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 Sealy Activ Geltex 2200 mattress, after a week spent sleeping on it.
Activ Geltex 2200 mattress specifications
Type: Pocket spring / foam topper
Sizes: Single, double, king, super-king
Who will the Active Geltex 2200 Mattress suit?
Front sleepers who love cloud-like comfort, allergy sufferers.
- Need help choosing a new mattress? Let us guide you
What's the Activ Geltex 2200 like to sleep on?
This mattress is quality. From the stitching – perfectly aligned – to the robust yet soft surfaces, there’s nothing not to like about the Activ Geltex 2200. As long as you like a soft mattress, that is. Now, I’ve made no bones about my preference for a medium-firm sleeping surface, but I was determined to approach this mattress with an open mind. What if I only think I prefer firm because that’s all I have ever tried? Nick was similarly game, and the first night we settled down with a big sigh of happiness; so cuddly and comforting (the mattress, not Nick).
During the night, I did a fair bit of the thrashing around I’d gained a reputation for in our own pocket sprung bed, something Nick noted – with impressive politeness – that he has not missed. However, this was all unbeknown to me, and I woke feeling ache-free and very relaxed. I didn’t want to get up (admittedly not a new situation). Luckily it was Saturday, ie, no school/work run, so I could revel in my pit until the giddy heights of 7.30am before the girls’ demands for pancakes finally won out.
So, I’ll start on a positive. The squishy gel-injected foam topper is sooo good. High-fives all round. We slept on this bed for five nights and, while it wasn’t as firm as we’d like, we both agreed it was better than expected. To work out whether it would be a good choice for stomach sleepers, I spent Saturday afternoon laying, well, on my stomach. I couldn't trust myself not to roll over in my sleep, so decided an awake test was required (that’s my excuse anyway). I lasted about 1.5 hours before the inertia got the better of me but I was comfortable the entire time, and didn’t notice any pain in my lower back or neck (or boobs for that matter) when I finally got up.
On a less positive note, this was the worst mattress we’ve tried in terms of motion transfer. Not only did I feel it every time Nick did a nocturnal dash to the loo (it’s an age thing) but we also rolled into each other a lot too. Not what one needs 10 years into a marriage…
On the issue of firmness, this mattress is rated by Sealy as medium, but I would venture closer to soft-medium. Our beautiful assistants (three male, three female, ranging from 10 to 17 stone) concurred, all rating it five or lower on firmness (see graph below).
The weight tests (see below) provided physical evidence, sinking deeper than any other mattress we’ve reviewed. In fact, in the middle of the mattress, the laser registered off the scale. According to the brochure, this mattress features Unicase, a kind of solid foam barrier that protects the edge from collapse and you can see this in action when we put the weight on the edge. It’s the pillowtop that is sinking, the mattress’ side stayed strong.
Despite the squishiness of the Activ Geltex, it was actually impressive in terms of support. Proved by the overall comfort levels mentioned previously, and also with our foolproof (!) posture test. As the photo below shows, Nick’s spine dips a little at the hips, but on the shoulder and neck, the laser aligns nicely with the dots.
How does the Activ Geltex 2200 rate online?
I could only find one online review for this mattress, from John Lewis. Not overly surprisingly as this mattress is made for them exclusively. Happily the review is five stars, and the mattress was decreed beautiful, if a little deep for fitted sheets. I can’t argue on either point.
What do you get for your money?
A 10-year guarantee, free delivery from 28 days (!), made in the UK.
Is the Activ Geltex 2200 worth it?
This bad boy is not the cheapest we have reviewed but you certainly get a lot of mattress for your money and we both slept soundly. Ultimately, it was too soft for us in the long-term, we weren’t tempted to keep it, but that’s personal preference for you (we prefer a firm mattress).
In terms of overall support, comfort, and bounce, the Activ Geltex 2200 performed very well indeed. On the matter of coolness, I expected to melt into a puddle in the thick pillow top but actually I had to think really hard about whether I’d slept hot, or cold, come morning. And if you’ve ever woken up in a sweaty mess, you’ll know it’s not something you forget quickly.
Being a bit of a clean freak (in my head, if not always reality), the news that Allergy UK has endorsed this mattress for the reduction of house dust mites *shudders* was also very welcome. It is back-breakingly heavy, so do make sure the delivery people put it in the right room first time; you’ll not want to move it again. Nick’s verdict was: 'I liked this mattress a lot more than I was expecting.' Always was a man of few words.
Activ Geltex 2200 mattress fillings
Alongside 1,400 pocket springs, there are 800 mini springs, together of course they amount to 2,200 springs, which, says Sealy, provides the supportiveness we experienced. The top layer, which looks like a massive squidgy cushion sewn onto the mattress, contains a thick wedge of Geltex (a gel-infused foam).
Altogether, this mattress measures 34cm deep – making it about 9cm taller than most memory foams. This is good in terms of luxury, but you may need to invest in some extra deep sheets if you buy fitted.
On the rather sticky (soz) issue of sweaty sleeping, Sealy has taken a two-prong approach. Firstly, its ‘adaptive’ material 'uses the body’s energy to accelerate moisture wicking, evaporation and cooling', and then the Purotex microcapsules also release friendly bacteria to clean up allergens and reduce humidity. This all sounds very clever, if slightly ‘gobbledegook’, but does it work? Obviously I can’t vouch for the bacteria removal, and actually I'd prefer not to dwell on it, but on coolness, I’d give this mattress 10/10.
Ordering and delivery
- Delivery is free to the UK (including Northern Ireland), Mon-Fri from 9 to 6pm, to your room of choice and taking all packaging away.
- It’s worth noting that, although this particular mattress is exclusive to John Lewis, Sealy’s Activ Gel Pocket 2200 mattress from the Activsleep range is similar.
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 and 10 nights sleeping on each mattress.