Find your perfect mattress with our ultimate buying guide

Written by: Editorial Team


Time to read 9 min

How can you tell when you need a new mattress?

You can’t afford to underestimate the importance of your mattress given that a good night’s sleep is so vital to our health and general well-being. Buying a new mattress can however feel overwhelming since there are many different options available plus for most people it’s a major investment that will need to last for years.

So that’s why we’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know before you make your decision. Remember, despite what some mattress brands may advertise, there is no such thing as the 'perfect’ mattress for everyone. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and budget. 


How to choose a mattress

It’s important to keep an eye out for any signs that your mattress may need replacing, including:

  1. Unevenness and sagging in your mattress caused by wear.
  2. Poor quality sleep so constantly feeling tired throughout the day.
  3. Regularly waking up in pain, with stiffness or soreness in your back or neck.
  4. Finding yourself sleeping better in another bed (and even on the sofa), than you do in your own bed.
  5. Moving constantly during the night trying to find a comfortable sleeping position.

How long a mattress lasts will depend on many factors but based on type you can expect approximately the following lifespan from each type of mattress:

  • Innerspring: 5-8 years
  • Memory Foam: 8-10 years
  • Hybrid: 8-10 years

What Size Mattress do you need?

Bed Size Width Length
Single 90cm 190cm
Small Double 120cm 190cm
Double 135cm 190cm
King 150cm 200cm
Super King 180cm 200cm

Factors to consider when choosing a new mattress

What Firmness do You Need?

How firm your mattress is will affect how well you sleep. Your sleeping position, your weight, and whether you suffer with back or joint pain, will influence the level of firmness you need. “Firmness” is not precisely the same as ‘support’. It’s the initial hard or soft feeling when you first lie on the mattress. A very firm mattress will generally have minimal sinkage when you lie on it and feel a bit hard. Conversely, a very soft mattress will have deep levels of sinkage and feel very soft when you lie on it. Firmness is highly subjective and if you sleep with a partner, you may need to consider their needs and preferences as well.

Do you suffer with joint or back pain?

If you suffer with back or joint pain, sleeping on the wrong mattress can either lead to, or worsen pain. You need to make sure that your mattress provides proper support, spinal alignment, and pressure point relief. Medium-firm mattresses are more effective at relieving back pain than firm mattresses. The pillow you use will also affect your sleeping position and back alignment so make sure you pick one that suits your needs. Take a look at our Pillow Guide to find out more.

How much do you weigh?

Weight is also a factor you should consider when trying to choose the best mattress for yourself as gravity will cause heavier sleepers (over 300 lbs) to have a different experience than lightweight sleepers (under 150 lbs) with the same materials. The heavier the sleeper is, the firmer the mattress should be. People who are over 15 stone often find memory foam mattress to be the most comfortable. Sleepers that are lighter than average often prefer softer beds. This is because their lighter weight may reduce contouring, and they may also have less natural padding around pressure points.

What position do you sleep in?

How much you weigh can play a role in mattress comfort, as gravity will cause heavier sleepers to have a different experience than smaller people.

Petite: People that are very thin or lighter than average often prefer softer beds. This is because their lighter weight may reduce contouring, and they may also have less natural padding around pressure points.

Heavier: The heavier you are, the firmer the mattress should be. People who are over 15 stone often finding memory foam as the most comfortable.

Side Sleepers

If you suffer with back pain or joint pain, sleeping on the wrong mattress can either lead to, or worsen pain. Therefore, make sure your mattress provides proper support, spinal alignment and pressure point relief. This will address persistent upper and lower back pain as well as shoulder and neck pain.

The old adage that ‘firmer is better’ may not now be accurate. Studies have found that that medium-firm mattresses are more effective at relieving chronic low back pain than firm mattresses. Based on everything we've looked at, medium-firm memory foam mattresses seem best for those suffering back pain, as they have higher ratings for pain relief compared to spring beds. Generally, high density foam (5 lbs+) provides the best support and optimal spinal alignment.

Back Sleepers

A relatively uncommon sleeping position placing most of your body weight on your upper back, bottom, and heels.

If you’re inclined to sleep on your back, you will generally require a firmer mattress to provide support along the length of your spine. A lack of support can cause back or neck pain however, a mattress that is too firm can cause painful pressure points.

Your ideal mattress firmness is likely in the medium to medium-firm range 5-8 out of 10 (where 10 is the firmest). Heavier sleepers may prefer something on the firmer side whilst lighter back sleepers may prefer something on the softer side of this range.

Hybrid beds with a top layer of gentle foam (memory foam or latex) often work well for back sleepers.

Stomach Sleepers

This is the most uncommon sleeping position, placing pressure on your chest, face, and elbows. A mattress that is too soft can allow your lower back to sag downward or place added tension on your neck. Firmer mattresses provide better spinal alignment and prevent unwanted sag or sinkage.

Your ideal mattress is in the medium-firm range (5-8 out of 10 (where 10 is the firmest).

Heavier stomach sleepers should consider a firmer mattress like a 7-8 out of 10 for the best support whilst lighter stomach sleepers may prefer a softer mattress—something like a 5 or 6 out of 10.

Which Mattress Type?

Among consumers, there are two types of mattresses that stand out: pocket sprung and memory foam. At first glance these two mattresses provide the best comfort, support and quality on the market, and it seems you would be hard-pressed to find a better option out there. However, there are a few key differences between pocket sprung and memory foam mattresses and knowing what these are is crucial in helping you choose the one that’s right for you.

Pocket Sprung Mattress

This is the most traditional and popular type of mattress. It tends to feel quite luxurious as it’s made from individual, small springs housed in separate pockets of fabric which compress when you put weight on them to create a more precise level of contour, lower motion transfer, and better support. It is therefore a good option if you’re looking for a bed for two people as the springs move independently to cater for your different weights and minimise the risk of you rolling towards your partner during the night. Any sleeping position can be supported, and different levels of firmness are available depending on your preference.

It is more breathable than memory foam so is a good option if you tend to get hot during the night and can also be filled with natural materials such as wool which is a natural regulator of temperature. The downside is that it will require turning and is heavier than other mattress types.

Ideally you should aim for a mattress that has 1,000 springs or more, the general rule being more springs means higher quality. More springs also means the firmer the mattress, so best for those sleepers who prefer a springy feeling, as opposed to a sinking one. It also generally means better pressure relief and support since the weight of the sleeper is more widely distributed amongst the entire mattress surface. 

Open Spring Mattress

The Open Spring mattress also known as Open Coil, is a popular mattress type and generally they are a cheaper compared to a pocket sprung mattress so a good option if you have a limited budget. It has interconnected springs and is topped with a variety of different comfort layer top options. There are typically around 300 springs in an open coil mattress and it tends to have more give than other mattresses such as pocket sprung or memory foam so is less supportive. A plus point is that it does not always need turning and for those that do, they are usually easy to do as they are often very light weight. On the negative side they tend to sag quickly and wear out. wear out and sagging quickly. They also tend to move around a lot with you as you sleep so if you are a restless sleeper this may not be the right option for you. 

Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam is a mouldable material which responds to body heat and weight so contours to the shape of your body so best for sleepers who want a pronounced ‘hug’ feeling from their mattress. It provides good pressure relief for joints and is an ideal option for those who need support, or suffer from a bad back as it cradles the body’s curves whilst supporting the back’s muscular and bone structure, whatever position you sleep in. It is also a good option for restless sleepers and for couples as it isolates movement and reduces noise from any tossing and turning in bed.

Memory foam comes in a wide variety of formulations and quality levels. Foam densities can be dramatically different so just because a mattress says it includes memory foam does not mean it’s a good memory foam. Higher densities will generally last longer but may also cause the material to sleep warmer. However, many memory foam mattresses now incorporate a gel-infused foam layer to prevent overheating and to aid temperature regulation.
Overall, memory foam mattresses are durable and supportive for most sleep styles, but they are an especially good choice for side sleepers and back sleepers who want cushioning support and for those sleepers who experience joint pain and discomfort. They also have hypo-allergenic properties so are the best option for allergy sufferers. Coil or pocket sprung mattresses are less favourable because of the space between the coils, which act like an incubator for dust mites. However because the memory foam contours to your body and can sleep warm, it may not be that comfortable for stomach sleepers, who need firm support and breathability whilst lying face down.

Hybrid Mattress (Pocket Sprung/Open Coil & Memory Foam)

Hybrid mattresses offer a combination of both springs and foam. They are best for sleepers whose preferences fall in the middle of what spring and foam mattresses can offer. So, it is softer than a spring one but without the sinking feeling of foam and offers pressure point relief without compromising back support. Due to their pocketed spring support core, they are still bouncy, yet their foam comfort layer offers good motion isolation, so sleepers aren’t disturbed by others getting up or shifting positions in bed. The mattress also offers better cooling than a pure foam mattress as the pocketed springs, are less likely to trap heat. Cooling gel layers are also often incorporated so they can regulate temperature better than pure foam mattresses.