Simba Hybrid Essential mattress review

Does Simba's cheapest hybrid deliver the goods? Our Simba Hybrid Essential mattress review reveals all...

Simba mattress on bed
(Image credit: Tom May)
T3 Verdict

Well constructed with quality materials, this medium-priced mattress offers great value for money. It's basic for a hybrid: only 20cm deep, and lacking much in the way of bounce. But its combination of pocket springs and memory foam should still give you a comfortable, cool night's sleep, for an attractive price.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Supportive and comfortable

  • +

    Good airflow

  • +

    Quality materials

  • +

    Reasonably priced

  • +

    Generous trial period

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Only 20cm deep

  • -

    Requires firm base

  • -

    Not ideal for heavier people

  • -

    Not ideal for side sleepers

In this Simba Hybrid Essential mattress review, I'll be taking a look at the cheapest springs-and-foam option from one of the top bed brands. Launched in 2022, the Simba Hybrid Essential mattress is a pared-back option with four layers of comfort and support, and a much lower price to match.

Simba makes what T3 thinks is the best mattress (opens in new tab) around: the Simba Hybrid Pro which won the T3 Award (opens in new tab) for best mattress in both 2021 and 2022. It's a hybrid mattress which combines springs and foam in one package to give you the best of both worlds, and for our money, it's the best premium mattress around... but it's not cheap. So, if you're on a more limited budget, Simba has a more affordable model for you, in the form of the Simba Hybrid Essential.

The Simba Hybrid Essential mattress is the cheapest in the Simba range, with a King costing just £599.40, compared with £689.40 for the Simba Hybrid (opens in new tab), £989.40 for the Simba Hybrid Pro (opens in new tab), and £1,379.40 for the Simba Hybrid Luxe (opens in new tab). Of course our Simba discount codes can lower the cost so be sure to check them out before you buy.

The Simba Hybrid Essential mattress will save you money; but is it a good mattress? Further still, is it a good option to get the same quality materials at a lower price? I spent a couple of months testing it to find out. Read on for the full Simba Hybrid Essential Mattress review for the verdict.

Simba Hybrid Essential mattress review: Unboxing

The Simba Hybrid Essential mattress is a 20cm-thick mattress available in Single, Small Double, Double and King sizes. It comes vacuum-packed in plastic and rolled up in a box that measures 50 x 50 x 105cm. The overall package was pretty heavy, and some people might need a hand moving it around the house. (That said, the delivery team will take it to a room of your choice when it arrives.)

After removing the mattress from the box, you need to take off the plastic, which was quite tough, so fingernails are insufficient and scissors will be required. I then left it on the bed for around eight hours before it had fully reflated. There was a very slight chemical smell, as you'd expect with bed-in-the-box mattresses (opens in new tab), but this was much less prominent than with other models I've reviewed in the past.

Note: Simba cautions that you must remove your mattress from the box within three months of delivery, and once reflated, it should never be stored vertically.

Simba Hybrid Essential Mattress rolled up in plastic

(Image credit: Tom May)

Simba Hybrid Essential mattress review: Design

As befits the lower price, the Simba Hybrid Essential mattress has the simplest design in the range. The biggest differences are that it's only 20cm thick and has just four layers, compared with the 25cm/28cm/31cm depth and five/seven/ten layers of its pricier cousins.

The first layer is the cover. The top part is soft, white and made from 99 per cent polyester and one per cent elastane, with a blue polyester border. The bottom part is grey and made from polypropylene. In totality, the cover weighs up to 500g (depending on mattress size), and is designed to be breathable and hypoallergenic.

Simba mattress with closeup on stitching

(Image credit: Tom May)

Next comes a layer of graphite-infused open-cell foam. The company calls this 'Simbatex' and claims it offers up to 30 times the airflow of ordinary memory foam.

The third layer is what makes this mattress a hybrid: 1,500 titanium conical springs, wrapped in cloth pockets. Again, these springs are a patented design, which the maker calls 'Simba Aerocoil'. They're smaller and lighter than traditional bedsprings, so more can fit in a smaller area. (Note: there are 2,500 in the Simba Hybrid, and 5,000 in the two other models, plus an extra 1,000 steel springs in the Hybrid Luxe.)

Finally comes a layer of white base foam. This has been designed with five separate support zones here, to make sure the base adjusts as you move. This foam has been CertiPUR-certified, which means it's free from harmful toxins, CFCs and other ozone depleting substances.

Simba mattress with zip open, revealing foam inside

(Image credit: Tom May)

Simba Hybrid Essential mattress review: Comfort

The first thing I noticed about the Simba Hybrid Essential mattress is the quality of the design. The white knitted cover is very attractive and beautifully soft. Teamed with the neat blue trim and large blue label featuring the Simba logo, that adds up to quite a premium look and feel. Okay, most of the time your mattress is going to be encased in a fitted sheet, but it still gives a great first impression.

Lying down on it, there was much less 'bounce' than I'd expected from a hybrid, which doubtless reflects the more limited number of springs here than in the rest of the Simba Hybrid range, and indeed other, pricier hybrid mattresses.

Simba mattress, with closeup on logo label

(Image credit: Tom May)

That said, the spring layer was clearly doing its job, as I didn't feel at all trapped or stuck, like I often do with an all-foam mattress. In other words, I felt 'on' the mattress rather than 'in' it. Which was personally a great relief: despite its price, this is definitely a hybrid in nature, as well as name.

I'd describe the Simba Hybrid Essential mattress as medium-firm: a 6 out of 10. Given its relative thinness, though, you'd want a firm, solid base to rest it on, rather than a slatted one. With the latter, you'd run the risk of sinking through and feeling the slats, especially if you're a side sleeper or heavier than 13 stone – see T3's guide to the best mattress for heavy people (opens in new tab) for more options.

Overall, I enjoyed the couple of months I spent with the Simba Hybrid Essential. Its supportiveness did a good job of keeping my troublesome back in check, while its memory foam construction stopped me from moving around at night too much, and motion transfer was pretty minimal.

Best of all, the airflow and breathability built into its design did a good choice of keeping me cool at night, during some record-high temperatures (albeit in the north-east of England, where we escaped the worst of the heat). For a mattress containing mainly foam, that's a pretty impressive achievement.

Simba Hybrid Essential mattress review: Care & maintenance

Simba mattress with closeup on zip

(Image credit: Tom May)

Simba states that its Hybrid Essential mattress should not be flipped, but it does need to be rotated horizontally once a month. This is a bit of a faff, given the weight of the mattress, and the lack of handles.

One other thing worth mentioning is that the cover is zipped. However, Simba states that this is for manufacturing use only, and it should not be removed for machine washing. In other words, this mattress should be treated as spot-clean only.

Simba Hybrid Essential mattress review: The small print

Simba mattress with closeup on instructions label

(Image credit: Tom May)

Like all the mattresses in the Simba Hybrid range, Simba Hybrid Essential mattress comes with free weekday delivery, with a two-person crew to a room of choice. 

Simba promises to deliver within three working days, and they'll also remove and recycle your old mattress in most of the UK, as long as you select this option at checkout. Note that this may happen on a separate date to your mattress delivery. A Next Day delivery service costs £40, and is available to most postcodes if you place your order before 10am.

Each mattress you buy from Simba comes with a one-year in-home trial. If you decide to return your mattress, they’ll collect it for free, and you don't need to keep the packaging or box. Returned mattresses are recycled, refurbished or donated; never resold.

Mattress also come with a 10-year guarantee that covers things like foam that cracks, a faulty zip or significant dipping. It does not cover normal wear and tear, soiling or other accidents.

Simba Hybrid Essential mattress review: Verdict & Alternatives to consider

Simba Hybrid Essential mattress

(Image credit: Simba)

Based on my experience, I'd say the Simba Hybrid Essential mattress is a good option for most people looking for a good quality hybrid mattress on a limited budget.

That might sound like damning with faint praise, so let me be clear. Given the huge proportion of our lives we spend in bed, and how important good sleep is for your physical and mental health, mattresses are not a trivial purchase.

If you can find the extra cash for a Simba Hybrid, I definitely think it's worth it. The extra 5cm depth and design complexity you get really will give you a significantly better experience overall. To save extra money on your Simba orders, I'd also encourage you to check out Simba mattress sales & deals (opens in new tab).

At the same time, if your budget won't stretch that far, the Simba Hybrid Essential mattress is still a worthwhile investment. Yes, it's quite a basic design – no handles, no removable cover – and it isn't the most luxurious mattress ever. But it covers the basics well, giving you comfortable and relaxing night's sleep, and does a good job of preventing overheating too. Plus it comes with a generous free trial, with no catches, so if you don't get on with it for some reason, you haven't really lost anything.

Tom May is a freelance writer and author of the book, Great Ted Talks: Creativity. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.