Pocket Sprung vs Open Coil: Which Mattress is Best? 


When it comes to mattresses, two of the most common types of mattresses are pocket sprung and open coil. But what do those names mean and which mattress is right for your needs? Here's Pocket Sprung vs Open Coil…

What is a Pocket Sprung Mattress?

The term pocket sprung refers to the way the mattresses are made of individual springs each sewn into pockets of fabric. When you lie on the mattress, the springs will adjust accordingly to take your weight. Here’s a quick video to explain:

Like most types of mattress, a range of sizes and firmness levels are available.

According to Best Mattress Reviews, pocket sprung mattresses may last around eight years, though some can last longer.

Pocket Sprung Mattresses: The Spring Count

The general rule for buying a pocket sprung mattress is that, within a certain range, higher spring counts provide more comfort and, potentially, a longer life for your mattress.

While the exact number of springs may differ between brands, there are a couple of numbers that can help you when buying. The number of springs can range from as low as around 400 to as high as 6,000 or more.

According to the Independent, a recommended minimum spring count for a good quality mattress is around 1000 springs.

Beware of excessively high spring counts though. There is only so much room in a mattress, so an extremely high spring count can be more for marketing than actually offering a practical advantage for the sleeper.

Also, and as with every kind of mattress, build quality and choice of other materials matters, so don’t let spring count be the only factor you use to make your choice.

Pros of a Pocket Sprung Mattress

Due to their individual springs, pocket sprung mattresses absorb the jostling that can occur when a sleep partner turns or moves, ensuring everyone gets a good night’s rest.

High-quality pocket sprung mattresses can even be tailored to give different levels of support on different sides of the bed, though buyers can expect to pay more for this kind of service.

A pocket sprung mattress can also be good if sleepers are substantially different in terms of their weight by ensuring that movement at one side of the bed is not felt at the other.

In addition, a pocket sprung mattress can prevent so-called pressure points from developing on the body that might otherwise lead to, or exacerbate, joint pain.

According to the consumer group Which?, pocket sprung mattresses do not mold to the body like some other mattresses, such as memory foam. As a result, they provide greater air circulation, helping to keep sleepers cool during hot nights.

Drawbacks of a Pocket Sprung Mattress

Pocket sprung mattresses tend to be heavier than open coil mattresses and so if you are planning on turning your mattress regularly might not be suitable. This issue could be particularly important if you are looking for a larger bed in the king size range.

Pocket sprung mattresses are only as good as their components. While the pocket sprung design may have a lot of advantages, if the materials used inside are not of high quality, the mattress will not perform its best.

If you or a sleep partner has allergies, it’s also a good idea to double-check what materials manufacturers are using to pad the pocket sprung mattress. Sometimes manufacturers use wool and other textiles, which can be a problem for some sleepers.

Lastly, quality pocket sprung mattresses are more expensive than open coil mattresses. In general, that’s because you are getting more for your money in terms of comfort and longevity, but could be a drawback for some buyers.

What is an Open Coil Mattress?

Open coil mattresses are sometimes referred to by other names such as coil sprung or Bonnell.

In contrast to pocket sprung mattresses, open coil mattresses contain hourglass-shaped springs all formed by one piece of wire. Here is a brief video that gives an overview of open coil mattresses:

Individual brands will have different lives to them, but a seven to eight-year lifespan for open coil mattresses is reasonable. According to Healthline, some open coil mattresses may last in excess of 10 years if they can be flipped over.

Open Coil Mattresses: Gauge Matters, Coil Count Not So Much

The gauge of the mattress is a technical term used by manufacturers. It refers to the thickness of the wire used to create the spring system in the mattress.

Usually, the lower the gauge number the firmer the mattress will be. Gauge ranges tend to be around 12 to 14 with increments of 0.5.

For sleepers who need the firmest mattress, a gauge of 12 would be a good choice. Those wanting a softer sleeping experience would be better with a higher number, for example, 13.5.

Open coil mattresses also have a number of coils. Typically most open coil mattresses will have a coil count of around 300 to 400.

A final consideration is whether the mattress has what is known as a high-gauge rod edge. Such edges on the side of the mattress will help to prevent the mattress from losing its ability to support the sleeper when they are near the edges of the bed, particularly as the bed ages.

Pros of an Open Coil Mattress

One of the major pros of an open coil mattress is its affordability. Due to its relatively simple design, buyers can expect to find many good quality open coil mattresses at a budget-friendly price.

If being able to turn your mattress is important, open coil mattresses tend to be lighter than most other types, including pocket sprung mattresses, and so can be turned easily. This can also prolong the life of an open coil mattress.

Drawbacks of an Open Coil Mattress

Over time an open coil mattress may develop a characteristic sagging as its firmness fades. Losing support at the sides of the bed is also a problem.

Open coil mattresses can also lead to “roll-together”. This is where sleepers find that, through the course of the night, they roll into one another in the middle of the bed.

Open coil mattresses also allow motion on one side of the bed to travel to the other side. If one sleeper moves around frequently while in bed, this might keep the other sleeper awake.

Another drawback of open coil mattresses is that, like pocket sprung mattresses, open coil mattresses can be filled with allergy-aggravating materials.

Final Thoughts

When considering their advantages and disadvantages, both kinds of mattresses have their strengths and drawbacks. However, experts say that when it comes to pocket sprung vs open coil, pocket sprung mattresses are superior in most ways.

Still, the answer to which mattress is best for you is wholly dependent on you and your needs.

If the price is your most important factor, it’s undeniable that a cheaper but solid quality open coil mattress might be a reasonable choice. If you are only wanting the mattress as a short term replacement, an open coil mattress might be a good choice.

However, for those looking to make a longer-term investment with slightly more money in their budget, a pocket sprung mattress would appear to be the better fit for most people and their needs.

Now over to you. What are your experiences? Let us know in the comments below and if you have any questions we’d be happy to help.

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