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.
If you're looking to find the best mattress for your needs, you'll find plenty of choice in our mattress guides – but don't miss our deep reviews first. Here, we review the Nectar mattress after a week spent sleeping on it.
Nectar mattress specifications:
Type: Memory foam
Sizes: Single, small double, double, king, super-king
Who will the Nectar mattress suit?
Anyone looking for a completely risk-free experience and decent memory foam at a fair price.
What's the Nectar like to sleep on?
We had been back on our old faithful sprung mattress for a few weeks before the Nectar mattress arrived for testing so it was almost like experiencing memory foam for the first time all over again. However, that first whiff of off-gassing that comes with every memory foam, soon brought it all back to us. To be fair, I think my olfactory receptors have been on high alert since having children, strong smells certainly seem to bother me much more now and Nick said it wasn’t THAT bad (it was). We had the Nectar on our bed for two weeks and happily the odour faded significantly in that time, but it was still lingering in the curtains a little. The other aspect of memory foams we hadn’t missed was the initial firmness. Yup, they all feel flat and unresponsive on the first flop. If you need bounce in your life, go for a hybrid.
Moving swiftly onto the good news, and there’s plenty of it. Our first night may have started with that ‘here we go again’ feeling when we lay all-too-firmly on the surface but it was only a matter of minutes before the memory foam started to give and our joints began to feel cushioned. Lush. Without wishing to sound like a Smug Runner (you know the ones, posting their PBs all over your Facebook feed), I have been upping my running game of late. Nothing crazy, I don’t have a Marathon in me, but just a couple of decent 8km to 10km a week (she says casually). Trouble is I’m already a bit old and achy and pounding pavements isn’t helping. But what did help was the Nectar. Instead of waking up feeling like I'd been backed over by a truck (several times), I felt like I hadn’t run further than my fridge. Sorry trusty sprung mattress, but the Nectar definitely trounced you on that score. Nick and I both slept soundly throughout our two-week sojourn in fact. And the only reason we were happy to switch back to our regular mattress was because the Nectar we tested was a King, and ours is a Super King (we’re married, touching is no longer a thing).
0n to the nitty-gritty then. With regards to motion transfer, the Nectar scored as well as any memory foam. If sliding into your other half during the night is a massive bug-bear, I’d always recommend all-memory foam (rather than a hybrid). Similar story if you have a thrashy partner, or you’re the one that flails about in your sleep like a demented penguin. If I couldn't hear Nick breathing (too) loudly, I could easily have felt like I was sleeping alone, bliss. Then he started breathing in my ear of course (not in a sexy way), but that’s not the mattress’ fault.
On the firmness front (see below), the Nectar is rated 5.5-7.5 on the website, which the company claims is 'Just right'. Ignoring the Goldilocks syndrome going on there, it is a valid assessment that was backed up by our usual team of tame testers (three male, three female, ranging from 10 to 17 stone). They went for a slightly firmer range, from 6 to 8 (with 10 being firmer than Channing Tatum’s buttocks) and all agreed it wasn’t too firm. Nobody wants a mattress that is too firm, trust me (and my aged joints).
It’s a little tricky to tell from my dodgy iPhone photos but the Nectar rated really well in terms of evenness. By which I mean my rusty weight test (below) registered a solid 9cm on both the middle and side. Side support is particularly important the smaller your mattress, as you don’t want to lose precious inches trying not to slide off the bed.
It was interesting to watch the weight when we put it on the mattress actually – to begin with it sat high, at around 5cm, but gradually, as we were setting up the laser level, it sunk down, eventually settling on the 9cm mark. I’m imagining this is what happens to our pressure points (shoulders and hips) when we lay down, and explains why we slept so well on the Nectar.
Unsurprisingly, the posture test (below) also revealed pretty decent results, with the laser aligning well with Nick’s spine. It did miss the mark a bit near his head, which was resting on a Nectar pillow. Not that shocking given we both found the pillows uncomfortably high, but that’s another test review, for another time. However, his shoulders and hips look well supported and, with our normal pillows, we didn’t suffer any neck pain on the Nectar.
How does the Nectar rate online?
Which? reviewed the Nectar at the end of last year and awarded it a coveted Best Buy, however the overall rating was 71 per cent, a figure beaten by the likes of Emma and Ikea’s Morgedal. One of the most useful take-homes from Which?’s report is: 'Even after years of use, it will continue to provide the same level of support, and it won't sag or soften'. Nick and I only test each mattress for two weeks but Which? put them through some expensive sounding machinery that gives them a battering to mimic long-term usage so this is reassuring – thanks guys.
Which? also report that the Nectar is particularly impressive at supporting smaller and lighter people (me!), as well as larger people who sleep on their back (Nick) so it’s not surprising that we loved it. The online praise from Jo Public (independent reviews from Trustpilot et al) was equally positive. I conducted a deep trawl for some negative reviews – I love a bit of car-crash review reading I do. Alas, it's 98 per cent sunshine and rainbows online. The very few bad reviews on Trustpilot are well worth a read if you need a laugh though – they all sound like raving loons who haven’t had their Weetabix yet (or ever). I particularly liked the one line review from Joan, who awarded it one: 'I don’t even have one'. Say what now Joan?!
What do you get for your money?
Now this is where it gets quite exciting, if you get excited about mattresses that is. The Nectar comes with an unprecedented 365-night trial period. If, on night 364 you decide it's not for you, they will come and pick it up free of charge and return all your pennies. And, if that’s not enough for you, it also comes with a Forever Guarantee. This covers the lifetime of the original purchaser – you can’t bequeath it to your children in your will. Well you can, but it won’t be guaranteed. No other memory foam mattress company that I know about is quite so generous on the ‘peace of mind’ front.
Is the Nectar worth it?
It’s a big fat YES (X-Factor stylee) from Nick and I, but of course our verdict on any mattress is always going to reflect our personal preferences/body shapes etc. However, since your purchase is completely risk free (you have a YEAR to change your mind people, a year, and a lifetime’s worth of free replacement should it develop a fault), I would have to argue that the Nectar is worth a punt no matter what your size, shape, preferred sleeping position or mattress material preference may be. Oh and do look out for special offers on the Nectar website, such as free pillows or £100 off – they seem to be pretty much ongoing. If I had to be grumpy and come up with something negative to say about the Nectar, it would have to be the lack of handles. Not unusual in memory foams, but the Nectar is a heavy lump of solidness in a fairly slippery cover that needs to be regularly turned. I tried the task solo, and failed.
Nectar mattress fillings
There’s nothing especially unusual about the Nectar’s construction but, as mentioned, it is reassuringly heavy, which is always a sign of quality. So, from the top, a specially aerated cover draws heat away from your body and circulates fresh air with every move you make (according to the blurb). I’d agree with this claim. I sleep really hot (there may be some hot flushes involved, I’m in denial). Although I can’t say this mattress made them any better, it doesn't have magic powers or a refrigeration unit inside after all, they were certainly no worse than usual. Next is a decent layer of proper memory foam, which again is nicely aerated, and then comes the pressure relieving foam that deals with contouring to your curvy bits. Finally the seven-zone base foam provides more contoured support plus depth. Altogether you’re looking at a depth of 25cm, which is about standard for a decent memory foam mattress.
Ordering and delivery
- The ordering and delivery was super easy and the mattress arrived when I was told it would, carried by two very helpful young men who offered to pop it upstairs for me. Oh and they called ahead with an eta, love it.
- Delivery is free in the UK mainland, and Nectar will recycle your old mattress if you ask.
- There are also a few delayed payment and financing options available if you would prefer to pay in instalments but do, for the love of God, read the small print.
About our review – and our reviewer
Linda Clayton has been writing about homes and interiors for nearly 20 years, working for publications such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Real Homes, Ideal Home, Livingetc and House Beautiful. Linda (and her husband) spend between five to 10 nights trying out each mattress.