There’s nothing worse than shopping for a new mattress. I could have really used a good mattress review, or several, when we went shopping for our last mattress, since there’s not much to rely on except your own research and the seller’s take. Not ideal.
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Not only are mattresses expensive, but you really don’t know what you’re getting until you start sleeping on it. And, if it doesn’t work out, it’s usually a hassle to return or exchange it.
Our last mattress was standard, under $1000, purchased through a furniture store, and didn’t even make it to two years old. It was soft, and developed serious sink holes, which forced us to find a replacement.
Instead of purchasing through a brick and mortar store, we decided to try something different, and included a brief mattress review of each one we tried.
Rent a Mattress
My husband kept seeing online ads for mattresses with 100- or 120-day sleep guarantees, and thought it sounded like a great idea. We live in a small town where there’s only one mattress store, and the next closest one is almost an hour away. So, we went on a little run of “renting mattresses” until we found the one we liked.
We didn’t actually rent them, but bought each mattress, in full, knowing we could get a full refund to put towards the next mattress, if we didn’t want to keep it. We protected each mattress with a mattress protector and were expected to try out each mattress for at least 30 days.
First, a little about us.
My husband used to sleep like a log, snore, and rarely toss and turn. The last year or two, his sleep habits have taken a turn for the worse. His sleep is interrupted, and he tosses and turns in his sleep (and steals the blankets). This man has slept on the deck of a crab boat in the middle of the day, out of exhaustion, so you would think he could sleep on a bed, but no. He was finding the indented mattress to be a pain in his back too, but he liked the softness of it.
If the “comfort meter” for a mattress goes from 1 to 10 (one being a puddle of fluff), he’d be somewhere in the middle, whether a little on the soft side or a little on the firm side – anywhere from a 4 to a 7. This is because he adapts well to his sleeping environments unless they are in the extreme.
He’s a back and (mostly) side sleeper.
I, on the other hand, am an insomniac. Chronic right now, but that hasn’t always been the case. I used to have “bouts” of insomnia, like when something stressful was going on or if I was anxious. Now, I hardly sleep through the night at all, and if I do, it’s interrupted.
My mattress has to be just right. If it’s too soft, my low back goes out, but if it’s too firm, my hips hurt. I’d say on a mattress firmness scale of 1 to 10, I’d be somewhere between a 5 or a 6 (“sink” with support). I wasn’t sure there was even a mattress out there that would help me, but I wanted to try. Sleep is so important, and my days were only getting more difficult with each sleepless night.
I’m a (mostly) side and stomach sleeper (I try to avoid this position).
No More Boxsprings
No mattress review that follows will discuss a box spring, because we no longer own one. We have a solid wood, high-quality platform bed that we used with all of the mattresses we reviewed. We purchased the Zinus wooden platform bed without the headboard, which comes in different woods. We absolutely love it, and ended up ordering three. They’re affordable, stylish, solid-wood construction, very well made, and easy-to-assemble with a 5-year warranty.
Keeping in Mind
- Some of these mattresses can be ordered in varying heights, so the higher you go, the more likely you are to have to invest in deep-pocket sheets.
- We will not cover every intricate detail of each mattress, because this is a LONG post already, so please use the manufacturer links to learn more about each mattress.
- Most of these companies will make things pretty easy, but some may charge you for return shipping, or try and talk you into trying out their mattress topper if you don’t like the mattress, to avoid a refund.
- Some of these mattresses are very heavy due to the materials used. Our “winner”, king-sized, weights 190 pounds, while the King Tuft and Needle weighs half that!
- The mattress firmness scale ratings varies greatly from brand to brand. Two mattresses can have the same rating and feel dramatically different.
- There is a “break-in” period for mattresses, anywhere from 30 days to 3 months. Most will be pretty stiff when you first get them.
- Prices and mattress features MAY NOT BE ACCURATE, due to the time that has passed since we purchased various mattresses.
- We’re not affiliated with any of these companies, nor were we compensated with, or given, any free products.
Mattress Review of Tuft & Needle
The Price: $575 for a QUEEN size, free shipping
The Draw: 100-night trial, low toxicity, 10-year warranty, 95% satisfaction, donates returned mattresses
We started with a Tuft and Needle mattress because it was the first one my chiropractor recommended and they are relatively inexpensive, use an adaptive foam that is supposed to sleep cool, and has 5 star reviews that don’t quit. Tens of thousands of them, actually. Tuft and Needle is a start-up company that had a big idea: to use technology to redefine the mattress industry. And, they have. Look into to the company further for their story, reputation, and transparency.
The mattress arrived quickly, all compacted into a roll, so it was easy to get onto our platform. It expanded immediately, so we sat on it. In the sitting position, we felt ourselves sink in, and for a second, I thought it would be too soft, but then we laid down. This dispersed our body weight, allowing for a lot of support without the mattress pushing back. We thought it was the one, until we slept on it.
Note: I just wanted to note that the classic cover of this mattress has been updated since we purchased it. The texture of ours is shown in the last photo above.
Obviously, this is not a luxury mattress, but it doesn’t feel or appear budget-friendly either. It’s made in the U.S. using quality materials, and you likely won’t find another mattress of it’s kind at this price point. I would consider it a great value, if it works for you.
This mattress is 10″ high, well-made and has no off-gassing that we could detect. It feels very firm, allowing for excellent support all around. I would say that it would work well for back and stomach sleepers because of it’s firmness, as I slept on my stomach and did not develop the low back pain that normally occurs for me with other mattresses.
This mattress also has minimal motion transfer, which was a big plus for me, since my husband moves around a lot in the middle of the night.
We found the edges of the mattress to be lacking in support, when sitting on the edge of the bed, but the most negative part of the Tuft and Needle for us was that it ran hot when sleeping. I could just feel the heat build up underneath my body, like I was creating a “hot spot” in the bed. This made sleep almost impossible for me most nights.
I have since learned that Tuft & Needle has come out with another mattress, the Mint, that supposedly addresses many of these issues, but we have not tested it out.
It also just wasn’t soft enough to provide any “cozy factor” (my husband could go either way, so not an issue for him). What I mean is that you don’t really sink in at all, so the mattress doesn’t ever envelop you. This mattress came across quite firm for me, and I added a 2″ latex topper to it, which helped, but didn’t really solve the issue.
It could just be that I’ve always slept on a pillow top mattress and that’s what I’m used to, so be aware of your preferences before buying.
We held on to the Tuft and Needle mattress the longest because we kept thinking it would soften up over time, and we’d adjust. Unfortunately, that did not happen, and we were exhausted from going so long without sleeping (6 weeks) and, unfortunately, had to return it. The great thing about Tuft and Needle is that they donate returned mattresses, but because we live in such a small town, they couldn’t find a local donation center. Their solution was to allow us to find someone to donate to locally, and have them sign that they received the mattress – which we did.
Avocado Mattress Review
The Price: $1,399 for a QUEEN size (no pillow top), free shipping
The draw: 100-night trial, 25-year warranty, eco-friendly, non-toxic, luxury
We went from budget-friendly to a natural and organic luxury Avocado mattress, but with the 100-night trial that allows for a completely hassle-free return, so there wasn’t much risk involved for us. If we don’t like it, they literally drive out and pick up the mattress for you, free of charge, and take it away. And then they refund all of our money. What did we have to lose?
We purchased the Avocado standard mattress, which doesn’t come with a pillow top, and is considered “gentle firm”. It’s rated a 7 on a firmness scale that goes from 1-10.
We chose the Avocado because of the natural materials. The less chemicals we have in our house, the better, and the Avocado is a green company, so they only use natural and organic materials in the construction of their mattresses. In fact, they’re biodegradable, and we love that! We spend 1/3 of our lives in our beds, so think about that for a minute.
The Avocado is a very well-constructed latex and innerspring mattress. It looks and feels good and is definitely worth the money, if it works out. Even the tufting of the mattress is done by hand with wool yarn. I was extremely impressed with the craftsmanship and materials used in the construction of the Avocado mattress.
No off-gassing because there’s no chemicals used in the production of this mattress. It’s completely non-toxic!
The mattress had some bounce to it, being an innerspring mattress topped with Dunlop latex, so there was some motion transfer. And, although we felt the slight softness, unfortunately the Avocado still ended up being too firm for us in the end. We did consider a topper or purchasing one with the pillow top, but decided to move on to the next mattress on the list. I was a bit heartbroken over this one.
This mattress is recommended for stomach sleepers, but I found it to be a little painful when I was on my stomach. I would wake up with a sore lower back.
Customer service was communicative, however there was a mistake somewhere in shipping that mixed up our order up with another and it delayed the shipment of our mattress by about two weeks. This was unfortunate for us, as we try to time our returns or exchanges so that we’re not without a mattress or having to prolong the discomfort or sleeplessness of a previous mattress. Other than that, they communicated well and updated us on most of the ordering and shipping process.
When returning the mattress to them, they had a hard time finding someone to pick it up, so they asked me to schedule the pick up myself, which I did. According to the truck company, Avocado had instructed them to dump the mattress. We hadn’t had the mattress more than a month, and it had a protective cover on it the whole time, so I called a few people and found someone with a daughter in need of a mattress. We donated it to her instead.
The Zenhaven Mattress Review
The Price: $1,899 for a QUEEN size, free shipping (free white glove delivery and mattress removal)
The draw: 120-day trial (exchange or refund), 20-year warranty, luxury, natural materials
The Zenhaven is a very unique mattress in that is has two sides. One side is gentle firm (7-8), and if you flip it over, the other side is luxury plush (4-5). Of course, this was great news for us because we had been struggling so hard between these two very popular comfort levels and nothing seemed to be fitting, so we thought this would eliminate our issues.
The Zenhaven mattress is made from Talalay latex, cotton, and wool.
The Zenhaven mattress has no pillow top, so there’s really nothing to sink into on either side. We had it set up on the gentle firm side upon delivery. We weren’t sure if it was on the right side because our butts dipped in to the bed when we sat on it. We learned later that when laying down, our weight evenly distributed across the mattress, taking away any dipping, and making everything feel much firmer.
The Plush side of this mattress wasn’t “plush” in our opinion. It was softer in the sense that it had a bouncier feel to it when you sat or laid down on it. Overall, both sides were still too firm for sleep. I would consider this bed appropriate for back and stomach sleepers, but not for side sleepers or anyone who enjoys a “sink-in” feel when sleeping.
The customer service through Saatva (the parent company of the Zenhaven) is incomparable. I was struggling with the online purchase and while it was still processing, a customer service agent called me from their headquarters in New York. He wanted to make sure my purchase was seamless and gave me his contact information, should I have any questions. He also gave me a heads up on what to expect as the order progressed.
The same gentleman (yes, the SAME person) called me again after delivery was set to update me, provide some additional information, and answer any other questions I had at that time. Customer service at Saatva is so wonderful that I felt a little shocked at the whole experience, but in a very good way.
Saatva Luxury Innerspring Review
The Price: $1099 for a QUEEN size, free white glove delivery
The draw: 120-day trial, non-toxic, 15-year warranty, sustainability
This was actually a mattress exchange. Because Zenhaven and Saatva are one and the same, we traded in the Zenhaven mattress for a King Luxury Firm 11.5′ Saatva mattress, and received a cash back credit.
This bed was well constructed, and provides some give when you lay down. The motion transfer was fairly negligible. Anyone looking to feel their mattress envelope them will be a little disappointed.
We felt, and continue to feel great, about the Saatva company. Confident enough to have ordered a second queen size plush soft mattress for our spare room. When our oldest daughter finished college, she moved away and took this mattress with her. She has had nothing but good things to say about it since.
Both the luxury firm, and the plush soft mattresses were just too firm for both of us. Within a few weeks of sleeping on the luxury firm, we expressed our concerns, and Saatva sent us out a couple of inch think foam, with organic cotton topper, that should have softened, and enhance our sleep experience. But adding the topper did not improve our comfort, or our sleep.
Here again, Saatva is a complete stand out in customer service. I would hold them up as an example for customer satisfaction and service for any consumer product, and the best of our mattress buying experience.
Simmons Beautyrest Black Mattresses
Beautyrest Black Desiree
Michael here (the husband). I am jumping in to talk about the Simmons Beautyrest Black mattresses because it was my idea. Rachel wanted to stick with non-toxic and natural mattress construction products, but I was thinking about the Simmons Beautyrest mattress we had many years ago. It was an AWESOME mattress from Simmons, and lasted about a decade. We made a cross-country move, and when moving back, decided it had served its purpose.
While we were going through the mattress buying and refunding/exchanging experience, we stayed at the Theodore Hotel (formerly the Roosevelt) in Seattle. For 2 nights, we both got some of the best sleep we had gotten in months, so we asked about the “sleep science” experience at the front desk. They gave us the Simmons mattress details.
We started off with the Simmons Beautyrest Black Desiree, which we could only purchase through a local mattress store, so we went off track a bit here.
It is a great looking mattress and had all the specialized foam technologies and luxury features we know and would expect from this brand. It appeared to be well-made, but we didn’t keep it for long.
First and foremost, this is a traditionally-made (toxic) and more expensive mattress than we expected to purchase ($2600) during this journey, but I thought it would be worth it for sleep.
Since the Desiree Beautyrest Black by Simmons was not a pillow top, it was at this point that I was seeing a pattern. We are the type of sleepers who are going to benefit from a pillow top. The Desiree also slept a little hot, and did not envelop us enough to truly provide a plush experience.
Based on this experience, we exchanged it (our only option, since no refunds were allowed through our local furniture store) for the Simmons Beautyrest Black Katarina.
Beautyrest Black Katarina
The Katarina had many of the same features as the previous model, but added the pillow top that was missing from the Desiree. It was, for a time, the perfect mix of plush and support for us. This mattress provided that “hug” experience we both desired.
We thought maybe we had finally struck gold with this one!
Once we did the exchange for the Simmons Beautyrest Katarina ($300ish more, totaling $2900+delivery), we were pretty happy for several months. But, in less than a year, the construction of the mattress started to show wear that I was not expecting after such a long-lived mattress from Beautyrest in the past, especially in the area of sagging.
Nobody wants to pay this much money for a mattress and have it start to sag in the first year. What happened to quality expected of this high-end brand?
Rachel would also point out the off-gassing and lack of natural mattress construction materials were harmful to our health.
This applies to both mattresses since we dealt with the same local furniture store in both cases. I had no problem with them, per say, as the return and exchange policies were transparent when we bought the Desiree, and we got the “one exchange” for the Katarina. And, I never contacted Simmons about either mattress. We, in fact, still have the Beautyrest Black Katarina in a spare room today.
What I will point out is that I know I made a mistake going with a traditional mattress and furniture store experience. Not being able to refund my purchase after a mattress trial period makes all of the online mattress retailers STAND OUT!
NOTE: Simmons makes a crap-ton of mattresses, and they are re-branded with different names for different furnitures stores, and the hotels use replaceable pillow tops (cool concept). In fact, at the time I ‘m adding my part to this post, Simmons Beautyrest Black mattresses have changed from European sounding female names to the K-Class, C-Class, and L-Class. My guess is ours is a C-Class, considering current pricing, plush pillow top, and other luxury features, but I am having a hard time matching up the Katarina with the products on their website.
Brentwood Home Oceano Review
The Price: $1495 for a QUEEN size, free shipping
The draw: 1-year trial, non-toxic, 25-year warranty, returns, donation program
Obviously, being non-toxic is important to us, so we continued that trend with the Brentwood Oceano mattress. This is considered their “luxury hybrid” mattress, with a coil system, memory foam, and wool.
This mattress is considered a Medium Plush feel, but does not offer a number to pinpoint exactly where it falls on the firmness scale, but I would estimate that it’s about a 5.
Brentwood makes a great product, no doubt. The craftsmanship is more evident than with any other mattress we have purchased. This mattress was comfortable, with only some motion transfer.
This mattress was still just a little too firm for my husband. We were really encouraged by how the mattress was made, and there was another Brentwood Home mattress we almost bought, so this one went into a spare room while we tried a softer more plush mattress from Brentwood Homes.
We ultimately sent the Brentwood Oceano mattress back. Well… not back, as we lived in such a rural location. We ended up coordinating with Brentwood Home customer service to donate this mattress to a local church. The refund was immediate, and the customer service experience was quick and seamless.
Brentwood Home Cedar Natural Luxe
The Price: $2899 for QUEEN size, free shipping (3-5 days)
The draw: natural and organic, 1-year trial, 25-year warranty, free return
Of course the mattress we loved the most ended up being the most expensive. Isn’t that how it works? Not that I’m complaining. It’s a high quality mattress we’ll have for years to come.
Unfortunately, it appears that the price has gone up by almost $1000. We originally purchased a king for $2395 (it’s now $3299) plus shipping, but now, even the queen is more expensive than that, at $2899. At the time of publishing, if you click on their sale button at the top of their site, you can get a code for $400 off.
We must note, however, that the Cedar Natural Luxe Mattress that we originally purchased appears to have been updated on the Brentwood Home website and is not identical to the mattress we are reviewing here. Many things still probably look and feel similar, but our Euro-top is not detachable, like the new version is (which is super cool).
After all of the mattresses we went through, this one had a more “Goldilocks” experience for my husband, and comes close to that most nights for me too. The Cedar is just softer enough, compared to the Oceano, that it became the keeper. Having it closer to a year now, the construction and craftsmanship has held up. There is no noticeable dip, or divot on either side. We rotate the mattress 180 degrees every few months. We remain completely satisfied.
There are some nights where I wonder if the mattress isn’t just a little too soft for me, personally.
As mentioned above regarding Brentwood Home customer service when returning the Oceano, they are responsive and the overall experience was good.
Make the Switch
Honestly, you just can’t get the same purchase, trial, and great refund experience with furniture stores that you can get with the online mattress retailers. You would basically have to buy all of your mattresses from Costco to get any kind of money-back guarantee like the online mattress retailers we are so grateful for today.
Yes, mattresses may be going in and out of your homes, delivery times may get changed, but in the end, you’ll end up with the mattress you want! A mattress that is comfy and supportive, and lulls you to sleep. And, isn’t that the goal?
I hope our mattress review of each that we tried encourages you to think about your priorities in buying a mattress, and maybe even rule out certain ones and look at others you may not have considered. Many of these mattresses have a lot to offer, depending on your preferences, and are worth a serious look.
If you have questions, or want to share your own mattress experience, let us know in the comment section below. Happy hunting!