If the thought of sleeping on a toxic bed is giving you nightmares, an organic mattress can be your ticket to sweeter dreams and healthier sleep. But, not all natural beds are created equal, and navigating the marketplace can be a bit tricky.
Organic growing and production methods are in line with the principles of sustainability and clean living. It would be difficult to find a more sustainable mattress than one made with 100% natural, organically grown materials, and there are a small handful of companies currently producing organic mattresses.
But words like organic and natural don’t tell you everything you need to know about a mattress brand. Some retailers use language which can make it difficult to tell which components of the mattress are really certified organic. People seeking a more sustainable mattress should pay close attention to terminology, materials, company reputations and certifications.
In this guide, we take a look under the covers of organic beds and compare leading organic mattress brands to make your search a little more simple.
What You Need to Know: Shopping for Organic Beds
If you plan on buying an organic bed, don’t go in blind. This is true for any mattress purchase, but doubly important if organic or natural products are important to you. You don’t want to fall victim to misleading labels or advertising and often these beds are more expensive than others because of the high-quality materials.
There are a few things you’ll want to know about mattress materials and certifications in order to make sure you get a good deal and a sleeping surface that’s truly green and organic.
Organic refers to methods of growing, production and processing in the textile world. The term usually means grown without toxic pesticides and may also refer to certain environmental standards and labor standards as well. Typically organic growing and production methods exclude the use of synthetic fertilizers, harsh pesticides, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms and ionizing radiation.
But, simply stating a product is “organic” is not enough information as there are different standards as to what the term means. It can mean the product is comprised of completely organic materials, it can mean a percentage is organic, and it can even mean nothing at all!
If a product is claimed to be organic, the retailer or manufacturer should identify who certified the product and what component(s) are certified organic.
This third-party certification process gives legitimacy to claims and prevents greenwashing. This term refers to a form of deception in which companies promotes the perception that their products or services are environmental friendly.
Here’s a brief overview of the most common standards and certifications.
- For fibers and fabrics like cotton and wool, the USDA NOP or Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) are two certifications that can be achieved.
- Organic latex can be grown to USDA or other standards, and finished latex foam can be certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
- The Organic Content Standard (OCS) is another third-party verification of the percentage of organic materials in a product.
- Many agencies are authorized to certify claims; some popular ones you’ll see include Oregon Tilth (OTCO), Control Union (CU), Institute for Marketecology (IMO), Quality Assurance International (QAI) and Ecocert.
When shopping for an organic mattress, the key things to pay attention to besides comfort include mattress type, materials, certifications and guarantees.
Innerspring and latex beds each have pros and cons to consider. Overall, all-latex beds tend to do better on long-term satisfaction compared to spring beds, and have good pain relief and support. Springs can offer good support initially, but can rate lower on durability, motion transfer and long-term pain relief compared to latex. Spring beds may be slightly cheaper than other organic mattress types, however.
Here’s an overview of materials you’ll see most commonly in organic mattresses:
- Cotton: Cotton is a popular fabric for natural beds. Organic cotton is seen as more desirable than traditional cotton due to the extensive pesticide usage in traditional farming methods. In fact, conventional cotton is considered one of the dirtiest crops in the world. Studies show agricultural workers in non-organic cotton production have a higher occurrence of health and neurological problems. Pesticides also linger in the finished materials, making them less safe for end users.
- Wool: Wool is commonly used in padding and fire barrier layers. It’s dense and durable properties make it a desirable alternative to foams and polyester. Organic wool has less insecticides, no synthetic pesticides and fewer toxic chemicals in general. Standards also require a higher degree of ethical animal care and harvesting. They are required to eat only organic feed, cannot be treated with synthetic hormones, and genetic engineering is prohibited. These methods are considered more sustainable for the environment and people.
- Latex: Latex is a very popular material for natural and eco-friendly bedding. Natural latex comes for the Hevea brasiliensis tree, and creates a durable and comfortable foam. It can be grown organically, and processed using organic standards (currently only in the Dunlop method). Synthetic and blended latex foams contain styrene butadiene rubber, which is not as eco-friendly and can have outgassing odors. It has also been linked to tumor formation in mice. Non-organic latex may also contain VOC-producing additives. Latex is harvested from tapped, living trees, which is a very sustainable process. Trees provide latex for 30 years or more throughout their lives.
- Springs: Metal springs are used by many brands, topped with layers of foam and fabric. Some organic brands use recycled metals, which offers greater eco-friendliness. Those seeking a more sustainable mattress should note the environmental and societal effects of mining and look into recycling processes of companies.
- Other fibers: Less popular materials you might see include horse or camel hair, which offer an alternative to wool. For these types of animal products, animal care and sourcing methods may be something to check. Plant fibers like coconut coir can substitute for foam or support core layers, and again harvesting, chemical processing and growth methods would be key areas to consider. You may also see fibers like silk, which though natural, may be considered unethical by some buyers.
If organic is important to you, it is important to get information on the contents of each layer and fabric in the mattress. Some beds marketed as organic may only have organic fabric or one organic layer, but may use conventional foams or other materials as well. Ask:
- What is each layer or component made of?
- What type fire barrier is used?
- Is each material certified organic or only certain components?
- Who certifies the organic claims and are the certificates available?
You might also see other certifications that refer to purity or volatile organic compound testing. Some of the more popular ones include Oeko-Tex 100, Eco-Institute, TUV Rhineland, or GreenGuard, which all test VOC emissions and/or chemicals in materials or finished mattresses.
Some retailers market or describe their mattresses as organic, when in fact the cover or fire barrier are organic. Pay close attention to the wording used to describe the products and watch for the use of the word “natural” in lieu of “organic” throughout the description. Check each component closely.
Guarantees are the other important aspect to look at. How does the manufacturer stand behind their product? The average mattress should have around 10 years of full-replacement warranty during which the manufacturer will cover repairs or replacement for defects.
Comparison of Organic Mattress Brands
Below are eight brands we found that advertise organic mattresses with national availability. Almost all fall into either latex or innerspring categories, but the organic mattress brands do differ in organic content, pricing and policies.
We researched each brand’s beds to see what they were made of and how they compare in terms of potential value and satisfaction. Check out the table below for a quick look, or read on for a more in depth look at organic beds to find your perfect match.
|Bed||Specs||Sale Price (queen/spl king)||Deal||Retailer|
|Amerisleep Ergo Invincible Adjustable Bed||Head Angle: 60° / Foot Angle: 45°|
|$1280 / $2240||20% off w/ mattress||Amerisleep|
|Tempurpedic Ergo Plus||Head Angle: 70° / Foot Angle: ?°|
|$1499 / $2798||$200-$300 gift card rebate when w/ Breeze mattress||Tempurpedic / Mattress Firm|
|Serta Motion Perfect III||Head Angle: ?° / Foot Angle: ?°|
|$1500 / $1800||$200-$500 off with mattress||Serta|
|Tempurpedic Ergo Premier||Head Angle: 70° / Foot Angle: ?°|
|$2099 / $3998||$300-$400 gift card rebate when w/ Breeze mattress||Tempurpedic / Mattress Firm|
|Serta Motion Custom II||Head Angle: ?° / Foot Angle: ?°|
Massage / Head Tilt
|$2200 / $4200||$300-$600 off with mattress||Serta|
Top Organic Latex Mattress Options in 2015
All of the eight brands above offer latex mattresses described as organic, though Flo Beds, Pure LatexBliss and Royal Pedic are not currently using certified organic latex foam. You’ll notice they are labeled “natural” in their descriptions. Pure LatexBliss mattress covers are made with a mixture of mostly synthetic and partially natural fibers. Astrabeds, Naturally Organic, Naturepedic and Savvyrest all use certified organic latex, wool and cotton in their latex lines.
In terms of price, Astrabeds offers the lowest entry-level cost for all-organic latex beds at $1799 in queen. Flobeds offers a mattress at the same price, but the latex is not organic. Organicpedic, Naturepedic, Savvyrest and Lifekind lean towards the higher side. Royal-Pedic does not list their prices and require you to call to find out. Retailers often do this to get you on the line to pressure you to buy, and may expect some haggling or negotiation to get a fair deal.
All brands offer good warranties, though Pure LatexBliss and Organicpedic beds may not be returnable. Royal-Pedic only allows 14 days for a return, which is much shorter than most.
To compare value consistently we selected mid level latex beds from each brand (between 8”-11”) to compare below. For mattresses using all organic materials, the Astrabeds Serenity Bed offers the best value at $1999 for 7” of latex, followed by Savvyrest at $3,099 for 9” of latex
|Brand and Model||Contents||Price (Queen)|
|Astrabeds Serenity||Organic cotton|
1” Organic wool
7” Organic latex
|FloBeds Organic Natural Select||Organic cotton|
1” Organic wool
8” Natural latex
|Pure LatexBliss Eco||10-25% Natural fiber cover|
9” Organic latex
|Organicpedic Flora||Organic cotton|
7” Organic latex
|Lifekind Euro Soft Top||Organic cotton|
7” Organic latex
|Naturepedic EOS Trilux||Organic cotton|
Natural plant materials
|Royal Latex Organic Quilt-Top Mattress||Organic cotton|
Top Organic Spring Mattress Options in 2015
Four brands offer organic innerspring mattress options. Most brands use organic cotton covers, and use either wool, cotton or latex for padding. Royalpedic only mentions certified organic cotton, not their latex or wool. Organicpedic Fusion’s latex is labeled as natural, but their cotton and wool is organic certified. While Naturepedic uses organic wool, latex and cotton, they have a natural fiber in the quilt. Lifekind The Combo is the only innerspring mattress we compared that uses all organic components.
Naturepedic offers the lowest entry-level price for spring beds at $1,999, with Lifekind at the higher end. Royal-pedic does not disclose pricing on their website, but queen prices start around $2500-$3000 at retailers.
To compare value consistently we selected mid level beds from each brand (around 10”) to compare below. For innerspring beds without latex, the Naturepedic Essential Genesis model offers the best value at $1,999 a pocket coil support system. For latex hybrids, the Lifekind The Combo at $2,376 with organic latex and a bonnell coil system stands out.
|Brand and Model||Contents||Price (Queen)|
|Naturepedic Essential Genesis||Organic cotton cover|
Organic cotton fill
Organic wool fill
Natural plant fiber
Continuous coil system (count ND)
|Organicpedic Fusion||Organic cotton cover|
Organic wool fill
Bonnell coils (count ND)
|Lifekind The Combo||Organic cotton cover|
Organic wool fill
Bonnell coils (count options)
|Royal-Pedic Organic Cotton Wool Wrap||Organic cotton|
Organic cotton fill
Offset coils (800 count)
Organic mattresses are an investment in your health and sleep, and since you’ll be using it for several hours a day and for many years, it’s worthwhile to research and take your time.
The key things to compare are what’s inside the bed and what certifications and guarantees support the mattress. Greenwashing is out there, so if organic or sustainability is important to you than reading fine print and checking claims is important. A sustainable mattress company will proudly display their certifications.
As with all beds, more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. In fact, many brands of organic mattresses actually use the exact same materials but can vary significantly in price. Think about what aspects are most important to you and what you key comfort “must-haves” are to make narrowing the field easier. When shopping, compare beds layer by layer, looking at the quality and price to see how it stacks against others.
As far as where to look, the mattresses above are a good starting point. There are only a handful of organic mattress brands out there and most are not sold in major department or mattress stores. Unless you live in a major metro area, online may be your best bet especially for getting a good deal.
Always ask about certifications, and don’t forget to check into return costs and warranty terms as well. Even in-store testing doesn’t guarantee comfort, as your body takes time to adjust to a new bed. Whether you buy in person or online, you should at least be able to return, exchange or at least swap layers if the comfort level is not quite right.
Reviews are another helpful source of information, offering insight into durability, comfort, service and other aspects. Websites with verified reviews (rather than handpicked testimonials) and third party consumer rating websites are your best bet.
Knowing what to look for in terms of certifications and materials and focusing on the details makes shopping organic mattress brands a little less intimidating. Get familiar with the basics, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and take your time!
Have any other organic mattress questions? Share in comments below.