Finding the ideal mattress can be tough. Even if you save up enough money to buy almost any bed on the planet, they don’t all perform the same across the board. Every model has its perks and downsides, no matter how subtle they may be, and it’s your responsibility to inform yourself and figure out what the most important qualities are. Do you prefer firm or softer models? Are you dealing with back pain, neck pain or shoulder pain – problems that often require a model with very strong conforming abilities? What is your preferred sleeping position? Being able to answer these questions (and more) is the key to being able to find a bed that perfectly suits your needs.
In this article, we will be covering two specific mattresses and making a fair comparison between them. The idea is to help people learn how to evaluate models on their own in the future, so that they may avoid dilemmas that keep them indecisive and anxious. We will compare things like cost, expected lifespans, which materials are used for the mattresses, etc. Let’s get into it.
A Basic Overview
One thing both of these companies share is that they were started in 2015, which is very recent in a field such as this. Both Purple and GhostBed have developed excellent flagship mattresses, and it didn’t take them very long to do it either. Purple is a shining example of successful crowdfunding, as their initial start was enabled by the Kickstarter platform. While we will be covering two specific mattresses today (the Original Purple and the GhostBed), they have more to offer these days. Let’s examine the basics of how their products are constructed before we look into details later on in the article:
Most models are rated on a scale of 1-10 in terms of firmness. The GhostBed clocks in at around 6/10 on the firmness scale (often referred to as “Medium Firm”), thanks to its high-density foam support core, and the use of Dunlop latex (albeit synthetic) in the comfort layers. This level of firmness is generally recommended to people who weigh in at 130 pounds or more.
The Original Purple is only slightly firmer than GhostBed’s flagship model, having the rating of 6.5/10. The support core is largely the same, being composed entirely of high-density foam. The comfort layer is where the big difference kicks in – the Original Purple uses a patented “Smart Grid” comfort system, which consists of an elastic polymer grid and buckling-column gel, designed to conform to the body without sacrificing temperature neutrality and air circulation. Due to its firmness, this model is also recommended to people whose weight hovers around or exceeds 130 pounds.
We intentionally chose to compare mattresses with similar firmness levels, as that makes the comparison more fair and means that the same people are likely to run into both while searching for a good product. There’s little point in comparing a very soft models to a super firm one, as they’re meant for different people and scenarios.
The GhostBed Mattress
The key to what makes this mattress tempting lies in the materials used for its construction. The GhostBed comes with a support core of high-density foam, providing a base that helps maintain proper spine alignment while resisting sagging and extending the bed’s lifespan. The comfort layers include synthetic Dunlop latex on the top and gel foam at the bottom. Dunlop latex is praised for its ability to keep the heat away, letting the sleeper sleep cool as well as providing top-quality air circulation and breathability. This latex comes at the cost of increased mattress weight, so the Queen-sized version of the GhostBed weighs around 89 pounds – more than almost any other foam-based model on the market, yet less than the Original Purple.
This mattress supports a wide range of sleeping positions, although the most recommended one is back sleeping. It largely depends on your weight, however. For example, stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds might not get optimal support, even though they may feel somewhat comfortable with the mattress anyway. Back and side sleepers can achieve good comfort levels with almost any body weight, which goes a long way towards making the GhostBed a versatile, all-purpose bed.
Temperature neutrality is an important factor for many people, and this model doesn’t fail to deliver. While there is a significant amount of memory foam in this model, the top comfort layer is all Dunlop latex, letting the user sleep at least moderately cool. The motion transfer and noise prevention are adequate, which helps couples achieve healthy sleep without disturbing each other, which would otherwise potentially strain their relationship.
The Queen-sized model costs around $900 and the shipping is free for residents of all 50 states. GhostBed offers a partially prorated 20-year warranty, and their mattresses are made of durable material, but here’s the thing: These products are young enough that none of them have reached the point of potential expiration yet. The manufacturer came about in 2015, so we will have to wait a few more years to make a full verdict in that regard. Thankfully, the bed comes with a 101-night sleep trial, so you have plenty of time to test it out and decide whether it fits your specific needs.
The Original Purple
The main feature of the Original Purple is the patented Smart Grid comfort system. They take a special buckling-column gel and disperse it evenly throughout a grid of elastic polymer. This design achieves a handful of things. For one, the comfort layer of this mattress is above-average when it comes to how much it conforms to your body. People suffering from problems like back pain or shoulder pain often require mattresses like this to get rid of that discomfort. This level of comfort and pressure relief doesn’t come at the cost of durability, either – the Original Purple is a durable, sturdy model that could easily outlive its warranty if treated well.
The Smart Grid also helps the mattress stay cool through prolonged exposure to body heat. It can help you stay asleep and comfortable even during hot summer nights, especially if you have some sort of air cooling setup in your room, like a bedroom fan. The high-density support core made of polyfoam adds a lot of weight to the bed, making it reach a whopping 110 pounds, more than almost all other Queen-sized beds. It may be a bit hard to move this mattress around in your room, although it’s far from impossible. The motion isolation can make up for this tiny downside, as you might not feel anything when your partner leaves the bed or sits on it. Sitting on the edges isn’t something we’d recommend frequently doing, as sinkage is one of the main downsides to the Original Purple.
Off-gassing can pose a problem for some people, and it’s largely unavoidable, at least to some extent. Any freshly unpacked model will emit a rubbery smell, but the intensity and duration of that smell differ from model to model, depending on the materials used. The Original Purple is known at this point for being very mild in the off-gassing department. The smell is faint and doesn’t last long enough to cause sleep disruptions or some other discomfort.
The cost of the Original Purple hovers around the $1,000 price range if you’re purchasing the Queen-sized option (which is often considered the industry standard). The warranty lasts for ten years, but much like with the GhostBed, none of the models have had the chance to reach that point, as they’re a relatively new product on the market. You get a 100-night trial, so you can make sure the mattress is good for you (and your potential partner) before committing to the purchase.
So which one of these is better? To put it simply, it boils down to personal preference and your specific needs. Ask yourself questions about what you want out of your mattress. What is your preferred sleeping position? How much money are you willing and able to invest in a bed? Do you sleep alone or with a partner? Are you a hot sleeper? All these questions can help you eliminate unsuitable options and select the best product. Here are ways you can determine which of these mattresses you want to buy:
– Side sleepers will very often prefer the Original Purple simply for the increased support it offers for that position. Spine alignment is often a problem for side sleepers, and this foam mattress is great at hugging your body and alleviating pressure points and pain. Back sleepers can choose either of the two models, as they both work really well with that sleeping position. Stomach sleepers will prefer the GhostBed model, although people under 130 pounds should avoid using that position whenever possible.
– If you’re concerned about temperature neutrality and you’re a hot sleeper, we strongly recommend the Original Purple, as this model offers superior temperature resistance and the air circulation helps a lot too. While the GhostBed isn’t terrible in this regard, it is simply outclassed.
– If you care about firmness (and you should), you have two similar yet slightly different options here. The GhostBed registers as a 6/10 on the firmness scale, whereas the Original Purple adds half a point extra. So choose whichever one sounds better – the Ghostbed is slightly softer, which can be more suitable for lighter people.
– The GhostBed has less motion transfer, which means it may be better for couples where at least one of the two is a light sleeper. Speaking of couples, the increased responsiveness of the GhostBed makes it an ideal choice for sexual activity. On the other hand, the Original Purple is less noisy, so people sensitive to sound during the night may prefer that option.
– If you’re running on a tight budget, you may want to consider the GhostBed, as it costs roughly $100 less. If you try it and you end up not liking it for whatever reason, you can refund it during that initial trial period and opt for another mattress instead.
– Off-gassing odors can be quite unpleasant, and while neither of these mattresses is an extreme offender, the Original Purple is a bit more noticeable when it comes to rubbery smells. It goes away after a short period of use, so this factor may not be a deal-breaker.
Co-founder of Counting Sheep and Sleepaholic