An Honest Review of the Internet-Famous Nectar Premier Mattress

Look, enough about astrology. If one more girl at an overrated wine bar in LA tries to psychoanalyze my Sagittarius rising qualities or whatever while my eyes glaze over, I’m going to toss my pét-nat in their face. No, the true signifier of someone’s personality is not the month in which they were born, but how they sleep. I don’t just mean how long and how deeply they sleep—approximately 75 percent of millennials I know have some degree of insomnia. (Blame it on those Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books we all read as kids.) I’m talking about whether you sleep on your stomach, like a baby; on your back, like a vampire; or whether you’re a well-adjusted individual who sleeps on their side. 

Yes, I’m biased. I’m a lifelong side sleeper and can’t imagine being anything but. Being a side sleeper is the elite position, but it also presents its own set of criteria when you’re looking for a mattress, pillows, and even bedding. Because your shoulder and hips are the primary pressure points on your sleeping surface when you’re straight-up fetal, you need something with a little sink-in squish to keep your spine aligned; however, you also need support for your limbs, ribcage, and tuchus.

Speaking of alignment, you also need a pillow of the right height and firmness to keep your vertebrae straight and ensure you don’t wake up with a crazy crick in your neck every morning. (Pro tip: This is the best pillow for side sleepers, ever, bar none.) Also, if you sleep with a partner who isn’t also a side sleeper, a mattress with minimal motion transfer is key so that it doesn’t feel like you’re in a children’s bounce house every time your boo gets up to refill their Hydro Flask. Like anything else in life, being a side sleeper has its pros and its cons—and they all present themselves when you’re thinking of dropping hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new mattress. 

I had to explore all of these variables this past summer when I realized that it was time to bid farewell to the mattress I’ve been sleeping on since 2013—which wasn’t even purchased new; it was inherited from an old flatmate in Brooklyn who joined the Peace Corps or something. Seemingly brandless, it was a pretty firm memory foam mattress that was Perfectly Fine for a While™; you know the vibes. Unfortunately, a while turned into a solid decade across five apartments, and by the time I started hunting for a replacement, that bad boy was well past its prime. However, during that time period, a lot of new direct-to-consumer mattress brands hit the market, and while more options are generally a good thing, they also made the search for a new mattress feel overwhelming. 

I scoured reviews for well over a year and felt myself grappling with commitmentphobia. Memory foam mattresses have so many levels of squishiness, types of construction, and promises of cooling covers, and finding the Goldilocks-perfect body feel without being able to personally spend the night on every mattress on the market was tough. But finally, I landed on the Nectar Premier—and for the past three months, I’ve been sleeping on it and preparing to give you, dear reader, a truly honest review. Let’s go! 

Why I chose a Nectar mattress

My top priority in my search was simple: a mattress on which I could sleep not just like a baby, but like exhausted puppies after they’ve had playtime and a nice big meal. The main factor for me is, and always will be, the level of squish. My hips and shoulders end up bearing my weight while I sleep, and as a side sleeper, that sometimes puts a lot of pressure on my joints. As a result, I definitely prefer a medium-soft mattress that lets your pressure points sink in a bit, but that also retains its shape, “hugs” you, and leaves you feeling like you’re floating on a big Jet-Puffed marshmallow or one of those lovely-looking clouds from Nimbus Land in Super Mario RPG

After reading a bunch of reviews for the Nectar Premier, it became clear that generally speaking, mattress firmness remains somewhat subjective. Some reviewers said the Premier was medium-firm, while others called it medium-soft. However, averaging that all out, it generally seemed to fall into the middle of the spectrum, which was where I was looking. 

Nectar launched in 2016, and so it’s both a pretty new brand and one that’s been around long enough for clear verdicts to emerge. It also offers a lifetime guarantee, which is very impressive and relatively unheard of even in the highly competitive DTC mattress industry. The Premier, while a bit more expensive than the original Nectar mattress, is an inch thicker than the original, offering an additional layer of polyfoam that creates additional comfort and superior motion isolation and edge support without losing any of that cushiony softness. The Premier also has a denser memory foam layer than the original, with three pounds per cubic foot for the Premier as opposed to 2.13 pounds per cubic foot for the original. (It was also the winner of a Product of the Year award from the Consumer Survey of Product Innovation, which added another layer of intrigue on my behalf.)

Another major consideration when buying a mattress is, of course, price. I currently have a queen bed, and plan to remain in it for the time being, but if I were to move in with a partner, I’d want to upgrade to a king. Personally, if I’m not totally sure I’m going to be sticking with my mattress for at least five years, I don’t want to drop more than, say, $1,500 on it. There are plentiful options on the market within that price range, and the Nectar Premier seemed like the ideal choice for me. (At the time I acquired one, the price was $1,100; right now it’s on sale for just $999.) 

Pros of the Nectar Premier mattress

While it was definitely designed for mass appeal—the brand has actually admitted such—the Nectar Premier mattress isn't just some boring hunk of foam. It's got layers, like a delicious Vidalia onion, or the psychological repercussions of being a contestant on Love Island. On the outside, it has a cooling cover made of heat-absorbent polyethylene fibers—I ended up covering my mattress with a cooling bamboo mattress cover pretty quickly to protect it from moisture and stains, so I can’t speak too much about how the cover itself holds up, but it had a waffled texture and seemed springy and breathable.

The Premier also features something called “Adaptive ActiveCool phase change material” which is another component of its dual-cooling claims and also helps with maintaining good spinal alignment (thus the “adaptive” aspect). Below that, there’s a three-inch layer of therapeutic gel memory foam for pressure relief, then another three inches of “transition layer” to minimize motion transfer and soften the segue from the marshmallowy memory foam to the structurally sound firmer layers. Below those six inches of cushy goodness, there’s a seven-inch ActiveSupport base layer, which also contributes to stability and prevents the whole thing from feeling like you’re going to fall into a soufflé, as well as ensures that your mattress has a long life. 

So, now that you know the specs, let me describe the overall experience of sleeping on this bed for three months now. Quick note about unboxing: I was stoked to find that this mattress had no off-gassing odor whatsoever, which was a major relief, because I get creeped out by any bedding or furniture that emits crazy chemical smells. Truly nada. It only took a few hours to unfurl to full size.  

For side sleepers, I truly believe this mattress is an incredible pick for the price point. The spinal alignment situation is absolutely clutch; I sink in just enough to feel cozy and comfy, with minimal pressure on my hips and shoulders, but I also feel like I’m being raised to the sky by a little army of super-powerful ants or benevolent angels or maybe Bernese Mountain Dogs. It’s truly a Goldilocks bed for me. Overall, I am waking up feeling super well-rested every morning (except for that one time I smoked weed for the first time in three years and then stayed up until 5 a.m. ruminating about everything that could possibly go wrong in my life, but I absolutely do not hold Nectar accountable for that). 

I can also attest that the motion transfer of this mattress is highly impressive; you can easily get in and out of bed without waking up your pet or partner, and there is zero squeakage. I’m very happy with the edge support; some of these modern memory foam mattresses make me feel like I could roll out of bed and break my neck at any second because the edges are so collapsible, but that’s not the case with the Nectar Premier. 

If I do find that the mattress isn’t working out at any point in the next nine months, the full one-year sleep trial policy has my back, and of course, the mattress also has the aforementioned lifetime warranty. 

To sum it up:

  • Has 13 inches of layers optimized for pressure relief, spine alignment, and cooling comfort
  • Great structural integrity and edge support
  • Good for sharing with a partner and/or pets; minimal motion transfer
  • No off-gassing smell upon unboxing
  • Awesome warranty and return policy
  • Affordable price point for the quality

Cons and other considerations

I slept on the mattress for a few days before enveloping it with the waterproof bamboo cover, and I felt a little warm, but it was literally the middle of summer in Los Angeles and I don’t fully run my air conditioning at night because it’s loud, so please take that with a massive, Maldon-sized grain of salt. I have not really had any temperature issues of note since. 

I’m sleeping well on this mattress and I’m happy with it, but it might be a little bit on the softer side if you’re a back sleeper. Also, from what I’ve read, Nectar mattresses are generally considered best for those under 200 pounds, so if you weigh more than that, you might have a better experience with a firmer mattress model. 

If you’re looking for a mattress with lots of bells and whistles, or one that exudes “luxury” (adjustable bases, special hand-tufted upholstered pillowtops, that kind of thing), you’re probably better off adjusting expectations and upgrading to a higher price category. Sure, there are the Stearns & Fosters out there, but they’ll cost you five grand or whatever. This is a take-it-out-of-the-box-and-go option that’s currently available at under $1,000, which is an incredible deal. 

To sum it up:

  • Cover isn’t quite as cooling in the summer months as promised in my experience; was fine when I added a mattress protector and my bamboo sheets
  • Some people (back sleepers, those over 200 pounds) might prefer a firmer mattress
  • No frills, appearance-wise or in terms of special features


After months of research, I decided to put the Nectar Premier mattress to a months-long test to see if it truly reigns supreme as one of the best options for side sleepers, and I emerged well-rested and deeply impressed. With its comfortable but supportive construction, cooling features, thoughtful attention to motion transfer and edge support, and affordable price tag, it’s excellent value for the money (the brand currently has a 33% off sale going on its site). Plus, you can’t beat a lifetime warranty. I always wanted to sleep on a giant marshmallow and wake up without back pain, and this mattress, for me, just might be the ticket. 

The Nectar Premier mattress is available at Nectar and Amazon.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.


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