Layla Essential mattress review 2024

Is the Layla Essential mattress as kind to your sleep as it is to your wallet? We review it to find out

Layla The Essential Mattress review image shows the white mattress on a grey divan bed base
(Image: © Layla Sleep)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Essential is the cheapest Layla mattress you can buy right now, with a queen size priced just $499 when on sale. After sleeping on this memory foam mattress for three weeks, we’d recommend it for back sleepers and solo sleepers, but we don’t feel it would be a good fit for stomach sleepers and heavier people. You might also run into problems if you share a bed, especially if one of you is heavier. Overall, while this is a good cheap mattress for some sleepers, there are better boxed mattresses out there for only $200 dollars more.


  • +

    Under $500 for a queen

  • +

    Great support for back sleepers

  • +

    Breathable for an all-foam bed


  • -

    Doesn’t absorb motion well

  • -

    Lacks robust edge support

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Layla Essential mattress review in brief

The Layla Essential mattress is the cheapest option in the Layla Sleep range, priced from $549 when not on sale – though you can usually get $200 off most months. The Essential isn’t well-advertised on the Layla website, and instead the focus is shone on the Layla Memory Foam and the Layla Hybrid.

Nevertheless, the Layla Essential is popular with people who want a budget bed from a trusted manufacturer. We aren’t biased when it comes to price either – some budget beds are good enough to grace our official best mattress guide – so we decided to test the Layla Essential to see if it’s another budget wonder, or whether it’s best saved for the guest room only.

Layla Essential specs

Type: Memory foam
Materials: Memory foam/base foam
Firmness: medium to medium-firm (6/10)]
Depth: 9 inches
Trial period: 120 nights
Warranty: 10 years
MSRP: from $549

After testing it for three weeks, we’ve decided that the Layla Essential is a budget-friendly, cozy bed for solo sleepers, back sleepers of light to average weight, and for those who don’t run very hot at night. Our main reviewer fits this bill and therefore didn’t experience sleepless nights, overheating or discomfort when sleeping on the Essential. That said, and as per in-house testing and customer review research, co-sleepers who wake easily, stomach sleepers, and people with heavier bodies may not enjoy sleeping on the Essential.

The messaging on the Layla mattress page doesn’t stray far from our personal experience, though some (not all) sleepers may find the pressure relief and cooling claims to be a bit heavy-handed. All things considered, we don’t give the Layla Essential a strong green light or red light—rather, awareness of a few key FYIs potential buyers across different sleeping styles should know. 

We’ll expand on these throughout our review, including what it feels like to sleep on the Layla Essential in different sleeping positions; temperature regulation considerations; and how well we predict it will hold up over time. If you do decide that the Layla Essential is the best mattress in a box for you, right now is a good time to buy as you can save $200 on every size ahead of the Cyber Monday mattress deals (which roll over from the Black Friday mattress deals).

Layla Essential mattress review: Price and trial

  • The Essential costs less than $500 for a queen size
  • Usually $200 off on every size
  • Free shipping to 48 states and two free pillows

The Essential by Layla is the least expensive mattress the brand offers. Layla also carries a standard Memory Foam mattress, which is nearly double the cost of the Essential, and a Hybrid mattress, which is nearly triple the cost of the Essential. Within the broader market, this mattress is in the low mid-range. Ahead, we’ll cover both MSRP and promotional pricing—the latter of which you’re most likely to actually pay if you time your purchase right.

Here are the prices for the Layla Essential mattress:

  • Twin size MSRP – $549 (normally sells for $449)
  • Twin XL size MSRP – $599 (normally sells for $499)
  • Full size MSRP – $649 (normally sells for $549)
  • Queen size MSRP – $699 (normally sells for $599)
  • King size MSRP – $799 (normally sells for $699)
  • Cal king size MSRP – $799 ($699)

Like most other mattress companies, Layla frequently offers mattress sales to lower the total cost of your purchase. To boost the value for your money further, Layla offers complimentary doorstep Fedex Home Delivery within the contiguous United States, as well as two pillows to keep even if you return the mattress.

See The Essential Mattress: $549 $349 at Layla Sleep

See The Essential Mattress: from $549 $349 at Layla Sleep
The Essential is a budget-friendly memory foam mattress. At 9 inches tall and with two layers, it’s lean, simple and most suitable for solo sleepers and back sleepers of light to average weight. You can regularly find it on sale with around $200 off most sizes, making it a direct rival to the Siena Memory Foam Mattress. The Essential by Layla Sleep comes with a 120 night trial and a 10 year warranty.

Layla Essential mattress review: Design

  • 9" tall memory foam mattress 
  • 2” of Open Cell+ Memory Foam to regulate temperature
  • Cover can be removed and machine-washed

Image shows our review model of the Layla Essential mattress expanded on our bed ready for testing

(Image credit: Future)

The Layla Essential has two layers and a removable cover. The top layer is 2 inches thick with a 2.5 pound density (9 lb ILD). It’s made of Open Cell+ Memory Foam, which is meant to ensure a perfectly formed layer of foam, permit maximum airflow, and enhance cooling properties up to 3x compared to conventional memory foam (according to the brand’s tests). 

The second, base layer—which ensures stability and durability—is 7 inches of 1.5 pound density (35 lb ILD) of polyurethane base foam. Both foams are CertiPUR-US® certified, meaning they’re made without ozone depleters, mercury, lead, heavy metals, formaldehyde, phthalates, and other materials that can be harmful to human health and the environment.

This mattress is encased in a 98% polyester, 2% lycra hexagon stitched cover. It’s zippable and removable, and suitable for cold machine washing and low-heat drying.

The Essential is the most cost-friendly option in Layla’s range. It’s nearly half the price of the Layla Memory Foam Mattress, the brand’s best memory foam mattress, and nearly a third of the price of the Layla Hybrid Mattress, the brand’s best hybrid mattress for most sleepers.

Layla Essential mattress review: Support & comfort

  • A medium to medium-firm mattress with a 6 out of 10 rating
  • Most comfort and optimal alignment for back sleeping
  • Top foam layer offers mild contouring but does not sink

The brand simply deems the Layla Essential as medium-firm, or “just enough hug to support your body at critical pressure.” Layla also takes care to note that firmness ratings are highly subjective, but have decided on this range based on their own testing as well as customer feedback. Based on other mattresses we’ve reviewed, we feel the Layla Essential is a 6 out 10 (medium to medium-firm) on the firmness scale.

Image shows a 55lb black weight placed in the middle of our review model of the Layla Essential Mattress during a firmness test

(Image credit: Future)

The sleep surface offers a subtle hug and slight body contouring without a feeling of sinking in. This rather mild sensation wasn’t too surprising since the top layer of memory foam is only 2 inches thick. Sleeping on the mattress in side, back, and stomach positions, we felt it was most comfortable while back sleeping and believe this position would be the best across sleepers of different weights. 

Side sleeping, while not painful, paled in comparison and didn’t offer significant relief in the hips and shoulders. Stomach sleeping was fine for our lightweight tester. However, the Layla Essential is unlikely to offer enough support and facilitate optimal alignment for average and heavier weight sleepers given its lack of firmness.

To objectively gauge firmness and support, we did a kettlebell test, placing the 55-pound weight in the center of the mattress to simulate the sink from a person’s center of gravity. It sank around 3 to 3 1/4 inches, which was a decent amount of give for a medium-firm mattress; hence why we think the range is better classified as medium to medium-firm.

Layla Mattress mattress review: Performance

  • Moderate motion transfer – could be an issue for couples
  • Decent temperature regulation for an all-foam mattress
  • Edge support on our testing model was lacking

Our main tester reviewed the Layla Essential mattress in a queen size for three weeks. We tested it in all major areas of performance, including motion isolation, edge support and cooling. Here’s how this budget-friendly, all-foam mattress performed based on objective weight tests and personal assessments…

Motion isolation

Investigating the amount of motion transfer in a mattress is most crucial for co-sleepers—especially if one or both of them sleep lightly (or, conversely, one or both routinely fidgets in bed). If a mattress doesn’t absorb motion well, it’s likely to rouse or ruffle a co-sleeper out of their ZZZ’s, and thus can prove to be detrimental to overall sleep quality.

A black weight is placed next to a tape measure and a wine glass during our Layla Essential Mattress review motion isolation test

(Image credit: Future)

To gauge the motion isolation in the Layla Essential, our reviewer performed a test with a wine glass and kettlebell. Placing the wine glass in the middle of the mattress, our reviewer dropped a 10-pound weight from 4, 10, and 25 inch distances away from it. Based on how much the wine glass moves, or if it tips over, is an objective way to measure a mattress’s motion isolating rating.

The wine glass tipped over when dropping the kettlebell from 4 inches, which we verified through several trials. From 10 inches away, the glass wobbled moderately. From 25 inches away, the glass moved slightly but didn’t look in danger of falling. Moreover, while dropping the weight each time, our reviewer noticed an audible slam, which was much more pronounced with the Layla Essential than other mattresses of similar firmness.

Based on these tests, the Layla Essential isn’t our first choice for co-sleepers if one or both wake easily from movement. However, if neither co-sleeper rouses easily, this shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

Score: 3 out of 5 

Temperature regulation 

The breathability of a mattress is another important consideration—namely for those who run hot at night and have their shut-eye disrupted from it. Some mattresses and materials are better at dispersing heat than others. Memory foam is known to trap and retain heat since it more closely cushions up to the body, but certain elements make them more breathable.

Our lead mattress reviewer places her hand on the cover of the Layla Essential Mattress to gauge the temperature control

(Image credit: Future)

The top 2 inch layer of the Layla Essential consists of Open Cell+® Memory Foam, which is designed to create microscopic passageways to facilitate unobstructed airflow. This feature is at the core of its cooling properties, as cooling is impossible without breathability.

Our reviewer runs hot at night every so often, but didn’t experience night sweats or temperature-related discomfort while sleeping on the Layla Essential. (Testing was done during a hot August in Southern California with bamboo sheets and a duvet.) However, it doesn’t offer the same breathability as a mattress with coils and it wasn’t cool to the touch. 

In sum, the Layla Essential performed well enough at regulating temperature and is unlikely to cause major issues. Yet super hot sleepers may want to research other options with even more enhanced cooling properties just in case.

Score: 4 out of 5 

Edge support

The amount of edge support is important as it permits you to get in and out of bed safely, allows for sitting on the perimeter, and maximizes the total sleeping surface. Moreover, it’s important as far as durability is concerned since robust edge support can stave off premature sagging.

Our review model of the Layla Essential Mattress is placed on a low wooden bed frame in a bedroom with red brick walls

(Image credit: Future)

The Layla Essential doesn’t have reinforced edges to bolster the perimeter. While sleeping, our reviewer didn’t find the edges of the bed unsafe or unusable (or feel in danger of rolling off). Sitting along the edge also sinks enough to notice, but to not be a major red flag. However, co-sleepers as well as sleepers who frequently use or sit on the edge may find this performance indicator to fall short sooner than later.

To objectively gauge edge support, our reviewer placed the 55-pound kettlebell near the head/foot and side edges. In these areas, it sank around 3.5 inches, which was a quarter- to half-inch more than the sinkage at the center. This measurement verifies the lack of reinforcement along the edges, though not to an objectionable degree.

Score: 3.5 out of 5 

Layla Essential mattress review: Delivery and setup

  • Mattress delivered vacuum-packed, rolled and boxed
  • Free standard delivery to 48 states
  • Easy to unbox and no issues with off-gassing

Layla offers complimentary shipping with all mattress orders. While you can’t choose your delivery window with this option, you can follow the tracking information provided. The mattress is delivered vacuum-packed and rolled in two plastic layers in a box.

Our solo unboxer found situating the mattress on the bed frame to be quite easy—as well as unrolling the first layer of plastic—given its relatively low, slim profile and weight. The mattress hissed very mildly once this layer was unwrapped, and it didn’t hiss upon cutting through the second layer of shrink plastic. 

Offgassing wasn’t an issue in terms of smell or safety. Our reviewer could only detect a very slight odor from very close up within the first hour of boxing. Moreover, given the CertiPUR-US® certification, the foams are verified to be non-toxic.

Layla notes that you can sleep on the Essential within minutes after unboxing though it’ll take its full shape within 24 hours. Our reviewer had no issues testing the mattress within minutes after unboxing or later that night.

Layla Essential mattress review: Customer reviews

  • Average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on website; average 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon
  • Praise for value and comfort with medium firmness
  • Some complaints about pressure buildup and poor edge support

There aren't many official reviews of the Layla Essential on the brand's official page, but the average from existing reviews is 4.5 stars. On Amazon, the Layla Essential has 68 ratings averaging 4.6 stars. By and large, the most praise across both sites was given to considerations around value for what customers paid. Some noted that they were glad to consider this cost-efficient option over pricier competitors, and that it even outperformed their previous pricier mattress. 

Many also said it was the perfect firmness: neither too firm nor too soft. Some also noted that delivery was either on time or even earlier than expected, and that it was very easy to unbox.

Less satisfied customers cited issues with firmness in both directions (caveat: firmness is very subjective). A lack of edge support—even a feeling of the edges completely compressing and the potential to roll off—was cited, suggesting a lack of confidence in safety and durability alike. Some customers experienced pressure buildup, as well as next-day pain, after sleeping in different sleeping positions.

Should you buy the Layla Essential mattress?

All things considered, we feel the Layla Essential is best suited to solo back sleepers of light to average weight who are in the market for a budget memory foam mattress. Sleepers who don’t run hot are unlikely to experience any new issues sleeping on this mattress. However, those who run very hot should consider investing in one of the best cooling mattresses instead.

Based on our tests, we advise that co-sleepers who wake easily, stomach sleepers, and heavier weight sleepers pass on this mattress. These sleepers should seek out alternatives that better fit their needs for motion isolation, alignment, and adequate support. People who regularly sit or rest along the perimeter of the bed should also be advised that the Layla Essential lacks in this department. Constantly bearing weight along the edges is likely to age the mattress further, which can end causing discomfort and prompting you to buy an alternative sooner than you wish.

Layla Essential mattress review: Alternatives

Michele Ross

Michele Ross is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. For Tom's Guide and TechRadar, she interviews medical experts for sleep tips and tricks, as well as reviews mattresses and toppers to see which ones are truly worth buying for different types of sleepers and budgets. She has also covered a range of sleep topics for publications and brands including Well+Good, HUM Nutrition, and Mini Bloom, among others.