Emma Original vs NextGen Premium: Which Emma mattress should you buy?

Emma Original mattress (left) NextGen Premium (right)
(Image credit: Emma / Future)

Emma is one of the most popular sleep brands in the UK, and a big reason for that is the Emma Original mattress. This affordable memory foam mattress has been consistently popular, earning itself a high-ranking spot in our best mattress guide. With the NextGen Premium, Emma proved it could make an equally impressive hybrid mattress. But how do the two compare?

We've had the opportunity for a hands-on experience with both mattresses, so we understand how they perform in real-life circumstances. You can discover more about our testing and results with our Emma Original mattress review, and our Emma NextGen Premium mattress review. But as both mattress scored highly during our review process, you might be wondering how to choose between the two.

Overall, we rate the Emma Original slightly higher than the Emma NextGen Premium. However, although they're manufactured by the same brand, these mattresses feel quite different, so the Original might not be the best pick for you – with these mattresses, it really will be a matter of preference and budget. If you prefer a memory foam 'hug', then the Original is superior. If you want a bed with some bounce, the NextGen Premium comes out on top. Let's explore how the Emma Original vs NextGen Premium mattresses stack up.

Emma Original vs NextGen Premium mattress: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Emma OriginalEmma NextGen Premium
MaterialsMemory foam, other foamsPocket springs, memory foam, other foams
CoverPolyester, removablePolyester, removable
Firmness (1-10)5-6/107-7.5/10
Trial period200 nights200 nights
Guarantee10 years10 years
Price bracketLower mid-rangeMid-range
Double priceRRP £449RRP £609
SizesUK sizes: single, small double, double, king, super king. EU sizes: single, double, queenUK sizes: single, small double, double, king, super king. EU sizes: double, queen
DeliveryFree standard delivery, £45 for old mattress removalFree standard delivery, £45 for old mattress removal

Emma Original vs NextGen Premium mattress: Design

  • Emma Original is an all-foam mattress
  • NextGen Premium is a hybrid with pocket springs and foam
  • Both come in a basic or Plus design, with upgraded cover

Three layers of foam go into the 25cm tall Emma Original. At the base sits a layer of HRX (High Resiliency Extra) foam, designed to provide counter pressure against the weight of your body, and featuring seven zoned cutouts to keep your spine better aligned. Sitting above this is a layer of contouring memory foam, before a top layer of foam with Point Elastic Airgocell technology for enhanced breathability.

While the Original is made from nothing but foam, the NextGen Premium is a 25cm tall hybrid design, combining layers of foam with a layer of pocket springs. This is also the more complex mattress design. There are five layers instead of three, with a base layer of polyester to improve the stability of the mattress. On top of that sits the springs, divided into seven zones to enhance support in specific areas. Next comes the foam. First a supportive foam, then a breathable foam with Point Elastic Airgocell technology, before the top layer of memory foam.

It might sound like a foam-heavy design, but the NextGen Premium is primarily springs. At 18cm tall, these springs dominate the mattress build, giving it a more traditional feel (we'll discuss this more below).

Both mattresses are available in two options: standard or Plus. For both mattresses, the standard design comes with the Emma standard cover. This is a removable and washable polyester cover. It's soft to the touch and features side handles for easy maneuvering.

Upgrade to the Emma Original Plus, and you'll get the Emma Comfort cover. Super plush, it's just as easy to care for as the standard cover, but it's also softer, more durable, and has better breathability. The NextGen Premium Plus comes with a specialised cooling cover, designed to improve temperature regulation. These upgraded covers come at a higher price, but should also deliver superior performance.

Design winner: Draw

We rate both the Emma Original and the NextGen Premium a 4/5, and it's difficult to declare a winner. With this, it really is a matter of preference.

Emma Original vs NextGen Premium mattress: Price & extras

  • Original is lower mid-range, NextGen Premium is mid-range
  • Both have a 200-night trial and a 10-year guarantee
  • Both are rarely sold at RRP

Emma is a very well-priced mattress brand, especially for the quality. We rate the Emma Original number one in our best memory foam mattress guide, and that's at least in part thanks to the lower mid-range price. A double Emma Original typically costs around £380, although we have seen that price fluctuate. This is excellent value for a mattress of this quality.

Like the Original, the NextGen Premium is reasonably priced, although it tends to fall in the mid-range bracket. It's also on sale frequently, and we typically see a double retail for around £485. At full-price, the NextGen Premium is a tad overpriced, so it's definitely worth waiting for a sale if there isn't one live – and we don't think you'll be waiting long.

Emma runs sales pretty much constantly. The discount tends to switch between the standard model and the Plus: when the standard is on sale, the Plus is full price, and vice versa. After a few weeks, the deal generally switches models again. 

The Emma sales are consistent, but they can be confusing. Essentially, if the mattress you want isn't on sale, it's worth waiting a few weeks to see if the discount changes. You can keep up to date using our Emma mattress sales and deals page, where we also have information on Emma's pricing history.

In terms of extras, the Original and NextGen Premium are neck-and-neck. Emma offers the same 200-night trial and 10-year guarantee for both mattresses, as well as the Plus versions. This is standard across the Emma mattress range.

Price winner: Original

Emma Original vs NextGen Premium mattress: Comfort & support

  • Original is medium, we rate 5-6/10
  • NextGen Premium is medium-firm, we rate 7-7.5/10
  • Original is good for side sleepers, NextGen Premium is more versatile

Before we get started comparing firmness and comfort, a quick note on how Emma does things. Most mattress brands (and our sleep team at TechRadar) rate firmness out of 10, with one being very soft and 10 being pretty firm. Emma, unhelpfully, does it the other way round. On the Emma scale, one is very firm, and 10 is super soft. Got that?

With that in mind, Emma rates the Original a 7/10, which would be 4/10 on our scale. Our reviewer largely agreed with this rating, although they found the mattress a little firmer than Emma suggests. This is a mattress you sink into, rather than lie on top of. The contouring foam hugs the body closely, and there's no bounce. 

The softer feel of the Original provides relief at the major pressure points, making it one of the best mattresses for side sleepers. Back and stomach sleepers might find the Original lacks support at the lower back and hips, especially for those with heavier builds. The sinking softness of the Original is better for those with lightweight and average builds. If you want a firmer all-foam mattress, consider the SImbatex. Learn more with our Simbatex mattress review, or see how it compares with the Emma over at our Emma Original vs Simbatex mattress showdown.

Emma also ranks the NextGen Premium a 7/10 on its firmness scale, but we had a different experience. Our tester felt the NextGen Premium was significantly firmer than that, at least at first. Over time, the mattress did start to feel softer. There's a good balance of sink and support to the NextGen Premium, which should appeal to most sleep styles. However, lightweight side sleepers might prefer something softer, while stomach sleepers might need better support.

As a soft memory foam mattress, the Original has an embracing feel that holds onto the body. With the NextGen Premium, the layer of springs gives more bounce and response to the mattress. There's also limited cushioning here so if you want a more padded sleep surface, consider adding one of our best mattress toppers.

Winner: Draw

There's significant difference in feel between these two mattresses, making it hard to pick a winner. If you want a memory foam hug, the Original stands out. For responsive support, the NextGen Premium is better. 

Emma Original vs NextGen Premium mattress: Performance

  • NextGen Premium has superior temperature regulation
  • Original has better motion isolation
  • Both have average edge support

It doesn't come as much of a surprise that the thick foam cushioning of the Emma Original can hold onto heat. It isn't a major problem – our tester was largely comfortable throughout the night – but it is worth noting if you struggle with overheating. 

However, while the layers of foam can inhibit temperature regulation, they do a great job of absorbing movements. The Original performed very strongly during our motion isolation tests. If you share a bed with a restless partner, you'll hardly feel them move.

We see the reverse of this with the NextGen Premium. The layer of springs allows air to circulate through the mattress, helping to keep the temperature even during the night. However, the spring-heavy design does impair motion isolation. Although the NextGen Premium performed better at this than we expected, you might feel some bounce if your partner rolls over.

A kettlebell resting on the Emma Original (left) vs the Emma NextGen Premium (right)

Original (left) had excellent motion isolation, NextGen Premium (right) better temperature regulation (Image credit: Future)

Both mattresses fall slightly short when it comes to edge support. The NextGen Premium doesn't have the reinforced edges seen in some other hybrid mattresses. This helps with breathability, as air can travel freely through the mattress, but it does mean the perimeter is a little weak. The Original also struggles with edge support, although this is common with all-foam designs. 

While the edge support isn't a major issue for either mattress, but it can cause problems if you use the edge of the bed to move. For better edge support, check out our Panda Bamboo Hybrid mattress review.

Winner: Draw

Again, this will come down to what you look for in a mattress. Sleep hot? The NextGen Premium is the winner. Get woken up by a restless partner? Go for the Original.

Emma Original vs NextGen Premium mattress: Which should you buy?

Buy the Emma Original if...

You want a memory foam 'hug': The layers of softer foam in the Original create an embracing effect that you simply sink into. If you want a bed that gently holds your body as you sleep, this is a top choice.

You're on a tight budget: The Original is one of the best value mattresses around, thanks to regular Emma sales knocking the price into the lower mid-range bracket. 

You sleep on your side: A combination of contouring pressure relief and soft cushioning around the joints makes the Original our best mattress for side sleepers.

Buy the Emma NextGen Premium if...

You sleep hot: A primarily spring-based design, air can circulate easily through the NextGen Premium, making for strong temperature regulation. Although the layers of foam have been designed to enhance airflow, for the most part, the springs are doing the work.

You want a bed with some bounce: There's a traditional feel to the NextGen Premium thanks, again, to those tall springs. That increased responsiveness makes it easier to move around,

You sleep on your back: The medium-firm feel of the NextGen Premium is good for most sleepers, even if some side sleepers might prefer a softer finish. Overall, we rate it best for back sleepers.

Ruth Jones
Staff Writer

Ruth is TechRadar’s Sleep Writer. She’s here to help you find the perfect sleep setup for your budget and personal preferences. As well as keeping a keen eye on everything that’s going on in the world of mattresses, she regularly speaks to experts to help you learn how to improve your sleep habits, whether that’s by debunking sleep myths or explaining the science behind it all. Prior to joining the TechRadar team, she wrote features and product guides for new parents hoping to get a decent night's sleep, as well as writing for a variety of online spaces.