Best Mattresses Beginners’ Guide 2022

So, which is the best brand of mattress?

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If money is no object, then I’d start by looking at mattress brands which have won big awards recently:

  • Vispring (£900 – £5000, inventors of the pocket spring, Which? best mattress brand 2015, 2016, 2017, best mattress at National Bed Federation Awards 2019 for the J Marshall No.4)
  • Hypnos (£700-£2000National Bed Federation’s best manufacturer 2014 and 2017, runner up in 2018)​
  • Harrison Spinks (£600 – £2500, National Bed Federation’s best manufacturer 2015, 2018 – they make the John Lewis Natural Collection)

Other long-established names at the luxury end of the UK’s mattress market are:

  • Tempur (£1500 – £2500, inventors of the first memory foam-type mattress)
  • Dunlopillo (£1500, specialists in latex mattresses, winner best mattress brand 2019)
  • Somnus (£1000 – £3500, pocket spring mattresses with a huge number of springs)

All prices are for double mattresses, king sizes are more expensive.

Pug looking miserable on a bed
If your dog looks this miserable you need a new mattress (or a new dog)

OK, well I’ve not got a budget of £2000 for a mattress. Which is the best mattress on a mid-range budget?

Several mid-range mattresses made it into our top 10 mattresses guide, because of a mix of expert awards, customer reviews and specification:

Prices are for doubles and are correct at time of writing.

Hypnos Luxury Wool No 1 Mattress
Hypnos make the Luxury Wool No 1 mattress for John Lewis
Simba hybrid mattress with exposed layers
The Simba Hybrid mattress uses modern, synthetic materials

​Which mid-price and cheap mattresses get the best customer reviews on Amazon?

​​​Another option is to just go based on customer reviews. Amazon reviews usually have dozens to read, rather than just one or two (although it’s worth noting that Amazon review scores have been in the news recently).

​Here are 10 of the highest rated mattresses on Amazon with at least 10 reviews, at the time of searching (March 2021). From highest rated down:

  1. Inofia Memory Foam Mattress – £259 – 4.7/5
  2. Silentnight 1200 Pocket Eco Mattress – £440 – 4.6/5
  3. HomyLink Double Mattress with Pillow Top – £159 – 4.6/5
  4. Vesgantti Pocket Sprung and Foam Mattress – £189 – 4.6/5
  5. DoSleeps Pocket Sprung and Memory Foam Mattress – £139 – 4.6/5
  6. Dormeo Options Hybrid Mattress – £196 – 4.5/5
  7. Yaheetech Pocket Sprung and Memory Foam Mattress – £129 – 4.5/5 
  8. ​Sweetnight Double Mattress – £327 – 4.5/5
  9. Happy Beds 1500 Pocket Spring and Memory Foam Mattress – £285 – 4.3/5
  10. Marckonfort Boston Memory Foam Mattress – £159 – 4.3/5

Prices are for double size mattresses. We just included one mattress per brand, as some brands have several very similar mattresses on Amazon. Prices correct at time of searching.

As you may have noticed, there are a huge number of lesser-known mattress brands sold via Amazon. Most of them are at the budget end of the mattress market, yet they get very good reviews.

See the full guide: 10 of the best mattresses


Search for the highest ​rated mattresses on Amazon


Which mattress does TrustPilot rate as best?

TrustPilot gives a general idea of how popular a brand is with customers. It’s not a completely fair comparison, as some mattress brands sell just one or two products whereas some sell literally hundreds of products once you include pillows, divans and bedframes. Also, similar to Amazon, review scores have been in the news recently.

We looked for the UK reviews page, as some companies had several different pages with different scores. We didn’t include some which only had a handful of reviews and also couldn’t include some brands such as IKEA as the review would be for everything they sell so wouldn’t mean very much in relation to their mattresses.

Anyway, that’s all the waffle out the way.

We looked at the overall ‘Trust Score’ for several brands, as of January 2022:

  1. Brook + Wilde – 4.7/5 (bed in a box memory foam and pocket spring mattress)
  2. Ergoflex – 4.7/5 (bed in a box memory foam mattress)​
  3. Dunlopillo – 4.7/5 (luxury latex mattress)
  4. Dormeo – 4.6/5 (memory foam specialists)
  5. OTTY – 4.5/5 (bed in a box mattress) 
  6. Nectar Sleep – 4.4/5 (bed in a box mattress)
  7. ​DreamCloud – 4.4/5 (luxury spring and foam mattress)
  8. Simba Sleep – 4.4/5 (bed in a box mattress)
  9. Emma Mattress – 4.4/5 (bed in a box mattress)
  10. REM Fit – 4.3/5 (bed in a box hybrid mattresses)
  11. Eve Sleep – 4.2/5 (bed in a box mattress)
  12. Casper – 4.2/5 (bed in a box mattress)
  13. Sleepeezee – 4.2/5 (mid-priced, mostly pocket sprung mattresses, royal approval
  14. Happy Beds – 4.2/5 (mostly pocket sprung mattresses at the budget end of the market)
  15. Silentnight 4.1/5 (big brand selling pocket sprung, memory foam and bed in a box mattresses)​
  16. Mammoth – 4.1/5 (foam mattresses, aimed at ‘elite sport and healthcare’ market)
  17. Vispring – 3.9/5 (posh pocket sprung mattresses)
  18. Harrison Spinks (manufacturers of the John Lewis & Partners Natural Collection, Somnus and Herdy Sleep) – 3.7/5
  19. Tempur – 3.7/5​ (the original memory-foam mattress company)
  20. Hypnos Beds – 3.6/5 (posh pocket sprung mattresses, royal approval)
  21. Sealy – 2.9/5 (‘world’s biggest mattress brand’, pocket sprung and memory foam mattresses)

So what can we gather from this huge list of numbers?

Well, most of the newer ‘bed in a box’ brands are getting really positive reviews on TrustPilot from customers (OTTY, Brook + Wilde, Emma, Eve, Simba, Ergoflex, Nectar etc). Most of the top 10 are these type of mattresses which generally use layers of foam (and sometimes some small springs) rather than the traditional pocket spring manufacturing method. This isn’t a great surprise to me, as several of them have won awards from independent testers and get good reviews on Amazon.

If you want a pocket spring mattress (which is what most of us go for) then Sleepeezee and Silentnight are the most popular with TrustPilot reviewers.  

It’s worth noting that several big mattress brands don’t seem to be listed on Trustpilot. We couldn’t find any reviews for Rest AssuredSlumberland or Somnus for example. Also, a brand like Silentnight make some pocket spring mattresses and some memory foam mattresses so their score is for everything. 


I’m a newbie to this, what’s the difference between memory foam, pocket spring and latex mattresses?

Take a deep breath, it’s not actually as complicated as some people make out.

There are lots of types of mattresses but only three that I would personally consider if you are looking for the best mattress on the market:

  • Pocket spring mattresses are the biggest sellers. They offer good consistent support and they feel familiar, but they are heavy and they tend to come with shorter warranties than similarly priced foam mattresses.
  • Memory foam mattresses offer great support all over. They often outlive a pocket sprung mattress (according to a few guides I’ve read). They are also lighter for transporting and are ideal if you’ve got a flimsy slatted bed base. However, some people find memory foam too hot and don’t like the odd sinking feeling. Cheap memory foam can smell a bit artificial. Some foam mattresses put the memory foam layer lower down so that you don’t get that sinking feeling or heat issue (e.g. Emma). You’ll find some guides say that memory foam mattresses are better for people with allergies to dust mites, but a 2002 study in Norway found the opposite so I’d say the jury is still out on that one (see ‘House-dust mites and mattresses’ by Schei, Hessen and Lund, 2002).
  • Latex mattresses often get rave reviews, but only if you’re willing to cough up for a proper natural one. They are heavy, but they offer good support, last a long time and are good for people with allergies. Some find them hot, but less so than memory foam.


Of course, there are other types of mattress, but open coil springs and continuous spring mattresses feel cheaper and wobblier than pocket springs. Some cheap polyurethane foam mattresses feel like you are sleeping on your grandma’s sofa.

Lots of people prefer pocket spring mattresses because they don’t like the sinking feeling of memory foam and because they’re prone to getting hot in bed, but there are clearly lots of strong argument for memory foam and latex. ​Just to confuse you, there are also lots of mattresses which offer a combination of latex, pocket springs and memory foam. I’m also a fan of ‘bed in a box’ mattresses which use foam layers to offer consistent support (e.g. OTTY, Eve Sleep, Simba Sleep, Emma, Nectar Sleep).

See the full guide to memory foam v pocket springs


What about those big name bed companies – do they make the best mattresses?

It’s worth realising that a dozen of the best-known mattress brands are made by just a couple of companies.

​For example, Silentnight, Layezee, Pocket Spring Bed Company and Rest Assured are all made by Silentnight group – the UK’s biggest bed manufacturer apparently. Mattress historians may like to note that Sealy was owned by Silentnight until 2020.

Some bed experts argue that there will be big similarities between the different brands being made by the same company.

Of course, there are many other brands – but it’s a similar story elsewhere with a few companies owning several brands and the shopper being left with hundreds of choices.


So, which brand of mattress would you buy?

If I had the money I’d buy a HypnosVispring or Dunlopillo bed. 

However, as mentioned earlier, Silentnight and Sleepeezee are two brands which get good reviews on TrustPilot and offer plenty of excellent quality mid-priced mattresses.

Several newer names have appeared on the market recently offering a small range of mattresses (e.g. OTTYEve SleepSimba SleepNectar Sleep). They’ve all picked up various awards and rave reviews (and offer free trials or free exchanges and long warranties) but they don’t have the heritage of bigger brands.

Expert reviews are useful but you often find that brands have some mattresses which score well and others which perform poorly. For example, the Sealy Nostromo has won a big award and gets great reviews but the Sealy brand overall scores lower than most other mattress brands on TrustPilot.

Confused?

My advice on a mid-range budget (£300 – £1000 for a king size) is to look at the construction of the bed, rather than who made it.


I want a pocket sprung mattress – how do I spot the best mattress in the shop?

​You’ll find many opinions online, but after reading every mattress guide I could find, my 8 conclusions are: 

1. Ignore the ‘original price’ – these are often inflated to make you feel you are getting a bargain.

2. Pocket sprung mattresses are better than open coil or continuous spring mattresses.

​3. If you are light, 1000 springs is enough – if you are heavy then 2000 springs is better. Anything above 2000 springs is a bit pointless and showy.

4. The best mattresses are usually double sided. You have to flip them over regularly but a one-sided mattress is often just cheap. Some mattresses have a topper which means they can’t be flipped, so they have a legitimate excuse.

​5. The most supportive mattresses have ‘hand side stitching’ whilst cheaper mattresses have ‘machine side stitching’. It’s a bit complex, but if it’s not written in the description and you are buying in a store, try sitting on the edge – cheap mattresses bulge more at the side.

6. The majority of top quality mattresses have a ‘hand tufted’ finish rather than a ‘quilted’ finish. That means they have buttons or something similar to keep everything in place rather than appearing completely flat. The exception is where a high quality mattress has a ‘pillowtop’ comfort layer.

7. There are loads of different mattress fabric materials. Avoid stitchbond which is cheap and rough and is used on rubbish budget mattresses. Most people say that a woven material like damask or cotton is best on a mattress. 

8. If you’re buying a divan as well as a mattress, take a look at the wheels. Cheap beds come with flimsy wheels, the best bed in the shop will have decent castors apparently.

See the full guide: 6 tips for buying the best pocket spring mattress

Quilted mattress

Quilted mattresses are flat on top…
Tufted mattress
…whilst tufted mattresses have ‘buttons’ to hold them together

I want a memory foam mattress – how do I spot the best mattress in the shop?

Some guides to memory foam mattresses are so long and technical that they feel like an academic textbook. 

From what I can tell, there are four things to look for if you want the best memory foam mattress in the shop.

1. Total mattress thickness ranges from about 15cm for the cheapest memory foam mattresses up about 35cm for the most expensive and best mattresses. Thicker mattresses are harder to move though.

2. Thickness of the top layer is important. The best quality foam usually goes on top with cheaper layers underneath. Cheap memory foam mattresses have just 1.5cm memory foam on top whilst the best mattresses have up to 15cm of memory foam. You don’t need 15cm but I’d avoid those with a tiny layer of memory foam if you can.

3 Covers on the best memory foam mattresses are made from something breathable like cotton, rather than polyester.

4. Density in the UK memory foam market ranges from about 35kg/m3 to 85kg/m3. It’s a bit complex, but broadly speaking the best mattresses have higher density ratings. Most people say that 50kg/m3 – 60kg/m3 is perfectly good enough.

The other scores you will see are a firmness rating and an ‘ILD’ both of which refer to how the mattress feels, rather than how good quality it is.

There’s no industry standard for firmness, but ILD (Indentation Load Deflection, if you care…) will tell you how much it sinks. Your best bet is to try a few out in a mattress shop to work out which score you prefer. Most people go for somewhere between 10 and 14 (10 feels softer than 14).

See the full guide: 5 tips for buying the best memory foam mattresses


So how much should I spend on a mattress?

It obviously depends on what your budget is, but I reckon you can get a good-enough quality king size mattress for somewhere between £250 and £1200. Of course that’s a huge range and it’s a subjective thing, but if you take a look at our guide to 10 of the best mattress retailers online you’ll find you can pick up a cheap pocket spring king size mattress with 1000 springs for as little as £200.

I wouldn’t want a pocket sprung mattress with less than 1000 springs, and if you are heavier than average then you would benefit from upgrading to a few more springs. 

It’s obviously more if you want a base, such as a divan.

My view is that the cheapest sprung mattresses often feel very cheap (either lumpy or unsupportive), whilst the most expensive mattresses offer diminishing returns for your investment. I’m not saying that top priced mattresses aren’t better, but it’s a bit like top end hi-fi equipment – spending £3000 on a hifi won’t necessarily get you something which is three times as good as a £1000 hifi. Just my view, I’m sure others with more expertise of the industry will disagree.

This is important – don’t pay much attention to hugely inflated advertised prices for mattresses. It’s often a marketing tactic to make you feel you are a getting a bargain. A mattress which is apparently ‘reduced’ from £2500 to £1000 is often a similar quality to other mattresses on sale at £1000.

Very broadly, you’ll find that prices for a king size mattress are roughly:

  • £250 – £2500 for a pocket sprung mattress
  • £200 – £2500 for a memory foam mattress
  • £300 – £2500 for a latex mattress

Yes, I know that’s a huge range…


What about firmness? How firm are the best mattresses?

Firmness is more of what is best for your build rather than a question of quality. My advice is to try out a few mattresses in a shop and see which provide you with the best support or try a mattress with a trial period. You want to find a bed which supports you sufficiently so that your spine is straight when you lie on your side. As a general rule, heavier people need firmer beds, lighter people need softer beds (see our guide to the best beds for people with back pain).

The other factor to consider when you’re picking a mattress firmness is that people who sleep on their sides need softer mattresses than people who sleep on their back or front. This is because side sleepers put more pressure on their hips and shoulders. 

Unfortunately, there’s no industry standard and so there is variation between brands of what they consider firm – a bit like a size 12 pair of trousers being three different sizes in three different clothes stores.

If you end up buying online (which generally offers the best prices) then it’s a bit of a gamble but many offer free returns if you don’t like the feel of the mattress.

John Lewis & Partners is one of the few mattress sellers which gives some detailed guidance. At the time of writing, they suggest that:

  • Soft John Lewis & Partners mattresses are for people who weigh up to 8 stone
  • Medium firmness mattresses are for people who weigh 8 – 16 stone
  • Firm mattresses are for people who weigh more than 16 stone


Another brand which offers guidance on different weights for its mattresses is Vispring. They suggest:

  • Soft Vispring mattresses for people who weigh less than 11 stone
  • Medium tension Vispring mattresses are for people who weigh 11-16 stone
  • Firm Vispring mattresses are for people who weigh 16-20 stone

As you can see, there’s some variation with just these two mattress brands so you can’t apply a weight guidance to every mattress company – but it’s a good start.


Which is the best mattress for back pain?

Some chiropractors and back experts recommend a specific mattress. For example, ‘The Back Doctor’ recommends a memory foam mattress called the Ergoflex 5G.

However, most guides I’ve read say that there isn’t a perfect bed for a bad back, as it needs to be more individual.

That’s a rather annoying thing to say when you just want someone to point you in the right direction as you wade through a choice of a thousand mattresses.

I’m not a back expert but the advice I’ve picked up from reading many, many guides is that:

  • Mattresses should be ‘supportive’ rather than just firm to help your back (the British Chiropractic Association say this amongst others)
  • You need to find a mattress that supports your body so that you end up with a straight spine which is parallel to the bed (again, this is advice from the British Chiropractic Association amongst others). If you have a very specific back condition, it is more complex, but this seems to be the consensus if you are just trying to look after your back. As I’ve said previously, I’m not a medic or an expert on backs, so please speak to a proper expert who knows your condition, rather than relying on Google.
  • A firm pocket sprung bed tends to create a nice straight spine for a very heavy person, whereas a softer bed will be better for a light person. It’s not possible to say that (for example) a 10 stone person needs a medium firmness mattress, as there’s no industry standard for what ‘medium’ actually means, unfortunately. However, if you’re an ‘average’ sized person, I’d start by looking at the medium firmness mattresses.
  • If you are sharing a bed with someone twice your size then you’d be best to get a zip and link bed, which is two singles stuck together. You can also get split tension mattresses which are firmer on one than the other. A cheaper option is two long single mattresses/Euro single mattresses on a super king size base.
  • Trialling a mattress is ideal. Of course, lots of us would be too embarrassed to return a mattress that wasn’t faulty, but it’s quite a common thing now. Tempur offer a 100 night trial (£2000 mattresses) whilst OTTY and others all offer 100 night trials. Nectar Sleep and DreamCloud both offer industry leading 365 night trials.
  • ‘Orthopedic’ mattresses are just a fancy term for a very firm mattress. There’s nothing to say it will be better for your back. If you don’t weigh much, it will probably not be great for your back.
  • Lots of people recommend good quality memory foam mattresses for creating a good supportive posture for your back. Some of the recommendations come from memory foam sellers, but others are more independent. If you don’t mind the feel of memory foam, then it’s worth considering. Although it’s not the same as a bad back, it is worth noting that the charity Versus Arthritis says that ‘many people find memory foam mattresses or toppers helpful’ for that specific condition.
  • High quality latex beds (such as Dunlopillo) are also given the thumbs up for being supportive in various guides. Watch out for cheap beds with a thin latex layer on top which aren’t quite the same thing.​ur

So, my advice would be to look at our guide to 10 of the best mattresses and consider the firmer ones if you are an 18 stone rugby player and the softer ones if you are a 7 stone ballerina. Or a medium one if you are somewhere in between…

Read the full guide to the best mattress for back pain and bad backs

Back massage for bad back
Does your mattress lead you to this?

Which type of bed base is best? 

Here’s another area of bed shopping where you’ll find yourself scratching your head, with many sellers doing their best to confuse you for some reason…

It’s actually relatively simple:

  • Divan beds are the most popular option. They are cheap, but some people don’t like the look of them as they are probably what your grandma has. A cheap divan is called a ‘platform top divan base’ – it’s basically a box covered in fabric. A more expensive divan is called a ‘sprung edge divan base’ which has a layer of springs on the top, making it feel more comfortable. You can usually get drawers in a divan base if you want to pay a bit more. 
  • Bedsteads are the main alternative to divans. They are sometimes called bed frames, and they are usually wooden or metal, or they might have a leather type finish or they can be upholstered with fabric. Most people prefer the look of a bedstead, they allow air to flow and they come with a headboard included. They are usually more expensive than a cheap divan base. The main problem with bedsteads is that they have a slatted base (a row of wood or metal struts to support the mattress) so they don’t offer the same consistent support to the mattress. 

    ​The general consensus seems to be that bedsteads aren’t great for pocket sprung mattresses and can make them wear out quicker, particularly if you have large gaps between the struts. You can remedy it by either getting a non-turn mattress or by filling in the gaps with your own wood (to add to the confusion, one guide said that you should keep gaps to help air flow). There is contradictory advice online about using memory foam mattresses with a slatted base, but my conclusion is that it’s less of an issue than it is with springs particularly if you don’t have big gaps between struts. 

    You won’t be shocked to hear that advice on how big the gaps between your bedstead should be also varies. However, to give you an example, Simba Sleep’swarranty says that ‘The slats on any slatted bed frame must be more than 2 inches in width and be no greater than 3 inches apart’

See the full guide: divan beds v bedsteads and bedframes – which is best?


What about mattress toppers? 

A mattress topper is a low-cost way to add a bit of comfort to a creaky old mattress or to make it more hygienic if you’ve suddenly realised that it contains 30 years of sweat and is mostly held together with dust. 

Cheap mattress toppers start at about £20 and are made from synthetic materials. From about £50 upwards you can get a better one with some natural fibres, such as wool, goose or duck down and feathers. The best and most expensive toppers cost as much as some new mattresses (£300+).

Alternatively, you can get a memory foam mattress topper which has a different feel altogether. Latex mattress toppers are also good, but are less common and more expensive.

There’s a good selection of mattress toppers at ​John Lewis & PartnersAmazon and Very amongst other places.

Read the full guide to mattress toppers (honestly, you won’t regret it. It’s thrilling stuff…)


Do deeper mattresses cost more than thinner mattresses?

Let’s explore the conundrum of whether the depth of a mattress is a big factor in what you are likely to pay for it. Can we take a further leap and say that there’s a correlation between mattress depth and quality?

This is only a small sample but we took the five mattresses featured in our guide to side sleeping as an example of why it might not be quite as simple as that. 

The five points on the graph show the depth of each mattress along with the price in pounds. If there was a clear correlation you’d see a line going up diagonally from where the X axis meets the Y axis. To put it another way, you’d expect the cheapest mattress featured to be the thinnest but it was actually the most expensive mattress which is the thinnest.

The reality is that there are many other factors which you need to look at, such as what the mattress layers are made up of. A thick layer of a synthetic material will likely be cheaper than a similarly sized layer of a natural material such as latex or wool.

We would likely see a much clearer correlation if you looked at different mattresses made by the same company. We’ll explore that on a separate page.

We’ll also attempt to dig into this elsewhere on the site but my impression from working on this site over the years is that mattresses under 20cm deep tend to be cheaper than those that are more than 20cm deep. Once you get past that figure, the correlation becomes much less apparent and the benefit for the user becomes less significant.

Graph showing correlation between mattress depth and price
Our graph showing the (lack of) correlation between the depth of the mattresses featured and its price