October 2021

Mattress comparisons – How to

A mattress comparison is a method of pitching one or more mattresses up against the other to see which one offers a better product for a similar price. This does not say that one mattress is more 'comfortable' than the other for the end user but it should be the initial task of whittling down the choice from 4000 or so mattress models to about ten and then to your final three. Let us guide you with how to effectively compare mattresses.

Updated 2021: You do not even have to leave the comfort of your armchair to buy a mattress (especially with our Mattress Comparison Tool). These days with the awesome power of the internet this can be done in a few hours at home. Once you grasp the principle of comparisons it actually becomes quite an enjoyable experience!

Origins reflex0012 3
Once you know what to look for you can save yourself time and money in finding a new mattress

Disclaimer: This section is based on real-life examples and we are using Dreams, Bensons for Beds, John Lewis and Furniture Village as the retailers to realistically demonstrate how to compile a mattress comparison. In the following example, we make no suggestion that there is anything wrong whatsoever with any of these retailers or manufacturers mentioned. If you want to compare mattress brands then why not have a look at our new Mattress Comparison tool here? It allows you to quickly compare bed brands, price, GSM, Spring Counts and exactly what you can get for your budget in one place.

How to compare mattresses online

Buying a mattress can be tricky but if you follow these 5 key tips you’ll be able to avoid buying an overpriced unsuitable mattress and ensure years if blissful sleep.

  1. Decide on a bed budget
  2. Select mattress retailers or brands
  3. Collect as much mattress detail as possible
  4. Compare pocket springs and mattress upholstery
  5. Examine the mattress details before deciding

Step 1. Decide on a budget

What is the most you will pay for your dream mattress? How much should you spend is discussed in detail here. For this example, we have set our budget at £1500. This is no small amount (but not an excessive amount either) but we know that this should get you a very well made, and well-constructed mattress. When thinking about setting a bed budget you need to compare it to how much you would reasonably spend on a sofa. This is because you’ll be spending significantly more time in bed than on a sofa.

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.

Step 2. Select three or four retailers

We are initially going to look at Dreams/Bensons/Furniture Village/John Lewis to see what they have to offer for a budget of around £1500.

This will of course just be your starting point and no doubt further on you will be looking at other mattress retailers, such as IKEA or other online mattress companies (avoiding bed in a box if you can) to see if what you eventually find can be bettered. Marks & Spencers, Vispring and Savoir (if you’re incredibly lucky) may also play a part in your new mattress search.

Someone ordering a next day mattress online

Try not to pick retailers purely on sales or discount promises, we have uncovered here why all retail mattress sales need to be taken with a pinch of salt. In fact, we recommend you download our free mattress buyers guide before choosing retailers as it will help provide you with a guide to choosing mattresses. It contains all the bed buying information that retailers don’t want you to know!

Step 3. Start compiling your notes

The form below is a much-simplified version of what we ourselves use when looking at products from various manufacturers. It will tell you at a glance all the information you need to know and to whom to refer back to for more detail. Our mattress comparison tool actually does all this for you which can save you time.

The point of this valuable exercise is to quickly and effortlessly give you a starting point to show you what is actually out there for the price you are willing to pay. You may find that you don’t need to spend £1500 or conversely, you may find that what you see does not meet your requirement and you may have to up your bed buying budget! This first step will help you easily identify what you can and can’t expect for your price point.

Calico medium

Remember, This is just the starting point so jot down the first ten products that fit into your budget trying to keep your choices relatively similar in price. This is to make you aware of what a particular budget can get you.

For the sake of this example we have found our John Ryan Artisan Luxury Kingsize Mattress retailing at £1525 (Of course we have!) and we want to see if there is anything similar out there to compare it against – let us get Started.
[All prices correct as of 29/5/2013 – all models are Kingsize]

John RyanArtisan Luxury1476 CalicoWool, Cotton & Horsehair15252 Sided
DreamsResplendent2000Memory foam 7.5cm Pillow top14991 Sided
DreamsLincoln3500Poly Cotton, Wool & Cashmere14292 Sided
BensonsClaremont2400Includes Wool and Cotton1329?
John LewisAngora Box Top6000Wool, Hemp, Cotton & Angora£1500*1 Sided
John LewisVi-Spring Hanbury1400 CalicoWool, Cotton & Horsehair15002 Sided
Furniture VillageVi-Spring Beadstead Realm1326 CalicoWool, Cotton and Bamboo14772 Sided
Furniture VillageVi-Spring Baronet Superb1326 CalicoWool, Cotton & Horsehair14062 Sided

*No actual price given on John Lewis site: States this model is available between £1400 – £1600.

Step 4. Springs and upholstery comparison

So now you know what £1500 or so can get you – you need to remove about four or five models that may not be worth considering further and itemise the remaining models as much as you can about the two most important factors pocket springs and upholstery.

Remembering: Pocket springs tension is based on your bodyweight whereas mattress upholstery provides the ultimate soft/medium/firm feel of the mattress.

John Ryan Calico encased mattress springs

Why did we remove the models we did?
Dreams Resplendent: Memory foam mattress – Not comparable to the others in the selection.
Bensons Claremont: Inferior by comparison
Dreams Lincoln: Inferior by comparison.

John Lewis Angora: One Sided – Not comparable to the others in the selection.

John Ryan Artisan Luxury1476 Calico Springs.  500 gsm Wool / 1200 gsm Horsetail / 500 gsm Wool / 1200 gsm Horsehair / 1200 gsm Wool and Cotton. = Combined Upholstery Weight: 4600 gsm. 2 Rows Hand Side Stitched
John Lewis - Vi- Spring Hanbury1400 Calico Springs. Wool / Cotton / Horsehair - gsm Weights Unknown - Will have to contact retailer. Combined Upholstery Weight: Unknown. Will have to contact Retailer. 2 Rows Hand Side Stitched.
Vi-Spring - Bedstead Realm1326 calico Springs. Wool spring protector pad (assume 500 gsm) / 1,350 gsm  wool and cotton / 300 gsm wool /  200 gsm bamboo / 900 gsm wool and cotton. = Combined Upholstery Weight: 3250 gsm. 2 Rows Hand Side Stitched.
Vi-Spring - Baronet Superb1326 Calico Springs. Horsehair (No weight - assume 1200 gsm) / 1000 gsm wool and cotton / 1200 gsm wool and cotton. = Combined Upholstery Weight: 3400 gsm. 2 Rows Hand Side Stitched.

Step 5. Examine the detail of the mattress

We now have four models all between £1400 – £1500. What we have to do now is to examine the Intrinsic Detail of the upholstery. The springs themselves are so similar (like for like)  it does not become a consideration. The difference in spring counts are also so nominal at 150 actual pockets it will not affect the user in any shape or form.

John Ryan Fusion 3 Mattress 6
The Devil is in the details

We can see from all the descriptions above that they all contain a similar degree of upholstery component: namely wool/cotton/horsetail and horsehair. This is what you would expect to find in mattresses retailing for this price. No polyester and no foams in any disguise whatsoever.

We can also see that the combined upholstery weights differ between 3250 GSM and 4600 GSM.  A difference of quite a substantial 1350 GSM. There is also a model with an unknown quantity of upholstery weight! This requires further information from the retailer – it may be that this upholstery weight will come in greater than 4600 GSM or it may turn out that it is less than 3250 GSM, in which case you will be able to discard that model also from your considerations.

1200 gsm of blended wool and cotton cross section

How do different mattress upholstery types feel or cost?

Upholstery LayerFibre TypeHow it will feel?Price Point
White FibreSyntheticSoft/MediumCheap
Recycled Fibre / Eco FibreSyntheticMediumCheap
Memory FoamSyntheticMedium/FirmMid Price
Igel / Hybrid FoamSyntheticMedium/FirmMid Price
PolycottonSynthetic/Natural BlendSoft/MediumMid Price
LinenSynthetic/Natural BlendMediumMid Price
Wool (Pure)NaturalSoft/MediumHigh-End
Cotton (Pure)NaturalSoftHigh-End
Latex (100% Natural)NaturalMedium/FirmHigh-End
Coarse CashmereNaturalFirmHigh-End
BambooNaturalSuper SoftExpensive / Exclusive
Horsetail NaturalFirmExpensive / Exclusive
AlpacaNaturalSoftExpensive / Exclusive
Cashmere (Pure)NaturalSoftExpensive / Exclusive
VicunaNaturalSuper SoftExpensive / Exclusive

Once you’re at this stage you’re really just comparing upholstery, everything between the spring unit and the fabric on top of the mattress. As of now, all you know about the above mattresses are that they contain similar components. You need to understand which components are considered ‘good’ and which are considered ‘less than good’. You can only do this if you know what’s what which is where considerations on upholstery need to be looked at. You can view our super-detailed guide here.

Example Mattress Comparison
How to compare mattresses side by side

By laying out all the details you have found in a table you can then assess side by side two different models. We have an example here to demonstrate.

The closest comparable model we can find to this Artisan Bespoke 004 is The Vi-Spring Regal Superb. There are of course a few minor differences between the two.

For example in the Artisan Bespoke-004 there is an additional layer of Bamboo, we utilised pure horsetail rather than blending it with wool etc. but essentially the overall tension, spring quality, build and feel of this particular mattress can rightly be deemed as relatively similar.

The mattress cover is completely Chemical-Free using a Natural plant-based fire retardancy protection.

Artisan Bespoke 004
Artisan Bespoke 004
Artisan Bespoke 004 Vi Spring Regal Superb
1 1200gsm Blended British Fleece Wool and Cotton 900gsm Blended real Shetland Isle Fleece Wool and Cotton
2 Hairproof Cambric Cover Hairproof Cambric Cover
3 200gsm Soft Bamboo NA
4 1200gsm Pure Horsetail 1200gsm long stranded Horsetail blended with British Fleece Wool
5 1000gsm Bonded British Fleece Wool and Cotton 1000gsm Bonded British Fleece Wool and Cotton
6 1600 Calico encased Pocket Springs [ 49mm ] [1.28mm] 1720 Calico encased Pocket Springs [48mm ] [1.28mm]
Total GSM 3600 3100
Rated Excellent Trustpilot
We provide all the details you need

So there we have it, the best way to compare what you can get for your money when buying a mattress. Obviously this takes some time but is well worth it if you’re wanting to find the perfect mattress. Comparing by budget alone will not help you identify the great quality options from the poorer mattresses.

The following post on mattress upholstery will break down the upholstery elements contained in the mattresses above to show you that once you know the basics of upholstery layers it becomes an incredibly easy task to look at a mattress and decide whether it is worth investigating further.

Need help with comparing mattresses?  Get in touch with us on 0161 437 4419 for tailored recommendations.


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