Should You Buy a Vacuum Packed Mattress in a Box?

Boxed mattresses are all the rage these days. Every week a new foam mattress promising sleep benefits beyond belief is touted to everyone on social media.  But are they a good investment? The short answer is no and let me explain why. 

When a foam mattress is crushed and compressed to a fraction of its original size the foam’s cell structure becomes compromised. The foam becomes softer and loses some of its original resistance.  This is why many of these boxed, foam mattresses feel comfy, it’s because the foam has be ‘tenderized’ for lack of a better word. This is not always a bad thing, however, crushing foam is an old technique and can prevent foam from developing body impressions.

What we don’t know, however, is what kind of long term damage the crushing and compression is doing to the foam, especially when the mattresses remain compressed for weeks at a time. We do know with absolute certainty that the higher the foam density, the more durable the foam/mattress. Foams between 1.0 lbs and 1.6lbs density cannot be crushed and compressed because they will not return to their original state. For foam to return to its original size it must have a density of at least 1.8lbs; this is the bare minimum and this is what most ‘mattress in a box’ companies are making their mattresses with. After making mattresses for over 25 years I can tell you that a 1.8lbs density foam that has never been crushed or compressed will last about 8 years under normal usage. 

The other reason crushed, vacuum-packed mattresses in a box are not a good investment, in my opinion, is the cost. You can purchase the same mattress directly from a manufacturer for about half of the price. For example: The current going rate for an online Queen size mattress with a 1.8lbs density base foam and a gel or memory foam top layer, covered in a cotton or bamboo fabric, is between $850 and $1000. You can get the same foam mattress directly from a manufacturer for around $600.00, and the best part is that the mattress never needs to be crushed. 

The Take-Away.

  1. Most boxed mattresses contain 1.8lbs density foam.
  2. You can’t get very high-density foam, or high-resolution foam in boxed mattresses.
  3. Boxed mattresses that are returned usually end up in land-fills and are an environmental hazard. (No matter what the marketing says, charities no longer take them out of fear of bed-bugs and other hygienic reasons.)
  4. You can’t get proper, high quality, individually wrapped, pocket coil mattresses in a box.
  5. The long term effects of crushing a foam mattress are not known.
  6. You can’t try out a boxed mattress before purchasing. (For the majority of them. Some brands can be found in Brick and Mortar stores.)
  7. Boxed mattresses currently available are not suitable for heavy-set individuals. (250lbs or more, or 2 people with a total weight of 500lbs)
  8. Buying an equivalent quality foam mattress direct from a mattress manufacturer will save you money.
  9. If you do buy a compressed mattress in a box, look for the highest density foam available. (2.0lbs density or higher.) Better yet, look for High-Resolution Foam (3.0lbs or higher).
  10. Because latex is so strong, latex mattresses are best suited to be vacuum sealed.