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Casper Essential mattress review: A solid budget option

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £450
in king size

The Casper Essential ticks most of the right boxes but it isn’t perfect


  • Supportive
  • Cooler than the original Casper
  • Affordable


  • Thin
  • Some may find it too firm
  • Flexes more than thicker models

Update: Unfortunately, Casper mattresses are no longer available in the UK. You can find out more about what this means via the company’s website.

There are a still a limited number of Casper Essential mattresses on sale from retailers such as Amazon and Mattress Online, but we’re not sure what effect the company’s closure has on warranty and can’t guarantee you a 100-night trial.

If you want to enjoy a guaranteed trial period, check out our Best Mattress roundup for more options. 

Since its UK launch in 2016, Casper has expanded its range of mattresses to include the Hybrid and the Essential alongside its original model. The Essential offers its “most streamlined design with a slightly firmer level of support” and, crucially, it’ll save you up to £250 compared to the brand’s most popular model.

In fact, at a mere £450 for a king-size mattress, Casper’s budget option is one of the cheapest mattresses you can buy that arrives rolled up, vacuum packed and boxed at your door with a 100-night trial. Although it is evidently more basic in its construction than its pricier counterparts, my experience of Casper’s cheapest offering has been a largely positive one.

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Casper Essential mattress review: What you need to know

Before going into more detail about what I like, let’s take a look at how the Essential differs from its stablemates. To make those savings, Casper has essentially cut away two layers of foam. Where the Casper original has four distinct layers, the Essential is made from two. On top, there’s 60mm of breathable open-cell foam and below this, there’s a 110mm durable support foam foundation.

This base has contour cuts that enable it to offer softer support around the shoulders than the hips but, otherwise, the construction is as simple as it sounds. There are no transition layers as you find in many bed-in-a-box mattresses and this also makes for a mattress that’s much thinner than its stablemates. Compared with the 240mm Casper original, the Essential is only 170mm thick

To help keep things fresh and hygienic, the Essential is encapsulated in a polyester cover that’s machine washable at 60 degrees. This has four carry-handles that make moving and rotating the mattress easier; Casper recommends doing this every six months or so but there’s no need to flip it.

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Casper Essential mattress review: Price and competition

The Casper Essential starts at a reasonable £275 for a single, rising to £400 for a double and £450 for a king. By comparison, Eve’s most basic mattress – the Light – will set you back £280, £400 and £500 in those sizes, respectively. The Light is noticeably less firm than the Casper Essential, although both make for a decent night’s sleep.

If £400 is still more than you’d like to spend on a double, then I’d recommend taking a look at Ikea’s firm Morgedal mattress. Priced at £180 and £200 in double and king sizes, it’s some way cheaper than Eve and Casper’s cheapest offerings but you forgo a 100-night trial. It’s also very firm – perhaps nine out of ten where ten is the firmest; just don’t be tempted by the medium-firm option, which offers insufficient support to heavier sleepers on sprung slatted bases.

Casper Essential mattress review: Comfort and performance

At first glance, the Casper Essential doesn’t look particularly promising. Measuring around 170mm from top to base, it’s considerably thinner than the company’s marketing photography might lead you to believe and I expected that to make for a mattress either lacking in support or too firm.

Thankfully, neither of these statements is true. The Essential is considerably firmer than the original Casper but, even when used on a yielding foundation such as a sprung slatted base, it delivered ample support for me (I weigh 75kg) without ever being so hard that I woke due to uncomfortable pressure points.

This is likely thanks to the quality of the foams Casper has used. At 13kg for a single, it’s a fair bit heavier than I’d expect for such a thin mattress, which suggests that what little foam has been used is of such a density to keep you suitably supported at all times. Having said that, I think the Essential could still do better.

Although I never felt my hips dropping uncomfortably low, the mattress flexes more when you move around compared to a thicker model such as the Casper or Casper Hybrid. When sitting up in bed, I could also feel when the majority of my weight was centred directly over a particular slat, which isn’t a particularly pleasant sensation. Both of those things are largely irrelevant if you’re going to use the mattress on a solid foundation, of course, but if you sleep on a sprung slatted base, it’s something to think about.

That isn’t the only criticism you can level at the Essential. On any base, its relatively high level of firmness and lack of transition layer means it delivers a more basic and less subtle experience than some bed-in-a-box mattresses. In other words, it offers adequate comfort and support without ever making you feel like you’re floating on clouds or being cuddled to sleep. In this regard, the Eve Light, which is noticeably softer, performs better.

Again, that might not bother some people, especially when you consider its lower price and there are compensatory factors. In this case, it’s that the Essential is cooler than many other bed-in-a-box mattresses. In particular, I found it cooler than the original Casper mattress and I also found that it retained better levels of support throughout the night even once warmed up.

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Casper Essential mattress review: Verdict

All of this leaves the Casper Essential in a slightly tricky position. It’s not a bed I could ever get excited about sleeping on but that’s not necessarily what prospective customers are looking for at this price.

Indeed, since it’s cheaper than any other bed-in-a-box I’ve tested and ticks all the boxes, albeit some more emphatically than others, it’s an obvious choice for anyone on a tight budget.

The only problem is, for more or less the same money you can buy Eve’s Light mattress, which, for me, is the more appealing option. The models have similar constructions, but Eve’s budget model is both softer and thicker than the Casper Essential, giving it a slight edge.

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