Behind the scenes, I’ve been suffering from acute back pain. It started a few months ago, almost gradually. At first, it was mildly irritating. Then, last month, the pain expanded its reach across both my shoulder blades. My shoulders felt like fire, while my lower back felt pinched. The pains would subside during the day, but would recur the following morning. The fact that I spend the bulk of my time at a desk all day didn’t help matters, either.
At first, I dealt with the pain by ignoring it, but the pain grew in its intensity two weeks ago. It turns out that the culprit was our nearly fifteen year old coil spring mattress (a Sterns and Foster pillow-top). Its former firm resolve gave way to a sag in the middle of the bed. Because of the sag, my shoulders and lower back were feeling more undue stress during the night.
It was time to shop for a new mattress. I jumped on the usual websites – places like Amazon, Macy’s, Mattress Firm, and even a few local mattress outlets. My research led me towards looking at memory foam mattresses. Unlike conventional coil mattresses, memory foam mattresses contour themselves around your body to give you more support. Plus, unlike a conventional coil mattress, you never have to flip a memory foam mattress. Having slept on memory foam mattresses before, I was already aware of its advantages.
But selecting a suitable memory foam mattress model wasn’t an easy task. There’s a dizzying number of choices of models to choose from. Reviews on various mattress brands are all somewhat subjective – what one person prefers to sleep on may not be the right model for me. The other factor I ran into was cost. The price of memory foam mattresses can range from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a cool $6K for a queen sized model. Beyond the range in price, I was also facing the time-eating task of visiting store after store to “test” beds out. This would involve, at minimum, investing at least two weekends at various mattress resellers. Not my idea of fun.
So, I returned to the web and continued my research. In the process, I found an incredibly useful website called Sleep Like the Dead. It’s a goldmine in sleep product research, serving as an independent and unbiased source for reviews on mattresses, pillows, mattress toppers, and much, much more.
The site is clearly organized and covers a range of topics pertinent to purchasing a new mattress – from buying mattresses online to mattresses and back pain research. Reading the articles on this site really gave me a solid footing on buying a new mattress. And because of the site, I felt well equipped with enough knowledge to confidently order my mattress online.
A few years ago, the thought of buying a bed online would have been absurd to me. But my tune changed when I read an owner satisfaction comparison that concluded that the satisfaction rate for a mattress purchase is about the same whether or not a consumer tried the product out in the showroom.
Buoyed by the study, and after even more laborious research, I placed an order for a Queen size memory foam mattress from a company called Bed in the Box. Bed in a Box currently has the highest overall ranking in owner satisfaction (86%) compared to the competition, according to Sleep Like the Dead.
There were several elements in place that made ordering a bed from Bed in a Box a no-brainer for me.
- The beds are made in the US.
- They have a 20 year warranty.
- The customer testimonials on the site and outside of the site are filled with glowing reviews of both the company and their products.
- The prices were reasonable.
- Free shipping via FedEx.
- The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
- The Bed in a Box website was intuitive.
So, armed with my credit card, I once again decided to take a bullet for the Internet. I was curious to see if ordering a bed online was all that it was cracked up to be.
Bed in a Box has several different models to choose from. You can pick the model for your sleep needs using their easy to use online configurator. Each bed comes with its own description and comfort level. My wife and I both prefer a firm mattress so we opted for the Queen size PacBed Original with a gel top, with no foundation or bed frame. The total for the purchase was $829. The order was placed on a Sunday afternoon.
On the same Wednesday we received our Bed in a Box. Literally. How the heck can they fit a Queen sized mattress in a box? Through clever compression techniques and tight packaging, it turns out.
Our box included the invoice and instructions…
…along with the mattress itself.
The Bed in a Box mattress comes in a fabric container with a handle on one end, a strap and a grip handle running across it. The fabric container can be cut to facilitate “unboxing” – which I did after moving the mattress to the room it would be installed in. The mattress itself, even in its rolled position, is heavy. With some effort, I was able to drag the mattress upstairs on my own. In all fairness, my wife told me to wait until she arrived to help me, but I couldn’t help myself.
Inside the fabric container, is the mattress, housed in a layer of tightly sealed plastic. Cutting this plastic should be done with scissors, and only after you have the bed on its foundation. This bed is well-packed, folks.
After cutting the plastic, the mattress uncurls itself and expands. It’s pretty neat to watch, in sort of a Terminator 2 way.
Okay… So How is It?
I waited a week to test my PacBed out before writing this review. In short: it’s awesome. Why? First and foremost, it’s got terrific support for my entire body. My back and shoulder pain went away within a day of sleeping on this bed. Secondly, I don’t toss and turn around like I used to on the old bed. There was a slight odor for the first few minutes (presumably from the plastic) but none after that point in time. The last few weeks I grew to dread going to sleep – now I welcome it with open arms. I wake up feeling fresh and rested, and with the gel top, I sleep cool through the night.
To summarize, I’m very impressed with Bed in a Box. It never occurred to me that such a company even existed, but I’m glad they do. Their prices are fair and their product is excellent. I have not tested their customer support personally, but the slew of testimonials on their page seem to indicate that their service is stellar.
That being said, I now have to get rid of our old mattress. Most local bed companies will do this gratis when you buy a new bed from their company. They can afford to do so because the customer pays a HUGE mark-up when they purchase a bed from them. On the other hand, online mattress companies don’t have any such arrangement like that. Personally, it would be neat to have an option to arrange for the pickup of the old mattress via Bed in a Box. (And, yes, I would pay for this option.)
So, do I recommend buying a bed online? Yep, if it’s from Bed in a Box. I’ll summarize my review like this: when the time comes to upgrade to a King bed at some point in our future, I will be ordering from Bed in a Box again.
Bed in a Box earns 5 out of 5 Bob Weiners.