The 5 best bed sheets in 2021 for every sleeper

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bed dressed in green sheets as part of testing for the best sheets 2021
  • Good sheets are essential to good sleep, which is why you need a set that’s comfortable and durable.
  • The L.L.Bean Percale Sheet Set is our top pick for most people because they’re crisp and breathable.
  • It’s made from soft, durable, extra-long-staple cotton and is affordably priced for the quality.
  • Read more about how Insider Reviews tests home products.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

I’ve spent four years trying out more than three dozen sets of sheets, and I can tell you – even if you have the perfect mattress and pillow, bedtime is incomplete without soft and comfortable sheets. For this guide, I put 19 sets of sheets through rigorous testing to determine the top five for a variety of preferences and budgets. L.L.Bean’s Percale Sheet Set is the best option for most people.

I spoke to hospitality experts and a textiles scientist to learn more about thread count, materials and fiber types, and fabric care. The FAQs section contains more info on why thread count is less important than you think, why you should look for 100% long-staple cotton as a sheeting material, and how to prevent wrinkles in your fresh sheets.

The majority of our picks are made from cotton, which offers the best balance of comfort, durability, and affordability. But we’ve also included options like flannel and linen, which hold heat differently and may be more appropriate for specific seasons or those who tend to sleep cold or hot.

Here are the best sheets for your bed in 2021

Best sheets overall

blue l.l.bean pima cotton sheets and pillows the best sheets overall 2021

The L.L.Bean percale sheets feel amazing on your skin — simultaneously light, crisp, and soft — and prove that quality materials are more important than thread count.

Pros: High-quality construction, very soft and comfortable, fitted sheet is labeled, accessible price

Cons: Lack of prints and patterns, fitted sheet may be loose on thinner mattresses

Of all the percale cotton sheets I tested, L.L.Bean’s set stood out for its ultra-softness and comfort. It’s our overall best pick because it boasts a bit of everything that most shoppers are looking for: lightweight, breathable, and cool fabric; crisp yet soft feel; and strong construction that can reliably stand up to multiple washes. 

The sheets are made from pima cotton, which is a high-quality, extra-long-staple cotton. Karen Leonas, a professor of textile sciences at the Wilson College of Textiles, NC State University, told us extra-long-staple cotton is even stronger and more resistant to abrasion than long-staple cotton. That’s likely why the L.L.Bean sheets are extra soft and durable, even though the 280-thread count is on the lower end of the spectrum. Even after many washes, they also had a great feel and experienced no loose threads or shrinkage in the last three months.

The fitted sheet fit well and never slipped off, but there was a little excess (it fits up to 15-inch mattresses) on my IKEA Haugesund mattress. I loved that the long and short sides were labeled, a thoughtful touch that always sped up the annoying task of putting on my sheets. (When you’re constantly trying and washing different sheets, you notice and appreciate these things.) 

The sheets are available in a handful of light colors, and they have hemstitched detailing (decorative threading at the edges). If you prefer a simple look that fits into pretty much any room style, the L.L.Bean sheets won’t disappoint. If you like fun prints and patterns, try Brooklinen’s sheets. They came in a close second to L.L.Bean for comfort and durability and are also reasonably priced.  

There’s nothing gimmicky or “special” about these L.L.Bean sheets, and that’s what makes them so great. They’re simply well-made, extremely comfortable, and dependable — the best you could want out of something you’re sleeping on every night. 

Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
Best flannel sheets for winter

person laying in red pinzon flannel sheets while holding a mug testing for the best flannel sheets for winter 2021

It’s hard to imagine snuggling in anything but Pinzon‘s thick flannel sheets on a cold winter night. They’ll keep you warm and cozy without causing you to overheat.

Pros: Plush and cozy feel, heavyweight, breathable, affordable 

Cons: Lots of dryer lint, only available in solid colors, may be too warm for hot sleepers

Imagine you’re nestled in a cabin in the woods, far, far away from the people and bustle of regular life. There’s a fire crackling nearby, and you have a book in one hand and a mug of tea in the other. That’s what it feels like sleeping in these flannel sheets, even if the reality is that you’re laying your head to rest in a modern city high-rise. 

There’s no better fabric than flannel to bundle your body in during fall and winter (and even beyond, if you don’t sleep hot). Pinzon’s flannel is thick, soft, and cozy from the very first use and the comforting feeling only gets better over time. They’re velvety and a little fuzzy but were never itchy and uncomfortable. Though the sheets are very warm, they never felt stifling or unbreathable, despite the fact that I sometimes sleep warm. However, if you regularly sleep hot, the flannel sheets may be too stifling.

These sheets make it dangerously tempting to take midday naps curled up like a cat or to sleep in every day as if it were a Sunday free of commitments and appointments. I consistently felt like I slept better and deeper because of how warm and comfortable these sheets are. Fortunately, there’s been no shrinkage or pilling to get in the way of that comfort.

Still, there are a few small inconveniences. Out of the package, they have a slight chemical odor, so you’ll need to wash them before the first use. Also, be prepared to empty out a thick layer of fuzz from your dryer lint trap every time you wash them. If you have thicker or high-loft pillows, the pillowcases may be a tight fit. I used them on my Casper and Leesa pillows (both moderately-sized pillows), and the pillowcases were a bit difficult to pull on.

Cotton Flannel Bed Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
Best hotel sheets

overhead shot of folded frette cotton sheets the best luxury hotel sheets 2021

When you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a night to sleep at a luxury hotel, H by Frette‘s smooth and luxurious sateen sheets will take you there instead.

Pros: Luxury hotel-approved, quality materials, washes well, the brand has a long manufacturing history

Cons: Only available in white

Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Kimpton hotels worldwide turn to this iconic name for their bedding needs. We’re talking about none other than Italian luxury brand Frette, once the official maker of linens for the Italian royal family. 

Sleeping in Frette’s soft and smooth sateen sheets, you’ll certainly feel like royalty. H by Frette is Frette’s consumer line of linens and whisks you away into the sumptuous hotel bed of your dreams. But rather than paying for just a single night in a high-end hotel, you’re dropping $300 for years of hotel luxury in your own room. 

The sheets are, of course, only available in white, and you can get them in sateen or percale, depending on your preference. The resulting bed looks simple, clean, and fresh. While housekeeping staff isn’t included with your purchase, you’ll probably feel motivated anyway to maintain the signature hotel style yourself because of how sleek and composed the all-white look is.

Frette uses 100% extra-long-staple cotton, so even though the set doesn’t have the extraordinarily high thread count (300) you might expect from hotel sheets, it feels very soft. Extra long-staple cotton is also very durable — important for hotels where housekeeping teams are washing each room’s sheets constantly and important for you as a consumer if you want to be sure your investment goes a long way. 

Sateen sheets can be too warm for me sometimes, but Frette’s felt perfect and cooler than other sateen sets I’ve tried. The sheets have a subtle gloss and a silky feel, and they remain comfortable after every wash. 

You’ll find less expensive and equally comfortable sheets in the rest of this guide, but if you specifically want the sheets used in and approved by hundreds of hotels, then you’ll be very happy with Frette’s. Whenever I rotate through my sheets, I look forward to this set because I know it’ll feel like a treat.

Pro tip: “When recreating this [hotel] experience at home, think about using high lofting pillows, quality sheets, and a plush duvet with a duvet cover for the ultimate luxury experience,” says Chan.

Sateen Classic Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
Best sheets on a budget

threshold target sheets next to nightstand testing for the best budget affordable sheets 2021

Threshold‘s sheets are popular among Target shoppers because they’re comfortable, thoughtfully designed, and, best of all, affordable.

Pros: Affordable, great fit 

Cons: May trap body oils more, smell terrible out of the package

It’s the price tag that’ll catch your eye first, then the great fit and soft feel that’ll sell you completely on these budget-friendly sheets from Target brand Threshold. Of all the sets I tested, Threshold’s fitted sheet was the easiest to put on and fit my mattress the best, despite being designed for mattresses up to 18-inch deep. The extra stretch in the corners of the sheet made a big difference and helped the sheet cling to my mattress without showing excess material on top. It also has a top and bottom label to speed up the fitting process. 

Once on, the sateen sheets are smooth and silky. They’re made from 100% cotton and have a 400-thread count on the higher end of all the sets I tried.

After some use, however, I noticed that they seem to trap body oils more readily and feel greasier than other sets, making them less pleasant to sleep on. I wondered if this was because Target uses a short-staple cotton, or if they applied some kind of treatment over the sheets to give them their “performance” qualities (wrinkle-resistant, bleach friendly), but the brand didn’t respond to my requests for additional clarification. The problem does seem to go away if I wash the sheets more often.

Either way, I had a comfortable experience overall; they just weren’t the best of all the sheets I tried. And though they’re touted as “performance sheets,” most notably as being wrinkle-free, they certainly wrinkle. The best way to get rid of the wrinkles, as with all cotton sheets, is to iron them. 

Be warned — the sheets have a strong sour and chemical smell when you first take them out of their packaging. The smell lingers even after the sheets are aired out for a couple of days, so you’ll definitely want to wash them first.

If you’re on a budget, a college student, or a frequent host looking to outfit a guest bed, these sheets are a smart decision. We’re continuing to test and wash them to look for any durability issues, but so far, we haven’t run into any. 

Performance Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
Best cooling sheets for summer

pink linen sheets and pillows from sijo home the best linen sheets 2021

The cool, airy, and beautiful linen sheets from Sijo will be your summer favorite, or if you regularly sleep hot, a durable yearlong standby.

Pros: Stays dry and cool, casually wrinkled style, flexible flat sheet option 

Cons: Doesn’t come in as many colors and sizes as competitors, may experience some shedding

Linen is a contentious textile. It wrinkles very easily, feels a bit rough, and is notoriously expensive. On the other hand, some prefer the casual, lived-in look, and it does get softer with time and use. Most importantly, because it’s made from hollow flax fibers, which absorb moisture and let air pass through, linen is breathable and stays dry even on the warmest, stuffiest nights. 

Sijo sheets are the best linen sheets I’ve tried because they strike the right balance of comfort, coolness, durability, and price. After a couple of months of testing, they knock out our former best pick, MagicLinen, because of how downright soft and comfortable they are, even while having the signature grainy texture of linen. And they get softer and better after multiple washes.

If your preconception of linen is that it’s too scratchy to enjoy, Sijo’s sheets will change your mind. They’re also airy and light, keeping me cool on California spring-nights-that-already-feel-like-summer (we recently had temps in the high 80s in late March). 

I loved the wrinkled look, especially combined with the soothing Blush color. I’m also a fan of Sky, a dusky blue. The color and overall construction have held up well so far, and the fabric continues to feel both substantial and lightweight. You should expect some shedding in the first few washes — it’s a natural part of the process but a little annoying to pick off your bed.

Unlike with MagicLinen, I didn’t have any sizing issues with Sijo’s sheets. All the sets have a 15-inch depth. You can also opt in or out of a flat sheet, which provides great flexibility and can bring the price of your purchase down.

Linen Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
What else we tested

green magiclinen sheets and pillows more sheets we tried in 2021

What else we recommend and why 

Brooklinen (sateen): As I mentioned earlier, it was a tight race between Brooklinen and L.L.Bean. We still highly recommend Brooklinen because the brand offers incredible value for long-lasting, comfortable, and beautiful sheets. But the set we tested (Brooklinen’s most popular) may be too warm for some people because of the sateen weave, which is why we ultimately picked L.L.Bean’s cooler percale. Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here.

Brooklinen (linen): Brooklinen’s sateen sheets usually get all the love, but we were also interested in its other fabrics. Each set of its cozy made-in-Portugal linen sheets is individually garment-dyed, so you’ll feel like you have a unique piece of bedding. Our top pick is softer, but Brooklinen’s are still pretty comfortable and come at the best price. 

Boll & Branch: Boll & Branch uses cotton that’s both GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified, so if you live an organic lifestyle or are trying to incorporate more organic products into your cart, you’ll love these ethically and sustainably made sheets. The sheets are comfortable and durable but keep in mind that the manufacturing process and certifications do come at a cost. Read our full review of Boll & Branch sheets here.

MagicLinen: MagicLinen recently lost its spot as our top linen pick because it wasn’t as comfortable or affordable as Sijo. There are a few reasons you might still want to buy MagicLinen, though: it comes in a lot more colors and sizes, including twin and deep-depth. If you’re willing to pay a bit more to find a specific style and fit, MagicLinen’s a good place to shop durable and airy linen sheets. Read our full review of MagicLinen sheets here

Riley: Riley’s percale sheets are softer than other percale sheets, but not more so than L.L.Bean’s. They felt cool and held up to all our washes well. I also appreciated the fair price point and the flexibility of opting for the add-on flat sheet, instead of being stuck with one you don’t want. 

ParachuteParachute’s name often comes up along with fellow direct-to-consumer brands Brooklinen and Boll & Branch, all of which launched around the same time. We loved the smooth feel of its sateen sheets, which were softer than Brooklinen’s. The one downside is they come in limited colors, and many sizes are currently sold out. 

SnoweThe crisp percale sheets from Snowe have both the feel and sensibility of a light button-down shirt. They’re sophisticated and sleek, though not quite as soft as other percale options we’ve tried. I slept with them during the dead of summer, and they kept me cool and comfortable. 

CasperCasper’s newest bedding offering is the Hyperlite Sheet Set, made from Tencel lyocell, which comes from sustainably sourced wood. The material is indeed incredibly lightweight and soft, with a thin, gauzy construction — so thin that it’s a bit see-through. They’ve held up really well after many washes. 

Bed ThreadsThis is another brand we love for fairly priced linen sheets. Bed Threads offers extended sizing and an assortment of beautiful colors to spruce up your bedroom. (I sampled the lilac.)

What we do not recommend and why 

Crane & Canopy: We liked the comfortable feel and embroidery of these extra-long-staple, 400-thread count cotton sheets. Like L.L.Bean and Brooklinen, they’re made from high-quality cotton and have a mid-tier thread count — but they’re a lot more expensive. Since there are no other distinct features to set Crane & Canopy apart, we prefer L.L.Bean and Brooklinen for their better value.

Serena & Lily: The home brand has many pretty and composed sheet options, like this Classic Ring Sheet Set, which has a percale weave and a 310-thread count. The feel is crisp and cool, but it’s a bit pricey for what you get, and our other sheet picks offer better value. We also noticed after the first wash that there were already some loose threads on the pillowcases. 

Italic: Long-staple cotton percale sheets made by the same manufacturer of Frette, Four Seasons, and St. Regis sheets for $85? The Slumber Cotton set is enticing for this reason, and it’s comfortable to sleep in. However, Italic has a $100/year membership model, so buying this set only makes sense if you plan on purchasing other goods from the site. We recommend first browsing the rest of the online shop to see if you’re interested in the other home products, clothing, and accessories. Otherwise, you’ll be paying $185, which isn’t any more competitive than our picks above. 

Ettitude: Ettitude’s claim to fame is using bamboo lyocell for its sheets. They’re made from 100% organic bamboo with a water-efficient manufacturing process, and the result is uniquely soft, silky, and cool. However, we noticed they’re more delicate than other fabrics, and the sheets showed more pilling and abrasion after we washed them.

Bespoke PostA defining characteristic of percale is that it’s crisp and airy, like your favorite button-down shirt. The problem I experienced with Bespoke Post’s new percale sheets is that they’re too crisp and can rustle loudly if you move in your sleep (which is probably most of us). It also held onto and showed body oils easily, and you’d need to wash the set frequently. 

Our testing methodology

hand touching a printed bed sheet part of the testing methodology for best sheets 2021

Here’s how we tested the sheets over nine months. We’ll continue to follow these steps in the upcoming months and note any changes.

  1. Washed and dried each set according to its respective instructions at least five times. Usually, we washed the sheets in a cold cycle with gentle detergent and dried them on a low tumble cycle. 
  2. Put the fitted sheet on a 10-inch-thick mattress and noted slipping, sliding, post-wash shrinkage, and stretchiness of elastic. 
  3. Slept on each set for at least one week and noted texture, overall comfort, breathability, and coolness.

What we’re testing next

west elm linen sheets what we look forward to testing for the best sheets 2021

Lilysilk: One category we’d like to add to our guide in the future is “best silk sheets.” The luxurious Lilysilk sheets are made of mulberry silk and are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. We like that Lilysilk lets you customize what pieces are included in your sheet set. 

THX Silk: The THX Silk 19 momme silk sheet could have the same description as the Lilysilk sheets. They’re made from OEKO-TEX certified mulberry silk, but they “only” cost $410. We’re curious to see if these luxury sheets live up to their price.

West Elm: West Elm’s Fair Trade-certified linen sheets are popular among linen lovers. They come in around the same price as MagicLinen’s and are also available in many beautiful colors, so we’ll mainly be comparing their comfort and durability. 

Kassatex: These long-staple cotton, 300-thread count sateen sheets seem promising, especially considering a Queen set is only $100. We look forward to putting these inexpensive sheets through all our tests to see how they stand up over time and how they compare to our current picks. 

FAQs

an open dryer machine with sheets inside to answer FAQs about how to take care of your sheets 2021

Does thread count matter?

Yes, to a certain extent. However, don’t use it as your sole determining factor because its definition can be manipulated, and after a certain number, the difference in feel and durability is negligible. 

Thread count is the number of yarns per inch, horizontally and vertically. Leonas tells us that a ply yarn (two single yarns twisted together) has traditionally been considered one yarn, but in recent years, some brands have been using total ply yarn count as the thread count, resulting in an artificially high number. 

Remember that thread count only applies to cotton sheets and single yarn weaves. All of our best cotton sheets fall in the 300-500 range, and you likely won’t need anything beyond that.

“When finding sheets that will last and provide comfort and a relaxing night’s sleep, take a look at the material first and thread count second,” said Ave Bradley, senior vice president of design and creative director at Kimpton Hotels. Kimpton uses 200-300 thread count cotton sheets from Frette in its rooms. 

Though bedding brands are often quick to show off high thread counts, they’re less important than you might think. The type of fiber and weave also help determine the sheet’s texture, breathability, and durability. Percale and sateen, for example, are both made of cotton but have different weave structures, resulting in different feels.

What are the different types of sheets?

The quality and type of material do matter. Below, we define, compare, and contrast different materials, fabrics, and terms you’ll often run into while shopping for sheets. 

Drape: The fluidity or rigidity of a fabric. A fabric with a high or fluid drape, such as silk, is flowy and clings more to the object. A fabric with a low drape is stiffer and holds its shape more. 

Long-staple cotton: Cotton with longer-staple fibers that result in smoother and stronger yarn. This is compared to short-staple cotton, which has fiber ends that stick out and cause the sheets to be rougher and less abrasion-resistant. Brands will generally call out when they use long-staple cotton; otherwise, you can probably assume it’s short-staple. Leonas says the industry definition of long-staple cotton is a fiber length of 1.15-1.22 inches.

Egyptian cotton: Cotton grown in Egypt. It’s often assumed that Egyptian cotton is long-staple, but it could also be lower-quality, short-staple cotton that just happens to be from Egypt, so be careful of this labeling and look specifically for “long-staple cotton.” 

Pima cotton: Also known by its trademark name, Supima cotton. Extra long-staple cotton that is grown only in the US and has a fiber length of at least 1.5 inches. Extra long-staple cotton is even smoother, more flexible, and more resistant to pilling than long-staple cotton.

Percale: A type of cotton weave where one thread is woven with another thread into a tight, grid pattern. It has a matte, crisp feel. It’s airy and more breathable. 

Sateen: A type of cotton weave where three or four threads are woven over one thread into a looser grid pattern. It has a smooth, silky feel and a slight sheen to it. Compared to percale, it’s less breathable and may not be suitable for sleepers who run hot. According to Leonas, sateen tends to snag more easily and show dirt more readily due to its unique “float” weave. If you enjoy the feel and look of sateen, keep in mind that sheets made using this weave require a little more care and maintenance. 

Polyester: A type of synthetic fiber that may be blended with cotton or used to make microfiber. It’s less breathable and traps moisture more easily, and it may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. 

Microfiber: A type of synthetic material made with very fine polyester fibers. It’s very soft and drapeable but doesn’t breathe well. 

Lyocell: Also known as Tencel. A type of fiber made from wood (often eucalyptus) pulp. It’s soft, silky, and breathable. 

Linen: A type of fiber made from flax plants. It’s slightly rigid, with a rougher texture, and it feels cool and breathable. It wrinkles easily. 

Flannel: A type of fabric made with thickly woven wool or cotton. It’s brushed to give it a slightly soft and fuzzy texture, and it feels warm.

What kind of sheets do hotels use?

Dennis Chan, director of retail product at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said his team looks at the fabric drape (the way the fabric hangs), hand feel, and construction of weave when sourcing bedding for hotels worldwide. Four Seasons produces its own line of bedding in its Four Seasons at Home collection, featuring 350-thread count sateen weave cotton sheets

Top hotel brands like Four Seasons and Kimpton outfit their rooms in 100% long-staple cotton sheets because they’re soft, breathable, and durable, resulting in luxurious and memorable sleep experiences for their guests. Long-staple cotton has longer fibers, so it’s stronger and softer than shorter-staple cotton, which is why we also generally recommend 100% long-staple cotton in our best picks. 

What are the different sheet certifications?

You may notice that some of our best picks have a Standard 100 by Oeko Tex certification. This label means the final sheet product has been independently tested for more than 100 harmful chemical substances and is safe for human use. While it’s not the only certification out there, it’s widely used and known in the textiles industry.

Our experts say you should look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for basic safety, but if you also care about manufacturing, look for STeP by Oeko Tex. It checks for environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and safe practices all along the production process.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is another certification used specifically for organic textiles. GOTS-certified sheets contain at least 95% certified organic fibers and meet environmental and social standards at every stage of processing and manufacturing.

What’s the best way to care for your sheets?

According to various bedding brands, you should wash your sheets every one to two weeks and have alternate sets to preserve their quality. We recommend following the specific care instructions that come with the sheet set you buy. Based on our experience, brands generally advise washing the sheets in a cold or warm cycle with gentle detergent, then drying in a low tumble cycle. Hot water can make colors bleed, cause shrinkage, and weaken fibers. Drying at high heat can also weaken fibers and cause pilling.

What’s the best way to prevent wrinkles?

For all its great properties, cotton naturally wrinkles, and that’s thanks to its molecular structure. Leonas explained that wrinkles happen when hydrogen bonds form as your sheets bump around in the dryer. “The only way to get rid of those bonds is to flip some water on it or apply high heat. That’s why we use a lot of steam when we press things,” she says. 

If you want to get rid of wrinkles, the best way is to iron them before fitting them onto your bed or remove them from your dryer a little before the cycle ends and fitting them onto your bed while slightly damp.

Are alternative fibers any good? 

Alternative fibers like bamboo lyocell or microfiber are appealing because they’re often very comfortable and affordable. However, in our testing experience, their durability doesn’t match up to that of cotton or linen. They’re more prone to pilling, abrasion, and shrinkage. Plus, the production and care of these alternative fibers can be murky and bad for the environment. The shedding of microfiber, for example, is polluting the ocean

What kind of duvet cover do you pair with your sheets? 

It’s best to choose a duvet cover with the same fabrication as your sheet set — if you like how your sheets feel below you, you’ll like how the same type of fabric feels on top of you. Most of the brands we recommend in our guide also sell matching duvet covers. If you want to mix and match bedding pieces, we’ll soon be overhauling our guide to the best duvet covers

Check out our other great bedding guides

best weighted blanket bearaby napper
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best weighted blanket we tested in 2021

best weighted comforter 2021 brooklinen thumb

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

If you toss and turn at night or find your mind racing when trying to fall asleep, you might benefit from adding a weighted blanket to your bedding. Usually weighing somewhere between 15 and 25 pounds, weighted blankets provide gentle, constant pressure as you sleep, and recent studies have shown promising results in their ability to ease anxiety and reduce insomnia, though research remains limited.

I spoke with Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher, author, and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She said the reason why weighted blankets tend to work is quite primal. “It really hearkens back to the way we entered the world,” said Robbins. “You were in a womb, compressed on all sides by water and fluid, and so there was a sense of pressure. We try to emulate that with infants by swaddling them. We might look at weighted blankets as the adult version of swaddling or emulating those circumstances where we feel at ease.”

I tested 12 of the most popular weighted blankets on the market to determine the best ones you can buy. I evaluated them for how well I slept while using them, the quality of materials and construction, how easy they were to wash and care for, and how comfy they were.

The best weighted blankets in 2021

Best weighted comforter

best weighted blanket 2021 brooklinen weighted comforter

Brooklinen’s Weighted Comforter has a premium plush design that blends seamlessly with the rest of your bedding.

Pros: Looks just like a normal comforter, lots of plush fill, made of 400-thread-count cotton sateen, has duvet cover loops, accepts returns in any condition within one year of purchase

Cons: Dry clean only, duvet cover sold separately, difficult to adjust while using it

If you don’t want to sleep under a stack of blankets or compromise your bedroom’s look, you’ll want a weighted comforter, and Brooklinen makes the best one I tried. It looks and feels like a traditional plush comforter but with an extra 20 pounds of weight integrated with small glass beads. The blanket itself is made of 400-thread-count cotton sateen, so it’s soft enough to throw on your bed without a duvet cover.

That being said, we recommend adding one — corner loops make it easy to tie on — because the blanket is dry-clean only, which could run you anywhere from $20 to $50.

I found that the 20-pound comforter I tested weighed closer to 24 pounds, but the extra weight didn’t make too much of a difference once I laid it out on the bed. Sleeping under it was pretty dreamy (excuse the pun). I felt enveloped by the cushy fill but not too overwhelmed or overheated. It was somewhat difficult to adjust while lying under it due to the weight and size, but I found this typical for just about every comforter-sized weighted blanket I tested.

Though pricey, this comfortable weighted blanket is worth the investment, especially because it will entirely replace your comforter. If you find it’s not right for you, Brooklinen has an incredibly lenient return policy, accepting returns for any reason in any condition within 365 days of your purchase.

Best extra-heavy weighted blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 gravity blanket heavy

Gravity’s 35-pound weighted blanket evenly distributes weight across your king-size bed and is perfect for those who are looking for some extra heft.

Pros: Great for those who need a heavier blanket, weight is evenly distributed, no beanbag feel, the cover is machine washable, low profile blanket

Cons: Queen/king size only comes in 35 pounds, the cover should be washed before use, too heavy to adjust in the middle of the night, the inner blanket is hand-wash only, customers are responsible for return fees

When I first received the Gravity 35-pound blanket, I thought it would feel way too heavy, but I found it pretty manageable. It did tend to slide down the bed as I was sleeping, and I’d often wake up about a foot lower than usual because I was chasing the blanket around through the night. It was simply too heavy to pull up or adjust while laying under it, though someone stronger than me will likely not have this issue.

One issue with this blanket was that the included micro-plush duvet cover felt oddly greasy out of the package. It left a film on my hands as I tried to smooth it out over the bed. But the zip-on cover is removable and washable, and a run through the wash resolved the issue. I can’t imagine hauling such a heavy blanket into and out of a washing machine, so the removable cover is a huge plus. 

The Gravity blanket is low-profile without any excess fill, so it won’t add a lot of bulk to your bed. That said, it’s not as plush or cozy as the Brooklinen comforter, which does also come in a 35-pound version, though it’s much more expensive.

The brand also makes “single” size weighted blankets that measure 48-inches by 72-inches. I tested a 15-pound one with a cooling cover and found it performed well, but nothing made it stand out from the pack.

Best cooling weighted blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 cooling blanket blanquil chill

The BlanQuil Chill‘s unique cover disperses heat and stays cool to the touch as you fall asleep, but its slick fabric can cause it to slide off the bed.

Pros: Stays cool to the touch, no beanbag feel, glass beads don’t shift, 60-night sleep trial

Cons: Slides off the bed easily; internal blanket is spot-clean only; only one size, one color, and two weights available

I sleep hot, and the BlanQuil Chill is the weighted blanket I have the longest relationship with. It’s been on my bed for about a year and a half, and I’ve had two iterations of the design.

I lined up all the cooling blankets I tested for this guide and ran my hand across each one, and the BlanQuil felt noticeably cooler than all the others. Plus, it did the best job of dissipating heat and getting back to its cool baseline.

Since it’s slightly bigger than a twin bed, it’s not a blanket that’s intended to be shared. Glass beads add weight, but there’s no beanbag feeling, and I’ve never felt them shift in a way that causes the blanket to feel lumpy or uneven.

The zipper on the removable, washable cover of the first version of the design was weak, couldn’t handle the weight of the blanket, and broke just a couple of months into its use. But BlanQuil has since reinforced the zipper, and I’ve yet to have a problem with it. I even stress tested it by holding the weight of the blanket against the zipper, and it held strong.

Though it’s one of the best I’ve used, the cooling cover’s material has a bit of a sheen to it, which makes it slick so it slides off the bed easily — especially if you toss and turn at night. As soon as it gets off-center, the blanket’s weight will cause it to slide.

Best weighted throw blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 bearaby knitted throw blanket

The cocoon-like, knit-woven Bearaby Cotton Napper keeps you cozy yet cool as you lounge on the couch, it’s entirely machine washable, and it’s one of the heftiest blankets we tested.

Pros: Aesthetic design, has significant heft, made from organic cotton, washable and dryable, 30-day return policy if blanket remains unwashed, most versatile weighted blanket I tested

Cons: Doesn’t fit in compact washing machines, takes multiple cycles to dry, open weave may catch toes and fingers, heavier than advertised (though this may be a pro, depending on your preference)

The weight of the Bearaby Napper comes entirely from the dense organic cotton strands hand-knit into one of the most aesthetically minded weighted blankets I’ve ever seen.

This is a really heavy blanket — the blanket I tested, which was advertised as the 15-pound version, actually tipped the scales at 24 pounds. I contacted the company to verify that they sent me the right item, and they assured me they did. 

It’s not necessarily bad that they’re heavier than advertised, but it’s something to keep in mind when you order.

A blanket this heavy — and bulky — can be tough to shift around, and if it’s going to live on your couch, it will take up quite a bit of space. I’ve shifted it to my bed. It drapes nicely over my partner and me, but the open weave makes it prone to stretching if you need to pull it up in the night. It hasn’t become misshapen in any significant way, thankfully.

It’s not quite a cooling blanket — Bearaby does offer one called the Tree Napper that I haven’t tested — but it doesn’t trap heat thanks to the open weave. The holes are quite large, though, so if you are bothered by some toes or fingers poking through, you might want to look elsewhere.

The Napper is fully machine washable and can go in the dryer on a delicate setting. I wanted to see how the blanket washed and dried as part of my test, but it didn’t fit in my space-saving apartment-sized washing machine.

Best budget weighted blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 luna blanket budget affordable cheap

Weighted blankets are typically expensive, but the Luna Weighted Blanket is gentle on your wallet despite being constructed from Oeko-Tex-certified cotton and filled with natural glass beads.

Pros: Excellent quality at a low price; comes in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and weights; fully machine washable; Oeko-Tex Certified construction; true to weight

Cons: Thinner blanket than some others on our list

Weighted blankets tend to be very expensive, but Luna offers an excellent weighted blanket at an affordable price.

I tested the 15-pound queen-size blanket, and the glass beads inside were barely noticeable, producing no beanbag effect. Where many other cheap weighted blankets are loaded with chemicals, the Luna Weighted Blanket is Oeko-Tex Certified, meaning it contains no harmful materials.

The blanket is much thinner than some of the others I tested, but it stayed breathable and was light enough to easily adjust in the middle of the night. It wasn’t quite as cozy as some others, but it’s a great option to layer with your usual comforter or use during the warmer months.

As I’ve continued to test these blankets, the Luna has become a bit of a travel-sized weighted blanket for me. I wouldn’t recommend taking it on an airplane — it’s a bit bulky for that — but the Luna is thin enough to fold into a car trunk-friendly size. 

The blanket was a true 15 pounds according to my scale, but that weight was dispersed over a queen-size surface area, making it feel lighter. 

It’s also one of the easiest blankets to clean that I tested. The entire thing fits into my compact washer-dryer and was fully dry within one cycle — and it got softer after just one wash.

Best king-size weighted blanket

A dog lying on a bed covered by the HomeSmart weighted blanket

The HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket is large enough for couples, breathes well to keep you from overheating, and can go in the washer and dryer.

Pros: Breathable organic cotton shell, glass beads sewn into 5-by-5-inch pockets for even weight distribution, machine washable and dryable, the king size is large enough for couples, weight options up to 50 lbs.

Cons: The blanket started to leak beads after 18 months of use, hard to track down customer support

As a big guy, one of the problems I run into with weighted blankets is that they aren’t large enough to cover my whole body. Even queen-size blankets tend to be too small to reach my giant feet. This was not a problem with the HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket.

At 88 inches by 104 inches and with weight options up to 50 pounds, it’s the ideal blanket for couples who want to enjoy the comfort of a weighted blanket without sacrificing intimacy.

The HomeSmart blanket features micro glass beads sewn into the 400-thread count organic cotton shell with 5-by-5-inch pockets to keep the weight evenly distributed. The blanket is machine washable and dryable, which is a must for me since I don’t use duvet covers. I’ve washed the blanket several times over the last two-and-a-half years and have found it’s an effortless endeavor. If you want to add a duvet cover, the blanket has 10 loops for tying one on.

I tested the 15-pound and 25-pound comforters and enjoyed both, though the 25-pounder was almost too restrictive for me. I prefer the 15-pounder, and it’s what I sleep under when I’m not testing other models. Thanks to its breathability, it’s a great year-round blanket. Even in the summer, overheating has never been an issue.

The HomeSmart Weighted Blanket isn’t without its flaws. The 25-pound blanket started to leak beads after 18 months of use. This was likely due to one of our pets working a hole into it. I tried to reach customer service but couldn’t get a hold of anyone.

-James Brains, reporter

What else we tested

best weighted blanket 2021 what else we tested gravity helix brooklyn bedding
The Gravity Cooling, Helix, and Brooklyn Bedding weighted blankets were among the others we tested.

What we recommend and why 

Baloo Cool Cotton Weighted Blanket: The Baloo weighted blanket struck a great balance between comfort and cost. Its construction and quality felt similar enough to the Luna that we’d rather recommend the one that’s even more affordable.

Gravity Cooling Blanket: The blanket itself is well-built and high-quality, but the cooling cover did little to actually cool me off as I slept. It just felt like any other weighted blanket and didn’t do much to distinguish itself from the other blankets I tried.

Brooklyn Bedding Dual Therapy Weighted Blanket: This blanket is dual-sided — with a silky cooling side and a minky textured side. The silky side stayed cool to the touch, and the bumps on the minky side provided a nice sensory option. It didn’t feel beanbaggy, and the weight was evenly distributed. But it was only available in one size, two weights, and one dark gray color that severely limited how many home decor scenarios it would work within.

What we don’t recommend and why

Yaasa Weighted Blanket: This is a knit-style blanket similar to the Bearaby Napper, but Yaasa’s weave was much tighter and allowed for less airflow. The material also felt spongier and less cozy than the Napper’s. The Yaasa blanket was also dry clean only.

Helix Weighted Blanket: This blanket is dual-sided with a white sherpa fleece side and a gray minky fleece side. I found the sherpa side especially cozy, and so did my cat. But it had one of the worst beanbag effects of any of the blankets I tried, and there is only one size and color option available, though it did come in three weights. If this blanket suits your style, it’s a decent buy for an affordable price.

YnM Weighted Blanket: This is an Amazon bestseller in weighted blankets, so we wanted to put it to the test. It’s a perfectly serviceable budget blanket, but the glass beads created a sort of beanbag effect that the Luna did not. Plus, the Luna is even cheaper and made of Oeko-Tex certified cotton, which isn’t found with the YnM.

Our testing methodology

There are several factors I took into consideration while assessing weighted blankets. Aside from the general coziness and comfort provided by each blanket, I also assessed things like quality of material, value, weight options, and aesthetics. For example, a blanket that came in more color and weight options beat out a blanket of equal quality that came in fewer options. I also considered return policies, sleep trials, and how easy these blankets were to clean.

The following are three tests I ran each blanket through to assess general user experience:

Sleep test: I slept with each weighted blanket on my bed for at least three consecutive nights. I noted how well I slept overall and how the blanket regulated my sleep temperature. I also paid attention to how well the blanket stayed in place as I slept and how easy it was to adjust while lying under it. Part of this test also included making the bed every day (hauling a weighted blanket is harder than it looks).

Wash test: I washed every weighted blanket or cover that was machine washable at least once to ensure they held up well in the wash and didn’t shrink, shed, or otherwise show signs of wear. I noted if the added weight made them more difficult to haul into and out of the washing machine. I also discovered that one of the machine-washable blankets was so bulky it didn’t fit into my washing machine. For those blankets that weren’t machine-washable, I noted the care instructions and factored that into the cons of the blanket as I assessed them.

Weight test: I wanted to ensure each blanket was actually the advertised weight. To get an accurate reading, I weighed myself and then weighed myself again while holding each blanket, noting any discrepancies in the advertised weight versus the actual weight.

What we’re testing next

Bearaby Sleeper: This is the only weighted blanket I’ve discovered designed specifically for couples. While there’s little data available to determine the best weight for a couple to share, Bearaby has eliminated some of that guesswork by weighting the two halves of the blanket differently, allowing you to choose the right weight for each person. This is especially useful if you and your partner are drastically different sizes and would benefit from different blanket weights. The two halves can unzip from each other and become two distinct blankets. Right now, they are sold out, but Bearaby has assured us that they’ll be restocking soon, and we hope to test it once they do.

Luxome Luxury Weighted Blanket: The Luxome weighted blanket comes with a reversible cover with a plush minky fabric on one side and a cooling bamboo fabric on the other. This allows you to customize your blanket with the seasons. I’m curious to see if this versatility makes a difference in how the blanket affects my body temperature. It’s also a nice mid-range option in terms of price, and I’m hoping to add more affordable options to this guide.

Slumber Cloud Weighted Blanket: In my ongoing quest to find a cooling weighted blanket that stays put throughout the night, I’m looking forward to testing the Slumber Cloud. It’s made using thermoregulation technology developed by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their spacesuits. The Outlast technology uses small beads that absorb body heat when you get too hot and release it back to you when you get too cold. I’m fascinated by this concept, and I’m excited to see if it works.

Weighted blanket FAQs

What weight should a weighted blanket be?

It’s recommended that you select a blanket that’s roughly 10% of your body weight. But Robbins adds that there are no clinically established guideposts for choosing a blanket weight. “It’s hard for the one size fits all approach because we’re all just so unique and have different physiologies,” she says.

This is especially true when blankets come in different sizes. A 15-pound throw blanket is going to feel much heavier than a 15-pound comforter since a larger blanket distributes its weight over a larger surface area. Robbins suggests trying out weighted blankets before purchasing them. If you can’t test weighted blankets in a store, look for brands that offer sleep trials or have buyer-friendly return policies like many of our top picks.

What if I’m sharing the weighted blanket with a partner?

If you’re sharing a weighted blanket with a partner, you’ll likely want something a bit heavier, mostly because larger blankets feel lighter than smaller ones. A blog from Layla Sleep advises purchasing a blanket that’s roughly 7.5% of the couple’s combined weight.

I reached out to the brand to determine how they established this number, and a representative responded, “Most suggestions in terms of weight are based on anecdotal evidence. We also factor in the customer satisfaction data that we have when making suggestions, but ultimately the weight that’s right for any one person will depend heavily on personal preference.”

It’s important to note that this parameter hasn’t been established in any clinical trial or scientific study, so take it with a grain of salt. As long as you’re comfortable and can move freely under the blanket, you should choose the weight that works best for you.

What size weighted blanket should I get?

If you’re sharing a blanket with a partner with a similar body weight, you’ll want a weighted blanket that covers your entire bed. Many brands, including almost all of our top picks, offer blankets in multiple sizes to fit standard twin, full, queen, and king beds.

Some weighted blankets in these sizes are a bit smaller than typical comforters so the weighted blanket doesn’t hang off the side of your bed too much. Excess fabric hanging off the side can pull the weighted blanket off-center as you shift around in the night.

If you and your partner are very different weights, consider opting for two smaller separate blankets in a throw or twin size. This way, you can each get the weight that’s most comfortable for you. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of not having to worry about blanket theft in the middle of the night.

How do I choose a weighted blanket?

In addition to weight and size considerations (see above), you’ll also want to consider how easy the blanket is to clean and what type of fill it uses. A duvet cover will be easier to wash than a weighted blanket, but with a cover, you have to deal with the hassle of removing it and putting it back on. Even with ties to keep it in place, the blanket may still bunch up inside the cover.

Weighted blankets rely on glass beads, plastic pellets, or, less commonly, steel shot beads. What you prefer is a matter of personal preference. Comforters with plastic pellets tend to be cheaper, but it’s a less eco-friendly material.

How often should I wash my weighted blanket?

Brian Sansoni, Senior Vice President at The American Cleaning Institute, recommends you treat your weighted blanket like any comforter, washing it once or twice a year, provided it’s covered by a duvet cover that you’re washing monthly. If it doesn’t have a removable cover, the entire blanket should be washed roughly once a month.

Are weighted blankets good for anxiety?

In theory, the answer is yes. However, there are no randomized clinical trials that can speak to the efficacy of weighted blankets in the treatment of anxiety. This is because it would be obvious once participants curl up under one of the blankets that they’re either in the control group or the weighted blanket group. 

The theory is that weighted blankets help reduce some anxiety symptoms, like quickened breathing or heart rate, by putting your autonomic nervous system at ease. 

Anecdotally, my wife and I have both been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. We’ve found lounging with a weighted blanket helps us unwind.

The bottom line is weighted blankets may help with anxiety, but there isn’t any hard science to back it up.

 

Check out our other sleep and bedding guides

Best pillow Saatva
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What to expect from Kohl’s 2021 Black Friday deals, plus how to use Kohl’s Cash

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Black Friday 2021 Kohl's Deals 4x3

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Last year, Kohl’s Black Friday sale ran from November 22 through November 27, and we expect to see deals similarly start early this year. If you frequently shop at Kohl’s and are part of the rewards program, this store should be your

first Black Friday stop. Last year, shoppers could use their Kohl’s cash to save even more on deals, as well as accumulate additional rewards.

Kohl’s Black Friday deals often include lots of tech, vacuums, small appliances, toys, and more. The discounts are usually just as good as other big-box retailers, which comes in handy if stock runs out at other stores.

The best early Black Friday deals from Kohl’s

When does Kohl’s Black Friday sale start?

Black Friday 2021 is November 26 and Cyber Monday is November 29, but many retailers start their sales earlier. We expect Kohl’s to start running deals about a week before Black Friday.

What should I buy from Kohl’s on Black Friday?

Last year, Kohls had great deals on smart speakers, fitness trackers, kitchen appliances, and even an Xbox bundle. This year, expect to find similar deals on vacuums, cookware, pajamas, air fryers, and more.

How do we select the best deals at Kohl’s?

  • The products we choose must meet our coverage standards and come from brands we’ve tested and trust.
  • We compare the prices against Amazon, Target, Walmart, and other retailers. The deals we include are the same or better (not including promotional discounts from using certain credit cards).
  • We consider products’ price histories to evaluate how significant the savings are.

You can read more about how we vet deals at Insider Reviews here.

Should I enroll in Kohl’s Rewards?

Kohl’s Rewards replaced Yes2You Rewards last year. The free program gives members 5% Kohl’s Cash every day (not just during promotional events) on all purchases, as well as additional rewards, like a birthday gift.

Any Kohl’s Cash received through the rewards program will be available on the first day of the following month and must be used within 30 days. So, if you earn a lot on Black Friday, it should be available on December 1. If you think you’ll be shopping at Kohl’s again before Christmas, it might be worthwhile to take advantage of the extra Kohl’s Cash savings.

What is Kohl’s cash?

Even if you’re not a Kohl’s Rewards member, you’ll still get $10 of Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend during promotional periods. You can then use that Kohl’s Cash like a coupon on future purchases.

If you make purchases in-store, you’ll receive a coupon for your Kohl’s Cash. If you buy online, Kohl’s will send an email with your Kohl’s Cash. Pay attention to expiration dates, because Kohl’s Cash doesn’t last forever. Also, keep in mind that there’s a limit to how much Kohl’s Cash you can earn: $1,500 on a single purchase.

Can I order online and pick up in a Kohl’s store?

Kohl’s stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day 2021. Due to the pandemic, Kohl’s will continue offering curbside pickup in 2021. Many products are available for purchase online, and you can have it delivered to your car two hours later.

How does Kohl’s compare to other stores on Black Friday?

Like Best Buy, Kohl’s will likely have lots of tech deals. The retailer also sells cookware, vacuums, clothes, toys, and home goods that will also be on sale, similar to Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Often, these stores will all offer very similar deals on the same products, so if you have your eye on something that goes out of stock, you may still find it at a competitor.

Kohl’s does sometimes win out over other stores’ deals because of Kohl’s Cash, but that’s really only a draw if you plan on shopping there again before the end of 2021.

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This drain cover is perfect for catching hair and preventing clogs

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oxo shower drain cover with hair trapped in it
The OXO Good Grips Silicone Shower and Tub Drain Protector is designed for both flat and pop-up bathtub drains.

  • I kept clogging my shower drain with strands of my thick, curly hair.
  • The OXO shower drain cover is the hair catcher I needed.
  • The silicone cover stops hair from going down the drain but allows water to pass through.

Good Grips Silicone Shower and Tub Drain Protector (small)

I comb my thick, curly hair while showering, leaving plenty of loose strands behind. For a long time, I let my hair work its way down the drain.

Before you judge my reckless habits, know that I tried to do better. Over the years, I bought many shower drain covers: a cheap wire mesh one that collected soap scum and ultimately rusted, a flower-shaped hair catcher with suction cups that was impossible to clean, and a set of pretty pastel covers that developed a yellow hue in a matter of weeks.

Nearly all did a decent job of catching hair, but they also created a dam that left me standing in a couple inches of soapy water. It became my habit to kick the cover aside midshower. And with that, baby Chewbaccas were frequently born from the depths of my drain, snaked out by myself, my reluctant partner, or the plumber sent by my landlord when it got really bad (sorry, Murray).

My last resort was this OXO shower drain cover. I couldn’t imagine it would stay put because it lacked suction cups, but I gave it a try out of desperation. Over the last six months, this cover has done exactly what it’s supposed to do. My hair now lands in the wastebasket after every shower, and bathing my dog has gotten a whole lot easier with this drain cover, too.

The dome-shaped silicone cover can be placed over a flat or pop-up drain. A weighted metal disk on top holds it in place.

a side by side image of the silicone oxo drain cover with stainless steel top and underside showing holes
The cover is made of the same high-quality silicone and stainless steel you’ll find in many OXO products.

Water easily flows through the silicone holes even as hair collects around the edge of the cover.

a video of hair collecting around the shower hair catcher
The holes are generously sized, and because they cover much of the dome, water has many places to escape.

Unlike what you’ll find with some drain covers, strands of hair don’t work their way through the holes or get tangled up.

a video of a hand removing the cover and showing underside of cover which is free of hair
Once I shut off the water, it takes very little time for the tub to fully drain.

If you bathe your dog in the bathtub, this cover works just as well for catching fur.

a hand picking up a drain cover with dog fur on it to reveal clean underside
The smooth, flexible silicone material makes it easy to remove collected fur from the cover.

The bottom line

Most shower drain covers fail to do everything they should: catch hair, allow water to drain, and come clean with just a little wiping and rinsing. The Good Grips Silicone Shower and Tub Drain Protector does all those things and for only $10.

Good Grips Silicone Shower and Tub Drain Protector (button)

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These under-cabinet LED lights make for a cheap and renter-friendly kitchen upgrade

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White LED lights under cabinets illuminating a kitchen counter

  • I wanted to give my kitchen a modern look without spending a lot, so I tried these LEDs from Amazon.
  • At $24, they’re much cheaper than fully integrated kitchen lights or installing a smart light kit.
  • They look great, can change colors, and are useful when I need more light while using the counters.

Puck LED Light (6-Pack) (small)

When I was apartment hunting last year, I narrowed my search down to two apartments that were a block away from each other. The first one was small, but it had a beautiful modern kitchen with a tile backsplash and adjustable lighting underneath the gray cabinets.

I went with the second apartment building because it was more spacious, had better amenities, and was still cheaper – but that kitchen, specifically the lighting, was something I couldn’t get out of my head.

As I was furnishing my new apartment, I thought it would be cool to recreate the look of lights under the cabinets while sticking to a tight budget. I knew that installing lights that I could control with a wall switch would be too involved for a rental apartment. Popular smart light kits like Philips cost hundreds of dollars, so I took a gamble on these $24 Cadrim LED puck lights on Amazon and it worked out perfectly.

LED light on bottom of cabinet illuminating a kitchen sink

Installing the lights was incredibly easy. Each light requires three AA batteries and comes with double-sided adhesive pads to stick underneath your cabinets. No wiring, no pairing to your smartphone and WiFi, and no drilling are required to install.

The lights look amazing at night when the kitchen is all cleaned, but they also come in handy when I need extra illumination while using the counter space. You can turn individual lights on by clicking them or you adjust all of the lights at once with the included remote.

Hand holding a colorful remote that controls LED lights

I personally like the white lights best, but you can choose between a variety of colors as well.

Red LED lights under cabinets illuminating the kitchen counter

My kitchen might not be as fancy as that chef-inspired kitchen I fell in love with, but for $24, I couldn’t be happier with the Cadrim LED puck lights.

Puck LED Light (6-Pack) (button)

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Muji’s stores are hard to come by in the US – fortunately, you can shop the Japanese retailer’s home goods on Amazon

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The Muji Acacia bowls used to serve a large dinner
  • Muji is a Japanese retailer that sells affordable, quality household and lifestyle products.
  • In addition to its stores and website, you can now find its well-designed products on Amazon.
  • From skincare to dinnerware and stationery, many items cost less than $20.

In my fantasy, I’d live in a mid-century John Lautner home filled with high-end, minimalist furnishings, but my limited budget prevents this dream from becoming a reality. To satisfy it in some way, I frequently turn to Muji, a Japanese purveyor of affordable, modern home and lifestyle goods, to fill my home.

Muji is short for Mujirushi Ryohin, which translates to “no-brand quality goods,” and the ethos is evident in its products, from the packaging to the construction. Although seemingly basic – you won’t find any logos, wild colors, or funky shapes – these are no dollar-store finds: Muji’s products are beautifully designed, sleek, functional, very well made, and accessible. They are akin to Apple products, minus the high price tag.

You would be forgiven if you’ve never heard of Muji. Although it’s been around since 1980 and can be found globally, the retailer has a limited presence in the US, with a handful of stores and an abysmal online shop (although its e-commerce experience is improving).

But you can now find the company’s products on Amazon, ranging from stationery and beauty products to dishware and cookware – with most costing less than $30. Although you won’t find the full selection (Muji also sells furniture and food), here are some of the best affordable Muji products you can buy on Amazon right now.

Pure Essential Oil Lemongrass (medium)High Moisturizing Toning Water (medium)Polypropylene Bath Pail (medium)0.5mm Black Smooth Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen (medium)Aluminum Pole for Cleaning System (medium)Extra-Large Acacia Bowl (medium)Denim Shoulder Apron (medium)

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Put a bird on it: Why Target’s $5 bird figurines are the best impulse buy I made this year

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Photo of a Target decorative bird on a table
  • Target is notoriously a dangerous place for impulse purchases.
  • If you want to buy something fun, cheap, and totally unnecessary, the bird figurines are perfect.
  • They come in lots of different styles (including seasonal additions) and are easily collectible.

It’s been a long-standing internet joke that Target is a dangerous place to shop. Before you know it, your quick trip to grab toilet paper leads to seven new candles, a pile of tasseled throw pillows, half-off Halloween candy, and everything you need to fully redecorate your recently redecorated bathroom.

Look, I’m not here to stop you. I too am someone who feels bewitched by the adrenaline rush of walking through a spacious suburban Target, unable to leave without at least a new bottle of nail polish I won’t use until eight months later because I barely paint my nails. (Plus, a snack.)

The only wisdom I can impart on you, the only crucial tip I have is this:

The Target bird figurines are the best impulse buy. You know the ones I’m talking about, they look like this:

Featherly Friends Harvest Bird with Glasses Decorative Figurine (small)Featherly Friends Harvest Bird with Rake Decorative Figurine (small)Bird with Scarf & Wreath Decorative Figurine Red (small)

First off, they’re the perfect price for something you admittedly do not need at all.

They’re $5 on the website. Even if you started buying every single new one that came out and collected, I don’t know, hundreds over your lifetime, you’d still be financially fine, I think?

They take up virtually no space in your home (and pssst, look great on shelves).

Do I regret spending money on cute shoes that never stopped being pinchy that I haven’t torturously worn enough to justify tossing, but that also take up closet space? Yes, with every new blister I get as a result, yes.

Do I regret getting a lightweight, 7×4 inch bird that has migrated from my windowsill to a corner shelf and looked charming in both spots? Would I be writing this if I did?

They’re the ideal blend of quirky and minimalist enough to fit into your adult home.

There’s a reason Target has been able to make “birds in people clothes I guess???” a lucrative business strategy, and it’s all to do with the execution.

I like my bird because he looks like he stepped out of a 1960s Michael Caine movie, about to take his tangerine-turtlenecked self to a local, rainy pub as he ponders his existence over a pint. I mean, look at him:

close up photo of a small decorative Target bird

He has little shirtsleeves ON his wings! Cuff links and all! So classy.

The bottom line

The whole point of an impulse buy is that you don’t really weigh out the pros and cons. With Target birds, you don’t have to, because they’re cheap, will add no inconvenience to your life later, and get you lots of compliments. Really, you’d be bird-brained *not* to get one.

Featherly Friends Harvest Bird with Scarf Decorative Figurine (small)Bird with Santa Hat Overalls & Buffalo Plaid Decorative Figurine (small)Bird with Knit Hat & Scarf Decorative Figurine White (small)

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Black Friday 2021 is coming – here’s what we expect from Walmart, plus early deals available now

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Black Friday 2020 Walmart Deals 4x3
Walmart offers big price drops on tons of products during Black Friday.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Black Friday 2021 is coming November 26, and we expect plenty of big deals from Walmart. The retailer is a great place to shop for home goods, tech, and gifts across all product categories – especially with in-store pickup as an option for last-minute shoppers. Frequent Walmart customers should also consider a Walmart Plus membership to take advantage of special perks all year long.

Below, we highlighted some of the best early Walmart deals available, along with what to expect from the retailer when the big shopping holiday rolls around.

The best early Black Friday Walmart deals

Clara HD (medium, Preferred: Walmart)VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Simply Store Glass Bakeware Set (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Navigator Lift-Away NV 380 Upright Vacuum (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave Oven (medium, Preferred: Walmart)

When does Walmart’s Black Friday sale start?

Black Friday 2021 lands on November 26, but we expect Walmart will start featuring deals well before then. Its sales will likely also continue through Cyber Monday.

We’ll update this story with details and deals as new ones surface.

How we select the best Black Friday deals at Walmart

  • We only choose products that meet our high standard of coverage, from brands we’ve tested and trust.
  • We compare the prices against other retailers like Amazon, Target, and Best Buy and only include the deals that are the same or better (not including promotional discounts that come from using certain credit cards).
  • We research price history thoroughly, to ensure that every deal we list is actually worth your time.

Does Walmart have curbside pickup?

For contact-free shopping, Walmart offers curbside pickup. All you need to do is place an order online and select your pickup time slot. A Walmart team member will do your shopping and load them into your car from there.

Alternatively, some items can even be ordered online and picked up the same day. All you have to do is keep an eye out for products marked “Free Pickup Today” when shopping. Same-day pickup items are made available within four hours of placing your order – you’ll get an email when it’s ready.

What Black Friday deals should you buy at Walmart?

Historically, Walmart’s Black Friday markdowns are on par with those offered by Best Buy, Target, and Amazon – and we expect this year to be no different. Outside of a few select doorbusters, we anticipate each retailer to price-match their competitor’s prices during Black Friday. Shoppers can expect big savings on several TVs, streaming media players, kitchen appliances, and more.

Should I sign up for Walmart Plus before Black Friday?

Walmart has yet to announce if its Walmart Plus members will receive any specific Black Friday benefits. Last year, members received the same perks they do year round, like free shipping, scan and go, and free grocery delivery. The service costs $98 a year or $13 a month. Signing up for Walmart Plus is a good idea if you’re a frequent Walmart shopper, regardless of Black Friday.

If you’re planning on making smaller purchases, however, it could be beneficial to sign up for a Walmart Plus 15-day free trial right before the holiday. The free trial gets you free shipping without an order minimum, meaning you can make as many impulse buys as you’d like without worrying about shipping costs.

15-Day Free Trial (small)

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29 quirky White Elephant gifts under $50 that make great gifts year-round

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

coworkers exchange gifts as part of a white elephant gift exchange
  • White Elephant, Yankee Swap, and Nasty Christmas gift exchanges reward originality and humor.
  • To save you hours of internet browsing, here are 30 great White Elephant gift ideas, all under $50.
  • Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all Insider Reviews gift guides here.

When it comes to gift-swapping games like White Elephant, Yankee Swap, or Nasty Christmas, the master gifters must first forget everything they know about gifting. Instead of cashmere scarves or Belgian chocolates reserved for birthdays or big holidays, gift swaps typically reward the niche, novel, and irreverent, with bonus points going to those who can check the boxes of funny and useful. Think: quirky cookbooks, personalized pillows, and card games that immediately break the ice.

What is White Elephant?

White elephant is a humorous gift exchange of the most unique and obscure items that’s a fun break away from traditional gift-giving. The Christmas game is played with a set price range and theme with gifts varying from used household objects, unopened gifts from the past, to new gifts with a comedic edge.

How to Play White Elephant

To begin, players draw numbers to determine the order of unwrapping the gifts. Each subsequent person has the option to unwrap a present or steal another.

Check out all 30 White Elephant gifts below:

This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Firstleaf. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*

A set of golf-like stainless steel barbecue tools

Golfers BBQ Set - white elephant gift

Golfers BBQ Set, available at Uncommon Goods, $34

This golf BBQ set is a game-changing gift for the grill master of the friend group.  These stainless steel barbecue tools come with soft insulated handles that resemble golf grips.

A whimsical b

bluetooth banana phone - white elephant gift

Bluetooth Banana Phone, available at Uncommon Goods, $40

Give the comedic friend an extra excuse for another dad joke with this humorous banana phone. This Bluetooth phone eases any tension or awkward silence with the help of your phone’s voice assistant too.

A reversible sequin pillow cover

Jeff DIY Sequin Pillow Cover - white elephant gift

Jeff DIY Sequin Pillow Cover, available at Amazon, $10.99

The perfect gift doesn’t exis-

For “The Office” fans, head here.

A device that makes a whole breakfast sandwich in one go

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker - white elephant gift

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker, available on Amazon, $24.99

This wildly popular breakfast sandwich maker surprisingly works. It speeds up the process and makes a delicious, consistently warm sandwich with meat, cheese, eggs, and bread.

A reusable tote that looks like the iconic plastic design

Uncommon Goods Embroidered Thank You - white elephant gift Tote

Embroidered Thank You Tote, available at Uncommon Goods, $38

Quirky, nostalgic, and practical — this tote is one of the sweet spot gifts. Inspired by the 2007 plastic bag ban in San Francisco, it’s made from recycled taffeta and is machine-washable and reusable.

A weird but comfortable prawn neck pillow

White elephant gifts shrimp pillow - white elephant gift

Shrimp Neck Pillow, available at Amazon, $16.99

Comfortable but unabashedly bizarre — the perfect White Elephant gift.

Tequila shot glasses made out of salt

Himalayan shot glasses- white elephant gift

Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses, Set of 4, available at Uncommon Goods, from $28

These salt glasses give a mezcal or tequila shot a nice salty kick.  

What’s been called the world’s strongest coffee

bag of the world's strongest coffee - white elephant gift

Death Wish Ground Coffee, available at Amazon, $19.43

Death Wish claims to be the world’s strongest coffee, with about double the caffeine of your average cup. The added kick is attributed to a unique blend of Arabica and Robusta beans and a slow roasting process. It’s Fair Trade, has no additives, and makes a pretty good cup of coffee!

Mini tabletop cornhole that they can play whenever and wherever

Tabletop Cornhole - white elephant gift

Tabletop Cornhole, available at Uncommon Goods, $50

Have a hankering for games that fit inside your home these (cold, distanced) days? This Tabletop Cornhole game is easy to store and not at all weather-dependent. Enjoy it wherever! 

A gimmicky present they’ll actually wind up using

nail polish bottle holder - white elephant gift

Tweexy Wearable Nail Polish Bottle Holder, available at Amazon, $9.99

If you’ve ever painted your nails, you can sympathize with the hassle of finding a safe spot for an open bottle of gooey, brightly colored polish. This $10 nail polish holder looks gimmicky, but it’s actually useful. 

A bucket of the best sea salt from England

bucket of salt - white elephant gift

Maldom Salt, available at Amazon, from $13

This isn’t just any random bucket of salt. Malton’s is revered by cooks as their preferred sea salt — and it’s been harvested along the coastal town of Malton, England since the mid-1800s. 

An adult coloring book full of swear words

adult coloring book about swearing - white elephant gift

Maybe Swearing Will Help: Adult Coloring Book, available at Amazon, $6.99

Adult coloring has had a resurgence in recent years as a great de-stressor (Kate Middleton was one notable fan). But before then, humans used swearing as the next best thing. Why not pair the two together for a truly balanced catharsis?

A plug-in that lets them control the TV and lights from the couch without getting up

alexa enabled smart plug - white elephant gift

Amazon Alexa-Enabled Smart Plug, available at Amazon, $24.99

Give couch potato people what they want: the ability to control the lights, TV, stereo, and other appliances without needing to get up from the comfortable spot they fell into. 

A saint candle with your friend’s face on it – or their pet’s

custom prayer candle - white elephant gift

Custom Prayer Candle, available at Etsy, from $20

You tell your friends you love and respect them, but what have you done to prove it lately?

An aesthetically pleasing wine holder for a glass at bathtime

wine holder for a bath - white elephant gift

Bathtime Essentials Wine Holder, available at Uncommon Goods, $38

Despite being a simple vehicle for enjoying wine in a bathtub, you can feel proud of this holder: it’s accented with hand-picked beach stones, and the ash wood looks nicer than transparent plastic. It’ll also come with a BPA-free plastic wine glass for safety.

A funny choose-your-own-adventure cookbook

choose your own adventure cookbook - white elephant gift

What the F*@# Should I Make for Dinner?: The Answers to Life’s Everyday Question, available at Amazon, $14.49

This popular cookbook was derived from the website of the same name, and it’s a choose-your-own-adventure book of 50 solid meal ideas for the nights when they have no clue what to make. 

A binge-watching survival kit for the deep Netflix rabbit holes

Netflix binge survival kit - white elephant gift

Pinch Provisions Binge-Watching Survival Kit, available at Pinch Provisions, $20

This binge-watching survival kit is especially perfect for the friend who’s always complaining about the thinly-veiled disapproval in Netflix’s “Are you still watching?” notification. 

A card game that has you anonymously answer the question “who’s the most likely to…” out of your friends

The Voting Game adult cardgame - white elephant gift

The Voting Game Adult Card Game, available at Amazon, $24.95

This card game basically asks you to anonymously answer “Who’s the most likely to…” out of your friends — perfect for the next low-key night or pregame. You may also want to check out “Who in the Room” or the card version of “Never Have I Ever”

A punny and entirely functional umbrella

Punny clear Umbrella of raining men  - white elephant gift

Raining Men Clear Bubble Dome Umbrella, available at Amazon, $17.95

The perfect accessory for days when it’s “raining men.” 

A to-go sriracha sauce keychain for the hot sauce friend

sriracha sauce keychain

Sriracha Sauce Keychain, available at Amazon, from $9.99

Perfect for the friend who asks for hot sauce before even tasting the food.

A Bob Ross Chia Pet

bob ross chia pet - white elephant gift

Chia Pet Bob Ross with Seed Pack, available at Amazon, $20.99

Just because they’ve never asked for a live plant in the shape of an angelic cultural giant doesn’t mean they won’t love growing one. 

All the moods of Nicolas Cage on a T-shirt

nicholas cage mood t-shirt - white elephant gift

Nicholas Cage Mood T-Shirt, available at Headline Shirts, from $28

A national treasure in its own right. 

A cocktail recipe book that pairs good music with good drinks

guide book to music and mixed drinks - white elephant gift

Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks, available at Amazon, $21.92

Combine two great pastimes into one with a guide of 70 albums from the ’50s through the ’00s, paired with an A-side and B-side cocktail for each one. They’re organized by mood, so they’ll know just what pairing to use.

A Tile Mate to ring their keys or phone wherever they lost them

Tile Mate key finder - white elephant gift

Tile Mate with Replaceable Battery, available at Amazon, $24.99

For the friend who has invested far too much money in key duplicates. 

A funny cookbook made especially for hungover, demoralizing mornings

hungover cookbook - white elephant gift

The Hungover Cookbook, available at Amazon, $6.36

This cookbook was built to handle hangovers — six types of them to be exact. Recipes are tailored to the specific hangover and are bookended by insights into hangover science, quizzes to see if you’re maybe just still drunk, and witty jokes. 

A device that stirs ingredients for you

automatic pan stirrer - white elephant gift

Automatic Pan Stirrer with Timer, available at Uncommon Goods, $25

Like the wearable nail polish holder, this is another product that arguably shouldn’t exist. And yet … it’s a great way to make sure everything is perfectly cooked, without hovering over the pan and stirring continually. Funny, weird, and — according to its 43 reviews and 4.8-stars — actually very useful.

A wine glass that fits an entire bottle of wine

wine glass that fits a bottle of wine - white elephant gifts

BigMouth Inc Ultimate Wine Bottle Glass, available at Amazon, $19.99

This “wine glass” fits an entire bottle of wine as a single-serving.

A crowd-pleasing gag gift mug

toliet shaped mug - white elephant gift

BigMouth Inc Toilet Mug, available at Amazon, $14.99

This ceramic gag gift mug has become a bit of a mainstay in the genre, and it holds up to 12 ounces of their favorite drink. 

A Slothmas sweatshirt

Sloth christmas sweater - white elephant gift

RAISEVERN Unisex Funny Print Ugly Christmas Sweater, available at Amazon, from $13.99

Merry Slothmas to all and to all a 20-hour sleep cycle, goodnight.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best bed-in-a-box mattresses for every type of sleeper

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A great bed-in-a-box offers comfort and support based on your body type and sleeping preferences.
  • The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid is our top pick, with a 365-day risk-free trial and lifetime warranty.
  • It performed well in all of our tests, offering great edge support, motion isolation, and cooling.
Image of a couple sleeping on a DreamCloud Hybrid Mattress, our pick for best bed-in-a-box in 2021

As of 2019, bed-in-a-box companies accounted for 12% of all mattress sales. That share likely increased during the pandemic as most brick-and-mortar stores were closed to in-person shopping.

Buying a bed online continues to be an attractive option. You can skip the high-pressure sales of the mattress showroom, and virtually all of the online retailers offer long risk-free trial periods so you can try your bed-in-a-box in your home with no commitment. Since the only way to tell if a mattress is right for you is to sleep on it, a long trial period is the most important factor to consider when shopping for a bed-in-a-box.

I tested dozens of mattresses to help you pick the best bed in a box for your needs. While a bed’s suitability is based on individual preferences, I developed many objective tests to determine which models are best for an array of sleeping styles and body types. Each bed I tested in this guide was queen size, the most popular size. The price listed for each mattress is for the queen.

I’d also like to note that I mainly sleep on my back but will occasionally sleep on my back and stomach as well. My wife is mainly a back sleeper. We cover all of the major sleeping styles between us. In addition to our top picks, we list other models we recommend, our testing methodology, what we look forward to testing, and common FAQs at the end of the guide.

Here are the best beds-in-a-box of 2021

Best bed-in-a-box overall

the DreamCloud Premier mattress on a wood bed frame in a decorated room as part of testing for the best mattress in 2021

The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress performed well in all the tests we put it through, which makes it ideal for most sleeping types, couples, and people who tend to overheat at night.

Pros: Side handles help you move it, great motion isolation, made with CertiPUR-US certified foams, 365-night trial period, excellent edge support, good heat dissipation, lifetime warranty

Cons: Stomach sleepers may find this doesn’t offer the support they need

The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress is the top pick in our main guide to the best mattresses. Since it comes in a box, it’s only natural that it’s our top bed in a box, too. We also consider it to be the best hybrid/innerspring and mid-priced bed. 

As a bed-in-a-box, it has several benefits. Setup took about five minutes, and though it had an initial odor, it dissipated by bedtime. It’s heavy, but you can move it around easily thanks to the sewn-in handles. If you decide the Dreamcloud Premier Hybrid isn’t right for you during the first year of ownership, you can return it for a full refund. If you keep it, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.

The Premier Hybrid is made of high-quality materials, including foams certified by CertiPUR-US to be free of common harmful chemicals. It sports an average firmness that will appeal to most sleeping styles and body types. Plus, it was one of two mattresses to perform well in all of our tests. 

It passed our bowling ball test, and when my dog or son jumped on the bed, I barely felt it. This means the bed has outstanding motion isolation. I had the same positive experience with the edge support. I felt supported while lying close to the edge, suggesting the bed is ideal for couples who share a bed.

Lastly, in our heat-dissipation tests, the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress did an impressive job of cooling down. It showed the biggest temperature drop, falling 14 degrees within two minutes of me getting up from it.

Maria Del Russo, a senior editor for Insider Reviews, has slept on the DreamCloud Premier for two months. After the break-in period, she found the mattress incredibly comfortable. She usually sleeps sweaty, but this mattress “keeps me cool as a cucumber,” she said.

Best budget bed-in-a-box

Image of best bed in a box from zinus

Back and stomach sleepers looking for a budget-friendly bed should strongly consider the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress.

Pros: Ideal for back and stomach sleepers, excellent motion isolation, 10-year warranty, affordable, four thickness options, made of cooling gel memory foam, 100-night trial

Cons: Poor edge support, took a week to fully expand

Zinus is one of the top names in affordable boxed beds. The Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress is our budget pick because the gel-infused memory foam did a great job of keeping my hot-sleeping body cool. 

The Zinus mattress comes in four thicknesses: 8, 10, 12, and 14 inches. I tested the 14-inch-thick option and strongly recommend picking one of the thicker models since I’ve found in my testing that mattresses less than 10 inches thick generally aren’t supportive enough.

Unboxing the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress was a fast, simple process, especially since it’s on the lighter side at 70 pounds. However, out of the packaging, the bed was only about half the thickness it was supposed to be. The instructions said it should expand within 72 hours, but it was closer to a week. On the plus side, the initial odor dissipated quickly.

The bed is firmer than average, and it slowly cradled the contours of my body as I lay down. I was most comfortable on my stomach, but I think the firmness will also appeal to back sleepers.

In our objective tests, the Zinus mattress shined in the motion isolation test, and I remained undisturbed when my wife or dog moved around on it in the night. Yet, the edge support left a lot to be desired. When I lay on the edge of the bed, I felt like falling off. For its price, though, the many positives outweigh the few negatives.

Best foam bed-in-a-box

image of best bed in a box from Tempur-Pedic

The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress features contouring foam that cradles sleepers of all body types and sleeping styles while offering outstanding pressure relief and heat dissipation.

Pros: Caters to all sleep styles, features 10 inches and three layers of comfortable and supportive Tempur foam, great motion isolation, 90-night trial, outstanding heat dissipation

Cons: No white-glove delivery, there’s a charge for shipping deducted from your refund if you return your mattress, poor edge support

Tempur-Pedic is best known for its traditional mattresses that you pick out in a brick-and-mortar showroom and have delivered fully expanded to your home. The Cloud Mattress represents the brand’s entrance into the bed-in-a-box space, and we think it did a terrific job.

What sets Tempur-Pedic apart is the proprietary CertiPUR-US certified memory foam featured in all of its mattresses. The Tempur material contours to your body to offer an impressive balance of support, pressure relief, and comfort. The Cloud has three foam layers: a durable and supportive base, a firm middle support layer, and a top layer of responsive and soft foam. The cover is made of a polyester blend for breathability and moisture wicking.

The Cloud arrives at your door in a reusable, 15-inch-diameter-by-43-inch-long canvas bag. The handles on the bag, along with the weight of the mattress — it only weighs 58 pounds — made it easy to carry up to my third-floor testing room and to unpackage it. By bedtime, the mattress had expanded to full size, and the initial odor had dissipated.

This was one of the most comfortable mattresses I’ve ever tested, whether I slept on my side or stomach. I fell asleep within a few minutes of lying down each night. My back-sleeping wife also enjoyed the feel. Plus, the excellent heat dissipation kept me cool. 

In addition to passing my bowling ball motion-transfer tests, the Tempur-Cloud dampened the motion so much that I didn’t notice when my rambunctious rat terrier jumped on board. Yet, the bed has poor edge support. When I lay or sat on the edge of the bed, there was significant sinkage. 

Read our full Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress review.

Best ultra-firm bed-in-a-box

Image of best bed in a box from airweave

The Airweave Mattress has a breathable and non-toxic polyethylene core that offers ultra-firm support to all parts of the bed, even the very edges.

Pros: Machine-washable cover, decent motion isolation, great heat dissipation, 100-night sleep trial, excellent edge support, comes with soft insert that transforms mattress from ultra-firm to just firm

Cons: Not recommended for side sleepers, hard to move around, some assembly required

Most beds in a box come vacuum-sealed, and the setup process involves nothing more than removing the packaging. However, the Airweave Mattress bucks that trend. It comes fully expanded in two boxes.

The bed consists of three polyethylene blocks that you zip up in a machine-washable cover. You can choose to add the included soft polyester insert to give the mattress a firm  — rather than ultra-firm — feel.

The setup process took about 20 minutes, which is about 15 minutes more than most beds in a box, but the Airweave was ready to sleep on right away: There was no waiting for it to expand or for the odor to dissipate. 

When assembled, the mattress is hard to move. It only weighs 71.5 pounds, but the foam blocks flop around as you lift it. However, if you disassemble the mattress, it’s much easier and you can fit it in tight spaces for storage or transport.

I prefer a softer-than-average mattress, so the Airweave was not for me. Even with the soft insert added, it was firmer than I would have liked. Yet, I was surprisingly comfortable on both my stomach and back. Plus, the breathable core with its open structure kept it cool through the night. 

I’ve found that mattresses that are less than 10 inches thick usually aren’t supportive enough. But the eight-inch-thick Airweave is the exception. The firm construction provided plenty of support. The firmness also continued to the very edges of the bed, which gave it excellent edge support. I didn’t feel like I would fall off when sleeping on the periphery, and I didn’t sink down when sitting on the edge.

The motion transfer is good. In my bowling ball tests, the can would only fall over sometimes. Yet, it’s so bouncy that subsequent bounces of the ball would cause the can to tumble over. The firmness and bounce suggest this would be a good mattress for sex.

Best soft bed-in-a-box

Image of best bed in box from casper

Casper’s Nova Hybrid Mattress is a great option for people looking for a soft and plush yet supportive mattress.

Pros: Plush comfort perfect for side sleepers, good edge support, made with eco-friendly materials, outstanding heat dissipation, 100-night risk-free trial

Cons: Failed motion transfer tests, held onto its new bed odor, may not be supportive enough for back or stomach sleepers

In addition to being the best soft mattress, we awarded the Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress the title of best mattress for side sleepers in our main mattress guide. (Also, check out our guide to the best mattresses for side sleepers.) Plus, because of its soft feel, it’s the ideal solution for petite sleepers, who might not be able to sink into firmer mattresses, and older individuals, who may lack the natural cushioning they once had and need a little extra soothing comfort.

After testing all of the top mattresses from Casper, one of the leading names in the bed-in-a-box industry, I found the Nova Hybrid was the most comfortable and best at cooling. 

The Nova Hybrid is appealing because of the high-quality materials used in its construction. The CertiPUR-US certified foams feature ergonomic zones that are softer under the shoulders and firmer around the lower back, hips, and waist. The pocket coils add durability and support. Lastly, thanks to a firm foam border, the mattress performed well in our edge-support tests. 

Unboxing the Casper Nova Hybrid was a quick process, taking less than five minutes. The mattress flops around, which makes it harder to move, but the handles built into each corner on the bottom helped. Unfortunately, it had a strong new bed smell that took several days to dissipate.

The bed also has noticeable motion transfer. It failed our bowling ball test, and as my wife shifted positions in the night, I could feel her movements.

Casper recently introduced a new version of this bed, the Nova Hybrid Snow, which costs $500 more and is supposed to offer a cooler sleep. I just wrapped up my testing of it, and I still prefer the Nova Hybrid. I found the new model doesn’t have as good of edge support, and any heat dissipation improvements were minimal.

What else we tested

Image of pile of casper mattress

Over the last few years, we’ve tested dozens of boxed beds. Each has the potential to meet the needs of the right person, so there aren’t any we don’t recommend. Yet some models missed the cut for inclusion in our guide:

What else we recommend and why

Under $1,100

Nest Bedding Flip Double-Sided Hybrid Mattress: This is a good, cheap alternative if our top budget pick isn’t available or you’re a side sleeper. You can flip it to cater to your firmness needs. One side is firmer than average and the other is medium firmness, which I preferred for side sleeping. The bed is made of CertiPUR-US foam, is easy to transport, and has great edge support. The poor motion dampening was the main downfall.

Casper Original Mattress: We recommend the Casper Original to sleepers of all types because it has an average firmness, great motion isolation, outstanding heat dissipation, and is made of eco-friendly materials. Yet, its edge support falls short. Read our full Casper Original review.

Under $2,000

Bear Pro Mattress: I was comfortable on both my side and stomach while testing the Bear Pro. The slightly softer than average, all-foam construction works well for back sleepers too. The mattress features outstanding cooling properties thanks to the breathable Celliant cover, gel-infused foam, and copper-infused foam. The biggest negative is the poor edge support. Read our full Bear Pro review.

Birch Mattress by Helix: The Birch earned accolades in our main mattress guide as our best latex mattress. It’s also one of the most eco-friendly options, receiving certifications from several environmental organizations. The bed’s firmness will appeal most to stomach and back sleepers, but I tested it with the optional plush organic mattress topper, which made it perfect for my side sleeping.

Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress: Like our top pick, the Awara mattress comes with a 365-night risk-free sleep trial and lifetime warranty. It offers a supportive, slightly firm feel that is balanced by the plush Euro top. I also appreciated that it’s made of eco-friendly materials and offers good heat dissipation. In our main mattress guide, it’s the best mattress for stomach sleepers. It would also work well for back sleepers, but it’s too firm for most side sleepers.

Leesa Hybrid Mattress: I slept on the Leesa Hybrid mattress for about a year before my testing schedule made it impossible. It was my favorite, with its average firmness and outstanding heat dissipation. It also offers great edge support and motion isolation, which makes it ideal for couples. In our main mattress guide, we recommend it as the best mattress for back pain due to its combination of support and comfort. Read our full Leesa Hybrid review.

Over $2,000

Purple Hybrid Premier Mattress: Purple mattresses feature the patented Purple Grid, which is a series of small, open squares made of a hyper-elastic polymer gel. This mattress also features CertiPUR-US certified foams and pocket coils, giving it an average firmness. The heat dissipation was outstanding. We think it’s the best mattress for hot sleepers. The Purple Hybrid Premier comes in 3- and 4-inch-thick grids. We tested both, and they performed similarly. The Purple 4 was slightly softer, so we’d recommend it for side sleepers.

Visit our guide to the best mattresses for all of the mattresses we’ve tested.

Our testing methodology

Image of bowling ball on mattress

I tested each of the beds-in-a-box found in this guide. I slept on all of the mattresses for a minimum of 14 days and put them through a battery of objective tests. Comfort, trial period, and setup are the most important factors to consider when buying a bed-in-a-box.

Here are some of the test results for the main attributes we tested:

Attribute

DreamCloud Premier Hybrid

Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam

Tempur-Cloud

Airweave

Casper Nova Hybrid

Firmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)

5

7

6

10 (9 with insert)

4

Motion Isolation (1 awful to 10 best)

7

8

7

7

3

Edge Support (1 awful to 10 best)

8

3

3

10

6

Heat Dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)

6

8

9

7

8

Trial Period

365 days

100 nights

90 nights

100 nights

100 nights

Warranty

Lifetime

10 years

10 years

10 years

10 years

Here are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:

Comfort: I evaluate the firmness of each mattress by comparing it to my experiences with dozens of other models over the years. My subjective experience also plays into my evaluations of how supportive and comfortable the beds are. I also note which sleeping positions my body gravitates towards. Heat dissipation is also important to comfort. I measure this using an infrared thermometer, taking measurements before, right after, and two minutes after lying on the bed for at least an hour.

Trial and warranty: I look at if there’s white-glove delivery and how much it costs, if the bed is available to test in showrooms, and the fine print of the home trial and warranty. We closely examine the return policy because this is what sets beds-in-a-box apart: You want a mattress that you can try out for months risk free before committing to it.

Setup: If you don’t get white-glove delivery, you want the setup to be as effortless as possible. I timed how long it took me to unbox the mattresses. I noted any strange or confusing steps. Most took less than five minutes. I also took a good whiff to see if there was a “new bed smell,” and I checked again before going to bed (at least 10 hours later) to see if the odor dissipated. 

Motion isolation: You don’t want your partner’s tossing and turning to wake you up in the night, so it’s important to find a bed-in-a-box with good motion isolation. In addition to tracking my subjective experience, I perform an objective test where I drop a 15-pound bowling ball onto the mattress from a height of four feet so that it lands 12 inches from a 12-ounce can of soda pop. If the can stays upright, the bed has good motion isolation. If it doesn’t, the motion isolation is poor.

Edge support: This is a somewhat subjective test. I lie on the very edge of the bed and slowly roll until I literally fall. I note how much I’m able to roll before I fall. I also sit on the side of the bed and put my shoes and socks on and observe how much the mattress sinks. Lastly, when sleeping on the bed, I pay attention to how I feel close to the edges. Does it feel like I’m going to fall off? I’m developing an objective edge support test, which I plan to roll out once I have more data.

Portability: We don’t weigh portability heavily, but it’s useful to know how easy a mattress is to move around if you frequently redecorate or relocate, regularly rotate your bed to increase its longevity, or need to reposition it to put on fitted sheets. I move each mattress around several times during testing and note if it flops around, has handles, or is hard to move in general.

What we’re testing next

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We regularly test new mattresses and evaluate our top picks for long-term durability. Here are the mattresses we currently have lined up to test:

Helix Midnight Mattress: Helix markets the Midnight, a hybrid bed, as an excellent solution for side sleepers. As someone who mainly sleeps on his side, I’m excited to see if it lives up to the hype. 

Bear Hybrid Mattress: I’ve tested the Bear Pro and Original and liked them both. This is supposed to be softer than the other two, which could make for stiff competition with the Casper Nova Hybrid for the best soft bed-in-a-box.

Helix Midnight Luxe Mattress: The Midnight Luxe is an upgrade of the Midnight. It has a breathable Tencel cover, a quilted pillow top, and zoned lumbar support coils for pressure relief. The firmness is supposed to be similar to the Midnight, so I’m excited to see how it caters to my side-sleeping ways.

Big Fig Mattress: I love that the Big Fig is specifically designed for full-figured individuals. It can hold up to 1,100 pounds, and a foundation is included with your purchase. I’m curious to see how the firm construction feels and if it dissipates heat well.

Casper Wave Hybrid Snow Mattress: This is Casper’s most expensive bed-in-a-box. It’s supposed to be a cooler version of the Wave Hybrid, which I liked the least when I tested all of Casper’s mattresses. One of the negatives of the Wave Hybrid was that it slept hot. I’m curious to see if this new version provides the cooling it claims to.

FAQs

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What’s the difference between a bed-in-a-box and a traditional mattress?

The differences between the two types of mattresses keep getting hazier every day.

When online mattresses were first introduced, they were mainly made of foam. The biggest benefit was the at-home trial period, where you could sleep on the mattress for several nights before deciding whether or not you wanted to keep it.

However, these days, online retailers offer a range of mattress types, including hybrid or innerspring mattresses. Some brick-and-mortar stores now offer trial periods. Retailers on both sides are trying to neutralize the benefits of the other.

For instance, many bed-in-a-box brands now let you test out their mattresses in showrooms across the country. You can go to a physical store, try out a mattress for 15 minutes or so, and then buy the bed online. 

“You get overall cost savings because you aren’t paying the additional fees that come with the in-store shopping experiences, such as shipping, delivery, and setup,” saud Russell Jelinek, the senior director of engineering, quality, and compliance at Casper.

If you’re concerned about a salesperson trying to pressure you into buying a mattress, going online and skipping the in-person experience is the way to go. 


What happens to mattresses that are returned?

This varies by manufacturer. Once you sleep on a mattress, the manufacturer can’t resell it. They may coordinate with a local organization to recycle your mattress or donate it to those in need. If you’re concerned about the environmental impact your returned mattress might have, we encourage you to ask the manufacturer about what they do with returned mattresses in your area. 


How do you unbox a bed-in-a-box?

First off, we recommend you unbox your mattress within a day or two of its arrival. The beds are not designed to stay in the box for long periods, and prolonged time spent in the vacuum seal (a month or more) could impact the structural integrity of the mattress. Jelinek said Casper mattresses can stay in the box for at least six months without experiencing structural damage. However, this is from the manufacture date, which could be months before you received your mattress.

We recommend unboxing the mattress in the room where you will sleep on it. Some companies provide you with an envelope slitter to safely cut the packaging without cutting the mattress. If you don’t have an envelope slitter, use extreme caution when removing the packaging and cut parallel to the mattress, not towards it. Also, have another person help you with the process since most mattresses weigh around 100 pounds. I’ve injured my back trying to do it on my own. 

Cut open one end of the box and tip it onto your foundation or bed frame. Lift the unopened end of the box and shake the sealed mattress onto the foundation. Take a second to look for any instructions or materials that may have come in the box. This is when you might find an envelope slitter.

You can use the slitter or other cutting implement to cut through the first layer of plastic, but I’ve found it’s easier to just unroll the plastic with a yanking motion. Once this plastic is removed, unfold the mattress onto your foundation. You may need to flip it so the top is facing up. If you can find the seam in the second plastic layer, you can pull at it, and the plastic should be easy to remove. I rarely find the right place to pull at the plastic and instead end up using my cutting implement to cut the plastic along the length and width.

Then I push all of the plastic that’s on top to the far end of the mattress. Lastly, I use a yanking motion while trying to keep the mattress in place so I can remove the plastic from the bottom of the mattress, kind of like a magician might pull the tablecloth off a table. This should be the final step.

Jelinek says you can then sleep on the mattress right away. “However, we recommend giving it some time to acclimate to the room temperature,” he said. He also warned that some mattresses may take longer to expand to their full size. I’ve found it rarely takes more than a few hours for a mattress to fully expand.

For answers to general mattress questions, check out our guide to the best mattresses.


Check out more mattress guides

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