Limited motion transfer
Difficult to unbox
Hard to move
What is Purple and the Purple Mattress?
Purple was first developed in the 1990s and initially used in medical settings. It wasn't until 2015 that it went to the mainstream market. Since, Purple has become a household name. It's known for its "hyper elastic polymer" that was engineered to provide pressure point relief that cushions and cradles every part of the body.
How did we test the Purple Mattress?
Reviewed’s mattress testing is a multifaceted, well-oiled machine. I’m one of two mattress testers, and as such I get a new bed every 30 days. In the month that I spend with each one, I mostly sleep on it. But this is Reviewed so it doesn’t end there.
I also run lab and home-based tests, including assessing motion transfer. I balance a Newton’s Cradle (that iconic desk toy that shows how movement travels through a set of suspended metal spheres) on one side of the bed and bounce on my knees opposite it. If the cradle wobbles or clacks together, the mattress isn’t totally isolating my motion. We also heat mattresses with an infrared lamp and measure the temperature over the course of five hours to see if they tend to trap and retain heat. There’s even a bowling ball to assess edge support and bounciness.
What’s it like to unbox the Purple Mattress?
The Purple mattress was a special challenge when it came to unboxing. You might think: What could possibly go wrong for someone who has opened at least 10 mattresses-in-a-box? Apparently a lot.
The Purple mattress arrives in a big sleeve that’s not difficult to work with or move. In fact, its packaging had better handles than many of the mattresses I’ve moved. Though I was perplexed about what to do with the sleeve after unfurling the mattress, seeing as it was made of that cheap, thick plastic that clear raincoats are made of (but tinted purple, of course). It’s not that other brands offer super sustainable packaging—it’s just easier to take a piece of cardboard and know that you can toss it in the recycle bin.
The real problem came when I started freeing the thing from its secondary plastic cocoon (the one inside the shipping packaging). I’ll forewarn you: The issues I had may be largely attributable to user error—the world will never know for sure. I began unrolling the plastic and watched the mattress scooch around the room. A few minutes in, it looked like a sad roll of saran wrap that was torn somewhere, causing it to unroll in thin strips. Eventually, the plastic caught up with itself and unrolled uniformly.
Moving it was another beast. I move a lot of mattresses, but between just unrolling it in the office and moving it onto the bed frame we have on-site, I knew this one would be a problem. In terms of difficulty, it certainly came through.
What we like about the Purple Mattress
It sleeps cool
I’d tested nearly a dozen mattresses by the time I got the Purple Mattress. After all that, I've developed a Princess and the Pea-like sensitivity toward my bed—which is to say, I notice everything. On the company website, in reviews, and even in random conversations with people, I always heard the Purple Mattress tended to sleep cool, and I wasn’t disappointed. I tested it in early summer in my Boston apartment, which is on the third floor and lacks air conditioning. Even so, I never woke up feeling overbaked and after I got up or moved on the mattress, I was consistently impressed by how quickly it was able to diffuse heat. When you consider the mattress’s material, its coolness makes sense. The bed is made with spaces that allow for ample airflow—unlike some of the foam options we’ve tried that leave testers feeling cooked come morning.
My experience was confirmed by lab tests. When we blasted the mattress with an infrared bulb, it simply refused to heat up. The mattress hit its highest temperature in the last few minutes of our three-and-a-half-hour test. Even then, at its warmest, it was still cooler than many others we’ve tested at their off-peak temperatures.
It’s good at isolating motion
The Purple Mattress isn’t super prone to motion transfer, despite its uber squishy and bouncy surface. My cat has a good bit of heft—he’s a Maine Coon mix and weighs 16 pounds. Yet even when he launched himself onto the bed, I hardly noticed. That’s not to say that a thrashing full-grown adult wouldn’t disturb you, but it’s a good omen.
It’s firm and supportive
I switch between sleeping on my stomach and my side fairly regularly. Many of the mattresses I’ve tried simply aren’t firm enough to support me when I lie on my stomach. My lumbar spine sinks right in and it’s not a good look—or feel.
The Purple Mattress, however, made stomach sleeping a breeze. Don’t let its initial floppiness deceive you. This is a very firm bed. Though the material it’s made of most closely resembles foam, it doesn’t give you that sink-in sensation. I loved its firmness. So if you like a firm mattress it’s a great choice.
I found that the bed wasn’t too firm for side sleeping, either. I never felt as though it aggravated pressure points or left my lumbar spine overstretched and out of whack. That said, some side sleepers may prefer a slightly more forgiving option, like the Leesa Hybrid or Puffy Lux.
What we don’t like about the Purple Mattress
I recognize I just listed this as a pro, and I believe that. But I also think that if you prefer to sleep on your side or like softer mattresses on a whole, the firmness is a con. While I am fine with sleeping on my side on most mattresses, I found that the Purple was better lent to sleeping at what more or less amounts to a three-fourths position, wherein I’m not quite on my side, nor am I on my stomach. It’s almost like a Superman pose. My side has more contact with the mattress than my stomach, but I’m rotated forward with one leg bent and the other straight. I didn’t love sleeping on it directly on my side. Even if I fell asleep on my side, I’d wake up rotated forward a la Superman, or on my stomach proper.
It’s hard to move
In addition to having slept on many mattresses, I’ve also moved many mattresses. I usually pack them into a giant plastic bag on my own before movers shuttle them back to the office. When I first opened the Purple, I knew it was going to be a struggle to work with. Its “unique polymer grid” apparently also translates to unique tendencies that make it more like Jell-O than a mattress, if I’m honest.
To get this mattress into my bedroom, it had to assume a taco shape. It was so aggressively floppy that it was easier to fold it in half than stand it on its foot, which I’d normally do. Moving it alone was impossible. Even with two people, it was a pain—just one that was actually feasible.
Many of the mattresses we’ve tested—including our favorites from Leesa, Awara, and even Tuft & Needle—are frequently offered at a more or less “evergreen” discount. Meaning, they’re on sale more often than not. Purple has an evergreen discount, in a sense, but it’s minimal and seems to linger around $100 off. Sometimes you can score a freebie bundle that includes sheets, but the price for a queen size seldom drops below $1,000, putting its cost more on par with hybrid mattresses than foam options.
What are Purple’s trial, return, and warranty policies?
At 100 nights, Purple’s trial window is similar to that of many other mattress companies. It’s not overly generous, nor is it inadequate and short. The company requires buyers to sleep on the mattress for at least 21 nights before initiating a return. If you still don’t like it, reach out to Purple, which doesn’t require you to repack it or anything. Call and it’ll do the rest. Customers have the option to donate the mattress or return it for recycling. A customer service rep couldn’t confirm how exactly the mattresses are recycled, or whether the (presumably) lightly used components are used in newly minted mattresses.
The mattress has a 10-year warranty. It should be used with a strong and sturdy base that provides adequate support. Anything from a platform to foundation or adjustable frame will work. Unlike other mattresses we’ve tested, you can even use it on the floor without worries of negating the bed’s warranty. As with many other foam mattresses, you’ll want to avoid traditional box springs, as it can lead to sagging over time. Finally, if your preferred support system is slats, they should be no more than 3 inches apart.
What are current owners saying about the Purple Mattress?
I’m not the only person at Reviewed who has good things to say about the Purple Mattress. Kyle Hamilton, a test technician who works in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, labs loves the Purple Mattress that he purchased earlier this spring. He and his wife find it strikes the perfect balance of firmness and support. It’s not too forgiving, but it also isn’t so aggressively buoyant that they can’t sleep on their sides. Another recent employee swore by Purple for hip pain. He’s had his Purple mattress, which he pairs with an adjustable base, for years and continues to love it.
Online reviewers love the mattress, too. It has 4.5 stars and nearly 30,000 reviews on the company’s website. Owners with a variety of health conditions—fused cervical vertebrae and chronic back, joint, and neck pain—praise its comfort.
Unhappy customers often claim the mattress isn’t comfortable—but fail to provide specifics. One noted that the material was too thin to support curvy women, but it’s tough to know whether that’s the mattress’s fault or merely attributable to personal preference.
Is the Purple Mattress worth it?
I’ll begrudgingly admit: I was wrong about the Purple Mattress. It blew me away. I’d love to write it off as a luxury mattress that’s not worth the hype or price—but I think for many, it will be a good investment.
I’m not sure I’d go as far as saying that the polymer is as one-of-a-kind as the company would like people to believe. After sleeping on 10 mattresses and counting in the past year I can tell you that it doesn’t feel all that different—aside from its tremendous ability to keep cool. The mattress is comfortable, certainly. But if it were placed in a room of other mattresses covered in sheets, I’d probably think the Purple mattress was made of firm foam.
While it’s not likely worth the hype for everyone, I also don’t think it’s misplaced. This is undeniably a good bed. If you like a firm mattress and are in the market for something that will keep you cool no matter how hot it gets outside, Purple is more than worth a close look.
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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