Nolah got in touch to ask if we wanted to try out its Natural mattress. Although not entirely vegan, the Nolah Natural ticked a lot of the right boxes, and like the sleep-deprived new parent I was, I said, “Comfier sleep? Sign me up!”
Why was I excited to give the Nolah Natural a try? The mattress has won a raft of awards in the last couple of years since it was released. These include:
- Tom’s Guide – Best Organic Mattress for Back Pain Relief, 2022
- Real Homes – Rated Best Organic Mattress, 2022
- Sleep Foundation – Top Pick – Best Mattress for Allergies, 2022
- Sleep Foundation – Top Pick – Best Mattress for Side Sleepers, 2022
- Sleep Foundation– Top Pick – Best Latex Mattress, 2022
- Sleep Foundation – Top Pick – Best for Back Pain, 2022
- The Sleep Shop Best Mattress – Organic, 2022.
Here’s my honest experience with the Nolah Natural. There is a lot to like, and some room for improvement as well. For more non-toxic mattress research, check out my top organic mattress picks.
Highlights: An excellent option for anyone who wants an affordable, non-toxic, mattress with plenty of impressive green certifications.
- Good value for money
- Great for back and side sleepers
- Excellent comfort and temperature control
- Made in the USA
- Excellent green certifications including Eco-Institut and GOTS
- Not a great shipping experience
- Excessive plastic
- Inaccurate dimensions
- Not finished with detail we would expect from a luxury product
My experience with the Nolah Natural Mattress
Right out of the box, my experience with the Nolah Natural was… out of the box. This mattress turned up in the remnants of a branded cardboard box, but I had to help the poor delivery guy schlep it up my porch stairs as the box had mostly disintegrated in transit. Not a good start.
Out of the box
Fortunately, the mattress itself was unscathed, given that it was tightly wrapped in a huge amount of plastic. Unlike with some vacuum-packed mattresses, which come in a single strong plastic bag that’s quick to open and remove, the Nolah Natural was a nightmare to unwrap.
First, I had to cut the outer bag and slide this off the incredibly heavy mattress. Then I had to unwrap an ungodly amount of plastic, with no idea how long I’d be unravelling the thing, nor when it would start to ‘rebound’ and expand.
If you have a box spring, I’d strongly recommend unwrapping this thing in situ. This is what Nolah also suggests, and for good reason. This method doesn’t work with a slatted bed base, however, so you’ll want to unwrap it in a large open space. I did not do this and instead ended up basically pinned by a rapidly expanding mattress half stuck still in plastic wrap. Not ideal. Even on a box spring, it would still be rather difficult to unwrap and roll this amount of plastic on a very heavy mattress.
Nevertheless, I persisted, and eventually ended up with an unwrapped mattress, a pile of plastic, and the problem of how to move a heavy natural latex mattress by myself onto a bed in a tight space.
Mattress size and quality issues
Once in situ, I noticed there were some significant gaps at each end and side. I figured a few hours of leaving the mattress to expand would set things right.
Alas, we’re now a few months in and this queen-size mattress has steadfastly remained far smaller than our queen-size bed frame. The mattress is about four inches shorter than Nolah says it should be (76 inches versus 80 inches) and about three inches narrower, leaving a gap of just over an inch on each side and a huge gap at the foot of the bed frame.
Annoying, yes, and verging on dangerous with a rambunctious toddler at home. The good news, if you’re looking for a silver lining, is that any queen-size bed sheets that may have shrunk in the wash will probably fit this smaller than expected mattress!
In addition to being smaller than it should be, the Nolah Natural has another major flaw: subpar edging. I have, on several occasions, literally rolled off the side of this mattress because it offers practically no support when you’re close to the edge. Being edged off the bed by a spouse and toddler is standard fare in our house and this mattress conspires to toss me onto the floor fairly regularly. If you’re a bed hog, this won’t phase you, but if you’re used to sleeping right on the edge, consider yourself warned.
The third issue I have with this mattress is simply that it’s not finished to the standard I’d expect for what’s supposed to be a luxury mattress. After unrolling the Nolah Natural and laying it out, I very quickly noticed several loose threads, including some errant stitching on the sides, where the thread had come loose. This isn’t a problem for now, but does make me wonder about the interior build quality and how long this mattress will last.
This mattress wasn’t a factory second and was definitely protected by all that plastic, despite the box falling apart. As such, I was surprised at the lack of quality control. I wouldn’t expect to see this basic problem in a nearly $2,000 mattress, especially one appealing to luxury-minded customers interested in quality products that will last for years to come.
Firmness and motion transfer
I’m normally a stomach-sleeper or side-sleeper but have had to change my ways through pregnancy and beyond. The nice thing with the Nolah Natural is that it offers excellent support for all kinds of sleepers but especially for back-sleepers and side-sleepers.
Talalay latex is a lot less firm than organic Dunlop latex and reacts to movement, with gentle contouring. Having slept on a memory foam mattress on occasion, and disliked it, I can say that this mattress has a similar feel initially but doesn’t trap you in a sinkhole in the same way. Instead, there’s a bit of bounce back and support while allowing you to actually move when you want to.
Nolah notes that this mattress is its most responsive model yet and while this makes it sound like you’ll be bouncing around on it, that’s not the case. In fact, the motion transfer is quite a bit less than a standard coil mattress, though enough to disturb a light sleeper (like me).
The Nolah Natural mattress is rated 6/10 for firmness, which rings true to me. I’m a fan of firmer mattresses and my wife likes softer mattresses, so it’s a great compromise for the two of us.
We needed a new mattress earlier this year but couldn’t quite stretch the budget to cover our preferred Avocado Green Vegan mattress plus shipping to Canada. When Nolah reached out, we were grateful to test the Nola Natural. For a list of Nolah’s competitors, see our list of the best non-toxic mattresses.
Temperature and comfort
One thing I really appreciate about the Nolah Natural mattress is that it does not trap heat in the same way memory foam does. This means it’s a great choice for sleepers warm and cool. This is due mostly to improved airflow thanks to hole-punched latex foam and pocketed coils. I like to sleep cool and my wife loves to roast, so this mattress works wonders for us both, even with a hot-water-bottle-toddler between us.
The organic cotton cover feels both soft and cozy, while staying cool and wicking away moisture. The organic wool layer beneath also helps to regulate temperature and keep the mattress breathable. And the wool layer acts as a natural fire retardant, allowing this mattress to be made without the typical toxic flame retardants.
Underneath the cotton and wool is the first layer of Talalay latex. Nolah claims this offers up to 33% better pressure relief than synthetic and Dunlop latex. I think this is a pretty fair assessment, especially as a mom of a toddler, collapsing into bed with a very tired body at the end of a long day.
Under the two layers of latex lies the patented HDMax™ Tri-Zone™ Support Coil System. This 8-inch layer has three targeted support zones and, according to Nolah, 25% more coils than similar hybrid mattresses. The result is better support and comfort. Without dissecting the mattress to count the coils, I can’t verify these claims, but I can say that the mattress is supportive and feels more so than straight latex mattresses I’ve tried.
Holding things together beneath the coils is another extra-durable organic cotton cover. Nolah also includes handles on the side, though these don’t feel very secure, given the heaviness of the mattress.
Nolah Natural mattress specifications
The Nolah Natural mattress is meant to be 11 inches deep, 60 inches wide, and 80 inches long. As above, mine is not as wide or long as it should be, though it is 11 inches deep. The mattress weighs 108 lbs., making it hard for most people to move alone.
Note that the Nolah Natural 11-inch mattress comes in the following sizes:
- Twin (weighing 68 lbs.)
- Twin XL
- Queen (weighing 108 lbs.)
- King (weighing 135 lbs.)
- Cal King (weighing 134 lbs.)
- Split King (so you can have two mattresses of different firmness side by side).
The Nolah Natural mattress works with any type of bed frame, including slatted and adjustable bases, box springs, and platforms. The company suggests slats no farther than four inches apart though, for optimal support.
What’s in the Nolah Natural mattress?
The Nolah Natural mattress consists of six layers:
- Organic cotton cover
- Organic wool (this is the natural fire retardant in the mattress)
- Talalay latex comfort layer (2-inches for plush, pressure-relief and gentle contouring)
- Talalay latex support layer (1-inch for responsive, firm support)
- HDMax™️ Tri-Zone™️ Support Coils 8″ (individually-wrapped recycled steel coils, with three targeted support zones)
- Organic wool and cotton foundation layer.
Nolah Natural certifications
Nolah makes its mattresses in the U.S.A. and carries a bunch of certifications we’re rather fond of at Leaf Score. These include:
- GOTS – for the organic cotton and wool
- OEKO-TEX 100 – meaning low or no harmful chemicals in the mattress as a whole
- Eco-Institut – meaning the mattress is free from or low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Rainforest Alliance – meaning the rubber is sustainably sourced at responsible local rubber farms
- Cradle to Cradle – meaning the mattress is made with sustainable, safer materials that are part of the circular economy.
Talalay latex isn’t certified organic but is Cradle to Cradle certified. It is made using sustainably sourced natural latex rubber and is minimally processed using just water and air.
Warranties, sleep trials, delivery and more
Nolah offers white glove service through Load Up, a local third-party logistics outfit. This way, you can choose mattress removal, setup, or both. For $225, Nolah will get Load Up to set up a Nolah bed foundation or adjustable base and your mattress.
Nolah ships its mattresses free using FedEx. Because the mattresses are made in the U.S., shipping is fast, so you won’t be waiting around for long with this company. This is even though Nolah claims to make every mattress to order (meaning no mattresses sitting around in warehouses collecting mold).
Nolah offers a 120-night trial. This means you can sleep on your mattress for up to 120 nights before deciding if you want to keep it. If it doesn’t work for you after 30 days, email the company to let them know and Nolah will arrange for a driver to pick up the mattress and donate it to a local charity. You get a full refund minus a $99 donation fee.
Nolah also offers financing through Affirm for up to three years and with low interest rates. Each mattress has a lifetime warranty covering manufacturing defects. You can also purchase accident protection to cover drops, spills, scratches, and fluids.
Final thoughts on the Nolah Natural 11-inch mattress
Overall, the Nolah Natural 11-inch mattress gets a thumbs-up from me. It is made with sustainably sourced materials, is non-toxic, well-designed, and comfortable for the most part. There is definitely (literal) room for improvement with the Natural mattress, though. I’d like to see the size issues addressed and better quality control and overall construction.
As for the packaging, I’m sure there’s a better way for Nolah to wrap the mattresses. One that would use far less plastic and not result in a tattered box being lugged about by frustrated FedEx employees.
All in all, if you’re in need of a new mattress and want one that’s natural, organic, eco-friendly, and generally good quality with a medium-firm feel, check out the Nolah Natural. And if you happen to have a bed frame or sheets that are a little smaller than standard queen-size, definitely consider a Nolah Natural as, chances are, it’ll be a better fit than most!