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Tuft & Needle vs. Casper: Which heavy hitter is better?

Both are popular, but there’s one clear winner in our books.

a tuft & Needle original mattress alongside the Casper original on a gradient blue background Credit: Tuft & Needle / Casper

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Tuft & Needle and Casper are among the most buzzy internet mattress brands out there. You may have heard about one behemoth on your favorite podcast, and perhaps you’ve run across the other’s internet ads. We wanted to know, definitively, which one makes the best mattress. (Spoiler alert: It was no contest. The Tuft & Needle Original far outpaces the Casper Original.)

Price and discounts

a person sits on their phone atop the Tuft & Needle Original
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Tuft & Needle's already reasonable price is often 10% or 15% off.

A full price queen-size Tuft & Needle Original comes in at $895, whereas the Casper Original comes in at $1,095. Of course, those are merely sticker prices. Like most other online mattress companies, Tuft & Needle and Casper offer regular sales—though they tend to offer lesser discounts. Nectar, for example, frequently drops its prices by as much as 35%. Tuft & Needle and Casper’s discounts generally hover between 10% to 15% off. That means a queen Tuft & Needle Original is $760 or so, and a Casper Original will typically come in around $900.

Some brands might warrant a splurge if the mattress checks all your boxes and brings something unique to the table. For instance, the Purple mattress uses a proprietary polymer that sleeps super cool. Unfortunately there's really no reason to pay more for the Casper, as it isn't a standout in terms of comfort, and lacks special features that could warrant spending a bit more. The Tuft & Needle Original is a far superior mattress, with a somewhat better price.

Our pick: Tuft & Needle

Sleep surface sensation

When it comes to how they feel, the Casper Original and Tuft & Needle Original are dramatically different. The Tuft & Needle Original has a firm and supportive foam surface. The company says it’s designed to make you feel almost as though you’re floating above the mattress. Indeed, you don’t get that cushy, sink-in feeling that’s often associated with memory foam. The Tuft & Needle Original provides ample support, and our tester loved sleeping on it on her stomach, in particular. The firmness also makes it easy to roll over on because you aren’t sinking into the bed. The biggest caveat, according to our tester? Side sleepers may find it’s too unforgiving and that it doesn’t have sufficient cushioning for shoulders and hips.

On the other hand, the Casper Original left a lot to be desired in our tester’s experience. She found that it wasn’t well suited to any sleep position. It almost reminded her of an old sponge—something that wasn’t really squishy, but wasn’t really firm either. Our tester didn’t like sleeping on it and found it felt lacking for the entire month she had it. When she sent it away after the monthlong sleep test, she realized she hadn’t slept well in weeks. She couldn’t readily recommend it for a specific sleep position either. In addition, the edge support was virtually nonexistent; the mattress’s periphery collapsed beneath our tester’s body weight any time she sat down.

Our pick: Tuft & Needle

Materials

hands press into the surface of the tuft & needle original
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

You feel almost as though you're floating above the foam on the Tuft & Needle Original.

The Tuft & Needle Original has a slim profile at 10 inches tall. Beneath the cover it has two layers of foam: a 3-inch piece of “adaptive foam” that the company claims provides pressure relief, and a denser 6.5-inch foam base for support. The mattress is covered in a knit polyester-blend fabric that’s spot-clean only.

At 11 inches tall, the Casper Original is just a skosh taller than the Tuft & Needle. It has more going on inside, too. The mattress is made with three layers, including a slim piece of perforated foam that’s designed to improve breathability; a “zoned support” layer, which the company claims helps with alignment as it’s “softer under the shoulders” and “firmer around the hips, waist, and back;" and a “durable base,” which purports to provide support and prevent sinking or sagging. It's worth saying that despite the claims, our tester couldn't detect a difference in how the various regions on the surface of the mattress felt.

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Foam mattresses have their advantages such as pressure relief and a cradling sensation. The material, however, isn’t without its pitfalls. Most notably: heat retention. Neither the Tuft & Needle nor Casper were particularly hot in our tester’s experience or lab results, as both use design elements to prevent heat from building up. Many mattress manufacturers use “open-cell foam” in hopes of making cooler products. During manufacture, foams form bubbles on the inside. When these bubbles burst, it creates an open, web-like network that allows for more airflow.

The Tuft & Needle Original is made entirely of open-cell foam, which should allow more air, and thereby heat, to dissipate through the mattress as you sleep. The Casper Original’s top two layers are made with open-cell foam, however the base layer is not, according to a customer service representative. The perforations in the uppermost layer also aim to improve temperature overnight by allowing ventilation.

Tuft & Needle took even more measures to decrease heat retention—namely, its Original mattress contains cooling gel and graphite, which are "embedded in the foam at the time of production," according to a spokesperson. As a conductive material, the graphite purportedly "transfers heat away from the body." Meanwhile, the gel absorbs and diffuses the body heat that the graphite takes on.

Our pick: Tuft & Needle

Trial and return policies

The Tuft & Needle Original mattress on a bed frame
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Customers who purchase a Tuft & Needle mattress aren't subject to a minimum trial period.

Tuft & Needle and Casper have average-length trial periods: 100 nights. At any time within the first 100 nights you’ve had the mattresses, you may reach out to either company to get the return process rolling.

The biggest difference is the companies’ policies when it comes to when you can initiate a return. Casper requires you to try its mattresses for at least 30 nights. Tuft & Needle doesn’t have a minimum trial period, though it still recommends giving your body a chance to adjust to the mattress before jumping ship.

Instead of shipping returns back to Tuft & Needle, the company will work with customers to arrange for a local charitable organization or recycling agency to pick up the mattress on its behalf, free of charge. Casper will also arrange for a courier to pick up the bed so there’s no packing involved on your end. It claims it will try to recycle or donate returned mattresses to a charity, though based on the site there aren’t any guarantees.

Our pick: Tuft & Needle

Customer service

the Tuft & Needle mattress on a bed frame
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Tuft & Needle has a glowing customer service record on the Better Business Bureau website.

Tuft & Needle and Casper might have similar name recognition, but in most other areas, they’re unequal. Customer service is no exception. Tuft & Needle performs well on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website with 4.2 out of 5 stars from 235 reviews. The company has had just six complaints in the last two years, and only two within the past 12 months.

A live chat isn’t available 24/7 on the Tuft & Needle website, but when it is, the representatives are helpful, knowledgeable, and quick to reply. During off hours, you can email the company. It says someone usually follows up within a few hours, and in our experience, that’s true.

Casper has a lower overall BBB rating, 2.2 stars, with only 43 customer reviews—paling in comparison to Tuft & Needle's stellar reputation. It has received 173 complaints in the last three years, and 87 in the last 12 months. The reviews cover a spectrum of issues from slow or late deliveries to unshipped products.

Casper’s online chat reps seem adept at answering a variety of questions (including whether the type of foam used is open- or closed-cell), though we’ve never gotten a clear answer on how the zoned support is designed and manufactured. We’d think it should be easy enough, especially with how much the company advertises it. But that’s a relatively minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.

Our pick: Tuft & Needle

Warranty and setup requirements

a person sits, reading, atop the tuft & needle original
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Tuft & Needle Original comes with a 10-year warranty.

Tuft & Needle’s warranty is like that of most other online mattress companies (and covers the expected lifespan, more or less): 10 years. If the bed sags, cracks develop in the foam, or other manufacturer defects arise, the company will repair it or exchange it for a new mattress. The mattress is also compatible with a variety of bases, including slats (no further than 5 inches apart), platforms, box springs, and adjustable beds.

Casper’s warranty is also 10 years. Casper recommends against using its mattresses on the floor as it can lead to condensation and the propagation of mold. Importantly, using it on the floor will negate the warranty, as will placing the bed on non-wooden slats, wood slats spaced more than 4 inches apart, or a box spring. A customer service representative suggested using the mattress with the company’s foundation (though almost any company will recommend this, likely in part because it will make them an extra buck). The rep noted this isn’t the only base you can use to maintain the warranty, just one the company would recommend.

Our pick: Tuft & Needle

And the winner is…

the Tuft & Needle Original Mattress tag
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Tuft & Needle Original comes out on top mostly thanks to its supportive sleep surface.

There’s no mistake: Tuft & Needle is the better bet for most people, from its outstanding customer service reputation to the sensation of sleeping on its mattress. Yes, the bed will be too firm for some. Generally, experts recommend erring on the firmer side, as it’s easier to plop a mattress pad on for a bit of cushion, rather than trying to remedy an overly soft sleep surface.

Otherwise, there are plenty of other softer options that we think are far better than the Casper Original, including the Nectar mattress and Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid.

For what it’s worth, our editor-in-chief has owned and loved his Casper mattress for years. We’ve yet to test the brand’s higher-end products—and perhaps one of those will change our mind. But when it comes to the entry-level mattress, it’s not worth it. (We did, however, test and love the Casper Select. This model is exclusively sold at Costco and feels totally different from the Original.)

For most people, the Tuft & Needle Original is a sure-fire option. Its buoyant surface and floating sensation are great for stomach and back sleepers who prefer a firmer option. And we certainly can’t complain about its reasonable price either.

Get the Casper Original starting at $1,095

Get the Tuft & Needle Original starting at $760.75

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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