not considered dangerous to your health. The CertiPur-US website has a list of companies that sell safe products, approved by them. You can refer to this to be sure you’re making a safe purchase.

If you want a truly non toxic and eco-friendly mattress, consider an organic bed in a box, made from 100% natural materials.

Why Should You Choose an Organic Bed in a Box?

Organic is best because you get what you need without getting the things you don’t need (the things you aren’t trying to buy) - toxins. A mattress that is not organic may not be regulated or checked as thoroughly as one that is organic.

The bed in a box that is organic will not off-gas any hazardous chemicals and it will be better for the planet after its lifespan.

The organic mattress can be recycled thanks to its clever makeup, to begin with. An organic bed in a box is a great, modern, and safe option for someone in the market for a new mattress.

Organic mattresses are made from natural latex foam, wool and cotton and they are organic certified. Before buying, check the label for the following certificates: GOLS (global organic latex standard), GOTS (global organic textile standard), Greenguard GOLD.

If you want to buy an organic bed in a box mattress for the best night's sleep, check the following online mattress brands:

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Bed in a Box?

A bed in a box mattress is becoming an increasingly popular way to buy a comfortable mattress for a number of reasons. But before you jump on the trend and join in, have a look at some of the facts. Let’s start with the bad news first.


  • Mattress Off-gassing: The chemical smell is indeed a release of chemicals into your home air as you unbox and unwrap the mattress. A memory foam bed will have production and manufacturing smells to off-gas for some time.
  • You may lose some cash in the process of returns: There is usually a simple plan for return and refunds if you find that this mattress is not the one for you within your sleep trial period. However, you may lose a bit of money in fees or shipping (in the rare occasion that there were handling fees or white glove delivery costs).
  • You don’t really get to try before you buy: There are sleep trial periods for a bed in a box, but you still don’t get to lay on it before you go through the effort of buying it and waiting for delivery. This means even if you have a refund and return option, you do have to go through the trouble of the process. You might lose a bit of your initial cost too in handling fees, especially if you opted for a white glove delivery. Most companies offer free shipping so you shouldn’t need to worry about losing those fees. 
  • You will need a specific, supportive baseThe bed in a box may require a specific supportive base,  check manufacturer recommendations to know if you need a box spring or a specific bed frame. You will need to be sure the base you have is suitable for the new mattress. If not, you’ll have to invest extra money to purchase the right base.
  • A bed in a box can sleep hot: A memory foam bed can trap body heat and make you sweat. It traps heat and moisture so unless you choose cooling foam, you’ll probably struggle with that if you tend to get hot during your sleep. Mattress manufacturers also combat this issue by providing a cooling mattress topper or cooling sheets to improve air circulation. You can also opt for an organic bed made of latex. You have options.
  • Unless you opt for white glove delivery, you might have difficulty moving the box: The compressed mattress is practical for easy delivery, but if you order a mattress bigger than a full size, you may find it too heavy to carry alone into the room you want it. You also need to make sure you unwrap your mattress in the room you want to use it in. Especially if it’s large so that you don’t have to worry about moving it with difficulty.  
  • Unauthorized retailer risk: Unless you purchase your bed in a box from an authorized retailer, you cannot count on the warranty guarantee. The warranty is only considered valid if the retailer is authorized. This is especially a risk if you are buying from a third-party retailer website, so be sure to try to buy directly from the mattress company’s website.
box mattresses


  • Reasonable price: A bed in a box usually cuts out the middle-man and thus cuts cost. This means you can find a high-quality mattress without breaking the bank.
  • Easier selection: The variety of mattresses to choose from is limited. There are still plenty of choices to find the right one for you, but there are not too many choices to make it any more difficult than it already is. Selecting the right mattress from a furniture shop can be overwhelming because of the sheer amount of choices.
  • Convenient delivery options: Most of the time, you’ll have an option for free shipping, and some companies even offer free white glove delivery too. This is in high contrast to a large shipping fee (sometimes up to $200) usually charged by furniture stores.
  • Risk-free sleep trials: Most beds in a box have a risk-free sleep trial period of 100-365 days. You can have the mattress during this time to truly test whether it's the right fit for you. If you find that it’s not a good match, you can take advantage of the return and refund option offered with most beds in a box. This means they will come to pick up the mattress and dispose of it properly through recycling. Then you don’t lose too much money in fees either because most companies don’t charge shipping costs. 
  • Some brands offer free white glove delivery: If you prefer to leave all the heavy lifting and hard work to the professionals, some companies offer a complimentary white glove delivery. This simply means they will not only deliver the box to your doorstep but also take it inside and unpack it for you.
  • Good warranty: Most furniture stores only offer a 5-year warranty for their mattresses, while the bed in a box standard warranty tends to be closer to 10 years. This is the lifespan of an average mattress so you are likely to be covered by the time you notice you need to upgrade or switch mattresses.  
  • Growing competitive market: The bed in a box option is growing in popularity among mattress shoppers. This demand and interest are causing an increase in supply and many companies are making a bed in a box option. This is creating a growing competitive market that keeps the prices at bay and even inspires frequent discounts and add-ons to win the customer. This gives you, as the mattress shopper, the advantage in a possibly lower cost for the same quality mattress.  

How Do I Buy a Mattress in a Box?

This may seem obvious, now that you know what a bed in a box is, shouldn’t you just be able to look one up a mattress online buy it? Well, it is simple, but there are a few extra steps you should consider to make sure you make a smart choice. 

1.          Consider your budget

2.          Choose a mattress size

3.          Shop from authorized online retailers, preferably directly from the mattress company

4.          Check the warranties, sleep trials, and return policies

5.          Check the mattress financing options

6.          Purchase it and have it shipped!

mattress in a box

Bed in a Box vs. Traditional Mattress

A traditional mattress is sold online or in a real brick-and-mortar building. A bed in a box can be sold in a mattress store but is usually only found online. The bed in a box is more compact when it’s delivered, however, traditional mattresses will be full-size upon delivery. You may even try to transport the traditional mattress yourself just to avoid high delivery costs.

A bed in a box can be made from a limited amount of materials, while a traditional mattress can be made with almost unlimited variety. This means if you need a very specific kind of material or feel, a traditional mattress will give you more options.

A bed in a box mattress is easy to shop for because you have limited choice, a quick purchase process, and delivery right to your doorstep. 

mattress in a box


In this article, we've answered the question of what is a bed in a box. We hope it will help you find your perfect mattress for a good night's sleep. We always recommend organic mattresses over memory foam mattresses as they are more eco-friendly and they don't have any toxic substances that could be dangerous to your health.

Read More: What Is an Alaskan Mattress?

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