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Verywell Health / Deanna McCormack
Easy to set up
Cool-to-touch cover is soft and removable
Free shipping and returns with a 100-day trial period
On the firmer side
Not ideal for side sleepers
Cover is slightly loose and looks messy
The Nora Medium Memory Foam Mattress is a high-quality, 12-inch mattress that’s ideal for back and stomach sleepers, couples, and anyone who prefers a firm, cool sleep at a price that won’t break the bank.
With the recent explosion of bed-in-a-box brands, shopping for a mattress to alleviate back pain doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or done in-store. With options like the Nora Medium Memory Foam Mattress, created by the sleep experts at Wayfair, you can purchase a premium memory foam mattress online and have it shipped directly to your door. Plus, it comes with a generous 100-day sleep-on-it return policy. To see if the Nora mattress lives up to its claims and to find out how it compares to other more traditional mattresses, my husband and I tested the queen-sized memory foam mattress for a month. Read on to see our thoughts on the mattress’s durability, comfort, and overall value.
The mattress shipped to our apartment for free just three days after we ordered it. It came rolled up in a long purple cardboard box that easily fit up our winding staircase, through two doorways, and down a long hallway to our bedroom. The box was light enough for my husband to carry on his own, although it would be even easier with two people. The rolled-up mattress proved much easier to maneuver than a regular mattress in a plastic bag. We would highly recommend the Nora as a convenient option for anyone living in an apartment, condo, or small space.
Setting up the Nora mattress was also very easy and took about five minutes. All we did was slide the rolled mattress out of the box, cut and remove the plastic protective wrap, and unroll the mattress onto our existing bed slats. This could have been done alone easily, but again, with two people it was a cinch. The mattress had a slight chemical smell at first, but with our windows open, it went away in a few hours. Once the mattress was rolled out flat on our slats, it “puffed up” and took its shape.
While Nora specifies that its mattress works on any slatted foundation—even if it’s a platform bed, adjustable bed, or box spring—the company also sells an adjustable bed base and wood mattress foundation if you’re looking for a new configuration.
One of the first things we noticed as we unrolled the Nora mattress was the quality look and feel of the signature Nora cover. The removable mattress cover, which is made with the jade gemstone, is soft and cool to the touch. It’s also hypoallergenic, which means it’s resistant to allergens, mold, bacteria, and dust. This is great for us since we both experience seasonal allergies.
The Nora mattress was really comfortable to sleep on, and it didn’t take us long to fall in love with it.
Compared to some traditional mattresses with ugly floral patterns, the Nora cover is soft and modern, which we both loved. Frankly, it almost makes you want to sleep on it without bedsheets! The cover is a little loose, however, which can cause it to look slightly messy.
This is a tight-top mattress (meaning the outer layer doesn’t have extra cushioning like a pillow top mattress), and the topper is filled with memory foam and polyester. The rest of the mattress is made from a combination of high-tech foams. Supportive, high-density foam is what helps with support and pressure relief, and gel-infused foam adds to the overall comfort.
Before it arrived, both my husband and I were a little worried about how comfortable the all-foam mattress would be compared to the much higher-priced innerspring mattresses we’ve both owned in the past. Neither of us had ever slept on a memory foam mattress for longer than a week and we both lean toward firmer mattresses (we’re both tall and heavier). To our surprise, however, the Nora mattress was really comfortable to sleep on, and it didn’t take us long to fall in love with it.
This mattress delivered for me, a back sleeper with stubborn lower back pain, in terms of support and pressure relief.
We’ve both felt plusher memory foam mattresses and didn’t like them, but we’d describe this one as medium firm. My husband, a stomach sleeper, noted how he tossed and turned less overnight and didn’t feel too hot or sweaty thanks to the cover and its cooling technology.
For me, a back sleeper with stubborn lower back pain, this mattress delivered in terms of support and pressure relief. I usually can’t make it through the night on my back, but with the Nora mattress, I did. Sleeping on my back means I wake up with less back pain than usual since my back is aligned and supported all night long. Memory foam mattresses conform to the body and offer support to every part, including the spine. Full support keeps the spine in proper alignment, relieves some back pain issues, and reduces the stress on your hips and shoulders.
My husband and I also both agree that while we were sleeping on the Nora, we weren’t bothered by the other person’s movements or when one of us woke up earlier than the other. This low-motion transfer was perfect for us in the mornings—especially when our son decided to join us in bed.
My husband and I weren’t bothered by the other person’s movements or when one of us woke up earlier.
Interested in more recommendations? Take a peek at our roundup of the best pillows for back sleepers.
Our regular mattress, an innerspring mattress from a big box retailer, is slightly thicker than the Nora, but aside from aesthetics, we didn’t notice a difference in this area. Besides, compared to other memory foam mattresses that come in a box, the Nora is on the thicker side at 12 inches. The mattress itself has four layers: the cooling cover, a thermoregulating foam layer, body-contouring memory foam, and a supportive high-density foam base layer.
The quality of the materials suggests durability but the mattress is also backed by a 10-year warranty—longer than the warranty on our more expensive mattress. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, bed bugs, and odors. The cover is also easily removable and should be machine-washed in cool water with a mild detergent and dried in the dryer on the lowest heat setting possible. Warning: Getting the cover back on is likely a two-person job.
If you compare the price of the Nora mattress—$479 for a Twin to $949 for a California King—with basic options from other mattress-in-a-box brands, it’s definitely on the more affordable side. Wayfair often has sales and you can usually find the Queen-sized version for roughly $500, which feels reasonable given its high-quality materials.
Plus, every Nora mattress comes with a 100-night free trial period. While we didn’t return our mattress, we liked this option since we weren’t sure how my back would feel after a few weeks. We would happily recommend the Nora to friends and family as a great value, particularly when you factor in the free shipping and trial period and the fact that it comes from a reputable online furniture store.
Casper Essential Mattress: Without question, Casper is one of the most popular and well-known mattress-in-a-box brands on the market today, so it makes sense for us to compare its most basic offering, the Essential Mattress, to the Nora. The Casper Essential stands at only 11 inches and has only three layers of foam. Otherwise, it offers a lot of the same features and conveniences. And while its list price may be higher, you can often find the Nora for less than the Casper. The one thing that might really turn us in favor of the Casper, though, is that the cover zips off easily, is made of upholstery-grade fabric that’s very durable, and is a darker color to hide spills and sweat stains.
Nora Hybrid Mattress: One step up from the Nora Medium Memory Foam Mattress is the Nora Hybrid: a combination memory-foam and wrapped-coil mattress. The Nora Hybrid (599 for a Queen) might be better for you if you want a firmer mattress and the longer-lasting support of traditional coils. We like that it still has the memory foam top layer, the cooling technology, and the generous Nora return policy, but we would still recommend the Nora Medium Memory Foam Mattress since it’s more affordable.
Want to take a look at some more options? Check out our roundup of the best mattresses for back pain.
Unbeatable value and comfort.
If you’re shopping for a medium-to-firm mattress to alleviate back pain, the Nora Medium Memory Foam Mattress is a high-quality choice at a relatively low price—and it ships free to your door in just a few days.