I Tried Big Fig’s Mattress for Plus-Size Sleepers

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.

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Updated on August 26, 2023

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 three plus-size mattress options: the Purple 4, the WinkBed Plus and Big Fig. Ironically, but oh-so-typical of my shopping habits, I ended up deciding on the very first mattress I looked at: Big Fig.

The Plus-Size Mattress Guide: The Best Beds for Heavy Sleepers You Can Buy Online

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.

From $650

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.

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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.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

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.

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.

$129

Big Fig now has sheets! Big Fig's newly launched sheet set boasts cooling, eco-friendly TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers and an extra-wide top sheet that keep plus-size sleepers cool and comfortable. I've been using them for a couple of months now. When I first started testing these sheets, I expected to routinely rotate them out with my beloved SHEEX set, but readers, I genuinely fell in love with these sheets. They're light, airy, cool and luxuriously soft. I thought after a couple of washes I might notice pilling, but so far so good. The fitted sheet has deep pockets to match the 13-inch mattress plus elastic straps to help it stay in place when used with an adjustable frame, and I haven't had any issues with them staying in place — though to be fair, I never had any issues with the SHEEX staying in place on this mattress, either. I actually use the top sheet instead of finding it wadded up at the end of the bed each morning. Much like my Sand Cloud towels, the extra width on the top sheet is much appreciated. One potential con for my fellow Type A friends: These sheets are prone to wrinkles. On my first week with the sheets, I washed and dried, then left them in the dryer for a couple of hours before I was able to make the bed and they were very wrinkly. Making the bed is not my strong suit anyway, so this doesn't really bother me, but if you like a crisp, hotel-bed look, it's just something to keep in mind.

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For a Cooler Night's Sleep, Try SHEEX Sheets and Bedding

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.

THE 120-NIGHT TRIAL


I took the first few weeks of the trial with a grain of salt: I was so relieved that this ordeal was coming to a close that I probably would have slept like a rock on any bed. My old mattress was so bad that I kept having phantom feelings in the middle of the night that I was going to fall off the edge of the bed. My sleep improved and it was nice to be able to sit and lie on the edge of the bed again.

I had some great nights on the mattress where I got floaty, cloudlike sleep. My back started feeling a bit better, too. It was nice to feel the bed actually holding me up. There were other nights where I did notice the firmness, especially in the hip region, which is where I carry most of my weight. Also I noticed that occasionally my body would press down onto the tufted buttons on the cover, and they are very hard. It didn’t happen often, but the times it did I thought I was laying on my phone or the remote.

About seven weeks in, after I published my initial review, Big Fig sent me their newly-released mattress protector, which has the same soft material as the bed, and I haven’t noticed that issue with the tufted buttons since then. I joked to my friends that I wasn’t sure if Big Fig sent me the mattress protector for the button issue or because they read I’ve spilled hot sauce on a mattress before.

$129

Hey, accidents happen. Defend against spills and stains with this cooling ThermoGel treated, waterproof mattress protector.

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If you’re a fellow Southerner, you know we have wacky weather and it can be a summer day even in the dead of winter. My bedroom doesn’t get the afternoon sun, so it was nice to sink into the cool embrace of my bed on those nights. The cooling sheets I use definitely help, but even without them the mattress is still usually a bit to the touch.

Other nights I really felt the stiffness of the mattress, but tried to chalk it up as the bed needing to be broken in for a bit longer. The adjustable bed frame made it more tolerable (more on that later). I can definitely see why people start to panic around this time, trying to decide whether they’re going to keep a mattress or return it. I think by around day 90, I was convinced that I was happy enough with the mattress, but I can totally see how some people who might find the Big Fig too firm for them would seriously consider returning it by this point.

Since I got the mattress in September 2021 and my trial period ran through the holidays, I was out of town for several days, cutting into my trial. It’s just something to keep in mind when you consider the best time to try a new mattress – if you can help it, it’d be better to start a trial during times when you won’t be traveling a lot.

Those trips were the real eye-opener, though: I missed the Big Fig so much. I suddenly found one of my favorite hotel’s mattresses too soft, and my parents even went as far to replace their guest bed because I wasn’t sleeping as well on it when I visited them. I think these times, all mostly clumped together between Halloween and New Year’s, is when the Big Fig really became my bed.

ONE YEAR LATER


The firmness was still very noticeable until around the 9-month mark. Some time in mid-July, it hit me that I hadn’t really thought about it in a while, and had been sleeping pretty well.

Other than the mattress protector, I never added any additional comfort layers to the bed — partly because I didn’t want to affect the temperature of the bed since I sleep hot, partly because the mattress is already very thick and tall and also partly just out of laziness. Eventually I replaced my pillows — with the mattress being so firm, it makes it very clear if a pillow is no longer supporting you.

By the time a full year rolled around, there was finally a nice, noticeable squishiness in the spot where I slept the most. That being said, I still enjoyed the sensation of sleeping on the firmer side when it was time to turn the mattress. Sometimes I forgot or was busy, but I still tried to turn it every three weeks or so. The edges of the bed are still maintaining their firmness quite well.

Friends and family of all shapes and sizes have always been excited to try out the new bed, and it's been reviewed positively. No one who's ever slept in it for more than one night has had anything bad to say about it.

THE ADJUSTABLE FRAME


The adjustable frame and I have developed a “will they or won’t they?” relationship: I love it and sometimes I use it every day, and then other weeks it’s like I completely forget it exists and go days without using it.

I love the zero-gravity memory setting on the adjustable bed and I like how it cradles you. For my body, the gentle dip provided by the zero-g position feels like it helps soften this very firm mattress. I exhale deeply as soon as the bed finishes swaddling me and sleep like a baby. 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. My favorite time to put the bed in zero-g is if I wake up just before dawn and know I can go back to sleep for an hour or two. Bliss. Sleeping inclined has been a game-changer for when I’m sick and congested, and being able to sleep with my legs elevated has helped when I have sore muscles.

The remote for this thing is simple and solid, I drop it all the time and the batteries only come flying out once in a blue moon.

I’ve had some issues with it, and I find the frame a little sensitive. Since I’ve never had an adjustable frame before to compare it to, it’s hard to know if these are just symptoms of all adjustable frames or just this particular one.

If I try to fully incline the headrest, sometimes it gets stuck. (I actually wish the headrest could come even more upright than currently possible — same note on the footrest.) If something is caught in the mechanism, like a sheet or a pillow, it will stop until the obstruction is moved. This is a good thing, but sometimes it does this and I don’t see anything caught in it, and I can crawl around on my hands and knees pulling at every piece of fabric and it still wouldn’t budge. Sometimes I’ll even lift the sides of the beds. Eventually it will finally start mysteriously working again but there’s no rhyme or reason to it.

At one point I had a “disaster situation” where I accidentally leaned down too hard on one side of the bed while it was moving to the flat position, and the entire side came down and got out of alignment. When I tried to move it back to an inclined position, that side felt floppy. I was HORRIFIED. So horrified, that I literally put it in the flat position for a few weeks and just wouldn’t touch it. But I am the child of two aircraft mechanics, so finally, with the help of friends to help me lift the mattress up, I managed to adjust one of the mechanisms and realign it. It was a bunch of guesswork on my end, so if it happens to you, I’d recommend contacting Big Fig for help instead.

I keep my motions slow and steady now. Even though I felt like the misalignment issue was my fault, I was a bit grumpy because I thought it should be able to handle a little bit more force and weight. It will creak a bit if you try to get out of the bed while it’s inclined or in motion, often to the dismay of my very tiny bladder.

I should also note that one of the hardest things to get used to with this 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. There are other adjustable bed frames on the market that you can press up against the wall, sometimes marketed as “wall-huggers.”

Issues aside, I still think that the addition of the adjustable bed frame makes the Big Fig a more enjoyable mattress overall. If nothing else, I think this has proved to me that we should all have adjustable frames. But let’s be honest: mattresses are expensive enough, let alone adding an expensive mechanical bed frame to the budget. If you have the money though, it would be a worthwhile investment. I also think if you’re like one of the many people I spoke to who have tried multiple mattresses, or have a mattress that’s fine but could be a little better, you could try an adjustable frame and see if that makes a difference.

People who are pregnant or who are about to become pregnant might also consider an adjustable frame. My cousin was pregnant during my first year with the bed and tested mine out on one of her visits, saying her doctor recommended an adjustable frame. Talk to your doctor about your needs, of course, but my cousin was pretty sold on the concept after only a few minutes.

FINAL THOUGHTS, FOR NOW


I’m now at a year and a half with the bed, and I’m still finding it very comfortable, especially when paired with some of the adjustable frame settings. It’s broken in a bit more now, but otherwise the mattress itself still looks and feels new. There are no huge dips to report, and the edge support is holding up well. I haven’t noticed the fabric pilling on the top of the mattress or the mattress protector. It does feel like it’s going to last for a long time.

There will be plenty of people who simply find it too firm for their liking. Time will make it a bit softer, but it will still be a very firm mattress, so if you’re still tossing and turning or the mattress is causing you any pain or discomfort by the time you hit around 90 to 100 days of the trial, Big Fig may not be the right mattress for you and it may be time to initiate a return. That can happen with mattresses whether you’re plus size or not. The trial is very generous compared to other companies, but even with 120 days you’ll probably find yourself panicking a bit to make a decision even if you like the bed a lot. It’s a big expense, and no one wants to be stuck with something they might hate in a year. So take your trial period very seriously, even take notes if it helps you decide.

I do sometimes wonder if there will be some sort of “Golden Years” era with this bed where it will get even softer and nicer, but only time will tell. I think all my final mattress selects would have been good options for me with similar shares of pros and cons. Just like with my initial mattress search, if I had to start over, it’s very likely that I would choose Big Fig all over again.

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.

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