Choosing a mattress can be incredibly difficult.
There are so many different types, different prices different kinds and if you go to a showroom you’ve got nothing but sleazy salesmen upselling you at every turn. No fun.
So I put together this guide to bring you all the information you need when you’re buying a mattress.
I’ve broken it down into different sections starting with the types of mattress and then going into some of the different needs you might have to finish up with some of the extras you actually might need.
I hope you find it useful! If you’ve got any questions leave a comment at the end and I’ll be sure to get back to you.
Let’s Look At The Types of Mattress
So let’s start at the beginning and take a look at the different types of mattress you can buy. There are three main types of mattress worth looking which are spring, memory foam and hybrid mattress which are a combination of both.
Spring mattresses are the most common and are what have been used for decades. Tried and tested they have a nice firm feel and plenty of bounce back in them making them nice and comfortable. But within the realm of spring mattresses, you have two types open coil and pocket sprung.
Open coil is when all the springs are joined together on a big grid, these aren’t the best and are quite old fashioned so should be avoided where possible. The only advantage is that they’re cheap. They don’t offer much support and you get a lot of movement so if you’re sharing with a partner you’re going to know about it every time they roll over.
The second and preferred type is pocket sprung. Pocket sprung mattresses are great because they are individual springs each sewn into their own little case so that each one can move independently of the one it’s beside. This allows them to form around your body better giving you more support and a more comfortable night’s sleep. And even though open coil mattresses are cheaper you can still get some really good deals on pocket sprung mattresses.
The final thing you need to know about the pocket sprung mattress is spring count. Generally the higher the spring count the more expensive it is because the springs need to be smaller and so they cost more to make. But more springs also leads to a softer feel because the pressure is more evenly distributed and each part of you gets the exact support it needs. It’s measured as the number of spring in a king size mattress and less than 1000 is a no go, 1000-2000 is the sweet spot and 2000+ is even better if you can afford it. Check out our guide to the best pocket sprung mattresses.
Memory foam is a little newer coming to us from NASA. NASA was originally trying to develop a seat cushion for the space shuttle that could give the best support for landings and take off, they then released their formula to the world and experts have steadily refined it into the material we have now in our mattresses.
Memory foam is viscoelastic which means it softens when touched by heat, so when you lie on it, your body heat causes it soften and it perfectly moulds around your body giving you ideal support and a feeling of sleeping on a cloud. If you’ve never tried it before it can take some getting used to but it is well worth it.
The problem with memory foam can be that it gets very warm because the heat can’t escape the dense material but a lot of modern manufacturers have solved this problem by adding in different layers through the mattress and adding air vents between them so the comfort isn’t affected but the extra heat has a chance to escape. Check out my guide to the best memory foam mattresses
Hybrid mattress are a combination of spring and memory foam. This can lead to a really great sleeping experience because you get the best of both worlds. You get slightly more bounce back from the springs (usually pocket spring) and the extra support of the memory foam so if you have a bad back this is a really great choice. Normally a little more expensive but if you have a tendency to wake up with aches and pains it is well worth it. The Simba mattress is a great example of a hybrid mattress.
Choosing The Best Mattress For Couples
If you’re a couple you want a bed big enough for the two of you so at least a double, but personally I’m quite tall so I prefer a king size. Next, you want a mattress you can move around in without bouncing your partner around. Because you likely don’t follow the same schedule so you want to be able to get up and come to bed with as little disturbance as possible.
With that in mind either memory foam or pocket sprung will be your best bets, memory foam causes no cross bed movement and is really comfy while you might want the extra bounce you get from a pocket sprung mattresses. It’s still not so much that you’ll get bounced out of bed but enough to give you a spring in your step in the morning.
Choosing the Best Mattress For Back Pain
There is nothing worse than waking up with back pain in the morning. It’s just a horrible way to start the day, so ideally you want to get a memory foam mattress because they provide the best support along your spine. Once your spine is properly supported and aligned you can rest easy in any position and wake up feeling fresh, not sore.
The same is true for any other joint pain you might wake up with. Whether it’s sore hips, shoulders knees or elbows it can all stem from a bad mattress. Check out our recommendations for the best mattress for back pain
Choosing The Best Cheap Mattress
It’s no secret that buying a new mattress is not a cheap activity. A new mattress can cost thousands of pounds (though a really great one certainly doesn’t have to!) so for many people, the best of the best is out of reach.
Fortunately there are still a lot of great cheap mattresses available. Just take all the information I’ve given about the different types of mattress and apply it to the one you like! Try and avoid open coil if you can is my main point but if you need some help I’ve written up a great guide on buying the best cheap mattress to make your life a little easier.
Don’t forget about mattress toppers!
Of course if it’s a comfort upgrade you’re looking for you might be better off going with a straight up mattress topper, a fraction of the cost of a new mattress and they can still provide you with a real bed upgrade and have you sleeping like royalty again. Check out my guide to the best mattress toppers if you’re looking for some more information.
Now you’ve chosen a new mattress it’s time to protect it.
Mattress protectors are an absolute essential for any new mattress. They help improve the life of the mattress by keeping out dust mites and protecting against any stains, spilled your Saturday morning coffee? No problem! You’ve got a mattress protector.
The main thing to look out for of course is that you don’t want one that crinkles around underneath you and makes you feel like you’re in a hospital bed. Yuck. In my guide to the best mattress protectors I’ve found some really great really soft ones that will do just the trick if you’re looking for some recommendations!
Lastly who gives a sheet?
Now you’ve got your mattress protected you want to finish it off with some great sheets. But sheets can be surprisingly confusing, different thread counts, different materials, it’s a minefield!
Well the most important point is the thread count. Generally, a higher thread count is better because it means that there are more threads per square inch of the sheet making it feel softer. But, through modern manufacturing techniques, there are now machines that can jack up the thread count by sort of cross stitching the threads together. This makes it no more comfortable but looks really good in marketing so they can jack up the prices.
So ideally you have a thread count of about 800 being the peak in softness and anything over that should certainly be questioned. If you see sheets that are up around the 2000 thread count you know you’re being swindled. I’ve also got an article on the best bed sheets for those looking for a recommendation.
Don’t you need to try a mattress before you buy it?
20 years ago that was certainly the case but now online mattress retailers are booming with one size fits all mattresses that are great for every type of sleeper and all shapes and sizes that are sold exclusively online.
Then companies such as the Eve mattress offer a 100-night trial where you can order the mattress online get it delivered next day and have over three months of trying it out before you fully make up your mind. Not happy? They’ll come pick it up and give you a full refund.
What Do I Do With My Old Mattress?
Getting rid of an old mattress can be even more of a problem than finding a new one to buy. Please, please, please don’t fly tip it somewhere they’re so big and cause such a nuisance if they’re just left in a park somewhere. What you can do is contact your local council. They often have schemes where they will come and collect big items if they’re left by the bins.
Or you talk to whoever is supplying your new mattress and they might be able to take it away when you get your new one delivered. The final option and it’s likely the most hassle free is Mattress Next Day of offer mattress disposal, so you pay them to come round with proper packaging, you package up the mattress and they take it away on a day of your choosing. Nice and straight forward.
Any other questions about buying the best mattress? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll happily respond to anything you’d like to know.