Best mattress 2020: Sleep well no matter your budget
Memory foam isn't the only option - find the best mattress that's right for you.
Finding the best mattress for you may not be the most exciting purchase. In fact, we're pretty sure that when you hand over your cash or your bank details for your next one you'll be wondering whether it's really worth it. Of course, the night time then rolls around and you realise you'd have paid double for the soft, cosy, supportive feel of a brand new sleep experience.
UPDATE: Could the next big thing in mattresses be climate control? At CES 2020 earlier this year (the big tech expo where all the new stuff for 2020 is on show), sleep brand Sleep Number showed off a new way to sleep called the Climate 360 Bed. It does what you'd expect, allows you to control the temperature of your bed depending on your sleep cycling, helping you get a better night's sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed. We're not sure it'll ever become mainstream, but it's an interesting direction in the drive to hack our sleep.
You might also want to check out our new guide to buying a mattress which can be found below our ShortList. Featuring expert opinion, top tips and a host of interesting information about the world of sleep and mattresses, it's well worth a read. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the best mattress advice around.
Although that may sound dreamy, finding the best mattress for you does mean weighing up a lot of different choices. For example, do you need to opt for pocket strung? Foam? Hybrid? There are a lot of choices out there – as well as a lot of bold marketing claims.
Whatever your mattress choice, an upgrade is bound to result in a better night’s sleep, plus, if you invest in one with good support, you'll have fewer aches and pains in the morning. Given the rise of box-fresh designs delivered straight to your door, there’s also no excuse not to upgrade because it's a hassle - now it really doesn't have to be.
That said, the market is crowded. You’ll find everything from those made of natural materials (ideal for regulating your temperature as you slumber) to memory foam marvels. Often touted as a recent innovation, memory foam was actually developed in 1966 for NASA, before making its way into mattresses in the 1980s.
Memory foam is supremely squishy and comfy, but as it retains heat well, it may not suit sleepers who like to stay cool, as well as those who may needed a firmer mattress to keep their back ache-free. With that in mind, head to our list below and choose a new bedfellow. Listed prices are for standard doubles.
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- Now you have the best mattress, you will also beed to find the best pillow. Sleeping soundly,? Good. Wake up with the best coffee machines
1. The Nectar Memory Foam
While most mattresses offer 100-night trials, Nectar goes one better. Not only do you have a whole year to decide if it’s for you, there’s a ‘forever’ warranty, so any worries about sagging can quite literally be put to bed. Service aside, it’s a well-designed product, with a quilted memory foam cooling cover to whisk away excess body heat, two types of memory foam and a non-slip base. Users describe its support as medium firm, making it best for front or back sleepers rather than side snoozers.
2. Eve Original
If a restless sleeper turns your mattress into something more like a trampoline, Eve’s Original design could be for you. Its memory foam isolates movement to reduce motion transfer, with three layers of foam to support your body whether you’re a side, front or back sleeper. The top one is probably the most important. Rather than traditional memory foam, it’s a springy foam that helps to keep you cool. A final thoughtful touch is the non-slip coating so your mattress stays firmly on your bed base.
3. Casper Hybrid
Mattress company Casper has three different styles on offer: The Casper, The Essential and The Hybrid. The Casper has memory foam, The Essential doesn't, but is super comfy anyway, and The Hybrid offers a super supportive mixture of the two.
It's got Casper's signature foam, which is known for being particularly pressure-relieving, as well as an added layer of high-quality springs. That's a good balance because you have bounce and support – which is great for anyone with back pain, as well as those who prefer to sleep on their side.
4. Loaf Muffin Top
With a name like Muffin Top, how could this handmade pillow-top mattress ever disappoint? Its built-in topper is made from natural latex for squidgy-ness without the sweat, while underneath it’s filled with wool and cotton to help regulate your body temperature. There are also individual pocket springs for plenty of support. One final reason to love it is the 100-night trial. Like so many beds in a box, you can give it a go without the big commitment.
5. Naturalmat Superb
Stuffed with organic lambswool, the Superb is Naturalmat’s most popular mattress. At its heart are hand-nested pocket springs in cotton pockets, tensioned to create soft, medium or firm comfort, surrounded by natural latex. This itself is made from tapped tree sap filled with tiny air bubbles so the mattress remains breathable yet supportive. The finishing touch is a hypoallergenic cotton cover to ward away dust mites, mosquitos and moths – so you can slumber sneeze and scratch-free.
6. Simba Hybrid
Foam-based mattresses are usually just that – a giant sandwich of foam – but this hybrid design differs. As well as five layers, it features 2,500 conical pocket springs to balance the sinky nature of foam with the support of springs. The springs also help ensure it feels as firm whether you’re lying at the edge or in the middle – great if you sleep next to a wriggler. On top, you’ll find a cooling layer to prevent warmer sleepers from overheating and a zip-off, washable hypoallergenic cover.
7. Tempur Hybrid Elite
It might feature the same ingredients as other hybrids (memory foam and pocket springs) but the Tempur version does it rather better, feeling distinctly luxurious and slightly more supportive thanks to its micro coils. Where the Elite scores a real win for convenience is in its QuickRefresh cover, which zips off the top, so you can wash it without having to remove the bottom section. If you’re a back pain sufferer looking to be cradled to sleep, we can safely say the search is over.
8. Bensons iGel Orion Platinum
Gel – not just for hair and nails, but also mattresses. The clever iGel crystals in this medium-firm design work to keep you at the right temperature, absorbing excess heat when you’re too hot, and releasing stored heat to warm you up. And just like memory foam, the iGel helps to ease the pressure points that lead to aches. However, the main support comes from 2500 pocket springs encased in foam, meaning that even if you toss and turn, you’ll find a comfy spot.
9. Sealy Activ Pocket Memory 2400
Sealy isn't the only manufacturer to associate good sleep with wellness but there’s no mistaking it’s at the heart of the Activsleep range. The Activ Pocket Memory 2400 incorporates everything you’d expect from a mattress designed to help you have a more restful night – memory foam plus pocket springs and mini springs for comfort, ‘smart’ fibres to prevent overheating and an anti-allergy ingredient called Purotex. As it’s hand-tufted, it may not suit those who like the softer things in life, but otherwise it’s a good all-rounder.
10. Harrison Spinks Somnus Legacy Apsley 14,500
For those who feel that at least a third of their lives should be spent in well-sprung comfort, the Apsley delivers. Not only is it home to 12,000 ‘intelligent’ pocket springs that help to distribute weight when compressed – then ping back to their original height so you need never flip your mattress – it’s made with lots of lovely natural materials. Inside, it’s stuffed with sustainable Wensleydale wool for temperature control, as well as natural latex that moulds like memory foam but stays breathable.
11. Casper Essential
Casper describes its products as ‘obsessively engineered’ and given the Essential was deemed "best boxed" by Which? this year, it’s a pretty believable claim. More affordable and slightly firmer than the original, it features the same foam construction but without the memory foam on top. Instead, you’ll find two layers, firm on the bottom, soft on top, all in a washable cover that zips off. It’s better for lightweight sleepers and those who dislike the sinky feeling of memory foam but still want softness.
How To Buy A Mattress: A ShortList Guide
Is finding the right mattress for your needs really that important?
In short, yes. Everybody’s body is different and therefore mattress requirements differ from person to person. Finding the right mattress can mean the difference between helping reduce existing problems with the right level of support and making those aches and pains worse by not offering the right level of firmness.
“Mattresses play a massive role in the quality of our sleep given the fact that we spend 7.5 hours a day, 229 hours per month, 1/3 of our lives asleep. Putting it simply: sleep is a prerequisite for life!” notes Joe Molloy, Founding Director of Tielle Love Luxury. “Our general aim is to achieve a minimum of two hours a night in the deepest of our sleep patterns to allow our bodies to recuperate from the day.”
What makes a good mattress?
“It should provide the correct amount of tension to allow the body to rest,” notes Molloy. According to the founder, the perfect mattress should provide “movement and support in equal measure, making sure shoulders and hips are able to sink into the mattress for maximum all-over support.”
“The unique thing about mattresses is that it isn’t a case of one size fits all. Depending on your body type, the way that you move during your sleep and the amount of support you require, the ideal mattress can vary massively from one person to the next. Unfortunately, there really are no shortcuts for picking the right mattress.” In other words, it’s a case of testing out mattresses relentlessly until you get to know what you’re looking for and what’s comfortable for you.
What factors should you consider when buying a mattress?
“When choosing a mattress that it is best for us, height, weight and shape should all be factored into making the correct choice,” notes Molloy. “Irrespective of composition, the mattress must comfortably support the entire body and keep the spine as straight as possible. Your hips and shoulders should sink into the mattress whilst waist and lower back are equally supported. Take time to ensure movement during sleep is free and easy.
“Broadly speaking there are three main types of mattress that are currently purchased: continuous coil, pocket sprung and memory foam. All offer support but do so in slightly different ways. The traditional continuous coil type uses a series of coil springs and is the oldest and most traditional form of sprung mattress. The generally more expensive method of pocket sprung mattress uses a large number of independent pocket springs allowing different levels of support in the same bed frame and is particularly good if the weight varies widely between sleeping partners.
“The most recent development of ‘memory foam’ mattresses mould and shape themselves to an individual’s body to offer the necessary support . The downside in my personal view is that they do tend to create more heat and be less breathable and arguably limit freedom of movement. Like everything in life, there are few pros and a few cons to each option,” Molloy notes.
Is there a big difference between a rolled box mattress and shop brought spring mattresses?
“The most recent development in mattresses for sale are in the offer of a rolled mattress in a box which expands on opening,” notes Molloy. Examples of these are offerings like the Casper Hybrid and Casper Essential mattresses that come delivered in a compact box and offer extended returns policies after a trial period.
“This is certainly innovative and of course super convenient from a transport point of view, but it does by its very nature severely limit the choice of filling that construction of the mattress allows,”
How much should you spend?
In simple terms? According to Molloy, “the short answer is: as much or as little as it takes to get the correct level of support needed.”
“If you wanted a good each way bet, why not choose a slightly firmer mattress in the full knowledge that if you want to soften it a bit at any stage down the line, that extra softness and unashamed luxury can be added after with the purchase of a luxury mattress topper. Go on have your cake and eat it too!”