Canstar Blue’s 2019 mattress review has seen Koala, SleepMaker, Sealy, Tempur, King Koil and IKEA compared on comfort, quality of sleep, durability, support, value for money and customer satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
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 even make your waking hours happier, healthier, and 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 comfort, durability, support, and value for money – because some mattresses can be very expensive. The idea is to give you as much information as possible after the brands reviewed so you can make your next mattress purchase with a bit more confidence. After all, you’ll want to do your homework before getting into bed with a new mattress. So, what did we find this year?
The winner of our annual mattress ratings for 2019 is Koala, receiving five-star reviews from consumers across the board. Koala replaces Sealy at the top of the tree after its two-year run of success came to an end.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 mattress review has seen six major brands compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
It was four stars for SleepMaker, Sealy and Tempur, while King Koil and IKEA had to settle on three stars for overall satisfaction. Koala certainly performed very well in this review, being the only brand to score a five-star rating in any category. That’s some endorsement for an ‘out of the box’ brand that you’ll only be able to order and buy online via the Koala website. Buying a new mattress online without trying it out for size first sounds risky, though Koala offers a 120-night trial period, plus our latest review suggests it’s working out for most people.
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, as well as those that aim to address everyone’s idea of a good night’s sleep. Before we go into detail about how to pick the best mattress for your sleeping needs, here’s a summary of the six brands in our 2019 ratings, and what they have to offer.
Koala is a fairly new Aussie brand in the big, wide 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. The mattress is stated to have the “highest-quality” Australian materials with foam support.
Koala says its mattress is “just right” in terms of firmness, sitting in what’s deemed the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – that’s not too soft but not too firm either. The Kloudcell foam is said to be designed to provide the feel of memory foam and latex, but with breathability and bounce. 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 $1,250 for the king size. Plus, there’s a 120-night trial for peace of mind, just in case you toss and turn over your decision. Koala says that, if you’re not satisfied with your new mattress, someone will pick it up for free (in most areas) and you’ll get a full refund.
SleepMaker produces mostly hybrid mattresses with memory foam and Dunlop latex. Its range is divided into luxury, style, back care, traditional, adjustable, convenience and ‘for one’ ranges. Depending on the specific range, SleepMaker says it has a number of systems in place to help improve your sleep comfort, including ‘Dreamfoam’, which moulds to your body for improved back support, according to the brand.
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.
Sealy says it handcrafts mattresses to order here 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 the brand’s entry price point, 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 from around $330 for the Active Support Single Mattress and covers a broad spectrum of budgets and technologies, including the pinnacle Sealy Posturepedic Crown Jewel mattress, which starts at around $5,000, although the top model can be priced as high as $20,000 for a king size.
The original producer of memory foam mattresses, Tempur now produces both fully foam and hybrid coil mattresses, ranging in price from around $2,999, up to $10,999. There are a number of ranges to choose from, including Cloud with a soft feel, Sensation and Hybrid, both with a medium feel, plus the Original range with a firmer feel. Expect removable zip-off covers that are washable at 60°C for easy maintenance.
All mattresses come with authentic ‘Tempur Material’, stated to respond to your body’s temperature, weight and shape for a deep and restorative sleep. 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.
King Koil is said to be proudly Australian-owned and operated, creating luxury-style mattresses. Whether it’s natural latex, contouring memory foam, or the latest in gel technology, there are plenty of options to consider within the range. Its mattresses are said to offer zoned and border support for your body, so that you can sit or sleep at the edge of your bed and feel supported.
King Koil mattresses are also approved by the International Chiropractics Association (ICA). With King Koil mattresses priced from $999 to $18,999 for its ‘World Luxury’ series, those on a budget may think twice about some of its models, but a mattress isn’t a purchase that you want to skimp out on.
Retail giant IKEA produces a simple range of spring, latex and foam mattresses, as well as mattresses for baby cots and kids. These ‘no-frills’ options may work out great for you if your needs are simple – simply choose the firmness, material and price level that suits you best and you could walk out of an IKEA store with an absolute bargain.
Prices start at $109 for the Husvika spring single mattress, $199 for the Moshult foam mattress, and $699 for the Morgedal latex variant, with no IKEA mattress costing more than $1,000. If you’re after a memory foam option, the Myrbacka mattress costs $799. Its most popular spring mattresses are also roll-packed so you can take them home with you in your car.
Besides the top six brands that made it into our ratings this year, there are several others you might like to consider:
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:
Comfort was identified as the greatest driver of satisfaction when we buy a new mattress – being comfortable, supported 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, so setting aside the time and money to find the best for you is definitely a good idea. It can make a significant difference to the quality of sleep you get. But that doesn’t mean you’ll always need to pay top dollar. The other key findings from our survey were:
How long a mattress lasts before you need a new one depends on a number of factors, such as the original quality of the mattress 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 nearly double that. Our survey respondents, on average, used their previous mattress for nine 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.
There are several main types of mattresses based on construction. However, many mattresses – particularly those at the higher end – combine different technologies such as coil mattresses with memory foam layers. Continuous innovations in mattress technology – and new designs – mean 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 also the most likely to 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, which 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)|
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:
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:
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|
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. However, there are multiple other manufacturers on the market if you’re after an air bed.
|Reasonably durable||Generally more expensive to buy|
|Highly adaptable to changing support needs||Require more maintenance than other types|
A common misconception is that the firmer the mattress, the better the support, when in actual fact it depends on how you 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 mattress support to best protect your back. How do you sleep?
Our research revealed that three in five (60%) respondents have a medium mattress, with one in four (27%) owning a firm mattress and 10% a soft mattress.
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 give 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.
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 $1,169 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
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 note that some manufacturers will only produce product lines exclusively for certain retailers, or have a line of products operate under different names depending on the retailer.
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, 21% of respondents who purchased their mattress online wish that they had tried it out first, down from 47% last year. In addition, two in five (41%) said the mattress they bought online did offer a ‘trial period’, where they could try it and send it back for a refund if they didn’t like it.
You’ll spend as much as a third of your life in bed, so it’s 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. By looking into all of your options, and taking good care of your mattress will ensure that it takes good care of you.
Picture credits: VGstockstudio/shutterstock.com, Freeograph/shutterstock.com
Our latest customer satisfaction research saw a number of brands rated best in different categories:
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a brand new mattress in the last 3 years – in this case, 773 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.
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