Casper Sleep’s Economy Model
A few of us may remember when the Volkswagen Beetle became popular, when Ford introduced the Pinto, then the Maverick, Chevrolet brought out the Luv pickup, and Ford the Courier. These were economy model vehicles, sharing the road with luxury models, such as Park Avenue, Continental, and Crown Victoria.
Mattress manufacturers also have had – and still have – economy models. These are often called “entry level” mattresses, the lowest-priced ones in their collections. However, the terms “economy model” and “entry level” are relative – an entry level Aireloom mattress would be beyond reach for most of us.
One Up, One Down
In 2014, Casper Sleep shook up the mattress marketplace with their Casper Mattress. This new mattress company had one model, and sold it only online, directly and through Amazon, shipping to buyers’ front doors, and passing the savings on to the consumer by not adding the costs of retailing through brick-and-mortar stores. Along with a few other startups, this started the current bed-in-a-box movement. These new offerings were mostly memory foam mattresses, coming a couple of years before the 25th anniversary of this kind of bed.
The design of this mattress was directed at the middle majority of shoppers, with a medium firm feel. Then in 2017, Casper Sleep expanded their product line with one up and one down, first their luxury mattress, The Wave, then in October with the Essential, their economy model.
Why an Economy Model?
Casper Sleep already had what was considered an “economy model” mattress. It was underpricing traditional in-store mattresses, especially those by Tempur-Pedic, the original memory foam mattress company. From a handful of online only direct delivery boxed mattresses, the field grew to hundreds, including several made by the established manufacturers.
The field also included several cheap boxed memory foam mattresses, mostly made in Asia. According to Seth Porges, a contributor to Forbes, the market for these may have been targeted, providing a more affordable USA made mattress.
Casper Sleep designed The Essential to be a streamlined version of The Casper, bringing it down to what is essentially essential. It is simpler and firmer than The Casper.
The cover of the Essential is a polyester hybrid knit. Like the cover of The Casper, this can be removed for cleaning. Being knit, it does not need other fibers (such as spandex) to be stretchy. Being thin, it lets the user feel the foam. The “hybrid knit” pattern could be to make it more breathable, but there isn’t more said along this line.
The top layer is 2” of high-resiliency polyfoam (polyurethane). The description does not claim that it is a latex-like foam. It is described as sinking in, but quickly responding.
The middle layer of The Essential is memory foam, as are the second layer of The Casper and the third layer of The Wave. Here it is only 1” high. This alone cuts into the cost of the mattress, since quality memory foam is more expensive than regular polyfoam.
This is the support core of The Essential. It is 5½” high high-density polyurethane base foam, the same as in the flagship model, The Casper. What The Essential does not have is the transition layer.
A Brief Comparison
Let’s look at The Essential side-by-side with the Snuggle-Pedic Mattress.
Made in USA
First of all, both mattresses are made in the United States. This puts them in contrast with many that are made in China and other East Asian countries. The advantage of this is in the quality of the materials. Some well-known companies import the foam for mattresses made here, and it is the foam where the quality of a memory foam mattress really counts.
The 10” high Snuggle-Pedic is 1½” higher than the 8½” Essential, but has only two layers, as opposed to Essential’s three.
The Snuggle-Pedic’s comfort layer is 3” of 4-lb/ft³ memory foam. This is the same height as the combined 2” polyfoam and 1” memory foam in the Essential. Having more memory foam gives the Snuggle-Pedic more pressure-relieving conformity. It’s hard to take advantage of the memory foam with only a 1” thickness.
The Snuggle-Pedic’s base layer is 7” of 1.8-lb/ft³ polyurethane foam, while Essential’s is only 5½” high. This means less base support for the softer foam.
Casper Sleep labels the top layer in The Essential Mattress as “Breathable top foam.” It does not say anything about the breathability of the memory foam, but we can give them the benefit of the doubt, since the memory foam is ventilated in the other two Casper models. That said, there is some airflow through the mattress for cooling.
The Snuggle-Pedic Mattress, on the other hand, uses the Airflow Transfer System patented by Selectabed. This uses a combination of the Kool–Flow cover with knitted-in vents, vertical ventilation of the comfort layer(s), and horizontal air channels in the surface of the base layer to facilitate a greater flow of air through the mattress – hot air out, cool air in – than in mattresses without all three components, as illustrated in this video.
At this time, The Essential is available only on Casper’s website, in select Target Stores, and on Target’s website. The availability at Target, a break from the online only pattern, is an exclusive arrangement for now. The ones in stock at Target locations are already boxed, as for shipment. Customers can order a mattress online and pick it up at a store. Or it can be shipped. The customer can also go to that store to see and try the Essential before making the purchase. In essence, this is like Casper having hundreds of showrooms with counter-top ordering stations.
As with the other Casper Sleep mattress models, there is a 100 Night Trial and a 10-year warranty.
We calculate our ratings in accordance to our Verified Review Policy.
Reviews for the Essential mattress by Casper Sleep can be found on three sites: Casper.com, Target, and GoodBed, with Casper having the most and GoodBed the least.
The 554 customer reviews of The Essential on Casper.com have an average rating of 4.67 of 5 stars (93.36%). This is significantly higher than the 4.36 (87.12%) for The Casper and the 4.47 (87.47%) for The Wave.
Target’s website says 251 customers have reviewed The Casper Essential Mattress, but only 239 of these can be seen and read. These have an average rating of 4.49 (89.79%). However, many of the reviews, especially the 2-star and 1-star ones, are marked as “originally posted on Casper.com.” They’re probably also posted on Target‘s site because Target was where they were purchased.
Only one owner of an Essential Mattress has reviewed it: 5 Stars.
The aggregate rating for 794 customer reviews of The Essential by Casper is 4.1 (92.29%).
Pros & Cons
When mentioned by reviewers, Casper’s customer service is commended, even in 1-star and 2-star reviews.
Several customers like the fact that The Essential is firmer than the other two Casper Sleep models. At the same time, some complain that it is too firm.
Besides being firm, many customers say they like the top layer softness, but some say it is too soft. Some said it hurts their backs, and others say it is too thin for adequate support. This could be because the base layer is only 5½” thick. These did not say what foundation they use, but foam mattresses need consistent support underneath and a bed frame adequate for the size and weight of the foundation, mattress, and sleepers combined.
One reviewer pointed out that he had to call and ask which side is up, because the instructions were not clear, and that it will be uncomfortable if used upside down. From the product images on Target, the orientation is far from obvious. This indicates one possible cause of customer dissatisfaction with the support and feel. With the firmest foam on top, the mattress will naturally feel too firm. With the softer foam on the bottom, the firm foam will eventually give way and bend in the middle, a hammock effect. .
A con named by some reviewers is the edge support. One said it was “easy to slide off the edge.”