Caper, a hard night's sleep
When I was looking to buy a mattress, I came across Casper in a truly massive Reddit feed. Nearly all the entries in the feed were positive. In fact, I could hardly find a negative review in the whole Interwebs! I searched for honest, impartial reviews, and I found glowing, rave reviews about how comfortable, affordable, down right sexy Casper mattresses were.
I was convinced. I bought one and it was delivered that same week in a large box. Inside were minimal instructions and a letter opener I used to cut of the plastic binding. The mattress comes tightly curled and bound by thick plastic wrap. Unlike others, I detected no off gassing, but just to be sure, I let it air out for two weeks before I slept on it.
Sleeping on a Casper
I first noticed how firm the mattress is. Like other memory foam products, it has initial resistance followed by a slow sinking feeling. It sinks less than a Temper-pedic and more than a Bedinabox.com latex mattress (which I also own). Like many foam mattresses, they do best when they are well-supported. Otherwise they are prone to sagging wherever there are gaps in the support.
My initial impression was that it was too firm to be truly comfortable, but other reviewer had said there was an "adjustment period," so I tried it for a few more weeks. No adjustment ever came. In the meantime, I slowly developed back pain in my lower back that made the hard bed more and more a nuisance. When I finally switched to my Bedinabox.com latex mattress my back pain quickly disappeared. While I cannot say with certainty that my mattress was to blame, but the correlation is strong.
I am left with an uncomfortable mattress that cost more than what I would consider comparable mattresses. If you are thinking about Casper, you might try Ikea first. The cost is lower, and you end up with a comparable mattress. I slept comfortably for years on an Ikea mattress, but eventually ditched it because it was sagging in the middle.
Marketing Not Mattresses
What sets Casper apart is not their mattress. It's their marketing. If you've ever navigated over to their Casper website, you know you are hounded by ads until you clear your cookies. Once you go there, they try to convert you into a buyer.
Notice also, the dearth of negative reviews. Given my experience, you would think others would say the same. Their affiliate marketing strategy fixes that.
Casper pays out $50 to anyone who sends them a buyer through a referral link. Such a large incentive means that literally thousands of people are writing articles, building websites, and posting to forums like reddit with nothing but positive reviews. If they can get you to buy, they get $50. Even better, the buyer also gets a $50 discount, so everyone wins, right?
Well, not exactly. You see with all of those "paid" posts out there, it is hard to find and honest one. The paid posts flood the search engines and make nearly impossible to find a negative review. What results is an Internet landscape that looks genuine, but is actually paid advertising.
I will give them credit for creativity, but low marks on mattress making.
What a Casper is Good For
While it gets low marks for comfort, there are some pros to owning a Casper mattress.
1. It gets delivered to your door rather quickly. I ordered mine on a Sunday night and had it by Friday. This is key if you are currently sleeping on your buddy's couch.
2. It is fairly light. I replaced my Casper with a fully latex mattress that is the heaviest mattress in the history of humankind. I am convinced that at its core is matter so dense and dark, science has not discovered it yet. I never want to move that mattress. The Casper on the other hand can be moved by one strong person or two weak people without much frustration. If you are moving every year or so, this is light enough to make the move with you.
3. It makes a nice guest bed. Because it is light, you can store it away until a friend comes and then lay it on the floor for a guest. It does not fold or store easily, so this plan only works if you have extra room. I could see it being used as the mattress for a Murphy bed.
Alternatives to Casper
The primary alternative to Casper is another fully Internet-based company: Bedinabox.com. Their selection is more diverse that Casper. Casper has just one bed, Bedinabox has many.
A furniture store will sell you a mattress and for additional $50, they will often deliver it and remove your old one. This is a bargain if you are getting rid of an old mattress. Garbage haulers will charge $30 just to take the old one.
Ikea, that standby of accessible design, makes reasonably comfortable mattress for less than Casper or Bedinabox.com, but, of course, they do not deliver it to your door. Some outside services do, however, and with the money you save, you can pay someone to do this. I have mixed feelings Ikea beds. See my other article about the Malm bed frame.
Amazon will sell you a bed and a bed frame and get it to your door. Their reviews can steer you in the right direction, but if you need a simple frame I recommend the Structures frame for less then $100.