Tempur mattress review—is the luxury Sensation Elite worth splashing out on?

For our Tempur mattress review, we tested the Sensation Elite to discover whether this luxury option justifies its high price tag

A Tempur Sensation Elite mattress in a gray modern bedroom, set up for a Tempur mattress review
(Image credit: Tempur)
Woman & Home Verdict

Supportive and responsive, this pressure-relieving foam mattress molds and cushions your body like no other. In our opinion, it is best suited to those with muscle or joint issues, those with allergies, and restless sleepers—if you can justify the price. We slept incredibly well on our side and back, but not so well on our stomach. It is very heavy and not supplied in vacuum-packed packaging, so this is perhaps one to avoid if you have awkward access.

Reasons to buy
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    Relieves aches and pains

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    Great for side and stomach sleepers

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    Washable at 60 degrees

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    100-night sleep trial

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    Free mattress protector

Reasons to avoid
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    Expensive

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    Heavy

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    Long lead times

Tempur has become one of the most popular brands on the mattress market, with customers flocking to their foam-based products which promise to relieve pressure on your joints as you sleep. 

Our expert mattress tester Linda Clayton tried out one of the best mattresses from the Sensation Collection—the Elite —which is 25cm deep. In this Tempur mattress review, she shares her honest thoughts on the mattress after weeks of testing.

For the uninitiated, Tempur’s foam is based on a material originally developed for NASA to relieve the pressure build-up astronauts experienced from G-force. Tempur (who also do some of the best pillows made of the same material) keep the exact formulation top secret, but it’s essentially an open-cell viscoelastic that responds to body heat, shape, and pressure in a way that provides weightless support. 

Often described as “like sleeping on a cloud” Tempur claims to be the original pressure-relieving mattress maker.

Tempur mattress review—first impressions of the Sensation Elite

The Tempur Sensation Elite felt a bit special from the outset. For one, it didn't arrive crammed in a box and then require 24 hours to “settle”, like most foam mattresses. And for another, it looks expensive. How so? The cover is beautifully smooth and reassuringly solid. It is heavy—it took three strong men to manhandle it upstairs, but it didn’t flop over or bend like other foam mattresses, which made the job a lot easier. A good start for our Tempur mattress review.

WHAT’S THE TEMPUR SENSATION ELITE LIKE TO SLEEP ON?

This mattress is expensive. In fact, it’s the priciest one we’ve tested by a long stretch. However, price doesn’t always equal excellence, so we were really intrigued to see how this mattress would fare during testing. One of the first things we noticed is that the Tempur Sensation Elite didn’t look or feel like any of the other memory foam mattresses we’ve tested. The first time we lay down, we felt like it hugged our body in place. The longer we lay prone, the deeper we sank, but in a good way—we didn’t need to send for help to get out of bed. The sensation is a little strange to begin with, but it's undeniably cozy and by night five we’d become used to the experience.

How did we sleep? The short answer—really well. Side-sleeping is our go-to sleeping position but, like most people, we usually switch about a bit in the night. On the Tempur we went to sleep on our side and were still there come morning every night of the three-week trial period. If we did move during the night, we didn’t know about it. We felt comfortable lying on our back, but front sleepers should potentially avoid this mattress, as your bottom and lower back area tend to sink too deep for comfort. We couldn’t cope on our front for longer than a few minutes before our neck started to ache. 

The bonus of the Tempur Sensation Elite being a bit 'sinky' is that it scored really well on motion transfer. There just wasn’t any, meaning we could move about all night without interrupting our partner, and vice versa. On the Tempur website, this model is said to mimic the bounce of a traditional sprung mattress, but we’re unconvinced. It didn’t feel as immovable as some of the memory foams we’ve tested, but “bounce” is a bit of a stretch. “Squish” would be a more accurate adjective—as in it squishes down slowly and quickly regains its shape when you get up or move. 

weight on a mattress

(Image credit: Linda Clayton)

Our weight test was interesting, in that it took a long time for the 56lb (4st) weight we used to test support to stop sinking! In the middle of the Tempur Sensation Elite mattress, it peaked at 10cm, which was lucky because the ruler dimensions don’t go any further. On the edge it stopped at 9.2cm, which is still fairly deep. Of course, the weight is going to sink deeper than a body, as it’s concentrated in a much smaller area. But it’s a revealing exercise nonetheless, as it shows just how responsive this NASA-accredited mattress can be. No other mattress we’ve tested has gone past 8cm on the weight test. 

SPECIFICATIONS

● RRP: £1,599-£2,699

● Sizes: Small single, long single, single, double, king and super king. Plus, four “special sizes”.

● Filling: Foam

● Sleeping position: Best for side-sleepers

● Comfort: Firm

● Trial period: 100 nights

● Guarantee: 10 years

However, it is posture and overall body support where the Tempur comes into its own and why we rate this mattress as one of the best for side-sleepers. When we lay on the mattress and studied spine alignment from hip to neck, the spine was completely and perfectly straight. Tempur has built an enviable reputation for being the go-to mattress provider for those afflicted by back pain, and there are lots of testimonies online regarding its effectiveness on this score. Although we don’t suffer from serious back pain at night, or joint pain, we did notice that our shoulders and hips felt comfortably supported, contoured by the mattress, and we woke feeling completely ache-free. 

HOW FIRM IS THE TEMPUR SENSATION ELITE MATTRESS?

Tempur grades this mattress as firm tension, but we would rate it more medium firm. It’s not too hard, nor too soft. Our friendly band of Tempur mattress review testers (three male, three female, ranging from 10-17st) agreed and graded it between 5-7, where one is super soft and 10 is as hard as nails. Our heavier testers found it a bit cosseting for their liking, but they were all impressed by how the mattress contours to the body. “It’s like being hugged to sleep,” said one. 

WHAT DO YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY?

The Tempur Elite Sensation mattress no doubt a pricey choice. We've broken down the price you'd pay for each of the different sizes:

  • Small single (75 x 200cm)—£1,399
  • Long single (90 x 200cm)—£,1599
  • Single (90 x 190cm)—£1,599
  • Double (135 x 190cm)—£2,199
  • King size (150 x 200cm)—£2,599
  • Super King (180 x 200cm)—£2,799

It's worth noting though that for this price, you'll also get a 100-night sleep trial, 10-year warranty, free delivery and free returns. A free Tempur-Fit mattress protector also comes with every order, which is worth up to £135 for the super-king size. You can also get up to two years’ interest free credit—which, let’s face it, you may well need. 

WHAT IS THE TEMPUR SENSATION ELITE MATTRESS MADE OF?

tempur mattress

(Image credit: Tempur)

There are three foam layers in the Sensation Elite; you get a 7cm deep layer of Tempur Comfort Material, a 4cm deep layer of Dynamic Support Technology and a 14cm deep Durabase layer. Tempur may be secretive about the exact alchemy of their material but they will tell you how it works. Essentially, billions of visco-elastic spherical shaped open-cells respond to your body's temperature and weight as you sleep They shift and reorganize their position to mold to your body’s contours. 

The material becomes softer and more malleable in warmer areas, and remains firmer in cooler areas—hence the hugging. The end game is a feeling of weightlessness and contoured support. This open-cell material also tends to be more breathable than the closed-cell construction of traditional memory foam, for those who feel like they overheat on traditional memory foam mattresses. All you really need to know is that it’s cushioning but supportive—and you either like that or you don’t. 

WHAT DID WE NOT LIKE?

For all its breathability, we did feel a little warmer when sleeping on the Tempur Sensation Elite mattress. Not sweat-inducing, but definitely cozier than we needed to be in August. However, this is not all that unusual with any foam mattress. If you really want to avoid this, it may be best to go for a latex mattress instead.

Tempur does say though that sleeping on its mattresses can help increase circulation, which may be why people feel warmer whilst sleeping on them. The company recommends a lower tog duvet, lighter bedding, and keeping your room well-ventilated (an essential when it comes to knowing how to sleep better) if you do feel warmer than you’d like. 

WHO IS THE TEMPUR SENSATION ELITE BEST FOR?

Tempur Sensation Elite mattress

(Image credit: Tempur)

This Tempur mattress is best for side-sleepers with or without backache or muscle pain. It might be especially helpful if you do suffer from pain at night though.

This is also a no-turn mattress so you don’t have to worry about flipping it regularly—which could be especially helpful for those who suffer with muscle pain, and perhaps those who aren't especially mobile, or live alone. Plus, the cover is machine washable at 60 degrees, so allergy suffers and those who like to guarantee good sleep hygiene may also like this mattress.

IS THE TEMPUR SENSATION ELITE WORTH IT?

If you are a straightforward, low-fuss sleeper, (e.g. you don't suffer any pains at night), then we’d have to say the Tempur probably isn’t worth your investment unless you really do have cash to spare. While Tempur may well have led the memory foam revolution, its competitors have produced some very worthy alternatives. You can get a decent-quality foam mattress for less than half the price—such as the Nectar memory foam mattress and the Emma Original mattress.

However, if you do struggle to sleep, the Tempur Sensation Elite mattress may well prove priceless. And we’re not just talking about those suffering with joint and/or muscle pains. If your partner moans about you thrashing about during the night, or their movement regularly disturbs you during the night, this mattress could be the solution given its excellent motion transfer. The 100-day trial means you have nothing to lose too if you want to try it out.

WHAT DO ONLINE SHOPPERS THINK?

There are not a huge number of Tempur mattress reviews by owners of this specific option online, but the ones we found on TrustPilot mainly wax lyrical about its amazing “game-changing” back and shoulder pain relief. There are some concerns about areas of sinking where the foam doesn’t regain its shape, but that should be covered under the 10-year warranty.

WHAT IS ORDERING AND DELIVERY LIKE?

Delivery is free within mainland UK, which is a great bonus. Delivery times vary according to stock availability, which can be up to six to eight weeks. We received an advance call from Tempur’s delivery team, to make sure we were happy with our designated delivery slot and to check someone would be home to receive it. Specifying an exact date/time of delivery at the point of purchase will incur a charge though, depending on where you live. 

An interiors journalist for more than 20 years, Linda Clayton has worked on a wide array of consumer titles, including Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors and Real Homes. 

 

She graduated from Cardiff’s esteemed School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies with a First Class degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism.