What is a pocket sprung mattress?

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A pocket spring mattress consists of individual springs encased in fabric pockets either sewn or hand-tied together. Pocket springs provide comfort, support and durability. As each spring works independently, they are an excellent choice for sleeping partners of widely differing body weights and build.

A pocket spring mattress consists of individual springs encased in fabric pockets either sewn or hand-tied together.

Each spring works independently, which means two people sharing a bed are less likely to disturb one another. The individual springs contour to the body’s shape to ensure the shoulders, spine, and hips are correctly supported.

pocket springs

What are the benefits of a pocket spring mattress?

  • Each spring works independently to contour to the body and allow even weight distribution.
  • As each spring moves independently, this helps to prevent movement and disruption between sleeping partners.
  • Pocket spring mattresses are usually available in a choice of spring tensions, so you can tailor the mattress to suit your support needs.
  • Mattress side stitching, often a feature of higher-quality pocket sprung mattresses, provides edge-to-edge support while extending the sleeping area.
  • Some pocket spring mattresses contain natural materials, which are soft, luxurious, durable, and fully breathable.
  • Due to the standards of workmanship, pocket spring mattresses will typically last longer than other types of mattresses.

Are pocket spring mattresses firm?

Most pocket spring mattresses are available in soft, medium, firm, and sometimes extra firm spring tensions. The spring tension is achieved by changing the thickness and gauge of the spring’s wire.

Whilst choosing a mattress that you find comfortable is essential, correct support is primarily based on your body weight and build. The table below provides guidance about which spring tensions are suitable for different body weights.

Up to 11 stoneSoft
11 to 16 stoneMedium
16 to 20 stoneFirm
Above 20 stoneExtra firm

If the mattress is too soft, this will cause the mattress to sag. This will make it harder to turn over in bed.

incorrect body support when sleeping on a soft mattress
Too soft: The body slouches, causing pressure around the hips.

If the mattress is too firm, this will put pressure on the body, causing aches and pains, especially around the shoulders and hips if you sleep on your side.

incorrect body support when sleeping on a firm mattress
Too firm: Spine is misaligned, causing pressure around the shoulders and hips.

The mattress should contour to the body’s shape, ensuring each part of the body is aligned and correctly supported.

correct support when sleeping on a mattress
Correct support: The shoulders and hips sink into the mattress, and the body is correctly supported.

How many springs should a pocket spring mattress have?

A pocket spring mattress can be made up of single or multiple layers of pocket springs. In general, the more pocket springs there are in the mattress, the more supportive it will be. Most manufacturers specify the number of springs within each mattress, allowing for easy comparison between mattresses.

The number of pocket springs in a king size mattress starts from around 600 in cheaper models. Ideally, you should be looking for a mattress that contains at least 1,000 springs, as anything less is unlikely to offer the support you need. Mattresses with more than 2,000 pocket springs will consist of several layers of pocket springs stacked on top of each other. The base layer absorbs movement, while the top layers contour to the shape of the body.

Some manufacturers use mini springs in their mattresses to enhance the overall spring count. These mini springs provide an extra layer of comfort. With the inclusion of mini springs, you can often find mattresses that contain 10,000, 20,000, or even 30,000 pocket springs.

Because of this, it is often misleading to compare spring counts between different manufacturers, as you won’t know if you’re comparing mini springs with full height springs. Full height springs have several turns in the wire that allow them to be responsive to the sleeper’s weight. In contrast, mini or micro springs compress much quicker and are not as supportive.

Furthermore, a mattress containing fewer springs but costs more money usually indicates superior quality.

Spring counts are always based on the king size version. This means that there will be fewer pocket springs in the smaller sizes, such as singles and doubles and more pocket springs in the larger sizes, such as super king size.

What other factors should be considered when choosing a pocket spring mattress?

Besides spring count, there are several other factors to consider when comparing pocket spring mattresses. This can include the quality of workmanship, its construction, filling quantity, and quality.

Many higher-quality pocket spring mattresses are constructed using traditional handmade techniques. These techniques can take many years to perfect and help to ensure that each mattress is built to the highest standards of workmanship.

Inside these mattresses, the pocket springs are typically hand-nested into a honeycomb pattern to provide greater support and durability.

Another technique is hand-side stitching. This labour-intensive task involves stitching the side panels of the mattress to the outer rows of springs. This prevents the edge of the mattress from sagging and provides edge to edge sleeping support.

What’s inside a pocket spring mattress?

Pocket spring mattresses can contain natural and synthetic materials that provide cushioning and comfort.

Cheaper models often contain synthetic materials like polyester and fibre pads. Higher-quality pocket spring models often contain luxurious natural materials like wool, silk, and horsehair. The springs are typically made with vanadium steel for strength and durability against corrosion. They are then wrapped into hardwearing calico pockets. Natural materials are more durable than synthetic materials and are fully breathable.

As many pocket spring mattresses are made to order, manufacturers can often provide a bespoke service to tailor any mattress to the customer’s needs. This can include non-standard sizes or shapes, such as cut-out corners for four-poster beds.

Should you turn a pocket spring mattress?

Most pocket spring mattresses need turning. Some mattresses are single-sided, meaning that you can only sleep on the top side of the mattress. These mattresses should be rotated but not flipped over. Double-sided mattresses can be rotated and flipped over.

Each mattress should come with turning instructions. But as a general guide, you should turn your mattress once a week for the first three months of use then once a month thereafter.

Mattress turning is essential as indentations and body impressions can start to appear on the surface of the mattress after use. This settlement is more prominent in higher-quality mattresses that contain large amounts of filling. Turning your mattress regularly ensures even settlement of the fillings.

For some ‘no need to turn’ pocket spring mattresses, it may also be necessary to turn them from time to time.

What is the best base for a pocket spring mattress?

It’s generally best to buy a pocket spring mattress with its matching divan base if it has one. For instance, many divans contain pocket springs which can significantly improve the comfort and support of the bed.

If you prefer a slatted bed frame, the gap between the slats must not exceed the mattress manufacturer’s recommendations. In general, slat spacing should not exceed 7.5 cm. Otherwise, the springs may sag between the gaps. You should also place a breathable blanket or mattress pad on top of the slats to prevent damage to the mattress.

Which is best, pocket sprung or coil sprung?

An open coil mattress consists of a continuous wire wrapped around to form a spring unit. These types of mattresses can be mass-produced cost-effectively by a machine. Movement is transferred across the entire surface of the mattress, so sleeping partners are likely to disturb one another during the night.

Pocket springs are more expensive but of superior quality because they take longer to build and are generally made with better quality materials. As each spring works independently, there is little movement or roll together. Because of this, pocket springs are ideal for couples that sleep together. Pocket springs offer superior comfort, support, and durability.

How long does a pocket spring mattress last?

The lifespan of a pocket spring mattress depends on several factors, such as the build quality, usage, the quality of the materials, and how well it has been looked after.

Cheaper models may last up to 10 years with correct care. In contrast, a higher-quality handmade pocket spring mattress can last up to 30 years because of the quality of workmanship.

Final thoughts

If you’re unsure which type of mattress to choose, pocket springs are an excellent choice as they offer comfort, support and durability. Make sure you do plenty of research and consider your options carefully before buying.

About the author

About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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