Best Medium Firm Mattress In The UK | Top 5 | 2022

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There’s a big choice for those who want the best medium firm mattress on the market in the UK.

We’ve picked out five of the best value by looking at those with outstanding customer reviews, awards and decent specifications such as long warranties and trial periods.

The general idea when you’re buying a mattress is to buy one which gives you the right level of support. If it’s too firm for you, you’ll just lie on top. If it’s too soft you will sink in too much and won’t end up in a good sleeping position.

Is a medium firm mattress best for you?

You need to keep three things in mind when deciding if a medium-firm mattress is right for you:

  1. heavier people need firmer mattresses than lighter people. If you’re light as a feather, then a medium-firm tension may not be right for you.
  2. people who sleep on their back or front need firmer mattresses than people who sleep on their sides. If you’re light as a feather and you sleep on your side then a medium-firm mattress is even less likely to be right for you.
  3. every mattress company has their own idea of how to measure firmness. One company’s medium-firm mattress might be the same as another company’s firm mattress. It’s just like buying three pairs of size eight shoes from three different shops and finding only one of them fits you. My advice is either to buy a mattress with a home trial period or get yourself to a mattress showroom.

Scientific research into medium firm mattress designs

If you want some further reading, have a look at a study by Jacobson, Boolani and Smith from 2009. It was called ‘Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems‘.

It was funded by an American organisation called the Better Sleep Council which gave new ‘bedding systems’ to 59 adults. They were were all sleeping on beds which were at least five years old. People were given medium-firm mattresses and the study concluded that 

‘Medium-firm bedding systems reduced back pain by approximately 48%….and improved sleep quality by 55%’.

Notably, it was a comparison of old versus new mattresses rather than soft versus firm mattresses. However, it’s still worth a mention. 

Is a medium firm mattress good for your back?

Another academic study in Spain in 2003 compared medium-firm mattresses with firm mattresses amongst people with back pain. It was by Kovaks, Abraria et al and was titled ‘Effect of firmness of mattress on chronic non-specific low-back pain‘.

It involved more than 300 people and gave some people medium-firm mattresses and others a firm mattress. The patients all had ‘chronic non-specific low-back pain, but no referred pain, who complained of backache while lying in bed and on rising’.

The researchers concluded that those using the medium-firm mattresses had better results. They found ‘better outcomes for pain in bed…(less) pain on rising… and disability’ whilst in bed. The medium-firm mattress users also had ‘less daytime low-back pain…(less) pain while lying in bed…and (less) pain on rising’. 

The compelling summary was that 

‘A mattress of medium firmness improves pain and disability among patients with chronic non-specific low-back pain’. 

Finally, a study in China by Yang et al (2017) looked at the ‘Effect of Mattress Hardness on Sleep Comfort of Middle-Aged and Old Women’. In this instance, they found that ‘The middle-aged and old women generally prefer mattress with moderate and higher hardness value’.

Without further ado, here’s our top five medium firm mattresses in the UK in 2021. Prices are for double mattresses. Review scores and prices are correct at the time of typing.

1. Silentnight Classic 1200 Pocket Deluxe Medium-Firm Mattress – £379

A Silentnight mattress is a solid choice if you’re after a mid-priced medium-firm mattress from a brand you’ve heard of. They’re the biggest name in the UK mattress market with a huge range of mattresses as well as things like pillows and duvets. The brand scores a very respectable 4.1/5 on TrustPilot

The Silentnight Classic 1200 is one of their star pupils. You’ll see it going by several different names such as the Silentnight Sofia.

It’s won a best buy award from expert testers and it’s had 1000+ reviews on Mattress Online with an outstanding average score of 9/10.

It uses pocket springs, which is much better than the cheap ‘open coil’ mattress that you’ll still occasionally find in a crusty old B&B with net curtains and floral wallpaper. The 1200 number refers to the number of springs. If you’re very large, you might benefit from a number closer to 2000 but for the majority of people, 1200 springs will be perfectly adequate.

It’s nice and deep at 28cm and you can turn it over to help it last a bit longer. On the downside, it only comes with a five year guarantee. That’s a little on the low side for a mattress.

Also, it doesn’t have a trial period. You can either order it online and hope it’s right for you or try and find it in a mattress showroom.

The synthetic v natural debate

The Silentnight Classic 1200 uses synthetic layers rather than natural materials to give a bit of comfort. That sets it apart from the Sleepeezee Perfectly British Strand 1400, which also features in this medium-firm mattress guide (see number four).

There are pros and cons with synthetic materials on a mattress. A natural material such as wool is ‘hygroscopic’ which means that it ‘absorbs water vapour’ (Woolmark). As a result, it helps regulate your temperature better than a synthetic material.

Some guides will tell you that synthetic materials are better at keeping away dust mites, but a study in Norway disputed this finding when it searched for evidence of dust mites on mattresses (Schei, Hessen and Lund, 2002). 

You can watch a video about the Silentnight 1200 here.

Pros: big name brand, award winning mattress, good value for a pocket sprung mattress, double sided, thousands of reviews

Cons: synthetic materials, no trial period, five year warranty is a little underwhelming

Our Value Rating: ***** (See explanation at foot of page)

Silentnight Classic 1200 mattress
This medium-firm Silentnight mattress is an award winner and it gets great reviews
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Big name brand + Award Winner + Great Value
Big name brand + Award Winner + Great Value Show Less

2. Nectar Sleep Memory Foam Medium-Firm Mattress – £749

Back in the day, everyone slept on a sprung mattress and there weren’t many decent alternatives. Foam mattresses were mostly the kind of thing your grandma had on her fold-out bed in the spare room.

Things have moved on somewhat and a good foam mattress now offers a credible alternative to a mattress with springs. The idea is that you get more consistent support than you get with springs. They also don’t gather dust so easily.

If it’s a memory foam mattress – like this one from Nectar Sleep – then you get a bit of a supportive and hugging feeling.

Many of them now arrive squashed up in a box – hence the name ‘bed in a box’ that you may have heard. They also come with long warranties and risk-free home trial periods.

A longer trial period and warranty than other medium firm mattresses

This medium-firm mattress from Nectar Sleep is worth a look as it offers the joint-longest home trial period on the market at 365 days. It also offers a ‘forever’ warranty, which I think we can agree is a long time (check the Ts and Cs). The other mattress with the same trial period and warranty is the Dreamcloud Sleep mattress which is made by the same company. It’s also medium-firm but it uses both pocket springs and memory foam and it’s more expensive (£949).

The Nectar Sleep mattress gets very good reviews, with an average score of 4.4/5 on TrustPilot. It’s won awards and has been recommended by Ideal Home, Evening Standard and Good Housekeeping.

Is this medium firm mattress good for the planet?

You may also want to take environmental impact into account when purchasing something as big as a mattress. Portuguese academics called Lanoë, Simões et al looked into this issue in 2013.

They found that foam mattresses have a ‘higher environmental impact’ than pocket spring mattresses. The ‘manufacturing process’ was mentioned in the study as being the ‘main issue’ which needs to be overcome – both for foam and pocket sprung mattresses.

Nectar Sleep address this issue in the sustainability section of their website. They claim that their production methods are ‘certifiably climate neutral’. They work with an organisation called ClimatePartner to ‘calculate the carbon footprint from our manufacturing process, find strategies to reduce this, and offset the remainder’.

They’ll also take away your old mattress (for a fee) and claim to keep 96% out of landfill. You can watch a video review of the Nectar Sleep mattress here.

A popular rival mattress

A similar alternative is the Ergoflex 5G mattress (£809). It gets a higher score on Trustpilot (4.7/5 at the time of writing) but it comes with a shorter trial period and warranty.

Pros: industry leading trial period and warranty, deep layer of memory foam, climate neutral production

Cons: relatively new brand, only available in ‘standard’ sizes, single sided

​Our Value Rating: *****

Nectar Sleep medium firm mattress
The medium-firm Nectar Sleep mattress has a ‘forever’ warranty
Layers of the Nectar Sleep memory foam mattress
The mattress is made up of foam layers
45% off
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Nectar Mattress Discount Code
Sale - 45% off mattresses + 55% off platform beds + 365 night trial + forever warranty
Sale - 45% off mattresses + 55% off platform beds + 365 night trial + forever warranty Show Less

3. Sleepeezee Perfectly British Strand 1400 Pocket Medium Firm Mattress – £645

Sleepeezee offers a lot of the same things as the poshest mattress brands but their prices are more like mid-range. 

It’s one of the only mattress brands with a Royal Warrant, meaning that they supply Prince Charles’ household. They also get terrific customer reviews with an average of 4.2/5 on TrustPilot for the brand 

One definite plus point is that Sleepeezee mattresses come with a 60 day trial period if you buy it from Mattress Online. That means you can swap it for a different model if it’s not right for you (check the terms and conditions).

Their mattresses are mostly pocket sprung, which is the traditional way of making a mattress. The main alternative is foam. Sleepeezee mattresses are made in the UK.

Several signs of quality manufacturing

This particular model – the Perfectly British Strand 1400 – scores about 9/10 from customers. It is traditionally made and has a solid specification for the money. Signs of quality include:

  • a decent pocket spring count (1400) which means that you’ll get a good level of support. Most decent pocket sprung mattresses have 1000-2000 pocket springs.
  • a hand-tufted finish, which means that it is held together with button-type things on top. That gives it plenty of strength and durability.
  • side stitching, which is a technical thing which means that it won’t flatten at the edges whilst you sit on the bed to put your socks on.
  • a depth of 25cm, which is good for a pocket sprung mattress. Cheap mattresses tend to be 20cm deep or less.
  • natural materials such as wool and cotton rather than cheaper synthetic materials

The main downside (in my opinion) is that you can’t turn it over so you just rotate it round to stop it sagging. Some guides suggest that mattresses last longer if you can flip them over. The good news it that you won’t have to wrestle with it every few weeks.

A cheaper alternative medium firm mattress

If you want a cheap medium-firm Sleepeezee mattress, take a look at the Sleepeezee Classic Ortho 800 Pocket Mattress which is about £200. The most significant difference is the lower spring count which means it won’t offer as much support. Watch the video about how Sleepeezee mattresses are made.

Pros: brand used by British Royalty, good depth, handed tufted, side stitching, uses natural fibres, generous 10 year warranty

Cons: trial period only allows a swap, single sided

​Our Value Rating: ****

Sleepeezee perfectly British Strand 1400 pocket mattress
The Sleepeezee Perfectly British Strand 1400. Trendy wallpaper not included.
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Award winning brand + 10 year warranty + natural fibres
Award winning brand + 10 year warranty + natural fibres Show Less

4. ​John Lewis & Partners Climate Collection Copper 1600 Medium/Firm Mattress – £1099

This medium-firm ‘Copper Collection’ mattress from John Lewis & Partners is at the pricier end of the UK mattress market. For your money, you get a mattress which is known as a ‘hybrid’. That means it uses a mix of traditional pocket springs and modern memory foam.

The most common issue with memory foam is that it can make you feel hot in bed (oooer missus). A mattress such as the Nectar Sleep has ‘smart memory foam’ to ‘dissipate heat and moisture’. This one from John Lewis & Partners is made with ‘patented phase-change crystals and infused with copper beads’.

​Honestly, I drift off when mattress descriptions turn into jargon like this. I tend to look to customer reviews to get an idea of how effective the design is.

This model scores very well with customers (4.9/5) albeit from only about a dozen reviews when we checked.

A good amount of information to go on

John Lewis & Partners are particularly good at providing detailed specifications with their mattresses, so you can actually spot if it’s any good.

This mattress has 1600 pocket springs, which is a high number which will offer plenty of support. You’ll see some mattresses with thousands of pocket springs but this just means it has multiple layers of mini springs. The main layer of full size springs does most of the work.

The mattress also has hand side stitching and a tufted finish. Don’t worry too much about the technical details, but they’re both signs of a properly constructed and solid mattress.

This mattress can’t be turned over, because of the way it’s designed with the memory foam layer on top. Personally, I like mattresses which can be used on both sides as it helps a mattress last longer.

The warranty and trial period

The John Lewis & Partners Climate Collection Copper 1600 comes with a 7 year guarantee. That’s OK for a mattress but at this price you might expect longer. For example, posh mattress brand Vispring offer up to 30 year warranties. We didn’t include them in this guide, as we couldn’t find any medium-firm mattresses in their range.

In Spring 2021, John Lewis & Partners introduced a 60 night comfort trial for this mattress. We think that’s is a big leap forwards for the consumer.

Previously, you would either need to find a store which stocks it or take a big risk on a £1000+ purchase. The downside is that the comfort trial has more hoops to jump through than something like the Nectar Sleep mattress. You have to order a mattress protector at the same time and you have to pay a returns delivery fee of about £30. Plus, you can only swap it rather than getting a refund. Still, it’s better than no trial period at all.

Pros: respected retailer, hand side stitching, hand tufted, good spring count

Cons: seven year warranty is short for the price tag, single sided, comfort trial only offers a swap

Our Value Rating: ***

John Lewis medium firm mattress
This pricey mattress uses copper to try and keep you cool
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Respected retailer, hand side stitching, hand tufted, good spring count
Respected retailer, hand side stitching, hand tufted, good spring count Show Less

5. Hypnos Luxury Wool No.1 Pocket Spring Medium Firm Mattress – £1049

Hypnos mattresses aren’t the cheapest but you are buying years of experience and prestige. Their mattresses are at the traditional end of the scale, which means you get lots of natural materials (and a layer of synthetic materials admittedly). The company has a Royal Warrant and they make mattresses in the UK.

The Hypnos Luxury Wool No.1 mattress uses 1.5 fleeces of British wool, which is an excellent material for regulating your temperature.

There are two layers of springs, including 1000 springs which do most of the work and a smaller layer of springs for comfort. I would say that 1000 springs is not as high a number as some Hypnos mattresses but it will do the job.

The sides of the mattress have hand side stitching, which is a labour intensive way of making a mattress. It gives it solidity and strength when you’re at the edge of the bed. Parents of young children will find this particularly useful when they end up sharing with someone who takes up 3/4 of the bed.

One less good thing about this mattress is that it’s single sided. There is an argument that double sided mattresses are better at reducing body-shaped dips. However, you can rotate it round which will certainly help.

It comes with a 10 year warranty which is very good for a pocket spring mattress. New-to-market foam mattresses often come with 10 years, but well established pocket spring brands tend to offer 5-10 year warranties at this price.

Pros: big name brand with royal approval, lots of wool for temperature regulation, strength right to the edges, 10 year warranty

Cons: single sided so you can only rotate it round

Our Value Rating: ***

Hypnos Luxury Wool No.1 Pocket Spring Medium Firm Mattress
Hypnos come with prestige and a Royal Warrant
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Search latest price on Hypnos Luxury Wool No. 1 (Medium/Firm)
Outstanding British Brand + Royal Warrant + Natural Materials + Pocket Springs
Outstanding British Brand + Royal Warrant + Natural Materials + Pocket Springs Show Less

What does ‘Our Value Rating’ mean?

We rate each mattress based on whether we think it offers value for money. We look at the on-the-day price and compare it to rival products on construction and specification, warranty length, trial period (or lack of), brand reputation, awards and review scores. 

***** = exceptionally good value
**** = very good value
*** = good value
** = reasonably good value
* = poor value