Nectar Mattress Review
|✔️Mattress Advisor Score:8.7/10|
|✔️Type:Gel Memory Foam|
|✔️Free Shipping & Returns|
|✔️365-Night Sleep Trial|
$399 of FREE Accessories with Every Mattress!
In This Article
The bottom line:The Nectar mattress is a great choice for any type of sleeper who is looking for a memory foam mattress on a budget. With its generous full-year trial period and lifetime warranty, you can be confident that you won’t regret your Nectar purchase.
Who Is the Nectar Mattress Best For?
|Nectar is best for:||Nectar may not be best for:|
Nectar Mattress Review Highlights
The Nectar mattress is one of the best budget mattresses you can buy online. This memory foam mattress has a long history of happy customers who sleep soundly each night. In this review, we’ll tell you everything you should know about the Nectar – including sizes, price , customer feedback, and pros and cons – to help you decide if this mattress is right for you.
Read on to learn why the Nectar mattress is such a great value.
What we love about the Nectar:
- It’s one of the best mattresses for side sleepers due to its pressure relieving properties.
- The Nectar mattress has a happy (and well-rested) customer base – they have overwhelmingly positive reviews and fewer than 3% of customers end up returning their mattress.
- Nectar’s proprietary cover is specifically designed to keep out dust mites.
- Nectar is so confident that they make the best mattress for the price that they offer a lifetime warranty and sleep trial period that lasts an entire year.
- You can already purchase the Nectar at a reasonable price point, but they often run discounts and special offers to sweeten the deal even more.
Video Review of the Nectar Mattress
Take a look at our Nectar mattress review video and see how it performed in our testing to help you determine if this could be the mattress for you.
Note:At the time of our testing, we spoke with customers who were experiencing a 2-4 week waiting period for their mattress to be delivered. We have since confirmed that Nectar switched their supplier and is now shipping mattresses the same day that orders are placed. Additionally, the price for a queen mattress is now $799.
Mattress Advisor Score for the Nectar Mattress
See how the Nectar mattress scored in each of our tests. We rate each factor on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best. Then, we calculate our final Mattress Advisor score using a weighted average. You can learn more about our review and scoring process here.
|Mattress Advisor Test||Score (Out of 10)|
⭐Total Score for the Nectar Mattress: 8.7/10⭐
Nectar Performance Highlights
- The first couple of things that set Nectar apart from other mattresses are thesleep trial periodandwarranty. Nectar certainly beats out competition by offering a full calendar year to try out their mattress and a warranty that lasts as long as you own the mattress. Typically, we see trial periods around 100 days and warranties that last for 10 years or so.
- Motion isolation:Nectar does a good job of isolation movement, which is great if you share the bed with someone. If they move around or get up in the middle of the night, you’ll feel minimal disturbance on your side of the bed.
- Pressure relief:Nectar scored an 8.5/10 for pressure relief, meaning it will appropriately cushion pressure points like hips and shoulders that are more prone to aches and pains. This makes it a great option for side sleepers.
- Responsiveness: While the Nectar is a memory foam bed , it still scored high in responsiveness. You can think of responsiveness as freedom of movement, so if you toss and turn throughout the night, the Nectar will adjust to your sleeping positions accordingly.
- Edge support:For a foam mattress, Nectar also scored high in edge support. If you’re an edge-of-the-bed sleeper, this will help prevent you from rolling off.
- Be aware that your Nectar mattress may have a mild scent when you unbox it – this is normal and should go away within a few hours.
- Nectar is one of the few mattresses in its category that is not fully made in the US: its products are sourced from all over the world and are compiled and made overseas. They are then sent to the Nectar warehouse in Kent, Washington where they are prepared for shipping.
- Because of its all-foam construction, some customers claim that the Nectar mattress can sleep hot. The Nectar is constructed with a cooling cover and breathable foam layers, but it won’t allow for as much air circulation as an innerspring or hybrid mattress will.
Learn everything you’ll need to know about the Nectar mattress to find out if it’s right for your sleeping preferences and budget.
How Firm is the Nectar Mattress?
The Nectar mattress falls around a6 out of 10on the firmness scale, which is considered medium-firm. This firmness is ideal for most sleeping positions since it’s not too firm and not too soft.
Which Sleeping Positions Does the Nectar Mattress Support?
The medium firmness of the Nectar mattress coupled with its responsive surface and pressure relieving properties make it a great option for all sleeping positions: side sleepers, stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and even combination sleepers, or those who change positions throughout the night.
Does the Nectar Mattress Sleep Hot?
While the Nectar mattress is designed with breathable foam layers, it does not have the same level of airflow as innerspring or latex mattresses. It is better than traditional memory foam but can still trap body heat throughout the night. Because of its responsive and supportive layers, you won’t sink as deeply into the mattress as you would a pure memory foam mattress, which helps with temperature regulation. If you tend to run hot at night, opt for cooling sheets and a light, breathable comforter on your Nectar mattress.
How Much Weight Does the Nectar Mattress Support?
The Nectar mattress supports up to 705 lbs. of weight on a queen size mattress, which is about 350 lbs. on each side. This means that Nectar supports most types of sleepers.
What Foundations or Bed Frames Can be Used with Nectar?
The Nectar mattress is compatible with most mattress foundations including solid and slatted platforms, adjustable bases, box springs and bunkie boards. Just make sure your foundation is in good, sturdy condition.
The Nectar mattress can also be used on the floor, but you do risk contamination and added exposure to dust or bacteria. Putting your mattress directly on the floor can also make it harder to get in and out of bed.
What is the Nectar Mattress Made of?
The Nectar mattress is constructed with four layers of premium foam that offer pressure-relieving support and appropriate weight distribution, plus a cooling cover. All foam layers in the Nectar are CertiPUR-US certified, meaning they meet rigorous standards for emissions and durability.
- Memory foamquilted cover:Plush top layer that is soft and cushioning
- Gel memory foam:Delivers equal weight distribution and pressure relief
- Adaptive hi-core memory foam:Supports the body and prevents too much sinking
- Base layer:Serves as a stable foundation and provides additional support
- Bottom cover:Prevents slippage on your frame or foundation to ensure mattress stays in place
Nectar Mattress Sizes, Dimensions and Pricing
|Twin||39″ x 75″ x 11″||45 lbs.||$499|
|Twin XL||39” x 80” x 11″||48 lbs.||$569|
|Full||54” x 75” x 11″||68 lbs.||$699|
|Queen||60” x 80” x 11″||74 lbs.||$799|
|King||76” x 80” x 11″||89 lbs.||$999|
|Cal King||72” x 84” x 11″||89 lbs.||$999|
*Prices do not reflect exclusive offers or discounts. Click below to see the best price for the Nectar mattress.
Nectar Mattress Unboxing
Nectar arrives at your door in a tall rectangular box. It can be a bit heavy, so we suggest a team lift when taking it up the stairs. Though it comes with a tool to help you unwrap it, it took us about 5 minutes to completely unbox Nectar and free it from the plastic. Nectar also had an off-gassing odor, so we recommend letting the mattress air out for a few days before putting sheets on.
To see the full unboxing process, check out our video review of the Nectar mattress.
Check out all the purchasing details you’ll need to know when you decide to buy a Nectar mattress.
|Delivery||Ships free and arrives to your door within 2-5 business days|
|Trial Period||365 nights|
|Warranty||Lifetime warranty for as long as you own the mattress|
|Return Policy||Free returns|
|Financing||Available through Affirm|
Learn more about Nectar’s parent company Resident and their policies.
Nectar Mattress Shipping and Delivery
Shipping the Nectar mattress is free to the continental U.S. For locations such as Alaska and Hawaii, there are additional costs. You should get your new mattress in about 2-5 business days.
Nectar does offer white glove delivery and removal of your old mattress for an additional fee: $149 for white glove delivery and $49 per additional item set up. This also may tack on the time it takes to receive your mattress.
Nectar Mattress Sleep Trial
Nectar offers the most generous sleep trial period we’ve seen in the bed-in-a-box mattress game (3 times longer than the industry standard!). The 365-night trial period starts 30 days after Nectar has been delivered to your door (roughly the length of the break-in period).
At any point during this sleep trial, you can return or exchange your Nectar mattress for free.
Nectar Mattress Warranty
A Nectar warranty is a forever warranty ; it’s good for as long as you own the Nectar mattress. Simply put, if your mattress breaks from normal use or it forms impressions 1.5” or deeper, they will replace it at no cost to you.
Nectar Mattress Customer Service
Nectar’s customer service is fairly easy to get in touch with. Have a quick question? Chat with a human online. For something more in-depth, you can call them at (888) 863-2827 or email at [email protected] .
Here’s what some customer had to say about the service they received with Nectar:
- “After many months of use the mattress has been just what I needed to eliminate pain in my back and knees while sleeping. It keeps me level regardless of position but conforms to my body at the same time thus eliminating pressure points. Quality is exceptional in my opinion.Very happy with the purchase and customer support.Highly recommend.” -Michael
- “I ordered the Split King Adjustable Bundle yesterday around noon. This set includes 2- XL adjustable frames, 2- XL mattresses (w/pillows), 2- XL mattress covers, and 2- XL sheet sets. Believe it or not, in just 24 hours I received everything except for the sheet sets! I was told it would be about 7-10 days.Now that’s incredible customer service!” -JoAnn N.
Nectar Mattress Return Policy
To return your Nectar mattress, contact Customer Care, and they will walk you through the process. Depending on your location, your Nectar will either be donated or taken to a local disposal location. After the return is complete, you will receive a full refund.
Mattress Return Policies 101: How to Return a Mattress to Casper, IKEA, & More
If there’s one thing Goldilocks understood, it’s that not every mattress feelsjust right.You find one you like in the store, you buy it, you bring it home, you sleep on it, and suddenly…it’s not the perfect mattress anymore. Finding a mattress that ultimately isn’t perfect is a much more common happenstance than you think, so much so that stores with typically flexible return policies have special rules for returning mattresses. And with something so bulky and heavy, returning mattresses can be a hard thing to do.
But if you’re stuck trying to return a mattress, rest assured that it is doable. Here are the return policies of some of the biggest names in mattress sales, plus some tips and tricks for how to bring that mattress back (without paying a fortune).
Mattress Return Policies
Amazon Mattress Return Policy
Amazon is known for its generous return policy, and that seems to extend to mattresses…with a catch. Almost all mattresses sold on Amazon can be returned using their normal return policy, but you won’t be expected to box it up. You’ll be put in touch with their Large Items team, which will schedule a day and time to pick up the mattress from your home.
As for whether you’ll be refunded, that’s a question that’s largely left up to the seller. While some mattresses sold on Amazon (including the AmazonBasics mattresses) are generous with issuing refunds, third-party sellers on Amazon have more flexibility and are more likely to deny refunds. Check the Q&A and reviews sections on the mattress you’re interested in before buying to see what other customers’ return experiences have been like if you’re going to buy a mattress from a third-party seller.
Ashley Furniture Mattress Return Policy
Generally, Ashley Furniture allows returns within 72 hours of delivery–but when it comes to mattresses, it’s a different story. According to BestCompany, Ashley Furniture’s mattress return policy is, in short, “nope.” They don’t accept returns for mattresses, foundations, or adjustable beds.
The exception? If one of these items arrives damaged, you may be able to return it and get a new one. But you only have 72 hours to contact the manufacturer after its delivery–note that it’s the manufacturer you need to contact, not Ashley Furniture. If it’s outside of the 72 hour window, you’re on your own, so think twice before buying a mattress there.
Casper Return Policy
One of the hallmarks of Casper mattresses is that it comes in a box, a fact that’s all fine and good, but often scares potential customers into asking, “If I want to return it, do I need to squeeze itbackin the box?” Thankfully, no squeezing is required. Casper mattress returns are actually quite simple.
Their trial policy allows for 100 nights to try out your Casper mattress, pillows, or even sheets (certain products, like their platform bed, bed frames, and their popular dog bed, only allow for a 30 night trial). If you don’t love the product, you’ll need to contact Casper returns within those 100 nights. They’ll send a team to pack up and take away the mattress, then refund your original payment method in full. They also try to recycle or donate each mattress that’s returned.
But one caveat: if you bought your Casper mattress from a third-party seller, you’re stuck with their return policy–not Casper’s.
Costco Mattress Return Policy
Can you return a mattress to Costco? In short, yes. You’ll just have to get it to a Costco returns counter at your local Costco store. Unlike some other retailers, they won’t send a team out to your home to collect it, so you’re on your own to get it there.
Thankfully, Dolly can help. You can book a Dolly to bring your mattress back to Costco so you can skip tying it to the roof of your car or shoving it in your backseat. Dolly will connect you with a local truck driver who’s ready to help, and you can even ride along with them to Costco to make the return fast and easy.
IKEA Mattress Return Policy
Good news: you don’t need to disassemble your IKEA mattress to return it…but that’s only because you didn’t need to assemble it at all. If you don’t love a mattress you purchased from IKEA, you’ll be happy to hear the IKEA mattress return policy is as generous as the rest of their returns. You have two options for returning your mattress to IKEA:
- Exchange it for another mattress within 365 days of purchase.
- Return it for a full refund within 365 days of purchase.
In both cases, you’ll need to ensure the mattress is clean and free of stains and damage for a successful return. You’ll also need to provide a valid photo ID when you bring it in for a return, one that matches the name on the card used for the original payment. Unless you choose the exchange option, you’ll be refunded to the original form of payment. It is up to you to bring your mattress to the store, so get some help returning your mattress with Dolly.
Macy’s Mattress Return Policy
Whereas some of the mattress return policies are surprisingly simple, Macy’s mattress return policy is complicated. If you purchased a Tempur-Pedic mattress, an iComfort mattress, or a Direct Ship mattress, you’ll have to follow specific instructions found here for return, and may not be able to get as much money back.
For every other brand, you have 60 days to call Macy’s Customer Service to schedule a return or reselection, which must be scheduled within 14 days of the call. You can only return undamaged, unsoiled, and unstained mattresses, and your delivery fee won’t be refunded. You’ll also be charged a $85 pick-up fee when returning, plus a 15% “preference fee” (one can assume this is for restocking).
Mattress Firm Return Policy
Mattress Firm’s return policy asks that you do one thing before returning a mattress: give it an honest try. You won’t be able to exchange or return a mattress from Mattress Firm within the first 21 nights of purchasing it so you can give your body time to adjust.
After that, you’re allowed to exchange your Mattress Firm mattress once, but will need to pay for it. An $80-$100 delivery fee will be charged, and you won’t get back the full price of the mattress. You’ll lose 10% due to a restocking fee. The remaining amount will be used to exchange for a new mattress.
If you choose to return your mattress, you’ll also pay $80-$100 for delivery. You’ll get your money back, minus a restocking fee of 20% of the original mattress price.
Nectar Mattress Return Policy
Nectar has one thing going for them in their return policy that no one else has: a 365 trial period. Yes, that’s a full year to test the mattress and return it if it’s not right for you. If you don’t open your mattress, you can initiate a full return or a full exchange immediately. Once your mattress is opened, you’ll need to wait 30 days after delivery before you can do either.
To return an opened Nectar mattress, it’s pretty simple: contact them to initiate a return more than 30 days after delivery (but no more than 365 days after). They’ll refund you completely, though there are few details in their policy about how, exactly, they’ll get the mattress back. If you need help bringing the mattress back to one of their warehouses or distributors, book a Dolly to get it out of your hands.
You’re also able to exchange your mattress once in the 365 day period. The situation is similar to returning: contact Nectar, return your mattress, then order a new one. Again, it has to be more than 30 days after delivery if it’s opened (but no more than 365 days after), and the mattress still needs to be in good condition.
Purple Mattress Return Policy
Purple’s mattress return policy is a bit shorter than some of the others, offering 100 days to test the mattress out for yourself. At 100 days, it’s a bit less time to get used to their mattress, but they do offer full refunds and exchanges. They also don’t require 30 days to try it out, though they do recommend it.
Returning a Purple mattress is easy: just contact them to initiate a return, and they’ll coordinate a pickup of the mattress, then give you a full refund. For an exchange, it’s about the same, but you have 30 days to buy a new mattress from Purple.
Sears Mattress Return Policy
The Sears mattress return policy is similar to many of the other department store mattress return policies. In case of damage, you have three days to contact Sears. But if you’re just interested in a return or exchange, you have 180 days to test the bed out and decide if it’s right for you. Like Nectar and others, they require 30 days on the mattress before returning to ensure you’ve given it a solid try.
Keep in mind that Sears does have a restocking fee of 15% for returned mattresses, so that’s 15% of your purchase price that you won’t see again. And for display mattresses that are purchased, no returns are permitted, as they’re purchased as is.
Tuft & Needle Mattress Return Policy
Tuft and Needle may be famous for their mattress in a box, but thankfully, you don’t need to shove it back into a box to return it. In fact, they make their returns fairly simple. If you purchased your mattress directly from Tuft & Needle, you have 100 nights to test your Tuft & Needle mattress out, then if you don’t like it, email [email protected] to start your return. They’ll pick up the mattress using a third party delivery service (which they’ll pay for) and donate it locally. Altogether, it’s one of the easiest mattress return policies.
If you purchased a Tuft and Needle mattress from a retailer, like Lowe’s, Amazon, or Walmart, you’ll have to follow a different set of return instructions through that specific retailer. Read up on that policy here.
What to Do If You Can’t Return Your Mattress
Whether your trial period has run out, or you made the ultimate mistake of cutting off the mattress tag, there are times when your mattress just can’t be returned. If that’s the case, don’t panic and leave it on the street. There are plenty of eco-friendly ways to deal with your unwanted mattress.
Donate it.If your mattress is still in good condition, contact local donation sites to see if they’ll accept it. Some major donation centers, like Goodwill or Salvation Army, have specific rules about which mattresses they can accept, so call beforehand to double check. You can also check with local homeless shelters and women’s shelters to see if they’re interested in accepting a gently-used mattress.
Sell it.You won’t be able to get the full retail price for it, but a barely used mattress can sell for anywhere from $50-$200 on local sales sites. Try OfferUp or Craigslist to see if you can make some of your money back. Just make sure that you list it as “used” so you don’t deceive any potential buyers.
Recycle it.No, this option isn’t just leaving it on the street. Check out these options for eco-friendly mattress disposal to take care of your mattress without hurting the environment.
Figuring out which mattress is right for you is hard enough, so take some of the difficulty out of it with Dolly. Dolly connects you with local truck owners who can move your mattress, whether it’s back to the store you purchased it from, to a donation center, or bringing home a replacement mattress. Dolly is available on-demand, so you can get help moving your mattress anytime. With Dolly, you’ll sleep easy knowing your mattress is in good hands.
Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.
Mattress Ruined. What Happens If You Sleep on Your Memory Foam Mattress Before 24 Hours?
Table of Contents
How Long to Let Your Memory Foam Mattress Expand?
The general rule is to give your new memory foam mattress 48 hours to expand and inflate to its proper size.
The real answer is not that simple. Every memory foam mattress has its unique requirements.
The following chart shows what each manufacturer recommends. Below that we go over where the 48 hours comes from and if you can immediately sleep on your new mattress.
Mattress Expansion Times For Each Manufacturer
|amerisleep||Can lay on it right away but could take 8 hours for the corners to expand fully and you should wait 2 hours before putting sheets on.|
|BEDBOSS||Should decompress in 24 hours, but let it sit for 2 hours before moving it to the bedroom.|
|Bedinabox||“It expands in about 3 minutes” is what I got when I emailed them. This seems too fast; I would still give it a few hours to be on the safe side.|
|Casper||Can expand and be ready to sleep on in a few minutes but keep in mind that some will take longer.|
|Classic Brands||Allow 24 to 72 hours for the mattress to regain its full shape. If the mattress gets to its full height, it’s ready to use.|
|Dreamfoam Bedding||6 to 7 hours from opening.|
|Helix||Give it 2 hours to regain its shape, and you’re done.|
|Layla||Will take its full shape within minutes, and you can sleep on it right away. If you’re sensitive to smell give it a few hours to air out.|
|Leesa||May take up to an hour to expand but give it 24 hours to fully expand and be at its best|
|Linenspa||Up to 48 hours but they do say you can jump on it as soon as you like. If anything they say your body heat can help speed up the expansion process.|
|LUCID||Up to 48 hours, but if it’s fully expanded after 24 hours you can go ahead and sleep on it.|
|Lull||Will do most of the expanding in 2 to 5 hours and fully expand in 24 to 48 hours.|
|MLILY||Should be ready in 24 hours. Walking on it while it’s on the floor can help speed up the process.|
|Nectar||Between 24 to 72 hours to expand.|
|Nest Bedding||You can sleep on it right when you open it, but it can take up to 24 to 48 hours for it to fully expand.|
|Olee Sleep||let it expand up to 72 hours|
|Puffy||Allow it to expand and breathe for a few hours before putting bedding on it.|
|Purest Of America||Allow 24 to 72 hours to fully recover.|
|Signature Sleep||Wait at least 48 hours.|
|Tuft & Needle||Only takes several hours to reach the proper specifications, but in some cases, it may take up to 5 days.|
|Tulo||Allow it to sit for an hour before using it.|
|Zinus||48 to 72 hours to fully decompress. Zinus recommends you sleep on the mattress during this time as it helps to full up the mattress. If after a week it hasn’t expanded, please contact them.|
Don’t see your mattress? Go ahead and give it a couple of hours to expand, but let me explain why.
Can You Sleep on a New Memory Foam Mattress Straight Away?
The reason why you wait 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours is an old saying that people keep repeating.
As shown from the chart a significant number of manufacturers report shorter times and a good bit suggest sleeping on the mattress the first night. The reason is for your constant movements, and body heat loosens the foam. The more lose the foam, the better it expands.
Where The 48 Hour Memory Foam Expansion Time Came From
The first generation of memory foam mattresses is where this wait time wives tale came from. More time was needed for older memory foam mattresses to air out there odors.
The mattresses today don’t smell as bad; I would still recommend letting them air out for a few hours to absorb the smells of its surroundings. I know it sounds odd, but it’s well worth doing.
What if my mattress says to wait a few hours? – Well, it’s better to play it safe than sorry. The people that best understand your mattress are the ones who made it.
What If Your Memory Foam Mattress Is Not Inflating?
No need to worry if your memory foam mattress is not expanding; here is what you do.
Get the mattress flat as possible on the floor. Wearing clean socks walk on the mattress. The constant moving around combined with your body heat expands the mattress. I like to think of it as a mattress massage.
After massaging the mattress place it back on the bed frame and sleep for a few nights.
Keep in mind:New mattresses are like new shoes; they need to be broken in. Over the years you have gotten used to your old mattress, so the new one is going to feel different. We tend to forget this because we only buy mattresses every decade or so.
What To Do After Your Memory Foam Mattress Has Expanded?
I mean, you spent all this money you probably want it to last as long as possible?
If you want your mattress to last, you need a mattress protector.
Your mattress is a giant sponge, and it will soak up all the sweat, soda, dead skin and other nasty stuff you do in bed. Those liquids sit there not only making the mattress dirtier but destroying the function of the structure. It’s hard to work correctly when “waterlogged” with juices.
Plus, modern-day mattress protectors feel and look like regular bed sheets. I even have a review on the very one I use on my mattress. They’re not even that expensive either; I consider it crazy when people don’t use something so practical and affordable.
How Long Should You Leave a Memory Foam Mattress Before Sleeping on It?
It’s best to let your memory foam mattress expand for 48 hours. If you can’t give 48 hours then allow the mattress to expand for 6 hours before sleeping on it.
What Happens If You Sleep On Your Mattress Too Soon?
If you sleep on your mattress before it’s expanded it’s not the end of the world. In fact, many mattress manufacturers recommended you sleep on it the first night because your body heat helps to expand the foam.
I would not worry about it too much. The goal is to give the mattress a few hours before you sleep on it. It can take some mattress a whole week to reach its correct size and sleeping on it won’t hurt.
It’s Been A Week And The Mattress Has Not Expanded.
If it’s been a week and the mattress has not expanded correctly then, unfortunately, you have a defective mattress.
The good news is that this is usually rare. If it’s been a week no need to keep fighting it, contact the company you bought it from to check out the return policy. If you’re curious about returns and what they do with the old mattress check this out.
If you have to return the mattress and want a new one I’ve had good luck with Zinus Green Tea Mattress.
Buying a Mattress Online Was Easy. Now, About the Return.
Web-based mattress retailers vow they’ll take the product back if it flunks a comfy-sleep test. And they do, but it’s not simple.
A baby atop mattresses from several companies that were the subjects of in-home trials. Credit. Cole Wilson for The New York Times
- Sept. 16, 2016
Here is your mattress shopping bill of rights, 2016 edition:
■ You are entitled to a multiple-night sleep test in your home.
■ Returns should be free.
■ Getting rid of the mattress should not require turning back flips and begging.
In recent years, a number of new companies, including Casper, Helix, Leesa, Saatva and Tuft & Needle, have declared that they will abide by these rules. This is great news, assuming they actually follow through. So this summer, I put the five companies to the test by ordering a mattress from each one, then returning them all, just to see how painful the process would be.
Why bother? Let’s begin with something that should have been obvious to mattress retailers decades ago but apparently was not: Buying bedding in a showroom is absurd. Most of us spend a quarter to a third of our lives on mattresses, and they are essential to our physical and mental health. So testing plastic-covered beds while fully clothed, under the florescent lights of a store with a commissioned salesclerk hovering over us, makes no sense whatsoever.
When I made a similar declaration (and conducted a similar test) in The Wall Street Journal in 2004, the process was painful and expensive. I paid several hundred dollars in return and “disposal” fees and spent a lot of time waiting.
Things are better now. All five of the companies I tested charged me nothing for the return. Only Saatva charges any shipping or delivery fee, and its $99 covered three guys showing up at my apartment with a plastic-wrapped mattress and carefully carrying it inside. The other four companies compress their mattresses and cram them into boxes for shipping, though Casper offers free courier delivery of the box in my neighborhood.
I offer no recommendations on comfort. Mattresses are like shoes or bras or chairs in that different people with different bodies will have different needs.
As for the hassle of returning an unwanted mattress, none of the companies flunked the test. Leesa normally requires customers to keep a mattress for at least 30 days before returning it, but it waived that rule when I sent an email questioning the logic of that policy when I knew I didn’t want it anymore.
Saatva sent a crew to pick up its mattress, so there was no trouble there. (And it should have been hassle-free given that it snootily markets its product as a “luxury purchase, unlike other online mattress sellers who stuff their beds in a box and leave it for you to handle.”)
Still, many things happened during the return process that I never could have predicted. It’s not practical for individual consumers to recompress their beds, shove them in the original boxes and hand them back over to UPS or FedEx, though one early Tuft & Needle customer did manage to box up his mattress for return and stick the company with a $300 shipping bill.
So the surprises began when Casper, Helix and Leesa dispatched the 1-800-Got-Junk truck to fetch my never-been-slept-on bedding. Under normal circumstances, the companies try to find a way to get returned mattresses to a needy person. Helix claims to have 3,000 donation partners in its database.
But when it came to my mattresses, the local Salvation Army truck was booked until October, according to the customer service representatives at Tuft & Needle and Helix who tried to help me before calling in the junk haulers. Bedbug-fearing nonprofit groups and strict New York City regulations pose special challenges for the companies in my area, it turns out.
Evan Cohen, the general manager of the 1-800-Got-Junk franchise that covers Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, says that it manages to completely recycle 30 to 40 percent of the mattresses. The other mattresses go to transfer stations, where some parts of them may be recycled before the rest of the material ends up in a landfill.
The potential environmental cost of returns is bad enough. But the companies must also pay 1-800-Got-Junk to haul the mattresses away. Mr. Cohen said that he would charge an individual $118 to haul away an old mattress. Mattress companies that hire the company to handle returned mattresses get a bulk discount.
Still, those costs are high enough on mattresses that ranged from about $550 to about $950 for my full-size models to have the potential to cause serious problems for the companies. David Wolfe, chief executive of Leesa, said he was all for the unalienable right to an in-home trial. “But it’s not going to be helpful for the industry if people start to order multiple mattresses,” he said.
He urged consumers to thoroughly research any mattress purchase before starting an in-home trial. And you can’t blame the guy for not wanting to end up like Zappos, where people frequently order piles of shoes with the intention of keeping just one or two pairs.
All of the companies claim return rates below 10 percent. 1-800-Got-Junk reports having taken in about 9,000 mattresses this year on behalf of the various direct-selling mattress retailers it works with.
Tuft & Needle provided the most unusual return experience I’ve ever had as a consumer. Its website promises that “we” will work together to donate a returned mattress. “It’s that easy,” the site reads.
In reality, the company could not find a charity partner near me. So it posed a challenge of sorts. I could find a worthy organization on my own and send Tuft & Needle an ad hoc receipt of sorts, with a signature from the recipient. Failing that, I could give the mattress to a friend or family member in need and provide similar proof. If that didn’t work, I could post a note on Craigslist or Freecycle offering to give the mattress away. And if that wasn’t possible, the junk truck was an option.
Given that the other companies had already told me how hard it was to give a mattress away in New York City, I wasn’t optimistic. But I posted a note on my personal Facebook page, and a friend I’d made years ago and hadn’t seen since popped up to tell me about a sex-trafficking victim her organization was helping. The client had just moved to a new apartment with her family and was sleeping on the floor. Could I help her? And sorry but no, the organization had no moving truck or anything like that.
Which was how I found myself behind the wheel of a rental van a few nights later with a case manager from Sanctuary for Families, driving to a neighborhood in Queens that the organization asked me not to identify. We hauled the mattress up a narrow flight of stairs and dropped it off for the grateful recipient. “I will be able to sleep happy for once,” she said.
That was a heartwarming and unexpected ending to what was supposed to be a virtual shopping experience, but I need not have left my own apartment. Daehee Park, a co-founder of Tuft & Needle, said that if I had spoken up about the van rental bill and the time-consuming nature of the potential donation, the company might have hired a errand runner from Taskrabbit to handle it. “We try to do what we can,” he said.
Like Mr. Wolfe at Leesa, however, he does worry about people abusing their in-home testing privileges (though he declined The New York Times’s offer to pay in full after all, as did the other companies). He and his competitors deserve enormous credit for trying to make free, in-home trials the price of admission for participating in the mattress industry, and all of us should demand the same deal from brick-and-mortar retailers.
So now that the mattress start-ups have proved that they’re serious about real-world sleep tests, please don’t take undue advantage of them. “You can never prevent people from gaming a system,” Mr. Park said.
How to Compress (Deflate) & Roll Up a Memory Foam Bed at Home
One of the biggest pains of moving is transporting a mattress.
They are big, bulky, and require two people to move. They take up a ton of room in a moving van, and if you’ve only got a car, then you’re probably wracking your brain trying to figure out the best way to strap that sucker onto the roof.
But, wait a second.
If you have a memory foam bed, if you may remember that it came in a fairly compact box. Surely there must be a way to compress the bed back down to a size similar to the factory’s package.
The bad news is that those factories have giant machines that exert tons of force onto the mattress to fold it into the nice, little bundle that gets delivered to your doorstep. The good news is that there’s a relatively easy and inexpensive way tocompress a memory foam mattressDIY-style, so you can move to a new house without having to bribe your friends with bottomless pitchers of margaritas.