Mattresses: Choosing the best type of mattress Mattress features
From chemical smells to spring density, we highlight what you need to know when buying and using your new mattress.
And don't forget to check out our mattress reviews before you buy. Logged-in Which? members can also view our independent review revealing the best and worst mattress brands now - if you're not already a member, you can unlock all of our reviews, from mattresses to washing machines, with a trial subscription to Which? for just £1.
Most bed mattresses have a distinctive chemical smell when you first unpack them, but some can be particularly smelly. Leave your mattress to air for a week before use and the fumes will disperse.
Handles help with flipping, turning and positioning the mattress. Many new bed mattresses don’t need to be flipped over, but they may still benefit from being rotated head to foot a few times a year.
Mattresses with spring systems are usually padded with man-made polymers, but some contain natural fibres such as horsehair or wool. More layers aren’t always better – the support from the springs is more important.
Mattress spring density
When it comes to springs, it's quality rather than quantity that's important. The number of springs in your mattress is less important than how they’re constructed. Which? has tested mattresses with densities ranging from 440 to 1,085 springs and found wide variation in the level of support offered.
You can also take a look at our video guide to buying a mattress to learn more about how to buy the best for you.
Washable mattress covers
Some sprung mattresses come with a removable cover, but you can buy one separately.