How are mattresses tested?

Buying a new mattress is not an easy task. A mattress is a long-time investment and therefore it is very important that it is comfortable and right for your body. But with all the extensive information out there, how can you know whether you have chosen the perfect mattress?

To help you with your decision, we have reviewed five of the top mattresses in the UK. In order to make our reviews as fair and objective as possible, we use test machines and review each mattress using the same criteria. The criteria is based on the results from our independent facility tests that were recently updated for 2020.

As we want to offer you the fairest reviews, each mattress undergoes the same tests. All tests are conducted on UK single mattresses (90x200cm) that were purchased by us.

To help you better understand how the ranking of the best mattresses was made, we decided to reveal behind the scenes of these tests and the criteria that we evaluate for each mattress.


What mattress characteristics do we evaluate?

We believe a good mattress is one that scores highly in the criteria listed below.We have also added a ”weighing scale” to represent the criteria according to its significance.

For each category, we award points between 0 and 10, with 10 being the highest. All the points were then weighed accordingly and added up to give the final scores of each mattress.

Mattress testing process

So you get a better understanding of how we scored the mattresses, we’ve outlined what happens in each of our tests as well how we weighed each category against each other.

Durability (35%)

Mattresses don’t come cheap. When you invest in a mattress, you want it to last as long as possible without showing any signs of wear and tear or becoming damaged with prolonged use. To find out, we loaded all mattresses with a 140kg roller that rolled 30.000 times from one side of the mattress to the other. This way, we were able to simulate 8-10 years of usage, which is the ideal amount of time for a mattress to last.

After the endurance rolling mill test was completed, we analysed the performance by comparing the condition of the mattress after the test with the condition of the mattress before the test, looking closely at the following characteristics:

  • Whether the mattress had become harder or softer.
  • Whether the mattress sagged  (i.e. changes in height).
  • Whether any part of the mattress is damaged.

A good mattress will retain its initial condition for years and will have minimal deterioration in the foam structure.

Top5 Durability test

The durability of mattress are tested with a rolling mill

Point elasticity (10%)

The aim of the test is to check the ability of the mattress to compress in a small area without affecting the area beside it.  In other words, we want to check if you are going to wake up or not during the night when your partner tosses and turns. A good mattress will be able to adapt well to the body and react to movement by relieving pressure around it.

We evaluate this characteristic by applying pressure to the mattress in 2 specific points and measuring the height at the center of the mattress.  The higher this centre point is, the more point-elastic the mattress is.

Top5 motion transfer test stamps

Stamps test how much motion is transferred on a mattress

Ergonomics and Comfort (40%)

In order to assess how the mattress would support your body, particularly when you’re sleeping on your side or your back, we test the ergonomic abilities of the mattress. This evaluation consists of two categories; ergonomics and viscoelasticity. Here the ergonomic properties contribute to 75% of criteria, while the amount of viscoelasticity contribute to 25%. We used a test machine with 20 different weight attachments in order to evaluate its ergonomic properties. We then lowered these 20 intenters and measured how well the mattress adapt to these weights. Our score is based on the deviation from the optimum result, or the ideal sinking level.

Top5 Zoning support test

Zoning machine measures how zoned a mattress is

We also test the visco-elasticity of the mattress as this property is associated with how easy it is to move around on the mattress. Mattresses with highly viscoelastic memory foam tend to make turning on the mattress more difficult. This is not ideal, given that most people twist and turn throughout the night.

Ease of Use (5%)

In this category we compared the weight of each mattress, the presence of handles, as well as how well these handles were attached to the mattress cover.  Though these aren’t a requirement it does make transporting the mattress or placing it on a bed frame much easier. Here, the weight of the mattress contributed to 75% of the score, while the presence and quality of the handles amounted to 25% of the score.

Cover (10%)

You can prolong the lifespan of your mattress by keeping your mattress cover clean. That’s why we’ve included this category in our tests. To determine how high the quality of the mattress cover is, we wash it according to the instructions provided by the mattress company. We then compare the measurements before and after washing to check how much each mattress cover has shrunk. Here, the shrinkage amount contributed to 80% of this criteria’s score, while the temperature that the cover can be washed at contributed to 20%.


To find out which mattress performed the best in our tests, make sure to check out our review page or our mattress comparison table.


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About Emily

Emily studied journalism and is extremely passionate about good sleep and has extensive knowledge of the mattress industry. She knows exactly what to look out for when buying a new mattress and knows what constitutes good customer service.