Why are people obsessed with Casper mattresses? I slept on one for three years to find out
The best mattress is the one you stop thinking about.
Updated September 24, 2019
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If you’re shopping for a new mattress, you’ve probably had to wade through an ocean of jargon and about a million photos of people smiling as they recline on (let’s face it) identical-looking, spongy white rectangles. I’ve been there, too.
As traditional retailers like Mattress Firm and Sears disappear, online purchasing has only gotten more prevalent. And while shop-at-home convenience and money-back guarantees are a huge draw, I had a hard time distinguishing the actual differences between all the mattress-in-a-box brands like Leesa, Tuft & Needle, Purple, Nectar and others.
But after reading reviews until my eyes watered, I took the plunge and purchased a Casper mattress (available at Amazon for $995.00) . That was over three years, and here’s what I can tell you as a Casper owner: I’m satisfied.
(Note:In the interim since I bought my Casper, the team at Reviewed began in-depth mattress testing. Collectively, our favorite is Nectar, which was praised for striking an ideal firmness/softness balance. However, I still love my Casper, which only serves to further underscore the subjective nature of mattress reviewing. Comfort is king, after all, and I’m sleeping just fine.)
Shopping for a new mattress usually starts at 3 A.M., sleepless and in the dark.
I complained about our old mattress for at least two years before I did anything about it. Waking up achy after a night of tossing and turning on a squeaky old bed, throwing another “We really oughta’…” onto a pile of empty threats before heading for the shower.
How many times did I hear Marc Maron or one of the countless other podcasters extol the virtues of a Casper mattress before I finally took a chance? How many mattress reviews beyond this did I read before pulling the trigger? Too many, in retrospect.
I bought a Casper mattress over three years ago, but it took about a year before I realized just how much I liked it. How did I finally know? Because I stopped thinking about mattresses altogether—truly the hallmark of a mattress doing its job.
Mattresses are unique among the things we own. We spend more time with them than any other consumer good (except perhaps our phones), yet we really only consider them when they’re either brand-new or when they’re utterly failing.
There are undoubtedly better mattresses out there. Oprah sleeps on a $100,000 bed. I do not sleep on a $100,000 bed. I sleep on an $800 bed and I’m very happy. Here’s why.
Unboxing a Casper mattress is an event unto itself
If owning a Casper mattress is blessedly unmemorable, getting one delivered sure makes an impression. Unlike traditional mattresses, it comes rolled up like a spring-loaded burrito. At 70 pounds (for the full size), it’s about twice as heavy as the mattress we were replacing and proved comically difficult to get up the stairs.
Unboxing it was just plain fun. Casper clearly put a lot of thought into designing the experience—right down to the little letter opener-style knife to slice open the shrink wrap without damaging the mattress. We just had to make sure the mattress was in position on the bed frame before we cracked it open.
The final cutting away proved, thankfully, less explosive than anticipated. Rather, the mattress’ foam layers unfurl and expand as it takes its first deep breath in your new home. Just thinking about it makes me want to go home and crawl into bed for a quick nap. (Keep reading. I’m just resting my eyes.)
Sure it looks small, but that box is CRAZY heavy. Still worth it, though.
It’s tough to argue with a 100-day return policy.
The extended money-back guarantee—a 40-day trial period when I bought mine, and now up to 100 days—was ultimately the factor that got me to click “buy.” I figured that takes a fair amount of confidence from a manufacturer. It’s way more than enough time for back sleepers, stomach sleepers and side sleepers to figure out whether the pressure points inherent in their old mattresses have been done in by Caper.
If you pause to think about it, they can’t resell a used mattress. Plus they have to spend cash on a delivery team just to pick it up from your house—there’s no way you’re going to put this thing back in the box yourself. This is some amazing customer service.
In Casper, I saw a company putting its money where its mouth was. I was convinced.
The best mattress in the world? Probably not. But the right one for me.
I can say with certainty that Pinocchio’s in Harvard Square and Otto’s are tied for the best pizza in Cambridge, MA because I’ve had pizza from basically every joint in the city. I’m an authority.
My dog (who’s obviously intelligent) also loves hanging out on the new mattress.
I cannot say that Casper is the best mattress in the world for precisely the same reason. I haven’t slept on every mattress in the world. This is also why I’m not going to bore you with a bunch of facts about foam density or how it stacks up against Purple, Tuft & Needle, and other new-school mattress companies that have sprung up. I can read the spec chart as well as anyone, but I can’t testify to their actual differences. (Update:the rest of the Reviewed team has begun testing mattresses since this article was originally published.)
I’m speaking purely from personal experience. But in my defense, I always do my homework and I’m pretty damn opinionated about products. Also, my satisfaction with Casper seems to be in good company amongst the mattress nerds. It’s not a firm mattress. It’s not a soft mattress. It’s just the right mattress for me—and very likely, for you as well.
I purchased the full-size and only paid a little more than I did for my iPhone, and I don’t rely onthatto keep my vertebrae in their right place, do I? Some things are worth investing in.
Bottom line: I bought a Casper and then I stopped thinking about mattresses. Don’t you wish you could say the same?
What are the different kinds of Casper mattresses?
When I purchased three years ago, Casper only offered one variety of mattress, available in all the usual sizes. Since then, the line has expanded to include additional mattresses options, as well as pillows, bedding, bed frames… even a dog bed.
The original Casper mattress is still sold today and is simply calledThe Casper, and starts at $595 ($995 or less for a queen). It’s the most popular model they sell. You have the option for all-foam or a hybrid of foam and springs for an additional $100.
The Waveis the upgrade model. Starting at $1,295 ($2,395 for a queen), it costs significantly more but promises more layers, more support, and a cooler night’s rest for hot sleepers.
The Essentialis the starter model. From $395 ($600 for a queen), it’s slightly thinner and has the fewest layers.
Where to try or buy a Casper
Casper was formerly an online-only business, which was a huge part of its appeal. You got to skip the hellscape of a traditional mattress store and try out the mattress in your own home for over three months.
Now, however, there are several options for seeing a Casper in-person before you buy. There are a select number of Casper Sleep Shops (see store locator), little boutiques that focus solely on Casper products. Target, an investor in Casper, also floors them in many locations. West Elm used to carry them, but it appears that they’re now partnering with Leesa.
All retailers charge the same price for Casper mattresses, including Amazon. If you see a suspiciously low sale price, double-check that it’s not some weirdo selling you a used mattress. All legit retailers should also offer the same 100-day return policy.
People Are Keeping Their Mattresses Way Too Long
And what’s hiding inside an old bed will gross you out.
According to a survey completed by Dreams (a UK mattress specialist), an estimated tens of thousands of people in the country sleep on a mattress that’s more than 40 years old. That means they bought their bed back in 1975 — yep, the era of disco dancing and bell bottom-wearing.
In fact, the survey guesses 8 million mattresses in the country need to be replaced, and America probably doesn’t differ much: Surveys from the Better Sleep Council have found that we, too, delay replacing our mattresses, even though the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting a new one every 8 years.
If your mattress "seems fine," you’ll likely stall on replacing it, but you also might not notice the signs of wear until it gets really bad. Older mattresses can lack support, so you’re more likely to wake up feeling tired or stiff. Only one in 12 people surveyed by Dreams say they wake up feeling refreshed, and one in 20 report struggling to get even five hours of sleep a night. Not great, people.
Mattresses also get super dirty over time — according to Dreams, the average eight-year-old mattress contains more than 10 pounds of dead skin cells (ick!). This stat might be debatable, but the same is true for pillows, which can double its weight in three years, thanks to collecting skin and dust mites. We don’t even want to think how much 40-year-old mattresses hold.
We can hear you starting the car to head to the mattress store now. (But don’t forget to consider our handy buying guide first.)
Does Your Mattress Really Gain Weight Over Time?
Everyone has seen those commercials the ones that feature a chirpy spokesperson from your local mattress superstore, telling you that your mattress can double in weight in ten years so you clearly need a new one. But does this really happen?
The idea behind the claim is true. Mattresses gain weight over time as they absorb dead skin , colonies of dust mites (which feed on dead skin ), oil and moisture. But surely if a mattress is gaining weight at a rapid 10 percent per year, someone would have studied the heft? Or mattresses would start breaking bed frames with their bulk? Apparently not.
"To the best of my knowledge, there is no scientific answer to the mattress weight and dust mite query," says Glen Needham, an entomologist at Ohio State University.
"I’ve heard that mattresses double in weight every 8 years or so, but I’m not aware of any scientific study that backs this up," says Karin Mahoney, a spokesperson with the International Sleep Products Association. She adds that it’s well known that beds, in general, are a prime habitat for dust mites where one third of their nasty and brutish life occurs.
According to materials published by Ohio State University, a typical used mattress may have 100,000 to 10 million mites inside. Ten percent of the weight of a two-year-old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings. Mites prefer warm, moist surroundings such as the inside of a mattress when someone is on it. One of their favorite foods is dead skin, and people shed about one fifth of an ounce of the stuff every week, some of which surely ends up flaking into your mattress. (Also gross: About 80 percent of the material seen floating in a sunbeam is, in fact, flakes of dead skin.)
So with all those mites and dead skin, the mattress is bound to be heavier than a new one but doubling in weight is probably ridiculous.
How Long Do Mattresses Last? The Results May Shock You!
Mattresses are pretty expensive — one quick glance at our buyer’s guide will confirm this fact. This is why many people do not replace them – not even after many years of use.
They do not want to spend a lot of money on a new one. Besides, now you can delay the process of buying a new one if you do an excellent job at maintaining your existing one.So, how often should you replace your mattress?
It doesn’t matter which type of bed you have. Most of them are ready for replacement within ten years to ensure a good night’s rest (old mattresses can hurt your sleep quality). Besides, it can last beyond ten years on average, if the owners maintain it properly.
Also, many different factors affect a bed’s lifespan. You can extend its life expectancy by following a few easy steps in the text below. We prepared and wrote down some tips to boost its longevity.
How to Sell a Used Mattress
Selling a used mattress is a multi-step process that includes determining a reasonable selling price, researching applicable state laws, pinpointing a sales venue, and providing sufficient product information for prospective buyers.
This guide for selling used mattresses includes step-by-step instructions to follow in order to facilitate a successful transaction – but be warned: most used mattress sellers will only recuperate a small percentage of the original product price.
Step 1: Determine a Fair Price
Generally speaking, a used mattress will command a resale price that is roughly equivalent to 20% to 30% of the original product price. If a mattress originally costs $1,000, then expect to resell it for $200 to $300; if the original cost is $2,000, then the resale price will probably fall between $400 and $600.
In addition to original price, here are a few more factors that may affect the resale price of a used mattress:
Years of use:The average mattress will need to be replaced after six to seven years of consistent nightly use. A mattress that has been used for three years or less will command a higher price than one that has been used for longer.
Topper or protector use:Mattress toppers and protectors can be used to preserve the comfort layer of a mattress over time. A mattress that has primarily been used with a topper and/or protector will typically be in much better shape than one that has not been used with these accessories.
Consistent or sporadic use:A used mattress that has been used on a nightly basis will typically command a lower price-point than one that has primarily been used as a guest bed on an inconsistent basis.
Current mattress condition:Assuming the mattress was brand new when it was originally purchased, how much has its quality declined over time? Is it ‘Like New’, ‘Very Good’, ‘Good’, ‘Acceptable’, or in ‘Poor Condition’? Factors that affect the condition of the mattress include:
- Sagging or indentations in the mattress surface that measure one inch or deeper
- Splits or cracks in the sleep surface
- Coils, wires, and other metal parts protruding through the side wall
- Issues with the cover, such as loose threads or broken zippers
- Burns, cuts, scrapes, or other types of physical destruction
- Permanent stains, such as bodily fluids or food
- Lingering smells, including odors from tobacco products
- Buildup of dust mites and other allergens
Sellers perks:Is the owner willing to deliver the mattress themselves? Are pillows, pads, and other accessories included with the used mattress? Incentives like these can help used mattress sellers add to the resale price.
Brand:Mattresses manufactured by high-profile companies will usually command a higher price-point than those made by less prominent companies – but this factor is less likely to play a significant role compared to the other criteria listed above.
Step 2: Research Mattress Resale Laws and Regulations
Now that you have a ballpark price-point in mind, let’s look at some laws and regulations guiding the practice of selling used mattresses in the United States. It’s important to note that most mattress resale laws are enforced at the state level; as such, the rules vary from state to state.
Legal considerations for selling a used mattress include:
- Cleaning and sanitizing:In some states, used mattresses must be properly cleaned and disinfected before they can be sold by anyone, including private individual sellers. Approved methods often include commercial laundering, steam cleaning, and/or chemical treatment.
- Re-covering:Some states will only approve the sale of a used mattress is new cover ticking is used. Other states prohibit mattress owners from re-covering their mattress in order to hide stains or physical damage.
- Flammability:Mattress flammability is enforced at the federal level, specifically the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). According to 16 CFR Part 1633, the ‘peak rate of heat release’ for a mattress may not exceed 200 kilowatts during the standard 30-minute safety test, and the ‘total heat release’ may not exceed 15 megajoules during the first 10 minutes of this test. Mattress owners who are unsure about their model’s flammability status should contact the manufacturer or, alternatively, the CPSC.
Other factors apply to businesses and brands, but not individual sellers. One example is ‘tagging’. In some states, color-coded tags are used to indicate if a used mattress has been properly cleaned and disinfected, or indicate if mattresses that have been rebuilt from used or recycled materials. In virtually every state where tagging laws exist, they do not apply to individuals selling mattresses to other individuals.
Be sure to carefully research all applicable state laws and regulations. This information is typically found through the state’s departments of health and human services, consumer affairs, licensing, and/or agriculture.
Step 3: Write an Advertisement
When crafting a used mattress ad, it’s important to remain truthful about its present condition. Be sure to take several photographs of the mattress from different angles to emphasize its height and size, as well as licensing tags if they are intact. When listing out qualities and characteristics of the mattress in the ad, be sure to include the following:
- The mattress size (Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, or specialty size)
- The mattress height, in inches
- Materials in the comfort system, such as polyfoam, memory foam, latex, and/or microcoil layers
- The support core – springs, foam, latex, or air chambers?
- Fabrics used in the cover, such as cotton, polyester, rayon, wool, and/or lyocell
- The age of the mattress, in years (or months if applicable)
- Whether the mattress was used as a primary sleep surface or a guest bed
- Whether a mattress pad or protector was used
Finally, be sure to list the mattress price somewhere in the ad. Also indicate if the price is negotiable with the abbreviation OBO (Or Best Offer).
Step 4: Choose a Selling Venue
In most cases, mattress owners will not be able to sell their used model to a brick-and-mortar retailer. These establishments usually prefer to exclusively sell new mattress models. In the event that a brick-and-mortar store agrees to purchase a used mattress, the resale price will typically be quite low.
Used mattress sellers typically have better luck using online marketplace sites like Amazon and Craigslist. These sites enable mattress owners to post advertisements for their used mattress, sell directly to other individuals, and coordinate delivery/shipping or pickup details.
Community-based websites, forums, and social media pages can also be valuable resources for used mattress sellers. Many allow users to post ads directly on their sites. Sellers can supplement their digital advertising with physical postings in local newspapers and on bulletin boards throughout their community.
Before attempting to sell a mattress to an individual purchaser, here are a few important considerations:
- Online marketplace sites regulate individual transactions to ensure that both parties are satisfied. In the event that a purchaser does not pay the full price or otherwise fails to fulfill their complete obligation, sellers should reach out to site personnel immediately.
- Mattress warranties are never transferable to secondhand owners, regardless of whether or not the warranty is still valid. Be sure to clarify this point with potential buyers, as they may expect their mattress to be covered under the original warranty.
- Most experts agree that May, June, July, November, and December are the best times of the year to sell a used mattress. These months precede new product rollouts from most leading mattress brands in January and August, and sellers face less competition in the marketplace. Likewise, January and August are generally considered the worst times to sell a used mattress.
- Whether or not a seller includes ‘OBO’ in their price listing, chances are they will need to negotiate with potential buyers. This is why it may be advantageous to sell the mattress at 40% to 50% of the original product price. Even if buyers haggle the price down, the seller may still net a profit of 20% to 30% of the original price.
- Expect visit requests from potential buyers who wish to view the mattress in person before finalizing their purchase. Sellers are free to decline these requests, but doing so may affect their resale success.
- Sellers are not obligated to deliver the mattress to the buyer. If they choose to do so, then the cost of transporting and handling the item should be factored into the price-point. If they choose not to do so, then they may want to consider deducting mattress transportation costs from the price.
- Remember:it is illegal to sell a mattress that has not been cleaned and sanitized, or is infested with bed bugs. It is also illegal (as well as unethical) to sell a mattress as new if it has been used. Those who mislead potential buyers could face legal ramifications.