Mattresses buying guide

We all need our beauty sleep, and the quality of our slumber is greatly influenced by the quality of our mattress. Whether you like a firm mattress, a soft mattress, a memory foam mattress, or a sprung mattress, Tesco's buying guide is on hand to give you the information you need to make a good choice for your body shape and sleeping style.

From the firmness to the size, as well as the material your mattress is made from, there are lots of features to take into account when it comes to finding the perfect mattress for a comfortable night of rest. There's no exact time frame for when a mattress should be replaced, but there are some clear signs to let you know that yours is past its best. If you are waking up tired, sore, or have taken to sleeping elsewhere in the house then it is probably time you looked for a new mattress.

We each spend around a third of our lives in bed, so getting the right support during the night could revolutionise your sleep pattern, ensuring that once you close your eyes you fall into a deep slumber for seven to eight hours. Don't just settle for what you have, see our mattress page and selected the perfect one for you.

Mattress sizes matter

Mattresses come in a range of sizes. Some are fairly self-explanatory, such as double and single, but there is more to mattress size than that. Standard UK mattress sizes are fitted for beds in this country, so see if you can find the perfect one for your home.

Small single mattress

These mattresses are ideal for awkward spaces such as alcoves or box rooms. They measure two feet six inches in width, so manage to trim a little extra space while still offering enough room for an adult. Small single mattresses are a great solution for a compact guest room, or a kid's bed.

Single mattress

This is the standard size for a single mattress. At three feet wide the mattress provides more than enough space for a single adult, and due to its universal nature it will fit the majority of single bed frames with ease.

Small double mattress

In much the same way that a small single allows you to put a single bed where it might not otherwise fit, a small double mattress offers the same advantage for a double bed. At four feet wide, a small double offers enough room for a couple even when space is at a premium.

Double mattress

A large number of bedrooms will have space for a double bed, and double mattresses afford two people the room they need to sleep in comfort, with the added advantage of easily fitting in the vast majority of double bed frames.

King size mattress

Those looking for a little extra space and luxury could look for a king size mattress. It is both wider and longer than a standard double mattress. The only downside is that these mattresses and bed frames take up more space, and tend to be slightly more expensive.

SuperKing mattress

If you really need that extra space to stretch out, why not splash out on a superKing-sized mattress? With a massive width of six feet, a superKing mattress really does offer an indulgent touch to your space. Perfect for homes with larger bedrooms, and couples looking for a feature bed that stands out from existing furniture.

Mattress firmness

The firmness of your mattress makes a great difference to how well you sleep. Everyone's needs are different, and the right mattress for you generally depends on your height and weight.

Soft mattress

A soft mattress provides the ideal option if you are of light to average build. It also offers the right support for people who like to sleep on their sides, and those who change sleeping positions during the night.

Medium soft mattresses

Ideal for most people, medium soft mattresses allow for a comfortable night's sleep in all manner of sleeping positions, whether you lie on your front, stretch out your arms and legs, or curl up with the covers wrapped tightly around you.

Medium firm mattresses

Mattresses of medium softness are great for people of average build. They are designed for those who like to sleep on their back or on their stomach.

Firm mattresses

The best choice for those who weigh over 15 stone, firm mattresses offer extra support for a comfortable rest. The firmness of the mattress keeps your back in a relatively stable position, which can help if you suffer with back problems.

Mattress filling

Aside from the size, the defining feature of any mattress is what's inside it. There are a range of mattress fillings out there, made from vastly different materials, such as memory foam, latex, gel, fibre, and natural fillings. So if you're not sure how to tell your latex from your memory foam, take a look at our informative guide to mattress fillings.

Memory foam mattresses

A unique and modern choice, memory foam mattresses fit to the exact contours of your body offering fantastic support. They are also great for allergy sufferers and those with chronic joint pain. Due to their special material, memory foam mattresses can feel strange at first, but you will soon get use to them and enjoy a quality night of sleep.

Latex mattresses

Latex is a breathable material that ensures that you don't overheat during the night. Like memory foam, it is also great for people with allergies and asthma. As a particularly durable material, latex mattresses should last for years, and offer comfort to those who like a firmer mattress underneath them.

Gel mattresses

Similar to memory foam mattresses - gel, or gel-infused, mattresses offer exceptional comfort and support. They provide the added benefit of being slightly cooler than traditional memory foam alternatives.

Mattress structure

Mattresses have various internal structures. This doesn't just relate to the different materials within the mattress, but how those materials work. Open-sprung mattresses and pocket-sprung mattresses both contain springs, but how they work and how they are put together differ greatly. Read our guide to mattress structure to learn more.

Open-sprung mattresses

Open-sprung mattresses, also known as open coil and continuous coil mattresses, are a comfortable choice for the budget conscious. They are also one of the lighter options on the market, so are easy to turn over and transport. The springs are in fact one long piece of metal coiled into individual shapes. Since the springs move as one, they tend to suffer from a lot of wear and tear and need to be replaced more frequently than other mattresses. This can be a benefit for use in a child's room, as replacing them when your child grows doesn't have to cost the earth. They also offer a good choice for a spare room.

Pocket-sprung mattresses

Pocket-sprung mattresses contain thousands of individual springs in separate stitched pocket sleeves. This means each spring moves individually offering unique support for all parts of the body. The extra comfort that comes from a pocket-sprung mattress ensures that it is categorised as a top of the range product.

Mattress finishes

Mattresses don't just differ on the inside; they have a variety of finishes on the outside too. This ranges from decorative quilting to handles and air vents that help improve the functionality of the mattress.

Hand tufting mattresses

Perhaps the most common mattress finish, hand tufting applies when strong tape is threaded down through the mattress to give a full and familiarly dimpled surface. This keeps the filling of the mattress in place, and ensures it keeps its shape over time. Hand tufting is the most popular finish for sprung mattresses.

Quilted mattresses

Micro quilting is the most common finish for memory foam, latex, or gel mattresses. This involves stitching the quilted cover directly to the mattress filling. It offers a smoother finish than tufting.

Pillow top mattresses

These mattress have a layer of pillow at the top (hence the name) for extra comfort. The layer is attached to the top of the mattress and can be found on both sprung and foam mattresses.

Mattress protectors

Due to their bulky size, cleaning mattresses can prove to be a tricky business. With this in mind they stain easily, and therefore don't stay looking new for long. Mattress protectors help fight against that by providing a layer of protection on top of the mattress. Mattress protectors are easy to was on a gentle cycle in the washing machine, letting you keep your mattress in tip-top shape for longer.

Mattress care

Aside from utilising a mattress protector, there are a number of ways to increase the lifespan of your mattress. The first thing to keep in mind is not to fold the mattress when transporting it, as this can damage the internal materials and lower the quality of your comfort.

To get the best of your mattress you should aim to air it regularly. Do this by removing bed sheets and protectors and leaving it for a few hours. It is also advisable to turn it regularly. For sprung mattresses it is best to flip the mattress, while foam ones can be turned lengthways to increase their lifespan.

Mattresses may seem like simple products, but there is no shortage of choice. You may even have spent your life sleeping on a mattress that isn't right for your weight or height. Be sure to pair your mattress with the right bedding and accessories using our handy guide.