Every entrenched industry is getting a dose of disruption these days. And as fans of the little guy, we’re all for it.
Perhaps the biggest industry to see some shakeup is the $14 billion American mattress trade—and it couldn’t happen to a better brute. News articles in recent years have shone a light on the industry’s pain-inducing merchandising tactics. For one, big mattress makers create lines with only slight variations, allowing retailers to claim exclusive offerings and thwart comparison shopping. A Bloomberg article calls mattress pricing “almost entirely unhinged from the cost of producing a mattress,” noting a former industry insider’s insight that “much of the sector’s handsome returns are built on customer confusion.” And that’s to say nothing of pressure from commission-based salespeople.
Enter the new mattress disrupters. It all started with Casper, the original mattress in a box; since then, there are dozens of startups trying to take the pain out of mattress shopping by selling online, cutting the commission-based sales, and dramatically streamlining the number of choices (many of these companies offer only one mattress). Many of the new options come packed into compact boxes for easy moving-in, most of the companies offer at least 100 days to try the mattress at home, and some are customizable depending on your preferences. As the founders of Tuft & Needle note: “It doesn’t cost a ton of money to craft a comfortable mattress with quality ingredients. It’s such a straightforward system, you’d think more people would follow it.”
Lucky for us, these companies are. Here are just a few of the current offerings in the marketplace:
The company, like most, allows customers 100 nights to try out the bed and will come pick it up if you’re not satisfied. The mattress is made in the US and ships for free to the US and Canada with an average delivery time of five days. Like all the foam mattresses described here, it doesn’t require a box spring, and it ships compressed in a small box that will fit through any door. If you want to try before buying, Casper has a showroom in San Francisco and the mattresses are now available at some Target stores. A queen-size original Casper Mattress is $950.
The company produces one US-made mattress (of memory foam), offers a 101-night trial period, and ships for free in the contiguous US with delivery in about five days. Yogabed stands out by including pillows with every mattress—two pillows for queen or larger—and for its removable, machine-washable cover. A queen-size Yogabed Mattress, normally $949, is currently on sale for $749.
Tuft & Needle
The company’s single product is among the top-rated mattresses on Amazon. It’s made in the US of a proprietary blend of foam, is built to order, and ships for free in the contiguous US in approximately seven days. Like its competitors, Tuft & Needle also has a 100-day trial period (originally set at 30 days). Note, however, that orders via Amazon are still subject to Amazon’s own 30-day return policy. A queen Tuft & Needle Mattress is $575.
The three-layer mattress (comprised of a base layer of dense support foam, a middle layer of memory foam, and a top layer of cooling foam) comes with a 100-night trial period. Shipping is free throughout the US (including Alaska and Hawaii) and generally takes three to five days. A queen Leesa Mattress, normally $940, is $840. Sapira, an offshoot of Leesa, is slightly higher in price; $1,275 for a queen.
Saatva/Loom & Leaf
Saatva also launched Loom & Leaf, a memory-foam mattress competitor to the other upstarts, as well as Zenhaven. Available in two firmness options, a queen Loom & Leaf Mattress is $1,099; a queen Zenhaven is $1,899.
The brand makes seven mattresses—some out of foam, some using coils, some a mix of both. It also offers optional comfort layers, pillows, box springs, and mattress protectors. Keetsa has showrooms in San Francisco, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and New York, and unlike the other brands listed here, has a wholesale arm—in addition to its own online shop, Keetsa is sold by BluDot, Burke Decor, and others. The company offers free shipping within the contiguous US and most of Canada. The most affordable Keetsa mattress–the Plus—is $681.45 for a queen; a queen in the highest-end Tea Leaf Dream is $2,099.
Two other notables: Mattress giant Sealy now offers the Cocoon, their bed-in-a-box answer to the start-up competition. For a splurge, Wright offers made-in-the-US mattresses with a 120-day trial period (the queen-size foam mattress is $1,795).
For more of our sleep remedies, see:
- 10 Easy Pieces: Editors’ Favorite Mattresses
- 5 Favorites: Mattress Toppers
- Domestic Dispatches: 7 Secrets to Making the Perfect Bed
N.B. This post is an update; the original story ran on May 12, 2015.