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A mattress is a sizeable and intimate investment, taking up a large portion of your bank balance in return for at least a decade’s service. When you choose a mattress there are lots of things you should consider.

This is one of those times where pouring over details can pay off, but it’s important not to focus on the many areas that don’t matter.

With a mattress, firmness matters over everything else, while the technology determines the feel of the bed, including how bouncy it is and how well it isolates your side of the bed from your partner’s. Our guide reveals all.

A bedroom with a bed in a room

Mattress firmness

Whether a mattress is made from memory foam, pockets springs or hybrid materials, it can be soft, medium, firm, or somewhere in-between.

Science says that a medium-firm mattress is best for back pain, but this might be too firm for you. A medium mattress is generally best for most people, balancing support and comfort, often satisfying two people who share a bed.

Firm mattresses are best for people weighing over 220lbs and people with medical conditions that demand maximum support. Older people also find getting out of bed more manageable with a firm mattress.

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Pictured: Sleepeezee Beautyrest Lexington Mattress, Awarded a Which? Best Buy in June 2019. Available from Bedstar, The Online Bed Superstore.

Soft mattresses are best for people who weigh less than 130lbs (9 stone 2lbs) because a soft mattress still provides support at this weight. Anyone heavier will sink into the mattress, which is uncomfortable and can give you back pain.

Most people should look for a mattress between medium-soft and medium-firm, reserving soft and firm mattresses for specific needs. Remember this when you go shopping to choose a mattress.

Mattress technologies

Mattress technology determines the feel of the mattress, how bouncy the bed is and how well it isolates weight transfer. Many people today look to memory foam for comfort, but this isn’t necessarily the best option for you.

  • Memory foam: Memory foam isolates weight transfer better than any other technology and delivers optimal support, contouring to the shape of your body. The downside is low breathability, which can make you overheat. 
  • Memory gel: Memory gel mattresses address the heat issue of memory foam with a layer of cooling liquid gel or gel pellets. They are less squishy than memory foam but just as supportive.
  • Pocket springs: Pocket spring mattresses have hundreds of individual springs below low-density foam and padding layers. The springs have different densities, providing support in critical places to reduce back pain.
  • Hybrid mattresses combine memory foam and pocket springs; the pocket springs provide support while memory foam is used as the comfort layer. Hybrid mattresses are the most popular mattress today.

Choosing your mattress isn’t always as simple as finding the best rated mattress, it needs the best-rated mattress with the right technology for you and the right comfort for you because everyone is different. Once you know what sort of mattress you need you can find the best value and quality to fit that.

Mattress thickness

Pictured: Giltedge Beds Pillowtop Pocket 3000 Mattress, 28cm Deep with an indulgent pillowtop. Available from Bedstar, The Online Bed Superstore.

Another factor determining the support and feel of a mattress is its thickness. A thick mattress tends to be more luxurious and supportive than a thinner mattress because it has more material and space between the layers.

This has a two-fold effect; the thicker mattress can compress more to provide more significant support and deal with weight transfer better.

The golden thickness to provide a premium feel is 10”. At 10” or more, a mattress has enough space for sufficient padding and comfort layers. A mattress thinner than 10” won’t have enough travel. This effect can be felt when you stand on a mattress and your feet hit the solid bed slats or floor below.

Some high-end mattresses are 20” or so thick. While 20” is overkill to an extent, these mattresses boast a more comprehensive range of foams and support layers.

Mattress brands 

At Bedstar, we sell a wide range of mattress brands to cater for all budgets. We stock the following mattress brands:

  • Birlea
  • Rest Assured
  • Sealy
  • Shire Beds
  • Silentnight
  • Sleepeezee Beds
  • Sleepeezee
  • Giltedge Beds
  • Millbrook Beds
  • Mlily

In addition to these high-quality mattress brands, which we hand-picked, you also have the many mattress-in-a-box brands like Emma and Simba.

The most important thing is to choose a mattress brand you know so that the warranty that comes with it is good. A cheap import might save you money, but there’s a strong possibility the mattress won’t last.

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