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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Abha Shah

Best mattresses to choose for a slatted bed frame in 2023

In a much simpler time, the question "What mattress is best for a slatted bed frame" would have been one that barely troubled the minds of home furnishers. Slide mattress onto the frame; bosh. Job done. 

These days, it's a consideration for many especially as mattresses themselves have developed from straightforward box spring designs to ones that include various layers of coils, foam and air pockets, like sedimentary rocks. 

Suddenly, it seems prudent to think about the bed frame in more ways than solely looks alone. A firm foundation, especially when you're sleeping, is one of the keys to a good night's rest. 

Divan beds offer the highest level of support because the mattress rests on solid blocks. It does mean restricted airflow, which is not ideal if you're a hot sleeper or have a foam-heavy mattress.

What is a slat bed?

The most popular frames are those with slats. These are bars of wood or metal that run horizontally from one end of the frame to the other, offering support while keeping air moving under the mattress. Slats vary between the solid kind which are completely flat, and sprung options which have a gentle curve offering flexed support. This means a softer cushioning under the mattress, which many folks prefer. Both can handle weight distribution effectively making them comfortable for both single sleepers as well as couples. Whichever sort of slat you go for, there should be a gap of no more than 7 - 10cm between them to offer the best level of support - anything more and the mattress may start 'leaking' between the bars. 

What is the best mattress for a slatted bed frame?

Which brings us to which mattress performs better on a slatted base? Whether your bed is out of a box or is delivered unfurled to keep the springs uncompromised, most mattresses are suited to a slatted base. 

All-foam mattresses are the ones that may develop a few issues over time. While the dense material will spring back to its original shape after you've gotten out of bed, the underside may develop indents around the slats. If the slats are too far apart, a memory foam mattress could start bulging between them. Not only does this mean less support for sleepers, but if you're storing items underneath, this could make them harder to access. While this doesn’t entirely rule memory foam mattresses out of the running, it’s something to chew over when thinking about which bed to buy for your frame. 

The best options for slatted beds are one-sided mattresses that don't need to be flipped over periodically. They will come with reinforced bases to prevent bulging and leaking. All they may require is rotating from time to time.

Does weight matter?

It’s also important to note the weight of the mattress and your body weight as slatted bases can break under particularly heavy loads, especially sprung slats, which tend to be on the thinner side and thus, prone to snapping.

We’ve put together a list of the best mattresses for slat bed frames below to help point you in the right direction. From spring mattresses and hypoallergenic latex designs to hybrid versions that pair the support of springs with the comfort of foam, scroll on to find the right option for you. 

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Simba Hybrid Ultra Mattress - double

Type: hybrid

The latest mattress from the sleep expert has the most layers yet at 13. It offers a medium firm level of tension, helped by 8500 titanium alloy and high carbon springs to take care of weight distribution, and a double layer of Simbatex foam plus a 'PureLift' layer which combines latex and coconut fibres to increase breathability. 

In fact, breathability is one of the biggest draws, with open-celled memory foam to encourage airflow too. This means, that unlike many memory foam beds, Simba's Hybrid Ultra is among the coolest around.

Everything has been made in the UK in zero-waste factories and the design is completely recyclable, so there's no guilt once it reaches the end of its life cycle. 

It's available in single, double, king and super king sizes.

Buy now £2279.40, Simba

Emma Zero Gravity Mattress

Type: hybrid

For that 'floating on cloud nine' feeling, Emma's Zero Gravity mattress makes a convincing proposition. It's made from a mix of cushioning foam layers with a three-zone pocket system in the middle for cradling support. Meanwhile, a Gel Grid layer keeps cool air circulating and channels out warm body heat to keep you at an even and ideal temperature all night long - no waking up a sweaty mess. The bottom layer is made from HRX (that's High Resiliency Extra) foam which offers superb support for sleepers and is hard enough to resist bulging through slats on the underside. 

Available in single, double, king and super king sizes.

Buy now £1979.00, Emma

OTTY Aura Hybrid Mattress

Type: hybrid

With 70:30 ratio of foam to springs, Otty's Aura mattress strikes the right balance between comfort and support. The mattress arrives in a box, making it much easier to manoeuvre over to the bed frame before unrolling it over the slats. The thinner design, 27cm tall, means that it will be suitable for slatted designs but you won't feel a thing laying on it thanks to the 1000 pocket springs managing and distributing weight evenly. Delivery even includes the disposal of your old mattress, so there's nothing more to do than lay back and start dreaming.

Buy now £374.99, OTTY

Silentnight Lift Renew 1200 Pocket Mattress

Type: hybrid

If you suffer from allergies, a latex mattress can help keep the sneezing and coughing fits under control. Silentnight's mattress has latex and 1200 springs to balance your shifting weight at night with individualised support to relieve pressure on joints. With a medium level of tension, you'll find both cushioned comfort and support in one design. It's a single-sided mattress, so just turn from top to toe every three months to keep the filling even.

Buy now £593.12, Mattress Online

Nectar Mattress

Type: foam

A highly supportive mattress from British brand Nectar, this design has been made with five layers to support, relieve pressure and keep you cool until the morning.  

Cooling without losing its cosiness is a difficult thing to achieve, but Nectar manages it thanks to a temperature-sensitive polymer that provides a cooling effect that increases in line with the temperature so you're always at the right level.

Particularly comfortable for back sleepers, the bottom levels are made with a seven-zone supportive base and a positioning base material to keep it stable and supported on any kind of bed frame, including slats.

Buy now £1199.00, Nectar

Signature 2000 Pocket Sprung Pillow Top Natural Fillings Mattress - double

Type: pocket spring

This outrageously indulgent mattress feels as good as it looks. Offering medium to firm tension, the dreamy mattress has a plush padded pillow top for that cloud-like feel and is filled with natural fibres - wool, silk, cotton and cashmere - to help with temperature control and comfort. Standing 33cm high, keep it in peak performance by rotating it every six weeks. It weighs 27kg alone so one to pair with a tighter slat distribution for optimal comfort.

So delightful you’ll have real trouble getting out of bed in the mornings.

Buy now £379.99, Happy Beds

John Lewis Waitrose Wool NO. 1 Pocket Spring Mattress, Medium/Firm Tension, Double

Type: pocket spring

Sleeping Beauty may be just a fairytale, but when it comes to pocket spring mattresses, this one feels the fairest of them all. It is made from organic, natural materials and zero chemicals making it recyclable which is great news for anyone with landfill guilt (that’ll be all of us, then).

It’s pricey, yes, but that’s in part down to the excellent craftsmanship which includes hand-tufted fillings using British wool that can be traced back to Waitrose and Red Tractor-assured farms for total peace of mind. The mattress also uses a tightly coiled pocket spring system for greater comfort and support levels - so this 31.2kg bed will have you feeling like you’re sleeping on cloud nine every night.

This superior mattress offers a medium/firm level of tension and is best for back or side sleepers.

A seven-year guarantee comes part and parcel and the mattress is available in standard UK bed sizes.

Buy now £499.00, John Lewis

HiGRID Ortho Luxe mattress

Type: all-foam

Weighing in at 30kg, about the level supported by most slats, this five-layer medium-firm mattress is designed specifically to alleviate back pain. The foundation is made from high-resilience foam to provide stable support through the night. Layered on top are slices of climate-control foam to keep you from overheating at night, as is the case with many foam designs. The lack of springs also means the bed isolates movement, a feature that will come into its own if you sleep alongside a shift worker or fidgety sleeper.

Buy now £849.00, Amazon

Dunelm Rolled Memory Foam 800 Pocket Sprung Mattress

Type: hybrid

A single-sided mattress with less maintenance required, this mattress is fitted with a layer of 800 pocket springs with memory foam on top for gentle moulding comfort as you sleep. The fillings are breathable, encouraging airflow, and there's a quilted top for added comfort once you slide between the sheets. It sits 18cm high and weighs 22kg, making it a fabulous option for a slatted bed base. Comes with a five-year guarantee.

Buy now £189.00, Dunelm

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