How to Choose a Mattress in 6 Steps

After spending 42 hours comparing 66 products when writing our comparisons, here are the steps we recommend you take to choose your mattress.


Comment Bien Choisir son matelas en 6 Étapes

Step 1: The type of mattress

Not all mattresses on the market are made of the same materials. Each material varies the support, the ventilation and also the price of the mattress. Here are the four main types:

  • Latex mattresses can be of natural or synthetic origin. Synthetic latex is not recommended, however, as it is not environmentally friendly due to the fact that it is made from petroleum-based components. Natural latex is slightly more expensive and is made from the sap of the rubber tree. These mattresses are appreciated for their elasticity and longevity.
  • Foam mattresses are among the most popular because they are often the most affordable. In addition, they are suitable for almost all types of sleepers but are less durable.
  • A popular variant is the memory foam mattress, which is known for its maximum comfort. This mattress is known for its maximum comfort, as it adapts perfectly to the body and prevents any movement transfers. However, the budget required is much higher.
  • Spring mattresses are still a safe bet, as long as you choose quality over price. Among the different types of springs, pocket springs are now the most common. These mattresses are very resistant and are also much thicker.

Finally, you should know that some hybrid models tend to combine several materials to offer the sleeper all possible advantages.


Comment Bien Choisir son matelas en 6 Étapes

Step 2: Firmness

This is an important factor because it plays a big role in your comfort and therefore in the quality of your sleep. A mattress that is too firm will not be comfortable, while one that is too soft will create a “hammock” effect and cause back pain over time.

  • The density of the mattress defines its firmness. It is calculated in kg/m³ and must be related to the sleeper’s weight. The larger the sleeper, the higher the density should be. Overall, a density of 75 kg/m³ is a good average for an adult of average build. Smaller people can be satisfied with 65 kg/m³, but a density of 85 kg/m³ or more is necessary for a larger person.
  • The sleeping position is also a criterion to keep in mind. Those who sleep on their back or stomach should choose a firmer mattress than those who sleep on their side.
  • The thickness of the mattress should ideally be between 18 and 25 cm. Below this, the support is not sufficient, but may be sufficient for an extra bed. For a child, the minimum is 15 cm.
  • Latex and spring mattresses offer the highest density. Viscoelastic foam and memory foam mattresses are softer.


Comment Bien Choisir son matelas en 6 Étapes

Step 3: Comfort

While the firmness of the mattress is important to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep over the long term, the comfort of the mattress is a more immediate criteria. This is the first feeling you get when you lie down on the mattress.

  • The type of support depends on the material of the mattress. Latex and foam mattresses are known for their softness, while spring mattresses are generally more invigorating. The champion of all categories is the memory foam mattress, which follows the shape of the body and is therefore suitable for all morphologies.
  • The filling is also important, as it is the top layer of the mattress. If it is thick and made of quality materials (wool, silk, etc.), it will provide a softer welcome.
  • It can be interesting to place a mattress topper to increase the comfort of your mattress.
  • As the comfort of the mattress is mainly a matter of feeling, it is essential to take the time to test the mattress. Physical shops generally offer a large showroom with test areas, while online shops offer a trial period of varying length during which you can change your mind. However, be sure to check the return conditions (time limit, free of charge or not) to avoid unpleasant surprises.


Comment Bien Choisir son matelas en 6 Étapes

Step 4: Ventilation

This is the ability of the mattress to regulate both the moisture and the heat you generate while you sleep. A mattress with sub-optimal air circulation is less hygienic, due to the potential for mould growth, as well as affecting your sleep.

  • Not all mattresses ventilate in the same way. Latex and spring mattresses are generally the best regulators of heat and moisture, but foam mattresses are less so. Foam mattresses are therefore not recommended if you sweat a lot.
  • In addition to the material that forms the mattress cover, the ticking is also important. This is the fabric that covers the mattress. Some fabrics regulate moisture better than others. Natural materials are the champions in this area (cotton, wool, silk, bamboo, etc.).
  • Some mattresses are equipped with two sides, to adapt to the season. The summer side is generally made of a lighter, more breathable ticking (cotton, linen, etc.), while the winter side tends to store heat (wool).
  • To recognise the summer side from the winter side, manufacturers normally all use the same rule: the winter side is where the label is sewn on. The summer side is therefore blank.


Comment Bien Choisir son matelas en 6 Étapes

Step 5: Bedding independence

Whether sleeping alone or in company, sleep independence is the ability of the mattress not to make you feel the movements of the other sleeper.

  • This is all the more interesting if the occupants of the bed are of radically different sizes, if one of the two sleepers is a light sleeper and/or the other moves around a lot during sleep.
  • While all current good quality mattresses offer good sleeping independence, pocket spring mattresses are generally the most recommended, provided that the number of springs is sufficient. Memory foam mattresses come second. Hybrid models combining both (memory foam and springs) are therefore the best in the field.


Comment Bien Choisir son matelas en 6 Étapes

Step 6: Dimensions

Although this may seem like a basic criterion at first glance, there are actually so many different mattress sizes that it is essential to know your needs before making a purchase.

  • The first thing to do is to measure your bed base correctly so that the mattress fits perfectly. A few centimetres too much or too little can make a difference.
  • The most common mattress length is 200 cm (sometimes 190 cm).
  • The width varies depending on whether it is a single or double mattress. For one person, 90 cm is the most common width. For two people, the minimum width is 140 cm. However, Queen Size (160 x 200 cm) or even King Size (180 x 200 cm) mattresses offer greater comfort, especially if children and/or pets tend to invite themselves into your bed at night.


Best mattresses of the moment

Our choice, Best mid-rangeBest budgetBest high-end
Emma OriginalAbeil AB100 +Simba Hybrid
Emma OriginalAbeil AB100 +Simba Hybrid
Voted best product of the year 2020 by our French neighbours, this model (150x200 cm) has 3 different foam layers with a qualitative design that stands out for its anti-slip coating.If it has the least considerable thickness of this selection, this allows it to be easily transportable. This feature, combined with its excellent price/quality ratio, makes it very attractive.This is a hybrid mattress. It is the only one of the models presented here that combines an open cell foam with 2500 packaged springs, for a result that is neither too firm nor too soft.
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