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We put four popular direct-to-consumer beds to the snooze test.
UPDATE 2023: We’ve reviewed the Douglas’ Summit cooling mattress.
These days, mattresses-in-a-box are as commonplace on the Internet as cat videos. The demand for these vacuum-sealed, compressed and plastic-wrapped foam beds, which arrive at your door packaged neatly in four-foot-tall boxes, can be traced to 2014, when direct-to-consumer sleep company Casper hit the web with a four-layer expandable foam mattress designed to disrupt the sleep industry. (Though It’s worth noting that Edmonton-based Novosbed was on the scene first in 2009.)
Years later, dozens of other mattress-in-a-box bizzes have popped up around the world, with Canada becoming its own hotbed (sorry) of direct-to-consumer companies in this category. From Endy and Douglas (crafted by the OGs, Novosbed!) to Polysleep and the aforementioned Casper (which now runs a manufacturing plant in Quebec for the Canadian market), we put four Canadian beds-in-a-box to the snooze test to see how they stack up.
Based in Toronto and manufactured in Quebec
$850 for a queen size
Expectation: “A finely crafted 10-inch, three-layer foam mattress available in six sizes. Delivers cool and amazingly comfortable support, and is proudly Canadian made.”
Trial Period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
Sustainability: Endy uses Certipur-US-certified foams, which means they are free of harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and lead, and FSC-certified cardboard boxes, which means the material was responsibly produced. It delivers its mattresses to customers in Toronto and Montreal via bike couriers. Returned mattresses are picked up and donated to a local charity in the region whenever possible.
Delivery: Endy offers free shipping across Canada. It was the first of the four mattresses I tested to arrive at my apartment—likely thanks to Endy running a fulfillment centre in Langley, B.C., which services Western Canada—and I was not prepared for how heavy it is. (Once unboxed, Endy says its queen mattress weighs 66 pounds; however, it feels significantly heavier when compressed in a cardboard box.) If you need to get it up a flight of stairs, you’ll definitely need a partner to help you carry it, especially because the cut-out handles aren’t the most comfortable to grasp solo. However, the same can be said for the other mattresses mentioned in this story.
READ MORE: Top designer secrets on creating the bedroom you love.
Unboxing: The Endy comes with a small booklet of instructions that guide you through unrolling and unwrapping the mattress, though the process is pretty instinctive. It also comes with a small plastic cutting tool that’s meant to help you slice through the plastic wrap without damaging the mattress. (Scissors did the job just fine for me.) Once it was removed from the plastic, the mattress inflated to its full size within minutes.
Reality: It’s normal for foam mattresses to take a day or two to fully expand, though Endy’s instruction booklet notes that the mattress will reach its “perfect comfort” in “about a week.” This was definitely the case in my experience: the mattress was a tad too soft for my liking immediately after unboxing, but it firmed up to a comfy medium-firm level after a few days. As someone who typically prefers extra-firm mattresses (we’re talkin’ borderline rock hard), I was surprised at how much I liked the Endy. It’s firm enough to provide sufficient support and spine alignment, but offers juuust enough give so that it feels like your body is being gently cradled. I found this especially optimal for stomach sleeping, a position that can be uncomfortable on my current extra-firm bed. Upon unboxing, however, the mattress has a particularly potent fresh-from-the-factory scent. This off-gassing is apparently normal (and the smell dissipated within a week), though I did not experience such odours with the other mattresses I tested.
Based in New York City (with an HQ in Toronto), with Canadian versions of this model manufactured in Quebec
$1,295 for a queen size
Expectation: “Our award-winning and most popular design.”
Sustainability: Casper uses Certipur-US-certified foams. Returned mattresses are picked up by and donated to a local charity in the region whenever possible.
READ MORE: Designing your bedroom? Check out our Ultimate Bedroom Gallery.
Delivery: Casper offers free shipping across Canada. Similarly to Endy, the box is not made for solo lifting. Have a friend on hand if you’ve taking it upstairs.
Unboxing: The Casper comes with a small booklet of instructions, though, again, the process is pretty intuitive. It expanded fully within minutes of unpacking.
Reality: Like the Endy, the Casper is advertised as having a medium-firm feel, though I found it a tad firmer than the Endy. It’s made up of four layers of latex, memory foam and high-density foam, and it offers “zoned support,” meaning there is softer foam under the shoulder area and a special section of firmer foam underneath the hips. This difference in foams is especially noticeable when you’ve sleeping on your side and offers excellent alignment for this position. (I found no issues while sleeping on my back and stomach, either.) Although It’s very responsive to movement, I did find that the Casper has a little less give than the Endy in that it seems to “hug” your body a little less.
Based in Edmonton and manufactured in Ontario
$749 for a queen size
Expectation: “A medium-firm mattress with balanced support and pressure-point relief for all sleeping positions.”
Trial Period: 120 nights
Warranty: 15 years
Sustainability: Douglas uses proprietary Ecolight memory foam, which it says has a 50 percent smaller carbon footprint than foams in other mattresses. The mattress covers are crafted from natural eucalyptus fibres, and all materials and packaging are Certipur-US-certified and sourced from Canadian suppliers. In addition, Douglas says that its manufacturing plants run on more than 90 percent of renewable energy. Returned mattresses are picked up by and donated to a local charity in the region whenever possible.
Delivery: Douglas offers free shipping across Canada—in fact, they proudly state that the mattress is “for Canadians only.”
READ MORE: We’re obsessed with the colourful pastel bedroom.
Unboxing: The Douglas is rolled and sealed in plastic the same way that the Endy and Casper are (though the box doesn’t come with instructions), but for some reason I found the Douglas a lot quicker to unwrap. I feel like the plastic is wrapped a smidge less tightly around the mattress, so it was much easier to cut through.
Reality: Douglas describes itself as “medium-firm,” but I’d say it’s more medium when compared to the Endy, Casper and Polysleep (review below!). That’s not to say that you’ll feel major sinkage—I found that the bed’s three layers (the first of which is a proprietary cooling gel foam) offer solid support for back and stomach sleeping, though side sleepers may experience a slight lack of hip support. I also found edge support slightly lacking. This is typical of foam mattresses, though the effect was particularly pronounced with the Douglas. Doubling down on its “all-Canadian” promise, the bed wins aesthetic points with its red-and-white palette and the mountain graphic printed on the mattress cover.
Shop Here: The Douglas Mattress website.
Based in Montreal and manufactured in Quebec
Expectation: “The Polysleep offers the perfect balance of comfort and support, offering a better night’s rest.”
Sustainability: Polysleep uses foams that are Certipur-US-certified, and 100 percent Canadian-sourced materials. Returned mattresses are picked up by and donated to a local charity in the region whenever possible.
Delivery: Polysleep offers free shipping across Canada, because, really, did you expect anything less at this point?
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Unboxing: In terms of packaging, I found the Polysleep the opposite of the Douglas: it is super challenging to unwrap. It’s sealed the same way as the three beds above, but the plastic here clings extremely tightly to the mattress so that you have go super slowly when cutting to ensure you don’t damage the foam. This isn’t a deal breaker, but something worth noting.
Reality: Of the four mattresses I tested, I had heard the least online chatter about Polysleep but I very much enjoyed my snooze time on it. The mattress is made up of four layers, the top of which is a breathable, antimicrobial hybrid foam that has enough give to gently conform to your body. The feel, overall, is pretty firm—in my opinion, firmer than the Endy and Douglas, and comparable to the Casper—and is very responsive to movement. It returns to its original shape extremely quickly after pressure is applied, meaning minimal “sink” when you’ve changing sleeping positions. It also uses a proprietary support frame that actually works—virtually no flattening happens when you sit on any side of the bed. The machine-washable, liquid-repellant cover is also a plus, though I found it less plush than the covers on the other three mattresses.
Canada’s beds-in-a-box have their share of similarities—removable covers, breathable top layers, a commitment to donating gently used mattresses to local charities—though which one you go with depends on your own personal preferences and values. (Do you like a mattress on the firmer or softer side? Do you value environmentally friendly manufacturing, speedy delivery or sufficient edge support more?) My personal pick for best in show is the Endy—again, a surprising choice for me because I’m so accustomed to super firm mattresses. But there’s something about the bed’s plush just-enough sink (and that comfy micro-quilted cover) that my body really agreed with.
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