This article was originally published on Mattress Finder.
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So to begin, let’s just address what the bed-in-a-box movement is all about. If you’re not already aware, the mattress-in-a-box industry has been exploding lately. Companies have been experiencing robust growth, and we’ve seen a number of new entrants in the market.
Even established mattress brands like Sealy have gotten into the direct-to-consumer (DTC) game. And a big reason why these companies have experienced such success is due to the value proposition they offer.
Helix and Purple, two of the most unique bed-in-a-box companies out there are no exception. Both companies offer high quality, moderately priced mattresses and stellar customer service.
They truly try to make it as easy as possible for consumers to try out their mattresses because they’re that confident in their products. Both companies will ship the mattress in a medium-sized box directly to your door in a matter of days for free.
From there, both Purple and Helix offer a 100-night risk-free trial. So that means if you order the mattress and don’t like it at any point during those first 100 nights, just give the company a call, and they’ll refund your money and actually send a person to your house to come pick it up free of charge.
Plus, both companies back their mattress with a 10-year warranty. See, I told you — there’s really no reason not to at least give the mattress a try.
Helix mattresses are good for people who:
- like firm mattresses
- need a supportive bed
- appreciate good value
- free shipping and returns
- 100-night trial period
- 10-year warranty
- made in the United States
Helix Sleep mattress overview
Helix was founded in 2015 and is one of those companies that I eluded to earlier that has achieved significant growth in recent years. Now what makes Helix unique is that each of their mattresses is made to order and customized based on your personal sleep habits.
Mattress customization options
So before you purchase a Helix mattress, you will be prompted to complete a 3 minute sleep questionnaire. You’ll answer questions like:
- Height, weight, age, gender (as well as your partner’s stats — more on that below)
- Do you move around a lot while sleeping?
- Are you a back, side, or stomach sleeper?
- Do you have any pressure points (think hips, shoulders, etc.)?
- Are you a hot or cold sleeper?
- Any pain when you wake up?
- How soft or firm you like a mattress?
The answers of which are entered into a proprietary algorithm that calculates and designs the optimal mattress for your body type and sleep habits. The custom-designed mattress will feature just the right feel, temperature, and point elasticity that’s best for you.
I have to say, I’m a big fan of this whole made-to-order concept. It really is a clear differentiator over other bed-in-a-box brands. Even if there really aren’t major differences between each “custom” Helix mattress, just the thought of the mattress being custom to me is pretty exciting and compelling.
Plus, the other cool thing about Helix is that the mattress can be customized for couples. So each person can customize the feel of the mattress for their side of the bed — pretty cool.
Or if couples don’t want two different sides, they can choose the blended mattress option in which Helix uses both individuals’ answers to create a hybrid mattress.
Helix mattress layers and materials
The actual Helix mattress construction is also a little different from most DTC mattresses out there. The bottom layer is made out of high grade polyfoam, which gives the mattress its foundation and support.
The cool thing is, Helix is able to customize the support level and feel of this layer based on your answers to the sleep questionnaire. The middle layer is made out of hundreds of tiny coils, which most people associate with standard innerspring mattresses.
However, the Helix coils are pocketed individually, which is supposed to be better for motion transfer. I’m not really sure of the science behind this but I’ll address motion transfer in the next section.
And finally, on top you have what Helix calls its proprietary dynamic foam. Like the bottom layer, your answers to the sleep quiz help Helix determine the optimal firmness/softness of this layer.
They claim it’s not memory foam nor is it latex foam — rather it’s somewhere right in the middle. I’ll talk more about the overall feel of the top layer in the next section.
And the final layer to address is the cover that brings all of these layers together. And I must say the cover is pretty darn sleek looking. It definitely gives this mattress a more premium, luxury feel and look to it.
Not sure if that really means much though considering you’ll presumably cover the mattress with sheets, etc. Unfortunately, it is not recommended you machine wash the cover — that would have been nice. Rather it’s best if you just spot clean the cover with soap and cold water if it happens to get dirty.
In terms of coolness, although Helix likes to play up the fact their cover is designed for increased airflow, we didn’t notice anything special. The bed certainly won’t sleep hot — I’ve been sleeping on a Helix mattress now for a while and I’ve never woken up in the middle of the night in a sweat.
However, it’s definitely not the coolest sleeping mattress we’ve tested. As you will see below, we’d give the edge to Purple in this department.
Helix feel, motion transfer, and responsiveness
Okay before we start talking feel and responsiveness, since this is a customized mattress, for the remainder of this section I’ll be referring to what Helix calls its Plush softness level mattress.
Basically, I went with a slightly softer mattress (just below medium on the scale when I was completing the sleep questionnaire) so keep that in mind.
Now in terms of feel, I do tend to agree with how Helix positions its proprietary top layer. It definitely does not feel like straight memory foam but it’s still softer than other latex foam beds I’ve tried in the past.
If I had to pick one though, I’d say the feel leans slightly more toward the traditional memory foam feel. In fact, we’d give the Helix mattress (at least the plush version) a 4.75-4.9 out of 10 on our soft-to-firm scale with 1 being like lying in a bathtub full of pudding and 10 being like sleeping on your garage floor.
But of course, the awesome part about Helix is that it’s customizable. If you want a little more support, you can order one that will be more like a 5.5 or 6 or if you want even softer you can get one that’s closer to 4. So it’s hard for me to opine on softness/firmness at the end of the day since it’s so personal to each individual.
HELIX PROMO CODE: $75 Off Code: SY75
What I can tell you though is that it’s a very comfortable mattress. It does a great job of cradling your heavier body parts while the surrounding, lighter areas are not affected — that would be high point elasticity for all you mattress nerds out there.
As such, we think the Helix mattress is accommodating for all kinds of sleepers. Whether you’re on your side, stomach or back, the Helix mattress provides just the amount of pressure relief.
Now in terms of mattress responsiveness, Helix is awesome. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure what to expect since that top layer is kind of a hybrid but it passed with flying colors.
The mattress pops back and regains its form almost immediately after releasing pressure off the mattress. This just means you’ll most likely not need to rotate the mattress over time, which is nice.
Getting back to motion transfer finally, the Helix mattress performs pretty good but not great. I know the individual coils are supposed to help with this but during our test we did notice a slight bit of cross-mattress motion.
We put a half-full glass of water on one side of the bed and started walking around on the other side of the bed and noticed that the water was sloshing around a bit.
I’d say Purple definitely has the leg up in this department as well. Still not a huge deal though — I don’t think you’ll have any issues waking up your partner if you happen to move around a lot in your sleep.
Helix mattress pricing
At the end of the day, I think their mattresses are pretty moderately priced considering the customization options and quality of the mattress. Here’s the price breakdown:
You can use code SY75 for $75 off any mattress. Helix will from time to time offer larger discounts or no discount at all, however, the code above will work in both scenarios.
Honestly, it’s hard to be critical of this mattress. I’m a big fan of Helix. I’d go as far as saying it’s a top 5 bed-in-a-box mattress in my opinion. In fact, I was sleeping on a Leesa mattress until I started testing this mattress and now I’ll be sticking with Helix.
It’s awesome that you can customize the mattress to your liking, and I do like the kind of memory foam/latex hybrid top layer. But with that said, Purple is awesome as well.
As you’ll read below, the Purple mattress has an extremely unique feel that we are big fans. At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to which kind of feel you want with your mattress.
Both mattresses have similar price points so if you want that traditional memory foam and latex feel go Helix. If you want to get away from that memory foam or latex feel and desire a completely different type of feel, go with Purple.
Purple mattresses are good for:
- people looking for a unique mattress with a different type of feel
- all types of sleepers, including side, back, and stomach
- free shipping and returns
- 100-night trial period
- 10-year warranty
- made in the United States
Purple mattress overview
As the kids like to say, Purple is hot in the streets right now. The company was recently valued at over $1 billion, one of their advertisements has gone viral and it just seems like everyone is talking about their mattress. And it’s easy to see why — the Purple mattress is one of a kind.
Literally, the special Hyper-Elastic Polymer top layer that the company is known for is patented by the founders of the company, who by the way are rocket scientists. If that doesn’t spark some intrigue, I don’t know what will. Let’s get into this Purple mattress review.
Purple mattress construction
The mattress is still composed of a couple foam layers just like other bed-in-a-box competitors. The bottom and middle layers are made up of polyurethane foam, which give the mattress its support and foundation. But what’s what really special about this mattress is the 2-inch grid layer of Hyper-Elastic Polymer on top.
Now I know that’s a pretty fancy word, but basically it’s a special material the founders created. It sort of feels like little gel squares but it’s not actually gel. It’s pretty cool.
The Hyper-Elastic Polymer can stretch up to 15 times its resting size so Purple likes to say the mattress is “soft where you want it and firm where you need it.” You can actually feel the grid of polymer moving, compressing and folding as you lay down on the mattress.
It’s actually a little weird at first but after you sleep on the mattress for a few nights you really start appreciating the unique feel of that top layer. It’s definitely a nice change of pace from the traditional memory foam feel.
Now, in addition to the unique feel, that grid of Hyper-Elastic Polymer also helps keep the mattress cool as you sleep. Polymer is naturally cooler than memory foam / latex materials and the grid formation helps with airflow.
As a result, Purple is one of the coolest sleeping mattresses we’ve tested. It’s up there with the likes of the Cocoon Chill by Sealy [see on Sealy’s website]. As I mentioned above, Purple no doubt has the leg up on Helix when it comes to regulating body heat.
Moving on, the cover for the Purple mattress is quite soft. However, like Helix, Purple recommends you do not remove the cover and machine wash it.
Rather just spot clean it if you happen to spill something or get it dirty. For that reason, you may want to opt for the Purple mattress protector, which seems to be pretty popular.
Purple overall feel, comfort, and motion transfer
Back to the feel of the mattress — we give Purple a 4.5 out of 10 on our firmness scale. So yes, I’d say it’s slightly softer than the Helix mattress I have but really that’s just because of the special feel of the top layer.
The polymer grid immediately conforms to your body’s shape, yet it still provides plenty of support. Basically, it’s soft yet firm at the same time — I know kind of perplexing.
It’s just a super comfortable mattress. It’s one of those mattresses where the moment you lie down, you let out an audible “AAHHH.” It really does do a great job of cradling your heavier body parts while the rest of the mattress remains unchanged.
Purple mattress is great for combination sleepers. If you’re sleeping on your back or stomach, you won’t feel as if you are sinking into the mattress and if you’re sleeping on your side, the mattress will conform and provide plenty of relief for those heavier pressure points (hips, shoulders).
In terms of responsiveness, the Purple mattress gets a high grade from us. The Hyper-Elastic Polymer top layer snaps back to its original form almost immediately after releasing pressure or getting up off the bed. It’s pretty incredible. That means you won’t need to rotate this mattress over time.
And just in general, it feels like that top layer will be pretty durable — I don’t think you’ll get any sag or dip in the mattress after years of use. Bottom line — I can see this mattress lasting a long, long time.
Moving on to motion transfer — Purple performs extremely well here as well. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect since that top layer is pretty unique, but we didn’t notice much cross-mattress motion at all.
For the test this time, we placed a beer can at one end of the bed and then started walking/rolling on the other end and the beer can was not affected at all.
Needless to say, even if your partner rolls around and kicks like a whining soccer player in the middle of the night, I’m not sure you’d even wake up.
Purple mattress pricing
Purple is definitely positioned on the middle-to-higher end of the bed-in-a-box industry. But honestly, considering the unique feel and quality of the mattress, I think the price really is not that bad.
I mean, if you were to walk into your local mattress store, my bet is that you’d end up paying more for a mattress of equal quality and feel. Here’s the price breakdown:
Also, it’s worth noting here that it’s hard to find Purple mattress coupon codes and Purple mattress promo codes. The company simply does not offer many sales and discounts.
However, they will occasionally offer bundles where you can save $50–$100 or so when you buy both a mattress and pillow or mattress and platform base.
As you have probably noticed by now, we are huge fans of the Purple mattress. It might be my favorite mattress overall. If I had the mattress in a King size, I would probably make it my nightly mattress.
It’s that nice. The feel of that top layer is so unique and comfortable after you get used to it. It’s soft, supportive and it sleeps super cool.
I can see now what the hype is all about. This mattress is the real deal. If you want to get away from that traditional memory foam feel and try something a little different (yet awesome), go with Purple.
I’m confident you will not be disappointed. If you and your partner have different sleep preferences when it comes to sleep, I’d say maybe go with Helix so that you can customize the mattress. Either way, you will be getting a top 5 mattress in my opinion.
The Mattress Finder team is composed of certified professionals who are passionate about helping consumers improve their sleep. We thoroughly test each mattress we review through a series of practical, hands-on inspections and assessments. We write every review expecting that our closest friends and family members rely on us for their mattress and sleep product decisions, so honesty and authenticity are core principles of our inspection process.