THE PROBLEM WITH THE BED-IN-A-BOX

A bed in a box is an incredible proposition for some people – those who have no way to transport themselves to the mattress store, for example. These lower-density foam mattresses make perfectly reasonable guest and AirBNB beds, too. Despite the convenience of this ultra-hot trend, however, putting absolutely no time or effort into getting the right bed has its drawbacks for many consumers. Your mattress, after all, is the single most used piece of furniture in your home.

The Draw

The last few years have seen explosive growth for Bed-in-a-Box companies. It’s so simple. It’s like magic! One size fits all, you never set foot in a store, and your bed is delivered right to your door! What could be better than a bicycle porter lugging your new bed up to your 15th-floor NYC walk-up? Most of us can’t even imagine (because that’s not where most of us live).

The Issue

Eliminating all options and variables certainly simplifies things, but claiming that everyone’s mattress needs are the same and that there’s such a thing as “universal comfort” is an oversimplification. Anyone who’s ever experienced chronic back pain or slept on a worn-out mattress knows the impact a high-quality sleep surface can make.

Mattress Marketing for Millennials

There’s a reason that inner-spring mattresses have been the most popular models for more than 100 years, while the bed-in-a-box fad has been around for about three. This isn’t the first time a company has offered lower-density all-foam mattresses at a low price. It might, however, be the first time they’ve sold like hotcakes. Marketers have done a brilliant job combining a so-so product with remarkable convenience. Recognizing the facts that Millennials are reaching the age when they buy their own furnishings and that young people are less likely to feel the impact of lower-quality mattresses was a brilliant move. In a moment when consumers are lining up to buy the next hot item from an unproven unicorn startup, it’s a wave new companies are bound to ride. But universal comfort? We’re not ready to sell the farm just yet.

Who loses with a bed in a box?

We totally agree that the bed in a box is a great option for a lot of people. If you already know you can sleep soundly and comfortably on memory foam, you’re likely among them. But there’s another segment of the population that’s just as likely to experience problems with foam beds.

• Anyone who has a health issue involving pain
• Anyone above average weight
• Those with a lower budget
• Couples with significantly different needs
• Those who don’t want to deal with returning a mattress
• Those interested in high-quality materials and durability
• Those who want a softer mattress (more comfort)

You get what you pay for.

Bed-in-a-box companies generate a lot of buzz about both cost and convenience. There are some problems, however, with their claims. First is the idea that one size, firmness, and comfort level fits all. It’s just not true. Body shapes, sleeping styles, and physical needs are diverse. The inability to try a bed out before you buy (without stuffing a mattress back into a box and lugging it to the post office) compounds this problem.

Structural integrity is one of the most common people give for not purchasing floor models, yet we’re talking about mattresses designed to be rolled up and stuffed into a box! This requires lower-density foam than other memory foam models, and it leads to increased sinkage and reduced edge support. Since these trendy companies have been on the market for less than five years, we’ve yet to see how their products perform over the expected mattress lifetime of a decade or more.

What do we suggest?

Our goal isn’t to discourage anyone from considering bed-in-a-box options. We’re in the business of helping individuals find bedsthat will deliver their personal best night’s sleep. A bed in the box might be that for you! Our hope is that you’ll put in the time to discern whether a foam mattress is truly the best option for meeting your sleep needs. If you’re pretty sure you want a specific mail-order model, we urge you to make a quick stop at a mattress store to test out memory foam options. If you don’t like the way they feel, you’ll be investing a few minutes to save yourself a lot of time and trouble.

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