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|The Birch mattress is all-natural, and the addition of Birch wool makes this one of the softer mattresses in the organic latex hybrid category.|
|One of the top rated natural mattresses on the market, the highly-certified Avocado mattress’s acclaim is well earned.|
There are several mattresses competing in the natural and organic corner of the market, and these two are definitely worth noting. Like most mattresses in this category, they have a lot of similarities, but there are a few things that make each of these mattresses stand out from the crowd. In this post, we will explore the following:
If you’re in a hurry, take a peek at this video we put together that highlights some of the similarities and differences between the two mattresses. Then, if want more information, read on!
Both of these mattresses are created with sustainability in mind. It is really admirable to see two companies that are so dedicated to making a clean and green product, and strive to give back to the environment. Both mattresses use sustainably sourced, all-natural materials that give their mattresses their distinctive feel and smell. Yes, smell! Unlike mattresses that are made using synthetic materials, natural mattresses don’t off-gas that chemically new-mattress smell when they are first taken out of the box. Instead, we find that they often smell a lot more pleasant and earthy—like a warm cup of chamomile tea or a freshly mown lawn.
Environmentally savvy buyers will also be thrilled to learn that Birch and Avocado both support 1% For The Planet, meaning they donate 1% of all corporate revenues to environmental non-profits. Birch and Avocado have also pledged to offset their carbon emissions with the help of Carbonfund. They do this voluntarily because they know that, though they strive for the most energy efficient and eco-friendly materials and production methods, the production and distribution of their products still generates some CO₂. By donating to projects that help reduce carbon emissions, these companies are able to achieve as close to zero emissions as they can.
Speaking to why they choose to offset their emissions, Avocado says on their website, “just a 2% decrease in emissions per year could make a real and lasting impact.” It is one thing for a mattress to be produced with natural materials, but these companies literally put their money where their mouth is by giving back to organizations that do more to benefit the environment.
For a little Birch background info, it’s owned Helix, a popular mattress industry maven that has made it their mission to create a mattress that will suit every sleeper. They have several varieties of Helix mattresses that come in all sorts of firmness levels with all sorts of special features. Birch is Helix’s answer to the increasing demand for environmentally-conscious alternatives.
Birch and Avocado have a fairly similar construction. They both exist within the hybrid mattress category because they are primarily made of natural latex foam and pocketed steel coils.
Birch uses really high quality wool in two layers: the batting base layer and the thick comfort layer at the top. This wool is sustainably sourced in New Zealand and has received certification from the PGG Wrightson Wool Integrity Program. Using the wool batting as a base for the springs ensures that the other layers have a sturdy and durable foundation. Wool fibers have a natural elasticity which makes them super durable and resilient while still being breathable and moisture wicking.
Unlike traditional innersprings, Birch uses 8” of pocketed coils. This means that each coil, made from American steel, is individually encased to move independently of the others. This helps make the mattress responsive while limiting motion transfer and also makes the coils themselves super durable because there is no chance of them rubbing up against the other coils and getting damaged.
The coil layer is followed by a 2” layer of OEKO-TEX certified Talalay latex that provides the mattress with its distinctive soft and airy bounce. Natural latex is antimicrobial and made from the sap of rubber trees. The top comfort layer of the Birch mattress is also comprised of that thick Birch wool. The wool serves both as a source of cushion and softness, and as a natural fire retardant. By law, all mattresses have to have a fire retardant, and often that means they are sprayed with a chemical fire-proofing agent, but wool is a great alternative.
Since Birch stacks a slab of latex foam on top of an innerspring layer, we think this mattress feels supportive and definitely responsive. Then with the softer Talalay latex, coupled with the generous portion of wool on the mattress, we think the firmness level lands somewhere around medium-firm.
Keep in mind that the way a mattress feels will differ from person to person based on body type, sleeping style, and personal preference, but we try our best to describe the feel in a way that will ring true with the vast majority of those who use the mattress.
Medium-firm is especially great for those who sleep on their back and stomach because it means that there will be enough lumbar support to avoid any spine issues. Side sleepers often need a bit more cushion, however, so if you identify with this sleeper type you might want to opt for the topper. If you’re a petite side sleeper and don’t want to spend the extra money on a topper, take a list at our post on our favorite plush mattresses.
Because the Birch mattress, with the addition of the pillow-top, is close to medium in firmness, we think couples may really like this bed, especially couples who struggle to find a mattress that they both agree on. The firmness profile of a mattress differs depending on the amount of pressure that a person’s body weight exerts on the mattress.
If, for example, you are so petite that waiters sometimes still offer you the kid’s menu, while your significant other’s size puts “The Rock” to shame, a bed that offers both support and cushion in equal parts will probably be the best solution so you can both sleep soundly.
Couples should also consider motion isolation and edge support. Most modern mattresses do a decent job of limiting motion across the bed, but we do find that latex foam, because it is so bouncy and responsive, is not always the best of the best at motion isolation.
Both Avocado and Birch have good edge support, but the thick layer of wool Birch wool really helps deaden any movement that might transfer from one side of the bed to the other. So if your significant other has a tendency to roll or kick or dance the tango in their sleep, you won’t feel much of that movement on the other side of the bed.
Avocado, just like Birch, uses 8” of American-made coils to provide support and spring to their mattress. On their website, Avocado declares that their recycled steel coil layer uses 1,414 individual coils arranged in five ergonomic zones to provide the right support in the right areas.
There are two main processes for creating natural latex foam: Dunlop and Talalay. The main difference between Dunlop and Talalay Latex is Avocado’s organic vs Birch’s natural certifications (they sound the same, but an organic certification is slightly more prestigious than natural). Talalay is also slightly firmer due to the different manufacturing process.
The latex layer that Avocado uses is 3” thick and made using the Dunlop process. This process allows it to be GOLS certified, meaning at least 95% of the latex is comprised of fully organic raw rubber sap. The comfort layer also includes organic fibers that add a little extra cushion. In the Green Mattress, Avocado uses wool sourced from India which provides softness and acts as a fire-retardant. Avocado also offers a PETA approved fully vegan option, which replaces the wool with American-grown cotton and uses a natural silica based fire retardant.
The whole mattress is then covered in an 100% organic cotton cover that was hand tufted in Avocado’s Los Angeles factory to keep all the layers in place. This hand tufting leaves behind cute little cotton yarn buttons, a look that is distinctly Avocado.
We think Avocado feels similar to Birch due to their similar latex and innerspring layers, but Avocado is slightly firmer because it omits the wool layer that Birch uses at the top of their mattress. That’s why we rated the Avocado as a firm on our spectrum.
That means, if you’re a heavy back or stomach sleeper, this mattress would probably work wonders for you. It’s firm enough to keep your spine in proper alignment and prevent your back from sagging into the mattress, plus it offers an ample amount of support.
With the additional 2” euro pillow topper, however, which we’d definitely recommend for petite to average sized side sleepers, brings the mattress closer to a medium-firm.
So how much is this going to cost me? You may be wondering. Well, keep in mind that you spend hours and years with your mattress, so buying a mattress that is going to last a long time and will provide the kind of comfort and support that you need is an investment that we think is pretty wise.
Both Birch and Avocado are on the slightly higher end of average in their price tags, but you do get what you pay for with these beds. The materials that are used by both Avocado and Birch are naturally and sustainably sourced, and tend to run a little bit pricier in general.
Birch is just a hair more expensive than Avocado, at around $1500 without the topper, and $1900 with the topper. Avocado is going to be about $1400, with the optional topper also adding around $400 on top of the base price. These are certainly not the most expensive mattresses that we’ve seen, at under $2000, we still think they are a pretty reasonable price, especially considering the length of the warranty that these companies offer.
The price tag really reflects that you are investing in better sleep and a better world. We also will always try to find you the best discounts and coupons on our Mattress Deals page, so check there and check the current listings on the Birch or Avocado websites to make sure you are getting the best price possible.
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about how these mattresses are made and what sets them apart from one another, you have a job to do: pick just one. We try to do as much work as possible to make this job easy for you, but ultimately it is a decision that can only be made by each individual because we are all looking for something different in our mattress. To help with your decision, here are a few things to consider:
Whatever you decide, we hope this has helped you get a better handle on the world of natural and organic mattresses. If you are still searching, maybe check out some of our other mattress comparisons. Thanks for stopping by the Slumber Yard!
Birch and Avocado both compete in the online “bed-in-a-box” and they’ll be shipped for free right to your front door in a box about the size of standard golf bag. It is actually pretty insane, once you get your mattress unboxed and set up, to think that something so sturdy and resilient was ever able to fit in a box small enough to easily make it through your front door. Once that box is through your door, however, the unboxing process is pretty simple: just pull and unroll. Another reason we like latex hybrid mattresses is because they are made with such responsive materials (latex and springs), they will quickly pop right into shape when you unbox them, unlike, say, memory foam, which might take a few days to fully expand. These materials are a double-edged sword, however, because they can be pretty heavy, so we recommend having an extra person around to help the set up process go smoothly
Once you have your mattress all set up and you’ve had a chance to sleep on it for a few nights, both companies offer a few awesome policies that are important to know for your next steps. Because you don’t have a chance to physically test out the mattress before you buy it, both Birch and Avocado offer trial periods. If you don’t like the mattress within the time allotted, you can return it for a full refund. The Birch mattress comes with a 100 night trial window, which is a pretty standard period from what we’ve seen with other companies. Avocado, on the other hand, allows for a full year of sleep and consideration before you make the final decision on your mattress. That means if you get the mattress as a Christmas present (Dang, Grandma is getting generous!) but around Thanksgiving you realize it’s not for you, you can still return it and use Grandma’s hard earned money for that new iPhone instead.
If you end up loving your mattress, whether it be Birch or Avocado, both companies offer a 25 year warranty. We think having such a long warranty really speaks to the quality and durability of these products. Birch and Avocado know that they’ve made these mattresses to last much longer than average; in fact their warranty is three times longer than the average lifespan of a mattress, as most people should replace their mattress every 8-10 years. You always want to make sure that you know what is and isn’t included in a warranty, however, so if you want to know more, check out the Birch or Avocado warranty on their respective websites.
These beds caters pretty well to all body and sleeper types, making it ideal for couples. It also does pretty well in a few other categories that we like to look at when talking about sharing a bed: motion isolation, edge support and temperature regulation. . The steel coils used in the support layer are specifically reinforced along the sides of the mattress, making for great edge support. Couples who share a bed, especially smaller beds, often hug the side a bit, so edge support is really important to ensure that you don’t feel like you’re going to fall off the bed. Another issue that couples face is different sleeping temperatures. Those who sleep hot often have a hard time finding a bed that will keep them cool enough to sleep comfortably. Latex foam, because it is a naturally airy and porous, coupled with moisture-wicking wool and breathable cotton, makes this mattress great at temperature regulation. It isn’t a mattress that is necessarily actively working to cool you down, if you want something like that, check out our list of cooling mattresses. But this bed truly feels neutral, meaning it isn’t going to feel too hot, but it won’t feel freezing either. This is great for couples where one partner is a walking sauna and the other is almost always in a blanket burrito (sound familiar to anybody else? No? Just me?)
Birch certainly uses high quality materials and abides by policies that value the environment, but Avocado goes above and beyond to ensure that every scrap of materials used in their mattress is as sustainable and high-quality as it can be. I literally spent hours browsing the Avocado website (so you don’t have to!) learning about all of the efforts they take to keep their mattresses green. Some consumers may not really care where the materials in their mattress came from, as long as it is comfortable, but I am assuming that if you are seriously considering a green mattress, it is because you actually do care about where that cotton or wool or latex comes from, and how the plants and the people involved in making it have been treated. As an eco-conscious consumer, something to be aware of is the concept of “green washing,” that is, marketing that uses vague terms and environmentally-friendly looking images to make their products appear environmentally-friendly. The problem with catch-phrases like “pure” and “natural” and “green” is that they are unregulated, so anything can be labeled with these terms even if it is not necessarily true. You should look, instead for certifications from third-party groups which are actually regulated. These ensure that companies are upfront and honest about what is in their products and what they spend their money on.
Both Birch and Avocado have received Greenguard Gold certification from UL Environment, a third-party regulation group. This certification verifies that the mattresses have been made with low emissions and low exposure to chemicals and pollutants. This certification is really tough to get and is super impressive. These mattresses are also both OEKO-TEX standard 100 certified to meet international standards for human and ecological safety in textile manufacturing.
Avocado owns both of its factories in Los Angeles and India to ensure quality and transparency throughout the mattress’s whole production. Their factories and New Jersey headquarters are wind powered facilities, certified as clean energy partners by Arcadia Power, and whatever energy they do use in the production process is balanced out through annual emission offset payments. In fact, Avocado is climate-neutral certified and was the first mattress brand to reach net zero emissions.
Avocado pledges to stand by two pillars: sustainability and social responsibility. This is really exemplified in their FSC certified co-owned farmer’s society and factory in India where they source and produce all of their latex and wool products. This certification means the factory meets stringent standards for responsible resource management and sustainable rates of consumption. Avocado’s factories and farming partners, both in India and America, are also GOLS and GOTS certified. This is in line with the USDA’s National Organic Program’s endorsement. Additionally, Avocado is one of only three mattress brands to be Made Safe certified, meaning the products, and the people making them, have had absolutely no exposure to harmful toxins.
If you can believe it, this isn’t even an exhaustive list of all of Avocado’s certifications and partnerships, to read more, check out Avocado’s certifications page, and maybe even click through to their magazine which has some great articles about living a greener lifestyle.
By no means is this to say that, because Birch does not possess as many certifications as Avocado, it is not an incredibly high-quality mattress made with sustainability in mind. The fact of the matter is, however, that Avocado has truly gone the extra mile to achieve all of the rigorous certifications that it has, which certainly makes it an impressive mattress and a company worth putting your money behind.