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By some estimates, there are currently more than a hundred brands that deliver compressed memory foam beds to your door. These “bed-in-a-box” companies are taking advantage of traditional high-pressure mattress showrooms with low-stakes e-commerce, lengthy risk-free trials, and easy delivery and returns.
One of the biggest names in the industry is Leesa. We’ve tested almost all of its mattresses (which you can read about here) as well as many of its bedding accessories, and have always had positive experiences with them.
Below, I go over what you should look for when shopping for a mattress and share my experiences with the Leesa Hybrid, which was sent to me for free for the purposes of testing.
Length of the trial period
I have years of experience with beds-in-a-box brands, and arguably the most important factor to look for when shopping for a mattress is the length of the trial period offered. When you go into a store to shop for a mattress, you can lay down on the actual bed before buying it. Though some online mattress retailers have showrooms in big cities, for the most part, you don’t get the same brick-and-mortar experience shopping online.
To address this, online companies offer significant trial periods where you can return the mattress if you are not completely satisfied. There are some brands that will give you a full year to try their mattress but most offer a risk-free trial of about 100 nights. Check to make sure you get a trial of at least 90 nights with a mattress so you don’t get stuck with something that doesn’t meet your individual needs. Also, read the fine print to ensure you don’t get stuck with a hefty return charge.
Type of mattress: innerspring, foam, hybrid, foam, or latex
The most popular mattresses continue to be the traditional innerspring mattresses. They feature a steel coil core and a foam comfort layer. Their benefits are strong edge support and excellent bounciness, but they are prone to sagging, producing the classic squeaky bed sound, and they don’t contour well to the body.
Some innerspring mattresses feature individually wrapped pocket coils. This construction helps to minimize motion transfer. Think of the old commercials where a bowling ball is dropped on a mattress. If you share a bed with a partner, you may want to consider individually wrapped coils to ensure they don’t wake you up as they move in the night.
Memory foam mattresses keep growing in popularity. They consist of several layers of foam that conform to your body. Though they last longer than innerspring mattresses, they tend to trap heat.
Hybrid mattresses combine innersprings and memory foam. They have many layers of foam on top of a core of pocket coils. This combats the heat-trapping problem commonly found with memory foam while contouring to the body. However, hybrid mattresses tend to cost more than memory foam and innerspring.
Two other less common and more expensive options are latex mattresses and airbeds. Latex offers rounded body support and bounce, but it emits a long-lasting off-gassing odor. Airbeds combine foam comfort layers with air chamber support. An air pump lets you adjust your firmness, and airbeds are surprisingly durable.
Firmness is another important consideration. Firmness is rated on a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 is as firm as it gets. According to Sleepopolis’s guide on firmness, 80% of sleepers prefer mattresses in the 5 to 7 range, regardless of sleep position. Therefore, many mattresses are right around 6. However, preference is incredibly subjective. In general, side sleepers should look for softer mattresses to avoid putting too much pressure on your joints. Back and stomach sleepers will typically benefit from medium-firm mattresses.
The Leesa Hybrid mattress arrived in a box, which is a beast so I encourage you to tip your delivery person generously. The king-sized mattress I tested weighs 142 pounds, so you may want to have a couple of friends help you with. My wife and I were able to carry it up a winding staircase to our second-floor bedroom, but it took at least a few cuss words.
Since the mattress is heavy, don’t plan on moving it after it’s been opened. In other words, open it where you plan on keeping it. With this in mind, I opened the box alongside my foundation.
I like to try to do as much of an assembly/installation as I can on my own so I can give a full report on what needs to be done. I unboxed the mattress, put it on the foundation, and removed the plastic without help but I don’t recommend anyone do this on their own if they can help it because the mattress is large and heavy. The unboxing and positioning of the mattress took me about 15 minutes.
I was surprised by how odor-free the mattress was right out of the packaging. Since I was in the process of renovating my home when the mattress arrived, it sat in the box for over a month. Longer storage times usually worsen the memory foam odors, commonly called “off-gassing.” You should allow the mattress to air out for a couple of hours or even days before sleeping on it.
The Leesa Hybrid Mattress features individually wrapped coils and layers of foam. The 11-inch-thick Leesa Hybrid has five layers: the cooling foam top layer, contouring memory foam, and a 6″ pocket coil system sandwiched between two layers of core support foam.
The feature that stood out to me most was the pocket spring coil system. You can feel the springs along the sides of the Leesa Hybrid mattress. Why does this matter? When you have springs that go right up to the edge, you can count on excellent edge support, which allows you to make the most of the entire area of your bed without feeling like you’re going to fall off. And, in my experience, the Leesa Hybrid did provide superior edge support.
Since I could feel the coils, I thought I might as well count them. There were 46 along the width and 50 along the length for an estimated grand total of 2,300. All factors being the same, the more coils there are, the more support and durability you can expect. The better innerspring mattresses have 600 to 1,000 coils.
The individually wrapped coils also kept motion transfer to a minimum. I’m a light sleeper. Whether it’s sounds, odors, or something moving around on the bed, I will wake up. However, the movement didn’t wake me up with the Leesa Hybrid. If my wife had to get up early or our four-year-old jumped into bed with us, I would rarely wake up. To put the motion transfer to the test, I dropped a 20-pound weight from 3 feet above the bed approximately 12 inches away from a can of sparkling water. I did this several times, and the can didn’t move at all.
Before the Leesa Hybrid, I slept on a medium-firm mattress that would be about a 7 on the firmness scale and was just a little too firm for my tastes. The Leesa Hybrid is closer to a 6.5, which provided the balance of comfort and support that I need as a side sleeper, as well as someone who moonlights as a roller derby player, cyclist, and runner. Often after roller derby bouts, I can’t sleep because of the pain but I have not had any trouble falling asleep on the Leesa Hybrid. My wife has had a similar experience.
I didn’t find that the Leesa Hybrid trapped heat, a common problem for memory foam. I’m a hot sleeper, and we were using the mattress during the height of summer heat. Regardless, I did not experience night sweats, which are an occasional problem for me.
Sleepopolis has identified five areas that make a mattress ideal for intimacy: comfort, edge support, minimal noise, bouncing, and ease of movement. I’ve already touched on the impressive edge support and comfort. When it comes to noise, the Leesa Hybrid mattress coupled with the Leesa Foundation is completely silent, a must when you have kids sleeping in the next room. The firmness level also isn’t too firm and has a little bit of bounce, so the Leesa Hybrid checks all the right boxes for romantic intimacy.
The Leesa Hybrid is outstanding and finding flaws was difficult.
Though I think it is worth it, the Leesa Hybrid mattress is more expensive than the vast majority of online mattresses. However, it is a hybrid bed, which tends to be more expensive than ones with just innerspring or foam. When you consider that the mattress can last you for more than a decade, the expense can seem trivial, but it’s still an expensive investment.
Another concern is how incredibly heavy and unwieldy the mattress is. Fortunately, we just bought our first home, and hopefully (knock on wood) won’t have to move any time soon. But, if you are someone who moves frequently, you may want to enlist the help of professionals when it comes time to move this massive mattress.
Trial period and warranty
Leesa offers a 100-night risk-free trial period and they suggest that buyers try their mattress for at least 30 nights. If you aren’t satisfied, they will coordinate the pick-up of the mattress or foundation. You don’t have to worry about attempting the impossible task of fitting everything back into the box. There is no fee for returns unless you’re in Alaska or Hawaii, in which case it will cost $100.
There is also a 10-year mattress warranty. The warranty is limited to physical flaws in the cover or mattress craftsmanship and mattress deterioration that results in an indentation of more than an inch. The warranty covers the full replacement of the mattress, but the buyer has to pay for shipping.
Leesa offers a “white glove” delivery service in select locations. For an extra $100, a two-person team will deliver your mattress and foundation, unbox it, set it up, and remove the packaging. And, for $50 more, they will remove your old mattress and box spring, which is helpful since most municipalities charge extra for disposing of mattresses. I chose not to go with the white glove service because I wanted to get the full buying experience.
Bear has a hybrid mattress that is priced about the same as the Leesa Hybrid. A fellow writer for Insider Reviews was floored by the comfort. The layering construction is pretty similar to the Leesa Hybrid, only there is a layer of gel memory foam instead of Leesa’s patented LSA200 foam. Also, at 14.5″, the Bear hybrid is much thicker. It also offers a 100-night trial.
Another hybrid option available online is the Allswell mattress backed by Walmart. I had the opportunity to test the Allswell before the Leesa Hybrid mattress and found it to be slightly firmer, though the Leesa Hybrid fits my personal comfort preferences more closely. At $585 for a queen-size (the largest it comes in), the Allswell is much more affordable than the Leesa Hybrid.
Thanks to my job, I have the opportunity to test more than a dozen different bed-in-a-box mattresses but I still choose the Leesa Hybrid as my main bed.
The edge support is outstanding. There is very little motion transfer if my wife decides to get up early, which isn’t really much of an issue because she rarely wants to leave the comforts of the bed before me. I haven’t had any trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and it’s by far, the most comfortable bed-in-a-box I’ve tested.
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