What to Consider When Buying a Mattress
Before we even start looking at the details it’s a good idea to point out 1 thing…
Everyone is different!
Sounds obvious, right? But those 3 words mean a lot when it comes to choosing a mattress! Instead of thinking about which is the best mattress generally, we’d urge you to think in terms of which is the best mattress for you.
So it’s time to be a little selfish and think about your needs first! Here are 3 key questions that will help you get focused:
1) Which materials work best for you?
2) Do you prefer a soft and comfy mattress, or something with firmer support?
3) What size mattress do you need?
Now, you might already be able to say:
‘I need a 3000 pocket sprung king size mattress with memory foam!’
Great! But if you’re not that clear yet don’t panic! The following sections will help you to decide…
Materials and Construction
Mattresses can be divided into 2 broad groups – sprung mattresses and foam mattresses. But even within this there are a range of options available, and some mattresses actually combine both springs and foam for the very best of both worlds!
– Open Coil Springs
Open coil spring mattresses are typically cheap and simple, providing a basic level of support at a low price. However, for many buyers they simply don’t offer a good night’s sleep! The issue with open coil springs is that they’re all connected within a wire frame, so when one spring is depressed, the others around it also become squashed.
This means that pressure is focused on the areas of your body that lie deepest into the mattress. If you sleep on your back, your upper back and buttocks will become pressure points, while your lower back will receive very little support. Luckily pocket sprung and foam mattresses can overcome this problem!
– Pocket Sprung
Pocket sprung mattresses feature springs that are individually encased in a fabric pocket. They are not linked – so when one spring is depressed the others around it are unaffected. Because of this, pocket sprung mattresses support all areas of the user’s body evenly and can offer orthopaedic benefits.
– Spring Counts
It’s not only the type of springs that determines a mattress’ comfort and support level, the density of the springs has a big part to play too… Smaller, finer springs in a greater density offer a better night’s sleep than fewer, larger springs. Most mattresses range from 1000 (lower quality) to 3000 springs (higher quality)…
These published figures always relate to a king size. A smaller mattress will naturally have fewer springs in total, but the spring density (which is the important part) will be the same whatever size of a particular mattress you buy.
As you’ve probably guessed from the title of this mattress buying guide, all of the products we’re looking at here have a spring count of 3000 – for a truly exceptional night’s sleep!
– Memory Foam
Memory foam was originally developed by NASA and has some amazing properties worthy of the space-age! This high-density foam actively responds to pressure and warmth to become softer. A memory foam mattress may initially feel quite firm, but the user will soon have the pleasant feeling of slowing easing deeper into the mattress as it adapts to the exact contours of their body!
– Reflex Foam
An increasingly popular and affordable alternative to memory foam is reflex foam. This tends to be slightly firmer than memory foam, and it also regains its shape faster after being compressed. The two materials are sometimes combined in one mattress.
– Pocket Sprung + Foam
Pocket springs offer fantastic support, while memory foam offers a softer sleeping surface. What many buyers want is the best of both worlds! Manufacturers have responded by creating a range of mattresses which bring together the incredible support of a 3000 pocket sprung mattress with memory foam as an ultra-comfortable top layer! Most of the mattresses reviewed here feature that winning combination!
Comfort and Support
Of course, while it’s important to give some thought to the kind of materials that go into your ideal mattress, it’s ultimately the overall result that counts! Each buyer will have an idea in their own mind about the level of firmness and support that works best for them. To make things easier when buying online most manufacturers grade their mattresses according to firmness. The following categories are typically used:
It’s important to understand that the actual level of support given also depends on your bodyweight… Even a relatively soft material (such as memory foam) may feel a little firmer to a very light adult, or a child, while a heavily built adult may need the extra support offered by a firmer mattress.
Ultimately it’s a question of personal preference, and your decision will likely depend on what has (or hasn’t!) worked for you before.
Mattress Size Guide
If you already own a bed that you’re happy with then that will determine the size of your new mattress. We’d still recommend you read this section of the guide however, since the variety of different UK and European sizes can be confusing!
To make things simpler, we’ve focused on the best mattresses available in standard UK dimensions. We’d urge you to carefully check that your bed, or the mattress you are replacing, corresponds with this size correctly. (Note: If you own an IKEA bed it is probably not made to a UK size.)
Small single: W: 75 x L: 190cm
Single: W: 90 x L: 190cm
Small double: W: 120 x L: 190cm
Double: W: 135 x L: 190cm
King size: W: 150 x L: 200cm
Super king size: W: 180 x L: 200cm
Generally, single, double, and king size mattresses are easy to get hold of. Small single, small double, and super king sizes can be slightly harder to find… But we’ve included products that offer the best possible range.
One of the mattresses we’ve reviewed is even available in two unusual sizes – super single (W: 107 x L: 191cm), and small super king (W: 170 x L: 200cm). These options could be perfect if you happen to have a bed of this size!