How we test products
Our mission is to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect sleep products.
We've dedicated hundreds of hours to testing mattresses and sleep accessories, and rely on a team of testers of differing weights, temperature preferences, and sleeping positions to evaluate each product.
Tested products are granted the Sleep Hero tested stamp of approval, a mark of our review's reliability.
If we haven't personally tested a product, please be assured that we invest significant time and energy into scouring the UK market and researching the best recommendations, and we work with a team of sleep experts who review our articles, ensuring that the insights we provide are not only relatable but also reliable.
What are foam mattresses?
There is a wide variety of foam mattresses available.
Foam mattresses are produced in a special manufacturing process.
The base material, polyurethane, is foamed and cured at high temperatures.
This results in an open, breathable structure that offers good ventilation and regulates moisture effectively.
In addition, the air pockets within the foam create a soft and comfortable material to lie on.
Foam mattresses have a high resilience.
This means that they quickly return to their original shape and are thus well suited for restless sleepers.
As a foam mattress has no metallic components, you are guaranteed a quiet, noiseless sleep.
Is a foam mattress right for you?
Most foam mattresses have numerous advantages.
For one, they all generally have very low motion transfer.
Motion transfer refers to how movement is carried through the mattress.
The lower the motion transfer, the less movement is carried through the mattress and the less likely you are to be disturbed by your partner tossing and turning at night.
This makes foam mattresses great for couples.
Foam mattresses also tend to be lighter and are easier to move and transport than other mattresses.
They also tend to be more affordable.
That said, they don't offer as much support as other mattress materials, and are often not suitable for heavier-weight people.
In general, foam mattresses are recommended for:
- Lighter- and average-weight people
- People who prefer warmer sleeping climates
- People prone to allergies
- Guest bedrooms
What is off-gassing?
Foam mattresses often release an initial chemical smell when you first unpack them.
This is termed off-gassing.
Off-gassing is completely normal and it's a side effect of the production process.
The gasses are harmless and non-toxic.
The smell can be a little uncomfortable, though, so we'd always advise unpacking your new mattress in a well-ventilated room and letting it breathe until the smell has disappeared.
Cleaning a foam mattress
Most foam mattresses have a mattress cover that can be machine washed.
When buying a mattress, you should make sure that it has a removable cover that can be washed up to 60°C.
But a foam mattress itself is also easy to clean.
Cleaning smaller foam mattresses
You can place small mattresses for children in a washing machine as they are usually very thin.
We recommend you place the mattress in a duvet cover and use a gentle wash cycle.
Wash at 30°C to 40°C with a little bit of laundry detergent.
After washing, air-dry the mattress horizontally on a clothes horse.
Don’t hang up the mattress.
Cleaning larger foam mattresses
Larger foam mattresses can be cleaned in a bathtub.
Use warm water and make sure to cover the mattress completely.
Stains can be spot treated with gall soap, but you can also add some normal laundry detergent.
Drain the water and wring the mattress out.
Add clean water and repeat the cycle until the water runs clear.
Dry the mattress as described above.
You can also read our full guide on how to clean a foam mattress.
Choosing the right foam mattress size
Like most mattresses, foam mattresses are available in all of the most common mattress sizes.
In the UK, the standard mattress sizes are:
- Single mattresses sized 90 x 190 cm (3’ x 6’3”)
- Double mattresses sized 135 x 190 cm (4’6” x 6’3”)
- King mattresses sized 150 x 200 cm (5’ x 6’6”)
- Super king mattress sized 180 x 200 cm (6’ x 6’6”)
- Emperor mattress sized 200 x 200 cm (6’6” x 6’6”)
If you have a conventional bed, finding the right size mattress is not a problem.
But foam mattresses have another advantage: As they do not contain springs, custom sizes can be produced quite easily.
Simply order your custom size or shape from your specialist dealer or manufacturer.