The Emma Original mattress isn't actually the original mattress from German manufacturer Emma; in fact it's its second model. Following on from its first mattress, the Hybrid, the Emma Original ditches the layer of pocket springs and instead use three layers of pressure-relieving foam.
The thinking behind it is that this arrangement provides plenty of support, comfort and durability while being suitable for all kinds of sleepers and body types. It also brings the Original in at a very affordable price – especially if you take advantage of one of the many, regular Emma mattress discount codes and deals.
So does it live up to the hype? We thought so. The Emma Original sits comfortably at the top of our best memory foam mattress ranking and is a regular in our general best mattress guide too. For this review, we tested the Emma Original for over a year to find out how good it really is.
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How many Emma mattresses are there?
If you're living in the US, the Emma Original is the only mattress in the range.
For UK shoppers, it's a bit more complicated. Alongside the Emma Original is the Premium, which was, for a while, known as the Emma Hybrid Original. You can find out more in our Emma Premium review, but that essentially uses a similar makeup to the Original, but adds a layer of extra-tall springs. It's more supportive than the Original, sleeps slightly cooler, and will also cost you quite a bit more. We awarded it the full five stars, so it's a strong recommendation from us if you can stretch to the higher price.
There was another mattress in the lineup – the Emma Hybrid – which had smaller springs and was cheaper than the current Premium model. That one looks to have been discontinued.
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, letting you sink in initially before 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?
Sleeping 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 is that Emma's memory foam has a tendency to trap heat a little, so if you tend to sleep hot, you might find this isn't the best choice for you. We'd typically recommend a hybrid mattress for sweatier sleepers, because the spring layer allows for better airflow.
Emma Original mattress: price
We'll caveat this section by saying that the concept of RRP / MRSP is a very loose one in the world of mattresses. Emma runs sales so often that you'd be very unlucky to ever pay full price, and the ticket price also seems to fluctuate quite regularly.
In Summer 2021, the RRP for the Emma Original has shot up. The official UK pricing is now as follows: a Single Emma mattress costs £499; a Small Double is £639, a Double is £699; a King is £799; and a super king costs £899.
Chances are you won't pay that price though – there are Emma mattress discount codes running almost all the time. For the past year or so there's been a sale on at least once a month, with price drops ranging from 25% off to 46% off. Emma also sells though Amazon and John Lewis.
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 2021 Best Buy. Consumer review website Trust Pilot records an impressive average of 4.5 out of 5 stars (from more than 22k user reviews); while Amazon shows 4.4 out of five (from over 3,300 reviews). That’s an overwhelmingly positive response from a large pool of customers.
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. More than one year on, and we still 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.
Plus, Emma will send you a free firm comfort layer to further customise the mattress to your preference, should you wish. Add its competitive pricing into the mix, as well, and we think the Emma mattress is an absolutely fantastic choice.