The Mattress Maker’s Mattress
The website for the Spindle Mattress opens up with the tagline, “The Mattress Maker’s Mattress.” There are several things which come to mind when seeing this, attempts to answer the question, “What does this mean?” The first is, “Of course! Mattresses are made by mattress makers.” Then, “Is this what the mattress maker made for himself?” Or, “Is this made for other mattress makers?” And so on. The answer is further down in the web pages.
A Mattress Maker’s Dream
The Mattress Maker for the Spindle (the one who actually makes it) is Neal Van Patten. He grew up in a family of mattress makers, the owners of WJ Southard Mattress, located in Syracuse, NY. His is the fourth generation in the business.
In 2013, Neal left his job as President of WJ Southard to start a new mattress company in Acton, MA, about 300 miles from Syracuse, making a quality all-natural, all-latex mattress for people who can’t afford Southard’s high quality products. He was already familiar with Southard’s latex models, The Cazenovian Natural Latex Mattress and The Cazenovian Natural Latex Pillowtop Mattress, and The Linklaen. Southard also makes two innerspring models, The Archetype and The Archetype Pillowtop.
How does Spindle make its mattress more affordable? First, simplicity. Second, cost control in production, such as using Dunlop latex instead of the more expensive Talalay version. Third, direct sales over the Internet. Fourth, roll-packing mattresses for package delivery (UPS or FedEx) – WJ Southard still sells its mattresses in stores.
All-Latex, All-Natural, All-American
The Spindle Mattress is all-latex. The only non-latex components are the fire barrier and the cover.
It is all-natural, beginning with the latex. Like Southard, Spindle does not use any synthetic latex. All of it is made from sap from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). The fire barrier is organic wool, and the zippered knit cover is made of organic cotton. The exception is the bottom of the case, which is a blend of rayon and polyester to take the wear of being against slats or other foundation materials.
And the Spindle Mattress is all-American. The company is based in the US, where the mattresses are made. The latex is processed in Pennsylvania. Spindle says, “Raw latex [is] sourced from plantations in Guatemala and the Asia/Pacific region.”
The wool is from sheep raised in the Pacific Northwest. It is carded in California.
The organic cotton is grown mostly in Texas and New Mexico, sometimes in India. The cover fabric is knitted in South Carolina.
An Honest, Open, Calculating Approach
When you open the Spindle Mattress website, you’ve barely scrolled down when you come to this:
The choices for Sleep Position are: On my side, On my back, On my Stomach, and All of the above. Those for Who are you? are: I can sleep anywhere; Most mattresses are OK; Most mattresses are uncomfortable; and None of the above.
Some answers, such as too heavy a body weight or “Most mattresses are uncomfortable” will bring this response:
“A Spindle isn’t the best option. Here are some options to explore.”
Clicking on the link brings an explanation with this statement in the middle:
“Maybe the Comfort Calculator said Spindle isn’t a good fit. Maybe you’re not sure latex is for you. We get it. Latex provides a unique comfort and feel that doesn’t work for everyone.”
In other words, Spindle says from the start that their mattress is not for everyone. That is a relief from those who say, “Our mattress is for you,” especially when they have only one model with only one comfort level.
The latex itself comes in two firmness levels, Medium and Firm. A rival all-latex mattress, Savvy Rest, has three firmnesses of latex. Spindle has a chart showing the arrangement of 3 layers for four mattress firmness levels: Soft, Medium, Firm and Extra Firm.
If You Don’t Like It, Adjust It
Even if latex is for you, not just any feel (overall firmness) will do. Spindle’s solution to this is three layers of latex, each 3” high. The firmness is determined by the firmness of each layer and their order. If the feel is not right for you, they will tell you how to adjust it. This includes a replacement latex layer with a different firmness. Spindle tells you up front that there are shipping costs involved (up to $200), but they let you keep the original layer. This is part of their 365-Day Comfort Adjustment.
Online versus In-Store Buying
When Spindle was launched, it joined several other mattress companies that sell only online. This means the mattresses cost only a fraction of what an equivalent model costs in a store. The difference is in distribution and local markup, which have to cover inventory, overhead and labor, with a margin for profit.
Realistically, there is little difference in customer satisfaction with the mattresses themselves between in-store and online purchases. But, as many have pointed out, lying on a mattress for 5 to 15 minutes in a showroom is not the same as sleeping on it night-after-night. Some major mattress companies have had systems developed to determine the best fit of a mattress to a customer. Some use questionnaires on a computer terminal, some use pressure mapping while the customer lies down, often used is a combination of the two.
An Inside Look
The three layers of the Spindle Mattress are shipped in separate boxes, about 50# each, and the cover and wool fire barrier in another box. This makes it easier to ship and deliver. It also means the customer has to assemble the mattress (this is why it’s called “The Mattress Maker’s Mattress”). Yes, there are instructions. The key is to get the layers in the right order, get them straight in the case and with the wool, then zip it up.
The Spindle Mattress has three layers of the same size. This may be Dunlop latex, but it is vertically ventilated (perforated). In their original model, the Abscond, the latex was zoned for 7 zones. Now there is no mention of zoning. This may be because the current latex foam is produced in a continuous pour process. Also, zoning may not have been as effective as first thought. On the other hand, perhaps it is zoned, but not memtioned.
The wool fire barrier is wrapped around the latex. The organic cotton case has the bottom covered with a wear-resistant rayon/polyester blend. The zipper allows the user to open it up and straighten the layers, flip them over, or change the order.
The price of a Queen-size Spindle Mattress is $1,349.99. This is about $1,000 less than a lower-priced in-store all-latex 10” mattress. Even with shipping, this is less.
365-Day Comfort Adjustment
Spindle has a 365-day trial period, called a Comfort Adjustment. During this time, the customer can have the firmness level adjusted with a different layer of latex. This is because the overall firmness is determined by the firmness of the three layers
Warranty and Comfort Life Program
The Spindle Mattress is covered with a 10-year warranty. The buyer can also purchase a 25-year Comfort Life Program, which is a kind of extended warranty. This is a concept already applied by retailers and manufacturers to other items, such as automobiles, appliances and electronic devices.
What About Latex?
Latex, like memory foam, can conform to the user’s body for evenly distributed support. The difference is in the kind of conformity.
Body heat softens memory foam to allow it to conform. This is why it has memory – it holds the shape for several seconds after the weight is removed.
On the other hand, latex keeps pushing up. The advantage of latex is that it does not have to be warmed before yielding, therefore giving immediate response. The advantage of memory foam is removing pressure through its memory. A quicker memory foam response can be had with less dense foam, as in the Tri-Pedic.
One concern for the Spindle Mattress is the support of the Soft mattress. According to the Spindle comfort level chart, all three layers in the Soft are Medium latex. Obviously, much or most of the underlying support has to be supplied by the foundation to keep medium-to-heavy persons from bottoming out. This is borne out by the We Make It Comfortable app. Over 250 lbs. the response is, “A Spindle isn’t the best option.”
By contrast, the Taluxe has a firm base layer (support core) for the needed support. In the Zenhaven by Saatva, an all-latex mattress, 60% of the height of the mattress is the very firm latex support layers. And in the Lincklaen by WJ Southard, the latex support core is twice the height of the comfort layer. Most latex mattresses, in fact, have a very firm polyurethane support core.
Overall, judging by customer reviews and independent reviewers, if you want an all-latex mattress, the Spindle Mattress is a good one for the price. Spindle does let you know if, by your measurements, sleeping position, and preferences, the Spindle Mattress might not be your best option.