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Compare mattress brands Sealy, Koala, SleepMaker, IKEA and King Koil on factors including support, sleep quality, durability, value for money, comfort and overall satisfaction, with Canstar Blue’s 2018 review & ratings.
Canstar Blue research finalised in August 2018, published in August 2018.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Sealy gets comfortable at top of mattress ratings
Most experts agree that seven to nine hours of sleep each night is necessary to function well during the day. However, just because we’re getting the right quantity of sleep, doesn’t always mean we’re getting the best quality of sleep. Finding the ideal mattress for your needs – and those of your significant other – could significantly improve your quality of sleep, and make your waking hours happier, healthier and even more productive. It’s also important to replace your mattress when it’s no longer providing you with the quality of support and comfort you need.
If you’re in the market for a new mattress, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve surveyed hundreds of Australians who have recently bought a new mattress to find out which brands make Aussies happiest in bed, including factors like support, durability, comfort and value for money – because some mattresses can be very expensive.
The winner of our annual mattress ratings for 2018 is Sealy, taking out top spot for the second year in a row. The big name in deep dreams received five-star reviews from customers across the board. Many of us grew up sleeping on a Sealy – as a long-standing and ubiquitous brand here in Australia – and it’s still doing the business in the bedroom today!
The five brands in our 2018 mattress review were rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
- 1st Sealy
- 2nd Koala
- 3rd SleepMaker
- 4th IKEA
- 5th King Koil
It was four stars for Koala and SleepMaker, while IKEA and King Koil had to settle for three stars overall. Sealy certainly performed very well in this review, but was not the only brand to score top marks in one particular area or two. Other good results of note included Koala joining Sealy in scoring five stars for support, while SleepMaker received top marks with Sealy for comfort.
Mattresses are more complicated than they might seem. Many retailers and manufacturers claim that certain mattresses make you sleep better or give you better back support. It’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as a universally good mattress. There are different types that suit different needs, and ideas of comfort for the best night’s sleep. Before we go into detail about how to pick the best mattress for your sleeping needs, here is a summary of the five brands in our 2018 ratings, and what they have to offer.
Top Mattresses Brands
Sealy says it handcrafts mattresses to order in Australia, using locally sourced materials. Sealy Posturepedic uses a patented innerspring technology designed to support the body at rest, along with comfort layers such as latex and memory foam to reduce pressure points. Across the different ranges, different support systems are employed, from the PostureTech coil at entrypoint through to Responsive Technology in the higher-end mattresses. All Sealy Posturepedic products are stated to be designed to ‘Sense & Respond’ to your specific body weight and help promote a quality night’s sleep. The product range starts at an entry-point price of around $340 for the Sealy Nova Single Mattress, covering a broad spectrum of budgets and technologies up to the pinnacle Sealy Posturepedic Crown Jewel mattress, starting at around $5,000 and the top model can be priced over $9,000 for a King size.
Our overall customer satisfaction winner received top marks across all ratings categories, with Australian sleepers giving Sealy the seal of approval.
Koala is a fairly new Aussie brand in the mattress world, with the aim to provide donations to Koala charities for every mattress sold. It offers just one mattress – the Original – in five different sizes from single to king. Its mattress is stated to have the highest-quality Australian materials with foam support. Koala boasts its mattress as “just right” in terms of firmness, sitting in what is deemed the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – not too soft but not too firm either. The mattress that comes in a box can be purchased solely online, with prices starting from $750 for the single and going up to as much as $1,200 for the king.
Koala was rated four stars for overall satisfaction and across all other research categories, except for support where it achieved five stars.
SleepMaker produces mostly hybrid mattresses with memory foam and Dunlop latex. Its range is divided into luxury, urban, back care, affordable, tradition, adjustable and for one. Prices start from around $500 for the SleepMaker Sense Firm single – a Miracoil Classic mattress with Dunlop foam comfort layers. The range extends up to the Clio Pearl Ultra Plush Mattress with a Cocoon core, five support layers and premium Dunlop Graphene Memory foam for around $11,300 for a super king size.
SleepMaker achieved four stars for overall satisfaction, support, sleep quality and durability. It received three stars in regards to value for money, but earned top marks for comfort.
Retail giant IKEA produces a simple range of basic spring, latex and foam mattresses. These no-frills options may work out great for you if your needs are simple – choose the firmness, material and price level that suits you best. Prices start at $129 for the Husvika spring single mattress, $299 for the Malfors foam mattress, and $649 for the Morgedal latex variant, with no mattress costing more than $1,000. Its most popular spring mattresses are also roll-packed so you can take them home with you in your car.
IKEA received three stars for overall satisfaction, support, sleep quality, durability and comfort, but got four stars on value for money.
Self-declared ‘The Mattress King of America’, King Koil creates luxury-style mattresses that are designed and made in the USA. The mattresses combine pocket spring coils with upper layers of varying materials, including high density foam, wool and silk, plus Talalay latex. With King Koil mattresses priced from $999 to $18,999 for its ‘World Luxury’ series, they’re not exactly budget buys, but are claimed to offer more than the standard mattress in terms of comfort and durability, so maybe you get what you pay for?
The brand received three stars across the board in our 2018 review, with four stars for support and sleep quality – arguably the most important categories.
Other mattress brands
Besides the top five brands that made it into our ratings this year, there are several others you might like to consider:
- Comfort Sleep: This Australian-made brand creates mattresses that combine multiple types of technologies. Its products are divided into three ranges – Quality, Premium and Ultra Premium. Comfort Sleep covers combinations including pocket springs with layers of wool, high density foam, memory foam, gel-infused memory foam and latex all in one mattress.
- Slumberland: Mattresses from this Melbourne-based company range in price from as little as $250 to $2,650 across its extensive range. Designs are based around pocket springs with various side supports and comfort tops, such as aloe vera infused foam.
- Tempur: The original producer of memory foam mattresses, Tempur now produces both fully foam and hybrid coil mattresses, ranging in price from $2,999 to $10,899. Tempur beds are also said to be unique in that the base can be adjusted to angle upwards – whether to slightly raise your head or comfortably sit up. Each side of the bed can be adjusted independently.
- H. Beard: Founded in 1899, making mattresses in styles fashionable at the time – using tufted horse hair – A.H. Beard has thankfully kept focussing on development, with its modern mattress range offering structured gel infused foam, natural fibres (alpaca, cashmere, goats, mohair and wool), Talalay latex and built-in massage systems.
Things to consider when buying a new mattress
Your first point of call when shopping for a new mattress is deciding the size you need. Typically, sizes range from single, double, queen to king, but you might also find some slightly larger variants of these also available such as a king single and super king. Once you know the size you need, numerous other factors come into play. From our survey of Australians who have recently bought a new mattress, the following drivers of customer satisfaction were identified:
- Support: 25%
- Sleep quality: 22%
- Durability: 22%
- Value for money: 18%
- Comfort: 13%
Support was identified as the greatest driver of satisfaction when we buy a new mattress – being well supported, comfortable and sleeping well are the three key purposes of a mattress after all. Mattresses should probably be considered an investment into your long-term health and happiness. Setting aside the time and money to find the right one for you can make a significant difference to your quality of sleep, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay over the odds. Other key findings from our survey were:
When should I replace my mattress?
How long a mattress lasts before you need a new one depends on a number of factors, such as the original quality and how much it’s used. A general rule of thumb is to replace your mattress after seven years, however high quality mattresses can last for as long as double that. Our survey respondents, on average, used their previous mattress for 8.8 years before buying a new one. If you’re regularly waking up tired, sore and irritable, it may be because your mattress just isn’t giving you the support that it used to. This could be an indication that it’s time to start looking into replacing it.
What kinds of mattresses are there?
There are several main types of mattresses based on construction. However, many mattresses – particularly at the higher end – combine different technologies. For example, coil mattresses with memory foam layers. Continuous innovations in mattress technology – and new designs – mean that there’s quite a number of different ways to build a modern mattress. First of all though, it’s important to understand the main types.
These are generally considered the traditional and most common kinds of mattresses. The support is simply provided by metal coils, which can be configured in a number of ways. The most basic are the continuous and open-coil types.
Continuous coils are made from a single piece of wire looped into strings, while open-coils are made of a bed of individual coils connected with one wire. These are generally the cheapest mattresses but are the most likely to disturb your sleep partner and might lose their support quality over time. Independently pocketed springs address these issues by allowing each individual coil to respond separately to load and movement.
Quality can be measured by two metrics. Firstly, wire gauge. The lower the gauge, the less give the coils have and the firmer the mattress is. Secondly, the number of coils which – according to manufacturers – correlates to the quality of support and capacity of the bed to contour to your body. On top of the coils, a more comfortable sleeping surface is made with foams, padding and stuffing. This can range from simple quilting to layers of memory foam or latex. Here are some pros and cons.
|Retain less heat||Cheaper options may lack support over time|
|More durable than foam that can break down and pocket coil where pockets can be damaged||Cheaper designs might wear out faster than other mattresses|
|Allow for ease of movement||More prone to motion transfer (only most expensive offer a degree of motion isolation)|
Memory Foam Mattresses
Made of a NASA-developed material called ‘visco’ foam, memory foam mattresses contour to your shape and distribute your weight evenly over the surface. The ‘memory foam’ is used in the upper layer, which is then supported by the denser non-memory base foam. If it were all memory, you would sink to the bottom! Different memory foam mattresses may have multiple layers, and some have air channels cut in to reduce heat.
The key metric to look for is foam density. Lower density foam is more prone to breakdown and may not offer the best support, while too high might be too firm. There are also sub-categories of memory foam mattresses:
- Standard: the traditional visco foam, with a slow response time
- Plant-based: uses natural oils which makes it more breathable and respond faster
- Gel infused: combines gel and memory foam, marketed as a cooler sleep
So, what are the pros and cons?
|Long-lasting with low motion transfer||Tend to be hotter than other mattresses|
|Can be good for those with back problems||More expensive to buy than other types|
The construction of latex mattresses is reasonably simple. A pure latex mattress is made of only latex foam for both the support core part and comfort layers, which may or may not be glued together. The latex liquid used is either 100% natural latex, synthetic latex, or a blend of both. Many people prefer natural latex due to its durable, eco-friendly and hypoallergenic properties, but this usually commands a much higher price tag. There are two main types of manufacturing processes:
- Dunlop: the original method produces a durable, often firm mattress
- Talalay: a more controlled method which produces a mattress that is said to be more consistent
The Talalay type tends to cost more, but reviews suggest that both tend to perform similarly. In terms of pros and cons of latex mattresses, you could summarise by saying:
|Very durable (can last 15+ years)||More difficult to find than other types|
|Can be good for those with sleeping problems||Tend to be much more expensive to buy|
Adjustable Air Beds
Unlike the air mattresses used for camping, air beds for permanent use look like conventional beds with padding and upholstery. The support system is an adjustable air chamber, which can be adjusted for different levels of firmness. They often allow for separate control of each side of the bed so that both members of a couple can meet their support needs. The most famous type of air bed is Sleep Number, but it appears this is no longer sold by Australian retailers. There are multiple other manufacturers on the market.
|Reasonably durable||Generally more expensive to buy|
|Highly adaptable to changing support needs||Require more maintenance than other types|
What type of mattress do I need?
Firm vs Soft
A common misconception is that the firmer the mattress, the better the support. It actually depends on how you personally sleep. The most important thing is to keep your spine straight and supported, so depending on the position in which you usually sleep, you’ll need a different kind of support to best protect your back. How do you sleep?
- On your stomach: a firm mattress will keep your spine aligned
- On your back: a medium mattress will support your spine and back while also being comfortable
- On your side: a soft mattress is best for side-sleepers, as it can contour to your body and sink in in the right places to keep your spine aligned.
Our research revealed that almost three in five (58%) have a medium mattress, with one in four (26%) owning a firm mattress and 13% a soft mattress.
Mattresses for bad backs
If you have back problems or other issues with aches and pains, you need to be particularly careful with your mattress choice. Too firm might put too much pressure on the body which can enhance or trigger pain, while too soft may be insufficient support for your bones and joints. Latex and memory foam are pressure relieving materials, primarily designed for comfort.
Latex mattresses rate well for back pain because of their ‘springy’ action. The spongy material contours well with the body and maximises body contact to relieve the pressure points and better align the spine. Memory foam mattresses can also be a good choice for bad backs, particularly high density foam types. Low-density memory foam provides poorer support and pain relief.
Injured, weak and mobility-impaired people may prefer a firmer mattress, as it makes it easier to get out of bed, compared to soft sink-in mattresses.
How much do mattresses cost?
Even within a particular category, there’s usually a wide price range. Generally speaking, you will get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean you should just go out and buy the most expensive mattress you can find. Respondents to our survey of new mattress owners spent an average of $1,139 on their most recent purchase. Below is a ballpark price range for each broad type. Bear in mind that both of the coil types include prices for hybrids (coil support with memory foam, latex or other comfort features).
As you can see, there’s a wide range of prices depending on type, so you’ll need to carefully weigh up how much you’re willing to spend versus the features you want in your mattress.
|Mattress type||Single (92x187cm)||Double (137x187cm)||Queen (153x203cm)||King (203x203cm)|
|Continuous/open coil||$119 – $3,299||$169 – $3,999||$199 – $4,499||$299 – $9,999|
|Pocket coil||$249 – $8,999||$349 – $9,999||$399 – $12,999||$1,449 – $16,999|
|Memory foam||$449 – $3,899||$599 – $3,499||$699 – $4,799||$799 – $6,499|
|Latex foam||$549 – $1,195||$699 – $2,295||$749 – $2,695||$849 – $4,895|
|Air bed||$499 – $1,499||$699 – $4,425||$799 – $7,099||$1,299 – $9,499|
General Guide Only
How to pick the best mattress for you
It’s a good idea to do your research first, reading product details and online reviews to help you make a shortlist based on your needs. Then you can go into a retail store or display room to test out mattresses with a clear idea of what you’re looking for. It’s also important to realise that some manufacturers will only produce product lines exclusively for certain retailers or have a line under one name at one retailer and a different name at the other when they’re actually just the same product.
When you go into a retail store or showroom to test mattresses, don’t let the salesperson rush you. 30 seconds of lying on a bed is not enough. Get a pillow (or better yet take a comfortable one with you) and relax properly, as you would if you were going to sleep.
For more specialty types of mattresses, you may find it easier to buy online. But this can be a bit risky, especially if you’re looking to buy something quite different from your previous mattress. Before buying online, check the retailer’s returns policy to make sure that if you don’t like it, you’re easily able to pack it up and return it. In our latest survey, almost half (47%) of respondents who purchased their mattress online wish that they had tried it out first.
Ready for a good night’s sleep?
You spend as much as a third of your life in bed, so it’s really worth investing in a good quality mattress, taking the time and care to make the best choice for you. Before you go into the shop, understand what different types of mattresses do and what kind of sleep needs they’re best for so that you don’t end up paying thousands of dollars only to get an aching back. As it’s a long-term investment, looking at reviews can be useful for information about how your mattress might perform in the long-term. Take good care of your mattress… so it can take good care of you.
Frequently asked questions
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. Data was collected using Qualtrics’ online sample aggregation from ISO accredited panels. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a new mattress in the last 3 years – in this case, 674 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.