Bear Mattress is a 25-year-old bedding provider, geared toward providing consumers with a restful and therapeutic night’s sleep. Each of their mattresses are designed to provide optimum comfort and support, using various innovative technologies and methods of construction as a means to this end. The use of graphite-gel cooling foam and a sleep-enhancing “smart fabric” are hallmarks of the brand. The company also offers a 100-day warranty to ensure that consumer satisfaction is guaranteed.
These mattresses are geared mainly toward athletes and other individuals with active lifestyles. However, you don’t necessarily need to be an athlete to appreciate their qualities. This review will help you decide if the product meets your personal needs.
Materials and Construction
The Bear Mattress has a base of high-density support foam, which gives the foundation its firmness (see the corresponding subheading below). This base measures 6.5 inches, and is considerably firm in comparison with the rest.
Next comes a layer of traditional performance foam, which measures about one inch; and atop that, an additional layer of quick-response foam for bounce, also one inch. The 1.5-inch graphite-gel memory foam is next, topped by the aforementioned “smart fabric” with Celliant cooling technology (see “Fire and Ice: Retention and Distribution of Body Heat” below for more details on this material) that this brand is known for.
Eco-friendly consumers may rest assured that the product meets US certified standards for chemical usage and compound emissions. This particular model was introduced in 2015, at which time many companies were embracing the urge to “go green.”
Finally, note that the mattress is adjustable-base compatible, which can be an issue with some memory-foam models. Its relative lightness also makes it easy to move around. Owing to its bottom-to-top construction, it’s not meant to be flipped over, but the top cover is removable, which makes it easier to clean and dry in the event of spills.
Bear also offers a Hybrid model, which includes a layer of micro-coils in its support core. Some would argue that this is not a true hybrid, as the coils are not of standard size, but if you’d like to test-drive the benefits of memory foam without sacrificing that essential bounce, the Bear Hybrid is a good pick.
The construction differs only slightly from the flagship model: The base layer is comprised of high-density support foam, but the next layer incorporates the use of encased micro-coils before finishing off with the cooling gel memory foam, the comfort layer, and the Celliant-infused cover.
That Smell: Off-Gassing
With any new product, there’s the risk of a slight chemical or warehouse odor upon unpacking. In the case of a mattress, this can be especially problematic, as no one wants to battle funky smells when trying to fall asleep.
In this case, a few testers detected a slight whiff or two when they first unboxed the product, while others noticed nothing at all. Those who did report off-gassing also noted that the smell dissipated within about an hour. Just in case, consumers should plan on letting the mattress air out for a while before setting it up.
Too Hard, Too Soft, or Just Right: The Firmness Factor
This is arguably the most important element to consider when choosing a mattress. While everyone has their own preferences, a comfortable night’s sleep remains the ultimate goal.
Indentation Load Deflection
The top layer of memory foam has an indentation load deflection (ILD) of about nine pounds. In layman’s terms, this means that nine pounds of force are necessary to create a 25 percent indentation on a four-inch square of foam. Below the graphite-gel foam, the ILD increases with each layer, with a 10-pound designation for the quick-response foam, 18 pounds for the performance layer, and 30 pounds for the base. Whether this creates the right degree of support is strictly a matter of personal preference, but these numbers put the product somewhere in the high middle when it comes to firmness.
The Middle Ground
While it can be interesting to experiment with differing levels of ILD, the bottom line is: Does the mattress provide the necessary support? The memory foam is a great asset in this department, as it hugs the contours of your body without allowing you to sink too far. The mattresses are best described as medium-firm–about a 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being as hard as a brick.
If you’re not sure which level of firmness you prefer, take your usual sleeping position into account. Medium-firm provides the ideal degree of support for back sleepers, owing to the fact that your weight is distributed more or less evenly in this position. While stomach sleepers often prefer a very firm mattress to prevent hip sag, that’s less of an issue here, as the numerous layers provides an adequate degree of support. Side sleepers, on the other hand, would be better off choosing a softer mattress.
Testers with frequent neck and back pain reported that their symptoms either eased or disappeared entirely after a few weeks’ use. Athletes, particularly those in training, should appreciate the Celliant technology, as it is intended to promote the healing of damaged tissue.
The Size of It
Body size is another factor to consider. Since this mattress is only just under a foot thick, it’s not a good choice for anyone who weighs over 250 pounds. People of size should consider looking into sleeping surfaces geared specifically toward their needs.
Some folks prefer to rest on top of the mattress during sleep, while others would rather be swallowed up by the material. Still others fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. The weight of the individual should be taken into account, as well as personal preference.
When it comes to memory foam, some sinking into the mattress is virtually guaranteed, but the levels vary. Here’s a guide to give you a rough outline of how much “sinkage” these mattresses provide. (The tests were performed using medicine balls in the weights reported.)
- 6 pounds: One inch below the surface
- 8 pounds: 1.5 inches
- 10 pounds: 2 inches
- 50 pounds: 4 inches
Let’s say the construct sounds perfect, and the firmness is just what you’re looking for. But is the other half of the mattress affected when there’s movement on one side?
If you’re sleeping with a partner who’s constantly tossing and turning throughout the night, this question might be the most important one of all. Bear Mattress receives consistently high ratings in this department, owing mainly to its many layers of differing thickness and density. Testers report a minimum of sleep disturbance, even when the second person slips into bed at a completely different time.
To test motion isolation for yourself, here’s a simple test: Take two objects of roughly the same weight, and drop the first one on the near side of the mattress. Note how long it bounces and jostles before coming to rest. Then switch sides and drop the second object on the opposing side of the bed. If the first object moves very little or not at all, the motion isolation is outstanding.
Light sleepers will also appreciate the virtual silence of the product. There is almost no discernable noise associated with movement on the surface.
Co-sleepers often need to use the entire surface of the mattress, and therefore want assurances that they won’t fall off the edge if they roll over too far. This is a particular concern when it comes to foam mattresses, as they have no clearly defined edges.
In Bear’s case, there’s generally good support all around. Even when a bit of the body weight was redistributed off the bed, there was minimal compression reported. However, the compression increased when the tester was sitting on the very edge.
Retention and Distribution of Body Heat
Memory foam, on the whole, tends to create a hotter night’s sleep than a traditional spring mattress. This is due to the same formfitting, retentive qualities that make the material appealing in the first place. However, there is one factor that sets Bear Mattress apart from the rest: The implementation of Celliant cooling technology in its top layer.
Celliant is created by grinding active minerals into infinitesimally small particles (100 times thinner than a single human hair, according to the company website), until they’re fine enough to form a resin. The result? Infrared technology that purports to transform the body’s natural radiation into healing energy by enhancing the tissue oxygen levels during sleep. The patented fabric–designated as a medical device by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act–is part of what makes this product a top draw for athletes. While it doesn’t provide cooling in the same way that, say, an electric blanket provides heat, it does do a decent job of regulating body temperature through redistribution of energy.
Note that any therapeutic properties of the Celliant technology are claims made by the company itself; testers aren’t qualified to judge the medicinal benefits. Individuals are therefore invited to try the product for themselves (see the Warranty section below). Many testers do report that their back or neck pain dissipated or disappeared altogether within a few weeks of using this mattress.
It All Comes Down to Dollars and Sense: Cost vs. Value
If you’re looking into buying a mattress, there’s a good chance that cost is a major factor in your decision-making process. After all, these aren’t products that come cheaply. Nor should they, as adults spend roughly one-third of their time in bed–the investment should be worth the money spent.
Here’s a list of the most recently advertised Bear Mattress prices:
- Twin XL-$640
- California King-$940
Considering the quality of the materials, and the fact that this is marketed as something of a niche product, these prices can be considered a good deal. Bear in mind that this is only true as long as you think you would benefit from everything the construction and materials have to offer. Less active individuals, solo sleepers, and those who generally sleep well regardless of the temperature might be just as happy with another manufacturer. Likewise, anyone who’s looking for an ultra-firm mattress will probably not be happy with the mid-level support offered here.
The Rip van Winkle Test: Longevity and Value
A mattress is an investment that’s meant to last years, if not decades, so longevity is an important factor to consider as well.
A manufacturer warranty of 10 years in included with every purchase, which is fairly standard for the industry; however, some other top-rated products offer warranties of 20 or even 25 years. Still, it’s worth noting that the company offers features that are difficult to find elsewhere, meaning that the shorter guarantee might be worth it. Unfortunately, due to the relative newness of the product (it hit the market in 2015), it’s impossible to judge its long-term usage with any certainty.
The following issues and defects are covered by the warranty:
- Cracks or splits in the foam layers
- Zipper malfunctions
- Any lasting divots deeper than one inch
The 100-Day Guarantee
In addition to the warranty, the company offers consumers the opportunity to test-run the product over a period of 100 nights, after which the consumer may receive a full refund if they aren’t completely satisfied with their purchase. Note that Bear does ask that consumers try the product for at least 30 days before requesting a refund, as it often takes time to adjust to a new sleeping situation, even if the changes are for the better.
As noted above, flipping the mattress is not recommended. Although it might be possible to rotate it in order to shift the pressure to other areas, this isn’t really necessary with memory foam–in fact, since the material conforms to your body, rotation might lead to a spate of initial discomfort.
The Celliant cover is easily removed for drying in case of water spills. If anything else is spilled on the fabric, gentle cleaning with warm water and laundry detergent is the best course of action.
The bottom line? These mattresses are priced significantly lower than others in the memory-foam category. These savings, combined with the added features that are unique to the company, help to offset the not-so-generous warranty period.
Is Bear Mattress the Right Choice For You?
To review, there are certain people who will likely be delighted with this product, and others who might do better to seek out other options. You’re the right candidate for a Bear Mattress if any of the following apply:
- You’re an athlete or lead an otherwise active lifestyle
- You currently suffer from back, neck, or hip discomfort, particularly first thing in the morning
- You prefer a memory-foam mattress without too much sinkage
- You’re either a back sleeper, a stomach sleeper, or a combination
- You like to sleep cool
- You’re on a budget and looking for a good value
You probably won’t appreciate this product if:
- You like a mattress to be either very soft or very firm
- You don’t enjoy the sinking qualities of memory foam
- You’re exclusively a side sleeper
- You’re a person of size (more than 250 pounds)
In short, Bear Mattress is a great pick within its category, testing highly in all of its advertised fields. If you’re looking for an affordable, high-quality memory foam or hybrid mattress, you won’t go wrong here.