Best Mattress for College Students 2024

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College is an exciting time, but money is tight and moving into a dorm room or new apartment can be stressful. Plus, dorm mattresses provided by schools are often uncomfortable. Why not make it easier by buying one of the best college mattresses? If an easy set-up, cheap options, and quality materials are what you’re in search of, this roundup is for you. After testing a variety of great beds, we’ve identified which would make the best college mattress. The results are in!

Editor’s Note: Check with your dorm administrator to understand your school’s policies on swapping out mattresses.

The Best College Mattresses 2024

How We Chose the Best Mattress for College Students

Our team of sleep specialists have reviewed more than 150 mattresses, using proprietary analysis and hands-on testing to establish easy-to-understand scores. In addition to an overall score, we measure subscores for support, edge support, cooling, motion transfer, durability, trial period, and warranty.

For this roundup, we focused on price as an additional parameter, which is why all 10 mattresses are less than $1,295 for a Queen and less than $995 for a Twin XL. Not only are these beds reasonably priced, but they’re high-quality. When looking at our overall scores for these 10 beds, nine of them scored at least a 3.4 out of 5, with many of them scoring a 4 or higher.

Compare the Best Mattresses for College Students

Emma Hybrid Comfort Helix Midnight Mattress Nectar Mattress Nolah Original 10" Mattress Brooklyn Bedding Plank Firm Mattress Bear Mattress Brooklyn Bedding Bowery Hybrid Mattress
Emma Hybrid Comfort Helix Midnight Mattress Nectar Mattress Nolah Original 10" Mattress Brooklyn Bedding Plank Firm Mattress Bear Mattress Brooklyn Bedding Bowery Hybrid Mattress
Rating
Firmness Firm: 8/10 Medium-firm: 7/10 Medium-firm: 6.5/10 Soft: 6/10 Firm: 8/10 Medium-firm: 6.5/10 Soft: 6/10
Material Hybrid Hybrid Foam Foam Foam Foam Hybrid
Cooling -- -- -- -- --
Sleep Position Back & Stomach Back & Side Back & Side Back & Side Back & Stomach Back & Side Back & Stomach

Editor’s Pick – Emma Hybrid Comfort

Editor's Pick

Emma Hybrid Comfort

The Emma Hybrid Comfort is a hybrid mattress that is designed to support all weights while also promoting a cool night of sleep.

Clarity Score 4.3/5

Material

Hybrid

Trial Period

365 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Firm: 8/10

Warranty

10-year warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Hot Sleepers
If you often overheat while you sleep, this mattress should help you stay cool.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for average weight and heavyweight back sleepers.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and heavyweight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.6/5
Editor's Pick

Emma Hybrid Comfort

The Emma Hybrid Comfort is a hybrid mattress that is designed to support all weights while also promoting a cool night of sleep.

Clarity Score 4.3/5

Material

Hybrid

Warranty

10-year warranty

Firmness

Firm: 8/10

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

365 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Hot Sleepers
If you often overheat while you sleep, this mattress should help you stay cool.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for average weight and heavyweight back sleepers.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and heavyweight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.6/5
Editor's Pick

Emma Hybrid Comfort

The Emma Hybrid Comfort is a hybrid mattress that is designed to support all weights while also promoting a cool night of sleep.

Clarity Score 4.3/5

Material

Hybrid

Firmness

Firm: 8/10

Trial Period

365 nights

Warranty

10-year warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Hot Sleepers
If you often overheat while you sleep, this mattress should help you stay cool.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for average weight and heavyweight back sleepers.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and heavyweight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.6/5
Pros of the Emma Hybrid Comfort
Cool, breathable cover
Excellent for heavier sleepers
Ideal for firm mattress lovers
Cons of the Emma Hybrid Comfort
Pricey
May lack pressure relief for side sleepers

Our Expert’s Take

You’re sure to be the envy of everyone else on campus with the Emma Hybrid Comfort. With its three foam comfort layers, zoned, individually wrapped coils, and moisture-wicking cover, this mattress is nothing short of impressive. It’s on the firm side, so will work best for heavyweight people and stomach sleepers.

What the testers say: “I’ve talked to countless people who bought the first, cheapest mattress they could find on Amazon to take to college, and their sleep suffered. A bed like the Emma Hybrid will comparatively be more of an investment, but you’ll thank yourself when you aren’t waking up in pain, and getting the best sleep compared to your peers. Plus, down the line if you want to upgrade there’s always potential with a twin XL bed to be used with a split king or in guest room.” – Marten, Lead Reviewer

What We Love About the Emma Hybrid Comfort

  • The Emma Hybrid Comfort has fantastic edge support (we rated it a 4.5 out of 5 on our test). This is especially important since you’ll likely be sleeping on a twin XL or full-size mattress, both of which have limited surface area. With the strong edge support, you can comfortably utilize every inch of the mattress without worrying that the edges will sag underneath you.
  • The Emma Hybrid Comfort’s three comfort layers are made from different types of foam, each lending a unique property to the bed’s performance, including adding bounce, pressure relief and dissipating heat.
  • The system of zoned coils provides support and helps keep your spine in a neutral alignment.

What to Keep in Mind About the Emma Hybrid Comfort

  • We rated the Emma Hybrid Comfort an 8 out of 10 on our firmness scale, which is on the firm end of the spectrum and may be too hard for lightweight side sleepers and soft mattress lovers. A good alternative could be the Nectar.
  • Given the bed may have limited longevity if you plan to sleep in a full- or queen-size bed once you live off-campus, this is a pricey investment for a twin XL.

Other User Reviews

The brand’s newest bed at publishing time, the Emma Hybrid Comfort only had 69 reviews when we checked, although its score averaged 4.5 out of 5. Buyers said that customer service is “awesome,” including verified buyer Gillian M, who said she had the most “comfortable, peaceful, painless, coolest sleep” in years. Some of the negative reviews said the hybrid mattress had more of a memory foam feel.

Read our full Emma Hybrid Comfort review. Looking for other options, check out our Best mattresses of 2024.

Best Mattress for Back Sleeping College Students – Helix Midnight

Best Mattress for Back Sleepers

Helix Midnight Mattress

The Helix Midnight is the brand's most popular model. It has a balance of comfort and support and should be an excellent match for back sleepers.

Clarity Score 4.1/5

Material

Hybrid

Trial Period

100 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Medium-firm: 7/10

Warranty

10-year warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Couples
This bed has great motion isolation so you will not feel your partner tossing and turning at night.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.5/5
Watch Our Video Review
Best Mattress for Back Sleepers

Helix Midnight Mattress

The Helix Midnight is the brand's most popular model. It has a balance of comfort and support and should be an excellent match for back sleepers.

Clarity Score 4.1/5

Material

Hybrid

Warranty

10-year warranty

Firmness

Medium-firm: 7/10

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

100 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Couples
This bed has great motion isolation so you will not feel your partner tossing and turning at night.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.5/5
Watch Our Video Review
Best Mattress for Back Sleepers

Helix Midnight Mattress

The Helix Midnight is the brand's most popular model. It has a balance of comfort and support and should be an excellent match for back sleepers.

Clarity Score 4.1/5

Material

Hybrid

Firmness

Medium-firm: 7/10

Trial Period

100 nights

Warranty

10-year warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Couples
This bed has great motion isolation so you will not feel your partner tossing and turning at night.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.5/5
Watch Our Video Review
Pros of the Helix Midnight
Cooling build
Excellent for back and side sleepers
Highly responsive
Cons of the Helix Midnight
Heavier sleepers may need more support
Not for fans of a slow-moving foam feel

Our Expert’s Take

We talked about the Emma Hybrid Comfort being a great option for stomach sleepers, but now it’s back sleepers’ turn. The Helix Midnight has a nice, medium-firm feel that works well for all back sleepers, regardless of body type. Plus, it can be upgraded to the more luxurious pillow-top Luxe version if you’re willing to spend a little extra money. 

What the testers say: “For my body weight — which is about 250 lbs — the Helix Midnight is great for back sleeping, offering plenty of support and contouring on the top layer. I also like that the Helix Midnight sleeps cold, although If you want a bed that sleeps a smidge colder, I suggest trying the Nectar Hybrid with cooling gel. – Marten, Lead Reviewer

What We Love About the Helix Midnight

  • The Helix Midnight’s cover has a soft, stretchy feel. It’s designed to be breathable, which will help keep the top layers of the mattress from trapping body heat.
  • Below the cover are three comfort layers, all made of foam. These layers work together to help the mattress contour to the shape of the sleeper’s body, which can help relieve pressure and alleviate joint pain. Plus, the individually wrapped coils that make the Helix Midnight a hybrid mattress provide support and increase the overall breathability of the mattress. 
  • The Helix Midnight scored a 4 out of 5 or higher on every one of our performance tests, that level of quality makes it a great choice for college students who want a well-rounded mattress, especially one that will work great for back sleepers, hot sleepers and edge-of-bed sleepers. 

What to Keep in Mind About the Helix Midnight

  • This mattress won’t be the best choice for some combination sleepers, as it’s not firm enough for stomach sleepers. Unless you’re a lightweight (under 130 lb) stomach sleeper, sleepers who flip front-to-back and back-to-front throughout the night should consider the Emma Hybrid Comfort instead.
  • Although the Helix Midnight has a pretty balanced feel overall, the bounce of the coil layer may not be to the liking of plush and slow-moving mattress fans.

Other User Reviews

Verified buyer Johnny U., whose 5-star review was one among more than 4,500, said he recommends the Helix Midnight “as a college student who needs more sleep.” The bed averages 4.5 out of 5 among 6,700 reviews in total. People did complain of a strong off-gassing chemical odor upon unfurling their mattress-in-a-box. 

Read our full Helix Midnight review. Or for more options, check out our Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers.

Best Soft Mattress for College Students – Nectar

Best Soft Mattress

Nectar Mattress

Nectar is a very comfortable memory foam mattress that happens to also be an amazing value.

Clarity Score 4.3/5

Material

Foam

Trial Period

365 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Medium-firm: 6.5/10

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Joint Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from joint pain.
Hip Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from hip pain.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.7/5
Watch Our Video Review
Best Soft Mattress

Nectar Mattress

Nectar is a very comfortable memory foam mattress that happens to also be an amazing value.

Clarity Score 4.3/5

Material

Foam

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

Firmness

Medium-firm: 6.5/10

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

365 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Joint Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from joint pain.
Hip Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from hip pain.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.7/5
Watch Our Video Review
Best Soft Mattress

Nectar Mattress

Nectar is a very comfortable memory foam mattress that happens to also be an amazing value.

Clarity Score 4.3/5

Material

Foam

Firmness

Medium-firm: 6.5/10

Trial Period

365 nights

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Joint Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from joint pain.
Hip Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from hip pain.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.7/5
Watch Our Video Review
Pros of the Nectar
Cooling cover
Medium-firm feel that suit many
Budget-friendly
Cons of the Nectar
May not feel soft enough for lightweight sleepers
May lack support for heavier sleepers

Our Expert’s Take

The Nectar is an all-foam mattress. Although it’s technically medium-firm, it has a softer feel and is one of the most comfortable mattresses we’ve tested. It’s also in our best mattresses for the money roundup, so college students shouldn’t have to worry about breaking the bank.

What the testers say: “The Nectar is a budget mattress that suits the soft mattress lover nicely. I can’t say it’s as ideal for people like me with a heavier-set frame, but for all the light and average weight side and back sleepers, they should feel excellent pressure relief on this bed. – Marten, Lead Reviewer

What We Love About the Nectar

  • The Nectar consists of a cover that’s literally cool to the touch, and beneath it a gel-infused memory foam comfort layer. This adds cooling to the mattress surface. A second layer of foam acts as a transition layer, guiding sleepers to the high-density support foam layer.
  • The Nectar should sleep at a comfortable temperature, even though it excludes special cooling features. What most impressed us was the great edge support; this is an indicator of durability. Because the Nectar has impressive edge support for an all-foam mattress, you should be able to use the bed’s full surface area.
  • Back sleepers who enjoy a softer feel should love the Nectar because it balances comfort and support. Lightweight sleepers should find comfort in all three sleeping positions. Average-weight side sleepers should get the pressure relief they’re looking for.
  • If you’re worried about testing this mattress, rest assured with Nectar’s forever warranty, 365-night sleep trial, and free shipping — a generous policy for the price.

What to Keep in Mind About the Nectar

  • For the most part, heavyweight sleepers won’t get the support they need from the Nectar. However, heavy back sleepers should find it to be a good match. Average and heavyweight stomach sleepers will need a firmer mattress as well.
  • Some sleepers find that they feel stuck in the Nectar’s slow-moving memory foam layers, and prefer to have a bed with more give-and-take. Typically, a type of mattress made with a bouncier material, like a latex or innerspring mattress, will be more suitable.

Other User Reviews

Verified buyer and college student Liana C. wrote she was over the moon to have a bed that was “comfortable, soft (but not too soft), kept cool and (most importantly) helped me fall asleep fast.” Another verified buyer, George V., said he purchased the Nectar for his grandson’s college dorm: “He commented that it is the most comfortable mattress he ever slept on,” he reported on Nectar’s website. The bed averages 5.7 out of 5 among a staggering 50,000-plus reviews, and bad feedback tended to report the Nectar feeling too soft.

Read our full Nectar review for more information. If you’re looking for other options check out our list of the Best Soft Mattresses.

Best Mattress for Side Sleeping College Students  – Nolah 

Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Nolah Original 10" Mattress

The Nolah Original 10" mattress works especially well for side sleepers, and it's sold at a value price.

Clarity Score 4.2/5

Material

Foam

Trial Period

120 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Soft: 6/10

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.8/5
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Nolah Original 10" Mattress

The Nolah Original 10" mattress works especially well for side sleepers, and it's sold at a value price.

Clarity Score 4.2/5

Material

Foam

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

Firmness

Soft: 6/10

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

120 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.8/5
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Nolah Original 10" Mattress

The Nolah Original 10" mattress works especially well for side sleepers, and it's sold at a value price.

Clarity Score 4.2/5

Material

Foam

Firmness

Soft: 6/10

Trial Period

120 nights

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.8/5
Pros of the Nolah
Uses bouncy AirFoam
Durable build
Excellent pressure relief
Cons of the Nolah
Not a traditional memory foam feel
Heavier sleepers may need more support

Our Expert’s Take

It’s crucial side sleepers have a softer mattress with pressure relief around the shoulders and hips. A 6/10 on the firmness scale, Nolah does an exceptional job, all without sacrificing proper support. With sales and discounts, you can find this mattress under $1,000.

What the testers say: “We tend to suggest memory foam mattresses for side sleepers, who don’t mind sinking in somewhat for the sake of their hips, neck and shoulder comfort, so I’ll note that the Nolah is a different feel because of the use of bouncier AirFoam. So, you might want to look elsewhere if you’re a side sleeper who wants more of an enveloping feeling.” – Marten, Lead Reviewer

What We Love About the Nolah 

  • Hot sleepers should love the Nolah. Its signature AirFoam makes for a cooling mattress experience compared to most memory foams, and it has a breathable cover.
  • The quality materials provide durability, despite the Nolah being a soft and all-foam mattress. In fact, it’s one of the most durable mattresses on this list. Expect your Nolah to last well past college, between 7 and 10 years.
  • Lightweight sleepers as well as average-weight back and side sleepers should find ideal cushioning and support on the Nolah. You can test this out for yourself thanks to Nolah’s lifetime warranty, 120-night trial, and free shipping and returns.

What to Keep in Mind About the Nolah

  • Heavyweight sleepers aren’t going to get the desired support they need while back and stomach sleeping, and heavy side sleepers will sink too far through the comfort layers. If you like an all-foam mattress but need more support, we’d suggest a foam mattress with reinforced “zoned” support, like the Casper.
  • Nolah is one of the pricier choices as far as an all-foam mattress, although combined with sales, a twin XL tends to hover around $800.

Other User Reviews

It’s trickier to parse Nolah’s feedback, since the brand doesn’t provide a way to sort for specific terms or negative reviews. We can tell you however that the brand averages a 4.7 out of 5 among an undisclosed number of reviews. A recent review from a side sleeper said that the bed (and its pillows) was helping them get a good night’s sleep: “I suffer with lower back pain, am a side sleeper and have neck issues. I have been sleeping great, no pain and I have finally found pillows that are the right size and feel.”

Read our full Nolah review or Nolah Vs Casper review for more information. Or if you’re looking for other great options, check out our Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers.

Best Firm Mattress for College Students – Plank Firm

Best Firm Mattress

Brooklyn Bedding Plank Firm Mattress

The Plank Firm is a very firm mattress that is a great match for stomach sleepers and those who need extra support.

Clarity Score 4.2/5

Material

Foam

Trial Period

120 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Firm: 8/10

Warranty

10-year warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from back pain.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for average weight and heavyweight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.8/5
Watch Our Video Review
Best Firm Mattress

Brooklyn Bedding Plank Firm Mattress

The Plank Firm is a very firm mattress that is a great match for stomach sleepers and those who need extra support.

Clarity Score 4.2/5

Material

Foam

Warranty

10-year warranty

Firmness

Firm: 8/10

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

120 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from back pain.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for average weight and heavyweight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.8/5
Watch Our Video Review
Best Firm Mattress

Brooklyn Bedding Plank Firm Mattress

The Plank Firm is a very firm mattress that is a great match for stomach sleepers and those who need extra support.

Clarity Score 4.2/5

Material

Foam

Firmness

Firm: 8/10

Trial Period

120 nights

Warranty

10-year warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from back pain.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for average weight and heavyweight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.8/5
Watch Our Video Review
Pros of the Plank Firm
Flippable with different firmness on each side
Student discount available
Excellent support
Cons of the Plank Firm
Side sleepers may need more pressure relief
Lightweight sleepers may feel too “on-top” of the mattress

Our Expert’s Take

The Plank Firm is an all-foam, flippable mattress that provides one of the firmest sleep surfaces we’ve ever tested. Does a very-firm mattress sound unappealing to you? Well, it actually might be the ideal way to sleep for you, depending on your body type and preferred sleeping position. 

What the testers say: “If you sleep on a Plank mattress, you can’t necessarily just collapse onto your bed after a long day — the Plank provides real, firm pushback on each side. That said, the feeling of support is excellent, and Brooklyn Bedding has a generous student discount of 35 percent.” – Marten, Lead Reviewer

What We Love About the Plank Firm

  • Because of its flippable design, the Plank Firm’s construction is unique to every other mattress on this list. Each side features a layer of quilted polyfoam for a touch of softness, however, the softer side of the mattress also includes a 2” layer of comfort foam, which takes it from a 9/10 on our firmness scale to an 8/10. In between the two usable sides of the Plank Firm is a 7” layer of support foam that helps give the mattress structure.
  • Flippability is one of the best value-adds you can find in a mattress. You can turn the bed over for an entirely new mattress and firmness level experience, greatly increasing the chance one side of the mattress will be compatible with your body type and sleep style.
  • The extra-firm side works very well for stomach sleepers. It provides plenty of support and, while we were testing it, kept our hips fully elevated — a quality that stomach sleepers should look for in a mattress. As for the firm side, we found it worked best while we were on our backs, as it had just enough give for our hips to receive pressure relief. 

What to Keep in Mind About the Plank Firm

  • As we mentioned with the Emma Hybrid Comfort, firm mattresses tend to be poor choices for lightweight people. If you fall into that category, you may want a softer mattress that allows you to sink somewhat into the surface. The Nectar will be a good option for you here.
  • Even for tried and true firm mattress lovers, each side of the Plank might be too intense. That’s especially true if you’re a side sleeper who needs lots of pressure relief on the hips and shoulders.

Other User Reviews

Adam W. left feedback as a verified buyer and firm mattress fan, writing that the Plank finally offered a solution for sleep woes: “I tried out a lot of mattresses before finding the Plank so I know for sure that this is the right mattress for me. So many mattresses cater towards people who want the softest mattress that sinks or even contours as soon as you lay on it and it frustrated me to no end dealing with those in store.” Verified buyer Ching-fang H. said the Plank was “so good that I bought the second one for my daughter to take it to her dorm.” Unsurprisingly, negative reviews tended to bemoan that the mattress was too firm.

Read our full Plank Firm review. Need more options? Check out our Best Firm Mattresses for more great options.

Best Mattress for College Athletes – Bear 

Best Mattress for College Athletes

Bear Mattress

The Bear Original mattress sleeps cool and is quite comfortable. It's a particularly good option for athletes.

Clarity Score 3.8/5

Material

Foam

Trial Period

120 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Medium-firm: 6.5/10

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Hot Sleepers
If you often overheat while you sleep, this mattress should help you stay cool.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.7/5
Watch Our Video Review
Best Mattress for College Athletes

Bear Mattress

The Bear Original mattress sleeps cool and is quite comfortable. It's a particularly good option for athletes.

Clarity Score 3.8/5

Material

Foam

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

Firmness

Medium-firm: 6.5/10

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

120 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Hot Sleepers
If you often overheat while you sleep, this mattress should help you stay cool.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.7/5
Watch Our Video Review
Best Mattress for College Athletes

Bear Mattress

The Bear Original mattress sleeps cool and is quite comfortable. It's a particularly good option for athletes.

Clarity Score 3.8/5

Material

Foam

Firmness

Medium-firm: 6.5/10

Trial Period

120 nights

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Hot Sleepers
If you often overheat while you sleep, this mattress should help you stay cool.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.7/5
Watch Our Video Review
Pros of the Bear
Built with athletes in mind
Cool-to-the-touch in the sleep lab
Robust edge support
Cons of the Bear
May lack support for heavier sleepers
We can’t tests the brand’s claims about Celliant ourselves

Our Expert’s Take

Whether you run for fun, play an intramural sport, or represent your school’s team, you know the most important thing you can do for recovery is sleep. Check out the Bear mattress, specifically designed for athletes everywhere. It’s an all-foam mattress with a balanced, medium-firm construction many sleepers are sure to love. The high-quality materials have unique properties and all foams are CertiPUR-US certified, so they’re eco-friendly and natural.

What the testers say: “Back sleepers and side sleepers can get a great balance of support on the Bear, and if you want any competitive edge you can muster, I’d definitely recommend the Bear for athletes who want to collapse on a cooling surface between classes after an intense round of working out.” – Elisa, Reviewer

What We Love About the Bear

  • The Bear’s cover is woven with Celliant, a material that purportedly assists with brain circulation and muscle recovery. It’s also a cooling material. A graphite gel-infused foam layer provides pressure relief and additional cooling while a transition foam allows for ease of movement. The support layer is made of high-density polyfoam and assists with support and spinal alignment.
  • Hot sleepers should love the many cooling features. Those with late-night practices and workouts should especially enjoy this; the materials in the cover and foams help cool down your body temperature in bed. We found that this mattress has good edge support, indicating durability. It should be one of the longer-lasting mattresses on this list due to its high-quality materials.
  • This is one of the best mattresses for back sleepers of all body types. The balanced construction is ideal for these folks, along with those experiencing back pain. Lightweight sleepers and most average-weight side sleepers should also appreciate the comfort and support offered.

What to Keep in Mind About the Bear

  • Heavyweight side sleepers will find this bed too firm. Heavy stomach sleepers will need something more supportive because the Bear isn’t firm enough to keep the hips elevated. Average-weight stomach sleepers will find this mattress too soft as well.
  • Although Bear makes bold muscle recovery claims about its Celliant cover, our sleep lab lacks the capacity to test the assertion for ourselves. 

Other User Reviews

The Bear averages a 4.7 out of 5 rating based on 10614 reviews. Verified buyer Sarah S. wrote that she wanted beds to last through her childrens’ teens: “My oldest kid, who has ADHD and tends to stay awake a long time, reading and drawing, said he fell asleep immediately the first night. He loves his bed so much now!” Commenters leaving negative reviews found the bed didn’t meet their firmness expectation.

Read our full Bear review for more information. Or if you’re looking for more options, check out our Best Mattresses for Athletes.

Best Hybrid Mattress for College Students – Brooklyn Essential

Best Hybrid Mattress

Brooklyn Bedding Bowery Hybrid Mattress

The Brooklyn Bedding Bowery is an affordable mattress that a lot of people will like.

Clarity Score 4.3/5

Material

Hybrid

Trial Period

120 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Soft: 6/10

Warranty

10-year warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for average weight back sleepers.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for average weight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.8/5
Best Hybrid Mattress

Brooklyn Bedding Bowery Hybrid Mattress

The Brooklyn Bedding Bowery is an affordable mattress that a lot of people will like.

Clarity Score 4.3/5

Material

Hybrid

Warranty

10-year warranty

Firmness

Soft: 6/10

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

120 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for average weight back sleepers.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for average weight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.8/5
Best Hybrid Mattress

Brooklyn Bedding Bowery Hybrid Mattress

The Brooklyn Bedding Bowery is an affordable mattress that a lot of people will like.

Clarity Score 4.3/5

Material

Hybrid

Firmness

Soft: 6/10

Trial Period

120 nights

Warranty

10-year warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for average weight back sleepers.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for average weight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.8/5
Pros of the Brooklyn Bowery
Student discount available from brand
Good value hybrid
Cooling build
Cons of the Brooklyn Bowery
May be too bouncy for those not used to innersprings
Heavier sleepers and stomach sleepers may need more support

Our Expert’s Take

The Brooklyn Essential differs from many of the models above (and shares a likeless with the Emma Hybrid Comfort) in that it’s a hybrid mattress, utilizing both foam and coils in its construction. It’s a 6/10 on our firmness scale, so it’s softer than average. The Brooklyn Bedding mattress manufactures beds in their own factory, so they can sell a more budget-friendly mattress. College students should like its affordability and comfortable, streamlined design. Plus, Brooklyn bedding furnishes a student discount, a perk you won’t often see from mattress retailers. 

What the testers say: “College is the time to try new things, but you may not want to buy the most expensive hybrid out there if you’ve never slept on one. Brooklyn Essential is a great ‘starter’ hybrid of sorts thanks to its excellent value, plus the bed suits a range of sleepers. Plus, you can always return to a more familiar mattress build if you don’t like the feel within the 120-night sleep trial.” – Marten, Lead Reviewer

What We Love About the Brooklyn Essential

  • The Brooklyn Bedding Bowery is 10” tall. At the top of the mattress, there’s a thin, stretchy cover allowing for breathability. Beneath lies the primary comfort layer: gel-infused memory foam. This assists with cooling and provides pressure relief. Because this layer is quilted — and since the layer beneath is a responsive transition layer — you shouldn’t feel stuck. Below that, a layer of signature Ascension X coils provides structural support.
  • Considering the Bowery’s low cost, we were impressed with its cooling abilities. Its breathable cover, gel-infused foam, and coils provide airflow. While it’s not the most long-lasting bed, it’s made with quality foams and has good edge support. This mattress is durable for its price. If you’re still on the fence, know that Brooklyn Bedding offers a 10-year warranty, 120-night sleep trial, and free shipping and returns.
  • Because the mattress is on the softer side, we recommend it to lightweight sleepers under 130 lb and average-weight side sleepers. Combination sleepers of these weights should find it easy to move around on top of the mattress.

What to Keep in Mind About the Brooklyn Essential

  • Average-weight back and stomach sleepers — along with heavyweight sleepers — won’t find adequate support on the Bowery.
  • This may not be the right mattress for sleepers who derive the vast majority of their comfort from a hybrid’s memory foam layer but don’t get so much out of the support and bounce of the coil layer. 

Other User Reviews

One verified buyer said that after sleeping on the Brooklyn Essential for three weeks the bed had “helped with my overheating at night when I sleep” and that “for the amount I paid (student discount included), it was worth it.” Many lower ratings (although the bed only had one 1- or 2-star review) said the bed felt too soft. All in all, the Bowery received 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 553 reviews.

Read our full Brooklyn Essential review. Looking for additional recommendations, check out our Best Hybrid Mattresses for more great options.

How Much You Should Pay for a College Mattress

The price of any mattress depends on its size and quality of materials. A good Twin bed should cost between $300 and $500 for a memory foam construction and $350–$650 for a hybrid construction. Quality Twin XL beds are longer-lasting and therefore more expensive, so expect to pay $400–$600 for a memory foam mattress and $450–$700 for a hybrid.

Mattresses for a Great Price

Here are some of our favorite roundups featuring more reasonably-priced options:

The Best Time to Buy a Mattress

The best times to buy a mattress are during holiday sales. Companies slash prices significantly a few weekends out of the year. Search for a bed around President’s Day (February), Memorial Day (May), Labor Day (September), Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday (November), and Christmas (December).

Coupons

If you need to buy a mattress but you can’t find a sale, check out our coupons page. There we provide exclusive deals for shoppers like you.

College Mattress Size

Twin vs Twin XL

Twin and Twin XL mattresses are the most common mattress sizes for college dorms. These beds are great for saving space and can easily fit on a bunk bed. What distinguishes a Twin from a Twin XL is length. A Twin has dimensions of 39”W x 75”L, whereas a Twin XL measures 39”W x 80”L. Taller students might select a Twin XL for extra legroom.

When to Buy a Larger College Mattress

If you’re moving into a house or apartment allowing for more space than a dorm room, you may want a mattress size upgrade. Moving from a Twin or Twin XL to a Full or a Queen is beneficial for a number of reasons. If you habitually toss and turn at night, that extra room is essential. When friends come into town, a larger mattress can accommodate for two. What’s great is you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for your bank account. There are plenty of cheap mattress options for larger mattresses (see more below).

How to Make a College Mattress More Comfortable

Invest in a Mattress Topper

Using a topper changes the feel of a mattress. Companies sell toppers made to make your mattress softer, but others add firmness and bounce. While they’re often used to improve a mattress, they can also extend a mattress’s lifespan. For more information, check out our roundup for the best college mattress toppers.

Try a Mattress Pad

Mattress pads differ from toppers in that they add a thinner amount of padding, but are better at protecting the mattress from stains and spills. If you’re looking for something that does the best job of keeping contaminants off your mattress, try a mattress protector.

Get a New Pillow

Finding the best pillow is important because it keeps the upper part of your body aligned with the rest of your spine. If you’re waking up with neck or shoulder pain in the morning, you may need to invest in a new one. Hot sleepers may want a breathable pillow for a more restful sleep. Overall, your sleeping position can help determine what pillow is best for you. Side sleepers often need a higher lofted pillow, stomach sleepers need a low loft, and back sleepers somewhere in between.

Buy Better Sheets

If your sheets are wearing out and it starts affecting your sleep, it’s definitely time to purchase a new set. Hot sleepers should consider a set of cooling sheets. There are many different sheet materials with a number of different feels.

RELATED: Could Dorm Mattress Quality Be A Cause Of Sleep Deprivation in College Students?

Delivering a Mattress to Your Dorm or Apartment

If you don’t want to sleep on an old dorm mattress, consider buying a mattress online. Bed-in-a-box mattresses are delivered in a compressed package, ensuring a convenient shopping experience. Some companies offer white glove delivery at varying prices, so they’ll set up your mattress for you. Contact a mattress company on their website to see their delivery policies.

Mattress Companies Offering Free Shipping

  • Bear
  • Layla
  • Nectar
  • Puffy
  • Brooklyn Bedding
  • TEMPUR-Cloud
  • Casper
  • GhostBed
  • Leesa
  • WinkBed
  • Purple

Not a complete list.

Mattress Companies Offering White Glove Delivery

  • Cocoon by Sealy (free white glove delivery)
  • Saatva (free white glove delivery)
  • Tuft & Needle ($150, plus old mattress pick-up)
  • Nectar (services included in $149 base fee)
  • DreamCloud ($149)
  • Leesa ($150)
  • GhostBed ($279)

Not a complete list.

How to Choose the Best College Mattress

With a college student budget, something easy on the bank account is crucial. However, you’ll want something high-quality, durable, and made for your individual needs.

Materials

Mattresses come in a variety of constructions, but which option is best for you?

Memory foam: These all-foam beds are known for their contouring properties, giving them a signature sinking feel. Those with sensitive joints or lower back pain should feel a lot of pressure relief on this mattress. Side sleepers should especially enjoy the way this material hugs pressure points at the shoulders and hips. Back sleepers who like a softer feel can find something to like here, but stomach sleepers will likely need the additional support of an innerspring, hybrid, or latex bed.

Innerspring: Known for their traditional, bouncy feel, innersprings excel in support, durability, and cooling. Coils are essential to the construction of these beds, and a thin layer of foam adds just enough comfort. Stomach sleepers, heavy sleepers, and back sleepers wanting a firmer feel should love the innerspring.

Hybrid: If you find memory foam beds are too soft and innersprings too firm, try the happy medium: hybrid mattresses. They’re a combination of foam and coils, but can also feature materials like latex and polyfoam. This results in each hybrid model having a distinct yet balanced feel. This is ideal for back sleepers, those with back pain, and combination sleepers.

Latex: Mattresses featuring latex can include natural or synthetic material. Many love natural latex for its cooling abilities and eco-friendliness. Synthetic latex beds tend to be much cheaper. Either way, the bouncier feel of natural and synthetic latex appeals to hot sleepers, heavy sleepers, and those wanting to avoid sinking into their mattress.

Firmness, Body Type, and Sleeping Position

The sleep industry rates mattress firmness on a scale from 1–10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. The right comfort level goes hand-in-hand with your body type and favored sleep position.

If you’re a heavier sleeper, you’ll want a firmer mattress to prevent too much sinkage. Lightweight sleepers should opt for a softer mattress for proper contouring. If you sleep on your stomach, you’re going to need a firmer option, while side sleepers need softer mattresses for pressure relief. Average-weight sleepers and back sleepers do best on medium-firm mattresses (a 6.5 on the firmness scale).

Warranty and Sleep Trial

When buying any mattress, it’s important to pay special attention to the company’s warranty and sleep trial. A warranty binds a company to repairing or replacing products sold with flaws. A sleep trial is a period where customers can test out the mattress and see if it fits their needs. Lengthy warranties and sleep trials can help determine how reliable the company you’re purchasing from is. Aim to find a company with at least a 10-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial.

Summary

MattressSuperlative
Emma Hybrid ComfortEditor’s Pick
Helix MidnightBest Mattress for Back Sleepers
NectarBest Soft Mattress
NolahBest Mattress for Side Sleepers
Plank FirmBest Firm Mattress
BearBest Mattress for College Athletes
Brooklyn EssentialBest Hybrid Mattress

FAQ

How much should a college student spend on a mattress?

For a good Twin or Twin XL, college students should expect to pay around $300. Larger sizes, such as a Queen or Full, the best mattress for the money shouldn’t cost more than $1,500.

Which mattress is best for students?

While it ultimately comes down to personal preference, your body type, and your sleeping position, we think the Dreamfoam Essential is the best overall choice. This is because of its affordability, cooling properties, warranty and trial periods, multiple height options, and balanced construction.

What mattresses do colleges use?

While the exact brand varies, dorm rooms typically use Twin XL mattresses. Twin XL mattresses are 5” longer than Twin mattresses, so these space-saving beds can accommodate students taller than 6’.

Should I buy a mattress for college?

Students will often buy a new mattress to suit their own preferences. If a dorm mattress fails to align with your needs, you might experience restless sleep. It’s helpful to understand your body type, sleep position, and preferences. If you know you’re a hot sleeper, you can select a cooling mattress. If you know you like a softer mattress, you can find one with specific cushioning material.

Do I need a mattress protector for college?

While they’re not essential, mattress protectors are a highly recommended mattress accessory. They’re ideal for anyone who wants to avoid contaminants (dust mites, mold, spills) on their mattress. This is especially great for those with allergies.

Lauren Hapgood

Lauren is a Performance Publisher at Mattress Clarity, where she writes and edits mattress content to keep readers updated on sleep products. Lauren is committed to helping readers find the best sleep products for their lifestyles and is even a Certified Sleep Science Coach! She earned her bachelor's degree in creative writing from the University of Washington. When she's not compiling lists of the best beds on the market, you can find Lauren running on a trail, reading classic novels, or napping on her favorite mattress (her best talent).