When I was contacted by Novosbed to do a review of their new mattress, I was immediately skeptical. I did some research online and found forums saying there were some “eerily similar” reviews floating around like they had been scripted. I couldn’t find any proof of this but I wanted to see for myself. So when I responded to the email, the first thing I said to my contact was, “You can send me the mattress and I’ll do a review…but I’m going to tell the truth.” I figured it would be a good litmus test to see if they were good with that or if they would pull the offer or respond with some canned verbiage they wanted me to include. I was happy to hear back from them that they were okay with an honest review…so here goes.
In the interest of full disclosure, I got a free mattress out of the deal. I didn’t get paid, but a free mattress is pretty valuable unless the mattress sucks. My wife and I have been sleeping on a name brand pillow-top mattress for the last 8 years that we purchased just before getting married. It was time for a new one after moving 4 times, innumerable spills from our 2 kids and a guy like me that is always hot and sweats in his sleep. We had reluctantly started the process of buying a new mattress but to me, it’s a horrible process. It’s a broken process and is the reason “Bed In A Box” (BIAB) companies like Novosbed and others have sprung up and had success. When going into a mattress store or large department store, you’re aware the salespeople operate on commission and it feels like they are hovering and you never know if the price you’re getting is legit. I’m in medical sales, so I empathize with the salespeople..but that doesn’t mean I like the process. Having someone hover over you while you’re trying to get a feel for how relaxing a mattress will be for the next 10 years just isn’t realistic. It’s pretty much impossible to get a true feel for a mattress by laying on it for 20 minutes (if you’re lucky) in a showroom. Nonetheless, we were looking and had narrowed our choices down to 2 or 3 before I got the email about reviewing a Novosbed. I figured worst case scenario would be I’d try it, hate it and send it back…no harm no foul.
Up until this point I hadn’t considered a BIAB product but briefly. I think I had a fear of the process…wondering how it would actually work if I disliked the mattress. I didn’t know if I’d have to pay for return shipping, if there would be some hidden clause that I violated that wouldn’t allow me to return it or if there’d be some other factor that would make it all more difficult than it was worth. I was also skeptical that something vacuum-sealed and shipped to my house could be high-quality. It turns out with Novosbed, there’s a 120-night trial. If you don’t like the bed, save the plastic it came in and they’ll arrange to have it picked up at no cost. They will actually donate returned mattresses to those in need which is pretty cool.
So there’s the setup. I was skeptical of a Bed In A Box, needed a new mattress, didn’t want to write a review that went against my conscience…and all of these things aligned and Novosbed mailed it out for us to try.
My Novosbed arrived while I was off seeing clients. When I arrived home, there was a box about the size of a Christmas tree box outside my garage. I knew my wife wanted me to wait for her to get home to open it so that evening we opened up the box. It was pretty deceptive, a queen-sized mattress in this box. Kind of like those clown cars at the circus with 15 guys inside a tiny car. It was easy enough to open one end, stand it up and slide the mattress out. It was pretty impressive the way these things are packed…vacuum-sealed into a plastic bag and rolled up into the box.
A careful incision into the plastic was all it needed to start sucking air and, within 5 minutes, we had a fully-functional queen-sized mattress. Novosbed says it can take up to 48 hours to fully “inflate” but ours was good enough to lay on in a short period of time.
Throughout this process, I couldn’t help but daydream about some poor delivery driver who had one of these vacuum bags get punctured only to rip through it’s box and send packages flying when he opened the door.
There are a few key things about this mattress that I want to highlight because they make a big difference. First, Novosbed makes their mattresses with a higher-density foam that’s on-par with the high-end memory foam mattresses you’ll find in the retail stores. Their price point is subsequently a little higher than the other Bed-In-A-Box companies but you can tell a difference in the quality for sure. The reality is I can’t compare it to those other BIAB companies but I can compare it to the ones in the store. My parents have a $2500 memory foam mattress and I spent one afternoon this week taking a nap on it. I liked ours a little better for reasons described below.
A huge selling point for my wife was the fact that the new Novosbed mattress comes with a washable, zip-off cover.
That’s *huge* for us. As I mentioned before, we’ve got a 4.5 year old and a 2.5 year old…and messes are part of our life. Novosbed includes a care card with instructions for washing the cover as well as treating ’emergency’ spills. The neat part is that they’ve engineered this card to insert along the side of the mattress so you don’t lose it.
Otherwise we would definitely lose it.
One thing to note – the card does say that your warranty is void if you spill liquid into the mattress. They recommend a mattress cover just in case, which I think is always a good idea. I was happy to see some instructions on caring for the mattress though…up until this point I thought you had 2 options for treating a stinky or stained mattress… 1) Google it, find some random concoction someone made up, cross your fingers and hope for the best or 2) take it outside, pour lighter fluid on it and set it on fire. I’m glad to know there are actual care instructions and the top cover can be thrown in the washing machine. Huge plus for a guy that sweats like me. Each Novosbed includes a heavy elastic panel under the washable top panel to protect the core during cover re-attachment, as well as to maintain the cover integrity while the top panel is being washed.
Here’s one i didn’t even think about. I’ve read other reviews of Beds-In-A-Bag and it seems like the smell is mentioned frequently. I’ve even read this about memory foam mattresses you can buy in the store as well. I guess it all depends on the materials and propellants used to create the foam. Novosbed uses carbon dioxide as a propellant and we only noticed a smell for about fifteen minutes after unpacking. It was mostly from the inside of the cardboard box. Since we took the plastic off and put the box in the garage there’s no residual smell at all. This is one of things I didn’t realize was a potential issue until I did some research and realized it was with some other mattresses. Another nice aspect is that 100% of a Novosbed can be recycled. Combine this with minimal packaging, less harmful chemicals (per their website), 50% longer life and the fact they donate returned beds to those in need and I feel pretty good about owning one.
The best part:
So the first night my wife and I slept on the bed, we laid down on it and said, “ugh, this thing is too hard…bummer” After about 15 minutes in bed recapping our days, she said to me, “does it seem softer to you already?” This was our first night on a memory foam mattress so we weren’t used to the way it conforms to your body. We slept on the standard “medium” firmness mattress for about a week. It was comfortable but more firm than the 8 year-old, worn-out spring mattress we were used to. Then Novosbed sent us their Comfort+ layer. This is the cool part. Obviously one of the biggest problems buying a moderately priced mattress online (or in person) is that you can’t control the firmness after you get it. Unless you buy one of the ones that are adjustable and set yourself back $3000-$4000, you’re out of luck. Novosbed has solved this by allowing you to spend 30 days on your Novosbed and, if you want the firmness adjusted, they will send you one of their Comfort+ layers.
The engineering for the Comfort+ layer was impressive. I was worried initially that they were going to send me some glorified wal-mart mattress topper. Instructions were printed on the box (I told Novosbed they should include an insert in case the box gets scuffed up) and were easy to follow. We received the adjustment layer and slid the foam into a slip-cover that was provided. Then you zip-off the washable top cover of the mattress and zip-on an expander that goes around the mattress. You lay the Comfort+ adjustment layer on top, put the washable top-cover back on and zip it onto the expander. The whole thing took us 5 minutes and the bed looks exactly the same as it did before…but now it’s softer (or harder, depending on which adjustment you needed). This wasn’t just some mattress topper. It integrates into the mattress itself and simply adjusts the firmness…so simple but I was impressed.
This sealed the deal for us. We’re keeping it.
I wish I could say that my wife or I had some terrible back problem that was solved by this mattress or that we suddenly went from insomnia to falling asleep instantly but that’s not the case. The reality is we’re just *really* happy with the mattress after a couple of weeks on it and I would have never guessed this were available for under $1000. My wife’s fitness tracker says she’s getting about 45 minutes more deep sleep per night than before on our old mattress. Not sure if that’s because of the mattress or not, but it’s noticeable and unlikely a coincidence.
The bottom line:
No one gave me a script or told me they’d take back my mattress if I wrote a crappy review. I’m not going to get rich off of affiliate links. I would tell you if it sucked but it just doesn’t. When we were pricing other mattresses, we were looking in the $2000-$2500 price range. I didn’t think I could get a mattress that we like this much for less than that. When considering the washable cover, the adjustment layer that made a huge difference and the expectation that this will last up to 50% longer than a traditional mattress, the only thing keeping me from buying this in the first place was believing that a Bed-In-A-Bag would really be worthwhile. I haven’t been sweating as much either…so that’s a plus. The only lingering question is the durability. I don’t have any way of knowing how long the mattress will hold up but, again, Novosbed says it can last up to 50% longer than a regular mattress. Time will tell, but I’m confident saying that we’ll be happy with this mattress for quite a while.
Again with full-disclosure, the links on here to Novosbed are affiliate in nature. You can get $100 off your Novosbed by using the coupon code IANTB100. Feel free to visit their site outside of my links if you’d prefer. I can tell you without a doubt that these are mine and my wife’s honest opinions about the Novosbed. i’d give it a shot if you’re looking for a new mattress. You can try it for 30 nights and then get a Comfort+ layer to adjust the firmness. Try it for another 90 days (total of 120 nights) and you can return it with no hassle and they’ll donate it to someone in need. There’s really not much to lose and you’ll save some money in the process. You can contact me with questions at email@example.com and I’ll do my best to answer.