Mail order, bed-in-a-box mattresses such as Simba are now everywhere you look. If you’ve ever searched for one on Google, this is especially true as you will have been followed by Google ads for all its competitors thereafter.
Beyond the obvious advantages in terms of portability (at least until you unroll it) and its reasonable price, however, is Simba as good as its slick marketing suggests? And how does it stack up against a more traditional pocket-sprung mattress?
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Simba Hybrid Mattress review: What you need to know
For a start, Simba offers a 200-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try one for yourself without any financial risk for more than six months. The Simba Hybrid was something of trendsetter in that it was one of the first bed-in-a-box hybrid mattresses, combining memory foam with pocket springs. In fact, there are five different layers used in Simba’s mattress.
First is a hypoallergenic sleep surface designed to maximise air flow. Next is a 40mm “Simbatex” comfort layer that mimics latex and promotes cooling. Below this is a layer of 2,500 20mm conical springs (in the king size mattress) that are designed to minimise movement transfer – where you feel it whenever someone rolls over next to you. Finally, there’s 35mm of memory foam above the support base that’s constructed from 155mm of firmer, more supportive foam.
In total, the mattress is 25cm deep, which makes it compatible with most fitted sheets and will raise you off the bed frame by the same height as a traditional mattress. Due to the order of the layers in the mattress, it goes without saying that you don’t need to flip it, but it’s recommended that you rotate it once a month at first to improve its lifespan. After it’s broken in, rotating every three to six months is sufficient. Unfortunately, there are no handles to help you do this, and the mattress weighs a hefty 37kg in king size, so make sure you’ve got several pairs of hands to help out.
The Simba Hybrid is highly versatile in terms of the different bed bases you can use it on. It’ll work with divans, solid bases or slatted bases and Simba even sells its own adjustable bed for use with the mattress. It’s worth noting that the type of base you use will affect the feel of the mattress. Sprung slats, for example, make it feel slightly less firm than a solid base. Simba also recommends that, if you use a slatted base, the slats are no more than 3in apart in order to give sufficient support.
To protect your mattress without compromising comfort, Simba recommends you use a breatheable cotton mattress protector rather than a polyester variety. It makes its own protector, which is available from £45. To keep things hygienic, Simba Hybrid’s top cover can also and washed on a 40˚C cycle.
Unlike many bed-in-a-box mattresses, which are sold exclusively online, you can try out the Simba Hybrid in some John Lewis and Furniture Village stores. The mattress comes with a ten-year guarantee from the date of delivery – although you should probably be replacing it well before that expires anyway.
Simba Hybrid Mattress review: Price and competition
Prices for the Simba Hybrid range from £550 for a single to £750 for a double and £850 for a king size. This is a similar pricing model to foam mattress manufacturer Nectar, which uses three distinct layers of foam, but no conical springs. Other well-known names in the bed-in-a-box market include Emma, whose mattresses are slightly cheaper. There’s also Eve, which sells its foam mattress for a £650 and £750 in double and king sizes, respectively, and its hybrid for £550 and £650.
Another outstanding bed-in-a-box hybrid is the Otty, which combines comfort, support and temperature control in an excellent value package. Indeed, its double mattress costs £600, while the king version will set you back £700. All of the above manufacturers offer a minimum of a 100-day trial, after which they’ll collect the mattress for free if you’re not totally satisfied.
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Alternatively, if you have a budget closer to £1,000, you can get a pocket sprung mattress such as the Hypnos’ superb pillow-top mattress. The disadvantage is that these mattresses cost more to manufacture than their memory foam rivals, so, once you’ve taken them out of their wrapping, there’s no option to return them unless they’re faulty.
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Simba Hybrid Mattress review: Comfort and performance
After removing your Simba Hybrid from its vacuum packaging using the provided tool and laying it on your bed, it quickly rises and starts to take shape. Although it can take up to 24 hours to fully form, the good news is you can sleep on it only three hours after it’s been unpacked. This is great if you’re moving into a new flat and want to sleep on your new mattress the same day. At first, you’ll probably notice quite a strong plasticky smell. Rest assured that this disappears entirely over time and the more you air the mattress, the faster it will fade.
My impressions after sleeping on the Simba Hybrid for the first time were that it was very comfortable, albeit surprisingly firm – a seven out of ten, where ten is the firmest. I should add at this point that I weigh around 75kg so, if you’re lighter than this, you’ll likely find it firmer and, if you’re heavier, it could feel softer.
Depending on your preferences, the firmness definitely isn’t a bad thing. Having also tested the Casper mattress, I found the Simba Hybrid noticeably more supportive from the offset, despite it still offering a soft, comfortable top layer. Both mattresses became less firm within the first few weeks of being broken in, making the Casper much too soft for my liking, while the Simba Hybrid ended up spot on in terms of firmness and comfort.
There’s no doubt Simba’s synthetic latex sleeps hotter than a traditional pocket-sprung mattress with natural fillings. For most months of the year you can probably control this by using suitable bedding, but if you’re the sort of person who gets too warm on memory foam, the Simba Hybrid is probably not the mattress for you.
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Having said that, I found the Simba Hybrid’s properties at least didn’t change drastically when I did get warm. With other memory foam mattresses, including Ikea’s medium-firm Morgedal and the Casper mattress, I have found firmness can change quite drastically throughout the night as the bed warms up and, by the morning, you can feel like you’ve sunk into a giant marshmallow. With the Simba Hybrid, this wasn’t a problem and I felt adequately supported throughout the night, even when I did get hot.
I’m not sure what the layer of conical springs contributes to this impressive level of support, but you shouldn’t buy the Simba Hybrid expecting the feel of a sprung mattress. To put it simply, it’s just not very springy and, although you don’t sink into it too far, it much more closely resembles the sensation of a foam mattress than a pocket-sprung variety. That’s hardly surprising when the conical springs in the Simba are only 20mm deep.
Simba Hybrid Mattress review: Verdict
If you’re in the market for a “bed-in-a-box” mattress, I can wholeheartedly endorse the Simba Hybrid. Unless you get very warm in bed – in which case you’re best off avoiding memory foam altogether – my only significant criticism is that it lets off a horrible plasticky smell for the first few days.
Finding the right level of firmness in a mattress is a very personal thing, but the Simba Hybrid strikes an excellent balance between comfort and support. Best of all, I found that it doesn’t lose these properties when it gets warm or after its initial break-in period.
The mattress could do with some handles to make manoeuvring it less irksome, but that’s easier said than done with something that’s made up of four layers of foam. At £750 for the king-size version, it’s not exactly cheap, but you’ll be very hard pushed to find a more comfortable hybrid mattress for the same price.