I Tried Big Fig’s Mattress for Plus-Size Sleepers, and Here’s How It’s Going So Far
After weeks of unbearable nights on a completely worn, sagging mattress, I turned to Big Fig, a bed-in-a-box mattress company catering to plus-size and heavy sleepers dreaming of sound sleep.
I waited way too late to start shopping for a new mattress. All the signs were there — sagging, creaking, unidentifiable stains (well, one was hot sauce) — but I pushed it off until I started waking up every morning with terrible lower back pain. I frantically began the search for a new bed, but things only got worse the more sleep I lost; I couldn’t concentrate, and my mood tanked. I was chaotic.
My old mattress was an 8-year-old, no-name mattress I picked out in a rush while I was moving to a new city. It was great while it lasted, but reflecting now, it started to break down after around the five-year mark. As a 275-pound sleeper, I wanted my new mattress to be more durable and catered to my body. I spent the end of the summer sleeping on an air mattress, reading dozens of mattress reviews and racing back and forth from the mattress store.
Many, many hours of research later (you can read it all in my plus-size mattress guide), I narrowed it down to a few plus-size mattress options. Ironically, but oh-so-typical of my shopping habits, I ended up deciding on the very first mattress I looked at: Big Fig.
The good, the bad, the affordable — I logged over 75 hours (yes, I counted) researching durable beds for plus-size sleepers so you don't have to.
ABOUT BIG FIG
Big Fig was founded in 2016 by Alison Goodman and her father Bruce Goodman. The Goodman family has been in the mattress industry for over 90 years, and having grown up in the industry, Alison noticed there weren’t many options for heavy sleepers. That’s when she teamed up with her dad to create the Big Fig mattress.
Able to support a 550-pound sleeper, the Big Fig (short for Bigger Figure) mattress is 13 inches tall and filled with layers of high-density foam, a gel-infused, ventilated latex layer and a layer of 15-gauge pocket coils.
If you need a frame, Big Fig offers a metal bed frame made from recycled railroad steel, rated to hold up to 2,000 pounds. It's only sold as an add-on to your mattress order and you can't buy it separately.
Big Fig is a direct-to-consumer, bed-in-a-box brand, all fancy jargon that just means the bed is ordered directly from Big Fig's website (you can also now order the mattress from Walmart.com) and shipped directly to your home. You set up the bed, foundation and frame yourself; if you need help with delivery, Big Fig offers two White Glove Delivery options for an additional fee.
Big Fig isn't currently available to buy or try in stores. Instead, Big Fig offers a 120-night sleep trial — sleep on the mattress for at least 14 nights and if you decide during the 14- to 120-day window you don't love it, you can coordinate a return.
PRICING: $1,399 - $2,799 (7 sizes available)
WHAT’S IN THE LAYERS: 1 layer of gel-infused, ventilated latex foam; 1 layer of 1.8-pound polyurethane foam; 2 layers of 2.5-pound polyurethane foam; 80 ILD foam for edge support; 15-gauge pocket coils
WEIGHT CAPACITY: 1,100 pounds with 2 sleepers (in Queen, King or Cal King mattress sizes) or up to 550 pounds with a single sleeper (on any mattress size)
TRIAL PERIOD LENGTH: 120 nights; you must sleep on the mattress for at least 14 days before trying to initiate a return
RETURNS & WARRANTY: Returns are free — Big Fig will help coordinate a pickup and refund your money once the old mattress is removed. Big Fig comes with a 20-year warranty; in the event of a defect, Big Fig will replace or repair your mattress.
Big Fig also recently launched a remote-controlled adjustable base made from wood and steel that can support up to 1,250 pounds. It's sold separately from the mattress, so you can buy it for an existing mattress or upgrade your Big Fig mattress to an adjustable base at a later date. The adjustable base comes in five sizes (including a split king) and features pre-set anti-snore and zero-gravity memory positions. Though the adjustable base comes with a 10-year warranty for manufacturer defects, you don't get a sleep trial, you can't return it and your adjustable base purchase is non-refundable.
WHY I CHOSE BIG FIG
It came down to durability, or at least perceived durability. When I look for big-ticket items, I always cross-check Reddit forums. I spent a lot of time on r/Mattress, reading other people’s experiences with the Big Fig, and didn’t see any glaring customer service complaints or durability red flags. The biggest complaint was that the mattress was too firm for some people.
I actually took Big Fig off my list at first because of this, but as time went on during my month-long search, I became more panicked about selecting a bed that would start sagging and showing signs of wear after a year than I was about the mattress being too firm. So, I decided to go firmer than I’d normally be comfortable with, reasoning that it would soften up after a break-in period and that I could always put a mattress topper on it. Generally, you can make a mattress softer, but you can’t make it firmer, and my poor back needed the support.
I liked that the Big Fig mattress had a latex layer — my old mattress was a hybrid mattress with latex, so I looked for that in my new mattress. I wanted to avoid memory foam because I’m not a big fan of that slow, sink-in feeling you get with memory foam, and I find the material hot.
I must admit that I was enticed by Big Fig’s adjustable bed frame. I’ve never had an adjustable bed frame before, but I sleep on a mountain of pillows propped up under my head and feet, so it seemed worth trying.
I also had a little bit of help from my friends — two friends, a couple who had just bought a new house, were also on the hunt for a new bed over the summer. After dumping my research onto them, they chose a Big Fig, and it shipped to them before I had even decided on a bed for myself. It was one of the final pushes I needed to select Big Fig.
Big Fig is one of the few mattresses I found where I could find reviews on YouTube with actual plus-size people testing the bed, and even then, I still only found a handful of reviews. It’s part of what inspired me to write the review in the first place.
UNBOXING AND ASSEMBLY
On Day Zero when the boxes arrived, I was grossly unprepared to receive the bed. My bedroom was a mess, I was tired and it was pretty late by the time the staff at my apartment building checked in the packages and I was able to pick them up. The boxes are very heavy and you can’t move them by yourself — the mattress alone weighs around 100 pounds. In two trips, one trip for the bed box and another trip for the two adjustable bed boxes, my roommate helped me lift the boxes onto a heavy-duty cart borrowed from the apartment, and we rolled them onto the elevator and into our unit.
I let the boxes sit by the door for three days until I was more organized. I don’t recommend this for two reasons: one, Big Fig states that you should open the mattress as soon as possible so the mattress doesn’t sit in the compressed packaging for too long; and two, your sleep trial starts the day the mattress is delivered. Try your best to make sure you’re ready to receive and assemble the bed as soon as it’s delivered so you can begin sleeping on it right away.
I allotted myself an afternoon to put the bed together. The claims boast you can put the frame and bed together in about an hour’s time, but you’ll spend 30 minutes just hauling the boxes to the desired area and unpacking everything. Make sure to check for any damage for each piece in your frame or any punctures in the mattress box; my boxes had seen better days and were pretty tattered from shipping (the mattress box had a big hole in it), but luckily nothing was damaged.
How to Assemble the Adjustable Frame
Lay out all the pieces on the floor, following the labels on the side rails for proper orientation (Image 1). Keep the protective material on to protect the frame and your floor (I didn’t do this and ripped all the protective tape off in a frenzy, oops!). Screw in the legs until tight, then connect the crossbars to the side rails. Then connect the power cables to the control box (Image 2) — don’t connect the power cord into the outlet yet. Then, you’ll start adding the platforms of the frame and it will finally start looking like a real bed (Image 3). Once you finish adding the platforms, you can plug it in and start testing it out with the remote (Image 4 + 5). The assembly isn’t too difficult, but it is a little nerve-wracking and there are a lot of small pieces to connect.
Unboxing the Mattress
Mistakes were made. I opened the box before I realized it would be better to put the entire box on the frame, kicking off a comical series of misfortunes. My roommate helped me lift the box onto the frame, but of course, the bed started sliding out of the open box. The rolled-up mattress is wrapped in two layers of plastic — use the provided cutting tool to cut through the first layer of plastic to unroll the mattress and adjust it properly on the frame, then cut through the second layer so the mattress can decompress. I was panicked I would accidentally cut into the mattress and started ripping the plastic off with my hands, thinking I was being careful. I’m sure you can guess that I ripped a hole in the second layer of plastic and the mattress began to inflate in both layers of plastic.
Misadventures aside, we finally got all the plastic off, took the several trips of recycling out, and left the bed to inflate for the required 30 minutes. I was pretty impressed at how fast the mattress inflated. The mattress had minimal to no off-gassing, so there was no noticeable chemical smell coming off of it.
The mattress is definitely firm, firmer than most beds I’ve slept on, but it actually has a little more give than I thought it would. It’s not a bouncy bed, but you don’t sink into it either. The tufted cover is probably doing this firm mattress a lot of justice; it’s soft and a little squishy. The fabric cover is infused with a cooling gel, but only time will tell whether it’s actually keeping me cool or not.
The edges of the mattress are sturdy — with my old mattress you could not sit or lie on the edge at all without feeling like you were falling off — and I’d say the only weak points are the corners of the mattress, but they’re still pretty sturdy.
As for the adjustable base, it’s quiet enough (but loud enough that your roommate across the apartment will hear it and start snickering) and I could tell immediately I was going to be a big fan of the zero-gravity setting. The mattress was sticking up a bit off the frame, so it’s going to take a bit of time for it to conform to the frame.
The mattress had been so heavy and such a fuss to get onto the frame that I asked my roommate to help me put the sheets on, but it was actually an easier task than I thought, and the corners weren’t impossible to lift. I’m using stretchy SHEEX sheets, which I think made it easier.
Founded by two former basketball coaches, this athletic gear-inspired bedding brand offers up soft, silky sheets, pillows and comforters that promote a cooler night's sleep.
My roommate, who is much smaller than I am, also liked the bed. In fact, after several jokes that I was going to make him fill out a questionnaire for this article and fiddling with the adjustable frame until we cried laughing thinking we’d break it, exhaustion finally set in and we both accidentally fell asleep.
SLEEP TRIAL: WEEK 1
I slept on the mattress with my head slightly inclined and slept peacefully through the night. I didn’t toss and turn a lot, but I’m also just so relieved that this ordeal is coming to a close that I probably would have slept like a rock on any bed.
My sleep is improving. The zero-gravity memory setting on the adjustable bed is great, I like how it cradles you. The only problem is that I will inevitably turn onto my side in my sleep, causing some self-imposed discomfort. If I fall asleep with the mattress on this setting, I usually wake up in the middle of the night and flatten it out.
SLEEP TRIAL: WEEK 2
I had a phantom feeling in the middle of the night that I was going to fall off the edge of the bed. I wasn’t anywhere near the edge of the bed, that’s just how bad my old mattress was. It’s nice to be able to sit and lie on the edge of the bed again.
It finally happened: I dropped the adjustable frame remote in the middle of the night and heard the battery cover come off and all the pieces spread into three different directions. I left it all until the morning.
SLEEP TRIAL: WEEK 3
I’ve had some great nights on the mattress where I got floaty, cloudlike sleep. I had forgotten what that’s like and am hoping for more days like this. There are other nights where I do notice the firmness, especially in the hip region, which is where I carry most of my weight. I realized during this week that in the final days of my old mattress, my arm would fall asleep and I’d wake up with my fingers numb and tingling, and that hasn’t happened in a while. This could be partially because the mattress is forcing me into better alignment or that I’m sleeping on my back more often than usual, so there’s less pressure on my arm and shoulder while I’m sleeping.
My back is feeling a bit better, too. It’s nice to feel the bed actually holding me up. In addition to the new mattress, this week I’m replacing my old, worn sofa that is also sagging. I’ve had a bit more energy now that I am getting some decent sleep so I’ve started getting more exercise again. I hope with everything combined I’ll start feeling even more relief.
One bad thing I noticed: occasionally your body will press down onto the tufted buttons on the cover, and they are very hard. This hasn’t happened often, but the first time it did I thought I was lying on a remote or my phone.
I’m still figuring out the adjustable frame, so sometimes I go for a few nights without using it. I recently used it to work on my laptop in bed; I wish the head would come up a little more for this use, I ended up needing to still put pillows behind my back, but otherwise, it was very comfortable.
The hardest thing to get used to with the frame is that you can’t push the bed up against the wall, so my pillows keep slipping behind the bed in the middle of the night.
I had a little scare with the adjustable frame. If something is caught in the mechanism, like a sheet or a pillow, it will stop until the obstruction is moved. But I didn’t see anything; I crawled around on my hands and knees pulling at every piece of fabric and it still wouldn’t budge. I was almost to the point of just completely remaking the bed when suddenly it mysteriously worked again.
SLEEP TRIAL: WEEK 4
I realized I neglected to rotate the mattress at the 14-day mark. You’re supposed to rotate it every two weeks so it breaks in evenly. My roommate is out of town, so I had to rotate it myself. I was dreading it, but it wasn’t too bad. I was able to lift the corners and slide it around. It would have been better with help, but not impossible without it.
SLEEP TRIAL: WEEK 5
I’m definitely still noticing the firmness of the mattress. Sometimes I wake up a little stiff. I know it’s going to take quite a while for me to break in both sides of the large bed, so I’m not too worried about it yet.
I’ve also noticed that I don’t really sleep on my stomach as much anymore, and now I’m wondering if switching to my stomach was my body’s desperate attempt to get comfortable on the old mattress.
I’ve been out of town for three days, sleeping on a family guest bed that is down to the springs, and I miss the Big Fig so much.
SLEEP TRIAL: WEEK 6
The zero-gravity setting on the adjustable frame and I have become good friends. As soon as I put the bed in the zero-g position, I immediately fall asleep. I think this position helps with the firmness of the mattress as well since it allows my hips to sink in. I’m getting better at waking up in the night and adjusting the bed back to flat if I turn onto my side. “I need to be flat,” has become a common phrase.
The weather has been a rollercoaster, so it’s been a little stuffy in the apartment, especially in the afternoons. My bedroom doesn’t get the afternoon sun, so it’s been nice to sink into the cool embrace of my bed at night.
This is an ongoing feature. I’ll update the story again with more information further into the trial period.
Note: Big Fig agreed to send a mattress and adjustable base for the purpose of this review, but my desperate hunt for a new bed and many, many opinions are genuinely my own.