Need to know
- Bed-in-a-box mattresses from brands such as Sleeping Duck, Koala and Ecosa are a popular and easy way to buy a mattress over the internet – most come with trial periods and long warranties
- Aldi is selling its own 'Mattress in a Box' as a Special Buy this Saturday 4 April, but you have to go in store to buy
- Our test results suggest the bed-in-a-box industry consistently manufactures better value products than mattresses offered by traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers
Need a new mattress? Aldi's annual sale of its 'Mattress in a Box' is happening this Saturday 4 April.
At just $149 for a single mattress, $199 for a double, $249 for a queen and $299 for a king, the low prices are certainly enticing. But you do have to go in-store to pick it up. And with current COVID-19-related restrictions advising us to only leave home for the essentials, you may want to look at other bed-in-a-box mattresses instead that you can order online and get delivered.
And based on our previous reviews, some of the other bed-in-a-box brands are well worth considering.
CHOICE's mattress expert, Peter Zaluzny, says, "We've conducted a number of mattress tests, and recommend three of the nine bed-in-a-box models that are currently available."
This suggests that the bed-in-a-box industry consistently manufactures better productsCHOICE mattress expert Peter Zaluzny
"However, we only recommend five of the 20 available mattresses from bricks-and-mortar retailers. This suggests that the bed-in-a-box industry consistently manufactures better products."
As it's a supermarket, Aldi is still open for business despite the shutdown due to the coronavirus, and the retailer says it has appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures to prioritise the wellbeing or their staff and customers.
If you're considering picking up a mattress in a box while you do your grocery shopping this weekend, we've put together some pros and cons for the Aldi product, as well as some information on other bed-in-a-box brands you may like to consider as alternatives.
Bed-in-a-box mattresses explained: the pros and cons
This type of mattress was first brought to market in recent years in response to the often eye-watering mark-ups made on mattresses sold in bricks-and-mortar stores.
The internet was relatively slow to disrupt the mattress industry due to the logistical challenges in shipping bulky mattresses. However, bed-in-a-box mattresses are deoxygenated – enclosed in vacuum-sealed packaging – making it possible to be transported in a box, earning them their nickname. They're generally much cheaper than conventional mattresses, costing around a thousand dollars for a queen-size mattress (as compared to many thousands for a regular instore mattress).
To combat the uncertainty many might feel buying a mattress online without being able to physically try it out to see how it feels, these bed-in-a-box brands also offer trial periods that can extend up to 100 days and warranties up to 15 years. If you don't like the mattress, you can usually return it easily at no extra cost.
They're generally much cheaper than conventional mattresses, costing around a thousand dollars for a queen-size mattress
Brands that have had success in this market, and whose products we've tested, include Sleeping Duck, Koala, Ecosa and Avatar.
"These mattresses generally represent good value, although they may not be for everyone," says Zaluzny. "One person's idea of the perfect comfy mattress may differ from another's, but we've found that a mattress that costs $1000 can be just as comfortable and perform just as well over its lifetime as one priced at $6000."
"They tend to use more foam and foam-like materials than spring mattresses, so beds in a box may not be for you if you prefer the feel of a traditional spring mattress. But that's what the free trial period is for."
What's to like about the Aldi mattress in a box?
- Price. With the double mattress coming in just under $200, it's one of the cheapest mattresses on the market (the closest in price we tested was the Ikea Hövåg which is $349 for a double mattress). So, if you're on a tight budget, it's a tick. And no haggling with a pushy salesperson required.
- 60-day guarantee. If you happen to get it home and you're not happy with it, Aldi has a 60-day returns or refunds policy on Special Buy items. You must have your receipt though and the original packaging is preferred, which is a bit of a problem with this one (see, What's not to like, below). Keep in mind, it takes a few nights, minimum, to adjust to a new mattress.
- Comfort. The Aldi mattress combines a memory foam pillow top comfort layer with pocket springs, which some people prefer over a spring mattress as it moulds to the body for added comfort. However, comfort is obviously subjective and some people don't like that 'sinking in' sensation. The benefit of these types of bed-in-a-box mattresses that combine both spring and foam is that it can be said you're getting the best of both worlds.
- You can't try before you buy. You'll have to save the 'lie down and see how it feels' test for when you've already bought the mattress and taken it home.
- It's bulky and heavy, and Aldi doesn't deliver. The queen mattress weighs 43kg so you'll need a friend to help you transport it –although the box does come with wheels and a carry handle.
- On that note, returning it will be cumbersome. The product is a compressed mattress that expands when unpacked so it can't be repacked into the box, and you'd have to get it back to the store yourself (compare this with online retailers such as Koala, Ecosa or Avatar who'll come and collect your unwanted mattress for no extra charge within the trial period).
- 12-month warranty. When you consider many mattresses (admittedly at a much higher price point) usually have around 10 years' warranty, 12 months seems short, and could be an indication of the manufacturer's faith in their own product. Similar bed-in-a-box offerings from Koala have a 10-year warranty and Ikea has a 25-year warranty on their mattresses.
The Aldi mattress comes in single, double, queen and king sizes.
What CHOICE staff say
Although this product hasn't been formally reviewed by CHOICE (see How we test mattresses), we spoke to a few of our staff who bought the Aldi mattress when it was on sale in previous years, and here's what they say.
On getting the mattress home:
- "Getting the queen mattress home wasn't too difficult. It was quite heavy, but nothing my partner and I couldn't handle. It fit nicely into the back of our small sedan once we put the seats down. Opening the mattress was kinda fun. We'd never bought a bed-in-a-box before, so it was quite remarkable that the manufacturer was able to pack a plush mattress into a much smaller box. Watch out for the rapid expansion and leave enough space, as the mattress becomes large and heavy surprisingly fast." Doug, Product Design Lead
- "I'd asked my elderly parents to pick it up for me as they have a van, but I didn't consider how heavy it is. They got some help in-store thankfully, but definitely don't try to buy this and get it home on your own." Rachel, Editorial
- "We have it on our guest bed, so I've only slept on it a few times myself and I liked it. All my guests have thought it was comfortable, even one who stayed for three months (I made sure to check!)." Rachel, Editorial
- "I sleep on it every night and I never really think about it being uncomfortable. There are no lumps and it fits to the contour of my body. It feels plush and soft without being wishy-washy. I always get a good night's sleep. I normally prefer harder mattresses but I like this one. Considering how much we paid for it, this is fantastic. My only small gripe is that the edges are quite soft, which can make moving around on the bed slightly more cumbersome over a mattress with hard edges." Doug, Product Design Lead
Would you recommend it?
- "Definitely. For price, convenience and quality." Doug, Product Design Lead
- "Yes I would. Who knows what it'll be like in a few years time, but for the price, it's been perfect for our needs." Rachel, Editorial