How To Choose A Mattress


Getting a new mattress should never be a stressful experience. But unfortunately, with all the mattresses and different offers out there, it’s hard to know if you are making the right decision.

Our guide will cover the essentials of what your perfect bed should look like (although colour choices are up to you!). We discuss price, comfort levels, size, special needs, and more.

Best Emperor Bed Mattress

What Is Your Mattress-Shopping Budget?

When you choose a new mattress, one of the biggest factors to consider is the price. If you are looking to keep expenses low, this does not mean that you are stuck with the orphans of the mattress world. When you know where to look, you can get great mattresses for really great prices. Indeed, some of the top brands have budget mattresses that honour the brand’s commitment to luxurious support, quality, and sleeper satisfaction. 

Here are a few of the best beds if you want to choose a mattress from the top manufacturers. Please note that we show double size mattresses and that all prices were correct at the time of writing.

  • The Lighter Mattress from Eve Sleep costs about £429. This is a great choice if you love memory foam mattresses. It can be tested at home for 100 nights and if you decide that this is the best mattress for you, a warranty of 10 years will protect your new bed.
  • The Original Emma Mattress by Emma costs £529. It has three foam layers for comfort and support and a staggering amount of prizes. This is also the UK’s best-selling mattress. The trial is 200 nights and your new mattress also has the rights reserved to a 10-year guarantee.
  • The Mattress-Now Comfortable Mattress by Silentnight is £169. It has a 60-night trial, 10-year guarantee, comes in several sizes and is a great choice if you want a hypoallergenic foam bed.

What Is Your Comfort Level?

All mattress types, whether they are pocket sprung or memory foam mattresses, offer buyers different comfort levels. It’s important to check before you buy that the bed you are interested in has the correct comfort level that makes you sleep better. 

Mattress firmness is graded according to a scale that runs from 1 to 10.

  • 1-2: Extra soft. Most people find this type of mattress too soft. Indeed, experts recommend that you stay away from them since they can damage your spine (there is scant support for your back).
  • 3-4: Soft. This type of bed is not suitable for back pain but sleepers who enjoy the feel can benefit from the softness. As far as sleeping position is concerned, it is more suitable for side sleepers than stomach and back sleepers.
  • 5-6: Medium firm. This is the hot favourite for most people. It’s perfect for back pain, pressure relief, support, and any sleeping position. You can even get mattresses that are soft medium and medium-firm (this one is firmer than most medium mattresses).
  • 7-8: Hard. Some people choose a more solid bed for personal comfort reasons. In some cases, this type of mattress can help with back pain (although you should make sure your spine won’t be aggravated by the firmness before you buy).
  • 9-10: Extra firm. Few people prefer this level of hardness. But an extra firm bed could be the best mattress for heavier individuals or those with certain types of therapeutic needs.

There are also large mattresses that are sold with a “split tension” feature. This means that if you and your partner have different needs, then you can choose a mattress where one half is “medium” and the other half “soft (or firm)”. You get foam and hybrids that offer split support. Some companies will also make bespoke beds with coils and natural materials.


Mattresses For Sleeping Position

Most of us have a favourite sleeping position. There are the star-fish sprawlers that sleep on their backs. There are the stomach sleepers who snuggle in against the surface of the bed. You get your side sleepers and then there are those who switch between two or three different positions during the night. 

Mattress types are often designed to be universal but it cannot hurt to choose a mattress that gives your nighttime pose the best pressure relief, support, and comfort. A bed designed for specific postures are available as memory foam, pocket sprung mattresses and hybrids. Let’s have a look at a few of the best.

Studio Original Mattress By Silentnight
  • The Studio Original Mattress by Silentnight (£599) is one of the best memory foam mattresses for both side and stomach sleepers. It’s rated as medium-firm, reduces pressure points while adding support where you need it most. You can try this foam bed at home for 60 nights.
  • The Lux Mattress by Brook and Wilde (£749) is a hybrid mattress with 6 layers of memory foam, pocket sprung layers, and protective features. This mattress is suitable to all positions but back sleepers might find the medium-firm support extra comfortable.
  • The Simba Hybrid Mattress by Simba (£538.30) is another hybrid mattress. The layers of memory foam and coils relieve pressure points for side sleepers. The mattress is also a good choice for front sleepers and has cooling properties as well.

Coils, Foam, Or Both?

Dormeo Classic Memory Foam Mattresses

How to choose a mattress that suits your needs leads to this question – what kind of bed do you want? In other words, does your body respond better to foam mattresses, pocket spring mattresses, or hybrids? If you are not sure or you want to test new waters, you can always visit a showroom to test different kinds of mattresses. Remember, you can also test beds at home if the manufacturer has a home trial policy. 

These days, you face a dizzying amount of mattresses to choose from. Pocket sprung mattresses, for example, often have natural materials like wool or alpaca fleece. Memory foam beds can be made from different types of foam. Hybrids offer endless combinations. So… How to choose a mattress?

Memory Foam

Apart from testing a specific mattress, it’s essential to know what the benefits are of each type. Memory foam can offer more comfort, soft medium tension (if that’s your thing), and enough support to keep you comfortable. They are also excellent mattresses to keep cool during summer. Some are even fully natural memory foam and hypoallergenic – which is great news for those who suffer from allergies and asthma.

Pocket Sprung

Mattresses with pocket springs mostly offer a medium to firm support, eliminate motion transfer between partners and are fantastic beds for those who have conditions like bad backs or arthritis. A pocket spring bed cradles the body in such a way that pressure points never aggravate the spine or sensitive areas. These mattresses also help to circulate air to keep the bed fresh and hygienic.

Hybrid Mattresses

These mattresses offer the best of both worlds – the comfort and luxurious feel of memory foam and the support and therapeutic properties of coils. They are mostly offered in soft, medium, and firm tension levels but some are also extra firm. This type of mattress is becoming increasingly popular with consumers as well. You can also expect this type of mattress to have spinal support, no motion transfer, and a good choice for all sleeping positions.


What Size Mattress Is The Best?

At first, things appear rather simple. Cot mattresses are for kids. Bunk beds are for single sleepers and guests. Couples just mess things up (sorry guys). Should they get a double, king-size, super king-size, or Emperor mattress? A lot of single sleepers also prefer to choose a mattress from a double size and bigger. To make things harder, some brands offer special dimensions for their mattresses or make bespoke beds.

The best course of action is to check if your bedroom is big enough, to test a mattress in different sizes, and also to decide on what your budget should be.

Best Firm Mattress

The bigger the mattress, the higher the price (Remember to shop for bargains! Many brands offer large mattresses in the lower price range). You can grab a free copy of our guide to different mattress sizes to see the exact dimensions of each bed.


Mattresses That Support Special Needs

One of the most wonderful things about modern mattresses is that many now cater to special needs. This is great because a good night’s sleep can help to heal a physical issue or at least help to manage it. There are mattresses for bad backs, arthritis, and even for those who need to sit up (these adjustable mattresses are also a great way to watch your favourite Netflix series!). 

You can even find mattresses that are very cooling and these are perfect for sleepers who suffer during summer or tend to get too hot at night no matter the time of year. Other speciality mattresses include beds for heavier individuals and those who need an orthopaedic bed.


Look For Great Customer Protection

How to choose a mattress that provides you with peace of mind? Like, years of peace. Aim to pick a mattress that comes with a great mattress guarantee and a home trial. Both protect you and your mattress. The home trial allows you to test and find the right mattress for you from the start. The mattress warranty guarantees that your purchase is safe for years and that you can expect repairs or a mattress replacement should something go wrong. 

These days, depending on the brand, a mattress can be tested at home from 30 days to a full year (some brands offer no trial, though). A mattress can also carry a warranty that lasts between 2 years and 5 years, the most common offer being 10 years, and the best on the market is a lifetime warranty.

If you want to find out more about the two brands that offer a lifetime guarantee, you can read our reviews below.

  • Nectar Sleep has a single mattress in several sizes. It has medium-firm support with several layers of memory foam. The Nectar Bed (£549) has pressure-relieving foam, cooling properties and can also be tested at home for a full year.
  • The Luxury Hybrid Mattress (£699) by DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress with foam and pocket springs. It also offers foam that supports and comforts, no motion transfer, and plush nights regardless of your favourite sleeping position. You can also test this mattress for a year and should you decide to keep it, you will get a lifetime warranty as well.

Look For Great Customer Reviews

Silentnight mattresses buying guide

Here is a fun fact. A bunch of total strangers can help you pick the perfect bed. That is right – we are talking about consumer reviews. These gems are critical when it comes to how to choose a mattress.

These are the brave souls that have gone before you, purchased the mattresses you might be interested in and were kind enough to leave reviews on their experience with the brand, mattress, and delivery. Here’s what to look for when you decide to use reviews to gauge the quality of the product.

Only Read Verified Reviews

Here is an unfortunate fact. A lot of companies and businesses can now pay freelance writers to write false reviews about their products. Unsurprisingly, most of these paid reviews speak highly of the product, whatever it may be, but the truth is that the person who placed the review had never even seen the product up close – let alone bought and tested it.

For this reason, it is crucial that you look for review sections that show some sort of verification that the person who left the review had actually purchased the mattress. The most common way is to say “verified buyer or purchase” somewhere near the person’s name. But if you still do not trust this type of reviews, then you can also visit trusted review sites like Trustpilot or pick a mattress that has won authentic industry prizes like a Which? Best Buy award, a seal of approval from the Good Housekeeping Institute, Ideal Home, and Real Homes.

Consider Both Good And Bad Reviews

It is important not to cherry-pick when you read reviews. Hey, we have all been guilty of that. We see a mattress we like and naturally want to see what benefits we can look forward to. So do not feel guilty if you have skipped over the grumpy comments to bolster your own excitement with positive reviews. It happens. 

But grumpy buyers can save you from buying the wrong mattress. If several buyers complain about the same thing, then tread carefully. Then there is a genuine chance that the mattress has a flaw that can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Of course, treat yourself with all the good reviews too! Both good and bad opinions serve to give other mattress buyers a balanced view so that they can make an informed decision.


How To Recognize A Bad Mattress

Most of this article is dedicated to spotting a good mattress but it is also important to know how to spot a good-looking lemon.Regrettably, some brands know that if the mattress appears luxurious and the words on the box or showroom are enticing, then they will dupe enough people into buying their product. Here’s how to walk away from that bad buy before it comes home with you.

There’s No Chance To Test The Mattress

Best Cot Bed Mattress

There is a reason why the top brands have splendid home trials that range from 30 days to a full year. These companies have their customers’ best interests at heart. A happy customer is often a returning customer (or one that leaves great reviews that leads to more sales!). Bad mattress sellers only care about making the sale. One thing that might prevent that is a home trial because people could very quickly cotton on to the bad quality of the mattress.

That being said, some of the best brands offer no home trial. Why is this? Many use natural fillings and might scrap a home trial for hygiene reasons. If a buyer does not want the bed, no brand can re-sell that bed to another customer.

If you find a brand without home trials, check their awards and reviews. One example is Hypnos, the wool-orientated bed company that provides the Royal Household with mattresses and also holds a Royal Warrant for quality beds.

The Sales Pitch Is Forced

Be wary when you visit a showroom and the salesperson aggressively tries to sell you a bed. While a showroom is a good place to test a bed, it often only allows customers a short time on the mattress and this is not enough to gauge if its a great buy. One must at least spend a few nights on a bed to draw a conclusion. 

Showrooms come with sales staff who get a commission for each bed they sell and while most are upstanding guys and gals, some are fully aware that they are flogging mattresses that might not last for years and will hide that fact. A salesperson who is open and discusses your needs and then suggests a mattress that is a good fit, while also never pushing the sale, is more trustworthy.

The Bed Just Looks Bad

These mattresses give themselves away. While the product description might sing praises to its amazing foam and coils, abilities, and longevity, you can clearly see that this thin-looking creature will not remain in good condition. If your instincts kick in, listen. Most of us have been shoppers for a long time and can sense when a product does not look up to the task that it is designed for.

The Guarantee Is Short

The best brands have long guarantees that range from a 10-year deal to a lifetime. Long warranties is a technique used to build trust. Customers know that if a bed fails during that time, the brand is losing out. To protect itself during a lengthy guarantee, a brand has little choice but to create a product that will endure! You can view a guarantee’s length as the brand’s trust in its own products. 

It is better to avoid beds that come with no guarantees or short warranties. “Short” can range from 1 year to 3 years. Some good brands also offer a rather dismal 5-year guarantee.

The Reviews Are Consistently Bad

This one is a dead giveaway. There is nothing like a ticked-off buyer who spends money on something with great promises that went nowhere. As we mentioned earlier, if reviews highlight the same issue, then think twice. Think thrice, in fact. Never buy a mattress when a lot of people complain about something physical, like dipping edges, a ridge down the middle, or a funky smell that refuses to go away. 

Also, be careful when buyers complain about customer service when they report serious flaws and are ignored. 

One type of complaint that is not a dealbreaker is delivery. A lot of buyers get impatient (and understandably frustrated) when their mattresses take ages to be delivered – and sometimes not even on the agreed date and time. While this is hair-pulling annoying, it does not mean that the bed itself is bad. At the end of the day, it’s not about the speed of the delivery but the fantastic sleep a mattress can provide.


A Quick Look At How To Choose A Mattress

The perfect mattress must conform to your needs, as an individual (or a couple sharing a mattress). It must offer the correct support and comfort. You can also choose between foam, hybrid, or pocket sprung mattress ranges and different sizes.

When you feel that you have the right type of mattress (materials, size, and comfort level), then it’s time to look at other things like guarantees, home trials, and customer reviews. A great mattress will show a stellar performance in all three of these areas.

In a nutshell – take your time, test the mattress if you can, and make sure that your new mattress comes with happy reviews and a solid warranty. If you follow this simple formula, then you are almost guaranteed to find the mattress of your dreams!

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About the Author Tom

My journey into the world of sleep came about through living in several properties over my lifetime and always seeming to have the worst luck with neighbors. All but one have been extremely noisy and very inconsiderate. What this made me realize early on, was that the little sleep my neighbors allowed me to get needed to be of great quality. So I started to learn all about sleep, and what helps people get the best quality sleep possible.