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Birch Mattress (2020) Review

Last updated on June 10, 2020

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The Birch mattress has a high degree of natural materials. Is it right for your needs?

Short on time? Click here to jump down to the review summary

Note: The Birch mattress from well-established mattress brand Helix is the company's first natural mattress. We test the mattress as well as its optional topper.

Prefer to watch rather than read? See our Birch Mattress Review video

Table of Contents

Nobody does more in-depth mattress reviews than GoodBed — which means there's a lot of information here! Use the links in this table of contents to quickly jump to the sections of this review that interest you most.

Summary Overview of GoodBed's findings and conclusions about this product
Materials & Construction Mattress Type, Layers, Cover
Comfort & Feel Ratings Softness, Cushioning Depth, Memory Feel, Bounce
Back Support + Pressure Relief Ratings By sleeper weight and sleep position
Feature Ratings Motion Isolation, Temperature, Edge Support, Ease of Repositioning, Natural vs Chemicals, Adjustable Base Compatibility
Price, Value & Longevity Cost, Discounts, Durability, Overall Value
Other Factors to Consider Delivery, Returns, Warranty
Bottom Line Who is the best/worst match for this mattress?

Summary: Is the Birch a Good Mattress?

The Birch is an 11" mattress made with a high degree of natural materials --including natural wool, 100% natural latex, and organic cotton -- in addition to a support unit of steel coils, which do not off-gas and are potentially recyclable. The mattress caries a slew of certifications. The entire mattress has been certified as organic by GOTS, and it is certified as Greenguard Gold, meaning it's free of harmful chemicals and off-gassing, and is safe for even the most sensitive populations like children and in nursing homes.

The mattress comes in just one version, which we judged a Medium Firm. Also available (at additional cost) is a mattress topper made of the same wool, cotton and latex, which adds a lot of softness and cushioning depth for those who prefer a softer bed.

We tested the mattress both with and without the optional topper, finding it to be an excellent choice for wide range of back and side sleepers.

From a features perspective, the Birch mattress performed well in just about all our tests for motion isolation, edge support, and adjustable base compatibility. And if you tend to sleep in a lot of positions, our tester found changing from one position to another very easy.

If you are interested in a latex bed, green and eco-friendly features may be of importance to you. The Birch mattress certainly has an impressive number of certifications from organizations that evaluate for sustainable manufacturing practices, sustainable farming, lack of harmful chemicals, and suitability for use in sensitive environments like hospitals and pediatric facilities. The Birch website has a whole page on its sustainability policies and certifications.

Like most online mattress companies, Birch includes a 100-day trial period with full refund should you decide to return the bed.

Bottom Line: Who is the Best Match for a Birch Mattress?

BEST if you:

  • Sleep in a range of positions
  • Need excellent pressure relief
  • Value eco-friendly materials
  • Prefer a mattress with some bounce 

NOT IDEAL if you:

  • Like a slow, melting into the bed feeling
  • Are a heavier (+250 lbs.) stomach sleeper

Comfort & Feel

These are the "preference-based characteristics" of a mattress. No classification here is better or worse – they are strictly a matter of your personal preference.

Softness Level
(1=Least Soft, 9=Most Soft)
4 Medium Firm

Softness Level - with Topper
(1=Least Soft, 9=Most Soft)

7 Soft
Cushioning Depth
(1=Shallowest, 9=Deepest)
5 Average cushioning

Cushioning Depth - with Topper
(1=Shallowest, 9=Deepest)

7 Deeper cushioning
Memory Feel
(1=Least, 9=Most)
1 None
Bounce
(1=Least, 9=Most)
8  Very bouncy

 

Back Support (by Sleeper Type)

No mattress will provide equally good spinal alignment (a.k.a., back support) for every sleeper. Here's what to expect in terms of spinal alignment on this mattress – by sleeper weight and sleep position.

Weight Range Back Sleepers Side Sleepers Stomach Sleepers
Lighter <150 lb 9 9 9
Average 150 to 200 lb 9 9 8
Above Average 200 to 250 lb 9 9 7
Heavier >250 lb 9 9 6


With Topper:

Weight Range Back Sleepers Side Sleepers Stomach Sleepers
Lighter <150 lb 9 10 6
Average 150 to 200 lb 9 10 5
Above Average 200 to 250 lb 8 9 4
Heavier >250 lb 8 8 3

Pressure Relief (by Sleeper Type)

The pressure relief offered by a mattress – especially important for side sleepers – will vary based on a sleeper's weight and body shape. Here's how we size up the pressure relief capabilities of this mattress.

Weight Range Typical Curves Extra Curvy
Lighter <150 lb 9 8
Average 150 to 200 lb 9 8
Above Average 200 to 250 lb 8 8
Heavier >250 lb 8 7


With Topper:

Weight Range Typical Curves Extra Curvy
Lighter <150 lb 9 9
Average 150 to 200 lb 9 8
Above Average 200 to 250 lb 9 8
Heavier >250 lb 8 8

Other Features

These are the "priority-based characteristics" of a mattress. Ratings here indicate where this mattress has strengths or weaknesses – however the importance of these features will depend entirely on your personal priorities.

Motion Isolation 8 Very good
Stays 'Cool' 8 Very good
Edge Support 8-9 Very good to excellent
Ease of Repositioning 8-9 Very good to excellent
Green Features 10 Exceptional
Adjustable Base Compatibility 9 Excellent
Overall Value 8 Very good

 

Key Facts – Birch Mattress

Mattress Type

Natural Latex over Pocketed Coils

Price

Check today's prices

Delivery

Free delivery to door

Return Policy

100-day trial, full refund

Warranty

25 years. Indentation coverage: 1"+

Country of Manufacture

United States

Thickness

11 inches

Weight (Queen)

105 pounds

Materials & Construction

What's in a Birch Mattress?

Overall, we classify the Birch mattress as a "Natural Latex over Pocketed Coils" construction type. It is an 11″ thick mattress comprised of 4 layers (listed below from top to bottom):

  • 0.5" natural wool batting
  • 2” all-natural Talalay latex
  • 8” pocketed steel coils
  • 0.5" natural wool batting

The Birch mattress is made with high degree of natural materials. The natural New Zealand wool, which they refer to as "Birch wool," comes from sustainable-certified farms. The 100% natural latex is made from real rubber trees, and certified by OEKO-Tex to be free of harmful off-gassing and chemicals.

We also tested the optional Birch Mattress Topper made of the same materials - natural latex and wool, and an organic cotton cover. The topper adds about 3" of loft.

Cover

The cover for the Birch mattress is made of organic cotton.  It has sturdy cording around the edge, which gives the mattress a very solid, well-built feel. The quilting is interesting -- it's simple quilted parallel lines, which we especially liked when we tried this mattress on our adjustable base. The fabric is soft and feels breathable.

Topper

The Birch mattress topper uses many of the same materials found in the Birch mattress. The principal material inside the topper is 2" of all-natural Talalay latex. It also uses the same Birch wool, particularly on the top side of the topper where it adds a fair amount of billowy softness to the feel. The cover of the Birch topper uses the same organic cotton fabric and features the same sturdy cording around the edge which seems to help hold its shape.

 

Comfort & Feel

There are three aspects that make up our assessment of comfort and feel. We call these "preference-based characteristics" because no rating here is better or worse – rather, the attributes that are most desirable to you will be determined solely by your personal preferences. We apply the same classification standards to each mattress so you can more easily compare apples to apples.

Softness what’s this )

Keep in mind that what mattress companies call “firm” or “soft” is a purely a preference. All mattresses should be supportive and promote healthy spinal alignment. Whether a mattress is fluffy and squishy (what mattress companies call soft or plush), or less so (what companies call firm), is purely down to your personal needs and preferences.

We tried the Birch mattress both with and without the optional topper, and as you might expect, the soft topper adds a lot of softness to the bed. Without it, we class the bed as a Medium Firm on our scale.

Not sure what softness is best for you? Take our Mattress Match Quiz and find out.

Softness Level
(1=Least Soft, 9=Most Soft)
4 Medium Firm

Softness Level - with Topper
(1=Least Soft, 9=Most Soft)

7 Soft

 

Cushioning Depth what’s this )

This refers to how deeply you sink into the mattress or feel cradled or hugged, versus a feeling of floating on top of the bed. On its own, the Birch mattress has pretty average cushioning -- a real blend between feeling like you are sinking in and floating on top of your mattress.

With the topper, however, it's a different story. With the topper, we sunk deeply, and felt the topper nicely hugging our curves. You can see the difference with our 16-pound bowling ball, and in the image further below when our tester is on his side.

Cushioning Depth
(1=Shallowest, 9=Deepest)
5 Average cushioning

Cushioning Depth - with Topper
(1=Shallowest, 9=Deepest)

7 Deep cushioning

 

Responsivenesswhat’s this )

Responsiveness refers to how quickly a mattress recovers its shape after being compressed. When you press your hand into the mattress, for instance, then remove it, does it take several seconds for the mattress to return to flat, or does it recover immediately?

The Birch bed doesn’t have any memory foam, so it does not have any of that slow-responding memory feel. But it does a LOT of bounce. Latex is known as a fairly springy material and that, combined with the 8" layer of springs below, really contribute to a lot of bounce, both on the surface of the bed, as well as when our tester dropped his full weight on the mattress.

So if you like some bounce to your mattress, yet don’t particularly like that memory foam feeling of sinking into your mattress, the Birch mattress may work for you.  

Memory Feel
(1=Least, 9=Most)
1 None

Bounce
(1=Least, 9=Most)

8  Very bouncy

 

Back Support & Pressure Relief

The two things that you should always be sure to get from your mattress are spinal alignment (commonly thought of as "back support") and pressure relief. Unfortunately, no mattress will deliver these two things equally well for all sleepers. In particular, spinal alignment and pressure relief capabilities will vary across sleepers with different weights, body shapes, and sleep positions. To help you determine how this mattress will perform for you, we break down our spinal alignment and pressure relief assessments by sleeper type.

In our evaluations, the Birch mattress -- both with and without the topper -- performed very well for both back and side sleeping, and we felt that people in a very wide range of sizes would experience similar spinal alignment and pressure relief. Our opinion is more mixed for stomach sleepers.

 

Spinal Alignment

The key to good back support is maintaining proper spinal alignment while you sleep. This means that the mattress should hold your spine in roughly the same position it's in when you're standing. The ability of a given mattress to do this will generally depend on your weight, sleep position, and body shape.

Here is how we break down the spinal alignment of the Birch mattress, both with and without the topper:

Weight Range Back Sleepers Side Sleepers Stomach Sleepers
Lighter <150 lb 9 9 9
Average 150 to 200 lb 9 9 8
Above Average 200 to 250 lb 9 9 7
Heavier >250 lb 9 9 6

 

With Topper:

Weight Range Back Sleepers Side Sleepers Stomach Sleepers
Lighter <150 lb 9 10 6
Average 150 to 200 lb 9 10 5
Above Average 200 to 250 lb 8 9 4
Heavier >250 lb 8 8 3


Back Sleepers:

While our 200-lb. tester was on his back, he noted that his hips sank just deeply enough to create a good neutral spine. We felt that sleepers of a wide range of sizes and weights would have a similar experience, owing to the supportive coils below -- and that includes heavier sleepers both with and without the topper.

Side Sleepers:

In our evaluation, side sleepers would also be well supported by the Birch bed. Our 200 lb. tester’s hips and shoulders sank into the bed just enough to create a neutral spinal position. We also felt that average to heavier people would be very supported while side sleeping, with or without the topper.

Stomach Sleepers:

Stomach sleepers will experience better spinal alignment on the Birch bed without the mattress topper, particularly lighter stomach sleepers. Heavier stomach sleepers, especially those using the optional topper, are likely to find hips sinking in too deeply, creating some over-arching in the spine which can lead to back pain. Those who only occasionally sleep on their stomachs might be okay.

 

Pressure Relief ( what's this )

When a mattress pushes back against your body with too much force in a concentrated area, the result can be pain, soreness, loss of circulation, excessive tossing, and other problems. In general, such "pressure points" are of greatest concern for side sleepers, since that's the position in which your body's weight is distributed over the smallest surface area. To find the right mattress for your needs, keep in mind that the pressure-relieving capabilities of any given mattress will vary depending on the sleeper. Factors like your weight and body shape (e.g., broader shoulders and/or hips) will determine how far you sink into the mattress, and the pressure relief offered by that mattress will vary widely at different depths.

Here's how we sized up the pressure relief of the Birch mattress:

Weight Range Typical Curves Extra Curvy
Lighter <150 lb 9 8
Average 150 to 200 lb 9 8
Above Average 200 to 250 lb 8 8
Heavier >250 lb 8 7

 

With Topper:

Weight Range Typical Curves Extra Curvy
Lighter <150 lb 9 9
Average 150 to 200 lb 9 8
Above Average 200 to 250 lb 9 8
Heavier >250 lb 8 8

Overall, we found the pressure relief offered by the Birch mattress to be very good to excellent, both with and without the topper. Latex in general has a very good reputation for pressure relief, right up there with memory foam.

 

Other Features

Beyond the preference-based characteristics of comfort and feel, and the body matching for spinal alignment and pressure relief, a mattress will have a number of other attributes that can make it a better or worse choice for you. We call these "priority-based characteristics" because they are areas in which a mattress can be better or worse, but that will have differing amounts of importance to each sleeper. So, determining how much importance to give to these features will be entirely a matter of your own personal priorities. As always, we apply the same ratings standards to each mattress so you can more easily compare apples to apples.

 

Motion Isolation what’s this )

Generally, mattresses with springs or coils don’t perform as well as foam beds when it comes to isolating movement from one side of the bed to the other. We test this in two ways. With a bowling pin standing upright on one side of the bed atop a small piece of tempered glass, we drop a 16 lb. bowling ball on the other side of the bed. With the Birch mattress, the bowling pin wiggled a little, but didn't fall. Next, our tester drops his whole weight on a mattress to see what happens to the pin. The result was the same -- the pin moved a bit, but didn't fall, even when we repeated the test.

Overall, motion isolation for the Birch bed was very good.

Motion Isolation Rating 8/10 Very good

 

Temperature what’s this )

For most people, we do not think the Birch  mattress will feel hot for three reasons designed to regulate heat. First, right under the cover is wool -- a natural heat regulator. Second, the top latex layer has pin-core holes piercing the latex, allowing for air flow. And lastly, the pocketed coil layer is mostly air; the coils allow for lots of air flow.

Stays “Cool” Rating 8 /10 Very good

 

Edge Support what’s this )

Edge support is important if you like to sit on the side of the bed, or if you tend to sleep along the edge. We tested the Birch mattress both with and without its topper.

For both sitting and laying, our tester felt very stable and well supported. Edge support without the topper was just slightly better, but both were very good overall.


Edge Support Rating 8-9 /10 Very good to excellent

 

Ease of Repositioning what’s this )

If you tend to move and change positions a lot over the course of a night, ease of repositioning will be a priority for you. Our tester found moving around on the Birch mattress to be very easy, but a little more difficult with the topper. Latex, owing to its natural springiness, helped our tester move without effort.

Repositioning Rating 8-9 /10 Very good to excellent

 

Green Features what’s this )

For mattress shoppers concerned with the use of natural materials, sustainable manufacturing practices or the like, we offer our subjective evaluation of any efforts taken by the company to make the mattress more green, healthy, or safe.

If these factors are important to you, there is a whole lot to like about the Birch mattress. The Birch website has a whole page on its sustainability policies and certifications. Let’s take a closer look.

First and foremost, the entire mattress has been certified organic by GOTS (the global organic textile standard). This is an extremely high standard that very few mattresses meet -- and that until very recently was completely unheard of at this price point. It looks at not only the use of natural materials, but also requires that those materials be organic, and even that sustainable, socially-responsible practices be used in the manufacturing process. In our opinion, if things like eco-friendly materials, minimal use of chemicals, and low odors are important to you, the GOTS certification alone should satisfy any concerns on this front. 

For the avoidance of any doubt though, Birch also meets the Greenguard Gold standard, which looks for any toxic off-gassing in the finished product. The Gold level certification here means it's been deemed safe for use in the most sensitive environments, like hospitals and child-care centers. 

In terms of the materials, the cover of the Birch mattress is made of certified organic cotton, with a layer of sustainable-certified New Zealand wool right underneath. The all-natural latex used in the Birch mattress is certified by OEKO-Tex, which means it meets manufacturing standards that ensure minimal off-gassing and use of harmful chemicals. It's also certified by the Rainforest Alliance to meet sustainable forestry and manufacturing standards. Lastly, the support layer of pocketed coils are steel, which does not off-gas, and in the end can be potentially recycled.

Net, it's hard to find a mattress with more organic materials and certifications at this price point.

Green Rating 10/10 Exceptional

 

Adjustable Base Compatibility what’s this )

We tested the Birch bed on top of our standard adjustable base to see what would happen. We found that the mattress conforms well right out of the box, even at the foot of the bed (which can sometimes be a problem spot).

We also noticed that the lines of quilting that run straight across the bed also help the cover fold very well, and not create an annoying bunching-up in the middle.

Adjustable Base Use Rating 9 /10  Excellent

 

Price, Value & Longevity

How Much Does a Birch Mattress Cost?

Prices shown are list prices. Remember that GoodBed keeps our site current with the best available discounts on all online mattresses, many of which are exclusive discounts for our readers.

 

What Are You Getting?

The Birch mattress is an 11" bed made with a high degree of natural materials, including wool, organic cotton, and all-natural latex. Also available at additional cost is a mattress topper, made with the same materials, that provides additional softness and cushioning. The Birch is made by Helix, a well-established mattress company.

How Long Will the Birch Mattress Last?

When we look at the longevity prospects of a mattress, we look to the quality of the materials, the quality of the construction, and to the reputation of the manufacturer. In the case of the Birch mattress, we really don't see any red flags. Latex is a long-proven, durable mattress material that's not as prone to body impressions as memory foam or polyurethane foam. And we have no concerns about the coil unit; innersprings are also a time-tested mattress material.

 

Overall Value

We think the solid construction and high marks in our testing make the Birch a very good value, but the Birch lives in an increasingly crowded field of hybrid mattresses using more natural materials, and some of those other options are less expensive.

But if the Birch mattress fits your needs and preferences, and you prioritize natural materials and strong safety certifications, then we do think that the Birch bed is worthy of consideration.

Value Rating 8 /10 Very good

 

Other Factors to Consider

Delivery

  • Free delivery to the door

Birch includes free delivery, which is what pretty much every mattress brand does these days. Delivery is by common carrier like FedEx, who will deliver the box to your door. The queen size mattress weighs 105 pounds, so it's likely a two-person job to get it into your bedroom (plan to recruit some help).

 

Returns

  • 100-day trial period
  • Full refund

Birch offers buyers a 100-day trial period, but buyers must keep the mattress 30 days before initiating a return. The company will arrange for charitable donation of your returned mattress, if possible in your area.

 

Warranty

  • Warranty Length: 25 years (pro-rated after 10)
  • Indentation Coverage: 1” and above

One of the biggest, if not THE biggest complaints about any mattress from consumers regards body impressions — the inability of a mattress to spring back, eventually creating a low spot/sinkhole in the mattress. As such, mattress warranties all contain a term defining how big a sag or ‘body impression’ (measured when no one is on the mattress) is considered a defect, and thus covered under the warranty. The industry average for innerspring and hybrid mattress is 1.5”. Birch has chosen to cover indentations that meet or exceed 1”. Practically speaking, that means any softening or sagging would need to be at least that deep before the warranty would offer you protection.

While the warranty is 25 years, keep in mind that it's pro-rated after the first 10 years. Should you require replacement under the warranty after the 10 year mark, you'll pay a portion of the replacement cost based on the length of ownership. Also after 10 years, buyers are required to pay all related shipping charges. See: Birch mattress warranty info

Bottom Line: Is the Birch Mattress Right for You?

In our view, the Birch mattress will tick a lot of boxes for a lot of sleepers.  Based on our findings, here’s who we think is the best and worst match for a Birch mattress.

BEST if you:

  • Sleep in a range of positions
  • Need excellent pressure relief
  • Value eco-friendly materials
  • Prefer a mattress with some bounce 

NOT IDEAL if you:

  • Like a slow, melting into the bed feeling
  • Are a heavier (+250 lbs.) stomach sleeper

Is the Birch bed right for you? Take our Mattress Match Quiz to find mattresses that fit your needs, based on your preferences and price range.

Looking for more on the Birch mattress? Click here to visit their website at BirchLiving.com.

 

Final Note

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