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 spring mattress?
As you may have guessed, innerspring mattresses have a core composed of springs or coils, and are often simply referred to as spring mattresses or coil mattresses. 🌀
Despite the name, spring mattresses are never composed just of springs.
The coils are usually combined with some or other foam to enhance comfort.
Sometimes, as in the case of cheaper spring mattresses, this may just be a thin layer of foam at the top and bottom of the mattress.
More luxurious spring mattresses, though, include deeper layers of more high-quality foams for superior comfort. 🌟
There are many different types of innerspring mattresses available, which we'll look at in the next section.
Is a spring mattress the right mattress for you?
While we would certainly steer away from inferior models, you may want to choose a high-quality spring mattress for many reasons.
Let's look at some of the benefits of traditional spring mattresses in more detail.
Spring mattresses are known for their enhanced breathability. ❄️
The space between the springs creates natural ventilation channels, which allows for greater airflow within the mattress.
This allows the mattress to remain cool and more comfortable.
Spring mattresses are thus a good choice for hot sleepers and heavy sweaters.
The best innerspring mattresses are often firmer than foam mattresses and offer better overall support and stability.
While firmness is often a matter of preference, mattress support is crucial.
All sleepers need good support, but it's more difficult to find supportive mattresses for people of larger size, particularly if they weigh over 130 kg (286 lbs).
Firmer spring mattresses, like the Sealy Mellbreak Ortho Plus Mattress, are an excellent choice here.
Traditional spring mattresses are among the cheapest on the market, and many are of decent quality.
This makes coil spring mattresses a no-brainer if you're looking for a budget-friendly mattress.
Great for children and teens
One of the downsides of open spring mattresses is that they usually have higher motion transfer, making them less ideal for couples.
You will likely get a more bouncy feel because movement can travel relatively well through springs, especially if interconnected.
While not great for couples, this is fine for people who don't share their bed with a partner.
Add in the budget-friendly nature of open coil mattresses, and traditional spring mattresses become the ideal choice for children and teens.
What should you consider before buying a spring mattress?
Since so many inferior coil mattress models are available, it's important to pay attention to the type of mattress you're buying.
Here are a few key criteria to help you make the right choice. 👇
Is it an open coil or a pocket-sprung mattress?
Most brands and retailers will advertise pocket springs quite clearly, but it is worth checking if the mattress you're about to purchase has an interconnected spring system or an independent pocketed coil system.
Pocket spring mattresses are generally more expensive and of higher value, but you can also find really great traditional open coil spring mattresses, like the ones we recommend in this article.
If you're choosing a pocket sprung mattress, you also need to consider how many springs the mattress has - stick to 1000 to 2000 springs for the smallest size, as this will denote higher quality.
What is the spring tension?
Spring tension refers to how thick the spring wire is and how tightly the wire is coiled.
- Thicker springs are usually firmer, while thinner springs offer more gentle support.
- The more tightly the wire is coiled, the firmer the spring will be.
If you're looking at a pocket-sprung option, you'll also need to consider the height of the mattress springs.
Full-size pocket springs (around 16 cm / 6.2 inches) are usually reserved for the core of a mattress, while micro springs are often used as additional support layers.
Does the mattress have additional zoning?
A zoned spring mattress will offer better body adaptability and pressure relief, making this ideal for people struggling with back and neck pain.
Zoned mattresses will be firmer in some areas than others, and you can get anything from 3 to 9 or more zones.
A mattress with five to seven comfort zones is ideal.
Pay attention to your sleeping position and mattress firmness
Innerspring mattresses are firmer and offer more stability and support than foam mattresses.
But, even here, you'll find varying degrees of firmness.
Some spring mattresses are extra firm, and others are a little on the softer side. 🧸
A firm spring mattress may seem optimal but may not be your best choice.
- Extra firm spring mattresses are great for heavier-weight people or those of larger builds.
- Smaller or lighter people will probably do better on slightly softer spring mattresses.
Even though mattress firmness is often a matter of personal preference, you do need to make sure you choose a degree of firmness that works for your body.
If you want the stability and support of a spring mattress but prefer the softness and comfort of a foam mattress, you could try a pillow top mattress, cushioning mattress topper, or a thick quilted cover.
These all add a layer of cushioning to a supportive spring base.
We recommend a few of our favourite softer mattress toppers below.