We Put This Beloved Eco-Conscious Mattress to the Test
I’ve heard a lot about Avocado, the L.A.–based company on a mission to make the bedding business more sustainable: If you’re not in the know, it’s a certified Climate Neutral B-Corp with a laundry list of environmental accolades to its name. As someone who cares deeply about reducing my carbon footprint, I’ve wanted to try one of the brand’s mattresses for a while, so I jumped at the opportunity to review one. The brand’s Green Mattress appealed to me in particular for a couple of feel-good reasons. First, it bills itself as an eco-conscious mattress that sources its products from organic-certified latex, wool, and cotton. It’s also the overwhelming top choice for organic mattresses among review sites like Sleepopolis, CNET, Sleep Foundation, and more.
Being the brand’s most popular mattress, it also makes sense that the Green Mattress is a hybrid model that gives the people what they want: A little softness and firmness in one, thanks to the combined 1,400 springy steel support coils (arranged in ergonomic zones to support the body) and layers of latex foam. The mattress is supposed to fall somewhere in the medium-firm spectrum of softness, so it’s ideal for combination back and side sleepers like myself.
Because I enjoy mattresses that are slightly softer but still supportive (I’ve slept on Casper mattresses before, for reference, and currently sleep on the Aviya Luxury Firm Hybrid), I also opted for the pillow top version of the mattress—which added an additional two-inch, non-removable layer of organic-certified latex rubber foam on top—which I was looking forward to putting to the test. Read more on my thoughts about how the Avocado mattress measured up, below.
How I Tested
Following testing recommendations and criteria from our panel of sleep experts, I slept on this mattress for the entire month of June, a particularly swampy time of year to test for heat retention. I also enlisted my boyfriend (who is a very deep sleeper) as a second opinion. Finally, to get a sense of my sleep habits, I compared sleep metrics from my usual Aviya mattress to this one using my Fitbit Inspire 2 tracker.
A Risk-Free Trial Period
It’s hard to get a sense of how a mattress moves and retains heat until you’ve actually set the thing up at home, dressed it up in some freshly laundered sheets, sweated and tossed in it a little, or felt your partner plunking back down on it after a midnight trip to the bathroom.
Thankfully, most mattress companies these days offer a risk-free trial period so you can take your mattress for a test drive with no strings attached. Avocado Mattress’s return policy is especially generous, allowing you a full year (yep, 365 days) of leeway to change your mind.
Shipping and Delivery
Avocado is pretty up front about the fact that their production and delivery process can run on the slower end. The company chalks this up to the fact that everything is handmade in L.A., and also because certain mattresses that run on the heavier end like mine can take longer to ship (read more here).
My mattress took about two weeks to arrive via truck. The Avocado Mattress arrives rolled up in shrink-wrapped packaging, and only needs to be sliced open to unfurl it. Because my full-size mattress clocks in at 111 pounds with the added pillowtop, I requested white glove delivery for a team of two to get the thing up two flights of stairs to my apartment, and place the mattress so it could breathe and expand into its true form. Delivery and assembly went very smoothly, but keep in mind, if you’re in a hurry, that the entire process can take more than a month from the date you order your mattress online to the day it shows up at your door.
Support and Comfort
Sleep experts think of support as a metric that refers to how well the surface of the mattress defies gravity, literally pushing back against your body to keep it propped up. Comfort is more of a personal reference point that can change depending on the person, but usually refers to the actual feeling of the mattress—firm or soft—and generally how it makes your body feel.
Even with the additional pillowtop, I still felt this mattress was too dense and firm. Sure, I sank into the pillowtop, but then I hit the layer of support coils, which ultimately led to that too-firm feeling. Think of it as putting a pillow on the floor: You’ll get some initial squish, but pretty soon, you’ll feel the hard floor beneath you.
When sitting along the edge of the mattress I measured that the pillow top sank down three inches, despite the company’s claim that the pillowtop is not “overly plush or sinkable.” Poor support can often cause back pain if you’re someone who likes to sleep close to the edge, in addition to motion transfer as the mattress dips and rises with movement. Sleeping on this mattress, I can definitely tell that my hips are sinking in as I sleep on my back, though it’s less noticeable when I’m propped up on my side. Without enough support from the pillowtop to keep me buoyant, I’ve woken up a couple cranky mornings with minor lower back pain.
The level of support you feel in a mattress does have a lot to do with how much you weigh, your preferred sleep positioning, and which layers of support in a mattress you’re hitting. Overwhelmingly, I’ve noticed that reviews are more positive for this mattress among an average weight class of 130 pounds or above. And as someone who is lighter and more petite, a weight class which tends to feel more comfortable on slightly softer mattresses, this could be part of the reason why this mattress didn’t work as well for me.
For what it’s worth, my partner—who is heavier than me and can slip into a comatose state on a whim—“did not have any major complaints” when it came to support, though he did say his Tempur-Pedic was more comfortable.
Sleep quality is a subjective measure, but numbers don’t lie, which is why our experts recommend testing mattresses by tracking sleep quantity and quality for a few days on your usual mattress and then running the same test on your new one after you’ve taken time to get used to it.
After a couple nights getting used to the Avocado, I still found that I had more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep on this mattress compared to my Aviya, with my Fitbit Inspire 2 noting all the times I woke up (sometimes multiple times) in the middle of the night.
There are certainly other factors that contribute to sleep quality besides the mattress—like my partner’s snoring, the summer heat, along with the creaking of my tinny apartment walls—but I do think my poor sleep quality owes a lot to the lack of support I felt when sleeping on it.
My partner is someone who gets up a lot in the middle of the night, much to my chagrin. I usually deal with this by wearing ear plugs, but it’s hard to not get jostled awake when you feel your sleep surface shifting beneath you. The mattress wasn’t terrible with motion transfer, but I can still feel enough shifting when he moves around to wake me up in the middle of the night.
Another thing I found surprising (despite so many positive reviews to the contrary) was how warm this mattress ran, causing me to wake up at times because my body was overheating. This may be entirely unique to the pillowtop version, again, but the latex foam definitely seems to trap heat beneath the body, no matter where you lie, which is not ideal for sleeping soundly during hot and sweaty summer nights. Even with crisp, percale cotton sheets on, and even airy linen, I still felt that the mattress itself was keeping me much warmer than I would normally be.
It’s normal for mattresses-in-a-box to offgas, or release chemical compounds into the air, when they’re unboxed due to the compressed air and VOCs depressurizing. The amount of offgassing will largely depend on the chemical makeup of your mattress. But I did note that compared to other mattresses in a box I’ve tested, the smell on the Avocado was particularly strong, persisting throughout the month of testing.
At its most potent after arrival, the mattress cloaked my room in what I can best describe as baked-in cigarette smoke (some Redditors compare it to a barnyard smell), and took two or so days of ventilation with the windows wide open and an air purifier going to get some of the stench to dissipate. At its best, there’s still a noticeable dentist’s office smell that lingers on the surface of the mattress—presumably from the layers of latex I’m sleeping on. My partner, who has severe sinus issues, has notably never registered a scent.
This is especially confusing since Avocado prides itself on being “certified non-toxic”(their words), referring to the brand’s omission of chemicals like formaldehyde and flame retardants. The Green Mattress is Greenguard Gold Certified for low chemical emissions, too, which would suggest less off-gassing to begin with. A representative from Avocado assures me though that any smell that I’ve been experiencing is uncommon, and not offgassing, but instead “a slight, sweet scent due to the natural latex and/or the natural wool we use.” She adds that “in especially humid environments, or for people with a latex sensitivity, it may be more immediately pronounced.” For what it’s worth, the humidity was high that month, but it doesn’t make me feel too much better about my smelly mattress.
Factoring in the mattress itself ($1,299 for a queen-size), white glove delivery ($249), and the additional cost of the pillowtop ($300), the total cost for this mattress came to $2,012. It’s not outlandish when you consider that other organic mattresses from Birch and My Green Mattress retail around $1,500, but I don’t know that my experience with the mattress would justify the price. If you forget the organic part altogether, the Aviya mattress I’m currently sleeping on (and love) costs less than half that amount at full-price ($1,024), and can be had for about $200 less when Aviya has sales.
The Bottom Line
While the Avocado Green Mattress ultimately didn’t work for me, mattresses are such a personal choice that it’s worth doing your own research and exploration before writing anything off. If you’re a deeper sleeper, or someone without a delicate nose like mine, you might have a more positive experience (and it looks like tons of other people have).
Many of my complaints came down to the poor support and heat retention of the added pillowtop alone, and it’s hard to know how different I would have felt had I gone with the firmer original. Fence-sitters: If you want to test it for yourself, rest easy knowing that you’ll have a full year before you have to fully commit.