Each product undergoes these three tests:
As previously mentioned, there are multiple factors that we test throughout because everyone has a different idea of what their perfect mattress is. We take all those factors into account when deciding who would like it, whilst giving you all the information you will need to come to your own conclusion.
Here are the factors in more detail.
Comfort and firmness are subjective to the consumer, so we guage these factors on a scale of 1 to 10. Using this scale across all our reviews helps to compare and find what is suited to you.
When it comes to comfort, it can largely be influenced by the firmness of the product but we aim to keep them separate in our reviews. Comfort relates more to the bounce and pressure relief. Whereas the firmness is how soft it is and the density. We test this by initially pushing down on the mattress to see how quickly the surface moulds to the pressure and returns to shape once released. This is an ideal way to see if the product will suit a combination sleeper – if it is quick to mould then it is able to keep up with a change in sleeping position, otherwise it is best for those who tend to sleep in the same position.
Following on from this, we spend time lying on the mattress too see how firm it is. We can see whether we sink into it or if we stay exactly where we are. On the softer mattresses, you will find that you sink in too much if you are a heavy sleeper or a back sleeper. However, if it is a firmer mattress light sleepers may find it uncomfortable and side sleepers will not get the support they need.
Now onto support. You will need to look for a product that can keep your spine aligned in your sleep position, so your body remains in a good posture throughout the night. This means finding a mattress that can relieve your pressure points.
If you are a side sleeper, you are looking for a soft to medium mattress that allows your shoulders and hips to sink down to keep aligned. Whilst having the support to keep the rest of your body up. For back sleepers, ideally you want a medium firm mattress to stop your hips from sinking too low – causing your spine to curve. Those who are front sleepers should look for something that is firmer.
When testing support, we trial each sleeping position to see how the product moulds to the body. We take note of any parts of the body that sink when they shouldn’t and how relaxed we can be with our entire body being supported in various positions. Testing support is different to testing the firmness as the layers of filling can have an impact on the support a product provides. When we get up from the mattress, we look to see if it is still moulded to our shape. This shows whether the support can be adjusted when you move while you sleep or if it will take a while to mould and provide support in the new position. Thinking about this is most important for those who are combination sleepers.
You may feel support in the centre of the mattress, but if you share a bed then you will want to have edge support too. Some choose to sit on the edge of their bed before getting in, or before they get ready for the day – so the last thing they want is to be sinking down. To start with, we press down on all edges to see how firm it is because this can give us an idea if there is any edge support. You might find that some edges have more support than others which is not ideal. We then lie on both sides of the mattress to see how much it sinks down. You will want it to be comfortable but firm enough to have support. This is followed by sitting on the very edge – most mattresses will sink ever so slightly, but some can be too soft and squash down to make it uncomfortable.
A mattress with edge-to-edge support is a good mattress.
Another key factor for those sharing a mattress. It can be referred to as motion isolation or motion transfer. You will want one with low motion transfer or high motion isolation, meaning the mattress carries less movement. The last thing you want is to be woken up by your partner tossing and turning in the night.
To test this on a basic level, you are able to see how the other side of the mattress responds when you move around on one side. Taking this one step further, we place an object on the opposite side to where we are to see how much it moves. Little to no movement means it is perfect, too much movement shows there is low motion isolation.
Some people are hot sleepers, while others are cool sleepers so this is another factor that is subjective. However, we can still tests to see how you will find it. The materials used is essential to regulating temperature or how breathable it can be. We can look to see if there is any mesh panelling which helps with breathability and allows for air flow. Gel, coils and latex foams are towards the cooler end of the scale. On the other hand, memory foam and other variations are on the warmer side of the scale. This is based on how much they retain the heat, however, most have a design feature to regulate the temperature. With hybrid mattresses, they have varying layers to control excess heat or have moisture-wicking properties.
When lying on the mattress, we can see how our body reacts to it by getting too hot and remaining hot when we move to another position, or if can keep cool while on the mattress. If you are a cool sleeper, you might not mind the warmth. However, hot sleepers will want a product that can regulate the temperature.
These are the tests we do alongside the inspections. They are essential to your purchase but you may not remember to look at before buying. From looking at the information on their website and receiving the product, we can find out more about the company.
Every product we review is delivered in-house so we can judge how quickly it arrives, the same as you would having it delivered to your home. We look at what condition it arrives in, both the packaging and the actual product, as well as how accurate their information online is to the reality of receiving it. It is also a chance to see if there is slight off-gassing when opening the product, and whether it needs to be left for a day or two before using. Some companies offer old mattress removal, express delivery and delivery to a room – we find all the relevant information to include in our reviews.
When ordering something, you don’t want to get it from a company that takes a long time to get in touch or can’t provide any help when you have a problem. We check what contact details are available and if there are options for you to use. You will find that companies have a number to call but only weekdays at specific times, or an email, or a live chat. A live chat is usually the quickest and easiest way to contact them so we put it to the test. We make note of what details they need from you to start the chat, and if the chat is actually live and available 24 hours a day. Once they respond, we can give you details of their response time, how polite they are and if they were helpful or not with our query. We believe these are all things that make for a great customer experience, and the final decision of whether or not to choose the company.
One way for us to look at durability is by checking the warranty and/or guarantee of a product. A company is not going to include either of those if a product needs replacing every year, so with a longer warranty you can expect it to be more durable than ones with no warranty. We are not able to put a product to the test for 3, 5 or 10 years. Another way we test for durability is by looking at the materials used to make the product and the quality of them when we test.
Companies promote their purpose and environmental solutions so we like to check if they are following through. Being eco-friendly and sustainable is valued by customers so we want you to know if the product is either of those. We consider the packaging the product arrives in, the material of the product and the history of the company. It is reassuring to know when a company sticks to their values and is doing something to help the environment.
Lastly, we work out if the quality of the product is worth the price you pay. From seeing the product, we can look at the materials used and if they are of high quality to determine a higher price. The USP of the product also plays a part in the price – if a product has something that no other does then it can be at a higher price but if nothing stands out from the rest, there is no need for it to be more expensive. After this, we compare the product to others in the same price range or of the same type to see the difference. For example, we would compare a hybrid mattress to another hybrid mattress, rather than a hybrid to a pocket-sprung mattress.
We test more than just mattresses so other products undergo different or less tests. Mattresses are the most complex to test out but we do in-depth test of pillows, mattress toppers and duvets.
For mattress toppers, it is a very similar process to the mattress tests. This is because it is used as an addition to improve your mattress to suit your needs. We consider all the factors to find what will complete your bed.
When it comes to pillows, we look at loft like we would support of a mattress. We can see if it has a high or low loft and how that works with different sleep positions. The pillow is the final part to keep your spine aligned so you need to find the right one to complement your position. Adjustability is another factor we test. There are pillow options where you are able to remove filling, or remove different layers to build your perfect pillow, or some just need to be plumped. The material used can have an effect on the comfort, breathability and durability of the product so we test for these too.
Duvets are tested on their tog, and using different togs in different seasons. You are likely to want a lower tog in the Summer and a higher tog in the Winter, or one that is practical for all seasons. Again, we look at the material of the product to test comfort, breathability and durability.