How we test products
Our mission is to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect sleep products.
We've dedicated hundreds of hours to testing mattresses and sleep accessories, and rely on a team of testers of differing weights, temperature preferences, and sleeping positions to evaluate each product.
Tested products are granted the Sleep Hero tested stamp of approval, a mark of our review's reliability.
If we haven't personally tested a product, please be assured that we invest significant time and energy into scouring the UK market and researching the best recommendations, and we work with a team of sleep experts who review our articles, ensuring that the insights we provide are not only relatable but also reliable.
What is a pocket sprung mattress?
You’ve probably heard about pocket sprung mattresses before.
But what exactly is a pocket spring mattress?
In a nutshell, a pocket spring mattress is a type of innerspring mattress.
And an innerspring mattress is any mattress that has springs as its core.
These can be low-quality spring mattresses, like open coil mattresses, or high-quality spring mattresses, like pocket spring mattresses.
In a pocket spring mattress, the spiral-shaped springs are all wrapped in individual fabric pockets - hence, pocket springs.
Because they’re not connected to each other, as they would be in an open coil spring mattress, individual pocket springs offer numerous advantages:
- The springs can move independently of each other.
- Individual springs ensure precise body adaption.
- The springs can respond to pressure exactly where the pressure is applied.
- There is space between the springs, allowing air to move freely and keeping the mattress cool.
A good pocket spring mattress will consist of thousands of tightly coiled springs. 🌀
Together, they’re likely to give your mattress a medium-firm to firm level of support.
But, the exact feel of your mattress will depend on the other materials used.
A pocket sprung mattress doesn’t only contain springs.
The springs are generally housed between layers of comfort foam. 🥱
The comfort foam can be made of cold foam, latex foam, polyurethane foam, or memory foam.
Many luxury pocket spring mattresses also include natural fillings, such as wool, cashmere, or coir. 🐑
Barrel pocket spring mattresses
Barrel pocket spring mattresses are also pocket sprung mattresses, but they differ in the shape of the springs.
Instead of regular spirals, the springs look like barrels.
They are wider in the middle than they are at the top and the bottom.
Barrel pocket springs offer a slightly softer feeling, making them very comfortable.
They’re also often recommended to people who struggle with back pain.
All pocket sprung mattresses contain some layers of foam, but hybrid mattresses feature both springs and foam at their core.
They act as a cross between foam mattresses and spring mattresses, providing the advantages of both and eliminating any drawbacks.
The springs make hybrid mattresses stable and supportive, while the foams add comfort and contouring.
Pocket memory mattresses are very popular. 👌
These combine the soft body contouring features of memory foam with the support of springs.
Hybrid mattresses are a particularly good choice for people struggling with aches and pains.
They’ll effectively release pressure points and allow you to sleep snuggly. 🥳
The Simba Hybrid is one of our favourite hybrid mattresses, combining mini pocket springs with multiple layers of Simba-Pure foam.
Hybrid and all-foam mattresses can be compression-packed into a box for easy transport, giving rise to the popular bed-in-a-box mattress. 📦
This cannot be done with pure pocket spring mattresses.
Criteria when purchasing a pocket sprung mattress
There are always important criteria to consider when buying a new mattress.
- Is it comfortable?
- Is it easy to set up?
- Will my dog fit?
Luckily, most of the important questions can be solved by choosing a mattress with a risk-free trial period.
Most of the quality brands come with a trial period that lasts at least 100 days. 🗓
This gives you the chance to see if the mattress is really right for you.
It will also help you decide if the firmness you’ve chosen is right for you. ☁️
You don’t want to lie on mashed potatoes, but you don’t want to sleep on an extra-firm steel table either.
As a general guideline:
- Heavier people need firmer mattresses than lighter people.
- People who sleep on their backs and fronts need firmer mattresses than people who sleep on their sides.
A good trial period (with free delivery and free returns) will help determine if you’ve made the right choice.
As to whether or not your puppy will fit, you’ll need to ensure you choose the right mattress size. 🐶
But, first, here are a few key criteria that will help you purchase the best pocket sprung mattress.
What type of coil does the mattress have?
Sometimes descriptions can be perplexing, so it’s always important to double-check that the mattress you’re considering is actually a pocket sprung mattress and not an open coil mattress.
Pocket sprung mattresses contain springs that are all housed in individual fabric pockets.
Open coil mattresses have springs that are all connected to each other.
How many pocket springs should a good mattress have?
The higher the number of springs a pocket sprung mattress has, the better.
This is because a higher spring count increases point elasticity, enabling the mattress to better adapt and react to your body shape. 🧍♀️
This equals more comfort.
A good quality pocket spring mattress contains at least 1000 springs, though you’ll also find models with up to 10,000 springs.
A very high spring count generally means that the mattress relies on smaller springs, like micro-coils or mini pocket springs.
Aim to choose a mattress with 1000 - 2000 springs.
These will provide the best support and most comfort at a good price.
Even a mattress with "only" 1200 springs, like the Silentnight Eco Comfort, will be an excellent choice.
The difference between a pocket sprung mattress with 2000 springs and one with more than that is negligible.
Some mattress brands specify the number of springs per square metre.
If that's the case, then remember that a good pocket spring mattress should have between 350 and 500 springs per square metre.
What is spring gauge?
Another element to pay attention to is spring gauge.
Spring gauge can best be described as the thickness of a spring.
This will range between 12 and 18.
The lower the gauge number, the thicker the spring.
Thicker springs are firmer, resulting in an overall firmer mattress with longer-lasting support.
A higher gauge means thinner coils, which provide more gentle support.
Does spring height matter?
We’ve briefly touched on spring height above, and this is certainly another key element to consider.
Some pocket sprung mattresses contain full-size springs, but others may rely on mini springs.
Hybrid mattresses, like the Simba, for example, often combine mini springs with memory foam.
Some mattresses even combine one layer of full-size springs with another layer of mini pocket springs.
- Full-size springs generally have a minimum height of 10 cm.
- Mini pocket springs are generally 2 - 3 cm in height.
As a standard rule of thumb:
The smaller the springs, the less push-back feeling the mattress will give.
What do pocket sprung mattresses cost?
Pocket sprung and hybrid mattresses are generally more expensive than all-foam mattresses, but they don’t have to be unaffordable.
Often, pocket sprung mattresses are actually more cost-effective as they’re likely to last you a longer time.
A decent hybrid or pocket sprung model, like the DreamCloud, should set you back at least £500 - £1000 for a double. 💷
We’d steer clear of anything much cheaper than that, as you’re likely to compromise on quality.
Is a pocket spring mattress better than a foam mattress?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question.
The right type of mattress will depend on your personal needs.
Heavier-weight sleepers will often find a pocket sprung mattress more comfortable as they enjoy the stability and support a firm mattress provides.
But, you’ll also be able to find quality foam mattresses with a high degree of firmness that are well-suited to heavier people.
The Nectar, for example, is a memory foam mattress with a top layer of dynamic support foam.
This top layer gives it an overall firmer and more supportive feel than many other memory foam mattresses.
Lighter people and side sleepers often prefer foam mattresses as these tend to be softer.
But, you can also find suitable pocket sprung or hybrid models, like the more medium-firm Simba mattress.
Which mattress is right for you will ultimately depend on a number of individual preferences.
Alternatives to pocket sprung mattresses
We really like pocket sprung mattresses but they’re not the right choice for everyone.
If you feel that this isn’t the right type of mattress for you, consider one of the below alternatives instead. 👇
Memory foam mattresses
Memory foam is characterised by its memory imprint.
Look at the pictures below as a demonstration:
What this shows is:
- As pressure is applied, the foam moulds to the shape and forms an imprint.
- The imprint remains for a little while even after pressure has been removed.
This high adaptability allows for optimal pressure relief.
For this reason, memory foam is often used in orthopaedic mattresses.
Memory foam is also hypoallergenic, which is great for people prone to allergies. 🤧
On the downside, memory foam mattresses are quite difficult to move around on and they retain more heat, making them unsuitable for restless sleepers and heavy sweaters.
The Nectar is one of our all-time favourite memory foam mattresses.
Latex mattresses are great for people focused on organic choices. 🌱
Natural latex mattresses may be very expensive, but they’re environmentally friendly, breathable, supportive, and very comfortable.
Cold foam mattresses
Cold foam mattresses provide good point elasticity and high adaptability and are often a good choice for orthopaedic concerns.
They sleep much cooler than memory foam mattresses, while still offering good support. 🧊
Cold foam is often used as a base layer in all-foam mattresses.
Gel foam mattresses
Geltex or gel mattresses have good point elasticity, are very comfortable, and have very good ventilation.
They’re also an excellent choice for restless sleepers. 💃
Gel foam is often used as an upper comfort layer in all-foam or pocket sprung mattresses, as in the Silentnight Geltex Ultra 3000.