November 2019

3 Things to know about Bed Springs

If you've just started looking to replace your old mattress you will no doubt have come across a variety of 'spring support systems' when looking for mattresses online. In fact, bed springs have become a highly competitive area of marketing for bed manufacturers. This article will help you steer away from the spin and work out exactly what you need in your new mattress spring.

Mattresses have traditionally relied on springs to provide the support aspect of beds and mattresses. In the last 3 decades, foams and other materials have appeared as alternatives to springs. To be honest, though, no other material will beat a quality pocket spring in terms of support and lifespan. Foams compress quickly over time meaning that the humble spring really is your best option if you’re looking to invest in a quality mattress.

Vegan mattress on Midnight Hopsack Base
It’s a murky world out there; let us help arm you with the spring top 3 facts

However, the marketing machine has been in overdrive recently with bed manufacturers choosing the spring count or the number of springs as the next big selling point. To help you avoid being ripped off or sold an unsuitable bed spring system here are our top 3 things you need to know.

1. A Calico Pocket Spring is top dog when it comes to springs

If you’re looking for a mattress that will adjust to your body shape and movements throughout the night then nothing in our experience beats a quality pocket spring. These allow independent movement during the night and are quick to react, unlike foams or micro springs, to your body’s movement. Resulting in a much better and undisturbed nights sleep.

In the past, bed manufacturers would opt for cheaper cage sprung or continuous coil mattresses. These are one massive piece of wire coiled into a crude giant connected spring. Did you ever have a bed that would bounce when you got in it? The chances are it was a cheap open coil spring system.

pocket springs, tape and stitch
Calico Hand Stitched Pocket Springs are the highest quality mattress support systems you can find

Springs made of foam, plastic or rubber are all trying to imitate the humble pocket spring. None of these spring types has ever outperformed the heat-treated metal pocket springs in our tests. They all degrade quickly or become unresponsive.

There’s a reason they have been used for the past 100 years in all high-end quality mattresses and that is because they work. Most standard pocket springs are roughly just over an inch in diameter and between 15-20cm in length. If you really want the best of the best then choose a vanadium coated calico pocket spring. These have been treated to stop corrosion and are stitched into a cotton cover making them completely breathable.

2. Micro Springs are a false economy

In the race for sales, mattress manufacturers have now started to market Micro, HD or Cortec springs. Why all of a sudden have these appeared? Is it innovation or the next generation of mattress improvements?

The answer is no.

Small micro springs cut open
Micro springs are next to useless in the most part

Micro springs have existed for years for things like seat cushions in old fashioned chairs and babies cot beds. The manufacturers have now realised that they can cram in up to 6,000 or even 8,000 springs to thus increase the price.

Sadly for you the consumer you are persuaded that more is better and so buy one. The issue with Micro Springs is that they completely compress almost instantly so there is little to no use in them. If a spring fully compresses then it becomes redundant. As these springs are only an inch in length they then compress rendering them pointless.

The masses of micro springs also comes at the sacrifice of upholstery fillings. The upholstery fillings are what provide the true comfort, soft medium or firm, feel of a mattress. By adding more springs you’re simply reducing the amount of space left for fillings. You can only make a mattress so deep, 30-35cm usually, so the excess micro springs take the place of comfort layers instead.

Pocket Springs far outlast cheaper foams and padded support layers
Pocket Springs far outlast cheaper foams and padded support layers
Micro Springs are a false economy; used to simply inflate the mattress spring count
Micro Springs are a false economy; used to simply inflate the mattress spring count

3. Spring tensions should be chosen based on your bodyweight

We speak to people every day who have chosen their mattress based on the ‘soft, medium or firm’ spring tension, falsely believing it will result in the same feel for them.

Mattress spring tensions are dictated specifically by your body weight which means that if you’ve picked a mattress based on this thinking its comfort you’re in for years of potential discomfort. If the salesperson selling you the mattress hasn’t directly asked you your weight then there is no way they can correctly recommend a mattress. The same goes or mattresses that don’t specify a spring tension. You need to walk away from those models as you have no idea whether the spring tension is suitable for you and your potential partner’s bodyweight.

Spring TensionWire diameter (Gauge)Weight Range
Soft1.2mmBespoke Tension (Please Call)
Medium1.4mmUpto 16 stone
Firm1.6mm16 stone plus
Extra Firm / Orthopaedic1.9mm20 stone plus

If you and your partner are different weights then you may need two different tensions. This is available with our range of mattresses in either a split tension or a zip and link model. Gone are the days of one person having to suffer through the other partner’s preference!


Now that you know exactly what to look out for in your mattress spings you’ll be better armed to make a wiser mattress selection. By avoiding excessive spring counts or foam support systems you will end up with a higher quality mattress that lasts far longer. If you still need further help comparing mattresses or working out exactly what’s in certain models then get in touch with our small friendly team.

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