Nolah vs Purple Mattress
Is it smarter to get a soft foam mattress, Nolah, or the totally new concept, Purple?
Last Updated: September 2, 2020
This review is going to come down to which type of mail order mattress you prefer. Nolah is a soft foam bed that essentially feels like a 10" thick pillow—it's wonderfully comfortable and designed for side sleepers in particular. Purple is a new type of bed that offers a squishy, responsive feel. It's a great pick for hot sleepers and anyone that's willing to take a risk. We will go over the relative advantages for each bed, and why you should consider one over the other.
While you might have seen the Nolah and Purple brands in various social media ads, their products are quite different. In this post we will focus on the Original Purple and Nolah Original 10, the most popular beds from each company. Both brands do make other mattress models, but the flagship beds are what people mostly think of when when referencing Nolah and Purple.
We will touch on their similarities first and then the key reasons why certain consumers prefer Nolah over Purple, and Purple over Nolah. Let’s start by discussing the commonalities with Purple and Nolah:
- Pressure Relief — If you’re a side sleeper, you’re in luck, as both Purple and Nolah are amazing options for you. Nolah has a soft, fluffy foam feel, while Purple feels almost like sleeping on a Dr. Scholl’s insole. In both case, the pressure relief is sufficient (if not ideal) for side sleepers. For the record, nearly 70% of people are dominant side sleepers, according to a survey we conducted with over 2,000 respondents.
- Shipping — Both companies offer the standard suite of online mattress policies, namely free shipping, a risk-free trial period, and totally free returns. There’s a slight difference in packaging in that Purple uses a large canvas bag, where Nolah ships in a cardboard box, but the end result for purchasers is the same—a new mattress with no added cost for delivery.
- Trial Period & Returns — In addition to paying the big goose egg for shipping, you also get to test Purple and Nolah from the comfort of your own home for 100 nights and 120 nights, respectively. If you don’t like the bed for whatever reason during those trial windows (i.e. 3-4 months), both brands offer 100% refunds. But they won’t just take the mattress back; in many cases, they will have a local charity pick up the mattress from your home, so you don’t even have to lift a finger. Buying a bed online, is essentially like buying a backpack from REI—the return process is extremely consumer friendly.
For the most part, those are the areas of overlap between the flagship Nolah and Purple mattresses. In the sections below we will dig into the key reasons Nolah is better than Purple, and vice versa.
Why Nolah Is Better For You — The biggest difference between Purple and Nolah is just the feel of the mattress. Nolah is going to be more familiar in that it uses foam comfort layers. More on this, and other reasons to get Nolah, below.
Soft Foam Feel — Nolah feels like you’re sleeping on a 10″ pillow. It’s soft, plush, and extra pressure relieving. It actually feels like a mix between a regular poly foam and memory foam, meaning almost everyone will acknowledge that it’s comfortable, regardless of their stance on memory foam. For the record, according to a survey we ran with over 2,000 people, nearly 90% of them are either “in love with” or “just fine with” memory foam.
We rate Nolah, in terms of firmness, as between a medium-soft and medium, making it one of the best affordable mattresses for side sleepers. This isn’t the type of bed that you slowly sink into, but rather the type of bed that grants pressure relief almost immediately. That’s part of the reason why we say it has a blended feel between poly foam and memory foam. You get the pressure relief that would typically be associated with memory foam, and the responsive quality that you usually see with poly foam.
Prices — If you just look at the MSRP for each respective bed, Nolah and Purple are within $100 of each other. After you layer on a coupon code, however, Nolah tends to be more quite a bit more affordable than Purple. As an example, the original Purple and Nolah, for the queen size mattress, are both around $1,000-$1,100.
With a discount, though, Nolah is typically in the $800-900 range, and they run this promotion nearly year-round. You can look for Nolah’s current deal on their website.
Purple also runs promotions, but only during major holidays, such as Black Friday and July 4th. Most of the time, Purple bundles in sheets, a pillow, or some other accessory to sweeten the pot. If you get lucky, you’ll see a Purple discount of around $100, but you won’t see that nearly as frequently as you see a Nolah discount. You can check Purple’s website for their offers today, if there are any.
Why You Will Prefer A Purple Bed — The biggest separator for Purple is the feel of the mattress. If you take the ~150 other mattresses that we’ve reviewed, not a single one feels at all like Purple. That can be both good and bad.
It can be good in the sense that some people are searching for a new concept of mattress. It can be bad in the sense that Purple could provide to be too unique for certain consumers. In the sections below we will detail the major reasons why Purple should be your next bed.
Soft And Firm — Purple beds have a layer on top of Hyper-Elastic Polymer, a gel-like material that acts as the main comfort layer. There’s a chance that you’ll love it, or hate it. Part of what really sets Hyper-Elastic Polymer apart is that it can be almost soft and firm in the same sitting.
What we mean by that is that areas of your body that need pressure relief—namely your shoulders, hips, upper back and neck if you’re a side sleeper—will feel as though they’re getting ample pressure relief, whereas the other parts of your body should feel almost buoyant as they “float” on top of the bed. Here’s a look at Hyper-Elastic Polymer:
As the video above shows, a Purple mattress will have a squishy, bendable feel. Again, it can be too unique for certain people, but we really like it. Not only is it something new, but also it makes for a versatile mattress.
Hot Sleepers — Another differentiator is that the Purple mattresses (Original & New Hybrid) is that they offer increased airflow to hot sleepers. Not only that, but the Hyper-Elastic Polymer itself will not warm up and retain heat the way certain foams do. Take this along with the air pockets that sit in the Hyper-Elastic Polymer grid, and you have perhaps the only truly temperature neutral mattress. It’s really a neat concept.