- The Saatva Solaire Mattress (starting at $1,997) has 50 firmness settings for a custom feel, excellent edge support, and does a great job of keeping you cool throughout the night.
- I tested the mattress and was blown away by the level of customization so my wife and I could adjust it to our specific – and wildly different – preferences.
- It’s expensive, but the price includes white-glove delivery and a 25-year limited warranty.
- Read more: The best mattresses
Table of Contents
One of the biggest issues with sharing a bed with a partner (aside from the fact that they always steal your blanket) is that not everyone has the same firmness preference.
For instance, if you’re a side sleeper, you might want something a little softer so you can get comfortable support around your pressure points. Meanwhile, back sleepers benefit from more firm support. Sleeping in separate beds isn’t a realistic option for most, but with an air mattress like the Saatva Solaire, you can customize each side for your specific preference.
The Solaire is an “airbed,” which is somewhat of a misnomer since it conjures up images of the flimsy air mattresses you might bring along camping. Yet, airbeds are a luxury item. They are mostly made up of the same foam layers you would expect from other bed-in-a-box styles, but the main difference is that airbeds incorporate an air pump that adjusts the pressure within the mattress to make it more or less firm. This technology was popularized in the last decade by Sleep Number.
Saatva provided me with the Solaire for free to test. I tested the King Upper Flex mattress with the Saatva Lineal Adjustable Base at the same time, which I’m reviewing and will report back soon. Here are my experiences with this bed over the last six months.
The Solaire is Saatva’s first airbed and gives you 50 firmness levels to select from. For the Twin XL and Full mattresses, there is just one firmness zone, but with the larger mattresses, each side has a corded controller for adjusting the firmness so you and your partner don’t have to compromise on comfort.
In addition to the traditional Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and Cal King sizes, you can also choose Split King and Split Cal King. The Queen, King, and Cal King mattresses are also available with “Upper Flex” so it can be used with adjustable bed frames. This means the head of the bed is separate from the bottom so when one part is inclined the other side is unaffected.
Trial and warranty
The mattress comes with a 120-day trial, which is better than the industry standard of 100 days. However, there’s a $99 transportation and labor fee associated with returning the mattress. Still, $99 seems like a reasonable risk for such a big-ticket item.
The mattress has a 25-year limited warranty with stipulations. You get full coverage through five years and pro-rated coverage for years six through 25. Many bed-in-a-box brands, such as Casper, Leesa, and Allswell, only offer 10-year warranties. This means that Saatva goes above and beyond in this department.
White-glove delivery is included with your purchase of the Solaire, so a delivery team will deliver the mattress to the room of your choice and remove your old one too.
Given the novel coronavirus pandemic, the delivery crew will follow the CDC guidelines and wear masks and gloves during set up. That also means the mattress will be covered in plastic, and the team will keep a stash of hand sanitizer and wipes nearby, and also sanitize hands and equipment between deliveries.
The one problem I experienced was that Saatva organized the delivery with a particularly inept local delivery company in my area. The representatives called to schedule a delivery window, but when they showed up, they didn’t have the right tools so delivery had to be rescheduled. When the next crew arrived – different workers, same company – they claimed that white-glove delivery stopped at delivery and didn’t include setup.
Because a PR contact set up my mattress delivery as a member of the press, I reached out to them instead of the usual customer service channel to minimize confusion. Saatva was quick to rectify the situation by hiring a new delivery company that did a great job of assembling the bed and showing me how it works. The whole process took a little more than one hour.
Per the Saatva Solaire product page, the purchase price includes delivery to the room of your choice, in-person set up and tutorial, and removal of your old mattress, a service I didn’t use because I’m constantly testing and comparing mattresses.
My experience seems to be an exception based on reviews I’ve read of the brand, but if you find yourself in a similar situation, you should reach out to customer service. According to the Better Business Bureau, many reviewers praise the brand’s great customer service.
What makes the mattress stand out
Though Saatva recommends using the Solaire with one of the company’s foundations, such as the Lineal, you can still use it with your existing foundation, frame, or box spring provided they are sturdy and in very good condition. Since the air pump is contained within the mattress, you don’t need to make space for it under the mattress. You just need to have an outlet nearby for providing power to the bed.
My wife generally sleeps on her back, and I sleep on my side and stomach. Yet with 50 firmness settings on each side, we were able to find our perfect fits. I preferred to keep the firmness pretty close to the middle at 27. My wife was on the firmer side at 37.
The remotes were a little frustrating at first. You can’t just press the button and experience instant changes. This is because the remote gives real-time pressure readouts. I found the best way to find the right pressure for my comfort level was to press the “Bedfill” button, which fills the bed to maximum pressure and firmness. I then slowly reduce the pressure from 50 until I was comfortable. Finding the right number will take some experimenting, but it’s worth the effort.
I’ve found the firmness micro-adjustments are useful for addressing specific pains I may have. For example, depending on what physical activities I’ve been doing, my lower back, hips, or legs might be in pain. Generally, I prefer to sleep on my side on a medium firmness mattress, but sleeping on my stomach on a firmer mattress is preferable when I’m sore. With the Solaire, I can make adjustments based on how my body is feeling that night.
I appreciate that the bed has great edge support. This means that you won’t feel like you’re going to fall off the bed when you’re close to the edge. As someone on the heavier side, I can sit on the side to put on my socks without the mattress sagging much.
I was impressed by how well the mattress dissipated heat. I tend to sleep hot, and if a mattress traps heat, I spend the night tossing and turning. This was not the case with the Solaire. I noticed when I got up from the bed to use the bathroom at night, my side of the bed was noticeably cooler when I came back. This is always helpful for falling back asleep easier.
Cons to consider
The motion isolation of the Solaire Mattress was lacking. When lying on the bed, I could feel movement on the other side of the mattress. It also failed a motion isolation test I perform on all mattresses. First, I place a 12-ounce can of soda on the mattress and then drop a 15-pound bowling ball from four feet above the bed so it lands 12 inches from the can. If the can stays up, it shows me that the mattress has good motion isolation. In repeated tests, the can fell over every time. This suggests the mattress might be best for people sleeping alone. Or, you might want to consider a split king for couples.
The mattress is quite heavy, so don’t plan on moving your bed often. The mattress isn’t designed to be flipped or rotated, which is nice because it’s one less chore, but it does leave the mattress susceptible to long-term wear and sagging since you’ll be sleeping in the same spot.
If you go with the Upper Flex mattress, you may have a hard time finding fitted sheets for it. Saatva anticipated this and includes a set of the Lofton Organic Cotton Sheets with the purchase price of an Upper Flex mattress so you’re covered from the start. But this does mean your bedding options are limited so keep that in mind.
The bottom line
I have never slept on a mattress and bed frame combination that was as customizable as the Saatva Solaire and Lineal, but the mattress is expensive.
Should you buy it?
If I were not testing the bed for free, I would not have bought it. Even though I love it and the price works out to less than 45 cents per day over the course of 25 years (the length of the warranty), I don’t have that kind of money for a mattress, let alone anything else.
Consequently, I would not recommend this mattress to the average shopper. This is a big-ticket item for people who are willing to pay extra for luxurious and fully customizable comfort. Since it’s easy to make precise tweaks to the firmness, you can find a balance of comfort and support that’s right for you.
But if you and your sleeping partner have drastically different tastes in mattresses, this bed may be worth the investment, especially when you consider it will likely last you for decades. Since you can adjust the Solaire to match your sleeping preferences so it’s much more likely the Solaire will be right for you compared to less expensive or less customizable mattresses. Also, keep in mind that as your body changes over the years, your mattress preferences will likely also change. The Solaire can be adjusted to your preferences years down the road.
It’s also worth noting that Saatva provides financing with payments of about $182 per month for two years.
What model should you get?
You’ll want a queen bed or larger if you sleep with another adult. A King or Cal King is preferable unless you’re a smaller couple or you sleep holding each other. My wife and I are larger and share the bed with our dog so anything less than a King is uncomfortable.
You can also save $700 by choosing a standard King mattress instead of the Upper Flex. This option makes more sense if you don’t plan on using the mattress with an adjustable bed frame.
What are your alternatives?
The Saatva Solaire is the first adjustable airbed I’ve ever tested so I cannot provide any firsthand comparisons. However, I have tested dozens of non-airbed mattresses and our guide to the best mattresses features my top recommendations.
Pros: 25-year limited warranty, 120-day trial period, outstanding edge support, white-glove delivery and setup are included in the price, 50 firmness options
Cons: Fees associated with returning mattress if unsatisfied, disappointing motion isolation, Saatva mattresses aren’t available for trying out in showrooms