Mattresses buying guide

The quality and condition of your mattress can make all the difference to your night’s sleep, so it pays to invest in the best mattress you can afford. How do you know when your mattress needs replacing? There’s no hard and fast rule as to longevity, but there’s no doubt that mattresses deteriorate over time. If your mattress has become lumpy and uncomfortable, if you can see staining and fraying and other obvious signs of wear and tear, it’s time to think about a new model. Back pain on waking is another sign that all is not well with your mattress, and if you enjoy a more comfortable night's sleep on another bed it’s a sign that your own has reached the end of the line.

The perfect mattress for your needs

Everyone has different requirements when it comes to mattresses , so it’s worth investigating the varieties we have available. Our collection includes a number of different options in terms of coverings, styles and fillings. You can also choose whether to go for sprung mattresses or memory foam styles.

Pocket sprung

The high-quality springs in Pocket sprung mattresses are individually wrapped in pocket sleeves, which means they respond to pressure on an individual basis, rather than all moving at the same time. This type of full support for the entire body is considered beneficial so pocket sprung mattresses are generally top-of-the range.

Open coil spring

At the lower end of the price range for mattresses, open coil springs mean that all the springs within the mattress case move together wen you lie and turn on them. This type of mattress has a more limited life, as the springs come in for a lot of wear.

Memory foam

More expensive than mattresses with springs, the viscoelastic covering on the memory mattress is what makes it suitable for people who sleep poorly, perhaps because of aching joints or a bad back. They work by responding to the heat of your body and forming contours around your individual shape. If the room is cold when you first lie on a memory mattress, it may feel a bit hard, but it doesn’t take long to respond to the heat of your body and give you the tailor made, all-enveloping support that fans of memory foam find so inviting.

Latex support

Combining elements of the spring version and the memory foam technology, these mattresses have layers of filling, including a latex zone, on top of the springs. The latex responds to body shape but not so completely as memory foam, which means that latex support mattresses often feel a bit unyielding.

Non-turn pillow top

Double-sided mattresses mean that the mattress should be turned frequently to maintain comfort and support. Having a non turn mattress means that there is no longer any need to do this as the comfort is provided by the quality of the quilted damask layer on the top.

What’s on the outside?

Mattresses are covered in what's known as 'ticking'. The name comes from the old English term ‘straw tick’, a bed mattress filled with straw. Such mattresses needed sturdy cotton coverings, to stop the straws poking through – hence, ticking. Ticking material (traditionally striped) is still is designed to be tough and tear resistant. Better quality mattresses will be made from woven or knitted viscose or cotton yarns, rather than polyester or polypropylene often used on lower priced mattresses.

Ticking can be designed to be resilient to water and stains; it can also be rendered hypo-allergenic, for those who have an allergy to dust mites, as well as anti bacterial and anti-static. Some ticking is more breathable than other types, so it’s worth shopping around.

Mattress sizes

Mattresses come in a range of sizes to fit different size beds:

Standard single ones are perfect for teenagers, students and young adults moving out of home. They are also the best option for studio flats or apartments with limited bedroom space. Small double mattresses offer a little more room for a single person to move.

Standard double ones - most adults start with a double mattress in mind when shopping for a new bed, however if you sleep beside a partner and find standard double beds too restrictive, you can opt for a king size and spread out a little more.

Super king size are a real luxury for couples who want the best night’s sleep. If you have young children who like to climb into mum and dad’s bed in the morning, this size can accommodate them with the least disruption to your sleep patterns!

Check the table here to see the measurements our beds come in:

Bed Imperial size Metric size
Small single 2'6" x 6'3" 75 x 190cm
Single 3' x 6'3" 90 x 190cm
Small double 4' x 6'3" 120 x 190cm
Double 4'6" x 6'3" 135 x 190cm
King 5' x 6'6" 150 x 200cm
Super king 6' x 6'6" 180 x 200cm

Mattress thickness

The depth of a mattress can vary greatly depending on the quality and material. The range generally starts at around 12cm (5in) and goes up to 50cm (20in). Most people aim for between the 25cm and 35cm (10in – 14in) mark as standard. Super-thick mattresses are not suitable for all bed frames so you may want to check how much weight your frame can support before buying a new mattress.

If you’re opting for memory foam, it’s not always better to have a thicker mattress – the maximum it should reach is about 15cm (6in). Any thicker and this can reduce the effectiveness of its support and create a spongy feel.

If you want a temporary solution to a thin mattress, or just fancy a bit of extra comfort, you can also look at mattress toppers, which now come in memory foam as well as silk and cotton fibres.

Protect your mattress

Size matters
Don’t worry if, when your bed and mattress is delivered, that the mattress seems too short for the bed. That’s just a bit of shrinkage that occurs when it’s being transported. Once its on the base the mattress will ‘relax’ into its correct size. It’s worth noting that if you buy a mattress on its own, the base you want to put it on must be a suitable size and design for the mattress. It can shorten the life of a mattress to use it on a base that doesn’t support it, or fit it properly.

Mattress care
Once you’ve taken delivery of your mattress and ripped off its packaging, let it lie flat in a well ventilated room to allow any condensation from the plastic wrapping to dry off. It’s wise to air a mattress thoroughly, both when it is new, and giving off that ‘new mattress smell’ (that soon wears off), and when you’re sleeping on it regularly. Giving it some air allows for any perspiration it may have absorbed to evaporate.Mattresses are expensive items to buy, so it’s a good move to buy protection for them.A mattress protector which is fully washable, is a great investment as it prolongs the life of a mattress.

Mattress toppers provide a cosy extra layer along with extra support and comfort. Choose from goose feather and down, polyester or quilted cotton rich fibres.
It goes without saying that using a mattress without bed linen on top is a sure fire way to gather nasty stains. Washing mattresses isn’t recommended either, as no mattress is completely colourfast. Mattresses aren’t designed to be folded or bent, as doing so can change the structure and distort the springs. While you’re mattress is still new, for the first six months, turn it over every couple of weeks. You need not do it so frequently after that, maybe every month or so.As fun as it may sound, do not jump up and down on your mattress: it’s not designed for such rough play. Another handy tip is not to spend too much time sitting on the edge of the mattress, as this can ruin its level.If you ever have to store your mattress, try to avoid leaning it up on its edge, it’s better off flat, as this does not disturb the filling. Vacuuming a mattress is really not necessary, wither, as this is another ting that disturbs the filling, give it a light brushing if you want to remove dust, but a fully washable mattress cover will mean you won’t have to do this so much.