Is the Nolah Original 10 mattress any good?

Nolah Original 10 mattress
(Image credit: Nolah)

The Nolah Original 10 is a 10-inch tall, all-foam mattress from US bed brand Nolah. It's the cheapest and thinnest of the brand's four adult mattresses, with a medium sleep feel in terms of firmness. At full price it's an upper mid-range mode, but you'll regularly find it on sale with 20% off, taking it into mid-range.

You can choose from two slightly different versions – the Original and the Original Hybrid, which is slightly more expensive. If you see the word 'hybrid' in relation to mattresses it usually means there's a spring layer (more on what is a hybrid mattress), but that's not the case here. Nolah's Original Hybrid is still all-foam, but adds an extra layer of 'AirFoam Flex', which is shaped into waves to mimic the effects of coils. We're focusing mainly on the basic version here. 

Nolah Original 10 mattress specs

Nolah Original 10 mattress

(Image credit: Nolah)

Type: All-foam
Firmness (1-10): 5-6
Height: 10"
Trial period: 120 nights
Warranty: Lifetime
Price bracket: Mid / upper-mid range
Materials: Foams

We had a chance to check out this mattress as part of a visit to the Nolah showroom and factory. We were able to inspect it closely, lie on it in a range of positions, and run our usual mattress review tests (to assess how well the mattress absorbs movements, how sturdy the edge support is, and how much pressure relief it offers).

We could also compare it directly to other Nolah mattresses, as well as those from other 3Z Brands including Leesa and Helix. As you go up Nolah's range, the mattresses get thicker, and offer slightly different sleep feels. We've tested out the range-topping model, and found it delivered excellent pressure relief but slightly disappointing temperature regulation (get the full low-down in our Nolah Evolution 15 mattress review). 

So how does the Original 10 stack up compared to the rest of today's best memory foam mattresses, or even the best mattresses overall? Read on for our first-impressions take. 

Should I but the Nolah Original 10 mattress?

If you're in a hurry, here are the people we'd recommend the Nolah Original 10 to, based on our initial hands-on experience with this mattress. If you have a bit more time, you'll find plenty more detail in the rest of the article, including the results of all our tests.

Buy it if...

✅ You sleep on your side: The medium sleep feel and contouring foams are perfect for side sleepers – your shoulders and hips will sink slightly into the mattress, relieving pressure and keeping you comfortably supported.

 You like the hug of memory foam: This mattress has that traditional memory foam feel – you sink into it and it contours to your shape and takes a while to spring back once pressure is removed. Whether this will suit you will mostly come down to personal preference – some people love this sensation, while others don't get on with it.

 You share a bed: One of the benefits of the slow-moving memory foam is that is absorbs movements on the mattress surface. That's great news if you share a bed and are usually disturbed by your partner's movements – you shouldn't have that issue with the Nolah Original 10. It can also work well for restless sleepers who toss and turn at night.

Don't buy it if...

❌ You sleep on your back or stomach: We think the Nolah Original 10 will be too soft for most back or stomach sleepers. These positions typically require at least a medium-firm mattress in order to keep the spine in correct alignment and ensure the hips don't drop too low. When we lay on our backs on this mattress, we felt like our shoulders were being pushed forward, which isn't ideal. 

❌ You weigh 230lb or more: The medium feel and contouring sleep surface won't be supportive enough for heavier bodies. If you weigh over 230lb, consider something firmer, like the Nectar original, or if you're much over that, explore our guide to the best mattress for heavy people

 You want to be able to change position easily: The slow-moving, sink-in feel of this mattress might be soothing to lie on, but it does make changing position rather trickier. If you have mobility issues, opt for a more responsive or firmer mattress such as the DreamCloud Hybrid mattress or Helix Dusk to avoid getting stuck in bed. 

Nolah Original 10 mattress: Price

At MSRP, the Nolah Original 10 sits in the upper mid-range price bracket. However, mattress sales are common – you'll often get 20% off that price, which shifts this mattress into mid-range territory. Nolah also bundles in two free pillows, worth $198, to amp up the value. To see how it compares to other options in this price category, head to our best affordable mattress list.

Here's a look at the list prices for each size of the Original 10, and how much you can expect to actually pay:

  • Twin size: MSRP $999 (usually on sale for $799)
  • Full size: MSRP $1,349 (usually on sale for $1,079)
  • Queen size: MSRP $1,449 (usually on sale for $1,159)
  • King size: MSRP $1,749 (usually on sale for $1,399)

Those opting for the 'hybrid' version will need to stump up an an extra $200 (or with the discount, an extra $160) across all sizes. 

If you really want to shop savvy, it might pay to wait for a major shopping event to see if a bigger discount appears. The Black Friday mattress deals can be especially good time to shop, as well as events like the Memorial Day mattress sales

Nolah Original 10 mattress: Design

The Nolah Original 10 is a 10-inch tall all-foam mattress comprising four layers. At the top, you'll find a Tencel cover with a diamond grid pattern. The fabric is designed to be nice and breathable. 

Next up is a 2-inch layer of Nolah's own AirFoam. Like memory foam, it's designed to contour to the sleeper's shape, distribute weight evenly and relieve pressure, but Nolah says it sleeps cooler than memory foam.

This sits on top of a 1-inch layer of durable 'high-resilience foam', to add stability and a little bounce to the sleep feel. Finally, there's a chunky high-density foam base.  (Our mattress foam types explainer has more info.)

Overall, the design is pretty pared-back, clean and smart. We personally prefer the look compared to the fancier Signature 12.

Nolah Original 10 mattress, diagram showing layers inside the basic version and then the hybrid version

Nolah Original 10 mattress (left) discussed in this article, and the hybrid version (right) (Image credit: Nolah)

If you opt for the 'hybrid' version, the cover and top layer is the same as on the standard Original. However, beneath the top AirFoam layer you'll find the 'AirFoam Flex Dynamic support system', which is made up of three different foam layers and makes up the rest of the mattress. Together, the three layers are designed to boost flexibility and make the sleep feel more responsive, so you can move around on it more easily. This is partly thanks to the fact that some of the layers are cut into ripple patterns. 

The official definition of a hybrid is that it mixes different materials, but in general we expect some kind of foam alongside a layer of springs (that's the design of all the models in our best hybrid mattress guide). There are no springs here, and we probably wouldn't consider this a hybrid as it just includes different types of foams. 

Nolah Original 10 mattress: Comfort & support

  • Slow-moving memory foam, medium sleep feel (5-6 out of 10 firmness)
  • Lots of comfortable cushioning and contouring for side sleepers
  • Not supportive enough for back/front sleeping or those >230lb

The Nolah Original 10 has a traditional memory foam feel, in that you sink into it and it contours to your shape. It's fairly slow-moving, so when pressed it takes a second or so to return to its original shape, there's no bounce to speak of. All of this can be very soothing to sleep on but does make it harder to change position on than it would be on a traditional mattress with a more responsive surface. 

In terms of sleep feel, it's in the same kind of ballpark as a Tempur-Pedic (so perhaps one to consider if that's out of your budget). Within the Nolah range it's similar to the Nolah Signature 12, although the 12 perhaps distributes the sleeper's body weight slightly more effectively. 

Nolah rates its Original 10 mattress as medium, with a 5-6 out of 10 on the firmness scale (1 being Jell-O and 10 being a wood log, as per Nolah's own descriptions). We'll assume this applies to both the regular and 'hybrid' variants. Firmness is a very subjective thing and varies from brand to brand, so to get an idea of how the Nolah Original compares to other brands we've tested, placed a 15lb weight in the centre – it sank in 2.6 inches, which puts it into our 'medium' bracket for firmness, matching Nolah's own assessment.  

Nolah Original 10 mattress

(Image credit: Nolah)

Usually, we'd only recommend a medium mattress to side sleepers, who can get away with a slightly softer sleep surface that cushions the shoulders and hips without causing the spine to fall out of neutral alignment. In practice, we found it very comfortable to lie on our side on this mattress – the contouring foams mold around the shoulders and hips and relieve pressure while still feeling supportive.

This tallies with Nolah's own assessment – it recommends this as one of the best mattresses for side sleepers, and suggests the 'hybrid' in particular, as it says this version delivers better pressure relief (we didn't test this version out so can't comment). 

We'd caution against this mattress for those who sleep on their stomach or sleep on their back. As a rule, fans of these sleep positions should opt for a medium-firm to firm mattress to ensure adequate spinal support. When lying on the Nolah Original 10 on our back, our Sleep Editor found their shoulders being pushed forward uncomfortably. 

This level of softness is also unlikely to be supportive enough for bigger or heavier bodies, in any sleep position. If you weigh over 230lb, consider something sturdier.

Nolah Original 10 mattress: Motion isolation

Motion isolation refers to how well the mattress absorbs movements on the sleep surface. This is important for those who share a bed and are regularly disturbed by their partner's movements, and also worth considering if you yourself are a restless sleeper who's prone to tossing and turning at night. We'd expect this mattress' slow-moving memory foam to absorb movements well, and we weren't disappointed.

To test the motion transfer levels on the Nolah Original 10, we placed an empty wine glass on the sleep surface, then dropped our 15lb weight at various away. The glass wobbled at 4 inches, had a very small shake at 10 inches, and didn't move at all at 25 inches. That's a very good result.

We also tested this out if practice by lying on the mattress and having another sleep journalist climb in and out of bed next to us, and change position. We agreed there was almost no motion transfer with this mattress. 

Nolah Original 10 mattress

(Image credit: Nolah)

Nolah Original 10 mattress: Edge support

A mattress with good edge support has a sturdy perimeter. That means you can sit or lie right up to the edges, without feeling like you might fall off. We tested edge support by placing our 15lb weight on the side and end edges of the Original 10 Luxe mattress. It sank 2.6 inches – the same we recorded in the centre of the mattress.

For a good result, we want to see the sinkage on the edges to be equal to or less than the sinkage in the middle. There's a little more leeway on firmer mattresses, and less leeway on softer ones (like this one). The Nolah Original 10 got a good score on edge support. 

That's borne out by our own subjective experience. The perimeter of this mattress feels reinforced, and we could happily sit on the edge without fear of sliding off. Surprisingly, the edge support here feels noticeably sturdier than on the model up – the Signature 12. 

Nolah Original 10 mattress: Delivery & extras

These mattresses come rolled and boxed, and shipping is free. The standard option will get you that box delivered to your doorstep by FedEx. There are three upgrade options available for a fee: mattress removal only, mattress setup only, or our removal and setup package. With these options, you can also choose a 4-hour delivery window on your preferred date.

All of Nolah's mattresses come with a 120-night trial period. This is on the shorter side – it's common to get 200 nights, and a few brands now even give you a full year. However, it should be long enough to get a good feel for the mattress.

You are required to sleep on the mattress for a minimum of 30 nights, to give your body a chance to adjust to it (this is pretty standard). After that time, if you're not a fan, you can return it for a full refund, although be aware you'll need to pay a $99 transportation fee. Some brands will offer free returns. We're pleased to see that Nolah will donate unwanted mattresses to a local charity or recycling program.

Longer-term, you've got the peace of mind of a lifetime warranty, which (obviously) is as good as you'll find anywhere. (Realistically, you should be replacing your mattress every 7-10 years though, if you're using it regularly.)

Nolah Original 10 mattress

(Image credit: Nolah)

Nolah Original 10 mattress: Customer reviews

Because we've gone hands-on with the Nolah Original 10 but haven't had a chance to sleep on it, we'd usually consult existing customer reviews to see if any recurring themes (good or bad) become apparent, and gain a more rounded view.

The Original 10 has an average score of 4.7/5 (April 2023). Nolah doesn't tell you how many reviews that is based on, although there are 260 pages of results, with maybe 5 reviews on each page, so it's a decent number (around 1,300). There's no option to filter results by rating, and no function to allow you to search for keywords, both of which make it very difficult to gain useful insights. We trawled through several pages of results and struggled to find much of any use. 

A couple of people commented that it was shallower than they were expecting – it's worth being aware that 10 inches is about the minimum thickness we'd look for in an adult bed. Thicker options will tend to look and feel more luxurious. A couple of people found edge support lacking. As with all mattresses, some people find it a bit too soft and others find it a bit too firm – these things are very subjective and there's nothing to suggest Nolah has mis-labelled it. 

The majority of customers were extremely enthusiastic about the Nolah Original, and there's plenty of praise for how comfortable and supportive it is, as well as the brand's customer service.

Ruth Hamilton
Homes Editor, TechRadar

Ruth is currently Homes Editor on Tom's Guide's sister site TechRadar, where she reviews and writes about everything from air fryers to vacuum cleaners to coffee machines, as well as the latest smart home gadgets. Prior to making the shift to Homes, Ruth was Tom's Guide's Sleep Editor. A certified Sleep Science Coach, she has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle and will talk at length about them to anyone who shows even a passing interest.