Recommend us a new mattress! (Tons of context inside)


I was encouraged to check out The Mattress Underground on a Discord channel that’s dedicated to a specific brand of clothing, and phew, I’m so glad to be here! I spent the last couple of hours reading through the comprehensive/complete tutorial and its-over-a-dozen hyperlinks to try and educate myself a bit before making this post. Neither I nor my partner know anything about mattresses. I’ve learned more this afternoon than most will in a lifetime!

For the past coming-up-on 8 years, my partner (female, ~120#) and I (male, ~170#) have been sleeping on a queen-sized mattress she had purchased from Casper back in 2016—we think it’s this version, which, if I did my homework correctly, is considered a “progressive construction,” is that right? :grin: After about a year of use, we purchased and kept it enclosed in a hypoallergenic cover until November 2022 when, while removing it to wash as we do seasonally, I noticed the material on the inside had flaked ALL over our mattress—top, bottom, and sides. After painstakingly spending well over an hour vacuuming every flaked bit in sight, we switched to using a simple top cover like this. Aside from that cover (which we wash seasonally, but probably should more often), we have one fitted sheet (washed weekly or sometimes biweekly) that we sleep on top of. Oh, and the mattress sits atop a Thuma bed frame, which we like very much.

More context: our apartment in Brooklyn tends to get really humid. If it weren’t for our dehumidifier, we’d be living in the 60-70% range, and even higher during spring/summer. But we try to run our dehumidifier enough to keep things between 50-55% as consistently as we can. I recently noticed quite a bit of funk emanating from our mattress; I realized it very suddenly, as if the smell developed overnight, but in reality I know it’s years of humidity, sweat, and our dead skin working concertedly to put a look on my face like I smelled some piss. (No, we’re not bedwetters! :joy:) My partner is also highly sensitive and in some cases allergic to fine particulates (dust, allergens, etc.). Lately, her nose has been getting clogged and her skin flaring up more often. I’m thinking our mattress may be the culprit, considering I vacuum 1-2x a week, dust once a week, and we sleep with an air purifier running every night. Finally, in terms of personal preferences, we both like “less soft” upper layers and “firmer” deeper layers. Where we differ is in our body temperatures and sleeping positions (kind of). I run hot, and she runs cold. We both sleep on our backs, but sometimes shift to our sides while sleeping. Generally, we both fall asleep and wake up on our backs, and less frequently on our sides (she wakes up on her side a little more than I do).

My partner put me in charge of research—hence this post—but I’m a little bewildered by all the options. All or mostly latex sounds great, especially considering our humid environment and my partner’s allergies. But damn they’re expensive! An innerspring/latex hybrid sounds like a nice compromise. She sent me a few links to mattresses she found through our uninspired millennial tactics:

  • Birch Natural Mattress
  • Saatva Classic Mattress
  • The Aviya Mattress
  • Naturepedic Concerto Organic Hybrid Mattress

I just don’t know where to go from here and am looking for some more direction, suggestions, and specific mattress recommendations! Our range is anywhere between $700 to $1500 (willing to go a little higher).

Please feel free to ask me specific questions, too. I’ll be happy to answer them!

Hi N,
My suggestion. Since you’re a New Yorker, why not consider a hand-built mattress made in New York?
One of the trusted members here, @DLX offers a 15-minute phone consultation.
Upon visiting the website, choose Contact and scroll down to schedule a consultation.

I’m a recent DLX customer and I highly recommend DLX.

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Thanks for the rec, PapaMike! Bonus points that it’s made to order right here in NY. I’m really liking what I’m reading on their website.

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Hey N and new MUGster, Welcome to the Mattress Under Ground.

It is great that you took the opportunity to read through the tutorials and other TMU offerings.

I have to agree with PapaMike; @DLX has a few great mattresses. In particular, their Classic Hybrid and their Premier Hybrid (which offers split comfort layer options for each sleeper) are as close to the concept and feel of an old-school mattress mentality, just way more comfortable with a modern touch.

If you are looking for something in the more natural arena, @TheCleanBedroom right here in NYC has great choices as well, featuring their naturally organic line and the Naturepedic line.

Based on your choices, probably don’t go with Saatva, and the Aviya is hard to read as they do not offer much on the specs of what goes into their mattress, other than the fact they do tout that they use 80ILD density perimeter foam around their innerspring coils. TM, Mattress Makers have a YouTube video on perimeter edge foam encasement Edge Support. I am not a big fan of this style mattress design as that perimeter foam becomes a weak link in the mattress. Plus, someone like me sleeps on the edge of the bed, which means half my body will be on that dense foam, and the other half will be on the primary spring support, which will feel different and could cause issues.

The Birch, by Helix, is a fine mattress. You can also look at Brooklyn Bedding Ecosleep, both made by Brooklyn Bedding and sister company Helix. Probably two of their nicer natural offerings.

Remember to look here for mattress underground TM discounts TM Discounts Here.

If you decide on BB or Helix, who are not TMs here, let me know; I can usually come up with some discount codes there too.

The great thing about working with trusted members like @DLX is they really work with you to get you on the path to a comfortable night’s sleep. I think in the $1500 range or slightly above, you will find a great mattress that can call your place home.

Keep in mind, any foam material can develop mold. Even latex. Although latex is considered mold-resistant, anywhere that moisture can build up, mold can grow. So do not take for granted that latex automatically buys you 100% mold resistance. The fact that your partner has been allergic and sensitive makes latex a nice option as long as there is no latex allergy, but it could be due to the situation in the current mattress.

It would be a wise choice to lie on a few mattresses to get a sense of the firmness you each prefer. Varying manufacturers can often have different definitions of firmness. If you go out there and try some, it is a good way to eliminate what you don’t like, usually something that is too soft. Unless the mattress has a changeable layer option, you don’t want to go too soft either. Lean towards the firmer side; it can always be tweaked with a topper, whereas too soft can only be remedied with a different mattress.

Most of the TMs have seen it and heard it, so if you test something that is a popular name, they usually can guide you based on the specs of that mattress.

A couple of tips when you wander out in the wilderness to test mattresses. Don’t be afraid to bring your pillow (in a pillow protector encasement). Also, the most important thing you want to check is posture and alignment. Have each partner take a pic or look at you lying on your side or back and wait 15 minutes or so to see if you start to sink into or remain on top of the mattress. Check to see any break in your alignment. If so, it could spell trouble down the road.

So for now, you have a little work cut out for you. I would also offer (as I did it) do not be afraid to select on specs alone. I believe it can be done. Particularly with the help of a TM or someone who knows and understands mattresses and materials. You don’t want to buy something just because there is a ### day trial. Having a trial is a great option when all else is not working, but don’t do the buy and try. You will only frustrate yourself if you keep making mistakes.

The TMs know most of the time what will work for a couple or individuals based on the information you provide them. They have a vested interest in getting it right the first time or perhaps with a tweak. Listen to them, but also listen to your gut instinct.

Good luck on this round of searching.

Remember, “don’t get robbed out there; learn to get MUG’d by your mattress here at the mattress underground.”

All the best,


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Wow, thanks for a very thorough and thoughtful reply, Norman! I’ll make arrangements to check out our top three mattresses across two different showrooms this week. We’re torn between:

BB is really enticing because it’s markedly cheaper. I’m not experienced enough to cross-analyze their materials/technical details to determine whether we’ll be “missing out” if we go with BB instead of TCB or Birch.

We also really like TCB because it’s the first mattress company to be EWG-certified. That’s important to us.

One added bonus of Birch is it’ll come with 2x free Eco-Rest Pillows. We’re looking to upgrade a set of our pillows anyway, so this is appealing. But by going with BB, we can upgrade our pillows and still have money leftover.

Would love y’all’s thoughts on our top three choices while keeping in mind I plan to test them out in person sometime this week! :pray:t4:


The Birch is a one-time, non-adjustable mattress. It either fits, or you have to return it/donate it, or buy a topper to attempt a fix. Buying and returning can/does become frustrating.

That said, buying a mattress that permits comfort layer adjustment eliminates the need for total replacement next month, next year or 5 years from now. Less waste, more sleeping comfort.

Since you mentioned that you like “natural”, don’t get too excited about the free Birch pillows. They are stuffed with recycled polyester which contradicts natural product.

Have a successful adventure!


Agree with @PapaMike. Unless you are selecting the appropriate pillow matched to the mattress and your body profile, sleep position, shoulder width, firmness of the mattress, the free accessories are nice, but too often not great for the combination of user and mattress. Worry less about the free accessories and get the mattress right first, and then determine what pillow combination will be best.

If you have an opportunity to lie on the mattress in the showroom, have someone observe you after being in sleeping position for 10-15 minutes as your body weight will find its position in the mattress and your partner or sales person can see the distance between the mattress surface and head position to keep yourself in proper posture and alignment.

Good luck with your narrowed down search.

Norm (aka maverick)

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Great advice, Norm. There’s a lot to cover here. @nonseqwtr keep in mind that 3Z owns Brooklyn Bedding and Birch, manufacturing mattresses in the same factory. While the exact materials aren’t listed on either site, they likely share similarities, both employing Talalay latex, wool, and pocket coils.

If you’re in a highly humid environment, it’s advisable to steer clear of mattresses containing cotton. Cotton has a tendency to retain moisture much like the way a cotton shirt becomes damp when you sweat unlike performance fabrics using polyester which wick away moisture. In such humid conditions, this moisture retention in cotton can potentially lead to issues with mold and mildew.

Another suggestion for humid environments is to consider an innerspring or open-coil mattress with minimal padding, as they offer the best airflow. Open-coil mattresses typically provide a little more airflow compared to pocket coil mattresses, as the latter use fabric to encase the coils. However, it’s important to note that opting for an open-coil mattress with minimal padding may compromise on comfort if you don’t want a firm mattress as these tend to be very firm.

Another valuable tip for humid environments is to refrain from making your bed. Allowing it to breathe helps dissipate the accumulated body heat and moisture from the night’s sleep. While it might not be entirely practical for everyone, unmaking the bed daily by removing all bedding, sheets, and the mattress protector could be the optimal solution to facilitate airflow. Alternatively, if you’re leaving for a few days, consider removing all bedding, including the mattress protector, to allow the mattress to breathe. While this may require some effort, it could be crucial for individuals in extreme environments with allergies.

Glad to see that you’ve transitioned to a fitted sheet-style mattress protector. While complete encasements have their benefits, in humid environments, they can trap heat and moisture potentially leading to mold or mildew issues.

If you’re contemplating a DLX, we suggest the Premier Hybrid for its versatility in achieving the “right” comfort. However, if you lean towards natural or organic options, we might not be the best fit. Nevertheless, there are plenty of alternatives available such as Sleepez, My Green Mattress, and more on the MUG. It’s worth noting that if you’re accustomed to the feel of your Casper mattress, transitioning to our mattress or any hybrid mattress with springs may require an adjustment period. Hybrids offer a different type of support and typically have more motion transfer compared to all-foam mattresses like your Casper. Ultimately, the choice between these options boils down to personal preference rather than being inherently good or bad.

We agree with @Maverick regarding latex. Similar to my earlier analogy comparing cotton to polyester, latex is less prone to retaining moisture, making it considered mold-resistant. In humid environments, opting for a latex hybrid ensures better airflow. However, if the environmental conditions differ, an all-latex mattress could also be a suitable option.

For everyone, it’s important to note that our Classic is a quality, comfortable mattress for a lot of people, but you cannot adjust the firmness option after you’ve slept on it. This means that if you purchase the Classic and find the comfort level doesn’t suit your preferences, you’re essentially stuck with it unless you’re open to adding a topper after giving it a fair trial period of 30 days.

For someone like nonseqwter transitioning from a Casper and identifying as a back sleeper, we would recommend the Premier Hybrid in a medium firmness level.


Super helpful! Thanks, @DLX!

We’ve narrowed it even further: eliminated Birch, and now deciding between the Naturepedic Serenade Organic Hybrid Mattress and Brooklyn Bedding EcoSleep.

The Serenade uses a lot of cotton: as a very top comfort layer, as a fabric insulator below the latex, as batting, and as an encasement fabric. On the other hand, BB uses mostly wool, save for its very top layer. And I know wool has antimicrobial properties. Considering our humid apartment, wouldn’t BB be a better option for us?

We do have a dehumidifier and plan on making more diligent use of it, specifically in our bedroom for 1-2 hours per day, which we haven’t ever done (we’ve only been using it in our bathroom while taking hot showers as well as out in the living room). I’ll also take heed of DLX’s tips about refraining from making the bed at least for a couple hours (which, as someone who probably has OCD, will be a huge challenge) and removing all bedding, but can’t commit to stripping the mattress naked daily—I just don’t have it in me to fold all that into my routine. And unfortunately I think we’ll need a complete/six-sided encasement due to my partner’s allergies and sensitivities to dust, dust mites, etc. Does five-sided do its job just as well as a six-sided encasement? That could be an option. (I was also thinking of buying a small fan to set underneath our bed frame and run it for a couple hours in the morning to facilitate airflow down there—might be nice with a five-sided encasement if it’ll do its job just as well as six-sided?)

I’ll also add that the Naturally Organic Hudson Organic Mattress seems ideal, considering our concerns outlined above—far less cotton/wool, mostly latex—but $1839.20.

Update: my partner’s leaning toward the Hudson linked above, despite its higher price tag. And I’m inclined to agree. It feels like it’ll address most of our concerns with it being mostly latex. Are there other all or mostly latex mattresses for us to consider in that price range? If not, it’s really looking like Hudson’s it. @TheCleanBedroom

Realizing I should tag @TheCleanBedroom, too.

For anyone beyond @nonseqwtr, the unique humidity levels in the room present a distinct scenario. This advice may not apply to the general population seeking guidance on mattress selection and related accessories.

In most cases, the cotton batting in a mattress wouldn’t raise concerns, but given your unique environment, I’d recommend opting for a different model from Naturepedic that excludes any cotton batting.

The Hudson is indeed a quality mattress and could potentially be a suitable solution. However, considering it’s made entirely of latex, it might not be the optimal choice for your environment. A hybrid mattress could be a better option given the circumstances.

That said, comfort remains paramount, so it’s essential to factor that into your decision-making process. Despite the environmental considerations, an all-latex mattress like the Hudson might still offer the best comfort solution for you.

While the six-sided encasement offers enhanced protection, considering the circumstances, I’d suggest the five-sided version for easier removal during washing and airing out the mattress.

Though it may seem like another hassle, frequent washing of sheets and mattress protectors in hot water—some experts recommend every 5 to 7 days—can significantly help alleviate allergies.

Don’t overlook getting encasements for pillows as well, which can be removed and washed.

Another tip you may already be aware of is to eliminate all fabric items from the bedroom, such as rugs, fabric curtains, and upholstered furniture, as they often harbor dust mites and other allergens.

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All good advice here. I concur with @DLX about the five-sided encasement, as a six-sided encasement could be cumbersome, especially when dealing with the weight of a latex mattress. Both wool and latex tend to repel allergens like dust mites, so perhaps a five-sided one would be sufficient.
You may want to check out our sister company, Healthy Choice Mattress, for other latex models. They are part of the Clean Bedroom family; beds are made similarly, their latex is the same source as the Hudson, and most of their models have some customizability. The Healthy Choice line has been revamped in the last year, so previous posts about them may not apply.

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Is this because a hybrid facilitates more airflow with there being “gaps” and “spaces” between the coils (despite them being pocketed in the case of the Serenade and BB) and whatnot, whereas with a mostly latex mattress like the Hudson it’s essentially just thick layers of latex stacked flush on top of each other—like a more dense mass?

Good thing we wash all our bedding once a week, sometimes every other week. But never longer in between washes!

Definitely—was planning on it!

We have an area rug, fabric curtains (need it for privacy being in NYC and all), and a Thuma PillowBoard, which I’ll make a habit of washing just as regularly as our bedding—I’ll look into alternatives, such as all wood. I just can’t wrap my head around spending even more money than we already are at the moment. :tired_face: I’ll see how my partner feels about getting rid of our rug in there.

Between the Serenade/EcoSleep (assuming they both feel similar) and the Hudson, which would offer the closest feel to our old Casper (we think it’s this one)? I’m presuming the Hudson? I ask because despite needing to get rid of our Casper, we do like the way it feels.

Thanks, @TheCleanBedroom! We’ll go with a five-sided encasement. HC looks awesome, but Naturepedic is more within our budget range at the moment, unfortunately.

If you compare a pocket spring mattress to a block of latex of the same height, the spring mattress inherently possesses more empty space than latex. This space allows for better airflow and breathability, facilitating the dissipation of moisture and quicker drying. While latex can also be suitable, our recommendations are looking to minimize risks in a unique environment.

As we’re not allergists, it’s advisable to consult one for personalized advice. Based on anecdotal evidence and feedback from allergists, removing fabric from the environment—such as replacing curtains with wood or plastic blinds—can be helpful for individuals with allergies. However, the severity of allergies and tolerance for inconveniences must be weighed against the benefits, like having a rug. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution; any of these decisions involve trade-offs and no perfect answer/solution exists.

Regarding the Thuma pillowboard, while washing the fabric may be effective, there could be fibers beneath the fabric that cannot be washed and may harbor dust mites and mildew.

Comparing a hybrid or all-latex mattress to your Casper can be challenging due to inherent differences in feel. Neither option will offer a similar comfort and support as your Casper. Some Casper mattresses may contain 1" of 100% synthetic latex, but it feels notably different from the 100% natural latex you’re considering. Generally, transitioning from a Casper to any of the mentioned mattresses may feel firmer, as they typically have a more buoyant and resilient feel that some may equate to feeling firm. However, individual preferences vary so no guarantees that you will feel this way about these mattresses.