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Mattress Buying Guide


When it comes to buying a mattress, you need to ensure that you find one that's comfortable for you. Read our handy guide below and determine which type of mattress suits your personal needs. We've a wide range to choose from, so you're certain to find a style that will provide you with the ultimate night's sleep – because everyone deserves a good night's sleep.

Why Choose a Happy Beds Mattress?

We've all heard the fairy-tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: after a hefty meal of porridge, the blonde-haired beauty gets tired and climbs the stairs to bed. The first bed is too hard, the second is too soft, but the third is just right.

Well, buying a new mattress can be your very own fable. Here at Happy Beds we encourage our customers to choose from our large selection to help them find the ideal mattress for a good night's sleep.

We aim to make it as easy as possible for you to be able to choose which mattress is best for you. We have this guide below and our mattress size guide to help you find the right one for you. We also have our detailed product pages and our exclusive mattress firmness tool. This tool enables you to see how firm or soft a mattress will feel for you and your partner depending on your weight. We also have 100's of 5* reviews for each of our mattress from genuine customers.

So whether you choose a single mattress, double mattress or a king size mattress, or whether you opt for a pocket spring or memory foam mattress, we are confident we have the mattress of your dreams.

What Are The Main Types of Mattress Available?

When choosing a mattress, there are many factors you should take into consideration before making your decision. Age, body weight, posture, sleeping position and aches/pains are the most important characteristics which will determine the perfect mattress for you. There is a reason why there are so many types of mattresses, each accommodate to a specific body type and requirement of sleep.


Orthopaedic mattresses are designed to contour your body to minimise pressure points and allow a balanced support across your body to prevent aches and pains. Usually much firmer than other mattresses orthopaedic mattresses are perfect for those people who need that extra support whilst sleeping.

Pocket Spring

Pocket sprung mattresses are manufactured with a clever movement-isolating system of individually nested pocket springs, which encases each spring in cushioned fabric for consistent support. Pocket sprung mattresses also offer superior support of spinal alignment, providing a more luxurious feel. These springs work independently from each other which means that it minimises roll together and disturbances when two people share a bed and one is a restless sleeper.

Open Coil Spring

Sometimes called traditional spring or bonnell spring, open coil spring mattresses are manufactured using a series of connected springs, and usually come with a rod edge border for additional structural support. This spring system is then sandwiched between a series of foam and fabric layers creating a comfortable sleep surface.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are crafted from temperature-sensitive foam that adjusts to the sleeper’s body, which helps relieve pressure points. Memory foam mattresses are usually denser than other foam mattresses and retain heat for extra comfort.

Mattress Firmness Ratings Explained

When looking for your new mattress, you'll probably notice that each mattress is given a firmness rating. Some are listed as 'soft', whereas others are 'firm'. You may be wondering, 'who is a firm mattress best for?' or questions along this line. The firmness of a mattress is how much mattress tension it has, so how much give a mattress has when you rest on it, and this is rated along a mattress firmness scale, from soft to firm.

  • Soft mattresses can often feel like you're sleeping on a cloud and will give way very quickly when you lay on them, making them ideal for lighter sleepers. This means that they will cushion you as you sleep, so it will feel more like you're almost sleeping inside the mattress than on top of it. We recommend these mattresses for those who may have joint problems as the softness will support your body instead of pushing you into a particular position.
  • Soft/medium mattresses combine the plushness of a soft mattress whilst adding a little extra support. These are ideal for those who may not enjoy the feeling of almost sinking into their mattress!
  • Medium mattresses are a great neutral option that can accommodate many people's needs. These may have a layer of soft foam or cushioning on top of a supportive spring structure, making them suitable for many people. This also means that a medium mattress can be the best option for a guest bed, as it will offer the right amount of support and cushioning for temporary visitors.
  • Medium/firm mattresses straddle the divide between our medium and firm mattress ranges. These tend to lean more towards the supportive side of spring structure but will still offer some of the comforts of a foam or pillow top mattress, combining support with pressure relief on your joints.
  • Firm mattresses are the perfect choice for those who want to prioritise high levels of support for their body as they sleep. A firm mattress can be particularly ideal for heavier sleepers as these mattresses will usually have a thin layer of foam or cushioned support that provides comfort throughout the night but don't allow you to sink into the mattress!

Are There Any Other Mattress Types To Consider?

There are many other types of mattresses available at Happy Beds, more information on them can be found below.


All mattresses are filled, but with what? Are there any benefits from certain fillings? Man-made fibres such as foams and polyester are used sometimes in conjunction with other natural materials such as wool and silk.

Foams and Foam Substitutes

The most common type of foam used in mattresses is memory foam. However there are some other foams and foam substitutes used in mattresses. Reflex foam is a firmer and cheaper option to memory foam and is often found used in conjunction with memory foam and with open coil spring mattresses. Latex mattresses (including laygel and laytech foams) are again used in conjunction with memory foam and due to its cooling properties, these mattresses are perfect for those who want a memory foam mattress but don't want the additional heat that comings with memory foam.

Happy Beds also has a range of mattresses that come with a foam-like layer, but is made from recycled plastic bottles. Memory e-Fibre is featured on all the Jay-be mattresses including the very popular Benchmark range.

Classic and Natural

Every mattress is made up from a multitude of layers; springs, foams and fillings. Most mattresses feature man made fire resistant fibres like polyester. Some of our mattresses have a layer of natural fillings (wool, silk and cashmere) alongside this polyester layer. This makes our natural fillings mattresses much more comfortable and also kinder on the environment.


Many mattresses are also made with a specific use in mind. There are some bed frames that require certain thicknesses of mattress. Check out our range of bunk bed mattresses and trundle mattresses. If you are struggling with the internal size of your staircase and cannot get a mattress up the stairs, a rolled mattresses could be just the option for you.


Each mattress comes in a variety of finishes and sleeping surfaces. Generally foam based mattresses are one-sided mattresses, that don't need to be flipped and only need to be rotated to keep the mattress fresh. Two-sided mattresses mean that you can both flip and rotate the mattresses making sure that the layers remain equally spread out and as comfortable as the first night.

The sleeping surface is also an important factor to consider depending on your sleeping positions and preferences. Tufted mattresses have a large number of tufts across the surface, making the mattress feel firmer and more supportive. Quilted mattresses offer a flat sleeping surface that also keeps you a little bit warmer than a tufted mattress.

If you are looking for a mattress with a little more comfort and luxury, whilst still offering the same unrivalled support of other mattresses, then a pillowtop mattresses is a very good option for you.

Welcoming Your Mattress

Your new mattress can come rolled, boxed or ready-to-use depending on the mattress type and delivery process. Before installing your new mattress, you should remove and dispose of your old mattress – this can be done through our recycling tool with ease. It is advised that the mattress is lifted and installed by two people, taking the weight of each end of the mattress to prevent injury. When unboxing and unrolling your mattress, be careful not to damage the mattress whilst removing the packaging. If your mattress arrives ready to use, simply remove the outer packaging and place on your bed the correct way, normally with the label positioned at the footend and facing the ceiling.

Protecting Your Mattress

There are various measures you can take to protect your new mattress and ensure a long lasting quality. Your mattress is likely to go through general wear and tear throughout its lifetime, such as stains, sagging and the potential for dust mites or bed bugs. The more you care for your mattress from the first day of installation, the more likely it is to last longer in terms of comfort and appearance.

Mattress protectors will protect your mattresses from stains and damage, whilst adding extra padded comfort to your mattress.

Mattress toppers are designed to both protect your mattress and offer a cushioned layer of improved comfort - making for a great night's sleep.

Daily Care Checklist

There are regular steps you can take to ensure your mattress maintains its quality, include these stages into your cleaning routine to further protect and prolong your mattress' life.

  • Regularly check the quality of your bed frame, as broken or damaged slats can cause your mattress to sag and lose support.
  • Wash your bedding regularly to prevent bacterial build up, for a more hygienic mattress.
  • Invest in some dry cleaning products, such as anti-bacterial fabric spray, to treat your mattress with.
  • Vacuum your mattress regularly to prevent bacteria build-up and bed bug infestation.
  • Turn and/or rotate your mattress within the recommended time frames for prolonged use.
Find your perfect mattress

Frequently Asked Questions

What difference do the springs in a mattress make?


Springs in a mattress traditionally make up the structure and offer a lot of the mattresses support. They usually come in two different types; open coil springs and pocket springs, though there are also spring free mattresses available, made mostly out of reflex foam. Mattresses with springs in their structure offer firm and balanced support, though pocket springs are better for easing pressure points. Their independent movement also means that it’s harder to disturb a second sleeper sharing the same bed, should the first sleeper frequently fidget in the night. Spring free mattresses are mostly made of reflex foam, which are incredibly soft and provide plenty of comfort but not a great amount of support.

What does ‘orthopaedic’ mean?


Orthopaedic relates to the healing of muscles and joints. Anytime orthopaedics is referenced in the context of mattresses it means that they are designed to help relieve pain, facilitate healing and generally just be good for the body.

What’s the best mattress for a child?


Young children will be best suited to single mattresses, made with open coil springs and natural or synthetic fillings, whereas older children may prefer double mattresses, made with either open coil springs or reflex foam and filled with either natural, synthetic or foam fillings.

An unusual smell is coming from my new mattress. Is this normal?


An odd smell is normal with a new mattress, especially with memory foam, reflex foam and organic mattresses or those that are shipped vacuum or roll packed. The foam contains some chemical substances that ensure the ‘memory’ quality of the mattress. The usual way to remove this smell is to leave the mattress in a well-ventilated room for a couple of days to allow the smell to disappear. If you are purchasing a mattress from Happy Beds and are allergic to certain chemicals yet are unsure whether the foam mattress contains them, be sure to contact us prior to placing your order.

What’s the best mattress for a heavy / large sleeper?


Mattresses, especially those with pocket springs, are built to support a sleeper’s weight in the most efficient and comfortable manner. Heavier sleepers may find they get a better night’s sleep from the mattresses designed to focus on this weight distribution, as well as durability, and it’s most often the case that mattresses listed as ‘firm’ do just this. Mattresses listed as ‘soft’ may not feature strong enough springs or be designed with a strong structure in mind and may result in being less durable and significantly less comfortable when a heavy sleeper sleeps on them.

What’s the best mattress for a light / thin sleeper?


Mattresses listed as soft will provide the best comfort and support. Unless you decide you need a mattress with greater back support (in which case a firmer mattress may suit you better) mattresses listed as ‘soft’ will offer greater comfort and support. Mattresses listed as ‘firm’ may not provide much comfort and feel fairly solid. Mattresses that are spring free are often fairly foam heavy, so the choice between these two categories comes down to whether you prefer comfort (spring free) or require a mattress for more orthopaedic purposes (with springs).

How does the firmness of a mattress make a difference?


The firmness of a mattress is for comfort mainly, though some choose firmer mattresses over softer choices for health reasons, such as a firm mattress for greater back support. A sleeper’s weight is also a determining factor, as heavier sleepers may find a better night’s sleep on a firmer mattress better whereas lighter sleepers may find a better night’s sleep on a softer mattress.

On the Happy Beds website, how is the advertised mattress tension determined?


Our advertised tension (as seen in mattress descriptions) is based on the weight of an adult weighing approximately 12 - 14 stones (75 - 90kg). The same mattress may feel of a different tension to different people depending on their weight and other personal factors. A mattress will normally feel firmer for a person weighing less and softer for a person weighing more.

My mattress is too hard compared to the advertised tension on the Happy Beds website. Is this normal?


Here at Happy Beds, our mattresses take six to eight weeks to settle down to their stated tension ratings (as referenced in our Terms & Conditions). The reason for that is because our mattresses are all made to order, which means that they have not been stored in a warehouse with other mattresses compressed on top of them. The mattress should settle to the advertised tension in a short period of time with the recommended aftercare. You may also feel that the fillings (especially foam) feel hard to start with but once stored and adjusted to a room temperature they will soften.

How does the structure of a mattress make a difference?


The structure of a mattress refers to whether or a not it features a layer of springs. There are traditionally three types of structures; open coil springs (or traditional springs), pocket springs and spring free. There are two spring based mattresses, open coil and pocket. The former is the standard, traditional option that creates a firmer, more balanced support for sleepers, whereas the latter eases pressure points during sleep.

How does the filling of a mattress make a difference?


There are five main kinds of mattress fillings; memory, reflex or latex foam, and natural or synthetic (sometimes known as classic) filling. Each offers a different level of support and comfort, the likes of which can make a world of difference between sleepers. The simplest fillings, natural and synthetic, are known best for their durability and breathability. The former can come filled with materials such as cotton, wool and silk, which provides better air circulation; an essential element to remember due to moisture emitted during sleep. The ‘foam’ based mattresses often feature aspects or ratios of other foams, though they will contain the most amount of the highlighted foam. Memory foam mattresses contour to your body via body heat while you sleep and are great for spine and joint support. Reflex foam mattresses contour to your body via pressure, which makes them firmer and much more effective for orthopaedic purposes. Latex foam is firmer still and contains hidden air bubbles, adding extra air circulation to keep you cool while you sleep; an issue that memory foam may exacerbate by keeping you too warm.

How do the features of a mattress make a difference?


The ‘features’ of a mattress essentially refer to the finishing touches. They serve as much more than simply the patterns you see on top of them, they also offer fantastic enrichments to the mattress. Some of the most common features are quilted, pillow, tufted and orthopaedic. Quilted mattresses feature two or more layers of fabric on top, serving as a soft padding for extra comfort. Pillow is similar to quilted, albeit with a focus on finer materials such as soft wool or smooth silk. Tufted mattresses have the two sleeping sides fastened together for added durability. Orthopaedic features are much like the rest of the orthopaedic aspects found in a mattress, and support spine and joints. You can also have a removable cover as a feature, which serves as a convenient way of keeping your mattress cleaner for longer.

Are there any additional aspects to a mattress I should consider?


There are some elements certain mattresses possess that can be the deciding factor between two almost identical choices. This can be anything from enrichments like being scent infused, such as a lavender scented mattress that can help sleepers drift off to sleep, to mere convenience with packaging, such as the mattress arriving as a vacuum sealed, rolled up mattress.