About the Birch Natural Mattress
The Birch Natural is a hybrid mattress, meaning it combines soft top layers often made of foam with innersprings like you’d find in a traditional mattress. Underneath its organic cotton cover, the mattress is wrapped in flame-retardant organic wool batting—mattresses are required to include some sort of retardant, like fiberglass or wool, to meet certain flame-resistance requirements.
More wool can be found in the topmost softer section of the mattress, this layer designed to cradle the body and regulate temperature. Below that is a latex layer made to relieve pressure and provide support. At the bottom of the mattress, a support layer of individually wrapped 8-inch steel coils reinforce the mattress’ edges and isolate motion.
Birch is a subsidiary of Helix Sleep, a broader catalog of mattresses, bedding, bed platforms, and, interestingly, sofas. Helix claims to offer “mattresses designed for every body,” meaning that its brands host a variety of mattresses based on a person’s desired type, firmness, feel, and sleeping position.
Birch’s focus is “organic, natural mattresses made of sustainably sourced materials,” like birch wool from sheep in New Zealand, organic cashmere from goats in Mongolia, latex foam derived from rubber trees across southeast Asia, and cotton and steel from the United States.
The company has the certifications to back up those claims, too, including stamps of approval from the Global Organic Textile Standard and Oeko-Tex Standard, which confirm materials were organic and free of hazardous chemicals. Both of Birch’s mattresses, the Natural Mattress and the Luxe Natural Mattress, meet these standards. The Natural Mattress is the company’s flagship product, and it’s less expensive than the Luxe, which is advertised as an upgrade.
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What we like about the Birch Natural Mattress
It diffuses heat well
With all that wool, you might wonder if the Birch sleeps hot. Our lab tests proved the opposite: The mattress did quite well at diffusing heat from our heated pads, which indicates hot sleepers can rest easy. We put these pads and temperature sensors on the surface of the mattress, measuring the rate over time at which the heat diffuses across and into the bed. We also put the sensors inside pillowcases and under blankets, which mimics how someone at home might sleep.
The Birch Natural’s ability to diffuse heat quickly compared with other hybrid mattresses we’ve tested. Hybrids are typically better at temperature regulation than all-foam mattresses because of the inner coils, which offer space for airflow throughout the mattress.
It relieves pressure
The Birch Natural is, all technical lingo aside, quite pleasant to lie on. From the moment we unboxed it, I really enjoyed my time spent on it. Even just sitting near the edge was nice. The mattress scored highly in our pressure relief tests, seemingly offering soft cushioning with structured support. To measure pressure relief, we roll dumbbells across the surface to observe how the mattress reacts to any given weight. We also vary where on the mattress we place these weights, which tells us how a mattress may relieve pressure points at the shoulders and hips.
The Birch Natural had a relatively even distribution of pressure relief and did a great job at both cradling and cushioning weights. This indicates that the mattress would likely strike a nice balance and not feel too soft or too firm to someone sleeping on it in any sleep position.
It isolates motion
No, we don’t do the famous wine glass test to measure motion isolation. Instead, we drop a 150-pound punching bag onto one side of the mattress and record how motion is registered on the other side. This tells us how one person’s movement throughout the night may or may not be felt by anyone else in the bed.
The Birch Natural scored well, isolating the motion within one area instead of dispersing it across the surface. All-foam mattresses tend to be great at isolating motion because of how that material tends to absorb most movement, while hybrids with their springs can be a toss-up. We were impressed to see the Birch score alongside some of our favorite foam mattresses here.
What we don’t like about the Birch Natural Mattress
It has a strong odor after unboxing
If there’s one thing that may turn some buyers away from the Birch Natural Mattress, it’s the strong odor that emanated when we unboxed it. At first, the mattress smelled like stale, old crackers—it was vaguely reminiscent of Grandma’s pantry, or those Ritz you bought once when you were sick and never ate again. While this may not sound unpleasant, the odor was so strong that we could smell it from outside of our sleep lab room.
Of course, mattress odors dissipate over time, and this could be a nonissue for some customers. But it’s the only con we could find with the Birch Natural Mattress.
What other people are saying about the Birch Natural Mattress
The Birch Natural has an average 4.7-star rating out of 5, based on 1,639 reviews on the company’s website. Customers appreciate its organic materials as well as how the mattress balances soft natural wool and supportive coils. One reviewer writes: “We love that we don’t feel the spring when we move. We also appreciate the firmness and that you sink into the material a little.”
Similarly, multiple customers were worried that the Birch Natural Mattress would be too soft but instead found the firmness level to be a great balance for a variety of sleepers. One customer says that the mattress was “highly recommended for side sleepers,” and another notes that their partner slept well on their back.
Still, how a mattress rates on the firmness scale is very personal. Some reviews say the mattress is too firm for them. Others write that the mattress isn’t firm enough. One customer says: “Based on reviews, I expected this mattress to be firmer and more supportive. But on it, I felt I was sinking in and not staying aligned. I woke up with back pain every day.”
What is the return policy and warranty for the Birch Natural Mattress?
Birch offers a 100-day trial period to return your mattress, but the company asks you to sleep on it for at least 30 days before deciding to return it.
Birch also offers a 25-year warranty for its Natural Mattress, which only applies to the original owner of the product and is limited to defects found in the material or production of the mattress. Those may include visible indentation greater than an inch, flawed material, and issues with the cover of the mattress. In the first 10 years, Birch will repair or replace any flawed mattress at no cost to the customer. The company will also pay all labor and transportation costs.
From years 11 to 25, the warranty includes prorated charges as well as transportation and/or shipping costs. If your Birch is replaced within the 11th year, the prorated charge will be 50% of the original price. After the 11th year, the cost increases 5% for each subsequent year until the 21st year. After the 21st year, the prorated charge is 95% of the original price.
Any replacement for a Birch mattress will be the same model and size as the original. If you receive a replacement mattress, a new warranty begins with its arrival.
Is the Birch Natural Mattress worth it?
Yes, it’s a great hybrid mattress
Based on our lab results and experiences, the Birch Natural Mattress is one of the best we’ve tested.
And while it’s a homerun if you’re looking for an organic mattress, we feel that’s too limiting. Sure, customers love that the Birch Natural Mattress is made of sustainable materials. But they also think it’s an all-around great mattress—and our lab tests support that.
It diffuses heat well, relieves pressure across the body, and isolates motion. It’s firm and supportive but soft and cushioning. Based on all of this, the Birch Natural Mattress strikes a rare balance that many customers may be in the market for.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Chris Panella is a staff writer covering sleep, style, and other lifestyle areas. Previous bylines include The Daily Beast, Film Cred, Film Daze, and The Tufts Daily.
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