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Casper Essential vs Casper vs Casper Wave

Since Casper recently released an updated version of its flagship mattress, I thought now was as good a time as any to provide you fine folks with a handy-dandy comparison of all three of the brand’s current models: the Essential, the Casper and the Wave.

While these three beds certainly share some similarities, they’re also jam-packed with unique characteristics that make for three totally different sleeping experiences. To tease out what exactly sets them apart, I’m going to break them down side-by-side and provide you all with some recommendations for who I think would sleep best on each one.

So rev up the white noise machine and fire up the lavender mist, because we’re about to take a deep dive into the dreamy world of Casper mattresses. If you’re in a rush you can click here to skip down to my summary.

See where Casper landed on our roundup of the best mattresses of 2018!


Before we get into the nitty gritty details of what makes these beds different, let’s chat for a second about their similarities. While all three models exhibit specific feels, they do share some core attributes that connect them under the Casper name.

Casper 2018 Corner View
Corner view of the Casper mattress

Open-Cell Design – The Casper, Wave and Essential all employ an open-cell design in their foam layers. While the extent of this open-cell structure may differ depending on the number of layers present in each bed (three layers for the Essential, four for the Casper and five for the Wave), it helps to encourage airflow and cooling throughout them all.

Hybrid Foam Construction – Speaking of foam, all three Casper beds are built with a hybrid foam construction. This means that each mattress is made up of different foams, which function as both comfort and support layers within the structure. In the Wave and Casper, you’ll notice the use of foam Zoned Support, which helps to target parts of the body in specialized ways.


Alright, so now that we’ve gotten the similarities out of the way, let’s dig into these distinct specs. As I mentioned up top, all three Casper mattresses are built with foam, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to sleep the same.

To figure out why this is, I’m going to walk you through each bed’s specific construction, but would also encourage you to check out our full reviews of the Essential, the Casper and the Wave.


Comfort Layer – The comfort layer of the Essential is made up of 2” of soft foam. This layer allows you to sink into the mattress for immediate relief, but also responds quickly to pressure, so you’ll never feel stuck while trying to adjust positions on the mattress.

Pressure Relief – Below the top layer, you’ll find 1” of memory foam. This material contours to the body and extends the pressure relief of the comfort layer into the rest of the mattress. I’ll also note that by placing the memory foam beneath the comfort layer, Casper is able to defend against the overheating so often associated with the material.

Base Layer – The foundation of the Essential is made with high-density poly foam, which acts to support the softer top layers. This section provides the structure with stability and durability.

Casper Essential Mattress Construction
Showing the layers of the Casper Essential


Comfort Layer – The comfort layer is constructed of a latex-like foam material that gives the Casper some immediate bounce. While this section is quick to respond to pressure, it also allows the sleeper to sink in for some nice relief.

Contour Layer – Below the comfort layer, you’ll find a section of memory foam. This material produces a classic body contouring feel, which extends the pressure relief of the top layer into the rest of mattress.

Transition Layer – The third layer down is where we find the Zoned Support I briefly discussed above. It’s built with two types of durable poly foam, with the softer variation located at the ends of the bed and the firmer one situated in the center. This placement is meant to bring increased support to the hips and lumbar region while providing a gentler cushion to the shoulders and neck.

Foundation Layer – The base of the bed is made up of heavy-duty poly foam and gives the mattress its structure.

Casper 2018 Construction
Showing the layers, with Zoned Support, of the Casper


Comfort Layer – The comfort layer of the Wave is comprised of 1” of Casper’s proprietary Flo foam. This material is extremely soft and provides immediate pressure relief. It’s also cool to the touch as it’s designed to draw body heat away from the sleeper.

Support Layer – The next layer down is 1.5” of latex foam, which brings the pressure relief of the comfort layer into the mattress. This section has a quick response to pressure and features some quality bounce, which will place you on top of the bed and make it easy to adjust positions.

Contour Layer – Below this layer, you’ll find 1.5” of memory foam. This material will produce some great body contouring and continue to provide pressure relief to the sleeper. While memory foam has a reputation for overheating, it’s placement in the middle of the bed helps to keep things cool.

Transition Layer – Directly underneath the memory foam lies 1.5” of high resiliency foam. This layer acts as a transition between the soft top sections and the dense base below. This section also features a polymer support network, with material added to help support your hips and keep the heaviest parts of your body from sinking too far into the mattress.

Base Layer – And finally, we find 5.5” of high-density poly foam made with a special contoured design meant to improve spine alignment. While this section’s main function is to provide structure to the mattress, the interesting pattern up-top gives this layer a dual purpose of stability and relief.

Casper Wave Mattress Construction
Showing the zoned construction of the Casper Wave mattress

So what?

The biggest thing you’ll notice is that each mattress gets a little more complex as we go along. The Essential—billed as the brand’s “streamlined” mattress—has a fairly no-fuss construction with three layers of foam organized primarily for pressure relief.

Moving onward, the Casper boasts an additional layer of Zoned Support, which helps elevate the relief of the Essential by targeting specific parts of the body.

By the time we get to the Wave, another layer’s been added, this time with the intention of producing a more luxurious, body-contouring feel. You’ll note that this order also represents the progression of their different price points, with the Essential being less expensive than the Casper, which is less expensive than the Wave.

The Feel

Construction particulars aside, let’s get down to how these bad boys feel. This is of course where I’ll describe how each of these mattresses is going to sleep and pinpoint exactly for whom I think they’d be best-suited.

A little note: because of size and weight distribution, everyone feels firmness a bit differently, so I brought in three more testers to help me figure out how firm each of these Caspers is. They reported their findings back to me and I compiled the results in the graph below.

Casper Firmness Rating Comparison
Showing the average firmness rating from four testers on each of the Casper models

While feel is, of course, a super personal thing, I’m going to do my best to break down all the aspects that contribute to these mattresses’ fully unique vibes.


Casper Essential Mattress Hand Press
Pressing into the Casper Essential

My testers gave the Essential a firmness average of 6.4, just a hair below the industry standard of 6.5 for medium firmness. This means the mattress is going to offer up a pretty even combo of support and pressure relief. When you first press into the mattress, you’re going to feel the buoyant lift of the comfort layer, but as you push in further, you’ll start to feel the cushiony contouring of the memory foam below. This is great for a variety of sleepers, especially those who toss and turn in the night or those in search of a bed that won’t leave them feeling stuck.


Casper 2018 Hand Press Layers
Showing the layers of the Casper as I press into the mattress

The Casper received an average firmness rating of 7 from my testers. When compared to the industry standard for medium firmness, it seems this bed is just a touch firm. While you’ll feel some nice sinkage from the top comfort and contour layers, the Zoned Support and heavy-duty poly foam sections are going to lift you up and out of the bed. This means you’ll feel like you’re sleeping on top of the mattress as opposed to in it. This is great for back and stomach sleepers, as well as anyone who needs specialized pressure relief at the shoulders and hips.


Casper Wave Mattress Hand
Pushing hard on the Casper Wave mattress

My testers gave the Wave an average firmness rating of 5.8, indicating that it’s a bit on the softer side. The mattress definitely has a plush feel, but I wouldn’t say you’re going to sink all the way through the bed. On the contrary, the supportive bottom layers do a good job of lifting you up and out of the bed so you’ll never feel stuck. This is fantastic for those sleepers in search of a soft yet supportive feel as well anyone who prefers to slumber in multiple positions or on their side.


When discussing the difference between the feel of the mattress it can be helpful to see how far in you may sink. To visualize this, I’ve placed four balls of varying sizes and densities (a 6 lb medicine ball, a 10 lb steel ball, a 50 lb medicine ball, and a 100 lb medicine ball) on top of each mattress and measured how much they compressed the surface.

The variations in size, weight and density are meant to simulate different body parts and different sized sleepers.

Casper Comparison Sinkage
Showing balls weighing 6 lbs, 10 lbs, 50 lbs and 100 lbs sinking into the Casper mattresses

As I expected, the Essential and Wave showed about the same amount of sinkage, with the Casper experiencing a little less thanks to its Zoned Support. That being said, the results are pretty similar across the mattresses, which isn’t that surprising when you consider that they all feature foam constructions. As advertised, you’ll get the most sinkage from the Wave, which aims to be the brand’s “luxury” mattress outfitted with both excellent body contouring and quality pressure relief.

So what?

An interesting thing to note about these three Caspers is that they’re all great for sleepers who doze in multiple positions. This is for a few reasons, but the main one is that these beds are built with ultra-supportive foam, which features as much bounce as it does pressure relief. Once again, I’ll reiterate that this doesn’t mean the mattresses are going to sleep the same way. The Wave features a softer plush vibe while the Casper is going to give you a more traditional, firm feel. I’d say the Essential falls somewhere in between the two, which makes sense given that it lacks the additional technological fabrications of its siblings. If I were to break it down even further, I’d say side sleepers would prefer the Wave, stomach sleepers would find a lot to love in the Casper and back sleepers would be happy with the Essential.

Motion Transfer

Whether it’s with your long term partner or a college buddy dropping into town for the weekend, you’re bound to share your bed with someone at some point in the life of your mattress. That’s why it’s crucial to consider motion transfer when making a big mattress purchase.

Casper Comparison Motion
Comparison of the motion transfer tests on the Casper mattresses

The Casper beds performed about as well as other all-foam mattresses on the market, which is to say they exhibited pretty average motion transfer. While the memory foam present in all three does a good job of isolating and containing motion, regardless of the Casper you go with, you’re still likely to feel your bed mate moving around at night.


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So which do I buy?!

When deciding which of these fantastic mattresses to go with, there are a few factors to consider that will practically make the choice for you.

The first thing to figure out is what kind of feel you’re after. If you want something simple and comfortable, you can’t go wrong with the Essential. If you feel like you need a bit more support and could benefit from some targeted relief, then I’d suggest considering the Casper. And if you’re angling for more of a luxurious, cushiony vibe, then the Wave would be the ticket.

The second comes down to firmness. As we discussed above, the three Caspers represent a gradient of firmness. The Wave is softer than the Essential, which is softer still than the Casper. While I think most sleepers would be fine on any of these models, I’d recommend that back and stomach sleepers head toward the Casper while side sleepers stick with the Wave.

And third, how much are you willing to spend? One of the most distinguishing differences between the three Casper mattresses is cost. Prices for the Essential begin at $450, with the Casper starting at $595 and the Wave coming in at $1,375. While these prices are still fairly affordable when compared to other bed-in-a-box companies, the variation in the Casper suite is definitely something to think about.

To get even more specific about my mattress recommendations, I’m going to group certain types of sleepers together that might enjoy the same mattress.


Casper Essential Mattress Front View
Front view of the Casper Essential
      • Sleepers looking for value.
      • Anyone in search of a no-fuss construction.
      • Want pressure relief without feeling stuck.


Casper 2018 Corner View
Corner view of the Casper mattress
      • Anyone interested in Zoned Support.
      • Back and stomach sleepers.
      • Sleepers interested in a true balanced foam feel.


Casper Wave Mattress Review
Queen size Casper Wave mattress
      • Side sleepers in search of pressure relief.
      • Want luxurious feel and willing to pay the price.
      • Anyone in search of a soft yet supportive contouring feel.

Alright, well that about does it for this comparison! Hopefully it’s given you a better idea of which Casper mattress could be the one for you. Click the following links if you want to read my full reviews of the Casper, Essential or Wave mattresses. If you still have more questions or want a more personalized recommendation, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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Logan Block
Logan is the content director of Sleepopolis, which means he not only reviews new mattresses every week, but also curates all the comparisons, best of pages, and video guides on the site. He takes a straightforward, honest approach to his reviews and endeavors to give viewers an objective look at each new product he tries out. Logan has perfected his method by personally testing over 200 different mattresses, so he’s not only able to discern the overall vibe of a specific bed, but to contextualize its feel within the bed-in-a-box market as a whole. When he’s not hopping on a new bed or working with our editorial team to whip up an engaging sleep education guide, you can find him reading books on world history, walking his dog Pepper, or searching for the best cheeseburger in New York City.
Logan Block

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