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 a hybrid versus an all-foam mattress, 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.
Nolah 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, 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 finishing our lab tests, we’ll be sending the Nolah Evolution to my apartment, where it’ll take the place of my current mattress. For 30 days, I’ll sleep on the Nolah Evolution to get a better sense for how this mattress might feel for a customer. I’ll then update this review with my subjective experience.
What we like about the Nolah Evolution mattress
Diffused 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. The mattress’ heat diffusion and retention data indicated it to be one of the coolest mattresses we’ve ever tested.
According to the data, the mattress’ top layers absorbed the heat and diffused it quickly throughout the mattress. This means 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. (I’m eager to learn if this is true when I test it at home.)
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 was too firm or ungiving.
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. (Another factor I’m excited to check out in real-world conditions.)
Ready for sleep right away
After unboxing the Nolah Evolution, the mattress immediately expanded to full capacity. The instructions state that the mattress is ready for sleeping within minutes of setup, which surprised us—mattresses in a box often expand for hours or even days, taking time to fully firm up before they’re ready for sleep. The 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 a few minutes before the odor diffused.
What we don’t like about the Nolah Evolution mattress
Poor edge support
After the Nolah Evolution fully expanded, it was immediately clear that it didn’t have the best edge support. Sitting on the edge or lying anywhere near it caused the side to give away almost immediately. Our test supported these initial observations. The Nolah Evolution’s data showed that anyone within a few inches of the edges may feel a lack of support. Likewise, we noticed anecdotally that the edges felt squishier than the center of the mattress.
May be too soft for some
Speaking of softness, the Nolah Evolution may offer too soft a surfance for some sleepers. While hybrid mattresses seek to balance the softness of foam and the support of coils, the Evolution’s thick foam top layers may be difficult to adjust to if you’re used to a firmer mattress. I typically prefer a medium-firm mattress, so even just lying for a few minutes on the Nolah made me feel uncomfortable, particularly on my back. It will be interesting to see how this holds—and if it affects my sleep—over the next month of home testing.
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. We opted for the luxury firm, supposedly a popular balance between a soft, plush mattress and a hard, supportive one. That said, on initial impression, the luxury firm Nolah Evolution felt too soft, like a bed pillow. Of course, my experience may change this opinion as I sleep on it at home over the next 30 days.
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” wrote 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 mattress was especially supportive for side sleepers. Another customer wrote: “Hip pressure points are much more comfortable than my previous mattress.”
It’s not all positive reviews for the Nolah Evolution, though. One customer commented 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?
Thus far based on our lab tests, we think the Nolah Evolution could be a great option for people who want a cooler, supportive, and soft mattress. Based on customer feedback, it appears that side sleepers may especially appreciate the Evolution’s soft top foam layers. It’s a bit on the pricier side of mattresses we’ve tested, but it may be a great upgrade—especially for sleepers who like hybrid mattresses.
After I sleep on the Nolah Evolution for the next 30 days, I’ll have more to say about what makes this mattress worth it. But in the meantime, the Nolah Evolution is a strong option among the hybrid mattresses we’ve tested.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Chris Panella is a lifestyle staff writer.
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