Best mattress 2021 – the top sprung, memory foam and hybrid choices for a good night’s sleep


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  • Not sleeping so well? Maybe your mattress is to blame. The good news is that, if you are thinking of replacing yours, our best mattress guide is the best place to start.

    Not only are we here to explain the differences between memory foam, pocket sprung, latex and hybrid mattresses, we also have the pick of the very best mattresses to buy based on our expert testing. Our mattress tester Ysanne has decades of consumer journalism experience, and has put each mattress through its paces at home, over several weeks, pitting them against the everyday situations we all encounter. Each one has been rated for comfort, support, manoeuvrability and durability.

    Find the right bedding, pillows and even alarm clock with more of our buying guide reviews

    Given we spend almost 16 years of your life in bed, buying a mattress is not a time for compromise. It’s important that you do your research and make sure that you really are choosing the best mattress for you. Don’t opt for bad quality simply because it’s cheaper – there are some great-value mattresses out there, meaning you don’t have to compromise, even if you are on a budget.

    We’ve included mattresses for every budget and helpful tips about what to look out for, too. Scroll down for our comprehensive mattress buying guide.

    The best mattresses in 2021 – our reviews

    1. Emma Original mattress

    Best mattress for all-around comfort

    Sizes available: Single, Small Double, Double, King Size, Super King Size
    Airgocell foam, cold foam, memory foam
    Comfort level:
    Medium firm

    Reasons to buy: Keeps cool all night, support for aching joints, 200 night trial
    Reasons to avoid: Light sleepers may find the mattress a tad too firm

    Made in the UK, the Emma uses a different kind of chemical foam to most other bed-in-box mattresses, which the makers say is more durable. While we tried it for just a week or so, we’re not able to comment on whether it’s long-lasting or not but customer reviews seem to confirm that claim.

    Underneath the soft breathable outer cover is a three layer construction that includes an Airgocell® foam layer for ventilation to keep you cool. A 25mm memory foam layer giving general pressure relief for joints while the thicker foam base targets areas such as the shoulders and lower back to give optimum support.

    It’s a combination that provided a super comfortable sleep on whatever our chosen night-time position, even though our testers found it sat on the fairly firm side of medium our side sleeper still experienced a restful night without any tossing and turning.

    Unlike some memory foam mattresses, there was little or no odour and it rose quickly to its 25cm depth once released from its packaging. We’re fond of handles on mattresses, even if they don’t require turning as it means making the bed is a tad easier. It has a returns policy of 100 nights and a 10-year warranty.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    2. Simba Hybrid Pro mattress

    Best mattress for App-y sleeping


    Sizes available: Single, Double, King, Super King
    Memory foam, wool and Aerocoil springs
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: 10-year guarantee, 200 nigh trial
    Reasons to avoid: Could be too soft for those with back/joint issues

    There’s no mistaking that hybrids have a bit more heft to them than traditional memory foam only offerings. The Simba Hybrid pro has six layers, all encased in a soft breathable sleep surface.

    A number of things make the Simba different from other hybrids. Firstly two layers of patented miQro coils sandwiched between high definition edge support foam and an open-cell foam layer. Secondly, below the soft outer cover sits a natural temperature-regulating British wool layer to help wick away nighttime sweat.

    As you’d expect, the box is heavy – definitely a two man job up our testers’ winding stairs. Once in situ though, the instructions in the box are easy to follow. The supplied cutter ensures you’re unlikely to damage the mattress cover releasing it from its plastic wrapping. The handles are a nice addition and it swells up to the appropriate 28cm in three to four hours.

    The soft outer cover provided a lot of give but the springs beneath provided a sleep experience that was both cushioning and supportive for the back and shoulders. The Simba sleep app, which you can download to your smartphone is a nice accompaniment. It’s a tracker that helps you discover your sleep style – our testers were Night Owl and Sleep Master since you ask – and offers tips to improve your night, tailored to the way you slumber.

    For our restless ‘Night Owl’ sleeper, the Pro felt a little warmer than some other hybrids but our ‘Sleep Master’ was out like a light and stayed that way until morning. You can take up to 200 nights to decide if you like it, there’s a 0% finance option and a 10-year guarantee.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    3. Eve Original Mattress

    Best mattress in a box


    Sizes available: Double
    Memory foam
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: Great for sleeping in any position, 100-night trial
    Reasons to avoid: Instructions for unboxing are online rather than in the package

    This buy online bed-in-a-box is probably the one most of us will have heard of, and offers free delivery, a 100-night sleep trial and free returns if it’s not for you. Conveniently packaged, the box in question is a cinch to get upstairs and in fact, one of us managed it on our own although it’s probably better with two.

    Instructions for unboxing are online rather than in the package but it’s simple to work out so we didn’t bother – although watch the scissors as you release it from the plastic as you could easily nick the mattress if you’re not careful. Getting it out of the box and onto the bed, once the plastic packaging was opened, it immediately started to get its shape and was ready to sleep on in just a couple of hours.

    There are no carrying handles but as it doesn’t need turning, this isn’t too much of an issue, although it might be handy when removing the outer cover for washing. It’s made up of several layers including a moisture wicking top, a breathable air-flow layer for added circulation, a comfort layer, a supportive foam base and a non-slip outer, which all adds up to the comfort and softness you’d expect from memory foam mattress with a level of support that you might find in a more traditional bed.

    We had heard tales of that ‘sinking’ feeling when first trying memory foam but although the top layer was definitely softer than our usual bed it still felt supportive. We noticed a definite reduction in the early morning aches and pains we usually experience with our own firm mattress. If we had to give it a label we’d say it was medium firm.

    If you’re a fidgety sleeper then this is a great option as whichever way we lay – side, back, or front – there was no discomfort. It’s also great if you sleep next to that restless sleeper as we found movement didn’t ‘travel’ from one side of the bed to another.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

    4. Nectar Memory Foam mattress

    Best mattress returns policy


    Sizes available: Single, Small Double, Double, King, Super King
    Memory foam
    Comfort level:
    Medium firm – firm

    Reasons to buy: 365-day trial, keeps you cool
    Reasons to avoid: Not ideal for side sleepers

    A phenomenal 365-day trial trumpets the fact that Nectar is so sure that once its memory foam mattress is on your bed, it is unlikely to leave. That’s a whole year of sleep with free returns if you’re not happy, plus a forever guarantee. It’s a pretty bold stance for even this highly competitive bed-in-a-box market, so we were interested to see how it matched up to the rest.

    It comes in an easy-to-handle box and releasing it from its plastic packaging is simple with the help of the supplied cutting tool, which ensures you don’t accidentally cut into the mattress while you’re opening it. It doesn’t take long to inflate either and was ready in a couple of hours. Four layers of foam are topped with a soft quilted adaptive cooling cover that is designed to keep you cool at night by adapting to your body heat.

    It seemed to work well and even the hottest of our two testers wasn’t disturbed in the night by rising temperatures. Plus there’s a ‘smart’ layer that also dissipates moisture, pressure relieving memory foam to provide comfort and support and a 7-zoned layer that adds more support where it’s most needed.

    We felt, as it was on the firmer side of medium firm, it was a good option for front and back sleepers but wasn’t so great for a heavy side sleeper. Currently, there’s a trial offer giving £100 off and two free memory foam pillows. We’ve previously found memory foam pillows a little too hard but these had great support with enough give in them to provide a restful night.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    5. The Woolroom Herdwick 2500 mattress

    Best mattress for traditional luxury


    Sizes available: Single, Small Double, Double, Euro Double, King, Euro King, Super King
    Pocket springs, with cashmere, wool, silk and cotton fillings
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: Luxury filling, natural materials
    Reasons to avoid: It’s heavy ad requires turning

    A more traditional composition of up to 2500 hand-nested pocket springs paired with all-natural hypoallergenic fillings such as cashmere, wool, cotton and silk the Herdwick from the Woolroom is a classic choice.

    It’s delivered by a two-man team, which is just as well as the king size our testers chose is both weighty and solid. No mind, the delivery team seemed well versed in getting large objects up difficult, windy stairs to unpack and place the mattress in the room of choice. They also took away all packaging, which was great.

    At first glance you can see the craftsmanship that has gone into this quality piece, with a soft-to-the-touch, chemical free merino wool ticking top secured with tufted ‘buttons’. It almost felt a shame to cover it up with sheets.

    We were testing on a slatted base and although the mattress felt quite bouncy at first, it was plenty firm enough for our back sleeper, while it was wonderfully easy on the hips and shoulders for our side snoozer.

    The natural materials make it breathable and help to wick away nighttime sweat, ensuring the hottest of our testers had a very comfortable, wriggle-free night. As with all traditional spring mattresses it does require both turning and rotating to keep it at its best and while it’s heavy, the sturdy side handles make it a 5 minute job when changing sheets.

    Like its bed-in-a-box counterparts, it has a 100-night free trial so you can return if it’s not suitable and there’s a five-year warranty, too.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    6. Rem-Fit 400 Hybrid mattress

    Best mattress with edge-to-edge support

    Rem-Fit 400 Hybrid mattressSizes available: small single, long single, single (UK & EU), small double, double (UK & EU), king-size (UK & EU) and super king
    pocket-sprung and memory foam
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: mega supportive, even distribution of weight, 100-night free trial
    Reasons to avoid: no handles, lingering plastic smell for a couple of days

    Designed and made in the UK, the Rem-Fit 400 mattress (which arrives in a box) is a medium/firm mattress which offers a good level of support across the entire mattress surface. This is down to the five incredible layers which include a combination of cool open-cell memory foam and 2000 premium pocket springs. It’s suitable for all sleepers – especially side sleepers – and will comfortably withstand a combined weight of 40 stone, too.

    We tried it out for a few months during the summer and found that it not only relieved us from back pains, but we also found that we didn’t get overheated during the night. Being a hybrid mattress we felt that we really had the best of both worlds, especially if you’re a side sleeper as our reviewer is. We also found that it is competitively priced with the only slight downside being the lingering smell of plastic which one has come to expect now from memory foam mattresses, but this soon fades so you’ll be sleeping in comfort in no time.

    What do you get for your money? A 100-night sleep trial with no quibbles if you want to return it; 15 year full replacement guarantee and free next day delivery (when you order before 1pm).

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    7. Simba Hybrid Mattress

    Best mattress for side sleepers


    Sizes available: Single, Small Double, Double, King, Super King, EU Single, EU Double L, EU Queen
    Foam, memory foam, pocket springs, latex
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: Huge variety of sizes, 100-night trial
    Reasons to avoid: Not ideal for non-side-sleepers

    If you prefer to be cosseted by a cloud-like mattress but your partner yearns for one that’s on the firm side, then this ‘fits-all’ mattress, might well be the answer. Another bed-in-a-box, it arrives well packaged and with comprehensive instructions for use and care. A nice touch is the safety cutter supplied, allowing you to quickly and easily open the packaging without worrying about accidentally cutting the mattress with scissors as you release it.

    Once unleashed from its box, the mattress takes 3-5 hours to fully take shape, ready for a night’s sleep. We found it was slightly softer than some of the other memory foam mattresses but much to our surprise, we didn’t mind that too much. It has five layers including a foam core, responsive memory foam, a unique layer of micro-conical pocket springs and a Simbatex synthetic latex layer all contained in a hypoallergenic outer cover.

    It’s the springs that really make this one different, adjusting to your body as you sleep – we found that was particularly the case for side sleepers. As with many of the online purchase mattress options, it comes with free delivery and there’s a 100-night trial and free returns if you’re not 100 per cent happy. It comes in a huge variety of sizes, too, so whatever bed base you’re buying for, there’s bound to be one that fits.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars  

    8. Emma Hybrid mattress

    Best mattress for a firm base


    Sizes available:  Single, Small Double, Double, King Size, Super King Size
    Type: Foam and pocket springs
    Comfort level: Firm

    Reasons to buy: Advanced breathability
    Reasons to avoid: Not ideal for side sleepers

    We tested Emma’s Original last year and gave it top marks so we were expecting great things of its Hybrid sister. At £519 for a single compared to £299 for the Original, it’s more of an investment, for sure, so we were keen to see what it delivers in terms of comfort that the Original doesn’t.

    For a start, it feels heavier, although it’s just as easy to release from its packaging and fills up to size pretty quickly. It also has handles, which are extremely useful not just for maneuvering them into place but for lifting when sheet changing. It’s a small detail but really useful nonetheless.

    Like all hybrid mattresses it pairs layers of memory foam with pocket springs for a combination that intends to provided the best of both worlds. A top layer of the company’s patented Airgocell open pored, breathable layer sits above a seam of pocket springs that provides body support and allows air to flow, keeping things cool by preventing heat and moisture from becoming trapped.

    It’s certainly one of the cooler mattress experiences our testers have tried, aided by a cover that has temperature-regulating fibres, comparing well with the Original for minimising restlessness from overheating. Below the springs is a layer of pressure relieving foam, which in turn lies on a base of cold foam with cut-out technology to provide support where it’s needed most.

    Our testers found it quite a firm sleep, but in a supportive rather than rock hard way. It definitely took our side sleeper a few more days to get use to the fact it had less give than their usual mattress, so not the best choice for those that prefer something more cloud-like, while the back sleeper preferred it, declaring afterwards that the old mattress now felt ‘too soft, too giving’. There’s a 200-night trial period, a 10-year guarantee and hassle-free returns promise.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    9. Dormeo Octaspring 6500 memory foam mattress

    Best mattress for keeping cool


    Sizes available: Adjustable Single, adjustable small Single, Double, King, Super King, European King Size
    Type: Memory foam with memory foam ‘springs’
    Comfort level: Firm

    Reasons to buy: Keeps you cool, ideal for sufferers of joint pain
    Reasons to avoid: Not the best for front sleepers

    The unique layered construction of this mattress is what gives it enviable levels of support and helps to make it one of the coolest mattresses we tried. Delivered by a ‘white glove’ service that places the mattress in the room of your choice, unpacks it for you and, crucially, takes away the packing, it’s also one of the most expensive.

    Two layers of Octasprings – open construction memory foam ‘springs’ – are grouped into three zones, which our testers found super supportive in key areas such as shoulders, lowers spine and hips. Despite our tests being undertaken on unseasonably warm winter nights, there was no sign at all of the overheating that can be found with some memory foam mattresses. This, plus the lack of motion transfer those springs afforded resulted in a great night’s sleep, with a distinct lack of muscle pain in the morning.

    It worked well for both the side sleeper and the back sleeper, creating individual support where it was most required. It also has carrying handles – useful when rotating the mattress as recommended. It’s definitely a considered purchase but you’ve also got a 60 night trial period to ensure it suits you and there’s a 20 year warranty.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    10. Loaf Our Perfect Mattress

    Best sprung mattress


    Sizes available: Single, Double, King, Superking
    Pocket springs with wool and cotton fillings
    Comfort level:
    Choose from Extra Firm, Firm and Regular

    Reasons to buy: Different types of firmness, 5 year guarantee
    Reasons to avoid: Delivery takes 4-6 weeks

    Loaf has confidently – some might say arrogantly – named this mattress, but not without reason, we’ve found. From the moment it was delivered (by two absolutely lovely delivery men who took it up our awkwardly shaped stairs as if it was lighter than air, which it’s not, then unpacked it and popped it on the bed base) to the moment we had to reluctantly wave goodbye to it (as it exited in the hands of exactly the same delivery guys), we loved pretty much everything about this one.

    The great service, to be praised in today’s market where corners are often cut to keep prices down, was a brilliant start. And the firm but cushioning sleep quality the mattress affords didn’t let it down.

    Although Loaf has five mattresses on offer, this is their bestseller and we can see why. Pocket sprung, with breathable fillings including cotton and wool to help regulate temperature, it comes in three tensions, Extra Firm, Firm and Regular – we opted for Firm. The damask cover feels decadent and luxurious and the spongy top layer adds cushioning that’s perfect for side sleepers, while the individual pocket springs – 1200 in a double – gently contoured to our bodies for maximum comfort.

    As well as some of the best night’s sleep we’ve had in quite some time, probably in no small part due to a construction that provides a high level of breathability, we also felt fewer of the usual morning aches and pains when it was time to get up. It’s also available on a 100-night trial with free returns and, if you do decide to keep it, a 5-year guarantee.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

    11. Silentnight Studio Gel mattress

    Best mattress for breathable nights


    Sizes available: Single, Double, King
    Gel, pocket springs
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: Free delivery, 60-day comfort exchange
    Reasons to avoid: Have to rotate it from time to time

    Arriving not in a box (hurrah to saving on waste!) but still rolled tightly, this mattress was easy to negotiate up twisty stairs.

    We opted to test the Gel mattress, part of Silentnight’s Studio range, which also includes Eco and Memory options. The Gel features a breathable cover over a Geltex comfort layer that sits on traditional pocket springs. It’s a combination that provides enhanced breathability for cool nights with tailored support and is billed as the mattress for twisters and turners – something that definitely applied to one of our testers, who is a restless sleeper at the best of times.

    Released from it’s packaging, it looked a little short for the bed but after the recommended 24 hours, it had ‘inflated’ well. It doesn’t have handles but as it is not as heavy as some, it was super easy to lift to make the bed and also to rotate, which is recommended to do from time to time. While not as deep as some, it nevertheless had plenty of bounce, probably because of the 1,000 micropocket springs, which definitely gave support where it was needed, particularly in the hips and spine, where our restless side sleeper needed it the most.

    There’s free delivery to a room of your choice and a 60-night comfort exchange guarantee. 

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    12. Tempur Sensation Elite mattress

    Best mattress for a cosy night’s sleep


    Sizes available: Small Single, Single, Single Long, Small Double, Double, King, King Wide, Super King
    Memory foam
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: 10-year warranty, 100-night guarantee
    Reasons to avoid: A tad pricey for those with no special requirements

    Launched in 1991, Tempur’s memory foam mattress was the first on the market. Created using a pressure-absorbing material originally developed by to provide added supportive and cushioned seating for astronauts. Tempur is the forerunner of all other memory foam mattresses.

    Delivered to the room of your choice it doesn’t come in a box, which means it’s more difficult to manoeuvre initially but it doesn’t require time to fill out either, meaning you can catch some ZZZ’s straight away should you so wish.  Is it worth the considerable price tag, though? It definitely smacks of quality, with a beautiful finish and luxuriously soft exterior. However, if you’re a standard sleeper with no significant join pain, you could opt for something a little cheaper.

    That said, the support and almost complete lack of motion transfer means that if you suffer from back and shoulder pain, or you’re a particularly restless sleeper it could be an investment you won’t regret. The cushioned top layer makes it feel a little on the soft side and we definitely experience a sinking feeling at first, particularly the side sleeper, but it’s less suffocating and more a welcoming embrace. As with others, you’ve 100 nights to see if it’s for you and if you do keep it, there’s a 10-year warranty.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    13. Silentnight Sleep Soundly Miracoil Comfort Double Mattress

    Best mattress for couples

    Best mattress Silentnight Sleep Soundly Miracoil Comfort Double Mattress, John Lewis

    Sizes available: Double
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: Great value for money, ideal for those with back pain
    Reasons to avoid: Less comfortable for side sleepers

    The patented spring system in this mattress is designed to give support just where your body needs it the most. We certainly found that the spring construction – which allows the bed to react independently to each sleeper –meant the fidgety sleeper didn’t disturb the light sleeper.

    Although it was quite light, it was also the firmest and the most supportive of all the mattresses we tested. This was a great result for the front sleeper with a touch of sciatica as the spring technology gently cushioned pressure points and helped to provide a really supportive base, minimizing some nagging back pain.

    However, that did mean it was marginally less comfortable for the side sleeper than some of the medium firm options we tried. That was easily addressed, though, by adding a machine-washable topper, which not only gave a little extra softness, it was also great for protecting the mattress itself. The outside layer is a micro quilted soft-knit tick fabric over polyester layers, which provide added comfort, plus eco-comfort fibres that helped to make sure our night was cool, dry and allergy-free.

    It’s recommended to turn the mattress and top-to-tail it once a week for the first few weeks and then monthly after that. It doesn’t have side handles to help with that but as it’s one of the lightest mattresses we tried, that wasn’t the issue we imagined it might be. Unlike some of the others, you can’t test this model at home and send it back if you’re unhappy, so we’d definitely suggest you popped in-store to have a little lie down before committing to the purchase.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

    14. Duvalay EasySleep Three mattress

    Best mattress for comfort at a great price


    Sizes available: Single, Small Double, Double, King
    Foam, springs
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: Perfect for hot sleepers
    Reasons to avoid: Top cover isn’t removable

    Another hybrid, this one combines Duvalay’s Freshtec foam with a 3D breathable mesh cover that it claims gives a cooler, fresher night’s sleep. It comes shrink-wrapped and rolled, which makes it so much easier to navigate the stairs and once unfurled, it quickly ‘inflates’.

    It’s got much more of a traditional mattress feel, with a smooth, silky top cover and the side mesh that airates the memory foam top layer. Unlike many of the bed-in-a-box mattresses we’ve tried, the top cover isn’t removable but as we always recommend using a mattress topper to preserve the life of your bed, we didn’t feel this was a massive tick against it.

    So if you’re getting this mattress and looking for the best mattress toppers around, check out our handy buying guide.

    There are no handles either but it’s pretty easy to grab hold of and rotate when necessary. A layer of unique S-Line pocket springs provide edge to edge support and offer pressure relief for areas such as shoulders, back and hips giving both testers a wriggle-free night’s sleep.

    The comfort grade is billed as medium (the EasySleep 1 and 2 are firm) and our first impression is that it’s definitely softer than others we’ve tried, which was great for our restless side sleeper. It also has a ‘Love it or return it’ 100 night policy.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    15. Ikea Hovag mattress

    Best mattress on a budget


    Sizes available: Single, Double, King, Super King
    Pocket springs
    Comfort level:

    Reasons to buy: Good value for money
    Reasons to avoid: ‘New mattress smell’ takes time to fade

    Not a bed-in-a-box but brilliantly and conveniently wrapped in a vacuum-packed roll with efficient carry handles, this was a cinch to get up our u-shaped staircase. Light but not insubstantial, the grey and white cover doesn’t feel as plush and luxurious as some of the other mattresses we tested but it does the job and once it’s covered in a sheet it’s not really noticeable.

    The side carrying handles are a nice touch – they made it easy to get the mattress into place once it was out of the packaging – and they are sure to make moving the mattress a breeze when necessary, too. It doesn’t ever need turning apparently but topping and tailing from time to time probably wouldn’t go amiss.

    We had to leave it to fully regain it’s shape before sleeping on it – which can take anything from a few hours to 48, so perhaps best not to plan using it straight away. A traditional pocket sprung construction with a layer of soft filling, it did seem a tad short for our bed frame but that may just be because we needed to leave it longer to fully ‘inflate’ before we used it.

    Described as medium firm, it did feel a little softer than we’re used to and we were concerned that might make for an uncomfortable night. Thankfully, that was far from the case as it was actually surprisingly supportive. It did have a rather distinct ‘new mattress’ smell but that lessened after a few days and it wasn’t so bad that it stopped us drifting off into the land of nod pretty quickly. Ikea wants us to win at sleeping and we definitely think this is one of the best value ways of doing just that.

    Ideal Home rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

    We’ll be updating this list of best mattresses regularly and will include special offers when available, so make sure you come back to check before you buy.

    How we test our mattresses


    Image credit: Ikea

    Our tester Ysanne has more than 20 years’ experience as an interiors editor and writer, and has spent many nights asleep on each of tens of mattresses on her way to selecting the best. She’s looked at mattresses made from a variety of materials, including popular memory foam, traditional pocket-sprung mattresses and hybrids of the two.

    Ysanne has carefully picked the mattresses to review based on her own research into what’s new, innovative and popular in the marketplace – ensuring she looks across the full spectrum of price points. Editorial integrity is paramount at Ideal Home and Ysanne’s selections won’t be influenced by our sales team or advertisers. When her shortlist is complete, she will reach out to manufacturers directly to request samples under the condition that she will give a full, frank and completely independent review.

    On the rare occasion we can’t get hold of a sample, we’ll simply buy it with our own money. Most of the time, however, we find companies are happy to lend to us, regardless of whether the review we then give is good or bad, because they trust in the quality of their products.

    When testing, Ysanne has taken in factors like comfort and support, odour and also the manoeuvrability of each mattress – important, given regular turning of a mattress is often recommended. Ysanne also got husband Paul to help out, so both a back sleeper and a side sleeper have put the mattresses through their paces and we can say confidently which is best for who.

    What should I consider before buying a mattress?

    There are a few key things you need to consider before taking the plunge and buying a new mattress:

    • A bed, and therefore its mattress, should be 10cm longer than the tallest person who will be sleeping in it. So a king-size is the minimum for someone 6ft or more. If you’re sharing a bed, it should also be wide enough to allow you and your partner to lie side by side, hands behind heads, without your elbows touching.
    • To check if a mattress is supporting you properly, lie down and slide a hand beneath the small of your back. If your hand fits easily, it’s too hard; not at all, and it’s too soft.
    • The base will affect how the mattress feels. A sprung divan will make a mattress seem softer than a solid divan or slatted base. You might want to consider changing your bed as well as your mattress.
    • Sprung and pocket mattresses are padded with fillings including cotton, lambswool and mohair, which can prove problematic for people with allergies. Luxurious options, such as cashmere and silk, will mean the finished product is more expensive, but are also less likely to cause issues.
    • Does the mattress model require turning? Many modern mattresses don’t, which is ideal because they can be incredibly heavy. If it does, you’ll want your mattress to have sturdy handles at the sides.

    One major problem is that a quick lie down in a showroom isn’t going to tell you whether a mattress still feels right after a long night’s sleep. It’s good to note that some online retailers offer 100-day, quibble-free return policies on their mattresses, so you really can try before you buy! We’ve pointed this option out in our list of the best mattresses below, if it’s available.

    Take a look at our pick of the of the best mattresses and banish those sleepless nights forever. We’ve hunted down the top mattresses on the market across a variety of budgets and styles, so there’s a perfect choice for everyone.

    Sleep positions on mattress

    Choosing mattress firmness: How do you sleep?

    When choosing a mattress, comfort and support is key. We spoke to Myriam Ruffo, Head of Bedrooms and Bathrooms at IKEA UK, who gave us the 101 on the best mattresses for the three key sleeping positions; back, front and side. ‘Be sure to test the firmness and take into consideration your sleeping style, to ensure you choose a firmness that offers you the correct back support,’ she says. ‘Your mattress plays a huge part in your health and well-being when you consider you spend around eight hours every night sleeping on it.’

    Sleeping on your back – Medium firm
    Back sleepers require support for the lower back, otherwise too much pressure can be put on this area which can result in pain. A medium-firm mattress is the best mattress in this scenario as it offers the support of a firm mattress but also has a softer, more comfortable feel.

    Sleeping on your front – Firm
    This sleeping style requires a mattress that can keep the body afloat, rather than sinking into the mattress, as this can cause lower back pain. A firm mattress is the best mattress here, as it will keep the body in a position where spine alignment is minimal.

    Sleeping on your side – Soft
    Sleeping on your side allows your spine to relax and therefore takes pressure off of the back. This makes it one of the healthiest ways to sleep. Side sleepers require a softer medium-firm mattress so the spine can rest in its most natural position. This allows the mattress to mould itself to the curves of the body.

    Buying a mattress ultimately comes down to personal preference, because no two people have the same needs and requirements. Some retailers now offer a free trial, meaning if you don’t get on with the one you’ve chosen, you can return it free of charge. Check this option is available before purchase.

    Mattresses explained: Memory Foam, Sprung, Latex and Hybrid

    Pocket-sprung mattresses have been the most popular for many years now. However, there are plenty of challengers in the shape of memory foam and latex. The modern-day mattress can arrive in a box, and some even overnight! There is no obvious best mattress type, what works for you will depend on your needs. Read on to find out the differences between Memory Foam, Sprung, Latex and Hybrid mattresses.

    What is an Open-sprung mattress?

    An open-sprung mattress contains one long piece of wire coiled into springs. It also has a border rod of wire that gives the mattress a firm edge and helps retain its shape.

    Pros: Great value for money. They are lighter than other mattresses, so easier to turn, and can be turned in all directions, which extends the life of the mattress.

    Cons: As the springs are all connected, open-sprung mattresses are less responsive to your body and overall, less supportive.

    Best for: Occasional use. They’re also ideal for children’s bedrooms, as they’re less expensive, so can be upgraded as your little ones grow.


    Image credit: Georgia Burns

    What is a Pocket-sprung mattress?

    Pocket-sprung mattresses are more luxurious, with up to 3,000 individual small springs housed in separate fabric pockets. They tend to have hand-stitched sides for strong, stable edges.

    Pros: The springs move independently to support your body. They come in a choice of tensions – soft, medium or firm – meaning good support whatever your weight.

    Cons: Because of the density of the fillings, pocket-sprung mattresses can be heavy to turn. They’re usually filled with natural materials, like lambswool, which can exacerbate allergies.

    Best for: The separate springs make them ideal for two people of different weights. They’re also available to buy with two sides of a different firmness.

    What is a Memory-foam mattress?

    Memory foam is a mouldable material. The most well known type of memory-foam mattress is Tempur, a material famously developed by NASA. Now here comes the science bit – it’s composed of billions of viscoelastic cells, which respond to your temperature and weight.

    Pros: It feels the same on any bed base. When warm, it moulds to the body and absorbs weight, essentially relieving pressure from the joints.

    Cons: As the foam moulds to the body it can feel too close and claustrophobic. This same sinking feeling means you can become quite warm, although high-quality memory foam mattresses are more breathable these days.

    Best for: Supportive, good for allergy sufferers and helpful for people with joint pain or a bad back. It has a unique feel, so you’ll love it or hate it. Either way if you’ve never slept on one before it might take a few nights to get used to.

    What is a Latex mattress?

    Natural latex is white liquid tapped from the trunks of rubber trees. This is blended with synthetic latex and turned into latex foam, using the Talalay process, which produces the finest polymer.

    Pros: Latex is breathable, so you won’t overheat. Exceptionally durable, its resilient feel also makes it good for those who prefer a firmer bed.

    Cons: Some think these mattresses have a rather solid feel, and they can be heavy and difficult to move. Cheaper versions can develop lumps and body impressions.

    Best for: Those with allergies (except latex) and asthma, as latex doesn’t harbour dust mites. It also has natural antimicrobial properties.


    Image credit: David Giles

    What is a Sprung memory-foam mattress?

    A sprung memory-foam mattress is a hybrid of a pocket-sprung base and a memory foam top layer.

    Pros: A compromise between the responsiveness of a pocket-sprung mattress and the support of memory foam. There’s also no need to turn the mattress.

    Cons: The ‘sinking’ sensation can put people off, which also means it isn’t recommended for young children, in case they roll onto their face and breathing is inhibited.

    Best for: People who still want the feel of a pocket-sprung mattress, without the natural fillings that may irritate allergies.

    Look after your latest purchase: How to clean a mattress – for a sweeter night’s sleep

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our best mattress guide. Remember to check back here if you want details of the latest mattress deals, and sweet dreams!

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