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Mattresses to avoid buying

Don't wake up on the wrong side of the bed – give these low-scoring mattresses a miss.

mattress with an angry emoji
Last updated: 17 November 2021

Need to know

  • We tested more than 35 popular mattresses from Sleeping Duck, Sealy, Ikea, Emma, A.H. Beard, Tempur and more
  • Experts assess key factors like comfort (as new and after eight years' use), stability, sagging over time and more
  • Become a CHOICE member to see full reviews and compare products

We spend about a third of our lives in bed, so it's vital to find the right mattress for the best night's sleep. But be careful – buy a bad bed and it could turn into a nightmare. 

Choosing a mattress instore or online can be confusing and downright stressful, with so many types, builds, firmnesses, features and amazing 'new technology' claims being touted. It's enough to warrant a serious lie-down!

To help you pick, CHOICE has been testing popular mattresses for years – and no, it's not just some lucky staff member sleeping on them all day (we wish). 

How we test mattresses

No, we don't test mattresses by taking naps on the job. Watch how our lab partners assess key factors like comfort, stabilisation and more.

Instead, our lab partners in Europe scientifically test the most important factors including comfort for both male and female body types, stabilisation, sagging over time, sweat resistance and more. 

So you don't lose any sleep over your selection, we've highlighted the mattresses that rated lowest in our tests below. 

Of course, our experts also uncovered some very good mattresses, too, including some impressive surprises priced well under $1000. Join CHOICE to see our full mattress reviews

1. Ikea Hokkåsen

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 61%
  • Comfort score: 56%
  • Price: $699

You snooze, you lose if you land on this double Ikea pocket spring mattress, which ranked lowest in our whole test. 

Its initial comfort scores will make most sleepers recoil in horror, and it also registered a sorry 56% in our sagging test (which simulates eight years of use).

And if you live in hotter climates, there's all the more reason to avoid it. The Hokkåsen received the lowest sweat-repellency score in our test, with a whiffy 32%, which means it's more likely to absorb fluids such as sweat and associated smells (shudder).

On a positive note, Ikea do offer a 365-day trial period if you're still keen to try it. Read our full Ikea Hokkåsen review.

Woman lying on her side on a mattress with a red line running down the length of her back

Lab lie-down: Our comfort tests use lasers to monitor spinal alignment.

2. SleepMaker Alaska

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 63%
  • Comfort score: 44%
  • Price: $1699

This queen-size retail mattress is another reminder that paying more money doesn't automatically guarantee a better sleep. Our testers found much cheaper ones that rated a lot better. 

Again, comfort was the key concern here, with our lab testing revealing disappointing ratings for both males and females. 

And if you or your partner toss and turn at night, expect some turbulence – it scored an ordinary 58% in our stabilisation test, which measures the amount of movement in the mattress.

Our experts also found its advertised firmness didn't match its actual firmness – it was soft, not firm as promised. 

On the flipside, the Alaska did score well with 80% for sagging over time and scored a perfect 100% for sweat-repellency score, so that's good news. 

Read our full SleepMaker Alaska review.

3. Sleeptailor Craftsman 

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 65%
  • Comfort score: 56%
  • Price: $3799

For this price, you'd expect perfect scores all round – but with the Sleeptailor Craftsman, you'll get an uncomfortable, sagging mattress that's nowhere near as firm as you'd expect. 

Both male and female testers rated it as uncomfortable, and while its comfort didn't decline over time, it was a pretty low bar to begin with. It's sold as a firm mattress but our tests showed otherwise, with testers rating it as soft. 

On the upside, it's great at repelling sweat, and it did well in our stabilisation test, which measures the amount of movement in the mattress when you or your partner move in your sleep. So it's good for sweaty, restless sleepers but not great for comfort. 

Many of the top-performing mattresses in our tests cost less than half the price of the Sleeptailor, so check our reviews before you buy (and especially if you're planning to spend this kind of money on a mattress!). 

Read the full Sleeptailor Craftsman review

3. A.H. Beard King Coil Chiro Response

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 65%
  • Comfort score: 39%
  • Price: $4399

The fact that three of the four mattresses we recommend cost less than $1500 should tell you everything you need to know about mattress pricing: you don't always get what you pay for. The third-most expensive mattress in our test, this A.H. Beard number was also the equal third-lowest scorer overall. 

Both male and female testers alike found this mattress uncomfortable, with the men rating it just 34% for comfort. Like the Sleeptailor, its support levels didn't change much with time, but all that really means is that it stayed uncomfortable even after a simulated eight years of use. 

The retailer sells this as a 'firm' mattress, but our tests revealed that it's actually very soft. 

Read the full A.H. Beard King Coil Chiro Response review

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE