Cheap Mattresses: Balancing Quality and Price

Finding good cheap mattresses is a primary goal if you're seeking a better night's sleep but you're constrained by a budget. Often people tend to wrongly assume their sleeping problems are caused by something physical or mental – in reality, the mattress you sleep on can make a high difference to the quality and quantity of sleep you get. When money is tight it can be tempting to make price your only consideration when buying a mattress, but remember in many cases you get what you pay for – the cheapest is not necessarily the best. But likewise, the most expensive option is often not the best. Rather, it's a matter of knowing a bit about the different types of mattresses out there so you can make an intelligent assessment of how much value you're getting for the money you spend.

Types of Cheap Mattresses

Here are some of the more common mattress types you'll come across in your hunt for an affordable mattress:

Latex – There are actually two different ways of producing latex mattresses. Many latex enthusiasts prefer organic mattresses over synthetic ones, but some manufacturers now offer organic-synthetic blends which provide the best fo both worlds at a relatively low cost.

Polyurethane Foam – These mattresses are naturally quite soft and many people find them relatively comfortable compared to innerspring mattresses. They also help you avoid the squeakiness that can become an issue with spring mattresses, and foam mattresses also tend to retain less dust. On the downside, cheap foam mattresses tend to hold moisture and as a result they can be prone to going moldy, which is obviously a health risk.

close-up of green and brown stripped mattressAre cheap mattresses worth the savings? Photo: Pit Klad

Memory Foam – Memory foam is one of the more expensive mattress materials out there, so a cheap memory foam mattress is likely to cost the same as a moderately priced or higher end innerspring mattress. That said, there are some impressive benefits to memory foam, especially if you have joint problems.

Innerspring – This type of mattress is the most common. The mattress essentially consists of an inner layer of springs which compress when you lay down in order to cushion your weight. The strength of the springs will determine the firmness of the mattress. The main problem with these mattresses is that overtime the springs that take the most pressure tend to weaken, leading to a sinking effect when you lay down. Also, after year of wear and tear springs may start to poke through the surface of the bed which can cause painful pokes and scratches when you're trying to sleep. On the plus side, innerspring mattresses are usually the cheapest ones you'll find so if you're on a super tight budget, this is probably the type you should go for.

Buying Second Hand Mattresses

How cheap can cheap mattresses get? One of the most obvious ways to save money and still get a high quality mattress is to buy a second hand one. You might initially be “grossed out” by the idea of sleeping on a mattress that someone else has been using for years, but the reality is mattresses can be very efficiently sterilized so this is not a good reason to write this option off.

Start looking around on eBay and you'll quickly learn that you can find bargain mattresses in near-new condition for much cheaper than what you'd pay if you were buying one new. If you're willing to wait and keep an eye on auction websites it's likely that you'll eventually find a good mattress being sold on a $1 reserve auction – people will sometimes do this when they need to get rid of a bed in a hurry before moving house or going overseas.

Save Money with Cheap Mattress Covers

While you might be attracted to the appeal of a memory foam mattress, your budget just doesn't allow it. However, you can still get many of the benefits of a memory foam mattress without having to buy one by simply buying a cheaper mattress, like an innerspring, and buying a memory foam mattress cover to go on top. The cover is simply a thin layer of memory foam that you place on top of your mattress, allowing you to experience the increased comfort of memory foam without having to pay thousands for a full memory foam mattress.

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