Emma Mattress Review – Original Version

Disclaimer: This is my personal honest review of my Emma Original Mattress. This mattress was supplied to me for free after I requested a mattress for review purposes. Emma made no requirements in any way and have had no input on my review at all. They have allowed me an affiliate link which means if you buy via my link I get small commission and you pay no extra.

Emma Version:

Please note that this is the review for the Emma Original (no springs). My review for the Emma Hybrid (with springs) can be found here.

The Company

The company behind the Emma Mattress is Emma Matratzen GmbH, a German company but with a base in the UK. They are also connected to another German company called Just Right Mattress UG. Emma began selling mattresses in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2015 and came to the UK end of 2016 start of 2017. Founded by German born Max Laarmann with the name Emma being named after the name of his sister.

The Headlines:

Which best buy 2018, Airgocell top layer, designed for durability, Mattress in a box, 100 night trial. Free pickup if you don’t want to keep it. 10 year warranty.

Regional Differences

Emma sell across Europe including Germany, UK, Austria, Switzerland, Netherland, Poland and France. The mattresses differ by country as well as there being several different versions. My review is for the Emma Original mattress which is the one with no pocket springs.

The Mattress

A bed-in-a-box mattress means Emma comes in a big oblong box and is rolled and vacuum packed. You remove the mattress from the box and using the included safety blade you remove the plastic covering. Leave the mattress to expand for a few hours (48 hours is best) before sleeping on it.
This is the Emma Original mattress as sold in the UK, the one which does NOT have mini pocket springs. Don’t confuse the many different versions Emma have across Europe. At the time of this review Emma have two mattresses in the UK. They are the original (this mattress) while the other (hybrid) is a softer mattress with mini conical pocket springs under the top layer. Emma have changed how they described these mattress in early 2018. At that time the original was the pocket sprung mattress and the non spring mattress which they now call the original was called the second gen. The naming seems to be just a marketing decision since both mattresses at some point have been called the original. In the UK the original was actually the hybrid. It is confusing if you are aware of the history of the products.
The Emma Original mattress features Airgocell (as does the hybrid) on the top layer which is a trademark name for their version of a polyurethane foam. Memory foam under this helps with contouring and the firm base provides the support. The main design feature is the base layer being a larger than average percentage of the whole mattress. This means it has far more effect on the overall feel of the mattress. It has a slightly higher than average density for a base layer to balance this and the fact that more support dutys will be taken up by the layer than compared to the hybrid.
Elastane in the top cover helps add elasticity. The cover is removable and machine washable.
Emma although a German company state the mattress is assembled in the UK and they work with UK foam manufactures.

Emma Original Mattress
Emma Original Mattress - EU Single

Which Best Buy:

I want to start this section by making note of the fact that this mattress according to Emma is designed to be light but durable. This means they were trying to get more durability while having a little less density and thus weight. It is hard to really know how to take some claims made by mattress companies but in this regard there is the which best buy 2018 award which Emma have won. Now a lot of mattresses do get a best buy from which but this time which have said the Emma original is their highest scoring mattress for years. Digging into the scoring it seems this relates mostly to the scores for durability on which they give Emma top scores. This is important because while I make comment to lower than normal densities for say the top layer this does seem to be nullified by the extra durability it seems testing shows Emma does indeed have. In other words it will keep its feel for longer. The Which testing actually stated they found the mattress exceptiionally durable.

Cover:

While again the main colours are white on top and grey on the sides it is a nice cover. 1% Elastane means its stretchy to the feel and both the sides and top have a definite texture to the feel. Its on the thinnish side which is good for air flow. There is some blue branding helping to bring some life to the colours with the blue zip tag, a blue label with the name Emma and with a blue stripe running around the entire circumference. The big win for me is the removable top cover which unzips entirely from the surround with a zip along the top edge. The top cover is then machine washable which is not very common. You also get handles along the side, quite wide ones too, which I personally prefer to handles on the bottom. The label states the cover as 99% polyester and 1% elastane for the top portion. The side cover is made of 100% polyester and the bottom cover is made of 89% polyester and 11% polypropylene. According to Emma the pored cover is made of fibres which immediately release moisture for maximum breathability. This is actually known as wicking and is a common property of polyester covers.

Top Layer:

3 cm (1.2 inches) Airgocell (open cell polyfoam). Density: 43 kg/m3 (2.7 pcf)
What is Airgocell? clearly this is the headline feature for both of the UK mattresses. This a polyurethane based foam aka polyfoam but specified to Emmas own criteria. It is designed to produce a gel like and velvety soft feel. It does have a unique feel to it with a squidgy type feel. It is slightly slower to respond than a traditional polyfoam but the difference is small. It is certainly not memory foam like slow. I do personally like the feel. It is also said to be pressure relieving but so is a normal polyfoam so it isn’t clear to me if Airgocell offers any additional advantages in this regard. You will also see it described as open cell but it is worth noting just about all foams used in a mattress are open cell for many reasons. Airgocell does feel like the top layer on the Simba mattress called Simbatex but that is a synthetic latex foam. Emma tell me Airgocell has larger pores than a standard polyurethane foam giving it a larger air density. This would translate as sleeping cooler as its insulating properties would be increased. Pores are contained within the cells. At 3cm deep this top layer is on the thinner side but it is not alone in that size. This is your main comfort layer and personally I like deeper comfort layers which means I often use a topper. The thinner the top comfort layer the more you are going to feel the firmer layers below and thus less overall sinkage. The density at 43 kg/m3 is also below the 50 kg/m3 so often seen at this price level. However again others have similar specified top layers such as Otty. It has to be noted that it is a feature of this mattress that Emma say they have better durability than normally seen at the same densities in other mattresses. I would have liked a deeper top layer because I do like the feel of the Emma specified Airgocell and would have been interested how a thicker layer would help overall comfort. However if the design was intended to produce a firmer mattress then on that basis it does work. In isolation I found the top layer to be highly bouncy, my tennis ball test showed it only behind Bruno in bounciness. Read further down for my bounce test for the mattress as a whole.

Second Layer:

2 cm (0.8 inches) Visco Elastic Memory Foam. Density: 50 kg/m3 (3.1 pcf)
The memory foam layer again is on the thin side at just 2cm for the second and only other comfort layer. Again this falls in line with the design seeking a firmer feel than the other alternative, the Emma Hybrid mattress. It has become common to place memory foam under a top layer. It means you it wont act like a top layer and be as molding by reacting to your body temperature but it also wont heat up either which can be a problem. It does help give a contouring feel by reacting slower than the top polyfoam layer and will sink slower as you lay on it balancing out the feel. It will also make the mattress less bouncy and help with motion transfer.

Base Layer:

19 cm (7.5 inches) polyurethane cold foam. Density: 36 kg/m3 (2.2 pcf)
Emma call this cold foam and that’s exactly right. However note that most high density polyfoam is created this way. The curing requires relatively small amounts of heat and so is often called cold foam. Notable is the zoning. This is the cutting of channels in certain areas to allow for more give and is known as castellated foam. Zoning on the original is quite different to the zoning on the hybrid. The Original zoning is more subtle and does not have the larger cut outs found on the hybrid. The Zoning extends for much of the length of the base layer and will help give the mattress an overall softer feel than it would other wise have had. While the zoning is bigger at the shoulder area its subtle enough for me to say its more about reducing the total firmness than fine tuning a specific area. The density at 36 kg/m3 is a higher density than often found for a base layer (normally 28-33 kg/m3) but this is because the base layer is much more a part of the overall feel than on similar mattresses (Bruno being the exception). It will be have more compression decompression because of the thin layers above and so higher density is important to delay any softening. Again remember that in the case of Emma Original Which magazine have said the durability was at the top end of their scoring so this should answer any questions this particular configuration would normally leave me with. Total height: 24 cm (9.4 inches)
Emma Original Layers
Emma Mattress Layers
The containing box will weigh about 3 kg.

Mattress weights:

Weighing my own Emma Mattress EU single with cover has it at 18.3 kg. This would equate to the following weights.
UK single 17.5 kg
EU single 18.5 kg
UK double 26 kg
EU double 28.5 kg
UK king 30.5 kg
EU king 33.5 kg
UK super king 37 kg

Emma Original Mattress Overview

I found the online support to be very typical of the online companies. They are very helpful, very friendly, but technical knowledge is lacking. I was impressed by the lack of pushy sales talk so companies will subject you too which is very annoying. I got my Emma mattress for free and it came via a courier company (it was only a single), however the website states all mattresses come via UPS. In the box it is vacuum packed into was no welcome pack which I got with the hybrid version. I did get the safety blade however for cutting the plastic wrapping. The website states you only need to wait a few minutes before sleeping on the mattress which seemed rather optimistic. However once unwrapped it did indeed reach full height within a few minutes, quite unremarkable. It is still best practice to let the mattress air for 48 hours. This allows the mattress to fully expand before undergoing any compression decompression and also allows time for the off-gassing. This is the release of the chemicals that will turn to vapor in the early days of unwrapping. This is totally normal for all foam mattresses, even natural latex. I must say this Emma original had one of the lowest levels of off gassing that I have come across.
So what does Emma bring to the table to differentiate itself from the huge options when it comes to a new mattress. They start with Airgocell layer. This at heart is a polyurethane foam layer. It does have a little bit of a different feel with a slightly slower response but more gel like feel. The other big marketing angle is the fact that this is a lightweight mattress making it easier to manhandle while not losing anything in terms of durability because of this. They back this up with the Which magazine June 2018 tests which indeed score it top for durability.
The company while German based does assemble and deliver the UK mattress from within the UK.

Emma Original Mattress Branding
Emma Original Mattress Branding

Tests and Analysis:

Edge support:

Edge support is not great generally on foam mattresses. There is of course a direct correlation between firmer and softer mattresses and how well they do or edge support. I measure edge support in terms of percentage of the edge compressed for a given weight. The range is normally 20%-40% and Emma comes in at 35% on average. This makes it middle ground for edge support. You can do better, you can do worse but it is what I would expect for its firmness, it is better than the softer options such as Emma Hybrid, Simba, Casper and on a par with Leesa.

Score: 7.5/10 for edge support

Firmness (sinkage):

Much firmer than the Emma Hybrid and inline with other firmer mattresses such as Otty and Bruno. Just a bit firmer than Leesa and even more firm than the likes of Simba and HÜGGE. The firmness is partly due to the low level of comfort layers at just 5 cm and only Bruno has a deeper base layer than Emma Original. The flip side is that the point elasticity is good making this a decent option for heavier individuals.

Firmness 8/10

Cooling:

The biggest factor in how hot or cool a mattress will sleep is the top layer and cover. The cover here should be no problem as its a stretchy breathable cover as used on many mattresses. The top layer is the Airgocell polyfoam which Emma say has larger than normal pores in the open cells meaning more air and better cooling. There is no real way for me to test this out and as a polyfoam I would have to rate it inline with say Casper which also has a polyfoam top layer. Leesa is also a polyfoam top layer but has holes throughout so the benefit is more obvious and undeniable here for cool sleeping. On the Hybrid you have springs below the Airgocell allowing good air flow but on the original is the memory foam so I would have to say perhaps-the hybrid offers a little better cooling. Behind the latex top layers such as Simba and Bruno but also all better than the memory foam top layer on Otty.

7.5/10 for cooling

Spot Relief (point elasticity):

I found the spot relief or point elasticity to be much better than the Emma Hybrid. This is what I would expect anyway between a firmer and softer mattress. Emma original was better than the softer mattresses and on a par with Bruno and just behind Otty.

7.5/10 for spot relief

Mattress for Sex/Bounce:

Another highly subjective rating. My criteria for a decent mattress for sex would be good bounce without being like a trampoline and still being reasonably comfortable. Bounce however is the overriding number one factor. Emma has about the same bounce as the Emma hybrid but I rate the hybrid a little better for sex because of the feel of the springs and comfort levels (my personal opinion). One thing to note though is that the top layer itself does impart more bounce than the hybrid even though they are both Airgocell. I test this by bouncing a tennis ball which shows me how the top layer in isolation performs and it gives 8 bounces against the 5 bounces of the hybrid. Overall I rate the original at the lower end of what I would like for a mattress for sex owing to the low amount of bounce combined with the firm feel.

7/10 for Sex

Weight Capacity:

The recommended weight capacity of the Emma original mattress is above average at between 30kg to 130 kg (20.5 stones). This is per person on a double or one person on a single.

Motion Transfer:

This is normally the flip side of the bounce score, the more bounce the the more motion gets transferred generally. This is how much motion you will feel if your partner moves heavily while you are laying still. In line with this the below average bounce translates into excellent motion transfer properties and I rate this top along with Simba. A great score for a firm mattress.

8.5/10 for motion transfer

Type of Sleepers this mattress suits:

Most foam mattresses are suitable for back sleepers as long as the individual ensures they choose a firmness level that suits their weight and maintains their spine in alignment. Emma Original will suit average individuals looking for a firmer feel. For back and side sleepers this will mean it is best suited to heavier individuals who will need the support of a firmer mattress. Note however side sleepers may need more give at the shoulders although the zoning does add 0.5 cm extra give at the shoulders. This could be a good option for stomach sleepers who should be looking for a flatter sleeping profile and need to avoid the hips sinking in too much.

Score: Back, 8/10, Side 6/10, Stomach 8.5/10.

Price:

Like the new car industry advertised prices often do not tally with the actual price you will pay. The online mattress industry almost runs on the promise of a discount to that advertised although it is harder to find the discounts with some than others. Emma is one of the companies that seem to have a permanent discount running. You do not need to seek it out, the website always shows a code at the top of the homepage. If it doesn’t then it is well worth contacting them direct to ask for a discount. The amount does vary a little but it is always a significant amount. My price rating is based on advertised retail prices taking no deals into account. The Emma Original does have higher prices advertised than rivals.

Average price: £639, rank: 7th of 9

Materials/Design:

There is definitely some nice design aspects here. Most noticeable for me is the machine washable cover which is fully removable with a top zip so no need to lift the mattress. Handles on the side are another big plus for me. Not to be sniffed at is the almost total lack of initial smell and long lasting smells (see what I did there?). I personally would prefer more comfort layers but I have to recognise this mattress is designed specifically to be light, durable and firm. On that account it does work when you know that Which magazine have said they found in testing durability to be excellent. Without that testing I would have had concerns because of the overall average density.

7.5/10 for Materials and Design

Off-gassing/Smell:

The Emma Original mattress is one of the least smelly mattresses I have tried. I thought it was excellent considering it isn’t even CertiPur certified. On first unwrapping there was only the slightest of smells with my nose close up to the foam but to be honest after the first 48 hours of airing I didn’t notice a smell at all.

8.5/10 for smell

Comfort:

Again a highly subjective criteria and one for which giving a score would be very misleading in my opinion. Comfort will differ greatly simply as a personal preference and I can only relay how I personally found it. In terms of comfort I do need good sized comfort layers and so Emma Original with below average comfort layer depth was never on paper going to feel that comfortable to me. Emma is certainly supportive and if that’s your main criteria you may well find Emma comfortable. It is not UNcomfortable to put it another way. My own preference would be for the Emma Hybrid as it has more bounce and is a little softer with more comfort layers.

Zoning:

There are channels cut into the base layer at the hip and shoulder areas for more give. Although technically 3 sections as it extends most of the way across the base layer it is almost one section. However the zoning is greatest at the shoulder area to give more pressure relief at that point.

Average Density:

This is the weight per cubic meter of the foam. More density means more material and the longer it is likely to go before softening up too much. My score is based on the actual weight of my mattress. The official specifications suggest a density of 38 kg/m3. My own mattress was a little heavier than that would suggest and my figure is 39 kg/m3.

39 kg/m3

Summary:

Itemout of 10
Edge Support7.5/10
Firmness8/10 (medium-firm)
Cooling7.5/10
Spot Relief8.5/10
Sex/Bounce7/10
Motion Transfer8.5/10
Back Sleepers8
Side Sleepers6
Stomach Sleepers8.5
Priceav: £639 (rank 7th of 9)
Materials/Design8/10
Smell/off-gassing8.5/10
Zoning:yes
Average Density:39 kg/m3

Prices:

TypePrice
Single£429
EU Single£449
Double£649
EU Double£699
King£699
EU King£799
Super King£849

General Mattress Notes:

Overview:

Something of a niche mattress. It is designed to be light which inevitably means lowering the densities which in turn normally means affecting the longevity of the mattress. In this case the Emma original is indeed lighter than average although weighs in at around the same weight as the Emma Hybrid. My concerns on the density are addressed by the Which magazine June 2018 testing in which they found the durability to measure at the highest end of their scale. Emma have also designed this to be on the firm side and offer an alternative to their softer hybrid mattress. Note they say it is fine to use the mattress with an electric blanket.

Base:

As always needs to be pointed out with these mattresses, they have an incorporated base layer making it easy to place anywhere and on any surface other than a slated base where the slats are too wide apart and allow the foam to sink through. It also means you can only rotate but not turn the mattress.

Website:

They say: Maximum adaptability results from the optimal combination of a pressure-relieving Airgocel layer, viscoelastic memory foam, and reassuringly supportive cold foam. Maximum adaptability is clearly meant to sound like the mattress can adjust to all needs but really this is a firmish mattress that some will find simply not comfortable enough or to firm, it wont adapt to whatever your need is. That really would be magic! It will totally depend on your own preference, weight, sleeping positions etc.

Emma Original vs Bruno

Bruno is one of the firmest and bounciest mattresses I have tried. It has a latex top layer and only one other layer, the solid polyfoam core. Emma original has 3 layers, is firm but not as firm as bruno and is much lighter.

Emma Original vs Casper

Emma has 3 layers and is firmer and lighter. Casper has a transition layer that Emma does not use. This being halfway between the feel of a comfort layer and a support layer. Casper has a little more give at the shoulders.

Emma Original vs Emma Hybrid

Both have Airgocell top layer. Hybrid has mini pocket and is a softer feeling mattress. Emma original has a little less bounce but better motion transfer properties and is better for spot relief.

Emma Original vs Eve

Eve has the same 3 layer configuartion but is fully Certipur certified. Eve is a slightly firmer but they have similar bounce. Both are good for motion transfer.

Emma Original vs Leesa

Emma is firmer has much better spot relief. Airgocell vs Avena foam. Emmas airgocell is said to have larger pores for better cooling while Avena foam has holes throughout also to aid cooling.

Emma Original vs Otty

Otty has full size pocket springs for great deep support. Similar in firmness but Emma is a much lighter mattress. Memory foam top layer on Otty, polyfoam top layer on Emma.

Emma Original vs Simba

Emma is a firmer mattress than Simba. Latex top layer on Simba and a polyurethane top layer on Emma. Both great for motion trnasfer while Emma has a little bit more bounce than Simba.