When it comes to your day-to-day routine, your mattress is one of the most important things you own. After all, you spend around one-third of your entire life either sleeping or trying to get to sleep, and that time is usually spent on your mattress. The right — or wrong — mattress can drastically impact your health, wellness, cognition, and general quality of life.
For these reasons, it’s incredibly important to make a well-informed choice when you’re shopping for a new mattress. However, with all the new brands and options out there, it can be difficult to make sense of which mattress is the right fit for you.
We’ve taken a deep dive into two of the most popular direct-to-consumer mattress brands on the market, Purple and Nectar. We’ll put the flagship mattress from each brand — the Purple Mattress and the Nectar Mattress — head to head, to explore the ins and outs of both mattresses, and lay out the pros and cons for different types of sleepers.
How Are These Mattresses Built?
Every mattress has its own unique design, from the materials used to build the mattress and the ways in which they are assembled. These factors influence the feel and function of the mattress, so they’re important to consider when deciding whether or not a mattress is right for you.
The Nectar mattress is 12 inches thick, and it is composed of a breathable cover and three distinct sections: the comfort system, the transition layer, and the support core.
The cover of the Nectar is made from a blend of polyester, polyethylene, and nylon. This is a breathable material with a soft, stretchy feel. The bottom cover has an anti-slip surface to prevent the mattress from shifting in its foundation.
The Nectar's comfort layer consists of 3 inches of gel-infused memory foam, which conforms to the body and helps relieve pressure points. The gel in this layer also actively absorbs and disperses body heat, which helps keep the sleep surface temperature neutral.
The transition layer of the Nectar is composed of 2 inches of polyfoam. The foam in the transition layer is denser, firmer, and quicker to respond to pressure than the foam in the comfort layer, so it evenly distributes weight and prevents sagging. The transition layer also acts as a buffer between the comfort section and the firmer polyfoam base, which helps keep the sleep surface soft and comfortable, as well as supportive.
The base of the Nectar is 7 inches of high-density polyfoam. This section provides support, stability, and grounding to the mattress, and helps it maintain structural integrity.
Beneath the base is a bottom mattress cover, which gives the mattress extra traction and helps prevent it from slipping or shifting.
The Purple also has three sections: the Smart Comfort Grid, the transition layer, and the support core. In total, the mattress is 9.5 inches thick.
The cover of the Purple is made from a material called SoftFlex, which is a knit blend of 67% polyester, 29% viscose, and 4% Lycra spandex. This material gives the sleep surface a soft, pliable feel, similar to a jersey knit.
Beneath the cover is the Smart Comfort Grid, Purple’s unique comfort system. This system is composed of a 2-inch grid of hyper-elastic polymer, coated with buckling column gel, a smooth, dry-polymer gel with a rubbery, resilient consistency. It is designed to adapt to your body in real time; if you switch positions during the night, it will quickly conform to the new pressure layout on the sleep surface. This improves ease of motion on the Purple, and helps the mattress support sleepers with a variety of preferred sleeping positions.
The Smart Comfort Grid also provides contouring benefits similar to memory foam without the sinkage, and it has reinforced edges to bolster edge support. In addition, the comfort system’s open structure helps air circulate throughout the mattress to keep it from sleeping too hot.
The transition layer is made of 3.5 inches of polyfoam. The transition layer serves as a buffer between the soft comfort layer and the firm support core, and helps maintain the medium firm feel of the mattress.
The core of the Purple is 4 inches of high-density polyfoam. This keeps the mattress stable and supportive, and helps bolster the quick response time of the Smart Comfort Grid as it reacts to pressure changes on the sleep surface. At 4 inches, the core of the Purple is thinner than most foam mattress cores, but the density and weight of the foam help keep the mattress supported and grounded just as well.
How Do The Nectar and Purple Mattresses Feel?
The firmness of the mattress affects how it feels when you first lie down, and how the mattress responds to pressure and different sleep positions throughout the night. Mattress firmness and overall feel are especially important to consider if you’re shopping for a mattress online, and you intend to make a purchase before trying out a test model.
The Purple and Nectar mattresses differ in overall feel, which affects how well suited each mattress is for certain sleepers.
The Nectar and the Purple are both medium-firm, though the Nectar feels slightly softer than the Purple, due to the memory foam comfort layers. On a 1-10 firmness scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest, both Nectar and Purple are rated as medium firm (6). A good number of people respond well to medium firm mattresses. Most people prefer a mattress that isn’t too soft or too firm, but rather, one that falls somewhere in the middle.
Both the Nectar and the Purple conform to the body, but they do so in different ways, creating a different tactile experience for sleepers.
The Nectar’s gel-infused memory foam comfort layer and polyfoam transition layer perform as expected. When you lie down on the Nectar, you sink in and feel the mattress surface hugging your body. You can also feel the support from the mattress core, which keeps the memory foam from sinking too far down, or having too much of a “quicksand” effect.
The Purple Grid contours to the shape of the body with less sinkage.. The polymer-coated grid structure of the comfort system embraces the body, but it also has a good deal of bounce. Along with the polyfoam transition layer and the support of the high-density core, the Purple’s Smart Comfort Grid gives the mattress a very quick response time in addition to pressure relief and contouring. This creates a unique feel that’s similar to latex. When you lay down on the Purple and switch positions a few times, you can feel the bounce and cushioning come through.
Sleeping Position and Body Type
Both the Purple and the Nectar have unique advantages and disadvantages for people with specific body types and preferred sleep positions.
The Nectar’s emphasis on memory foam makes it an excellent mattress for side sleepers, who need more contouring to relieve pressure on the back, hips, and shoulders. Meanwhile, the Purple has a marked advantage for most back and stomach sleepers. The Purple Grid quickly adjusts to the body and levels the hips, which helps keep the spine in alignment.
In terms of body weight, both the Nectar and the Purple are best suited to people over 130 pounds. Sleepers under 130 pounds may not be able to sink deeply enough into either mattress to get the benefits of contouring and pressure relief. As a result, they may find both mattresses too firm, especially if they are side sleepers. Sleepers in this weight category might want to seek out a softer, lower-density all-foam mattress.
The Nectar is also generally well suited to people who are under 230 pounds. Sleepers over 230 pounds may find that the Nectar is too soft to keep their hips and chest elevated and their spines aligned, especially if they are stomach sleepers. And while the Purple is supportive for most sleeping positions and body types, those who weigh more than 230 pounds may benefit from a firmer model.
Bounce vs. Sink
Another important factor when choosing a mattress is the question of bounce vs. sink. Foam mattresses have properties of viscosity and elasticity. Viscosity determines how the material absorbs pressure, while elasticity indicates how quickly the material returns to its original shape when pressure is removed. Foam with higher viscosity lets users sink into the mattress, while higher elasticity makes a mattress bouncier.
The Nectar has a higher degree of viscosity, as it is designed to provide the body-contouring feel of traditional memory foam. While memory foam is excellent for pain relief and is a great choice for someone who likes to be embraced by their mattress, it doesn’t lend itself quite as much to bounciness.
The Purple has a much bouncier feel. The polymers in the comfort grid are much more elastic than those in the average memory foam mattress. The Purple is responsive, and the comfort layer springs back to shape when pressure is removed.
To a certain degree, bounce is a matter of personal preference. However, bounce can be particularly important when it comes to certain performance metrics, such as how conducive a mattress is for sex.
In general, the best mattresses for sex offer at least some bounce, and facilitate motion by responding quickly to pressure. A mattress with less bounce may cause partners to sink too far into the surface, which can make it feel like they are “fighting” the mattress.
In addition, the degree of bounce in a mattress affects ease of movement. In general, the more viscous a mattress is, the harder it is to move around on the surface, since you may be impeded by the sinking qualities of the material. Ease of movement is important when it comes to sex, as most people like to be able to move freely with their partners. Additionally, ease of movement is important for people who tend to shift positions in their sleep. For these sleepers, a bouncier mattress that is easier to move around on is important to maintain a good night’s sleep.
Since it is more elastic and less viscous, the Purple has the upper hand when it comes to bounce and ease of movement.
Edge support refers to how well a mattress supports your weight while either sitting or lying down on the mattress edge. Edge support is therefore important for people who tend to sleep toward the edge of the bed. It is especially important for couples. With two people in the bed, couples generally want to be able to make the most of their available sleep surface, including the edges.
Like bounciness and ease of motion, couples may also want to think about edge support when considering how well a mattress holds up during sex. A mattress with good edge support will have more stability and retain its structural integrity, providing traction and facilitating ease of movement.
Both the Nectar and the Purple perform quite well when it comes to edge support, though the Purple performs slightly better. Though some all-foam bed-in-a-box mattresses have issues with edge support, both the Nectar and the Purple consistently hold up beneath the weight of a sleeping body on the edge of the bed. When moving toward the mattress edges during the night, you should not feel a significant deal of sagging on either mattress, nor should you feel like you might fall off the edge.
The Purple has dense foam reinforcements around the edges of the mattress, which gives it a little bit of an extra boost when it comes to edge support. In addition, because the Nectar has both a comfort layer and a transition layer that are made entirely of memory foam, you might feel a little more give on the mattress edge than you would on the Purple. However, both of these mattresses consistently rate highly when it comes to edge support.
Motion isolation refers to how well a mattress keeps movement on one part of the mattress from being felt on the rest of the mattress. This is important for anyone who might be disturbed by someone moving around on their bed at night, including couples, people who co-sleep with young kids, and those who share the bed with a pet.
Both the Nectar and the Purple provide above-average motion isolation. The Purple compares well to most foam and latex mattresses and the Nectar compares well to most memory foam mattresses; both are regularly able to absorb and contain energy from movement. Both the Purple and the Nectar are solid choices if motion isolation is particularly important to you.
For many people, temperature regulation is extremely important in a mattress. Whether or not you’re naturally a hot sleeper, no one likes to be stuck in a sweltering bed.
Foam has a reputation for retaining body heat and making the sleep surface uncomfortably warm. This was initially because of the density and lack of porousness of the material. When you lie down on a mattress, your body heat can become trapped in the mattress material and warm up the bed, unless the mattress takes measures to prevent this. Both the Nectar and the Purple were designed with cooling in mind.
The gel-polymer material that makes up the Purple’s Smart Comfort Grid naturally absorbs less heat than most foams. The structure of the Grid also gives the mattress more ventilation, and allows it to absorb body heat energy and move it away from the sleep surface. Additionally, the foams used in the transition and core levels of the Purple are open-celled, which facilitates the continued movement of body heat energy away from the sleep surface and ultimately away from the mattress.
The Nectar, meanwhile, has a gel-infused comfort layer, which actively keeps the material from trapping heat. Gel infusions draw out, redistribute, and disperse body heat, moving it away from the sleep surface. The foam used in each layer of the Nectar is either open-celled or semi open-celled, which helps the mattress stay ventilated. Finally, the Nectar’s hyper-breathable cover material boosts airflow throughout the mattress and helps keep the sleep surface temperature neutral.
Both the Nectar and the Purple are high performers when it comes to heat dispersal. Unless you are an exceptionally hot sleeper who finds that most mattresses are too hot, you should be comfortable temperature-wise on both mattresses.
Ultimately, choosing a mattress is very subjective, and the right choice depends on specific factors that are unique to each person. You know your needs and preferences better than anyone. However, we can offer you some guideline recommendations based on our research, testing, and examination of each mattress.
Both the Nectar and the Purple are made of high-quality materials and are solidly constructed. While the Nectar offers more contouring than the Purple, both mattresses provide a good deal of pressure relief, especially for people over 130 pounds. In terms of cooling, both mattresses have design factors that help disperse heat, and generally do a good job of keeping the sleep surface from getting too warm.
Couples could genuinely be satisfied with either the Nectar or the Purple. They both offer great edge support and motion isolation, and both mattresses are basically silent. However, the Purple has a few advantages that may give it an edge over the Nectar for some couples. The bounce provided by the Purple’s unique material generally makes it the better mattress for sex, as it is responsive and easy to move on. If a couple is accustomed to sex on a memory foam mattress with a high degree of viscosity, this may be less of an issue.
The Nectar is arguably better for most side sleepers, specifically if they are between 130 and 230 pounds. Side sleepers tend to need more contouring to keep pressure off of their hips, shoulders, and neck. With memory foam in both the comfort system and the transition layer, the Nectar provides sink and cushioning. However, side sleepers over 230 pounds may find that the Nectar does not provide sufficient support, and they may also sink too deeply into the mattress to get the benefits of pressure relief.
The Purple, on the other hand, does quite well for most back and stomach sleepers. The resiliency of the mattress gives these sleepers the support they need to help keep their hips level and their spines aligned. In addition, the Purple is excellent for combination sleepers, or people who frequently change positions during the night. It is much easier to move around on the Purple than on most foam mattresses, which allows combination sleepers to change positions in their sleep without being disturbed.
Price-wise, the Nectar comes in a few hundred dollars under the Purple, which makes a difference if you’re on a budget. In general, Nectar is focused on keeping the price-points of their mattresses low, and they maintain some of the lowest prices on the market. Therefore, if price is a defining factor for you, the Nectar has the upper hand.
Though the Nectar and Purple are both considered medium firm foam mattresses, there are key differences that set each mattress apart.
- Sink v. Bounce: Whereas the Nectar has a higher degree of viscosity, and therefore conforms more closely, the Purple has a bouncier, more elastic feeling. With the Nectar, you get the feeling of sleeping “in” the mattress, while the Purple has more of a feeling of sleeping “on” the mattress.
- Sleep Style and Sleeper Weight: The Nectar is best for people between 130 and 230 pounds, especially if they are side sleepers. The Purple can generally accommodate all types of sleepers over 130 pounds.
- Price: The Nectar is several hundred dollars less expensive than the Purple, making it a more attractive choice for budget-conscious shoppers.
In addition to the original models discussed in this article, Nectar and Purple both offer different mattress models.
- Purple Hybrid: The Hybrid is Purple’s first mattress to combine foam and a supportive coil core. The Hybrid has the same 2-inch comfort grid as the original Purple Mattress, as well as a core made of individually wrapped support coils instead of the original high-density foam core. This provides additional support, responsiveness, and motion isolation.
- Purple Hybrid Premier: The Hybrid Premier 3 has the same coil support core as the Purple Hybrid. However, where Purple Hybrid has the original 2-inch comfort grid, the Purple Hybrid Premier has 3-inch and 4-inch grid options, which provide additional “zero gravity” cushioning.
When choosing a new mattress, you should always take a look at the policies of the mattress company that produces it. Different companies offer different services, and it’s important to pick a company that produces it. Different companies offer different services, and it’s important to pick a company that meets your needs when it comes to delivery, returns, sleep trials, and warranties.
Purchase and Delivery
Nectar offers free shipping within the contiguous United States. Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii is available for an additional fee of $150. Nectar is produced and sold in the US, and does not offer any international shipping.
All Nectar deliveries are shipped via FedEx Ground. Most orders will arrive within one to five business days. Delivery weights range from 45 pounds (twin) to 105 pounds (California king).
White Glove delivery, which includes delivery and assembly of your Nectar mattress and removal of your old mattress, is available at the starting cost of $149. Each additional item in your order that requires assembly, such as an adjustable base or bed frame with headboard, will incur an additional $45 fee. Customers who request White Glove delivery should receive their mattress within three to seven business days.
You can purchase the Purple mattress through the Purple website, or through online third-party sellers, including Amazon.com. You can also try out and purchase the Purple at various brick-and-mortar locations, including select Raymour and Flannigan, Mattress Firm, and Macy’s stores.
Purple offers free shipping within the contiguous United States. Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii is available for an additional fee. Purple also ships to every province in Canada, at no additional fee beyond province and local taxes.
The Purple mattress is shipped via FedEx. Most standard orders will arrive within five business days. Deliveries to rural areas of the US and Canada may take additional time. Delivery weights range from 45 pounds (twin) to 105 pounds (California king).
White Glove delivery and old mattress removal are not currently offered for the original Purple mattress.
Nectar vs. Purple
Purple has the advantage when it comes to availability. While Nectar only ships to the US, Purple ships to the US and Canada.In addition, while Nectar is only available online, you can try out and buy the Purple in-store if you live near a participating location.
However, Nectar has the advantage when it comes to White Glove delivery, which Purple does not offer. White Glove delivery is particularly important if you need to get rid of your old mattress, if you may have difficulty getting your mattress into your bedroom yourself, or if you bought any other bedroom products that need to be assembled.
Nectar offers a 365-night sleep trial.
There is a mandatory break-in period of 30 days, which means you can’t initiate a return until at least 30 days after delivery. However, the sleep trial period begins after those 30 days (rather than beginning directly after delivery), so after the break-in period, you do have a full 365 days during which you can return the mattress.
If you decide to return your mattress during the sleep trial period, you can opt for a replacement mattress or a full refund. In the event of a return, Nectar does not issue refunds for White Glove delivery. Nectar does, however, cover all shipping and handling costs associated with the return.
Purple offers a 100-night sleep trial.
There is a mandatory break-in period of 21 days, meaning that you cannot initiate your return until at least 21 days after purchase.
After the 21-day break-in period, the mattress may be returned for a refund or replacement within 100 days of delivery. If you request a replacement mattress, that mattress will not be eligible for a sleep trial.
If you decide to return the mattress during this period, Purple will cover all shipping and handling costs, unless there are “extenuating circumstances.” In the event that a customer becomes liable for associated costs, Purple will contact and explain the circumstances to the customer beforehand.
Nectar vs. Purple
Nectar backs its mattress with a more generous sleep trial than Purple.. At 365 nights, their sleep trial is over three times as long as Purple’s, and is currently the longest sleep trial in the industry. Purple does have a shorter mandatory break-in period, so if you wind up disliking the Nectar mattress, you’d have to wait a little longer to return it.
The longer sleep trial lets you test out the Nectar in different situations over the course of an entire year, which gives you a real sense of whether this is the mattress you’d like to stick with for the next five to 10 years.
Warranty and Returns
Nectar offers a Lifetime Guarantee that covers any issues caused by defects in the materials and/or workmanship.
This includes any degradation, split, or crack in the foam material of the mattress, assuming normal usage. The warranty also covers any visible indentation greater than 1.5 inches, assuming proper use of the mattress with an appropriate foundation. If you do not use the mattress with a foundation, or if you use it with an inappropriate foundation, the warranty is void.
Nectar’s warranty does not cover damages caused by misuse, neglect, accidents, or mistreatment (such as burns, cuts, tears, stains, and liquid damage), and it does not cover the standard softening of the mattress foam over time, so long as it doesn’t affect the pressure-relieving qualities of the mattress. The warranty also does not apply to changes in comfort preference, including if you decide you want a softer or firmer mattress.
If the defects in your mattress are covered by the terms of the warranty, Nectar offers 100% free replacement or repair of the mattress for the first ten years of ownership (including shipping and handling). After the first ten years, Nectar will either repair, re-cover, or replace your mattress, at their discretion.
All replacement and repaired mattresses are covered under the same warranty as the original mattress, beginning from the date of purchase of the original mattress.
Purple backs its mattress with a 10-year non-prorated warranty, which means you get full protection for the duration of the warranty.
Purple’s warranty covers problems caused by defects in the material and/or craftsmanship of the mattress. This includes indentations in the sleep surface measuring 1 inch deep or deeper, as well as splits or cracks in the mattress foundation. It does not cover any damage to the mattress caused by standard wear and tear or mistreatment of the mattress.
The warranty is void if the mattress is not used with a flat, solid-surface foundation. If the mattress is queen sized or larger, the warranty is void if the mattress is not used on foundations with at least 5 legs and a center support.
If the defects in your mattress are covered by the terms of the warranty, Purple will repair or replace it free of cost. Customers are, however, responsible for shipping costs associated with returning the damaged mattress and delivery of the replacement/repaired mattress.
Nectar vs. Purple
Overall, Nectar has a better warranty policy. The warranties offered by Purple and Nectar are similar and more or less industry standard in terms of what sort of damages and defects they cover. However, Nectar has the advantage of a lifetime warranty, as well as free shipping and handling on all returns and replacements, and the extension of your original warranty to any replacement mattress.
- Purple wins out when it comes to availability, specifically if you live in Canada or you prefer to buy a mattress in-store rather than online.
- Nectar offers White Glove delivery while Purple does not.
- Nectar’s sleep trial has a longer mandatory break-in period, but lasts much longer than Purple’s sleep trial.
- Nectar’s warranty and Purple’s warranty cover similar defects and damages, but Nectar’s warranty never expires, while Purple’s warranty expires after 10 years.