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Last updated: 12 December 2018

We test mattresses from popular retailers and online "bed in a box" brands, including Koala, Sealy, King Koil, Sleepmaker, Avatar and more, to help you find the best bed.

  • Our buying guide breaks down retailer jargon, and outlines the pros and cons of buying a bed in a box online versus a mattresses from a bricks and mortar store.
  • What we found while testing mattresses goes deeper into some important details; and how we test explains our rigorous testing methods.
  • We also investigated shady practices used by mattress retailers and manufacturers, designed to confuse consumers and diminish bargaining powers.

Humans spend about one-third of their lives sleeping, so naturally you'll want a mattress that provides optimal support and comfort at the end of a long day. 

We've checked the things you can't see instore including:

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  • Comfort and support from spring, foam or hybrid mattresses – immediately, and after eight years of simulated use (the average lifespan of a mattress).
  • Wear, tear and physical change after eight years of simulated use.
  • How online-only bed in a box brands compare to mattresses sold by traditional retailers.

We count the total number of springs and layers, and we assess the materials used in construction. This includes assessing temperature regulation and sweat absorption.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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Recommended retail or typical retail price for "retail" mattresses as of November 2017. Recommended price for bed in a box models as of November 2018.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 499 and 6000

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Price paid after bargaining

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Price paid by CHOICE in November 2018. This mainly applies to mattresses sold by traditional retailers, as bed in a box brands typically sell at a lower set price.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 399 and 3399

Type

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Bed in a box models are purchased online. Retail models are purchased from traditional bricks and mortar stores. Though bed in a box options are generally made from foam, some use springs akin to retailer models.

Build

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Hybrid: spring and foam.

Actual firmness - our test results

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The level of firmness based on our tests.

Sagging score

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We roll a cask-shaped roller over each mattress for 30,000 cycles to simulate usage of approximately eight years. Then, we measure height and firmness straight out of the box, and again after this test to note any differences. The lower the score, the greater the difference.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

Comfort score after eight years of use - female

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We roll a cask-shaped roller over each mattress for 30,000 cycles to simulate approximately eight years' use. 

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Comfort score after eight years of use - male

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We roll a cask-shaped roller over each mattress for 30,000 cycles to simulate approximately eight years' use. 

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

Test results

Insulation (mattress warmth)

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How warm does the mattress get? 

Comfort score, unused mattress - female

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We conduct body support tests for both dorsal (on back) and lateral (on side) positions.

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Comfort score, unused mattress - male

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We conduct body support tests for both dorsal (on back) and lateral (on side) positions.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

Usage wear/damage score

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We roll a cask-shaped roller over each mattress for 30,000 cycles to simulate approximately eight years' use. Visible damage such as cracking, broken springs or pilling contributes to fatigue score. A higher score means less damage.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

Sweat repellent score

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We assess permeability and water intake. Lower scoring models absorb more fluids which can cause damage and odor buildup over time.

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Features

Memory foam layer

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Many spring mattresses include a memory foam layer. This is often unadvertised. 

Handles

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A mattress with more handles is easier to rotate, flip and move.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 8

Trial period (days)

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If applicable. Bed in a box brands offer home trial periods that range from 30 to more than 100 nights. If you're unhappy with your purchase, you can exchange the mattress for a different model (if available) or a full refund.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 30 and 125

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Included in this review

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  • Recommended
  • Overall score
  • Comfort score, unused mattress - male
  • Comfort score, unused mattress - female
  • Comfort score after eight years of use - male
  • Comfort score after eight years of use - female
  • Stabilisation score
  • Sagging score
  • Sweat repellent score
  • Usage wear/damage score
  • Smell score (brand new)
  • Smell score (after a fortnight of use)
  • Actual firmness - our test results
  • Insulation (mattress warmth)
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Brand
  • Trial period (days)
  • Pickup fee - metro areas
  • PIckup fee - rural areas
  • Model
  • Exchange fee
  • Status
  • Price (RRP)
  • Price paid after bargaining
  • Type
  • Build
  • Size
  • Claimed firmness - retailer
  • Handles
  • Handle positions
  • Core type
  • Springs per metre squared
  • Number of layers
  • Memory foam layer
  • Weight (kg)
  • Thickness (cm)
  • Warranty (years)
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