Koala Mattress (2021) review: customise your sleep

The Koala Mattress has undergone a major transformation, but will that improve sleep quality?

T3 Platinum Award
New Koala Calm As Mattress
(Image credit: Koala)
T3 Verdict

With a far more refined look, better edge support and the ability to choose between a firm and a softer surface to sleep on, the latest version of the Koala Mattress is a much better option than its predecessor. However, the additional flippable foam layer to customise the mattress not only adds height, it also makes it heavier, which might make it difficult for some users to rotate around to maintain mattress health.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Customisable design

  • +

    Better edge support than before

  • +

    Anti-bacterial treatment

  • +

    Anti-skid bottom layer

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Heavier than previous model

  • -

    Requires deep-pocket fitted sheets

We’ve been big fans of Koala’s mattresses here at T3 right from the get go. We’ve got team members who’ve used the original three-layer design as well as the previous two-layer iteration of the mattress and have been extremely happy with them both. 

Now we’ve also had the chance to try the latest model – called the New Koala Mattress – and (despite the unimaginative name) we’re quite impressed with what the company has achieved with the new design. The newest version of the Koala Mattress has a customisable design, meaning it comes with a ‘comfort layer’ that’s flippable, offering both a firm and a medium-firm surface. 

While there was just the one mattress type in the past, Koala has now expanded its range to three offerings. The base model (simply called the New Koala Mattress) comes with the flippable foam layer, while the Koala Calm As and Koala Soul Mate come with additional quilted plush covers (in different thicknesses and materials) for added comfort and a cleaner, classier look. At their core, all three mattresses are pretty much the same, yet they offer different comfort levels... at very different price points.

While the New Koala Mattress and the Koala Calm As Mattress are available in five sizes, the Koala Soul Mate Mattress is only available in three sizes.

So, has this major makeover changed our impression of how good Koala Mattresses are? We’ve put one to the test, having used it since mid-November 2021, and here’s what we think about the New Koala Mattress.

New Koala Mattress

(Image credit: Koala)

Koala Mattress: price

Koala’s ethos as a company is to make products that are affordable and sustainable, and if you can get a mattress that promises comfort and support for a roughly three-figure AUD price tag, that’s a great bargain in our books.

Despite the complete design overhaul, Koala’s price for the base mattress remains the same – AU$750 for a single New Koala Mattress. The queen and king sizes have also retained the old price, but the double Koala Mattress now costs AU$50 more than the previous version. 

Working your way up the size chart and mattress type, you’re looking at a max price of AU$2,950 for the king size Koala Soul Mate. Admittedly that’s a rather steep price for a mattress-in-a-box concept but, if you can afford it, you’re getting plush covers that add to comfort and functionality to the mattress. That said, you don’t necessarily need to opt for the Koala Calm As or the Koala Soul Mate as the base model is plenty comfortable on its own and quite competitively priced. 

It should be noted that Koala’s new mattresses aren’t the only customisable ones available in Australia – Ecosa and Sleeping Duck also have mattresses that come with a flippable layer to adjust firmness – but Koala has the best price (and more options) as you can see from the table below.

Price comparison of customisable mattresses in Australia
NameSingleKing SingleDoubleQueenKing
New Koala MattressAU$750AU$880AU$1,000AU$1,050AU$1,250
Koala Calm AsAU$980AU$1,080AU$1,350AU$1,650AU$1,950
Koala Soul Maten/an/aAU$2,350AU$2,700AU$2,950
Ecosa MattressAU$800AU$950AU$1,050AU$1,150AU$1,350
Sleeping DuckAU$999AU$1,099AU$1,149AU$1,649AU$1,999

It’s possible to get Koala mattresses for considerably less than their ticket prices – the company periodically has sales, such as during Black Friday, while first-time Koala customers can save AU$75 at any time by just signing up for the company’s newsletter (which you can unsubscribe from whenever you wish).

Koala Mattress: trial, delivery and returns

There was a time when, if you lived in Sydney, you could try out the mattress at a Myer store or visit the Koala display centre in Alexandria (called the Treehouse). While that’s not possible any longer due to the ongoing pandemic, there’s an even more convenient way to try the Koala Mattress – in your own home.

Koala has a 120-night risk-free trial period, which is more than the usual 100-night option some other mattress-in-a-box companies offer. If, after the four-month trial you’re not happy with the Koala Mattress, the item will be picked up from your home at no extra cost and you’ll get a full refund.

And, the delivery of the mattress is absolutely free no matter where you live. If you happen to be a resident of the metro areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, you can get your mattress delivered to your door within four hours – provided you order before 2pm Australian Eastern time. For all other areas, Koala promises to have your item delivered within 10 business days. 

The mattress also comes with a 10-year warranty that includes protection against sagging of over 25mm. It also has antimicrobial additives that prevent the growth of bacteria and mould. 

To purchase, just head to the Koala online store (opens in new tab) and order the mattress of your choice.

New Koala Mattress flippable layer

(Image credit: Koala)

Koala Mattress: design

It’s important to note that Koala no longer sells its older mattresses – the only ones you can buy right now are the three customisable ones. Well, we say three, but essentially they’re the same mattress, but two come with quilted covers that serve different purposes. The Koala Calm As has a 1cm thick cover that’s made out of a polyester fabric called Coolmax Fibre designed to keep you (as the name suggests) cool even on the hottest night, while the Koala Soul Mate’s 2cm thick cover is made from a polyester and viscose blend that adds two more supportive zones (while also regulating temperature) for better sleep.

The core mattress itself is made of three layers, all foam as before. Right at the bottom is the support layer that offers three support zones in the base mattress model, five in the Calm As, and six in the Soul Mate version. The three-zone support layer prevents sinking in strategic parts of the mattress so your body is, well, supported, but opting for the more expensive versions means your entire body is taken care of, not just heavier areas like the hips.

Above the support layer is a Kloudcell comfort layer constructed out of polyurethane foam, and this is the flippable layer that offers you the choice between ‘medium firm’ and ‘firm’ sleeping surfaces.

Part of this flippable foam is the third layer called the ‘sleep surface’. It’s a 7cm thick (9cm in the Soul Mate) padding made from a mix of polyester and Lyocell fabrics, designed to absorb moisture and allow the mattress to breathe (and keep you cool in turn).

New Koala Mattress support layers

(Image credit: Koala)

It’s also these two top layers that add height to the mattress, making all three new Koala options thicker than the older mattresses. The New Koala Mattress is now 25cm thick (as opposed to 22cm previously), while the Calm As and Soul Mate are 29cm and 33cm respectively. These height measurements include the quilted covers that come with the Calm As and Soul Mate editions.

Unlike the older mattresses, the New Koala Mattresses now arrive in two boxes – one containing the vacuum-sealed and rolled up base foam layer, the second carrying the customisable layer, also vacuum-sealed and rolled up. While it’s possible to handle a double-bed size mattress alone, it’s important to note that even the base mattress is heavier than the previous iterations and it’s best to have help when unpacking and setting them up on a bed base. It would also be advisable to have help when rotating the larger sized mattresses (done every few months to increase their lifespan) and important to keep the weight in mind when changing sheets.

Speaking of which, you’ll also need to consider purchasing fitted sheets that have deep pockets so that the elasticated edge can be easily tucked under the mattress, particularly if you’re getting yourself the Calm As or Soul Mate. Most standard fitted sheets should fit the New Koala Mattress, however we found that some fitted sheets just barely tuck under the Calm As… and the Soul Mate is thicker still.

Once set up, though, the new version of the Koala Mattress looks very premium. There is a zipper that wraps around both layers and, once clipped into place, moves remarkably smoothly – just be sure it’s not getting caught in stray threads or cloth.

The New Koala Mattress is thicker than before

(Image credit: Koala)

Koala Mattress: customisation

One of the main issues some users of the older Koala Mattress had was that it was too firm, so it’s really nice to have the option to simply flip a layer to get a softer option. Mind you, the ‘softer’ side is still medium firm, not the sink-into-a-cloud kinda feeling. While that sounds nice, that really can't be good for your back. Still, how many customisable mattresses can you get… at this price point?

So, how does the flipping work? There are a pair of round clips – one at the start of the zip and the other at the end – that you will need to line up. The best way to make sure you can easily access the start of the zip is to have it at the foot of the bed, and the only way to identify that end is to look for the Koala logo on one corner of the cover and make sure that it’s positioned on the foot of the bed (bottom left corner of the mattress).

Clipping the zip ends together takes no effort at all and, once that's done, keep the two edges together and gently pull the zip tags. Thankfully the zipper moves very smoothly, even around the corners of the mattress.

Koala recommends you try the firm side first – if you’re not comfortable with that, then unzipping is just as easy and you repeat the process of clipping the two layers together again.

Flipping the customisable layer is manageable by one person, although it’s definitely easier if you’ve got help.

A zip attaches the customisable layer to the New Koala Mattress

(Image credit: Koala)

Koala Mattress: firmness and comfort

As mentioned before, the older Koala Mattresses were more on the firmer side. This time round, each of the three mattresses has a slightly different firmness level. While the Calm As is the firmest (on both sides), the Soul Mate is the softest of the three. That said, the difference in firmness levels across the three aren’t too significant, but it means there's a perfect Koala mattress for everyone.

For our review, we went down the middle path and tested the Koala Calm As Mattress after having used the previous iteration of the Koala Mattress for over two years. In comparison, we think the Calm As is marginally softer than the older version on the firm side, but we also found the support to be much better. We’re putting that slight difference in firmness (it truly is very marginal) down to the quilted cover of the Calm As that adds a little extra comfort – it's not actually spongier, just 'feels' like it. 

Even the medium-firm side is very comfortable, but for those of us with bad backs, the firmer side is definitely the way to go. It’s distinctly spongier than the firm side, but the support for the body is still excellent and moving around on the bed is easy. In comparison, you’ll find that turning over on some soft mattresses uses more effort, but the even support of the Koala foam almost eliminates this issue.

The New Koala Mattress' flippable layer

(Image credit: Koala)

We’d rate the firmness of the New Koala Mattress at 7 on a scale of 10 (with 10 being the firmest), the same that we rated the previous iteration, although it’s important to note that the outer cover of the new mattress makes it ‘feel’ different. We’d give the medium-firm side of the top layer a rating of 6.25 out of 10. We also acknowledge that how we perceive firmness is as individual as the individual, so this is just a guide based on our personal preferences.

Our major complaint of the older mattress was its lack of edge support. Koala has listened to feedback and has significantly improved the firmness of edges (either side) so that it feels more secure to sit on the bed and get your slippers on. The one thing you will need to get used to is the height from the ground, because as mentioned earlier all three mattresses are now thicker than before.

Koala’s promise of zero partner disturbance continues with the new mattress range. The softer ‘feel’ to the sleep surface is very deceptive – it feels like you’ll be able to tell every time your partner moves, but that’s not the case at all. The underlying foam layers do the job beautifully. And despite that ‘feel’, the entire body is supported and we’ve not had any issues with aches and pains on waking. In fact, we’d go as far as saying we’ve not slept better (even on the older Koala mattress).

The New Koala Soul Mate Mattress

(Image credit: Koala)

Verdict: Should I buy the New Koala Mattress?

In one word: yes. The New Koala Mattress is a massive improvement over the older versions. The materials feel premium, the mattress itself is very well made and extremely supportive, whether you like it firm or a little softer – all in all, it looks very refined and definitely improves sleep quality over its predecessor. 

The ability to choose between different firmness levels is a huge plus, it’s like getting two mattresses for the price of one. And getting edge support thrown in this time makes the New Koala Mattress a huge upgrade if you’ve been using the older ones. 

Our only complaint is the increase in weight as this makes it difficult to rotate the mattress alone. Perhaps the next time Koala could add handles or straps on the sides to make moving the mattress easier. And then there’s the minor issue of having to get fitted sheets with deeper pockets if you’re planning on getting the Calm As or Soul Mate, both of which are more expensive than the base model. It was a bit tempting to deduct half a star for that, but that's us nitpicking to be fair.

If the weight and sheets aren’t really an issue for you, we can’t recommend the New Koala Mattress highly enough. It suits most sleeping positions, distributes weight evenly to reduce back and spinal issues, and offers excellent bang for your buck (specifically the base model). And the fact that you can try it risk-free for 120 nights – that’s four months – shows Koala’s confidence in the product. So if you’re looking for a new mattress, there’s no real reason not to give Koala a whirl.

Sharmishta is T3 sister site TechRadar's Managing Editor for APAC, and contributes to T3 on occasion, particularly if any local Aussie product testing is needed. She's a keen photographer, managing Digital Camera World for the APAC region, and also helps produce two of Future's photography magazines in Australia. She loves trying to find ways and means to make her home (and life) smarter and, when she's got time to herself, she can usually be found with her nose buried in a good book... erm, ereader.