What is a Mattress in a Box? Must Know Facts!

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Written by:

Max Stevens

What is a Mattress in a Box? Must Know Facts!

A mattress in a box is where a mattress is compressed in a vacuum-sealed bag and rolled up to fit inside a cardboard box. This makes it more cost-effective to store and transport than traditional mattresses and easier for the consumer to handle once it arrives.  s

But why are they rising in popularity, and what are the advantages and disadvantages, should you bother with these newer generation mattresses or should you stick to the traditional types? 

Understandably, you might be thinking, “no way, why would I buy that over a ‘proper’ mattress?”. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, so let’s get into it. 

Types of Mattress in a Box 

The best mattresses in a box are commonly foam-based, coming in memory or latex foam. But there are other variants, such as hybrids – which is a combination of latex or memory foam and pocket coils. 

Memory foam and latex foam are easy to fold, albeit not by human hands, because of their soft density and lack of springs causing issues when rolling/folding.

The main property contributing to their popularity among online mattress manufacturers is how easy to compress they are since foam has a lot of air pockets which can be temporarily drained of air. 

When memory foam is compressed, it will go back to its original shape after just several hours – give or take depending on the chemical additives used. Latex is the same but is significantly more durable than memory foam and an all-natural option. But, you still need to watch out for how long you leave a mattress in a box when it arrives.

Unfortunately, there are no traditional spring variants, as the large coils can’t be folded. However, there are pocket spring variants, as pocket coils are relatively tiny and can handle folding and vacuum compression. 

What’s The Packing Process?

A mattress in a box goes through an 8-step process in a factory where they are produced and prepared for shipment. The process is as follows:

  1. The mattress is freshly made and set aside for proper ventilation.
  2. It is then transferred to a vacuum machine uncovered 
  3. The air is sucked out by the vacuum machine
  4. It is then rolled tightly by a rolling machine. 
  5. The rolled mattress is then put inside a thick plastic bag, where the remaining air is vacuumed out again.
  6. It is then put inside a durable rectangular box and sealed with tape on the opening. 
  7. Some manufacturers add more protection to the package, such as bubble wrap. 
  8. The package is labelled for shipment and awaits delivery schedule. 

Benefits of Mattress in a Box

Let’s start with the pros or benefits of using a mattress in a box: 

Cost Effective

One primary benefit is savings. You save more money when you buy one for these reasons:

  • Most companies that produce mattresses in a box don’t have physical stores or showrooms, which cuts down the price of their products.
  • Mattress delivery fees are minuscule compared to conventional mattresses since it comes in a convenient box that’s not too bulky.
  • Cheaper storage costs for the manufacturers and transporters lead to a cheaper overall cost where the savings are passed on to you.  


Apart from the attractive savings you can get, a mattress in a box is convenient and easy to use for the following reasons: 

  • Easier to set up and work around than the most common mattress types that don’t ship out in a box. 
  • You don’t have to go outside your house to do mattress shopping and visit a physical store to order one. Just simply browse and order a mattress online, and you’re good to go. 
  • You can get the mattress delivered to your door within several business days. Or pay more and get it shipped out the same day for better convenience.

Great Varieties

Mattresses in a box come with a variety of options to choose from. You can choose memory foam, latex, or a hybrid mattress. Apart from that, each type has individual extra features that add comfort. 

For example, a memory foam mattress can come with copper-infused or gel-infused layers that help cool down your body if you’re a hot sleeper. Latex can come with all-natural materials, purely synthetic (which is cheaper), or a combination of both. 

Product Trial Periods 

You can try out traditional mattresses in a showroom or a physical store. This is almost always impossible for mattresses in a box as most sellers don’t have showrooms or a physical store. 

To remedy this, most sellers give you a product trial period (60 days up to 200 days) where you buy their product, try it out for the trial period, and return it if you’re unsatisfied. When you have successfully returned the product, you’ll get refunded 100%. 

Comfortable as Traditional Mattresses

Some say they’re not as comfortable as a traditional mattress. However, we haven’t found this to be true in our review testing. In fact, the only difference between a standard mattress and a mattress in a box is how they’re packed and shipped out to your address. 

These mattresses don’t skimp on comfort at the expense of convenience.

On top of that, most manufacturing companies have a warranty of up to 10 years, and they are vigorously tested with rolling machines which mimic the movement of a human. 

Drawbacks of Mattress in a Box 

It’s not all sunshine and roses when it comes to these newer-generation mattresses in a box; so let’s discuss the drawbacks: 

Off-Gassing Issue

Since most mattresses in a box are foam-based, off-gassing is a fairly common issue. Off-gassing is also known as releasing VOCs (volatile organic compounds). 

VOCs are created through synthetic chemical processes to make memory foam, PU (polyurethane) foam, and synthetic latex. The scent of VOCs is strong, and we advise people with sensitive noses to stay away until the mattress has fully ventilated. 

Bed Frame Problems 

This drawback is more likely to be caused by human error than manufacturing error. Bed frame problems arise when the size of your mattress doesn’t match the size of your frame. 

For example, if you forgot to measure the size of your bed frame and you already have the mattress shipped out, it can turn into two scenarios: 

  1. Your mattress is too small for the bed frame. 
  2. Your mattress is too big for the bed frame. 

Warmer Sleep Nights

If you’re a hot sleeper, using a foam-based mattress in a box might make your nights warmer and more uncomfortable. Memory foam and regular PU foam are the main culprits of making your nights warmer than before.

However, if you love memory foam, you can buy other variants containing copper or gel to make warm nights more bearable. 

Product Trials Are Not for Everyone

Let’s face it; product trials are not for everybody. Many people just want to try their would-be mattress for a good few minutes before deciding whether to buy it or not. 

Although a trial period is your best chance to know whether the mattress fits your preferences, some people loathe the hassle of returning an item and asking for a full refund. A product warranty is a standard feature, but it also involves returning the item to the manufacturer.

What’s Better? A Mattress in a Box or a Standard Mattress?

We say it’s a tie. No one’s better or worse than the other. Both traditional mattresses and mattresses in a box have excellent pros and almost similar cons. In this case, your personal preferences come into play.

A mattress in a box is significantly cheaper and more convenient to buy, set up, and use. But that doesn’t mean it ‘beats’ a traditional mattress – it’s whether it suits your preferences or not.

How Long Do Mattresses in a Box Take To Expand Fully?

It depends on the foam quality, build quality, and if the mattress has chemical additives that interfere with its expansion. Generally, mattresses in a box should expand and return to their original shape within a few hours. 

However, some may take longer than that and need 48-72 hours to expand fully. To help the mattress expand quicker, place it in a well-ventilated space so the air pockets can fill up with air again—helping the mattress shape up.

To help you further, here is a table of popular UK mattress brands and their respective expansion duration: 

Mattress Brand Expansion Duration
Simba3-6 hours
Emma2-6 hours
Nectar4-7 hours
Otty4-8 hours

However, do take note that letting a mattress expand for at least 24 hours is the best course of action to help the material expand optimally. 

How to Deflate a Mattress in a Box?

Quick answer: you can’t. Manufacturers use special equipment that allows them to compress and roll the mattress to the point where it can fit inside a box. 

Unless you have an industrial vacuum machine and a roller, the only way you can fit the mattress back in its box again is to cut the mattress up—which is only a good idea if you plan to dispose of it. 

If you intend to return the mattress and ask for a full refund, kindly contact the manufacturer and follow their instructions. They will likely send some people and a truck who will handle the item carefully and thoroughly and bring it back to the factory. 

Other FAQs 

How Much Do Mattresses in a Box Cost?

Prices often start from £200 up to £1500. The price is determined by mattress size, brand, and additional features like cooling gels, zoned support or more springs. 

How Long Do Mattresses in a Box Last? 

A mattress in a box lasts an average of eight years. Their lifespan is somewhere between seven to 10 years; however, these lifespan numbers are not absolute and are influenced by other factors such as usage, build quality and maintenance. 

Who Should Buy a Mattress in a Box?

People who love the convenience and have small doors and cramped hallways in their houses benefit best from mattresses in a box. However, there are other considerable reasons why you should buy one:

– If you live in multi-storey housing with no lift, buying a bed in a box is more convenient.
– Living far from the city and not having good access to nearby mattress stores 
– If you’re a fan of using the mattress for a couple of weeks first before settling down with one (product trial periods) 

How Do I Unbox a Mattress in a Box?

Follow these instructions to unbox a new mattress: 

1)Cut the tape off the box carefully with a scissor or cutter. Some mattress brands provide cutters for added convenience. 

2) Once the box is opened, carefully pull the rolled mattress (which is inside a thick vacuum plastic for protection) out of the box. 

3) Place the rolled mattress on your bed frame or a clean and unobstructed floor, and cut the bag, then carefully pull the mattress out. 

4) Lay the mattress flat on the frame/floor and leave it for several hours to expand.

Additional Tip: Ensure there is sufficient ventilation in the room to reduce off-gas

Can You Sleep on a Mattress in a Box Straight Away?

No. A mattress in a box needs time to get back into its original shape through expansion before you use it. This can take several hours up to a few days at most.

Referring to the table we’ve shown above, the most popular bed-in-a-box mattress brands say their products can expand as soon as 3-4 hours. But just to be sure, leave your mattress to expand for at least 24 hours to get your desired results.