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The best mattress in July 2019: memory foam, pocket springs and hybrid mattresses compared

T3 logo T3 4 hrs ago Julia Sagar
a close up of a computer © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.

Choosing the best mattress can be tricky. It's a big decision: most of us will spend over a third of our lives in bed, so it’s important to get it right. But what’s the best type of mattress? Which brand should you pick? And how much do you need to spend to guarantee a good night’s sleep? 

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to choose the best mattress for you, no matter your body shape, sleeping style or budget. We’ll explain the differences between memory foam, pocket sprung, latex and hybrid mattresses – and the pros and cons of each – and we’ll show you the best mattresses to buy in each category.

An early tip? Pick up one of the best mattress protectors or mattress toppers while you’re at it, to help extend the life of your new mattress. 

As you might expect, many of the best mattresses aren’t exactly low-priced. But it’s a competitive market and the big challenger brands run sales and cheap mattress deals all year round, so buying a new mattress doesn't need to break the bank. You'll see today’s lowest prices for all our best mattress picks below – there’s up to 50 per cent off in some cases.

What is the best mattress?

Best mattress: Sealy 1400 Nostromo © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Best mattress: Sealy 1400 Nostromo

We still think the memory foam Emma Original (pictured above) is the best mattress you buy right now. Not only is it a top-scorer when it comes to comfort and support, it’s also highly durable – so it’ll last – and comes with some great extra features. Plus, it’s now outrageously good value for money, thanks to a 30% discount over on Amazon. Prefer a hybrid? Try the excellent Simba Hybrid mattress, second in our list.

Of course, the right option for you will depend on your personal preference and budget. One of the hardest decisions can be which type of mattress to choose, so here’s a quick run through of the main options:

  • Memory foam mattress: made from mouldable material that responds to your temperature and weight, and adapts to your body as you sleep. Great support and comfort. Can be more expensive.
  • Pocket sprung: supports you with thousands of small springs inside their own fabric pockets. They adapt to your body shape, and isolate movement so you won’t feel your partner tossing and turning. 
  • Latex: breathable, springy material that’s exceptionally durable and resilient. Can be expensive. 
  • Hybrid: offers a combined support system, often with a pocket-sprung base and memory foam top layer. They’re responsive, supportive and popular with people who want the best of both worlds.
  • Continuous and coil: made from a single looped wire, or from single springs fixed with one wire. These are cheaper and less likely to give a good night’s sleep.
  • Bed in a box: this refers to a delivery method, in which mattresses are compressed, rolled or folded into a box for easy home delivery. They’re usually foam, or a memory foam and spring combination. 

How to buy the best mattress for you

Best mattress: Eve Original © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Best mattress: Eve Original

Never, ever buy a mattress you haven’t tried. Bear in mind that a quick showroom test won’t guarantee a good night’s sleep – but many online retailers now offer no-quibble, free 100-day trials, so it’s possible to test at your leisure. 

Before buying a mattress, make sure it’s the right size. Your mattress – like your bed – should be 10cm longer than the tallest person sleeping in it. It should also be wide enough for you and your partner to put your hands under your head without your elbows touching (or without touching the edge of the mattress if you’re not sharing). 

Next, do the hand test: lying down on your back, push your hand under the small of your back. If you can’t, the mattress is too soft; if the gap’s massive, it’s too hard. And if you have a partner, make sure they try it, too: what feels fine solo may be like a bouncy castle when your better half’s on board. Also check whether a prospective mattress needs turning. Many don’t these days, but if you’re looking at one that does, make sure it has handles at the sides.

The best mattresses you can buy right now

1. Emma Original mattress

This is the best mattress you can buy right now – and there's a 35% discount right now!

a close up of a bed: Best mattress: Tweak Nrem © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Best mattress: Tweak Nrem

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Most sleepers | Sizes: Single - super king | Depth: 25cm | Turn: No | Filling: Memory foam | Comfort: medium | Trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 years | RRP: Single: £419, Double: £649, King: £699, Super king: £799

PROS:

+ Exceptionally comfy and loads of awards
+ Handles for rotating
+ Removable and machine washable cover

CONS:

- Was more expensive than others (but it's now cheaper!)

Get 35% off EVERYTHING at Emma with code: Summer35

Emma has slashed 35% off the Emma Original mattress, its pillows, mattress protector and bedding. You can buy a single mattress for just £278.85 (£429), a double for £421.85 (£649), king for £454.35 (£699) and super king for £519.35 (£799). Deal ends: 1 Sept, 2019View Deal

The Emma Original mattress is superb. At first sight, it has a lot in common with many of the other mattresses in this guide: it comes in a box, has a human name, 100-day no-quibble trial, 10-year warranty, multiple layers including foam, and a promotional photo shot in a contemporary apartment. But don’t be fooled. This mattress is exceptional. 

It’s comfortable, supportive in all the right places – and it’s one of the highest-scoring mattresses Which? has ever tested. Comprising three layers of foam (25mm of Airgocell foam on top to relieve pressure and aid ventilation; 20mm of memory foam for pressure relief and support; and a firm 195mm foam foundation), it's been designed to suit all types of sleeper. And online reviews certainly suggest it does. 

The mattress also boasts some nice extras, such as a machine-washable cover and handles for rotating (you don’t have to turn it). Its price is typical for this increasingly cut-throat market sector, but thanks to a whopping 30% discount over on Amazon, the Emma Original mattress has undercut the competition to become the best mattress you can buy right now. It's outrageous value for money. Throw in that endorsement from Which? and there are some very compelling reasons to choose the Emma Original this summer. Plus, the 100-day, love-it-or-return-it trial helps take the pain out of decision-making.

2. Simba Hybrid mattress

The best hybrid mattress you can buy for a good night's sleep – and there's 40% off some sizes at Amazon now

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Most sleepers | Sizes: Small single - emperor | Depth: 25cm | Turn: No | Filling: pocket springs, memory foam | Comfort: all | Trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 years | RRP: Single: £449, Double: £649, King: £749, Super king: £849

PROS:

+ Very comfortable
+ Extremely supportive
+ 100-day trial

CONS:

- No handles to rotate mattress

The Simba Hybrid claims to be the most advanced mattress in the world. Consisting of five layers (including a unique layer of up to 2,500 conical pocket springs, foam, responsive memory foam, a “Simbatex” cooling layer to reduce overheating, and a hypoallergenic outer cover), it promises to deliver a great night’s sleep, regardless of your body type or sleeping style, thanks to Simba's patented conical pocket springs. They pivot in their pockets to adapt to your body shape while you sleep, giving you full body support. It’s particularly good for side sleepers; but the springs also reduce motion transfer between sleepers, so you won’t notice your partner tossing and turning.  

Unlike other mattresses, this bed-in-a-box isn’t labelled by firmness: the manufacturer calls it “perfect” and says it suits every kind of firmness fan. (We found it to be medium, for the record.) Thousands of online reviewers have testified that this is one of the best mattresses you can buy, with the only real quibble being the lack of handles for rotating the mattress. As with the Emma Original, the makers are so confident you'll love it, there’s a 100-day no-quibble trial: if you don’t like it, you can return it within that time for a full refund. If you don't want a memory foam mattress like the Emma above, the Simba mattress is a brilliant buy.

Get up to 40% double and king sizes of the Simba Hybrid mattress at Amazon

3. Nectar Memory Foam mattress

Stupidly comfortable, currently £100 off AND they chuck in a free pair of Nectar pillows

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Most sleepers | Sizes: Single - super king | Depth: 25cm | Turn: No | Filling: foam/memory foam | Comfort: medium/firm | Trial: 365 nights | Warranty: Forever | RRP: Single: £499, Double: £699, King: £799, Super king: £899

PROS:

+ 365-day trial
+ Super supportive
+ Excellent pillows available

CONS:

- Too firm for some
- Questionable cooling tech

A whopping 365-night trial and lifetime warranty differentiates the Nectar memory foam mattress from the numerous other bed-in-a-box brands. Its pricing and sizing are broadly in line with the more 'established' challenger mattress brands (Emma, Simba, Eve, Casper and so on), but Nectar gives you an entire year to decide whether it’s right for you – that's impressive. The company is also climate neutral: all emissions are offset by various global schemes, including an Amazon forest protection programme.

Delivery works like a dream. Amazingly, even the enormous Nectar Super King model comes packaged in a very manageable box, and it’s light enough for one person to wrestle into position. Admittedly, it smells a bit at first – most of these memory foam mattresses do – but it soon settles down.

Comfortable from the minute Nectar comes out of its minimal packaging, it offers a medium-to-firm support level that suits any type of bed and all kinds of sleepers. There's a bit of give in the top layer, which neatly moulds around the body, while a complicated supporting base layer adds the required firmness for a peaceful sleep. We're not sure how well the adaptive cooling cover top layer works (it's supposed to draw heat away from the body) but we can say the matching pillows – which use similar memory foam tech – are totally dreamy.

Nectar is a great mattress, and extremely comfortable at that, while the 365-day money-back trial proves just how confident this company is that it’s created one of the best mattresses you can buy. Most mattress-in-a-box brands offer only a mere 100 nights. We recommend buying straight from Nectar, which promises “the best available price” at all times. 

4. Sealy 1400 Nostromo

The best mattress with pocket springs – plus it's great for the allergy afflicted

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Side and back sleepers; allergies | Sizes: Single - super king | Depth: 30cm | Turn: No | Filling: pocket spring/latex | Comfort: medium | Warranty: 5 years | RRP: Single: £920.40, Double: £1,216.80, King, £1,372.80, Super king: £1653.60

PROS:

+ Fantastic support and comfort
+ Great for allergy sufferers
+ Cool even in summer
+ Very durable

CONS:

- Not the best for heavier people

The Sealy Nostromo – also known as the Pocket Teramo 1400 – is an outstanding pocket sprung mattress. It has seven zones with 1,400 pocket springs, tencel fibres, a latex comfort layer and a luxurious 29cm depth. It’s also more durable than most, and it’s both hypoallergenic and pleasantly cool, even in hot weather. 

Suitable for all sleepers – back and side sleepers in particular – this mattress works well with most body types, although if you’re a taller or heavier-than-average back sleeper you might prefer the Eve Original mattress below, which gives exceptional back support. Which? magazine made it a best buy, Allergy UK has given it their seal of approval and there’s a five-year warranty for peace of mind. Amazon tends to sell it with a decent discount on the RRP too (although right now Mattress Online has slashed the price in half) so it’s worth buying online rather than in a shop. 

5. Eve Original mattress

A great-value memory foam mattress with exceptional support

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Most sleepers; back sleepers; light sleepers | Sizes: Single - emperor | Depth: 25cm | Turn: No | Filling: foam/memory foam | Comfort: medium/firm | Trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 years | RRP: Single: £349, Double: £599, King: £699

PROS:

+ Particularly good for back and stomach sleepers
+ For any kind of bed or floor

CONS:

- A bit hard for some
- Honks a bit at first

The Eve Original, like its fellow 'named-after-a-person-and-arrives-in-a-box' rivals, positions itself as Mattress 2.0: rather than make a whole bunch of different mattresses, its mission is to make a single one that’s ideal for everybody. The result is a superb all-round mattress that scores particularly highly when it comes to support, with outstanding spinal support for back sleepers especially. 

Inside, the cove is polyester, with four centimetres of memory foam underneath, and a 3cm cooling layer below that. The final layer is made from poly foam that’s strong enough to do yoga on, and that means it’s suitable for slatted or sprung beds, divans or hard floors. While the mattress is marketed as for everybody, it’s on the firmer side of medium. We’ve read reviews of aches and pains disappearing though, and the company will collect it for free if you don’t like it after your 100-night trial.

6. Tweak Nrem mattress

The best mattress for people with back and neck pain

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Chronic pain | Sizes: Single - super king | Depth: 25cm | Turn: No | Filling: Responsive foam, pocket springs | Comfort: Customisable | Trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 years | RRP: Single: £595, Double: £895, King: £995

PROS:

+ You can tailor the firmness
+ Reactive foam is superb 
+ Minimal movement transference

CONS:

- May have to experiment to find the right setup

The Tweak Nrem is a hybrid mattress with a unique USP: it’s customisable, letting you tailor the firmness in different areas to target specific pressure points. Designed primarily for people with chronic pain, it’s divided into five zones – each with an interchangeable foam insert ranging between soft, medium and firm – that you can rearrange whenever you like. 

The best bit? For double sizes and larger, you don’t have to compromise with your partner on the firmness of your mattress: you get five inserts each. Disturbance from restless parters is also a thing of the past because movement transference is virtually zero. Oh, and speaking of foam, it isn’t any old foam: the Nrem inserts are made from reactive foam, which responds faster to movement than memory foam, remoulding immediately to provide exceptional comfort and support. If you suffer from back or neck pain, or have different comfort preferences to your partner, we think this is the best mattress you can buy. 

7. The Casper Mattress

Side sleepers particularly love this medium-to-soft memory foam mattress

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Most sleepers | Sizes: Single - super king | Depth: 24cm | Turn: No | Filling: memory foam | Comfort: medium/soft | Trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 years | RRP: Single: £400, Double: £600, King: £700, Super king: £800

PROS:

+ Many delighted customers
+ 100-night trial

CONS:

- Larger sizes can be expensive
- No handles to rotate mattress

With celebrity backers, nearly 1,000 delighted Amazon reviews and several shelves full of awards, the Casper mattress changed the world of mattresses when it burst onto the scene. The majority of customers are delighted with its coolness, comfort and delivery in an impossibly small box. 

It’s billed as a medium-to-soft mattress that uses four distinct layers of support, and while there’s memory foam in there, it isn’t as simple as a sprung mattress with a thin layer of foam on top or an overly soft foam and latex combination: it’s soft as well as supportive, and it’s proven popular with people who have dodgy backs. Larger sizes can be expensive, and again there are no handles, but when you consider how many hours you’ll spend in bed (not to mention the potential joy of having less back pain) this mattress is not a lot of money for what you get. As with other bed-in-a-box options, the no-quibble trial period should guarantee you won't end up unhappy. 

The top layer does strike us as slightly softer than the Simba. Whether that's better or worse is subjective, but some literally 'heavier' sleepers may find they 'sink through' the soft top layer and are then supported almost entirely by the firmer lower layer. The good news is, you've got 100 days to decide if you prefer that sensation or not. 

8. Otty Hybrid mattress

The best-value hybrid mattress you can buy

SPECIFICATIONS

Sizes: Single - emperor; EU sizes | Depth: 25cm | Turn: No | Filling: springs, memory foam, reflex foam | Comfort: medium-firm | Trial: 100 nights | Guarantee: 10 years | RRP: Single: £374.99, Double: £549.99, King: £649.99, Super king: £749.99

PROS:

+ Feels like a luxury mattress
+ Brilliant price
+ Loads of awards
+ Minimal motion transfer 

CONS:

- Might be too firm for some

The Otty mattress is a fantastic hybrid mattress, combining 2,000 pocket springs with three layers of foam for maximum comfort and pressure relief. At 140mm, the Otty’s pocket springs are its headline feature – they’re easily more generous in length than those in the Simba Hybrid (20mm). The other headline feature is its price: the Otty is cheaper than the Simba, too, with a double and king-sized Otty mattress coming in at £499.99 and £599.99 respectively, versus £649 and £749 for the Simba. In fact, if you take seasonal mattress deals out of the equation, the Otty is significantly cheaper than most other bed-in-a-box mattresses in the UK. 

We’ve been reviewing this mattress for a few weeks now and we’re impressed (a full review will be coming shortly). It feels like a luxury mattress, with its body-moulding reflex and memory foam layers, and supportive springs. It isn’t just us who like it either. Among the Otty’s slew of awards is a coveted Which? Best Buy – plus it’s the only boxed mattress company so far to be awarded with a prestigious NBF (National Bed Federation) Award. The Otty is slightly on the firmer side of medium thanks to those pocket springs, so if you’d prefer a softer pocket-sprung mattress we’d recommend the Sealy Nostromo, at number four in this best mattress guide. But if medium to medium-firm is what you like – and you want a touch of luxury for a budget price – we think the Otty is the best-value pocket sprung mattress right now.   

9. Silentnight Eco Comfort Pocket 1200

A cheaper pocket sprung mattress and an excellent all-rounder

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Most sleepers | Sizes: Single - super king | Depth: 29cm | Turn: Yes | Filling: Pocket springs | Comfort: medium/firm | Trial: 60 nights | Warranty: 5 years | RRP: Single: £369, Double: £489, King: £569

PROS:

+ Different comfort zones
+ Very supportive

CONS:

- Requires turning
- On the firm side of medium

Silentnight’s Eco Comfort Pocket 1200 is a cheaper pocket sprung mattress than the Sealy 1400 Nostromo above, with a clever solution to the problem of firmness. Rather than deliver the same firmness across the whole mattress, it’s designed with different zones to ensure that the lumbar area of your back gets more support than your shoulders. 

That makes it particularly good for anyone whose back needs something firm but who’d rather not wake up with pins and needles everywhere else, and it also means your partner’s movements won’t impact your side of the bed. 

There are 1,200 pocket springs and a hypo-allergenic cover, and the 29cm depth is pretty luxurious for a mattress in this price range. There’s a five-year warranty but remember to turn it frequently: pocket sprung mattresses need regular turning to keep their shape.

10. Leesa Mattress

A luxury mattress for ethical shoppers

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Ethical purchasing | Sizes: Single - super king | Depth: 25cm | Turn: No | Filling: Foam, memory Foam | Comfort: medium | Trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 years | RRP: Single: £450, Double: £650, King: £750, Super king: £850

PROS:

+ Good value
+ Socially conscious company
+ Very supportive

CONS:

- Not great for heavy people
- Lacking in frills

If you're struggling to sleep at night both because of your social conscience and a lack of comfort, Leesa may be your dream mattress. That's because for every ten mattresses sold, it donates one to homeless shelters and women’s refuges. 

You won’t be sacrificing comfort for charity, though: the Leesa was designed to address the shortcomings of existing memory foam mattresses and uses three different kinds of foam to provide sufficient airflow and bounce. Consequently they're very popular and have good customer reviews plus awards from Which? magazine and the Good Housekeeping Institute for its comfort and quality. 

If you share with a partner their movements won’t bounce you out of bed, and the mattress does feel like something costing a lot more money. And yes, yet again there’s a 10-year warranty and a 100-night, no-quibble returns policy. 

11. Dormeo Memory Plus

One of the best budget mattresses you can buy

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Allergies | Sizes: Single - super king | Depth: 17cm | Turn: No | Filling: foam/memory foam | Comfort: medium | Trial: 60 nights | Warranty: 20 years | RRP: Single: £479, Double: £629, King: £779.99

PROS:

+ Extremely cheap – great value
+ Supportive and durable

CONS:

- Quite thin
- No handles to rotate

The Dormeo Memory Plus is an excellent memory foam mattress that’s consistently priced unbelievably cheaply. It medium-firm on the comfort levels, combining 3cm of memory foam with breathable Ecocell 3D foam to provide great support, and its anti-allergenic too, with extra anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and anti-dust mite protection infused into the cover.

At 17cm, the Dormeo Memory Plus is thinner than many mattresses, so it might not be ideal for heavier people or slatted bases, but it consistently receives excellent user reviews (averaging 4.7/5 on the Dormeo website). Like all memory foam mattresses it’s important to rotate this one frequently to avoid semi-permanent dips from appearing, but if you look after it properly there’s a decent warranty to really guarantee the peace of mind that leads to a good night’s sleep.

12. IKEA Morgedal

The best cheap mattress for budget-conscious buyers

SPECIFICATIONS

Best for: Small budgets | Sizes: Single - king | Depth: 18cm | Turn: Yes | Filling: memory foam | Comfort: medium | Trial: 90 nights | Warranty: 25 years | RRP: Single: £125, Double: £165, King: £195

PROS:

+ Cheap
+ Comfortable

CONS:

- It's basic
- Quite thin

Ikea is well known for its odd-sized beds, but in addition to European sizes, the Ikea Morgedal memory foam mattress comes in UK single, double and king size too. It’s a thick foam mattress in a polyester wrapping, and it’s best suited to a slatted bed base or mattress base. Don’t jump on it straight away: it’s delivered rolled up and needs three to four days to return to suitable flatness. 

Don’t expect lots of high-tech layers or cutting edge tech: Ikea’s mattress is exactly what you’d expect from a big lump of foam, comfortable and fairly immune to the movements of your partner. The foam can get a little damp if you tend to sweat a lot; if you do, a thick mattress protector is a good idea.

There's a 90-day trial period, and it's won a gong from Which?, so it's something of a bargain, despite its distinct lack of bells, whistles and 'challenger brand' credentials. If you're on a tight budget, this is the best mattress you can buy.

a close up of a bed: Best mattress: IKEA Morgedal

Best mattress: IKEA Morgedal
© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.
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