We all spend at least a third of our lives in bed sleeping, not to mention the other hours spent watching TV or just reading. Buying the best mattress is, therefore, incredibly important, both in terms of comfort and to ensure that you get a proper night’s rest without hurting your back.
The good news is that there’s never been a wider choice of mattresses to choose from, with bed-in-a-box companies springing up out of everywhere, promising easy-deliver and installation of a brand new memory foam mattress. The downside of this choice is that there are now so many different manufacturers to compare, not to mention technologies: would you be better off with a traditional pocket sprung mattress, for example?
That’s what we’re here to help with. Our definitive guide to the best mattresses will help you make the right choices and get the model that is best suited to your needs, whether you like a firm mattress or a something a bit softer to sink into. Of the six mattresses that we’ve listed, two stand out. The Simba Hybrid is the best mattress overall, combining pocket springs with memory foam for the ultimate comfort. For budget buyers, the Silent Night Sleep Soundly Miracoil Comfort offers excellent value, although this sprung mattress may be too firm for some.
How we pick the best mattress
A mattress is a hugely personal choice, and opinion differs massively. A delightful soft mattress to one person could feel like a marshmallow to another; a firm and supportive mattress to one person is another’s concrete slab.
Against this, trying to work out what’s the best mattress for everyone is pretty much impossible, so we’ve approached this review. To start, we’ve had each product in for review, so that we could check it for quality, personal comfort, and how easy it is to turn.
Beyond this, we looked to canvas a wider opinion to take in user reviews from trusted sites including Amazon, John Lewis, TrustPilot and Yotpo. That way, we could pull out common themes from a range of people, such as those who think a mattress is too hot or too firm, for example. You can match your own mattress experience against these comments to give you a better idea of which of our recommended models is best for you.
Even with our reviews, it’s possible that something a lot of people like just isn’t for you. For example, a common complaint with memory foam mattresses is that they become too hot. As such, we recommend trying out mattresses for yourselves where possible before you buy, and taking advantage of any returns process that a manufacturer offers if it isn’t right.
1. Simba Hybrid
- Very comfortable
- Temperature just right
- No handles
A pure memory foam mattress can be a little hard, and a bit too warm for many people, so the Simba Hybrid could be the perfect alternative. As the name suggests, the Simba Hybrid uses a combination of memory foam and pocket springs to bring you the best of both worlds.
The mattress comprises five layers, starting with the hypoallergenic outside cover. Next, is a layer of Simbatex (a latex foam), designed to give comfort and keep you cool. Then comes a layer of conical pocket springs (2500 on a king size mattress). After that is the memory foam layer, designed to mould to the shape of your body. Finally, there’s a support base, which provides additional support and gives the mattress its shape and thickness.
Despite the use of pocket springs, the Simba Hybrid was still delivered rolled and packed in a box. Excellent instructions and a supplied safety cutter make unpacking the mattress easy, and we found it was ready to go in a matter of hours. The springs made a real difference, automatically adjusting to the shape of your body, and we found this made side-sleeping more comfortable.
The highest-rated mattress, both by ourselves and third-party reviewers, owners praised the comfort, quality and, for many, that this mattress remained relatively cool.
The main negative was that there are no handles to help manoeuvre the mattress. Some people also found the mattress too warm, which is a common criticism of foam models. On the John Lewis website, some complained that the mattress had sagged within a year of use, although Simba’s customer support was quick to reply and organise replacements. As with other mattresses here, there were also a few complaints about a chemical smell, although most people found that this dissipated after a couple of days.
According to Simba, the Hybrid is a “no turn” mattress, but the company says that rotating it will prolong life. The advice is to rotate the mattress monthly when new, moving to every three-to-six months after that.
You can test the Simba Hybrid mattress in John Lewis stores, and it’s also available to buy online direct from Simba with free delivery, with a 100-night trial and free returns. The Simba Hybrid is available in various sizes, covering both UK and EU standards, from a small single up to a super king.
2. Silent Night Sleep Soundly Miracoil Comfort
- Great price
- Cool and dry
- Very hard
- No handles
- No trial period
In this age of online-only mattresses in a box, it’s good to see that the Silent Night Sleep Soundly Miracoil Comfort is available in John Lewis stores and can be tried.
Using Silent Night’s Miracoil spring system, the mattress has double the number of springs of a traditional mattress. Silent Night says that this, plus the Miracoil’s alignment, gives zoned support that should prevent partner disturbance. Certainly, testing it out, we found that our fidgety sleeper didn’t disturb our lighter sleeper.
The Sleep Sound Miracoil Comfort is rated as firm, and it was the hardest mattress we tested. For us, this extra level of support was good for our sleeper with a bad back, but it won’t be for everyone. Indeed, a common complaint in the user reviews is that this mattress is far too hard. Adding a mattress topper could help, but it’s probably better to buy a less firm model.
Owners happy with this mattress praised its level of comfort and were pleased with the comparatively low price. Thanks to the springs and soft-knit fabric, this mattress was cool and dry to sleep on. In fact, no users complained about Sleep Sound Miracoil Comfort being too hot.
The manufacturer recommends that this mattress should be flipped and rotated regularly to even out pressure and prolong life. This job is made a little trickier by the lack of handles, although note that this was the lightest mattress that we tested.
The biggest potential downside is that the Sleep Sound Miracoil Comfort can’t be returned if you’re unhappy, so we thoroughly recommend testing it in-store before you buy. If you don’t like memory foam mattresses and want a firm sprung model, this one is well priced and comfortable.
3. Hyde & Sleep Hybrid Plus
- Cool sleep
- Supportive and comfortable
- Very little smell
- Some complaints about UPS delivery
Hyde & Sleep is a British company that manufactures its Hybrid Plus mattresses here in the UK. As you can tell from the name, the Hybrid Plus is built using both memory foam and pocket springs, despite arriving rolled in a box.
Hyde & Sleep sells the Hybrid Plus in three varieties: Soft, Medium and Firm – Dreams, which also sells the mattresses, refers to the models as Soft, Firm and Very firm. Either way, it’s great to have a choice. We opted for the Hybrid Plus Medium for our review.
This mattress can be bought with a choice of delivery options. If you’re in a rush, there’s UPS for next-day delivery. However, some user reviews have criticised this service. Alternatively, there’s the Dreams Fleet option, where you’ll get a delivery slot (typically seven days or more from ordering), and your mattress will be taken to a room of your choice.
We went with the latter – and have to credit the service. Our mattress was delivered by a two-man team and carried to our room. Dreams also handed over a delivery note that stated who delivered the mattress, plus a sticker that we could put on the mattress showing when it was purchased. This acts as a handy reminder of when it will need to be replaced.
The mattress comes rolled in plastic that needs to be cut open to allow the Hyde & Sleep Hybrid Plus to uncurl and re-inflate. We urge caution so that you don’t knick the mattress cover. The mattress needs to be left for 48-hours to re-inflate. We didn’t notice a strong smell, which is a common complaint with memory-foam mattresses.
Once inflated, the Hyde & Sleep Hybrid Plus is a chunky 25cm thick. There are three layers: a 3.8cm top memory foam layer for support and comfort; a 1.9cm layer containing micro pocket springs (up to 2000 in a king-sized mattress), designed to contour around your body; and there’s a 17.8cm polyurethane base layer with ventilation channels, giving the mattress its shape while keeping you cool.
All of this is wrapped in a breathable quilted cover that feels soft to the touch. This is zipped into place, but the zip handle is broken off on purpose to prevent the cover from being removed since it isn’t washable. A slightly neater finish would be nicer to see.
The Hyde & Sleep Hybrid Plus doesn’t need turning, but it should be rotated monthly – a job that would be easier if there were handles.
We found our Medium mattress extremely comfortable, with the memory foam providing plenty of support, whilst letting us gently sink into bed. Movement was contained to one side of the bed, preventing partner disturbances.
Online reviews agree in the comfort stakes, and there were no complaints about the mattress being too hot, which can be an issue with mattresses that use memory foam. The few complaints about the mattress sagging were dealt with swiftly by Hyde & Sleep.
Hyde & Sleep offers a 100-night trial, with a 10-year warranty guaranteeing your purchase. All standard British bed sizes are available (single, double, king and super king), but you’ll need to shop elsewhere if you have a European-sized bed.
4. Leesa Mattress
- Cooler than other memory foam mattresses
- Firm and supportive
- Machine washable cover
- No handles
If you want to buy a mattress with a good conscience then the Leesa Mattress may be for you. For every 10 mattresses sold, one is donated to charity – and a tree is planted for every mattress sold. Fortunately, the Leesa Mattress is very comfortable and well made, ensuring a good night’s sleep while also feeling like you’ve done some social good. It’s easy to unpack, with full instructions placed on top of the box.
A pure foam model, the Leesa Mattress has three layers. First is the 5cm of Cooling Avena Foam, which is designed to allow for airflow. Next comes the 5cm of memory foam, which moulds to your body shape. Finally, there’s 15cm of base foam for strength, stability and support. This is wrapped in a soft outer lining that’s easy to remove for washing.
Of all the foam mattresses we tried, we felt that the Leesa was the firmest, which could be ideal for those looking for good support. And, with such a firm base, we found that our more wriggly sleeper didn’t disturb our lighter sleeper either.
Although memory foam mattresses can be warm to sleep on, we managed to keep cool all night. User reviews backed this up, with most people finding the mattress comfortable, keeping them the right temperature all night.
Those who didn’t like this mattress found it too hot (a common issue with foam mattresses), and there were some people who complained of uneven sags. In cases of sagging, Leesa was quick to respond and offer replacements. Leesa says not to flip the mattress, but that rotating it every three to six months will help prolong its life; it’s a shame that there aren’t handles to make rotation easier.
As with all foam mattresses, a new Leesa Mattress does give off a chemical smell, although most reviewers noted that this disappeared after a few days. As with similar providers, the Leesa Mattress offers free delivery, a 100-day sleep test, with free returns if you’re not happy. It’s backed by a 10-year guarantee. Most EU and UK sizes are available, from single to super king.
5. Eve Mattress
- Firm but comfortable
- Machine-washable cover
- 100-night trial
- Some complaints about a lingering scent
One of the best-known bed-in-a-box models, the Eve Mattress is also one of the best that we’ve tested. Conveniently packaged, we found the mattress easy to manoeuvre after delivery. Instructions for unwrapping weren’t included in the box, but they’re available online. That said, it’s easy enough to work out how to unpack the mattress – although be careful not to knick the mattress with your scissors. Once unpacked, the mattress was ready to sleep on within a couple of hours.
It’s a little tricky to move into position – the Eve Mattress is yet another model that doesn’t have handles. This becomes more of an issue when trying to rotate the mattress, which the manufacturer suggests you do twice a year to extend its life.
The mattress is made up of multiple layers. The top cover is moisture-wicking and designed to allow airflow. This layer can be removed and is machine-washable. Next is a layer of memory for support and to relieve pressure. Then comes the evecomfort layer, which is designed to remove that ‘sinking feeling’ and to keep you cool. There’s the base layer for stability and support and, finally, there’s an anti-slip base to help keep the mattress in place.
These layers added up to a comfortable sleeping experience for us, with plenty of support. In our opinion, we found that the Eve Mattress was medium-firm. Impressively, movement was contained to one side of the bed, so you shouldn’t disturb a partner, even if you’re a wriggly sleeper.
In user reviews, those who liked the mattress praised its comfort, with some pointing out that it took a while to get used to. Most agreed that the mattress was quite firm, but that it was still comfortable.
Those who rated the Eve Mattress poorly had the usual complaints about foam mattresses: it was too hot and had a smell that lingered. There were complaints about build quality, too, with some people saying their mattress was dirty on arrival; another explained how the seam had split. In all cases, Eve responded promptly to criticism and offered to replace mattresses that didn’t live up to expectations.
As with similar mattress manufacturers, the Eve Mattress comes with a 100-night trial and is backed by a 10-year guarantee. It’s available in a huge range of UK and EU sizes, from single to super king and beyond.
6. Ikea Hövag
- Excellent price
- Easy to manoeuvre
- Could feel too soft
- Strong ‘new mattress’ smell
Long before bed-in-a-box manufacturers were going, Ikea had perfected the art of rolling up sprung mattresses to make them easy to transport. So, the pocket-sprung Hövag comes vacuum-packed and rolled, making it easy to fit in a car – and, for us, to get up the stairs.
Once unrolled, it can take up to 48 hours for the mattress to expand fully. The fairly light mattress can be manoeuvred easily onto a bed frame using its side handles. There’s no need to flip this mattress, although the handles come in handy when turning twice a year to help even out pressure and prolong life.
As a more budget option, the Hövag’s grey and white cover doesn’t feel as plush nor as luxurious as the other recommended models. Described as medium-firm, the soft top and pocket-sprung interior felt softer than we were used to. Sleeping on it for a few nights, we found that the mattress was a little more supportive than we first thought, although those who prefer a firmer model would do well to look elsewhere.
Some owners commented that the mattress was too soft for them and didn’t offer the level of support they needed. Others criticised the build, saying that within a couple of years the mattress had sagged in places and needed to be replaced. As such, the Ikea Hövag may be a better choice for lighter people or occasional use, such as on a spare bed.
Again, there were complaints about the chemical smell – although we noticed that this dissipated after a couple of days. Those owners impressed with the mattress praised its softer feel and were very happy with the competitive pricing. There were no complaints about overheating.
Ikea offers a 90-day trial for mattresses, and you can swap for an alternative model within that period. It also comes with a 25-year guarantee, although the wording points out that for any faults, “IKEA will examine the product and decide, at its sole discretion, if it is covered under this guarantee” and that the guarantee “does not cover normal wear and tear, cuts or scratches, or damage caused by impacts or accidents”.
Testing in-store is recommended. For those on a tight budget looking for a pocket-sprung mattress, or those who need a well-priced model for a spare bed, the Ikea Hövag is a good choice. The mattress is available in most UK and EU sizes from single to super king.
That was our pick of the best mattresses. For more information on choosing the right type for you, keep reading.
Mattress buying guide
Best mattresses – What do you need to know first?
Know your sizes: A bed, and therefore its mattress, should be 10cm longer than the tallest person sleeping on it. So a king-size is the minimum for someone 6ft or taller. 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.
In the UK, the most common mattress sizes are:
- Single: 75 x 190cm (~3ft x 6ft 3in) – Ideal for single adults, older children and for smaller rooms where a double bed won’t fit.
- Double: 135 x 190cm (~4ft 6in x 6ft 3in) – Ideal for two average-sized adults sleeping together, spare rooms and bedrooms where larger beds can’t fit. The most common UK size.
- King size: 150 x 200cm (~5ft x 6ft 6in) – For taller people or two adults that just want more space, the king-sized bed is ideal. Extra width and length from a double means that you should check your bedroom dimensions carefully.
- Super king size: 180 x 200cm (~6ft x 6ft 6in) – For the most amount of room, a super king size mattress is ideal. These mattresses are very large and only work in the largest of rooms.
Less common mattress sizes:
- Small single: 75 x 190cm (~2ft 6in x 6ft 3in) – This size is more common with children’s beds or bunk beds. You can fit an adult on this type of bed, although there’s not so much space. Regular single sheets can be fitted to these type of beds, although you may have some spare cloth for fitted sheets.
- Small double: 120 x 190cm (~4ft x 6ft 3in) – Better suited to a single person, a small double can be used for two occasionally, such as for use in a smaller spare bedroom. Also useful for people with small bedrooms that can’t fit in a larger bed. Regular double-bed sheets should fit on these mattresses.
Know the level of support: 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; if it doesn’t fit at all then it’s too soft.
Get the right base: 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.
Check the mattress filling: 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.
Check whether it needs turning: 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.
Best Mattress – How often do you need to replace a new mattress?
It used to be advised that your mattress should be replaced every 10 years. However, the industry, anxious for a quicker turnover, now suggests seven – but the truth is that it really depends on the type of mattress.
If you bought a cheap sprung mattress then you may find that it only lasts a couple of years; a more expensive memory foam mattress should last a lot longer. Look out for tell-tale signs that your mattress is wearing: dips in the surface, spring starting to push through and the like.
To prolong your mattress’s life, follow the care instructions carefully. Some mattresses need to be flipped over (also called turned) regularly. Practically all mattresses benefit from rotation, where you turn them 180 degrees. This exposes all parts of the mattress to equal pressure, prolonging its life.
Best Mattress – What is off-gassing? How to stop that new mattress smell
One of the main complaints about memory foam mattresses is that ‘new mattress’ smell that they can give off. For some people, particularly sensitive to the odour, that new mattress smell can hang around for weeks. So, what is it and how do you get rid of it?
The smell is when the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) inside the mattress start to break down, releasing a gas, hence the official name of off-gassing. It’s this strong chemical smell that you get when you unbox the mattress, unsealing it from its vacuum-packed bag. This is nothing to worry about, and the smell goes when the VOCs, which are in the foam and adhesive, completely break down.
Getting rid of the smell is a matter of putting the mattress is a well-ventilated room (open a window if you can), and leaving it uncovered. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s advice on how long to leave the mattress alone: this can vary between a few hours up to a couple of days. If you’re very sensitive to the smell, then leave the mattress for longer.
If you still notice the smell, then pull back the bed sheets on a daily basis, airing the mattress. Typically, the smell should go within a week, but contact the manufacturer if there’s still a strong smell after this period for advice.
Best Mattress – What type should I buy?
There are three main types of mattress to choose from:
- Open coil is the oldest type, with an interconnected set of springs wound through the entire interior. These tend to offer greater support and are the lightest type of mattress. However, cheaper models can be uncomfortable, with the springs felt through thinner materials. And motion from one sleeper can be transported to another.
- Pocket sprung mattresses contain individual springs mounted inside material pockets. The pocket springs partially mould to your body’s shape, giving a greater level of support. And, because springs are individual, they prevent two sleepers side by side becoming disturbed by the other’s movement. The main advantage is that pocket sprung mattresses are generally cooler to sleep on than memory foam models. These mattresses can sometimes be rolled, but some are sold and shipped at full size.
- Foam mattresses are primarily memory foam models. These are easy to transport, with manufacturers able to squeeze the mattress into a box for delivery. Memory foam moulds itself to your body, providing excellent support and letting you sink into the bed. This can take a while to get used to, particularly if you’re used to a sprung mattress. Memory foam mattresses isolate movement, helping two sleepers keep to themselves. They’re better for allergen sufferers, harbouring fewer allergens than sprung mattresses. The big downside is that memory foam can be hot; in fact, this was the biggest complaint aired.
You can buy combination or hybrid mattresses, which combine two or more elements. For example, it’s common to find pocket sprung mattresses that use a memory foam layer on top for added comfort.
Best Mattress – What level of mattress firmness should I buy?
Mattresses are rated by how firm they are, and the choice comes down to a couple of factors. First is weight. The heavier you are, the more you’ll need a firmer mattress; a medium or software model will feel far too soft.
Ultimately, your choice of mattresses will be down to personal preference. This is the reason we’ve incorporated user reviews into this guide to offer an overview of each mattress, so you can find the one that suits your needs.
Best Mattress – Which is the best mattress for back pain?
If you suffer from back pain, then getting the right mattress can help your problems. This is particularly true if you’re currently sleeping on an old mattress that has dipped and is no longer supporting you properly. When choosing a new mattress to help with back pain, your first stop should be your doctor to get medical advice. No two back problems are the same, and it’s essential that you make the right decisions for your particular issue.
That said, there is some general advice that you can follow. The most important factor in choosing a mattress for back pain is getting one that gives you support. That doesn’t mean buying a model that’s really hard, as the old advice used to go, but one that naturally supports the contour of your spine. For most people, a medium-firm mattress is the right choice.
Your sleeping position can affect your back, too, but there are some simple strategies that can help increase support and relieve pressure. For side sleepers, try a pillow between your knees, which will keep your pelvis, hips and spine in alignment. Back sleepers can try a pillow underneath their knees, helping to distribute your weight and relieve pressure. For front sleepers, a pillow under the abdomen can help relieve pressure.
Best Mattress – Which mattress is best for side sleepers?
Side sleepers can often find it hard to get a mattress that gives them adequate support and comfort, with any mattress needing to support several pressure points. Again, it’s worth trying a few models to find one that really works for you, but there are some general pointers to help you find the right model.
First, look for a hybrid mattress, combining springs and a memory foam top. These mattresses will typically give you the level of support that you need across your entire body. Next, a medium-firm mattress or softer is usually a good choice, with the mattress better able to contour around your body, supporting your spine and pelvis naturally. These mattresses will let your body slightly sink into the top material, giving you a soft, cushion to lie against, which will generally prove to be more comfortable.