Written by Liz at Savvy Rest, September 11, 2017

Over the years, the mattress industry has grown and evolved, particularly when looking at the online market. With countless options, the search for the right mattress can be quite daunting. It’s difficult to know which materials and certifications to look out for in an industry where greenwashing and false advertising have become so prevalent. Sleeping well at night isn’t simply about physical comfort, but it’s also about the comfort that emerges from peace of mind—knowing you’ve purchased a mattress with organic and natural materials, along with proper certifications that prove legitimacy.

This is why our website is packed with information. We wish to educate people who are new to the organic mattress industry in a way that is detailed and honest. We don’t underestimate the passion and drive members of the natural community have for researching and learning about the products they introduce into their homes. It’s not just about one certification or a few good reviews—it’s about the bigger picture. It’s about going the extra mile to provide the very best. It’s about transparency and a core set of values that guide our decision-making when it comes to which materials we’re sourcing and which certifications we’ve chosen to acquire, and why.

Online-only mattress companies have become all the rage, but at a price that isn’t necessarily visible on the surface. While you’re technically spending less money upfront, you may not be in the long run. And then there’s the issue regarding materials. Is the mattress as natural as it can be? Or are there holes in this seemingly perfect, cozy oasis?

What Does That Price Tag Really Mean?

The first thing you’ll notice about online-only mattress companies is that lower price tag. Looks nice, right? I mean, who doesn’t want a good deal? We all love saving money and having a checking account with as many zeros as possible. But hear me out for a second.

Most of these lower-priced mattresses are not customizable and are designed with the belief of “one size fits all.” This mentality may work for a pair of socks, but it isn’t the best way to approach mattresses, a product that we spend a third of our lives sleeping on. We all have our own unique way of defining comfort. Weight, sleeping position, and medical issues all come into play when choosing a mattress, a concept that not all online-only mattress companies acknowledge in their design process. This is why Savvy Rest completely rejects the “one size fits all” argument and instead offers customizable organic mattresses where the customer is in complete control of how soft or firm their mattress ends up feeling. They can even change the feel of their mattress years down the road if they so choose. A Savvy Rest organic mattress has the ability to change as you change. This is something we’re very proud of, and it’s an aspect of our mattresses that people truly appreciate.

Consider these examples...

This combo offers pressure-relieving softness with stable support for the spine. Comfortable for many body types, it’s also a popular choice for guest beds and an adaptable configuration for a growing child. The top two layers can be reversed for a firmer feel.

Many couples love luxurious Soft Talalay. Left: For someone who loves climbing “into” bed, this top transitions gently to Soft Dunlop. Right: With denser core layers, a larger person or someone with frequent muscle-related backache can benefit from both types.

But back to the lower price tag that is quite tempting. What does that price mean?

It’s important to ask which materials they’re using and if these materials are healthy. Some companies will use memory foam, which is a synthetic material that traps your body heat, causing you to “sleep hot.” Other companies do offer Dunlop latex, but it may not be certified organic, and in most cases, they’re not using Talalay latex because of the higher cost. A mattress company would have to substantially increase their prices if they were to offer the most luxurious and pressure-relieving latex on the market. To keep costs down, they offer fewer options, which means a greater chance of the customer not being totally happy with their purchase.

Another thing to ask: what is the mattress encased in? Certified organic cotton? And what type of flame barrier is present? We use certified organic wool as a natural flame barrier, but most online-only brands don’t include wool at all, or if they do, it’s not certified organic. There’s a difference between using some natural and organic materials and having the entire mattress, along with the production facilities, certified organic.

Don’t get me wrong—there is certainly a place for natural wool in bedding. For example, we offer both a natural and a certified organic option for our Savvy Woolsy topper and our duvet insert. This allows our customers to have a domestically-sourced option at a lower price point. However, when it comes to our organic mattresses, we only use certified organic wool. If we were to use natural wool, we would not have been able to meet the strict requirements of Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

Also, online-only mattress companies don’t give their customers the option of trying the mattress in person before purchasing. This is something that sets Savvy Rest apart from the online market. Mattress stores accross the country (and in Canada) carry our products, so you can feel the quality of our organic materials and play around with different mattress configurations before purchasing. This is a huge relief for our customers; they know exactly what they’ll be sleeping on instead of getting a mattress in a box in the mail.

Another bonus is that one side of your Savvy Rest mattress can be firmer than the other. No one has to compromise! This feature isn’t prominent in the online-only industry.

The Truth Behind

Online Mattress Companies

Memory foam, even "natural" memory foam, pales in comparison to the airiness and resilience of natural latex.

Misleading Information

I’ve seen my fair share of misleading information when looking at the websites of various mattress companies, but it’s most likely easier for me to pick up on since I’m part of this industry. For a consumer who isn’t as familiar with behind the scenes manufacturing practices and certifications, it’s not as obvious.

For example, some companies claim to offer natural memory foam. Memory foam is a synthetic, man-made material that reacts and molds to your curves through a chemical reaction involving your body heat. There are memory foam companies that claim to have “eco” foam, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the manufacturing process (or even the end product) is eco-friendly. No matter what types of natural components these companies add into the memory foam, it’s still a petroleum-based product.

Then there is the claim of “100% Natural Latex.” Technically speaking, it’s impossible for a mattress to use 100% natural latex since the rubber sap from the latex tree cannot bake into layers of comfy foam without a small amount of curing agents and additives. These additives are safe and acknowledged by certifying bodies such as GreenGuard and GOTS. The finest natural latex is 95-97% pure rubber, and we have made sure to source the very best from Cocolatex and Radium Foam.

Michael and Seanan help load a container with old mattresses bound for the recycling center.

What If It Doesn’t Work Out?

You’ve purchased a $900 mattress, and the result has been less than satisfactory. Now you need to go through the hassle of returning the mattress and finding a new (and hopefully better) one. Most online-only mattress companies allow returns, but have you asked where these mattresses end up? Some do get donated, which is great, but others are simply picked up from your home and driven straight to a landfill, which is incredibly wasteful, not to mention harmful to the environment. Approximately 48 million mattresses end up in landfills every year in the United States. That’s an insane amount of waste! Why is this acceptable? We live in a "throw away" society, one where we don’t think twice about what ends up in the trash. In fact, some consumers try to take full advantage of return policies by purchasing multiple mattresses from different brands and then keeping whichever one they feel is best. The rest are scattered across landfills.

There are consequences to this type of waste, which is why Savvy Rest has a recycling program for customers local to our Savvy Rest Natural Bedroom stores. When we deliver a Savvy Rest organic mattress to a customer, we take their old mattress off their hands, free of charge. We then send these mattresses to Nine Lives Mattress Recycling in South Carolina.

If you’ve looked through our mattress product pages, you’ve probably noticed that we don’t allow returns. It would be much too costly to take returns when we source certified organic materials. Mattress companies that take returns are usually not sourcing the same types of expensive fabrics and foams, and are certainly not an employee-owned company that values each and every sale.

While we don’t accept returns, we do have a 90-day latex exchange policy which gives our customers peace of mind. Let’s say you went with a layer of Medium Dunlop on top, but you’d like to soften your mattress a bit. You can switch out that Medium for a Soft Dunlop layer for free within 90 days of receiving your mattress. We believe a mattress purchase is an investment, so we want you to be absolutely satisfied and comfortable.

The Final Takeaway

The mattress industry is certainly complex and fast-paced. New companies are constantly emerging, but it’s crucial to ask those important questions and understand exactly what you’re purchasing and bringing into your home. If you’re comfortable with the very real possibility that your mattress may only last a few years and could be too firm or too soft, then go with the online-only company. But if you want a customizable and organic mattress that is safe, supportive, and designed with longevity in mind, then we’re here and ready to help.