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The best mattress 2021: top options for all budgets

best mattress 2021: Nectar Memory Foam
(Image credit: Nectar)

Choosing the best mattress might feel like a big task, but it needn't be. We've spent hundreds of hours researching and reviewing the latest mattresses - sleeping on them ourselves, as well as collating feedback from thousands of different users.

We've ranked the top-performing options here in our best mattress guide, making sure there's an option for everyone. No matter your budget or sleeping style, whether you need extra pressure relief or advanced cooling capabilities, we've got you covered.

There's now little to separate the different types of mattress at the highest level, thanks to recent advancements in technology. You'll still find a wide range of options in our guide - we've chosen the top memory foam mattresses, innersprings, hybrids and latex models below - but all our top picks offer superb support and comfort. Choosing between them will be a matter of personal taste, and we've shared our experiences with each mattress to help you decide.

If you haven't done it before, buying a mattress online is easy. Once you've found one you like the sound of, you can have it delivered to your home to try for yourself in a couple of clicks. If you decide it isn't right, you'll be refunded and the company will arrange for it to be collected.

Our best tips? Look for a risk-free trial period of at least 30 days, because it can take up to three weeks to adjust to a new mattress (we've made sure all our top picks come with at least 100). And if you don't see a sale on your top choice, it's worth waiting if you can - the mattress world is competitive and there's usually a discount to be found. You'll see today's best mattress deals for all our best mattress recommendations below. 

The best mattress in 2021 - as rated by experts

best mattress: Nectar Memory Foam

(Image credit: Nectar)

1. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

The best mattress overall - it's exceptional value for money

Specifications
Type: mattress in a box
Firmness (1-10): 6.5
Material: memory foam
Height: 12 inches
Availability: online and some retailers
Trial length: 365 days
Warranty: lifetime
Best for: all sleepers
MSRP: $798 - $1,398
Reasons to buy
+Very comfortable and supportive+Outstanding value for money+Huge trial and forever warranty
Reasons to avoid
-Not as bouncy as a spring mattress

The popular Nectar Memory Foam mattress is tough to beat when it comes to sheer value for money. This all-foam, medium-firm, mattress in a box delivers superb comfort and support - and for a lot less than the competition. We tested it for two months and loved sleeping on it. The five layers of foam contour to your body, providing excellent pressure relief around your shoulders, hips and back, while also helping align your spine. We also found temperature regulation to be very good for a memory foam mattress. We didn’t overheat once at night, even during the hot summer months. 

This mattress is a very good choice for couples. It absorbs motion well, so you won’t be disturbed by a restless partner. We found the edge support to be good too. We could sleep comfortably right up to the perimeter, which made it feel wider. 

Where the Nectar Memory Foam mattress really stands out, of course, is value. Thanks to a permanent $400 discount on most sizes, it’s dramatically cheaper than the competition, undercutting Casper and Purple by a few hundred dollars - and comes with $399-worth of free gifts too. There’s also an industry-leading year-long trial, free shipping and returns, and a lifetime warranty, all of which makes it a very compelling proposition indeed.

Memory foam isn’t for everyone, so if you like the sound of the Nectar mattress (and want the free gifts) but prefer to sleep on top of your mattress rather than sinking into it, we'd recommend the hybrid DreamCloud at number seven. And if you have a bigger budget to play with, the luxury innerspring Saatva Classic mattress at number two is outstanding. But Nectar beats them all on value for money: if you’re looking for an extremely comfortable mattress and want the most bang for your buck, it's easily the best mattress around.

Nectar Memory Foam mattress: Save $400 + $399 of free gifts
From $499 - Nectar tends to run the same offer all year round, and it's the same this summer. Still, it's the best mattress deal you'll find anywhere, with up to a $400 discount, plus two pillows, a free mattress protector and sheet set worth $399 added to your order. Fantastic.
View Deal

Best mattress: Saatva ClassicTop Pick

(Image credit: Saatva)

2. Saatva Classic mattress

The best luxury mattress - hotel comfort for less than its rivals

Specifications
Type: traditional
Firmness (1-10): 3, 5.5, or 8
Material: hybrid (coils and foam)
Height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches
Availability: online
Trial length: 180 days
Best for: all sleepers
Warranty: 15-year limited
MSRP: $849 - $2,099
Reasons to buy
+Can customize firmness and height+More affordable than luxury rivals +Free white glove delivery
Reasons to avoid
-$99 fee to refund or exchange 

The flagship Saatva Classic is a premium, hotel-quality mattress from luxury online brand Saatva. On quality alone, it’s the best mattress we’ve tested so far - the only reason it doesn’t take the top spot in our guide is the $1,000-plus price tag. But if you have the budget, this high-end hybrid innerspring is a sound investment and delivers a stunning night’s sleep.

One big selling point is how customizable it is. The Saatva Classic comes in soft, medium and firm versions, and your choice of height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches. We tested the 11.5-inch luxury firm option and were impressed: premium, eco-friendly foams and a plush pillow top provide soft cushioning, while a super-durable, dual steel coil system delivers exceptional support for your lower back. The Saatva Classic has been awarded a Seal of Approval from the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, and the luxury firm option is a great choice for anyone suffering from back pain. 

We love how buoyant this mattress is: you won’t sink into it while you sleep, which is good news for anyone who tends to overheat at night - we consistently slept cool. (If you do want the ‘hugging’ sensation that comes with memory foam, you’ll be better off with the Nectar above, or the Cocoon Chill at number six.) It's also durable. Some of our reviewers are one year in now, and their mattress is still performing well. Edge support, in particular, is as firm as it was 12 months ago, and we'd recommend it for anyone who struggles to get in and out of bed.

All this quality comes at a cost, of course. The Saatva Classic isn’t the cheapest option in our best mattress guide - but it is very good value for a premium mattress, undercutting its luxury hybrid rivals by up to a few hundred dollars. Plus it comes with free white glove delivery to the room of your choice, and a 180-night trial. If you're looking for pure luxury at an affordable price, this is it.

Saatva Classic mattress: save $220 when you spend $1,000
From $849 - Saatva's current sale gives you a $200 discount when you spend $1,000 or more on a mattress at Saatva. That's the same price cut we saw on Black Friday, and means you can get a queen size Saatva Classic for $1,299, down from $1,499, while a king costs $1,699 (was $1,899). View Deal

best mattress: Tuft & Needle

(Image credit: Tuft & Needle)

3. Tuft & Needle Original Mattress

The best mattress for lower budgets

Specifications
Type: mattress in a box
Firmness (1-10): 6
Material: foam
Height: 10 inches
Availability: online and retail showrooms
Trial length: 100 days
Warranty: 10-year limited
Best for: all sleepers
MSRP: $350 - $750
Reasons to buy
+Customers rave about the service+Good for overall pressure relief+Experienced company
Reasons to avoid
-Edge support isn't great

The Tuft & Needle Original mattress is a very good budget mattress. It isn’t the cheapest in our guide - that’s the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress at number 10 - but when it comes to balancing performance with price, this no-frills mattress has a lot to offer. 

Made from two layers of foam, the Tuft & Needle Original is a surprisingly supportive medium-firm mattress. There’s no memory foam here, so you don’t get the contouring you’d expect from the other options in our best mattress guide, but we found T&N’s adaptive foam to be responsive, with good cushioning and pressure relief for back and side sleeping. 

Stomach sleeping wasn’t quite as comfortable, however - we’d have liked a little more support. Also, it’s worth noting that despite the mattress’s various cooling features (graphite and cooling gel), we woke up in a sweat a few times. If you're prone to overheating and need a budget mattress, we'd recommend a hybrid instead, such as the Allswell mattress at number nine.

Still, despite a few complaints about indents appearing after a year or so of use, the Tuft & Needle Original mattress has racked up over 40,000 positive user reviews across the T&N site, Amazon, Google and Yelp. And that’s because it's good at the basics. If you can do without the bells and whistles of more premium options, it’s a top choice for a budget mattress.

Tuft & Needle Original mattress: save 10% on the Original
From $405 - There's a 10% discount on the T&N Original mattress in T&N's extended 4th of July sale. It isn't quite as good as the 15% we saw at the end of May, but it does make this already affordable mattress cheaper, with a queen down from $695 to $625 - that's not bad at all.View Deal

best mattress: Purple

(Image credit: Purple)

4. The Purple Mattress

The most innovative mattress in the US

Specifications
Type: mattress in a box
Firmness (1-10): 6
Material: foam
Height: 9.25 inches
Availability: online and some stores
Trial length: 100 days
Warranty: 10 years
Best for: All sleepers
MSRP: $649 - $1,449
Reasons to buy
+Super responsive+Excellent temperature regulation +Ultra durable 
Reasons to avoid
-Cover not machine washable 

The Purple mattress offers a premium night’s sleep at a mid-range price. Made by one of the most innovative mattress brands in the US, it stands out thanks to its unique ‘Purple grid’ technology. This patented material is a dynamic, hyper-elastic gel-like foam that instantly adapts and flexes under your body to deliver tailored support right where you need it.

We gave the Purple mattress high marks across the board when we reviewed it. It was easy to order, and when it arrived it was fairly simple for two people to unpack and unroll, with no off gassing or plastic smell. It does feel different to other foam mattresses: the gel grid instantly responds to movement, cradling pressure points and aligning your spine, and springing back into place when you adjust your position. We felt like we were floating, cushioned by the soft, plush top, while also being supported by the surprisingly firm durable base layers.

The Purple mattress is a particularly good choice for couples - the grid does an excellent job of isolating movement, so you won’t be disturbed by tossing and turning. It’s also a great option for anyone who overheats at night. There are over 2,800 open air channels to allow cooling throughout the mattress, plus breathable foams and a soft flex cover help prevent heat from building up. Not everyone gets on with the Purple grid - some people report that the unique soft but supportive feel takes a while to get used to. We say it’s totally worth the wait.

best mattress: The Helix Midnight

(Image credit: Helix)

5. The Helix Midnight

The best mattress for side sleepers

Specifications
Type: mattress in a box
Firmness (1-10): 6
Material: Hybrid (foam and coils)
Height: 12 inches
Availability: online
Trial length: 100 days
Warranty: 10 years
Best for: Side sleepers
MSRP: $600 - $1,249
Reasons to buy
+Very good for couples+Great edge support+Sleeps cool
Reasons to avoid
-Some reviewers found it too firm

While all the top picks in our best mattress guide are well-suited to side sleepers, only one has been specifically designed for people who prefer this sleeping position: the Helix Midnight. This medium-firm hybrid is the brand’s most popular mattress, with five layers that are designed to support your body’s contours and cushion your shoulders and hips while you're sleeping on your side. Soothing memory foam and dynamic polyfoam hug your body and relieve pressure, while hundreds of individual coils cradle your body, provide extra support, and limit motion transfer.

We particularly like Helix as a brand because aside from making brilliant mattresses, the company also has one of the best websites for buying a mattress online. If you’re doing this for the first time, you’ll find a handy sleep quiz on the site that will help you decide whether the Helix Midnight is the best mattress for your sleeping style and preferences, or whether you (and your partner) might be better suited to another model from Helix’s excellent range.

Helix mattress sale: save up to $150 + 2 free pillows
From $599
- There's up to a $150 discount on the Midnight mattress at Helix in the current sale. If you spend $1,250 or more you'll save $150; for all smaller sizes there's a $100 discount. Both options add two free pillows to your order.View Deal

best mattress: Cocoon by Sealy Chill

(Image credit: Cocoon by Sealy)

6. Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress

The best budget cooling mattress

Specifications
Type: mattress in a box
Firmness (1-10): 6
Material: memory foam
Height: 10 inches
Availability: online
Trial length: 100 days
Warranty: 10 years
Best for: all sleepers
MSRP: $730 - $1,310
Reasons to buy
+Great temperature-regulation+Luxury contouring+Fully supportive
Reasons to avoid
-Some may find too soft

The Cocoon Chill Memory Foam is a 10-inch deep memory foam mattress made by industry giant and household name Sealy. Designed to adapt to your body to provide tailored support all over, this medium-firm mattress has three different foam layers, with luxury memory foam for deep contouring; responsive comfort foam to reduce motion transfer and prevent you sinking into the mattress; and a durable support layer. 

But where the Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress really stands out is its high-end stretch-knit cooling cover. It’s infused with phase-change material, which absorbs and dissipates heat from your body and helps you stay sweat free all night. During the entire period in which we tested the Cocoon Chill, we didn’t overheat once - even our hot-sleeping reviewer didn’t wake up in a sweat. This feature, alone, elevates this mattress above its all-foam rivals. 

The Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress should be well-suited to most body types and sleeping positions. We found it especially comfortable for side sleeping, and it's a particularly good option for hot sleepers who want the 'hug' of memory foam. 

Edge support could be better, as is often the case with foam mattresses. But overall we highly recommend the Cocoon Chill Memory Foam, with top marks for its comfort and cooling abilities, and superior marks for its motion isolation and lack of sound. The price, too, is very appealing: it's permanently sold with a 35% discount - making it extremely competitive. If you're looking for an affordable, medium-firm memory foam mattress, there's a lot to like about the Cocoon Chill.

Cocoon by Sealy mattress sale: save 35% + free pillows and sheets
From $469
- Sealy is still running its biggest-ever sale: it isn't a special offer for the summer, but it is great value with 35% off the Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress, plus two free pillows and a sheet set worth up to $199 thrown in. Bargain.View Deal

best mattress: The DreamCloud

(Image credit: DreamCloud)

7. The DreamCloud mattress

A brilliant hybrid alternative to the all-foam Nectar mattress

Specifications
Type: mattress in a box
Firmness (1-10): 6.5
Material: hybrid (foam and coils)
Height: 14 inches
Availability: online
Trial length: 365 days
Warranty: lifetime
Best for: all sleepers
MSRP: $799 - $1,299
Reasons to buy
+Sleeps cool+Hotel-quality comfort+Responsive, innerspring feel
Reasons to avoid
-Some may find too tall

If you liked the sound of the Nectar mattress at number one but don’t want an all-foam option, we highly recommend trying the DreamCloud. This popular, luxury hybrid mattress is sold at a lower-mid-range price: it isn't quite as plush as the premium Saatva Classic, but it's a few hundred dollars cheaper and comes with free pillows (plus free sheets and a mattress protector in the current sale too). 

At 14 inches, this medium-firm mattress is one of the tallest in our guide, and it comes packed with five generous layers that offer firm, responsive support as well as deep, soft cushioning. 

The core of the mattress consists of a layer of individually wrapped coils. These provide custom relief by adapting to your body shape, and give the DreamCloud a traditional innerspring mattress feel, with more bounce than you’ll get from an all-foam option. The springs also boost airflow, helping dissipate heat during the night. Above these sit a gel memory foam layer, which is designed to contour to your body, cradling your shoulders, hips and other pressure points. There’s also a cooling, quilted cashmere cover on top. 

Existing users love it: the DreamCloud averages a full five stars from almost 3,000 reviews on the DreamCloud website, and 4.2 out of 5 on independent review site TrustPilot, from a smaller pool of 800 users. The majority of reviewers comment on how comfortable the mattress is, how much better they sleep now, and how good the customer service is at DreamCloud. A few users say that edge support could be a little better for sitting on the side of the bed. 

Bear in mind that the DreamCloud is heavier than some other mattresses (a queen size weighs 85lbs compared to Nectar’s 74lbs, while a king size weighs 107lbs) so you’ll want two people to move it. Alternatively, in non-covid times you can pay an extra $149 for white glove delivery. We love that the DreamCloud comes with a huge 365-night trial and forever warranty. Shipping and returns are also free, which makes testing this mattress at home incredibly easy. 

DreamCloud sale: $200 off + $399 of free gifts
From $699
- DreamCloud is offering a $200 discount on its flagship mattress, with $399-worth of free gifts added to your order. That's almost as good value as the Nectar offer - and makes this luxury hybrid very appealing indeed. With a year-long trial and forever warranty, it's worth considering.View Deal

best mattress: Avocado Green Mattress

(Image credit: Avocado)

8. Avocado Green Mattress

The best mattress for those who want to go organic

Specifications
Type: mattress in a box
Firmness (1-10): 5.5
Material: hybrid (natural latex and springs)
Height: 11 inches, or 13 with pillow top
Availability: online
Trial length: 365 days
Warranty: 25 years
Best for: eco-conscious users
MSRP: $899 - $1,799
Reasons to buy
+Made with non-toxic materials+Doesn't get too hot+Very durable
Reasons to avoid
-Some motion transfer

The Avocado Green mattress is the best organic mattress you can buy. Made from non-toxic, eco-friendly materials, this high-quality hybrid mattress offers a luxurious, gentle-but-firm sleeping environment, and has outstanding green credentials. 

Customers certainly love it. The Avocado Green mattress boasts an average score of 4.7 out of 5 from over 12,000 reviews on the Avocado website. Many people praise how comfortable it is - and some say their back pain has disappeared. There are two different versions to choose between: standard, which is 11 inches deep; or pillow top, which adds an extra two inches of luxury support. 

Both are made from premium, natural materials, including ethically sourced GOLS organic certified latex, wool, and cotton (GOLS is a global textile processing standard for organic fibers). There are also 1,414 pocketed coils to distribute your weight more evenly. And it’s incredibly resilient: this is one of the most durable mattresses you can buy. If you're looking for a comfortable, supportive, and sustainably produced mattress with no chemicals, you won't find better.

Avocado sale: save $100 with code SLEEPFREE
From $899
- It's fairly rare we see a discount on the Avocado Green mattress, but there's currently still $100 off in the company's 4th of July sale. That drops the price of a queen to $1,399 - just make sure you add the code: SLEEPFREE at checkout. View Deal

Best mattress: Allswell Hybrid Mattress

(Image credit: Allswell)

9. The Allswell Mattress

A great-value budget hybrid mattress

Specifications
Type: mattress in a box
Firmness (1-10): 5
Material: hybrid (foam and coils)
Height: 10 inches
Availability: online
Trial length: 100 days
Warranty: 10 years
Best for: lower budgets
MSRP: $265 - $475
Reasons to buy
+Good value for money +Great for kids' or guest rooms
Reasons to avoid
-Firmer than some people expected-No machine-washable cover

The Allswell is a hybrid bed-in-a-box mattress made from memory foam and coils. Backed by Walmart, it aims to deliver ‘luxury’ at a budget price - and while it doesn’t compare to mattresses that cost more, many reviewers say it does a good job for the money.

Inside, a generous layer of individually wrapped coils help reduce motion transfer, making it a good choice for couples. On top, cooling, breathable memory foam provides cushioning and extra support, while also preventing you from overheating. Allswell classifies the mattress as medium-firm.

Like the Nectar, The Allswell is a bed in a box. It'll be shipped for free and arrive at your door rolled-up in a conveniently sized box, ready to sleep on within 24-48 hours. It also comes with a 100-night trial and 10-year warranty. 

Bear in mind that some premium features have been sacrificed to achieve the budget price tag. It doesn't have a removable cover, for example. There also isn't a discount on this one in Allswell's holiday sale. Nevertheless, The Allswell mattress offers good value for money. If you're looking for a quality, budget option, it's one of the best mattresses you can buy. 

best mattress: Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam

(Image credit: Zinus)

10. Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress

The best mattress under $300 - cheap and cheerful

Specifications
Type: mattress in a box
Firmness (1-10): 6
Material: foam
Height: 6-12 inches
Availability: online and retail showrooms
Trial length: 100 days
Warranty: 10 years
Best for: tight budgets
MSRP: $151 - $464
Reasons to buy
+Amazon best seller+Different thickness options
Reasons to avoid
-Thicker options cost more-Some find too warm

The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam isn’t the best mattress you can buy - let’s clear that up straight away. As you’ll have seen in this guide, there are plenty of higher-end options with luxury materials and more advanced features. But if you’re on a tight budget, or looking to furnish a spare room without breaking the bank, this Amazon best-seller is very good indeed and well worth considering. 

The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam is an all-foam mattress. As the name suggests, it features green tea-infused memory foam, plus purified charcoal particles, which aim to neutralize odors and absorb moisture. It comes in a range of different thickness options: 6, 8, 10 and 12 inches, and the price increases with depth. We tested the 10-inch version - which starts from $217 - for three months and found it to be very comfortable and supportive, with good edge support and minimal motion transfer, so you won’t be disturbed by a restless partner. (In case you’re wondering, no, it doesn’t smell of tea…)

The fantastic price is, of course, where this mattress really stands out. It isn’t often you can buy a quality king size mattress for under $300. It's also racked up a ridiculous amount of positive user reviews on Amazon - over 100,000 (May 2021), with an impressive average score of 4.4 out of 5. 

There are a few questions about long-term durability: we don’t know how this mattress will perform after a few years of use. It’s not the best choice if you overheat at night, either - a few of our reviewers became uncomfortably warm. But all in all, we think the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress is popular for good reason. If you’re looking for affordable support and comfort, or want to give memory foam a try for the first time, it’s a top choice for the money.

How to choose the best mattress

When to change your mattress: couple sleeping in a bed facing different directions

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The only way to truly know whether a mattress is right for you is to sleep on it. That's why all the options in our best mattress guide come with a long risk-free trial - if you don't like one, you can send it back and try another. However, there are some key things to know that will help you choose the right mattress. 

Here, we'll answer some common questions people ask when buying a new mattress. We'll show you best-rated mattresses at the moment (you can read more about any of them by clicking on the jump-link - it'll take you to the appropriate section of our guide above). We'll also share some key considerations to make, along with pro tips and tricks for choosing the best mattress for your budget...

What are the best-rated mattresses in 2021?

Best value mattress: Nectar Memory Foam mattress
Best luxury mattress: Saatva Classic mattress
Best budget mattress: Tuft & Needle Original mattress
Best mattress for back pain: Saatva Classic mattress
Best mattress for side sleepers: Helix Midnight mattress
Best cooling mattress: Saatva Classic mattress
Best budget cooling mattress: Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress
Best memory foam mattress: Nectar Memory Foam mattress
Best hybrid mattress: Saatva Classic mattress
Best organic mattress: Avocado Green mattress
Best mattress in a box: Nectar Memory Foam mattress
Best cheap mattress: Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress

Which is the best type of mattress?

The short answer is that there isn't a best type of mattress. Firstly, that's because everyone is different: the right type for you depends on your preferences. But secondly, it's because the differences between each are increasingly negligible. Materials have advanced so much over the last five years that it can be difficult to notice any perceptible difference while you're sleeping on them. 

That's good news for you: it means you should be able to pick any of the options in our best mattress guide and be extremely happy with your choice - regardless of whether it's made from copper-infused memory foam, coils, latex or a cutting-edge combination of all-natural materials.

However, it can be helpful to know what each mattress type is before you make your final choice, so we've walked through the main options, pulling out the differences between each...

Memory foam mattresses

best mattress 2021: Nectar Memory Foam

The Nectar Memory Foam mattress has three-inches of gel memory foam (Image credit: Nectar)

Memory foam is a great option for anyone who likes to feel 'hugged' by their mattress. It contours to your body, providing better pressure relief than spring-based options, and is excellent at absorbing motion, making it a top choice for anyone with a restless partner (but not the best option if you prefer some bounce in your mattress - you'll want an innerspring or hybrid instead). 

One key feature of memory foam is that you sink into it - that's what provides the above-average cushioning. As with any all-foam mattress, the dense material can feel warmer at night than other options, but the best memory foam mattresses now come packed with special cooling materials that are designed to regulate your temperature while you sleep. 

If you seriously overheat at night, you may still prefer to avoid an all-foam mattress - but if you love the cushioning feel of memory foam there are plenty of 'cooling' memory foam mattresses that are worth trying. These range in price from the more budget-friendly Cocoon Chill Memory Foam mattress (from $499) to the ultra-premium Tempur-Breeze (starts at over $3,000).

Innerspring mattresses

Saatva Classic mattress review

Saatva's flagship innerspring mattress, the Saatva Classic, comes in three different firmness levels (Image credit: Saatva)

Innerspring mattress use a coil-based support system to provide comfort and structure. The quantity, height and design of the coils vary, and while traditionally innerspring mattresses were made with interconnected coils, the term is increasingly used to describe pocket spring mattresses. 

These feature individually wrapped coils that sit inside their own fabric pocket and can move independently - providing better pressure relief, greater comfort and more effective motion isolation. Generally speaking, the more pocket springs, the better the support. 

One key difference between innerspring mattresses and all-foam options is that they're buoyant: you sleep on top of them, rather than sinking into them. That's good news for hot sleepers - it means your body heat is less likely to be trapped by the mattress, plus the springs allow more air to circulate than dense foam. Innerspring mattresses also have more bounce than all-foam options, and can be cheaper.

Hybrid mattresses

Helix Midnight mattress review

The Helix Midnight mattress marries memory foam with supportive polyfoam and a layer of wrapped coils (Image credit: Helix)

Hybrids bring you the best of both worlds: you benefit from the tailored support of memory foam, gel or latex, while also getting the subtle bounce and increased airflow of springs. The coils in hybrid mattresses are usually smaller, though, and you'll often (but not always) have a thinner memory foam layer. 

Many of the best mattresses are hybrids. They're a flexible option that make a good compromise for couples with different preferences, and they're a good choice for hot sleepers who love the feeling of foam.

Latex mattresses

Avocado mattress with a clothed couple lying on it, reading books

The Avocado Green mattress is made from GOLS organic certified latex from the company's co-owned farmers' collectives (Image credit: Avocado)

Latex mattresses use a super durable, latex foam that's made from natural materials, rather than synthetic materials (which memory foam mattresses are made from). If you're looking for an organic, sustainable mattress, latex is a top material to choose. 

It's less dense than memory foam, which makes latex mattresses less prone to overheating, and provides good contouring and bounce. The superb durability makes latex a fantastic investment if you want your mattress to really last - but it doesn't come cheap.  

How do I know the right mattress size?

One golden rule for choosing the right size of mattress is to make sure it's 10cm longer than the tallest person sleeping in it. Width-wise, if you're sharing a bed, you and your partner should be able to put your hands under your head without your elbows touching.

If you're not sharing a bed, you want to be able to put your hands under your head without touching the edges of the mattress. Measure that distance, and as long as you choose a mattress that's wider than that, you're good. 

Most of the options listed in our best mattress guide are available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king and California king sizes. Some come in split options too, which enable you to choose a different firmness to your partner. 

Generally speaking, the bigger the mattress, the higher the price. Most of the twin mattresses cost a few hundred dollars less than the queen size, while the king and California king sizes average around $200 more than the queen size. Hybrid mattresses, luxe and premier versions generally cost more than the basic/original mattress prices listed too.

How do I know the right mattress firmness?

Medium firm is consistently the most popular mattress choice - that's why most flagship mattresses fall within a range of 5-7 on the firmness scale (10 is the firmness). 

However, mattresses are subjective. Firmness and comfort depend on a wide range of factors, including weight, height, body shape, sleeping style, temperature, and whether you experience any pain, such as in your back or hips. This means that one person's experience of a mattress is likely to be completely different to that of another person; and whether you prefer a softer or firmer mattress will be down to your individual taste. 

(That's why we use a range of different people to test our mattresses - and it's also why we look through thousands of user reviews, too. Keep this in mind when noting our 'firmness gauge', which ranges from 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest - you may find a mattress slightly softer or firmer than we've found it.)

Nevertheless, there is some broad advice for deciding which firmness you might be best-suited to...

1. Consider your preferred sleeping position
Back sleepers often benefit from a medium-firm mattress. This gives the best of both worlds, providing neutral spine alignment and helping support the hips and shoulders, without putting too much pressure on them. If a mattress is too soft, back sleepers may find their spine forming a uncomfortable 'U' shape, which creates strain; if it's too firm, the natural 'S' curve of the spine won't be supported properly.

Side sleepers need good pressure relief on their shoulders and hips, and for their body contours to be supported. A medium to medium-soft mattress is usually a good choice - if it's too soft, though, the spine won't align properly with the shoulders and hips. Memory foam can be a good choice due to its above-average contouring properties. 

Front sleepers tend to fare better with a firmer mattress. This helps lift the hips up so they're in alignment with the spine, and prevents the spine from forming a 'U' shape. Too firm, though, and it'll be uncomfortable - particularly for women; too soft, and it can feel suffocating. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses can be a better choice than foam here.

Combination sleepers should choose according to their  dominant position. If there isn't one, medium firm will give the best support and comfort across most positions.

2. Consider your weight
Lighter sleepers who weigh below 130lbs don't sink as far into a mattress and can be well-suited to softer options as a result - between 2 and 4 on the firmness scale. However, a medium-firm mattress would also be a good choice.

People weighing between 130-230lbs are often better-suited to medium and medium-firm mattresses, between 5-7 on the firmness scale. 

Heavier sleepers who weigh above 230lbs can be well-suited to firmer mattresses, between 8-10, which prevent them sinking through the comfort levels.

3. Use the risk-free sleep trial
It can take up to three weeks for your body to adjust to a new mattress. That's especially true if your old mattress wasn't supporting you properly, so don't assume that if you initially wake up sore it's because a new mattress is wrong - it may be your body getting used to better support. Most mattress trials specify a minimum of 21 days for exactly this reason.

Aside from how a mattress feels, there's a quick trick you can use to check whether it's the right firmness. Lie down and place your hand in the small of your back: if there's a big gap, it's too firm; if there's no gap, the mattress is too soft.

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Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar.