Cheap Mattress Sets — When Cheap Mattresses Can Save You Real Money

Cheap mattress sets abound in both online and offline retail outlets. Sometimes a cheap twin mattress or cheap futon mattress is all you need to make a room livable for a young person or student. But plenty of adults find genuine comfort and good sleep from them as well. The trick is finding ones that give you the most value for the price.

What Cheap Mattress Sets Offer in the Under $500 Range

It is logical to assume that cheap mattreses are made with cheaper materials than those used for more expensive mattresses. The cheapest mattresses with decent comfort and support are either poly foam or innerspring. Here’s what else you can expect with ultra cheap mattress sets with prices under $500 (for a queen).

  • Lower coil counts — which is fine for people without pain issues as long as it doesn’t fall below 400 for a queen.
  • Bonnel coils (a less expensive coil)
  • Thinner or untempered steel coils (especially in no-name brands)
  • Poly foam padding (rather than latex)
  • Cheap memory foam when offered (will not spring back or wear as well)
  • Polyester fiberfill padding
  • Cheaper fabrics (which is fine because you’ll likely put a mattress pad on top)

So what will the downside be?

  • Mattress will wear out quicker. This is not an issue if you don’t expect a long-lasting mattress for under $500, but do consider the cost per year compared to a better mattress to determine best prorated value — a $400 mattress lasting 2 years turns out the same as a $2000 mattress lasting 10 years.
  • Poly foam is a hotter sleep surface than latex
  • A solid poly foam mattress will wear out quicker and offer less support than latex (not so much a problem if you are young and healthy)
  • Cheap memory foam will cave in much sooner, lack resiliency and feel hotter than good memory foam (probably avoid mattresses made from 100 percent cheap memory foam mattresses — just padding is OK)
  • Lack of top-notch support will bother people with pain problems, spinal problems (scoliosis, disk trouble) and overweight people, no matter what the age. However, if you do not have these problems, you will likely be fine until you can afford a better mattress.
  • Short, very limited or no warranty. (Don’t buy a mattress with no warranty unless it is so cheap that it doesn’t matter and you’re only expecting to have it a year or less)

Where Can You Find the Best Cheap Mattress Sets?

If given a choice, you would probably do best at a discount mattress store, buying what is called a “promotional” (mattress jargon for “cheap”) big-name model (think Sealy) when they’re having their blowout mattress sales. These sales happen fairly often and are advertised heavily.

But don’t let the sales pressure get to you. It doesn’t matter what price you’re paying, you still deserve the best mattress you can get. Test it just as carefully as you would test the top of the line model, and check the warranty. Even if you’re “only” paying $300, if the thing is defective or worse than advertised, you need recourse.

You can also check out department stores, such as Sears, JC Penney, and IKEA. And of course the discount department stores such as Costco and Walmart. And big online mattress retailers such as,, and so on.

Don’t Forget Small Mattress Stores

Some smaller mattress retailers can give you great deals. As they are individually owned, and often owner-operated, they might be more negotiable and offer better service. Some of these smaller retailers are smart enough to know that if they treat you well when you’re buying their cheapest mattress sets, you will come back later when you’re ready to move up to a better bed, and later still when you get married, start a family, when your kids get married, and so on. Sometimes it takes a small retailer to appreciate the potential of a lifelong customer.

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