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The mattresses to avoid buying

Don't wake up on the wrong side of the bed – give these mattresses a miss and spring for something better.

mattress with an angry emoji
Last updated: 07 June 2024

Need to know

  • We tested over 40 popular mattresses from Sleeping Duck, Sealy, Ikea, A.H. Beard, Koala, Macoda and more
  • Experts assess key factors that are important for a good night's sleep: things like how comfortable and supportive the mattresses are – brand new and after eight years' use – the number of springs and layers they have, and how well they regulate temperature
  • Become a CHOICE member to access our full mattress reviews and compare products across over 200 product and service categories

We spend about a third of our lives in bed, so it's vital to find the right mattress for the best night's sleep. But be careful – buy a bad bed and it could turn into a nightmare. 

Choosing a mattress instore or online can be confusing and downright stressful, with so many types, builds, firmnesses, features and amazing 'new technology' claims being touted. Not to mention prices soaring into the thousands of dollars for some models. It's enough to warrant a serious lie-down!

To help you choose, CHOICE has been testing popular mattresses for years – and no, it's not just some lucky staff member sleeping on them all day. (We wish.)

P95 dummy

Lab lie-down: Our comfort tests use lasers to monitor spinal alignment.

Instead, our lab partners in Europe scientifically test the most important factors, including comfort for both male and female body types, stabilisation, sagging over time, sweat resistance and more. 

We've also looked at some factors relating to the sustainability and environmental impact of each mattress, including what materials it's made from and how easy it is to recycle. 

Members can view ratings for these factors in our 'Compare all' table in our mattress reviews (though these results don't yet contribute to the overall performance scores). 

We don't want you to end up with a dud buy, so here are the products that scored lowest in our lab tests. Consider becoming a CHOICE member to see the best performers.

Why we don't recommend Emma mattresses

While Emma products have previously performed well in our testing, we don't recommend them. 

In light of ongoing member complaints and recent ACCC allegations regarding misleading advertising, we've decided to remove Emma mattress reviews from our website to avoid confusion. We may revisit this decision in the future. 

We remain committed to providing unbiased and impartial product reviews to our members and Australian consumers.

Here are four other mattresses that didn't perform well in our independent testing. 

Four poor-performing mattresses to avoid


Art & Science mattresses had mixed results in our review.

1. Art & Science Night & Day Adjustable Pillow Top spring mattress

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 60%
  • Comfort score when new: 61%
  • Comfort score after eight years: 55%
  • Price: $1349

Dropping more than $1300 on a mattress that came dead last in our testing is not something we'd recommend. In fact, our expert couldn't come up with anything positive to say about how this mattress performed compared to other mattresses in our review.

Our body support testing showed that the comfort level of this mattress is not great to start with, and there's a noticeable change in both body support and firmness over time.

And it received a relatively low sweat repellent score of 57% (lower scoring mattresses absorb more fluids, which can cause damage and odour build-up over time). This is despite the fact that the manufacturer promises that the "soft, bamboo blended fabric provides excellent moisture regulation".

The proof is in the testing though, and there are many mattresses in our review that cost much less and outperform this one.

It's also interesting to note that another Art & Science mattress is one of the top scorers in our testing, so it's important not to assume  consistent performance across brands, and make sure you check our reviews before you buy. 

Read our full Art & Science Night & Day Adjustable Pillow Top review.

sealy back support harmony

Your sleep will be anything but harmonious on this bouncy Sealy mattress.

2. Sealy Back Support Harmony

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 62%
  • Comfort score when new: 50%
  • Comfort score after eight years: 89%
  • Price: $999

This spring mattress may cost under $1000, but sadly, this is not a great deal.

It received a very poor stabilisation score of 12%, which means it might have you bouncing around in your sleep much more than other mattresses. 

To score this aspect, we measure the movement of the mattress after a standard impact, simulating the turning body of a sleeping person. We also count the number of bounces up and down before the mattress is calm again. 

We run two tests, one to simulate bounces for a single sleeper, and a second to simulate the impact of movement on a second sleeper. 

We measured eight bounces before this mattress stabilised

For this mattress, we measured eight bounces before the mattress stabilised. For context, we would consider four or five bounces to be acceptable. 

The only good point our testers noted on this mattress flop is that there was minimal change in female body support over time.

Read our full Sealy Back Support Harmony review.

How we test mattresses

No, we don't test mattresses by lying down on the job. Watch how our lab partners assess key factors like comfort, stabilisation and more.


Sealy had two mattress in our bottom performers.

3. Sealy Atlanta

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 62%
  • Comfort score when new: 57%
  • Comfort score after eight years: 82%
  • Price: $599

Bargain price, yes, but this is another mattress our experts could find nothing positive to say about. 

It arrived at our labs in a shoddy state, showing signs of loose threads and early signs of wear and tear – not very reassuring if you're in the market for a good-quality mattress that will go the distance (rather than ending up in landfill in a few years). 

Like the other mediocre Sealy mattress in our review, it received a very poor stabilisation score of 12%.

It arrived at our labs in a shoddy state, showing signs of loose threads and early signs of wear and tear 

None of this likely to help you get a good night's sleep. And if you're on a budget, we have mattresses around this price or less that performed better in our testing.

Read our full Sealy Atlanta review.

original mattress factory refresh

This mattress could do with a rebrand: You'll wake up anything but refreshed.

4. Original Mattress Factory Refresh

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 62%
  • Comfort score when new: 54%
  • Comfort score after eight years: 62%
  • Price: $2946

This queen-sized specimen was underwhelming all round, with no positive points coming up in our testing.

It markets itself as a 'firm' mattress, but scored a low 56% for sagging, which doesn't bode well for how long it would maintain this firmness.

To assess firmness, we measure height and firmness straight out of the box when the mattress is new, then again after a test that simulates eight years of use to note any differences. Mattresses with a higher score show less sagging over time, while lower scoring mattresses show increased sagging.

This is also one of a few mattresses we reviewed that charges a fee for returns and exchanges – and this even applied during the 30-day trial period. 

This was also the only mattress we reviewed that charges a fee for returns and exchanges

These sorts of exchange fees are on top of any shipping costs you may incur to replace a mattress during a free trial period. 

And while some brands will provide a free pick-up of the mattress you want to return, don't expect such luxury with this product: the cost of a pick-up will come out of your own pocket.

On other criteria, such as stabilisation, this mattress was on par with others reviewed by our testers, but did not perform noticeably well in any areas.

Read our full Original Mattress Factory Refresh review.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.