How to buy the best bed - Which? (2023)

The average person spends a third of their life asleep – that's around 200,000 hours of snoozing. If you want to sleep soundly and feel recharged when you wake, you'll want to get the best possible bed for you. Our guide explains how to choose the perfect bed and highlights the important features to consider when you're shopping.

For satisfyingly deep sleep, a sturdy bed frame is key. As we'll explain, there are a couple of different bed types to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. You'll also need to consider cost, storage space and how easy your bed will be to assemble. Read on for our top tips.

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Choosing the best bed frame: divan vs storage vs bedstead

Looking for a space-saving bed with storage to put in a smaller bedroom, or a stylish four-poster bed? Your bed is likely to be the most prominent piece of furniture in your bedroom, so choose a bed type that fits with the style and size of the room.

There are three main types of beds: divan beds, bedsteads and storage beds. Read on as we explain the differences and how much you can expect to spend.*

Divan beds explained

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What is a divan bed? This is the most popular and simple style of bed – and there are countless varieties on sale. Essentially, a divan is a base. You then add a mattress and, usually, a headboard, sometimes as part of a bed package. There are two types of divan base:

  • Pocket-sprung divans, which have springs in the base, offering a softer top and extra comfort
  • Cheaper, platform-top divans have a hard top and will give a firmer feel, although the overall firmness of the bed will depend on the type of mattress you choose.

How much does a divan bed cost?* For a single divan base, expect to spend between £150 and £300. Doubles and larger sizes typically start around £300 and can rise beyond £3,000.

Pros and cons of divan beds

  • Pros:The most widely available type of bed; tend to be cheaper than other types of bed; lots of sizes, shapes and storage options to choose from
  • Cons:Tend to be less ornate and stylish than other types of bed; not all divan beds offer additional storage

Bedsteads explained

How to buy the best bed - Which? (2)

What is a bedstead? Bedsteads are built from slatted frames, as opposed to solid bases. They're usually made of metal or wood and are comprised of a base, legs and headboard.

(Video) HOW TO BUY A BED UK - which bed is best for you?

If you're looking for bed that makes a decorative statement, a bedstead could be a good option. They're available in a range of different colours, finishes and styles, from a traditional pine bedstead to a luxurious four-poster. Upholstered bedsteads, clad with real or faux leather, are an increasingly popular option.

How much does a bedstead cost?Expect to spend anywhere between £90 and £1,200 for a bedstead. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding a double for less than £500.

Pros and cons of bedsteads

  • Pros:Lots of styles available; no need to buy a separate headboard; different slat types offer a harder or more flexible feel
  • Cons:Storing items under the bed can look messy; usually need to be self-assembled; tend to be more expensive than divan beds

Storage beds explained

What is a storage bed? As the name suggests, storage beds offer just that – lots of tidy storage options underneath the bed. They're a great option if you're short on bedroom space but want something a bit more stylish than a standard divan bed.

If you're opting for a storage bed, you can pick between a classic style (with pull-out drawers) or an ottoman. An ottoman bed has a piston-assisted lift mechanism – the foot of the bed lifts up to reveal the storage space underneath.

How much does a storage bed cost? You can get an affordable double storage bed for around £150-£300. Premium ottoman-style beds can cost over £1,500.

Pros and cons of storage beds

  • Pros:Lots of storage space; well suited to smaller bedrooms
  • Cons:Ottoman beds can be heavy and awkward to move

Beds for children and guests

The three bed types we've outlined above will be the main choices for most people's bedrooms. But if you have kids, or want a bed for occasional use by guests, then you might be in the market for one of the options below.

Sofa beds

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What is a sofa bed? A multifunctional bed that folds back up into a sofa when not in use.

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Compact sofa beds work well in a spare room where a bed won't be used every day, or if you occasionally put up guests in your living room. Most sofa beds are two-seaters, but you might find that a corner-shaped sofa bed works better with your layout.

How much does a sofa bed cost? Most sofa beds cost less than £500 – you'll find plenty of options between £300 and £500. But we've also seen 'luxury' corner sofa beds selling for as much as £3,000.

  • Pros of sofa beds:Space-saving; convenient if you have guests staying over
  • Cons of sofa beds: Can be particularly heavy; usually not as comfortable as a regular bed.

If you only have people stay over now and again, a blow-up air bed might be more suitable than a sofa bed. Discover the best air beds.

Bunk beds

How to buy the best bed - Which? (5)

What is a bunk bed?Essentially one bed frame built on top of another, with a ladder on one side allowing easy access to the top bunk. They're a popular pick with parents or those looking to save space.

Before you buy a bunk bed for small children, make sure they can safely climb the ladder on the side of the bed, and ensure that the barrier at the top is high enough to stop them from easily toppling over the edge.

If you're only buying for one child but space is tight in their bedroom, you could also consider a mid-sleeper bed or a high-sleeper bed. These are raised beds that have space underneath for toys or a small desk.

How much does a bunk bed cost?You should expect to spend between £150 and £500.

  • Pros of bunk beds:Two beds only take up the space of one; fun for kids
  • Cons of bunk beds:Can be a pain to assemble; potential safety hazard if not used correctly

Cot beds

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What is a cot bed? For smaller children, cot beds are convertible cots that can help your little one make the transition from cot to bed.

Cot beds are suited to little ones that have outgrown their Moses basket or bassinet. Cot beds feature removable sides and a removable end panel that can be converted into a toddler-sized bed. Online, we've seen a selection of cot beds that come bundled with a dresser, where you can store baby clothes and nappies.

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How much does a cot bed cost? A basic cot bed can cost as little as £100, although most are on sale for around £300.

  • Pros of bunk beds: Cot beds last years longer than a cot (as they also function as a junior bed); more space than a cot bed so your baby has room to stretch
  • Cons of bunk beds:Larger than a standard cot and therefore not ideal for a very small space

For more tips on choosing the perfect cot bed, see our guide onhow to buy the best cot bed or cot. We also have details on thebest cot bed brands.

Buying a bed: important questions to consider

How much free space do you have?

You'll need to work out how large or small a bed you'd like – or can fit – in your bedroom. This seems obvious, but bear in mind that some bed frames are larger than others, and you'll need to allow enough space to walk around the bed without the risk of bashing your knees on a regular basis.

Measure your bedroom if you're moving into a new home, allowing ample space at either side of where the bed will fit to accommodate bedside tables or other furniture. If you're buying online, check the measurements of the bed in the product description.

Take a look at the table below for details of popular mattress dimensions. Depending on the type of bed frame, it may take up a bit more space than this, especially if you opt for a bedstead.

UK bed sizeWidth and length (cm)
Single90 x 190
Double135 x 190
King150 x 200
Super King180 x 200
Emperor215 x 215

What type of mattress is best?

Choosing the right mattress is crucial to ensure you get a long-lasting bed that gives you a comfortable night's sleep while properly supporting your body. A mattress doesn’t have to be firm as a rock to be good for you – you just need to make sure it has a good supporting structure.

When trying out a bed in-store, lie down on it in the same way as you'd lie on your bed at home, to see how it feels. Ideally, the mattress should mould to the shape of your body while also supporting it. If you're looking for a bed for two, you should ideally try out potential purchases together.

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In our expert mattress tests, we measure the shape of a person's body at 36 different points when standing, and when lying on their back on the mattress.

The perfect bed frame needs to be combined with the perfect mattress. Use ourmattress reviewsto find a mattress that will support your back and last for years and years – our Best Buys start at less than £200.

What's included in a bed's price?

Exactly what you get for your money may vary depending on the retailer. Make sure to check, for example:

(Video) How buy a cot bed - Which? guide

  • Does the bed come fully assembled, or will it need putting together?
  • Is a mattress included?
  • Does a divan bed come with a headboard?
  • What does the bed's guarantee cover, and for how long?

How will your new bed get delivered, and what are the costs?

Unless you've got access to a van, you'll need to arrange for the store to deliver your bed. There's likely to be a charge for this, so get a quote for delivery before parting with any money. Not all shops offer evening or weekend delivery slots, so check before you buy if this is important to you.

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Where to buy a bed

There are countless bed shops to choose from – including specialist high street brands, such as Dreams and Bensons, small independents, and general furniture shops including Ikea, Furniture Village and Habitat.

Whether you're shopping online or in-store, make sure you pay attention to the shop's returns policy.

Popular online retailers that stock beds include:

  • Argos sells a selection of divan beds, ottoman beds, storage beds and sofa beds. Its divan beds start at around £170 and rise closer to £1,500.
  • Bensons for Beds stocks ottoman beds, divan beds, sofa beds and adjustable beds. The retailer's divan beds start at around £170.
  • Dreams has a wide selection of bed types, filtered by frame size and type. If you're looking for storage, its ottoman beds start at around £250.
  • Dunelm is home to a selection of storage beds and divan beds. Prices for its Comfort Divan Bed with Mattress range from £400-£780.
  • Ikea will appeal if you're on a budget. Its cheapest double bed frame, the Neiden, is £55. The retailer also sells sofa beds, children's beds and cots.

Find out which retailers are rated highly by Which? members with our expert guide on the best and worst furniture shops.

How to save money on a bed

If you see a bed marketed with a big discount, it could be tempting to think you need to snap it up. But it's sensible to approach offers on beds with a healthy dose of cynicism. Check if a 'sale' might be coming up – you could benefit from a an even bigger price cut by waiting a few weeks longer.

How to buy the best bed - Which? (9)

That said, there are some good bargains to be had if you're willing to spend a bit of time shopping around. If you go into a store armed with a better deal you've found for the same spec model online, some shops might be prepared to offer a price match.

Don't be afraid to haggle either, particularly in an independent store where the shop assistants may have more power to reduce the price or throw in a freebie.

How to dispose of your old bed frame and mattress

Ask the shop you're buying from whether it will pick up your old bed when delivering the new one – some may charge extra to do this. Alternatively, you can ask your council to collect bulky items such as mattresses, but again some charge a small fee for this service.

(Video) Best Mattress In A Box Online 2022 Which Bed Should You Buy?

Wooden bed frames can be recycled – contact your council for details of your nearest neighbourhood recycling centre or to arrange a pick-up, or get in touch with the Furniture Re-use Network to donate your bed.

For more information on getting rid of mattresses, see our guide onhow to dispose of a mattress.

* Based on average prices from the popular online retailers listed under 'Where to buy a bed.'


What type of bed is most comfortable? ›

The foam mattress is the most popular variety in India as it provides a soft support to the back. This variety features foam inside the cushions instead of coir and hence are very soft and comforting. A foam mattress is also the best mattress of backache, hip pains and have an average lifespan of seven to eight years.

What is important when buying a bed? ›

Your sleep position, body type and personal preferences for the feel and materials will all play a role in determining which mattress is best suited for your needs.

What qualities should I look for in a mattress? ›

While shopping for a new mattress, pay close attention to these important deciding factors:
  • Firmness. Mattress firmness is one of the most important factors to understand, and one of the most complex. ...
  • Texture. You may also consider the texture of your mattress. ...
  • Material. ...
  • Size. ...
  • Longevity. ...
  • Adjustability. ...
  • Price.
Jan 4, 2019

Which mattress is good for back pain? ›

Summary with Mattress for Back Pain Price List
Sl. NoProduct NamePrice
1Wakefit Orthopedic Memory Foam Mattress₹ 12,736
2Sleepyhead Original - 3 Layered Orthopedic Memory Foam Mattress₹ 11,249
3SleepyCat Premium Gel Memory Foam Orthopedic Mattress₹ 12,590
4SleepX Ortho 6-inch Queen Size Bed Mattress₹ 15,699
4 more rows
Apr 1, 2021

Which mattress is good foam or spring? ›

People who tend to sleep hot at night may wish to opt for a spring mattress. Innerspring beds offer far better airflow, which helps to keep the bed cool at night. Sleepers who are heavy or sleep on their stomachs should opt for either innerspring, hybrid, or very firm foam beds, in order to get enough support.

Which material mattress is best? ›

Latex mattresses tend to be rated as the most comfortable mattress type. This eco-friendly material offers plenty of support across the entire mattress. Plus, it bounces back to its original shape more readily than memory foam.

Why do hotel beds feel so good? ›

The bedsheets used on hotel beds accentuate the feelings of comfort and relaxation, so you feel completely at ease. They are not only soft, but also smell fantastic, thanks to special detergents, fabric softeners, cleaners, and other deodorizing agents that enhance the overall relaxation experience.

Which mattress will last the longest? ›

Latex mattresses tend to last the longest, followed by beds made using high-density memory foams or polyfoams. Lower-density foam beds wear out a bit quicker, as do hybrid models. Traditional innerspring beds generally have the shortest expected lifespan, at approximately five and a half to six and a half years.

When should I buy a new bed? ›

Generally speaking, you should replace your mattress if one or more of the following apply:
  • It's 6-8+ years old.
  • It's negatively affecting your sleep.
  • It's noticeably saggy or damaged in certain areas.
  • It's making more noise than usual (noisy springs are common in old innerspring mattresses)
Mar 11, 2022

What is a hybrid mattress? ›

A hybrid mattress is pretty much what it sounds like: It's a mix of two different styles of mattresses. While you will hear mattresses with different types of foam referred to as a “hybrid,” for our purposes we are speaking of mattresses with springs and then a comfort layer on top.

What firmness is best for side sleepers? ›

Medium to Medium Firm is ideal for average-weight side sleepers and will contour well to your body.

Is it better to sleep on a hard or soft mattress? ›

For those not experiencing troublesome back pain, a firm mattress is will generally be more comfortable. When sleeping on a firmer surface, the bones absorb most of the pressure, meaning there is less stress on muscles, veins and arteries. Muscles are less strained, and circulation is improved.

Is memory foam good for back pain? ›

Yes, memory foam mattresses are the best for relieving back pain. They conform to your body providing pressure-point relief, reducing aches. Memory foam's body-conforming feature is the best in all mattress types.

Is memory foam good for health? ›

Although memory foam is generally considered safe, it may pose a problem for certain people, such as those who suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. Memory foam may also bother you if you are very sensitive to smells.

Which is better memory foam or latex? ›

Both materials do a good job of supporting the body, keeping the spine aligned, and improving comfort for the sleeper. In the long-run, latex typically outperforms memory foam when it comes to properly supporting the sleeper's body. This is due to its superior durability and responsiveness.

How long do foam mattresses last? ›

A good memory foam mattress might last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, but the very best ones might last even longer. Memory foam mattresses do not need to be flipped, but you might need to turn it around on the bed from time to time, head to foot, to reduce the chances of depressions from body weight.

Is memory foam more comfortable? ›

Memory foam molds to the body in response to heat and pressure, evenly distributing body weight. It then returns to its original shape once you remove the pressure. In addition to protecting against impact, these properties make memory foam very comfortable.

What type of mattress is most popular? ›

A traditional innerspring mattress is the most popular mattress type and is constructed with interlocked spring coils. Soft, conforming support cradles your body for responsive pressure point relief in this all-foam mattress type.

How can I make my bed like a hotel bed? ›

How to Make Your Bed Like a Luxury Hotel! 10 Bed Making Hacks!

What are hotel beds called? ›

Contract beds - often referred to as hotel beds - are specially-designed beds for commercial use. They are used in hotels, B&Bs and educational establishments.

What defines a good mattress? ›

What are the Qualities of a Good Mattress?
  • Generous mattress depth.
  • Multiple layers of comfort.
  • Spinal support.
  • Cushioning top layer of memory foam.
  • Pressure point relief.
  • Breathable open-cell foam technology.
  • Cooling sleep technology.
  • Hypoallergenic qualities or natural materials.
Jan 14, 2021

Can a mattress last 20 years? ›

It's possible - but not likely - that a mattress can last 20 years. The longevity of your mattress depends on several factors, including how much wear and tear it undergoes and the quality of its parts. Some mattresses, like memory foams and latex, can last up to 15 years, much longer than the average innerspring.

How long should you keep a mattress for? ›

But how often should you replace your mattress? Typically, most mattresses should be replaced every 7-10 years, but this number can vary depending on the mattress type you have. Don't wait any longer for a good night's sleep. Get better sleep quality now.

What is the best month to buy a new mattress? ›

When: March or April. Why: By March or April, new mattress models will typically be in stores, according to Scott Paladini, CEO and founder of Bear Mattress, an online mattress company. As new mattresses arrive, shoppers can save money by opting for an older model or a floor sample straight from the showroom floor.

What happens to a mattress after 10 years? ›

One frightening statistic: The average mattress will double its weight in 10 years as a result of being filled with dead dust mites and their detritus.

What are the negatives to a hybrid mattress? ›

Here are a few downsides to a hybrid mattress:
  • Lower quality motion isolation. Models with innerspring coils won't isolate movement as well as those with pocketed coils.
  • Expensive. The higher cost is a drawback but may also get you more support and better durability.
Jan 12, 2021

What's the difference between hybrid and memory foam? ›

The main difference between memory foam mattresses and hybrid models lies in the support core. While memory foam mattresses typically contain a high-density polyfoam core, hybrids use a coil system.

What is a pillow top mattress? ›

Pillow-top: This design consists of a single, gusseted layer made of either fiber or foam. As the name suggests, pillow-top mattresses often have a soft, “pillowy” feel to them. The layer is sewn onto the top of the mattress, with a small gap between it and the underlying comfort layer of the mattress.

Is it better to sleep on a hard mattress or soft? ›

For those not experiencing troublesome back pain, a firm mattress is will generally be more comfortable. When sleeping on a firmer surface, the bones absorb most of the pressure, meaning there is less stress on muscles, veins and arteries. Muscles are less strained, and circulation is improved.

What type of bed is the most sturdy? ›

Alongside metal, wooden beds are one of the sturdiest bed frame types available.

What firmness is best for side sleepers? ›

Medium to Medium Firm is ideal for average-weight side sleepers and will contour well to your body.


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