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Bear Original mattress review: Memory foam with a one-of-a-kind cover

A memory foam mattress with a cover designed to enhance sleep. Here are my thoughts on the popular bed-in-a-box mattress from Bear.

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A look at the flagship bed from Bear Mattress

My Slumber Yard

Bear isn't your typical online mattress brand, and its mattresses are anything but ordinary. The company says it recognized the importance of sleep for your body's natural recovery processes, and began to make sleep products designed to aid those processes and maximize sleep quality. Not only are Bear's beds comfortable, they're also constructed with a special Celliant-infused cover. 

Celliant is a proprietary textile consisting of a combination of 13 thermoreactive minerals woven into fibers that absorb your body heat, turn it into infrared energy and transmit it back to your body. This is supposed to assist in the body's restoration and muscle recovery processes, and leave you waking up feeling refreshed and energized. Because of Celliant's ability to affect circulation, it's considered a medical device by the US Food and Drug Administration.

That's one reason why the Bear Original mattress stands out from the hundreds of other foam beds like it -- it's one of the small handful of beds that incorporate this technology. It's also incredibly affordable for what it offers. In this Bear Original mattress review, I discuss the bed's features that I tested firsthand, including firmness, edge support and motion isolation, and I explain all of the different reasons why it probably would or wouldn't work for you. 

7.5

Bear Original

Like

  • Comes with a special Celliant-infused cover
  • Comfortable for most sleeping positions
  • Ideal for people under 230 pounds
  • Great value for the features it offers
  • More responsive than traditional memory foam beds

Don't Like

  • It's made from foam so it's not ideal for people over 230 pounds
  • Might be a little too firm for petite side sleepers who want a plush mattress

First impressions

Unfortunately, there is no way for me to measure whether or how well the Celliant cover boosts my daily performance. It's also hard to pinpoint whether or not restful sleep on this mattress can be traced directly back to the Celliant, but it is a really great concept. You also seemingly aren't charged more for having this feature in the mattress, so it certainly doesn't do any harm. (My old boss, who was a gym junkie, also used to sleep on this mattress, and he swore by it.)

Even though the Bear Original is a memory foam mattress, it doesn't give me the same feel as a mattress from Nectar or Amerisleep, two other popular foam mattress brands. It has the same molding, hugging characteristics, but it's quicker to bounce back to normal once you switch positions. This helps prevent your feeling like you have to pull yourself out of the foam layers to change sides -- something for you, combination sleepers. 

Firmness

The Bear Original mattress leans slightly more to the firm side of the spectrum, but it's pretty moderate; I'd call it in between a medium and a medium-firm, around a 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale. It offers great spinal and back support when I lie on my stomach or back, and prevents my lower back from sagging into the top layers. It also gently hugs my hips and shoulders when I'm on my side. However, this may not be the best bed if you spend the entirety of your night on your side because it doesn't have as much give as you might need under your hips and shoulders, especially for people who weigh under 150 pounds. Our list of the best mattresses for side sleepers has more options.

Comfort

The Bear Original bed is a standard 10 inches tall and contains three foam layers.

1. The first layer is a thick layer of firm, dense foam that acts as the bed's supportive base. It's not meant to be comfy, it's meant to keep you from sagging into the bed.

2. The second layer is transition foam to add comfort and keep you from feeling the firm bottom layer. It also helps neutralize the memory foam in the top layer. 

3. Third is the graphite-gel memory foam, which provides the majority of the bed's comfort. It's infused with graphite to help absorb your body heat and promote a more comfortable sleeping space. 

Last but not least comes the Celliant-infused cover. You can't physically see the Celliant on the mattress, but the cover does have a cool hexagonal textured pattern across the top that gives it a distinctive look. 

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The Celliant-infused cover.

My Slumber Yard

Feel

As cozy and cuddly as a real bear looks to snuggle into, the Bear Original mattress is the real comfort winner -- and it's not going to try to eat you. Like I mentioned above, it doesn't feel like a run-of-the-mill memory foam mattress. It feels almost like it's combined with neutral foam to even out the syrupy feeling that can sometimes accompany memory foam. 

So, it bounces back to its normal position more quickly, allowing you to switch positions with more ease. The responsiveness is not overwhelming at all; it's a pleasant feeling that might even appeal to people who are turned off by classic memory foam. 

Motion isolation

Nobody likes a shaky, loud mattress that jolts and wiggles every time your partner gets out of bed. Luckily, that's not something you have to worry about with the Bear Original mattress. I was impressed with its motion isolating capabilities. Memory foam is top-notch when it comes to absorbing movement, and there are no springs or latex foam layers to add bounce to this one. 

Edge support

The Bear Original mattress gets an average rating for edge support. There is some give when you're lying or sitting on the edge, but that's to be expected when you're dealing with an all-foam mattress. Unless you're over 230 pounds, you should feel amply supported. 

Temperature

Bear says on its site that the graphite gel in the top layer of memory foam helps provide cooling relief, but I found that's not necessarily the case. It doesn't "sleep cold" and I didn't get a cooling sensation when lying down on the bed. With that being said, I do think it helps prevent the bed from overheating like traditional memory foam beds can. Long story short, I'd say it sleeps temperature-neutral

Who is this bed best for?

The Bear Original mattress isn't going to be an ideal fit for everyone, and our purchase decision should partly depend on your primary sleeping position and your body type. 

Position

Do you usually spend most of the night on your stomach, back, side or a combination of the three? I think the Original Bear mattress is going to be great for back, stomach and combination sleepers. 

Most average-weight side sleepers should like this bed unless you're looking for more plushness. However, if you're under 150 pounds, the firmness profile might be too supportive and firm to accommodate you on your side. Instead, take a look at our recommendations for the best soft mattress

Body type

Beds made from just foam, in the long run, are better for people under 230 pounds because they offer the right amount of support and durability. However, if you're over 230 pounds and willing to spend $500-plus on a mattress, I would recommend the Bear Hybrid mattress or one of the beds on our list of best mattresses for heavy people. The Bear Hybrid offers a Celliant cover and a comfortable neutral feel, but with the added benefit of more supportive steel coils. 

Price

I saved one of the best parts for last -- the price of the Bear Original was surprising because I expected the Celliant-infused cover to mean it would be significantly more expensive. A queen-size Bear Original bed retails for $995, and you can get it for even cheaper when the brand is running a promo. At the time of this article, for example, you can walk away with a queen size for $747. It's about the same price, or even cheaper, than similar three-layer foam beds that come without the Celliant cover. 

Warranty, trial, shipping

No online bed is complete without a warranty policy, a risk-free trial and shipping to your door. Bear's company policies are typical for the online mattress industry. Here's what you can expect.

  • Free shipping and returns
  • A 100-night free trial 
  • A 10-year warranty policy 

Your new bed will be delivered to you in a box (hence the term bed-in-a-box), and you will experience an unpleasant smell when you take it out. It's similar to the chemical-like odor of the inside of a new car, but it should completely fade after a few days. The only way to avoid this smell is to go with a certified natural and organic mattress

Final verdict

Bear isn't a brand you hear of often, compared with big names like Casper and Purple, but it's one you should know if you're looking for a quality, affordable memory foam mattress. It has an accommodating firmness level that's suitable for a wide range of sleeping positions, a comfortable-feeling memory/neutral foam blend and a Celliant-infused cover as the cherry on top. Not to mention, it's priced similarly to mattresses that omit this technology.

You might like this mattress if:

  • You're an athlete or work out often (Celliant is supposed to aid in the muscle recovery process). 
  • You weigh under 230 pounds.
  • You like the hugging, contouring feel of memory foam.
  • You aren't looking for the cheapest bed, but a good value.

You might not like this mattress if:

  • You want to spend under $500.
  • You're a strict side sleeper who wants a softer mattress.
  • You weigh over 230 pounds.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.