Best mattress 2024 – 10 best mattresses tried, tested, and recommended

The best mattresses for a better night's sleep. Our top recommendations from Simba, Emma, Tempur, and more, as tried and tested by Ideal Home's review team

The best mattress, as tried and tested by the Ideal Home team, on a blue background
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best mattress for your sleep style can make a huge difference to the quality of your sleep.

Whether you’re predominantly a front, side, or back sleeper, your weight, body temperature, and any pre-existing aches and pains, plus whether you sleep alone or with a partner can all affect which mattress is best for you.

That’s where the Ideal Home sleep experts come in, with hundreds of hours of testing and expert knowledge to help you navigate this vital purchase. We’ve tried, tested, and reviewed bestselling mattresses from the biggest brand names in the sleep field – including Simba, Emma, Brook + Wilde, Tempur, Hypnos, Nectar, Silentnight and many more – to find the best mattresses for all types of sleeper.

Our reviews put each mattress through its paces to compare comfort, motion transfer, temperature regulation, edge support, and ease of delivery (mattress-in-a-box or not). We also take into account any manufacturer sleep trials, and, of course, price, when rating each mattress, as well as weighing up the pros and cons of memory foam, hybrid, and pocket spring construction.

Read on to find the best mattress for your best night's sleep, and to make sure you have all of the ingredients for restful slumber, head over to our guide to the best pillows next.

The quick list

Short on time? This quick list is an overview of the very best mattresses we've tested. You'll find more information on each mattress and why our review team recommends it if you keep on scrolling.

Best mattresses 2024 – tried and tested

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.

Best mattress overall

The Simba Hybrid Original double mattressproduct badge

(Image credit: Simba)
Best mattress overall

Specifications

Sizes available: Kids / Single / Small Double / Double / King / Super King
Type: Hybrid
No. of springs: 2500
Memory foam: Yes
Firmness: Medium-firm
Depth: 25cm
Manufacturer trial offer: 200 night

Reasons to buy

+
The Goldilocks of mattresses – not too soft or too hard
+
Great for side and back sleepers
+
Pocket-spring support with memory foam cushioning for pressure points
+
200-night manufacturer sleep trial
+
Mattress-in-a-box delivery useful for homes with awkward access

Reasons to avoid

-
Slight motion transfer with two in the bed
-
Less suitable for front sleepers

The Simba Hybrid Original Mattress is a good all-rounder at a reasonable price point, which makes it our top recommendation for best mattress overall. Plus, it regularly becomes even better value in Simba's frequent discounting events, so you'll rarely need to pay full price. 

A hybrid mattress that mixes a cushioning memory foam top layer with pocket spring support, our reviewers describe it as the 'Goldilocks of mattresses – not too soft or too firm'. It was particularly popular with our side sleeping testers who prefer a slightly firmer feeling mattress. The cushioning memory foam layer allowed shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress enough for a good spinal alignment but without any feeling of being enveloped that you can get from a softer-feel mattress.

Our back sleeping testers also found that the slightly firmer surface comfortable, with the pocket springs offering support and the memory foam cushioning pressure points for a good night's sleep. Only our front sleepers struggled, needing a firmer base to get comfortable – consider the Sealy Newton Posturepedic mattress or memory foam-free Hypnos Pillow Top Select mattress if that's you.

The Simba Hybrid Original also impressed the members of our review team who had had bad experiences with overheating on memory foam mattresses before. Lack of breathability can be a common problem with memory foam as the dense structure of the material doesn't allow airflow. However, Simba addresses this by using open-cell memory foam in the Hybrid Original which it states allows 'thirty times the airflow' of regular memory foam. Our reviewers were happy with the results, with only the hottest of our sleepers saying they got a little too warm overnight.

The mattress-in-a-box delivery is also great news for those with awkward access, and Simba offers a generous 200-night sleep trial if you buy direct from the brand, meaning you get plenty of time to test out this mattress before you commit.

Our full Simba Hybrid Original mattress review has more detail.

Best mattress for back pain

The Brook + Wilde Ultima mattressproduct badge

(Image credit: Brook + Wilde)
Best mattress for back pain

Specifications

Sizes available: Double / King / Super King
Type: Hybrid
No. of springs: 6000
Memory foam: Yes
Firmness: Soft / Medium / Firm
Depth: 30cm
Manufacturer trial offer: 200 night

Reasons to buy

+
Choice of three firmness levels
+
Great for side and back sleepers
+
Pocket-spring support with memory foam cushioning for pressure points
+
200-night manufacturer sleep trial
+
Mattress-in-a-box delivery useful for homes with awkward access

Reasons to avoid

-
An investment at full price
-
Less suitable for front sleepers

Finding the best mattress for back pain can be tricky as sadly there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Different types of back pain can need different types of support, so it's always best to seek medical advice before you consider changing your mattress. 

However, sleeping on a too-firm or too-soft mattress can be a common cause of overnight aches and pains. The best way to avoid back pain caused by a mattress is to consider which position you regularly sleep in and opt for a mattress that will support your natural spinal alignment in this position. E.g. side sleepers need a mattress that allows hips and shoulders to sink into the mattress a little to maintain a straight spine, whereas back sleepers need a slightly firmer surface to prevent hips from dipping too low, and stomach sleepers will want a firmer surface still (although front sleeping is generally considered the worst position for spinal health so is best avoided if you can). 

Opting for a hybrid mattress that offers good solid spring support combined with a top layer that cushions the natural curvature of the spine is a great start for reducing back pain – especially if you've been sleeping on an all-foam mattress that can be too soft for many heavier bodyweights.

The Ultima mattress offers all of the above, providing a super supportive base layer of twin-layered nano and pocket springs with a cushioning memory foam top layer that's available in three firmness levels, so you can tailor the mattress tension to your exact requirements to ease aches and pains.

Our reviewers unanimously loved this mattress, scoring it highly in terms of comfort, breathability, motion isolation and edge support. And our back pain-prone tester found that after a few nights on the Ultima her lower back pain was a thing of the past, also praising the lack of motion transfer when her partner tossed and turned nearby.

The only downside is the price. However, Brook + Wilde runs fairly regular sitewide discounts that can see up to 60% knocked off the mattress' normal retail price. So, time your purchase right and you could be able to snap up this luxury mattress for a lot less.

Our full Brook + Wilde Ultima mattress review has more detail.

Best budget mattress

The Emma Original mattress with a cut out to show the foam innerBudget buy badge

(Image credit: Emma)
A budget-friendly all-foam mattress

Specifications

Sizes available: Single / Small Double / Double / King / Super King
Type: Foam
No. of springs: None
Memory foam: Yes
Firmness: Medium
Depth: 25cm
Manufacturer trial offer: 200 night

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable, even more so if using Emma Mattress discount codes
+
Good for lighterweight side sleepers
+
Excellent motion-isolation to combat fidgety sleep partners
+
200-night manufacturer sleep trial
+
Mattress-in-a-box delivery useful for homes with awkward access

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks breathability which can lead to overheating
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Lack of springs can mean it's too soft for heavierweight or front sleepers
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If you lack mobility you may find changing position a little trickier
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Lack of edge support
-
Some reviewers note indentations if the mattress isn't regularly rotated

The entry-level Emma Original mattress is a popular choice with many shoppers thanks to its affordable price point and cushioning sleep surface. 

That budget-friendly price tag is made possible because this is an all-foam mattress that sees a firmer foam core topped with a layer of cushioning memory foam, so there are no coil or pocket springs in sight.

As a result, this is a softer sleep surface than most hybrid mattresses, and our testers found it best for lighter weight side sleepers who will appreciate the sink-in support around shoulders and hips. Over time, heavier-weight sleepers may struggle with the lack of spring support as an all-foam mattress is more likely to become compacted with extended use – the Simba Hybrid Original with its additional spring support will likely be a better investment. Our back sleeping testers were split, with some finding the softer surface didn't offer enough support around the hips, and others loving that little extra give. And, that memory foam top layer wasn't a good choice for our front sleepers, with hips sinking in too low for good spinal alignment.

This budget foam mattress also struggles in terms of breathability, with the dense memory foam top layer causing our hot sleepers to overheat in the night. However, it was universally praised by our review team for its motion isolation, with the lack of springs meaning any movement from a fidgety bed partner was almost totally dampened and very little motion transfer occured across the mattress.

The mattress-in-a-box delivery is also super useful for homes with awkward access, and Emma's generous 200-night sleep trial allows you to fully test the mattress in your own home before committing. Plus, the brand regularly slashes prices, meaning you can often pick up the Emma Original at 50% off.

Overall, if you're a memory foam fan on the hunt for an affordable mattress, that price tag is hard to beat if you're looking for a budget buy. If you have more cash to invest in a deluxe option, keep scrolling until you get to the Tempur Sensation mattress, our top recommendation for best memory foam mattress overall.

Our full Emma Original mattress review has more detail.

Best memory foam mattress

The Tempur Sensation Elite mattress with grey and yellow detailingproduct badge

(Image credit: Tempur)
Best memory foam mattress

Specifications

Sizes available: Single / Double / King / Super King / Small Single / Long Single / Special Sizes
Type: Memory foam, foam
No. of springs: None
Memory foam: Yes
Firmness: Tempur rates Firm, Ideal Home rates Medium
Depth: 25cm
Manufacturer trial offer: 100 night

Reasons to buy

+
Three firmness levels make it one of the best memory foam mattresses for heavierweight sleepers
+
Great for side and back sleepers
+
Extremely cushioning
+
Excellent motion-isolation to combat fidgety sleep partners
+
100-night manufacturer sleep trial

Reasons to avoid

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An investment
-
Less suitable for front sleepers
-
Lacks breathability which can lead to overheating
-
If you lack mobility you may find changing position a little trickier
-
Lack of edge support
-
Took a while for the off-gassing smell to dissipate
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Very heavy to rotate

If you have more money to invest, then we'd say this is the best memory foam mattress you can buy.

Tempur is the brand widely accredited with creating the very first memory foam mattress after adapting the material NASA first invented for use in its space craft. And, although its expertise with the material – and a NASA Certified Space Technology® license – mean the brand's mattresses don't come cheap, they are the most comfortable memory foam surfaces we've slept on. In fact, this mattress elicited sighs of contentment from every tester who laid down on its surface.

If you love the cushioning feel of memory foam but you're a heavierweight sleeper, then Tempur's range of firmness levels are also great news, allowing you to take advantage of that cocooning 'hug' without sinking too deep into the surface. That's a rarity in the world of all foam mattresses, with most – like the Emma Original mattress – taking a one-size-fits-all approach to firmness to keep price points lower. Plus, if a restless partner is causing sleep disturbance, that will be a thing of the past with this mattress thanks to its seriously impressive motion dampening.

However, it does still suffer from some of the usual all-foam mattress niggles. Like the Emma Original mattress, our reviewers felt the Tempur Sensation's edge support is lacking, and that deep memory foam surface does mean if you have mobility issues you might find changing position in bed a little trickier. Our hot sleepers also struggled with the mattress's lack of breathability, with that dense memory foam surface making them more prone to overheat at night, and there was off-gassing from the memory foam to contend with for the first few weeks. 

However, many of our testers were willing to look past those niggles because of the degree to which the Tempur Sensation's cushioning surface eased aches and pains and relieved pressure on the hips, back, and shoulders. This is one seriously comfortable mattress.

Our full Tempur Sensation mattress review has more detail.

Best mattress for side sleepers

The Emma Luxe Cooling mattress showing a cut through of the construction materialsproduct badge

(Image credit: Emma)
A good option for side sleepers

Specifications

Sizes available: Single / Small Double / Double / King / Super King
Type: Hybrid
No. of springs: Not stated
Memory foam: Yes
Firmness: Medium-Firm
Depth: 25cm
Manufacturer trial offer: 200 night

Reasons to buy

+
Great for lighterweight side and back sleepers
+
Pocket-spring support with memory foam cushioning for pressure points
+
200-night manufacturer sleep trial
+
Mattress-in-a-box delivery useful for homes with awkward access

Reasons to avoid

-
Slight motion transfer with two in the bed
-
Less suitable for front sleepers

Research has shown that the majority of us sleep on our sides, and as such there are many mattresses designed with side sleepers in mind, such as the Simba Hybrid Original and Brook + Wilde Ultima mattress higher up this list.

However, in practice, our testers found the Simba Hybrid Original slightly firmer than the Emma Luxe Cooling mattress, so if you're a lightweight side sleeper then you may prefer the latter's softer surface tension that will allow shoulders and hips to sink down a little further for good spinal alignment. Heavier weight side sleepers will naturally sink into a mattress deeper so a slightly firmer surface is usually ideal, in which case the Simba Hybrid Original can come up trumps comfort-wise.

The three firmness levels of the Brook + Wilde Ultima mattress – including a 'soft' option for lighter weight builds – will allow side sleepers to get just the right level of surface tension for their body weight, but, it's more of an investment if you don't catch it during a sale, so the Emma Luxe Cooling can be a more budget-friendly side sleeping option.

Unlike some Emma mattresses, our reviewers also found the Luxe Cooling does exactly what its name promises, with its extra graphite-infused foam layer offering a more breathable sleep surface than its predecessor, the Emma Premium mattress, or Emma's Original mattress.

And, it benefits from the brand's usual plus points, namely regular discounts that can see the mattress price significantly reduced, mattress-in-a-box delivery that's useful if you have awkward access and a lengthy 200-night manufacturer sleep trial.

Our full Emma Luxe Cooling mattress review has more detail.

Best firm mattress

Sealy Newton Posturepedic Mattressproduct badge

(Image credit: Sealy)
Best firm mattress

Specifications

Sizes available: Single / Double / King / Super King
Type: Hybrid
No. of springs: Open coil
Memory foam: No
Firmness: Medium / Firm
Depth: 27cm
Manufacturer trial offer: n/a

Reasons to buy

+
A firm sleep surface with two tension options
+
Latex upper offers an alternative to memory foam
+
Great for front sleepers
+
Good edge support
+
Good temperature regulation

Reasons to avoid

-
Some motion transfer due to open coil system
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No manufacturer sleep trial

If you're craving a firmer sleep surface, then the Sealy Newton Posturepedic Mattress is our top recommendation for the best firm mattress. Its firmer feel also makes it a great option for front sleepers.

This is a hybrid mattress that employs open coil springs for support and a layer of latex to create a firm yet still cushioned enough sleep surface. A firm mattress is often recommended for those seeking good postural support in bed, so it was the 'firm' variation of the mattress we tested, although it is also available in a 'medium' tension. 

Designed in conjunction with the Orthopaedic Advisory Board – which Sealy states is a mix of 'orthopaedic surgeons, bio-mechanical engineers, and medical scientists' – our reviewer who suffers from lower back and neck pain was keen to put it to the test and see if it could give the Brook + Wilde Ultima mattress a run for its money as the best mattress for easing back pain.

It took her a while to get used to the firmer latex sleep surface compared to her previous memory foam mattress, but after a month of sleeping on this mattress she gave it the seal of approval, saying 'whilst sleeping on the Sealy Newton Posturepedic mattress, I didn’t wake up with lower backache like I often do'. 

In our tests, the Newton Posturepedic also performed well in terms of edge support and temperature regulation. In fact, the only real downside our reviewer noted was that motion transfer could have been a little better, which is perhaps due to that continuous coil spring unit. However, this wasn't enough to negatively impact sleep in our testing, and if you're looking for a firmer feeling mattress, then we found the Sealy Newton Posturepedic mattress to be a great buy at a decent price point.

Find the full details in our Sealy Newton Posturepedic mattress review.

Best hybrid mattress

Simba mattressproduct badge

(Image credit: Simba)
Best hybrid mattress with a mix of memory foam and springs

Specifications

Sizes available: Single / Small Double / Double / King / EU Double / EU Queen / Super King
Type: Hybrid
No. of springs: 4000
Memory foam: Yes
Firmness: Medium-Firm
Depth: 28cm
Manufacturer trial offer: 200 night

Reasons to buy

+
Great for side and back sleepers
+
Good temperature regulation
+
Pocket-spring support with memory foam cushioning for pressure points
+
200-night manufacturer sleep trial
+
Mattress-in-a-box delivery useful for homes with awkward access

Reasons to avoid

-
Slight motion transfer with two in the bed
-
Less suitable for front sleepers

A hybrid mattress combines spring support with a cushioning top layer, making it a popular choice with many sleepers looking for the best of both worlds when it comes to mattress construction.

As such, there are a lot of hybrid mattresses on the market and crowning the best-in-class can be a tricky business. However, our reviewer loved the Simba Hybrid Pro mattress. Comfort-wise she found this mattress gave her all the right support in all the right places, easing the back and neck pain she had been suffering from after sleeping on an all-foam mattress without any spring support. And, as a hot sleeper, it also kept her cool at night. 

In our opinion, that improved temperature regulation is the main reason why you might consider investing some more cash and upgrading from the Simba Hybrid Original mattress (which still takes the top spot in our round-up thanks to its lower price point) to the Simba Hybrid Pro.

For the step up in cash, the Simba Pro offers an extra temperature-regulating wool layer in its construction and an additional layer of Aerocoil® micro springs that aid breathability by circulating more air through the mattress as it compresses. Our reviewer certainly found those additions worked, saying, 'After sleeping on the Simba Pro for six months I’ve not woken up too hot once, which is amazing for me because I do run warm at night'. 

If you don't have a problem with sleeping warm, then the lower-priced Hybrid Original could still be the best hybrid mattress for you. However, if overheating at night is an issue you struggle with, we think paying that little bit more to ensure your mattress offers the extra breathability you need for a deeper, more restful night's sleep is well worth the investment.

The only downside is that the Simba Hybrid Pro only comes with one tension option, and there was some slight motion transfer with two in the bed. If you want more choice in how soft or firm your hybrid mattress feels, the Brook + Wilde Ultima mattress would be our top recommendation. However, you will be exchanging the Simba Hybrid Pro's mid-range price tag for the Ultima mattress's premium pricing (unless you can time your purchase with one of Brook +Wilde's sales).

Our Simba Hybrid Pro mattress review has the full lowdown.

Best cooling mattress for hot sleepers

Hypnos Pillow Top Classic mattressproduct badge

(Image credit: Hypnos)
Best cooling mattress for hot sleepers

Specifications

Sizes available: Small Single, Single, Small Double, Double, King, Super King
Type: Pillow top
No. of springs: Not specified
Memory foam: No
Firmness: Medium-Firm
Depth: 29cm
Manufacturer trial offer: Varies by retailer

Reasons to buy

+
Highly breathable and temperature regulating
+
Luxurious pillow top comfort
+
Great all-rounder for front, side, or back sleepers
+
Made predominantly from natural and sustainable materials and 100% recyclable

Reasons to avoid

-
Manufacturer sleep trial varies by retailer, but is generally shorter than most

If you're looking for a cooling mattress then you're likely a hot sleeper who needs a mattress with good breathability – in which case the Hypnos Pillow Top Select mattress is our top recommendation.

This mattress is made predominantly from natural materials, which makes it far more eco-friendly than most synthetic mattresses, and that's also great news for those of us who struggle to sleep on a foam or memory foam mattress without overheating. The natural materials used in the Hypnos Pillow Top Select's fill, plus its airflow-enhancing pocket spring system and ventilation features, mean it proved highly breathable in our tests. 

As such, we think this is the best mattress for hot sleepers, as that breathable sleep surface means body temperature is regulated throughout the night leading to a deeper and more restful sleep – without any 3 am wake-ups where you're kicking off the sheets.

Even better, this breathability is achieved without any compromise on comfort. The clever pillow top design means that, unlike the usual hybrid mattresses that feature a memory foam layer over a pocket spring base, this mattress instead uses a sewn-on 'pillow top' layer – packed with British wool and responsibly sourced natural plant-based fibres, Himalayan allo, kapok, and cotton – to add luxurious comfort to its pocket spring base. 

Alongside its foam-free inner, the Hypnos Pillow Top doesn't use chemical fire retardants like most synthetic mattresses, comes in eco-friendly packaging, and can be fully recycled at the end of its lifespan. The real only downside is the price, and a little less motion isolation than a pure foam mattress can provide.

Our full Hypnos Pillow Top mattress review has more detail.

Best 'infused' mattress

Panda Hybrid Bamboo mattressproduct badge

(Image credit: Panda)
A bamboo-infused hybrid mattress

Specifications

Sizes available: Single / Double / King / Super King / Emperor
Type: Hybrid (memory foam and pocket springs)
No. of springs: Up to 1500
Memory foam: Yes
Firmness: Medium-Firm
Depth: 27cm
Manufacturer trial offer: 100 night

Reasons to buy

+
Great for side and back sleepers
+
Pocket-spring support with memory foam cushioning for pressure points
+
100-night manufacturer sleep trial
+
Rolled delivery useful for homes with awkward access

Reasons to avoid

-
There are more affordable hybrid mattresses on the market

'Infusions' are big in the world of mattresses right now. From charcoal and green tea to copper and Panda's bamboo-infused foam, all manner of on-trend ingredients that have for the past few years been packed into health supplements and skincare products have now been picked up by mattress manufacturers and blended into mattress foam alongside promises they will provide better sleep.

So do infusions work? The jury's still out as far as we're concerned, however, in the case of Panda's Hybrid Bamboo Mattress, this mattress has plenty going for it beyond its top layer of bamboo-infused foam. 

Before testing this mattress, our reviewer's biggest sleep challenges were overheating and being disturbed by the movement of her partner sleeping adjacent. After six months of testing the Panda Hybrid Bamboo Mattress, she found she slept cooler in comparison to her old memory foam mattress – likely thanks to the Hybrid Bamboo Mattress' open-cell foam upper layer that allows for more airflow – and any tossing and turning from her husband was dampened by the combination of two layers of memory foam and a pocket spring core, so her sleep was less disturbed.

That said, the Panda Hybrid Bamboo mattress is an investment. Compared to the Simba Hybrid Original mattress at #1 in our round-up – which benefits from regular discounts that can often be reduced to half price – the Panda mattress is significantly more expensive, both at full RRP and, from our observations, during sale periods. And, whilst the Panda Hybrid Bamboo mattress' 100-night sleep trial is more than generous, it is still beaten by Simba's current 200-night trial. 

However, those sleep trials offer a brilliant way to test out which mattress is best for you, and if you're looking for a good all-rounder mattress that offers comfort, support, breathability, and motion isolation, the Panda Hybrid Bamboo mattress is well worth having on your radar.

Our full Panda Hybrid Bamboo mattress review has more detail.

Longest sleep trial

Nectar Memory Foam mattressproduct badge

(Image credit: Nectar)

10. Nectar Memory Foam mattress

A memory foam mattress with a super-long sleep trial

Specifications

Sizes available: Single / Small Double / Double / King / Super King
Type: Foam
No. of springs: None
Memory foam: Yes
Firmness: Medium-firm
Depth: 25cm
Manufacturer trial offer: 365 night

Reasons to buy

+
365-night sleep trial
+
Good for lighterweight side sleepers
+
Excellent motion-isolation to combat fidgety sleep partners
+
Mattress-in-a-box delivery useful for homes with awkward access

Reasons to avoid

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Lack of springs can mean it's too soft for heavierweight or front sleepers
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Lacks breathability which can lead to overheating
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If you lack mobility you may find changing position a little trickier
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Lack of edge support
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Took a while for the off-gassing smell to dissipate

Similar to the Emma Original mattress, the popular Nectar Memory Foam mattress is an all-foam affair with no springs in sight. However, if you're not yet sure if a memory foam mattress is the right choice for you, the Nectar Memory Foam mattress offers a whopping 365-night sleep trail to help you decide – that's 165 days more than Emma's current 200-night sleep trial.

Just like the Emma Original, the Nectar Memory Foam mattress is a very cushioning sleep surface that's a good option for side sleepers, with very little motion transfer thanks to the movement-dampening effect of the memory foam top layer. Nectar's mattress-in-a-box delivery also makes for easy delivery to homes and rooms with awkward access. 

Similarly to the Emma Original, that pure foam construction means the Nectar Memory Foam mattress may be a little too soft for those of us on the heavier side – a hybrid mattress or the Tempur Sensation memory foam mattress with its three firmness options will likely be the better choice in this case – and if you're a front sleeper then a memory-foam free mattress, like the Sealy Newton Posturepedic mattress or Hypnos Pillow Top Select mattress will offer better support.

So how to choose between the Emma Original and the Nectar Memory Foam mattress? Well, we have a few niggles with the Nectar option – largely the lack of side handles for rotation, the fact the cover isn't removable like the machine-washable Emma Original cover, and the 'new mattress' off-gassing smell that our reviewer found took longer to dissipate. Price-wise, the Nectar Memory Foam mattress is generally also the more expensive option at full RRP. 

But that said, regular Nectar discounts can mean that prices of the Nectar Memory Foam are sometimes slashed beyond that of the Emma Original, so in terms of affordability, it's all about when you shop. And, although Emma's 200-night sleep trial is very generous, we all know that time can fly, so a year's worth of snooze-testing is a big selling point.

Other mattress we've tested

Each month we put new mattresses through the Ideal Home review process – from popular bestsellers to the latest launches – to see how they compare to the best-in-class mattresses included in this round-up.

Whilst not all the mattresses we review make the grade and get included in this edit – perhaps they perform well but another option offers better value, they are outshone in one category of our review process, or they get replaced by a newer model – we've included some of the most popular mattresses we've reviewed below so that you can compare their pros and cons for yourself.

The Brook + Wilde Ultima mattress on an upholstered bed in a bedroom with decorative panelling

(Image credit: Brook + Wilde)

How to choose the best mattress

Finding the best mattress for your best night's sleep largely comes down to matching a mattress to your sleep preferences. So in this guide, we'll help you to decide which mattress is the best fit for you.

Straight off the bat, it's helpful to understand some basic mattress terminology. There are three main types of mattress construction – sprung, hybrid, and foam, and each has pros and cons that might make them more (or less) suitable for your sleeping arrangements.

Sprung mattresses

A sprung mattress is generally constructed with either coil springs – made from one continuous coiled spring unit – or pocket springs which are individually cased springs that move independently of each other. This layer of springs is then topped with either foam or natural-fill padding. 

Sprung mattresses tend to make the firmest mattresses and are the most bouncy. This can make them the easiest to change position on and make getting out of bed easier as your body doesn't sink into the surface as it will with a memory foam or hybrid mattress. That firmer surface is also great for front sleepers.

But, those same qualities can mean that you'll encounter increased motion transfer on a sprung mattress, as without the dampening effect of a memory foam or latex top layer, a partner's movement in the bed can be much more noticeable, so you might find there's more sleep disturbance if your sleep partner fidgets. 

Motion transfer is generally more of an issue on a coil spring mattress, as the single spring unit can easily transfer movement from one side of the bed to the other. Because pocket springs are housed individually within 'pockets', motion isolation is usually improved.

If you're a side sleeper then you may also find a sprung mattress a little too firm, as it doesn't offer the sink-in factor to cushion hips and shoulders that a pillow-top, hybrid, or memory foam mattress does.

Foam and memory foam mattresses

A foam mattress contains no springs. It will either feature a denser foam base layer topped by a more cushioned foam upper, or it may have the addition of a memory foam top layer. 

Generally, a foam mattress will be the cheapest mattress you can buy. They tend to be best for lighter-weight sleepers due to the lack of spring support, and they'll suit a side sleeper best as front and back sleepers may find the foam sinks too much for comfort. 

If you struggle with mobility, you might find it's harder to turn over on an all-foam mattress, and edge support can also be poor, which can make it harder to get up from. Sitting on the edge of the mattress you'll sink in rather than having a firmer surface to push up from. 

That sink-in factor is good news for motion isolation though, with an all foam mattress doing the best job of dampening the movements of any sleep partners for a night of less disturbed sleep. 

In general, a foam mattress is unlikely to last quite as long as a mattress that has spring support, and sometimes people report that an all-foam sleep surface gets dents and dips in it where they most commonly lay.

Hybrid mattresses

A hybrid mattress is a mix of the two previous construction types. It's a combination of supportive springs and a cushioning upper layer, usually made of memory foam, foam or latex. 

This combination works well for a wide range of sleepers – especially side sleepers – as the pocket springs offer good support, whilst the memory foam or latex upper adds some softness to cushion joints. 

That cushioned upper layer is also great news for motion isolation, with the sink-in top layer dampening the movements of a fidgety partner. 

The downsides are that there's not as much bounce compared to a pocket-spring mattress, and not everyone enjoys the sensation of memory foam moulding to their contours as they sleep, with hot sleepers often finding this leads to overheating. 

Front sleepers may also struggle on a hybrid mattress, with that cushioning top layer meaning hips sink in too low.

Eve mattress on a bed in a bedroom

(Image credit: Eve)

Sleep position

Your favourite sleeping position can be another big determining factor in which type of mattress you'll find the most comfortable, so it's important to consider whether you're predominantly a side, back, or front sleeper before you start mattress shopping. 

This is because the spine needs to be supported differently for optimum alignment in each of the respective sleep positions, and that's where mattress firmness comes into play. 

As a general rule, mattresses tend to range from soft-medium, medium, and medium-firm, to firm, and extra firm. However, there are no industry-wide standards of mattress firmness, so one manufacturer's medium rating can sometimes be another brand's firm. That's why we always try to include our tester's firmness findings in all of our reviews. 

Your mattress firmness preferences are always a personal decision – there are no right or wrong answers – but below are the generally agreed-upon recommendations for each type of sleeper.

The best mattress for side sleepers

Sleeping on your side allows your spine to relax and therefore takes the pressure off of the back. This makes it one of the healthiest ways to sleep. Side sleepers will generally prefer the cushioning of a medium-soft or medium-firm mattress that allows the shoulder and hips to sink in a little whilst supporting the waist so that the spine can rest in its most natural position.

A hybrid mattress that mixes a pocket-spring base layer with a memory foam or latex top layer can be a popular choice for this style of sleeping due to the cushioning effect that enables the mattress sleep surface to mould to the curves of the body and support natural spine alignment. 

If you're solely a side sleeper, then you could also opt for a more affordable all-foam mattress. This will save you some cash compared to a hybrid mattress, and you likely won't miss the additional spring support as much as a front or back sleeper.

The best mattress for back sleepers

If you're a back sleeper then a medium-firm mattress may well be the best option for you, as it will offer support to the hips and upper back whilst adding a little cushioning to support the lower back too.

Memory foam can also be a good option for this sleep position, although you'll likely want a slightly firmer surface than a side sleeper. You'll probably also prefer a hybrid or pocket-spring mattress for the additional support they offer as opposed to an all-foam mattress.

The best mattress for front sleepers

Generally, this is the sleep style least recommended by osteopaths due to the pressure it can put on the neck, however, front sleeping is still the position of choice for a minority of us. If this is you then your mattress choice could help eliminate some of the pressure put on your spine when sleeping in this position. 

A firm mattress is the best option here as it will keep the hips lifted rather than allowing them to sink, therefore reducing the unnatural curvature of the spine.

You're likely to sleep best on a pocket-spring mattress, as a hybrid mattress topped with memory foam, or an all-foam mattress, are both likely to be too soft for your needs.

A diagram showing different sleep positions

(Image credit: TBC)

Motion isolation

Sharing our bed can have a big impact on potential sleep disturbance, so it's an important factor to consider when choosing a mattress. 

Unfortunately, your mattress choice might not be able to eliminate all of your partner's annoying sleep habits, but if one of you tends to toss and turn in the night or fidget before finding the most comfortable sleep position, or you go to bed and get up at different times, then opting for a mattress with good motion isolation can prevent a lot of night-time disturbance. 

There are two main factors that help to add good motion isolation to a mattress. One is the addition of mini coil springs to a pocket spring or hybrid mattress. These smaller springs can help to absorb and reduce the amount of bounce in the mattress, and therefore reduce vibrations from one side of the mattress to the other  – so far less risk of your partner bouncing you out of bed as they exuberantly get in! 

The other is the addition of a cushioned top layer – like memory foam or latex – which will absorb and have a dampening effect on each partner's movements.

Both are well worth considering if a fidgety sleep buddy is waking you up at night!

Tempur mattress on a bed

(Image credit: Tempur)

Temperature regulation

If you regularly wake up too hot at night, then it could well be your mattress to blame. Our bodies naturally give off heat and moisture during the night, and with a synthetic mattress, this heat and humidity can be reflected toward the sleeper. 

Whether made from foam or memory foam, a synthetic mattress is constructed from materials that are a variation on polyester or polyurethane – both of them forms of plastic derived from petroleum – and, if you think of their essence as being similar to a plastic bag, it's easy to see why a synthetic mattress can lack breathability and get hot and sweaty pretty quickly! 

A mattress filled with natural materials will generally do the best job of offering breathability and providing the coolest sleep. In our tests, we've found wool-fill mattresses in particular are the hot sleeper's best friend. 

Wool does a great job at regulating temperature throughout the night, helping those prone to overheating or night sweats to maintain a comfortable, steady temperature, and therefore secure a deeper night's sleep. No wonder, seeing as a sheep's temperature-regulating fleece keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer! Wool is also naturally absorbent, wicking moisture away from the body and releasing it into the air, therefore creating a 'breathable' mattress that's ideal for hot sleepers.

An entry-level natural-fill or wool-filled mattress will generally be more of an investment than an entry-level synthetic mattress, but if night-time overheating is affecting your sleep quality then it can be an investment in your wellbeing that's well worth making.

If overheating is a concern but you want the affordability of a synthetic mattress, then look out for terms like 'air-flow' and 'cooling' which generally demonstrate attempts have been made to allow the dissipation of heat away from the body. A wool mattress protector or mattress topper can also do a great job of helping to combat the overheating associated with a synthetic mattress.

Nectar mattress in a bedroom

(Image credit: Nectar)

Sleep trials

A wide range of mattress manufacturers now offer sleep trials to allow you to test out a mattress in the comfort of your own home, night after night, before committing.

This can be a great way of taking some of the stress out of this major investment purchase, especially as experts tend to say it can take up to three months to get used to sleeping on a new mattress.

You'll usually have to pay for the mattress upfront, and there will generally be terms and conditions to abide by to qualify for a return and refund so always check the small print, but a sleep trial can be a great way to find out of a mattress is the right fit for you.

Generally speaking, you'll need to buy from the mattress manufacturer directly to take advantage of a sleep trial, and trial periods can differ considerably in length, with Emma and Simba both currently offering a 200-night sleep trial, and Nectar offering a whopping 365 nights.

How we test mattresses

Ideal Home's 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.

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)

In order to compile this guide to the best mattresses you can shop, our mattress reviewers have tested out bestselling mattresses from the leading brand names in the world of sleep. Each mattress has then been rated, and compared by our sleep experts, and only our top recommendations are included in this guide.

amy lockwood
Amy Lockwood

Amy is the Ideal Home team's Consumer Expert for all things sleep-related. She regularly tests out the best-in-class mattresses and commissions reviews of the latest launches for this guide. 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.

You can click here to find out more about how we review products at Ideal Home, and here to find out how we test mattresses specifically. You can rest assured that we only recommend mattresses that our team of reviewers has tested in person. 

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.

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)

We test out the mattress' comfort, motion isolation, edge support, breathability, and temperature regulation to find the best mattress for a variety of needs. 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.

Amy Lockwood
Content Editor

After studying Print Design at Winchester School of Art, Amy spent multiple years working in the interior industry as a copywriter, content creator, and product stylist. She’s now Content Editor at Ideal Home, offering expert advice on the best products for decorating your home and ensuring it functions smoothly. That includes sourcing stylish yet affordable furniture – from the best sofa beds for combining style, comfort, and function, to the best artificial Christmas trees for a stress-free festive season – helping our readers to find the best mattress for their sleep style, and testing top-rated dehumidifiers and air purifiers to narrow down the best-in-class.

With contributions from