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Serta’s EZ Tote Mattress Proves Why You Should Buy a Bed in a Box

Every guy will be there: A big city, a new apartment, and only a few bucks to spare. A couch, pots and pans, and a modest TV all take the capital, and with numerous other expenses, a mattress, which can cost a thousand dollars or more, is an easy corner to cut. Well, before you start browsing Craigslist and convincing yourself that that mystery stain couldn’t be blood — could it? — let us suggest an alternative. Serta has made this terrible choice in homemaking obsolete with its new line of EZ Tote Mattresses . This mattress-in-a-box starts at just $299 and will give you the quality sleep you need while settling into your new life.

How it Works

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Serta gives two options for the two broad categories of sleepers: Those who prefer a plusher mattress and those who prefer something more firm. For the former, it’s the Sheer Slumber. At 8 inches thick and with a topmost gel memory foam layer, it’s super soft but not excessively squishy, providing just enough structure to prevent drowning. It’s also exceptionally breathable for those fourth-floor walk-ups cooled only by window AC units.

For guys who want a bit more responsiveness, Serta makes its Sheep Retreat, which is the one I tested. It adds a transitional foam layer between the topmost memory foam layer and the inner foam core to provide a more robust sleeping surface. The Sheep Retreat, with its additional layer, comes in 2 inches thicker than its softer brother, or 10-inches versus the other’s 8. Both look handsome on a modern, minimalist frame.

Out of The Box

Once you’ve selected the right option for you, it arrives at your doorstep or in the arms of a surly building manager packaged so small that some might confuse it for a lunchbox. But before you go rooting around inside for a snack, position it close to where it will end up, as it becomes more ungainly when unfurled. Once you’re within dragging distance, release it from its confines (take care with any sharp object so you don’t damage it) and its foam core expands like those grow-in-water dinosaurs you had as a kid. A few minutes or one cold beer later and you’re ready to slide it onto your frame (whether or not you need a box spring is based on your frame style). Voila, you’re within arm’s reach of a good night’s sleep.

How We Tested

I decided to go with the Sheep Retreat because I’ve heard from athlete friends that those in rigorous training sleep better on a firmer surface. (Granted, my 5K training will likely not get me to Tokyo this year, but everyone needs a goal.) There was a softer feel under my hand once I’d set it up, but after I’d laid down, the topmost memory foam layer was just a small comfort as it grew firmer with my full weight. I feel like this layer did a great job at minimizing a sleepless transition period between my new, firmer mattress and my softer old one. By night three I was zonked out, and if my Garmin’s morning sleep report is any indication, I’m sleeping more deeply by a significant margin after this change. I’ve only tested the Serta for a short period of time but it has been a great upgrade.


Regardless of the model, your Serta mattress arrives backed by the company’s 120-day in-home trial. On the fence about which type of mattress fits your sleep preference best? If you’re not feeling it after literally months, the company will arrange a free return or exchange at the drop of an email. It’s about as risk-free as you can get, and certainly lower stakes than your average Friday night.

We’re a fan of the fact that all Serta’s mattresses, whether the heritage Perfect Sleeper, the uber-modern iComfort, or the affordable EZ Tote, are designed and made in the United States. That means they’re all created under the U.S.’s strict environmental regulations and rigid labor laws, which ensure you won’t be up at night wondering about the ethicality of your pallet or whether the rare Western warbling snicket is being wiped out by your sleeping choices. (It is not.) Also helpful: All Serta’s mattresses are backed by a 10-year guarantee of being the best damn mattress available, which means that it’s guaranteed for more years than its competitors have been in business.

Tips for Your Mattress-in-a-Box

So you’ve ordered your mattress and have a couple of days to kill before its arrival. Well, here are a few other tips. No potential partner, upon seeing your new Serta resting on the floor, is going to be impressed, so buy a frame and use it. Next, invest in some quality sheets, as you’ll be spending plenty of time between them. And finally, for god’s sake, get a mattress protector, which is a cheap way of protecting your new purchase from stains, spills, and smells. (Also, “don’t eat or drink in bed” is good advice, which should go without saying.) But that’s about it.

The Final Verdict

Serta, unlike others making foam mattresses, isn’t “disrupting” the space as much as dominating it — the company has been crafting mattresses since 1931, establishing a worldwide reputation in quality from the jump with its original Perfect Sleeper mattress (which, it should be noted, it still makes). It is literally the number one mattress maker in the world and has been so for nearly a decade. If you want to spend thousands of dollars to bling out your bedroom, the company can offer you several options. But its EZ Tote Mattress line proves that old dogs, when they learn new tricks, can do them better than any young pup.

As its EZ Tote mattress name suggests, it’s easy and convenient. Sure, it’s also economical, comfortable, and simple in its setup. But it is, first and foremost, a mattress that you’ll enjoy with little thought before its purchase or during its lifetime. The rest of your days will undoubtedly bring complications and headaches and stress. But with Serta’s new line of mattresses, what you’re lying on at night won’t lose you any sleep.

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Gugala
Features Writer
Jon Gugala is a freelance writer and photographer based in Nashville, Tenn. A former gear editor for Outside Magazine, his…
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