Buying Guides

Buying a mattress

We all know how important it is to get a good night's sleep, and choosing the best mattress is crucial.

This mattress buying guide will help you to weigh up your options. We also provide a seven-year guarantee and mattress recycling of your old mattress for £29.95 when we deliver your new one.

Buying a Mattress
Where to begin choosing a mattress

There are three important components to consider when choosing a new mattress:


This comes from the springs inside the mattress, which should shape to the contours of your body and distribute your weight evenly


This comes from the springs inside the mattress, which should shape to the contours of your body and distribute your weight evenly.


This comes from the mattress filling, any padding on top and the mattress topper (if you choose to add one)

Our mattress coleection

This comes from the mattress filling, any padding on top, and the mattress topper, if you choose to add one. 

Bed Base

It is important to understand the type of base you will be placing your mattress on as this can affect the mattress comfort. Please also consider the age of the base and whether a replacement is required to get the most out of your mattress. 

Our mattress coleection

It is important to understand the type of base you will be placing your mattress on as this can affect the mattress comfort. Please also consider the age of the base and whether a replacement is required to get the most out of your mattress. 

Types of mattresses

Find the best mattress for all your family’s sleeping needs with a choice of anti-allergen mattresses, latex mattresses, hybrid foam and sprung mattresses, children's mattresses, cot mattresses, bed in a box mattresses, natural mattresses and mattresses made from recycled materials

Open Spring Mattresses

Consist of a spring system where each individual spring is connected. A double open spring mattress will contain 200-400 springs moving as one unit.

More affordable, lightweight, and ideal for guest bedrooms.

Prices from £119.

This range includes the John Lewis Open Spring Collection.

Shop Open Spring Mattresses

Pocket Spring Mattresses

Consist of individually nestled springs contained within individual pockets, meaning they work independently to provide improved support for your body. The number of pocketed springs can vary from mattress to mattress.

Longer lasting, they minimise risk of rolling towards your partner so avoiding disturbance, as well as relieving pressure on joints.

Prices from £199.

This range includes the Classic Collection, the Luxury Natural Collection and the Ultimate Natural Collection & Ortho Collection.

Shop Pocket Spring Mattresses

Foam & Memory Foam

The best memory foam mattresses mould to your body shape helping to relieve pressure points and align your spine.

Reduces movement, relieves pressure points and moulds to your shape.

Prices from £169.

This range includes the Anyday Collection and brands such as Tempur & Emma.

Shop Foam Mattresses

Hybrid Mattresses

Combining the comfort of memory foam and the back support of pocket sprung mattresses, a hybrid mattress offers the best of both worlds. As the pocket springs allow air to flow through they tend to be more breathable than purely memory foam mattresses.

This range includes the Climate Collection.

Rolled Mattresses

Often referred to as a bed in a box, a rolled mattress is a type of mattress that has been compressed into a smaller size. On opening, the mattress will recover to its original size after a few hours. This means it is easy to transport the mattress through your door, through tight spaces and into your room of choice. They are also considered more environmentally friendly given they take up less space and weight on delivery vehicles.

This range includes the Anyday Foam, Emma & Simba.

Latex Mattresses

These contain a layer of natural latex derived from the sap of rubber trees. Latex has inherent anti-allergenic, antibacterial & antimicrobial properties. It also has pressure relieving qualities as it distributes body weight evenly, so helping with aches and pains.

This range includes Dunlopillo & Hypnos Wooltex.

Natural Mattresses

Made using materials found in nature, including fibres such as cotton, wool, mohair and cashmere. Natural fibres offer great properties to make brilliant mattresses such as temperature regulation and the ability to wick moisture away from the body.

This range includes Natural Collection, Waitrose Wool Collection, Ultimate Natural Collection, Vispring, Hypnos.

Pillow Top Mattresses

Consist of two sections, the pillow top section on top and the support section on the bottom. The main benefit is the extra comfort you will get from the softness of the topper giving a more luxurious feel. They are generally on the softer side due to the additional cushioning and also deeper, allowing the topper to mould to your body over time.

Our Natural Collection features pillow top mattresses.

Zip & Link Mattresses

Two separate mattresses that are joined with a zip to create one larger mattress – usually a king or super king. They are great for couples with different comfort preferences or weights and create independent sleep surfaces, reducing disturbance from the other person during sleep. Easier to deliver and manoeuvre, they can navigate narrow staircases to reach your room of choice. Worry not, you will not feel the zip as it is positioned underneath the seam.

What mattress tension do I need?
Mattress Tension

Spring tensions of a mattress are usually described as soft, medium or firm. However this is subjective and there is currently no industry standard for describing tension.

Deciding what mattress tension is right for you can often be down to body weight. For example, if you are larger in build and heavier in weight you should get a firmer mattress or you will sink too deeply into the mattress. If you are a smaller person who weighs less, then a softer mattress will be needed or your bed may feel too hard and uncomfortable.

This however isn’t the only factor to determine what mattress tension to choose. Your preferred sleeping position can often dictate your choice too. It's the same for comfort and personal preference, some may prefer a firmer mattress, whilst others may prefer to sink into their bed.

As a guide to finding the right level of support, lie on your back and slide the flat of your hand under the arch of your back. A large space means the mattress is not offering enough support and is therefore too firm. However if you can’t get your hand under your back then you are over engaging the springs and the mattress is too soft. The best outcome is for your hand to slide in easily while your back touches the mattress. This shows the mattress is moulding to the shape of your body, keeping your spine aligned and providing the ultimate level of support.

However, only you know what feels most comfortable for you. These are all recommendations, there are no hard and fast rules. We would therefore always recommend testing a mattress at your local John Lewis shop before making your final decision.

The best mattress for your sleeping position

Mattress for front sleepers

Front sleepers are the most prone to back pain – a medium, medium firm, or firm mattress is recommended to maintain a neutral position in their spine and neck. If your mattress is too soft, the torso will sink causing your spine to arch when sleeping. If the mattress is too firm it won’t be able to take its natural curve and will also cause discomfort and aches and pains. Memory foam and pocket spring mattresses are recommended to ensure your weight is evenly distributed. Consider going without a pillow if necessary as this can arch your back further.

Mattress for side sleepers

You’ll need a softer spring to allow your shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress, keeping the spine straight without causing pressure points on the joints. For side sleepers, it’s recommended to opt for a softer, medium comfort grade. A softer mattress will help to cushion the vulnerable pressure points (shoulders and hips) sleeping on your side causes. In terms of mattress type, most fillings will suit a side sleeper.

Mattress for back sleepers

Back sleepers tend to need more support for their back and spine than other sleepers so a firmer mattress is usually the best option. A firmer tension will provide comfort without letting your back curve and sink into the mattress. Pocket spring, memory foam or orthopaedic mattresses are good options. Visit your local John Lewis & Partners shop to try out our full range of mattresses – speak to a Partner for helpful advice on the right mattress for you. When trying a mattress in store please replicate your natural sleeping position to ensure it fits you and supports you correctly.

Understanding your bed base

When purchasing your mattress it is really important to understand the relationship between your bed base and your new mattress. In its simplest format, the base is effectively the suspension unit for a mattress, so the softer the suspension the softer the feel and vice versa.

Types of Mattresses
In-store mattress tryouts


In general a sprung divan and a sprung slatted base will soften the feel of your mattress whereas a non sprung divan or non sprung slatted base will firm up the mattress. Some John Lewis upholstered bed frames have smart sprung slatted bases. These are slightly different as they deliver targeted support by being more supportive in the shoulders, lumbar and feet where the slats are wider. Although this is general guidance, certain specialist mattresses have their own recommendations – please visit brand product pages to find out more.

Age & Condition

To get the best out of your mattress it's important that the base is in a good condition. The mattress will contour to the base, just as it does with your body, so we recommend replacing an old one. An imperfect base could result in premature mattress wear and invalidate the guarantee.  If you are using a base with slats, we recommend that the gap between slats is no bigger than 7.5cm – this is an industry recommendation based on getting the best performance out of any springs in your mattress. This is also a condition of the John Lewis guarantee, as well as many brands.

Trying your mattress in store

When trying mattresses in store, if your mattress is intended for use on a different base, the level of final comfort and support could vary. We therefore recommend asking a Partner in store to place your desired mattress onto a bed base that matches your own, ensuring you are satisfied with the feel before purchasing

Common mattress conundrums

Back pain?

Generally speaking, firm mattresses are best suited for supporting sleepers with back pains. Memory foam mattresses can also be beneficial as they help to relieve pressure points and contour to the sleeper’s body. Our top picks would be Sealy Posturepedic and John lewis Ortho Collection. In terms of comfort levels, a medium to firm mattress is advised. Anything too soft will cause you to sink into the mattress, resulting in spinal misalignment. A too firm mattress could also exacerbate any aches and pains.

Allergy sufferer?

First and foremost it is important to understand what is triggering your allergies as this may dictate what type of mattress you select. Some mattresses have hypoallergenic treatments applied to them such as the Silentnight Revive & Revive + ranges. But overall, mattresses made from man-made materials are generally recommended. Hypoallergenic covers and bedding can also help to keep symptoms at bay. It's perfectly okay to spend some time lying on the mattress in store and see how you are getting on.

Sharing with a partner?

Disturbance in the night and incorrect tensions can be some of the main conundrums when sharing a bed with a partner. Pocket spring mattresses are a good option. As each spring is independently nested they work individually, minimising the risk of rolling towards your partner and disturbing one another. Memory foam mattresses are also a good option, as the foam works to absorb movement. Also, consider mattresses with advanced edge to edge support, helping to maximise the sleep surface such as Sealy Posturepedic. Alternatively, choose a split tension or zip & link mattress from our Luxury Natural & Ultimate Natural Collection ranges where one side of the mattress can be regular and the other firmer depending on you and your partner's requirements. Finally, consider size – in general the bigger the mattress the better your sleep will be.

Hot at night?

If you are prone to a high temperature during the night, natural materials are a good choice. These materials help to promote air flow and wick away moisture, helping to regulate body temperature when sleeping. The airflow that pocket springs allow also make these mattresses a good choice. Alternatively, synthetic materials such as polyester are highly breathable (see our Classic Collection). Mattresses containing Geltex are also a cooler option due to their enhanced breathability versus traditional memory foam. To maximise the quality and comfort of your sleep, we recommend mattress protectors with natural fillings such as wool or cotton, or alternatively an option that incorporates cooling technology.

Ordering your mattress

60-night mattress trial

For your peace of mind, we offer a 60-night sleep comfort trial period on selected John Lewis mattresses.

To qualify for this trial, you need to buy a mattress protector in the same transaction. If you want to exchange your mattress, visit your nearest shop and we’ll recommend an alternative to suit you.


Our John Lewis branded mattresses and divan bases have a 7 year guarantee included (Open Spring 2 year guarantee) from the date of purchase. Find out more

Recycling Service

John Lewis are pleased to be working with The Furniture Recycling Group to recycle mattresses that are a difficult waste stream and may have alternatively gone into landfill. Working together, we have been able to recycle on average 42,000 mattresses a year, diverting 1,330 tonnes of mattresses from landfill. 94% of the material from these mattresses were recycled with 6% sent to energy from waste. Follow this link to see how to utilise this service. For £29.95 we’re able to provide mattress disposal and mattress recycling by collection, as well as removal of your old divan and/or mattress.

Getting started with your mattress


Each and every one of our mattresses are handmade to metric dimensions, meaning they will naturally vary a little in size. A variation of +/- 2 cm is in line with BS1334:1996. During transportation some mattresses may contract and fillings may have compressed slightly, but they will relax to their normal size and shape again after being used for a short while. This is particularly important for rolled mattresses which aren’t framed and therefore will need longer to recover. When placing your mattress on a bed frame, you can expect small gaps between the mattress and the frame. These have been included deliberately to allow for bed linen.


You may notice a slight odour after the mattress has been taken out of its plastic packaging. Mattresses with natural fillings will occasionally release a natural, countryside smell. Foam mattresses can sometimes release a chemical odour. These smells are no cause for concern and will dissipate once the mattress has been well aired, leaving it in a well ventilated room for a few hours. It’s a good idea to continue to air the mattress on a regular basis too by leaving the bed linen turned back for a few hours each time. This will allow air to circulate around and through the mattress, enabling body moisture to dissipate and help to prevent the possibility of mould.

Getting used to your new mattress

It is important that you allow enough time for your body to get used to your new mattress. Your new mattress will be providing a greater level of support compared to your old mattress, this can take some time to adjust to. Your mattress may also feel slightly different to the model tested in store as this will have been tried by many other customers, so the ‘bedding down’ process will have already begun. 

Mattress protection

Having invested in your mattress we strongly recommend using a good quality mattress protector under your bed linen. This will help to protect your mattress from spills and stains and to promote hygiene. Avoid plastic based non-breathable types or any other form of plastic sheeting as this will tend to trap condensation and risk potential mould growth. In order to meet our 60 night trial requirements, a protector must be purchased in the same transaction and used.

Mattress care

Expect impressions

Most people tend to sleep in the same position on their mattress every night. Body impressions are therefore a normal and natural occurrence in your mattress. You may find fillings settle or dip in the area where you sleep. This is a positive indication that the generous amount of comfort fillings used in our mattresses are conforming to your body’s unique shape, weight and sleeping pattern. Compression of the fillings does not affect the support given by your mattress.

Turn/no turn

We recommend following our rotating and turning instructions to minimise body impressions. Check the surface label on the foot end of your mattress for the following wording to determine which type of mattress you will be caring for:

• Non-turn/rotate only/turn free/one sided mattress/pillow top mattress – Generally, you may be required to rotate your mattress regularly during the first few months and approximately twice a year or monthly thereafter.

• Turnable/turn with the seasons/dual sleeping surface mattress – you may be required to turn and rotate your mattress every two weeks for the first few months and about twice a year or monthly thereafter. A good way to remember to turn your mattress is when the clocks change in the spring and autumn.


General Care

Remove dust and fluff from your mattress every few months using a soft brush. Never use a vacuum cleaner, even if you have a specific mattress attachment, as this can displace the natural fillings and negate any guarantee. Please note, if you have purchased a product containing memory foam, heat from electric blankets and hot water bottles may change the feel of the mattress.


Take care when lifting your mattress to avoid personal injury and/or damage to the mattress. Seek assistance to move and rotate the mattress, using the handles to do so, but not for lengthy carrying. In order to maximise the consistent shape and support around the perimeter of your mattress, please do not sit on the edge of the mattress for a long period of time – this particularly applies to our natural mattresses. Please do not stand on your bed or allow children to treat it as a trampoline as this could damage the springs and the base. Do not fold or roll your mattress as this could damage it.