Did you know that Bill Bradley, a machinist from Johnson City, Tennessee, and founder/CEO of Bed in a Box, invented the machine for compressing and rolling foam mattresses? Each rolled mattress was small enough to fit into a box the size of a coffee table! And thus began the mattress-in-a-box industry.
Of the numerous mattress-in-a-box brands, two brands stand out – Leesa and Tuft & Needle (T&N). Here, we will review their original mattress-in-a-box products – Leesa’s Original Mattress and T&N’s Original Mattress. We chose these two products for a fair comparison since both are all-foam mattresses (i.e., no innerspring coils).
Both brands, however, have other versions that are excluded from this comparison.
For Leesa, the other two versions are:
- Hybrid, an 11-inch mattress with foam and pocket springs
- Legend, a 12-inch mattress with foam, dual springs, and micro-pocket springs
For T&N, there also two other versions:
- Mint, a 12-inch mattress with three layers of foam, medium firmness, and reinforced edge support
- Hybrid, a 12-inch mattress with five layers consisting of foam and innerspring coils
Leesa is well-known for its line of supportive, comfortable, and economical mattresses, of which the original version was designed as a universal mattress. Beyond its mattress sales, the company is also known for its philanthropic and environmental advocacies.
For every ten mattresses it sells, Lessa donates one to a homeless shelter. More than 23,000 mattresses have been donated to date! Leesa also commits to planting a tree for every mattress sold in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. Employees also participate in various charitable activities, and the company itself collaborates with ArtLifting in supporting disadvantaged artists.
T&N is a robust e-commerce company with a singular focus on redefining the online shopping experience for mattresses and other sleep-related products for consumers. Founded in 2012, it earned over $100 million in revenue in 2017, an impressive feat fueled by its strong customer following.
Its success is partly based on the high-quality nature of its mattresses, which are made of its proprietary foam, and partly on its savvy marketing plans. Its share of the mattress-in-a-box is among the largest indeed – and all of it without any venture capital!
First Impressions: Dimensions and Colors
First impressions are just as important as the sleeping experience! We tend to assess a new mattress’s support and comfort level based on our initial impressions, particularly its thickness, color, and cover quality.
Customers love Leesa’s original mattress’s clean and modern design, particularly the off-white and gray striped versions. The gray twill cover is also breathable, soft, and plush – and it makes for a beautiful first impression when it’s fully inflated.
As for sizes, the 10-inch Original mattress comes in standard sizes, including:
- Twin XL
- Cal King
Most customers say that the mattress sizes are true to size.
The 10-inch T&N Original mattress also comes in various sizes:
- Twin XL
- Cal King
But some buyers report that their T&N mattresses run a bit small. You may want to buy a larger size if you’re concerned about it, or you can ask the manufacturer for more details.
As for its appearance, it’s plainer in appearance, but it’s still elegant. The cozy knit cover is also breathable, soft, and beautiful, so it’s a draw with the Leesa mattress. You can also ask the manufacturer to include its antimicrobial cover, which protects the mattress from odor-causing bacteria.
Winner: The Leesa mattress because of its true-to-size dimensions, exceptional cover quality, and more attractive cover design.
Setting Up: Assembly and Platform
Mattresses-in-a-box comes in tightly rolled or compressed form that fits in a standard shipping box. Their differences lie in their shipping weight, inflation time and ease of assembly, and the need for a platform.
The Leesa mattress’s shipping weight varies depending on its size, from 45 pounds for the twin size to 92 pounds for the Cal king size. Due to the fairly heavyweight, you should move the mattress-in-a-box into the room where it will be set up.
Then, the steps are easier than expected, particularly if you have assistance.
- Unbox the mattress on its side, next to the platform where it will be placed on. Open the box but don’t use a sharp object lest you accidentally open the mattress itself.
- Place the mattress on its slatted or solid foundation before removing its plastic wrap. The mattress should be slightly inflated at this point.
- Unfold the mattress and, starting from the top, pull down the inner plastic as if you’re pulling a sock.
- Wait for an hour to fully expand, but it will take a few days to achieve its full firmness level.
There’s a slight off-gassing, but it should dissipate within 24 hours or so.
As for its platform, the Leesa mattress works well with a solid platform, a slatted base, and a solid box. You may also order a Leesa Platform Bed too. Just remember that it requires a strong and stable base to ensure its outstanding longevity and performance.
This also holds with the T&N mattress. You can use your existing base instead of buying a new box spring. You may use slatted frames, platform frames, and adjustable frames without a box spring, too.
But it’s important to check that the space between the individual slats in the slatted frame should be fewer than 5 inches for sufficient support. Otherwise, the mattress can prematurely sag in places, and your sleeping experience will be less supportive and comfortable for it.
Do-it-yourself assembly for the T&N mattress is the same as the Leesa mattress. But T&N offers a white glove delivery option that includes a scheduled delivery date, professional assembly in your home, and removing your old mattress. If you pay the extra fee but choose to cancel the white glove delivery service, you can’t get a refund.
The T&N mattress also has a slight off-gassing issue, but it isn’t bothersome, and it will dissipate on its own. Let the mattress air out by opening your bedroom windows during the day. You will be able to sleep on it without the slight odor after 48 hours or less.
Winner: It’s a draw since both require a suitable platform, can be assembled on a DIY basis, and its slight off-gassing issue resolves on its own. But if you’re looking for the VIP treatment and you can afford the extra fee, then go for the T&N mattress.
Under the Cover: Materials and Layers
The heart and soul of any mattress are the types of materials used in its layers. Both the Leesa and the T&N mattresses have all-foam layers, although the materials used and the number of layers differs.
Aside from the twill fabric cover, the Leesa mattress consists of three layers of foam in different materials and functions.
- The 2-inch cooling or comfort foam layer is made of breathable and responsive foam. This layer provides the hugging feeling and bounces that sleepers experience when lying on the mattress.
- The 2-inch contouring memory foam is the recovery layer that also provides pressure relief to your body’s joints and pressure points. Memory foam uses your body heat to become softer and, thus, mold itself to your body’s unique curves. You will then feel relief from pressure pain on your back, hips, and shoulders.
- The 6-inch foam base forms the core support layer that gives the mattress its support and durable base.
Leesa takes pride in its CertiPUR-US certified foam materials, which are considered safe and non-toxic for adults and children alike. The foam layers don’t contain ozone depleters, PBDE retardants, heavy metals like lead and mercury, formaldehyde, and phthalates. Plus, these have low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), thus slightly off-gassing.
The T&N mattress consists of two layers of foam:
- The 3-inch proprietary T&N Adaptive foam is infused with cooling gel and graphite
- The 6.5-inch support foam provides robust support for the comfort layer and the sleepers alike
The adaptive technology of the T&N Adaptive foam provides a comfortable and supportive experience for most sleeping positions. The foam has a graphite component that absorbs heat away from the body and provides a cooler experience. There are also cooling gel beads that wick moisture and heat away from the body, contributing to a cooling effect.
The graphite and gel beads infusions are complemented by the foam’s open-cell design that makes for breathable material. The bottom line: You should be able to sleep without waking up with a hot feeling or nearly covered in sweat.
Winner: The Leesa mattress wins because it uses CertiPUR-US certified foam and has a memory foam layer for a comfortable sleeping experience. But the T&N mattress isn’t too far behind because of its innovative Adaptive foam that answers the needs for comfort and support for most sleepers (i.e., from side to back sleepers).
Sleeping Experience: Firmness and its Related Experience of Comfort and Support
The term “firmness” refers to the feel of the mattress that, in turn, affects the level of comfort and support it provides to the individual. The level of firmness itself can be categorized into soft, medium, and firm and many in-between categories, such as medium-firm or medium-soft. But your experience will be influenced by your personal preferences, weight, and preferred sleeping position.
Comfort refers to the relaxed overall feeling you get when you’re on the mattress. Support pertains to the way your spine is in perfect neutral alignment; your hips and shoulders are levels, and your spine is in a fairly straight line. Both are subjective measures of sleeping experience.
If, for example, you weigh 230 pounds and prefer sleeping on your back, a soft mattress with a 2-3 firmness rating isn’t supportive enough. The mattress sags underneath your body and results in the misalignment of your spine. But for a side sleeper weighing 130 pounds, it’s the best supportive mattress.
The Leesa Original mattress is based on the company’s Universal Adaptive Feel philosophy, and, thus, it’s intended to suit every type of sleeper. And when it says, “every type of sleeper,” it means sleepers of any height, weight, and sleeping position – back, side, and stomach as well as combination sleepers. The philosophy also implies that the sleeper also adapts to the mattress itself, with the adjustment understandably varying between persons.
How does it work out? Keep in mind that the mattress has a medium feel of 5 to 5.5 on the firmness scale. As such, it’s suitable for individuals who are of average weight – neither underweight nor overweight adults. It’s also a great bed for side and back sleepers as well as for couples.
The mattress gives a decent amount of hug, thanks to the comfort and contouring foam layers, which provides significant pressure relief after a few days of use. You won’t sink so much into the mattress because of these dense foam layers, so there’s an on-the-bed experience. If you sleep with one, you and your partner will appreciate the slight bounce that aids in easier movement and lesser motion transfer.
With a 6-inch support base, the mattress also provides a good amount of support. While your body feels like it’s being hugged around your pressure points, your spine keeps a fairly neutral alignment. The denser support foam stops the upper two layers of comfort and contouring foam from giving an in-the-bed feeling.
The bottom line: If you’re looking for a comfortable and supportive mattress, you may well find it in the Leesa Original. Just remember that it’s designed as a one-size-fits-all mattress. So, if you’re not of the one-size-fits-all mold, you may want to keep looking.
There are also drawbacks to the inclusion of memory foam in the Leesa Original mattress. While the manufacturer says that the first two layers of foam are designed for a cooling effect, it isn’t the universal experience.
Most customers report that it allows them to sleep cooler than the typical all-foam mattresses, whether made with memory foam or latex foam. This can be attributed to the breathable quality of the 2-inch comfort layer and the fairly low density of the 2-inch contouring memory foam. Both reduce the amount of heat and moisture retention in the mattress.
But some customers complain that the Leesa mattress can also sleep hot. While we’re not passing judgments, their negative experience may be due to their sleeping environment, climate and physiology. There are numerous ways to cool down a memory foam mattress, such as placing a wool mattress protector, using cooling pads or toppers, or creating air space by using a slatted base.
There’s also the matter of adjustment to the overall feel of the Leesa mattress. Even its manufacturer says that customers should expect a few minor aches and pains in the morning for a week or more after using it.
During this time, your body is still adjusting to its universal adaptive feel. But once you’ve been accustomed to it, your sleeping experience will be so much better. Perhaps, it can be the best sleeping experience in your life so far without spending on a truly luxurious mattress.
The T&N Original mattress has a medium-firm feel (6 on the firmness scale), so it has a firmer feel than the Leesa Original mattress. But some customers also describe it as a firm mattress with a soft feel on the top. Again, the amount of firmness is largely a subjective matter.
When you lie down on the mattress, nonetheless, you will get an on-the-mattress experience. You’re neither sinking too far down into it nor staying on top of it with little to no sinkage. You’re likely to feel a moderate hug on the parts of the body in contact with the mattress.
In just a few minutes, the 3-inch Adaptive foam soothes your pressure points, including your shoulders, hips, and back. While it isn’t memory foam – well, at least, not as we know so far – it has similar properties. It responds to body heat and then contours to your body’s unique contours from shoulders to hips.
Its supportive feature is medium-firm quality meaning that it can keep the spine’s neutral alignment quite well. Side and back sleepers will benefit from their regular use.
There doesn’t seem to be a lengthy adjustment period when using the T&N mattress. If you prefer a medium-firm mattress or you’re accustomed to its feel, then you may be able to adjust to the T&N mattress within a couple of nights. You may even agree with many of its users who say that their first night with it was just beautiful, restful, and comfortable.
The coolness of the T&N Original mattress sleeps cooler than the Leesa Original mattress, albeit just by a bit. The two-layer construction means there’s less material in which heat can be trapped.
The 3-inch Adaptive foam is also designed for cooling benefits. According to the manufacturer, its breathable open-cell structure allows air to circulate better and prevents heat retention over long periods. It has also been infused with graphite and cooling gel that pulls heat away from the body.
And most customers say that, indeed, these features worked! The mattress doesn’t sleep hot even with just ordinary bedsheets and linens placed on top. There’s little to no need for cooling accessories like wool toppers or a slatted base, not even the mattress being placed in an air-conditioned room.
Winner: The T&N Original mattress wins this round! It not only provides a cooler sleeping experience, but it also doesn’t have an adjustment period. Nonetheless, both the T&N and Leesa mattresses are suitable for a wide range of sleepers and provide similar levels of comfort and support.
Practical Aspects: Motion Transfer, Ease of Movement and Edge Support
Just as important as comfort and support in the sleeping experience are motion transfer, ease of movement, of edge support. These are aspects that affect your overall experience with all-foam mattresses.
Motion transfer refers to the degree to which movement travels from one point to another point on the mattress. The lower the motion transfer experienced, the better for couples since it means less sleep disruption.
Ease of movement is easier on medium to medium-firm mattresses because there’s less feeling of being stuck in quicksand. You won’t exert as much physical effort when changing positions and getting out of bed. With soft mattresses, ease of movement can be a challenge, particularly for combination sleepers and couples.
Edge support is the amount of resistance around the mattress’s edges and acts as frame support. While it may not be a significant part of your sleeping experience, it still matters in many ways. (Unless you’re the type who likes sleeping or ends up near the edge due to your partner’s sleeping habits.)
The sturdier the edge support, the less risk of premature sagging and rolling off the mattress. The stronger it is, the greater the support and stability that the mattress feels, too.
We like the Leesa mattress for its great performance in terms of motion isolation. This is due to its all-foam construction since thick foam absorbs more movement than hybrid mattresses (i.e., foam plus coils construction). There’s also the fact that the Leesa mattress has memory foam for its second layer, and memory foam has a slow pressure response and high point elasticity.
Admittedly, the 2-inch memory foam may not absorb as much motion transfer as a thicker memory foam mattress. But if you compare the motion isolation capacity of average latex foam, innerspring or hybrid mattress, the Leesa mattress still performs better.
What does this mean? You should be able to sleep well throughout the night, even when your partner tends to change positions often and vice-versa. You’re also less likely to feel your partner move in and out of your shared bed.
Most customers say that they experienced ease of movement when on the mattress. This isn’t surprising as the Leesa mattress has a medium firmness, so there’s little to no sense of being stuck in quicksand. As soon as you press your hand, elbow, or any part of your body to change positions, you will feel a fairly firm surface on which to push against.
The low motion transfer and high ease of movement combination result in a better overall sleeping experience. This is of particular benefit to a combination sleeper and his/her partners in bed. There’s no need to worry whether changing positions will inadvertently wake up the other person, and it’s also true when getting on and off the bed.
The Leesa Original mattress excels in motion isolation and ease of movement. It falls just a bit short on edge support. Its all-foam construction may be great for comfort, particularly relief from sore pressure points. It isn’t conducive for on-the-edge sleeping, and the plush edges will considerably compress when pressure is applied, such as when sleeping and sitting on the edge.
The slight droop increases the risk of rolling and falling over the side and, in some cases, waking up and changing positions to stay on the bed. Couples who like to give each other sufficient personal space while sleeping may not like the weak edge support; they are likely to find themselves scooting over to the middle to prevent rolling off the bed.
If you like sitting on the mattress’s edge for prolonged periods, you may not like the weak edge support either. But we don’t suggest sitting on the edge for longer than a minute regardless of the quality of edge support. Otherwise, the overall durability and quality of the mattress can be shortened and compromised, respectively.
Like the Leesa Original mattress, the T&N Original mattress has great motion isolation due to its all-foam construction. The two layers of foam absorb movement well, so there’s less motion transfer involved. There’s also the fact that the Adaptive polyfoam comfort layer has slight responsiveness.
Again, this means that there are fewer sleep disruptions between partners when one or the other changes positions, moves around, and gets on and off. Since the mattress doesn’t have a memory foam layer that conforms to the body, its ease of movement score is also pretty high. There’s less sink on a non-memory foam layer, thus, the easier movement on the mattress.
The Leesa Original and T&N Original mattresses share a common quality – weak or soft edge support. It’s the most noticeable drawback when we first lay down on them! But this isn’t surprising because of the all-foam construction, too.
Of course, the 6.5-inch base polyfoam layer is quite dense, thick, and sturdy, so the mattress doesn’t sink to half its thickness when you’re sitting on its edge. But it won’t withstand heavy compression for more than a few minutes at a time. There may also be a bit of a difficulty getting in and out of bed since the weak edge supports more likelihood of sliding off the bed.
If you normally sleep on the edge or you’re gradually being pushed toward it, you may roll off the bed. You won’t feel as secure near the edge, too, then if you’re lying in the middle.
With that said, both the Leesa and T&N mattresses perform quite well when it comes to sexual activities. Both you and your partner will like the high levels of comfort and ease of movement provided by their all-foam construction. Just avoid doing the deed on the mattress’s perimeter due to the weak edge support and stick to the middle.
Winner: Both these mattresses perform well in motion isolation and ease of movement, but not so well in edge support. For this reason, we think that it’s a draw. The winner in these aspects will be decided on your personal preference for memory foam and its hug performance.
Maintenance Matters: Cleaning and Caring for the Mattress
Even with multiple layers of linens, proper maintenance, including regular cleaning, is a must for both the Leesa and T&N Original mattresses. Doing so brings several benefits, including:
- Reducing the number of dust mites and other allergens that will affect the quality of sleep if left to accumulate
- Decreasing, if not eliminating, the malodorous smell that the foam layers may have absorbed
- Extending the life of the mattress since regular cleaning can prevent or eliminate mildew and mold
Cleaning an all-foam mattress should be done once every three to six months. The steps are quite simple when you have the right equipment and supplies, too. These include a handheld vacuum with a brush attachment, a cleaning solution, and baking soda for deodorizing.
The Leesa Original mattress requires as much care as any all-foam mattress. But it doesn’t mean that you can be lax about its upkeep either, as it’s also prone to the growth of dust mites, mold, and mildew. It has a higher risk of these unwelcome organisms making a home in the mattress due to its all-foam construction.
According to the manufacturer, here are a few important things to do when caring for your Leesa mattress:
- Replace your bedding at least once every week.
- Rotate the mattress 180 degrees once every three to six months. Don’t flip the mattress as its layers are arranged as they are for a reason! Otherwise, you will get an extra-firm mattress without a hint of comfort in it.
- Place a waterproof mattress protector over the mattress so dust, dirt, and stains won’t easily seep through to the foam layers. The Leesa mattress has a waterproof and machine-washable mattress protector, too. But you may want to add an extra layer of protection because life happens.
- Vacuum your mattress once every three to six months, rotate it, or when the season changes, whichever is more convenient.
- Spot-clean stains immediately, if possible. Keep in mind that different methods and solutions are necessary to remove sweat, blood, and urine stains.
The T&N Original mattress’ cover cannot be removed for cleaning, a significant difference from the Leesa mattress cover. If stains appear on the mattress, only spot-cleaning methods are recommended.
The recommended maintenance measures are similar to the Leesa mattress, including:
- Changing the bedding at least once a week or every couple of weeks.
- Putting an extra layer of T&N waterproof and washable mattress protector over the cover. Be sure to wash the extra mattress protector at least once a month, too. (Bonus: This is a quiet mattress protector in that there are no sound of crinkling plastic with every movement.)
- Stripping the mattress of all its accessories, including bedding, pillows, and mattress protector. Then, sprinkle baking soda directly on the mattress’s surface, letting it sit for an hour or two, and vacuuming it. Add some drops of tea tree oil or peppermint oil for its pleasant fragrance and antimicrobial properties.
Winner: It’s a draw again since both mattresses require similar, if not the same, level and type of care.
Freebies: Sleep Trial and Warranty
The terms of the warranty and trial period are also vital factors when choosing a suitable mattress for your needs. Generally speaking, the longer the warranty period, the better for the customers. The warranty is proof that the manufacturer stands behind its products.
As for the sleep trial, it’s also worth looking into. Since you can’t try out a mattress-in-a-box sold online, in contrast with traditional mattresses sold in brick-and-mortar stores, the return policies matter more.
According to the manufacturer, all Leesa mattresses are made-to-order, so there’s a waiting period. But once it’s manufactured, compressed, and shipped, your mattress arrives soon enough. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the delivery time can stretch to two weeks.
The good news is that Leesa has a great customer service system! You can track your order and ask the friendly customer service representative for assistance regarding your concerns.
The mattress is offered with a 10-year limited warranty, a standard warranty for foam mattresses. As for the trial period, it comes with a 100-night trial. But you must try it for at least 30 days from the time it was delivered before you can start the return process. The 30-day recommended trial period is intended to give your body ample time to adjust to its feel.
The return policies are reasonable, too. First, you don’t need to pay a return fee except if you live in Alaska or Hawaii; a $100 return fee is in place for these non-contiguous states. Second, the company will pick up the mattress and refund your purchase.
The T&N Original mattress is shipped free of charge to your residence. But if you live in Alaska or Hawaii, a shipping fee applies. The company may provide an extra service for California residents without a fee: removing your old mattress.
Depending on your location, you may receive your T&N mattress within one to five days. But we surmise that this period may be pre-COVID, so expect a longer wait time.
Like the Leesa Original mattress, the T&N Original mattress also comes with a 10-year limited warranty. This warranty covers workmanship and manufacturing defects like body impressions greater than ¾-inch, sagging, and foam material breakdown.
There’s also a 100-night sleep trial coupled with a hassle-free return process. The T&N customer service is also amazing for its quick response and prompt actions. This is such a comfort when buying from an e-commerce company.
Winner: T&N wins this round, albeit only slightly ahead of Leesa. We like the shorter waiting time for the mattress to arrive, the hassle-free return policy, and the exceptional customer service.
We can summarize where each mattress wins and loses—or if it’s a draw based on the above-mentioned comparisons.
|Under the Cover
In this case, there’s a draw since both the Leesa and T&N Original mattresses have two wins, two losses, and three draws. Both mattresses seem to stand on equal footing so that they will boil down to your personal preferences.
You may prefer the Leesa mattress, for example, if you’re looking for a medium-firm mattress with the comforting hug and support of memory foam. But you may also choose the T&N mattress if you’re keen on its Adaptive foam with cooling graphite and beads, which provides a cooler experience.
For our part, we present the following recommendations about each mattress.
Choose the Leesa Original mattress if:
- You will benefit from the pressure relief and comfort of memory foam. It’s thin enough that you don’t sink into the foam but thick enough to provide ample comfort for your tired body.
- Your weight is under 230 pounds, and your preferred sleeping position is on your side or back. You will find it so comfortable that getting out of bed to start your day can be difficult.
- You sleep with a partner or pets, and you don’t want motion transfer to disturb your sleep or theirs.
- You want slight bounce or responsiveness in an all-foam mattress.
But you may want to keep looking for another mattress if:
- Your weight is over 230 pounds. A firmer mattress with innerspring coils for extra support is recommended.
- You prefer sleeping on your stomach. A firmer mattress is necessary to keep your spine in neutral alignment.
- You need stronger edge support.
Choose the T&N Original mattress if:
- You weigh less than 230 pounds. Its all-foam construction will dip under the weight of a 230 pound-plus person and, thus, result in an uncomfortable and non-supportive sleeping experience.
- You prefer the Goldilocks balance between surface-level responsiveness and body-contouring comfort.
- Your preferred sleeping positions are on your back and on your side.
- You share a bed with a partner or pets whose movements during the night can be annoying. The low level of motion isolation should prevent “waves” from waking you up.
- You’re looking for a reasonably-priced bed with a medium-firm feel and provides a great sleeping experience.
The T&N mattress isn’t a suitable choice if you’re looking for a mattress with exceptional responsiveness and bounce; a hybrid mattress is a better option.