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Birch and Awara are just two of several mattresses that appeal to green-minded shoppers. These two mattresses have a lot of similarities that are hard to ignore, but there are also a few notable differences that set them apart from one another and from other natural mattresses on the market. We will briefly explore the characteristics of Birch and Awara based on the following categories:
- Price — Awara is the more affordable option by a good margin.
- Feel and construction — They share the same basic construction and natural materials, but Birch has a little something extra which makes for a slightly softer (than Awara) feel.
- Sleeper type — Both mattresses run relatively firm, so might not be the right choice for some sleepers, especially petite side sleepers. Of the two, however, Birch is the softer option.
Now that you’ve gotten a quick rundown of Birch and Awara, let’s get into the post.
Birch and Awara: Planting Trees And Providing ZZZ’s
The companies behind Birch and Awara strive to be both consumer friendly and environmentally friendly. The materials used in these mattresses come with dozens of certifications and are natural and organic—more on this later. Both Birch and Awara also give back with each purchase. Through their partnership with ClimatePartners, Awara helps plant trees in a Rainforest Alliance protected forest in Brazil for every mattress sold.
Through Birch’s pledge to donate 1% of their sales to the National Forest Foundation, who plant one tree for every dollar donated, Birch hopes to help the foundation plant 50 million trees by 2023. This dedication to serving the planet is only one of several similarities between these two mattresses, but there are also a few differences that we will highlight to make the decision about which mattress is best for you a little bit easier.
Birch: Materials And Construction
Birch and Awara are both considered hybrid mattresses because they are comprised of both pocketed coils and a latex foam layer, which gives them a dynamic feel. Birch, unlike Awara, however also uses two layers of 100% all natural and organic New Zealand wool to provide additional comfort and stability for the mattress. The wool helps provide more comfort and temperature regulation, and is also designed to hold its shape because of the natural elasticity of the wool fibers. This means that there will be no awkward lumps and bumps over time.
The base of the mattress is a slim layer of wool batting which helps make the other layers a bit more sturdy. On top of that comes 8” of individually wrapped, American-sourced steel coils. Pocketed coils give hybrid mattresses like Birch and Awara more support and durability as each individually wrapped coil is able to act more independently from the other coils. This leads to a reduction in motion transfer and a bouncier, more responsive feel than traditional inner-spring mattresses.
On top of the coils, Birch has a 2” layer of OEKO-TEX certified 100% Talalay latex foam. The Talalay process for producing latex foam is a little bit more time and labor intensive than the Dunlop process, but it creates a slightly fluffier and more responsive comfort layer. Birch’s use of Talalay latex, along with the additional 0.5” layer of Birch wool which adorns the latex layer, makes Birch generally sleep softer than Awara, even though Awara’s layer of latex foam is twice as thick as that of Birch.
Finally, the Birch mattress is all wrapped up in an organic cotton cover that uses wool and rayon as a natural fire retardant. These cotton covers are really great because they are soft and breathable, while also being durable. We also find that organic cotton makes the mattresses smell much nicer than mattresses that have more synthetic materials.
How Does The Birch Mattress Feel?
As previously mentioned, Birch generally seems to sleep a bit softer than Awara because of the special wool layers used in the Birch mattress. There are a lot of benefits to the natural latex foam used in these mattresses, but because it is a really responsive material, it does have a tendency to feel a bit firm.
Judging by our scale, we think Birch feels relatively medium-firm, with a bit more of a neutral latex foam feel. Birch also has the option of adding a topper, which makes the mattress even softer without sacrificing any firmness or support.
How Weight Affects Feel
When we describe the feel of a mattress, it’s important to note that it’s impossible to know exactly how a mattress will feel for every sleeper. We try to give a pretty accurate description of how the average person will feel when they lay on the bed, but body type is a huge determining factor of mattress comfort.
In general, folks who are lighter and more petite than average will think a bed with a medium rating feels more like a firm mattress. This is because their lower body weight exerts less pressure on the surface of the mattress, so they don’t get as much of a cradling effect.
Conversely, those who are heavier than average will often find that mattresses will feel a bit too soft for them. Having more body weight means that these individuals sink into the mattress a bit more. With heavier folks, a really supportive mattress is always a good idea. We find that both Birch and Awara, because of their strong steel spring bases, are worthy contenders for people looking for a mattress with a good deal of support, check out some of our other favorites on our post on the best beds for heavy people.
A Look At Pricing
When making a purchase that is as big as a mattress, cost is, of course, a major consideration. It’s important to note that natural and organic mattresses, especially ones made with latex foam, do tend to be on the pricier side compared to other bed-in-a-box mattress options. There are definitely benefits of choosing a mattress in this category though, so if you want an eco-friendly mattress that won’t break the bank, we recommend going for Awara over Birch.
Prices vary depending on promos and markdowns, and we will always try to find the best deals for you right here at the Slumber Yard, but the queen sized Awara mattress will generally run you around $1,200. This is definitely a pretty penny, but it is about $100 cheaper than Birch, which sits right around $1,300. Birch also offers an optional Plush Pillow Topper. This is a great feature but it will add an additional $400 or so to the total cost of the mattress, widening the gap between the two prices even more.
Neither of these beds would be considered budget beds, but you really do get what you pay for with this type of mattress. You can also check AwaraSleep.com and BirchLiving.com for current pricing, or check our Mattress Deals Page for discounts and codes that will help make whichever mattress you choose more affordable.
A Look At Awara’s Construction
As previously mentioned, Birch and Awara share a pretty similar basic construction at face value. The most notable thing about both of these latex hybrid mattresses is the natural and organic materials with which they have been constructed. Awara’s 9” of pocketed coils are topped with a 4” layer of Rainforest Alliance Certified Organic Dunlop process latex foam. This sponge-like material is great for temperature regulation and air flow. The coils of the base layer, coupled with the porous texture of the foam allow for a lot of air flow.
Unlike certain types of mattresses like memory foam, latex foam does not trap heat, which helps keep the bed cooler all night long. We think latex hybrids are basically the goldilocks of beds when it comes to temperature—just right! Of course, if you’re typically a hot sleeper in general regardless of the AC or the material of your pajamas, take a look at our list on the best beds for hot sleepers.
Topping off the 13” Awara mattress is an organic cotton Euro pillow-top cover which provides a good deal of durability, but also adds a silky and supple feel to the mattress. Organic cotton is really great because the earthy smell that it generates is a lot more pleasant than that “new mattress smell” that takes a few nights to dissipate.
The Feel Of Awara
With the help of our team here at the Slumber Yard, who have different body types and sleeping positions, we rated Awara somewhere between medium-firm and firm, but probably closer to a medium-firm. Because Awara runs pretty firm, we think it would be a comfortable mattress for back and stomach sleepers or people with a heavier build.
Side sleepers might find it to be a little too firm, especially side sleepers who are more petite. If you are a petite side sleeper, or someone who prefers a bit more softness in the comfort layer, we would definitely recommend Birch over Awara, and would even go as far as to recommend Birch’s optional topper as well. Read more about Birch’s topper in our Best Mattress Topper Pad list.
Ultimately, the decision about which mattress is best for you can only be made by, well, you. Overall, Birch and Awara are pretty similar mattresses in a lot of respects, but there are a few things you should consider in order to determine which will suit you best:
- What type of sleeper are you? Side sleepers be warned, you may not fall in love with either of these mattresses, but you’ll probably have a better shot with Birch.
- What is your budget? If you are pretty set on a natural latex hybrid bed, but don’t want to spend a small fortune on it, Awara might be the better choice for you.
- How likely are you to change your mind? Both companies have a pretty solid return policy, but Awara’s full year trial period is hard to beat.
- Do you crave a little cushion or are you a fiend for the firm? Birch will be the softer option of the two, with Awara taking a slight edge in the firmness category.
Thanks for checking out The Slumber Yard, we hope we were able to help steer you in the right direction. We have plenty of other mattress comparisons on our site, so feel free to take a look at those. Otherwise, we hope you sleep right. Sleep tight.
Special Considerations for Couples
When you are sharing a bed with a partner there are a few features that are especially pertinent to consider so that both parties are able to get the best night’s sleep possible: motion transfer and edge support.
We tested both mattresses to gauge their ability to limit motion transfer. Couples should consider this because it refers to how well the bed deadens motion from other parts of the bed.
With both Awara and Birch, we found that motion transfer is not much of an issue. Unless your partner is a really aggressive roller, most minor movements during the night shouldn’t be much of a bother.
Another issue that pertains especially to couples is edge support. When sharing a bed, people often find themselves sleeping closer to the edge, particularly on smaller beds like fulls or queens.
Both Awara and Birch have nicely reinforced edges. This means that the beds do not slope down toward the ground causing your pillows (or your sleeping body) to end up on the ground in the middle of the night.