This post is in collaboration with our friends at Avocado Green Mattress. All thoughts and words are my own. Look for a special discount just for Garden Betty readers at the bottom of this post!
Disclosure: All products on this page are independently selected. If you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
In my house, and in life in general, I try to find a balance between being mindful of health, money, and the environment, but also knowing which battles I should pick so I can enjoy every day and not obsess over being “perfect.”
That means I do most of my shopping online but seek out cool local shops for gifts, I don’t always buy organic but I try to grow what I can and eat in season, and for seven years—despite being a voice for green and healthy living—I slept on a conventional innerspring mattress.
I’d read all the warnings of mattresses off-gassing toxic chemicals, but back then—before online mattress companies were as widespread as they are now—I walked into a mattress store and the organic offerings were double the cost of a traditional mattress.
So, I focused my energies elsewhere (which led to organic gardening and eventually this blog).
I actually had no complaints about our old mattress, other than maybe the pillowtop has started to feel too soft now that my husband and I are older.
But after a little human joined our family (one who loves to snuggle between her parents and fall asleep with little elbows and little toes jabbing us every which way), we decided to upgrade to a larger bed when we moved to Oregon.
It gave us an opportunity to look into organic mattresses again as we already had organic sheets in our bedroom, so a less toxic, more sustainably produced bed was a natural next step in our goal toward a greener home.
After months of research and reading far too many organic mattress reviews, I can tell you that these are amazing times for mattress shopping!
There are so many online mattress companies now, offering a direct-to-consumer model of selling mattresses and passing those savings on to their customers.
A lot of them are the “bed-in-a-box” type using some combination of memory foam and polyurethane foam for their mattresses, but I was hoping to avoid synthetic materials (and the volatile organic compounds—also known as VOCs—that they emit) altogether.
When I came across the Avocado Green Mattress, it seemed like they were a step above the rest.
Update October 2023: It’s been six years since I gave my original rating. What do I think about it now? Find out in my updated review of the flagship Avocado Green mattress!
What are Avocado mattresses all about?
Avocado specializes in GREENGUARD Gold certified green mattresses that are handcrafted in California. They’re known as a “natural hybrid,” with layers composed of natural latex foam and an advanced innerspring system.
They are one of the few truly natural, non-toxic mattresses I found, made from Eco-Institut certified, sustainably harvested Dunlop latex rubber foam, OEKO-TEK Standard 100 certified New Zealand wool, and GOTS certified organic cotton.
(Yes, I know—that’s a whole lot of acronyms and certifications and I’m usually wary of such things, but I found this article that explains what they mean and which ones are actually meaningful.)
Together, these materials make up a bed that is naturally antimicrobial and moisture-wicking, breathes well and sleeps cool, contains a natural fire barrier with no chemical flame retardants, and is free of pesticides, heavy metals, and VOCs.
Such an impressive list of attributes might make you think an Avocado bed fetches a premium price tag, but their queen-sized natural mattress goes for the same price I paid for my queen-sized conventional mattress—more than a decade ago.
It’s a surprisingly affordable price point that puts an all-natural mattress more in reach for many people.
Another aspect that I love about Avocado is its brand messaging. The company’s design aesthetic, visual storytelling, and commitment to environmental, economic, and social sustainability is beautiful and inspiring.
They also have an online magazine that focuses on sustainable lifestyle topics, food and drink recipes, and profiles of other eco-friendly companies.
When I first discovered Avocado over the summer, I thought I’d found my corporate soul mate. The company pledged a portion of its profits to a different charity every month, including Fleet Farming (whose mission totally speaks to the urban farmer in me) and The Nature Conservancy and American Rivers (two charities that my husband and I support as well).
With all that plus a fun, green-focused name, I felt that Avocado and Garden Betty were destined for a partnership and couldn’t wait to see if the mattress lived up to its marketing.
Disclosure: Avocado sent me a complimentary mattress to review with no other compensation involved, and no expectation of a good review. At the time I wrote this review (2017), the company offered only one mattress: their original Green Organic mattress, with or without a pillowtop.
Delivery and setup
As bizarre as it sounds, an Avocado bed is shipped directly to your door in a box—a really big, heavy box.
I opted for the in-home delivery and setup, and a local freight company carried the box through my house, up the stairs and into the bedroom, where I had a slatted bed frame already in place. (This is our exact bed frame, which we still have six years later, and it’s solid as a rock—even after multiple moves.)
I’d ordered a king-sized mattress with a pillowtop, so you can imagine my confusion as to how all of that was stuffed into the cardboard box these men hauled upstairs.
They opened the box and lo and behold, our new mattress was inside, tightly compressed, folded, and rolled into a plastic-wrapped package.
I wish I’d taken video of the next step because when they started tearing into the plastic, the mattress swiftly and magically unfurled into a huge bed in less than a minute!
It was seriously amazing, and even more so when you realize there are still springs in this mattress (and not an all-foam construction like other beds-in-a-box).
My initial thoughts
After unboxing, the mattress expanded to its full size immediately, but I left it alone for the rest of the day to allow the edges to plump up a bit. (You can see in the picture above that they started out kind of wavy and droopy, but this issue corrected itself within a few hours).
There was absolutely zero off-gassing, and there shouldn’t be, given the materials used.
That evening, I made the bed and Will and I got some of the best sleep we’ve had in moons. (Those of you who are new parents or who share a bed with a baby know what I mean!)
Unlike our old mattress, the pillowtop on the Avocado mattress feels firm yet supportive. It’s firmer than expected, but still forms to our bodies in a way that doesn’t make us feel like we’re sleeping on a board.
The Avocado pillowtop is essentially an extra 2 inches of Dunlop latex, so it doesn’t have the pillowy, cloud-like feel of standard pillowtops.
I’m a back sleeper and Will’s a side sleeper; we both felt supported all night and woke up with none of the typical aches and pains we often felt if we stayed in bed too long. We didn’t sink in to the mattress the way we did on our previous pillowtop, yet we still felt cushioned.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest, I’d rate the Avocado pillowtop mattress around a 7. It’s just right for us.
It did take about a week for my body to adjust to a firmer mattress, but I don’t miss having a soft, sinkable mattress at all.
Update: I posted a follow-up review of the Avocado Green Mattress. Find out what we really think of it six years later! (Hint: Not much has changed.)
Being an avid outdoorsperson and mama to a toddler means frequent muscle aches in my shoulders, arms, and legs, but now I wake up feeling revived and rested—which helps me get outside even more.
The coils in the Avocado are designed in such a way that reduces motion transfer (I never feel Will turning in the middle of the night) and provides good edge support (a peeve I’ve always had with memory or poly foam mattresses that made me feel like I’d roll off the bed if I laid too close to the edge).
Notable mattress features
Personal experience aside, let’s talk craftsmanship.
Every Avocado mattress is made to order, and made by hand at that. You can see this level of thoughtful detailing in the hand-tufted rosettes, the upholstered side handles, and the sturdy stitching along the seams.
(I want to note that now, six years later, not a single thread or yarn has come loose, which says a lot.)
At the time I posted this review in late 2017, it took up to three weeks to get an Avocado mattress (though it sounds like they’ve sped up the process by now), but it’s so awesome to know that your bed is crafted in a warehouse in Southern California—just for you—and then delivered directly to your doorstep.
I really have no doubt that Avocado mattresses are made to last, and the company stands behind its products with a 25-year limited warranty.
What about those Avocado pillows?
Avocado also makes green pillows, and as a longtime devotee of down pillows, I was curious to try what they offered. I love a plush and sumptuous feel under my head, and don’t care much for memory foam or synthetic fill pillows.
Avocado does something different: a stuffing composed of natural kapok fiber from the ceiba tree and strands of the same natural latex rubber foam used in their mattresses.
All of this is wrapped in a high quality, thickly woven, certified organic cotton cover that stays cool and wicks moisture so you don’t wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night.
Those of you who follow my Instagram may remember that I had a silk floss tree (Ceiba speciosa) in my yard in California. The super silky, super soft fibers from the seed pods were so smooth and luxurious feeling that I’d always wondered whether people used them in textiles. Well, now I know!
The pillows come with a generous amount of stuffing and just the right balance of kapok fiber and latex foam to create a cozy feeling. The pillows also unzip easily in case you want to remove some stuffing for a flatter profile.
Personally, I still love my squishy down feather pillows (I’m a back sleeper) but I’ve found Avocado’s green pillows to be just the right amount of support as secondary pillows.
I usually sleep with my down pillow layered over the Avocado pillow, or use the Avocado pillow as a back rest in bed. I like how it still allows me to sink in a bit, and isn’t as springy or firm as a synthetic-fill pillow.
If you’re used to down pillows, I’d say skip these. But if you prefer softer pillows with a denser fill—ones that don’t lose their shape as easily as down and feathers—they’re worth a try.
Final thoughts plus a special discount for readers
In a nutshell, the Avocado green pillowtop mattress has allowed us to sleep so much better than we have in years. It’s such a good feeling to know we’re making strides toward a healthier home overall, and being able to support a company that clearly has a social and environmental conscience is icing on the cake.
If you’re leery about buying a mattress online without testing it out first, Avocado offers a 100-day risk-free trial period so you can sleep on it, roll around on it, and see if it’s the right fit without committing to such a major purchase.
If you decide not to keep it, Avocado will arrange for a free pickup of the mattress and donate it to a charity. There’s no need to package it up again, haul it down to the post office, or even pay a restocking fee—the return is free and goes to a good cause.
With free shipping and free returns, Avocado makes buying a mattress online a little less scary.
Here’s to better sleep and a happier, greener home!