Bed and Mattress Testing

Why test beds and mattresses?

A good night’s sleep is vital, so a bed or mattress that doesn’t meet your customers’ expectations could prove to be a nightmare for your business. Safety and structural testing for strength and durability will help to highlight any potential issues, such as loose joints, sagging mattresses or mattress walls that breakdown/degrade in use.

FIRA’s furniture and product tests simulate real-life use and misuse providing a valuable insight into how a bed or mattress will perform. Through testing you can be certain that your mattresses, bed frames, divans and headboards have met all the recommended industry safety and performance Standards.

Domestic furniture - The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPS Regulations) legally require beds and mattresses for the home (domestic market) to be safe and fit for purpose.

Contract furniture – For beds and mattresses intended for contract environments, which is anywhere that is not classed as a domestic/home environment, for example; hotels, nursing homes, hospitals, etc. the specification will usually state that a product is required to meet the relevant Standard(s) for its intended use. It is also now the case that many contract specifiers will not accept a product unless it has been tested by an independent, third party.

Furniture flammability - It is a legal and mandatory requirement that all upholstered furniture intended for domestic use MUST comply with the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations. This includes the fillings of mattresses.

It is also recommended that mattresses for domestic use, as a final product also need to meet the voluntary British Standard BS 7177 at the appropriate level to demonstrate compliance to the fire regulations.

Flammability Standards also exist for contract furniture and, although not covered by the above-mentioned regulations, are no less important. Compliance with these Standards is essential and will, in the majority of cases, be a requirement of tender documents.

The UK’s flammability regulations are different from Europe, so it is essential for your ‘due diligence’ that you have a valid test certificate to show a product is legal to sell.

Read more about flammability testing.

Testing mattress and topper components - It is advisable to also perform physical tests on the layers used in the composition of a mattress, such as foams, memory foam or latex, as well as other fillings and combinations of materials. Depending on the composition, these materials may change over time and testing for durability will provide an insight into longer term performance.

Read more about foam testing.

Complying with Standards and regulations for beds and mattresses

Testing is an easy way to ensure compliance and FIRA’s experts are knowledgeable and experienced in the practical requirements for meeting Standards and legislation.

There are British and European Standards applicable to the structural testing of beds and mattresses for both the domestic and contract markets.

Each Standard contains a series of tests which address strength, durability, stability and safety. The test methods and performance requirements vary depending upon the end use of the item concerned, whether for domestic, outdoor, office, contract or educational use.

Key areas for assessing beds and mattresses:

Testing provides an insight into the structural integrity, strength and durability of the product and a stringent safety assessment will be carried out in line with relevant standards.

  • Structural testing of bedsteads for domestic and contract use
  • Structural testing of bunk beds for domestic and contract use
  • Stability of bedsteads and bunk beds for domestic and contract use
  • Children’s cots and beds
  • Flammability - read more about flammability testing
  • Mattress performance
  • Settlement - Roller durability – a large roller imitates a person sleeping and compressing the mattress.
  • Mattress cover fabrics (tickings) - physical tests are carried out on the fabric to check for strength and durability.
  • Springs - tests to assess whether the springs are in sufficient volume, have appropriate wire diameter and are durable enough.
  • Polyurethane foams - there are a number of standards and tests to measure how well a foam recovers after prolonged compression and a pounding test to measure how much height and hardness the foam loses over use. Read more about foam testing

Speak to a FIRA expert to find out the different tests required for your product. Contact us or request a quote.

Performance levels for testing beds and mattresses

The test methods and performance requirements vary depending upon the end use of the item concerned:

• Domestic

• Contract – Currently no National/International standard for contract beds exists. FIRA has used its extensive knowledge to develop a Standard for the non-domestic environment.

​Importing beds and mattresses

With the exception of flammability performance, for products made in the EU, it is the manufacturer who is responsible for ensuring a product is safe, fit for, however if you are importing beds and mattresses from overseas into the EU, you are responsible.

For flammability performance, it is the first importer into the UK who is responsible for ensuring compliance of the product.