The bed-in-a-box market has a seemingly endless amount of options, and it can be difficult to find just the right one when there are so many great mattresses from which to choose.
Two such examples are the quality mattresses Tuft & Needle and Puffy, which are two of the more popular bed-in-a-box mattress on the market. This article will go through the construction of both mattresses in detail and attempt to highlight the main similarities and differences between them.
- They have a similar thickness and both feature two layers.
- They have a similar base layer and are about the same in terms of firmness.
- They incorporate different materials in their construction, with Puffy having memory foam and Tuft & Needle having a proprietary foam called Adaptive foam.
- The Puffy’s comfort layer is thicker than the Tuft & Needle’s by a small margin.
- The Tuft & Needle has a balanced foam feel, while the Puffy has a classic memory foam feel.
Tuft & Needle Construction
- The Tuft & Needle is 10” tall and features two separate layers of foam.
- The cover is thin and soft and doesn’t really affect the overall feel of the mattress too much.
- The first layer is 3” of an adaptive foam, which aims to have great pressure relief and also good responsiveness.
- 7” of standard base polyfoam makes up the base and is seen in a lot of other bed-in-a-box mattresses.
Check out our full Tuft & Needle mattress review, available here.
- The Puffy is 10″ tall and also consists of just two foam layers.
- The cover is thin and doesn’t affect the feel of the mattress too much.
- The comfort layer is 4” of a gel memory foam that provides great softness, pressure relief, and body contouring.
- The base layer is 6” of polyfoam and is similar to the base layer of other all foam mattresses.
Check out our full Puffy mattress review, available here.
- The Tuft & Needle’s Adaptive Foam is soft yet responsive, so it should give good pressure relief while still allowing people to move around on the mattress. It will feel more like people are sleeping “on” the mattress (rather than “in” it).
- The gel memory foam on top of the Puffy is 4” thick and very soft. It’s not as responsive as the Adaptive Foam on the Tuft & Needle, so people may have more trouble moving around on the mattress. It will feel more like people are sleeping “in” the Puffy.
- The Tuft & Needle should be a cooler sleeping mattress than the Puffy. The Adaptive Foam is more breathable than gel memory foam, so people should avoid overheating on this mattress.
- Both mattresses should be about equal in terms of durability.
Both of these mattresses felt like a 6.5/10, or about average in terms of firmness.
That said, heavier people might have a different experience, especially on the Puffy. They may press through that very soft top layer and engage the support layers beneath. Because of this, they may think the Puffy is firmer than I did. On the other hand, lighter people may think the Puffy is softer.
Here’s how it felt on the Tuft & Needle:
- The Tuft & Needle was supportive when I was on my back. I felt my hips sink in just the right amount, but not too far. The Tuft & Needle has a thinner comfort layer than the Puffy, which makes it the more supportive mattress.
- When I was side sleeping on the Tuft & Needle, I also felt nice pressure relief but did feel a little pressure on my shoulders and hips.
- When I was on my stomach, I felt properly supported.
Here’s how it felt on the Puffy:
- Back sleeping on the Puffy, I also felt decent support and the foam conformed to my body, but I would say the Tuft & Needle offered better support.
- I felt the best while side sleeping on the Puffy. I am medium-weight, so I pressed into the mattress without bottoming out, and I felt no pressure on the shoulders and hips. Between the two mattresses, I felt better pressure relief on the Puffy.
- I did need more support and firmness when I was on my stomach.
The Tuft & Needle has a balanced foam feel, because the Adaptive Foam is soft yet responsive. I sink in a bit, but it is easy to move around, and I feel like I am sleeping on top of the mattress.
The Puffy has that classic memory foam feel where people will sink into that soft memory foam. It is more like sleeping “in” the mattress. As a result, it is more difficult to move around on this mattress.
See more about the Tuft & Needle’s balanced foam feel in the video below.
See what I thought of Puffy’s memory foam feel in the video below.
Motion Transfer Differences
Between these two mattresses, the Puffy handles motion transfer better. It has 4″ of gel memory foam on top, and this material is quite good at isolating motion.
If someone sleeps with a partner, the Puffy is the better choice. People should feel less of their movements on their side of the mattress, so the Puffy should be the better mattress for couples.
See how the Tuft & Needle deals with motion transfer in the video below.
Now compare this to the motion transfer of the Puffy mattress in the video below.
Edge Support Differences
Neither of these mattresses features particularly good edge support, and I did not feel secure sitting on the edge of either mattress. Also, when I was lying down near the edge of both mattresses, I felt like I might roll off.
That being said, the Tuft & Needle is just a bit better with edge support. The Adaptive Foam did not collapse as much as the gel memory foam did on the Puffy.
People can see the edge support differences in the photos below.
Marten is a staff writer for us and has a much different body type from me: He is 6’7″ and weighs about 230 lb; I am 5’9″ and 160 lb. Here is what he thought about these mattresses and how appropriate they are for heavier sleepers:
In my experience, the Tuft & Needle felt like a 6.5/10 in terms of firmness, and the Puffy felt like a 7.5 or 8/10. My experience was different than Joe’s. This is mostly because, especially on the Puffy, I am pressing through the soft comfort layer and engaging the support layer beneath.
When I’m on my back on the Tuft & Needle, I’m not getting quite enough support, and my hips are sinking in a little too far. When I am on my side, I am feeling some good pressure relief on my shoulders and hips. When I am on my stomach, I’m not getting enough support and am bowing in at the hips.
On the Puffy, I feel better support on my back than I felt on the Tuft & Needle. My hips sink in, but not too far, and I feel decently supported. When I am on my side, I am pressing through the mattress and feeling some pressure on my shoulders and hips. When I am on my stomach, I need more support and firmness overall.
If you are a heavier back sleeper, lean toward the Puffy. If you are a heavier side sleeper, lean toward the Tuft & Needle. If you’re a heavier stomach sleeper, you probably need something firmer overall.
Marten’s experience on the Puffy was not surprising. When he was side sleeping, he pressed through the mattress and hit those support layers. Again, heavier side sleepers may want to choose the Tuft & Needle. Also, he needed more support on his stomach with both mattresses. Heavy stomach sleepers should consider a hybrid mattress or firmer foam mattress.
Who Should Pick The Tuft & Needle…
- Back or stomach sleepers- Between the two mattresses, the Tuft & Needle is more supportive.The comfort layer isn’t as thick on the Tuft & Needle. If someone sleeps primarily on their stomach or back, they should feel less like they are sinking into the mattress.
- Hot sleepers- The Tuft & Needle is the more breathable of these two mattresses and should offer the cooler night’s sleep. If someone struggles with sleeping hot, the Tuft & Needle should be the better choice for them.
- People who like sleeping on top of their mattress- This mattress has more of a balanced foam feel where people get some of that foam experience, but it is still easy to move around on the mattress. The Adaptive Foam is also quite responsive overall, so sleepers shouldn’t feel stuck in this mattress.
Who Should Pick The Puffy…
- Light- or medium-weight side sleepers- As long as people aren’t too heavy, they should get better pressure relief on the Puffy. It has 4” of memory foam that allows people to sink into the mattress, so sleepers should feel little pressure on your shoulders and hips.
- Those who prefer a classic memory foam feel- If people like to slowly sink into their mattress, the Puffy should work for them. It has that quicksand feel, so it should feel like people are sleeping in the mattress.
RELATED: Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers
After looking closely at these two mattresses, it shouldn’t be too difficult to choose between them, because the differences between them are so large.
The Tuft & Needle should work for stomach and back sleepers who prefer a balanced foam feel, while side sleepers and fans of soft memory foam should consider the Puffy. Consumers should read through this article multiple times, assess their own sleeping characteristics, and then make a more informed buying decision.
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.