What is the Nolah Evolution mattress?
The Nolah Evolution is a hybrid mattress, meaning it combines a base of innerspring coils, like a traditional mattress, with layers of foam. The best hybrid mattresses have supportive coil cores with a cushioning foam surface, combining the coddling benefits of foam mattresses with the support of springs. Heat diffusion and cooling are generally better with a hybrid versus an all-foam model, as the coils allow for more airflow to allow body heat to dissipate throughout the night.
Nolah takes it a step further by using materials it claims provide best-in-class cooling. The Evolution’s design starts out as any other hybrid: It’s made of spring coil core, which the company claims can offer “targeted back support and responsive pressure relief.” On top of those coils are layers containing organic cotton, a cooling “graphite-infused” foam, and a “heat escape gusset,” or an empty border between foam layers that offers space for air and heat to dissipate.
How we tested the Nolah Evolution mattress
Like all of the mattresses we review, we unboxed and tested the Nolah Evolution at our lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With our team of scientists, we ran a number of tests for motion transfer, edge support, pressure relief, and heat diffusion.
For motion transfer, we measured how much energy was detected when a 150-pound punching bag was dropped onto the mattress’ surface. This determines how the mattress isolates motion, which could be key for sleeping with a partner or pet. We also measure how much the mattress’ edges can support before they give away. This test helps us understand more about the structure of the mattress but also whether sleepers who cling to the side might roll off, or or those who like to sit on the bed while putting on their shoes will find adequate support. You don’t want to fall off the bed when you're asleep—or awake, for that matter.
We also recorded the pressure from various weights—like dumbbells and a bowling ball—and to determine how a body would sleep on the mattress. These pressure relief tests help us see how a person’s joints, spine, and head would be supported by the mattress. And, finally, we warmed heating pads to body temperature and left them on the mattress overnight to measure heat diffusion. This last test involves multiple recordings of the temperature through sheets and blankets.
After we finished our lab tests, the Nolah Evolution came home with me, taking the place of my personal mattress, the Zinus 12 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress. I slept on the Nolah for 30 days, noting how the mattress felt each night and whether my experience corroborated or contradicted our lab tests.
What we like about the Nolah Evolution mattress
Diffuses heat well
After unboxing, we noticed the Nolah Evolution’s surface felt cool to the touch. It remained cool when we sat or lied down in one spot for a long period of time, too. And indeed, the mattress’ heat diffusion and retention data indicated it to be one of the coolest mattresses we’ve ever tested. The mattress’ top layers absorbed the heat and diffused it quickly throughout the mattress. This should indicate that if a sleeper were to lie in one spot, the heat would spread through the mattress rather than staying close to the surface, effectively keeping them at a comfortable temperature all night long.
Once I brought it home, the Nolah Evolution delivered: It slept cool and diffused heat throughout the night. Even with a mattress topper and multiple layers of sheets and blankets, the bed’s surface never made me feel overheated.
Our pressure relief test scores indicated that the Nolah Evolution does an excellent job at supporting sleepers while cushioning them. Based on our measurements of the imprint during our punching bag test, we presume a sleeper won’t sink too deeply into the surface, but they also won’t feel like the mattress is too firm or ungiving.
This rang true when I slept on my back, as the Nolah Evolution relieved pressure from my body, especially along my back and hips. Back sleepers, especially those with stiff muscles or back pain may benefit from the firm but supportive surface of the Nolah.
Isolates motion well
Likewise, the mattress scored highly in motion isolation, with our test barely detecting a jostling when the 150-pound punching bag was dropped on it. This likely means one partner won’t feel much movement if a partner—or pet—tosses and turns in the night.
I was surprised by how well the Nolah Evolution isolated motion throughout the night. My boyfriend and I both found that any movement from the other was quickly absorbed and softened by the mattress, which made any tossing and turning barely noticeable.
Good edge support
After unboxing, the Nolah Evolution's edges initially felt unsupportive and floppy, yielding far too easily to the weight of someone sitting on the side of the bed. But when we brought the mattress home, the edges had firmed up—a somewhat common occurrence with mattresses that come in a box, as the materials often need some time to bounce back from the compression from that tight packaging. Various at-home tests confirmed that the Evolution had strong edges. From both sleeping near the edge and sitting on it, I’m confident that the edge support is more than adequate.
Ready for sleep right away
The initial edge support concerns aside, the Nolah Evolution immediately expanded to full size as soon as we sprung it from its box. The instructions state that the mattress is ready for sleeping within minutes of setup, which surprised us—mattresses in a box often direct you to allow them to expand for hours or even days before sleeping on them. (Though based on the aforementioned edge support changes, you can expect Nolah to become more firm within the first days or weeks of use.) The Nolah mattress also lacked the harmless but unpleasant chemical smell of some boxed mattresses. The Nolah Evolution smelled vaguely like the plastic bag it came in for just a few minutes before the odor diffused.
What we don’t like about the Nolah Evolution mattress
May be too firm for some
Though Nolah Evolution felt soft to us in our lab, once we got to my apartment, I noticed an immediate difference in its supportiveness and loft from my first impression. This mattress' surface is firm, perhaps too firm for side and stomach sleepers like my boyfriend and me. I had to practically force myself to sleep on my back throughout the at home testing because any time I went onto my side or stomach, I immediately felt uncomfortable—the surface has so little give that my weight felt concentrated on my shoulders and hips while lying on my side, and on my chest, hips, and knees on my stomach. On multiple mornings, I woke up with joint pain and tense muscles. I don't think the Evolution is soft enough to cushion those sleeping positions.
That said, customers have the option to choose the firmness level when they order the Nolah Evolution—the three choices are plush, luxury firm, and firm, but unfortunately, the company doesn’t indicate which option is best for which sleeping positions. We opted for the luxury firm, supposedly a popular balance between a soft, plush mattress and a firm, supportive one. Now that I know the emphasis falls on the word “firm” for the middle pick, I might’ve opted for “plush” instead.
What is Nolah Evolution’s return policy and warranty?
The Nolah Evolution comes with a 120-night trial, but you’ll need to sleep on it for 30 nights before you can return it. After contacting Nolah about returning the mattress, a third-party provider will reach out to schedule a pickup—at a cost to you of $99, which is deducted from your refund for the Nolah Evolution mattress.
The mattress is also covered by a lifetime limited warranty. For the first two years, Nolah will replace the mattress for no charge if it’s deemed defective. From years three to 10, Nolah will repair and recover the mattress for free, but at a charge of $99 each way for transportation costs to pick up and drop off the mattress. After 10 years, the owner of the mattress has to pay 50% of the prorated replacement charge for a defective mattress—that rate goes up to 60% after 25 years.
Beyond Nolah Evolution’s warranty, the company also offers a “Don’t Lose Sleep” program, which doesn’t require approval of a warranty claim. Instead, Nolah delivers a new or comparable model of the mattress for a certain percentage of the original price. For the first three to five years, that’s 50%. It increases to 60% for years six through 10 and caps at 80% after 10 years.
What other customers say about the Nolah Evolution mattress
Nolah claims the Evolution is its top-selling mattress, and the Evolution has an average 4.9-star rating from reviewers on the brand’s website. Many customers appreciate how the mattress supports them. One “verified buyer” writes that they got the firm option and “no longer have as much back pain as I did before.”
Another verified buyer wrote that the mattress was cooler than other mattresses they’d tried. They added, “Once the mattress was opened up and filled out from being in the box, it was very comfortable and supportive, yet not too firm feeling. I sleep so much better now!”
Multiple buyers noted that the plush mattress was especially supportive for side sleepers, with one writing: “Hip pressure points are much more comfortable than my previous mattress.”
It’s not all positive reviews for the Nolah Evolution, though. One customer agrees with my assessment, commenting that the “firm” Evolution mattress was_too_ firm, and that while they see how others love the mattress, it isn’t for them specifically.
Is the Nolah Evolution mattress worth it?
After sleeping on the Nolah Evolution for 30 days, I believe it's a great hybrid mattress option for back sleepers who want a supportive and cool-sleeping mattress, which our lab tests also verify. If you have a partner or a pet, the Nolah will isolate their motion and promote uninterrupted sleep. But stomach and side sleepers might want to avoid the “luxury firm” or “firm” support levels, or add a mattress topper or featherbed like I did. It’ll help soften the surface while maintaining the support of the mattress.
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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