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Soft Foam Mattress
|Casper is often the first mattress that comes to mind when the term bed-in-a-box is thrown around. All in all, it's an extremely comfortable mattress that performs very well. Casper also now makes a hybrid mattress with coils for added support.|
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|Purple mattresses are quite different than the typical online mattresses. Their beds use a special material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer that has a unique, gel-like feel.|
If you’re a straight-to-the-point kind of person, the differences between these brands can really be boiled down to two main points:
If you want more detail about Purple or Casper, keep reading. As you can imagine, there’s only so much that we could wiggle into the video or the bullet points above.
Chances are you’ve probably heard the Casper name before, maybe it was from a friend or an advertisement on your favorite podcast. Regardless, their beds are very popular. Casper was one of the early pioneers in the bed-in-a-box industry and has enjoyed tremendous success in recent years.
As of early 2019, Casper offers several different mattresses including (The Essential, The Wave, The Original), but for the purposes of this comparison, we’re going to focus on their flagship model, which is the original Casper mattress. This is a 10″ all-foam mattress comprised of four layers.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The company is now selling a Casper Hybrid mattress on Casper.com, which is the same as the original bed, but with pocketed coils as opposed to support foam. This makes Casper Hybrid a viable option for heavier folks. Here’s how the new Hybrid model compares to Purple.
The bed starts with a thick layer of support foam on the bottom. On top of that is a layer of what the company calls its Zoned Transition Foam. This is actually a new layer that Casper added in early 2018.
It’s a split layer that’s firmer under your hips/trunk (where you need more support) and softer under your shoulders and legs (where you need more pressure relief). Lastly, on top is a layer of memory foam and then a layer of proprietary open-cell foam.
Overall, although the Casper mattress has a layer of memory foam near the top, it actually has more of a neutral, soft foam feel, meaning you don’t really sink into the bed to the point where the mattress is hugging or contouring to your body’s shape. It’s extremely comfortable. It’s one of those mattresses that when you first lay down on it, you can’t help but to let out an audible sigh of approval.
In terms of firmness, we think the Casper mattress comes in right around a medium on the firmness scale. It’s very accommodating and we think all types of sleepers (back, side, and stomach) will find the mattress provides a good blend of support and comfort.
However, it is a 12″ all-foam mattress, so we wouldn’t say this is the best bed for heavy individuals. These types of sleepers will most likely want to go with a bed that contains coils (like the new Purple models or Casper Hybrid), which will provide more bi-directional support, some bounce, and just overall durability.
Now, as far temperature regulation, like a lot of all-foam beds without any special cooling materials, we think the Casper mattress sleeps at a neutral temperature. You won’t wake up sweating, nor will it actively cool you down. If you’re a super warm sleeper, you might want to go with one of the Purple beds, which provide great airflow.
Lastly, the Casper mattress performs well in terms of edge support and limiting motion transfer, which are two important factors for couples. First, the mattress does a good job of deadening movement. The bed passed all our tests easily. This means one person won’t be disturbed or affected by the other person’s movements (i.e. a more restful nights sleep).
The bed also provides pretty decent edge support for an all-foam bed. If you and your partner like to spread out, you won’t feel as if you’re going to roll right off the bed as you approach the edge.
All in all, the flagship Casper mattress is a solid bed in a box. It’s honestly hard to find many negatives. Let’s face it—there’s a reason why the company has done so well. Plus, it’s relatively affordable. You can snag a queen size for about $1,000 or around the $900 mark with a coupon code. And remember, you might want to check out the new Casper Hybrid mattress.
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Purple, like Casper, has experienced tremendous success in the online mattress space over the past several years.
However, Purple is very unique in that they use a patented material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer as the top layer in all their beds. This patented material is not a foam. Rather it has more of a gel-like feel (even though it’s technically a type of polymer). It’s extremely stretchy, soft, and durable, yet it offers a remarkable amount of support. You truly should try it for yourself.
We here at the Slumber Yard happen to really like it, but it’s not for everybody. Some people find it a little too weird. The nice thing, though, is that you can order small samples from the company to test it out before you pull the final trigger. So now that we’ve touched on what Hyper-Elastic Polymer is and how it feels, let’s review the different Purple models.
First up is the original Purple mattress, which has more of a traditional bed-in-a-box construction. It starts with two dense layers of polyurethane foam on the bottom for support, but then, rather than a layer of memory foam or latex foam on top, Purple uses a 2″ slab of its Hyper-Elastic Polymer. The polymer material is quite special in that it’s able to cradle pressure points like your hips and shoulders while also providing the necessary support under your trunk and lower back.
For this reason, we think this mattress is nice for all kinds of sleepers. Side sleepers will find the mattress soft, comfortable, and pressure reliving, and back and stomach sleepers will find that the mattress keeps their spine properly aligned at all times. The original Purple is also the most affordable model in the lineup, so if you’re on a somewhat stringent budget, this will be the model you’ll want to go with.
Really, we only see one downside with this model. It’s just not the best option for heavier folks—that would be the Purple 2, 3, or 4, which we’ll cover next.
In early 2018, Purple introduced three new models to their lineup (called the Purple 2, 3, and 4). Unlike the original Purple, these new models incorporate pocketed coils. The coils give the new models extra support, a little bit of bounce, and will also help extend the useful lives of the beds. As such, we’d recommend heavy people (250+ lb) who place extra stress and pressure on a bed go with one of the new models.
We should also mention that all Purple beds have dense foam side rails along their perimeter for edge support purposes. This is good news for people who share a smaller size mattress (full or queen) with another person or pet.
As far as what the differences are between the new models, it’s just the thickness of the Hyper-Elastic Polymer top layer. The Purple 2 uses a 2″ layer of polymer, the Purple 3 uses a 3″ layer of polymer, and so on (i.e. the thickness matches up with the name).
Now, according to Purple’s website, they recommend the Purple 2 for back and stomach sleepers (it’s the firmest), the Purple 4 for side sleepers (it has the most immersive experience with the pressure relieving polymer), and the Purple 3 for combo sleepers (it’s sort of in the middle).
However, as much as Purple likes to separate the different models per sleeper type, we’d have to slightly disagree. We actually think all three new models will work just fine for all sleeper types. As we previously stated, Hyper-Elastic Polymer (whether it’s 2″ or 4″ thick) strikes a nice balance between support and pressure relief. Slumber Yard team member Matt can vouch for that. He sleeps on the Purple 4 model and loves it even though he actually spends a little more time on his back and stomach than his side.
Another benefit of Hyper-Elastic Polymer is its cooling and airflow effects. First, it’s a naturally cool or temperature neutral material. Hyper-Elastic Polymer doesn’t retain or trap heat the way a lot of common foams do. Additionally, the polymer is arranged in a grid formation. This creates various columns, rows, and pockets for air to flow freely near the surface of the mattress. As such, the airflow on this bed is quite good. So with that said, we would highly recommend Purple beds for warm sleepers. In fact, Purple made our list for Best Cooling Mattresses.
Lastly, like Casper, we also think Purple beds are viable options for couples, as long as both partners like the feel of Hyper-Elastic Polymer. Obviously, if one partner loves the feel of it and the other finds it a bit too unique, it’s probably going to be a no-go. Still, we like that Purple uses side rails for solid edge support. Plus, Hyper-Elastic Polymer is actually surprisingly effective at deadening movement.
To conclude, as you can probably tell, we think very highly of Purple mattresses. We really like the benefits that Hyper-Elastic Polymer provides. If you feel like switching things up and getting away from some of the more traditional mattresses on the market, give Purple a whirl. We think there’s a good chance you will really like it. However, keep in mind, you’ll have to pay up for the new models (coils and Hyper-Elastic Polymer aren’t cheap). As for the original model, it retails around $1,000 so we think it’s pretty affordable.
Hopefully by now, we’ve clearly explained each mattress and how they differ. If you’re still having trouble deciding between the two, though, ask yourself three questions.
First, do you sleep hot? If yes, go with Purple for the great airflow.
If no, move on to the next question, which is do you truly like soft foam mattresses? If yes, go Casper. If you’re undecided, again, give Purple a shot.
Do you want a coil bed? Both companies now offer innerspring mattresses.
Naturally, as people shop for mattresses online, they’re usually 100% focused on the actual bed, which is totally fine. That’s very important and we will get to the beds in a minute. However, how each company handles shipping, returns, trial periods, and warranties is also important.
With that said, let’s start with Casper, which offers free shipping and returns. The original Casper mattress will arrive at your doorstep rolled-up and compressed in a medium size box. From there, the company gives you 100 nights to test out the mattress and really see if you want to keep it. If you decide the bed isn’t for you (during the trial period), just contact Casper customer support and they’ll arrange for someone to come to your home free of charge and pick up the mattress. It typically takes around 7-14 days to complete the whole return and refund process.
Casper also backs their mattresses with a 10-year warranty. All this stuff (free shipping, free returns, 100-night trial, and 10-year warranty) is very standard for the bed-in-a-box industry. Those are the exact terms most online brands offer, which—don’t get me wrong—is very nice. These companies are trying to make it as convenient as possible for the consumer.
Purple, for the most part, matches Casper. They also offer free shipping, free returns, a 100-night risk-free trial period, and a 10-year warranty. However, with their new models (Purple 2/3/4), the company offers free white glove delivery and setup. This is because the new models are extremely heavy and can’t really be compressed and shipped at the same rate Casper or the original Purple can.