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Here are two companies with a unique approach to the bed-in-a-box game. Purple uses a grid layer instead of foam, and it was designed by an actual rocket scientist to reduce pressure on your body’s joints. Helix designs your mattress based on a questionnaire, so no two mattresses look exactly alike.

Which innovation is the better one? Let’s take a look at our Purple (so science-y!) versus Helix (so personalized!) matchup.

About the Brands

Let’s get a few things straight first, ok?

Purple Recap Full Review

Why to like

  • excellent choice for side sleepers
  • grid layer is unlike any top layer we’ve seen
  • rated for heavier sleepers
  • has a standard and a hybrid option

Why to doubt

  • the hybrid option is seriously expensive
  • the grid layer might be too responsive if you love the memory foam “hug.”

Helix Recap Full Review

Why to like

  • ability to customize a mattress
  • dual sided options for queen size and larger
  • uses micro-coils for an innerspring feel
  • great for when you aren’t sure what kind of bed to get

Why to doubt

  • it isn’t rated for heavier sleepers
  • doesn’t have good edge support

Purple and Helix Comparison

They do have some things in common despite differences in mattress execution. Let’s start there.

How are Purple and Helix similar?

Logistics and mattress philosophy look very similar.

Support and Contour

Conventional mattresses are all support, meaning those inner springs push against your body so much that it forces “your natural curves into a straight line. Translation, a terrible night’s sleep.

Conventional memory foam creates a “hugging” feeling that makes some people feel like they’re sinking into a pit they can’t get out of. Sure it molds to their body, but so did carbonite to Han Solo. Also, it sleeps pretty hot.

Both Purple and Helix use the concept of contouring layers and support layers to prevent that issue. The top layers give way to your body so that your shoulders and hips can sink into the mattress further than your torso or legs. This helps keep your spine in alignment.

Once your body sinks to a certain point, the support layers push back, preventing you from sinking too deeply. It keeps things together and provides support and structure to the bed.

The foam (or in Purple’s case the grid layer) is open cell allowing air to flow more freely and wicking away heat and moisture away from the body for more refreshing night’s sleep.

Motion Transfer

So you’re married to a serial tosser and turner, and although you promised to love this person through good times and bad, you’re pretty sure your vows didn’t extend to this. Good news for you: both Purple and Helix are excellent at isolating motion and preventing it from spreading across the entire bed.

The properties of foam keep motion to a minimum so you’ll get a more restful night’s sleep overall. Another plus is that if one partner is significantly more heavy than the other, it helps keep the surface more level for the lighter sleeper. If you’ve ever rolled towards a partner in the middle of the night because of a significant depression in the bed, this will be welcome news.

Financing

If the cost of the mattress is out of reach for you, both companies offer financing directly through their websites. You can check out as usual and receive approval right from the checkout page.

Manufacturing and Customer Service

Both companies manufacture their mattresses right in the United States. The companies have pledged currently to keep their businesses in the communities that helped them begin so that they return that goodwill to our economy.

Customer service representatives are also located in the United States. That should make any issues or returns much more accessible to process for you than when companies ship customer service overseas.

Accessories

Both companies offer a wide range of accessories intended to complement your new mattress. You can purchase bed frames, pillows, mattress protectors, and a few other things right alongside your mattress. Get a whole suite of things to improve your sleep.

Purple also has a seat cushion invented initially for wheelchair users, and they just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for their first ever pet bed. Your furry friend’s perfect bed should be out in Summer 2018.

Trial Period and Warranty

Both companies let you sleep on your new mattress for 100 nights to try things out and allow your body to adjust. They both ask that you keep your bed for a minimum of 30 nights to see if you genuinely like it.

Both warranty periods are ten years and mostly cover defective mattresses. There are allowances for wear and tear that falls outside the range of normal. The companies reserve the right to make judgment calls about different types of situations and fees associated with warranties.

How are Purple and Helix different?

You want to get to the good part. We like that about you.

Mattress Styles

Purple comes in two different models while Helix has one customizable model. Let’s look.

The Original Purple

The original purple uses three layers. The first is their proprietary grid layer that functions as a huge pressure relief on curves and joints while maximizing air flow. The next is a comfort layer that enhances the grid layer and transitions the body to the support layer. The base is a dense foam that prevents the body from sinking too far and keeps the spine in alignment.

The New Purple

The new Purple mattress is a hybrid mattress. It uses micro-coils as the base support layer to provide better bounce and responsiveness. It’s sandwiched between layers of comfort foam to reduce motion transfer, and on top, you can choose a two-inch, three-inch, or super plush four-inch grid layer to finish things off.

Helix

The Helix comes with one mattress, but based on your questionnaire answers, the layers of the bed are moved around to create your perfect mattress. It arranges cooling layers, firm or soft comfort layers, base layers and other factors to produce a mattress that’s just your preference.

If you have a partner and you guys can’t decide on a type of mattress to save your lives, you might benefit from the dual-sided Helix. If you choose a queen size or larger, you can customize both sides of the bed for different sleep preferences (including firmness and a warmer/cooler sleep).

Technically it’s a hybrid mattress with pocketed coils to provide the dense support layer. It doesn’t have a full memory foam mattress option, so if you like the bigger “hug” of all memory foam, you aren’t going to get that with this particular mattress.

Showrooms

Purple has a couple of showrooms in their native Utah, but Helix is difficult to test out because the mattresses are so customized. Even if you knew a friend who had a Helix mattress, chances are they’d have an entirely different feeling mattress than the one you’d have.

Edge Support

Purple mattresses are very supportive all the way to the edges. If you share a bed with someone else, every inch of the mattress counts. Poor edge support means you’re huddled in the middle fighting for valuable mattress real estate. With Purple, that doesn’t happen. It’s even good for side or stomach sleepers who prefer the side to get into a proper position.

The Helix, on the other hand, doesn’t have as good edge support as the Purple. While it’s not terrible, it’s going to feel a little more sag. If you get a firmer mattress, there’s a little more support, but overall it isn’t as good.

Pricing

They’re stair steps of each other. For the original Purple mattress, you’ll get the cheapest option with a California king hovering around $900. The Helix is in the middle at just under $1250 for a California king. The new Purple is an outlier here at over $3000 for a California king with a four inch top layer. The two inch top layer is just under $1900, so still an outlier but closing that gap a bit.

You have two ranges of options, either of the mattresses that are well within range of each other, or the newest Purple choice at over twice as much.

Heavy Sleepers

If you and/or your partner is on the heavier end of the spectrum, the good news is that Purple is rated for a total weight of 600 pounds. While not the industry leading average, it does give you better options for a mattress.

It’s important to find a mattress rated for heavier weights because the extra weight interacts more fully with the support layer if you don’t. It’ll feel more firm than the company recommendation.

Helix doesn’t have a weight option at this time, so this tips the scales in Purple’s favor, especially with increased edge support and excellent motion transfer reduction.

And The Winner Is…

Purple! Buy Online Now

We’re confident recommending Purple as the best choice based on our analysis of key factors that an average, discerning mattress shopper would care most about.

Although Purple can get pretty expensive, we’re impressed with the airflow of the grid layer. It’s such a good choice, especially for side sleepers and anyone who has trouble with pain in specific pressure point areas such as the shoulders or lower back.

It also has a higher rating for those on the heavier end of the spectrum, which is nice because we get tired of steering people away from a perfectly good mattress because the company didn’t consider them.

So, while Helix has a fascinating model and is indeed a good idea for couples who cannot find a happy middle with a mattress type, Purple is going to be the better choice for most people.

Quality – Purple

Price – Purple

Reputation – Tie

Sleep Trial – Tie

Warranty – Tie

Customer Support – Tie

Product Selection – Purple (Unless you fall into the narrow category of couples who need a dual mattress)

For sleepers with specific needs…

And now for more specific recommendations.

Side Sleepers: Choose Purple

Here’s why. Purple’s proprietary grid layer reduces pressure down to almost zero. Do you know how revolutionary that is for side sleepers? No more cramped shoulder and dead arms when you wake up. It might be the best night’s sleep you can get.

Stomach Sleepers: Choose Purple

Here’s why. Reducing pressure on the joints while you’re on your stomach is essential so that your spine doesn’t overextend while you’re in the superman position. Purple also has better side support for those of you who like to use the edge of the bed to find your comfortable position.

Back Pain: Choose Purple

Here’s why.

Heavy People: Choose Purple

Here’s why. Purple is rated up to 600 pounds, it has edge support, and excellent reduction of motion transfer. This means that not only will your body interact with the mattress better than mattresses aren’t rated for heavier sleepers, but if only one partner is on the heavier side, it won’t create weird pits in the bed and the edges will stay supported.

Couples: Choose Helix

Here’s why. Helix allows you to customize each side of the bed for your particular preferences. Plus, Helix uses micro-coils, which are better for sex, but If you’re a heavier couple, you should look at the Purple instead to make sure that you are fully supported.

Conclusion

Purple’s rocket science designed top grid layer is an excellent innovation in the world of memory foam. It’s more responsive and reduces pressure, particularly for side sleepers, lower than any mattress on the market currently.

Combine that with some excellent accessories and a highly affordable original version, and you’ve got a genuinely innovative bed that’s within reach. Unless you need the dual-sided Helix to save your marriage or partnership, Purple should hit all the highlights.

What do you think about Helix’s questionnaire method? Can it work? Admit it. You filled it out to see what you’d get, just like we did. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Tim

Remember how your parents told you that you were going to sleep your life away? Well that would be perfectly fine with Tim. He's been in search of the most comfortable nights sleep for years and shares his findings with any willing ear.

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