Gentle Into that Good Night

The Casper Mattress


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No one is pretending to be an authority on what you will find comfortable. That’s a very personal decision, akin to recommending a jock strap. But what is for certain is that the life expectancy of your mattress probably isn’t what you think. The sunset days of popular and, initially at least, extremely comfortable pillow-top mattresses can begin as soon as five years after use begins. And this degradation occurs so slowly that you probably don’t notice that your sleep is suffering. A mattress is to your bedroom what your timing belt is to your engine: forget about it and you’ll suddenly find that you can’t get started in the morning. Most modern mattresses, especially pillow tops, are also massively thick, dominating any room with feng shui-interrupting excess. These are just a few of the problems that the mattress company Casper is trying to solve.

Casper is an oddball. They’re a startup in an industry dominated by the trifecta of S’s — Sealy, Serta and Simmons. But their size allows them to sell directly from company headquarters in New York City, cut costs on salesmen and showroom space, and deliver mattresses to your doorstep free of charge. To further cut costs, they only sell one model, a memory foam mattress — which is currently the fastest growing market segment in the mattress world. To be clear, their mattresses aren’t exactly cheap; the queen-sized Casper is $850, with free shipping. But their business model means you’re buying comfort per dollar at a better rate than anywhere else.

Their mattresses consist of base foam topped with a layer of 4-pound high-density memory foam — the same quicksand stuff featured in the mattresses of anyone over 80 years old. On top of this is a layer of expensive, non-allergenic dunlop latex. The founders wanted to combat the sinking, heat-retaining feel of memory foam by capping it with something that allows air circulation and a little spring. You can’t jump around while a wine glass is on the bed, but you can do something that’s rather difficult on a traditional memory foam mattress: have sex.

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This focus on sex, along with an online-only store (there’s a 100-day, hassle-free return policy) and delivery in a surprisingly small box are targeted to a younger generation with a penchant for shopping online and moving apartments more frequently than their parents. And as for comfort, that was addressed in our full review earlier this year: “I’m a side and back sleeper, and the mattress sank around my ‘pressure points’ without making me feel like I was going to drown. After about ten minutes of lying there I couldn’t remember which side of my body I was actually lying on…. I was long gone.” The mattress is low key and comes with a ten-year warranty, and if you don’t like it, you can always return it.

$500+


Total Height: 10 inches
Top Layer: 1.5 inches of dunlop latex foam
Middle Layer: 1.5 inches of 4-pound high-density memory foam
Base Layer: 7 inches of dense base foam
Shipping: free anywhere inside the U.S.