Little motion transfer
Not great for hot sleepers
Top foam surface offers little immediate give
The company is so well known for its memory foam mattresses, it’s practically the Kleenex of the bedding industry. So when the opportunity arose for me, the sleep staff writer for Reviewed, to test the Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud—the company's first entry into the mattress-in-a-box category—I was excited to see how the esteemed company’s reputation would hold up in real life.
But after a month of sleeping on the Cloud, I’m relieved to move onto the next mattress I'll be testing at home (tough job, I know). Here’s why—and how—this pricey, luxe mattress fell sort of flat for me.
What is the Tempur-Cloud mattress?
The release of the Tempur-Cloud in early 2019 marked Tempur-Pedic’s foray into the mattress-in-a-box category, in response to stiff competition from the likes of Leesa, Nectar, Tuft & Needle, Casper, and so on.
The company claims the three layers of its all-foam mattress adjust to your "weight, shape, and temperature for personalized comfort and support." The mattress is designed to minimize pressure points (so you won't wake up with localized aches and pains) as well as reduce the likelihood of feeling the movement of a partner or pet elsewhere on the bed—in other words, it touts those motion isolation properties that made Tempur-Pedic famous in the first place.
How much does the Tempur-Cloud mattress cost?
Like most mattresses-in-a-box, the Tempur-Cloud goes on sale, but Reviewed readers can use the code USA30 and get 30 percent off at any time. This brings the price down to $1,399 for a queen—still a hefty sum (and about on par with the sale prices we've seen for the Leesa Hybrid).
How did we test the Tempur-Cloud?
In testing this mattress, I considered every variable from the moment it arrived at my apartment complex. How challenging was it to lug to my unit on the third floor? How much did it smell after I freed it from the plastic encasement? Was it difficult to move into place on my bed frame once it was unfurled? I also slept on the mattress for more than 30 days to judge how supportive and comfortable it was throughout the night, and how rested I felt the next day. In my waking hours, I spent time lounging on the mattress to assess how supportive it was when I lay in different positions, like on my stomach or back.
I also sent it to Reviewed's sleep lab in Cambridge, Mass., where our senior scientist, Julia MacDougall, evaluated the "memory" of the foam, and heat retention. Julia assessed the surface's shape retention by piling on 150 pounds of weight plates overnight then removing them to measure how quickly (or slowly) the foam bounced back. For heat retention, she affixed temperature sensors and covered them with a heated blanket, turned it on for an hour, then cycled it on and off in 15-minute intervals for up to six hours, and looked at the temperature peaks over time. Mattresses that do not retain heat will show maximum temperature values that do not increase over time, but for mattresses that do retain heat, the temps will steadily go up with no drops when the blanket is turned off.
What’s it like to unbox and sleep on the Tempur-Cloud for the first night?
The first thing I noticed about the Tempur-Cloud was its unique packaging. Mattresses in a box, unsurprisingly, most often arrive folded and compressed, wrapped in plastic, inside a cardboard box. This may be convenient for shipping, but it creates a lot of waste. The Tempur-Cloud came in a neat duffel-like canvas sleeve that struck me as reusable, until I realized I had no idea what to do with it once it was empty. It’s too small and flimsy to use for skis or snowboards, it’s too long and awkward to use like a traditional duffel, and it's way too small to use for packing up the mattress, say, if you move (surprise: foam mattresses can’t be sucked back down into a Tootsie roll again, at least not by mortal hands). But it seemed unreasonable to just throw away the canvas case. In the end, it wound up shoved in my closet.
However, pre-unpacking, that bag, with its thick woven-fabric handle, made moving the Tempur-Cloud a breeze. What’s more, the Tempur-Cloud weighs less than most mattresses in a box, with a queen size coming in at just 60 pounds. I didn’t break a sweat while moving the mattress into my apartment.
I always plan on giving mattresses 24 hours to air out, because that’s the best practice for them to pop into shape and to air out. Mattress foam, encased in tight plastic immediately after manufacturing, has the potential to off-gas odor, or release chemicals that aren't likely harmful but can stink. When I unzipped the outer Tempur-Pedic bag to unroll it in my living room, I was shocked to see a paper instructing me that this mattress didn’t need 24 hours to off-gas. I zipped it back up and unrolled it straight onto my bed frame the next day. Even with this lighter mattress, it was a process—the mattress itself is wrapped in tight plastic and, while unfurling, it kept bouncing around on my thin bed slats. Also, I found tugging the plastic wrapping from beneath the bed was hard—I was glad to have my roommate available to help.
What’s great about the Tempur-Cloud?
My first impressions of the mattress were positive. One immediate standout of the Tempur-Cloud was its smell, or lack thereof. I’ve unboxed mattresses that stank for days. When I read the Tempur-Pedic’s label instructing me to skip the air-out period, I was dubious. I assumed that it would be a less-than-stellar first night, because you can really tell if a mattress stinks when you get up close and personal for bedtime. And when I sleep on my stomach, I don’t always use pillows, so my head can wind up smack dab on the bed itself. If it stinks, I’ll notice.
I went into my room to go to bed for the first night on the Tempur-Cloud and was amazed: It hardly smelled at all.
Next, I noted the surface feel of lying on the Tempur-Cloud, which provided an interesting balance of firm to soft. It wasn’t too hard and had some give, but it seemed to take its time allowing my body to sink into place. This might make it sound as though it would be uncomfortable when you shift positions throughout the night, but that was not exactly a bother in my experience (more on that coming up). Nonetheless, a “cloud” is not how I would describe the feel—it was more like a thick putty, or maybe even oobleck (the result of that home chemistry experiment in which you mix cornstarch and water). This ooze-like texture was confirmed in the lab memory-foam tests, which saw the foam reform to its unencumbered loft within a few moments (rather than instantly) of the removal of the heavy weights.
What are the downsides of the Tempur-Cloud?
I'm a hybrid stomach sleeper and side sleeper, meaning I begin the night lying face-down, my preferred position for drifting off to sleep, and roll to one side or the other, unconsciously, during the night. For me, lying on my stomach on the Cloud mattress was an unpleasant experience. Because of the surface’s limited give and low responsiveness, I could feel strain in my lumbar spine. When I'm presented with a mattress that’s too uncomfortable to use on my stomach, I switch to sleeping on my side full-time, including when I'm dozing off. I found myself almost exclusively side-sleeping the entire month I had the mattress. I like having options, so this wasn’t my favorite.
When I tried lying down on my back, it was also an unpleasant experience for me. But admittedly I hate lying on my back and find it inherently uncomfortable, so I recruited my roommate, who sometimes sleeps on her back, to check it out. After lying on it for a few minutes, she said the mattress is halfway between super-comfortable and mediocre. In her opinion: it’s just fine. “It will do the job,” she says.
The mattress was also hot. Really hot. During heat waves and humid summer nights without AC, I was not a happy camper sleeping on this bed. The manufacturer claims its design provides “superior airflow and breathability compared to other mattresses,” but it never came to fruition in my time with the mattress. In fact, I could feel the mattress soak up my body heat and seem to retain it as I slept. Even when I just sat on the bed, I could feel the surface warming up. In fact, I’d been sitting on it for a few minutes prior to asking my roommate to lie on it for her back-sleeper opinion. She came in and barely touched the mattress on one side, about to climb on, before noticing how hot the spot where I’d been sitting was. She opted to lie down on the other side of the bed.
On two occasions, I woke up in the middle of the night sweaty and roasting from the mattress beneath me. I’ve slept on a lot of mattresses, from hotels to hostels and of course during Reviewed testing and on my own beds, and I don’t think any have left me feeling this overbaked. The heat issue is mainly a concern for people who sleep hot. If you tend to get cold at night, maybe you’d prefer the warmth this mattress provides. For me, however, it just wasn’t a great match. Lab testing of heat retention confirmed my suspicions and experience with the mattress. The Tempur-Cloud’s heat retention was noticeable, and it retained more heat than the last mattress I tested, the Leesa Hybrid.
Another issue: The mattress is really awkward to dress. No one relishes making the bed after washing their sheets—it’s just a drag. But I really disliked making up the Tempur-Cloud. To start with, it was very snug in my bed frame (though its online measurements are standard for a queen, 60 inches by 80 inches). On occasion, this made it difficult to lift the mattress to hook on the fitted sheets, and push it back into the frame without the sheets wrinkling up from the slight squeeze. In addition, being all-foam, it just lacked structure, which makes it a little unwieldy.
It wasn’t until I got the Tempur-Cloud that I realized just how much, and how often, I plonk myself down on the bed—you know, just sit with a purpose. I still don’t know why I do, but it is what it is. It was from this movement that I learned about how the Tempur-Cloud mattress responds to weight and force—it's almost a rock coated in a thick layer of foam. The mattress has little give beyond maybe the top couple inches. So if you like a mattress that’s responsive, as in it adjusts to your body and weight almost immediately, this probably isn’t the bed for you.
Is the Tempur-Cloud worth it?
In the end, I feel ambivalent about it. Is it a fine mattress? Yes. Did I sleep well on it? Exclusive side-sleeping aside, yes, for the most part. Is it something I would eagerly recommend to others? Eh, it really depends on the person. It wouldn’t be my top pick, especially for the price, but you could certainly do worse. I think Tempur-Pedic's Tempur-Cloud could be a match made in heaven for a very niche group of sleepers: namely, people who don’t have a hot sleep environment or who sleep cold, and who prefer to sleep on their side or back and like a surface that's overall quite firm while still offering some surface "give." For what it's worth, I never felt as though it aggravated the potential pressure points on hips or shoulders that side sleepers contend with.
If you feel like the Tempur-Cloud might be the bed for you, you can try the mattress out for 90 days. If it leaves you longing for a cooler oasis, or feeling less than satisfied with how it works with your sleep position, just contact the company and they’ll arrange to pick it up and give you a refund.
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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