I Test Beds for a Living, and the Purple Mattress Successfully Relieved My Back Pain
As a mattress tester and certified sleep science coach, I'm intrigued by Purple mattress's unique use of materials. Designed with back and side sleepers in mind, Purple claims that its original bed provides excellent pressure relief and helps maintain proper spine alignment. But how does it hold up in a testing environment?
Is the Purple mattress right for you?
The Purple mattress is best for:
- People with back pain: Purple keeps the spine aligned, meaning your back won't sink into the surface of the mattress, a common occurrence with foam beds.
- Side sleepers: Pressure-relieving layers cushion the hips and shoulders and evenly distribute your body weight for optimal alignment.
- Back sleepers: The spine maintains its natural curve on Purple's surface, which helps prevent back pain.
- Hot sleepers: Purple's grid layer provides a ton of airflow, mirroring what you'd get from a hybrid or innerspring mattress. I loved how cool Purple's surface felt, despite it having thick foam layers at its base.
- Active people: This mattress helps the body recover by gently cushioning your joints. The top layer took pressure off my sore spots, giving me a weightless feeling.
The Purple mattress isn't best for:
- Budget shoppers: I consider a value or budget mattress to be anything under $1,000. A queen-size Purple mattress costs closer to $1,200, but I still think it's a great value for what you're getting––just not ideal for those on a tight budget.
- Stomach sleepers: Unfortunately for us stomach sleepers, the purple grid is designed to provide optimal alignment for side and back sleepers. Because it's nearly impossible for stomach sleepers to have perfect alignment, Purple does not recommend any of their mattresses for stomach sleepers.
- Couples: If you or your partner is a light sleeper, this may not be the option for you. The Purple has average motion isolation, meaning you may feel your sleep companion's tossing and turning.
Purple mattress layers
The original Purple mattress has one of the most unique constructions I've ever seen. Starting on the exterior and working my way in, I examined how each of the materials work together.
Purple is wrapped in a knit cover, which feels super soft to the touch. What makes it special is its flexibility: The cover moves with your body and the Purple grid below, so it won't be as quick to wear out. I also found over 1,800 air channels—a plus for hot sleepers.
The Purple grid
Also known as the "GelFlex Grid," Purple's proprietary comfort layer sits directly below the cover. It's made from a hyper-elastic polymer material that has the consistency of a squishy gel. The grid is very bouncy (and so much fun to jump on), which combination sleepers—who change positions throughout the night—will appreciate. Plus, it flexes under common pain points, easing pressure on your hips, shoulders, and lower back.
The two-layer polyfoam base provides both comfort and support. Plus, it's incredibly durable and will prevent your mattress from sagging. I feel confident that I'll be sleeping on this same Purple mattress for years to come.
How does the Purple mattress feel?
On the firmness scale, with one being the softest and 10 being the firmest, the Purple falls at a 6.5 out of 10, which is categorized as a medium-firm mattress. This firmness level suits most types of sleepers. Personally, I like how balanced the Purple feels. It offers a nice combination of comfort and support.
The cover of the mattress is super soft and I really noticed the grid's unique material when I would get into bed. It makes the mattress ultra-bouncy and responsive—if you plop down on this bed after a long day, expect it to spring right back up.
Purple mattress features
A lot of memory foam mattresses tend to sleep hot because body heat gets trapped in the foam and has nowhere to go. Luckily, Purple's GelFlex Grid has built-in airflow. Instead of absorbing my body heat, the temperature-neutral material allows air to pass through specially designed squares in the foam to keep me cool.
Edge support is one of those features you probably don't notice until it's gone. If you're like me and sleep near the edge of the bed or sit there to tie your shoes, you'll want a mattress with proper edge support—and the Purple delivers, earning an 8.5 out of 10 in the category. The stability is there when I change sleep positions during the night.
One of my favorite things about the Purple mattress is how well it relieves pressure on sensitive points. At Mattress Advisor, my team uses pressure mapping technology to see what kind of relief a mattress offers in each sleep position. Though I'm a stomach sleeper, I toss and turn at night and frequently end up on my side. When I lay on my side, the pressure map indicated only slight pressure on my shoulders.
When lying on both my stomach and back, there was barely any pressure on my hips, shoulders, or lower back, which is why I gave the Purple an 8.5 out of 10 for pressure relief.
If you're a side sleeper, your mattress should keep your spine in a straight line while you sleep, but back sleepers will feel more comfortable on a bed that maintains their spine's natural curve. The Purple mattress can do both. Proper spine alignment is especially important if you suffer from back pain, like I do. The best beds on the market promote good posture and prevent your back from twisting in odd angles.
If you sleep with a partner, motion transfer—a bed's ability to suppress movement from one side to the other—can make or break a mattress. In testing the Purple mattress, I found that when my partner tossed and turned, I only felt slight movement. However, there was more of a disruption when they got in and out of bed.
Purple mattress buying process
If you've never bought a mattress online before, here's what you can expect from Purple.
Shipping and delivery
Your purchase of a Purple mattress includes free shipping, and it typically takes between two-and-a-half to three weeks for the bed to arrive at your door.
All new mattresses come compressed in a cylinder case. I recommend carrying it to your bedroom and setting it on your foundation before you begin to unbox (or unbag). Trust me, it is way easier to move the case than the full queen-size mattress.
Purple mattresses are on the heavy side, so I had a friend help me set it up. Due to the weight, it took about four-and-a-half minutes to unbox, but the mattress instantly began to take shape. Even with the polyurethane foam layers, I didn't notice an off-gassing smell.
Trial period and returns
Purple offers customers an industry-standard 100-night sleep trial. This means you have up to 100 nights to sleep on your mattress and determine whether it's the right bed for you. If you decide it's not, you can return it free of charge within that window. Customer service will walk you through the process, and your mattress will either be donated or recycled. The brand recommends you test out the mattress for at least 21 nights in order to fully adjust to its features.
Purple mattresses come with a 10-year warranty. The original buyer can get their damaged bed repaired or replaced as long as it falls under the warranty's coverage.
Final thoughts on the Purple mattress
Simply put, the Purple mattress is a great option if you're a side or back sleeper who suffers from back pain. I loved how the GelFlex Grid helped maintain proper spine alignment and relieved pressure on my joints while keeping me cool. Plus, the 100-night sleep trial let me test out the mattress without worrying about losing money if I didn't like it. Purple may just be the bed that transforms your entire sleep experience.
Loren Bullock is a certified sleep science coach and lifestyle writer for Mattress Advisor.
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