I often struggle when selecting a mattress, especially if they’re both hybrids, and unorthodox ones at that. Uniqueness and difference from the norm is always a good thing—but it doesn’t make the choice any easier. So let’s put two up against each other and try to figure out how they fare in this Sealy vs Emma review.
Should I Buy Sealy or Emma?
Sealy and Emma have their good and bad points, which we’ll go into later. But here’s some base material to get you started:
Choose Sealy If:
- The idea of a gel mattress is appealing to you
- You want a thicker mattress
- You're happy with a 5-year warranty
- A bit of bounce seems suitable
- You want more back support than the average medium-firm mattress provides
- If one mattress doesn’t suit, you’d like to see more from the same brand
- Full body pressure relief through even weight distribution is a must
Choose Emma If:
- You’d like something bouncy
- A brand designed for the UK market is more desirable
- A longer warranty is important to you
- You need a sleep trial and 200 nights sounds great
- You can accommodate a lack of UK sizing
- You want a cover you can wash in the machine
How Are These Mattresses Put Together?
Although these are both hybrid mattresses, they’re not your typical foam-big springs-foam blend. The Sealy has gel where the Emma has microcoils, both providing an interesting feel that you won’t find in many other mattresses.
The mattresses we’ll be examining are the Sealy Olympia Geltex against the Emma Hybrid Mattress.
Sealy’s mattresses all have several layers that construct their firmness and comfort, but unfortunately, the Olympia Geltex is one that’s mostly a mystery. Sealy discusses some of what goes into the mattress but there’s no layer-by-layer explanation or diagram the manufacturers provide, unlike some competitors.
From what little information Sealy provides, here’s what we’ve gathered.
The cover is an excellent moisture-wicking fabric that’s also made to be allergy-reducing. Sealy states its construction is from “smart fibres” and that the British Allergy Foundation endorses it.
From this we can safely assume that the mattress can’t store dust, mites, or anything else that may cause an allergic reaction, making this a fantastic pick.
The top layer under the cover is made of a substance called Geltex, which is a gel-like substance that provides softness, weight distribution and pressure relief. It’s breathable, too, so you stay cool.
Somewhere in the mattress, there are 1,000 pocket springs. Sealy doesn’t state how many layers of Geltex, foam or other substances sit above or below the springs. The springs themselves provide most of the medium-firm support found in this mattress.
Thankfully we know more about Emma’s internal construction as the manufacturers are detailed and transparent about what goes into it.
A Removable Cover
Emma’s cover wicks moisture to help prevent night sweats and deal with overheating. If the idea of the substance trapped in your mattress bothers you, don’t worry. The cover is not only removable, but machine washable, so keeping it clean is as easy as doing your regular washing.
The top layer of comfort in the mattress is made up of a custom foam called Airgocell, which is highly breathable first and foremost. It’s also a cushy surface you’ll find enjoyable to sleep on.
In an equally thin layer under the foam, you’ll find microcoils, which provide some support but more of a bouncy, soft surface. There are also small gaps between the fabric-covered coils to help with breathability, pushing hot air out of the mattress with each move and letting cooler air in.
ZeroGravity Memory Foam
Usually found towards the surface of hybrid mattresses, Emma has a thin layer of memory foam to add softness and comfort, as well as let you sink in deeper. As you sink into the mattress the memory foam layer also ensures you won’t feel the coils near the surface, as when you sink, they sink with you.
Memory foam is also fantastic for spinal alignment as your heavier body parts sink further than your lighter ones, getting your spine into the appropriate resting position.
HRX Supreme Foam
Where most hybrid mattresses get their main support from springs, here it’s from this unique foam crafted by Emma’s manufacturers. It’s dense enough to support you, but there are some gaps and grooves around the shoulder and hip area so these heavier parts can sink in deeper.
The heavier body parts sinking in aligns your spine, relieves pressure, and makes the foam in between the gaps and grooves feel firmer. This creates a more rigid surface under your back, which is great for supporting people with pain in the area.
When you turn the mattress—as you should be doing around four times a year—you don’t lose out on those helpful shoulder grooves. They’re in place at both ends of the mattress, but your feet are too light to fall into them so you don’t notice them when they’re not under your shoulders.
Here’s what you’re getting with these mattresses:
- Sealy: 30 centimetres
- Emma: 25 centimetres
It’s quite a substantial difference if your choice is reliant on mattress thickness, so here are a few things to remember:
- The thicker the mattress, the less you’ll feel your bed frame
- A thicker mattress has you higher off the ground, not great for shorter people with painful joints
- A thicker mattress has more space for your body to sink in and gain support and comfort
These mattresses are both medium-firm and differ from your typical mattress, but they do so in different ways.
With Sealy, you get a medium-firm feel with the performance of something firmer. As the gel distributes your weight evenly it allows all pressure to leave your body, making you feel like you’re sleeping on essentially nothing.
Each move shifts your weight so the mattress accommodates. It creates an equally soft and firm surface that you can both feel cosy on and supported by—so, it performs like a firmer mattress despite feeling medium-firm if you feel like you’re lying on anything at all.
This gives it the benefits of a firmer mattress, which we’ll go into later on.
Emma also has that excellent perk of being medium-firm but behaving like something firmer. It doesn’t do anything fancy with weight distribution, it’s all in your shoulders and hips.
Your shoulders and hips sink into those gaps left in the dense fourth layer of foam. This pushes the foam on either side of the gaps more tightly together, creating a slightly firmer surface.
The medium-firm feel is still there thanks to the microcoils softening things up, the other foam layers and the shoulder and hip support zones themselves. But in reality, the foam under your back is just a bit firmer, which gives this mattress the same benefits as the Geltex mentioned above.
Now, edge support is where these mattresses are in equal semi-failure. Neither has dedicated edge support, so you’re not getting outstanding performance, but you’re not getting something bad either.
With Sealy, your weight is distributed evenly, so if you lie on the edge you shouldn’t start sinking on one side as the edge crumbles under you.
Then, with Emma, the support zones under your shoulders and hips are enough to somewhat anchor you in place if you sleep on the edge. Still, the edge support could be better.
Like with edge support, motion transfer is somewhat the same in these mattresses. Neither gel nor microcoils can cover up movement completely, as there’s a level of bounce to both. The gel is more tightly compacted than the coils are, making it less bouncy, so the Sealy has lower motion transfer than the Emma mattress.
Neither mattress has enough motion transfer to wake your partner unless you’re actively bouncing around or frequently tossing and turning, but the transfer still isn’t zero, like on a memory foam mattress or a mattress with a regular foam surface and coils deeper inside the mattress.
The further apart you sleep the less transfer there’ll be, so that’s worth noting if you move around a lot at night and still want one of these mattresses.
Breathability and Temperature
The mattresses do a decent job at breathability, though Sealy has more active cooling than Emma, as detailed below.
Sealy’s cover wicks moisture and is breathable, where the Geltex substance is breathable, too.
Deeper in the mattress—though Sealy doesn’t specify where—there are three further technologies to helo keep you cool, two of which are called Purotec and Tencel. Sealy doesn’t specify how these technologies work, whether it’s by adding substances or altering foam. Still, if they work, they work.
Emma is more about breathability and wicking moisture than active cooling. The top washable layer deals with both of those aspects.
The coils underneath the top layer—which is also breathable—then help air circulate. You move and apply pressure, the hot air shoots out through the mattress’s cover around the edges. As you move again and create a space somewhere else, the colder air rushes in.
Sealy vs Emma: An Overview
So who exactly do these mattresses suit once you put the components back together? Let’s find out.
- Suitable for people who need a firmer mattress
- Relieves pressure
- Creates a feeling of weightlessness
- Great for dealing with back pain
- Wonderful for people with allergies
- Highly breathable
- Not great if you’re shorter with mobility issues
- The cover doesn’t wick moisture
- Short warranty and no sleep trial
With Sealy, you’re getting a fantastic mattress that spreads your weight and makes you feel weightless. At the same time, it provides extreme pressure relief and rigidity under your weight-free back that can help with back pain and other aches.
It’s recommended that people with back pain sleep on a mattress that’s rated firm, but sufferers get along with the Sealy Olympia Geltex just fine. Another group that usually needs firmer mattresses, people with higher weights, also get on well with it.
If you’re heavier, you usually sink deeper into a mattress and it no longer feels firm. Thanks to the even weight distribution that’s not the case with this one, giving you a comfortable, fully supportive night that’s also wonderfully cool and breathable.
With several cooling technologies packed inside, there’s no chance that you’ll overheat on this mattress. You won’t suffer from any allergy attacks, either, as the surface repels allergens excellently. That’s great news for those of you with hayfever and the likes!
The only people who may struggle with the mattress are shorter people with mobility issues and joint pain. If it’s on a high bed frame your feet might not touch the ground when you go to get off of the bed. This leads to you having to jump slightly, landing on limbs and joints that may not be able to take the pressure. Consider investing in a low bed frame if you choose this mattress.
You want to be absolutely sure you have the bed frame and desire to handle this mattress before you invest. There’s no sleep trial so you don’t get to test it—you can return it within 14 days as long as you haven’t slept on it, but without sleeping on it you don’t get too much indication about what it’s like over time, which is unfortunate.
The warranty is also lacking as it only covers five years, where most mattress warranties cover 10.
- Long sleep trial
- Standard warranty
- Washable cover
- Suitable for most people
- Excellent breathability
- Enjoyable for kids
- Low enough for most people to get on and off of without an issue
- Not for people who dislike bounce
- Heavy-shouldered people will struggle
- Very little active cooling, it’s more about breathability and wicking moisture
Emma is great for those people that Sealy fails—it’s lower, so more suitable for shorter people with joint problems and similar issues. It also suits people that most medium-firm mattresses don’t, because of the way the foam between the supportive zones firms up.
The firmer foam supports your back wonderfully while your spine is aligned thanks to the support zones. This also relieves pressure around your heaviest areas.
Speaking of heavy areas, you should avoid this mattress if you carry a lot of weight in your shoulders as you’ll end up sinking too deep into the shoulder supportive grooves. This will misalign your spine, resulting in pain at night and during the day.
If you’re not sure whether or not your shoulders would be too heavy, or you have any other doubts about the mattress, consider giving it a try for a while. If you have problems and find you’re not compatible within the first 200 nights then you can send the mattress back and get a refund.
Once kept, you have 10 years of coverage under a warranty should anything go wrong that’s out of your hands.
For the most part, nothing should go wrong, as the mattress is constructed excellently and is suitable for most people, from adults to kids. Kids will like that extra little bounce the microcoils bring.
Adults that the mattress is particularly suitable for include people who have frequent night terrors, menopausal or pregnant women, and people who sleep excessively hot. You’ll benefit from the moisture-wicking abilities of the cover.
The cover is also great for people who hate deep cleaning mattresses because it lets you just throw it in the washing machine and it comes out as good as new.
The constant air circulation and breathable foam should also help you if you deal with overheating at night. All in all, a fantastic mattress to consider.
When it comes down to it, Sealy and Emma are incredibly similar mattresses and you can’t go wrong with either. They’re medium-firm with the benefits of something firmer, they both feel fantastic and you won’t overheat on either. Their individual prowess lands in two specific areas.
The Sealy mattress is best for people with allergies, thanks to the smart fibres used in its construction. You’ll get peace of mind with that under you every night.
Meanwhile, for dealing with night sweats, you can’t go wrong with Emma. That washable, moisture-wicking cover does its job well.