Ever since the concept of online commerce entered the mattress industry, the costs of premium quality sleeping solutions have been decreasing progressively – even big names in the industry have had to revise their exorbitant price tags to keep up with the stiff competition offered by mattress startups relying on just-in-time-manufacturing and online delivery.
This Nectar vs Tuft and Needle comparison is an attempt by yours truly to show you how far we’ve come from the days when you had to drop thousands to get a decent mattress for your bedroom. Both of these products are cheap, even for online-sold mattresses, and hopefully this comparison will help you decide which one to get if you’re on a limited budget.
The Nectar mattress is a typical memory foam mattress sporting multiple layers of the material in conjunction with a polyurethane foam base. It comes in a single medium-firm firmness level for all types of sleepers, and has an impressively affordable price tag for the features it incorporates.
The Nectar’s cover is derived from Tencel® fabric. This fabric is itself made from the pulp of eucalyptus trees, which gives it a number of useful properties – breathability, absorbency, and softness. It consequently yields a cool and comfortable initial surface for you to rest on, superior even to organic cotton in several regards.
The cover comes with a replacement policy from the manufacturer i.e. if the original one gets damaged, you can call them and they’ll send you a replacement at no extra charge.
The first layer of the mattress is intended to provide an immediately soft and cushioning response to your body – it is thus appropriately made from 1” of quilted gel memory foam. The 14 ILD rating is reflective of the conforming, yielding nature of this layer. The inclusion of gel into the foam structure gives the layer the ability to store your excess heat more effectively instead of making you feel it on the surface.
The next layer is also made from gel memory foam, but this time it has a slightly firmer ILD rating of 15 and a greater depth (3 inches). These difference ensure that in addition to the contouring you would expect from a memory foam layer this thick, you also get a small amount of resistance to your weight, so that your body doesn’t sink in as readily as it did in the first layer. This also helps to distribute the weight of your body evenly across the mattress.
The gel foam that is present in the Nectar is known as ‘Lush Foam’ in the industry – it is considered to be of top quality, so much so that it is often present in medical products!
This layer is made from special adaptive hi-core memory foam, at a depth of one inch. Despite this slimness, it is able to serve its function of slowing down the contouring response of the upper layers quite effectively (thanks to its high 45 ILD rating of course). It prevents your body from sinking any further, so that the underlying support core is able to do its job without making you feel uncomfortable.
The last layer is made from 5.5 inches of 55 ILD polyurethane foam. This creates a stiff, unyielding base for the mattress which provides your body with the deep support needed to keep it in proper spinal alignment overnight. The layer is designed to be more breathable than ordinary polyfoam though, so that the heat absorbed by the gel in the upper layers can be effectively dissipated into the surroundings.
Firmness and Feel
As mentioned above, the Nectar is available in a single firmness level that is meant to cater to the needs of the widest possible segment of consumers.
Comfort and support
The overall feel of the Nectar is medium-firm, with a slight inclination towards the firm side – this means that it could take a few days for light weight individuals to break into the mattress. The upper viscoelastic layers give the mattress the typical adaptive, cushioning response that is expected from memory foam products.
However, since the next two layers have pretty lofty ILD ratings, you are spared the excessive squishy feel that often goes hand in hand with any memory foam mattress. This isn’t to say that the enveloping sensation is completely absent, it is just less pronounced compared to mainstream viscoelastic products. Furthermore, these two firm layers make the Nectar a lot more suitable to bulky individuals who otherwise would find themselves sinking all the way through into the mattress.
You may already have guessed that the Nectar offers decidedly better edge support than its viscoelastic contemporaries because of the high ILD ratings of its lower two layers. Contrary to the sinkage and slippage that one experience when sitting on the sides of a memory foam bed, the Nectar is able to support you quite admirably.
The Nectar’s Tencel® fiber cover, the gel infused memory foam layers, and the breathable base, all ensure that temperature of the mattress does not become uncomfortably hot while you’re sleeping on it. That said, since it uses memory foam so extensively, there may be some times (in a hot, humid summer for instance) when the mattress runs a bit hot.
Even so, this won’t be noticeable unless you’re a particularly temperature sensitive sleeper. In any case, the Nectar and the Tuft and Needle have comparable thermal performances.
As is the norm for any mattress that makes such liberal use of memory foam, the Nectar’s ability to restrict impacts from sudden movements is superb. It completely absorbs the shock and prevents it from spilling into the surroundings, so there is no chance of you or your partner disturbing each other because of restless movements.
Lots of value for the money
Despite being a bit more expensive than the Tuft and Needle, the Nectar is able to justify the price because of its high quality gel memory foam, decent thermal performance, organic Tencel cover, and open-ended return and warranty policies. This translates into a lot of value for you money – indeed, even more than what most big brands can offer with their swollen price tags.
Organic Tencel® Cover
The Tencel® cover present in the Nectar is far better in terms of breathability and comfort than the Nectar’s synthetic blend cover. It is also much better at absorbing moisture (so you don’t have to deal with sweat on a hot day) and this in turn reduces the likelihood of skin sensitivities and infections. In other words, the Nectar is able to yield an objectively better surface for you to sleep on.
Signature memory foam response without excessive sinkage
Usually, the only alternative for people who cannot handle a memory foam mattress’s enveloping behavior is to go for a spring or latex mattress. The Nectar, however, remedies this by using an extra-firm layer of memory foam in the middle, in addition to a tough base layer, to ensure that you get the feel of memory foam without having to suffer from the issue.
In comparison, the Tuft and Needle deals with this problem by adding some latex-like behavior but, of course, the mattress doesn’t remain truly a memory foam product anymore.
The Nectar comes with a 365 day trial which isn’t just much more than the Tuft and Needle’s 90 day policy – it is also a lot more than the 120-day threshold that is widely regarded as the industry standard these days. This is impressive, especially, because the Nectar is also considerably cheaper than most online-sold mattresses of its stature.
Undoubtedly, this translates into a comfortable window for trying the mattress out to see if it meets your needs.
The Nectar’s lifetime warranty is, again, a lot longer than the 10-year policies that are common in the industry (this is also the one that the Tuft and Needle has). In this case, it does seem like the manufacturer is confident that the product will last for many, many years (normally, I wouldn’t give much significance to a policy that is just a few years longer than the 10-year mark).
Tuft and Needle Breakdown
The Tuft and Needle mattress is designed with a minimalistic approach – they’ve used fewer layers (just two, in fact!) of high quality foam to achieve the same functionality as that offered by fancier mattresses, but all the while keeping the cost significantly less.
The cover of the mattress is made from a blend of polyester and Tactel and is fit snugly over the two layers forming up the mattress proper. The polyester fabric ensures that the cover remains smooth and wrinkle-free, whereas the Tactel enhances the breathability of the surface – in fact, it does this even better than cotton.
The uppermost layer of the mattress is made from a special kind of foam which the manufacturer calls T&N Adaptive® foam. This foam has a density of 2.9 lbs./cu.ft. and is used at a thickness of 3 inches for this layer. This material is a cost-effective attempt at combining the properties of memory foam and natural latex, so that the mattress is able to be both conforming to your sleep posture and rapidly responsive to any changes in the same during your sleep.
To reduce the thermal footprint that this artificial foam is undoubtedly bound to generate, heat-absorbing graphite and cooling gel have been incorporated into its structure. It is also worth noting that the normal durability threshold for a foam is about 1.8 lbs./cu.ft., so this material is able to respectably address longevity concerns as well.
7 inches of 1.8 lbs./cu.ft. HD polyfoam make up the support core of the mattress. It is intended to provide sturdy support for your entire mass, to prevent it from sinking any further than the first layer (otherwise, you’d find yourself sleeping at an awkward angle which could itself lead to muscle and joint pain).
Both the foam layers have been designed to facilitate the passage of air through them, so that the heat is removed from the mattress in a timely manner, before your bed starts feeling like a sauna.
Firmness and Feel
Comfort and Support
There is just one firmness level that the Tuft and Needle comes in – medium-firm. It creates an even blend of conforming pressure relief and stiff support in order to address as many consumers and sleep preferences as possible. As a result of this balanced response, the T&N is able to yield the same plush and stress relieving feel as a memory foam mattress would, sans the unpleasant ‘hugging’ and ‘sinking’ sensations.
Of course, the agile responsiveness of the mattress owes a large part also to the latex-like properties of the Adaptive® foam that makes up the first layer: it is able to quickly return to its original shape once pressure is removed, which is not possible with regular memory foam – in other words, you can change your sleep posture mid-sleep and the bed will adjust to it instantaneously instead of making you feel like you’re in a crater.
Since this is an all-foam mattress, you can’t expect the edge support to be as stellar as it would be for a sturdy innerspring product. However, compared to other all-foam products, the Tuft and Needle’s edge support is quite decent: sure, the first layer is quite pliable and you will experience some sinkage due to this when you sit on the sides but the underlying support core is strong enough to prevent any further yielding.
The Tuft and Needle lacks intricate heat dissipation features – it has only the gel / graphite incorporation in its first layer, and the inherent airflow properties exhibited by both layers. The Tactel allows hot air to ventilate inwards into the mattress, from where it is removed by the gel / graphite infusion and then transported away by the natural ventilation described above.
The resulting cooling performance may not be above and beyond, but it is good enough to ensure a comfortable sleep experience in most climates and for most sleepers (temperature sensitive sleepers may want to consider a natural latex or innerspring product instead).
Due to the latex-like response of the Adaptive® foam layer, the Tuft and Needle exhibits a slight bounciness i.e. its motion absorption properties are slightly less than those of a true memory foam mattress. However, it is still able to absorb all major impacts locally and stops them from transmitting to the surroundings.
Priced at just $595, the Tuft and Needle matches the description of a budget mattress better than probably any other offering in the market right now. Instead of trying to increase its appeal with low-quality, flashy features, the manufacturer is honest in their minimalist approach. The simple two-layered construction of the mattress yields reliable, responsive comfort and support, which isn’t usually seen in products with similar price tags.
Performance similar to both memory foam and latex
While memory foam mattresses (the Nectar included) are admired for their slow-acting, dead response that creates a cushion around your body to match your sleep style, they are also criticized for their sluggish reaction to changes in sleep position and the ‘sticky’ sensation that results from this. Tuft and Needle has solved the latter problem by creating their own proprietary foam that combines the contouring behavior of memory foam with quick response of latex, so you get the best of both worlds.
Which One To Get?
- You want more value for the money: With more layers, an organic cover, a longer warranty, and a much more generous trial period, it is immediately evident that the Nectar has more bang for your buck when compared to the Tuft and Needle. This is compounded by the fact that the price difference between the two mattresses isn’t that big either.
- So if you’re not bound by an extremely strict budget, you may want to get the Nectar mattress to enjoy more premium features.
- You want a typical viscoelastic response: As I’ve described above, the Nectar uses multiple layers of high quality gel memory foam to achieve its primary pressure relieving effect – and achieves a contouring, plush feel that is typical of high-end viscoelastic products as a result. It even eliminates some of the stickiness through its tougher Hi-Core intermediate layer.
- All in all, if you’re a fan of memory foam’s cushioning response, then the Nectar is hands down the better choice (the T&N is also cushioning, but it also packs some bounce similar to latex).
- You tend to sweat a lot: The breathability and moisture absorbency of the Nectar’s Tencel cover means that it is much better suited to people who live in a hot and humid climate where night sweats are the norm. Not only will it spare you the unpleasantness, it will also reduce the likelihood of skin rashes that can result from sweat accumulation.
- There’s a chance that your mattress cover could get damaged: If you live in a household with pets or children who might damage the cover of the mattress (this is a possibility even with a mattress protector, after all), you may want to go for the Nectar as it comes with a separate free replacement policy for its Tencel® cover!
- You’re not sure about the investment: If you feel that your needs may change in the future, or you’re unsure whether a new mattress is the ideal solution for your needs, you’ll want to get a mattress with as long a return policy as possible – and the 365 year money back guarantee that the Nectar ships with is the best in the industry.
- A longer warranty is important for you: If you derive confidence from a product that comes with a lifetime warranty, the Nectar definitely is the better choice, considering that it has a lifetime warranty compared to the (relatively!) fleeting 10 year warranty of the Tuft and Needle.
Tuft and Needle
Alternatively, you could consider the Tuft and Needle if:
- You’re on a very tight budget: The Nectar does pack more value for the few hundreds more that it asks, but for people on a strict budget who cannot wait, the Tuft and Needle is a good choice in its own right – the mattress does not force you to compromise on quality to keep the cost down – it simply does away with extra bells and whistles that would otherwise bloat the price tag.
- You’re still getting a thoroughly dependable, comfortable and supportive sleep solution in exchange for the exceptionally small investment.
- You’re in need of a mattress that responds quickly to changes in sleep position: Many of us tend to sleep in a single sleep posture throughout the night, which is where memory foam mattresses shine by adapting to this singular posture and providing optimal pressure relief.
- However, for some (myself included), it is second-nature to constantly change positions mid-sleep. In this case, on begins to experience the ‘enveloping’ behavior that is a drawback of memory foam mattresses such as the Nectar. Fortunately, the Tuft and Needle’s Adaptive® foam is able to remedy this by being both conforming and highly responsive.
Hopefully, you learned something useful about budget possibilities that are now available in the mattress market. If you find the post useful, please share it with your friends and family who are considering getting a new mattress. As usual, feel free to leave your feedback and queries in the comments section below.
Nectar vs Tuft and Needle Comparison
|Height||11 inches||10 inches|
|Breathability||Slightly below average||Slightly below average|
|Discount||$125 off with coupon code||None at present|