November 2019

7 questions to ask before committing to buying a mattress

You may have finally admitted defeat with your current mattress and decided that you really need a new one. However, buying a mattress can be a tricky, time consuming and confusing process. Retailers are set to confuse you with the descriptions, lack of detail and high-pressure sales. Here's our list that ensures you're not spun out!

Hand writing a list before bed
Here’s our essential list of must-ask questions when buying a new bed

How do you know you’ve picked the right bed? Do you even know what to look for when buying a new mattress? The comfort you’re wanting or mattress type? If not, how can you find out? We have put together the 7 questions you need to ask before committing to buying a mattress:

1. What’s Your Bed Budget?

Before you start searching online for mattresses or hitting the shops, you really need to take a moment to think about how much you’re willing to spend.

Knowing exactly what you can get for your money when buying a new mattress is crucial to set your expectations. It also means you will be better prepared to spot a fake mattress sale or misleading description. Yes, that’s right. By knowing exactly what you can expect for your money you can quickly avoid false advertisements or deals that are too good to be true.

How much to spend on a double mattress?What can I expect for my money?
Under £500Will not get you much at best a 13.5 gauge open coil/cage sprung with a thin polyester layer or a solid foam mattress.
£500Entry level spunbond springs with some form of synthetic upholstery. Usually one sided mattresses.
£750The beginnings of a basic pocket springs unit with 800 – 1000 count. No substantial amount of filling other than foams and synthetic materials. Two sided models.
£1000Should get you away from most low ranges and into the mid-range pocket spring models.
£1250Should get you a decent pocket sprung mattress with some Natural Fibre content.
£1500Should get you many manufacturers mid-range models with Natural Fibres
£1500-£2000Should get you a Hand Made primarily Natural Fibre Quality Mattress
£2000+You should expect 100% Natural Fibres and Traditional Hand Made Construction Method.
£5000+A Bespoke Hand Made Sleep System, High-end Spring Units & Featuring the Worlds Most Luxurious Natural Fibres.

2. Natural Fibre or Foam Mattress?

This is the second question you need to answer. Are you going to opt for a chemical-based foam as the primary mattress material or go down the higher end of a natural fibre route? We know that, at the lower end of the budget, foams and synthetic fibres will dominate. This is because they are far cheaper to produce.

However, the move towards boxed foam mattresses has seen the price point rise as well. This is mainly due to million-dollar marketing campaigns.

1200 gsm of blended wool and cotton cross section
If your budget allows, then natural fibres are always a better choice. They are breathable and last far longer.

If you can afford a natural fibre mattress, then these are always preferable over foams and heat retentive man-made materials. Not only do natural fibres provide far better comfort, but they also last longer and don’t retain as much heat.

3. Do You Want a Soft, Medium, or Firm Mattress?

This is where most people come unstuck when buying a new mattress. 90% of people that get in touch with us have incorrectly chosen the spring tension of their new mattress believing it is the same as the overall comfort of the mattress. This leads to disastrous nights in their new bed.

When buying a new mattress, the spring tension is always identified by your body weight. This is because the springs have been specifically designed to work with these weights. See below.

John Ryan Calico encased mattress springs

It is then the comfort layers, such as natural fibre upholstery, that create the overall ‘soft, medium, or firm’ comfort feel. This is where you need to put in the majority of your research efforts to know how these fibres work together, the GSM (grams per square meter), and the blends of the fibre.

(Alternatively, you could just get in touch with us to help explain any mattresses you’re looking at!)

4. Are You Sleeping Alone?

We don’t mean to get personal so quickly but it’s an important question to ask. If you sleep alone, then it’s slightly easier to choose a mattress because you’ve only got your own preferences to contend with.

Both weight and comfort preferences are your own to choose. In the past, finding a mattress for two sleepers, especially if different weights or comfort preferences, was a matter of compromise. Sometimes resulting in the ‘best alternative’, which is not something you want to settle for in a new mattress.

Luxury mattress feel with sleeping couple
Zip & Links or a Split Tension can resolve issues when sleeping with a partner

But that’s luckily a thing of the past! With our Zip & Link and Split tension offerings, you can have two separate mattress spring tensions in one model.

Meaning no more compromises.

If you’re disturbed by your partner during the night, Zip & Link models can almost eliminate transference – you can sleep soundly whilst your partner moves about.

5. What Size Mattress Do You Want?

The most popular bed size in the UK is now a King size, whereas ten years ago it was a double. People are realising that to a degree getting the biggest bed you can for your bedroom is actually an advantage. It allows for more freedom and space when sleeping with a partner.

With Zip and Link models, even large Superking sizes can fit up tight staircases. It’s always worthwhile getting in touch with your room dimensions to get advice on the right size of mattress for your bedroom.

6. What Bed Base is it Going On?

This is another often overlooked question. You spend weeks researching your new mattress, doing your comparisons, and checking out online reviews of beds. However, you forget to give any attention to the base it’s going on. If you’re changing just your mattress, it’s imperative that you know your mattress base type.

The most common two types are a Divan base or a Slatted base. Divan bases are the best form of mattress base, as they can go with any mattress and offer consistent support. They are most likely to get you the true feel of your mattress.

Ottoman bed base

Slatted bases are more troublesome with mattresses. The gaps between the slats are often spaced far too wide apart. This causes damage to the mattress over time and can cause sagging. It’s important that, if you must keep your slated base, that you board over it. (Handy guide on how to do that here).

If in doubt, speak to one of our helpful team members to work out what’s best to do with your mattress base. In most cases, if they are not damaged, you can use most mattresses with most bases if given a few tweaks!

7. Do You Want a Mattress Made Just for You or One ‘Off the Shelf’?

Now, this may sound a bit rhetorical but it’s really quite important as your final mattress buying question. The majority of mattresses are mass-produced or imported from factories. They are made on a contract basis with a one size fits all approach.

More often than not, retail models spend huge amounts on marketing, shop fronts, and TV campaigns. However, all these costs are then directly applied to the mattress retail price. Additionally, you’re not getting any real expertise from the salespeople or tailoring for your money.

Hand stitching a side panel
Why settle for a mass-produced mattress when you could have one hand made for the same price?

The alternative is to choose an independent mattress manufacturer like ourselves, where our small friendly team of experts can help identify your requirements. We cut through the jargon you may have experienced in showrooms and recommend a handmade mattress rather than a mass-produced one.


All of our models are handmade here in the UK by us and only for us. We don’t retail them anywhere else. We tell you exactly what’s in them, have a 60-day 100% money-back guarantee, and offer unparalleled customer service. Which is why so many people rave about us online! So why not get in touch for tailored advice?

Don't you deserve a mattress tailored just for you?
Our small friendly team can help you choose a mattress specifically tailored to your needs. With our 60 Day Love it or Return it Guarantee its completely risk-free.

We’re here to help

  • We are the mattress experts! Ask us anything about any mattress by any manufacturer for honest advice and support.

We are here to help
Call our small friendly team for tailored advice or drop us a message below
0161 437 4419
Find out what our customers are saying
Based on 2000+ reviews Trustpilot

Ask us a question.

There are over 6000 questions and answers submitted by you on all questions about mattresses and bed problems. Enter a keyword such as Vi Spring, John Lewis beds, bad back or Memory Foam and see if your question has already been answered.

You can filter popular questions by the categories below. If you can’t find an answer, ask a new question below. We aim to respond to all questions within one working day.

Ask a question
Start typing your question below:
John Lewis and Staples Mattresses Reviewed
132563 views 2 answers arrow
Simba mattress and Eve rave reviews?
63051 views 1 answer arrow
Are sprung slats better than rigid slats?
41977 views 2 answers arrow
Problems with I-Gel mattress from Bensons
33925 views 2 answers arrow
No results
Load More Questions