I Tried the Mattress-in-a-Box You See Everywhere Online—Here’s My Honest Review
I have never been a mattress person. Every bed I’ve had (since birth, I think) has been a hand-me-down, and I’ve always been A-OK with that. I’d rather spend my money on cute clothes or ingenious kitchen appliances anyway. It wasn’t until my most recent mattress experience (let’s just say it was lumpier than a ski slope) that I finally decided to get a big-girl, brand-spanking-new bed.
As a millennial who spends a huge chunk of time online, I’m pretty familiar with all the different types of culty bed sensations that fill Instagram and Facebook feeds. You probably know the ones I’m talking about—the ads all consist of pastel backgrounds and doodle-esque graphics. Among these is the bed-in-a-box from Nectar. Now, not to be too dramatic, but I think I’ve gotten to know this brand better than any man I’ve ever dated, mostly because its ads popped up on my phone nearly every day for two years.
I knew all the stats: The mattress comes with a lifetime warranty, has a 365-night sleep trial, ships for free, and is cheaper than all the other boxed competitors. This might be why I was so interested in it to begin with. I could skip the awkward get-to-know-you phase with other mattresses and get the Nectar delivered right to my door on my own time.
That stress-free process appealed to me, as did the idea of not having to lug a full-size mattress up the stairs to my fourth-floor apartment. I still had to lug a box with a full-size mattress up the stairs to my fourth-floor apartment, and while it weighed more than a third-grader, it was much easier to carry than a stiff bed. Once I got past that workout, I was shocked by how easy the “assembly” process was. I put it in quotes because all I really had to do was open the box and cut some plastic off.
The bed comes curled up like a snug cinnamon roll packed into a compact baking sheet. I had my roommate help me hoist it out (it could probably be done by just one person, but I was still out of breath from the stairs), and it immediately started unwinding into its rightful mattress shape. We quickly got it in place on my ready-built bed frame (clear up some space in your room before you unwrap the box, because there is definitely potential for disaster if you don’t), and once it was flat, I carefully cut the plastic wrap from one side to the other. Again, I’m going to compare it to a cinnamon roll because I’m hungry and the bed is comforting: The bed immediately started rising like a bun in the oven.
I let the bed rest for a few hours before putting anything on top of it, and about five hours after it was delivered, I slept on it for the first time. You know how the best hugs are a little firm? That’s how this mattress feels. It’s the sturdiest mattress I’ve had, but in a supportive and comforting way. Not in a rock-hard aggressive way.
As someone who’s used to tossing and turning all throughout the night, it took a few days to realize that, on this new mattress, I wasn’t waking up on one side or the other. I was actually sleeping through the night and waking up rested without any neck or back aches.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, my room has become a multipurpose work and workout space. Thus, my bed functions as a desk, weight rack, occasional dining room table (we’re all human), and crafts table. Because this mattress is built with five different layers—quilted memory foam, gel memory foam, adaptive hi-core memory foam, a base layer, and a bottom mattress cover, to be specific—it stops any motion transfer from one side to the other. I first realized this when, in an early-morning haze, I left my full cup of coffee on my bed as I reached for my laptop. Did the coffee spill onto my new mattress and wreak havoc on my new adult life? No. It kept in place. And my life was forever changed.
No matter how long I lay or sit in one spot, the mattress instantly firms back up once I move. It maintains its shape and doesn’t dent, crease, lump, or bump. In every aspect, this bed has exceeded my expectations. And better yet: The brand always has incredible deals that make buying the mattress even more worth it. Right now, for instance, you get two pillows, a mattress protector, and a sheet set for free when you buy a mattress. That’s $399 in freebies to enjoy with any size of mattress, from twin to California king. You can certainly rest easy with all that.