Best boxed mattresses 2021 UK: the best mattresses in a box, from Emma, Simba, Nectar, Simba Luxe and OTTY

Compact mattresses in a box delivered direct to your home - our favourites from Emma, Simba, and Nectar

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Boxed mattresses have been on an upward trajectory in recent years, and for good reason. Not only do they offer an easy out for those wanting to skip the awkward bed-hopping of in-store mattress shopping, but also convenience and quick delivery, and all without compromising on quality.

How to shop for a boxed mattress

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According to The Sleep Council you might be due a new mattress if your current one is seven or more years old, feels uncomfortable (lumpy or has dips) or leaves you feeling achy and not refreshed after sleeping.  

There are a fair few factors to pay mind to when purchasing a new mattress, and it isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly (particularly since you’ll be sleeping on it every night for the best part of a decade). 

Boxed mattresses tend to be made from foam or a combo of foam and springs (called a hybrid), and both have pros and cons. Full foam mattresses tend to provide a warmer sleep, though they have hypo-allergenic properties and mould to your body shape. Hybrid mattresses, on the other hand, are more breathable and more durable.

How do you sleep? 

The most important consideration is your sleep style and support requirements. Side-sleepers are most likely to get a sound night’s sleep from a soft-medium mattress, whilst back and stomach sleepers tend to benefit more from medium-firm mattresses.

Combination sleepers – those who change position throughout the night – should choose a mattress based on the position they spend the most time in, and also bear in mind ease of movement. 

Unfortunately, if you suffer from back pain there’s a bit more trial and error involved in finding your ideal mattress as it largely depends on the type and location of pain (lower, mid or upper back) and your preferred sleeping position.  

Is it wise to buy a boxed mattress without trying it? 

Many remain sceptical about investing in a vacuum-packed mattress without first testing, but most makers offer generous trial periods that allow for lengthy at-home testing (up to 365 days is the most we’ve found) and easy returns within that timeframe if you find that the mattress isn’t for you. Always check the trial period and returns policy before purchasing to save yourself 10 years of sub-standard sleep.

Try and get mattress-disposal as part of your purchase

Keep an eye out for companies offering collection of your old mattress when you purchase a new boxed mattress from them, as this can save the stress of donating or disposing of it yourself, and read up on the weight and dimensions of your chosen mattress before adding it to your virtual basket – particularly if you plan on unpacking it alone. Some are heavy and awkward to navigate up stairs.

To help make your decision a little easier, we’ve summarised 7 of the best boxed mattresses we tested, rating them on everything from comfort and ease of unpacking to motion transfer and smell (yes, really). 

Here’s how they fared…  

Simba Hybrid Pro Mattress

Simba Hybrid Pro Mattress
4/5

Sizes available: single, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 28cm

Trial period: 200 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

We won’t beat around the bush here, Simba’s Hybrid Pro mattress is supremely comfy. As in, risk a danger-sit during the day and there’s a chance you’ll stay there for some time. Not ideal for productivity (particularly when so many of us are still working from home), but an absolute dream come sleep time. 

It features a combo of foam and Titanium Aerocoil Spring-Comfort layers which, although make for quite a heavy mattress (you might need an extra pair of hands to carry it through your home), provides enhanced airflow and that hug feeling you get from a good quality mattress. Plus, a 100% natural wool top layer aids with temperature regulation, though if you run hot it might still be a little on the warm side.

The Hybrid Pro has a firm feel about it, so it’s a popular choice for those who experience back pain and individuals who require more support, and there’s absolutely no motion transfer, so you can snooze soundly even if your partner moves a lot during the night. Its biggest downfall, we think, is the strong, chemical smell it emits upon first opening. 

This is fairly normal for a foam mattress, but we found the odor of the Hybrid Pro to be strong for the first two nights. It fades over time, and after a few days we found the smell to have gone, however, if you’re unable to air the mattress for a while before using expect there to be an adjustment period whilst the fragrance disappears.

It’s ready to use three hours after unboxing but, as with all vacuum-packed mattresses, it can take a few days to reach full expansion. Happily, Simba offers a 200-night trial, during which time you’re welcome to change your mind and return your mattress, and the Hybrid Pro comes with a 10-year guarantee, so if anything goes wrong you can have it replaced for free. 

Delivery is speedy – three business days – and we appreciated the cutting tool provided to assist with unpacking.

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Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress
5/5

Sizes available: single, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 29cm

Trial period: 365 days

Guarantee: Forever

You might want to don your fit kit and do a few stretches before unpacking Dreamcloud’s Luxury Hybrid mattress (and definitely don’t try to carry it up a flight of stairs alone) as it’s pretty weighty. But what it lacks in lightness, it makes up for in comfort.

Five layers of materials, including Activedge coils and foam, make it a good balance of snug and supportive for all sleepers, and a quilted top layer ensures a cool sleep even for those who tend to overheat. Rated a 6.5 on the firmness scale, it has a subtle springiness and a cushiony feel, though it doesn’t have the same doughy qualities as full foam mattresses, so if you prefer sleeping on a slightly sturdier base this mattress might just be for you.

It has a support foam base to absorb motion, but it does bounce a little when somebody moves, so although it’s potentially not sleep-disturbing for the bed-sharer, it’s not entirely without motion transfer.

There’s less of a chemical aroma upon opening Dreamcloud’s Luxury Hybrid mattress compared to others due to it having less foam, which makes for a much more pleasant sleep on the first few nights. 

Our tester found the unpacking process somewhat tricky, thanks in part to the weight of the mattress and also the amount of plastic film it was rolled in, so you’ll need patience in spades. That said, it did inflate immediately.

A generous 365-day trial allows you to test the Luxury Hybrid in your own home for a full year and return it at any point if you find it isn’t quite suited to you, and a forever warranty means that should you choose to commit and your mattress develops a defect from normal use, it’ll be replaced for free.

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OTTY Original Hybrid

OTTY Original Hybrid
3/5

Sizes available: single, small double, double, king, super king, EU single, EU double, EU king, emperor

Mattress depth: 25cm

Trial period: 100 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

OTTY’s Hybrid mattress is a solid all-rounder that would likely suit most sleepers. Rated 7/10 for firmness (with 1 being very soft and 10 being very firm), it feels spongy yet supportive on your frame, and makes getting out of bed in the morning ever-more challenging. 

It contains both memory foam for comfort (which it has in spades) and individually-sewn pocket springs to minimise motion transfer for – in OTTY’s own words – those sharing a bed with a tosser. 

Temperature regulating properties – which our tester, who tends to run hot at nighttime, gave a firm thumbs up – help to prevent overheating by releasing heat through the perforated foam, and a removable and washable cover allows you to keep the mattress in tip-top condition for longer. 

It also has a non-slip base for use on all surfaces, whether a divan or an adjustable bed.

The box doesn’t have handle perforations, so it’s somewhat awkward moving around (in fact, your best bet is probably to unwrap first and then carry using the mattress handles), but the mattress is fairly lightweight and comes with a cutting tool for easier unpacking. 

It can be used 2-4 hours after opening but may take some time to fully expand. It does have a light chemical fragrance at first, but we found it to be far less offensive than other mattresses we tested, and it faded much quicker too. 

OTTY offers a 100-night trial of the Original Hybrid, so if it turns out not to be your cup of tea, it’s no big deal, and you can return for a full refund. 

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Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
4.5/5

Sizes available: single, small double, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 25cm

Trial period: 365 nights

Guarantee: Forever

Nectar’s Memory Foam mattress feels like a big, warm hug and, boy, do we need those more than ever right now. Its three layer foam construction (two of viscoelastic foam and a base layer of support foam) is designed to relieve pressure points and promote better spine alignment, whilst also providing that wonderful melting sensation you get with a good quality memory foam mattress. 

It is rated 6.5 for firmness, so a fraction firmer than middle of the road, which means that it has those lovely spongy qualities about it whilst remaining supportive and allowing unhindered movement for combinations sleepers (and no motion transfer to the person sharing the bed either). In short: it’s suitable for most people.

It has a cooling polyester cover, however we still found the mattress to veer a little on the warm side, particularly when used in combination with a feather duvet.

It’s a fairly heavy, handleless mattress, and our tester found it to be one of the trickiest to unpack alone. It was packed very tightly, and took slightly longer than other mattresses tested to fully inflate, so allow plenty of time for it to expand before using. It also has a mild, although not massively offensive, smell to begin with.

 Nectar recommends speeding up the odor removal by placing a bowl of white vinegar in the room or sprinkling baking soda on the mattress then vacuuming to absorb the fragrance of the foam.

The mattress comes with two free memory foam pillows (win), a 365-day trial – the longest we’ve seen – and an impressive forever warranty, which guarantees a free replacement mattress if yours breaks from normal use. Oh, and, fun fact, it’s also naturally resistant to bed bugs.

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Emma Original Mattress

Emma Original Mattress
4/5

Sizes available: single, small double, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 25cm

Trial period: 200 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

Sleeping on an Emma Original Mattress is akin to (we imagine) sleeping on a marshmallow. It’s doughy and soft, yet feels supportive on your frame thanks to the HRX foam, which is intended to keep spines aligned. 

A firmness rating of 6-7 out of 10 makes Emma’s Original Mattress a good mid-way mattress with medium firmness suitable for most people, with a few exceptions. 

Made entirely of memory foam, it’s the lightest mattress we tested (23.4kg for a double), which made unpacking and positioning incredibly easy – even for a person on their own. Along with the HRX foam, which helps to isolate motion so there’s no bed-shake when someone moves in the night, there’s also a viscoelastic layer, which contours to your body, and an Airgocell foam top layer, which absorbs moisture and provides a surprisingly cool sleep for a foam mattress. 

There’s also a removable and washable top cover, which is handy for – sorry for sounding gross – sweat stains and general signs of wear. It’s worth nothing that, because the mattress is made entirely from foam, it does have a slight smell upon opening. However, our tester found it almost entirely disappeared after a few hours of airing with the windows open.

Happily, Emma Original mattresses are made in the UK, and are entirely vegan.

It generally takes 2-4 hours for the Emma Original to fully inflate, though on occasion it can take up to 48 hours to expand completely. 

A 200-night trial allows you to take your time testing the mattress to be 100% certain it’s for you (it can take up to 6 weeks to fully adjust to a new mattress) and return for free if you find it unsuitable.  

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Simba Luxe Mattress

Simba Luxe Mattress
5/5

Sizes available: single, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 31 cm

Trial period: 200 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

This is the second entry in the list from Simba, and it’s their latest mattress, marketed (truthfully, it transpires) as their most comfortable mattress yet.

Where it differs from the Pro above is in depth - it’s 3 cms deeper, and airflow. What that means is that the layers within the mattress promote airflow and coolness, keeping you at a comfortable temperature regardless of whether it is a hot or cool night.

It features three tiers of 6,000 titanium Aerocoil® springs, as well as a bamboo wool surface that is naturally antibacterial, breathable, moisture-absorbing, fast-drying, thermal regulating, anti-static, and wrinkle resistant.

What that translates to is a seriously comfortable night’s sleep - it helped alleviate pain in the tester’s back and hip as she moved throughout the night.

The zoned system does a great job with my weight distribution, leaving you well supported and avoiding roll together if you share a bed.

It does smell upon opening but this dissipated in about 24 hours. A hotel-worthy night’s sleep.

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Eve The Original Mattress

Eve The Original Mattress
4.5/5

Sizes available: single, small double, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 24cm

Trial period: 100 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

One reviewer on the Eve website stated, and we quote, that The Original Mattress feels ‘like the bed you stay in at a posh hotel’ and, actually, we couldn’t agree more. 

It makes the mundanity of going to bed feel like an absolute luxury. You might even find an excuse to turn in a half hour early to enjoy it for just a little bit longer (our tester certainly did).

Its three layers of foam provide medium-firm support and a pillowy feel that cradles – and contours to – your body, allowing a comfortable sleep in most positions. T

here’s very little – if any – motion transfer when a co-sleeper moves, and the ever-comfort foam layer, which is said to be 30 times more breathable than traditional memory foam, means you’re less likely to experience sleep-disturbing discomfort from overheating. It also has a removable and washable cover, which is a bonus.

It’s quite heavy, but handles on the base, as opposed to the sides, make it easier to manoeuvre around your home. Like most boxed mattresses, Eve’s Original Mattress inflates straight away, but can take a few hours to expand fully. 

It has a slight smell upon opening, and Eve recommends leaving it in a ventilated room for a few hours before using and running over it with a vacuum to reduce any lingering odor.

Eve offers a 100-night trial which is substantial, but isn’t the best we’ve come across, so do bear this in mind if you know it takes you longer to adjust to a new mattress. 

There is, however, the option to have your old mattress removed upon delivery of the new one, plus a generous 10 year guarantee. It’s made right here in the UK, which somehow makes us rate it even more, and it comes in two colours.

Buy now