Simba Simbatex Essential Foam mattress review

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Welcome to the WhatMattress long-term review of the Simba Simbatex Essential Foam mattress – and what a mouthful it is. If you’re in the market for a new mattress, the Simbatex Essential Foam is surprisingly cheap: think of it as a mattress that’s massively budget-friendly compared to Simba’s other models. But is it any good? In this review, I’ll be taking a closer look at this mattress and sharing my honest thoughts about its pros and cons.

The Simbatex Essential Foam mattress is an affordable choice that boasts a reasonable sleep experience for anyone willing to try it.

It sits almost forgotten within the Simba range, and is often confused with the similarly-named Simbatex Foam mattress, though that model contains an extra layer and is more expensive. Note that I’ve clarified all of the differences below.

Confusing names aside, let’s start the review…


  • Cooling graphite foam layer despite budget price
  • Surprisingly affordable for a Simba mattress
  • Zoned foam base for targeted pressure relief
  • Made in the UK
  • High environmental standards
  • 10-year guarantee
  • 200-night trial


  • Not suitable for those who prefer a softer mattress
  • May not provide enough support for heavier individuals
  • Some may find the initial off-gassing odour unpleasant


The Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress is a fairly firm mattress from the UK-based company Simba. It features a cooling core of breathable Simbatex foam (which means it’s infused with graphite for temperature regulation and can possibly be considered a cooling mattress).

It’s clearly been designed to promote spinal alignment and also comes with reduced allergens for a healthier sleep environment. Ther’s the usual 10-year guarantee but interestingly, it is 100% recyclable at the end of its life, making it a fairly environmentally-conscious choice.

Now, it’s only right that I mention some negatives too. Frankly, the lack of support for heavier folks is a major problem with the Simbatex Essential Foam mattress. Unlike some other budget mattresses that contain side- or bolster-support, there is nothing here that I can see that does this.

That said, the Simbatex Essential Foam mattress, despite these flaws, is a top choice for people on lower budgets or in search of a basic foam-only mattress. It provides adequate comfort and support for the cost, it cools surprisingly well (for a memory foam), and the knitted hypo-allergenic cover is a pleasant bonus for anyone with allergies. If you can get a discount on it, all the better.

Test results

For the past two weeks, I’ve been sleeping on a Simbatex Essential Foam mattress, and I have to say that, all things considered, I’m fairly pleased with it. The main takeaway is that I (nearly) always got a good night’s sleep. Of course, this is a budget foam mattress, not a hyper-expensive wool & latex affair with 14 layers, so I’m mindful of its drawbacks versus the price.

In terms of negatives: I would say that, as the Simbatex Essential Foam mattress is on the firmer side (which didn’t really bother me), if you prefer a softer mattress, this might not be the one for you.


Firmness is subjective, but I’ve given it a solid 8 out of 10 on the WhatMattress scale, making it one of the firm mattresses I’ve tested for a while.

Note that *all* Simba’s mattresses are on the firmer side, compared to a few other brands.

Simbatex Essential Foam: Cover

The hypo-allergenic knitted cover of the Simbatex Essential Foam mattress is both soft and breathable, allowing for better temperature control during the night.

The Oeko-Tex 100 Standard certifies that the cover’s high-quality fabrics are devoid of hazardous compounds, making them safe for allergy sufferers. Your mattress will stay clean and fresh for longer because the cover is detachable and machine washable. The cover is made to work in tandem with the Simbatex foam layers to ensure a restful night’s sleep without sacrificing on your health.

Layers (3)

The Simbatex Essential Foam mattress comes with a rather straight-forward 3 layer setup which, somewhat surprisingly given the price, all contain high-quality, expertly made materials. I suppose this is to be expected with Simba who are known for producing higher-quality products than many others.

I’ve covered the cover (get it?) above, and some people include that as a “layer” while some do not. Let’s not split hairs and just call it the first layer.

The second layer consists of the supportive and breathable Simbatex foam. This natural graphite-infused open-cell foam offers 30 times more ventilation than traditional memory foam and keeps you cooler all night long.

The bottom layer of the Simbatex mattress is made up of what Simba bizarrely call “crenellated” high-density foam foundation. The foam has been cut to create a pattern of peaks and troughs that provide targeted comfort in certain areas of the body. The aim is to promote a healthy and pleasant sleeping position by reducing strain on the shoulders and lower back.

The ‘peaks’ of the foam layer help to distribute the weight of the body more evenly, while the ‘troughs’ allow for increased airflow, helping to regulate temperature and prevent overheating. It’s simple but it works: this targeted support despite being a ‘budget’ mattress meant that I had pretty much no discomfort nor pain during my testing.

There’s a lot of thinking, clearly, that went into making each layer work together – this is really what Simba are renowned for. Sure, they’re pricier than some other brands, but Simba do take some pride clearly in the fact that their mattresses are both comfy and environmentally friendly because of the materials they use.

Versus: Simbatex Essential Foam & Simbatex Foam

Conmfusingly, there are two related mattresses sold by Simba in the UK, with similar names but they do vary in price quite a lot:

Here’s a clarification of the differences:

Simbatex Essential FoamSimbatex Foam
Firmness Rating8/10 ⭐️7/10 ⭐️
Sleep Trial200 Nights ?200 Nights ?
Warranty10 Years ?10 Years ?
Sizes Available4 ?5 ?
Depth20cm ?25cm ?
Eco-FriendlyYes ?Yes ?
Made InUK ??UK ??
Materials UsedSimbatex Foam, Zoned Foam Base ?Simbatex Foam, Simba-Response Foam, Zoned Foam Base ?
Cooling TechnologyGraphite Infusion ❄️Graphite Infusion ❄️
HypoallergenicYes ?Yes ?
DeliveryFree ?Free ?
ReturnsFree ?Free ?
Price (single)£239.40 ?£407.40 ?

The Simbatex Essential Foam is thicker than the regular Simbatex Foam and also runs slightly softer (but it’s by no means “soft”). The Simbatex Foam costs more, and is 25cm in depth, which is 5cm deeper than the Essential Foam (because of the extra Simba Response layer). You also get a few more sizing options with the Simbatex Foam.

Whether or not you’re willing to pay an extra ~£150 for an extra 5cm of support depends of course on your own preferences: while the Simbatex Foam may be a better option for individuals who need more support or prefer a thicker mattress, the Simbatex Essential Foam is a better option for those who prefer a thinner mattress or are working within a smaller budget. In the end, it comes down to things like how you want to sleep, how much money you’re looking to spend, and how comfortable you want to be.

What exactly *is* graphite?

Graphite is a natural mineral that stands out here due to its exceptional thermal conductivity. The Simbatex Essential Foam mattress comes with graphite added into its top foam layer to dissipate body heat.

Graphite’s potential to improve the cooling qualities of memory foam has led to its increased use in foam technologies in recent years – though you usually only find it in higher-end, more pricey mattresses. Simba are the first company I’m aware of, to add it to a sub-£400 mattress. 

In general, adding graphite to memory foam can make it much better at maintaining a keeping the same temperature throughout the night. People who sleep hot or who sweat excessively during the night will I suspect benefit greatly from this.

What about the smell?

Yep. The Simbatex Essential Foam suffers from the offgassing problem that plagues all (or most) foam mattresses. My mattress had a strong chemical odour when I initially started using it, but it faded after 3 days. Similar to the first few minutes after opening a brand-new paint can, the odour was intense but eventually faded. After two weeks, there was no trace of the smell at all.

You can find out more about offgassing here.

Best Rated Mattresses UK (2024)

  1. Simba Hybrid Luxe — Best for comfort, with wool layer
  2. Nectar Memory Foam — The comfiest, affordable memory-foam mattress
  3. Emma Premium — Best cheaper hybrid around. Full stop.
  4. OTTY Original Hybrid — Still going strong
  5. Eve Original Hybrid — Still a classic, made in UK
  6. Tuft & Springs Solitaire 2000 — Pricey but high-quality

The top all-round mattress in the UK according to WhatMattress users in 2024 is Simba Hybrid Luxe. It's surprisingly affordable, and out-performs all other hybrid mattresses in terms of comfort. It also doesn't sag as much as other rival hybrid mattresses, even after a couple of years of testing.

Simbatex Foam Mattress: Eco Credentials

B Corp is a certification that recognises businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Simba Sleep – for those who don’t know, is actually a UK company –  is the first sleep brand to receive B Corp accreditation, which indicates an organisation’s commitment to using business as a force for positive social and environmental change. They do this by cutting back on energy and material use, recycling all of their mattresses, and reusing the scraps of foam for things like carpet underlay and pet beds.

In addition, they’ve launched their own cutting-edge recycling service that’ll take any mattress brand off your hands for free, not just their own.

In a world where memory foam mattresses are notorious for being wasteful (and non-recyclable), it’s great to see Simba trying to stand out here and doing something a bit different. Of course, it’s built into the price and partly why their mattresses are more expensive, but I think it’s a nice touch.

Do I need to flip it?

Well, you can’t really flip it because then you’d be sleeping on the harder foam base. 😉

Because of its low-maintenance construction, the Simbatex Essential Foam mattress never needs to be flipped over. Instead of switching it up every month, try switching it up every three months for the first three months. This will prevent any one section of the mattress from becoming too compressed by spreading the weight around. You will likely get more use out of your mattress and extend its life by rotating it regularly; it’s a simple change that can have a major impact on how well you sleep.

About the Simba sleep trial: 200 nights

The 200-night sleep trial that comes with the Simbatex Essential Foam mattress is pretty standard to all Simba Sleep mattresses now. It gives you plenty of time to decide if it’s the ideal mattress for you, though it’s not quite as generous as the trial from Nectar or Eve – both of which now offer 365-nights. In any case, you can send the mattress back and get a full refund if you’re not happy with it.

Plus, if a Simba Essential Foam mattress ever develops a flaw in construction or materials within the first 10 years of regular usage, Simba will replace it at no cost. Knowing that you’ve bought a product of superior quality and durability is a relief given that you can no longer test out Simba’s products in John Lewis stores (I know, such a shame).


I followed a similar method to other mattress testers while evaluating the support and the comfort of the Simbatex Essential Foam mattress. Firstly, there was a 3cm drop when in the seated position, which in other words meant that the mattress offered sufficient support, as my body did not sink all the way into the foam. For the record, I weigh about 10 stone. All of this was to be expected given its firmness!

My next step was to try out the mattress in a variety of sleeping positions:

  • My hips sagged around 2cm
  • My shoulders sank aprpox. 1cm when I laid on my side.

In short, this meant there was a lot of support, which is great for spinal health. The Simba Hybrid Luxe, however, (which is much more expensive) performed marginally better in this setting.

  • While flat on my back, I saw a decrease in height of 3cm at my hips and 3.5cm at my shoulders. Still, the strength of the famous Simba base layer clearly offered stability and kept me from plunging too far in.

The high amount of support wasn’t the only thing that made the mattress appealing when testing: the soft top layer made this budget mattress feel a little softer than it actually was.

Next, I put the Simbatex Essential Foam mattress through its paces by placing an accelerometer under it. As I got into bed, I checked how much motion there was on the other side of the bed, where a potential partner might be. The only time the activity level in the bed really went up was when I sat down.

Here at WhatMattress we take mattress research seriously - all our product tests are done as fairly and honestly as possible.

That's quite a bold claim, but we're proud of the attention to detail that you're hopefully seeing within our reviews. Our methodology sets us apart from many other review websites. I like to think this is because WhatMattress is only run by two people - Carrie and Anthony. Over the years we've hand-tested multiple mattresses, pillow and other bedding products - so that you don't have to!

Every single mattress is put through its paces using the following tests:

  • We make sure to live with the mattress for at least a week.
  • We always sleep on the mattress we're testing - every single night.
  • We will always be 100% honest when we weigh up the pros and the cons of each mattress.
  • And in most cases, we've bought the mattress ourselves and haven't been given a free one.

Simbatex Essential Foam: Sizing

As with many cheaper or budget mattresses now, the Simbatex Essential Foam only comes in a few select sizes in the UK – though 5 sizes is certainly more than comparative mattresses like the Eve Lighter (3 sizes) or the OTTY Aura (4 sizes).

Single90 x 190 cm
Small Double120 x 190 cm
Double135 x 190 cm
King150 x 200 cm
Super King180 x 200 cm

Which sleeping style does it suit?

  1. The Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress is well-suited for side sleepers due to its medium-firm support. To ensure a restful night’s sleep, it properly props up your shoulders and hips, relieving stress on those areas and facilitating proper spinal alignment.
  2. If you sleep on your back, I suspect you’ll like how the high-density foam foundation of the mattress eases strain on your lower spine. Those who like to sleep on their backs will appreciate the mattress’ superior lower-back support and commitment to proper spinal alignment.
  3. Anyone who sleeps on their front (stomach) may find the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress excessively hard, though it won’t sink as it’s pretty firm, but you may find a little “give” would be beneficial.
  4. People who sleep in a variety of positions during the night should in all likelihood find that the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress meets their needs. No matter how you sleep, its “medium-firm” (actually firm) support will provide the ideal amount of give and support.
  5. The Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress is a suitable choice for couples because it reduces motion transfer significantly. This means that if one person gets up in the middle of the night, it is less likely to wake up their partner. If you and your partner have different needs in terms of how you sleep, this mattress is a fantastic compromise.

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Simbatex Essential Foam: UK Pricing

Here’s the latest pricing for the UK, though Simba are often running promotions so these are subject to change.

SizePricePrice with discount code

If you want to save even more on the above prices, then the best way is to use a Simba Sleep discount code.

Other mattresses to consider

There are plenty of competitor brands and mattresses that are fairly similar to the Simbatex Essential Foam, but I don’t want to bamboozle you.

So, let’s keep it simple. The top 3 alternatives to the Simbatex Essential Foam are the Eve Lighter, Nectar Memory Foam, OTTY Aura and the Emma Original.

Versus: The ‘Eve Lighter’ mattress

  • Firmness: The Simbatex Essential Foam is rated 8 out of 10 in firmness, while the Eve Lighter is rated 6 out of 10. This means the Simbatex is firmer and offers more support for those who prefer a firmer mattress.
  • Cooling technology: The Simbatex Essential Foam is infused with graphite, which has a cooling effect, while the Eve Lighter uses open-cell foam to improve breathability.
  • Sleep Trial: You get 365 nights with Eve, and ‘only’ 200 nights with Simba.
FeatureSimbatex Essential FoamEve Lighter mattress
Firmness Rating8/10 (firmer) ⭐️6/10 (softer) ?
Sleep Trial200 Nights ?365 Nights ?
Warranty10 Years ?10 Years ?
Sizes Available5 ?3 ?
Depth20 cm ?20 cm ?
Made InUK ??UK ??
Materials UsedSimbatex Foam, Reflex Foam ?Memory foam ?
Cooling TechnologyGraphite Infusion ❄️Breathable foam ?
HypoallergenicYes ?Yes ?
DeliveryFree ?Free ?
ReturnsFree ?Free ?
Price£239.40 ?£299.00 ?

Overall, both mattresses have their strengths and weaknesses but I’d go for the Simbatex Essential if it were me, as long as you don’t mind a firmer feel.

Verdict: Good or bad?

Firmness RatingFirm – 8/10 ⭐️
Sleep Trial200 Nights ?
Warranty10 Years ?
Sizes Available4 ?
Depth20 cm ?
Eco-FriendlyYes, mostly ?
Made InUK ??
Materials UsedSimbatex Foam, Reflex Foam ?
Cooling TechnologyGraphite Infusion ❄️
HypoallergenicYes ?
DeliveryFree ?
ReturnsFree ?
PriceFrom £239.40

So that just about concludes my Simbatex Essential Foam mattress review.

If you’re looking for a firmer yet comfy mattress, the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress is an interesting option. The natural graphite and breathable Simbatex foam in the mattress’s core keep things cool, letting you sleep cool and soundly. The high-density foam base ensures a restful night’s sleep by relieving pressure in key areas including the shoulders and lower back. If you suffer from allergies, you’ll appreciate the hypoallergenic cover’s softness and cleanliness.

The Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress works well for back, stomach, and side sleepers, but it may not be the best option for people who prefer soft mattresses. Made in the UK so coming with strict environmental standards, it is CertiPUR certified too and seems to be a decent choice for the planet.

So the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress, in general, provides a cool and pleasant sleeping environment that should last for a few years, though questions remain about its longevity.  Overall, it’s a great buy for anyone looking for a quality mattress at a reasonable price thanks to its 10-year guarantee and sleep trial.

Top Memory Foam Mattresses: Comparison

A comparison of the best UK memory foam mattresses
BEST IN TESTNectar Memory FoamEmma OriginalSimbatex FoamSimbatex EssentialEmma Original PlusErgoflex 5G
WhatMattress User Rating4.6 4.4 3.2 4.5 4.3 3.9
Trustpilot Rating4.3 4.1 4.4 4.5 4.3 4.8
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Can the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress be used with an adjustable bed frame?

Yes, the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress is suitable for use with any supportive bed base, including adjustable frames.

Can I use an electric blanket with the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress?

Yes, you most definitely CAN use an electric blanket with the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress. However, Simba Sleep advises against using electric blankets on the highest setting for long periods.

Can the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress be returned for a refund?

Yes, Simba Sleep offers a 200-night trial period for the Simbatex Essential Foam Mattress. If you are not satisfied with the mattress, you can return it for a full refund within this period.

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How we reviewed this article:

Edit History:

Our experts continually monitor the mattress & sleep tech space, and we update our reviews & articles when new information becomes available.

  • 19th April 2024
    Current Article - By Carrie Taylor
  • 19th April 2024
    Checked & Reviewed - By Jean Marshall
  • 19th April 2024
    Copy Edited - By Carrie Taylor
  • 19th April 2024
    Reviewed - By Carrie Taylor

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