Searching for a mattress can be a pain in the back, especially with the huge range of options available on the market today. Maybe you’re also looking for an eco-friendly option: one you can buy with less guilt about sustainability and the ecological impact of your purchase. Will a bamboo mattress be right for you? Today’s post will review the advantages of bamboo mattresses, who might best benefit from them, and what to look out for when buying.
What Is A Bamboo Mattress?
Bamboo mattresses are typically made of foam with either a bamboo cover or an added layer of bamboo-infused gel. They are best-suited for cooling and moisture control requirements. They work best when paired with bamboo sheets.
What Are The Benefits Of Bamboo Mattresses?
There are a few notable marketed benefits of bamboo mattresses. Let’s take a look at each of these factors and how they may work to your advantage.
Cooling and Moisture-Wicking Material
Made of plant-based cellulose fibers, bamboo quickly wicks away moisture, keeping you dry and cool throughout the night. Micro gaps in the structure of this material allows moisture to evaporate faster than others, reducing the number of nights you wake up sticking to the sheets.
Layers of bamboo charcoal-infused fabric and/or gel help to disperse heat, regulating temperature throughout the night. This is especially helpful in memory foam mattresses, which have historically been known to sleep arm. Bamboo charcoal-infused fabric additionally helps control odors that could develop from regular exposure moisture and sweat.
Back and Joint Support
Not directly attributed to the bamboo, bamboo mattresses are generally good for back and joint support. Most often, these beds are made from medium to firm memory foam. Memory foam conforms to your body to provide gentle support where needed without painful pressure on your joints.
One of the main benefits marketed for bamboo fiber and beds is its natural antibacterial properties. There is much controversy surrounding this claim. Per the Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical research, there are some compounds present in bamboo leaf extracts with natural antibacterial properties, though these properties don’t extend to natural bamboo fibers. In fact, research cited in that journal entry from 2020 found that natural bamboo fibers have no natural antibacterial or antimicrobial properties.
Despite the findings that natural bamboo fibers do not support antibacterial claims, there is evidence that regenerated bamboo fiber can. Regenerated bamboo is made by soaking natural bamboo fibers in a sodium hydroxide solution to dissolve the cellulose. Carbon disulfide is then added, which allows the bamboo fibers to regenerate and be spun into yarn with another material, typically cotton.
In a research article on the antibacterial properties of bamboo, published in the Journal of Natural Fibers in May 2019, it was discovered that limited antibacterial properties were found in fiber samples. The downside is that the sample that displayed the resistance required high levels of bamboo fiber, about 75%. On average, bamboo textiles will be sold with a 50% cotton and 50% bamboo ratio, though 70% bamboo material is available.
This antibacterial resistance has also been attributed not to the chemical properties of the fiber, but to the micro gapped structure of the bamboo weave, which allows more moisture absorption across its surface, promoting faster evaporation.
Bamboo grows at an incredible rate–some species can grow almost three feet a day. This is why it is considered such a sustainable material. Trimming back the plant actually stimulates growth; new leaves grow from the severed end, telling the roots to send new growth to make up for what was lost. It doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizer, and outputs more oxygen than trees.
Unfortunately, the process of turning bamboo fibers into fabric is not friendly for the environment. The carbon disulfide used when treating the fibers is harmful to both the environment and humans. This is a factor to consider if sustainability is a selling point for you.
Pros & Cons Of A Bamboo Mattress vs. Regular Mattress
We’ve made a list of pros and cons of bamboo vs regular mattresses so you don’t have to. What gives bamboo the edge over a traditional mattress, and what would cause you to want to go a more standard route?
Cooling and Moisture Wicking Properties
Bamboo mattresses are engineered to sleep cooler than standard cotton-topped mattresses. Research shows that bamboo wicks away more moisture and evaporates more quickly than cotton fibers. The extra breathability attributed to the weave of the bamboo material gives them an edge over regular mattresses.
Joint and Back Support
Because they are typically made from memory foam, bamboo mattresses cradle your body while providing gentle joint support. For those that struggle with pressure points on traditional innerspring mattresses, this is definite pro.
Despite chemical concerns, bamboo does offer a lot in terms of sustainability through fast growth, minimized water consumption (when compared with cotton), and oxygen output.
There are very few cons when it comes to Bamboo mattresses, but in the interest of fairness and objectivity, let’s take a look.
In the interest of fairness, only the cost of the best-rated memory foam mattresses vs the best-rated bamboo mattresses were used for this comparison. Bamboo mattresses are typically more expensive, between $200 – $400 more expensive than their normal memory foam counterparts.
Bamboo mattresses boast a few things, but they do these few things extremely well. Ultimately, this means that the options available are relatively limited. The market for bamboo mattresses comes with few bells and whistles–they have a set firmness and limited thickness levels. If you’d like more options available, bamboo mattress toppers are available to purchase to add on to other mattresses.
What Are The Best Bamboo Mattresses?
Some companies that manufacture bamboo mattresses work their craft well. Here are some top-rated bamboo mattresses on the market today.
Cariloha Classic Mattress
Made from four different layers of foam material, Cariloha’s mattresses are designed to support your body while sleeping cool, and repelling odors. With a top layer of bamboo charcoal memory foam, middle layer of soft luxury memory foam, a layer of side-wedge support, and a base layer of dual-density foam to promote airflow, this mattress is a great base option for cool sleeping memory foam support.
In early spring of 2023, Cariloha’s queen-sized classic mattress costs $1,299.
Lucid Bamboo Charcoal and Aloe Vera Hybrid Mattress
A more budget-focused bed option, Lucid’s bamboo charcoal and aloe vera hybrid mattress combines memory foam with innerspring coils to give the best of both worlds. Individually encased innerspring coils help relieve pressure from individual coils, while minimizing motion transfer. Topped with a layer of aloe vera memory foam and a final layer of charcoal bamboo memory foam, comfort and cool sleep is kept in mind for those that prefer firm bed bases.
A lucid mattress costs $339.99 for a queen-size bed.
Tulo 10” Memory Foam Bamboo Mattress
Tulo mattresses are a bed-in-a-box product with the benefits of a soft bamboo knit cover. It is a two-layer memory foam construction. The base layer of foam provides medium support for back and joint support. Tulo also includes a three-inch thick top layer of green tea-infused memory foam, which is purported to keep the mattress smelling clean while providing additional soft support. This type of mattress can be used alongside adjustable bed bases without risking damage to the material.
A queen Tulo mattress can be purchased for $719.99, sometimes significantly lower with holiday sales.
NapQueen Charcoal Infused Memory Foam Mattress
Another bed in a box product, NapQueen’s 10” memory foam mattress provides medium support with the cooling properties of bamboo charcoal infused memory foam. NapQueen is compatible with adjustable bed bases and is great for stomach, back, and side sleepers.
This option is great for those on a budget, with a queen size available for $425 in 2023.
Brentwood Home Cypress
Brentwood Home is a well-known name for bamboo mattresses. These beds are made from memory foam, but have a hybrid option available. The polyurethane foam uses up to 20% soy-based polypol, called Bio Foam, for low indoor emissions. Their bamboo charcoal-infused memory foam wicks heat and moisture away from the body for a cool and dry sleep experience. For those that like more firm support, the hybrid option has individually pocketed coils for cushioned support that distributes partner movement evenly.
The classic 11” queen all-foam mattress runs $799, and the hybrid option can be purchased for $1,039.
Things To Consider When Buying A Bamboo Mattress
Buying a mattress isn’t always fun–there are some things that need to be addressed that aren’t as exciting as planning out your new purchase. Don’t worry, we have you. Here are some things to consider when looking over your options.
Why do you want a bamboo bed in the first place? Keep in mind the features available in bamboo beds aren’t as diverse as other materials. Make a list of what you expect from your bed: whether you like softer or firmer support, if you need cooling materials, if your mattress needs to conform to an adjustable bed base.
For example, if you like a soft, bouncy bed, then a bamboo mattress won’t be right for you. If you love the feeling of sinking into a medium to firm mattress that hugs your curves, this will be a great option for you.
Spouse or Partner
Bamboo beds don’t have adjustable firmness or cooling zones. If you sleep with a partner, be sure to go shopping together or confirm that you both have similar sleeping preferences.
While bamboo beds aren’t the least expensive options on the market, they also typically won’t break the bank. There’s a huge range in bamboo bed pricing, so no matter your budget, you should be able to find a bamboo option if your heart is set on it. Know that, like most purchases, the less expensive products sacrifice quality.
Warranty and Return Period
Any mattress you buy should come with a warranty. Warranties are especially important for mattresses, as the buyer often doesn’t realize that new aches and pains may be caused by their new sleeping surface. The warranty on this product should include both a standard warranty to cover defects in workmanship and materials as well as an elongated return period to return or exchange the product.
With so much marketing hype surrounding bamboo mattresses, it can be hard to determine whether this is the product for you. Essentially, it comes down to whether a certain bamboo mattress matches your sleeping preferences, budget, and personal preferences regarding sustainability and sleep comfort.