It wasn’t always so easy to shop for a mattress. There was a time, not too long ago, when getting a new mattress meant going to store after store, spending hours laying down on different expensive beds under bright showroom lights while a fast-talking salesman stood over you, guaranteeing “sweet dreams” while telling you about special financing options and a return policy so onerous as to be irrelevant. It was not a fun — or relaxing — endeavor.
In 2014, Casper changed all that, aiming to disrupt a $15 billion industry and reinvent sleep with a simple business proposition: make a great mattress, sell it at an affordable price and deliver it fast, for free, in a box, with a 100-day trial period. Rather than overwhelming customers with choices — Tempur-Sealy, for example, offers more than 100 models — Casper produced a single mattress, the Original. People seemed to like it, with the startup doing $1 million in sales in its first month.
Since then, Casper has become a billion-dollar company and spawned an army of other trendy online mattress retailers. Casper’s origin story is well-told — and its eminently imitable success created a crowded marketplace that’s actually produced problems, with the company’s disastrous IPO in 2020 leading to it being taken private less than two years later.
But there’s a reason the Casper Original, which first made us realize that buying a mattress didn't have to be so difficult, is still perhaps the most widely known bed-in-a-box brand. While innovative competitors have raised the bar for comfort, features and price, the Casper Original remains one of the very best mattresses available. Why? Let’s find out.
Casper Original mattress review: design
Versatile, well-crafted and improved upon since its inception, the Original mattress has gotten better as Casper has evolved. Rather than gathering dust in the R&D corner, the prototype has been continuously updated, gaining subtle and significant enhancements as the product and engineering teams tweaked and tinkered, adding elements like Zoned Support and AirScape to augment the core Casper feel with new innovations.
The result is an extremely well-balanced mattress that should be a great fit for most people. The Original is designed with Casper 4D Sleep Technology, the company’s proprietary mattress formula that combines several materials to address the four dimensions of superior sleep: alignment, temperature, touch and time.
You can get the Original either as an all-foam mattress or a hybrid of foam and springs. The hybrid material is designed to provide additional support with hundreds of individual springs that produce lift and bounce, better airflow and more durability. With that said, I tested the all-foam mattress and found it to have excellent support and airflow and plenty of lift and bounce.
While the novelty of mail-delivered mattresses has faded a bit, it still feels like a minor modern miracle to be able to carry a bed-in-a-box into your house, easily surmount stairs without navigating corners or ruining relationships and watch the thing unassumingly inflate itself without, really, any help. Certainly, as I swapped out my old mattress and grappled with it out of the bedroom, I found myself appreciating the portability that Casper helped make prevalent.
Fundamental to the design of the Original is the Zoned Support system, which is more targeted than an ordinary foam mattress and provides a fantastic balance of comfort and support.
Casper mattresses have always had a bouncy breathable layer on top of a viscoelastic memory foam layer, which creates the essential Original feel. The current iteration is 11 inches tall, with the foam mattress divided into three ergonomic zones to help keep the spine aligned. It's modestly handsome, with a striped cover over the two-toned gray mattress. Mine had a few loose threads hanging off the side when I unboxed it, but they were easy to snip off.
On top of the Original is a thin soft knit cover with AirScape foam, a responsive polyurethane material that bounces back into place quickly and is ventilated to increase airflow and pull heat away from the body. Below that is the Zoned Support, which is at the heart of the Casper mattress and comprises a layer of memory foam that's firmer in the middle — to better keep the hips up — and softer toward the foot and head of the bed, allowing the shoulders to drop and improving spinal alignment. Below that is a durable base of polyurethane foam — or, for the hybrid Original, polyfoam with encased springs — which is designed to work with the top two layers and let you sink naturally.
In terms of durability, given the overall construction and materials, the Original mattress should last at least seven years.
Casper uses recycled polyester, certified and made without ozone-depleting chemicals and phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, to align with its goal of reducing dependency on non-renewable resources.
Casper Original mattress review: firmness and comfort
As mentioned, the Original mattress brings a few features to the table – er, bed – to address what Casper calls the four dimensions of superior sleep: Zoned Support, which lifts your hips and helps with spinal alignment; AirScape design, which increases airflow and pulls heat away from your body to regulate temperature; a unique combination of premium top foam that conforms to relieve pressure and a durable base foam for long-lasting support, which together make a mattress that’s feather-soft to the touch; and rigorous Rest Index Testing at Casper Labs to ensure every mattress meets your body’s needs all night, every night.
In terms of firmness and feel, the Original is impressive. On top are the nice, softer layers, but when you press in, the mattress is much firmer beneath, especially toward the middle. The Original has a balanced responsiveness, with natural springiness, as evidenced by the tennis ball I dropped on it bouncing three times. I’m no ergonomic expert and don’t have a strong preference on soft or hard mattresses; if you’re similar, the Original is perfect, because it offers a little bit of both, seemingly right where you want it.
According to Casper Labs, the average person changes positions about 20 times a night. I like to read on my back before bed, fall asleep on my side and usually wake up on my stomach. The soft top foam layer makes it not only easy but enjoyable to change positions, while the Zoned Support keeps me feeling comfortable and supported through the night.
A lot of Casper’s sleep research has focused on thermal management and temperature regulation. The AirScape air channels enable the natural movement of your body while you’re sleeping to “pump the warm air out of the microclimate” and bring in fresh air to deliver a cooling sensation.
Nobody likes to wake up hot and sweaty, and I’m a warm sleeper who uses a fan all year round. I found that the Original, as an all-foam mattress, does trap some heat, but it’s not bad at all, thanks to its ventilated cover on top and thousands of perforations in the breathable foam.
On the whole, the Original manages to feel both soft and firm, and is by far the most comfortable mattress I’ve had.
Casper Original mattress review: price
The Casper Original is a little bit less expensive than its high-end peers and great value for the price. Starting at $695 for a twin and $795 for a twin XL, the all-foam Original is $995 for a full and $1,095 for a queen. Both the king-sized and California king are $1,495. The hybrid (foam and springs) version is $300 more for each size.
In our ranking of the 16 best mattresses of 2021, only the three budget options were priced lower than the Casper Original. The all-foam queen I tested comes in about $100 cheaper than the top-ranked Nectar Memory Foam mattress and $300 less than the second-placed Saatva Classic. If you want to see how the Original compares to our No. 1-rated mattress, take a look at this Casper vs. Nectar mattress face-off.
Originally an online-only seller, Casper mattresses are now available at several major stores, including Target and Amazon, as well as at Casper Sleep Shops, which allow customers to try them out in-person before they buy. All retailers charge the same price for Casper mattresses, so if you find an Original that seems suspiciously cheap, make sure to double-check it.
Casper is currently offering a 10% off sale, and you may be able to find an even better offer on our Casper discount codes and deals page.
Casper Original mattress review: delivery and returns
As anyone who listened to a podcast between 2014 and 2018 surely knows and likely can recite the advertising copy from memory, Casper mattresses ship in a box the size of a minifridge. The box dimensions of twins and full mattresses are 16 x 16 x 42 inches, while queens and kings measure 19 x 19 x 42.5 inches.
Casper offers free shipping and free returns in the United States and Canada, though fees apply to Alaska and Hawaii. Shipped from warehouse partners in each country, mattresses typically arrive in 3-11 business days. Shipping times may vary during the holiday season, or if UPS is experiencing delays.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Casper is offering free, safe, no-contact delivery and returns with every order, no matter the size. If you don’t love your Original mattress, just give Casper a call to schedule a pickup, and the company will take care of everything.
One of Casper’s most popular and customer-friendly features since its debut is the 100-night risk-free trial, and it’s still making the same promise. If you don’t completely love your Original mattress – Casper emphasizes that it can take the body at least 30 days to adjust to a new one – the company will pick it up, pack it and provide a full refund. According to its website, Casper does its best to donate returned mattresses and “give them a new home.”
New Original mattresses are covered by a 10-year limited warranty, and Casper also offers a 10-year protection plan for an additional $89.
Should I buy the Casper Original mattress?
As you’d expect from its name, the Original is a modern classic, combining a lot of the design and comfort innovations of new mattresses without the eye-opening price that can make it hard to sleep at night.
Casper's most popular mattress is engineered for cool, comfortable sleep. The original bed-in-a-box remains as easy as ever to order, receive and set up, and as enjoyable as ever to lie on. There are loads of luxury models out there, but the Original is one of the best and most versatile mattresses across the board, whether you like soft or firm, sleep hot or cool, on your back, side or stomach, with a partner or by yourself.
We all know sleep is important; it helps you think better, perform better, be healthier, have a happier mood. It’s vital. Casper may no longer be the industry leader, and it's recently expanded more into other bedroom products and sleep solutions, but the company isn't nodding off when it comes to mattress development.
Trailblazing tastemaker Kylie Jenner — whose 2014 Instagram post about Casper got more than 800,000 likes and helped launch the company’s social media success — once said: “I don’t really follow trends… I just like to be original!” So it goes with the Casper Original as, well, a standout model that stands out just by being what it is: a very good mattress at a very good price.