Mattress in a box comparison: Sleeping Duck, Koala, Emma and Eva

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·4-min read

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Gone are the days where you go from showroom to showroom bouncing around on mattresses and debating which level of firmness and how many layers of foam you need for maximum comfort.

More and more people are choosing to buy their beds online now, with mattresses in a box soaring in popularity in recent years.

Covid has helped accelerate things, as the majority of mattress in a box brands offer free, contactless delivery, and offer the opportunity to try the mattress ‘in the comfort of your own home’.

In Australia, the number of brands on the market has also exploded, and so in this article, we’ll compare the mattresses on offer from Sleeping Duck, Koala, Emma, Eva, Macoda and Hugo, and answer a couple common questions, to help you decide if a mattress in a box is for you.

Can you try the mattress before you buy?

The short answer here is, no.

None of the mattress in a box brands available in Australia have showrooms where you can go to test out the bed - which is a significant factor behind the much lower price of the product compared to other mattresses on the market.

They do, however, offer a free-trial period of around 100 nights (three months) in which you can return the mattress for a full refund if you don’t find it comfortable enough.

Eva mattress ina box
Is a mattress in a box worth it? Eva's offering is only $900 for a hybrid springs and foam mattress with a 12 year warranty. Check out how it compares to other brands below

The issue with this system is that once you open the mattress, it can’t be put back into its box, so a returned mattress is essentially a waste product as it cannot be sold again. Many of the brands try to donate their returned mattresses or recycle them, so look into their policy on this if their environmental footprint is important to you.

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If you live outside of a capital city, you may also have to pay for the mattress to be picked up and returned.

The other major downside of course, is that unlike in a showroom, when you’re ‘in the comfort of your own home’, you can’t really test more than one mattress at a time. Although to be fair, unless you’re only trying mattresses in a single showroom, it’s really hard to compare mattresses across multiple showrooms after only one, quick lie down in front of a chatty salesperson.

The advantage of the free trial period is that you can test the mattress overnight which gives you a much better idea of whether it’s suited to you than a quick showroom trial.

cross section of Emma Sleep's foam mattress
Emma's foam mattress is made in Germany and have won awards overseas. Photo: Emma

Why are they so cheap?

We’ve become so used to buying sight unseen while online shopping, that not being able to test drive your mattress beforehand isn’t an issue for many shoppers, especially when choosing a mattress in a box means significant savings.

Showrooms are full of mattresses costing $2,000 to $3,000 (and above), while online, you can pick up a mattress in a box for as little as $900, or even less while on sale.

This is because mattress in a box brands don’t need to hire out a showroom - or customer service staff to fill them - as they’re completely online.

The technology that allows these mattresses to be squeezed into a box also makes shipping easier and reduces costs, contributing to the lower prices for the customer.

So cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean worse in this case, and in fact, mattress expert Peter Zaluzny, from Australian consumer group Choice, says that the mattress in a box industry as a whole “consistently manufactures better products” than the industry supplying mattresses to traditional bricks and mortar retailers.

Hugo mattress
Hugo is one of the few brands that makes its mattress in Australia. Photo: Hugo

Choice has done in-depth testing on a number of mattresses in a box and recommends eight of the 12 they’ve tested. To access their analysis, you need to sign up for a Choice membership which costs $27 for three months.

How do the different mattress in a box brands compare?

We’ve compiled a comparison of six mattresses in a box available for purchase in Australia to help you see the differences between them.

Just like traditional mattresses, you have a choice between hybrid mattresses that have both springs and foam, and mattresses that are made of multiple layers of foam, depending on what you prefer.

However, many brands will not give you a choice of how firm the mattress is, as they only have one offering at their ‘ideal’ level of firmness.

Also keep an eye out for sales for further savings. Emma, which is a German brand that has picked up awards in Europe, is currently slashing 45 percent off its mattresses so a queen that normally costs $1,099 is on sale for just $604.

You can get an additional 5 percent discount (bringing the total to 50 percent off) using the discount code Yahoo5.

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