I Slept on This Unusual Bed-in-a-Box Mattress for Months: Here’s What Happened

Looking for a mattress that’s “just right” can make anyone feel like Goldilocks. This one’s too soft. This one’s too hard. Here’s a mattress that balances soft and firm just right.

Purple Mattress Review

Photo: Beth Cranston

Nothing’s more essential to having a good day than a good night’s sleep, and a good night’s sleep all starts with the right mattress. Of course, the right mattress for one person may not necessarily be right for another. Most mattresses, whether in stores or shipped in a box, are either foam, innerspring, or a hybrid of the two. Sifting through the myriad choices challenges even the savviest consumer.

Purple, on the other hand, stands out from its foam and innerspring competitors with its innovative grid. Made from an engineer-designed material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer®, the soft yet durable grid supports and cradles the body but doesn’t form those uncomfortable, sinking depressions like in some other mattresses.

After purchasing my Purple Hybrid Premier mattress at Mattress Firm, I have happily slept on it for more than a year. Through nights of deep sleep, and even tossing and turning, my mattress supports and responds as well as it did more than a year ago.

Purple Mattress: At a Glance

Rating: 9/10

Purple Mattress Review

Photo: Beth Cranston

PROS

  • Supports and cradles pressure points
  • Quickly responds to movement
  • Stays cool due to its breathable design

CONS

  • Takes time to adjust to grid
  • Weight can make it hard to move
  • Transfers motion a bit

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What Is the Purple Mattress?

The original Purple Mattress is made up of four layers: a soft flex fabric cover on the top, a 2-inch GelFlex grid, a soft comfort foam, and a firm supportive foam. (To be clear, the foam is not memory foam but an environmentally friendly polyurethane foam.) The second layer, the grid, sets the Purple Mattress apart from all other mattresses.

The GelFlex grid on each mattress is made from Hyper-Elastic Polymer and comprises 1,400-plus air channels to create a consistently cool sleep. The Hyper-Elastic Polymer, as its name implies, was developed to create a responsive bed, similar to traditional innerspring mattresses. Unlike innerspring mattresses, however, the durability of the grid walls simultaneously cradles pressure points, like shoulders and hips, while still supporting the back and legs.

In addition to the original bed, Purple offers Purple Hybrid and Purple Hybrid Premier. Inside the Purple Hybrid, the grid sits atop individually wrapped stainless steel coils that are sandwiched by two layers of transition foam. A layer of breathable fabric rests at the very top.

The same layers make up Purple’s top-of-the-line Hybrid Premier mattress, except that the grid is 50 percent thicker than it is in the regular Hybrid. In addition, the Premier offers a 3-inch or 4-inch grid, with the greater height reflected in a higher price.

They also offer a kids’ mattress, designed for kids up to 14 years old. The layers in this mattress are the same as the original; however, the foam layers are a bit shorter, making for a lighter mattress overall.

Purple Mattress Review

Photo: Beth Cranston

How Easy Is It to Set Up a Purple Mattress?

As a bed-in-a-box company, Purple has made its mattresses easy to set up. Lift the compressed mattress out of the package, unroll it on a base, let it spring back to shape, and air it out.

While the steps are easy, moving a Purple Mattress does require a bit of muscle. Made of sturdy materials, they are heavy mattresses, even when compressed and rolled up in their package. The original mattress in twin size weighs 65 pounds, and the 4-inch Hybrid Premier in king size weighs 204 pounds.

Although my husband and I could have set it up ourselves, we opted for what the retailer referred to as red carpet delivery. This included the removal of our old mattress and setup of our new Purple Mattress. For a king mattress with a 3-inch grid, it was the best choice. Its weight (176 pounds) and length (76 inches) would have made for a challenging walk up the stairs to our bedroom. However, the delivery people made quick work of setting up the Purple Mattress—they were in and out of the house in about 10 minutes.

In addition to requiring a little muscle, setup also requires the right base. Essentially, any flat sturdy surface can provide the right base for a Purple Mattress—even the floor. A solid platform base or slatted base, with slats no wider than 3 inches apart, offers just the right support for a Purple Mattress. They also work well with adjustable bases. Box springs, on the other hand, do not provide the proper foundation for a Purple Mattress.

 How Comfortable Is the Purple Bed?

Purple describes its mattress as both soft and firm. It sounds confusing—until you lie on a Purple Mattress. Soft and firm is actually a great way to describe it. It’s soft enough to give way and cradle pressure points and firm enough to support less concentrated weight, such as in the legs and back.

That may echo the same promises of most mattress companies; however, I have noticed some distinct differences with my Purple Hybrid Premier mattress. Flaws in traditional and memory foam mattresses led me to Purple. Here’s how.

Innerspring Mattress

Before I bought a Purple bed, I slept on traditional innerspring mattresses, including pillow-tops. Like most new mattresses, my traditional mattresses started out soft, supportive, and comfy. Ultimately, though, the springs gave way across the length of the bed creating a small, body-shaped valley.

This was even more pronounced in the pillow-topped mattress I owned. Each time I rolled over, I was rolling “uphill.” It cradled my whole body instead of just the pressure points.

Memory Foam Mattress

When I was done dealing with my old innerspring, I gave a hybrid memory foam mattress a try. I liked the way memory foam seemed to better align my spine. It felt light-years ahead of an innerspring mattress. I purchased a new hybrid memory foam mattress with cool comfort technology so I wouldn’t have to worry about overheating at night, a common complaint among memory foam bed owners.

I slept on it for a few weeks before deciding to return it. While I liked how the memory foam provided great support, I hated the slow responsiveness. It was actually hard to get out of the bed. Plus, even though it was labeled “comfort cool memory foam,” it kept me too warm for comfort. I wanted responsive support that wouldn’t make me overheat, so I checked out something totally different.

The Purple Bed Difference

I tried out the various options in-store. For reference, I am about 5-foot-5,135 pounds, and my husband is about 6 feet, 175 pounds. We are also both side sleepers who occasionally sleep on our backs. We both wanted a slightly firmer bed, as we did not like how our previous pillow-top had deteriorated in comfort so quickly.

After trying the original, Hybrid, and Hybrid Premier, we liked the Hybrid Premier the best. The 3-inch Premier seemed to balance comfort, support, and responsiveness just right, so that’s what we got.

After several months, the bed still easily contours to my body. Even as the grid gives way to pressure points, it maintains support under evenly distributed weight, such as my legs and back.

It also shifts support rapidly as I change positions, making it easy to find just the right sleep position on any given night. This responsiveness also makes it easy to get out of bed in the morning, a feature I used to take for granted until I tried to get out of a memory foam bed.

Many reviewers comment that sleeping on a Purple bed is a bit like floating, which I can say is a fairly accurate description. I attribute that floating feeling to the airy support of the grid. Purple claims that this airy quality ensures a cool sleep. Along with thousands of other reviews that attest to this, I have to agree.

The only downside that I noticed was the feel of the grid as I first tried to sleep on the mattress. It’s a distinct feeling that I was able to move past, but not every consumer gets over that feeling. However, even if you try it at the store and don’t like the grid feeling, keep in mind a mattress pad and sheet would cover the grid at home. I noticed that I felt it much less at home than in the store.

Purple Mattress Review

Photo: Beth Cranston

Is the Purple Mattress Good Quality?

To assess the quality of the Purple Mattress I looked at three things: support, motion transfer, and shifting.

A quality mattress provides consistent support over time. A telltale sign of diminishing support, and lack of quality, is a permanent indentation where you sleep. After 15 months of sleeping in my Purple Hybrid Premier, I have seen no indentations in the mattress. It supports me just as well as when I first purchased it.

For those who share a bed, minimal motion transfer is an essential characteristic of a comfortable bed. One person’s tossing and turning shouldn’t turn into two people tossing and turning. Although I do notice when my husband gets in and out of bed, it doesn’t disturb or move me. Any motion transfer that occurs is nearly imperceptible.

Finally, shifting is also minimal with this mattress. In the 15 months that we’ve had it, it’s probably moved about 1½ inches from the center of the platform. Despite its weight, it was easy to move it back by myself.

Is the Purple Mattress Worth the Money?

With three standard beds and seven size options, Purple offers a price point for just about every budget. The original Purple queen mattress retails for $1,199, while the Purple Hybrid Premier queen mattress with a 4-inch grid sells for $3,099. They also offer seasonal and holiday sales and packages for budget-minded buyers.

As to whether it’s worth the money, the answer is, it depends. For me, the Hybrid Premier was absolutely worth the money. That said, a mattress is such a personal purchase. Every person must factor in body type, sleep position, comfort preferences, and, of course, budget. Even after all of these factors have been carefully considered, many people still have a hard time making a decision when it comes to a mattress. It’s no wonder. No one can determine whether a mattress will be comfortable for 8 hours a night after having rested on it in a store for a mere 5 minutes.

Fortunately, most mattress makers and retailers understand this and offer a trial period. Purple is no different. They offer a 100-night in-home trial. The caveat is that they do ask that buyers sleep on their new mattress for at least 21 nights. However, many retailers and sleep experts suggest that it can take up to 30 to 60 days to adjust to a new mattress.

Purple Mattress Review

Photo: Beth Cranston

Is a Purple Mattress Right for You?

As anyone who has shopped for a mattress knows, the market overflows with options. There are an estimated 175 bed-in-a-box companies alone, which makes choosing the right mattress even more daunting.

When trying to choose the right mattress, shoppers can feel a bit like Goldilocks. One mattress is too hard, while another is too soft. For those shoppers, the responsive support of a Purple Mattress may provide that “just right” feeling they’re looking for.

Unlike a traditional innerspring mattress, it provides cushioning for pressure points and evenly supports the rest of the body. Plus it quickly adjusts as you move, unlike slow-to-respond memory foam, so you don’t have to wait to get comfortable every time you move.

Its durable, breathable design makes for a comfortable sleep night after night. Not only does it provide a cool sleep, but it offers the same level of support each night. No mattress rotating or flipping is necessary to counteract the dreaded sagging of an innerspring mattress. If you can get used to the grid and aren’t intimidated by the weight, the Purple Mattress might just provide the perfect night’s sleep.

Where to Buy the Purple Mattress

Get the Purple Mattress at: