UPDATE: This is an older article and it is rather out of date. I’m leaving it up because a lot of people go here, but there are a lot more direct-to-consumer options out there for mattresses. For example, shortly after writing this, a mattress company called Leesa came out, and I feel it’s an incremental improvement over Casper. You can compare the two here and see for yourself. Most of what I say about Casper here also applies to Leesa, but Leesa goes just slightly further.
Manufacturers that sell their own mattress through their website are the latest trend in the mattress industry. There are three major companies in this space: Casper, Tuft and Needle, and Saatva. (EDIT: A 4th is Leesa, see review here) One of the most frequent questions I get asked is to compare these brands. Since I haven’t tried Saatva, I cannot write a review from personal experience sleeping on all of them. However that doesn’t necessarily matter because what’s good for me might not be good for you. The reverse is also true; just because I (or any reviewer) get a bad night’s sleep on a mattress doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be perfect for you. A mattress is a highly personal choice.
However, I can compare the construction of the mattresses, the prices, the warranties, and the return policies of each of the mattresses so this is less of a blind purchase for you.
The short version:
Of the three, I believe that Casper has the best value for your money and is the lowest risk investment, while Tuft and Needle is a close second. I still believe that going through the whole comparison shopping process and getting retailers to compete for your business is the best way to find the right mattress at the lowest price (you can read more about that here), but if you don’t have time for that hassle, you can just give Casper a try.
The Tuft and Needle comes in a close second. It is a good “budget” alternative. If you can’t afford the Casper, the Tuft and Needle is a great choice for less money.
Saatva is good for people that insist on a more traditional coil mattress or need a very soft mattress (they have a plush pillowtop version that the others just don’t have, the other two are pretty firm). For most people, I’d recommend one of the others.
Now here’s the breakdown of how I came to that conclusion.
Mattress quality and construction
Here’s a breakdown of the overall construction and quality of the three mattresses. All three mattresses use high quality materials made in the USA, but some are a little better than others.
Tuft and Needle
Tuft and Needle comes in two varieties: a 10 inch and a 5 inch variety. Both use what’s called “high density poly foam” on the bottom layer, which is a type of foam that most foam mattresses use as a supportive base. The top 30% is made of a pressure-relieving foam (so, 3 inches in the Ten, 1.5 inches in the Five). It isn’t latex or memory foam, but it’s a pressure-relieving foam that feels similar to a “bouncier” version of memory foam (but not as “bouncy” as latex).
The Casper mattress is a 10 inch foam mattress with 1.5″ of latex on top of 1.5″ of high density memory foam on top of 7″ of high density poly foam. This means there are better pressure relieving materials on the top layer so it won’t be quite as hard as the Tuft and Needle, but it’s still a fairly firm mattress. The latex layer is softer than the surface layer of Tuft and Needle, but it firms up quickly under that.
Saatva is a more traditional coil mattress that uses some foams on the top. The bottom layer is a very thick gauge “Bonnell” coil system, which are the old-school type of coils. They’re 13 gauge, which is much thicker than most you’ll find in mattresses. On top of that, they have thinner individually wrapped coils in the comfort layer, for a “coil on coil” design. They then use some padding above that second layer of coils and include a thin memory foam strip in the lumbar section. It’s a much more complex mattress than the other two options, but it should give you a more traditional feel. It also comes in 3 different firmnesses.
The edge: I think Casper wins out in quality, in part because I’m a big fan of latex foam in mattresses. I also like how Casper has a little softness to it in the top layer, and the latex gives it a quicker “response” to your body. Tuft and Needle comes in a close second, and Saatva is last (only because I prefer foam mattresses to coil. If you prefer a traditional mattress, move Saatva to first). Foam mattresses get higher customer satisfaction ratings than coil mattresses, which is why I placed Tuft and Needle above Saatva, and since Tuft and Needle changed their mattress a few months ago, it is more comparable to the Casper.
All three of these are in the low to mid range as far as prices go. You can get a mattress anywhere from 100 to 10,000 dollars. All of these three brands are in the 400-900 range for a queen mattress.
Tuft and Needle
The Tuft and Needle Five mattress ranges from $350-$750 and free delivery to your door. These prices are for the mattress only. You’ll need to find a foundation on your own, whether it’s a boxspring, platform bed, or adjustable base. (Read more about adjustable bases here)
Casper ranges from $500-$950 depending on size. Like Tuft and Needle, these prices are only for the mattress. They also include free delivery to your door.
The Saatva mattress ranges anywhere from $599-$1299 depending on size. You can also order a matching boxspring through them, which will cost anywhere from $150-$300 depending on size. Saatva charges for delivery, but it’s a full service delivery in which they’ll set up the mattress for you.
The edge: This part isn’t subjective at all. Tuft and Needle is by far the cheaper of the three options. Casper is less expensive than Saatva.
Warranty and durability
The “industry standard” for warranties is 10 years. That’s the minimum that most good mattresses will have. Warranties don’t cover against comfort issues; they only cover against structural defects or workmanship issues. (You can read more about mattress warranties here).
Tuft and Needle
Tuft and Needle mattresses have a 10 year full replacement warranties. Any sags in the mattress greater than 0.75 inches qualify. The high density foams should retain their comfort for most of that full 10 year period.
Casper has a 10 year full replacement warranty, which is in line with the industry standard. Any sag in the mattress greater than 1 inch qualifies for a warranty exchange.
Since it uses latex in the top layer and high density foams underneath, I’d expect it to remain fairly comfortable for at least 8-10 years, since these are durable foams. For example, I’ve had a latex pillow for 7 years, and it’s in the exact same shape as it was when I first got it.
Saatva has a 15 year warranty against sags an inch and a half deep. If anything happens in that time frame, they will repair the mattress for free. If the sag doesn’t qualify for a warranty repair, they also offer a “fairness replacement” warranty free for the first 2 years, and then prorated in years 3-15.
The edge: Tuft and Needle edges out Casper and Saatva here by a little, because the definition of what constitutes a sag is stronger. Saatva’s warranty is longer, Casper’s warranty is stricter, so it’s about the same.
All three brands have a return policy. This eliminates the biggest risk of buying a mattress online (that you can’t try it first). With these, you can try it for up to 100 days in home before deciding whether you like it.
Tuft and Needle
Tuft and Needle has a 100 day return policy if you buy it through their site, and 30 days if purchased through Amazon. If a pickup is required, Tuft and Needle will cover all expenses.
Casper also has a 100 day return policy which also includes free pickup if necessary.
Saatva has a 75 day return policy, but they will not refund the original delivery charge.
The edge: Casper and Tuft and Needle are tied with their return policy; Saatva’s is shorter and they’ll keep the original delivery charge.
And the winner is…
Based on those criteria, Casper Sleep will be the best option of the three for most people. They have the best return policy and is a slightly higher quality mattress than Tuft and Needle. The only downside is the price. Casper is a few hundred dollars more than Tuft and Needle. So, if you can afford a Casper, it’s a good mattress. You can buy the Casper here.
Tuft and Needle comes in a close second. Think of the Tuft and Needle as the “budget” version of the Casper. The Tuft and Needle is a few hundred dollars less than Casper for a small difference in quality.
I’d recommend Saatva if you dislike foam mattresses and want a traditional feel OR if you want a really soft mattress (Saatva has a very plush version that the other two just don’t have). In everything else, Casper is a better value.
There’s an option out that came out after I made this post called Leesa. It’s very similar to Casper, but has a little more pressure-relieving foams in the top and other minor improvements. I recommend checking them out as an alternative to Casper. You can even get a $75 coupon here (which makes it slightly cheaper than Casper). You can read a comparison between Leesa and Casper here, and here is my full Leesa review.
Thanks for reading, and if you’ve slept on any of the brands mentioned above, let me know!
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for all of the companies mentioned in the article (except Casper and Tuft and Needle, though my links to Amazon where they are sold are affiliate links), which means I get a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through any of my links. So if you do decide to purchase, thank you for your support.