The Purple mattress has earned a ton of devotees — and its share of cynics. The divisive nature of this mattress comes down to its unique Hyper-Elastic Polymer, which feels different than any other mattress. Now, the company has launched a revamped version of its original mattress with that same polymer as well as a new cover design and polyfoam edge support.
The original Purple mattress is kind of like a Tootsie Roll: You love it or you hate it. So I was excited to test out the revamped version to see how it compares. After putting the mattress through the full gamut of tests, I’ve personally come to like the mattress’s feel, but it might not appeal to everyone.
The Purple mattress was created by two brothers: Tony and Terry pearce. They both have engineering backgrounds and together developed the Hyper-Elastic Polymer™, a soft-yet-strong material that gives under pressure points and redistributes that pressure to other areas. After a couple years of licensing to other brands and tinkering with designs, they went live on Kickstarter and have never looked back. Purple now features three models: the original Purple (the updated version of which we’re reviewing here), the Purple Hybrid, and the Purple Hybrid Premier, all of which are made in the USA.
Purple has made a name for itself thanks to its unique materials and feel. But it’s certainly not the only mattress that’s been making waves. Later on, I’ll compare this Purple to other Purple models as well as the popular Casper and Nectar mattresses.
What Is the Purple Made Of?
The updated Purple features a slightly different construction than the original. While both mattresses utilize Purple’s signature Hyper-Elastic Polymer, the new version also has a SoftFlex cover design and introduces polyfoam around the comfort layer to enhance the mattress’s edge support.
I opened up the updated Purple to give you the full rundown on what’s inside.
Cover – The new cover features a SoftFlex material that’s made from a combination of polyester, viscose, and lycra. This combo is stretchy and breathable, so it moves with the Purple’s comfort layer and helps with airflow.
Comfort Layer – Next up is 2 inches of Purple’s proprietary Hyper-Elastic Polymer. This unique material is set up in a grid structure, so the walls of the grid flex underneath pressure points while remaining supportive everywhere else. This responsive feel could appeal to combo sleepers, as the mattress should provide a balance of comfort and support in all positions. Additionally, this layer is bouncy and sleeps cool, and it’s wrapped around the edges with sturdier polyfoam for enhanced edge support.
Transition Layer – Underneath the Hyper-Elastic Polymer is a transitional layer made up of 3.5 inches of high-density poly foam. This material is firmer and more supportive than the comfort layer, so it keeps you from sinking too far into the mattress. This makes it fairly easy to move around on the mattress — which, again, is a real plus for combo sleepers who switch positions in the night.
Base Layer – Finally, the mattress is supported by four inches of high-density poly foam. This layer helps account for the mattress’s overall firmness, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
How Firm Is the Purple Mattress?
Alright, now you know what’s inside of the mattress — and that means we can start to understand how it feels to lie on top of it. Let’s start by taking a look at the updated Purple’s firmness.
Now, it’s important to keep in mind that firmness is fairly subjective. Because we all have different weights, body shapes, sizes, and so on, your assessment of a mattress’s firmness might be different than mine. That said, I think it’s fair to say the Purple is on the firmer side.
I ranked the Purple as a 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale (though again, your mileage may vary). The industry standard for medium firmness is 6.5, so I’d say this is only slightly more “firm” than “medium firm”. It should offer support and pressure relief in multiple positions. For comparison’s sake, I found the updated Purple to be just a touch firmer than the original.
Given that the Purple mattress is designed to be pressure-relieving, you might be surprised to learn that it’s in that medium firm to firm range. Its firmness is thanks mainly to the mattress’s transitional and base layers, both of which are made up of high-density poly foam. This material is known for being supportive and fairly bouncy, which helps account for the Purple’s firm feel. Thanks to this support (and the fact that it does offer some pressure relief), the mattress might appeal most to back sleepers and/or combo sleepers.
Testing the Purple Mattress
Understanding a mattress’s firmness is important, but it’s certainly not the only factor that affects how a mattress feels. So let’s also review the updated Purple when it comes to Pressure Relief and Motion Transfer.
Sure, it’s not the most titillating concept around. But Pressure Relief — or a bed’s ability to relieve tension at sensitive areas such as the hips, lower back, and shoulders — is an important measure of a mattress’s feel. You want to know whether a mattress will ease pressure on relevant parts of your body so you sleep comfortably all night long.
To test the Pressure Relief on the updated Purple, I turned to my handy pressure map. I lay this device on top of the mattress, then climb on top and let the map track my body’s force as I try out different positions. Low-pressure areas are highlighted in blue, and the highest pressure areas show up as red.
Back – When I’m lying on my back, I feel like my hips aren’t sinking too far into the mattress and my spine is well-aligned. I think most back sleepers should be happy with the level of support on this mattress.
Side – Switching from my back to my side is easy thanks to the bounce and quick response of the Hyper-Elastic Polymer. Once I’m on my side, I feel a tiny bit of pressure. This shouldn’t be a big deal for combo sleepers who only spend part of the night on their sides, but strict side sleepers might want to look for a mattress that lets you sink in a bit more.
Stomach – Moving to my stomach, I’m pretty happy with the level of support. My hips don’t sink in too far, and my spine feels fairly well aligned. That said, I don’t think I’d want to spend all night on my stomach.
Along with Pressure Relief, Motion Transfer is a notable factor when it comes to assessing a mattress — especially if you sleep with a partner, child, or pet. Put simply, motion transfer refers to whether you’ll feel a sleeping partner’s movements if they shift around or get in and out of bed during the night.
To test out motion transfer, I dropped a 10 lb. steel ball from 4 inches, 8 inches, and 12 inches. Each of these heights mimics different movements, from tossing and turning to getting out of bed or full-on jumping. Then I measured the disturbance caused by each of these drops. The bigger the lines, the bigger the disturbance!
Because the Purple features poly foam along with a different material than any other mattress (in the form of its Hyper-Elastic Polymer), I was curious to see how it would perform. In general, foam does a decent job of absorbing motion, but I wanted to see how the grid would affect this. Overall, I think this mattress did a pretty good job of minimizing motion transfer.
The updated Purple is a popular bed-in-a-box mattress — so if you’re considering it, you’re probably looking at other bed-in-a-box mattresses as well. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to compare the Purple to some of its most well-known competitors: namely, Casper and Nectar.
- The Casper is an all-foam bed-in-a-box, which is not unlike this Purple model. It uses a balance of memory foam and poly foam, while the Purple uses a balance of its Hyper-Elastic Polymer and poly foam.
- While the Purple uses its proprietary Hyper-Elastic Polymer grid to balance support and comfort, the Casper uses a Zoned Support system. The mattress is softer under high-pressure areas (e.g. the shoulders and hips) and firmer where you’re more likely to need support.
- Much like the Purple, the Casper should appeal to combo sleepers. Its Zoned Support system means you should enjoy a balance of comfort and support in multiple sleeping positions.
- A Queen-sized Casper starts at $995, while the Purple starts at $649.
- The Nectar is another all-foam mattress. While it uses a lot of memory foam, the Purple uses a mixture of Hyper-Elastic Polymer and poly foam.
- Because the Nectar has a lot of memory foam, it lets you sink deep into the mattress for added pressure relief. You won’t sink as deeply into the Purple, which has a bouncier feel.
- Thanks to its high levels of pressure relief, the Nectar is particularly well-suited to strict side sleepers. In contrast, because the Purple is firmer, it’s probably better for combo sleepers than strict side sleepers.
- The Nectar mattress starts at $499, while the updated Purple starts at $649.
Because the Purple is the only mattress to use Hyper-Elastic Polymer, there’s no way to directly compare it to other brands’ mattresses with the same material. But we cancompare it to other Purple models, which feature the same Hyper-Elastic material but slightly different constructions and feels.
Purple Hybrid + Hybrid Premier
- Both the Purple Hybrid and Hybrid Premier feature a sturdier build than the updated Purple thanks to the inclusion of coils.
- The updated Purple has Hyper-Elastic Polymer over poly foam, while the hybrid models feature the same polymer over pocketed coils. This creates great bounce and mobility.
- Both the updated Purple and the Purple Hybrid have 2 inches of Hyper-Elastic Polymer, which leads to a supportive, firmer feel because there’s not a ton of room to sink into the mattress. In contrast, the Hybrid Premier comes in 3- and 4-inch versions for greater pressure relief. For this reason, the Hybrid Premier is more likely to appeal to strict side sleepers.
- Both the Hybrid and Hybrid Premier are more expensive than the updated Purple. The hybrid options range from $1,299 to $3,499 (depending on size), while the original Purple starts at $649.
Is the Purple Right for You?
Holy mackerel, you did it! You made it through this review. Now all that remains is one question: Is the updated Purple mattress right for you? I can’t answer that definitively, but I can provide you with a summary of my review to assist you with your decision!
- This is a very bouncy mattress. You sleep more on top of the bed than “in” it, which is rare for bed-in-a-box mattresses. This quality makes it easy to move around and switch positions on the mattress, which should appeal to combo sleepers.
- This is a great mattress for combo sleepers. That’s true both because it offers great mobility and because it provides a balance of pressure relief and support in all three sleeping positions. While you might not want to spend all night on your side or stomach, you should be comfortable if you spend part of the night there.
- The mattress sleeps pretty cool. It has a breathable cover, and the Hyper-Elastic Polymer is temperature neutral. This should be a good option for people who tend to sleep hot.
- The mattress probably isn’t the best fit for strict side sleepers. Because it’s on the firmer side and the comfort layer is only 2 inches thick, there’s not much space to sink into the mattress. If you need a lot of pressure relief, you might want to look for a mattress with a thicker comfort layer (such as the Purple Hybrid Premier) and/or a plush pillow-top.
- This might not be the best option for heavier folks, who may find that they drop through the comfort layers and mostly just feel the firmness of the polyfoam layers.