Mattress in a Box: How Does It Work?

If you’ve never bought a mattress online, chances are you may have never seen a mattress rolled tightly in a compact box, either. Mattresses in a box are becoming the popular bedding choice among many people, including Instagram influencers and celebrities—and for good reason.

For one, most mattress-in-a-box companies are online-based, so you can shop from the comfort of your own home. Mattresses in a box also come with trial periods for customers who want to be absolutely certain they made the right purchase.

Still confused about what a mattress in a box is and how it works? We’ve outlined the step-by-step process of owning a mattress in a box, from the moment it’s delivered to your door to your first night sleeping on it.

What is a mattress in a box?

A man opening a box.

By definition, a mattress in a box is a mattress that is rolled, stored and shipped in a box and is usually assembled by unrolling it onto a bed frame. These mattresses are popular among people who dislike shopping in stores and rely heavily on customer reviews and review websites for feedback. Take a look online, and you’re sure to find a myriad of options when it comes to a mattress in a box.

How It Works

Two parents with two kids looking at a laptop and smiling.

Typically, the process of buying a mattress in a box begins online. We understand the process can be confusing, especially if you’ve never bought a mattress online. Reading our online buying guide can help you make the right decision when it comes to finding the best mattress in a box for your sleeping needs. There are different mattress brands that work for specific sleeper types.

Once you’ve decided on a mattress, you can choose your shipping method and whether or not you want help setting it up in your home.  Some companies offer this type of service, often called the White Glove Service. Most companies offer free shipping and free returns when applicable.

Choosing the Right Mattress: The Ordering Process

A person typing on a laptop and holding a silver credit card to buy something online.

Buying a mattress can seem like a daunting task at first, especially if you suffer from a sleep disorder or have had difficulty finding a comfortable bed in the past. The wonderful thing about buying a mattress online is that companies almost always outline who their mattresses would benefit most.

Once you’ve chosen a mattress you think you’d like, you can start your ordering process. Most online mattress companies offer a variety of services during the ordering process to make your experience better. If, for example, you would like to pay for your mattress in installments, some companies offer financing through companies like Affirm. Applying for financing usually only takes a few minutes and a couple of clicks during your ordering process. And, you can customize the way you’d like to pay.

Keep in mind that depending on where your mattress is made, it may take longer to ship to your home. Mattresses from the online retailer, Avocado, for example, are all made in and shipped from California. Some companies may offer expedited shipping for customers who want their mattresses right away. Typically, you can expect your mattress to arrive at your home in around 3 to 10 business days. But, you should check the company’s shipping information online to confirm.

Setting Up Your Mattress in a Box

A person setting a white mattress with blue dots on top of a slatted bed frame.

Most boxed mattresses are fairly easy to set up. Mattress companies suggest you unbox your new mattress in the room you wish to use it.

To set it up, simply place the rolled mattress at the head of your bed on top of your bed’s base. Next, unroll it to the bottom of your bed. Allow it to expand fully, and it should be ready to sleep on. Most mattresses in a box can withstand any type of bed frame but check online before ordering your new mattress to confirm.

Delivery Service

Customers who do not wish to set up their mattress alone should opt for a delivery service. Workers will remove your old mattress and replace it with your new one for an additional charge. Not all companies offer this, so be sure to check the company’s website if this is a service you need.

If you do not wish to pay for a delivery service, you may still want to ask for help when setting up your new mattress. Some mattresses, like the Titan or the Big Fig, are too heavy to set up alone. Ask for help from a friend or family member once your mattress is delivered.


Most frequent brand questions

What is the best bed in a box mattress?

The best mattress will vary by sleeper type. For example, back and stomach sleepers typically enjoy a firmer mattress like the Tulo Firm or the GhostBed Luxe, while side sleepers usually sleep best on softer mattresses like the Layla.

For those on a budget our Sweetnight mattress review explains why it could be the option for you.

How does a mattress in a box work?

Most mattresses in a box are sold online only. They are shipped in long boxes and are set up by unrolling them onto your bed frame.

How long does a bed-in-a-box mattress last?

Bed-in-a-box mattresses are made to last years, and most come with a minimum of a 10-year warranty.

One of the best ways to prolong a mattress’s lifespan is to take care of it. To do so, spot clean as needed, use quality sheets and place a mattress protector to prevent spills from seeping through to the mattress.

How long does it take a bed in a box to inflate?

Most mattresses in a box are ready to sleep on once they are unrolled and placed onto a bed frame. To double-check, visit your mattress’s website to see if there are any further instructions on how long to leave it before sleeping on it.

What are some of the best mattress in a box brands?

Final Thoughts

A woman sleeping on a bed with white sheets.

Trying a mattress in a box for the first time may seem unusual, so we understand why the process may seem questionable. If you still have reservations about purchasing your next mattress online, remember that mattresses in a box come with trial periods, where you typically have about three months to a year to sleep on your new mattress at home.

The one thing we can’t always promise with a mattress in a box is your ability to try it in a store. Tulo is one exception. You can try these mattresses in a box in most Mattress Firm stores before you make any purchasing decisions.

At the end of the day, finding the right mattress is a process that looks different for everyone. But no matter how you sleep, there is a right mattress for you to ensure you get the best night’s sleep ever.

Medical Disclaimer

This article is for reference purposes only. It should not replace the advice of a licensed professional. Do not use this article to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Any and all health concerns should be directed to a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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Julia Quade

Side sleeper and night owl. Daily naps are a must.