Nectar vs Helix − which mattress is best on test?

To settle the debate between Nectar vs Helix, we took their best beds and scored them for comfort, cooling, and the all-important cost

(Image credit: Helix; Nectar)

You shouldn't have to spend a fortune to get a good night's sleep. When you shop at Nectar or Helix, you don't have to. Instead, you can buy a bed-in-a-box that's easy to carry and quick to inflate, providing a supportive sleep surface at a reasonable price point.

Both Nectar and Helix strive to strike a balance between comfort and support to deliver a premium mattress, without the premium price tag. With such similar marketing, it can be difficult to split the difference between the products. We decided to pit their best beds against each other to see which came out on top.

We set out to test the best mattress from each store, so we settled on the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress and the Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress. For the sake of a fair fight, each bed is assessed against the same criteria: comfort; support; cooling properties; motion isolation; edge support; and weight bearing capacity. Our expert tester, Casey Clark, slept on the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress, while Alex Frost took on the Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress.

Nectar vs Helix − which is best on test?

The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress comes in every size from Twin to California King, including a Split King: that's sleep speak for two Twin XLs, pushed together. A Split King is ideal for couples who share a bed, but not a sleep style. The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress was delivered right to Casey's door. All she had to do was unwrap the mattress, roll it out, and wait a few hours for it to inflate. She slept on the bed that same night.

The Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress comes in all the standard sizes, as well as a Short Queen to fit narrow nooks and an RV King for plush comfort on the road. For a small extra fee ($250), you can upgrade the top layer of the mattress and get ultra-dense zoned foam that contours to the curves of your body and promotes proper ergonomic alignment. Just like the Nectar, the Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress was delivered to Alex's door. Within a few hours, the bed was fully inflated and ready to use.

Nectar vs Helix – which is more comfortable?

A hand resting on the Helix Dusk Mattress.

(Image credit: Future / Alex Frost)


There's not much in it, but the Helix just takes the victory for its versatility. As a hybrid mattress, the Helix Dusk Luxe marries the plush comfort of memory foam with the support of an old-fashioned innerspring to suit all sorts of sleepers. Good thing, too, since Alex and her husband have very different sleep styles. As a stomach sleeper, Alex needs something sufficiently supportive to bear her weight and take some pressure off her aching joints. Her husband is a back sleeper, so he likes a mattress with a bit of give: he appreciated the pillow-top for its pressure-relieving properties.

Casey suffers from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition that extends all over her body, so she's looking for a mattress with enough give to absorb some pressure and ease some pain. She found her perfect balance of comfort and support in the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress. When she lay on her front, the bed sank beneath her chest to make some breathing space. When she turned onto her back, this medium-firm mattress gave her sufficient spinal support. I'd only caution against the Nectar if you, like Casey's sister, prefer to sleep on a softer surface. The Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress is more of a true medium.

Nectar vs Helix − which is more cooling?

Close-up on the Helix Dusk Mattress.

(Image credit: Future / Alex Frost)


It's no contest. Like any memory foam mattress, the Nectar tends to trap heat: all that thick foam leaves little room for air to flow. Casey is a seriously hot sleeper and she struggled to stay cool on the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress, despite their claims of a cooling quilted cover.

As a hybrid mattress, the Helix Dusk Luxe has all the airflow of an innerspring: every time the spring coils compress and depress beneath your body, it circulates air through the mattress. Alex actually felt the benefit of the breathable knitted cover, which works to dissipate heat and wick moisture. There's even an option to upgrade to a high-tech GlacioTex cooling cover, which is one of the best cooling mattress protectors on the market.

Nectar vs Helix – which offers better motion isolation?

A cup of water on a Nectar Memory Foam mattress.

(Image credit: Casey Clark)

WINNER: Nectar

That's the benefit of memory foam: it's made to absorb movement. To measure the levels of motion transfer through the mattress, Casey filled a glass with water and set it in the center of the bed before pushing and pressing around it. The cup never teetered. In practice, that means your partner could toss and turn all night, and you shouldn't feel a thing. Casey would happily recommend the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress to light sleepers or anyone who shares their bed with a pet or partner.

The Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress has a bit too much bounce to offer motion isolation. Alex tried the same cup test and found that her glass began to top and water threatened to spill as soon as she applied any pressure around the glass with her hand. She recommends the best memory foam mattress to absorb motion, instead, and the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress would fit that bill.

Nectar vs Helix − which offers better edge support?

The pillow top of the Helix Dusk Mattress.

(Image credit: Future / Alex Frost)


Neither bed particularly excels in this area, but the Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress performed better on test, thanks to a reinforced row of steel springs around the side of the mattress. Alex found that she could comfortably sit on the side of the bed to put on her socks and shoes, though she wouldn't choose to sleep right on the edge of the bed (bad news for any stomach sleepers who like a little breathing space).

Nectar claims that their Memory Foam Mattress has firm and consistent edge support, but Casey disagrees. She found that the sides of the bed really sank beneath her weight and she had to dig her toes into the carpet just to stay upright.

Nectar vs Helix – which is better at bearing weight?

Weights on a Nectar Memory Foam mattress.

(Image credit: Nectar)

WINNER: Nectar

Memory foam is made to bear weight and contour to your shape. To measure the weight bearing capacity of the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress, Casey took a 10-lb dumbbell and set it in the center of the bed. It sank just three quarters of an inch, indicating solid support underneath, and sprang back into shape as soon as the weight was removed, indicating excellent elasticity.

Alex preferred to conduct her weight bearing test in situ, using her husband as a marker. Alex is on the shorter side, where her husband is tall and broad. They've had problems in the past where he makes deep impressions in the mattress and Alex keeps rolling into the dent he has made. They didn't experience anything like that on the Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress, which managed to bear their combined weight.

Nectar vs Helix − which is more sustainable?

Inside the 3Z Brands showroom: a row of mattresses against a white wall with 'Brooklyn Bedding' written on it.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)


Both of these beds are made with CertiPUR-US foams, which are free from any ozone-depleting chemicals. Where Nectar beds are manufactured in far-flung countries, Helix mattresses are made in the USA. Each component, from the coils to the foam, is produced on location in Arizona to minimize carbon emissions. I'd know – I visited the Brooklyn Bedding factory back in April, where all the Helix beds get made. Also, Helix foams are GREENGUARD Gold Certified, which means they're free from fiberglass and soft on your skin. If you're serious about your search for a sustainable bed, I suggest you forgo the Nectar and the Helix and get the best organic mattress, instead.

Nectar vs Helix – which should I buy?

A Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress beside a Nectar Memory Foam Mattress.

(Image credit: Helix; Nectar)

For performance, the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress and the Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress are pretty evenly matched. Which is best comes down to your sleep preferences, as well as your budget constraints. The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress is the best affordable mattress on the market. This bed is technically listed for $1,099 for a Queen, but I rarely see it selling for more than $659. Plus, it comes with a 365-night mattress sleep trial, so you can test the bed through all four seasons before you need to commit to your purchase.

The Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress costs $2,373.80 at full price, but it's often discounted to $1,899 in the mattress sales. That's almost three times the price of the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress. Then again, the Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress feels more comfortable, sleeps cooler, and is made more sustainably. Just bear in mind that Helix only offers a 100-night mattress sleep trial. That's roughly equivalent to three months or one season. You might love your Helix in summer, but find it sleeps too cool in winter: too late, you're stuck with it. If you know you want a Helix, I'd recommend purchasing one as the weather turns between seasons, so you can get the fullest possible picture of what it might be like to sleep on this mattress.

How we test mattresses

A weight resting on the Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

We put a lot of thought into how we test mattresses. Our expert testers sleep on beds for months, ideally through several seasons, to monitor their performance over time, paying close attention to cooling. We assess each bed against the same criteria: comfort; support; breathability; motion isolation; edge support; and weight bearing capacity.

Some of our tests are subjective. The best way to get a read on comfort and support is to sleep on the bed and see how we feel in the morning. Others are a little more scientific. We use a system of weights and water glasses to measure motion isolation: the more the glass moves, and the more the water spills once pressure is applied, the worse the motion isolation, and the less suitable the mattress for light sleepers. We also consider all the practical points of buying a mattress, from sleep trials and warranties to the details of delivery.

Where possible, we compare our findings against verified customer reviews to show a range of perspectives on the same product. Then we bring it all back to the price of the bed to help you determine value for money.

Emilia Hitching
Sleep Editor

Emilia is our resident sleep writer. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the best bedding and spends her nights testing it out from the comfort of her own home – it's a dream job. Her quest to learn how to sleep better has taken her all around the world, from mattress factories in Arizona to sleep retreats in Scandinavia. Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford. She also worked on the other side of the aisle, writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky.