Although many colleges offer new students a bed base and mattress, they’re rarely of decent quality. College mattresses are known to be lumpy, thin, and full of diseases and bedbugs. They’re a far cry from being the best mattresses for college students.
Of course, it’s not true of all colleges. Now, are you willing to take a chance at finding a good mattress that’s been used repeatedly?
It makes perfect sense to buy a college mattress if your school allows it. They’re more comfortable, and you can be assured that you’re the first to use them. Furthermore, you can select exactly what you want instead of sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress.
Remember, sleep quality plays a big role in your overall performance in school. Therefore, consider upgrading to one of the following mattresses when attending college.
7 Best Mattresses for College Students to Suite Every Budget & Your Needs
Here are our top 7 picks for the best mattresses suitable for students who are looking for a nice upgrade over their current mattress.
1. Zinus 6-Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress
The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress falls under the medium category in the firmness scale. It has a 1-inch layer of plush memory foam and five inches of supportive base foam. As such, it is very well-balanced as far as mattresses go. It is also one of the most affordable.View On Amazon
The top cover is a polyurethane layer. It aids in the mattress’s breathability and cancels out the heat-trapping properties of memory foam. As a result, it sleeps very coolly, even if you’re a relatively sweaty sleeper.
It contains moisture-absorbing Active Charcoal, which is another reason it works well for sweaty sleepers. The plush memory foam provides enough sinkage for side and back sleeping. However, it is still thin enough to create sufficient hip support for stomach sleeping. In other words, it is ideal for all sleeping positions. In addition, it offers a decent level of mobility and very low motion transfer.
Overall, the Zinus is a good mattress to consider if you don’t want to break the bank but still want a quality, plush foam mattress to sleep on.
- Plush memory foam
- Breathable top fabric
- Moisture-absorbing properties
- Comes with a 10-year warranty (varies depending on supplier)
- It takes time to inflate after unpackaging
- Lacks box springs
2. LINENSPA 8 Inch Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress
At first glance, the soft, quilted cover of this 8-inch hybrid mattress makes it seem more expensive than it is. Even though it isn’t, the LINENSPA is a really well-made hybrid mattress. It features a 1.5-inch layer of memory foam that rests on box springs. This combination gives you enough firmness and support while keeping the mattress plush and comfortable to sleep on.View On Amazon
This configuration also makes it good for combination sleepers and accommodating to tall people. There is plenty of support for the hips during stomach sleeping, but it doesn’t come at the expense of softness. In fact, the memory foam layer conforms to your body’s contours, almost like a warm hug. This creates a plush sleeping experience.
Ideal as it seems, a few things could be better about this mattress. For starters, it can’t support more than 200 pounds, which means it can only sleep one person of average weight. Furthermore, its lifespan is only about 5 – 7 years.
- Suitable for all sleeping styles
- Premium quilted cover
- Very low motion transfer
- Low-profile design that’s great for dorm beds
- Takes about two days to inflate
- Poor edge support
3. Nectar Queen Mattress
The Nectar Mattress is famous for providing excellent pressure relief for side sleepers. It is ideal for side and back sleeping and can be used by people with hip and joint pain. The manufacturer is so confident about this mattress that they offer a 365-day free trial.View On Amazon
The 12-inch mattress relies on five layers to create an optimal sleeping experience. The quilted cover on top has heat-wicking characteristics. Beneath it is a gel memory foam with better heat dispersion than normal memory foam. As a result, it keeps you cool and comfortably cradled throughout the night.
Following these two layers is a layer of response transition. Its job is to create optimal rebound and bounce to allow you to move unrestricted. It is followed by a stable foam base and a “sticky” lower cover that keeps the mattress in place.
Admittedly, it is slightly more expensive than your average college mattress. However, its thoughtful design, 365-day free trial, and forever warranty make it a worthy investment.
- Free trial for 365 days
- Uses cooling gel memory foam
- Suitable for adults over 200 pounds
- Heat-wicking quilted cover
- Expands within 24hrs
4. PrimaSleep 10-Inch Wave Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress
This mattress is slightly more resistant to deformation because it utilizes high-density (HD) foam to support the memory foam layer. Furthermore, this HD foam is convoluted to facilitate better ventilation, keeping the mattress cool and dry on the hottest nights.View On Amazon
The 10-inch mattress has a 4-layer construction that provides the perfect balance of support and pressure relief. This is the reason that it is considered a mattress for all manner of sleeping styles.
The memory foam layer contains I-Gel, a substance that improves its heat dispersion abilities. Because of it, the mattress excels at keeping your body temperature regulated even on hot nights. It’s also remarkably effective in wicking moisture and, therefore, ideal for sweaty sleepers.
Even though it is rated as a firm mattress, it offers a decent amount of sinkage. You can even sleep on the edges without experiencing a dip in comfort. Despite its well-balanced build, it is one of the more affordable options on this list. That’s why it makes a great college mattress.
- Cooling gel memory foam
- Breathable materials
- Excellent pressure relief and support
- Moisture-wicking properties
- Does not deform quickly
- Takes up to 72 hours to expand
5. Vibe 12-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress
With over 35,000 5-star ratings on Amazon, it is clear that the Vibe mattress is one of the best available today. It is 12 inches thick and covered with stretch knit quilt fabric, which is soft and luxurious to the touch.
The medium-plush mattress provides plenty of firmness for stomach sleeping. In addition to that, it is well-suited for pressure relief. You can credit its ultra-plushness to its 3-inch memory foam layer, which is gel-infused to improve temperature regulation.View On Amazon
It takes 24 to 72 hours to decompress fully due to its 7-inch high-density foam base. This layer is responsible for the mattress’s firmness and edge support. As a result, the mattress is very comfortable to sit on and doesn’t deform easily.
The memory foam conforms to your body easily, but motion doesn’t travel well on the mattress. For that reason, it is excellent at minimizing movement and quite easy to turn on. If you sleep with a restless sleeper, this will keep disturbances at a minimum.
- Supports well over 200 pounds
- Excellent support and firmness
- A plush 3-inch memory foam layer
- Heat dispersing design
- Decompresses fairly quickly
- It may start to sag if you sleep on one side too often
6. The Purple Mattress
There is no getting around the fact that this mattress is pricey. However, if you decide to go ahead and pay the $1,000+ cost, you’ll be thoroughly impressed. Instead of memory foam, the Purple Mattress utilizes a 2-inch layer of proprietary GelFlex Grid technology to facilitate cushioning and support.View On Amazon
Moreover, it has over 1,400 air channels within the top layer and breathable base foams. The reason for this design is to maximize ventilation to keep you cool and comfortable through the night.
This mattress feels different from the others because of its instant response GelFlex Grid. In other words, it springs back up quickly after being pressed down. This is useful for turning and readjusting your position overnight. With this mattress, it feels much easier to turn, and you feel fully supported all the way.
It is designed for optimal pressure relief and has a unique way of keeping your body aligned. Most buyers unanimously agree that this design significantly improves sleep quality.
Expensive as it is, it is worth every penny and a wise investment for anyone interested in a long-term mattress.
- A plush, cooling top layer is very effective
- Regulates body temperature
- Provides adequate pressure relief
- Made from 100% hypoallergenic materials
7. Classic Brands Cool Gel Memory Foam 14-Inch Mattress
Classic Brands is an ultra-soft memory foam mattress that comes in two layers. The first is a 10.5-inch cool gel memory foam, and the second is a 4-inch foundation. Together, they provide a balanced combination of pressure relief and support.
The Cool Gel Memory Foam does a good job keeping your temperature comfortably cool through the night. It is well-ventilated and provides excellent support for all sleeping positions. In fact, it is highly recommended for people with back pain.View On Amazon
The foundation prevents the thick memory foam layer from sagging. Furthermore, you can use it without a bed frame. It creates a nice, low-profile bed that’s ideal for small spaces such as dorm rooms.
Both layers arrive rolled and compressed and take up to 72 hours to fully unravel. Once set up, it can comfortably support adults weighing over 200 pounds.
- Layers can be separated
- Memory foam contains cooling gel
- Very plush for maximum pressure relief
- The sturdy foundation does not require a bed base
- It may be too soft for some
Common Mattress Types for College Students
- Inverted Seam Mattresses
Most colleges give out inverted seam mattresses to new students. These are common because they are the most resistant to bed bugs. Furthermore, the inverted (and welded) seams make the mattress very durable. In fact, these kinds of mattresses have covered that are40% stronger than nylon.
In addition to that, they are flame resistant, rip-resistant, impervious to mold and mildew, and never fade. The rip top is actually comparable to Kevlar in terms of impact and abrasion resistance.
The only downside is that they tend to have one level of firmness. These are meant to be utilitarian, so they are designed to be practical and durable above all else.
- Pillow Top Mattresses
Pillow-top mattresses are the least comfortable types of mattresses. They are widely disliked due to their design, which includes a permanently stitched/glued topper. They are highly prone to sagging and tend to lean uncomfortably to one side.
Nevertheless, they invariably look gorgeous. Most colleges avoid pillow top mattresses because they’re less durable than inverted seam mattresses. Unfortunately, the initial comfort they provide when new tends to be short-lived. Furthermore, the permanently attached topper makes them impractical after they’ve outlived their plushness.
Most colleges provide these mattresses as bottoms for memory foam or inverted seam mattresses. At the very least, they make useful and comfortable foundations for other types of mattresses.
- Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam is made from viscoelastic, a soft, energy-absorbent material designed in the mid-60s by NASA for airplane seats. This material makes great mattresses because it conforms to the shape and temperature of the body. It distributes body weight evenly, and once you remove the pressure, it returns to its original shape.
This is currently the most comfortable type of mattress available. However, they tend to cost more, which is why not many colleges distribute them. In any case, they are excellent for pressure relief. When paired with the right base foams, memory foam mattresses offer plenty of support as well.
How to Make a College Mattress More Comfortable
Even though lumpy mattresses are pretty standard in college, there’s no reason to suffer with them. It is surprisingly easy to make a college mattress more comfortable. Here are some ways you can achieve that:
- Get a Mattress Topper
A mattress topper is a thin foam pad that you can place atop your mattress to improve comfort levels. It is common in college dorms with inverted seam mattresses, which tend to be very firm.
This pad can add cushioning as well as warmth to your mattress. Furthermore, they are available in a range of firmness levels and thicknesses, so you can choose what you need.
Many memory foam toppers are available, including some with electric filaments woven into them. These electric mattress toppers are ideal for cold environments. since they generate heat.
You can also get gel-infused memory foam pads if you get too hot while sleeping. These are great for dispersing body heat; some even have moisture-wicking capabilities.
- Invest in High-Quality Beddings
High-quality cotton sheets can transform an uncomfortable dorm mattress into a luxurious bed. Cotton sheets are classified by thread count. The higher the thread count, the softer and more comfortable the sheets will be.
High thread count sheets are expensive, but for good reason. Not only are they luxuriously soft, but they also don’t fuzz. Some of them are so well-made that light doesn’t shine through them.
Consider thermal blankets or easy-care cotton sheets if your college is in a warmer climate. These have better heat dispersion and ventilation, so they’ll be more breathable.
As for blankets, stick to wool or synthetic fabric. Wool is warmer, but the synthetic fabric is hypoallergenic and tends to be easier to wash. Consider the fill power rating as well. Fill power indicates the quality of the blanket’s down. The lower the rating, the heavier and cooler the blanket.
How to Choose the Best College Mattress: Buying Guide
College dorm mattresses tend to be thin, lumpy, and thoroughly used. If your college allows it, it makes sense to buy your own mattress. Buying a college mattress doesn’t just improve your comfort levels. It can also help you avoid catching diseases and bedbugs.
When choosing a college mattress, these are the things you should pay attention to.
- College Mattress Size
College bed frames and bases are designed to accommodate students over 6ft tall. As such, you should always go for the longest quality mattresses you can find. These extra-long mattresses are the only type that fit onto those long college beds. Furthermore, getting anything shorter will be at your expense if you’re a tall individual.
As for width, stick to twin size at the most. It is a good idea to check the sleeping arrangements first to confirm what the right size should be.
Memory foam is the most comfortable material for mattresses. It is also the most expensive. That means you have to decide whether you’re willing to spend more for better comfort.
However, you can also go for an inverted seam mattress and pair it with a foam topper. You’ll spend less this way but still get a durable, comfortable mattress.
Some colleges provide box spring foundations, so you only need the mattress. However, in other institutions, you have to bring your own innerspring as well. Therefore, buying a mattress with an innerspring makes sense as you can use it independently.
The other material you should focus on is latex. While most foam mattresses have polyurethane covers, a mattress with a latex cover is far more breathable and comfortable. It may not be the most durable, but it keeps you from sweating and naturally says in place.
- The Price
You can spend as little as $50 on an air mattress or $2,000 on a luxury hybrid mattress. However, since college students don’t have too much extra money to throw around, the sweet spot is $200 – $500. You can get a decent quality mattress for that price that will last through your college years.
- The Best Time to Buy a Mattress
If you want to buy a mattress affordably, do it during winter or early spring. You can also get great deals all year round on holiday weekends. Why do mattresses cost cheaper during these seasons?
From March through April, most retailers stock up on newer mattress models. As a result, they’re usually eager to get rid of old mattress stock. During this period, it’s common to find heavily discounted mattresses. If you play your cards right, you can pay as little as 50% of the original price.
Holiday weekends like Black Friday, Fourth of July, and Presidents Day also come with great deals. You can save anywhere between 10% and 20% if you purchase a mattress during a holiday promotion.
Buying a mattress for college can be the best investment you make in your college years. You can’t put a price on good quality sleep, especially when you’re constantly staying up late to finish assignments.
Only spend as much as you can afford, but don’t be afraid to pay more for a quality mattress. Ideally, get a mattress that will last longer than your stay in college.
If you find yourself stuck with a standard issue college mattress, remember that there are ways to make it more comfortable. Consider your favorite sleeping positions and body temperature as well when choosing mattresses for college students.