One Bed Vs Koala – We are reader supported and get paid when you visit links on partner sites. We don’t compare all the products on the market, but we’re working on it!
Everyone has heard of the Koala mattress. That’s impressive considering the small Australian startup only started operations 6 years ago. What is now known simply as the Koala mattress of 2015 has helped the brand become a globally recognized entity. In part, it was because of the amazing marketing that appealed to millennials and sustainability advocates via social media.
One Bed Vs Koala
The company branched out into sofas, chairs, desks, ottomans and more, but its mattresses remain king. And in 2021, Koala put its reputation on the line. The original mattress has been canceled and replaced by 3 new variants: Nova, Calm As and Soul Morning. And, controversially, they are no longer made in Australia but out of China.
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Are they still offering an amazing mattress-in-a-box sleeping experience? I’ve had all 3 variants for 2 months and that’s my experience. But let’s start this 2021 Koala mattress review by breaking down the improvements and differences between the mattresses.
The core of what over 1 million Australians loved about the OG Koala mattress remains in the 2021 succession. Unlike other mattresses that are memory foam or latex based, the New Koala mattress is bonded with polyurethane Dunlop Foam. This material offers more support than memory foam and is much more breathable than latex.
It also allows for “zero interference”, which allows you to jump to your side of the bed like an angry baboon and your partner never feels a thing. (Not to be taken as an insult, by the way.) All Koala mattresses are GECA-certified, antibacterial, and CertiPUR-US certified, meaning they’re free of chemicals like formaldehyde.
They come as a mattress in a box, all rolled up and vacuumed in shrink wrap. Delivery is still fast and free. There’s still the pretty cool 120-night trial period on offer. And you keep the 10-year guarantee.
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This core base is sandwiched between a non-slip polyester bottom layer and a new Kloudcell top layer made from 65% polyester and 35% TENCEL Lyocell. This is in the base model; I’ll soon look at the Calm As and Soul Mate models that use alternative technologies. Lyocell is a friendlier fabric (depending on how it’s made) that’s often compared to cotton for its breathability. It absorbs and releases moisture, leaving you feeling fresher every night.
Note: I reviewed this product over the winter and will update the performance of this layer after having a chance to sleep on it during the warmer summer months.
This top layer can also be removed from the mattress as it sits in its own zip pocket. Then you can turn it around. This offers 2 different sleep experiences: medium or firm, giving the sleeper extra flexibility. As I’ll explain in more detail shortly, I’m not convinced by the idea.
Support is a key factor in Koala mattresses and the aforementioned Dunlop foam core has been reinforced in the centre. This provides better hip support than the original model and ensures you don’t sink too far in key areas along your spine.
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If you are won over by the idea of a mattress in a box and Koala’s experience, you should consider which Koala mattress to purchase. It’s the new Koala mattress, which is actually a 2021 edition of the original (or OG, as they call it) Koala mattress that we already know and love. I’ve detailed above where this is improving.
I had all 3 models on hand, so in this review I will talk about the differences between them. But with a big jump in price between models, I can attest that you get noticeably improved features as you move through the range. But here’s a quick comparison.
The New Koala mattress is effectively available in 3 layers. You have the sleep layer which is a 7cm thick comfort layer made from lyocell fibre. You then have the two-sided (firm and medium firm) Kloudcell layer and then the core base layer. The latter now offers 3 support zones to strengthen the hips.
The Calm Ace increases this to 5 layers. The top sleeping layer gets 1cm of extra plush padding and foregoes Lyocell in favor of COOLMAX, a polyester that wicks moisture and dries quickly. This is followed by the two-sided Kloudcell layer, followed by an additional ZoneOut transition layer. This allows unwanted heat to escape better and adds an extra 3 zones of support, particularly in the lower back.
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You then have the same base as the New Koala mattress. Finally, you have a StayPut fifth edge support layer that seems to stiffen the sides. This is an issue with the base model that I will address later.
When you level up to Soul Mate, it stays at 5 tiers, but there are some key differences. The top layer of sleep becomes significantly thicker. It is 11 cm in total. There is 2cm of plush quilting, then 9cm of a third polyester material called Sensapole. It contains phase change materials. These not only absorb heat and cold, but also actively cool and warm the skin as needed to ensure a more stable bed climate.
You then have the Kloudcell layer, but underneath is a perforated bamboo charcoal memory foam that promotes airflow and relieves pressure. The core base is also different here, using 5 zones of adaptive foam springs to give you more nuanced support across your entire body. The final layer is the same StayPut edge support as the Calm As.
I’ve been burned by a mattress in a box before, so I had a healthy dose of skepticism when the box arrived. The New Koala mattress is delivered in 1 box. However, the thicker Calm As and Soul Mate mattresses come in 2 boxes; the Kloudcell layer gets its own box. There’s quite a bit of plastic and cardboard to deal with (so much for being eco-friendly), but other than that, the unboxing process is easy and even impressive. It just pops out of the plastic and voila! You can see it in the video above.
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Perhaps the unspoken benefit of all of this comes when the mattress is going into a hard-to-reach space, such as up a narrow staircase or upstairs in an apartment. This is because you don’t have to open the box until it’s in place. You can move it before it’s the size of a giant damn mattress.
As instructed, I left all 3 mattresses untouched for a few days to fully find their shape before sleeping on them. Okay, that’s a little lie. I tried them on briefly right out of the box and was immediately struck by how firm and comfortable they were. But I think the few days of rest made a positive difference, so maybe you should consider that before throwing away your old mattress.
Aside from the fast free shipping and easy unboxing, the most important thing is the sleeping experience. I’ve slept on a great mattress for about 14 years. It had a thick pillow (which was new at the time) and cost about $4500, but it was old and worn out when I traded it in for the new Koala mattress.
When I first hopped onto the Soul Pair, which I had set to medium firmness, I was shocked at how firm it felt. It felt so flat. Comfortable but flat. And as someone with a history of back problems, I was afraid there would be a painful adjustment period. However, I needn’t have worried. Despite the solid support and advertised zero interference – closer to 15% interference but still good – I found the Soul Mat very comfortable.
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I don’t sink into it like my old mattress, but I can squirm in it and it feels soft and loving. Needless to say I have become a huge fan in the last 2 months. My back and neck were fine because even if you’re on your side or half prone, the support keeps your spine from sagging at weird angles. And despite the classic Sydney with its spring-like climate fluctuations, I not only felt comfortable, but also moderate.
Although the Quiet As and New Koala mattresses show a significant drop in suppleness and comfort, both still offer fantastic support. In fact, my son – who suffers from a stiff neck – is noticeably better since switching to the New Koala from his old no-name mattress. While it’s the least comfortable of the 3, I think it benefited from the fact that it’s firmer and a little less flat than the other two mattresses.
Ultimately I think the mattresses are well priced if not a steal for what they offer. The levels also allow it
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