Purple vs. Nectar: Which Online Mattress Should You Buy? – CNET

Purple vs. Nectar: Which Online Mattress Should You Buy? – CNET

Nectar and Purple

You know the saying, “too much of a good thing?” That’s the case with having hundreds of online mattress options to choose from when you’re in the market for a new bed. That’s why I’ve put some of the most popular beds head-to-head so you can get a feel for what the real differences are between these mattresses. Today’s contenders: Purple and Nectar

Nectar is one of the most popular memory foam mattress brands in the bed-in-a-box game, and Purple has made a splash on the airwaves with funny commercials featuring a Sasquatch family or a “human egg drop test.” Each are quality bed-in-a-box mattress brands with different selling points and characteristics, and I’ve previously reviewed both beds. In this comparison, I’ll give my thoughts on each mattress, their differences (there are quite a few) and the types of sleepers I think will find them worth the money. 

First up, here’s a summary of the main similarities and differences between Nectar and Purple. After that, we’ll dive into the specifics, from construction to feel. Note that this review is for the original Nectar and Purple mattresses, though both brands also have a range of premium options (more on that at the end).

Purple vs. Nectar: An Overview

Similarities Differences
Neither mattress contains steel coils or springs. The Nectar has a dense memory-foam feel similar to TempurPedic and Amerisleep, while the Purple has a unique feel that’s both bouncy and weightless.
Both will ship to your home in a cardboard box. The Nectar comes with a 365-night trial and a “forever warranty,” while Purple offers a 100-night trial and 10-year warranty.
The Nectar has a medium-firm profile and the Purple has around a medium.
The Nectar is around 12 inches thick while the Purple is just about 10 inches tall.
The Purple offers better cooling abilities than the Nectar.
The Nectar is more affordable than the Purple, especially after discounts are applied.

Mattress construction: How do they differ?

The materials inside of a Nectar mattress are more traditional than Purple’s and include slow-responding memory foam. Purple uses a blend of foam and its unique, squishy GelFlex Grid. 

The construction of the flagship Nectar mattressThe construction of the flagship Nectar mattress

A peek at the layers inside of the Nectar. 

Slumber Yard

Here’s what’s on the inside of a Nectar mattress:

  • The first layer is 7 inches of a firm foam material, which helps keep you feeling properly supported.
  • Next is what Nectar calls its “Dynamic Support Layer.” It adds comfort and helps neutralize the feel of the dense foam in the first layer. 
  • The primary comfort layer is three inches of gel memory foam. Gel memory foam is better at regulating temperature than the standard stuff, and it gives the Nectar its hugging, memory-foam feel. 

Here’s what you can expect from the inside of a Purple mattress:

The construction of the Purple mattressThe construction of the Purple mattress

The three layers that make up the Purple Original mattress.

Slumber Yard

  • First is a firm layer of dense poly foam to act as the bed’s main support slab.
  • The center of the mattress contains a softer, more plush foam to help soften up the feel of the foam below. 
  • The comfort layer is made with what Purple calls its GelFlex Grid. It’s a special hyper-elastic polymer material that’s incredibly springy. The grid formation also allows for increased airflow (a plus for hot sleepers). 

What do the mattresses feel like?


Comparing the feel of the Nectar and Purple mattresses is like comparing apples to oranges. The Nectar has a dense, molding memory foam feel that will take a few seconds to start contouring around your body. Once it does, you nestle into a little you-shaped nook within the top layers of the bed — it’s like the mattress is giving you a hug. I compare it to the feel of a TempurPedic, but Nectar’s price tag is friendlier on your wallet. 


  • Affordable for people on a budget
  • Fans of true memory foam will love the material
  • Slightly firm and meant for a back or stomach sleeper

Don’t Like

  • Not quite supportive enough for people over 230 pounds in the long-term
  • May cause resistance for a combination sleeper
  • Not soft enough for a side sleeper


Memory foam is one of the most popular bedding materials, so a good amount of people have probably felt the material before at one point or another. Purple, on the other hand, uses a unique material that offers a completely different experience. 

When you jump on the bed, it immediately gives underneath your body, as the gel-like squares shift to accommodate every curve. You can slightly feel them underneath the cover, but they provide a weightless and buoyant feeling that’s supportive and pressure-relieving at the same time. As such, a lot of people get used to the feeling of the little squares. With that said, a Purple mattress can be a little too unique for some sleepers who are trying to stick to a standard foam feel. 


  • Extremely breathable because of Purple grid technology
  • Soft enough to relieve pain around hips and shoulders, but firm enough to support your spine
  • It’s suitable for every sleeper type

Don’t Like

  • Might feel too out of the norm for those who want a regular mattress
  • Not quite supportive enough in the long term for heavy people
  • Not ideal for people on a tight budget

How firm is a Nectar or Purple mattress? 

A bed’s firmness level describes how soft or firm the mattress is. The main benefit of a firmer mattress is ample spinal support, while a soft mattress offers more pressure-relieving qualities. In Nectar’s case, it’s around a medium-firm or 6 to 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale. Purple’s bed, however, falls around a medium. It’s a little bit softer and will provide more pressure relief. 

What sleeping positions do they work for? 

Think back to your last several nights. What position do you sleep in most? This should help you decide which mattress is going to be most accommodating for you. Back and stomach sleepers generally benefit from medium to firm beds that keep the spine from sagging into the mattress. Side sleepers, on the other hand, usually like softer beds that give under the hips and shoulders for maximum pressure relief. 

With that said, the Purple is a fine mattress for back and stomach sleepers, but the Nectar might be slightly more supportive. Side sleepers, however, will probably like the plusher feel that Purple provides. 

What body types do they suit? 

Foam mattresses like the Nectar and Purple will be most supportive and durable for people who weigh under 230 pounds. 

When you add steel coils into the equation, that’s when a bed becomes more supportive and longer-lasting for heavier individuals who might need more reinforcement. Nectar doesn’t offer any hybrid mattresses right now. Purple, on the other hand, has a few Purple Hybrid options that I would recommend for sleepers above 230 pounds. 


A peek at the hyper-elastic polymer grid that gives the Purple its squishy feel.

Slumber Yard

How do the Purple and Nectar perform?

Motion isolation

Memory foam, which is used in the Nectar, is notoriously good at absorbing motion. In fact, memory foam was used in the seats of NASA’s space shuttles to absorb the shock during their bumpy rides and help make them more comfortable. 

Purple’s grid material is super bouncy, and doesn’t perform the best in this category. If the way a mattress deadens movement is valuable to you, you might like the Nectar a little better. 

Edge support

Both Purple and Nectar get passing marks in this category. It refers to the strength of the bed’s edges, which is important if you’re ever forced to the edge by a significant other or bed-hogging pet. Foam beds are usually average, while hybrid beds offer stronger edge support. 


Nectar says it uses a cold cover on the top of its mattress, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s cooling. Some covers physically feel cold when you touch them, but the Nectar cover is more breathable than cold. 

Purple takes the crown here for how cool it sleeps because of its GelFlex Grid. There are countless air pockets across the surface of the mattress thanks to the grid design of the top layer, and the hyper-elastic polymer doesn’t retain heat in the slightest. 

How much do they cost?

Nectar has a reputation for offering lower-cost beds. They’re more affordable than the other bed-in-a-box big-wigs like Casper and Puffy, and the company usually offers a discount on its products. Unfortunately for Purple-lovers who also love to save money, Purple’s discounts aren’t nearly as enticing. So, if you’re on a budget, here are the price differences between the different sizes for each mattress.















The prices listed above are the manufacturer-suggested retail price, but keep in mind that Nectar is much more generous with discounts. In other words, the price listed above isn’t typically what you’ll pay. A queen size Nectar mattress, for example, usually goes for $800 or so. 

What about shipping and trials?

Most online mattress companies will automatically give you a risk-free trial, free shipping and  warranty coverage to help make you more confident in your purchase. For a foam mattress, Nectar’s policies are pretty impressive.

  • Nectar offers a 365-night trial, significantly longer than Purple’s 100 nights.
  • Nectar offers a “forever warranty” while Purple’s is 10 years.
  • Each brand offers free shipping and free returns.

The verdict

Rather than declaring a clear winner, it’s better to think about who’d be happiest with a Nectar and who should go for a Purple. After all, some people love memory foam, but others are turned off by how it can make you feel “stuck” inside the top layers of the bed. Similarly, Purple has some die-hard fans, but there are some people who think the feel is just too different. So, here’s what it comes down to.

You might like a Purple mattress if:

  • You want a more responsive, bouncy bed.
  • You sleep on your side or want a mattress with a middle-of-the-road firmness level.
  • You’re open to trying something new as far as mattress materials go.
  • You’re a hot sleeper who could benefit from Purple’s cooling abilities.

You might like a Nectar mattress if:

  • You want a more supportive mattress (back and stomach sleepers).
  • You are on a tighter budget.
  • You love the hugging, contouring feel of memory foam. 
  • You want a more traditional foam mattress. 

Purple Hybrid vs. Nectar Premier 

If you’re interested in the more premium offerings from each brand, you can explore CNET’s Purple Hybrid and the Nectar Premier mattress reviews. Purple Hybrids offer the same signature Purple grid feel, but with a supportive pocketed coil base with foam reinforcements around the edges to offer better edge support. Steel coils also allow for better airflow than a foam base layer does. Nectar Premier, however, is a thick and premium foam mattress that has better cooling abilities and more support than the standard foam model. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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