Emma's new premium mattress wraps tall pocket springs in just enough foam to make it an ergonomic delight to sleep on – even in summer
- 200-night trial
- Sleeps cool and dry
- Comfortable for back and side sleepers
- Not much bounce
- Firmer than expected
Emma’s latest mattress is the most sumptuous addition yet to its bed-in-a-box line-up, and one of the best mattresses we’ve tested. Thanks to an innovative combination of large, super-supportive pocket springs and assorted layers of foam, the Emma NextGen Premium achieves a rare feat among hybrid mattresses: it lets your skin breathe, even in summer.
The Emma NextGen Premium aims to deliver a “sweat-free sleep” by using a higher proportion of springs than other hybrid mattresses – which can feel clammy for some sleepers, including me – and, sure enough, using it these muggy July nights, I found it hit a delightful balance of comfort, breathability and ergonomic support. It’s worth the premium price tag, especially if you like your mattress on the firm side.
UPDATE: Recently, Expert Reviews has become aware of an increasing number of negative reviews for Emma Sleep on Trustpilot. Emma has assured us that it is working on resolving the issues cited, and has subsequently updated the estimated delivery times on its website and set up a dedicated customer service line. We will be monitoring the situation closely.
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Emma NextGen Premium mattress review: What you need to know
The NextGen Premium is the latest of Emma’s hybrid mattresses, which combines memory foam and springs to offer the best of both worlds. The springs allow air to circulate and help the mattress to absorb movement, creating a more luxurious and supportive experience than foam alone. They also help to ensure that the mattress won’t sag or lose firmness over the years.
The NextGen Premium has a higher spring-to-foam ratio than its predecessors, and the springs themselves are bigger. The Emma Hybrid has a layer of micro pocket springs, and its successor, the Premium (previously called the Original Hybrid), uses full-sized springs, but the NextGen Premium has ‘extra tall’ 18.5cm springs that make it feel properly structured and supportive. The mattress itself is no taller than usual though and, with an overall height of 24cm, works fine with most fitted sheets.
The springs are arranged in seven adaptive ‘zones’, each designed to provide optimal support for a different part of your body – be it head, shoulders, chest, lower back, hips, thighs, or feet – cleverly adapting to your size, shape, and sleeping position to help keep your spine aligned while you sleep.
On top of the springs are three layers of foam: a 1.4cm layer of standard polyurethane foam for support, a layer of high-resistance polyurethane foam to regulate temperature and evaporate sweat, and 2cm of visco-elastic memory foam to cradle your body comfortably. Under the springs, there’s a further layer of high-resiliency foam to give the springs a hand in aligning your spine.
The NextGen Premium is designed to be slept on only one side, so it never needs flipping. Emma says it doesn’t need rotating either, but, to help your mattress perform at its best for years, you may want to turn it head to toe every few months anyway. Fortunately, it’s not a particularly heavy mattress – 34.5kg for the king size – and the side handles help you manoeuvre it.
The sleep side has a removable polyester cover that you can unzip and wash in the machine, at up to 40 degrees. This washable cover also helps to combat allergens, as well as wicking moisture away from your skin, helping you stay comfortable on summer nights. It feels soft, but cooling, although like me you’ll probably want to add a mattress protector on top to help protect your mattress.
Emma is keen to point out that the NextGen Premium is its most sustainably produced mattress yet, with greater use of recycled steel in its springs and much less foam than previous iterations. As a result, the NextGen Premium boasts 32% lower carbon emissions than the Emma Premium, and 58% lower than the Emma Original.
All Emma mattresses now come with a 200-night money-back guarantee, a substantial step-up from their old 100-night trial, and, like its stablemates, the NextGen Premium also comes with a ten-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
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Emma NextGen Premium mattress review: Price and competition
The Emma NextGen Premium starts at £659 for a single mattress, rising to £959 for a double, and £1,119 for a king size. You wouldn’t exactly call it a bargain, but you get what you pay for in terms of mattress technology – such as zoned springs and multiple layers of specially-designed foam – and the prices compare well with equivalent premium models from other brands.
Eve’s Premium Hybrid mattress, for instance, costs £1,249 for a king size, while Simba’s Hybrid Essential mattress is £1,099. The Simba Hybrid Pro would be a closer like-for-like comparison with the Emma NextGen Premium, and is currently on sale at £1,055 for the king size, but the usual price of £1,759 is significantly more expensive than Emma’s mattress.
Emma’s other recent launch, the Emma Luxe Cooling mattress, is also much pricier than the NextGen Premium, at £1,998 for a king size. It features smaller pocket springs and fewer targeted body zones than the NextGen Premium, but does have an additional top layer, made from Emma’s patented Thermosync foam which they claim will keep you even cooler than the NextGen Premium.
Emma NextGen Premium mattress review: Comfort and performance
Defying all my expectations, the NextGen Premium is the most comfortable mattress I have ever slept on. Previous experiences with bed-in-a-box hybrid mattresses have left me hot and bothered – bothered, that is, until they politely and efficiently whisk the clammy mattresses away, in line with their no-quibble money-back trial periods. So I craved a mattress that would allow the air to circulate, while still cradling me in cosiness as I drift off, and that’s just what the NextGen Premium delivered.
Emma doesn’t quite go so far as to describe the NextGen Premium as a cooling mattress – that honour is reserved for the more expensive Luxe Cooling mattress – but it does claim to offer “dry and sweat-free” sleep, with “maximum airflow” while being “free from humidity”, so I was particularly keen to put these claims to the test. I’m delighted to report that the NextGen Premium didn’t leave me feeling clammy and, in fact, proved to be a lovely soothing mattress to sleep on when the weather’s warm.
My test mattress didn’t quite arrive in time for the recent June heatwave, so it’s hard to say just how cool it would have kept me on very hot nights, but I slept on it for several 15°C nights in July, with a lightweight 4.5 tog polyester duvet, and I wasn’t uncomfortably warm at any point. I won’t say it’s quite as breathable as my old pocket-sprung mattress, but that may just be a matter of what I’m used to.
The firmness of the NextGen Premium won’t be for everyone. Emma describes it as medium-firm, but it really is quite firm when you’re lying down – perhaps this is because I used it on a solid bed base and maybe it will have a little more softness and bounce on a slatted base.
The combination of tall springs and multi-layer foam offers a superb level of ergonomic, edge-to-edge support. There’s much less bounce than I would have expected, given the extra-tall springs, and the mattress sank surprisingly low when I sat on it, making it less comfortable for bedtime reading than my old mattress. But when you lie on it, even when you toss and turn, it performs the almost magical feat of supporting every inch of you, as though you are held aloft on a supremely comfortable, albeit firm, cloud.
My shoulders and hips were supported beautifully, regardless of whether I laid on my back, or on my side, or whether my partner was lying beside me – he weighs more than me and can be restless in his sleep, and sometimes our old mattress seemed to amplify that movement, but the NextGen Premium does the opposite, isolating our movement and helping us both get a much more restful night’s sleep.
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Emma NextGen Premium mattress review: Verdict
The Emma NextGen Premium delivers supportive, incredibly comfortable rest, with levels of breathability and motion isolation that are rare in bed-in-a-box mattresses. If you get too warm in bed, or if you or your partner tend to sleep restlessly, this mattress could make nighttimes less stressful and more restful for you both.
The mattress is quite firm and not quite what I’d call cooling, but it does an excellent job with airflow and avoiding the dreaded clamminess typical of most foam mattresses. The removable cover is a masterstroke, wicking sweat from your body and then washing clean in time for another sleep.
This is the first Emma mattress since the exceptional all-foam Emma Original to win five stars from us, but, if you’re not quite as taken by it as I am, you have a full 200 days – nearly seven months – to try it out before committing for keeps.