Mattress size guide and mattress types

Mattresses seem to come in every shape and size, so where should you start?

Buying a new mattresses can be unnecessarily confusing. Every retailer seems to have their own standard mattress sizes and when you throw in that different countries call the same mattress by different names, it’s enough for anyone to lose sleep over.

That’s where we come in.

We’ve put together a guide to help you find the right mattress for you and we’ve started by explaining the different mattress sizes available in the UK.

Below you will find the seven standard mattress sizes available in the UK: single, small double, double, king, super king, cot and cot bed and their standard size measurements.

UK Mattress Sizes

What size mattress do I need?

The size of mattress you need will depend on your circumstances. How many people will be sleeping in the bed? How tall are those people? How much space do you have in your bedroom? Below you’ll find the different mattress sizes and who each one is best suited to.


  • Suitable for children and teens who don’t need much space
  • A great space saver, single beds can also be suitable guest beds

Small Double

  • Suitable for bigger teens who need more space to stretch
  • Suitable for one adult sleeping alone
  • Suitable for young couples with limited bedroom space


  • This is a classic size for average sized couples with average sized bedrooms
  • As a popular size choice there are also a lot of bed frame options to fit double mattresses


  • Perfect for couples with a little extra space in the bedroom
  • Suitable for especially tall or large people or couples who like lots of space to move in their sleep

Super King

  • Ideal for those with very large bedrooms
  • Perfect for people who require a lot of space to move around in their sleep
  • Great for large families as there’s room for everyone on a Sunday morning

Cot and Cot Bed Mattresses

  • Perfect for babies anywhere from 0-3 years old
  • Cot bed sized mattresses are specific to cot bed frames that have the ability to change into single beds as the child gets older

Tips for testing the size of your mattress:

Width: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your elbows sticking out sideways. Your elbows should not touch the edge of the bed or your partner.

Length: The mattress should be 10cm longer than the tallest person who will sleep on it

Where should I buy my new mattresses?

Bensons for Beds logo
eve mattress logo
Tweak Slumber logo
Marks and Spencer logo
Argos logo
Wayfair logo
Debenhams logo
Choice Furniture Superstore logo
Co-op Beds logo
B and Q Logo

How do UK mattress sizes compare to Europe and the USA?

ContentUK dimensionsEuropean DimensionsUS Dimensions
Single Mattress90cm x 190cm90cm x 200cm97cm x 191cm
Small Double Mattress120cm x 190cm120cm x 200cm122cm x 191cm
Double Mattress135cm x 190cm140cm x 200cm137cm x 191cm
King Mattress150cm x 200cm160cm x 200cm193cm x 203cm
Super King Mattress180cm x 200cm180cm x 200cm203cm x 249cm

Mattress types

Open spring mattress

This type of mattress is also known as an open coil or continuous coil mattress. It is constructed from a single piece of metal wire that is coiled into several springs within the mattress’ inner. It also has an additional structural wire runs around the border of the mattress.


  • Secure sleeping surface
  • Budget friendly
  • Usually light in weight making them easy to turn


  • This mattress type generally offers less support than others on the markets, so are better suited to guest bedrooms or beds that are infrequently slept on

Pocket spring mattress

Pocket spring mattresses offer a more luxurious sleeping surface than open spring ones. Pocket spring mattresses are made from individual, springs and each one is encased in it’s own pocket of fabric, allowing each spring to move independently resulting in a more supportive sleep.


  • Available in varying densities to suit all preferences and sleep styles
  • More breathable than memory foam or latex mattresses (ideal if you’re prone to overheating during the night)
  • The individual springs are capable of catering to different support requirements and weights, so they will also lessen the likelihood of rolling towards your partner in the middle of the night


  • Pocket spring mattress are heavy in weight which can make them tricky to turn

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are the most contemporary mattress style on the market and extremely popular throughout the UK. They are constructed from memory foam which is a malleable material that reacts to a person’s weight and temperature enabling it to mould to the shape of your body.


  • Absorbs body weight and eases pressure on joints
  • Assists in maintaining good posture and spinal alignment


  • Memory foam is not very breathable, leaving it easy to overheat.

Latex mattress

Latex mattresses are made from latex foam.


  • Breathable material, reducing the likelihood of overheating
  • Latex foam is extremely durable, making it likely to outlast other products on the market
  • Suitable for asthma and hay fever or allergy sufferers


  • Latex mattresses can be quite rigid, so if you prefer a soft sleeping surface this may not be for you.


Hybrid mattresses are created from a combination of latex, memory foam, polyurethane foams, coils, and other materials. If you like the best of all worlds whilst you sleep, a hybrid is the perfect option.


  • The combination of materials offers excellent support and comfort
  • Hybrid mattresses are breathable and cool
  • Suitable for couples with different sleeping styles


  • Often the most expensive type of mattress.
  • Heavy and difficult to move.

What’s the best type of mattress for me?

When you’re choosing the your new mattress here’s a few key factors to think about first. Once you’ve considered these four factors, you can stop losing sleep over choosing a new mattress:

  • How do you (usually) sleep?
  • How old is your mattress?
  • Do you prefer a soft of firm sleeping surface?
  • What’s your budget?

Choose your mattress based on your sleeping style

Choosing how firm your mattress is is extremely important and mostly depends on your preferred sleeping position. Choosing the right level of firmness is essential as it is will affect the quality of sleep you get.

  • Soft. Soft mattresses are perfect for side sleepers and those who tend to switch up their sleeping position during the night. Soft mattresses mould easily to your body’s natural sleeping position which helps to ease any unnecessary pressure on your spine whilst you sleep.
  • Medium soft. Medium soft mattresses are a good choice if you regularly change position throughout the night. Medium soft mattresses still mould to each different sleeping position whilst offering a more supported sleep.
  • Medium firm. If you sleep on your back, medium firm mattresses are perfect. Sleeping on your back mean you’ll need an increased level of support to your lower back which medium firm mattresses are great at.
  • Firm. Do you sleep on your front? Your best option is a firm mattress that will keep your back in a stable and supported position. Firm mattresses prevent your torso from sinking into the mattress whilst you sleep. A firm mattress is also good if you are over 15 stone in weight or regularly suffer from back pain.

Do I need a mattress topper?

Is your mattress feeling a little lifeless and is right now really not the best time to be forking out for a new one? A mattress topper could be the answer to your prayers. Mattress toppers are way more affordable than buying a new mattress, and in the short term can offer as good a night’s sleep.

So, when would a mattress topper be a good choice?

  • Student digs. It’s true, the sleeping conditions in student accommodations can be less than satisfactory. Bog standard mattresses can lead to a poor night’s sleep leaving your brain function a little worse for wear when you need it to be at full capacity. A mattress topper is the perfect solution in this case as, providing you choose the right one, it will enhance the level of support and comfort of that bog standard mattress, meaning you’ll get a better night’s sleep and awake feeling rested and ready to attack the day ahead.
  • Worn out mattresses. Whether your mattress is worn out and you can’t realistically afford one right now, or it’s the guest room mattress yet it’s used so infrequently it seems pointless to replace it, a good mattress topper can give an old mattress a new lease of life. At least for the time being anyway, which will give you the time you need to save up for a replacement mattress.

When is it time to buy a new mattress?

As a general rule, mattresses have a lifespan of around eight years. If your mattress has exceeded this age, it’s time to start shopping for a replacement.

Tips for making your mattress last longer

  • Check your mattress is correctly supported.
    By supporting the mattress correctly, you’ll help to preserve and prohibit early wear. A good idea would be to check on your bed’s support on an annual basis to ensure there are no breakages or weakened supports that could potentially affect your mattress.
  • Turn your mattress regularly.
    Turning your mattress helps to distribute the wear evenly. You should rotate your mattress 180 degrees every two to six months.
  • Don’t jump on the bed.
    We know it’s oh so tempting, but don’t do it! And don’t let your kids do it either. Jumping on the bed will add additional unnecessary strain on the mattress, shortening it’s life expectancy.
  • Follow manufacturer cleaning instructions.
    Mattresses need be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain a clean and healthy sleeping surface. The majority of manufacturers do include cleaning instructions in the event of the need to remove a stain as well as general cleaning. Hoover your bed every one to three months to get rid of surface dust and dirt that can aggravate allergies.
  • Use a mattress protector.
    It’s best to start as you mean to go on, and by this we mean using a mattress protector from day one. Mattress protectors help to prevent sweat, saliva and unwanted odours from penetrating the mattress. The majority of us sweat whilst we sleep, and some of us do drool too, so it’s worth adding that extra layer of protection to prolong the life of your mattress. Gross but true.

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