The concept of a “mattress-in-a-box” has become popular over the last few years, thanks to the convenience, affordable pricing, and amazing comfort they offer. Koala mattresses come in various sizes and thicknesses, all using gel memory foam.
For this review, I was sent a queen-sized 10” medium-firm gel memory foam mattress, which fit perfectly on my master bedroom bed.
Koala Mattress-in-a-Box Overview
The Koala mattress is made with 2.5″ dual-layer aerated gel memory foam that helps air circulate freely for maximum ventilation to keep you from overheating; and 7.5″ charcoal-infused high-density foam that evenly distributes body weight along its surface and regulates moisture, temperature, and odours.
Gel memory foam mattresses in general are typically known for being great at dissipating body heat, which makes them ideal for hot sleepers looking to cool down. Given the above 30-degree temperatures we’ve been experiencing in Toronto, along with cold air returns that leave much to be desired in the upper level of my 100-year-old house, this was a benefit I was looking forward to experiencing.
Additionally, they are also good at absorbing moisture and eliminating odours, which is perfect if you or your partner tends to sweat a lot.
In terms of support, unlike standard memory foam, which moulds to the shape of your body, gel memory foam pushes back on the heaviest parts of your body to offer support where you need it. As a person who tends to toss and turn at night, I was curious to see if making it more difficult to do so would help me get a better night’s rest. Gel memory foam mattresses also tend to offer overall good airflow.
Firmness of a mattress, it should be noted, is completely separate from the type of mattress. The one I received was mid-firm, or medium-firm, the most popular type. These work equally well for those who sleep on their backs and stomachs. They aren’t too soft such that you’ll feel like you’re sinking into them, but they aren’t too hard either, which is great to relieve pressure from your back, or for heavier individuals.
Given this, there were a few things I wanted to look at with this mattress: comfort, firmness, do I sleep better, can I easily move around in my sleep, and does it tend to wick moisture, sweat, and odours on especially hot nights?
Opening the Box of the Koala Mattress
I was expecting a long and thin box, but was surprised when the mattress arrived in a rather large and wide box. It would only fit in the trunk of my Mazda CX-5 compact SUV with both back seats pushed down. If you have a small car, or are by yourself, opt for delivery. While the burly delivery-man easily lifted the mattress into my house on his own, I would not be able to pick up the box. It’s not necessarily because of the weight, but more so the size – my arms couldn’t wrap all the way around it. To give you an idea, here’s a photo of the boxed mattress beside my 6-year-old son, who is about 46” tall.
The mattress itself measures 80” wide by 10” high by 60” deep, and weighs about 60 lbs. My husband was able to lift the box upstairs on his own. We unrolled it on the floor, then flipped it onto the bed. One person could do it, but it’s never a bad idea to have a second set of hands to help.
A small card inside explains that you should lay the mattress on a flat surface—ideally the bed-frame—carefully remove the plastic, and let it decompress. It notes that you should do so for 24-48 hours, which initially had me worried. Am I not allowed to sleep on it right away? A quick check of the Website’s FAQs section, and an e-mail to customer support, provided the answer: you can sleep on it immediately, but give it 3-5 days to fully decompress, and it will get even better. This timing was perfect, since I’d be sleeping on it for two nights, traveling for business the next two, then returning to what would be my ideal mattress after spending two nights on a hotel bed.
Housed within the mattress, by the way, was a cute Koala stuffed animal, which my 6-year-old son quickly claimed as his.
There’s a zippered cover on top of the mattress to protect it. Unzip, and you can see the open-cell structure in the forms of tiny holes throughout.
I really liked the grey base, which matches with the cute Koala animal, and offers a more modern look than the standard white mattresses that flood the market. It’s also anti-slip, so the mattress will stay firmly (pun intended) in place.
At the same width as my existing mattress, which was in serious need of an upgrade, it was a perfect swap. So I was excited to get some rest.
Evaluation of the Koala Mattress
For the sake of consistency, I put the same linens on the mattress that I usually use, including a cloth mattress protector, sheet set, and duvet.
On the first night, when it was over 30 degrees in Toronto, I could immediately tell that the mattress kept me cooler. Living in a 100-year-old house, the air conditioning doesn’t quite keep the upper level of the house as cold as the main level. So getting hot at night is a typical problem in the summer, especially for my husband, who already runs hot.
I frequently toss and turn at night, so I was curious to see if that was less so with this mattress. I also had a sore back the night I first slept on the Koala mattress, likely due to my old mattress.
I could feel the firmness immediately once I laid down to rest. It offered great support, but wasn’t too hard. My body felt as though it was melting into the material, keeping me comfortable and cozy. I totally get when you hear that gel memory foam “hugs” your body. I can’t say it prevented me from tossing and turning. Data from my Fitbit Versa showed a similar pattern of sleep, including awake times, REM, deep, and light sleep, with this mattress versus my old one.
That said, while the mattress didn’t improve my overall quality of sleep stages, there are so many factors that play into this, such as late bedtimes, coffee or wine late at night, stress, and more. (All of which I’m guilty of!) So this can’t be attributed to the mattress itself.
I didn’t notice a marked difference in how the mattress felt on day one versus day five or six. But it was definitely more comfortable than my old mattress. And I do notice that while I still toss and turn, I don’t wake up with as many back aches and pains as usual. And my legs seem to be less restless with this mattress, thanks to the extra support that helps my torso better sink into the material, thus putting less pressure on my hips.
Additional Information About the Koala Mattress
While the mattress comes with a removable polyester and eco-friendly tencel double jacquard cover to keep it protected from tears and scratches, it’s recommended to simply clean it with a damp cloth. And it’s always a good idea, regardless of which mattress you have, to invest in a good mattress pad/topper as well to protect the investment. Especially if you’re using it on a kid’s bed where there might be accidents, or if you have pets. The mattress, it should be noted, is not waterproof.
Bottom Line About the Koala Mattress
Compared to my year’s old mattress, I slept much better on the Koala mattress, which offers just the right amount of firmness to suit different sleep styles, including someone like me who sleeps on my stomach, back, and sides throughout the night. It does help cool you down, which is welcome during the blisteringly hot summer months—especially if you don’t have air conditioning. And the look and style is modern and attractive, matching any room’s decor. Plus, you can feel good about the purchase, knowing that a portion of what you pay will go towards saving the koala bear.