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The Emma Original mattress might sound like it’s the first product from German mattress maker Emma, but it’s actually the second, arriving a year after the company’s popular Emma Hybrid mattress.
The new Emma mattress loses the layer of conical pocket springs found in the Hybrid, swapping it for three layers of pressure-relieving foam instead. The company claims it offers the next level in support, comfort and durability, and will suit all types of sleeper and body types.
So does it? Is it the best mattress you can buy? For this Emma mattress review, we tested the new version for two months to find out how good it really is.
What is the Emma Original mattress?
The Emma Original is the second bed in a box foam mattress from Frankfurt-founded company Emma. You can only buy it online, and it arrives at your door – rolled-up and vacuum-packed in a compact and easy-to-move box – from the company’s UK manufacturer. Simply remove the packaging and the mattress expands into shape within two hours.
Inside the 25cm-deep mattress, there's a 3cm breathable Airgocell foam layer, followed by 2cm of visco-elastic memory foam to relieve pressure, and 19cm of supportive cold foam at the base – the latter is grooved to help distribute your weight for extra pressure-relief. On top, there's a removable, machine-washable and temperature-regulating cover.
Unlike some of its rivals, the Emma Original has handles on the sides, making it easier to move. This isn’t a mattress you need to flip, or even turn; but they're handy to have during the initial set up.
According to the company, the new Emma mattress is suitable for people weighing between 50kg and 130kg, will work with any bed base and can be used with an electric blanket.
Emma mattress: firmness
So what’s the Emma Original mattress like to lie on? According to Emma, it’s a medium-firm mattress – and we’d agree, rating it a 6.5 for firmness (with 10 being the firmest). It’s surprisingly soft on top, with a little bounce, initially letting you sink in before resisting, and pushing you back onto the surface of the mattress. That's where you remain, beautifully cushioned and supported for the rest of the night.
This coincides with the findings from our sister site Real Homes, which recorded the mattress sinking around 7.7cm when the team positioned a 56lb weight in the middle. That isn’t much sinkage at all (some sink below 9-10cm), and it's all thanks to that buoyant Airgocell foam and high-density poly foam at the base of the Emma mattress.
Firmness is relative, of course. Our reviewers ranged in weight between eight and 17 stone (112-238lb): most rated the new Emma mattress as medium-firm, but our heaviest tester felt it was closer to a medium mattress, while our lightest tester judged it to be on the firmer side.
How comfortable is the Emma mattress?
Lying down on the Emma Original is exceptionally comfortable. We found the new Emma mattress to be very supportive, whether you’re sleeping on your front, back or side. Side sleeping was particularly luxurious, thanks to that lovely foam, which cushions your shoulders and hips, and helps keep your spine straight. But front and back sleeping were also a joy, with the material pushing back to keep us positioned on top of the mattress, while creating a supportive, cushioned environment.
We also found motion transfer to be minimal. The Emma Original is very good at absorbing movement, so if you have a restless partner you’re unlikely to be disturbed by tossing and turning.
The only minor complaint came from one of our reviewers, who occasionally found the Emma Original to be a little warmer than hybrid mattresses like the Simba or Otty. They didn’t become clammy – and their sleep was only interrupted once by the warmth (on the hottest night of June, so perhaps not the fairest test). But it’s worth noting that if you’re prone to overheating you may be better opting for a hybrid or pocket-sprung mattress – or making sure you have the best duvet for regulating your temperature.
Emma Original mattress: price
At full price, the Emma Original is priced extremely competitively within the bed-in-a-box market, either matching or coming in cheaper than most of its rivals in most sizes. A single Emma mattress costs £429; a double £649; a king £699; and a super king £799.
Compare this to Emma’s memory foam mattress rivals:
- Emma Original: £429 (single), £649 (double), £699 (king), £799 (super king)
- Eve The Original: £349 (single), £599 (double), £699 (king), £799 (super king)
- Nectar mattress: £499 (single), £699 (double), £799 (king), £899 (super king)
- Leesa mattress: £450 (single), £650 (double), £750 (king), £850 (super king)
- Dormeo Memory Plus: £529 (single), £629 (double), £779 (king), £899 (super king)
And here’s how the Emma mattress compares to its other rivals:
- Simba Hybrid: £449 (single), £649 (double), £749 (king), £849 (super king)
- The Casper: £400 (single), £600 (double), £700 (king), £800 (super king)
- Otty Hybrid: £374 (single), £549 (double), £649 (king), £749 (super king)
Competition is fierce in the mattress world though, and we see a lot of Emma mattress discount codes and deals throughout the year, bringing the price down even further. During peak sales periods, like Black Friday and Christmas, you can sometimes get up to a 35 per cent discount – and Amazon has reduced the price by 25-30 per cent for much of 2019 so far.
Discounts like these make the new Emma mattress outrageously good value, dropping its price below even the best budget mattresses.
Does the new Emma mattress smell?
Some new mattresses can give off a chemical smell at first. Ours didn’t; but if yours does, it’s nothing to worry about. It’s due to a process called off-gassing (it’s the same smell you get with new cars) and it happens when the seal of the vacuum packaging is broken, and organic chemicals in the mattress are released. All you need to do is keep the room aired and the odour will dissipate within a few days.
Emma Original mattress: delivery and returns
Delivery is quick: order your Emma mattress online and it’ll be delivered, free, within one-three working days by couriers DPD, UPS or Parcel Force. You can track progress via a tracking link.
Like most bed-in-a-box mattresses, the Emma Original comes with a 100-night trial: this is much more effective way of testing whether a mattress is right for you than spending five minutes with it in a busy showroom. If you don’t like it within that time, Emma will refund your money and collect it from you for free (you don’t have to repackage it, either – phew).
How other people found the Emma Original mattress
Mattress reviews are tricky: everyone has a different body shape, sleeping style and experience. So to build a more rounded Emma mattress review, we researched a raft of online feedback from customers and expert testers.
The Which? team love it, awarding it a 2019 Best Buy and giving it the highest score of any mattress this year (as of June 2019). Consumer review website Trust Pilot records an average of 4 out of 5 stars (with more than 4,500 user reviews); while Amazon shows 4.5 out of five (with 44 reviews). That’s an overwhelming positive response from a large reviewer pool.
The main complaints we saw occasionally surface were that a few people found the mattress warm, and some noticed an initial (but not lasting) smell after setting up the mattress.
Verdict: should I buy the Emma Original mattress?
Yes. We think the Emma Original is the best mattress you can buy right now. It’s unbelievably comfortable, and provides fantastic support no matter what position you sleep in – making it a particularly good choice for people who move around a lot at night. It’s also very low-maintenance, with no turning needed, and competitively priced.
The Emma Original’s biggest competitor is the Eve Original mattress – another excellent foam mattress – but we think the Emma tops the Eve for ease of use, because you don’t have to rotate it.
If you know you overheat at night, we’d recommend opting for a hybrid mattress like the Simba Hybrid or cheaper Otty Hybrid; or a brilliant pocket sprung option like the Sealy Nostromo (which is also known as the Sealy Pocket Teramo 1400). Otherwise, we think the new Emma mattress is an absolutely fantastic choice.