This Mattress Could be for You If:
- You appreciate the use of natural materials
- You want a highly durable mattress
- You have mobility issues and need something with great bounce
- You carry a lot of your weight in a specific area of the body
- You are a back or stomach sleeper
- You sleep hot
Although memory foam feels good for those who appreciate deep, hugging contour, it’s not for everyone. Especially if you have trouble with mobility, this material type can make it downright difficult to move around or get in and out of bed. If this sounds like you, you’re going to love the bounce offered by the combination of the latex and innersprings of the new Birch mattress by Helix.
Keep reading to see if this could be the sleep solution for you!
A Company You Can Rely On
Although Birch is a relatively new name in the mattress industry, the company behind the model is the leading mattress brand in customized sleep. Helix has made it their mission to provide their customers with the most comfortable sleep products, and they have served over 100,000 to date.
We took a look at their flagship product back in 2017. It was unique in that it allows the buyer to take a Sleep Quiz that considers the needs of one or two sleepers per mattress. Using their algorithms, they analyze the information provided to customize the firmness. Best of all, they offer a dual or split option for sleep partners. Here’s how it works:
- Dual- firmness needs are combined to arrive at a happy medium
- Split- each side of the mattress features a unique firmness for each sleep partner
In an effort to improve sustainability and offer their eco-friendly customers a new option, Helix launched the Birch product line earlier this year which includes the mattress, topper, and pillow. We’ve taken a look at all three. In this review, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about the mattress.
Birch Mattress Support
When you sit down, the first thing you’ll notice is the very springy bounce. This tells me from the get-go that there’s likely springs, latex, or both providing that strong reaction. Some people struggle with mobility issues using materials like memory foam as it can tend to envelop your body and make it hard to move.
This mattress produces the complete opposite of that feeling. With that being said, if you ARE in the market for that memory foam feel, this isn’t going to be a good fit for you. You will likely fare better with one of our top recommendations in memory foam.
Products containing innerspring units typically offer a higher degree of support than their all-foam counterparts, and this is true of Birch. If you’re in the market for something capable of keeping the spine well aligned or have had issues in the past with premature sagging in your mattress, I think you’ll be impressed with the support you get with the latex/innerspring combination.
Firmness & Contour
The Birch mattress is medium-firm, and this is usually a great fit for back or stomach sleepers or those with a BMI of 24-28. It’s pretty simple to calculate. All you need to know is your height and weight.
This firmness can be difficult to enjoy if you sleep primarily on your side. When your weight is stacked over a smaller surface area, it increases pressure points in the hip and shoulder areas.
Birch ILD Ratings
To give you an idea of where Birch’s version of Medium Firm lies on the firmness spectrum, I reached out to customer service to get the indentation load deflection. This measurement helps us gauge firmness with 12 being very plush and 50 being very firm.
The latex weighs in at 20-24. If this sounds like it may be too firm for one sleep partner, the good news is that you can add Birch’s all-natural topper to your order if you need something plusher. It features an ILD of between 14-19. This can be a great solution for sleep partners since the one with the plush preference can add a topper that’s smaller than the mattress to be placed specifically on their side.
How Big of a Difference Does the Topper Make?
I added the topper AND pillow to my order, so make sure you check out those respective reviews if you think you might want to do the same. To take a look at how big of a difference the topper makes, we used our proprietary firmness and contour testing tool. It uses weights of 25, 50, and 75 pounds to measure the degree of resulting
sinkage to give you a more specific idea of how sleep products will react to specific body types.
Testing the mattress first, our contour results were nearly identical to the Beautyrest Black Calista we reviewed back in January. I thought this was a great representation of how latex is able to achieve similar contour to memory foam.
However, having experienced how each of these products feels, I can tell you the memory foam feels like a hug while the latex seems to resist your body weight. It’s a completely different feeling.
As you can see looking at our firmness chart, Birch is up there pretty high compared with recent mattresses I’ve tested, so let’s take a look at what happens when I add the topper. Not surprisingly, the contour remains on about the same curve with the notably longer yellow line. This indicates the way your body will experience resistance. The ratio of pushback to the pressure exerted will remain relatively the same but on a plusher scale.
What’s this mean?
This could work well for those who don’t carry a whole lot of weight or otherwise prefer a plusher sleep surface. If this is you or your sleep partner, make sure you take a look at our complete Birch Topper Review to see if this would be a wise supplemental purchase.
Birch Mattress Layer Lineup
Now that you have an idea of what this product feels like, let’s take a look at the components at work that makes it happen.
The organic cotton cover is really soft to the touch. It’s designed to be highly breathable, and it really allows for effective engagement with the comfort layers. This zone is designed for cushy contour, and it kicks off with a double shot of wool.
The Comfort Zone
The first inch is composed of natural wool with another layer of Birch Wool beneath providing critical insulating properties. Birch was built with sustainability in mind, and that’s why they only use wool that’s compliant with the PGC Wrightson Wool Integrity Program.
I do like that the interior of the wool features the ortho cortex and paracortex construction. This produces a curl in the wool fibers. Its spiral shape allows the wool a natural elasticity to bounce back and retain its shape effectively. Since direct contact with the mattress occurs at the surface, this is a good feature and can help prevent the early development of indents.
The bouncy feeling starts in layer three. This is where we find a two-inch layer of natural Talalay latex. Naturally very bouncy, the strong response cushions your pressure points and offers targeted support. If you want to learn more about latex, we have a complete buying guide. Latex also works to ward off mold and provides a natural barrier to dust mites.
The Support Zone
The primary support of this mattress is found in the eight-inch, individually wrapped coil unit. Since the coils aren’t connected in a continuous loop, it makes it easier to cradle and support the body’s weight in a more targeted fashion and reduce motion transfer.
The steel coils are followed by a layer less than an inch thick of all-natural, organic wool batting to reinforce stability and durability. The entire unit is 12 inches thick.
Birch Mattress Edge Support
When a mattress lacks edge support, it can make it feel like you’re going to fall out of bed when you get too close to either side. However, too much edge support paired with the wrong material can lead to the trampoline effect where it feels like the lighter-weight sleep partner is sinking into the indent of the heavier sleep partner.
Sitting or lying on the edge, I do feel very well supported, and this is large because Birch reinforces the innersprings on the edges with a thicker gauge. While the bulk of the innerspring product has a gauge of 16, the two outer rows are slightly firmer with a gauge of 14. This provides a seamless increase in edge support to keep you better supported while preventing you from sinking into the middle of the mattress.
How’s the Birch Bounce Affect Motion Transfer?
Sleep partners don’t want to be disturbed when one person moves or gets in or out of bed, so we always take some time to examine motion transfer. In products that feature a high degree of bounce like this one, we sometimes run into trouble in this department, so let’s take a look.
One thing we’ve got going for us is that the coils are individually wrapped, and this prevents the domino effect that occurs in continuous coil units. The trouble, however, lies primarily in the upper layers. While the latex/wool combo in the comfort layer provides a comfy sleep surface that bounces back into shape, it provides minimal absorption of motion between you and the highly responsive latex.
If you take a look at our video review above, you can see when I drop one 20 pound ball next to a resting one of equal weight, there is a little bit more of a reaction than we typically see with products that incorporate the use of memory and poly foams.
If you and your sleep partner struggle with motion transfer, you may want to consider a memory foam mattress. However, if effective bounce, durability, and heat regulation are higher priorities, the Birch mattress could still be a great option.
Birch Mattress Breathability- The Natural Advantage
If you tend to run hot at night, you aren’t as easily able to enter REM sleep. This is where you experience the most restorative rejuvenation, so you need a bed that sleeps nice and cool.
Natural products often have an advantage in this department. When it comes to Birch, we’ve got several components at work:
- The natural cotton cover is highly breathable since heat is able to escape its pores. It also features moisture-wicking benefits.
- Birch wool provides natural insulation for excellent temperature regulation.
- The Talalay latex is up to seven times more breathable than other latex types.
- Innerspring units are typically very breathable by design.
Since every single layer is well-suited for a cool sleep, I had high expectations when I tested the Birch mattress using our thermal imaging camera to observe the cooldown process after lying on the mattress for a half hour.
On average, the process takes around 10 minutes, and Birch cooled off in just under seven. This is quite a bit quicker than average and was a pretty accurate reflection of what I expected to see considering the type of materials used. I’d rate the Birch mattress as an A+ for hot sleepers.
Birch Mattress Durability Expectations
So, we’ve determined Birch provides superior heat transfer and a solution for those who like excellent response and want to keep their carbon footprint low. Are these qualities worth the cost? We’ve got numerous reasons durability expectations are high:
- You’re always best off going with natural products in terms of durability, and the cotton, wool, latex, steel combination in itself gives us reason to believe this product will last several years.
- The wool is able to be bent 20,000 times before it breaks.
- The steel’s designed to last a lifetime and made in the USA.
2. The mattress is covered by a 25-year limited warranty.
3. You get to try it out for 100 nights before your purchase is final.
4. Birch has even partnered with Mulberry to offer Accidental Damage Coverage. This ten-year add-on program will step in and cover common issues not included in your warranty including:
- Bodily fluids
- Nail polish
- Damage incurred by pets or children
- Chipping, cracking, and other normal structural breakdowns
I’ve reviewed over 70 of the most popular mattresses to date, and this is the first time I’ve heard of this type of extended warranty, so that’s pretty cool. At $99 for the add on, I’d definitely recommend going for it.
Is Helix Hiding Something?
I was a little worried that Birch didn’t mention the coil count in the innerspring unit. In my experience, this often means a compromise in quality. In these cases, I always give customer service a chance to explain, and it’s pretty easy to spot a rep who avoids providing direct answers.
In a queen, we want a coil count of at least 800 with 1,000 or more indicating excellent quality. Birch weighs in at 1,057, above and beyond our expectations.
I spent a good 30 minutes chatting with support. They were very transparent and directly answered all of my questions. Some companies beat around the bush until I finally get them to spill the beans… information missing on their website is missing for a reason. I couldn’t catch Birch trying to hide anything, which was a breath of fresh air.
You might want to check: Birch Pillow Review
Maintenance, Protection, Care, and Warranty
Although this mattress should easily last 6-10 years on its own, you still want to make
sure you take proper care of it.
- A mattress protector is never a bad investment, and it’s only recommended that you spot clean your cover.
- Because of the order of the layering, you shouldn’t flip your Birch mattress.
- You don’t really need to rotate it, but you can if you like. This is most important if one or both sleep partners carry a lot of weight.
- A foundation isn’t required, but the use of one is highly advised. Helix recommends a bunkie board with a box spring or any support system with thick slats no more than five inches apart. Failure to follow these guidelines could void your warranty.
It’s important to understand that you get what you pay for. The great news is that the bed-in-a-box industry slashes overhead costs and allows you to save hundreds on your next mattress purchase.
A product that includes the quality natural materials like the Birch line can run several thousand dollars when you shop at a retail store. Let’s take a look at what you can expect to pay when your order the Birch mattress online:
If you don’t have the money now but need a new mattress sooner rather than later, financing is available for qualified shoppers through Klarna. If you have bad credit or no credit, they also offer to finance through Zibby. It can prove worth it if your only other option is to sacrifice quality for a cheap mattress that’ll have you back to mattress shopping in a few short years.
Who We Recommend the Birch Mattress For
If you have mobility issues or otherwise appreciate extra bounce to move around or get out of bed, Birch incorporates a popular and effective design to work well for your needs. I think it’s also a good fit if off-gassing bothers you.
Since it’s made of natural materials and lacks the use of synthetic materials, harsh chemicals, or polyurethane foam, the only smell that results is one that makes you think of the outdoors.
The Birch mattress is an excellent fit for:
- The eco-friendly
- Hot sleepers
- People with mobility issues
- Stomach and back sleepers
- People in the market for a highly durable mattress
You might want to check: Birch Plush Pillow Topper
Our Final Verdict
Overall, I think the price for the Birch mattress provides a great value considering the very high quality of each layer. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s the right mattress for everyone.
Birch Mattress Isn’t for:
- Sleep partners highly sensitive to motion transfer or preferring additional hug will. Memory foam is a better option for you.
- Those who sleep primarily on their sides
If it’s just the medium-firm feel that’s an issue, you do have the option to order the topper for an extra couple hundred bucks depending on the size. The latex layer does make it kinda difficult to move the mattress, so it’s a good idea to have someone on hand to help you unbox.
You might be interested in: Birch Mattress Coupon Page
Why 30 Day Break-In Period is a Good Thing
I’ve seen some negative comments online about the fact that you do have to try the Birch mattress for 30 days before you can return it. I hold quite the opposite opinion.
It can take up to 60 days to adapt to the feel of a new sleep surface. When you return it prematurely, you may miss out on the enjoyment of just the right mattress because you didn’t get used to the new feel. This can be especially true if you’re trying a firmness that’s different than what you’ve used in the past.
I think the Birch mattress is a steal of a deal for consumers looking for an effective solution to difficulty moving in bed, hot sleeping, and the development of early sagging in the sleep surface. If you have a latex allergy and feel more comfortable talking to your allergist before you make your decision, that’s a really good idea. Make sure you let them know that the mattress is encased and that no skin-to-latex contact will occur with normal use. In most cases, this will pose no issues.