You’re going to be sleeping for roughly 23 years of your life on average, so it makes sense to give some thought to what you’re lying on. Unfortunately, mattresses often have questionable materials in them. Everything from formaldehyde and TCEP (a flame retardant) to phthalates can end up in nonorganic mattresses. How much these substances impact you isn’t scientifically settled, but one way to avoid possible harm is to get a mattress made from natural, organic materials. As a bonus, these mattresses are usually less ecologically harmful. Most ecofriendly mattresses are made of a combination of wool, natural latex, and cotton. The construction is similar to conventional mattresses but without the chemicals.
Members of the WIRED Gear team have been testing mattresses for several years, and we have slept on every mattress on this list. We are always testing more, but these are our favorites right now. In general, we recommend hybrid mattresses with a core of individually wrapped springs because they feel more supportive and have better airflow, so they don’t sleep as hot. You may also find our Best Mattresses guide helpful. All of the prices below are for queen-size models unless specified.
Updated November 2023: We’ve added Turmerry’s organic mattress and organic topper, and Plushbed’s natural latex topper. We’ve also updated prices and links throughout.
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The Avocado Green hybrid mattress is the only mattress my wife and I agree on. She likes a soft mattress, and I prefer a firm one. This model somehow manages to be both without being too much of either. After nearly two years of sleeping on it, there’s zero sagging or other issues.
There’s a one-year trial, a 25-year warranty, and free shipping available on all Avocado mattresses. Like other mattress-in-a-box options, the Avocado arrives compressed. If you prefer a soft feel, there’s a pillow-top option, or you can add a mattress topper, like the company’s luxurious (and sustainable) Alpaca fur mattress topper (see below).
The Avocado Green is 11 inches thick and made from organic latex, organic wool, and organic cotton. It’s also not toxic. It contains no polyurethane, fire retardants, memory foam, or chemical adhesives, according to the company. A class action was filed earlier this year against Avocado alleging that the company’s mattresses do in fact contain toxic chemicals, but the suit was dismissed and, according to court documents, “individual claims in the case had been ‘fully resolved.’” Beyond that the details will probably never be known, but I would argue that perfection is the enemy of “better,” and all the mattresses on this page use fewer chemicals than conventional mattresses, which remains a good thing for you and the ecological impact manufacturing incurs.
Another Great Organic Mattress
The standard model from Birch has been our pick for side sleepers who want an organic mattress (see below). Birch’s new higher-end Luxe model is, likewise, a great side-sleeping mattress—though its medium-firm feel and structured support should make it a solid pick for most sleeping styles. The Luxe is GOTS-certified organic and uses natural latex with no polyurethane-based foams.
This offering from Birch employs multiple layers of wool plus a layer of individually wrapped coils for support and cushioning. The Luxe adds a pillowy Euro top and an extra layer of blended cashmere, which gives it truly exceptional temperature regulation. The coils offer full lumbar support and are arranged to cradle your spine while maintaining a satisfyingly stiff edge on all four sides. WIRED reviewer Martin Cizmar’s sleep rings have been spinning themselves closed during his month of testing this mattress.
It’s assumed that most mattress shoppers are selecting between soft and firm, or trying to find a middle ground acceptable to partners with different preferences. But what if your tastes change with the seasons or how achy your muscles are after a long, active day? The Zenhaven lets you choose a side.
Saatva’s Zenhaven is made of organic latex protected by an organic wool liner and an organic cotton cover. The two sides, labeled Plush and Firm, don’t vary as much as dedicated soft and firm mattresses, with the company claiming an 18 percent difference in the two, but it does offer a nice change of pace. Beyond that, the Zenhaven is pricey but extremely well built (and heavy—this is not a mattress-in-a-box). It has great edge support, sleeps neither hot nor cool, and will last you years.
Best Solid Latex Mattress
Solid natural latex mattresses can last for decades and strike a perfect balance between support and softness. However, because all-foam latex mattresses are solid blocks of vulcanized sap, they’re cumbersome and usually expensive. Also, because they’re so heavy, they’re often made and sold by local mattress companies that vary widely in reputation.
Turmerry aims to solve this problem by offering organic latex mattresses with three or four layers of natural foam that are zipped into an organic cotton cover. Each layer comes wrapped for shipping in a solid hunk of latex that feels like a cannonball. (Those layers are just light enough to be shipped by major carriers and for you to lug up the stairs.) Turmerry uses the Dunlop process to make latex, meaning it’s denser and more supportive than latex mattresses made using the Talalay process. The Turmerry system has foams of slightly varied firmness.
You can configure the beds in a variety of ways. WIRED editor Martin Cizmar tested this one with a medium-firm setup. A week of testing found that it performs like other natural latex mattresses—that is, very well, especially for anyone who likes the feel of firm foam. This is a foam mattress that sleeps closer to a traditional coil mattress, at least at first. Over time, natural latex will slowly shape itself to your main sleeping position in a process that’s not unlike what memory foam does, except over years instead of seconds.
A More Affordable Organic Mattress
The Awara Mattress is also made from latex foam, organic wool, and individually wrapped springs. It wasn’t as comfortable as the Birch, but it is significantly more affordable. Awara’s mattress is supportive and bouncy, but the springs can be felt more readily than in other mattresses, while the edges are quite rigid. (A topper could help even things out.)
One win for Awara, according to WIRED reviewer Louryn Strampe: Unwrapping the vacuum-sealed mattress once it arrived resulted in little odor—significantly less than with other brands. There’s not much motion transfer, and the soft mattress fabric didn’t run too hot or too cold. For a hybrid mattress that’s easier on the budget, this is a solid pick.
My whole pursuit of an environmentally friendly mattress started with my kids. I care a lot more about what they’re sleeping on than what I’m sleeping on. Still, as much as I love the Avocado Green mattress, it’s not cheap. For my kids, I bought the more affordable Kiwi Mattress by My Green Mattress. The Kiwi is similar to the Avocado. It’s a hybrid mattress with pocketed springs and natural materials: certified organic cotton, wool, and latex.
One nice twist that makes the Kiwi appealing for kids is the two-sided option. It costs a little more upfront but being able to flip it over extends its life, which is handy if your kids think beds are actually trampolines in disguise.