Emma vs Simba: Which hybrid mattress is best?

Can’t decide between a foam or sprung mattress? While the former is known for contouring to your body, relieving pressure points, sprung mattresses tend to feel more bouncy and springy, as well as being better at dissipating heat.

The good news is that a hybrid – a multi-layer mattress combining foam, latex or gel with an innerspring system – gives you the best of both worlds.

For one thing, you can forget that sinking feeling you get with pure foam – the hybrid gives you a bit more bounce, as well as a more cloud-like feel that generally goes right up to the edges.

Likewise, you can also say goodbye to feeling the springs as your mattress ages – the addition of foam puts a stop to that. Hybrids are also great value, breathable and versatile, with a number of firmness options available.

They can be a godsend for pain relief too – especially around the neck, shoulders, hips and back – on account of the spring core providing the structural support for good sleep posture, while the foam layers mold around your body. In short, they’re a fabulous marriage of support and comfort.

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The Simba hybrid and Emma hybrid sit at the top of the popularity tree when it comes to the world of hybrid mattresses and both promise a hotel quality feel. So we tested them both, head to head, for one week each.

Both are available as a bed-in-a-box – a convenient alternative to trying to work out how to get it home from the store or through your front door and up the stairs without knocking all the pictures off the walls. They’re also both available online with ultra-quick delivery, a generous trial period and no-quibble return policy.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. 

Simba hybrid mattress

Sizes available: Single, small double, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 25cm

Material: Open cell foam and springs

Trial period: 200 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

First things first, this mattress – which first hit the market in 2016 and comes from a British brand entirely dedicated to hybrid mattresses – arrives vacuum packed in a box to your door, making it a doddle to move around, although the box was big and heavy enough to take two of us to get it up a large flight of stairs.

There are five layers altogether. On the top is a breathable sleep surface, which is followed by an open-cell cooling foam layer. Then comes a patented sprung layer with up to 3,000 patented light, fine and durable springs made from titanium. Fourth is a high definition foam with edge support and finally there’s a foam support base with zoning for pressure relief.

The result is a mattress that we’d say feels on the slightly firmer side of medium and is instantly restful, giving a cloud-like balance of comfort and support right up to the edges and is a particular joy to sleep on for side and front sleepers. And that goes for people of any shape or size. If you’re prone to waking up with aches and pains, especially in your back, you’ll really notice the spinal support. The sinkage is spot on too – you don’t feel like you’re descending into the mattress itself, as is the case with some pure foam mattresses.

The temperature regulation should get a special mention. Even in summer, you’ll find this keeps sweat at bay, thanks to pretty much every layer having been designed to promote air flow and cooling – something you won’t find in mattresses made purely of foam. Even the base layer has flexible zones for heat to escape. And because the sleep surface is hypoallergenic, this mattress is also a good choice for allergy sufferers.

It’s super-stable and pretty good at shock absorption so your partner shouldn’t be too disturbed even if you move around a lot in the night, although we’d suggest avoiding it if he or she is hyper sensitive as they are likely to feel some movement.

Like all Simba mattresses, it doesn’t sag, even in the long term, and you don’t have to flip it, although you do have to rotate it 180 degrees once a month for the first three months, then every three to six months after that. It’s a quick enough job, though, thanks to the grips and fact that at 26kg, it’s lighter than a lot of mattresses we’ve tested over the years.

Read the full Simba hybrid review

Emma hybrid mattress

Sizes available: Single, small double, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 25cm

Material: Memory foam and springs

Trial period: 200 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

Released in 2017 – a year after the Simba – this one comes from a German brand and is another corker of a hybrid mattress that arrives tightly rolled in a box. At just 1kg heavier than the Simba, it also remains on the lighter end of bed-in-a-box mattresses.

Whereas the Simba has five layers, this has four – the bottom one is a HRX foam (a type of foam that’s specially made to support your heavier body parts), then comes a visco-elastic memory foam which contours to your body and distributes pressure. Third is the breathable pocket sprung layer which has 2,000 springs (1,000 less than the Simba, so not quite as luxurious) and finally, there’s the top patented foam layer that absorbs moisture and keeps airflow. On the top, there’s a washable, moisture wicking cover – a nice touch that’s lacking in the Simba mattress and helps keep things ultra-hygienic.

We found it noticeably softer and bouncier than the Simba – that doesn’t make it any better but is something to bear in mind if that’s your preference (Emma claims most Brits do prefer softer mattresses, but it would, wouldn’t it?). And while with some soft mattresses, that means having to compromise on support – which can in turn play havoc with your spinal alignment – that is definitely not the case here.

It is, in other words, no blancmange and what’s more, it not only suits side and front sleepers but those who sleep on their backs, which is no mean feat as the latter are notoriously difficult to cater for. But while the Simba suits people of all shapes and sizes, we’d say this is better suited to lighter people, especially when it comes to people who sleep on their backs.

Your sleeping partner can rest easy that they won’t have to huff and puff if you are prone to moving around a lot – the mattress seems to absorb even more movement than the Simba so he or she can focus on getting their shut-eye. And while we were impressed with the durability of the Simba mattress, you should find this one lasts even longer. But although it’s nice and breathable, we felt the Simba had the edge when it comes to keeping cool even on very warm nights.

Both the Simba and the Emma excel when it comes to zoning to allow for targeted pressure relief in areas such as shoulders for side sleepers – that’s great news for your spine as it can otherwise bend in uncomfortable positions. And we also thought they were both on par when it comes to edge-to-edge support and stability. Neither one nor the other is easier to turn, but with this one you have to do it less at every six months.

Read the full Emma hybrid mattress review

The verdict: Emma vs Simba hybrid mattress

Both mattresses deliver on comfort, support, pressure relief and longevity and we’d have no hesitation in recommending either as great aids to sleep.

Much of the final verdict comes down to personal preference – those who prefer softer mattresses will like the Emma better; those who like a bit more firmness will prefer the Simba. Back sleepers (who aren’t overweight or tall) will also be better off with the Emma. And we think the Emma is also the best option if either you or your bed partner is prone to moving around a lot in the night and the other one tends to get disturbed by it.

The Simba, on the other hand, takes the trophy for being the best all-rounder. For front or side sleepers (which, let’s face it, make up the majority of sleepers) of any shape or size, it’s a perfect match. And the Simba is also the winner when it comes to ensuring you don’t feel too hot at night.

Cosy up as with one of the best linen bedding sets that are low maintenance and chic

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Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.