It’s all-foam vs hybrid as we compare two top UK bed-in-a-box mattress providers
UPDATE: Since publishing our review, 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 at Emma has told us that the brand is working hard to resolve these issues, and that delivery times quoted on the website have been updated accordingly.
An expensive and potentially life-changing purchase, picking out the right mattress is by no means a small or simple task. To make life a little easier we’ve put together a comparison guide for two of our favourites, the Emma Original and the Simba Hybrid.
Emma and Simba are two of the biggest players in the bed-in-a-box mattress game, but which one makes the superior mattress? To answer this question we’ll be comparing their two most popular models across a number of different categories: construction and features, comfort and performance, trial period and finally, price.
For a more in-depth look at each of these mattresses, check our full-length reviews for both the Emma Original and the Simba Hybrid, where both mattresses received excellent scores and awards from us. If you want to get a feel for the full field of what’s out there, our best mattress round-up covers everything from memory foam to pocket sprung and more.
Emma Original vs Simba Hybrid: Construction and Features
If you need help deciding between the Simba Hybrid and the Emma Original, a handy place to start is their construction. The Emma Original is an all-foam mattress, whereas the Simba Hybrid is, as its name suggests, made from a combination of materials, namely memory foam and micro pocket springs.To go a little more in-depth, the Simba Hybrid is made up of four main layers. Underneath its breathable, hypoallergenic cover is a layer of “Simbatex,” a comfortable material that mimics latex and aims to maximise airflow and cooling properties. Next comes a layer of 2,500 conical springs. These springs are shorter than normal mattress springs and they primarily provide comfort rather than support, minimising motion transfer (when you can feel someone roll over next to you.)
Finally, the mattress’s foundation is made up of two layers of foam: 35mm of memory foam sits above the 155mm support base, which is made of firmer foam designed for support. In total the Simba Hybrid is 250mm deep.
Comparatively simple, the Emma Original is comprised of three foam layers. The first layer consists of 25mm of “Airgocell” foam, a material designed to relieve pressure and regulate temperature. The second layer is memory foam, which relieves pressure and provides support. Finally, there is a thick layer of resilient, durable foam to keep you well supported in whatever position you sleep, and prevent mattress sag over time.The mattress’s three layers are encased in a removable and machine washable cover which offers breathability and moisture wicking. A handy feature present in both models – that some bed-in-a-box manufacturers tend to leave out – is side handles. It might not sound like much until the time comes to install or rotate your large, heavy mattress – a rather finicky task, trust us.
Although different, both mattresses are solidly put together, with neither having an inherently superior construction. Whether you choose a hybrid or an all foam model will likely come down to personal preference. For more info on what they’re both like to sleep on, read on.
Emma Original vs Simba Hybrid: Comfort and Performance
The different constructions outlined above translate to two different sleeping experiences.
The Simba Hybrid is notably firmer – in our review we rated it at a 7 out of 10 for firmness – and it provides excellent support. While its conical spring layer doesn’t give it the bouncy feeling of a traditional pocket spring mattress, it provides subtle comfort and pressure relief. The weight transfer minimisation of this layer would make it a good pick for couples where one member tends to toss and turn.The Emma Original is a slightly softer mattress, around a 6 out of 10 for firmness, though in testing we found that this didn’t translate to a lack of support. Rather, this mattress would tend to suit anyone who prefers softness and the feeling of relaxing into your mattress. We also found the Emma to be nicely suitable for side-sleepers, as the extra sink in hip placement allows you to maintain a neutral spine position on your side.
While the Simba Hybrid doesn’t have the temperature regulating wool layer of higher-end models such as the Hybrid Pro and the Hybrid Luxe, we still found it to provide a reasonably cool night’s sleep. All-foam mattresses, on the other hand, tend to have more trouble regulating temperature than hybrid models, and the Emma Original is no exception; during testing, we definitely found it a touch warmer than the Simba.
Despite this, we found the Emma Original’s breathable cover and cooling top layer managed to mitigate the excess heat somewhat, so our reviewer didn’t ever wake feeling clammy. Another welcome thing to note is that, unlike some mattresses which tend to lose a little firmness and shape when heating up, the Emma maintained its integrity throughout testing.
Winner: Simba The Simba Hybrid and Emma Original are comfortable and supportive, with both being a pleasure to sleep on. However, we’ve given Simba the win in this category, as its better temperature regulation gives it that slight edge. Aside from this, deciding which one is best for you will depend on the level of firmness you’re looking for in a mattress.
Emma Original vs Simba Hybrid: Trial Period
Buying a new mattress is a big commitment, especially if you’re purchasing a bed-in-a-box model that you’ve never tried before. Thankfully, both Simba and Emma offer significant trial periods on these mattresses, with each giving you 200 nights to make sure you’re happy with your new purchase.
Both companies allow you to fully open and trial your mattress during this period, and the terms and conditions regarding return are simple and fair in each case. Having said that, neither brand is industry-leading when it comes to trial periods. If you’re looking for the longest trial period you can get, rivals Eve and Nectar both offer year-long trials.
With both companies offering 200 night trials, and similarly lenient return conditions, there isn’t any way to pick a winner here. We’re calling this one a draw.
Emma Original vs Simba Hybrid: Price
To quote Jay-Z: “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t,” so let’s get straight to the figures. Outside of sales, a Simba Hybrid will cost you £749 for a single, £999 for a double and £1149 a king-size. Things are a little more budget friendly over at Emma, with a regular retail price of £499 for a single, £750 for a double and £849 for a king-sized mattress.
As far as value for money goes, Emma’s lower prices, with an at least £200 difference when comparing similar sizes, does enough to secure the win over the Simba Hybrid in this category. If you buy at the right time, you should be able to save 40% or more when buying from either brand.
Emma Original vs Simba Hybrid: Verdict
If you are looking for a comfortable, high-quality mattress, both the Emma Original and the Simba Hybrid are great options – it’s really just a matter of taste and indeed budget.
If you’re after a slightly firmer mattress, then the Simba Hybrid will be preferable; meanwhile, for those who like things a little softer and spongier, the foam-based Emma Original will be the mattress for you. The Simba will get you a slightly cooler night’s sleep, but with the Emma Original being cheaper across all sizes, it’s clearly the better choice if you’re on a strict budget.
Both mattresses have respectable 200 night long trial periods, so neither brand offers an advantage in that respect. With all that in mind, we’re going to have to disappoint those of you looking for a straight knockout and call this one a draw overall.