Emma Original mattress review

Our Emma mattress review looks closely at this memory foam mattress with a difference. But how does it stand up to our rigorous testing? Find out below

Emma mattress review: mattress on bed with woman asleep
(Image credit: Emma mattress)
Real Homes Verdict

An enjoyable sleep on this memory foam mattress. The price is competitive for the bed-in-the-box sector, too. Designed to suit all manner of body shapes, weights and sleeping positions, we can vouch it worked for us.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Zoned support and temperature control

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    If foam is just not your thing

Considering buying a new mattress? Read our Emma mattress review for the full low down on what to expect. I've been sleeping on a vast range of mattresses and putting them through their paces to bring you a true picture of how comfortable each one is and how much support it provides. I've also roped in my husband Nick to create a balanced view of what each mattress is like for women (so often the purchasers) and men, persuaded friends and family to try them out, and have conducted some semi-scientific testing so that you can buy your mattress online with confidence. 

Emma memory foam mattress at a glance

Firmness: it rates as medium/medium firm.
Sleep position: it suits side and back sleepers most.
Your weight: it's suitable for people of average and above average weight.
Motion transfer: is minimal so a fidget next to you won't wake you up.
How it feels: supportive; the heavier you are, the softer it will feel.
Sizes: single to super king.

We've rated Emma as our best mattress 2020, but you'll find plenty more choice and information on how to choose your mattress in our guide to the top picks this year. Don't miss our deep reviews first of course! 

This time, we tried and tested the Emma Original mattress – check our Emma mattress deals page for the latest offers, or click through to their site below to shop their current (read: amazing) sale.

Already convinced to buy? These are the best prices on the web for the Emma mattress today. 

Emma Mattress specifications

About our review – and our reviewer

Linda Clayton has been writing about homes and interiors for nearly 20 years, working for publications such as Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Real Homes, Ideal Home, Livingetc and House Beautiful. Linda and her husband spend between five and 10 nights sleeping on each mattress. Find her on Twitter at @lindaclayton (opens in new tab) and  @lindaclaytonwrites (opens in new tab) on Insta.

Type: Comfort foam/memory foam
Sizes: Single, double and King (in both UK and EU sizes), plus small double and super king

Who will the Emma Original mattress suit?

Can you use an electric blanket with an Emma mattress?

As it gets colder at night, you might like to know whether you can use an electric blanket with the Emma mattress? First things first, this is a breathable mattress, so you won't feel overheated in bed, but if you like to feel warm on cold nights – or just don't switch on the heating on overnight, knowing whether you can use an electric blanket is useful. If you're sleeping on the Emma, you can safely use an electric blanket. As the company says, 'Yes! The Emma mattress is suitable and safe to use with an electric blanket.'

  • Memory foam fans – it's a modern update on the traditional memory foam design and we approve;
  • Medium-firm support lovers;
  • Hot sleepers: sigh with relief – this memory foam mattress has breathable qualities;
  • Side sleepers and back pain sufferers: like other joint pain sufferers, it's a safe bet for relieving hip and shoulder pain;
  • Fidgets: your partner can toss and turn all night while you sleep peacefully;
  • Apartment/flat and small home dwellers: this mattress in a box is easy to carry up the stairs.

Emma Mattress

(Image credit: Emma)

What's the Emma like to sleep on?

There are now so many bed-in-a-box foam mattresses out there, mostly with friendly female names, it can be hard to keep track. The more suspicious amongst us (that would be me, then) could be forgiven for wondering if they’re not all made at some obscure mega-foam factory in Norway – the only discernible difference being their jaunty branding. Happily, the Emma (opens in new tab) has shut these suspicions right down. Not only is it very different in its construction, but it is also produced in the UK – hurrah! 

It arrived in the usual compact box, which is genius for getting it up the stairs – particularly if you have a turn in your staircase. Once unrolled, the Emma quickly expands up to its 25cm height. The instructions specify ‘only a few hours’, which is a bit vague – ours was ready to sleep on within two hours. And, glory be, it did not smell. I was stealing my stomach for the chemical whiff that has become familiar when testing memory foam, but it didn’t arrive. Big tick. 

So, night one (and two, three, four and five for that matter) went without a hitch. We tested it during a fairly muggy week in August, not heat-wave material but still pretty warm; one of the first things I noticed was how coolly I slept. With a 4.5 tog summer duvet and the window open, I felt cosy but not overheated. Best of all: no puddles of sweat in my belly button at 3am. Soz, too graphic, but my fellow 40+ ladies need to know these things! Nick and I both slept through. Or at least Nick did, because he didn’t stir when our sleepwalking seven-year-old went a-wandering three times. Not even when she came in and dumped her duvet on my face before calmly walking out again (which was a bit too ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ for my liking!). So that’s big ticks on undisturbed sleep for Emma, not so much for Kitty.

To judge how the mattress responds to motion transfer, I got Nick to get in and out of bed, and roll around a few times, with exaggerated effort. Despite his best efforts to bounce me right out of the bed (he takes his role a bit too seriously at times), the Emma did me proud. I won’t lie, there was no denying Nick was in residence, but his movements didn’t reverberate enough to disturb me. It was also easy to move around on the Emma. No getting wedged in one position here. This was almost certainly down to the layers of foam (more on that later) but also because we are in agreement that Emma is a fairly firm lady. 

Emma mattress firmness test

(Image credit: Linda Clayton)

This mattress is nowhere near hard, but I’d rate it more towards firm than medium. To give a more balanced assessment of the firmness rating, I used coffee and cake to bribe my usual crew (three male, three female, ranging from 10 to 17 stone) to have a lie-down. As anticipated, they agreed in the main, and only our heaviest buddy (he’s all muscle, honest) rated it closer to medium than firm (see graph above). 

Next came the weight test (below). Hefting my 56lb weight onto the edge of the mattress saw it sink by little more than 7cm, and in the middle it tipped to nearly 8cm. The fairly similar measurements are a good indication of even support across the full width of the mattress, another tick to Emma, and 7 to 8cm is reasonably firm overall. We’ve tested a fair few that sink down to 9cm plus. 

Emma mattress weight test edge

(Image credit: Linda Clayton)

Emma mattress weight test middle

(Image credit: Linda Clayton)

Our final test involves spots on Nick’s spine and his trusty laser light. Designed to show how supportive the Emma is, the ideal sleeping posture requires fairly straight spine alignment, with no pressure on the hips and shoulders. As our photo shows (below), Nick’s spine barely dips at all in the middle - tickidy, tick, tick!

Emma mattress posture test

(Image credit: Linda Clayton)

How does the Emma rate online?

OMG, there is SO MUCH LOVE for the Emma online. Over at TrustPilot, the enthusiasm remains high with 83 per cent of 1,808 reviewers giving it Great or Excellent. There’s only one review of the Emma Original on Amazon – a paltry three-star, but the shopper seems a little confused as he or she complained that it didn’t form body shapes like memory foam is supposed to… Hmmm.  

What do you get for your money? 

A 100-night sleep trial, no questions asked; 10-year warranty and free delivery, usually within one to three working days. There is also a 0 per cent interest option to pay in instalments if you are desperate and don’t have the full whack. Oh, and if you recommend Emma to a friend you get £50 in your pocket if they order, and your friend gets £100 off their purchase – winners! 

Is the Emma worth it?

Yes, both Nick and I would be more than happy to keep Emma in our lives for longer. The price is competitive for the bed-in-the-box sector, too. It is designed to suit all manner of body shapes, weights (it’s aimed at between 50 to 130kg) and sleeping positions and we can vouch it worked for us. 

In fact I am struggling to think of anything I didn’t like about the Emma Original, besides having to take it off our bed to make way for the next mattress test. Nick loved that it has handles, one of the few bed-in-a-box mattresses with this simple feature, which meant it was way easier to heft about. Saying that, it doesn’t need to be flipped or turned, so those handles are only really required during the first install. I’m used to flipping a (super king) sprung mattress every month or so, usually solo, so this reveal is way more exciting than it possibly should be. 

Emma mattress fillings

The Emma Original sports three layers of foam, beneath a breathable, removable top cover (that can be washed at 60 degrees, which should sort out all manner of unmentionable stains). The top layer is an elastic foam they call Airgocell. The blurb says ‘it allows one area to compress without effecting the rest of the mattress’, which basically means this is the bit that gives you a little softness and bounce. Without it you’d sink, maybe not like a stone, but enough to make it harder to turn. 

The memory foam layer is next. It has a slower response to pressure so essentially provides your support. The base layer, dubbed the ‘Supportive Cold Foam’, is where the Emma Original is a little, well, more original than the other memory foams in this class. Thanks to specially located grooves in the foam, support is zoned for optimum weight distribution. I tried sleeping on my side, back, and front and can honestly say I felt well supported in each position. They all felt comfortable. Clever. 

Air flow and temperature control is at the heart of Emma’s construction, with every layer featuring some natty way to stop you sweating to death every night. Apparently a team of clever scientists at the Emma Sleep Lab performed all manner of alchemy to make this happen. All you really need to know is that it works. 

Emma mattress inside

(Image credit: Emma)

Ordering and delivery

  • This is all pretty standard and straightforward. Order online and delivery is free within one to three working days via UPS, which has its own tracking system that’s never failed us yet. 
  • You will need to stump up £35 for Saturday delivery. 
  • They don’t currently deliver to the Channel Islands or Ireland, sorry guys. 

Emma mattress in box

(Image credit: Emma mattress)

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Linda is a freelance journalist who has specialised in homes and interiors for the past 19 years, beginning on a trade rag for the Daily Mail Group and now writing full-time for the likes of Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, and of course Real Homes. Linda is our resident mattress reviewer. She spends at least a week on every mattress she tests for us, as does her ever-patient husband. In reviewing mattresses for us for more than a year, she has become something of a very opinionated expert. She lives in Devon with her cabinetmaker husband, two daughters and many pets, and is locked in an on-going battle to drag their red brick Victorian home out of 1970s swirly-carpet hell...