Bed In A Box vs. In Home Delivery

As it relates to ordering a mattress online, there are two different delivery models offered by manufacturers.

One is the “Bed In A Box” model, where the bed is compressed and put in a box and delivered by a carrier such as UPS, FEDEX, etc..

The other is direct in home delivery & setup, where the bed is shipped uncompressed and installed in your home.  We discuss Bed In A Box vs In Home Delivery in this guide.   Last updated Oct 15, 2020 @ 6:29 pm

The obvious advantage of the Bed In A Box vs In Home delivery model is that your mattress arrives on your doorstep in a generally quicker time frame than direct in home delivery.

These days there are a multitude of these type of memory foam mattresses being sold online, from manufacturers such as NectarLull, DreamCloud, Bear Mattress, Leesa, Luxi, and many more.

GhostBed mattress

GhostBed in a Box

However, in home delivery and setup, aka “white glove” as it is known, is for some a better model in many cases.

The mattress quality is often better with the in-home delivery model as it does not have to be compressed, your old mattress is often removed in the process, and professional delivery people bring in and install your mattress in your home while you wait. 

You just don’t get many choices of online mattress brands at all with this type of model, except Loom & Leaf and WinkBeds for the online companies, as well as most of the in-store brands that deliver to your house. Lately, however, a few of the “bed-in-a-box” online mattress companies are offering “white glove” deliver services where they will help open and install your mattress for you – even one coming in a box.

Materials / Construction Comparison

Bed In A Box type mattresses are generally composed of less expensive materials than a comparable bed that is delivered uncompressed.

This is just simply due to the nature of the shipping and compression process, in that some materials don’t lend themselves to being compressed into a smaller form and then “settling” into shape. 

Lower foam densities are often used to accommodate shipping which results in less durability and lower long-term support.  This is not always the case, however, but for the most part is true. 

As it is commonly said, “you can’t stuff a Tempur-Pedic into a box.”

Yes, we know, memory foam is exactly that – foam that goes back to its original shape. However, as mentioned, many other material and design innovations have to be left out of the construction of these types of beds in order for them to be compressed into a box.

Medical grade cooling gels, tufted plush covers, thicker mattresses, higher foam densities – many of these can’t be found in Bed In A Box memory foam mattresses. In comparison, they are present in direct home delivery mattresses from Loom & Leaf and WinkBeds

Loom and Leaf mattress

Loom and Leaf, Queen size

On average, it costs around 50-60% less to make a Bed In A Box type mattress than a direct- home installed mattress.

This better quality makes beds such as Loom and Leaf a better value and more comparable to an in store mattress such as Tempur Pedic compared to a Bed In A Box brand such as Casper, which uses lower quality materials at close to the same price.

HOWEVER – lately there have been many manufacturers that have begun to use very high quality materials within a compressed mattress, most notably Brentwood Home mattresses, Nectar, hybrid coil mattresses from Voila and DreamCloud, and several others.

Off-Gassing / Health Considerations

One of the primary complaints of memory foam mattresses in the past has been the smell associated with them, known as “off-gassing” from the chemicals used in the construction of the mattress.

Combine these chemicals with the compression needed to stuff a bed in a box and ship it to your doorstep, and you have all the ingredients for a not-so-pleasant experience when you open up the box and get hit with a chemical smell that sometimes takes a while to dissipate. 

In contrast, beds that are delivered directly to your home in an un-boxed form generally don’t have this problem, as they not only don’t get compressed within a bag and a box, creating chemical odors.

In addition, they are often constructed with “greener” environmentally conscious materials that  have less of a chemical odor because they don’t use cheaper foam that needs to be compressed for shipping.


In conclusion, the decision to purchase a memory foam mattress online isn’t always as simple as it seems.

While most mattresses these days purchased online are shipped in a box direct to you, you seem to get more value for your money when purchasing from a in-home delivery & setup mattress company vs a Bed In A Box one due to the quality of materials used that often don’t lend themselves to be compressed. 

Quality does vary by vendor as as well as price, with the cheaper memory foam mattresses that are shipped in a box being less comparable to the in store brands.

However, this is not the case for brands such as Loom and Leaf, one of our favorite memory foam mattresses, and WinkBeds, a very popular coil/hybrid mattress.   Both of whom have adopted the in-home delivery & setup model to compete with the bigger mattress brands at a much more affordable price with comparable value and better customer service. 

Lately, as mentioned, there are many other online mattress companies that are offering “white glove” setup and removal of your old mattress, but they do so by opening up the compressed mattress out of the box it is shipped in.

When deciding on one of the many Bed In A Box mattresses or one that is delivered intact to your home, taking note of the considerations above should help clear up the differences between online offerings and help you decide where to best spend your money.

Hopefully this brief guide helped you understand the different delivery models available today, and can help you make the right choice when choosing your next mattress purchase!


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