How Many Springs Make A Good Mattress

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How Many Springs Are in a Good Mattress? & Other Pocket Sprung FAQs

Joy Richards – March 1, 2019 Hi, I’m Joy – Happy Beds’ Sleep Specialist. Aside from Italian food and my three lovely boys, nothing makes me happier than helping our customers find what works for them, and how they can make the most of their forty winks.

Shopping for a mattress can be an incredibly daunting process, with the endless technical terms, it can sometimes feel like you need a degree in mattress-buying to make the correct decision.

What are pocket sprung mattresses? How many springs are in a pocket sprung mattress? How do you know which spring-count to go for? Who are best suited to them? Don’t worry; these questions are commonly asked and this blog is here to put your mind at rest.

In this blog, you’ll be taken through a brief course of pocket sprung expertise and by the end of it, you’ll be equipped to get mattress shopping and gain that good night’s sleep you’ve been longing for some time.

How Do Pocket Sprung Mattresses Work?

Pocket sprung mattresses work by maintaining balance irrespective of weight. Each individually nested spring is placed in a fabric pocket and moves independently when you lie on the mattress. When two people are on the mattress, neither of them will be disturbed if the other one moves. Mattresses with pocket springs offer more comfort than those with open coil springs.

How Many Springs Are There in a Good Pocket Sprung Mattress?

When shopping for a pocket sprung mattress, there is one thing that retailers will shout at you: the spring count. If you don’t know the difference between spring counts and how many springs make up a good quality mattress, this information will fall on deaf ears and mean nothing to you. People tend to see numbers in a mattress name and feel confused, but it really is much simpler than you might think.

The bottom line is that the more springs, the better the mattress. However, when you are unaware of what an average spring count may be, it is difficult to analyse the quality of a mattress.

A ‘good’ mattress will generally have above 1000 springs, with the acceptance that a higher spring count equals to better quality (and a higher price). There really is no compromising with your sleep, so we cannot recommend enough that you shop around to find the perfect mattress for you. Our mattresses range from 1000 pocket springs and beyond, varying in features and firmness to cater for all sleepers.

Although spring count is an important way to assess a mattress quality, you shouldn’t obsess over the number of springs alone. There are many factors of a mattress that you should consider to ensure it is suitable for you.

Why Buy Pocket Spring Mattresses?

With all this talk about springs, it’s completely understandable for all of this descriptive talk to go over your head. Mattresses don’t have to be complicated, once you know what you need to look for to suit your own sleeping requirements, getting a good night’s sleep has never been so easy. With plenty of pocket sprung, coil sprung and foam mattresses available on the market, it can be difficult to choose. Let me tell you a little bit about pocket sprung mattresses and what makes them so flexible to all sleepers…

Pocket sprung mattresses are considered a modern improvement on your average coil sprung mattress, offering an innovative design featuring thousands of individual springs cased in a fabric house which are stitched together to create lengths of connected springs. Each pocket spring moves individually and contours to everybody for personalised comfort, making it a favourite of many mattress-shoppers looking for the perfect place to unwind.

The individual spring design ensures there is plenty of air circulation throughout to both prolong mattress life and provide the perfect temperature control for your own comfort.

Is a Pocket Sprung Mattress For You?

Pocket sprung mattresses are so popular due to their immense flexibility to all sleeping requirements, with varying options designed to cater to a large market of people. Pocket sprung mattresses come in a range of firmness ratings, varying from soft to firm in order to provide the perfect sleeping space for all weights. The general rule when selecting firmness is the heavier the sleeper combination weight, the softer the mattress should be. Our firmness rating tool found on our mattress product pages allows you to input your weight to identify the perfect firmness for you – easy!

Due to their high quality, pocket sprung mattresses are usually deeper than most, with the ability to flip and rotate the mattress for an even longer lifespan. Pocket sprung mattresses are considered a worthy investment, granting many people around the world with perfect comfort. With additional features such as orthopaedic and natural fillings, our range of Pocket Sprung Mattresses cater for all and make this form of sleeping solution perfect for all requirements.

Why Pocket Springs Are Great for Lovebirds

If you are a loved-up couple or you share your bed with another sleeper, pocket sprung mattresses are for you! With individually nested pocket springs, the mattress is designed to isolate movement across the sleeping space to ensure you are never disturbed from your slumber, regardless of how much your partner is wriggling around. For this reason, pocket sprung mattresses are a favourite for couples and make sharing a bed much more comfortable and limit disturbances – that just leaves the snoring to deal with!

I hope I’ve cleared up some of the common concerns about pocket sprung mattresses and allowed you to fall in love with them as much as we have. Here at Happy Beds, we believe that everyone deserves a good night’s sleep and pocket sprung mattresses are a great way to do so. If you have any more questions or want to share your favouritepocket sprung mattresseswith us, then get in touch – we would love to hear from you! You can reach us via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Happy sleeping!

Q’s Views

A mattress industry blog by Mark Quinn

7 Reasons Coil Counts Matter

When I first got into this business, I worked for Stearns & Foster, which at the time was owned by Sealy but had its own sales force and product development team. We sold Correct Comfort products with 390 12¾-gauge innersprings. This was a problem because at the time, Sealy (our sister company) and other leading brands were selling mattresseswith 660 coils, although the gauge of wire was much thinner. In training meetings with RSAs, we used to say, “stronger wire, less coils is just as good as thinner wire, more coils; it really is six of one, half-dozen of another.” Then the industry moved away from any conversation around spec or coil counts with Nat Bernstein’s Comfort Selling program, which we launched at Sealy. (There may have been other similar training out there or people doing it before we did, but Sealy was THE leader back then so I am pretty confident this led the rest of the producers.) With this approach, we took as much focus off the components as we could and simply sold the comfort of the product above all else. It was easy. It was effective. It worked.

Times have changed. Consumers are not as easy to sell to; they are more educated than ever with the Internet, they are sick and tired of the lack of transparency in our industry,and sellingcomfort onlyjust won’t get it done in many cases. All of that to say, COIL COUNTS MATTER! Yes, I work for a spring producer, so it won’t surprise you that I am taking this position, but hear me out on my list of seven reasons to focus on the count and construction of the innerspring:

  1. There are many (notice I didn’t say all) consumers that just want more information about what is inside the bed. YOU may not be the spec type or need to have a breakdown of the construction, but do not make the mistake of assuming those people are not out there. If you live in Clear Lake, Houston, you know exactly what I am talking about!
  2. If there is a $300 difference from one bed to another, telling them that comfort is the reason for the jump just won’t get it done. The consumer needs you to JUSTIFY the higher price with other reasons in order to believe.
  3. More coils can in fact mean more comfort and more support. If you take similar constructions and decrease coil count, it is going to have a direct impact on the feel and likely the durability of the mattress.
  4. With the new micro coils from Spinks/Hickory Springs and Leggett & Platt, this new sleep tech delivers a great story for the RSA to share with the consumer.
  5. Look at Europe. Coil counts are marketed very successfully and it helps them drive consumer interest.
  6. Some may say that speaking about coil counts or construction could complicate things at the point of sale, but I strongly disagree with that. In fact, I think it’s just the opposite; it makes things SOOOOO much easier for the consumer to understand. If you SIMPLIFY the experience for the consumer, you will win. Explaining that more coils are better than less coils is pretty much a no-brainer.
  7. There is a discernible comfort difference in testing an average bed versus one with 50% more coils in it. If you can deliver a selling point that is experiential for the consumer, you will get that sale.

So have I convinced you? If you agree or disagree with me, help us learn more on the subject by completing a quick survey. Sleep Geek would like to understand the industry sentiment on this subject and YOU CAN HELP. I will release the findings in a future blog post, so carve out a few minutes, please.Take the survey nowso you can be counted!

36 thoughts on “ 7 Reasons Coil Counts Matter ”

Agree 100 % Knowledge will out sale most other methods

I work for a reputable mattress company in Edmonton. I am a person who has cut many coils out of different pocket coil beds to illustrate the differences in coil counts to the average person. I strongly disagree with any BS about coil counts adding anything but a “story” to a bed. Of course it is easier to sell beds based on this, but I challenge anyone worth a hoot in this industry to successfully argue the merits of higher coil counts, (which the published story is vague about coil types) especially given the variables in foam, maintenance of the mattress, and protection. You could narrow this list down to one reason why coil counts matter: 1. It helps the ill informed sell to the ill informed. The only thing that may help the general public about buying beds with a hope for happiness, is to remove your “7 Reasons Coil Counts Matter” from the web and try this again. I pity the customer relying on your info to buy.

We are going to have to disagree on this one Tim. Please tell me what you are basing your opinion on, is there research there to back up what you are saying? Feel free to address each of the 7 if you would like and I will be happy to support my thoughts in more detail. Believe me, I understand the BS approach taken by many in our industry to make a point but I assure you there is more to this post than opinion and smoke.

I may be late in my response and sell few innerspring sets these days but during that time in my life it was easy to explain to a customer that what fails on any mattress is most commonly the upholstery layers (comfort layers). Therefore it is only reasonable to explain that More coils utilizing a thinner gauge (14 gauge) of wire will serve to flex moreso than a set with fewer coils utilizing heavy gauge (12.75 gauge) of wire. The higher the resistance to pressure the more quickly the upholstery layers will wear out causing loss of comfort. This is why I was never a Stearns fan. Simple really.

Hey how about giving me some pointers, what to look for, how long they will last and so on please

Hey there Ken, give this website a try. There is a lot of great information to help you with your mattress shopping.

My best customers did not understand Coil Count 3 Years ago. After they made a very expensive mistake, they come searching for answers and relief from huge depressions. Steel Springs, and a lot of them reward me with many referrals.

Thanks Charlie and I agree. A bed made with a superior core will typically last longer. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

This is a tough question, good salesmen should be educated in all of the different technologies about coil construction so they can answer their consumers’ questions. Latex and tempur mattresses have no coils, and we all know how important these mattresses are to our industry. So, coil counts have no bearing on the all foam bedding. The front coils on your car can support a couple thousand pounds, but they would not make a very comfortable mattress. Typically, the mattresses with fewer coils are less expensive for a reason; they usually are not covered with the most plush upholstery. As the coil count goes up, the quality of padding improves; both alter the feel of the mattress. I am not aware of any mattress company which offers a good, better, best comparison of their mattresses by simply changing the coil count and leaving the upholstery the same. So, the research seems to be tainted. There are definitely companies out there that dress their mattresses, “to the nines” on inferior coils, and then they sell them as more mattress for less money. Ultimately, the consumers should try to buy the most comfortable mattress they can afford. So, does coil count matter? Sometimes yes and sometimes no!

I feel you are making a broader attempt to say coil count can be a factor for some consumers so make sure you are in the know about coil technology. I also see were Tim is coming from. There are many factors when having a conversation about coils. This in itself leads customers to be confused.

Simmons uses the triple braided coil in their Beautyrest black series. When I did a simple PPI test with a basic scale sealy’s new titanium coil actually was stronger. And if my memory is correct there is about a 100 difference in coil count. But many retailers that carry the black series will sell the higher coil count and construction. L&P makes close to 95% of coils manufactured but we all know how the bed is constructed, used, and maintained play a huge factor in lasting comfort and durability. How much weight applied is another huge factor. It is no secret we have an obesity problem in America. Have manufactures adequately addressed this issue for the market? I would argue no.

Listening skills, product knowledge and candid conversations with your customer are the main points to selling any bed. I once had an hour long conversation with a guest about coils and coil count before I sold him a bed, and other customers the comfort is the sole decision.

I would agree that if there are two different price points you are showing a customer, you better have more to say than “well the more expensive bed is more comfortable.” People are different and their taste, preferences and needs are different. This in itself leads to such a wide selection of products it can become a daunting task to a customer shopping. Also with an 8-10 year buying cycle retailers are very sensitive to pricing. I love when a customer will ask “why are beds so expensive these days”. My reply is two fold: 1. Consumers are more demanding when solving their sleep needs so achieving a highers level of comfort is expensive, just like anything else you buy. 2. There are two other products you don’t buy everyday let alone every year, and that is a house and a car. When you buy those items they are always at a higher price point unless you want to sacrifice quality.

European societies are way more conformist than Americans are. Coils are a more in depth conversation to have and simplifying it to “more is better”, is naive. I will leave with this: It is important to know about coils and coil counts along with the specs of the beds you sell. However every interaction is different and the better your listening skills are the better you know what features, benefits and advantages are important to the customer you are talking to.

Very good reaction to my blog and I believe that you captured the intent of my message. Thanks for reading it and for your comments. It does depend on your audience as to how you approach that but to ignore it is not wise in my opinion!

I too, successfully sold during the “comfort factor only” era. But coil count has always been a part of the conversation with clients. As implied in points 2 3 and 7, comfort is in part a product of coil count/type/quality. It’s common sense. Point is, and has always been, know your product thoroughly. My client doesn’t need to know everything about their mattress, but I know the features that make the difference. My confidence in my knowledge makes her/him confident in their purchase.

Educating the customer on a mattress is significant to the sales process. As stated in the article, many customers don’t want to hear the specs, but for those who do, educating them is key! A mattress is a large purchase that will be a part of the customer’s life for years. I agree with the statement in the article saying that telling a customer that comfort is the reason a bed is $300 higher most likely isn’t going to cut it. What goes into the make and build of the bed that makes it worth more? If these are the details the customer is looking for, then explaining these specs to the customer and helping them understand is important.

I agree with you Amanda. For that certain customer that needs more of a reason to believe, getting into some of the details can be very important. I appreciate your comments and for reading!

In 1987 (approx) Simmons won a Clio Award (for Television Advertisements) for the “Bowling Ball Commercial” (Bowling Ball dropping on a raw Beautyrest Coil unit). The point of the commercial was mostly aimed at showing “what” the coils did (or more importantly what they “did NOT” do….(yes this was a long time ago)

Of course, no body really ever slept on a “raw” coil unit….but the TV spot was pretty well a successful one….and I credit Marv Beneteau for the genius of the idea….Marv was a good friend and a real asset to the Simmons Company in those days…..fwiw…
[Marvin Beneteau – Owner, The Retail Marketing Group
Greater Atlanta Area]

Enjoyed this discussion. Thanks…

Now those were the days Mr. Porter! They were very effective and will forever live in the mattress ad hall of fame. Thanks for reading sir. Merry Christmas.

So, who can tell me what should I look for in a mattress for a person weighting 300 lbs +?

Just look for a bed that isn’t going to show a body impression Lidia. All foam beds like Tempur-Pedic are probably good for that. We have our own brand called Spink and Edgar that have as many as 9,000 coils in them so having that much steel in the bed would be a good thing as it won’t show impressions either. Hope that helps!

Your survey did not work, could not access it. OK so coils matter. Which ones are best, steel or titanium, and what is the best coil mattress out there? We bought a pillow top mattress 1.5 yrs ago. The ruts or gully’s in it are terrible, now they are called, body impressions. Other than gel or foam, there is not a mattress without a euro or pillow top to buy. The mattress manufacturers have us trapped. We are seniors and my husband has to have back surgery soon. I was doing research to find a new mattress that would support his back, without the ruts in the mattress top.

Sorry I am just now responding Shirley. Not sure what kind of bed you have but the brand is important. I am partners in a company called Spink and Edgar and you can look at our beds at We make beds with 3,000-9,000 coils and DO NOT USE foam, they are all natural. Foam is typically the culprit when it comes to a bed forming a body impression. I hope this helps and if you want to discuss it in person call my mobile at 630-788-7138 or email me at [email protected] for your husband and his surgery.

So if a queen mattress has 900 coils that is 15 gauge and another queen mattress has 1000 coils at 16 gauge. which one will feel better? in terms of support

I totally depends on what the comfort layers are inside the bed and your definition of comfort. Don’t want to be vague but that is really the bottom line. If you are looking at any bed with 900 or more coils you are going to have the support you need which is important!

I had the same feeling many times when I visited a mattress shop (brick and mortar) or visited a mattress selling website – many times they were lacking transparency about how they produce/what is used to produce the mattress and mostly using the “comfort” as a sales point, as well as in some of the stored I felt like a victim put in front of bunch of predators to be eaten alive. As you stated in the article Mark, clients are getting more educated and they expect people who sell them stuff to be transparent and honest about their products, yet some of them forget that all the bs they are telling us can be now quickly debunked with a use of the mobile phone. I personally hope the industry will evolve into something more than just capitalizing on people who are in need of new mattress and will buy pretty much anything and I can already see this is starting to happen which will for sure benefit all current and future customers.

Thanks for reading this Silvia and for your comments. Authenticity is the only way for good companies to make their way to greatness.

interesting topic, my wife and i were out looking at mattresses tonight and the salesman tried using that exact comfort sales approach with us. we are interested in 2 beds, #1 sealy full size with 791 response cased coils, pillow top plush, actually this mattress felt very nice, and supportive.on sale for $439. bed #2 Simmons Harrington Pillow top full size with 465 Silver Recharge Coils, and a lot of fluff layers in the pillow top. feel was a bit on the spongy side, a bit softer then we like. also the simmons mattress was $739. both appeared to be equally covered and constructed. when i asked the salesman about the coil count difference he used the old double talk about comfort and tried to tell us that the coil count was about equal?really my math is not that bad, 791compared to 465? this encounter was not about comfort, but rather money$$$ sales commission on a higher priced item. we will be going back tomorrow for the $439 sealy as it did have a better feel.

This one is hard to navigate, especially now that there are so many micro coils in the market and when I wrote this post, that was not even part of the equation as those products were not really in the market. Glad you found a bed that you believe is a good value! Hope you are sleeping great; thanks for reading Mike!

This convinced me that more coils is a good sales pitch, but the only real difference I can see in the entire article is that more springs will feel ‘different’. As a mechanical engineer with metallurgy knowledge, assuming the springs are designed to have the same maximum stress (well below the yield strength) both spring systems will have the same durability. I would guess Q is correct; the foam is more likely to wear out than the springs.

Thanks for reading Ray. More coils definitely feels different and we know this from extensive testing. Especially when you are talking about the micro-coils being used today. Micro-coils only lose about 4% firmness vs. some foam at 47-50% over a ten-year cycle. You can feel anything over 10% so coils win. 🙂

Mark, so if i understood your point correctly, more coils does not affect durability of the mattress, it mostly affects the comfort? (if we disregard foam)

That was not my point, sorry if that is how it came across. Coils are very important for both comfort and for durability, especially now with the innovative things companies are doing with micro coils. Coils are so good today that foam is much less important and don’t last as long as a coil will. Hope that helps Davor!

Glad I came across this site. I have been shopping for a new mattress for about a week now. I have it narrowed down to a Stearns and Foster Luxury Plush pillowtop, and a Sleepy’s pillowtop. Both have an extra set of coils right underneath the pillow top but the S&F has 2044 coils vs the Sleepy’s with 880. The sales person at mattress firm told me that the Sleepy’s brand is great quality and less expensive because they do not spend the $$ on advertising etc., which gives them the ability to keep prices lower. The difference in price is dramatic, Queen S&F 2500.00, King Sleepy’s 1300.00. I will definitely spend more money on better quality, but want to make sure I am not being taken for a ride here. Opinions would be appreciated. 🙂

Hey there Nicole. Stearns and Foster and Sleepy’s both make great beds. In full disclosure, I am friends with the company that makes the Sleepy’s product and they also build my Spink and Edgar products. I think it really comes down to your comfort preference because both beds have enough coils to support your body that is for sure. If you want something really special, however, check out and prepare to be amazed. 🙂 It is true that Stearns and Foster is part of a very large company that does have a lot of overhead so you do pay for some of that when you purchase their mattresses. Sleepy’s producer operates at a much lower cost to produce. Hope that helps!

Sorta informed me their Perfect Sleeper coils are 880 density. So, I’m assuming it has 880 coils. I hope I am making a good decision should I purchase. I appreciate everyone’s input.

That is plenty of coils to support your body Mary Anne! Just make sure that it is the right comfort level for you and all should be good. 🙂

Do More Coils Make a Better Mattress?
The Core of the Matter

The coils, also known as the core or the innerspring unit, provide the main support for the body. Proper support is essential not only for a good night’s sleep, but for maintaining a healthy spine. When considering the core of an innerspring mattress, there are a number of important factors: the number of coils used throughout the mattress, the way the coils are constructed , and the shape of the coils .

Is a High Coil Count Better?

You might have heard a rumor that the more coils in a mattress core, the more supportive the mattress will be. While this can be true, coil count is not nearly as critical today as it once was. These days the construction of the coils is a much more important factor in determining the overall comfort and support of the mattress.

  • A typical mattress contains between 250 and 1,000 coil springs
  • A mattress with a lower coil count might use thicker wire or other techniques to compensate for this (see Coil Construction below)
  • As a rule of thumb, the minimum number of coils you should look for in a mattress is 300 for a full, 375 for a queen and 450 for a king-size mattress

How are Mattress Coils Made?


When discussing the coils of an innerspring mattress, the word "gauge" refers to the thickness of the wire used to construct the coil. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the lower the number, the "heavier" the gauge, and the thicker the wire — 12.5 gauge wire (very "stiff") is thicker and stronger than 16.5 gauge wire (quite "springy").

Working Turns:

Another important factor is the number of "working turns" in each coil, a measurement of how tightly the coil is wound. Coils constructed with a higher number of working turns will result in both a softer and more durable mattress, since the work of supporting your body is spread throughout the spring. Working turns can be counted by tracing the wire with your finger — each time your finger travels 180 degrees around the coil translates to one working turn.


Tempering is the process of heating and cooling the coils to ensure they retain their proper shape over time. A "double heat tempered" coil has gone through that process twice, ensuring increased durability .

Types of Coils

There are three main coil designs used in modern mattresses: Hourglass (also called Bonnell) , Pocketed and Continuous .

Hourglass Bonnell Coils

Hourglass coils, the most commonly used design, come in two varieties — Bonnell coils and offset coils. Based on 19th century buggy seat springs, the Bonnell coil has an hourglass shape with a knot at each end, and is known as the original mattress coil. Today, Bonnell coils are still the most prevalent coils in the mattress industry, though they are typically found in less expensive mattresses. The offset design, found in more expensive mattresses, is similarly hourglass shaped, but the circles at the top and bottom of each coil are flattened to create a hinging action within the mattress core. This design allows the mattress to better conform to your body, and tends to make offset coils less noisy than their Bonnell predecessors. It also allows offset coils to be connected to each other via helicals (corkscrew-shaped wires that run over the tops and bottoms of the coils), which prevents them from moving from side to side when compressed.

Below: Offset hourglass coils connected with helicals

Continuous Coils

Continuous coil springs are made from a single length of wire shaped into a series of loose S-shaped ringlets. The concept behind this design is that by attaching each coil to its neighbors, the mattress core will be stronger, more stable, and more durable. Continuous coil designs also allow for significantly more coils per mattress, making it difficult to compare coil counts with non-continuous coil systems. Today, this coil type is common mainly in very inexpensive mattresses.

As with connected coils, since metal touches metal in the bed, there’s potential for noise or squeaking when the coils rub against each other.

Are Pocketed Coils Better?

Pocketed coils, also known as Marshall coils, are each individually wrapped in a fabric pocket. While the pockets might be connected together, the springs are each independent of one another and can move separately. Pocketed coils provide more motion separation than other innerspring coil types, meaning that when your partner starts tossing and turning, you are less likely to be disrupted. This can really come in handy if your bed-mate is a restless sleeper. On the flip side, pocketed coils endure greater strain over time, since each coil absorbs weight without distributing it to other nearby coils.

Many innerspring mattresses now use pocketed coils, and the majority of hybrid beds use them too.

Below: Coils in their fabric pockets

Micro coils

Coils are usually found in the support layer of a mattress. But coils can be part of the comfort layer, too. Micro coils are small, flexible springs that can make up a layer near the surface of a mattress. They are usually designed as individual coils wrapped in fabric pockets that are sewn, glued or welded together to create a flexible surface.

Micro coils range in height from about 1" to 3" tall. In addition to being shorter, micro coils are narrower and made with lighter gauge wire than regular coils. The lighter, encased wire gives micro coils a softer feel, and the smaller size enables more springs to be placed into a given area, also enhancing softness.

If pressure relief and motion isolation are important to you, micro coils are a good choice. They do a good job of conforming to your body’s contours. They also do a good job at isolating movement. Micro coils provide a good level of repositioning and overall responsiveness, cradling the body while creating a supportive, pressure-relieving effect for recessed areas of the body not in direct contact with the support layers of a mattress.

How Long Do Innerspring Mattresses Last?

The basic techniques and materials used to make innerspring mattresses date back centuries, and are time-tested. Assuming you buy a good quality innerspring or pocketed coil mattress from a reputable brand and retailer, your new mattress should last in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 years. It could be more or less depending on your circumstances, sleep style and body weight, but a quality innerspring mattress should hold up well and resist body impressions as well as (or perhaps better than) newer-technology memory foam.

Pocket spring mattress guide

First lets clear up what isn’t a pocket spring. Common names such as Orthopaedic, Continuous Coil, Bonnel coil, Bonnel sprung, Miracoil & Opencoil are all cheap cage sprung systems. If a manufacturer is using premium pocket springs in their mattresses, trust us, they will want to tell you all about it!

  • Spring counts
  • What is a pocket spring?
  • Types of pocket spring
  • Mattress upholstery and pocket springs
  • Tailored Spring Gauges – Soft, Medium or Firm?
  • How are pocket springs made?
  • What is a Vanadium spring?
  • Other types of springs – Cortec, Revolution & Micro Springs

View our range of Pocket Spring Mattresses

Pocket Spring Counts

It has become a trend in recent years for mattress manufacturers to increase the number of springs listed in their mattresses. They are tapping into the consumer’s belief that the higher the spring count the more value they are getting for their bed purchase. Its worth understanding that there is only so much space in a mattress and to achieve these ridiculously high spring counts, ie 6,000 plus the manufacturers are simply using sheets of miniature springs layered on top of each other and reducing upholstery. They are also placing springs within springs to artificially inflate the number of springs on the label.

Thankfully this approach has not been adopted by the most respected mattress manufacturers here in the UK. We continue to see more and more mattress models adopting this farcical approach to bed making.

Pocket spring counts are always based on the number of springs in a king size mattress: 150 x 200 / 5’0 x 6’6. Even when a single mattress is described as having 1000 pocket springs, for example, it won’t. It will have proportionately less based on its size. A super king size mattress will have proportionately more.

Some retailers have started to give the exact count of a particular size which throws a fly into the ointment when you are doing like for like comparisons. Always be aware of the count in a king sized mattress and you just can’t go wrong.

The least number of pocket springs you can get in a mattress is 600.

This level of spring count will be in starter or budget ranges of pocket sprung mattresses. This is a good example of the value of a pocket sprung unit, obviously, the retail price will be low but, the quality level of mattress will be significantly better thananymattress utilising an open coil or continuous coil retailing for a similar price.

Our Origins 1500 is our best selling starter model click here to view

What is a pocket spring?

A pocket spring is a case, usually made of fabric that encases a wire spring. These cases are either stitched or in cheaper models, glued together to create a length of individual springs that are connected. This enables a sleeper to be supported independently by each pocket spring. It’s great to prevent movement between sleepers and will enable you to have far greater support than a cage sprung or open coil mattress.

The highest quality pocket springs will be calico encased and the spring wire will be vanadium plated. This enables them springs to breathe and prevents heat build-up.

Our Mattress collection only uses Premium Pocket Springs, if you want to see more please visit our shop to start browsing. We have never sold and will never sell a cage sprung contraption and would highly recommend that you do not buy one.

Types of Pocket Spring Mattress

We have always advocated for high-quality handmade pocket sprung mattresses over mass-produced bags of springs such as open coil mattresses, but there’s still a minefield of information on pocket springs which we aim to summarise for you. We like to keep things simple so we have summarised to two types of pocket springs below.

There are two main types of pocket spring

1.Synthetic spun bond springs – the entry-level spring unit. Glued together with a polyester style material. The least breathable and responsive but still a million times better than any cage sprung or open coil nightmare.

Click here to view Pocket Spring Mattresses

2.Calico encased pocket springs – Encased in a breathable natural calico cover which are then stitched together. Highly responsive and much more breathable.

Calico Pocket Springs are the highest quality view our Artisan Mattress Range Here

All the high-end manufacturers, such as Savoir beds, Vi-spring will use calico pocket springs

Pocket springs must be matched with suitable upholstery

For instance, there is no use having a super duper all singing all dancing pocket spring unit when it is not backed up by an element of substantial upholstery.

As you browse through the internet looking for your perfect mattress you will soon see that in most cases great swathes of text is focused on how good the pocket springs are in any particular model, the science behind the design and how you will sleep like a baby. All of this will be relatively pointless if equal space is not designated to the rest of the mattress, the upholstery, the detailing and so forth.

We detail the GSM alongside the Pocket Spring count in each of our Hand Made mattresses – Visit our Shop by Clicking Here.

The fact of the matter is, a standard pocket sprung unit which forms the basis of many mattresses, will be suitable for practically everyone. Especially when compared to a cage sprung or open coil mattresses which should be avoided at all costs. Standard spun-bond pocket springs are not overly expensive and will offer you all the support you will require.

The most pocket spring units you can get into a king-sized mattress on one layer is 2000. Mattresses described as having more than this are utilising double-layer construction techniques or they are utilising a suspension pocket sprung unit or they are using mini springs to increase the count. When looking at descriptions and you see a specification with more than 2000 pocket springs you really do have to examine how this was achieved.

As I have said in previous posts, the only differentiating factor between many mattress manufacturers are the springs used. Fundamentally, the springs will more often than not be similar but how they are constructed will provide enough difference to achieve the elusive brownie points that will sway you into thinking their product is somehow better than the competition.

Generally, though and this certainly does not apply in all cases manufacturers tend to go down the soft / medium/ firm route and use the firmer springs on the 1000 counts to softer springs on the 2000 counts. The theory being that 2000 pocket springs do not have to be as supportive as 1000. The support will be there but spread out over a greater number of springs.

I know you are thinking now that if a 1000 spring unit is firm why would that suit our ten stone friend? Good point. The Firm spring unit only has 1000 springs and at a gauge of say 1.5mm. The 2000 spring unit at Soft will have a gauge of 1.2. This difference in spring gauge is fractional and nominal between two individual pockets. They will both compress easily under the pressure of your hands. As the number of springs increases as in a complete unit, it takes more pressure to compress them.

Guide to pocket springs

A good thing to bear in mind that a 1000 / 1500 / 2000 pocket sprung unit will be broadly similar from about 90% of all manufacturers. It is what is placed on top of the units (upholstery) that makes the difference in Price and in quality.

Total spring counts come in usually at 600 / 800 / 1000 / 1200 / 1400 / 1500 / 2000 pockets per unit.

The lower spring counts will have a larger diameter spring – The higher spring counts will have a smaller diameter spring. One of the most prolific questions we get asked and abundant on internet forums is the “how many springs are best?”. Now although this is such a simple question the answer is not! The response to this question should always be followed up with “best for what?”

Which is best a Pocket Spring or Open Coil?

If you are torn between two similar mattresses one open coil and one pocket sprung the pocket sprung mattress will win hands down! Like I said above, the minimum 600 pocket count is far superior toanyopen coil or continuous coil mattress you can get. It is so unlikely an open coil/continuous coil mattress will have a quality level of upholstery attached and all these fall within the low-end range of mattresses.

How many mattress springs do I need?

If you look at the complete range from Rest Assured, for example, you will see that the bulk of their mattresses utilise a 1400 pocket spring unit. This count will suit the majority of users not too firm and not too soft. A bigger person (such as my 20st Rugby Player friend) will gain more benefit from a 2000 unit. His weight will be equalised over a greater number of springs, The springs will not be fully compressed but allowed to ‘move’ with him. If he was on a 1000 pocket unit, for example, the weight is distributed over a lesser number of springs. Whereas our ten stone friend will be quite happy on 1000 pockets.

You should aim for atleast 1000 pocket springsin a mattress up to 2000 in a single layer.

This is only half the story, though! The other difference between 1000 springs and 2000 springs is the tension of the spring itself. There is no hard or fast rule on what gauge wire is used on a particular spring count: A 2000 unit can utilise a firm spring say 1.5mm or it can utilise a soft spring say 1.2mm. And it is this reason alone why the question above cannot be answered with any degree of precision. It is so unlikely a retailer will know what gauge wire is used on any particular unit contained in a particular mattress.

Tailored Spring Gauges – Soft, Medium or Firm?

Once you move away from cheaper mass-produced springs you then have the option of tailored spring gauges. This means that dependant on your weight you can choose a soft, medium or firm spring. This means that you have the potential for split tension mattresses and zip and links. So if you and your partner are different weights, then you can have different tensions to suit each of you.

View our Zip & Link Mattresses

Creating the perfect sleeping experience for both of you! Our Handmade mattress range are all available in both zip and link and split tensions if required.

BodyweightSpring tension
Upto 16 Stone / 50-101kgMedium
16 Stone / 101kg UpwardsFirm
Available in Bespoke Products (Please Call)Soft

Pocket Spring wire diameter explained

Spring wire diameter is sometimes shown on product descriptions, not to be confused with spring gauges. It shows you how thick the wire is for that spring unit. The thicker the spring wire the firmer the support you will get from it as it’s harder to compress. The gauge refers to the torsion, push-pull measurement which tells you how resilient/firm a mattress spring is. An example of this is an orthopaedic mattress which has a gauge of 12 and is very firm.

We have a handy table that allows you to see the spring wire diameter we use in our range and the tension that the spring is set at. We also, unlike many competitors, allow you to see what the weight tolerance is for these springs. This is crucial when working out the support you need and we detail this more in the article on soft, medium & firm.

Spring TensionWire diameter (Gauge)Weight Range
Soft1.2mmBespoke Tension (Please Call)
Medium1.4mmUpto 16 stone
Firm1.6mm16 stone plus
Extra Firm / Orthopaedic1.9mm20 stone plus

How are pocket springs made?

In the bulk of all mattresses, you will come up against the pocket sprung unit itself, which will be relatively similar. They are produced in this country in large factories such as Leggett and Platt, Charles Blythe and such like. There are also imports with the most regarded being Agro gmbh (Germany). Currently, the most prolific imports of pocket sprung units come from Turkey and South Africa.

Some manufacturers have the equipment and facility to produce their own springs such as Vi-Spring/Harrisons and, of course, the manufacturer we use who makes our Artisan range all completely made in Britain.

Calico Pocket Springs are meticulously made by specialist equipment and craftsmen

Each one of our Artisan Calico Encased Pocket Springs is made by a specialist piece of machinery. Each individual spring is formed and then inserted into a calico sleeve which is then machine stitched shut. Once each length of pocket springs have been formed they are then hand-cut so each strip is one piece. Cheaper synthetic pocket springs may be glued together instead of stitching to reduce the time required to make them.

What’s a Vanadium pocket spring?

Vanadium is used in the steel forging process and provides strength to the metal which assists when it is then formed into a spring. It also has a low oxidisation value meaning it doesn’t corrode as quickly as other metals. So springs don’t rust.

We use Vanadium on our calico pocket springs that are found in the higher end Artisan models. Vanadium is often found in metal alloys and top-end tools to give strength and durability against corrosion. It is used within our springs to ensure they are of the highest quality giving an enhanced lifespan and longevity. Most manufacturers couldn’t tell you what is in their spring wire, you will probably just get shrugged shoulders, but here at John Ryan, we can share with you the exact composition of our calico vanadium pocket springs.

Chemical Composition of Steel WireCMnSiPSCuV (Vanadium)
Percentage Contained0.710.54180.120.0140.1900.5/0.9

Other types of springs – Cortec, Revolution & Micro Springs

Update 2020:Recently the mattress market has seen a flood of new ‘spring innovations’ which are all there to tempt you to certain brands mattresses. Spring technology has pretty much remained the same for over a hundred years. The simple spring mechanism works by compressing and extending based on a load applied to it, ie a sleeper loading the spring when they lie on a mattress. There’s only so much innovation you can do with a spring, such as changing its shape or size. It will have some influence, but is it enough to spend hundreds of pounds more on a new mattress? We take a look at a few of the newer spring types so you can make your own mind up.

Cortec Springs:Cortec springs by Harrison Spinks are an elongated pocket spring. That means they are thinner and taller than regular pocket springs. Cortec springs are not glued together but heat-sealed into rows meaning they are glue-free. So you don’t need glue to bond them together as they can concertina together by being folded in their rows. Imagine a roll of paper labels and how each one can be folded back on each other or torn off. This is the same layout as the Cortec spring. They are still synthetic coated pocket springs and unlike our Calico ones are not vanadium coated so won’t be as impervious to rusting over time.

Revolution Springs:This is again another innovation from Harrisons which involves placing a smaller spring within a regular-sized pocket spring. So you have two springs in one. We’ve trialled these and not found a huge amount of comfort difference between the two. We do have reservations about how sure they are that the smaller internal spring won’t get stuck or trapped in the larger spring.

Micro Springs:These are the latest in spring count hype. Micro springs are tiny synthetic pocket springs that come in rows of 1000. Meaning you can add a few layers to suddenly boost the overall spring count of a mattress. We really don’t rate micro springs as they compress almost instantaneously making them redundant in our tests. We can only imagine that retailers are now using HD or micro springs simply to up the spring count in the competition to have the higher figure. However, this simply means less upholstery for you as the more layers of springs you place in a mattress the less room there is for the upholstery comfort layers. So bare this in mind.

Here is an example – not from Harrisons – of multiple synthetic spring layers and micro springs. Click to view true Vanadium coated Pocket Spring models.

If you’re wanting the best of the best you need to be looking for calico pocket springs. If your budget constrains you, a spun-bond pocket spring unit with at least 1000 pocket springs per kingsize will get you a mid-range mattress. There is also a post on this site about the anomalies of soft medium or firm mattresses. Worth a read particularly if you are struggling with how on earth a mattress can be described as such. If you have different body weights we can create split tension mattress or zip and link beds which can be tailored specifically to your weight.

Lastly, if you want to get really informed on the details of pocket springs and the different tiers, gauges and latest developments read our detailed arguments here. To help start off by viewing some of the best handmade mattresses here in our shop where we only use the highest quality pocket springs and coverings. Still struggling? Then why not call our small expert team based here in Manchester on 0161 437 4419 to see if we can help?

6 tips for buying the best pocket spring mattress

Most people shopping for a good quality mattress buy a pocket spring one. Sure, memory foam and other types of mattress are popular, but most of us stick to what we know.

But that decision still needs narrowing down from a vast number of pocket spring mattresses on the market. You’ve got two options:

  1. Pick one from our recommended list
  2. Learn how to spot a quality mattress and then search one out for yourself.

Here are my six tips for buying the best pocket spring mattress you can afford:

1. (Some of) the best mattresses have won awards

OK, awards don’t mean everything. After all, Mrs Brown’s Boys was voted the best sitcom of the 21st century (apologies if you’re a fan. ).

However, if you’re interested then the pocket spring mattress manufacturers which have won awards from the National Bed Federation in recent years have included:

  • Hypnos(best manufacturer 2014, runner up in 2013, 2018)
  • Harrison Spinks(best manufacturer in 2015, 2018 – they make theJohn Lewis & Partners Natural Collection)
  • Millbrook(best small manufacturer 2018)
  • Steinhoff Bedding Group (runners up in 2016 – makers ofMyer’s,RelyonandSlumberland)

Other winners, such as Kaymed (2016) specialise in memory foam rather pocket spring mattresses.

Another option is to look at overall customer reviews for brands which specialise in pocket sprung mattresses. TrustPilot is the best website I’ve found for this sort of information, as most brands have hundreds of reviews. High scoring pocket sprung mattress brands include:

  • Sleepeezee- 4.5/5 (a mid-priced brand with a Royal Warrant)
  • Silentnight4.3/5 (a huge brand which sells a range of types of beds, including plenty of mid-priced pocket sprung mattresses)
  • Sealy- 3.4/5 (well-known brand which is owned by Silentnight)

(For the TrustPilot reviews, we looked at the brand’s overall ‘Trust Score’ and searched in March 2020. We didn’t include some brands which just had a tiny number of reviews and we didn’t include brands which sell dozens of other things, such as IKEA, as it wouldn’t tell us a lot about their mattresses. We couldn’t find reviews for some well known pocket spring brands, such as Vispring and Somnus).

Yet another option is to look at independent tests which are carried out on pocket spring mattresses. Award winners/those which scored very well include:

  • Silentnight 1200 Classic Pocket Deluxe(£359medium/firm pocket spring mattress from the biggest name in the UK mattress market. Also called ‘Sofia’. Strong customer reviews.)
  • Sealy Teramo 1400(£800pocket spring mattress, soft mattress so better for lighter people. Also called Nostromo) ​​

2. The best mattresses are (usually) the most expensive ones

Bear with me and let me explain what I mean.

Everyone loves to feel they are getting a bargain, but broadly speaking you get what you pay for with a mattress. Sure, there are discount codes and the like, but d on’t get sucked in by the big red sale sticker in the shop offering 70% off.

Don’t get me wrong, a retailer likeFurniture Villagewill often offer 20% – 30% off a good quality mattress and I would personally wait for a sale, but there are other bed retailers who seem to always have a massive sale on, which makes me suspicious.

In summary, a bed reduced from £2000 to £700 will most likely be a very similar quality to one which costs £700 elsewhere.

3. The best mattresses have at least 1000 springs

Very cheap pocket spring mattresses try to get away with 600 springs. From the many guides I’ve read online, the consensus seems to be that if you can afford an upgrade to at least 1000 springs then you’ll feel the benefit.

If you don’t weigh a lot then 1000 should provide plenty of support, but if your idea of a balanced diet is a pie in each hand then you will probably want something closer to 2000 springs.

You will see mattresses offering silly numbers of springs (some go over 10,000) but the advantages diminish simply because of how many springs will fit on one layer of a mattress. Thishigh specification mattress from John Lewis & Partnershas 11400 springs, but most of them are very small springs to provide a bit of extra support rather than full size pocket springs.

4. (Most of) the best mattresses are hand tufted

Take a look at the top of a mattress and it will either by quilted (completely flat) or hand tufted (bumpy with buttons holding it all in place).

The very best quality pocket spring mattresses are nearly always hand tufted.

Now, before I get angry emails from quilted mattress sellers, it’s worth saying that there are many high quality quilted mattresses and we recommended several in our guide to 10 of the best mattresses on the market.

My point though is that brands likeHypnos(the Royal Family’s mattress maker), andVispringmake mostly hand tufted mattresses and they all offer mattresses which cost more than my first car.

I’ve also read compelling arguments of why hand tufted mattresses are better and more stable, but I won’t bore you with excessive detail.

On the down side, bear in mind that hand tufted mattresses need turning regularly whilst many quilted mattresses are no turn. Not turning your mattress is convenient (I need two weeks of physio every time I turn our huge mattress) but most people say that a mattress that you flip over will flipping well last longer.

A no turn mattress may be a necessity of having a high quality comfort topper on the mattress. or it may just be a way of using cheaper materials on the bottom half of the mattress.

5. The best mattresses have hand side stitching

Honestly, my attempts to turn mattress seller jargon into something in plain English had me scratching my head many times. I won’t bore you with the details, but the summary is that something called ‘Hand Side Stitching’ is a sign of quality, whereas ‘Machine Side Stitching’ isn’t so good.

It’s to do with how much support your bed offers at the edges and there are two ways to work out what a particular mattress offers.

The first option is to visit your local bed shop and start sitting on the sides of all their pocket spring mattresses. Cheap mattresses bulge out at the side whilst the best mattresses won’t. (I can’t help feeling you might get thrown out of Dreams if you turn up with a tape measure and start measure the size of their bulges, but hey. )

The second option for spotting Hand Side Stitching is to look for it in the descriptions online, which is certainly less effort (although many websites don’t seem to declare it which doesn’t help).John Lewis & Partnersis a shining example of a retailer which clearly describes how their mattresses are made.

As a general rule, if a company doesn’t say that a mattress is Hand Side Stitched then it probably isn’t, as it is something you would shout about. In the same way that you might assume that your local greasy kebab takeaway probably isn’t selling organic, free range meat, unless it makes a point of saying it is.

6. The best mattresses have a woven cover

Here’s another question which baffled me: Which is the best material for a mattress cover? I read so many guides about Belgian damask whatevers and woven fabric thingyamajigs and I was still confused.

Here’s the summary to save you the dull journey I went on:

Don’t buy a bed with a stitch bond cover. They are rough and unpleasant and are the kind of thing you’d see on a children’s mattress at your local tip.

Beyond that, most natural woven fabrics seem to be fine – such as cotton or damask. There’s also a huge range of mattress covers with silly names which sound like they were thought up by throwing scientific names into a hat and pulling out a handful. It’s hard to sift the genuine scientific developments from the pseudo-science waffle on this one, so I would be cautious about buying a mattress just because it had a long name.

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