What is a Sprung Mattress and What Does It Mean?


When searching for a new mattress it’s highly likely you will have come across the term “sprung mattress”, but what is a sprung mattress and with so many other options, are they even worth buying?

Sprung Mattresses Meaning

Standard sprung mattresses, sometimes called an open coil mattress, are among the more popular budget-friendly mattress options you are likely to come across on the market today.

Manufacturers may call these mattresses by several other names including a Bonnell spring mattress, referring to the hourglass shape of the individual springs, or a helical spring mattress. They are also sometimes known as “cage sprung” or “standard coil” mattresses.

All these terms refer to how the mattress relies on a spring system to give the sleeper a good night’s sleep.

Sprung Mattresses: How They Are Made?

In standard sprung mattresses, there are hundreds of coils or springs. Made of steel, these springs connect to form a matrix or cage.

When we lie on a sprung mattress the entire mattress moves as one unit. This is in contrast to pocket sprung mattresses whose springs react to our weight individually to give a more tailored experience for the sleeper.

We would expect to see around 300-350 springs in an average sprung mattress, though coil counts can vary depending on their make.

If we are wanting to get a firmer mattress, the key is not the spring count but rather to look for a mattress with what’s known as a lower gauge count.

In general, gauge counts vary from 12 to 15. A lower gauge count means manufacturers used a thicker wire in the spring system. This, in turn, will give a firmer mattress. A higher gauge count will be better if we want a mattress that is softer.

When is an Open Coil Not Just an Open Coil Mattress?

Of course, a mattress is only as good as its parts. Standard sprung mattresses also house padding material that helps to cushion us when we sleep.

Traditionally, the padding might be wool or other textiles. Such materials are relatively low-cost, and as a result, buyers may see those savings reflected in a more budget-pleasing price tag.

More recently, manufacturers have added more premium materials like memory foam to their sprung mattresses. This can give an added level of comfort at a more affordable price when compared to pure memory foam mattresses.

Manufacturers may also offer other features in their sprung mattresses, including anti-allergy fillings and even waterproof open coil mattresses for children.

Advantages of a Sprung Mattress

While open coil or sprung mattresses are not as reactive as a pocket sprung mattresses, retailers claim there are still some benefits to these traditional mattresses.

One benefit is that sprung mattresses can offer a reasonable level of back support, which could be important if you are someone who is trying to give their back just that bit of extra care.

One other major benefit of sprung mattresses is that, due to their coil matrix, they tend to weigh considerably less than other mattress types. As a result, moving a sprung mattress can be fairly easy. Flipping your mattress can also extend its lifespan.

Another major benefit of sprung mattresses is their price. Manufacturing costs for open coil mattresses are lower because they can be mass-produced. As a result, you should expect to see this lower cost reflected in the price tag for a sprung mattress.

Drawbacks of a Sprung Mattress

Pocket sprung mattresses are slightly more expensive than open coil systems, but manufacturers often claim they provide superior comfort to open coil or standard sprung mattresses, and sleep experts now recommend avoiding open coil if possible.

Sprung mattresses can also age poorly with a characteristic sag as the mattress loses its firmness. Some brands do age better than others though, so it is always worth checking reviews.

One other major drawback of a sprung mattress is, due to their interconnected spring system, they allow movement to travel from one side of the bed to the other which has the potential to disturb our sleep.

Sprung Mattresses: Here to Stay

Despite their drawbacks, sprung or open coil mattresses remain some of the most popular budget mattresses on the market.

With new technologies helping to add extra layers of comfort at an affordable price, these ingenious interconnected spring system mattresses will be around for many more years to come.