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Best mattress type 2024: Which is better, springs or foam or hybrid

Testing a memory foam mattress

We weigh up the pros and cons of each mattress type to help you choose the best model for you

Buying a mattress isn’t like it used to be. You not only need to decide on your budget and the right level of firmness for you, but with memory foam seemingly ever increasing in popularity, you’ve now got to choose between foam, springs, or a combination of the two.

On top of that, a shift to online shopping means that you’re unlikely to be able to try the full range of options in person, with popular bed-in-a-box brands such as Emma and Otty being sold almost exclusively online. The upside, however, is that these new-age mattresses invariably come with some kind of money-back guarantee.

In an effort to make the mattress market a little less confusing for consumers, we’ve put together this guide to help you understand the differences between springs and foam, so you can make a well-informed buying decision.

READ NEXT: Best mattresses

Get a 20% discount on the Simba Hybrid Pro with this exclusive code

If you get in there before the deadline of midnight on Monday 22 April, you can bag a 20% discount on the five-star, Expert Reviews award-winning Simba Hybrid Pro with our exclusive code. All you have to do is enter the code SIMBAEXPERT20 in the box on the checkout page.

View deal at Simba


Best mattress type: At a glance

Best memory foam mattress for couplesEmma Original (~From £339 (single))Check price at Emma
Best hybrid when money is no objectSimba Hybrid Pro (~From £899 (single))Check price at Simba
Best firm cooling mattressOtty Original Hybrid (~From £530 (single))Check price at Otty
Most luxurious cooling mattressEve Premium Hybrid (~From £1,249 (double))Check price at Eve
Best value cooling mattressEmma NextGen Premium (~From £419 (single))Check price at Emma

How we test mattresses

It may not come as a surprise, but we test our mattresses’ by sleeping on them. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye. There are some important factors we take into account during the process. In addition to comfort and support, we pay close attention to temperature control and firmness – though we will also consider such things as edge support and motion isolation when relevant.

Testing a Tempur memory foam mattress

Some mattresses, all-foam ones for instance, might feel warmer than others, which makes them a less viable option for those likely to overheat at night.

The base for your mattress – whether that be a solid divan base, slightly bouncier slatted bed or even a flat surface like the floor – will affect how the mattress feels beneath you. And though we can’t always test multiple bed bases when reviewing our mattresses, we will take this into account at all times.

Lastly, it is important to consider any trial runs that may be on offer – which are particularly common in the bed-in-a-box market – before asking the burning question, is the mattress good value for money?

The best mattress type: Memory foam vs sprung vs hybrid mattresses

Memory foam

Memory foam is a dense visco-elastic foam, in which the primary ingredient is polyurethane plastic. Many all-foam mattresses, such as the Emma Original, are made up from different layers of foam.

Pros

  • Moulds to the shape of your body, relieving pressure and aiding spinal alignment
  • Can isolate movement and reduce motion transfer
  • Less susceptible to body impressions (though it can still sag over time)

Cons

  • Can become uncomfortably warm
  • Gives off a plasticky smell when first released from vacuum packaging
  • Doesn’t offer much bounce
  • Can be harder to turn over on a foam mattress

Should I buy a memory foam mattress?

Lying on a memory foam mattress can sometimes feel like being enveloped in a giant marshmallow, which is certainly not for everyone. That being said, they do tend to feel a lot more sumptuous than sprung mattresses.

Plus, if you are regularly disturbed in the night due to a partner’s movement, memory foam mattresses offer the best levels of isolation.

READ NEXT: Best mattresses for side sleepers


The best foam mattresses you can buy in 2024

1. Emma Original: Best memory foam mattress for couples

Price when reviewed: From £339 (single) | Check prices at Emma

UPDATE: Since publishing our review, Expert Reviews has noticed several negative customer reviews for Emma Sleep on Trustpilot, with many customers complaining of shipping delays and a lack of communication. Emma tells us that the brand is working on resolving these issues, and estimated delivery times on its online store have been updated accordingly.


Emma’s Original mattress is made up of three layers of memory foam, plus a breathable top cover that you can remove and throw in the washing machine.

When we tested it, we found the Emma Original to be a versatile memory foam mattress that comfortably accommodates a variety of sleeping positions. Whether you sleep on your back, front, side or a combination of all three, this mattress manages to be both comfortable and supportive.

Read our full Emma Original review

Key features
TypeFoam with four layers including “Point Elastic Airgocell” layer for temperature regulation, supportive memory foam layer and “High Resiliency Extra” base layer
Needs turning?No
SizesEight sizes from single to super king
Warranty200-night trial; 10-year warranty
Check prices at Emma

2. Nectar Memory Foam: Best mattress with a generous trial period

Price when reviewed: From £475 (single) | Check prices at Nectar

Bed with Nectar mattress in bedroom

The standout feature of Nectar’s memory foam mattress is the brand’s 365-night-long trial period, which is one of the most generous trial periods we’ve ever come across. Having a whole year to decide whether or not a mattress is right for you certainly takes a great deal of stress out of the buying process. Before Eve increased its own trial period to one year, Nectar was the only bed-in-a-box brand to offer such a generous perk.

Trial period aside, it’s also one of the most comfortable bed-in-a-box mattresses we’ve ever tested, offering excellent levels comfort and support, as well as minimal odour after unpacking it.

Read our full Nectar mattress review

Key features
TypeFoam with five layers including dynamic support layer, pressure relieving foam, and seven-zone supportive base
Needs turning?No
SizesFive sizes from single to super king
Warranty365-night trial; forever warranty

Get 20% off in the Nectar sale

Right now Nectar is generously offering 20% off select mattresses including the Nectar Essential Hybrid Mattress and Nectar Premier Mattress. You can currently pick up the Nectar Essential Hybrid Mattress in a king size for £520 which is a very solid £130 saving from its standard price of £650. The standard cost of the Nectar Premier Mattress in a king size is £925 but right now in the sale you can save £185 bringing the price down to £740.

Nectar 20% off View deal

3. Eve Original: Best firm foam mattress for a bad back

Price when reviewed: From £449 (single) | Check prices at Eve

Bed with Eve Original mattress in bedroom

Eve recently launched “the Hybrid” and “the Premium” but its first foam mattress, now known simply as “the Original”, remains its bestseller. Indeed, it’s one of the most popular bed-in-a-box mattresses in the UK. Its bright yellow and white colour scheme helps it stand out among its rivals, and so too does its firmness, which makes it particularly supportive and pressure-relieving for those who struggle with back pain. Our main reservation was that the Eve could get quite warm in the summer months.

Comfort and support aside, a standout perk of all Eve mattresses is the brand’s trial period, which recently increased to 365 nights. You’ve now got a whole year to test out your mattress and, if you find it’s not for you, you can return it for a full refund.

Read our full Eve Original review

Key features
TypeFoam with three layers (160mm base layer, 35mm memory foam layer, 30mm open-cell foam top layer)
Needs turning?No
SizesFive sizes from single to super king
Warranty365-night trial; 10-year warranty
Check prices at Eve

4. Hypnia Supreme: Excellent premium foam mattress

Price when reviewed: From £901 (single) | Check prices at Hypnia

Bed with Hypnia Supreme mattress in bedroom

While all-foam mattresses are great for side sleepers because they have plenty of “give” for the contours of your hips and shoulders, they sometimes lack the ergonomic support and durability you also need to avoid aches and pains. Not so with this premium mattress from Hypnia, which offers a superb level of support from edge to edge.

Supreme by name, Supreme by nature – and Supreme by price. This mattress is certainly an investment, with a king size costing £1,495 when it’s not treated to one of Hypnia’s fairly regular discounts. It also feels like a mattress that will last many years without sagging, and it comes with a generous 15-year guarantee from Hypnia. That works out at just under £100 per year: not a bad deal for a supremely comfortable sleep.

Read our full Hypnia Supreme review

Key features
TypeFoam with four layers including premium memory foam, graphite-infused open-cell foam, and multi-zoned support base
Needs turning?No
SizesFive sizes from single to super king
Warranty200-night trial; 15-year guarantee
Check prices at Hypnia

5. Tempur Original Supreme: Best foam mattress for side sleepers

Price when reviewed: From £1,350 (single) | Check prices at Bensons for Beds

Bed with Tempur Original Supreme mattress on it in bedroom

If you’re looking for a no-compromise memory foam mattress and you’re able to pay the biggest price tag in our rundown, 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, and is ideal for side sleepers.

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

Key features
TypeMemory foam with three layers including 110mm Durabase, 80mm support foam, 20mm comfort foam
Needs turning?No
SizesFive sizes from single to super king
Warranty100-night trial (40 nights if bought from Bensons for Beds); 10-year guarantee
Check prices at Bensons for Beds

Sprung mattresses

“Sprung” is a blanket (sorry!) term that encompasses a range of different designs. Pocket sprung mattresses (pictured below) are the most popular, in which the springs are sewn into fabric pockets.

You can also get open coil and continuous coil mattresses, which are made up of springs (or in the case of continuous coil, of one single looped wire) held together by a wire frame. These are often the cheapest option, but they are not as good as pocket sprung mattresses.

Pros

  • Offers ample support
  • Better at keeping you cool than a foam-based mattresses
  • Avoids the ‘sinking feeling’ associated with memory foam
  • Construction uses less plastic

Cons

  • Doesn’t conform to the body like memory foam does
  • Not as good at reducing motion transfer
  • Won’t feel quite as luxurious
  • Natural fillings more susceptible to body impressions

Should I buy a sprung mattress?

If you’re prone to getting too hot in bed, or decent levels of buoyant support are a priority for you, then you should perhaps consider opting for a pocket sprung mattress. Since their construction uses less plastic, there’s also some argument in favour of the environment (although most mattresses can be recycled).


The best sprung mattresses you can buy in 2024

1. Harrison Spinks Velocity 4250: Best eco-friendly bed-in-a-box alternative

Price when reviewed: From £799 | Check prices at Now to Bed

Inspired by the bed-in-a-box market, traditional mattress manufacturer Harrison Spinks’ Velocity 4250 arrives at your door rolled and vacuum sealed within 24 hours. One of nine models in the Velocity range, it offers a “medium” support and contains two layers of pocket springs beneath three natural comfort layers made from cotton and wool blends.

When we tested it, we found it to be a very supportive mattress (although slightly lacking in edge support). If you like the idea of free, fast delivery but would rather avoid the foam mattresses of many bed-in-a-box brands, it’s a great eco-friendly alternative, being free of chemicals and glue.

It’s also worth noting that, although you don’t get a money back guarantee with your new mattress, Harrison Spinks does offer a 60-night comfort promise, at the end of which you can swap your mattress if you’re not happy.

Read our full Harrison Spinks Velocity 4250 review

Key features
TypePocket sprung with 4,250 pocket springs (king size) plus layer of “Posturfil” springs and layer of “HD 2500” micro pocket springs
Needs turning?No
SizesFive sizes from single to super king
Warranty60-day comfort guarantee

Check prices at Now to Bed


The best mattress type: What about hybrid mattresses?

Hybrid mattresses claim to offer the best of both worlds, using a combination of springs and foam to strike the perfect balance between comfort and support. There are plenty of hybrid mattresses available, but it’s worth considering that some use springs as a comfort layer, where others use them as a support layer.

Simba, for example, uses small titanium “Aerocoil” springs in the upper layers of its Hybrid, whereas Eve uses full-sized pocket springs to deliver a supportive foundation in its Lighter Hybrid.


The best hybrid mattresses you can buy in 2024

1. Simba Hybrid Pro: Best hybrid mattress where money is no object

Price when reviewed: From £899 (single) | Check prices at Simba

With an upper wool layer, the Simba Hybrid Pro did a better job of keeping us cool than many of its hybrid rivals. It also has two layers of micro springs (one more than the regular Simba Hybrid), which makes the mattress both bouncy and breathable.

It’s certainly not cheap, starting at just over £1,100 for a single, but the 200-night trial period should soften this blow somewhat. Plus, there’s a good change that you’ll be able to get it discounted at any given time.

Read our full Simba Hybrid Pro review

Key features
TypeHybrid with seven layers including open-cell graphite-infused “Simbatex” foam layer, “Certipur” stability layer, up to 4,000 titanium springs, and “Supportcore” base layer
Needs turning?Rotate once/month for the first six months; once every 3 to 6 months thereafter
SizesSeven sizes from single to super king
Warranty200-night trial; 10-year warranty
Check prices at Simba

2. Otty Original Hybrid: Best firm hybrid mattress

Price when reviewed: From £530 (single) | Check prices at Otty

Otty’s mattress is an excellent affordable alternative to the Simba Hybrid Pro featured above, and we could find very few faults when we tested it. Made from six layers including full-size pocket springs, it’s a robust and supportive mattress with great motion isolation and a nice bit of bounce. Be aware that like many hybrids, it’s on the firm end of the spectrum, so it may not be for you if you prefer a softer sleeping surface.

Read our full Otty Hybrid review

Key features
TypeHybrid with six layers including heat-regulating memory foam, 16cm encapsulated pocket springs and high-density support foam
Needs turning?No
SizesNine sizes from single to emperor
Warranty100-night trial; 10-year guarantee

Savings of up to 40% currently at Otty

Otty is currently having a sale that includes up to 40% across their range of mattresses. Right you now you can pick up the Otty Original Hybrid Mattress in a king size for £675, which means you’ll be making a saving of £125 off its original price of £800. This offer could expire at any moment, so you might not want to hang around.

Otty Save 45% View deal

3. Emma NextGen Premium: Best value hybrid mattress

Price when reviewed: From £419 (single) | Check prices at Emma

Bed with Emma NextGen Premium Mattress in bedroom

Emma’s premium mattress has fallen in price since we first reviewed it at the height of summer 2023, and you can now snap up a king size for £699 outside Emma’s occasional discount sales. What hasn’t changed, though, is the skin-friendly comfort and breathability that so impressed us when we tested it during a heatwave.

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 the air move, so you avoid overheating. The removable cover is another masterstroke, wicking sweat from your body and washing clean in time for another sleep.

The mattress is quite firm and doesn’t include an active cooling surface like some, but it masterfully avoids the clamminess triggered by some foam and hybrid mattresses.

Read our full Emma NextGen Premium review

Key features
TypeFoam and pocket spring hybrid (185mm “extra tall” springs, 14mm high-resistance polyurethane foam, 20mm visco-elastic memory foam)
Needs turning?No
SizesEight sizes from single to super king
Warranty200-night trial; 10-year warranty
Check prices at Emma

4. Origin Hybrid: Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers

Price when reviewed: From £499 (single) | Check prices at Origin

Bed with Origin Hybrid mattress in bedroom

Sneaking in at under £500 for a single and rising to £719 for a king size, Origin’s Hybrid mattress is another great value option that impressed us enough to win the maximum five stars in our full review. Its six-layer hybrid construction delivers just enough softness for side sleepers and others 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. The combination of foam and springs provides excellent motion control, which will help you sleep in peace if you have a restless partner.

Read our full Origin Hybrid review

Key features
TypeHybrid with six layers including “HexaGrid” foam, bamboo-infused wool, cooling cover, up to 3,000 pocket springs
Needs turning?No
SizesFive sizes from single to super king
Warranty200-day trial; 15-year guarantee
Check prices at Origin

5. Eve Premium Hybrid: Best cooling hybrid mattress

Price when reviewed: From £1,249 (double) | Check prices at Eve

Bed with Eve Premium Hybrid mattress on it in bedroom

Hybrid and foam mattresses often tend to retain heat, and that can be a problem if you get too warm at night. But this premium mattress from Eve does a superb job of regulating temperature. Its two top layers are infused with graphite, whose cooling properties certainly worked for our reviewer, who said: “I never felt like I was burning up or sinking into the mattress” even when temperatures stayed above 20˚C on summer nights.

The Premium Hybrid is Eve’s chunkiest, 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 its premium cost. Eve has extended its free trial period to one year, so you have plenty of time to test it for yourself.

Read our full Eve Premium Hybrid review

Key features
TypeHybrid with five layers of “next generation” foam, top two foam layers are “graphite-infused” to help with cooling, over 1,400 pocket springs
Needs turning?No
SizesThree sizes from double to super king
WarrantyOne-year trial; 10-year warranty
Check prices at Eve

Read more

Buying Guide