We live in a much different world than we did just a few short decades ago. Even over the course of the past five or six years, significant technological changes have altered the way we live. The ability to do your shopping online allows for new freedom and convenience that would have been unimaginable in our grandparents’ days.
If the time has come to start shopping around for a new mattress, it very well could have been ten years since you last shopped. In that case, you most likely shopped at a retail store. In 2014, Casper was founded, and they maintain their mission to re-imagine sleep from the ground up. I have tried out their flagship mattress as well as their luxurious Wave mattress.
Today, we’re going to take a close look at their budget option: the Essential mattress. Just a few things we’ll examine during our complete Essential mattress review include:
- Cooling capability
- Edge support
- Layer construction
- And much more!
Don’t want to read the full review? Watch our video review instead.
Casper Essential Specs
Offgassing – Took a day to clear off
Firmness Level (Scale of 1-10) – 6.0
Trial Period – 100 nights
Warranty – 10 years
Award-Winning Research & Development
Over the course of the past four years, Casper has been building upon their original mission to obsessively engineer outrageously comfortable mattresses. In my experience, their products have been excellent in contour and support, and this has a lot to do with their dedicated research and development team.
Based in San Francisco, the Casper R&D team develops all of their products in-house including pillows, bedding, and bed frames. I’ve been pretty impressed with some of their proprietary foams that act to balance bounce and contour, but don’t just take my word for it. Just some of the impressive credentials they’ve earned include:
- Named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the World
- Flagship mattress named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions
A Different Spin on the Cover
I really love the durable knit cover. It’s 100% polyester, and it’s super thin. This allows you to engage well with the foams beneath even if you use a mattress protector. My favorite part, though, is the color. Most mattress covers are white, and this makes it really sad the first time you spill something. I think this element and the fact that it is kind of thin makes it a good mattress consideration for kids or teens.
The Three Layers of the Essential Mattress
First, it’s helpful to get an idea of what’s inside the mattress to better understand how it works to provide both comfort and support. The total thickness is 11 inches including the cover, and this is divided up into three layers.
The Comfort Layers
The top two inch comfort layer of the Essential mattress is composed of bouncy, high airflow omniFlex foam. This layer offers pretty quick bounce back, and this makes it easy to move around. It also allows the sleeper to sink into the mattress and relieve pressure. It works really well with the next 1 ½ inch layer of memory foam. I think the placement here is really smart for a couple of reasons:
The more responsive omniFlex foam helps counter the excessive sinkage that memory foam is notorious for. It prevents excessive heat build up that is common in visco foam. The main goal of a hybrid mattress is to blend materials in a way that accentuates their best features, and I think Casper did a good job in doing this with the placement of the two comfort layers of their Essential mattress. The memory foam does a really nice job at providing pressure relief.
The Support Layer
Finally, we move on to the last layer, and this is the 7 ½ inch polyurethane base. It’s here where you get your deep compression support, and its high density adds to overall mattress durability in this thickest of the three layers.
So, now that we’ve looked inside, how does this product feel? You can definitely feel the relationship between the first two layers at work as the top layer works to provide that bounce you need to move around and transition in and out of bed while the memory foam beneath offers effective contour.
Not for Those Who Carry a Lot of Weight
I would like to note that, when I sit down on the mattress, I can feel myself bottom out on the baseboards. I weigh 130 pounds, so if you weigh this much or more, you may want to go with a thicker product. The original Casper mattress is 11 inches thick while their high-end Wave mattress is 13 inches.
I’ve tried out both of these products, and I’d highly recommend the Wave for those who carry a lot of weight or for sleep partners. It’s a little on the higher end of the cost spectrum, but it’s worth it. However, if you don’t weigh much or are buying for a child or teenager, the Essential mattress is a great way to take advantage of quality materials and innovative design at a great price.
Firmness and Sinkage Expectations
Casper products come as-is in terms of firmness, and they generally try to appeal to the masses with around a medium feel. For every mattress I test, I take a look at firmness by applying my 130 pounds standing in the middle of the mattress and comparing the sinkage to other products I’ve tried out.
Six and a half inches of sinkage is indicative of a standard medium product. Anything over that is on the plusher end while sinkage less than 6 ½ inches indicates a firmer feel. With this product, I sink in right about six inches, so this puts the Essential mattress on the firmer end of the medium spectrum. This can be good for:
- Stomach sleepers
- Those who prefer to feel like they’re floating on their mattress rather than sinking into it
- Those who prefer a firmer sleep surface
One of the most annoying things that can happen when you’re trying to sleep is to be woken up by someone moving around on the mattress next to you. That’s why most mattress companies make considerations for motion isolation. Inclusion of memory foam is a great way to accomplish this as visco elastic foam is well known for its ability to isolate motion to the point of impact.
When I dropped a 20-pound medicine ball next to another of equal weight, there was minimal transfer, and I wasn’t very much bothered by someone moving around next to me. You can see for yourself in our video review above.
Of course, there’s always going to be some degree of transfer, but all three Casper products performed very well in this respect. This is often the case with all-foam products, making the entire Casper line an attractive one for restless sleep partners.
Heat Transfer Capability
The ability to sleep cool is really important. Before you can enter REM sleep, which is the most restorative stage, your body temperature must first drop just slightly. That’s why we always take some time to test a mattresses ability to cool. To do this, I lied on my Casper Essential for a period of 30 minutes in a room temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
Under these conditions, the average mattress takes 10 minutes to cool back down to room temperature. In the case of the Essential mattress, it took around 13 ½. I was a little surprised at this since the product isn’t that thick, and both the other Casper products performed at or above average in heat releasing capability.
Try Sleeping with the Lights Off for Better Heat Transfer
Dark colors do absorb all wavelengths of light and convert them to heat, so this could be a contributing factor. This could also be a reason most mattresses use lighter colors. When I performed my test, I did have the light on, and this is always the case when I perform this particular test. I tried testing again with all the lights off, and cooldown only took eleven minutes.
I would suggest sleeping with the lights off if hot sleeping bothers you. Either way, I wasn’t bothered by excessively hot sleep, and I rather like the idea of the dark cover to lessen the appearance of spills.
The Casper Essential is thin, so edge support could be an issue if you carry a lot of weight. This is another reason I recommend it for kids or those who don’t weigh much. You can see that I do sink quite a bit into the layers when lying on my side. This is also the case when I sit on the very edge or on the corners.
Low edge support can make it more difficult to get in and out of bed. This product would offer pretty suitable edge support for those weighing less than 100 pounds. However, you can see that I don’t completely bottom out, although I can feel my baseboards beneath me when I jump into bed. If you’re on a tight budget and weigh more than 100 pounds, I’d suggest being easy on the mattress and avoiding jumping in and out of bed or similar behaviors.
If you think the mattress thickness could be a problem but still want to experience the best of what Casper has to offer, it’s worth mentioning that they offer financing through Affirm to those who qualify. You may want to check that out and see if you can finance one of the other options. However, if you’re shopping for your child or teen, the Casper Essential could prove very suitable.
The Casper Essential mattress is inexpensive, but you want to make sure it’s not cheap. You want a product that’ll last, so let’s take a look at what you can reasonably expect in terms of durability. The densities of this product are proprietary, so it makes it a little difficult to gauge. Furthermore, this product is still so new that we don’t have any real data to go off of.
However, we do know the base is made of high-dense polyfoam, so this is a good sign. Furthermore, Casper offers a 10-year warranty. As long as you use your Casper Essential mattress appropriately and take care of it, you do have the assurance that it’s manufactured to last at least a decade.
Maintenance, Protection, Care and Warranty
In their goal to produce a quality foam mattress at a value price, Casper did an excellent job. I loved how their combination of airflow omniFlex foam and memory foam balanced contour and bounce in a way that didn’t make you feel like you were sinking too far into the mattress, and, for a mattress less than nine inches thick, it did a great job at offering support. Let’s review some information that will be important to know if you do decide to make a purchase:
If it’s been awhile since you last went mattress shopping, you’re probably getting the idea that things have changed a lot. When you shop at a retail store, not only do you have to eat the costs incurred to ship the product from the manufacturer, but you also have to pay the overhead for the retailer. By the time the mattress gets from the plant to your bedroom, you can end up paying hundreds more than you need to.
The great news is that the Casper Essential was designed to be easy on the budget. Here’s what you can expect to pay:
Casper Essential Reviews and Feedback
Casper’s award-winning research and development team in San Francisco introduced the Essential mattress to cater to budget-conscious stomach sleepers. Using a simple three layer sleep solution, this streamlined product is designed to cater to a wide array of sleepers at an affordable price.
All three foam layers are Certi-Pur certified, and the fire sock and cover are OEKO-TEX certified. Although it did perform slightly lower than average in our heat transfer test, this seems to be partially due to the dark cover. If you sleep with the lights off, you should experience closer to average expectations, not to mention your body is programmed to sleep better in the dark.
The information shared here has been my honest opinion of the Casper Essential mattress, but everyone has their own perception. I took some time looking around online to see what other people have had to say about their experiences:
Who We Recommend the Casper Essential Mattress For
For a budget mattress, I think Casper did a great job at producing a product that kept quality in mind. I really enjoyed the use of memory foam, and the high-density support base helps ensure the product will last. I think this could be the right pick for you if:
- You’re shopping on a budget
- You’re looking for something for a child
- You like the idea of a cover that can conceal the appearance of stains
- You like a firm mattress
- You don’t weigh very much
- You’re a stomach sleeper
Our Final Verdict
I think this mattress is well suited for people weighing less than 100 pounds, and it offers an excellent solution for parents who want to provide their kids a quality mattress at an affordable cost. The charcoal grey cover will even help mask those inevitable spills that are typically more likely with use by kids. You can also unzip and wash it, which makes it even more attractive for use for the kids.
Casper understands that choosing a mattress is an important decision that impacts your quality of life, and they want you to know their product is going to work for you. That’s why you get a 100 night risk-free home trial. If at any point during this time you aren’t happy, they’ll send someone to pick it up free of charge and refund your money.