Best mattresses, tried and tested by the GHI (2023)

We spend about a third of our lives in bed and enjoying a good night’s sleep is crucial to our physical and mental health. That’s why buying a new mattress is one of the most important purchases you will make.

According to sleep expert, James Wilson, having the best mattresses makes us ‘feel more physically and emotionally secure, so we’re more likely to find it easy falling asleep and more likely to feel like we’ve slept through the night.’

That’s not all. ‘We are less likely to be woken by aches and pains, we won’t wake up due to being too hot. Waking up feeling refreshed becomes the norm.’

But it’s not always easy knowing where to start, or which type of mattress – foam, spring or both – will give you the comfortable, high-quality sleep you need. They can be expensive too, which is why the Good Housekeeping Institute is here to help you invest in a mattress that’s worth it…

Which is the best mattress on the market?

Already know the sort of mattress you’d like to slumber on? We surveyed over 1,000 Good Housekeeping readers to find out what the market’s leading mattresses are like to sleep on, week in, week out. Here are the best mattresses to buy now:

      How do I choose a mattress?

      In short, you need a mattress that is both comfortable and supportive. The problem is that those descriptors can be subjective, varying between brands and largely dependent on how you tend to lie in bed. Soft mattresses aren’t always the most comfortable and firm mattresses aren’t necessarily the most supportive.

      The best mattress for you is the one that keeps your head, neck, shoulders and back in as straight a line as possible, as if you were standing with good posture. To help you decide which level of firmness to plump for, consider your sleeping style.

      Side sleepers

      Look for soft to medium firmness. Your hips and shoulders should sink lightly into your mattress so as not to put too much pressure on your joints. Try a memory foam or hybrid mattress that moulds to the shape of your body and combines both softness and support.

      Memory foam mattresses are good for allergy sufferers as they're hypoallergenic. They're also often recommended by chiropractors for back pain. Memory foam's main downside is its lack of breathability, meaning you may find yourself getting sweaty in summer. It may also feel slightly claustrophobic when you move to turn over.

      Hybrid mattresses have bouncy inner springs and a top layer of memory foam. Some also feature a cooling gel that absorbs and releases your body heat to regulate your temperature. If you're wondering what mattresses hotels use, they're often hybrids.

      Back sleepers

      Opt for medium firmness, made from either pocket spring or memory foam.

      James has a quick test you can try to see if your new mattress is supportive enough. Called the Goldilocks test, you lie on the mattress with a pillow behind your head and try to place a flat hand between the mattress and your lower back. ‘If it goes in really easily, that is not right,’ he explains. ‘If it won’t go in at all, then that is not right either. It needs to be a bit of a struggle and you need to be able to slightly wiggle your fingers.’

      Front sleepers

      Choose a firm mattress. You want your body to be as close to the bed as possible, with minimal gapping. Consider a pocket spring or hybrid mattress (the memory foam will protect your hips).

      Pocket spring mattresses feature springs enclosed in individual pockets often filled with natural materials like wool, cotton, sisal or hair. Each pocket responds independently to the pressure of your body, making you less likely to roll into the centre of the bed or disturb your partner with your movements.

      Open spring mattresses are a cheaper variation, but not recommended for two people of vastly differing weights. Your other option to add comfort is to layer a mattress topper over your mattress. These come in a range of materials, from luxurious goose feather and down to siliconised polyester or quilted cotton-rich fibres.

      How much should I spend on a mattress?

      Unfortunately, that's a "How long is a piece of string?" question, as mattresses vary dramatically in price from £100 into the thousands. The cost largely depends on size, material and brand. What we will say is that the most expensive mattresses aren't always the most comfortable, supportive or durable.

      If a vague price range will suffice, then £300 to £800 should buy you a good, long-lasting mattress. Browse trusted brands like Silentnight, Emma, and Simba and you can’t go too far wrong. So long as you've done your due diligence and it suits your needs, that is!

      Is a mattress in a box any good?

      Surprisingly, buying a mattress online can be a great way to invest if you’re feeling nervous about parting with your money. This is because mattresses in a box tend to come with 100- to 200-night free trials so you can see whether you actually like dosing on them.

      There are a few on our list, including ones from Emma and Simba. They will arrive at your front door rolled and vacuum-packed in boxes typically measuring around 110cm high.

      A trial period isn’t the only benefit of buying your mattress this way; their smaller size makes them better for the environment as it reduces packaging so more can fit onto a transit van, lowering the product’s carbon footprint.

      This lowers delivery costs too, so the manufacturer may pass some of that saving onto the consumer, making them slightly more affordable than their traditional high street rivals.

      Should I buy a mattress topper or a new mattress?

      If you don’t want to splash out on a mattress at the moment, a mattress topper is a good way to make your bed work for you for less. Depending on the style you opt for, they will offer increased support, or bring a touch of softness to your bed, helping you sleep more comfortably.

      Curious about the GHI’s winning topper? The Simba Hybrid Mattress Topper scored the highest with our panel, closely followed by the Silentnight Airmax 600 Mattress Topper.

      How do you take care of a mattress?

      Your mattress should last you at least seven years with good care. Each morning, pull back your duvet to let it air. Wash your bed linen weekly and rotate your mattress monthly, or according to the brand's advice. Look for a mattress with side handles to make this cumbersome chore easier.

      To remove stains, gently sponge your mattress using washing-up liquid and tepid water. For tougher marks, use diluted washing detergent. Ideally, use a washable mattress protector to keep your mattress free from stains, dust mites and dead skin cells. For the ultimate sleep experience, make sure you invest in a good set of pillows, too.

      How we test

      Rest assured, we didn’t merely try each mattress for a couple of nights before assigning it an arbitrary score. For a complete picture of long-term performance, we sent out an extensive survey to our consumer panel, asking for their experiences with 19 different mattress brands.

      We received over 1,100 responses. Each respondent had owned their mattress for at least one year and told us their verdict on its comfort, support, durability, value for money and more.

      Our expert tester then collated their feedback to find the top mattresses and ranges, selecting the best mattresses to buy based on the number of positive respondents.

      You'll find our detailed verdicts for the five most popular mattresses below. Note that the prices shown are for the standard UK double size.


      Best mattress and best foam mattress

      Tempur Original

      Best mattresses, tried and tested by the GHI (6)


      Score: 85/100

      Using top-of-the range material that was first developed to cushion NASA astronauts, this supportive mattress is an investment, but according to our panel of readers, it’s worth it. The mattress has changed little over years of use, it comes with a 10-year guarantee and washable covers mean you can keep it fresh night after night.

      It’s a comfortable pick too; most of our panel liked its level of firmness, found the foam design helped to ease back pain and created little disturbance at night, even with a fidgeting partner.

      As with most foam mattresses, it did prove warm for some, but a 100-night trial should help you ascertain if the design is right for you. Overall, our panel were happy sleepers, stating that they’d recommend it to others and invest again.


      Best mattress in a box

      Emma Original Mattress

      Best mattresses, tried and tested by the GHI (7)


      £379.60 (24% off)

      Score: 79/100

      Unsure about ordering online? Well, our panel was pleased with this memory foam mattress they received boxed up on their doorstep. It was comfortable, with a supportive design that didn’t change over time. Wriggly sleepers weren’t felt by partners either.

      One qualm people often have about memory foam is that it’s warm, but our panel should reassure you there too; most found its temperature regulation was reliably effective. It even helped ease many of our readers’ back pain.

      The cover is washable, and Emma offer a 200-night trial and 10-year guarantee, so the mattress should bring you sweet dreams for years to come.


      Best pocket spring mattress

      Silentnight 1200 Eco Comfort Mattress

      Best mattresses, tried and tested by the GHI (8)


      Score: 77/100

      If you’re after a classic pocket spring design, look no further than this medium-firm design. This mattress got the thumbs up from our panel for comfort, firm support and undisturbed sleep.

      Given it’s not the most premium of mattresses, its longevity is also impressive, with only a few people spotting changes over time. If you run hot, it may prove a good alternative to memory foam as well – most of our panel was happy with its temperature regulation.

      As for its eco claims, it contains an “eco comfort fibre” layer made from recycled plastic bottles and the mattress is fully recyclable. Like most of the others on our list, you can try before committing; Silentnight offer a 60-night trial and it comes with a five-year warranty.


      Best hybrid mattress

      Simba Hybrid Mattress

      Best mattresses, tried and tested by the GHI (9)


      £647.40 (44% off)

      Score: 75/100

      For a dreamy combination of pocket spring and foam, look no further than Simba. The comfortable mattress proved popular with our panel, most of whom liked the mix of materials, finding it quiet and undisruptive, even with a disruptive partner.

      Simba’s foam is also designed to be more breathable than memory foam, and our panel supported this, with the majority declaring it just right temperature-wise.

      When it came to helping with back pain, results were a tad mixed, suiting some of our panel but not others. But a one-year trial and 10-year guarantee make this mattress a sure bet in our book.

      Its eco credentials deserve a mention too; all of Simba’s mattresses are made in the UK, entirely of recyclable materials, and they commit to carbon-neutral delivery too, by offsetting through donations to environmental causes. Overall, our panel were happy customers with most heartily recommending it.


      Best budget mattress

      Silentnight Essentials Pocket 600 Mattress

      Best mattresses, tried and tested by the GHI (10)


      Score: 73/100

      This affordable mattress from Silentnight demonstrates that you don’t have to splash out to sleep soundly. Unsurprisingly considering the price, the mattresses weren’t the most long-lasting for our panel, who said theirs changed shape over the years.

      That said, our panel didn’t find them noisy and generally weren’t disturbed if their other half moved about much during the night. They found theirs comfortable to lie on too, and so overall our panel was happy with their choice of mattress.

      It also contains some of the same “eco comfort fibres” as the brand’s eco range and at £200 for a standard size double, it’s a thrifty yet snug buy.

      Jess DenhamJess is a Content Editor, covering expert-tested product reviews across homes, health and fitness, food and drink, and beauty and grooming.

      Hannah MendelsohnHannah is our senior homes writer, specialising in reviewing the latest kitchen appliances, cleaning products, mattresses and bedding, and crafting equipment.


      What is the #1 firm mattress? ›

      more details The Saatva Classic ties at No. 1 in our rating of the Best Firm Mattresses of 2023. It's the only innerspring in our rating and features a coil-on-coil design.

      What is the healthiest and most comfortable mattress? ›

      Hybrid mattresses are the healthiest beds to sleep on. They provide the structural support your entire body needs while offering the comforting layers of latex and quilted cotton on top.

      What mattress do most hospitals use? ›

      Foam mattresses are the most common hospital bed mattresses on the market. With so many benefits, it is most likely that this will be one of the best options for your loved one or patient. Foam mattresses provide patients with the best of both worlds: comfort and therapeutic support.

      What are top 5 mattresses? ›

      • Nectar Mattress.
      • Casper Mattress.
      • Purple Mattress.
      • Saatva Mattress.
      • Avocado Mattress.
      • Helix Mattress.
      • DreamCloud Mattress.
      • WinkBed Mattress.
      4 days ago

      What is the best mattress brand in the world? ›

      Summary of Our Top Picks for the Best Mattress Brands
      • Best Overall – Helix Midnight.
      • Best Luxury – DreamCloud Original.
      • Best for Back Pain – Saatva Classic.
      • Best Under $1,000 – Nectar Original.
      • Best Value – Nolah Original.
      • Best Innerspring – The WinkBed (WinkBeds)
      • Best Latex – Awara Original.
      • Best Hybrid – Casper Wave Hybrid.


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