Memory Foam Mattress UK – Buyer’s Guide (And More)
Memory foam mattresses are really popular right now. Not only that, memory foam mattresses that you order online, in boxes, are even more popular. Everyone’s making them, from brands you know and love like Sealy and Silentnight, through to American disruptors breaking into the UK market like Nectar. With so many memory foam mattress UK options now available, how do you begin to choose one?
The choice can be overwhelming. How can you ever get it right? Read more to find out everything you need to know about memory foam mattresses, where you can buy them from reliable companies in the UK, and even find out about a memory foam mattress you can try at home for a whole year before you have to decide if you’re going to keep it.
Inside this Memory Foam Mattress UK guide here’s what you’ll find:
- Quick Guide To Memory Foam Mattresses
- Memory Foam Mattress FAQ
- 3 Good Places To Buy A Memory Foam Mattress Online In The UK
Quick Guide To Memory Foam Mattresses
What Does Memory Foam Feel Like?
Here’s a little video from Nectar, one of the most popular memory foam mattresses, showing you what their mattress feels like.
Memory foam is known for its contouring properties. It was originally designed to have a gradual response to body heat and weight, molding itself around pressure points to provide contouring relief.
This gave memory foam a great reputation as being really protective of pressure points and made it a popular and comfortable choice for many people. However, this deep and slow contouring has some disadvantages too: sometimes people feel like they get sunk into their mattress due to the slow response of the foam.
To combat this, many companies now engineer their memory foams to be more responsive, and infuse them with technology to help control heat, too. These “new generation” memory foams are designed to still give a nice contouring pressure relief, but with a faster response to weight so you don’t sink into them as much.
There are a whole range of different feeling memory foams out there on the market. As well as how much they contour and how responsive they are, they come in different firmness levels, too. There’s something to suit everyone and I’ll talk you through a few options further on.
Since most memory foam mattresses don’t contain coils (unless you get a hybrid, read more about these below) they have virtually no bounce. Even if they contain foams engineered to be bouncy, they won’t feel anything like the spring mattresses you probably know and love. This property makes all foam mattresses particularly good at isolating motion: great news if you share a bed with someone who tosses and turns or gets up a lot in the night.
What Is The Composition Of A Memory Foam Mattress?
Memory foam mattresses usually contain the following:
- A cover made of a polyester or polyester blend knit fabric. These covers are usually quite thin and stretchy, and designed to be moisture wicking. Some (but not all) are removable and machine washable. Even if you have a mattress with a removable cover it’s a good idea to use a mattress protector.
- At least one comfort layer that is made of memory foam. Some mattresses will contain two or even three comfort layers. Generally, the more memory foam, the more expensive the mattress. Mattresses with more than one layer of memory foam in the comfort layer will often infuse the top foam layer with gel beads to draw heat away from your body as you sleep. A good example of this is the Silentnight Studio Series Mattress.
- The support core of the mattress will be a high density polyfoam. This foam layer will be the thickest layer of the mattress and is designed to be totally firm and unyielding. It’s there to allow the fancy foam layers above to do their job without you feeling the firmness of the support underneath.
- You can also buy hybrid mattresses. These are mattresses with a pocket coil support system and a foam (usually memory foam) comfort layer. These tend to work really well for people who are concerned about getting hot in the night as air flows more freely around the coils than it would through foam. They’re also great for people wanting to try out memory foam without straying too far from the traditional coils they know and love.
How Can You Tell If A Memory Foam Mattress Is High Quality?
I use three methods to judge whether a memory foam mattress is good quality.
- I try to find out about the densities of the foams used inside the mattress. The density of the foam won’t tell you much about how firm a mattress is, but the lower density the foam the sooner it will start to compress, which means sagging and the mattress starting to feel uncomfortable. Many companies are quite guarded with their numbers here, when asked many will tell me “they don’t have that information available”. I love it when companies are straight up and display it on their websites, but I haven’t seen any UK vendors do this yet. So without knowing the densities, what else are quality clues?
- Reviews from people who have owned and used the mattress for a year or more. You need to take online reviews with a grain of salt, but if you can read through with a critical eye, you can often find common themes about how well a mattress is holding up after a long period of time. Another great thing here is people often include photographs alongside their reviews.
- What is the warranty period? If I see a memory foam mattress with a 1-3 year warranty, I know straight away that low quality foams have been used and the company is not expecting their mattress to last long at all. In America, where the competition in the online mattress market is stiff, 10 years is the minimum warranty I expect to see, some even offer lifetime warranties. In the UK, where there is not as much competition, I’m seeing big brands continuing with 5 year warranties. While this isn’t too bad, I expect as we see more and more players enter the online market, 10 years will become the norm here, too.
How To Determine Which Firmness Level Is Best For You
Memory foam mattresses come in a variety of different firmness levels, and each suits different people. I see countless complaints from people saying a mattress is “too soft” or “too firm”. This is absolutely true for that person, because the mattress was not right for their situation.
Here’s a general guideline to help you get it right.If in doubt, go for a mattress that is rated medium that most verified customers agree feel like a medium. Medium is the most universally comfortable feel and many online mattresses hedge their bets and only make medium feeling mattresses, in the hopes of providing a “one size fits all solution”.
BY BODY WEIGHT:
- Light body weight: you need a softer mattress. You won’t sink that far into the comfort layers, so to get any pressure relief the foam in the top of the mattress needs to be soft.
- Average body weight: you’re lucky, you probably have the widest range of options based on your preference. Of course, medium will work best for most people, but if you really like a soft mattress you won’t be uncomfortable on a soft one, same for a firm one.
- Higher body weight: you need a firm mattress. If you buy a mattress with soft foams in the top, you’ll sink right through them and feel the support core below. This means the mattress wont be accommodating your pressure points, and funnily enough, it actually makes the mattress feel too firm! Make sure the mattress you’re getting is firm enough to give you the support you deserve. Firm mattresses are often marketed as “orthopaedic”.
BY SLEEPING POSITION:
- Side sleeper: you put a lot of weight through your shoulder, and a big concern for you is not getting a numb arm in the night. You need a softer mattress that will allow your shoulder to sink into the comfort layers.
- Back sleeper: you need to make sure your spine is kept in a nice neutral position through the night. The body weight guidelines probably apply best for you, choose your firmness based on your weight.
- Stomach sleeper: you put a lot of weight through your hips as you sleep. Your mattress will be working hard as you sleep to prevent your hips from tilting and keeping your back straight. A firmer mattress will help you get the best support.
Pros And Cons Of Memory Foam
- Contouring pressure relief
- Good spine alignment
- Good motion isolation
- Available in a price range and firmness feel that makes them accessible to everyone wanting to try oe
- Some might sleep hot if there are no cooling technologies in the foam
- If the memory foam is a slow response foam some people may not like the “sink” feel the mattress has as it contours your body
- Poor edge support
- They release an odour when you take them out of their boxes to expand (this process is called off-gassing. It’s totally normal and every foam mattress will do it as it expands and it’s harmless, but some don’t like the smell. Open your new foam mattress in a ventilated room)
Other Memory Foam Mattress (UK) FAQ:
Which Is The Best Memory Foam Mattress UK?
The answer totally depends on you, and what you want the mattress for! One person may be very happy with the cheapest low durability model as a comfy mattress for kids or guests, while another may want to invest in the highest quality foams to help them with a sore back over many years.
- The best of the very cheap models (around £60-70) is Visco Therapy. It is a comfortable foam mattress with a very thin memory foam layer. It’s a cheap mattress made from cheap materials, but it has a five year warranty. It’s biggest rival, at the same price point and made from the same materials only has one year. Click here to read my full Visco Therapy UK review.
- The mattress with the best classic memory foam feel is also the one that has the best warranty (lifetime) and sleep trial (you can try it out at home for a whole year) is Nectar. This is a massively popular American mattress that has been making big waves in the British market since it arrived here in 2018. Read my full Nectar UK review here.
- What’s the British made one? I think Sealy (the big international brand who make their British mattresses in Britain) or Silentnight both have great options for you. Click on the names to read my reviews of each brand. Some Silentnight mattresses come with a 60 night home trial so they’re a good option if you’re looking to buy online.
Are Cheap Memory Foam Mattresses Good?
As I said above, it depends what you want it for. The important thing to keep in mind here is that the cheaper the mattress, the cheaper the foams you’ll find inside it. Cheap foams are low density and do not last as long as high density foams. The cheaper foam mattresses also tend to have a thinner layer of memory foam inside of them. For example, a Visco Therapy memory foam mattress costs the same as their mattress topper, because the actual mattress contains very little memory foam while the topper has a lot.
So when is this good? These mattresses tend to be good for lighter children (I wouldn’t buy one as an every day mattress for a teen), whose body weight won’t compress the mattress as quickly. They’re likely to feel comfortable on this mattress longer than an adult would with every day use. This is handy if you’re looking to buy your child a twin size mattress to see them through a few years.
These mattresses can also be good for use by occasional guests. If you have people staying one or two nights, a couple of times a year, these mattresses are a really budget friendly option that your guests will feel comfortable on.
Cheap memory foam mattresses are no good for adults looking for an every day mattress that they expect to last. It will be fine if you just need something to see you through a couple of months, but if you want a memory foam mattress that is going to be your every day mattress for years to come, invest a little more money to save yourself the pain and hassle of buying more than once in the long run.
Should I Get A 10 Inch Or 12 Inch Mattress?
These measurements correspond to 26 cm and 30 cm, respectively. They are both very common heights for memory foam mattresses. If a company is offering the option of 10 or 12 inch, the 12 inch model is usually a softer one with thicker comfort layers (more memory foam and other softer foams). It’s going to depend on exactly what the feel of the mattress is, and how the foam layers function.
If you have questions about specific mattresses, I’m more than happy to answer them for you.
How Long Does Memory Foam Last?
A really cheap memory foam mattress that has very low quality foam will last about a year or less, and the warranty it comes with will probably reflect that.
I’d expect a decent quality memory foam mattress to last around 8 years, this seems to be about the amount of time most sleep experts expect them to last. If the foams inside are of average quality the time might be more like 5 years.
Where To Buy A Memory Foam Mattress Online In The UK: 3 Great Options
There are ton of options for you to choose from if you want to buy a memory foam mattress online in the UK. I’ve chosen three different types of retailers to show you the range available. One is a big online mattress store that sells lots of different brands of mattresses (including well known and trusted brands like Sealy), another is Amazon (the trusted one-stop shop for many, great if you’re looking to do your groceries at the same time as you purchase your mattress) and the third is Nectar: a company that is there specifically to sell you their one mattress. Here’s a more detailed look at each.
What’s good about them:
- National Bed Federation online retailer of the year
- 64 Different memory foam options available, some of which come with a 60 night sleep trial
- Easy to search for what you want based on price, firmness, brand, etc. This really helps you narrow down your options
- Free delivery, next day delivery in most cases. You can even choose which two hour time slot you’d like your mattress delivered within
- They’ll recycle your old mattress for you for just £25
- They sell a wide range of brands, including some of your favourites like Sealy and Silentnight
What’s good about them:
- You can buy lots of different things at once. Want a bedside lamp with your mattress or some dog food with your mattress order?! No problem. Amazon has pretty much has everything you could ever want
- They have a big range of memory foam mattresses, including some very popular cheap models that start at around £60
- Free delivery for most mattresses
- Easy to see lots of reviews from real customers
What’s good about them:
- Nectar is a specialty mattress brand, they just want to sell you their one mattress
- They have an unbeatable 365 night sleep trial (yes, you can try it out for a whole year at home, and if you don’t like it you get your money back)
- Their mattress comes with a lifetime warranty (yes, you read that right, too. Not one year, not 5 years, not even 10 years. Lifetime)