One of the questions that the folks at Helix ask is: “Why sleep generic when you can customize?”
“But hold on”, I hear you say. “Isn’t the Helix mattress sold online? How can they customize it when most online mattress manufacturers make a single mattress in a variety of sizes: isn’t it take it or leave it?”
It’s an understandable question and it’s one that this Helix mattress review will help you answer.
Helix works off the premise that, unless you’re a scarf, one size does NOT fit all. It is impossible, they say, to find a generic mattress that suits everyone. This sounds reasonable – individuals are unique in their physical makeup and their sleeping preferences may differ even with the partner sleeping next to them.
Since its launch in August 2015, Helix Sleep has positioned itself as the direct-to-consumer online mattress company that still allows you to get a customized mattress. Rather than attempting the ‘impossible’ and making a generic mattress, they have taken many of the best features of the other successful online mattress providers, and added the ability to customize to body type, favoured sleeping position, and other sleeping preferences.
With mattresses such a major investment for most people, you want to know you’re getting your money’s worth. So does this mattress live up to its claims?
That’s where this Helix mattress review will help. Using our thorough testing system, you’ll find the details you need to make an informed decision. While the precise specs of the mattress we tested will be different to yours, due to the custom service provided, the information is still very relevant to the overall mattress shopping experience, the comfort levels, the quality of workmanship, and more.
Pricing & Dimensions
- Twin: Price: $600 USD, Dimensions: 39” x 75” x 10”
- Twin XL: Price: $700 USD, Dimensions: 39” x 80” x 10”
- Full: Price: $850 USD, Dimensions: 54” x 75” x 10”
- Queen: Price: $995 USD, Dimensions: 60” x 80” x 10”
- King: Price: $1195 USD, Dimensions: 76” x 80” x 10”
- Cal King: Price: $1195 USD, Dimensions: 72” x 84” x 10”
*Note that a dual comfort mattress adds +$150 to your total and is only available in Queen, King and Cal King.
What we liked:
- Personalization: the mattress is customized to your specific preferences
- Available in Dual Comfort or Blended Solutions: which is perfect for couples
- 100-Day Trial Period: peace of mind when you purchase
- Free US Shipping: and risk-free return policy
- 0% APR Financing Available: flexible payment options to help your cash-flow
- Made in the US: with high-quality materials and manufacturing processes
What we didn’t like:
- Inability to Test Before Purchase: with only one showroom in NYC
- No Side Straps: to aid in manoeuvring the mattress (we’ve found this to be common in the ‘online mattress’ market)
- Firmness Level: based on our selections during the sleep questionnaire, our mattress was firmer than we had hoped
- Longevity in the Market: unsure how well the product will wear over time
- No Flipping: the mattress is designed to sit one way. If you chose Dual Comfort, rotating it will require you and your partner to switch sides of the bed.
About the Manufacturer
Like many of the other major online mattress companies featured on Sleep Scouts, Helix Sleep was born out of the frustration that the co-founders encountered during their own mattress-purchasing experience.
Overpayment, dissatisfaction with the end product, and disappointment with the entire shopping experience, led the founders to pledge to shake things up in the industry. They went about becoming self-proclaimed ‘mattress nerds.’
So, launching mid-2015 out of New York City, Helix Sleep decided to stand for one size NOT fitting all. Rather than creating one mattress to suit the majority, like most online mattress companies, they built an algorithm that takes into account personal sleep preferences: most importantly, mattress firmness, body structure, and sleep style. This data is then used to create a mattress that most-closely represents everything you desire in a good night’s rest.
“We were tired of being tired. We were tired of empty promises, confusing products, and oversimplification. We weren’t interested in glossing over the complexities of how people sleep. The world is made up of individuals. One option isn’t an option. We all think differently, and that means that we all dream differently.“
Helix Sleep proudly produces 100% American-made mattresses that are “reactively comfortable”, “supremely contouring”, and “uniquely cooling”, using their own Dynamic Foam.
The company has just the one showroom – located in New York City. More about that below.
“We’re based in the city that never sleeps, but we’re hoping to change that.”
How We Put the Mattress to the Test
We conduct each mattress review on this site in the same way. Thorough testing by our two sleep scouts (a 215lb male and a 120lb female) ensures that we offer the most accurate overview of how each product measures up for different body types. You can familiarize yourself with our testing process here.
For the specific results of the Helix mattress, read on. Please note that the mattress we tested was a personalized one, based on our own specs from the Helix Sleep Quiz. Our results ultimately reflect that; you may experience different results, based on your specs.
How the Helix Customization System Works
Helix Sleep has made the process of personalizing your mattress to your unique sleeping preferences very simple.
You begin by filling out a short sleep questionnaire, where you provide your basic information like body characteristics (weight, height, body shape), your preference for a blended mattress or the dual comfort option (see below), and information about sleeping preferences (firmness, sleep position, sleeping hot, etc.).
It calls this the ‘Helix Sleep Quiz’, presumably so that it doesn’t sound too daunting for shoppers. ‘Quiz’ sounds a little less involved than ‘questionnaire’ or ‘survey’.
This information is then analyzed and computed to produce a mattress designed with your needs in mind.
Following are some screenshots of the Sleep Scouts quiz process, along with more information about the ‘Blended’ and ‘Dual Comfort’ options available:
From the information we input, the results came out as follows….
Note from the above that each Helix mattress has four key metrics: Firmness, Support, Temperature Regulation, and Point Elasticity.
Our results produced a mattress with medium to medium-firm feel, with strong support to match the combination of our heights, weights, and sleeping positions. It was designed to provide a medium-high coolness with good air flow and a medium-high level of elasticity, to form a pressure-relieving cradle to the contours of our bodies.
The Basics: An Overview
First Observations: The Unboxing Experience
Can we just all agree that the Helix box is pretty cool? It’s blue and white, so nothing special there (we’ve deemed blue and white to be the colors of the sleep industry) but it’s not rectangular. Instead, it’s hexagonal: a refreshing change to all of the other boxes currently residing in my basement.
As with most other direct-to-consumer online mattresses, the Helix is delivered to your door compressed and vacuum-sealed. However, we were surprised that set up instructions weren’t included. This is certainly not usual but, luckily, we’ve become masters at setting mattresses up, so it wasn’t a deal breaker.
Once you get the mattress out of its ‘tube’ and begin to break the plastic seal, it begins to take shape immediately. There was a minimal amount of off-gassing, which is typical for memory foam mattresses, but it was very faint and dissipated quickly. We did notice (and the company mentions it) that it took about 45 minutes to completely settle. This is the longest of any mattress we’ve unboxed to date.
The mattress tips the scales at 80-90 lbs, depending on how it’s customized to your sleep preferences. This makes it fairly heavy and it’s a little difficult to move with the lack of side straps. While this makes life a little awkward, it should be no problem if you have a partner to help you.
What’s in the Box?
The simple answer to “What’s in the box?” is “Not much”.
Aside from the vacuum sealed mattress, the only other thing in the box is a $100 gift card for Helix Sleep. Hey! Free money! We purchased the Helix mattress close to Christmas, so we are not sure if this is a year-round thing, or season-specific. In any case, it was a thoughtful gesture and something we can use to pay it forward for friends or family members in search of a new mattress.
As already stated, we were surprised not to receive any set-up instructions in the box; and there were none of the other fancy marketing brochures or tools that we’ve grown accustomed to.
We’re not sure if we were simply missed accidentally but, according to the company’s website, they DO provide instructions with your shipping confirmation email. It’s a good idea, then, to print that email out or at least familiarize yourself with the steps beforehand.
What exactly goes into the Helix mattress that is custom built for you? And how does one mattress differ from another?
The exact components included in each mattress will depend on your body type, sleep style, and comfort preferences. Each mattress is composed of the same FOUR layers but, depending on these preferences, the poly foam layer will be adjusted to your requirements.
These are the four layers and a little information about the cover:
- Layer 1: Helix Dynamic Foam (2 Inches): reactively comfortable and cooling, this adaptable proprietary foam adjusts to your body shape.
- Layer 3: Pocketed Coil Spring Units (2.5 Inches): hundreds of steel-forged miniature coils allow for effective weight distribution, pressure relief, and a light springy feeling.
- Layer 3: Poly Foam (2 Inches): another comfort layer with varying ranges of firmness, depending on sleep preferences.
- Layer 4: Base Layer (4 inches): a range of high-density foams with good durability, supporting the comfort layers above.
- Cover: This is custom designed for breathability, comfort, and to give the mattress a sleek aesthetic
How did the key features measure up?
Just a reminder that the following results are specific to the mattress we received, which was constructed for our personal preferences. The mattress you get could have an entirely different feel – and that’s okay, since it’s meant to be custom-designed for you.
The following tests were performed using a 25lb kettlebell and were designed to measure how the sink and bounce of the mattress matched up. Did we get what we ordered?
Because of our differing body weights and sleep preferences, we chose the Dual Comfort Helix option. This customizes the mattress to the preferences of the sleeper on each side, so you will see that the kettlebell test produced different sinkage readings for each side. This is despite the fact that each side was designed to be of medium-firm sink and bounce.
THE LEFT SIDE OF THE MATTRESS
- Middle: 2.75” Sinkage: less than would normally be expected for a mattress claiming medium-firm sink and bounce.
- Middle-top: 2.75” Sinkage: again, minimal sinkage for a mattress claiming to be medium-firm.
- Corner: 2.5” Sinkage: once again, less than expected for a mattress claiming medium-firm sink and bounce.
THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE MATTRESS
- Middle: 2.5” Sinkage: less than would normally be expected for a mattress claiming medium-firm sink and bounce.
- Middle-top: 2.5” Sinkage: again, very little sinkage for a mattress claiming to be medium-firm.
- Corner: 2.25” Sinkage: once again, minimal sinkage for a mattress claiming to be of medium-firm sink and bounce.
In summary, our kettlebell tests result in an overall firmness level of 8/10. This is more on the firm side of the spectrum than the medium-firm we were hoping for. Although one side is slightly plusher in feel, overall we feel the mattress is a little too firm.
SUMMARY OF SLEEPING POSITIONS
- Back Sleeping: this mattress was a little too firm for comfortable back sleeping. Back sleepers tend to opt for a softer/plusher feel to contour to their bodies better. Ours felt almost like sleeping on a board.
- Side Sleeping: offering some contouring, this mattress is okay for side sleeping. However, side sleepers usually opt for a plusher mattress to provide a gentler hug.
- Stomach Sleeping: a good option for stomach sleepers who prefer a firm mattress and the proper support to keep aligned throughout the night.
- Sitting: the edge support offered by our Helix mattress is greater than we’ve come to expect from foam mattresses. You certainly do not feel as though you will fall off the edge or that you are sinking into a black hole, which is a refreshing change. This is likely to be due to the spring content of the mattress and its overall firm feel.
The dreaded problem of sleeping hot is not an issue with the Helix mattress. It uses materials that allow for excellent airflow and, by positioning them towards the top, close to your body, they allow heat to disperse and air to pass freely. No night sweats here.
The thin, light cover also aids in the overall coolness we experienced with the Helix.
The best part of foam mattresses is the feeling that you are sleeping alone, even though you may be sharing the bed with your partner. Movements from your partner (or dog or cat!) go unnoticed, allowing you to enjoy a restful night’s sleep, even if your partner doesn’t.
This was certainly the case with the Helix. Any motion was well isolated, making it a perfect solution for couples.
Lack of longevity in the market is the one thing holding Helix Sleep back. The company has only been on the mattress scene for a year and a half, so it’s hard to say how the mattress will hold up over time.
This is not a problem unique to Helix Sleep though. Many of the most popular direct-to-consumer online mattress companies suffer the same issue: difficulty in proving durability.
We know that the typical life expectancy of high-quality mattresses tends to fall in the 5-10-year range, but how can the company back it up?
It can’t. But we can see from the high-quality materials used, its work alongside leading researchers on sleep ergonomics, and its favourable 10-year warranty, that you should have no concerns that the mattress will fall short of its promises.
We’ve said it before: foam mattresses tend to provide inadequate edge support and often leave you with an “OMG, I’m rolling off the bed!” feeling. In fact, most of the mattresses reviewed on this site thus far seem to lack in overall edge support.
The structural integrity of the Helix mattress built for us, however, didn’t fall victim to this. Trust me, I tried and failed to catch it out!
The Sleep Scouts Standout Feature
The ability to custom-design a mattress AND order online – without ever having to enter a showroom.
Instead of having a one-size-fits-all (or at least most) approach, we like that Helix Sleep tailors a mattress that takes into account sleep preferences and body characteristics, while retaining all the main advantages of the simple online shopping experience offered by its competitors.
While we ended up getting a mattress that was firmer than we expected, the ability to tailor an online mattress that will ultimately have you sleeping sound is a great concept; though the algorithm may need tweaking, the company will likely get it right.
Additionally, the option of dual comfort is great for those couples who can’t agree on a universal mattress and are not prepared to individually compromise on sleep comfort.
The Showroom Experience: Napping Encouraged!
While we love the simple online mattress shopping experience, you can get the best of both worlds if you live in New York City.
Helix Sleep offers you the chance to test the mattress in the flesh before you buy – in its one showroom located there. Simply book an appointment with a ‘sleep expert’, who will walk you through the personalization process, show you the materials that are used in the design, and build your customized mattress on the spot. You can then try out the ‘final’ product and, if necessary, tweak preferences to ensure it’s a perfect fit.
The Helix mattress is covered by a 10-year limited warranty. This applies to any of the standard defects and deterioration that do not result from improper use or handling.
What the warranty covers:
- Deterioration causing the Mattress to have a visible indentation greater than one (1) inch that is not associated with an indentation or sag which results from use of an improper or unsupportive foundation or adjustable bed base. Normal wear requires that a Mattress be continuously supported by a matching foundation or adjustable bed base with a proper bed frame sufficient to support the collective weight of the Mattress and foundation
- Any physical flaw in the Mattress that causes the foam material to split or crack, despite normal usage and proper handling.
- Any manufacturing defect in the assembly of the Mattress Cover.
What the warranty does not cover:
- A normal increase in softness of the foam pressure-relieving material which does not affect the pressure-relieving qualities of the Mattress.
- Comfort preference beyond the 100-day risk-free trial period.
- Physical abuse or damage to the structure and/or cover material, including but not limited to, burns, cuts, tears, liquid damage, or stains; provided, that the Defect is caused by such abuse or damage.
- Replacement of any non-defective pieces in the Helix sleep system (for example, if you purchase a mattress with multiple components and only one component is defective, then we will only replace the defective component).
- Any mattress (whether manufactured by Helix or not) sold by resellers who are not authorized retailers of Helix.
- Mattresses sold “as-is”, “preconditioned”, “reconditioned”, “used”, “comfort return”, “returned”, “previously owned”, or any other similar wording indicating the Mattress is not “new” or of “first quality” or has previously been purchased or used by another consumer.
Helix Sleep offers a generous 100-night trial period for testing the new mattress.
If, after that period, you are unhappy with the mattress, you can return it for a full refund. Helix Sleep will enlist their removal partners to pick up the mattress and, if possible, donate it to local charities or housing facilities, with no additional cost to you.
This helps to mitigate the element of risk that ‘blind’ purchasing a mattress online entails.
Box Dimensions & Weight
- Twin: 44” x 16” x 16” – 40-50lbs
- Twin XL: 44” x 16” x 16” – 40-50lbs
- Full: 44” x 16” x 16” – 70-80lbs
- Queen: 44” x 16” x 16” – 80-90lbs
- King: 44” x 16” x 16” – 90-100lbs
- Cal King: 44” x 16” x 16” – 90-100lbs
*Based on the construction of each mattress, weights can vary within the above ranges.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where do they deliver: Helix delivers to the US and Canada.
- Price of shipping: Shipping is free on all US orders. Canadian orders will incur a non-refundable shipping fee of C$150, as well as a customs tax.
- How long does it take to arrive: Every mattress is personalized and made-to-order. It takes 7-10 business days for a single or Blended Helix Mattress to arrive to your home, and 9-12 business days for a Dual Comfort mattress.
- Who removes the old mattress: Helix Sleep does not provide a mattress-removal service. However, if your mattress is still in relatively good condition, try to schedule a pick up with the Salvation Army or find out if your city provides bulk recycling pick-up. Local churches or homeless shelters are also good alternatives.
Bottom Line: Who Should Buy this Mattress?
Individuals who want the ability to personally customize their mattress, instead of settling for a one-size-fits-all approach, should seriously consider the Helix mattress. Thanks to its dual customization option, it is also well worth considering for couples who disagree on what perfect firmness vs. support vs. comfort feels like.
With scientific research to aid in the development of your mattress, and a no-hassle purchasing and returns policy, this mattress offers an excellent alternative to the ‘universal feel’ approach of competing online mattress companies.
Although a little more expensive than some of the other online options, you are paying for an investment that is customized to your preferences. It should provide great rest for years to come.
Final say: The Helix mattress is a great option if you want ultimate control over how you sleep.
Helix invites you to take part in their referral program. If you spread the word to friends and family, they’ll receive a $50 discount on their purchase and you’ll receive a $50 Amazon gift card code.
- General information – https://www.helixsleep.com/personalize
- Shipping information – https://www.helixsleep.com/faq
- Warranty information – https://www.helixsleep.com/warranty
- Referral Program – https://www.helixsleep.com/referral
The following ratings cover our own assessment of the product and the company, and also provide a guideline for key third-party ratings for the product.
Helix Mattress Review