10 best mattresses 2021

02 February 2021

woman in bed

A solid night’s sleep is the Holy Grail for parents and, if you want some good kip, you need a good mattress first. We reveal the 10 best mattresses to buy this year.

Given that we spend a third of our lives asleep, a mattress is one of the most important purchases we'll make. The right one can mean the difference between feeling well-rested and feeling groggy or in pain, and we all know the sheer joy of getting into a truly comfortable bed.

A mattress could set you back thousands, so it’s worth taking some time to carefully consider what you want and pinpoint the mattress that will do that for you.

Here are the best mattresses according to mumsnet users.

1. Best overall mattress: Eve The Premium Hybrid Mattress

1. Best overall mattress: Eve The Premium Hybrid Mattress

If you’re having trouble finding something to suit both you and a sleeping partner, or if you just want the best of both worlds, Eve’s The Premium Hybrid ticks all the boxes.

Firstly, it’s made of both foam and springs, so you have the firmness of its (count ‘em) 1,500 springs, and then a squishy and comfortable layer of foam on top for that ‘aaaahh’ factor. Secondly, it’s great for side-, back- and front-sleepers (many mattresses don’t work so well for all three). And finally, while it keeps you nice and cosy, unlike many memory foam mattresses, it doesn’t let you overheat.

We like the fact that the antibacterial top panel can be removed and washed at 40 degrees too, so you can take your cuppa up to bed with you with impunity.

Eve is a bed-in-a-box product so it’s delivered to your door ready to be unrolled. The people at Eve are big on customer service and they do all they can to make the whole process as stress-free as a good night’s sleep. Best of all, if you find The Premium Hybrid is not for you, you have 100 nights to change your mind.

Need to know

  • 100 nights to see if you like it
  • 10-year warranty
  • Rotate (don’t flip) once a month for first six months
  • Washable cover
  • Available as a double, king or superking

Price: £978 (double)

Check out the Mumsnet-recommended Emma Original Mattress – £529 from Amazon

Buy now from Eve Sleep

2. Best budget mattress: IKEA Hövåg Mattress

“I bought the Hövåg mattress and can't recommend it enough. Everyone who stays here says how comfortable it is. Best part of it was the fact that it came rolled up and it was so easy to get up the stairs.”

2. Best budget mattress: IKEA Hövåg Mattress

Mumsnetters swear by the Hövåg for a really good night’s sleep at a price that will give you sweet dreams too.

We wouldn’t generally have high expectations of a double mattress that costs under £200, but this has impressed Mumsnet users time and again.

The Hövåg is a basic pocket sprung mattress with a firm feel, so opt for the medium-firm option unless you like a seriously firm bed.

The springs have a thick layer of soft filling surrounding them which gives a real hotel-style feel. Many reviews say that there's little difference in feel between the Hövåg and a handmade mattress worth thousands of pounds.

It comes rolled so it’s easy to transport home yourself, but it's also available online for home delivery.

Need to know

  • Pocket sprung
  • Available as firm or medium-firm
  • Can be bought as a single, double, king and superking as well as several non-standard UK sizes
  • One-sided so you need to rotate rather than flip
  • 365 nights return policy

Price: £179 (standard double)

Buy now from IKEA

3. Best memory foam mattress: Tempur Cloud Mattress

“I love my Tempur. My considerable neck, back, hip and pelvis problems caused by three pregnancies with massive babies and no stomach muscles, are virtually cured now that I don't get scrunched up in bed. I sleep so much better (well, apart from the kids waking me up). I sometimes wake in the same position I fell asleep. I will never go back.”

3. Best memory foam mattress: Tempur Cloud Mattress

Tempur memory foam was originally designed for NASA astronauts to support them during lift-off, so we’re pretty happy that they’re supportive enough for a light snooze here on earth.

The Tempur Cloud has an extra-soft top layer to give you a light-as-air feeling as you drift off to sleep. It feels much less solid than some memory foam models, which some people may not get on well with. But, with 100 nights to change your mind, you can afford to give it a go.

What it’s really good at, according to Tempur, is “reducing motion transfer” (or “stopping your partner disturbing your sleep” to you and I). The many layers of high-tech foam means that, when one of you tosses and turns, the other is left undisturbed.

There’s no doubt this the Tempur Cloud is an investment, but the smart design and high-tech materials used means you can see precisely where your money is going and reap the benefits. It really is like sleeping on a cloud.

Need to know

  • 100 nights return
  • 10-year warranty
  • Free mattress protector if buying through Tempur
  • Can't be turned
  • Removable covers washable at 60 degrees
  • Available in three depths (Supreme, Elite and Luxe)
  • Available as single, double, king, superking, short single, long single and several other non-standard sizes

Price: £1,675 (double)

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

4. Best firm mattress: IKEA Hokkåsen Mattress

“It’s changed my sleep entirely. I got the firm Hokkåsen and I will honestly never buy another mattress. When this one gives up, I’m getting another. It makes me feel warm and cosy and supported, and I’ve never slept so good in my life.”

4. Best firm mattress: IKEA Hokkåsen Mattress

Sleepers who like a lot of support recommend this IKEA mattress for its firm yet comfy feel.

The Hokkåsen is a bit thicker than other IKEA mattresses and has individually-wrapped pocket springs, with a layer of mini pocket springs on top of that. The whole thing is topped with a layer of latex firm to give extra cushioning.

This is a great price for a mattress, particularly if you want to feel supported in bed (and who doesn’t?), and is ideal for pregnancy or those with hip or back pain.

Because it’s IKEA, ordering is simple and it even comes with a 365-day grace period if you happen to change your mind.

Need to know

  • 365 days to change your mind
  • Available as double, king and superking
  • Choose between firm and medium-firm

Price: £379 (double)

Buy now from IKEA

5. Best soft mattress: Sealy Nostromo Mattress

“We have the Sealy. It’s amazing.”

5. Best soft mattress: Sealy Nostromo Mattress

If you’re a Princess and the Pea type of sleeper and want a mattress that’s really soft, the Nostromo by Sealy (confusingly also known as the Teramo for reasons unknown) might be your ideal bedfellow.

Soft mattresses, it’s worth knowing, are generally intended for people who have a light bodyweight – about eight stone is the rule of thumb. That’s not to say they’re unsuitable for others if that’s the feel you want, but they may not last as long.

The Nostromo, however, is really well-built and classes itself as a medium-feel mattress, but happens to have a super-soft feel to it. When Which? tested it, they said that it was particularly durable and would offer good support for most people.

The 1,400 individually-encased pocket springs give you support just where you need it, and are topped with a latex layer that provides comfort and support. It also helps to distribute your bodyweight over the mattress.

The materials are hypoallergenic and antibacterial and include Tencel, a breathable eco-friendly fibre that helps to regulate your temperature, stopping you from overheating and becoming uncomfortable.

Handmade in the UK, this is a mattress that will stand the test of time and will suit smaller, lighter people extremely well.

Need to know

  • Also known as the Teramo
  • Five-year guarantee
  • One-sided, so make sure you rotate , not flip

Price: £544 (double)

Buy now from Amazon

6. Best mattress for side-sleepers: Emma Hybrid Mattress

“We love our Emma! Best purchase ever and I wake up with no aches!”

6. Best mattress for side-sleepers: Emma Hybrid Mattress

For side-sleepers who need a bit of support to keep their spine aligned at bedtime, the Emma Hybrid (not to be confused with The Premium Hybrid) is an excellent choice.

Like other hybrid mattresses, it’s made up of premium steel springs as well as high-quality memory foam that won’t sag or soften over the years. In fact, in testing, Which? said it was one of the most durable mattresses they had tried.

The five layers of different memory foams allow this mattress to contour beautifully to your body, which is what makes it so good for side-sleepers.

It’s easy to turn over on, without disturbing your partner, so it's also good for active sleepers who often shift from side to side. A layer of Airgocell foam on the top and an UltraDry cover with layers add breathability and wick away moisture to help keep those who toss and turn in their sleep nice and cool.

The cover is machine-washable too, meaning the mattress stays looking good for longer. If you sleep on your side or back, the Emma Original Mattress might be a better buy. But, for side-sleepers, the Emma Hybrid is a really comfy snooze that will last for years.

Need to know

  • 200-night trial
  • 10-year guarantee
  • Available as single, small double, double, king and superking
  • Machine-washable cover
  • Springs and memory foam

Price: £519.35 (king size)

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

7. Best mattress for back pain: Tempur Hybrid Supreme 21 Pocket Sprung Mattress

“I have restricted mobility due to ankylosing spondylitis, costochondritis, bone spurs, tendinopathy and loads of other conditions. Best mattress I've found is Tempur. Despite what I was advised, I haven’t suffered with the heat despite it being memory foam, and I even have an electric blanket on to help my pain as well.”

7. Best mattress for back pain: Tempur Hybrid Supreme 21 Pocket Sprung Mattress

Tempur’s combination of advanced memory foam to spread your weight and relieve pressure points, alongside its Precision Micro Coil technology (individually-pocketed springs) to give support, allows the mattress to respond to your movements in bed in a really clever way. Great for those those of you who wake with aches and pains in the mornings.

It’s a great mattress for absorbing motion so that you and your partner don’t disturb each other at night. On top, a really soft cover gives it a luxury feel, and the cover is removable and can be washed at 60 degrees, a practical touch that means a lot.

Need to know

  • 10-year guarantee
  • Available in three options (Supreme, Elite and Luxe)
  • Machine-washable cover

Price: £1,495 (double)

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

8. Best hybrid mattress: Simba Hybrid Mattress

“We have a Simba and love it! After years of waking up with back ache, I no longer do. It's even comfortable at eight months pregnant, so that's a huge tick.”

8. Best hybrid mattress: Simba Hybrid Mattress

We chose several hybrid mattresses for our top 10 for the simple reason that they suit a lot of people and offer the best of both worlds, but if we had to pick just one hybrid it would be the Simba.

On the springs side, it has Simba’s own patented titanium Aerocoil spring-comfort layer, which acts as a bellow to push warm air away, keeping you much cooler than on traditional memory foam. The base also allows warm air to escape.

In terms of foam, open-cell Simbatex feels beautifully squishy while also combatting overheating, while high-definition foam is used in particular zones to give your body the most support where it needs it.

The mattress construction feels really solid, thanks to edge-lift technology which prevents you from rolling towards the edge of the mattress.

Need to know

  • 200-night sleep trial
  • 10-year guarantee
  • No cover, but the surface can be cleaned with a damp cloth
  • Available as single, small double, double, king and superking as well as several European sizes

Price: £565

Buy now from Amazon

9. Best orthopaedic mattress: Hypnos Ortho Gold Mattress

“Hypnos Ortho Gold in firm. It's fantastic quality and very comfortable.”

9. Best orthopaedic mattress: Hypnos Ortho Gold Mattress

Gracing the bedrooms of hotels around the world, the Ortho Gold by Hypnos is ideal for bad back sufferers.

Really firm support is what you need with a dodgy back or neck and this offers it in spades, along with supreme comfort.

It’s designed to recognise your body’s imprint, working out your shape and weight distribution to give support where you need it most, and adjusting to your every move. Reactive pocket springs mean you don’t move when your partner does – always grounds for divorce when you have back pain and have just got comfortable.

Multiple layers up the 'aaaah' factor with cashmere for comfort, wool for temperature regulation, and cotton for breathability. A cocona cover, made from recycled coconut shells, keeps you naturally dry and comfortable too.

The details are where this mattress really impresses, however. Traditional hand-tufting ensures every part of the filling stays where it should be. Side handles help with regular turning. Chrome air vents aid air circulation, and three rows of hand-stitching at the sides, undertaken by senior upholsterers, ensure the edges and borders are as strong as they can be, expanding your sleeping area and extending the life of the mattress.

So, while you’re paying over a grand for this, it’s no off-the-shelf number and the craftsmanship that has gone into it makes it worth its price alone. Throw in the prospect of a night’s sleep after which you wake up and spring out of bed without a thought and this mattress is priceless.

Need to know

  • 10-year guarantee
  • Available in firm or extra-firm
  • Rotate and flip weekly for first three months

Price: £849 for a double (was £1,155)

Buy now from Land of Beds

10. Best bed-in-a-box mattress: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

“I've had a Nectar mattress for four years now. No sagging and every night feels exactly like the first night. My husband is on the large side and there’s no sagging on his side either. Really surprised at just how deep the mattress is. It does tend to be on the warm side, but you'll get that with any foam mattress.”

10. Best bed-in-a-box mattress: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

Once upon a time you wouldn’t even consider buying a mattress without spending several Saturdays lying down in a bed shop, wondering if you could get away with a quick nap on one of the many mattresses you’d try out. These days, there’s a positive plethora of mattresses that you can order to turn up to your bedroom and simply send back if you’re not keen.

The Nectar makes all this very easy with a seamless delivery and returns procedure, a year’s trial period during which you can get a refund if you decide against it, and even a special little tool to help you get it out of its packaging without accidentally snagging the the mattress.

Best of all, it comes with a lifetime guarantee, which means that you can replace it at any point should it break or wear out, which makes us think Nectar are pretty confident in their mattress’ credentials.

This is a proper memory foam mattress with several layers of foam rather than springs, and it takes a couple of hours to fully inflate once out of the box.

It’s made up of five layers: a positioning base at the bottom to keep everything in place, a supportive base with seven different support zones to offer more support in places where you need it most, a layer of pressure-relieving memory foam for comfort, a layer of smart memory foam to dissipate heat and moisture, and, finally, an adaptive cooling cover to draw heat away from your body and help air circulate every time you make the smallest movement.

The Nectar is a medium-to-firm feel. Reviews suggest it’s best for back- and front-sleepers and for smaller or lighter people, but some Mumsnetters who don’t fall into any of those categories say they love it.

Need to know

  • 365-night trial
  • Forever guarantee
  • Available as single, small double, double, king or superking

Price: £449 for a double (RRP £864)

Buy now from Nectar

What to consider when buying a mattress

There are many practical considerations to buying a mattress. Have a look at this list before you open your wallet.

Size

Most mattresses come in standard single, double and king sizes, but you may also find small or large doubles depending on the brand. Get out the tape measure and triple check all the measurements of your bed frame before you buy – and don’t forget to think about the depth and how it will sit on your bed base too.

Materials

The main choice is between a pocket sprung and foam mattress (see which type of mattress is best below), but you might also want one with wool filling for temperature regulation, or hypoallergenic fabrics if you suffer from allergies.

Also think about whether you get hot in bed and would like a mattress that uses materials that will wick away moisture and keep you cool. Or perhaps you tend to feel cold in bed and need a mattress that feels extra cosy.

Tension

Mattresses are usually available as soft, medium or firm, but you can get medium-firm or extra-firm too. Generally, the guide to which one to go for should be your bodyweight. Soft is recommended for up to eight stone, medium from eight stone to 16 stone, and firm if you’re over 16 stone.

Some people have a personal preference for a certain feel though, and you can always add a foam mattress topper to a firm mattress if you like.

You can also get split-tension mattresses, or two that zip together so that you and your sleeping partner can each have exactly what you need.

What sort of sleeper you are

Do you sleep mostly on your side? You might want a soft-spring or memory foam mattress. Front-sleepers need a firm mattress to keep their spine aligned. Back-sleepers, on the other hand, need to ensure the mattress supports their lower back well with just enough room to get a hand between their lower back and the mattress.

Budget

The price range for mattresses is huge so have an idea of what you’re prepared to spend and then look around to see how you can make that go furthest.

Delivery and guarantees

Because a mattress is such a big purchase, many companies offer long guarantees of up to 10 years. We even found one with a lifetime guarantee.

Also look out for trial-period deals where you can return the mattress within a certain timeframe if you find it doesn’t suit you. The bed-in-a-box mattresses that you don’t try before buying often will offer long trial periods, many up to a year.

Check whether there’s a delivery charge too, and whether they will remove your old mattress or be prepared to take it up to your bedroom for you. Mattresses can be really heavy so, if you live alone, a service like this might be worth its weight in gold.

Which type of mattress is best?

The main types of mattress are sprung or foam, but within these two categories are a range of options:

Open sprung

Also known as open spring or open coil, open sprung mattresses have springs attached to one single coil of metal. Sometimes the springs are all made of one continuous piece of wire. This is called continuous coil.

Pros: Lightweight; easy to turn; budget-friendly
Cons: Not so long-lasting as the springs wear eventually; less responsive to your body and movements than a pocket sprung mattress; can eventually dip in the middle as the springs wear
Best for: Budget buys; guest rooms; children’s bedrooms

Pocket sprung

Like open sprung, pocket sprung mattresses also have metal springs. The crucial difference here is that each spring is individually encased in fabric, so they are more responsive to your body and movements, offer better support and last longer. Pocket sprung mattresses tend to feel cooler than memory foam because air circulates well in this type of mattress.

Pros: Easier to manoeuvre than memory foam; cool and breathable; less risk of rolling into the middle than with an open sprung mattress
Cons: More expensive than open sprung; can be heavy to turn
Best for: Bed sharers; those who like a firm feel

Latex

Squishy rather than springy, latex is made by tapping rubber trees. A latex mattress has a solid feel, which some people love and others hate, but it’s breathable so doesn’t make you as hot as some memory foam mattresses.

Pros: Breathable; hypoallergenic; long-lasting
Cons: Heavy; cheaper versions sometimes end up with a dip where you sleep
Best for: Those who like a firm bed; people with allergies

Memory foam

Made from viscoelastic foam which moulds to the contours of the body, memory foam mattresses are very supportive and can help those with back pain. It’s a very different feel if you’ve been used to sprung mattresses, so be sure to try before you buy or look for a mattress that offers a no-quibble return if you don’t get on with it.

Pros: Warm and cosy; very durable; less risk of rolling towards your sleeping partner; very supportive
Cons: Expensive; cheaper models can feel hot and sweaty; heavy to manoeuvre
Best for: Those with allergies or back and joint pain

Hybrid

Offering the best of both worlds, hybrid mattresses are sprung mattresses with a memory foam top that give you the bounce and feel of a traditional mattress but with a layer of memory foam for a bit of ‘sink.'

Pros: Best of both sprung and foam; supportive; cosy
Cons: Can be expensive; can’t be turned
Best for: Those with mild allergies; people who like a medium-firm feel

How often do you need to buy a new mattress?

The Sleep Council recommends changing your mattress every seven years. But if your mattress is wearing out before then you should replace it anyway. If you spot dips in it or find you’re waking with pain or not sleeping as well as you were before, it may be time for a change.

How much should you spend on a mattress?

Mattresses range from around £100 right into the thousands. More expensive doesn’t always mean better quality but, by and large, a good mattress will set you back at least £200. There are exceptions to this – we found an excellent IKEA mattress that came in at under £200 – but it’s a good ballpark figure. If you spend a bit more, you may find your mattress lasts a bit longer, but this isn't guaranteed.

Do I need to try a mattress out before buying?

Yes and no. You definitely shouldn’t commit without having either tried it extensively in store (where possible) or knowing that you can send it back if you don’t get on with it. Many of the best mattress brands now offer the chance to return your mattress after 30, 100 or 365 nights if you decide it’s not for you. This is a great way to really find out what you like because you'll be able to sleep on it night after night.

What's the best mattress to buy in 2021?

We think the best mattress to buy is the Eve Premium Hybrid Mattress. With both springs and memory foam, it’s the most likely to please the most people and is great for side-, back- and front-sleepers. Eve offers a 100-night trial so you can give it a good go before deciding if it’s for you.

How we chose our recommendations

If there’s one thing Mumsnetters know about it’s the importance of a good night’s sleep. Between them they’ve dealt with millions of 3am night feeds, toddlers clambering in in the middle of the night, and partners with irritating sleep habits – from snoring to stealing the duvet. So it made sense that we headed to them first for their recommendations. We drew up long lists of all the brands they recommended and made notes of the ones they said were duff buys too.

We took our lon list of more than 40 mattresses and then combed through reviews sites as well as expert testers, including Which?, to see how the mattresses Mumsnetters liked performed. We also took advice from The Sleep Council on what to look for in a mattress.

Having cross-referenced all this information, we picked out the mattresses that were both beloved by Mumsnetters and also ticked the boxes with experts and wider reviewers. We then chose 10 which we thought offered something for everyone.

Why you should trust us

At Mumsnet we know a thing or two about sleep and we also know a bit about buying the best and getting the best value for money. Our consumer writers have decades of experience at tracking down the best brands and products and ensuring they represent best value for money.

We also listen carefully to Mumsnet members about their real experiences with each product we recommend because we know that if Mumsnetters are recommending a product, it will have been thoroughly put through its paces.

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here). This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.