Leesa VS Tuft and Needle: Mattress Reviews

Leesa and Tuft & Needle are online mattress retailers whose founders were each looking to improve on both mattress quality and the experience of buying a mattress. Each has developed foam "bed-in-a-box" mattresses, but which offers the better value? Here, we have written a review Leesa vs Tuft and Needle in an attempt to find out.


Technology is always changing and adapting, and that goes for sleep technology, too. In the 1800s, people slept on mattresses filled with straw or feathers. Innerspring mattresses were the height of sleep technology in the early 20th century, while waterbeds were popular in the 1970s and 1980s. More recently, sleep technology has advanced with the advent of materials such as memory foam. NASA developed this material in the 1960s as a shock-absorbent material for airplane seats.

Since then, it has become a dominant mattress material due to its supportive properties, resistance to motion transfer and ability to return to its original shape after pressure has been released (the "memory" referred to in the name). Nevertheless, memory foam has its downsides. Because of its ability to absorb heat, a common complaint about memory foam mattresses is that they are too hot to sleep on comfortably. Two companies, in particular, have attempted to address the concerns people have about memory foam mattresses: one is Leesa, and the other is Tuft & Needle.


Leesa vs Tuft and Needle

They each sell foam mattresses, sometimes referred to as "bed-in-a-box" because the mattresses are compressed and packed into a carton to ship to your home. While each company boasts of its uniqueness within the industry, the origin stories that the two companies tell about themselves are very similar to one another. In each case, the founders of the company felt disillusioned during the mattress-buying process, both with the experience of buying a mattress in the store and with the quality of the bed eventually purchased.

Each set out to create a new mattress that was simple, comfortable and affordable, specifically by cutting out superfluous material added by mattress manufacturers in an attempt to increase prices. Improving not only mattress quality but also the experience of buying a mattress was a stated goal in each case. The two companies each committed to manufacture their mattresses entirely in the United States, and each accomplished this stated objective. In other words, the two companies have similar origins and similar business models. Therefore, the primary differences between the two companies may be in the products themselves.

product specifications for leesa and tuft & needle mattresses

Both Leesa and Tuft & Needle sell bedding accessories in addition to mattresses, which include sheets and bedding, frames and foundations, and pillows and protectors. For the purpose of this review, we will be focusing primarily on the mattresses.

Each company has also developed more than one mattress. In addition to the original Leesa mattress, Leesa also has the Sapira, which is a hybrid foam and innerspring mattress. Meanwhile, Tuft & Needle offers the Mint mattress, a foam mattress that has three inner layers as opposed to the original’s two layers. In the interest of making a fair comparison between the two companies, we will only be comparing the original mattress for each company.

The foam used to construct these mattresses comes in two different varieties that serve two different functions. At the base of the mattress is a layer of firmer, denser foam that is intended solely to support your weight. In addition to the support foam, the beds have one or more layers of comfort foam, made of softer material and intended to cushion your body.

leesa mattress product specifications

comparing the mattresses of leesa and tuft & needle

The Leesa mattress consists of three foam layers: one for support and two for comfort. The top comfort layer consists of Avena foam, a latex foam alternative trademarked by Carpenter Co. Avena foam is designed to be more durable than latex and also to increase airflow in the top layer of the mattress for cooling purposes. The increase in airflow is accomplished by the Avena foam layer's design, which includes not only a traditional "egg crate" pattern on the bottom but also a unique pattern of holes on the top. The Avena foam layer is 2 inches thick and is intended to counteract memory foam's inherent tendency to absorb heat.

The second comfort layer in the Leesa mattress is 2-inch memory foam. Memory foam is a favorite mattress material because of its ability to contour to the body, relieve pressure points and absorb motion rather than transferring it. However, a common criticism of memory foam is that sleepers sink too deeply into it and feel stuck, as though the mattress is trying to swallow them whole. The designers and manufacturers at Leesa have attempted to counteract this effect by positioning the memory foam layer beneath the upper Avena foam comfort layer, which is designed to have some bounce to it.

The support layer is made of a 6-inch dense core layer of moderately firm foam to provide structure to the mattress and support for your body. The entire mattress is shrouded in an outer cloth cover that is almost 100 percent seamless. While the cover is thick, it is also breathable due to its construction of polyester and Lycra, which makes it both breathable and durable.

The manufacturers of Tuft & Needle want you to know that they do not use memory foam in their mattresses. Rather, they use a proprietary foam that was engineered by a company called T&N Adaptive. The goal in developing this adaptive foam was to combine the benefits of latex and memory foam while eliminating the drawbacks of each. In particular, the engineers and designers at Tuft & Needle seem to be concerned about the tendency of memory foam mattresses to "swallow" sleepers, so the goal was to create a foam that would be soft and supportive without allowing sleepers to sink in too deeply. According to their website, their special foam adapts to pressure on a "gradient of support," but that doesn't really explain how this differs from the way that memory foam functions.

tuft & needle mattress product specifications

leesa vs tuft & needle original mattresses

Where the T&N Adaptive foam may really differ from memory foam is in its cooling capability. Cooling and breathability of the T&N Adaptive foam layer is less a function of the design of the mattress and more a result of the materials used in its construction, which include cooling gel and graphite intended to wick heat away from sleepers' bodies. Unfortunately, once again, the website doesn't go into much detail describing the science behind these claims.

The Tuft & Needle mattress consists of only two layers, a 3-inch comfort layer constructed of their Adaptive foam and a 7-inch support layer of high-density poly foam. The goal of Tuft & Needle's design was quality over quantity. In other words, the intention was to decrease the cost of the mattress by not including unnecessary layers of foam and fabric.

As a company founded by a pair of engineers, Tuft & Needle is less concerned with outward aesthetics than with functionality, and you can see this in the simple design of the Tuft & Needle mattress cover, a largely unadorned white fabric. The thinness of the fabric nevertheless provides it with good breathability.

leesa VS. tuft & needle: pricing

When it comes to pricing, Tuft & Needle is the hands-down winner, beating Leesa's prices on mattresses of all sizes by an average of $$. To put that another way, for the price of a king-sized Leesa Mattress, you could buy both a king-sized mattress and a full-sized mattress from Tuft & Needle. The price discrepancy is more pointed for the smaller-sized mattresses. For example, at $$, the price of a queen-sized mattress from Tuft & Needle is a little over half the price of a queen-sized Leesa Mattress, priced at $$$. Keep in mind, however, that this is not taking taxes or similar fees into account, nor is it factoring in any sales prices or special deals that the companies may be offering at any given time.
When you buy a mattress online, you don't get to try it out beforehand, and that is why each company offers a 100-night grace period during which you can return the mattress for a full refund. However, for those individuals who prefer to try out a bed in person before buying, each company offers retail showrooms that you can visit to try out the mattresses beforehand. Tuft & Needle has its own retail locations and also has a partnership with Lowe's to showcase their mattresses. Leesa has partnerships with Pottery Barn and West Elm. However, these store locations don't hold cash-and-carry inventory, so to make your purchase, you will still have to place an order.

Overall comparison

comparing lives of different people involving mattresses

In terms of shipping costs, guarantees and warranties, the two companies are very similar. Each offers a 100-night return policy, and each provides a 10-year limited warranty. Tuft & Needle offers free shipping in the 48 contiguous states, while Leesa ships for free to all of the states, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Both Leesa and Tuft & Needle mattresses consist of layers of foam totaling 10 inches. However, the types and layers of foam are not distributed evenly between the two brands. Tuft & Needle's two-layer design has a support layer of 7 inches, while the comfort layer is only 3 inches. Leesa's support layer is 6 inches, with two 2-inch layers of comfort foam, for an aggregate comfort layer totaling 4 inches. For some sleepers, particularly those who are more slight and slim in physical build, the 3-inch layer of comfort foam may be sufficient. However, those who tried out and reviewed both mattresses reported that they sunk through Tuft & Needle's comfort layer and felt the support layer underneath, especially when sleeping on their sides.

Tuft & Needle is a firmer mattress, and that's by design. The website is openly critical of memory foam, saying that it "traps" sleepers as though in "quicksand." The company's goal was to create a buoyant mattress, meaning that you sleep more on the top of the mattress rather than sinking down into it. They were successful in achieving this goal, as sleepers tend to sink down only 1/2 to 1 inch into a Tuft and Needle mattress, compared to sinking 1 to 1-1/2 inches into the Leesa. The firmness of the Leesa mattress ranks a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10, versus Tuft & Needle's 7 out of 10, which means that Leesa has the more moderate firmness.

If the outward appearance of the mattress is important to you, Leesa has made more of an effort to make its mattress cover aesthetically pleasing, with a horizontal stripe design in two colors (white and gray). Tuft & Needle offers a plain but serviceable white mattress cover embroidered with the company logo in a sporadic pattern. It's pleasant to behold but not striking. The thinness of the Tuft & Needle cover is good for breathability but may result in a flimsier product over time. The thicker construction of the Leesa cover may result in a more durable product without sacrificing breathability due to its construction from a Lycra blend.

people who should try the leesa

Those who are likely to prefer the Leesa mattress include people who:

  • Sleep on their sides
  • Prefer less firmness
  • Like to sink into the mattress a little
  • Care about the outward aesthetics of the mattress
  • Would like to have a deeper comfort foam layer
  • Don't mind spending a little more money

people who should try the tuft & needle

Those who are likely to prefer Tuft & Needle include people who:

  • Sleep on their backs or stomachs
  • Prefer a firmer mattress
  • Don't like to sink down in
  • Would like to spend less money

final verdict

The two brands are similar in many important respects, and each warrants a high rating. In our opinion, with a thicker layer of comfort foam and more moderate firmness, we believe that the Leesa offers slightly more value for the money.

All in all, it is difficult to determine which of the two mattresses is "better" because potential customers have so many individual sleep preferences that what is considered a benefit of the mattress by one sleeper may be viewed as a weakness by another sleeper.
Therefore, instead of making an arbitrary value judgment as to which mattress is better, we have compiled a list of people who should try the Leesa mattress versus those who are likely to prefer the Tuft & Needle mattress.

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