Buying Guide: Mattresses


Buying a mattress can be a tricky process, particularly as we only tend to buy a new one every decade or so, and as such may not know which particular type we are accustomed to; we can additionally be confused by the sheer amount of types, materials and finishes, and to top it all off, mattresses can be a relatively expensive investment. In this guide we talk you through the process of buying a mattress and explain what it is you should be looking for in a good quality mattress.

Types of Mattresses

Memory foam mattress

Memory mattresses are, contrary to popular belief, not completely made of the foam that has become known as memory foam; instead they consist of a layer of temperature-sensitive viscoelastic material (memory foam). They have become increasingly popular within the last 5 years or so, and are perfect for those that suffer from joint paint or other such pressure issues.

Memory foam changes based on room temperature; so, for example, when you get into bed and the room is relatively cool you may find that the mattress is hard until it warms up from your body heat.

Orthopaedic mattress

Orthopaedic mattresses were the most popular type of mattresses prior to memory foam for those that suffered from back or neck pain.However, today many choose memory foam in the belief that it will be more suitable to their condition. Many have then found that their condition isn't as catered for as it was with their previous orthopaedic mattress; this is because orthopaedic mattresses provide robust support that can be more suitable than the moulding effect that memory foam creates. Additionally, for those that are looking for a firm mattress with a moulding quality, there are mattresses that combine both orthopaedic and memory foam.

Sprung and pocket mattresses

Sprung and pocket mattresses are padded with various fillings, which one yours will be filled with will largely depend on how good a quality mattress it is; fillings include: cotton, lambs wool and mohair,the more luxurious of options include cashmere and silk.

Mattress materials

When considering what material to choose you should remember that you have two factors to bear in mind: the material and the finish. Most mattresses are finished by either quilting or tufting. Quilting is where the outer fabric is attached to the mattress' filling (such as its springs); this ensures that the mattress has a smoother overall finish, and is mostly found in coil sprung mattresses. Tufting is where tapes are fed through the mattress to, in effect, hold the mattress' components in their place (such as springs); tufting is a far more robust method of finishing a mattress, and is often finished with quilted sides that are stitched by hand, this means that the mattress stays in shape for as long as possible.

Mattress prices

When choosing your mattress you should always bear in mind that more expensive doesn't always mean better. Today mattresses have been driven down in price by an increasing number of manufacturers all competing for your business.