Long off-gassing period
Felt warm at times
What is the Casper Original mattress?
Casper is best known for its mattresses, but since its inception has branched out into other areas of bedding—it even makes a dog bed that one of our writers (and her dog) absolutely adore.
The Casper Original, its baseline mattress, is made with three layers of foam encased within a blended fabric cover that consists of polyester, cotton, rayon, and lycra. The Casper Original’s uppermost internal layer is made of perforated foam, which purports to promote airflow and improve your sleep experience by helping you stay cool. The next layer is composed of memory foam with “zoned support,” which the company claims is “divided into three ergonomic zones that help keep your spine aligned.” (A customer service rep couldn’t clarify exactly how the different zones are created, though, and said that the majority of the cushy or firm sensation comes from the top and bottom layers.) Finally there’s the base layer, which is denser and more durable and aims to provide support and prevent you from sinking through.
How did we test the Casper Original mattress?
Here at Reviewed, mattress testing is everything you could dream up, and then some. As with all mattresses, I slept on the Casper Original for a month. This gave me enough time to ensure it doesn’t cause discomfort in my back, neck, or shoulders. The month-long period also ensures it has sufficient time to firm up after being opened (an important step, as these things are compressed to fit into a box that’s less than half their size), and to off-gas any chemical odors, a common process for foam products. While I had the Casper, I assessed my overall experience, as well as specifics like: whether it felt hot overnight, how well it supported my body in different sleep positions, its ability to isolate motion, if the edges collapsed when I lay or sat on them, if I could easily roll from one position to another on the mattress without feeling bogged down, and its bounciness or lack thereof.
But subjective testing isn’t enough for us, so we also welcome each mattress into our labs in Cambridge for objective trials. There, the Casper Original was checked for heat retention by cycling an electric blanket on and off for several hours and measuring how quickly the heat dissipated during the “off” periods. Its edge support was evaluated by seeing if a heavy bowling ball stayed balanced on the perimeter rather than rolled to the floor, and its bounciness assessed by dropping said bowling ball onto it and observing the rebound. Finally, the Casper's ability to contour to different pressure points was ascertained by resting a heavy barbell atop its surface.
What's it like to unbox the Casper Original?
The Casper Original was unremarkable when it comes to opening and unwrapping. Like most mattresses in a box, it arrives at your door compressed and wrapped into the shape of a giant jelly roll. Once you puncture the plastic, it expands rapidly to take its full-form.
The Casper Original weighs 87 pounds with the box and wrapping, but drops to 79 pounds once you're working with just the mattress itself. Right out of the box, it was somewhat floppy, as are most all-foam mattresses, but it's also lighter than many, which made it easier for me to move. If you want to open it in your living room to firm up and air out, it won't be as much of a struggle to get it onto the bed frame—even if you're working alone.
What’s great about the Casper Original?
Unfortunately, I don’t have much to rave about in terms of my experience with the Casper Original. It was a fine mattress, just not particularly great or noteworthy. I didn’t notice any disturbances in my sleep from night to night, nor did I wake up with so much as a crick in my neck. While I never fall asleep on my back, I somehow woke up on the Casper face to the ceiling a handful of times, yet I wasn’t plagued by the typical lower-back strain I tend to feel in this position.
I’ve slept on 10 mattresses in the last year, and I’m still having a hard time differentiating exactly what the Casper felt like—that’s because it really didn’t have any defining characteristics for me. I didn’t immediately notice softness, as with the Puffy Lux, nor was I impressed by its firmness, as I was with the DreamCloud. In some ways, my absence of feeling anything about the mattress is the perfect description of what it was like to sleep on: bland.
It cushion-y, not overly buoyant
The Casper mattress, like most all-foam mattresses, doesn’t tend to give you much bounce or rebound when you sit or move around, like you might find with an innerspring or even a hybrid bed. When I sat or flopped down on the bed (as I often do at the end of a day), it cushioned my landing without rebounding me against the force of my body weight. While I prefer mattresses with slightly more of a memory-foam absorbing feel, the Casper's foam was welcoming enough for me to list this attribute as a pro.
What’s not great about Casper Original?
After sending the Casper off and starting on the next mattress on the testing list, I realized I hadn’t actually slept well the entire month I had it. Though I never had any telltale aches, I was constantly tired, a sign that my sleep quality decreased dramatically while I had this bed. I’m not one to attribute something like that to a singular cause—correlation isn’t causation, after all—but I can’t think of another factor aside from the mattress itself that could have impacted my sleep in that manner.
The Casper Original isn’t particularly supportive
I slept on the Casper Original on my stomach, back, and side. It wasn’t uncomfortable in any of the positions, but it also wasn’t great. I find that mattresses fall into one of two overarching categories: firm and supportive, or squishy and snuggly. But the Casper wasn’t really either. It was kind of squishy in a cushion-like way—a contradiction that neither welcomed me in nor made me feel well supported.
One of the biggest downsides of the Casper Original mattress is its terrible edge support. I’ve tested 10 mattresses, and none have tanked in this department quite as badly as the Casper. To assess a mattress’s edge support, I lie right on the bed’s periphery and move around a bit. With most, I can squirm at least a little before I feel as though I’m going to go crashing down to the floor. I didn’t even move on the edge of this bed before feeling as though I was going to roll off. The corner and side also collapsed beneath me when I sat on them. It was as though the edges had no structural integrity whatsoever. This is a major downside for folks who like to sleep on the edge of the bed. Our lab test results mirrored this—the bowling ball rolled off the edge of the mattress almost immediately. It didn’t roll off the corner of the bed as readily—which may mean that the corners are slightly more supportive because they're at a vertex, but they still failed to support my bodyweight if I sat to, say, tie my shoes.
It doesn't isolate motion well
The mattress’s lack of bounciness, a pro in my book, unfortunately didn't mean it was great at isolating motion. In our testing, movement on one side of the bed was apparent on the other. To assess motion transfer, I placed a Newton's cradle along the center of one edge of the mattress. I bounced lightly on my knees on the opposite side, moved around a bit, and pressed firmly into the mattress with my hands a few times, all along watching to see if the balls swayed or clicked together. The Casper Original wasn't the worst in this regard, but the Newton's cradle clearly swayed in response to when I bounced on the bed.
It smelled like a new mattress for a long, long time
Foam mattresses are known for “off-gassing,” wherein they release residual chemicals leftover from manufacturing that can have an odor. It’s usually an issue for a week at most. The Casper Original made it into a longer short-term issue than any other mattress I’ve slept on. I unboxed it at Reviewed’s main office so it could undergo the lab testing first, so it was a couple of months before I plopped it onto my bed frame. When I first unsheathed it from the plastic bag we used to protect it while in transit, it smelled a bit, but mostly when I pressed my face in close and it wasn’t bothersome.
It wasn’t until I spent a night sleeping on it that I realized that the smell problem had far deeper roots: My shirt smelled the next morning. And the morning after that. The smell wasn’t as strong as other mattresses I’ve tested, but it lasted for far longer. It wasn’t until about halfway through the month I spent sleeping on the mattress that it finally dissipated—two and a half months after I initially opened the bed. Of all the mattresses I’ve tested, none have managed to stink for that long.
Casper’s customer service doesn’t have a spotless record
Casper’s customer service appears superficially responsive—I’ve chatted with its online agents numerous times about various products, the return policy, warranty, and more. But its Better Business Bureau rankings raise eyebrows. (Nonetheless, it outperforms Nectar, in this regard.) The BBB hasn’t identified a clear pattern of complaints of specific issues, such as, say, customers not receiving products on time—but the overall score is a measly 2.5 out of 5 (based on 35 ratings). The company has also received just shy of 150 complaints over the course of the last three years, which is better than many mattress companies, but not ideal.
What are Casper’s trial, return, and warranty policies?
Casper has an average-length trial period, 100 nights, allowing you to give it a whirl before fully committing. If you dislike it within that period, you may contact the company and it will arrange for a local charity partner or recycling company to take the mattress off your hands. From there, a refund will be processed.
Casper also has a 10-year limited warranty. If your mattress starts showing signs of manufacturer defects within that time period, the company will either repair or replace the product. In order to not void your warranty, the mattress must be used on either a flat surface, flat wooden slats that are no more than 4 inches apart, or an adjustable frame that’s specifically designed to be compatible with memory foam mattresses. To start a warranty claim, you just need to email the company. Also, if you purchase the Casper Original, and feel like a costlier model might be better, the company has an option for you to pay the difference and upgrade.
What are current owners saying?
Casper is beloved by many, including Reviewed’s editor in chief, Dave Kender, who still sleeps on a Casper he bought years ago. (We believe the mattress has been redesigned somewhat from 2014 when Dave got his; namely, the current version is one inch shorter in height and has increased perforation in the foam for airflow.) His favorite attributes: it’s not too soft or too firm (I concur) and the return policy is good (sure). "I bought the Casper after enduring years of a squeaky mattress I hated," he says. "After that, I never thought much about my mattress again." His contention is that the best bed is one that doesn't give you any reason to take notice of it. This also jives with me as a concept, just not one I'd apply positively to the Casper Original.
Many customer reviews highlight improvements in their sleep after sleeping on the mattress. “Both my boyfriend and I have back problems,” one wrote. “I was waking up every day with intense hip pain from our old mattress. After [our] first night on the Casper Original, I woke up with no hip pain, much less back pain.”
A handful of less enthused reviewers touch on the value of the product. “Sorry, but [the] price, quality, and durability was disappointing,” one wrote. “Side support was extremely disappointing, [there's] basically none. Bought a competitor's similar mattress [that was] $300 less expensive and [offers] much better quality and support.”
Is Casper worth it?
I’ve met many people who love their Casper mattresses—from a random physical therapist I struck up a conversation with while waiting for take-out food in Utah to, yes, our editor in chief. It just isn’t the mattress for me and I think you can do a lot better, while spending less.
It wasn’t a bad mattress, but it was far from phenomenal. I’m a good sleeper and I’ve acclimated to switching mattresses every month. That’s to say: It takes a lot to change my sleep enough to mess it up. Yet somehow the Casper Original took a toll on an entire month of rest. After bidding the mattress a final farewell, I was glad to send it off to new horizons and out of my bed frame.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Staff Writer, Sleep@lindseyvix
Lindsey writes about sleep, lifestyle, and more for Reviewed. In her waking hours, she likes to spend time outside, read, cook, and bake. She holds a master’s in journalism from Boston University and bachelors' degrees in English Literature and Anthropology from the University of Utah.
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