It wasn’t long ago that I was researching mattresses in the UK market when I came across a brand name that popped out at me for some reason. There are plenty of new upstarts appearing and then disappearing all too often, but the reason why this one caught my attention was because I had seen it some time ago and dismissed it for another one of those soon-to-disappear mattress brands. I was obviously wrong because here I was again, this time much more intrigued, flicking through every page of their website and analysing every layer of their mattress.
As the title of this review would suggest, it was Emma Mattress that caught my eye. A few weeks later, I managed to get my hands on one. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass up on reviewing for myself a Which? Best Buy (Mattresses June 2017).
Emma Mattress Review
Established since 2015, Emma are a UK based company who work with leading manufacturers to produce the Emma Mattress, and Pillow too. The mattress is assembled in Derby, and so far appears to have one mattress under its belt and no brick and mortar showrooms. This is the new norm in the current mattress industry, and some of the best mattresses in the world have done extremely well using the same modus operandi.
What’s Inside An Emma Mattress?
Before we get into the review, let’s take a look inside the Emma and discuss some of the layers and materials which make up the core of this hybrid mattress.
Every Emma no matter the mattress size you choose will be 10″ thick (25 cm). Essentially it is made up with a mixture of 4 different layers. It has 3 layers of foam and 1 layer of pocket springs. Here’s how they are arranged, starting from bottom up:
- The base layer is cold foam. This is a durable base which provides the counter pressure whatever your sleeping position. Notice how there are holes across the base. This allows for effective body heat dissipation which ensures a cool night’s sleep. Also note how each hole has a slit across the width of the mattress. This allows for pressure relieving support of your lower back and other body parts by helping the high density foam to contour easily.
- On top is a layer of traditional visco elastic memory foam. This material is good for body contouring and pressure point relief, proving useful for those with bad back issues or other types of joint pain.
- Then comes the layer of up to 2000 pocket springs. If you’re wondering why you cannot see any springs it’s because they are within the boarder of foam. This is the reason that you cannot see the pocket springs from the side, but can when removing the top layer. This type of spring system is much better than the old bonnell springs found in cheaper mattresses because they offer better motion isolation, thus making it ideal when sharing the bed.
- Finally at the top and nearest the sleeper is a special Airgocell foam layer. This is an open-pored and breathable type of foam which is supposed to help keep you cool at night and also be an effective motion isolator – Both subjects upon which I will cover in detail below.
- The grey removable and washable zippered cover is made of 98% Polyester and 2% Elastane and has anti-slip elements at the bottom for added traction when placing on the floor or Divan’s.
Delivery and Packaging
After a hectic week I woke up one Friday to an email from UPS regarding my delivery. I was home all day so was patiently waiting for my package to arrive.
Overall, the delivery experience was extremely swift. Within a week the boxed mattress was being pulled off the van and into my hallway by two no nonsense looking delivery guys. The roll up and vacuum packed mattress may be boxed and easy to transport compared to a traditional non-rolled type, but boy was this thing heavy (30 kg according to Emma’s mattress spec sheet). UPS didn’t take the package up to my bedroom (I didn’t ask them to, perhaps they would have if asked), but I like to do all my unboxing and some picture taking in the dining room. Luckily my sister-in-law was staying over so we later managed to haul up the rolled mattress (out of the box now) to the bedroom and lay out across my wooden slats. Bear in mind, this is almost certainly a two-person job.
As you can see, somewhat battered and bruised, the box wasn’t exactly perfect. Luckily the strong plastic vacuum wrapping is extremely good at protecting the mattress from a damaged box, any water seepage or other calamity which may occur during transportation.
Setting It Up
It’s pretty much the same process with the Emma as it is with other bed in a box solutions. In their own words, simply remove Emma from the box, roll out the mattress onto a flat surface (in my case a King size Ottoman bed), and use the enclosed cutter (found stuck on the back of the instruction manual) to gently cut and remove the plastic film. Emma needs only a few hours to breathe and is then immediately ready to be slept on.
This is a process that most people should be familiar with if you have purchased a bed in a box mattress, usually a memory foam or hybrid, within the past 5 years or so. If not, it really is that simple. Please note that when removing the packaging it’s important to use the included tool. The vacuum seal is very tight and using a knife or scissors could damage the mattress.
Not all mattresses are compatible with every type of bed. Luckily Emma will suit almost any bed, including your traditional Divan, slatted beds and even on the floor.
There was some off-gassing which was almost expected given the type of mattress and the fact is was sealed up. Off-gassing isn’t generally a problem, although I have read some 1 or 2 sentence customer reviews in the past for other brands where a perfectly good mattress loses marks for days of off-gassing. With the Emma, the odour wasn’t too strong – I left the bedroom window open for a few hours. That night there was a slight smell remaining but by the following early afternoon it was gone. That’s approximately 24 hours, which is acceptable.
The mattress actually appeared to fully expand within 15 minutes or so. It was 10″ high and seemed level across the entire surface in no time. However I was still not prepared to use it without waiting for the advised 3 or 4 hour wait. Even til today the mattress hasn’t gained or lost any height that was achieved within the first 15 minutes of expansion.
The Feel and Sleeping Positions
Emma claim their mattress is for everyone. It is supposed to provide maximum adaptability through their topmost Airgocell® layer. This is an interesting claim because everyone has different needs. However it is widely accepted that a majority of people will opt for a medium feel as opposed to plush or firm when given a choice. The Emma Mattress in my opinion is a medium firmness. Simply put, it’s not too hard and not too soft, just right. So far, I have experienced no issues with support or spinal alignment, and four weeks into using I have not developed any aches and pains either.
The decision to place the springs in-between two layers of foam has proven quite effective too. The pocket springs offer some bounce and provide some give for the two outer layers of foam. It also eliminates that stuck or sinking sensation which memory foam can often be too much to handle, but yet the contouring and hugging sensation that memory foam is most famous for is still present.
In terms of sleeping position, I am primarily a side sleeper but also quite often sleep on my stomach. For both of these sleeping positions medium works just fine. Those who specifically need a firm mattress or require added support for back issues may find a medium-firm or firm option much more suited.
I thought to include this section because I can’t stress how much I love the look of this mattress. I have seen some awful looking mattresses in my time. Some are way too bright and colourful whilst others are oddly patterned. In my opinion, the Emma is one of the best looking mattresses I have seen for a while. My wardrobe is full of charcoals and blacks, which is probably why I love the look of Emma so much. Obviously I had seen it online, but in person you get a better feel of the quality and design, which all play part in overall aesthetics as well as build quality. I love the grey fabric cover contrasting with the white. The fabric handles add a nice touch whilst also making it easy to transport and move around at a later date if required. Even the tiny logo in a pop of blue finishes things off nicely. It oozes a premium feel almost without trying and pictures certainly don’t do it any justice.
Almost every mattress will usually be permanently covered with bedding and the duvet, but that’s not the point. For me there is an element of satisfaction knowing that my mattress looks as good as it feels.
In my opinion, most modern mattresses typically last anything between 6-8 years. Any mattress being used longer than this period and I would be surprised if it was offering the same level of support and comfort, no matter what the manufacturer claims. This is obviously great news, because most of the best mattress brands are offering between 10-20 year warranty on their products.
Emma are no different. They seem confident enough in their product to offer a 10 year warranty on the dimensional stability and durability of the core materials.
Four Weeks On, And The 100 Night Trial
It’s important to use any new mattress thoroughly before deciding on whether to keep it or not. Getting used to your mattress is key, which is why testing one out for a few minutes in a showroom is generally a fruitless exercise. Emma recommend using their mattress for at least 3-4 weeks before sending it back even though they give you the flexibility of trying it risk free for 100 nights. Well I have been using it for 4 weeks now, and can safely say that within a few weeks I had decided this was going to be a keeper. Four weeks in and my mind hasn’t changed and I doubt it will by the end of the 3+ month trial period. For those people who may need more than a few weeks to decide, or have decided already, simply call the customer support team if required within 100 nights – they will pick it up, no questions asked, and issue a full refund.
Mattresses are one of those bulky purchases which not only cost a lot, but for some people are also a pain to choose, buy, and then dispose of when it comes to getting rid of the old one too. Although in-home trials are common and lengthy, the whole process of having to return a mattress and then go through it all over again, until you find the perfect mattress for your needs can be quite a hassle for some. That’s why it’s important to get it right the first time. With the Emma Mattress, I would say this is one of those purchases that for the money is a safe choice and still a “best buy“. Being a mid-range product it isn’t the cheapest on the UK market, but it does perform well enough to warrant a trial at least.
The last mattress I was using before Emma came along was a relatively new high-end 7 zone mattress which was perfect for my needs, and I genuinely thought that I would miss it. But I don’t, and that’s because for this category and price range, so far I am hard pushed to find any negativity to raise about the Emma.