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Nine Mattresses Later, It's The Winner (Updated)
on January 13, 2018
(UPDATE SIX MONTHS LATER: I still have this mattress, but it has gotten substantially softer. It required a T&N topper for the first few weeks as it softened up, but somewhere around 150 nights in, I noticed it was heading toward plush status--not quite as supportive as it once was. Also, I wrote this review while the temperatures were colder. Now that it's summer, I do note that this mattress is warmer than my previous innerspring mattresses. But, for the money, it's still a good mattress. It's just not as ideal as I hoped.)
About a year ago, I asked my friends on social media for mattress recommendations. The leading recommendation was for the Tuft and Needle mattress, which I should have heeded. Nearly a year and eight mattresses later, I finally bought that Tuft & Needle. It's #9 and I love it. I love it even more because it was by FAR the cheapest option, too. But at the time I was skeptical of a bed-in-a-box. I shouldn't have been. It fit my requirement to have good support with a comfort layer on top. And for the record, I sleep in all positions. Apparently I’m a rotisserie chicken, going from side to stomach to back all night. That makes me a tough customer to please and I know it.
But for anyone else doing mattress research, here's what I've learned from my year of testing. First, I received excellent service from both internet and traditional mattress companies. I tried three mattresses from Saatva Mattress, three Beautyrest mattresses from Mattress Firm, and a brand-new variation of the Purple mattress that's exclusive to Mattress Firm. I started the year on my old Sleep Number. So I have run the gamut of air, foam, innerspring, hybrid foam/innerspring and the new hybrid from Purple, which I guess would be called a Purple/innerspring variation, but "bouncy house" would be equally as descriptive. My asthma is triggered by chemicals in foam, so I made sure all the mattresses I bought were Certi-Pur. (This, sadly, is the only complaint I have about my Tuft & Needle -- though it claims to have more rigorous standards about foam and off-gassing, it's been the smelliest. It's faint but it's there even weeks later. But it has not made me wheeze, so I'm trusting I'm not being harmed.)
The first thing I learned is that mattress companies really DO honor their customer service policies. In fact, Mattress Firm was actually the best about it. In all cases, I received excellent service when I wanted to exchange. Second, I had been sleeping on air for nearly a decade and that made it hard to figure out what would work for me. I loved the lack of pressure points on a Sleep Number, but not the lack of support. My first mattress was an all foam from Saatva (the Loom & Leaf) and it was hard as a rock (to me). They explained that foam would soften and that I should crawl around on it to soften it up. It did soften up after a week, but not enough for my taste. It also smelled vaguely like stale coffee, which never dissipated. So thus, the exchanges began. I was very pleased with Saatva's design, the fact they delivered a full mattress and not one in a box, and their use of organic cotton. But their mattresses missed the middle firmness range -- most were very firm and one was very plush (the industry term for soft). If they could have nailed that medium range, I would have been happy to stay with them.
As mentioned above, I circled through several mattress designs before coming back to all foam again with the Tuft & Needle. But it was significantly less firm out of the box than the Loom & Leaf. Its adaptive foam is much more of a medium firmness from the start. But it got even more comfortable when Tuft & Needle sent a two-inch topper. For free. (Pro tip: The Internet mattress companies I dealt with were happy to send a topper for free if you requested it. I now have two.) I don't know how long a mattress like this will hold up, but at a $575 price point from Amazon, it's half the cost of a Saatva mattress and a quarter of the price of most of the Beautyrest mattresses. So I'm willing to gamble.
I know that comfort is largely subjective, but my Fitbit Alta has the hard data to back up my love of the Tuft & Needle. I cut my tossing and turning time in half with their mattress and topper. Bottom line: All the mattress companies I dealt with provided a great service and backed up their exchange promises, even going above and beyond. Tuft & Needle was the best value for the money and the most comfortable to sleep on. It was also the most work to haul a heavy box up to my bedroom and set up the mattress, which is the reason I avoided it in the beginning. But in the end, that effort was worth it.
Tuft & Needle, if you are reading this review, please consider manufacturing a mattress with four inches of your adaptive foam on top of your support layer, instead of just two inches. I'm very glad to have your free topper, but it makes the bed look lumpy and it doesn't stay in place. From all the reviews I've read, the topper was key to customer satisfaction for many people. You should seriously consider this option. I would have chosen that and paid a bit more for it, too, had it been available.