A handful of big names have dominated the American mattress market for nearly a century, yet recently it seems like the tides may be turning as new mattress startups continue popping up. Modern consumers and millennials represent a new breed of buyer: people who focus on value and transparency. We also rely on the internet more than ever to research major purchases before buying.
Many people seek an alternative to the traditional shopping experience in more ways than one. Some people want the convenience of on-demand online shopping. Others want to get the most out of their money. In addition, some shoppers prefer companies with a more relatable presence than mainstream mattress corporations tend to provide.
While names like Serta, Simmons, Sealy and Tempur-pedic still comprise the majority of marketplace sales, mattress startups catering to modern shoppers continue carving out a pretty significant dent. If you’ve considered a new bed recently, some of these mattress startups, like Leesa or Amerisleep, may be on your radar.
The Mattress Newcomers vs Industry Titans
The new breed of beds differs in a few important ways from many of the industry’s grandfathers.
- First of all, most new startups focus on foam mattresses. This differs from the traditional coil and spring models that the “S” brands made their name on. Some use memory foam, some latex, and some regular poly foam.
- Their prices hover in the low to mid-level range, typically starting under $1000 in an effort to attract a wider audience.
- These newcomers rely primarily on direct-to-consumer online sales rather than the traditional dealer or showroom channels. You likely won’t find them in Mattress Firm or your local shops.
- To compensate, they tend to provide fair return policies, consequently reducing risk to the buyer.
- They also tend to provide more detailed information on the materials they use. This is to showcase their quality advantage, while the opposite proves true of most mainstream brands.
Meet The New Class of Mattress Startups
Using different approaches like transparent marketing, reviews, social media, competitive pricing and startup-style buzz, new mattress brands aim to capture the next generation of buyer.
In this article, we introduce the new class of bedding brands and compare their offerings to help you decide which might be the best fit for your sleep preferences and budget.
Read on to learn who’s who and what’s new in the world of mattress startups. Note that all pricing mentioned below refers to queen size models for the sake of comparison.
Mattress Startups: Side by Side Comparison
|Brand||Mattress Type||Quality Breakdown||Price (Queen)||Trial / Warranty|
|Amerisleep||Memory foam||2-3” 4.0 lb plant-based memory foam|
2-4″ transition/Activus layers in select models
6-9” 1.5 lb poly foam
|$899 – $2299||90 days|
|Leesa||Memory foam||2” 3.65 lb “Avena” foam|
2”3 lb memory foam
6” 1.8 lb poly foam
|Saatva||Innerspring||0-0.4” ? lb memory foam|
2-4.5” 1.4-2 lb poly foam + fiber batting
416 Bonnell coils + 884 wrapped coils
|Yoga Bed||Memory foam||0.75” 5 lb foam|
1.75” 4 lb gel memory foam
6.5” 1.8 lb poly foam
1” base (?)
- Six plant-based memory foam mattresses, queen from $899
- Founded 2010
- Based in Scottsdale, Arizona
- Sells via Amerisleep.com, Scottsdale showroom
Amerisleep was one of the first mattress brands to venture into the online marketplace, launching in 2010. The company was founded in Arizona, and is headquartered in Scottsdale. They sell direct-to-consumer via their website, and also maintain a showroom at their headquarters.
The Amerisleep Collection
The Amerisleep mattress line differentiates itself with plant-based memory foams. These materials exclude the harsh chemicals used in traditional foams, and employ an eco-friendly manufacturing process that produces zero emissions.
The mattresses are composed of medium density memory foam and high-density foam cores, both qualities on par with high-end mattress lines. They use GreenGuard certified fiber fire barriers and designer-style covers made from cotton blend fabrics and microfiber. The line includes six different options of varying firmness and thickness:
- Columbus: $899, Firm, 2 inches of 4.0 lb memory foam over a 6 inch 1.5 lb foam core.
- Americana: $1049, Firm, 3 inches of 4.0 lb memory foam over a 7 inch 1.5 lb foam core.
- Liberty: $1349, Soft, 3 inches of 4.0 lb memory foam and 2 inches 1.5 lb layer over a 7 inch 1.5 lb foam core.
- Revere: $1499, Medium-Firm, 3 inches of 4.0 lb memory foam over a 9 inch 1.5 lb foam core.
- Colonial: $2049, Soft, 2 inches of 4.0 lb memory foam and 4 inches of 1.65 lb transition layer over an 7 inch 1.5 lb foam core.
- Independence: $2299, Soft, 2 inches of 4.0 lb memory foam and 3 inches of 3.0 lb Activus foam over an 9 inch 1.5 lb foam core.
Amerisleep mattresses are made in the US, come with 90 day return policies, and have a 20 year limited warranty with 10 years full replacement. Defective sagging is considered impressions over 3/4 inch.
Quite a few reviews for Amerisleep beds can be found online, including over 900 hundred on their website (which uses a third-party verified system). Many more exist on Viewpoints.com, ResellerRatings.com and other forums. This mattress brand is established, therefore plenty of reviews from longterm owners exist. The majority of reviews mentioned good comfort and durability, and complaints of sleeping hot or strong odors are well below average for foam beds. Reviews tend to average between 4.6 and 4.8 stars out of five, well above satisfaction rates seen in many conventional brands’ reviews.
- One memory foam mattress, queen $890
- Founded 2014
- Sells via Leesa.com
- Based in Virginia Beach, VA
Leesa is another new up and comer that launched in 2014, following the direct to consumer, online only model. The company was founded in Virginia and is headquartered in Virginia Beach. They sell via their website, and do not have a showroom.
The Leesa Collection
Leesa aims to keep things simple with only one mattress option. Leesa brand is another foam mattress hybrid, using memory foam and other foams in the layers.
The Leesa mattress comprises a layer of foam engineered to feel similar to latex and low-density memory foam over high density foam cores, materials in the average range for the price. They use a fiber fire barrier and polyester-lycra blend cover. The line includes one option:
- Leesa Mattress: $890, Medium, 2 inches of 3.65 lb foam, 2 inches 3.0 lb memory foam over a 6 inch 1.8 lb foam core.
Leesa mattresses are made in the US, come with 100 day return policies, and have a 10 year limited warranty with 10 years full replacement. Defective sagging is considered impressions over 1 inch.
Their website features over three hundred reviews from owners, yielding an average rating around 4.4 out of 5 stars. Third-party websites seem to offer limited reviews. Because Leesa has only been selling beds for about a year, long-term reviews speaking to durability aren’t yet available. So far, reviews indicate below average issues with heat and odor. But, a good number of reviewers find the mattress not firm or supportive enough. This seems like worth keeping in mind if you like firmer surfaces.
- Three innerspring and foam mattresses, queen $899
- Founded 2010
- Sells via Saatva.com
- Based in Westport, CT
Saatva is unique among many of the online-focused brands because they are one of the few to focus on innerspring mattresses. The company launched in 2010 and is based in Westport, Connecticut. They sell online via their website, and currently do not have a showroom.
The Saatva Collection
The Saatva line uses a traditional innerspring format, pairing the coils with different configurations of foam, memory foam and padding. They sell at one price point, while offering three firmness levels. Saatva also aims to take the eco-friendly angle by incorporating natural and recycled materials.
The mattresses include bio-based memory foam/poly foam, various layers of batting and padding, and recycled steel springs. Density of the foams aren’t specified on their product pages. They use a fiber thistle fire barrier and covers with an organic cotton blend fabric. In addition, the coil systems include 13 gauge Bonnell coils topped with 14.5 gauge individually wrapped coils. The materials and specifications represent a good value compared to mainstream lines. Three firmness options exist:
- Plush Soft: $899, Plush, 1.25” soft foam, fiber padding, 5/8” soft foam, 3/8” visco lumbar pad, and 2.5” convoluted foam over 446 Bonnell coils + 884 wrapped coils
- Luxury Firm: $899, Medium, 1.25” soft foam, fiber padding, 5/8” soft foam, 3/8” visco lumbar pad over 446 Bonnell coils + 884 wrapped coils
- Firm: $899, Firm, 1.5” firm foam, fiber padding, 7/8” foam, and 3/8” visco lumbar pad over 446 Bonnell coils + 884 wrapped coils
Saatva mattresses are made in the US, come with a 75 day return policy and have a 15 year limited warranty with 2 years full replacement. Defective sagging is considered impressions over 1.5 inch.
The Saatva website hosts over 300 reviews, which place the average rating around 4.8 / 5 stars. Reviews on third party websites aren’t quite as extensive but include 3.5 on Amazon, 3.8 to 5.0 on Goodbed, and 9.7/10 on Trustpilot. The majority of reviewers report good comfort and support. Some do mention sagging however, at about the same rate compared to other spring beds. Compared to other spring brands, Saatva ratings do show higher overall satisfaction on average. Price seems like it plays a big role.
- One memory foam mattress, queen $799
- Founded 2014
- Sells via YogaBed.com
- Based in Charlotte, NC
Yoga Bed is one of more recent entrants, launching in late 2014 out of Charlotte, North Carolina. They currently sell direct to consumer, online only and do not operate a showroom.
The Yoga Bed Collection
Similar to Leesa, Yoga Bed offers only one model for a simplified shopping experience. The Yoga Bed includes memory foam, gel and polyurethane foams with no latex.
The Yoga Bed mattress is comprised of a thin layer of high density memory foam, a thicker layer of medium density gel memory foam and high density foam core. The materials seem like they are good for the price range. They don’t mention the type of fire barrier used or cover fabric material. The line includes one option:
- Yoga Bed: $799, Medium-Firm, 0.75 inches of 5 lb foam, 1.75 inches 4.0 lb gel memory foam over a 6.5 inch 1.8 lb foam core and 1 inch “base”.
Yoga Bed mattresses are made in the US, come with 101 day return policies, and have a 10 year limited warranty with 2 years full replacement. Defective sagging is considered impressions over 1 inch.
Their website features only a handful of selected 5-star reviews. Reviews on unbiased third-party websites prove very limited as of now, likely due to being a newer brand. As a result of the limited data, it’s hard to summarize owner satisfaction, performance or durability trends.
So Which Startup Wins the Battle?
Ultimately, this a question only you can answer. While things like value and warranties can be compared objectively, comfort and sleep preferences are distinctly individual.
Being online businesses in a rather competitive market, nearly all of the startup brands offer a good value (price versus materials and quality). The brands priced higher generally use higher quality, more expensive materials meant to last longer. Most of all, they usually offer good value when compared to traditional brands as well. These longstanding names prove more likely to use lower density foams while limiting buyer’s access to comparison information.
All of the startup mattress brands give people around three months to test out the beds and return if needed (Saatva is the shortest with 75 days), hence making choices relatively risk free.
Warranties do show some important differences worth noting. The strongest guarantee comes from Amerisleep, who offers 10 years full replacement coverage and consider defective impressions to be over 0.75 inches. This is important because deep impressions can contribute to back pain.
Leesa offers 10 years with impressions deeper than 1 inch covered, while Saatva and Yoga Bed offer only 2 years of full replacement coverage, covering sagging over 1.5 inch and 1 inch, respectively.
On to comfort. It seems like the most important aspect for many buyers proves the limited options offered by many of the mattress startups. In order to keep costs minimal and make buying easier, most of the brands offer selections much smaller than mattress stores.
If you prefer ultra firm beds or ultra-plush, single option brands like Leesa and Yoga may be a no go. These mattress startups tend to hover in the medium to medium firm range. Saatva and Amerisleep offer multiple options, which appeals to broader range of people.
Furthermore, let’s look at the issue of sleep positions and sleepers. Most of these beds work just fine for back sleepers or lighter side sleepers with 2-3 inches of padding. But, heavier people or people with larger frames who prefer side sleeping may not feel adequately cushioned or supported. Memory foams in the lower density range (under 3.5 lb) often succumb to quicker wear, and beds with all poly foam layers sometimes lack the “cushiony” feel that many people prefer.
When comparing the new class of mattress startups, focus on learning about the quality inside the bed. See how that matches up with the price, as well as your preferences and sleep habits. Think about how you (and your partner) like a mattress to feel, how long you expect to use it for, and what you reasonably expect to spend.
Another great thing about the new mattress startups: many encourage and rely on real customer reviews. As a result, considerable data exists online to learn from as far as what people like and don’t, and who a particular mattress maybe best-suited for. As with many major purchases, being diligent with your research tends to pay off.
Have any questions about researching mattresses or how to compare brands? Leave a comment below.