How we test mattresses at Ideal Home

Our in-house mattress review process puts bestselling and newly launched mattresses through their paces to find our tried-and-tested favourites – here's how...

A mattress on a bed with a white bed frame in a room with pink walls and black and white striped feature wall
(Image credit: Future/ Heather Young)

Wondering how we test mattresses at Ideal Home? In order to compile the Ideal Home guide to the best mattress you can shop, our dedicated team of mattress reviewers has tested out bestselling mattresses from multiple leading brand names to curate a shortlist of our top-rated products.

We prioritise testing the most popular products in a brand's product range, as well as reviewing new mattress launches as they're released to compare new innovations in the world of sleep to our tried-and-tested team favourites.

Each mattress has been sleep-tested in the homes of our review team and slept on for a minimum of a month – in most cases far longer – before we write our review. This enables our reviewers to adjust to each new sleep surface and assess a mattress's performance over the course of multiple weeks.

Our sleep experts have multiple years of experience in putting mattresses to the test. We know our open-cell foam from our high-density viscoelastic, and our pocket springs from our coil springs. In the course of our testing, we've also developed extensive knowledge of what makes the best night's sleep – in our opinion that's breathability, temperature regulation, motion isolation, cushioning, and support.

We also make sure to take into account additional factors such as the delivery process, any off-gassing in the case of foam mattresses, sleep trials, and, of course, price point, in making our recommendations.

How we test mattresses at Ideal Home

Why you can trust Ideal Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Our core testing process involves assessing a mattresses comfort, motion isolation, edge support, breathability, and temperature regulation to find the best mattress for a variety of needs.

How we test comfort

There's really only one way to test out the comfort of a mattress, and that's by sleeping on it. And not just for one night either.

Even if you have the luxury of testing a mattress out for yourself in a mattress showroom – and these days that's easier said than done with so many retailers now selling online only without bricks-and-mortar stores – a quick lie down on a test sample isn't the same thing as actually sleeping on a mattress for eight hours, night after night.

That's why our review team tests all the mattresses we review in our own homes. This way we're able to sleep on the mattress night after night to form a full picture of what the mattress is like to sleep on long-term. 

We also enlist the help of partners for a dual opinion and invite friends and family to come and jump up and down a little on our beds or stay the night to get a range of viewpoints, as after all, one person's 'too firm' can easily be another's 'just right'. 

Because all of us are different, and weight, sleep style, and any niggling sleep problems can all affect our sleep preferences, we also make sure to take this into account in our reviews. We assess if a mattress is best for front, back, or side sleepers, and whether it's a softer sleep surface that would suit lighter-weight sleepers or a firm surface designed more for heavy-weight sleepers.

We also dig into the nitty gritty to see how the mattress is constructed, as this will all affect the comfort of the mattress over the long term. Whilst (sadly) we don't have enough bedrooms to keep all of the mattresses we test, we do try to hang onto as many as we can so that we can keep sleeping on them and update our reviews after 6 months, a year, and beyond. We then aim to report back on how the mattress performs over time.

The back of a woman with shoulder length brown hair laid on her side on a mattress on a bed in a bedroom with pink walls

(Image credit: Future/ Heather Young)

How we test motion isolation

If you share your bed with a partner, then a mattress with good motion isolation is essential in getting a better night's sleep as it will reduce the likelihood of one partner waking the other if they toss and turn or get out of bed in the night.

That's why we test all of the mattresses we review for motion isolation. To do this we ask a partner to make an exaggerated effort of tossing and turning beside us to see if the movement reverberates through the bed or is dampened by cushioning layers. 

A mattress on a bed with a white bed frame in a room with pink walls and black and white striped feature wall

(Image credit: Future/ Heather Young)

How we test edge support

We'd always recommend opting for the largest mattress your bedroom (and budget) allows so that there's enough space that no one is sleeping on the edge of the mattress. However, if you do find yourself gravitating towards the outer edges of the mattress then good edge support is what keeps you from rolling off the edge of the bed. Edge support is also important if you're someone with reduced mobility who can find getting out of bed a little trickier.

We test edge support by both sitting and lying near the edge to see how much resistance the mattress offers in this area. We might also use a weight to be able to see how much the mattress dips in different areas.

A weight on a mattress

(Image credit: Future/ Heather Young)

How we test breathability

Breathability and temperature regulation are key when it comes to a good night's sleep. Bedding or a mattress that reflects heat back towards the sleeper is likely to result in us waking up too hot in the night and therefore disrupting that vital REM sleep.

Therefore, we test all of the mattresses we review for how 'cool' they sleep. We try to do this by ensuring the rest of the bedding we use during our tests remains consistent, and test during a range of temperatures. 

A mattress on a bed with a white bed frame in a room with pink walls and black and white striped feature wall

(Image credit: Future/ Heather Young)

Our Consumer Experts

Our Consumer Experts are members of the team who have developed specialist knowledge in their subject area. They have hands-on, practical experience with industry-leading products, regularly conduct product testing, and have conducted research into each product category they review. 

Each Consumer Expert must complete a five-stage process to gain this accreditation, involving the following stages:

1. Testing Our Consumer Experts have hands-on experience testing the bestselling and highest-rated products on the market. This then becomes the benchmark against which other products are reviewed and judged.

2. Product research Our experts immerse themselves in each product category, learning everything there is to know about the product, from how it's made, to its biggest pros and cons. 

3. Behind the scenes As well as hands-on product testing in a home environment, our Consumer Experts have also gained insider knowledge on the products they test. This might be through factory visits, showroom tours, or comparison testing days at our testing facility.

4. Industry knowledge Our experts know the nitty-gritty of each product category. They regularly speak with industry experts such as product developers and retailers, they know the market leaders and the growing trends within the industry. They are non-biased and able to formulate an honest judgement about the USPs offered by different products on the market.

5. Wider opinions Our experts don't just rely on their own knowledge, they also seek input from the wider team and carefully research customer product reviews to gauge wider product satisfaction, noting and investigating any regularly occurring customer feedback.

amy lockwood
Amy Lockwood

Amy is the Ideal Home team's Consumer Expert for all things sleep-related. She regularly tests out the market-leading mattresses, and commissions reviews of the latest mattress launches. She knows her pocket spring from her memory foam, and everything in between, as well as putting the best duvets through their paces, sourcing the best pillows for a good night's sleep, and rounding up the best cooling mattress toppers, amongst many more night time essentials.

Our mattress reviews

Looking for a review on a particular mattress? Here are the mattresses that come highly recommended by the Ideal Home team.

You'll find full details of the Ideal Home review process on our how we test page, including how we put air fryers, vacuum cleaners, BBQs, pizza ovens, and a whole host more products through their paces to bring you our top recommendations.

Amy Lockwood
Sleep Editor


Amy is Ideal Home’s Sleep Editor. She’s spent the last three years researching and testing all things sleep for our audiences whether that’s sorting the wheat from the chaff in our hunt for the best mattress or learning about materials to uncover the best duvet for various sleep needs. She also lends her expertise to our furniture guides, sharing her design knowledge with our readers to help them choose the right sofa for their interior or the best garden furniture for their outside space.