A Mattress Industry CEO And Legendary Bedding Designer Reviews The Tuft & Needle Mattress
There’s nothing like a good American success story when it comes to mattresses, and I gush when I see a company that followed in the same footsteps I tread upon when I launched several mattress companies in early 2004.
Created by two guys who met at a Penn State entrepreneur program, they spawned one of the first e-commerce bed in a box mattress companies that manufactured their mattresses in the USA with mostly domestically sourced foam and textiles, in 2013. In the first year, the company generated $1 million in sales, pretty impressive for two guys who spent just $6,000 to create the startup, which currently produces three different models.
While the company initially produced the Tuft and Needle Original, they refined their mattress design mastery and created the Tuft and Needle Mint, and the Tuft and Needle Hybrid. They have had a great deal of success online with all three mattresses, each a successful reinvention of the first model, using highly technical foam layers that are designed to create a weightless sensation without that sinking and caving in sensation found in the average all foam mattress.
Their hybrid mattress incorporates a pocketed coil system in it to provide enhanced support for larger folks or customers looking for a more supportive and resilient sleep surface.
The Tuft and Needle original model is a very streamlined mattress with two foam layers. Their formula for developing a rather sophisticated mattress and keeping it at an affordable price point required lots of research and hours grading through trade shows like ISPA, where manufacturers and retailers find the components they want for their mattress lineup.
I’ve attended that show dozens of times, and created many of my own mattresses much like T&N did, but these guys were masters at building a super high quality foam mattress lineup with components that could be acquired by purchasing large volumes at discounted prices.
Their production process is highly streamlined and while they do use third party fabricators, construction, packaging, and shipping of any Tuft & Needle mattress is a highly orchestrated and tightly managed process. actually visited one of their fabricating facilities in Los Angeles in 2015, at a company called Abad Foam.
I walked into their main production area after a run was packaged and line up for shipping, in awe of the 1,500 boxed up T&N mattresses ready to go out the door. Note: visiting a third party fabricator of one of our recommended mattresses is pretty rare, as access is difficult and very secretive.
Let’s talk about the Tuft & Needle mattress lineup and why I recommend them as one of our top dealers. The original model, while it may look pretty simplistic, is well thought out with regards to the density of each layer and how it both cradles and lifts, as well as its ability to deliver a cooler night’s sleep and relieve pressure points and pain.
Tuft & Needle mattresses are a great value, true, but their original mattress is a reliable and comfortable mattress that reviewers rave about, and it is a good fit for pretty much most conventional sleepers:
Who Might Consider Buying A Tuft And Needle Mattress?
Price conscious consumers who want value but are also looking at their mattress as an investment.
Owners from 90-185 pounds who are side, back, and back sleepers (combination)
Those who prefer a mattress with a neutral foam feel, not soft or firm, but definitely comfortably cushy while at the same time uplifting and buoyant.
Those who need a good mattress for a guest room
Who Would Not Be A Good Fit For A Tuft And Needle Mattress?
Stomach sleepers weighing more than 195 lbs. may immerse too deeply and cause spine to arch excessively.
Heavier people (over 195lbs) who are in need of more overall support
Those who prefer a mattress with a slow-moving memory foam feel or a wrap around, immersive sensation. T&N will keep you more buoyant, and on top of the mattress.
Tuft And Needle Mattress: Firm Or Soft?
One of the first things I like to explore and then explain to readers when reviewing a mattress is describing how firm, soft, or supportive the bed feels. Let’s discuss how the Tuft and Needle mattress stacks up and what it feels like to sleep on it.
The Tuft and Needle has a relative firmness of 6.5/10, which is on the slightly firmer side of cushy and soft. In other words, you’re not going to feel like you have crashed into an abyss and then have trouble digging your way out, or turning easily- without waking up. aI would describe the Tuft&Needle original mattress has pretty much just about medium in terms of firmness.
Their specialized high density foam layer, that Tuft&Needle calls Adaptive Foam, is pretty soft, but, when you press into the mattress, you will get some firmness from the support layer. Not that it bottoms out, but if you like on the mattress, your weight is properly distributed and melts into the firmer layer beneath. This is a very difficult thing to calibrate perfectly, as I have spent hundreds of hours designing my own mattresses only to find this little detail about mattress design extremely tough.
I will say that sizing up two adjacent layers to get them to evenly melt into one another is something Tuft&Needle has mastered, and I really appreciate their design, and after almost five years, the mattress still has a strong cult following, with a huge amount of business being driven by current owners who recommend the mattress to friends and family. That’s the ultimate test of road-worthiness for a mattress in opinion.
As we will discuss below, the Tuft and Needle original mattress might feel either softer or firmer, but that sensation will try depending on your weight. Sleepers under 130 pounds will not immerse as much as someone over 150 lbs, for example, so the Tuft and Needle will feel softer to them. If your body weight is over 130lbs, your body will immerse a little more deeply into the Tuft and Needle and you’ll size it up as a firmer mattress overall.
Keep in mind that when you compare the Tuft&Needle mattress to many of the other popular all foam mattresses like Casper, for example, the difference is subtle, but the Tuft & Needle original is just ever so slightly more supportive, and if you have back or neck issues, I always suggest erring on the side of firm rather than too soft.
When queried, here’s how a group of Tuft & Needle mattress owners squared off in their opinion of the mattress being firm or soft:
32 % said it was Firm to Very Firm
51% = Supportive or slightly firm
9% = Medium
6% = Soft or not supportive at all
Sleeping On The Tuft And Needle Mattress: the Benefits Of A Well-Calibrated and optimized Mattress
For back sleeping, when you are considering the average sleeper who like a medium firm feel, the Tuft and Needle original mattress provides the necessary alchemy of comfort and support; it’s balanced perfectly so that, when on your side, your hips will immerse just the right amount, without causing your spine to become contorted. This helps to relieve muscle strain while sleeping, as both muscle groups and connective tissue can work all night, producing lactic acid buildup and subsequent soreness in the morning, if your body is not properly “suspended” across your mattress.
Further, the layer of Adaptive Foam provides a good amount of body contouring as well, allowing both hips and shoulder to sink in perfectly while maintaining straight and level spine alignment. The Tuft & Needle original mattress is 10” thick. the top layer of Adaptive Foam, a proprietary component is 3” thick, and the remaining 7” is the support or base foam layer, made with a more dense polyurethane foam.
The Tuft & Needle original mattress is also excellent for back sleepers, too, as the adaptive foam layer on top provides god pressure relief on your back while also filling in the void areas, like between shoulder blades and in the lumbar area of your back.
Overall, the Tuft and Needle has a balanced foam feel that is both soft and responsive. Lying down on the Tuft and Needle mattress, you will sink in a bit, but you should have no trouble moving around or changing positions. Restless sleepers find that they stay awake longer on a Tuft&Needle, too, primarily because the surface allows for such ease of movement that you tend not to come out of a deep sleep, especially in REM sleep.
Not For Heavy Weights
I would advise that back sleepers under 200 lbs. will enjoy the overall feel of the Tuft and Needle mattress and they should experience a balanced level of cushiness and overall comfort, along with getting the uplifting support you need from a supportive mattress. Side sleepers who are under 180 lbs. should get enough pressure relief (if they are heavier, they could feel some serious pressure on their shoulders and hips). In general, stomach sleepers are going to want a firmer, more supportive mattress.
How A Tuft & Needle Mattress Is Constructed
My favorite part of reviewing mattresses is definitely getting inside and having a peek. Let’s go through why the T&N design is really on the mark for the average sleeper, and just how simple the design is. what’s really interesting with the Tuft & Needle design, in all three of their mattresses actually, and not just the original model, is the lack of complexity- which translates to longer lifespan and better performance. In the mattress design, the rule of thumb has always been use the least amount of layers in the cake recipe as possible.
Recently I’ve noticed several companies reinventing the wheel by merely adding in more layers to an already satisfactory design, just to create more models to choose from. This has been shown to not really work, as consumers generally like to buy a simplistically designed mattress that is easily described, sleeps comfortably, and provides proper support.
In the last five years, especially, consumers have become educated, have lots of choices, and want clear and refined information fast. That’s what you’ll get with the minimalistic approach to mattress design that Tuft & Needle employs.
Outer Covering Of The Tuft & Needle Mattress Lineup
The Tuft and Needle features a fairly thin cover made of a blended rayon and polyester weave that is also soft and breathable – it easily allows air to pass through the top of the mattress. The cover is made with a micro polyamide and polyester blend. This allows air to flow through the mattress cover. The mattress cover is not removable and should be spot cleaned as needed.
Their fabric has been carefully designed to allow the feel of the foam layers to be transferred and not dampened by excessive layers of pillow tops, wool, cotton, or other elements, often built into mattress designs that don’t have support and comfort designed into the mattress build itself.
Adaptive Foam Layer Explained
The Tuft and Needle features one comfort layer; it is something called Adaptive Foam, a material invented by the Tuft and Needle team. It is soft, responsive, and features graphite and ceramic gel infusions that are intended to help with heat dissipation and to keep you from overheating at night.
Graphite actively draws heat away from the body and dissipates it. The ceramic gel beads wick away moisture and heat while cushioning and supporting the body. It creates an elastic matrix that distributes load horizontally, not down so you experience pin point pressure. This foam layer is low-density and prevents heat retention.
The moderate zoned contouring of the Adaptive foam layer also helps to reduce back and joint pain. It cushions areas that press into the mattress, including the shoulders and hips. This helps with spine alignment, regardless of your sleeping position.
T&N Adaptive foam also has more resilience than traditional memory foam too, so it bounces back to its original shape quickly. Though similar to memory foam, it doesn’t have the melting sensation and the heat retention found with most memory foam.
Beneath the adaptive foam layer is a 7-inch foundation of high-density polyurethane foam. It should be noted that Tuft & Needle uses Certi-Pur foams, which have toxic substances like heavy metals, formaldehyde, and VOC’s removed from the material.
This foam base reinforces the Adaptive foam comfort layer and prevents excessive sinking into the mattress. It also supports and gives the mattress slightly firmer feel. This specialized polyfoam layer has an open-cell structure, which increases airflow throughout the mattress and keeps heat from concentrating beneath your body.
Heat retention is a common concern with most foam mattresses, so this material contributes to the Tuft & Needle mattress sleeping cooler than average when it comes to temperature regulation. The overall finished height of the Tuft & Needle mattress is 10” including the outer covering.
Most Tuft and Needle owners report that the mattress has little or no motion transfer issues. Usually, firmer and more responsive foam mattresses aren’t the best at absorbing and dampening motion, but this isn’t the case with the Tuft and Needle. The Adaptive Foam isolates motion to each side of the mattress so, if you want a good mattress for couples, the Tuft and Needle is a good option.
If you want a mattress that serves both as a platform for great sleep and sex, Tuft & Needle mattresses are ranked pretty high in user satisfaction because the material is immersive just enough so that you and your partner aren’t sliding around on it, but still delivers plenty of cush factor when needed. Based on this, I think the Tuft and Needle is a pretty good pick for sexual partners. It is responsive and will make it easy to move around during those intimate moments.
The Tuft and Needle comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty. Note that if you order it on Amazon and not through our link, you’ll only be able to enjoy a 30 night trial period
How Does The Tuft And Needle Compare To Other Popular Mattresses?
Tuft And Needle Vs Casper
The Casper mattress is clearly one of Tuft and Needle’s biggest competitors. While it is also an all-foam mattress, the construction of a typical Casper mattress is slightly different than the Tuft and Needle’s design.
In its second layer, the Casper features a Zoned Support system – this is a layer of memory foam that is firmer toward the center and softer toward the head and foot of the mattress. It is intended to make the mattress feel firmer when you are back and stomach sleeping and softer when you are side sleeping. I don’t care for the Casper design as it clearly creates very different boundaries at the transition areas too rapidly.
Overall, these are both mattresses with a pretty well-balanced foam feel, and they make it easy to move around at night. However, find the Casper to be even firmer than the Tuft and Needle mattress and it felt a little too supportive when on your back.
The Tuft and Needle is also far more affordable than the Casper mattress. The Tuft and Needle is designed to be more of a streamlined value mattress, so I was not surprised by this…but again, the cake recipe should be simple and functional, and Tuft & Needle gets the job done with less complexity.
In addition to its biggest selling original model, Tuft & Needle has two other models to choose from:
Tuft & Needle Mint: The T&N Mint mattress is a 12-inch foam mattress with enhanced T&N Adaptive foam. This mattress has three layers instead of two, with more graphite and reinforced edge support. The graphite is fantastic for hot-sleepers, and having better edge support for transfer and putting on shoes is easier and is a nice little enhancement over the basic model.
Tuft & Needle Hybrid: The T&N Hybrid mattress has a multi-layer design with Adaptive foam comfort layers, a micro-coil transition layer, and pocketed springs. The pillow-top of the mattress is infused with carbon.