A Handmade Mattress?

Boll & Branch Mattress Review: How Much Should You Spend for a Good Night’s Sleep?


January 4, 2019 Reviews By Photo by Boll & Branch

Missy and Scott Tannen cofounded Boll & Branch in 2014 with promises of bringing transparency, sustainability and morality to the world of bed sheets. The direct-to-consumer outfit makes sheets of incredibly high quality while managing to sidestep the clichéd branding of its fellow web-based competitors.

In October, Missy and Scott’s company declared its original message isn’t bound to what sits atop the bed any longer, thus the Boll & Branch Mattress was born. The spring mattress is stamped with all the acronym certifications expected from a company hellbent on ethical luxury. But at $2,500 for a queen mattress, one has to wonder whether Boll & Branch’s handmade mattress is worth serious deliberation.

The Good: The Boll & Branch Mattress is exceptionally comfortable, particularly as a side and back sleeper. And thanks to poly-wool and graphite-infused latex foam top layers, it keeps its cool through the night. Its edges are lined with a thin ring of extra-stiff coils that act as guardrails for reckless sleepers (like my sleeping partner), too. The fact that it’s completely handmade with quality materials (GOTS-certified, Fair Trade Certified) and without glues and compression is also a plus. Lastly, it’s far more motion-stabilizing than other spring mattresses I’ve tested.

Who It’s For: People who value ethical business practices working to make high-quality products with a record of stellar customer service.

Watch Out For: The hand-sewn tufts, though they do allow the mattress to forgo glue or other adhesive to stay together, create tiny dips and hard spots when lounging or leaning on one arm (when you’re lying on your back or stomach it’s not an issue). To my estimation, it sleeps somewhere just above medium firmness, so if you’re a person who prefers something to sink into, this mattress is probably not for you. Finally, though there is a 100-night trial period, the inability to lay on the mattress before buying is still there (there is a retail location at a mall in New Jersey).

Alternatives: If you’re interested in the Boll & Branch mattress, you’re interested in a sustainable, ethical, comfortable product ethos. As there are in all mattress categories, there are a flurry of competitors to consider, but the Avocado Green Mattress comes with the most-vetted recommendations. It’s about $1,000 cheaper, comes with a lengthier warranty, equivalent commitments to sustainability and it was Consumer Reports best innerspring mattress of 2018. However, it sleeps a bit softer, is not Fair Trade certified and isn’t nearly as motion-stabilizing.

Review: Today, most people know the bedding industry is afflicted with a mess of vague, buzzy words that don’t mean a whole lot. Compound this with the general confusion regarding sleep and you have an industry primed to make a killing on empty promises. Boll & Branch as a company, while pricey, eliminates anxiety in these areas. Its mattress embodies this to a T.

Boll & Branch’s mattress bucks the trend of foam mattresses and incorporates two layers of metal coils on the bottom. After the coils come two layers of latex and a wool/poly blend on top.

Instead of rolling with the popular trend of making a foam mattress, compressing it and shipping it in a box to customers, Boll & Branch’s comes with white glove delivery (if requested, they’ll also recycle your old mattress). And instead of balking on its sustainability promises to cut costs, it enlisted factories in Florida and Texas to make each mattress by hand, to order.

The structure shares similarities with many modern spring mattresses — layers of natural latex foam and poly-wool that act as heatsinks, stiffer coils around the edges to create an invisible wall for wild sleepers and a bunch of wrapped canvas foundational springs for your traditional body support. A thin but effective layer of micro-coils sandwiched between the top layers and the support coils below makes for a softer landing on the bed and plays a part in the mattress’s exceptional ability to negate motion transfer. Between the primary latex layer and wool-poly top layer, there’s an additional latex layer infused with graphite, a material used in electronics and firefighter’s uniforms for its heatsinking properties.

The structure shares similarities with many modern spring mattresses — layers of natural latex foam and poly-wool that act as heatsinks, stiffer coils around the edges to create an invisible wall for wild sleepers and a bunch of wrapped canvas foundational springs for your traditional body support. A thin but effective layer of micro-coils sandwiched between the top layers and the support coils below makes for a softer landing on the bed and plays a part in the mattress’s exceptional ability to negate motion transfer. Between the primary latex layer and wool-poly top layer, there’s an additional latex layer infused with graphite, a material used in electronics and firefighter’s uniforms for its heatsinking properties.

Like all Boll & Branch products, the brand’s mattress comes with a lot of support beyond the product itself. In this case, a 10-year warranty, a 100-night trial period, its legitimately helpful customer service team and white glove delivery (and pickup of your former mattress, if needed). The warranty’s length and contents is fairly standard for a luxury-level mattress — it’s basically guaranteed not to break down through any natural means for a decade at minimum — but it’s not exceptional (check out The Sleep Judge’s guide to similar mattresses for a better idea on warranty length).

Verdict: If you’re in the market for thoughtful products with nothing to hide or obscure from would-be customers, you’re a potential Boll & Branch mattress buyer. It isn’t the only mattress that’s made using all Fair Trade Certified cotton. It’s not the only one made by hand in the US. It’s not the only spring mattress that does a good job eliminating motion transfer. But it might be the only one to put all these things in one package. If you value these things but the price scares you away, wait for a sale — Boll & Branch rarely runs them but they do happen (it was almost $700 off on Black Friday).

Key Specs

Delivery: White glove
Construction: Innerspring, natural latex, wool-poly blend
Warranty: 10-year limited
Trial period: 100 nights
Manufacturer origin: USA

Boll & Branch provided this product for review.

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