Comfortable for all sleep positions
Balances firm and soft
Strong initial odor
What is Leesa?
Leesa is newer to the online mattress industry, having joined the scene in 2015. Older companies, like Tuft and Needle and Casper, may have better name recognition, but Leesa boasts a robust base of satisfied fans. Even their cheapest model, the Leesa Original mattress, has just under 20,000 reviews, and maintains a high rating of 4.5 stars.
As a company, Leesa states it has: “Good products and good purpose.” This refers to the self-proclaimed quality of its mattresses, and the initiative to donate one bed for every 10 sold to a family in need. Specifically, they donate mattresses to children who would otherwise lack or share one. What’s more, Leesa is environmentally friendly, and the products, including mattresses, use recycled materials.
How much is a Leesa Hybrid mattress?
Before the mattress can even get to a buyer’s door, they have to be willing to shell out a chunk of cash that can’t be understated. The bed comes in at $1,699 for a queen size. Of course there are more expensive beds out there, but compared to other online mattresses, which can be as cheap as a few hundred dollars, this is a lot to ask consumers to set forward.
Sure, like many mattress companies Leesa has frequent sales, but I have yet to see the price for a queen size hybrid drop much below $1,300.
How we tested the Leesa Hybrid mattress
I tested the Leesa Hybrid in the most practical way: sleeping on it and living with it for a month. I sleep in multiple positions, and tried each one with the mattress to see how its comfort and supportiveness stood up. I used the mattress like I normally would, reading or watching Netflix before bed, sitting and talking on the phone to my friends, and everything else.
I considered a variety of factors while I had the Leesa, like whether I noticed it retaining my body heat, if I could feel any motion when my cat jumped up on the bed, and how supportive the edges were for sitting on.
In addition, our senior scientist Julia MacDougall brought the Leesa Hybrid into our sleep lab in Cambridge, Mass., to evaluate how it performed on a few more tests. She executed the standard bowling ball test, wherein she dropped a bowling ball onto the mattress from about waist-height, to determine the relative bounciness of the mattress, and she also assessed its shape retention by piling on 150 pounds of weight plates overnight then removing them to measure how quickly (or slowly) the foam bounced back.
Julia also assessed the heat retention of the surface, by affixing temperature sensors and covering them with a heated blanket, turned it on for an hour, then cycling it on and off in 15-minute intervals for up to six hours. Then, she looked at the temperature peaks over time. For mattresses that do not retain heat, the maximum temperature values should not change over time (or, for cooling mattresses, should decrease over time). However, for mattresses that retain heat, the peak temperature values will go up over time, as the mattress won't effectively remove the added heat before the heated blanket is turned on again.
What’s it like to unbox the Leesa Hybrid mattress?
I was shocked when I looked up the Leesa Hybrid’s weight just prior to its arrival at my door; a queen size comes in at a whopping 115 pounds—the other mattresses we’ve tested hover between 60-70 pounds. The closest in weight is Casper, which was still 25 pounds lighter. And that’s just the mattress. Add about five pounds for the box and that's at least 120 pounds, more than half the weight of the average American adult.
Needless to say, moving the beast after it was delivered to my apartment complex was a challenge. I decided to give it a go alone, because many people live solo or may not have someone capable of helping them move about 120-pounds of boxed mattress. I am fortunate to have an elevator in my building, because even with another person’s help, I’m not sure we would have been able to get the box up three flights of stairs. My advice: Have someone on call, or better yet on hand, if you order this bed.
Mattresses bought online are rolled up into a cylinder and wrapped tightly so they can be packed into a relatively small box. The plastic film that encased the Leesa reminded me of the burrito game I used to play as a kid, where someone rolls you in a blanket, only to promptly pull the blanket from underneath you, making you unroll, while you lie still. However, unlike the game, unwrapping a mattress burrito is not particularly fun.
It seemed as if no matter how much plastic wrap I rolled off, there was still more. Given the thing weighs 115 pounds, the unwrapping process was quite an ordeal. The mattress roll kept, well, rolling into my furniture, as there’s little floor space in my apartment for such an undertaking. It was difficult to control by myself. Yet again, it would have been helpful to have another person.
It was fast to expand to its full, rectangular size after I finally cut open the last layer of plastic bag. It felt squishy at first, but it gradually firmed up as the foam and coils decompressed.
After letting it air out in the living room for 24 hours (the minimum amount of time suggested for most foam mattresses to off-gas), I somehow hulked the thing onto my bed frame, in all its glorious floppiness. (I’d also suggest having someone around to help with this step as well—it will just make your day easier.)
What’s great about the Leesa Hybrid?
When I started sleeping on the Leesa, my parents were contemplating buying a new mattress. My mom asked how it was and after just one night of sleeping on it I told her unequivocally: I love the Leesa Hybrid Mattress. I rolled out of my bed feeling refreshed and well rested—how everyone hopes to wake up each morning.
After that night, and every night of my 40 days I spent with the Leesa, I was ready to recommend the bed to everyone I know, and felt completely confident in the suggestion. The bed is just that comfortable. But “comfortable” isn’t a very useful term, so I’ll explain.
For the most part, I’m a stomach and side sleeper. Stomach sleeping can strain your lower back by making it over-arch. The lower-back issues that come with this sleep position are something I’m keenly aware of, and if I lie face-down on a bed I can usually tell within a few minutes whether or not its support (or lack of) causes strain on my lower back.
On the Leesa Hybrid mattress, my lower back never bothered me while I slept or read on my stomach propped up on my elbows. It offers enough support below the memory foam top that you don’t feel as though you’re sinking into a void of quicksand foam. Yet the top layer, which is a breathable foam, has some immediate give, so if you really plonk yourself down (as I sometimes do), you don’t feel as though you’ve hit a slightly soft rock. This attribute was confirmed in our lab tests, with the amount of air that bowling ball achieved on the Leesa Hybrid speaks to its bouncy nature. The Leesa Hybrid is not aggressively firm, or like sinking into a giant marshmallow. It just strikes a balance.
In fact, that is one of the Leesa Hybrid’s most noteworthy strengths: balance. The bed provides enough support, thanks to its pocket coil base, and give for all sleep positions. It hits the sweet spot, providing adequate support and cushion for side sleepers, and sufficient give for stomach sleepers. I don’t sleep on my back because I find it uncomfortable, but I found lying on my back on the Leesa to be a pleasant experience. If I’d slept on it longer, maybe I would’ve converted to being a tri-position sleeper.
I also liked the feel and texture of the fabric cover (a.k.a., the ticking) of the mattress itself. I don’t see how it changes functionality (especially as the pro advice is to always keep your mattress covered with a separate mattress protector, which helps keep it clean), though the Leesa website claims its ticking is a “breathable blend." The fabric is a combination of primarily polyester, with lesser amounts of viscose and poly-lycra, which is an uncommon blend that Leesa developed itself for its mattresses. You can tell thought went into it, because the fabric cover is aesthetically and tactilely pleasing, it was so soft to the touch and so smooth. The fabric is a subtle gray that’s somehow pretty, unlike mattresses that look like off-white squares. At the bottom of the bed, there are four darker gray stripes, each containing a different pattern, including houndstooth and honeycomb. It’s all in the details, right?
What are the downsides of the Leesa Hybrid?
Before I tucked myself in on that first night with the Leesa, I was concerned. Not because I thought the mattress would be uncomfortable—clearly, that was never an issue—but because it smelled. Horrifically.
After about a day and a half of airing out in my fairly well-ventilated living room, I moved the mattress into my bedroom. I noticed its chemical smell fill up the smaller space right away, so I ran my fan until I went to bed, for an additional 10 hours or so. By the time I lay down to go to sleep, the nasty mattress aroma was still wafting up from the bed, and at that point, right into my nose. I can sleep through anything and everything, so it wasn’t enough of a bother to keep me up, but for people who are sensitive to odors, this could be a concern. After getting up the next morning, I was perplexed: The mattress odor had somehow followed me out of my room. Until I realized: It was in my hair. This was … an experience, to say the least (though luckily nothing that a thorough shampooing couldn’t fix).
The Leesa Hybrid mattress is certified by CertiPUR-US, which indicates the foam doesn’t contain certain potentially risky chemicals, like formaldehyde and phthalates, sometimes used in the production process. This is a major plus for people with asthma or other pre-existing conditions that could flare up with exposure to an off-gassing mattress. (Off-gassing is just the process every new mattress goes through as it airs out and releases chemicals from manufacturing process that were constrained by the packaging.) The fabric cover used on the Leesa also does not contain flame-retardant chemicals.
The aggressive mattress smell radiating from the sample I tested was likely due to the packaging trapping chemicals that could have otherwise aired out before it arrived at my door, according to Leesa. In any case, it should dissipate with time. And, indeed, it did. After a little less than a week, I didn’t notice any odor when I went to bed, or in my hair the next day.
The Leesa Hybrid retained some heat in our lab testing, an issue that some memory foam mattresses are prone to. In my subjective experience, it wasn’t enough to bother me on a nightly basis. If you or your partner sleep hot, though, this could be a consideration.
Another small quibble with Leesa is its unwieldiness if you have to move it. To be fair, no one likes moving mattresses. When they’re shipped to you, it’s one thing. They’re coiled up in a box that’s designed to be moved. But after you use them, and they can no longer be wrapped up into a compact sausage roll, that’s another. The Leesa, I feel, is in a league of its own in terms of moving difficulty. Maybe all memory foam mattresses are unruly when moving, but to me it seemed as though this bed was extra floppy. While I was able to drag it into my apartment solo, there’s no way it would have left had I been the only mover on hand. Moving it reminded me of trying to wrangle a car that’s fishtailing; you move one end, the other flops in the opposite direction. For people who move frequently, and/or live alone, this could be a deal-breaker. (Moving a twin size is probably easier, I am only speaking to the queen size and larger here.)
Is the Leesa Hybrid worth it?
My last night on the Leesa, I was so sad to see it go that I wanted to do something symbolic. I realized I was being ridiculous, and couldn’t think of anything anyway, so I just cherished that night’s sleep on the bed.
I’m all about saving money, but I’m also invested in sleeping well. If you can catch it on sale—which would almost be difficult to avoid—I wouldn’t bat an eye at dropping the big bucks for this bed. In my opinion it’s just worth the cost. Comfort throughout the night, and for a variety of different sleep positions should be prioritized. We do spend, after all, about a third of our day cozied up on our mattress. Plus investing in better sleep is also an investment in your waking hours and overall health.
Yes, the Leesa Hybrid Mattress has its downsides. The inconvenience of needing longer to air out, or making you smell like the bed by morning, as well as the weight and floppiness if you have to move it aren’t great. But all in all, it’s a fantastic bed that I think most sleepers will find comfortable, regardless of preferred sleep position.
It’s well worth the price and the initial fuss.
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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