Natural vs Traditional: Which Collection Works Best for You?

a comfy, stylized bed in a bedroom

Buying a new mattress is hard. It’s an investment that you or your loved ones will be snuggling into for years. Yes, years because most mattresses should last between 7 and 10 years. While there is no expiration date and you can decide to get a new mattress at any point, this is an investment item. 

Since we sleep for about ⅓ of our lives, the mattress you choose can be the difference between being very well-rested and having a tired, miserable day even three cups of coffee can’t fix. 

So you might be asking yourself as you scroll through website after website: which mattress is for me? Why is a boxed mattress not the best choice? And what the heck is natural vs. traditional mattresses?

Today, we’ll concentrate on discussing the difference between natural vs. traditional and how narrowing this choice down can help you with the mattress buying process. 

Natural Mattresses

As many of us have grown up in a world full of unnecessary chemicals that could possibly be detrimental to our health, it seems unlikely that your mattress would be full of unwanted chemicals, right? Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. 

You might also assume that once the bed is in a waterproof case and buried under pillows, there is nothing to worry about. Unfortunately many mattresses are made without considering the long term health of the customer and will create off-gassing. 

Off-gassing is when a mattress over time releases a number of the chemicals inside of it that helps make it flame retardant but isn’t healthy for many people. Some of the chemicals include: 

    • Polybrominated diphenyl ether
    • Bistetrabromophlthalate
    • Chloroform
    • Styrene
    • Polyurethane
    • Petrochemicals
    • Plastics
    • Boric acid

As Mattress Advisor stated in their article about this topic: “Off-gassing smells are undesirable for many new mattress owners, but for others, off-gassing can be problematic. If you’re sensitive to scents, a mattress with strong off-gassing odors may cause headaches, dizziness, and even an upset stomach. If you have a respiratory condition, such as allergies and asthma, off-gassing may exacerbate your symptoms and cause additional irritation in your airways.”

While long term exposure should be minimal, it isn’t nonexistent and if you are sensitive to scents, have a respiratory condition, it’s much better to steer clear of mattresses that are unnatural. 

The Natural Sleep Collection by Gardner Mattress features organic cotton padding, not chemically treated and naturally resistant to dust mites, mildew, and bacteria. You can rest easy knowing you won’t be breathing in anything that leaves you feeling sick or groggy the next day. 

The natural mattresses while different are still treated with the same level of care as our traditional collection, but with an organic sensibility.

The natural mattresses we make and sell at Gardner are:

Organic Vegan – Pocketed coil for conforming support. Multiple layers of organic cotton batting and finished in a soft woven organic cotton fabric.

Organic Classic – Continuous wire coil for firmer support with an organic cotton batting base layer. Breathable organic wool layer then finished in organic cotton fabric.

Organic Ergo – This Soft Support pocketed coil style mattress with a chemical free life in mind. Organic cotton batting base layer and a pocketed coil for conforming support. No need to fear motion transfer, sagging, or hazardous side effects.

Organic Ultra Luxe –  This mattress is both organic and opulent. Made with horsehair which is a finer, more luxurious upholstery material for a softer and sleeker feel. Made without harsh chemicals and pre-compressed to prevent sagging.

Organic Harmony – Made with 100% Natural Talalay Latex, which is the most premier natural latex on the market. 100% organic cotton fabric upholstery and it can be one-sided or flippable.

It relieves pressure by cushioning you and it’s naturally anti-microbial and anti-mildew.

Traditional Mattresses

So now after hearing about the natural mattresses, you might be wondering what the traditional mattress section is all about. After all, if you have allergies, the natural mattresses are your best bet for a good night’s rest.

As one of Salem’s oldest businesses, we know a thing or two about creating quality mattresses with quality materials. Our family has been carefully handcrafting mattresses for over 83 years, so we know a thing or two about giving our customers a great night’s sleep. 

While we love our natural mattresses, we continue to create mattresses steeped in tradition. With our advanced upholstery pre-compression techniques, our mattresses are designed not to flatten and sag the way low density foam mattresses do.

Most manufacturers use multiple layers of low density polyurethane foam, cut in an egg crate style, in making their mattresses. These mattresses break down quickly, as the mass manufactured poorly constructed material sags and compresses much more quickly.

Hand-tufted mattresses—our specialty—have significantly longer life-spans than ordinary or boxed mattresses while still delivering the same wondrous comfort you love.Each mattress is crafted with an eye to ensure even pressure throughout it.

The Traditional Collection gets its name from our family traditions, from the values we hold dear and what we pass on like our name — quality, hand craftsmanship, and restful nights.

Signature Tufted – The jewel of our collection, our proudest accomplishment. Perfected over years, we hand tuft each of these signature mattresses and pre-compress the upholstery to prevent sags. It is also upgradable to organic or vegan materials.

Signature Quilted – For those looking for a more firm mattress—one that provides a little more support or one with a little extra cushioning—look no further than our Signature Quilted Mattress. With our pre-compression techniques, it’s designed to last (and it’s flippable!). 

Comfort Support – Sink into this softer, gentler mattress and know it will provide all the support you need but the softness you adore. Made with pocketed coils to greatly reduce motion transfer, it easily conforms to the body. With five unique builds, there is an upholstery option for your comfort preference.

Sojourn – Ah the sojourn, a conventional and traditional mattress perfect for guest bedrooms and even growing kids (who won’t stay little for long). This bed is medium firm and will fit a range of sleepers. Any guests who stay overnight will be begging to know where they can find this mattress themselves. 

Which Mattress is For Me? 

You might be thinking with so many mattresses to choose from and having different needs, this might be harder than I thought. Choosing the correct mattress is no easy task. The marketplace is flooded with options, but with Gardner each option is specifically created with a type of sleeper in mind. 

We try to simplify the process by covering the essentials and not overwhelming customers with multiple versions of the same thing. Finding the right fit, unfortunately, is not an exact science but through a short conversation with a member of our team or a visit to one of our three showrooms, we’ll help you narrow down which type of mattress will work best for you and your loved ones. 


Visit one of our three conveniently located showrooms. Our original factory and showroom in Salem, Massachusetts, or one of our newer showrooms in Needham and Woburn.

Gardner Mattress Showroom in Salem, Massachusetts

Hours of Operation

Sunday: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Monday-Saturday: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Hours of Operation

Sunday & Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Hours of Operation

Sunday & Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Friday: 10:00am – 2:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm