Tired of getting a poor night's sleep? We'll help you pick the best mattress for you
Choosing the best mattress used to require a trip to your local showroom to try before you buy, but times have changed – and that’s no bad thing. The best mattress for you isn’t always the one that feels good when you try it for a few minutes, because it may well feel entirely different when you sleep on it overnight.
Thankfully, though, mattresses have moved with the times. Foam and hybrid mattresses from bed-in-a-box brands often come with a lengthy home trial period and money-back guarantee (with some trials lasting a generous 365 nights), and an increasing number of pocket sprung mattresses now offer similar money-back trial periods, so you can be absolutely sure that you’re picking the best mattress for you and your home.
Here you’ll find quick buying links for our favourite mattresses in our at-a-glance list below; a buying guide where we explain how to pick the best mattress for you, and mini reviews of all our Best Buy mattresses a little further down the page.
The Simba Hybrid Pro, which we’ve crowned as the best hybrid mattress in the roundup below, is the most comfortable bed-in-a-box mattress we’ve ever had the pleasure to test. No wonder we also gave it five stars out of five and an Expert Reviews Best Buy award in our full review. It’s expensive at £1,329 in king-size, but it definitely lives up to the high price.
Best mattresses: At a glance
|Best hybrid mattress
|Simba Hybrid Pro
|Best firm mattress
|Otty Original Hybrid
|Best hybrid foam mattress for couples
|Emma Next Gen Premium
|Best budget memory foam mattress
|Dormeo Memory Plus
|Best-value hybrid mattress
|Nectar Essential Hybrid
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.
Tell-tale signs that it may be time to get a new mattress include not sleeping well and waking with aches, pains or stiffness. Sleeping better in other beds and not sleeping as soundly as you did this time last year should also be wake-up calls.
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.
READ NEXT: The best mattresses for side sleepers
How we test mattresses
At the risk of stating the obvious, we test our mattresses by sleeping on them. However, as we do so, there are a number of factors we aim to take into account. In addition to comfort and support, two important factors are firmness and temperature control (though we may also take factors such as edge support and motion isolation into account).
For instance, some mattresses, all-foam ones in particular, might feel warmer than others, which makes them a less suitable option for those who are prone to overheating at night.
The base on which you put your mattress – whether that be a solid divan base, sprung slatted bed or even the floor – impacts how a mattress will feel beneath you. And while we can’t always test a variety of bed bases when reviewing a mattress, we’ll always take this into account.
We also consider value for money as a factor when reviewing mattresses, as well as the length of any trial period that may be offered (these are common, particularly in the bed-in-a-box market).
READ NEXT: The best mattress toppers to buy
The best mattresses you can buy in 2024
1. Simba Hybrid Pro Mattress: Best hybrid mattress
Price when reviewed: From £1,159 (single) | Check prices at Simba
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 some of its rivals means you have the luxury of being able to try it for more than six months before making a decision.
Read our full Simba Hybrid Pro review
|Wool, foam and micro pocket spring hybrid
|Rotate once/month for the first six months; once every 3/6 months thereafter
|Single to king, arrives vacuum-packed
|200-night trial; 10-year warranty
2. Otty Original Hybrid Mattress: Best firm hybrid mattress
Price when reviewed: From £800 (single) | Check prices at Otty
The Otty Original Hybrid 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 been up and down over the past couple of years, it has settled into being a good bit cheaper than some of the other hybrid mattresses in this roundup. What’s more, there’s a good chance you won’t have to pay full price when 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.
Read our full Otty Original Hybrid review
|Foam/pocket spring hybrid (50mm high-density foam; 2,000 140mm pocket springs; 30mm reflex foam; 30mm memory foam)
|Rotate once/month (for first six months)
|Nine sizes from single to emperor (also EU sizes), arrives vacuum-packed
|100-night trial; 10-year warranty
3. Nectar Essential Hybrid Mattress: Best-value hybrid mattress
Price when reviewed: From £475 (single) | Check prices at Nectar
As far as value for money is concerned, Nectar’s Essential Hybrid undercuts many of its bed-in-a-box rivals on price. Following a recent restructuring of the brand’s price model, it starts at just £475 in a single and rises to just £725 for a super king. The six-layer (including base), 25cm thick mattress is one of the cheapest hybrids we’ve reviewed.
Price aside, how comfortable is the Nectar Essential Hybrid? It’s thinner than some of Nectar’s other mattresses (such as the pricey Nectar Premier, which is 28cm thick), but our tester found it still offered comfort and support as well as good motion isolation. All in all it’s a great medium-firm option, and of course you get Nectar’s generous 365-night trial period, at the end of which you can return the mattress for a full refund if you don’t agree with our verdict.
Read our full Nectar Essential Hybrid mattress review
|Spring and foam hybrid (base material, “supportive base” foam, 15cm encapsulated pocket spring layer, “dynamic support layer”, “pressure relieving memory foam”, “quilted cooling cover”)
|Single to super king; arrives vacuum-packed
|365-night trial; forever warranty
4. Emma NextGen Premium: Best hybrid mattress for couples
Price when reviewed: From £419 (single) | Check prices at Emma
UPDATE: Since publishing our article, Expert Reviews has noticed a recent influx of negative customer reviews for Emma Sleep on Trustpilot, with many customers complaining of delays to shipping and a lack of communication over when deliveries will happen. A spokesperson for Emma has informed us that the brand is working on resolving these issues, and estimated delivery times on Emma’s online store have been updated accordingly.
Many mattresses claim to offer the best of both worlds – comfortable yet supportive, cosy yet cool – without quite delivering on the promise, but the Emma NextGen Premium genuinely hits every mark. This sumptuous mattress uses a higher proportion of springs than other hybrid mattresses, and the result is a lovely balance of comfort, breathability and ergonomic support.
The “extra-tall” 18.5cm pocket springs help the NextGen Premium do an excellent job of absorbing and isolating movement, even when sharing with a restless partner. The springs also allow a level of airflow that’s rare in a bed-in-a-box mattress, avoiding the dreaded clamminess you often get with foam.
There’s even a removable cover that’s adept at wicking away moisture from your skin which pops in the washing machine.
The mattress is on the firm side, so those who prefer a softer sleep may need a mattress topper for optimum comfort.
Read our full Emma NextGen Premium mattress review
|Foam and pocket spring hybrid (185mm “extra tall” springs, 140mm high-resistance polyurethane foam, 200mm visco-elastic memory foam)
|Single to super king, arrives vacuum-packed
|200-night trial; 10-year warranty
5. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress: Best foam mattress with a year-long trial
Price when reviewed: From £475 (single) | Check prices at Nectar
Since its rival Eve extended its mattress trial period to one year, Nectar can no longer claim to have the longest trial in the bed-in-a-box industry. Nectar’s generous 365-night trial was a key selling point for the brand, making it stand out from its rivals. Nevertheless, considering that most brands still offer trials of no longer than 200 nights, Nectar’s year-long trial period still stands above the crowd.
It’s also one of the most comfortable bed-in-a-box mattresses we’ve tested (and, at 260mm deep, one of the thickest all-foam mattresses too). Not quite as firm as Otty and Eve but still offering good levels of support, it hits a perfect middle ground that should appeal to a wide range of people and cater to a range of different sleeping positions.
Unfortunately, Nectar’s memory foam 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.
Read our full Nectar Memory Foam mattress review
|Three-layer (bottom layer 160mm seven-zone supportive foam; middle layer 50mm soft “visco” memory foam; top layer 40mm breathable “visco” foam)
|Single to super king, available online only
|365-night trial; forever warranty
6. Ergoflex 5G: An excellent memory foam mattress for back sleepers
Price when reviewed: From £770 (single) | Check prices at 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 that still gives you the risk-free opportunity to try it out in your own home.
Read our full Ergoflex 5G mattress review
|Three-layer (bottom layer 90mm dense high resilience foam; middle layer 50mm memory foam; top layer 90mm visco-elastic foam)
|Rotate every three months
|Single to super king (including EU sizes), available online only
|30-night trial with money-back guarantee
7. Dormeo Memory Plus: Best budget foam mattress
Price when reviewed: From £295 (single) | Check prices at 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. What’s more, you can regularly find it discounted in one of Dormeo’s online sales.
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.
Read our full Dormeo Memory Plus mattress review
|Foam core with 3cm memory foam on top
|Five sizes from single to super king, arrives vacuum-packed
8. Hypnia Supreme Memory Foam Mattress: A versatile foam mattress
Price when reviewed: From £901 (single) | Check prices at Hypnia
Hypnia describes its all-foam Supreme mattress as “medium firm”, and we found it soft and cushioned while still offering a decent level of support. At 25cm thick, its construction consists of four layers of foam, including a “graphite-infused” foam designed for temperature control.
During testing, we found the Hypnia Supreme to be a versatile mattress, having allowed a number of sleepers to test it out. Our testers also agreed that edge support was impressive, even if this could be improved at the corners.
Like many foam mattresses, there’s a notable off-gassing smell when it’s removed from its vacuum packaging. Although this smell did take a little while to dissipate with the Hypnia Supreme, plenty of ventilation ensured that it was far from a permanent issue. And as is usually the case with bed-in-a-box brands, the mattress comes with a 200-night trial so you can try it out before you commit.
Read our full Hypnia Supreme review
|Foam (“Multi-zoned base”, “premium memory foam”, graphite-infused “cooling foam”, “quilted cover Air-wave”)
|Single to super king, arrives vacuum-packed
|200-night trial; 15-year warranty
9. Origin Hybrid Mattress: Excellent-value hybrid mattress
Price when reviewed: From £499 (single) | Check prices at Origin
Sneaking in at under £500 for a single and rising to £719 for a king size, Origin’s Hybrid mattress is an affordable option that impressed us enough to win the maximum five stars in our full review. It has just enough softness for those who favour a more cushioned sleeping surface, while also delivering the kind of ergonomic support adored by firm mattress enthusiasts.
Like many newer hybrid mattresses, the Origin Hybrid contains a grid-based layer designed to optimise back support and a temperature-control layer to keep you cool while you sleep. There’s also a solid foam layer for extra support where needed, even right at the edge of the mattress, and a layer of pocket springs whose innovative tapered design offers greater support the further you sink into the mattress.
The Origin Hybrid is advanced but cost effective with an excellent 15-year warranty, and it offers a balance of comfort and support that will suit a wide range of people.
Read our full Origin Hybrid Mattress review
|Hybrid with six layers including “HexaGrid” foam, bamboo-infused wool, cooling cover, 3,000 pocket springs
|Five sizes from single to super king
|200-day trial; 15-year guarantee
10. Eve Premium Hybrid Mattress: Best hybrid mattress for temperature control
Price when reviewed: From £1,249 (double) | Check prices at Eve
The Premium Hybrid is Eve’s thickest, most sumptuous hybrid to date, combining multiple layers of foam with over 1,400 12cm pocket springs in a mattress that our reviewer reckoned to be well worth the cost.
The Premium Hybrid mattress is a beefed-up version of the Eve Original Hybrid, with different foams that Eve promises offer better cooling, enhanced comfort and superior support.
Our reviewer was particularly impressed by the way the mattress didn’t leave her feeling too warm, even on hot summer nights. Foam mattresses, even hybrids, have a tendency to hold onto body heat, but this wasn’t the case with the Premium Hybrid. Eve has now extended its free trial period to one year, so you have plenty of time to make up your mind.
Read our full Eve Premium Hybrid review
|Hybrid with five layers of “next generation” foam, top two foam layers are “graphite-infused” to help with cooling, over 1,400 pocket springs
|Three sizes from double to super king
|One-year trial; 10-year warranty
Also consider: Eve Original Hybrid Eve’s Original Hybrid mattress is significantly cheaper than the Premium Hybrid, at £799 for a double (when not discounted) and £899 for a king size. However, it’s still a high-quality mattress, with an excellent balance of comfort and support that helped it to win an Expert Reviews Recommended award from our reviewer.
The Original Hybrid, which represents the middle of the range below the cheaper Lighter Hybrid Mattress and the newer Premium Hybrid, is ideal for anyone needing a mattress with a firmer feel. It doesn’t quite match the Premium Hybrid for temperature control and edge support, but unlike some of its rivals it won’t leave you overheated. Like all Eve mattresses, the Original Hybrid comes with a one-year trial and a 10-year warranty.
11. Tempur Original Supreme: Best premium foam mattress
Price when reviewed: From £1,350 (single) | Check prices at Bensons for Beds
It may be the priciest mattress in our rundown, but if you’re looking for a no-compromise memory foam mattress, there’s nothing quite like the Tempur Original Supreme. This mattress has a unique feel that most of its new-age bed-in-a-box rivals can only aspire to. Its upper layers of foam give relief to your hips and shoulders, while its lower layers provide ample support to your lower back. It’s not the firmest mattress on our list, but it delivers a supreme level of comfort without compromising on support.
There’s no denying it’s a considerable investment, but if the Tempur Original Supreme helps you sleep brilliantly by night and feel pain-free by day, then it may well be an investment worth making.
Read our full Tempur Original Supreme review
|Memory foam with three layers including 110mm Durabase, 80mm support foam, 20mm comfort foam
|Six sizes from single to super king
|100-night trial, 10-year guarantee
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 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 apart, 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 365-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 minor complaints such as dipping and body impressions.