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Bed-in-a-box mattresses

We bought 3 foam “bed-in-a-box” mattresses online – from Koala, Napp and Ecosa – and put them to the test against a traditional store-bought inner-spring mattress. Bed-in-a-box mattresses are enclosed in vacuum-sealed packaging so it’s possible to transport them in a box straight from the warehouse to your door.

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Bed-in-a-box mattresses only offer 1 comfort level: there’s no choice between soft or firm. But online shopping, free delivery, competitive pricing and the security of a generous trial period (at least 100 days) make it a convenient, low-risk way to buy a mattress. Are they worth trying?

What we found

We selected 3 bed-in-a-box mattresses and compared them with a mid-range inner-spring mattress from Sealy Posturepedic’s Aspire range. All mattresses were queen size.

Model Price Firmness & durability score (/10) Dimensions (mm) Type Firmness category Firmness change over lifespan Washable cover[tick] Free Delivery[tick] Sizes available Trial Nights Origin
Sealy Posturepedic AspireA $1700B ? 1525 x 2030 x 295 Inner-spring Soft Gain No No S, LS, KS, D, Q, K n/a Australia
Koala $1050 ? 1530 x 2030 x 250 Foam Medium Loss Yes Yes S, KS, D, Q, K 120 Australia
Napp $1248 ? 1530 x 2030 x 255 Foam Medium soft Loss Yes Yes S, KS, D, Q, K, SK 100 Australia
Ecosa v2 $1199 ? 1530 x 2030 x 254 Foam Medium Loss Yes Yes S, LS, KS, D, Q, K, SK 100 China

Two of the bed-in-a-box mattresses were of comparable quality to the Sealy Aspire inner-spring mattress, which topped our test by a small margin. To see test scores and which mattresses we recommend, log in or become a Consumer member.

The main difference between the two mattresses types was how firmness changed over time. The inner-spring mattress became firmer while all the foam mattresses became softer. This was down to the different materials each mattress type comprises – foam softens while metal springs get stiffer.

While we can’t comment on comfort, we think bed-in-a-box foam mattresses offer excellent value for money. The foam mattresses cost between $1050 and $1248 for a queen size. This compares favourably to the Sealy Aspire’s price tag.

Look out for discount codes for “bed-in-a-box” mattresses. At time of writing, Koala, Napp and Ecosa all offered discounts between $75 and $250 if you entered a discount code at their respective online checkouts.

GUIDE TO THE TABLE MODELS AManufactured in Australia where testing was carried out. Sealy mattresses sold in New Zealand are manufactured in New Zealand so may vary from the tested model. PRICE is for a queen-size mattress. BPrice is in NZ dollars. However, this mattress was purchased in Australia. FIRMNESS & DURABILITY SCORE We measured and scored how much a mattress will change in firmness over its lifetime. Mattresses that change less score higher. SIZES AVAILABLE S = single, LS = long single, KS = king single, D = double, Q = queen, K = king, SK = super king.

About our test

As part of our test, we cut each mattress open and photographed the interior.
As part of our test, we cut each mattress open and photographed the interior.

To test how well the mattresses would last, a 140kg cylindrical roller traversed back and forth 30,000 times over each mattress, recreating the wear they’re expected to endure over a lifetime of use. A further 5000 impressions were made using a 100kg prop along the edges to simulate conditioning caused when sitting down on them (as you might when putting on shoes).

As part of our test, we cut each mattress open and photographed the interior. Knowing what’s inside determines if two mattresses are identical or based on different technologies.

The Sealy Posturepedic Aspire chosen was the “Vogue Deluxe” model manufactured in Australia (where our test was carried out) and available from Harvey Norman stores in Australia. The spring system, core and edge support in the Sealy Posturepedic Aspire mattresses manufactured and sold in New Zealand are identical. However, different retailers in Australia and New Zealand each have their own unique outer fabric and variations in comfort layers. Our test method focused on how the mattresses changed over a lifetime of use rather than comfort (that’s subjective) so we didn’t expect differences in the outer layers would have a significant impact on test results.

Trial periods & returns

The bed-in-a-box mattresses we tested offer trial periods of at least 100 days and can be returned for a full refund. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get it back into the box – it’ll be collected for free. Again, terms and conditions vary and you must own the mattress for a set amount of time before initiating a return. Napp, Koala and Ecosa donate returned mattresses to charities where possible.

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