Where do we test our products?
Many mattress review sites test mattresses in clinical labs with state-of-the-art machines to determine mattress comfort.
But we don't need robots to tell us if a mattress is comfortable.
We test mattresses in the comfort of our own homes from a consumer perspective.
It is our belief this reflects the experience of our readers.
But we also have a live-in testing facility with full-time product testing managers, who do nothing but test, sleep, photograph, and analyse products from the UK, Europe, and beyond!
By testing in real homes, we can see how practical delivery actually is and how a mattress performs under normal sleeping conditions.
When testing in a lab, a tester can usually only evaluate whether the mattress is comfortable for a certain amount of time (often just overnight).
However, our testers sleep on the mattresses for an extended period while continuing their normal daily routines.
This means we can see if the mattress cooperates when sitting on the edge of the bed in the morning to put on our slippers or sleep beside our partners at night.
It also allows our test sleepers to get used to the feel of the new mattresses before making any concrete decisions.
Many mattresses may feel uncomfortable or unusual initially, as it takes the body a little while to get used to new sensations.
Testing at home also gives us the chance to see how the mattress adjusts to different kinds of bedding and seasons throughout the year.
And we don't need fancy equipment and machines to determine if a mattress is comfortable.
Instead, we're well equipped with our expertise, methodology, and in-home testing methods that we monitor over an extended period.
Though, occasionally we'll rely on some gadgets for more accurate measurements and objective tests.
So, what factors do we consider?
What other factors do we consider?
Obviously, tests and analytical data are important to us.
But they're only relevant to our research once we've understood the needs of our readers.
We're focused on consumer reviews, after all, and want to focus on everything that's important to the customer journey.
When testing mattresses, we consider what other unique factors may contribute to the overall user experience.
Most online brands promise a quick and easy delivery service. 🚚
But this isn't always the case, so we start by considering the delivery and returns processes and everything associated with unpacking the product.
A problematic delivery process is not always the fault of the brand (many outsource the process), but we think it's important to flag any issues we experience during delivery.
We consider some of the following:
- How long does delivery take?
- How much communication do we get during the delivery process, and is it effective?
- Is the product delivered to the door or brought into our room of choice?
- Is the product (or box) delivered damaged or in good condition?
- How is the mattress packaged (i.e. bed-in-a-box product or delivered flat)?
- What packaging is included, and is it recyclable?
- How much packaging is used?
- Are there any additional niceties, like thank you notes or a gift?
- Is the product easy to unbox?
- Is there off-gassing, and if so, how long does it take for the smell to disappear?
- Is there an old mattress removal service?
We may focus on other aspects of the delivery process, but this is often product- or brand-specific.
We also take you through the step-by-step unboxing process with images and/or videos to document how easy (or difficult) it is to unpack the product.
Some readers value the importance of eco-friendly materials in a mattress review, whilst others prioritise a seamless and stress-free delivery process. 😅
Therefore, we try to observe the entire delivery process from every possible angle.
As part of the delivery process, we'll also take a closer look at the returns process.
Questions we consider:
- Does the brand offer a risk-free trial period?
- Does the brand offer full refunds or exchanges only?
- Are returns easy to set up?
- Does the customer incur any costs?
- Does the brand pick up the product?
While many brands now offer trial periods, the details of the returns process can affect how comfortable this process is for consumers.
It's great to have fast delivery and a comfortable mattress that feels cool and doesn't transmit motion.
But many review sites ignore the practicality and convenience of a mattress.
It's like buying the perfect pair of trousers, only to discover that the item can only be dry-cleaned using particular products.
Would you wear that pair of trousers daily?
Since you will be using your mattress daily, you'd need a convenient product.
We all lead busy lives, so ultimately we want a product that will be easy to take care of - and one that lasts a long time.
That's why we look at convenience factors such as the following:
- Whether the mattress has a removable and/or machine-washable cover
- How easy the mattress cover is to wash, dry, and put back on
- How to clean the mattress itself, if possible
- Whether the mattress needs to be flipped and how to turn it
- How difficult it is to move the mattress (i.e. if it comes with side handles)
- How heavy the mattress is
These are factors you wouldn't necessarily think of at first.
But, these seemingly small factors can create big problems.
For example, the elderly or people with mobility issues will do better with a lightweight mattress with handles or one that doesn't need to be turned frequently.
Similarly, allergy sufferers or people struggling with eczema are better off with a mattress with a washable cover or one that repels dust mites.
We can investigate these aspects by testing in our own homes - and may even come across other factors we'd not initially considered.
When you spend a lot of money on a mattress, you want to take care of it. 🥰
But you also don’t want this to create too much interruption.
So, we consider mattress care and determine how easy it is to look after.
This ensures that even if your mattress passes the initial comfort test, it will also be a product that suits your busy lifestyle. 😅
The average lifespan of a high-quality mattress is 8 - 10 years.
While we don't run our mattress tests for that long, we consider the average durability of a mattress depending on the quality of materials used in the construction of the product.
Mattresses with high-quality materials (and a good guarantee period) should be expected to last that long, while mattresses made of lower-quality materials are likely to wear out more quickly.
Sometimes, we've even encountered mattresses - and other products - that already fail during our testing period!
This is often due to manufacturing faults, but luckily it gives us a good opportunity to test how brands deal with those issues as well.
When we test a mattress, we also ask ourselves whether or not this product is good value for money.
There's often no easy answer to that as everyone's budget varies, but we do consider a few things.
- The overall quality of the materials, including foam density and spring count
- The sustainability of the product
- Whether or not the mattress comes with a sleep trial
- The length of the warranty period
We've found that, very often, mattresses that seem expensive actually work out cheaper in the long term - and thus offer better value for money.
For example, a £1000 mattress may seem expensive, but if it's a high-quality product that lasts for 10 years, it's still cheaper than a £500 mattress that only lasts 4 years.
We also consider what kind of discounts are available to customers throughout the year and whether or not the brand offers good deals compared to others.
Size might not seem a huge concern, particularly if you already know what size you need.
UK sizes include single, small double, double, king size and super king, but that doesn’t mean every UK mattress will come in these sizes. 🤔
Sometimes, we'll encounter brands that only focus on EU sizes, which are slightly different to the UK standard mattress sizes.
Other times, we'll see that a certain mattress is only available in larger mattress sizes.
Both of these factors influence how convenient a mattress or certain brand will be for our UK readers, so it's always something we consider in our testing and our reviews.
We've briefly touched on sleep trials when we spoke about the delivery and returns processes, but it's such an important point that it deserves its own section.
Most of our recommended bed-in-a-box mattress brands offer risk-free trial periods.
This means you get to test a mattress in the comfort of your own home to see if it’s right for you and return it for a full refund if you're not satisfied.
But not all brands have amazing, risk-free trials.
We consider some of the following:
- How long is the trial period?
- Is the returns process complicated?
- Does the brand cover the cost of the return?
- Does the brand pick up the product from your home?
- Are you eligible for a full refund or does the brand only offer product exchanges or gift vouchers?
- Are there any other costs involved for the customer?
High-quality brands should offer a minimum of a 30-night sleep trial with a full refund if unsatisfied.
A guarantee works a bit differently from a sleep trial.
A mattress guarantee or warranty protects you from manufacturing faults such as seams coming apart or the mattress dipping.
While we often don't test a mattress long enough to make use of the guarantee, we have had some negative experiences where the warranty came into play.
- We've tested some products where the zipper or handle broke during testing.
- We've tested a few mattresses that didn't expand to their full size (beyond the 2 cm leeway most brands allow).
- We've even received faulty products with rips, tears, or incorrect measurements.
If this happens, it gives us a golden opportunity to test how brands deal with warranty claims.
But if all goes well during testing, we simply consider how long the guarantee period is and what faults are covered, and then compare this to what other brands or retailers offer.
A good mattress guarantee should be at least 7 years or more (as this is the average lifespan for a mattress).
Of course, the mattresses we recommend use high-quality materials and feature high-density foams or a high spring count for a long lifespan.
What other products do we test?
We don't just test and review mattresses.
We've also tested a range of sleep accessories from some of the UK's most popular brands.
Below, we go into detail about how we test some of these products.
We've tested some of the best pillows in the UK.
And we don't just test bed pillows.
But what actually makes a good pillow?
Just like mattresses, the experience of a pillow is subjective and depends on the individual.
That said, there are still a few key factors we consider.
- Loft: The height of the pillow you need depends on your build and preferred sleep position.
- Material: Pillow material affects the overall loft and feel of the pillow but is also important to consider for allergy sufferers.
- Adjustability: An adjustable pillow has removable layers or shredded foam so that it can be adjusted to your ideal firmness and height.
It's important to remember that the feel of a pillow can be influenced by the mattress you use, and you may need a higher/firmer or lower/softer pillow, depending on how soft or firm your mattress is.
Other questions we ask ourselves when testing pillows:
- How is the pillow delivered?
- Does the pillow come with a removable and/or washable cover?
- Does the pillow hold its shape over time?
- Does the pillow sleep cool?
- In what sizes is the pillow available?
All these factors influence your sleep comfort or the overall practicality of the pillow.
Since we test at home or in our live-in facility, we have the advantage of being able to test pillows over a longer period of time.
Unlike testing labs, we can see if the pillow is still comfortable after a while and update our articles accordingly.
We've also tested some of the best duvets in the UK.
Contrary to what you may think, a duvet can make or break your sleep experience.
It's also one of the most significant factors when considering the overall sleeping temperature.
In addition to standard delivery and quality questions, we also consider duvet materials, tog size, and comfort.
Another thing we pay attention to is whether or not the duvet is machine-washable.
Many duvets are, but they don't have to be.
But since we're testing in real homes, we can decipher how practical washing a duvet actually is.
Look at the below image:
Even though this coverless duvet was washable, it didn't actually fit into our washing machine, and we had to take it to a laundrette.
By going through this entire process and documenting it in our review, we can prevent readers from buying a duvet that's unsuitable for their lifestyle.
Testing mattress protectors
A mattress protector safeguards your mattress against stains, spills, moisture, and bacteria.
Using a protector is a great way to increase mattress longevity and keep it looking fresh and clean for longer.
There are a few things we consider when testing a mattress protector.
- Is the mattress protector made from quality materials that are soft and breathable?
- Is it easy to put on the bed?
- What's it like to sleep on, and does it change sleep comfort negatively?
- Does it actually protect the mattress?
We consider how easily the protector wrinkles, if it makes any noise (some feel and sound very plasticky), and if it fits on easily like a fitted sheet.
To test the mattress protector's waterproof claims, we recreate those "accident" situations by simply spilling water over the mattress.
Look at the results below:
Luckily, the mattress protector adequately safeguarded the mattresses, and none of the water seeped through.
Mattress protectors may seem irrelevant, but we firmly believe that investing in a good waterproof mattress protector should be a non-negotiable.
Testing mattress toppers
A mattress topper can completely change the way a mattress feels.
These thick layers of material are placed on top of your mattress, usually to make your mattress more comfortable.
Testing a mattress topper is similar to testing mattresses since the topper will affect your sleeping surface so much.
This is why we'll run many of the same tests.
But keep in mind that the mattress underneath the topper greatly affects the topper, so it's often impossible to draw generic conclusions.
In addition to the more standard questions, we also consider the following:
- What materials is the topper made from?
- Is the topper soft and squishy or slightly firmer?
- What sleeping position is it best suited for?
- Is it thick enough to make enough of a difference?
- Does it sleep hot or cool?
- Does it come with a removable and/or washable cover?
- Does it have straps to attach it to the mattress?
- Can it be stored away easily?
Unlike a mattress protector, duvet, and pillow, a mattress topper isn't necessary.
We always pay attention to whether or not this is a product you should actually invest in.
Testing beds and bed frames
No bed setup is complete without a good divan base or bed frame.
Most people will choose a bed according to the overall design, but there are also some practical factors to consider.
When testing bed frames, some of the things we look at include:
- How economical the frame is for smaller bedrooms
- Whether or not the frame offers a practical storage solution
- If the materials are durable, stain-resistant, and/or easy to clean
- How easy it is to put together
- How easy it is to take apart and transport if needed
We also consider how sturdy the frame is and what type of mattress it is suitable for.
Unfortunately, we've had some negative bed frame experiences, so there definitely are some beds that are better than others!
But wait, there's more ...
We've covered some of our most tested sleep accessories above, but there are many more.
Other sleep accessories and gadgets we've tested include:
- Weighted blankets
- Sleep masks
- Ear plugs
- Sleep & health monitoring devices (like the Oura ring)
- Massage guns
We're continuously expanding our range of product tests to offer you the most informative reviews.
And we won’t stop there ...
We'll continue to update this page with new practices, testing methods, products and discoveries.
Despite our experience, the sleep industry is constantly changing, and our testing methods must reflect all new developments in sleep research.
Your opinion means a lot to us.
So if you have any further questions or suggestions about our testing process, please feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.