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Best mattress 2021: Our top 10 tried and tested memory foam, pocket-sprung, hybrid and budget mattresses

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Tired of getting a poor night's sleep? We'll help you pick the best mattress for you

Traditionally, the best advice anyone could give you when buying a mattress was to try before you buy, but things have changed. The best mattress for you isn't always the one that feels good when you try it for a few minutes in a showroom, because it may well feel entirely different when you get it home. After all, the well-tested mattress you try in a shop will likely exhibit plenty of wear and tear compared to the brand-new one that gets delivered to your door. Not only that but the type of bed you have – whether that's a divan or sprung slatted bedstead – can also have a significant impact on the way it feels.

Thankfully, though, the new generation of bed-in-a-box mattresses has made things easier than ever. These foam and hybrid mattresses often come with a 100-day money-back guarantee (and some including those by Emma, Simba and Nectar come with even longer trials) so you can make your mind up without any financial risk, and be absolutely sure that they're you're picking the best mattress for you and your home.

That’s not to say pocket-sprung mattresses have had their day and if you’re planning to buy one of these – or indeed a latex mattress – you'll find the best of the bunch in our list below. At the end of the list, you'll also find a full guide to give you pointers on how to pick the best mattress for you.

READ NEXT: Best cheap mattress deals this month


Featured deal: New customers save 41% on the Simba Hybrid Pro

In Simba's current sale, you can currently save a whopping 41% on a new mattress, if you've never bought from the brand before. A king size Hybrid Pro would normally cost £1,529, but now you can get it for £902.
Simba
Save 41%

Best mattresses: At a glance

  • Emma Mattress: The best memory foam mattress for couples | Buy now
  • Nectar: The mattress with a 365-night trial | Buy now
  • Simba Hybrid Pro: The best hybrid when money is no object | Buy now
  • Dormeo Memory Plus Mattress: The best budget foam mattress | Buy now
  • Otty Mattress: The best firm hybrid mattress | Buy now
  • Brook and Wilde Elite: The best hybrid for side sleepers | Buy now

How to choose the best mattress for you

Do I need a new mattress?

The general rule of thumb is that your mattress should be changed roughly every seven years, although some may last a bit longer and others considerably shorter than that.

Telltale signs that it may be time to get a new mattress include not sleeping well and waking with aches, pains or stiffness. If you’re sleeping better in other beds and not sleeping as soundly as you did this time last year should also be a wake-up call.

Springs vs foam – which type of mattress is best?

Broadly speaking, mattresses can be split into those that do or don’t have springs. The latter, usually made from foam, have become very popular in recent years. Memory foam does a great job of cushioning your bony protrusions and soaking up movement, but it can often feel warmer than a sprung mattress and can soften as the bed warms up.

When it comes to sprung models, you’ll likely think of traditional pocket sprung mattresses, where the springs are sewn into fabric pockets and topped with natural fillings such as wool, cotton or hemp. These usually offer better temperature regulation than foam models, but can be prone to suffering body impressions over time. Cheaper open-coil and continuous coil mattresses are best avoided since they readily transmit movements throughout the mattress.

Finally, you’ll find plenty of manufacturers now offer “hybrid” mattresses, which use a combination of pocket springs and foam, or other synthetic materials. These aim to combine the superior airflow of springs with the excellent cushioning properties of foam, but on the whole, these can still feel warmer than a traditional pocket sprung mattress.

Whether you opt for foam, springs, or a combination of the two, the best mattresses deliver ample support and cushioning, so your choice will ultimately come down to personal preference.

What is a bed-in-a-box mattress?

Bed-in-a-box mattresses are becoming increasingly popular and more likely than not you’ve seen them advertised on television. These all-foam or hybrid options arrive vacuum packed and rolled up inside a box rather than as a fully formed mattress. This makes them considerably easier to deliver and manoeuvre. Once unpacked they quickly begin to expand, and within a few hours they’re ready to be slept on.

While some bed-in-a-box mattresses are available in stores for you to try out, many are online-only. Fortunately, nearly all of them are backed by lengthy at-home trial periods that allow you to test them out before committing. For more info on these money-back guarantees, see below.

How much should I spend?

When it comes to pricing, the sky truly is the limit, but as our roundup shows, a quality option doesn’t need to cost the Earth. Affordable foam mattresses start at a fraction of the price of a good, traditional pocket sprung model, all while offering excellent levels of comfort and support.

Don’t be tempted to choose your mattress on the price tag alone, however, as if it doesn’t suit your particular size, shape and sleeping style, you’ll have wasted every penny.

What is the best mattress for back pain?

When it comes to mattresses there is no one-size-fits-all option, and so no single mattress type stands above the rest when it comes to alleviating back pain. Indeed, the best mattress for you depends on a number of factors including the source of your back pain and your weight. For more info on the best mattress for a back pain, see our best mattress for a bad back roundup. Alternatively, for more info on other things to think about before you take the plunge and buy a new mattress, see the extended buyer's guide after our mini reviews.


The best memory foam mattresses

1. Nectar: The mattress with a 365-night trial

Price: From £469 (single) | Buy now from Nectar

The Nectar mattress is the only mattress we've ever come across that comes with a 365-night trial. When you consider most mattresses only become truly broken in after the first couple of months or so, that extra time is extremely valuable for finding out how your mattress will feel in the long term.

It’s one of the most comfortable bed-in-a-box mattresses we’ve tested, too. Not quite as firm as Otty and Eve but a little more supportive than Casper, it hits a perfect middle ground that should appeal to a wide range of people and cater to a range of different sleeping positions.

The only significant drawback? The Nectar mattress doesn’t have a machine washable cover – so it's a good idea to use a protector – and there are no handles for turning it. As with most memory foam beds, it can also soften as it becomes warmer, but it’s plenty supportive even then and works well when used on a sprung slatted base.

Buy now from Nectar

Nectar | Read our full review
TypeThree-layer (bottom layer 160mm seven-zone supportive foam; middle layer 50mm soft “visco” memory foam; top layer 40mm breathable "visco" foam)
Needs turning?No
SizesSingle to super king, available online only
Warranty365-night trial; forever warranty

Nectar: Get 40% off the cost of a mattress

Nectar is offering discounts of 40% on its mattresses as part of its 'Better Sleep, Better Me' sale. So, if the 365-night trial period wasn't good enough, you can now get the brand's memory foam mattress reviewed here for just £491 in a king size (was £819).
Nectar
Save 40%

2. Emma Original: The best memory foam mattress for couples

Price: From £449 (single) | Buy now from Emma

As well as being highly practical – it has both a removable top cover and carry handles – we found the Emma Original exceedingly comfortable to sleep on. Indeed, despite feeling relatively soft, it offers superb levels of support throughout the night and is better suited to side sleepers than some of its firmer bed-in-a-box rivals such as Eve.

That said, the Emma Original is a versatile mattress that makes for a comfortable night's sleep regardless of whether you sleep on your front, back or side. It's this versatility that makes it a perfect choice for couples who are struggling to compromise on firmness. As is typical of foam mattresses, it can feel warm but the Emma Original does a good job of wicking away sweat so we never woke feeling damp and clammy.

Buy now from Emma

Emma Original | Read our full review
TypeThree-layer (bottom layer 195mm dense support foam; middle layer 20mm memory foam; top layer 25mm open-cell foam)
Needs turning?No
SizesSingle to super king (including EU sizes), available online and at some DFS and Carpetright stores
Warranty200-night trial with money-back guarantee

Save over 50% in Emma's January sale

Emma is currently offering discounts of 50% on its Original memory foam and Premium hybrid mattresses. What's more, when you use our exclusive discount code EXPERT, you can save an extra 8% on the marked-down price of your order. This brings a king size Emma Original, for instance, down from £799 to £368.
Emma
Save over 50%

3. Ergoflex 5G: An excellent memory foam mattress for back sleepers

Price: From £499 (single) | Buy now from Ergoflex

If you’re a back sleeper looking for a mattress that offers comfort and support in good measure, the Ergoflex 5G is an excellent choice. With a generous 90mm foam top layer the 5G moulds effectively around your body, providing support just where you need it along with plenty of comfortable pressure relief.

The all-foam construction also allows the 5G to excel at movement isolation, effectively dampening the vibrations produced by a restless partner, making it ideal for light sleepers. Like many memory foam mattresses it can sleep a little warm but we found it compared favourably against the competition, never leading to uncomfortable overheating.

At 30 days, the Ergoflex’s home trial is notably shorter than some of its rivals but still gives you the risk-free opportunity to try it out in your own home.

Buy now from Ergoflex

Ergoflex 5G | Read our full review
TypeThree-layer (bottom layer 90mm dense high resilience foam; middle layer 50mm memory foam; top layer 90mm visco-elastic foam)
Needs turning?Rotate every three months
SizesSingle to super king (including EU sizes), available online only
Warranty30-night trial with money-back guarantee

Save up to 45% in the Ergoflex January sale

Ergoflex is currently offering discounts of up to 45% this January. Just use the code JAN45 and you can get a king size Ergoflex 5G mattress for just £534 (down from £889).
Ergoflex
Save 45%

The best hybrid mattresses

3. Simba Hybrid Pro Mattress: The best hybrid when money is no object

Price: From £1,089 (single) | Buy now from Simba Sleep

It might cost an arm and a leg, but the Simba Hybrid Pro is the comfiest bed-in-a-box mattress we’ve ever tested. What separates it from its rivals? For a start, its uppermost layer is made from British wool, which offers better temperature regulation than the foam used in most hybrids.

And that’s not all that’s different. The mattress also adds an additional layer of microsprings compared to the original Simba Hybrid, which makes it both bouncy and more breathable. We found the mattress exceedingly comfortable in a range of sleeping positions. In fact, we liked it so much that we didn’t want to go back to using our regular, everyday mattress.

The fact the Hybrid Pro comes with a 200-night trial rather than the 100 nights offered by many of its rivals means you have the luxury of being able to try it for a full six months before making a decision.

Buy now from Simba Sleep

Simba Hybrid | Read our full review
TypeWool, foam and micro pocket spring hybrid
Needs turning?Rotate once/month for the first six months; once every 3/6 months thereafter
SizesSingle to king, arrives vacuum-packed
Warranty200-night trial; 10-year warranty

Simba's 'new customer' offer: Save 41% on orders over £300

New customers can currently save 41% on Simba orders of £300 or more. The Hybrid Pro, with its two layers of micro pocket springs and cooling wool comfort layer, is our favourite of the brand's three hybrid mattresses. Right now, it's down from £1,529 to just £902 (in a king size).
Simba
Save 41%

4. Brook + Wilde Elite Mattress: Best hybrid for side sleepers

Price: From £899 (single) | Buy now from Brook + Wilde

Brook + Wilde stands out from its bed-in-a-box rivals as one of very few brands to give customers a choice of firmness levels (soft, medium or firm). This is a significant factor in mattress comfort and, as such, you should have no problem finding a Brook + Wilde mattress that’s right for you.

We tested the medium version of the Elite, and found it delivered superb levels of support in all sleeping positions, perhaps as a result of its ‘wave technology’ foam layer, which the brand claims helps to maintain spinal alignment. Thanks to its sumptuous comfort layers, though, we found it to beat all of the competition when it comes to side sleeping. Indeed, for those who sleep mainly in this position, there’s no mattress we’d sooner recommend.

It’s not cheap. In fact, it’s £400 more expensive than the brand’s Lux mattress in all sizes except single. But you get a great deal of comfort and support for your money, along with a washable top cover. Brook + Wilde often offers our readers exclusive discount codes too (see below), so if you time it right, you shouldn’t need to pay full price.

Buy now from Brook + Wilde

Brook and Wilde Elite | Read our full review
TypeEight layer (Bottom layer non-slip base, Seventh layer support base, sixth layer 1,000 135mm pocket springs, fifth layer ‘wave technology’ support foam, fourth layer 2,500 mini pocket springs, third layer thermo regulating top layer, second layer memory foam protector, first layer removable and washable top cover)
Needs turning?No
SizesSingle to super king
Warranty100-night trial; 10-year warranty

Brook + Wilde: Save 40% with code EXPERT40

Thanks to an exclusive discount code that Brook + Wilde has given us, you can save 40% on the Elite mattress. Just enter the code EXPERT40 at the checkout, and you can get a king size Elite for £779 (down from £1,299).
Brook + Wilde
Save 40%

5. Otty Mattress: A brilliant firm hybrid mattress

Price: From £600 (single) | Buy now from Otty

The Otty mattress is, quite simply, one of the best hybrid mattresses we've ever tested. Its combination of 2,000 140mm pocket springs (in king size) and two foam comfort layers enable it to offer unmatched levels of support, comfort and temperature control.

Although its price has crept up over the last couple of years – it'll set you back £600 for a double and £700 for a king – it's still one of the best-value mattresses on the market, especially if you take advantage of one of the manufacturer's regular promotions. The only significant caveat is that it's quite a firm level of support so, if you prefer a softer mattress, you'll probably be better off with something else. There's also quite a strong chemical smell when the mattress is first unpacked, but this soon dissipates.

Buy now from Otty

Otty Mattress | Read our full review
TypeFoam/pocket spring hybrid (50mm high-density foam; 2,000 140mm pocket springs; 30mm reflex foam; 30mm memory foam)
Needs turning?Rotate once/month (for first six months)
SizesNine sizes from single to emperor (also EU sizes), arrives vacuum-packed
Warranty100-night trial; 10-year warranty

Otty January sale: Save 40% on the Original Hybrid

In Otty's current sale, you can save 40% on the brand's Original Hybrid mattress, with discounts of up to 50% across the rest of the site. A king size Original Hybrid, for instance, is down from £900 to just £540.
Otty
Save 40%

The best budget mattresses

6. Silentnight Studio Eco mattress: Best hybrid on a budget

Price: £359 (single) | Buy now from Silentnight

Bed-in-a-box mattresses can cost a small fortune but you don’t always need to spend big to get a decent night’s sleep. Silentnight’s rolled Studio Eco mattress is proof of this, delivering a cool and comfortable nights sleep at a fraction of the cost – a double will set you back a mere £389. It may not be overly plush or bouncy, but its eco comfort layer and 1,000 18mm-deep pocket springs provide more than enough support for the average couple.

It also comes with a 60-night exchange, so if you decide it’s not quite right for you, you’re able to swap it for a different Silentnight model of your choice. The only real caveat of this mattress is that the edge support isn’t as good as it could be, so if you’re prone to rolling around a lot in the night, you might notice this. All in all though, this an impressive budget mattress that will have you sleeping soundly.

Buy now from Silentnight

Silentnight Studio Eco mattress | Read our full review
TypeRecycled synthetic materials and pocket springs
Needs turning?Rotate once/month for the first few months
SizesSingle to king, arrives rolled and vacuum-packed, without a box
Warranty5-year warranty

7. Dormeo Memory Plus Mattress: The best budget foam mattress (when it's discounted)

Price: From £530 (single) | Buy now from Dormeo

Arriving vacuum-packed in an astonishingly compact box, the Dormeo Memory Plus has a 140mm foam core with a 30mm memory foam top layer. The mattress is very slightly softer than average but offers great support when you consider its relatively thin design.

If you sleep on your back and have struggled to find something suitable, this mattress should do you proud – as it will for people who are prone to moving around a lot in the night and don’t want to disturb their partner. Best of all, though, is its remarkably low price. Despite its advertised price on Dormeo's website, you can regularly find it discounted by more than 60% and it's often available for as little as £300 in king size at Amazon.

As for niggles, that thin design means fitted sheets have some slack, but rotating it isn't too difficult as it’s not very heavy. All in all, you'll be very hard pushed to find anything better at this impressively low price.

Buy now from Dormeo

Dormeo Memory Plus Mattress | Read our full review
TypeFoam core with 3cm memory foam on top
Needs turning?No
SizesFive sizes from single to super king, arrives vacuum-packed
Warranty15-year warranty

Save BIG on the Dormeo Memory Plus mattress

Dormeo's Memory Plus mattress is great value when it's discounted, and right now, you can save big. A king size Memory Plus, for instance, is down from £880 to just £350 (in a king size). You'll also get two free Memosan Anatomic Pillows and a mattress and bedding cleaning kit with your order.
Dormeo
Save 60%

8. Silentnight Studio Original: Best affordable foam mattress for a firmer feel

Price: From £399 (single) | Buy now from Silentnight

From the same range as the Studio Eco featured above, the Original is Silentnight’s affordable memory foam offering. Indeed, at £699 for a king size mattress, it’s marginally cheaper than its all-foam rivals including the Emma Original, Nectar mattress and Eve Original, which all cost £799 for a king.

In terms of comfort, the Studio Original is very supportive. It’s labelled as having a ‘medium comfort’ level, but we found it to be on the firm end of medium during testing. As such, it’s perhaps best suited to sleepers who like plenty of support including those who primarily sleep on their back or front.

When we tested it, the Silentnight Studio Original missed out on a five-star review largely because of its inferior trial period (a 60-night ‘comfort exchange’ rather than a money-back guarantee), and because its bed-in-a-box rivals are often cheaper when discounted. However, if you can’t wait for the right deal, the Studio Original is a very supportive and affordable option.

Buy now from Silentnight

Silentnight Studio Original mattress | Read our full review
TypeFour layer (‘Studio Flex’ memory foam foundation, middle foam layer, ‘geltex’ gel-infused foam layer, anti-allergy cover)
Needs turning?No, but Silentnight recommends rotating regularly
SizesThree sizes from single to king
Warranty5-year guarantee with 60-night comfort exchange

The best pocket-sprung mattresses

9. Sealy Nostromo: The best mid-range pocket-sprung mattress

Price: £920 (single) | Buy now from MattressOnline

You’ll be hard pushed to find this kind of cloud-like quality from another pocket-sprung mattress at this price point. It's suitable for all sleep styles and for most body types, although you might find it a bit blancmange-like if you’re particularly tall or heavy.

There's no need to exasperate your bed partner if you’re a restless sleeper as it’s lovely and stable, and even after years of use, it doesn’t sag. It’s also breathable, so it won’t become damp if you get clammy in the night. As it has a latex layer over the pocket-sprung core, it’s inadvisable to turn it (although you should rotate it using the handles). Quick tip: this mattress is also marketed in some stores as the Sealy Teramo 1400.

Buy now from MattressOnline

Sealy Nostromo
TypePocket-sprung with added latex layer, 1,400 spring count
Needs turning?No
SizesFour sizes from single to super king
WarrantyFour-year warranty

Save on the Sealy Nostromo from Mattress Online

You can currently save up to 50% on the Sealy Nostromo in Mattress Online's sale (with discounts of up to 55% across the wider Sealy range). A king size Nostromo, for instance, is down from £1,373 to £691.
Mattress Online
Save up to 50%

The best latex core mattresses

10. Dunlopillo Royal Sovereign: The best overall mattress for back sleepers

Price: From £900 (single) | Buy now from MattressOnline

Sleeping in the savasana pose – that’s “on your back” to non-yoga folk – benefits both neck and spine health. If you’re after the perfect cushioning for this style of sleeping, look no further than this mattress with an all-latex core, which is also comfy and supportive for other types of sleepers. In fact, many people prefer an all-latex core to foam or springs as it has an instant rebound property and recovers as soon as you move to a different part of the mattress, and because latex doesn’t need to be warmed up by body heat to be effective.

Ever so slightly softer than average, the mattress is good for people of all heights and weights. It also stands the test of time – well beyond the usual seven-year rule of mattress changing. But it’s not much cop if your significant other is prone to tossing and turning, as you’ll get disturbed, and, at a whopping 40kg with no handles, rotating it (it doesn’t need turning) feels like you’re moving a mountain.

Buy now from MattressOnline

Dunlopillo Royal Sovereign
Type100% latex; anti-allergenic
Needs turning?No
SizesFour sizes from single to super king
WarrantySeven-year guarantee

Save 40% on a Dunlopillo Royal Sovereign when you buy it in a double

The Dunlopillo Royal Sovereign is a fantastic latex mattress, which is currently discounted in a size double over on Mattress Online - down from £2,361 to £1,360.
Mattress Online
Save 40%

Best mattresses: Extended buyer's guide

What other key questions do I need to ask?

What is it made from?

When buying a new mattress, you’ll want to consider what it's made from. As a general rule, synthetic materials such as foam are warmer and less breathable than the natural fillings such as cotton, wool and hemp that you’ll find in more expensive pocket sprung mattresses.

How firm is it?

Mattresses should come with a soft, medium or firm rating, though it’s worth taking these with a pinch of salt as one manufacturer’s medium may be another’s firm.

In any case, we believe a good approach when deciding what firmness rating to choose is to think about how you sleep. If you lie mainly on your back or front, you’ll likely be happy with a medium-firm to firm level of support. If you more commonly sleep on your side, or a combination of all three positions, you’ll likely prefer something a little softer. Ideally you want a mattress that offers up enough give to accommodate your hips when laying on your side.

Larger individuals may benefit from the additional support offered by a firmer mattress, while those with a smaller frame may be more comfortable on something a bit softer. You should also bear in mind that the same mattress can feel different depending on the type of base you use, which we explain in more detail below.

Do all mattresses need flipping or turning?

With pocket sprung mattresses, you’ll find some only need to be periodically flipped while other “non-turn” models only need to be rotated from time to time. Foam and hybrid mattresses, on the other hand, are usually only designed to be slept on one way and so typically only need rotating, if anything. The guidance varies from brand to brand, however, so be sure to check the specific advice listed by the manufacturer.

What base do I need?

The type of base you choose to pair your mattress with can have a significant impact on its overall feel. A yielding foundation such as a sprung slatted bedstead is likely to result in your mattresses feeling slightly softer than it would on a solid platform such as a divan, for instance.

Some manufacturers may also specify the type of base required. Many recommend that when using a slatted base, those slats are no more than 75mm spart, for example.

Does it have a strong chemical smell?

Bed-in-a-box mattresses that arrive rolled and vacuum packed often emit a chemical “off-gassing” odour when first unpacked. While the prominence of this odour varies from brand to brand, if you’re particularly sensitive to smells, you may wish to air the mattress in another room for a few days before first sleeping on it.

Is there a trial period?

Most bed-in-a-box manufacturers offer lengthy 100-day at-home trials and some even go so far as to offer 200-night money-back guarantees. With any trial, you’ll want to check the terms of the agreement to see if the cost of pick-up is included if you do decide to send it back, and whether you need to use a mattress protector during the trial period for the guarantee to be valid.

These conditions can vary depending on whether you buy directly from a manufacturer or from another retailer, so be sure to do your research before buying. If you're looking at traditional, handmade mattresses, it's very unlikely you'll be able to return it unless it's faulty or you’re yet to remove it from its packaging.

What's the warranty period?

Mattress warranty periods can vary enormously. For example, Dreams covers its products for only 12 months, while Ikea offers a 25-year warranty against defects on all its mattresses. A longer period might look better on paper, but be sure to read the small print, as in reality you might only be covered against major faults and not more minor complaints such as dipping and body impressions.

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