Pockets and spring count
Choosing the correct mattress can appear to be a daunting task given the myriad of options available on todays market. We hope to answer any questions you may have in this section and dispel a few myths along the way.
Firstly lets address spring count and in doing so tackle the biggest cause of confusion that we see in store on a daily basis. Companies tout ever increasing numbers in relation to their mattresses and is any of it relevant to getting a properly supported and peaceful nights sleep? The truth of the matter is it's only relevant to a degree and the rest is smoke and mirrors to part you with your hard earned cash.
Spring count only applies on pocket spring models and not the more basic cage sprung or open coil mattresses which we shall cover later on. The fact of the matter is, a standard spring unit which forms the basis of many mattresses, will be suitable for almost anyone. Yes it really is! They aren't overly expensive and will provide all the support you could possibly require.
Most spring units barring a couple of very very expensive exceptions are sourced from a very small number of suppliers and further back down the line so is the wire used to produce the units in the first place.
Now for the numbers game. All spring counts are taken on a Kingsize (5'x6'6") measurement so when a mattress boasts however many thousand springs it's worth bearing in mind that the single and the double will have less than stated.
The minimum number of springs you can have in a mattress is 600 and is a starter or budget range but even with this number the mattress will be significantly better than any open coil unit retailing anywhere near the price.
The most springs you can squeeze into a mattress in one layer is 2000 and any mattress proclaiming more will be utilising a double layer construction or utilising mini springs to increase the count. When looking at specifications above this figure you really have to examine how this was achieved as the benefit of such systems above a good honest single layer pocket is negligible at best and pointless at worst.
What is much more important than those superfluous extra springs is the materials which surround the unit and cover the mattress and this is usually the difference in both price and quality.
One of the most regularly asked questions in our shop and I'm sure in pretty much all bed retailers is 'how many springs are best?' to which the only answer is another question 'the best for what?' A larger person will get more benefit from a 2000 spring unit as their weight will be evenly distributed over a greater number of springs. These springs will be only partially compressed as they spread the weight more evenly in contrast to a 1000 spring unit.
Sadly that alone isn't the be all and end all as the spring tension itself then comes into play so a 2000 unit may be a softer tension or a firmer one again blurring the line as to which is best. Generally (but not always) manufacturers will go along the lines of firmer springs on a 1000 unit and softer on a 2000 using the theory that 2000 units don't have to take as much of the job on per spring as the 1000 so the support is still there but spread over a greater number of springs. As an rough guide and of course allowing for personal preference to always play the biggest role a general rule of thumb for those with a blank canvas would be :-
Soft - Up to 10 Stone
Medium - 10-16 Stone
Firm - 16 Stone plus
Orthopaedic - 20 Stone plus
Now we're absolutely not going to go into the chemical composition of the wire used or the varied, subtle ways the springs can be housed as quite frankly it's just knowledge you don't need and will prove more of a hindrance than a help. Nothing will beat actually coming into the store and trying them for yourself which is why we make sure we have an unrivaled selection of mattresses on display for you to lay on at your leisure. Your body knows what feels right and even if you are the most indecisive person in the world by simple process of elimination you will be left with a small selection of mattresses that feel correct for you. At that point you are highly unlikely to be far off the bulls eye for your good nights sleep and you are safe in the knowledge that as professionals we wouldn't let you purchase a mattress unsuitable for yourself for the sake of a sale. We've been here 40 years by operating with the highest principles and values unlike some of the better known retail park stores. You wont be baffled nor blinded by science with us.
Open / Bonnell coils
The budget unit of the bed world, cheap to produce and buy and less effective than a pocket unit. Unless your budget is extremely tight we would highly recommend even a cheap pocket above any caged spring system.
That being said we do have many customers who prefer the flatter sleep from an open coil and we do cater for those with the highest quality units paired with the best fillings we can.
Continuous coils, open coils or even the brand names such as Miracoil refer to the same kinds of unit, with subtle variations, but still a continuous piece of wire coiled to produce a sheet of springs. With these mattresses the fillings are of the upmost importance and the cheaper you go with them you're likely to find recycled padding that is far too compacted and is little to no use when it comes to comfort or the longevity of your mattress.
We understand this and as such do not sell cheaply made mattresses. There is a minimum level you can go to and sadly too many manufacturers go beyond this in the name of profit usually from those who can least afford to replace said mattress when it inevitably disintegrates.
I could continue with some of the horror stories we've seen over the years from customers of obviously recovered mattresses and bases that have arrived with mould growing inside and so on but I won't as you can probably find thousands of stories like that with just a quick google.
Suffice to say
The golden rule is if it seems too cheap it probably is too cheap and its worth waiting a little longer to put that few pounds more to as it will pay you back tenfold when your mattress is still going strong ten years down the line.
Put as simply as possible this is the biggest problem word with mattresses. All it means is a thick open coil unit and for years has been touted as a help and sometimes almost a cure for back problems of various kinds. Any medical professional still saying these are a help hopefully has a specific reason like needing a very flat surface for a very specific back problem as in the majority of cases it hinders rather than helps.
For those wanting a very flat and firm sleep these fit the bill but bear in mind as with a normal open coil unit the fillings become much more important with these mattresses.
Memory foam is viscoelastic polyurethane foam that softens with body heat and quickly shapes itself around you. It is a very supportive substance that cradles your all your body in every position and offers excellent pressure relief properties. You can go either foam on foam or foam on springs and both systems are a world apart in feel.
Foam on foam is a mixture of a memory foam layer on a high density foam base and gives a very dense lifeless feel which is perfect for those that cant bear any movement in their mattress. Foam on spring comes in two sub catagories, foam on open coil and foam on pocket spring. For those who dislike the stodgy lifeless nature of the foam on foam option these offer a fantastic way to still get pressure relief but with a mattress that feels like those that you are used to. For the reasons previously listed the pocket spring is always the better choice but the open coil option invariably offers the lower price tag.
Please be advised that not all memory foams are equal however, and caution is strongly advised when buying a mattress containing it as there are many many low grade foams used in cheap knock off mattresses ( like those sold on social media and door to door ) that lose their recovery properties almost immediately and have a chemical smell that you just can't get rid of no matter what you do.
A golden rule to remember is that a label is inexpensive to produce and can have anything printed on it. With rogue traders there's absolutely no come back and that mattress you thought was a bargain turns into an extra expense when you have to replace it in two months ( we've seen this ourselves far too many times over the years ).
Final point on these and for me a very important one...heat. Most people are OK with the modern memory foam mattresses as the covers have been specially designed to breathe and using ours as an example, have ventilation borders where needed but there are some ( myself included ) that get warm very very easily and if this is you too then these aren't the mattresses for you. Wools and Gel would be a much cooler sleep system.
Gel foam comes with either a spring base or a foam base dependant on preference and offers every benefit that memory foam does and more but without that heat. Gel foam consists of gel beads, foam crystals and air filled cells all magically put together to give you ultimate support and comfort.
Immediate spring back offers full body support and superb spinal allignment also answering that old complaint of a lot of memory foam users that its difficult to change body position. By distributing your weight evenly across the mattress it prevents pressure point build up whilst the open cell structure allows breath-ability reducing heat build up while you sleep.