Recently, it seems like a new latex mattress comes out every week. This is not very surprising to me, as more and more sleepers are understanding the benefits of an all-natural mattress.
In short, all-natural mattresses are free of harmful chemicals, durable, and eco-friendly.
Now, Helix has released its own latex hybrid mattress, the Birch. I’ve been a fan of the other Helix mattresses, and I have enjoyed my experience with many different latex mattresses.
Having tried out so many popular latex mattresses, I was interested to see how the Birch would compare. How does it stack up against the ever-growing number of latex hybrids? Read on for my full review.
You Might Want To Pick The Birch If …
- You are a back or stomach sleeper. The Birch is a very supportive mattress and should be a good match for back and stomach sleepers of many sizes. Opt for the version without the pillow-top, and you should get the support you need in both these positions.
- You are a side sleeper. If you want, you can also choose to add a pillow-top to your Birch mattress. This will make the mattress a better match for side sleeping. Side sleepers want to make sure they get enough pressure relief on their shoulders and hips. The pillow-top adds some softness, so you will feel little pressure.
- You are a larger person. The coils in this mattress are very high grade. They will be able to support even much heavier weights. If you are larger and worried about getting enough support, the Birch should be a good option.
- You want an all-natural mattress. The Birch contains materials that are naturally sourced. Even when the latex is made into a foam, there are no harmful chemicals used. If you don’t want to sleep on a mattress that is full of harmful chemicals, check out the Birch.
- You are a hot sleeper. The Birch contains many elements that should keep you from overheating. The coils, wool, and latex make the mattress very breathable. It shouldn’t trap heat or make you sleep hot at night.
You Might Not Want To Pick The Birch If …
- You want a very firm or very soft mattress. If you go with the Birch without the pillow-top, you will be sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. If you are looking for a mattress that is on either end of the firmness spectrum, the Birch might not work for you.
- You like to sink into your mattress. If you prefer to sink into your mattress and feel it envelop you, the Birch probably won’t work for you. It is a latex mattress, so you sleep more on top of the mattress. Those who want to sink into their mattress should take a look at something with memory foam.
- You don’t like a bouncy mattress. The Birch mattress contains latex, which makes it very bouncy. While some people may like this feeling, it is not for everyone. If you want a mattress with less bounce, I would look elsewhere.
- The Birch is 11” tall.
- The cover is made of organic cotton.
- Beneath that, you have a layer of wool and rayon. This acts as a fire retardant.
- Next, there is a layer of 100% organic wool. It adds a bit of comfort and pressure relief.
- Below this, a layer of ventilated Talalay latex provides some more pressure relief.
- The support layer consists of individually-wrapped coils.
- The base is a thin layer of wool batting.
- There is a layer of wool underneath the organic cotton cover. This is a flame retardant and it also helps keep the top of the mattress soft and breathable.
- The layer of Talalay latex is, like most latex, bouncy. It responds very quickly so you should be able to move around easily on this mattress. It will also make it so you sleep more on top of the mattress (rather than “in” it).
- The coils are very supportive and should be able to support people of many sizes. Even if you are a larger person, the Birch mattress should be able to support you. At the same time, lighter and medium-weight back and stomach sleepers could still find the Birch to be a good match.
- You can choose to add a pillow-top to your Birch mattress. The version without the pillow-top should be a better match for back and stomach sleepers. Side sleepers will most likely prefer the pillow-top version. The pillow-top adds 3” of comfort, so you should feel better pressure relief on your shoulders and hips.
- The Birch should be a cooler sleeping mattress. The coils promote airflow through the mattress, making it very breathable. The wool and aerated latex also add some breathability to the top of the mattress. Hot sleepers should take a look at the Birch.
How The Birch Compares To Other Latex Mattresses
As I said above, there are now so many latex mattresses to choose from. How are you supposed to choose from such a long list of all-natural mattresses?
The Birch does have a lot in common with its many competitors:
- With its coils and layer of Talalay latex, the Birch is very supportive and should be able to handle heavier weights.
- Like many other latex mattresses, the Birch is breathable and should keep hot sleepers from overheating.
- Similar to other latex mattresses, the Birch is also very durable. The components used in the mattress shouldn’t sag or wear down too quickly.
- In terms of feel, the Birch is bouncy. This is normal for a latex mattress. The Birch is very responsive, so it is very easy to move around on the mattress.
The Birch has most of the qualities you should look for in a latex mattress. So, why should you choose the Birch over other latex mattresses? What sets it apart?
First, you can choose to include a pillow-top or not. In my experience, the version without the pillow-top is one of the most supportive latex mattresses I have tried. Because of this, the Birch should be able to handle even heavier weights than its competitors.
This also makes the Birch a particularly good choice for back sleepers and stomach sleepers. Stomach sleepers should especially like the flat, supportive surface of the Birch.
The Birch is also very competitively priced. When it comes to latex, you can always expect to pay more. Latex is not cheap to source, so this will drive up the price of the mattresses. That said, the Birch is more affordable than many other latex mattresses on the market.
Firmness And Feel
When it comes to the firmness of the Birch, you actually have a few options. If you choose to go with the pillow-top, your mattress is going to be softer. If you go without the pillow-top, it will be a bit firmer.
I tried the Birch without the pillow-top and thought it was close to a 7/10 in terms of firmness. The wool layers and latex are somewhat soft, but once you push down into the mattress, you hit some firmer support layers. This makes the mattress slightly firmer than average.
Here is how I felt in different sleeping positions:
- Lying on my back, the Birch is a good fit for me. My hips sink into the wool and latex layers, but they don’t sink in too far. In addition, I feel the latex foam pressing up into my lumbar area.
- When I am side sleeping, the mattress is too firm for me. If you are a side sleeper, it is worth choosing the pillow-top. This will give you much better pressure relief on your shoulders and hips.
- Stomach sleeping, the Birch without the pillow-top is very supportive. I feel well aligned, and the mattress does not allow me to bow in at the hips.
The Birch has a feel that you find with most latex mattresses. It is very bouncy. The combination of latex and coils make the mattress very responsive, so it is easy to move around. You should sleep on top of the mattress without sinking in too far.
However, if you do decide to go with the pillow-top, this will give the mattress a plusher feel on top.
When it comes to handling motion transfer, latex and coils are not really the best materials. If you want a mattress to cut down on the disturbances made by a sleeping partner, memory foam or some soft foam is usually a better choice.
To test out the Birch’s motion isolation capabilities, I placed a glass of water on the mattress. When I pressed into the other areas of the mattress, I saw quite a bit of disturbance. Also, I laid down on the mattress while Marten got in and out of bed and mimicked the movements of another sleeper. I definitely felt his movements on my side of the bed.
If you want a mattress for couples, it is worth noting you could see some motion transfer on the Birch.
If you are looking for a couples mattress, you should also think about edge support. Will you be able to sleep toward the edge of the mattress, or will you have to sleep closer to the middle?
When I sit on the edge of the Birch, I don’t feel like I am going to pitch forward. I feel secure enough to lean over and tie my shoes. I also feel like I can lie down close to the edge without feeling like I am going to fall off.
You can see the good edge support in the photo below.
You should always consider your weight when buying a mattress. I am medium-sized at 5’9″ and 160 lb. So I asked Marten, who is 6’7″ and 230 lb, to talk about his experience on the Birch:
In terms of firmness, Joe said it was 7/10, and I thought it close to a 7 or 7.5/10.
Here is how I feel in different sleeping positions.
- Back sleeping, I feel some very nice support. My hips sink in just the right amount, and the mattress is definitely able to support my heavier weight.
- Moving to my side, I feel some serious pressure on my shoulders and hips. Again, this is the model without the pillow-top. If you go with the pillow-top, you should feel much better pressure relief when you are on your side.
- When I am stomach sleeping, I don’t feel the best support. I am sinking into the mattress a bit, so I don’t feel that flat, even support that stomach sleepers should be looking for.
If you are a heavier back sleeper, this is a great option. If you are a heavier side sleeper, I would go with the pillow-top version. If you are a heavier stomach sleeper, I would look elsewhere.
It seems Marten also felt the Birch was a bit firmer than average. While he thought the mattress was a good fit for back sleeping, it was not supportive enough for him when he was on his stomach. Larger stomach sleepers should take note.
Unboxing The Birch
Like other bed-in-a-box mattresses, the Birch will arrive on your doorstep in a cardboard box. You’re going to want to ask a friend for help transporting the heavier latex mattress inside.
Once you are in the bedroom, open the box and take out the rolled-up Birch mattress. Place the roll on your frame or foundation and start to cut through the outer layers of plastic. Do this carefully, because you don’t want to damage the mattress.
When you get through the final layer, the mattress is going to expand quickly. It has coils and latex, so it might pop out of that final layer.
Clear away the rest of the plastic, and your Birch mattress should be good to go!
What Makes The Birch Stand Out?
- You can choose a version with or without a pillow-top.
- The mattress is very supportive and should be a good match for many back and stomach sleepers.
- Even larger people should feel nice support on the Birch.
- The Birch contains all-natural materials, so it is free of harmful chemicals.
- The mattress should be a good fit for hot sleepers.
In the end, the Birch is a high-quality latex mattress. It should work for back and stomach sleepers who want something without harmful chemicals. Side sleepers can choose to include a pillow-top, which should give them better pressure relief.
The Birch comes with a 25-year Limited Warranty, 100-night Sleep Trial, free shipping, and returns. Financing is available and 1% of sales goes to the National Forest Foundation.
You can also buy the pillow-top by itself along with other accessories.
Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.
He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.
Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.
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