Can’t decide between the Nolah and Purple mattresses? You’re not alone. These are two quality mattresses that both have a lot to offer.
I have the information you need to find the right mattress for you. I will give you all the details on the construction, firmness, and who I believe should choose one mattress over the other.
So, will it be the soft foam Nolah or the squishy yet firm Purple? Read on for my full review.
- They both have proprietary comfort layers.
- They are both good options for hot sleepers.
- They have similar base and transition layers.
- They incorporate very different materials in their top layers.
- The Purple is firmer than the Nolah.
- The Nolah has a balanced foam feel, and the Purple has a unique responsive, squishy gel feel.
- The Nolah is cheaper than the Purple.
- The Nolah is 10” tall.
- The cover is thin and fairly soft.
- First, there are 2” of a soft and responsive AirFoam.
- Next, there is 1” of a latex-like Avena foam.
- Finally, there is a 7”high-density base foam support layer.
- It is 9.5” tall.
- The cover is soft and thin.
- The first layer is 2” of a Purple Smart Comfort Grid. It is a hyper-elastic polymer with a squishy feeling.
- Next, there are 3.5” of a Plush Comfort Foam.
- The base layer is 4” of polyfoam.
- They have similar covers, soft and thin.
- The main difference between their construction is going to be found in their comfort layers. The Nolah’s soft AirFoam is great for pressure relief and has a balanced foam feel. The Purple has a unique hyper-elastic polymer that is firm but pressure relieving at the same time.
- Their comfort layers react differently to pressure. The more pressure you put on Nolah, the more you sink in. With the Purple, the mattress stays firm until you reach a certain amount of pressure and then it collapses.
Because of these differences, the Nolah may be a better choice for side sleepers. The Purple may work better for back, stomach, or combination sleepers.
- They should both work well at keeping you from overheating while you sleep.
- The hyper-elastic polymer in the Purple should make it a more durable mattress.
Firmness and Feel
For me, the Nolah felt like a 5.5/10 for firmness and the Purple felt like a 7/10. While I thought the Nolah was the softer of these two mattresses, some might have a different experience.
The hyper-elastic polymer in the Purple only collapses under a certain threshold. So, it may feel firmer to lighter people, but softer to heavier people.
The Nolah, on the other hand, felt soft to me, but it may feel firmer to a heavier person. They may press through the soft upper layers and engage the foundation layers beneath.
In my experience, I felt good support on my back with both mattresses. However, I felt a bit better back sleeping on the Purple. The gel grid collapsed under my hips and butt but held the rest of my body up.
On my side, I felt good pressure relief on both mattresses. However, I don’t think I am heavy enough to really activate the gel grid on the Purple. Because of this, I felt better on my side with the Nolah. I sunk in a bit and felt little to no pressure on my shoulders and hips.
On my stomach, the Nolah was too soft for me. On the Purple, I felt well supported in this position.
In terms of feel, the Nolah has a balanced foam feel with no real bounce. The Purple has a squishy yet firm gel feel. It is firm but pressure relieving at the same time.
See what I thought of Nolah’s firmness and feel in the video below.
And see how the bouncy responsive Purple worked for me.
Between these two mattresses, I thought the Nolah performed better at isolating motion. During my tests, I saw less motion transfer on this mattress.
I believe this is because of the AirFoam in Nolah’s top layer. It is similar to memory foam, which usually does a fine job of dealing with motion transfer.
See how the Nolah should be the better mattress for couples.
Watch how the Purple handles motion transfer. It performs decently but not as well as the Nolah.
Looking at the Nolah and Purple, I feel that the Purple has better edge support. Sitting near the edge, I feel more secure and able to lean over and tie my shoes.
Lying near the edge, I feel less like I am going to roll off the bed.
See the edge support differences in the photos below.
Marten is a staff writer for us. He has a much different body type than me: He is 6’7″ and weighs about 230 lb; I am 5’9″ and 160 lb. Here is what he thought about these two mattresses:
I had a very unique experience with these two mattresses because of my added weight. With the Nolah, I pressed through the comfort layers fairly quickly and felt the foundation layers beneath. So, it felt a little firmer for me than it did for Joe.
On the Purple, I activated the gel more than Joe did. So, it actually felt softer for me. Unlike Joe, I thought the Purple was the softer of the two mattresses. I said it was a 6.5/10 and the Nolah was a 7/10.
On the Nolah, I feel well supported on my back. My hips sink in just a bit, but not too much. Moving to my side, I do press in and feel some firmness on my shoulders and hips. On my stomach, it is too soft. I feel my hips bow in, and I get out of alignment.
On the Purple, I feel very well supported on my back. Moving to my side, I feel great pressure relief. I feel barely any pressure on my shoulders and hips. On my stomach, I feel supported overall.
If you’re a heavier back sleeper, either could work for you. If you’re a heavier side sleeper, I would lean toward the Purple. If you’re a heavier stomach sleeper, I would lean toward the Purple as well.
Nolah also has a 12” model which could also be good if you’re a side sleeper.
While Marten and I had different experiences, I was not surprised. He is a heavier person, so he did press through the Nolah and feel it is firmer. Also, on the Purple, he activated the gel grid more than I did, so he found it to be softer. It makes sense he thought that Nolah was the firmer of the two mattresses.
Pick Nolah If:
- You want a softer mattress. I felt this was the softer of the two mattresses. If you have had success with softer mattresses or need more pressure relief, the Nolah is a good bet.
- You are a side sleeper. If you sleep primarily on your side, the Nolah should give better pressure relief. You sink into the mattress a bit and feel that pressure melt away.
- You are lighter or average weight. The Nolah will be best if you are on not too heavy. Heavier people may press through the soft layers and feel the firmer layers beneath. If you are lighter, however, you should get a nice balanced foam feel as well as good pressure relief.
Pick Purple If:
- You prefer a firmer mattress. For me, the Purple was the firmer of the two mattresses. If you like a firmer mattress or need a bit more support, the Purple is the way to go.
- You are a combination sleeper. Because of its proprietary gel grid, Purple is a good match for multiple sleeping positions. If you move around and change positions at night, the Purple is a good choice.
- You are a heavier sleeper. The gel grid is a great match for larger people because it collapses without you bottoming out. If you are on the heavier side, you may find this mattress to be more comfortable as you activate this gel grid more than lighter people may.
These mattresses are both popular for a reason, and I think they could be a good fit for different types of sleepers. If you are a lighter person and sleep on your side, I would lean toward the Nolah. If you are heavier and sleep in numerous positions, I would choose the Purple. Please leave any specific comments or questions about the Nolah or the Purple in the comment section below.
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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