Your guide to buying mattresses
Choosing Your Mattress
Getting the right mattress is important. At Homebase, you’ll find a comprehensive range of high quality mattresses designed to fit every budget and requirement, so you’re certain to find something that’s right for you.
In this expert buyers’ guide, we show you what to look out for, so you and your family benefit from a good night’s sleep for years to come.
1. What are the different types of mattresses?
There’s never been more choice when it comes to mattress types – here’s a quick guide to the different designs/materials:
Pocket Sprung Mattresses
Pocket sprung mattresses feature a number of springs encased in individual fabric pockets. All these springs work independently, adapting to your body, and providing effective support in any sleeping position.
All pocket spring mattresses come with a number rating (usually between 1000 and 2000). This denotes the number of pocket springs the mattress has. Generally, the higher the number, the better the quality.
Having a higher number of springs offers greater individual support, minimising the risk of disruption and rolling into your partner during the night.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are topped with a layer of visco-elastic foam. This moulds to the shape of your body, helping to provide support and relieving pressure on your joints.
Memory foam is temperature sensitive, and moulds to your body as it warms up. It also retains heat well, making memory foam mattresses feel warmer than other kinds of mattress.
Whilst there are pure memory foam mattresses available, most are sprung, then topped with a layer of memory foam. One advantage of memory foam mattresses is that they don’t require turning.
Open Coil / Continuous Coil Mattresses
Great if you’re on a budget, open coil/continuous coil mattresses are the world’s most popular styles.
Continuous coil mattresses are manufactured from a single looped wire and open coil feature a number of individual springs held together by a single wire. Both kinds of mattress feature a wire border to help them maintain their shapes.
Foam / Latex
Durable and breathable, dense foam and latex mattresses can be a great choice for those with pet and dust mite allergies.
They tend to be more affordable than memory foam mattresses, and usually come with machine-washable covers, making them ideal for children.
2. What are the standard sizes of mattress?
UK mattresses come in a wide range of standard sizes, so choose one that fits your existing bed frame or divan.
Mattress size (cm)
- Small single W75 x L190
- Single W90 x L190
- Small double W120 x L190
- Double W135 x L190
- King-size W150 x L200
- Super king-size W180 x L200
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3. Which mattress is right for you?
With so much choice when it comes to mattress style, material, and firmness rating, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this section, you’ll find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, so you can make the right decisions.
How firm should my mattress be?
Getting the firmness right is vital if you’re going to be comfortable, and it comes down to personal preference. The right mattress will support your body properly, without putting pressure on your spine or joints. Although all mattresses come with a firmness rating, they vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Don’t assume that because your current mattress is rated ‘medium’, that all medium mattresses feel the same.
What is the most comfortable mattress?
This comes down to personal preference. Looking at firmness ratings, reviews, materials and features will only tell you so much – the only way to know whether a mattress is truly comfortable to you is to test it.
What’s the best mattress for a divan?
This depends. If you’ve got a solid divan base, then you can choose any mattress type. Generally, if you’ve got a sprung divan, then a sprung mattress will work better. It’s worth noting that a mattress may feel firmer on a solid divan base than on a wooden bed frame.
What is a mattress topper and do I need one?
Mattress toppers are made from latex, foam or memory foam, and are placed on top of your existing mattress to enhance the comfort. This can provide a cost-effective alternative to replacing your existing mattress.
Which mattresses are best for children?
Children need a good night’s sleep, so make sure you choose a mattress that’s both comfortable and supportive. For young children, you might want to avoid memory foam. Memory foam retains a lot of heat, and young children aren’t able to regulate their body temperatures in the same way as adults. A medium firmness pocket sprung mattress can be a good place to start.
If your child suffers from dust mite allergies, then it’s a good idea to consider a latex or foam mattress – these are durable, breathable and easy to clean.
4. How to test a mattress
The best way to ensure you get the right mattress is to test it thoroughly – here are our top tips:
Take your time
Buying a mattress is a big decision, and it’s best not to rush. You’ll want to set aside at least couple of hours to make sure you’ve got enough time to conduct a thorough test. Start by testing a wide selection of mattresses, then start to narrow the process down.
To make sure the mattress is truly comfortable, it’s a good idea to try and replicate your home conditions. When testing a mattress, take of your coat and shoes, then lie on the mattress for at least 10 minutes, lying in your normal sleeping positions. If you want to get really serious, then take your own pillows with you as well.
Price vs value
Whilst it’s fine to have a budget, it’s important to remember that you’re going to be spending around a third of your life in bed, and that a good quality mattress can last 10 years.
If you compromise on comfort to save a few pounds now, you may end up paying for it in sleep over the next decade.
If you sleep with a partner, then it’s a good idea to involve them in the process, to see how well the mattress distributes the weight. It will also ensure you get a mattress that’s right for both of you.
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5. How to care for your mattress
Looking after your mattress will help to extend its lifespan, and to ensure that it remains comfortable for longer.
How often should I turn my mattress?
Unless you’ve got a mattress that doesn’t need to be turned (like a memory foam), then it’s best to do this at least once every 8 weeks. This can be a heavy job, so get someone to help.
How can I clean my mattress?
The best way to clean a mattress is to vacuum it, using a powerful vacuum cleaner. If you need to remove stains, then a steam cleaner works well. Generally, you’ll want to avoid using water or cleaning products.
6. Safety advice
What type of mattress is best for allergies?
Latex, foam and memory foam mattresses are best for dust mite allergy sufferers. You can also get hypoallergenic pocket sprung mattresses that are specifically designed to minimise the affects of dust mite allergy.
Whatever mattress you have, you can reduce the volume of dust mite droppings (the main cause of reaction), by vacuuming regularly.
Which mattress is best for back pain?
Back pain has a number of causes, and the mattress that is right for your back will depend on your individual condition. However, a firmer memory foam mattress that moulds to the contours of your body may help to ensure that your spine and joints are supported as you sleep.
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