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Koala mattress review: Best mattress in a box?

The Koala mattress-in-a-box. You've heard your friends or family go on about their new bed. So are Koala mattresses any good? Our reviewer slept on a Koala for two months to find out.

Update 26 July 2021: Koala has just completely overhauled its product lineup. This mattress has been discountinued, so can only be purchased secondhand. We have a full review of the new mattress range live.

Modern day humans are a funny bunch. We spend about a third of our lives either sleeping or trying to.

Yet we often use our mattresses long past their intended point of expiration until the once-supportive springs dig into our backs – an aching reminder that we still haven't gotten around to properly investing in a good night's rest.

Thankfully online mattress startups are shaking things up – not only by bringing costs down, but also by simplifying the research required to find the best mattress for your individual needs.

How firm are Koala mattresses?

Making it easier to buy a mattress by streamlining options (with a one-firmness-for-all design in Koala's case) can create limitations for fussy sleepers. For its part, Koala claims its studies and focus groups helped get the firmness level "just right".

They'll give you a 120-night risk-free trial to test the mattress at home yourself. That's four months, with free return and full refund if you're not in love with your new mattress.

Should you wish to send it back, the return shipping is covered for those in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. If you're outside those areas, you'd need to cover shipping to whichever of those cities is closest to you.

What are Koala mattresses made of?

Back in 2016, Koala moved from a three-layer design to the current two-layer construction.

Both layers use high-grade polyurethane Dunlop foam, touted as more supportive than memory foam and more breathable than latex. The 6cm top comfort layer, dubbed "Kloudcell", is ventilated for a cooler sleep while the 16cm Ecofoam support layer is firmer for increased durability.

The top-knit is made from hybrid polyester/Eucalyptus fibre (also known as TENCEL).

Koala mattress price and discount codes

SingleKing SingleDoubleQueenKing
188cm x 92cm x 23cm203cm x 107cm x 23cm188cm x 138cm x 23cm203cm x 153cm x 23cm203cm x183cm x 23cm
10 year limited warranty
Pay by Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or Zip Money (interest free payment plans)

$248 off lounging sofa

Get the lounging sofa for less at Koala. T&Cs apply. Old price: $2,755 New price: $2,507.05

$218 off Wine & Dine 6-seater

Save $218 on this bundle which includes a 6-seater dining table and 6 curved dining chairs. T&Cs apply.

Up to 20% off when you buy in bundles

Create your perfect living space, dining or bedroom with up to 20% off at Koala Mattress. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

$209 off the Koala SE Mattress Slumber Bundle

Save $209 on the Koala SE Mattress Slumber Bundle which includes The Koala SE Mattress, Balmain bed base, 2 x Balmain bedside table, 2 x pillows, sheet set, and duvet cover set. T&Cs apply.

Up to $394 off bedroom bundles

Expires 31 Jan 2024
Upgrade your bedroom and save up to $394 with these great bundles at Koala. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

$190 off Sleepover's Sorted Bundle

Get the Sleepover's Sorted Bundle for only $2,185, (was $2,375). T&Cs apply.

20% off bedroom linen sets at Koala

Enjoy 20% savings on bed linen at Koala. T&Cs apply.

$62 off Le Linen Duvet Cover Set

Get the Le Linen Duvet Cover Set for $62 less at Koala. T&Cs apply. Old price: $310 New price: $248

$229 off Koala Sofa Bed set bundles

Enjoy huge savings on Beauty Sleepover set bundle at Koala. T&Cs apply. Old price: $2,873 New price: $2,643.16

$199 off Everyday Elegance Living Bundle

Get the Everyday Elegance Living Bundle for only $2,288.99 (was $2,488). T&Cs apply.

20% off rugs at Koala

Hurry before stocks run out. T&Cs apply.

Up to $90 off Koala Bottlebrush Rug

Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Up to $78 off Koala Outback Rug

Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

25% off Rockpool Throw

Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

25% off Pebble Beach Throw

Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

25% off Clifftop Throw

Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Up to 25% off homewares at Koala

Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

20% off Koala Beach Bum Cushion

Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Up to 25% off Koala Lazy Sunday Throw

Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

25% off Koala Long Weekend Throw

Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

The new Koala mattress from $750

Enjoy the medium-firm support of the new Koala mattress from $750. Hurry, while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

$142 off Wine & Dine 4-seater

Shop the 4-seater dining table for only $1,282.50, down from $1,425 at Koala. T&Cs apply.

Koala Lounging Sofa for $1,190

Get the Koala Lounging Sofa for $1,190 and enjoy 120-night trial. T&Cs apply.

Koala Cushy Sofa Bed for $1,695

Shop the comfy Koala Cushy Sofa Bed for only $1,695. Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Koala Sofa Bed for $1,650

Get 120-night trial when you buy Koala Sofa Bed for only $1,650. Hurry while stocks last. T&Cs apply.
Free Delivery

FREE mattress delivery in metro areas

Enjoy FREE delivery on small items and any order with a mattress. Hurry, while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

$148 off kid's bed bundle

Save on your kid's first bed bundle which includes a Joey bed base, kid's mattress, and a guard rail. T&Cs apply.

$37 off Kickback & Daydream bundle

Get the Kickback & Daydream bundle which includes 2 x Kick Back 60 x 60cm Boardwalk, 1 x Daydreamer 50 x 50cm Paperbark. T&Cs apply.

$100 off when you sign up

Sign up now to get $100 off when you spend over $1,000 at Koala. Hurry, while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

$192 off Sleepover's Sorted Bundle

Check out the Sleepover's sorted bundle now for only $2,203.40, down from $2,395. Includes a sofa bed, sheet set, duvet cover set, and 2 Koala pillows. T&Cs apply.

Buy now pay later with Afterpay or Zip Pay

Enjoy interest-free finance to shop for the things you love today at Koala. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

FREE trial for 120 nights

Try Koala and get a risk-free, 120-night trial when you buy any product. If you don’t love it, ship it back for a full refund. T&Cs apply.

Koala mattress delivery

I'm still blown away that you'll get delivery within four hours if you live in one of the five cities mentioned above and order an in-stock item before 2pm on a weekday.

It's immediately clear that Koala has taken great care in customer service and convenience. You even get a text message when your order is on the way. You can choose to have boxes left if you can't be home, and select metro areas can receive deliveries up until 8pm weekdays or on Saturday mornings. And though the standard couriers can't come inside (or carry boxes up more than three flights of stairs), Koala's premium delivery option gets you a two-person crew that'll bring your mattress upstairs, set it up in the room of your choice and remove any packaging.

One final note here: for Sydney and Melbourne, Koala has partnered with Soft Landing, a mattress recycling social enterprise that can remove and recycle your old mattress. Some council pick-up allowances are better than others, so this service worked great for me. It saved me time, hassle and money.

Unpacking the Koala mattress

A quick shout out to whoever came up with Koala's long, slimline box design. In my case, it definitely eased the pain of navigating doorways off a narrow hallway. It's great for terraces and flats.

When it came time to unwrap the Koala mattress, we triple checked, but we didn't receive an instruction booklet, little cutting tools – or even a cuddly Koala toy in the box like I've seen others get. The truth is, you really don't need a guide. It's pretty straight forward for two people to pull out the rolled-up mattress and place it on the bed base. By the way, if you've got slats, Koala recommends they be no more than 7.5cm apart. It also cautions against using the mattress on the floor due to reduced air flow.

As you can see in the video on this page, we couldn't find any markings on the plastic for which side of the mattress should face up. Inevitably – like buttered toast always falling face down – we got it wrong. But a quick and easy flip over and we were back on track.

We took the plastic off and we quickly had one expanded mattress – mostly. While you can sleep on the Koala mattress soon after unboxing, the company says it can actually take about three to five days to come back to full feel.

What's a Koala mattress like to sleep on?

Koala says its mattress is designed to "distribute weight evenly" and "not to sink or bend in the middle" and is for "people of all shapes and sizes". And sure enough, you'll find plenty of reviews online from users who find the zoned support helpful to reduce back pain. This also makes the Koala suitable for back, side and stomach sleepers alike.

But again, everyone is different – and that's the joy in being able to try the Koala risk free for yourself. What have you got to lose?

Coming from a traditional pocket spring mattress, my first impression was just how much firmer the Koala mattress is. At first, it was kind of like sleeping in a hotel. And without my old topper, the Koala (at 23cm) is noticeably much lower in height and closer to the floor.

Edge support is decent for a foam mattress. Edge sleepers (and those who pull their shoes on at the side of the bed) will notice more box edge sag than with a traditional mattress.

All the above took some time for me to adjust to, but now it's the new norm. I'm liking my Koala bed. I find it conforms enough to be super comfortable, but not to the point where I sink in and lose support.

I do feel the Koala sleeps a little hotter than my old pocket spring mattress, but not enough where I've given it any thought outside of this review. I'm certainly not losing any sleep.

"Conforms enough to be super comfortable, but not to the point where I sink in and lose support."

Speaking of which, the partner disturbance/anti-transfer capabilities of the Koala mattress were highly welcomed in my little family. Taking turns to get out of bed and settle my daughter in the middle of night just got a whole lot easier. Pro tip: a snug fit on your bed base that avoids sliding movement is equally important.

If you've got little ones, it's worth noting that Koala doesn't recommend using a mattress protector with its mattress. This is not only because it would reduce airflow, but also because you've already got a removable, hand-washable cover with underside zipper. You're also able to use your favourite old topper or electric blanket, but the same breathability issues could come into play.

I tested the queen-size mattress Koala sent us to review with Koala bedding I purchased myself: super-smooth TENCEL sheets and pillow cases. Your favourite linen should also fit just fine as Koala uses standard Australian sizing – see our table.

How long does a Koala mattress last?

Koala says to expect the mattress to last about 10 years. I'm only a little over two months in, so I haven't noticed any permanent sinking spots across the sleep surface.

The company provides a 10-year limited warranty on the mattress, which covers "visible indentation greater than 2.5cm... that is not associated with an indentation or sag which results from use of an improper or unsupportive foundation or adjustable bed base."

Do Koala mattresses smell?

Out of the box, it can also take a few hours for the "new mattress smell" common to foam mattresses to fade. That's the materials "off-gassing". Some people are more sensitive to it than others, so it's hard to say how long you'll need to let your mattress breathe before you're happy to use it. In my case, we turned the ceiling fan right up to speed ventilation, left the bedroom door open and happily slept on the mattress the next night. It took about a week for us to forget there had ever been any out-of-box odour.

Koala says its mattress has been "rigorously tested for all the nasty chemicals that can be found in other mattresses." That means it contains no phthalates, heavy metals and has low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, though the company doesn't share any certifications concerning laboratory testing. The Koala mattress is also fire retardant, "using a flame retardant stockinette [Nylon netting], not dangerous chemicals."

Environmentally, the Koala mattress is proudly vegan and made from GECA-certified foam (Good Environmental Choice Australia standards of environmental friendliness). And when you buy a Koala mattress, you also symbolically adopt a sick or injured Koala, through a partnership with WWF Australia.

Koala vs Ecosa vs Eva vs IKEA mattresses

Koala and Ecosa are two of Australia's earliest mattress-in-a-box brands, having both started in 2015.

Koala says it has now sold over 100,000 mattresses, with the 25- to 35-year-old crowd its biggest group.

Is Koala better than Ecosa? While Koala has a single two-layer mattress that balances "not too firm, not too soft", the feel of an Ecosa mattress can be customised thanks to three interchangeable layers (supported by a 100-night trial and 15-year warranty). Another Aussie online mattress brand, Sleeping Duck, has a quiz to help you choose your preferred level of support.


Mattresses from Ecosa

The Ecosa mattress is uniquely engineered with multiple foam layers to provide maximum support and comfort. The layers are designed to regulate temperature and circulate air, and you can adjust the firmness to suit your needs. The mattress is delivered to your door in a compact box.

View details

Pricing is comparable between Koala and Ecosa, and both have expanded into other products like sheets and pillows. Koala also sells a special bed base and even a flat-pack sofa. What sets Koala apart? It's the discounted bundles on those extra items along with its mattress and sheet essentials.

Though some beds/bases from certain Swedish furniture stores are smaller than Australian standards, "you can squeeze the [Koala] mattress into a bed frame up to 3cm smaller than the mattress" with no problems.

In many ways, online mattress brands like Koala in Australia, Casper in the US, Simba in Europe and Endy in Canada have arguably matched the convenience and reasonable value-for-money of IKEA, while moving onto new foam technologies even as the Swedish giant continues to roll with springs, memory foam and latex.

Review by
Danny Allen
Danny has been reviewing consumer products for 20 years and is the former managing editor of Lifehacker Australia.

  • 120-night trial. Return for a full refund if you don't like your mattress.
  • Free delivery Australia wide. Plus: four-hour delivery if you live in Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney and order before 2pm AEST Monday to Friday.
  • Removable washable cover.
  • Firmness takes a little bit to get used to. Not adjustable like some competing brands.
  • Edge support a bit soft compared to traditional mattresses.
  • Live chat only available up to 10pm AEDT.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    KevSeptember 3, 2019

    We live in North Queensland, Forrest Beach near Ingham. Does the free delivery & return apply to us please?

      JeniSeptember 3, 2019Finder

      Hi Kev,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Please note that only cities mentioned on their official page would qualify for the free of charge return – they are Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane only. You may still qualify for the free delivery however it would take longer than their usual delivery time since you’re outside their 4‑hour delivery area. Kindly click on the green get deal button if you consider purchasing a mattress with them and you will be redirected to their official page where you may also chat with their online representative to discuss further on your order.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


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