November 2019

John Lewis Natural Collection Egyptian Cotton 5900 Review

The John Lewis Natural Collection features a number of Natural Fibre Pocket Sprung mattresses. We get asked frequently about these models so thought we would give you our detailed review of this mattress.

We spend a lot of time in mattress retailers to see just how their models stack up against their specification sheets. Here we give you our expert review.

White bed with curtains open
We lift the covers on this John Lewis Mattress to see how it performs

The John Lewis mattress range has recently been revised to be more environmentally friendly and features some new technology. This review guide is based on our expertise, the technical specifications that John Lewis provide and also a test in their showroom of the Egyptian Cotton 5900 model. We tested this model in Autumn 2019.

The Benefits

The Drawbacks

What’s inside the Natural Collection Egyptian Cotton 5900?

The Egyptian Cotton 5900 is made by Harrison Spinks for John Lewis and is a Natural fibre and pocket sprung model. It’s a one-sided mattress that features:

Let’s have a look in more detail on the technical specifications of this John Lewis mattress in more detail.

Upholstery Layers

When we tested this mattress in the showroom it has a softer feel in the top layer before medium support which was true to the description. When we look at the fibres we can see that it contains a number of Natural Fibres but unfortunately, they don’t disclose the grams per square meter that you need to make a true like for like comparison. We can, however, use our expertise to give an estimate of these layers based on the technical specification on testing.

British Wool & Viscose Blend

This is the primary comfort layer which gives the initial soft feel to the mattress. It’s a shame that there’s no GSM given or breakdown of the blend. The Viscose is a plant-based fibre from plant celulose which has a similar feel to soft polyester and is what we would call an ‘in-between’ fibre that has similar properties to both a synthetic and natural fibre. It’s used to help increase loft in otherwise softer materials like wool. It can also be used to bulk up mattress layers. We would imagine from the mattress cutaway that this is a 500-800gsm layer.

Bonded wool and cotton cross section
Blended Wool & Viscose (a plant derivative similar to polyester)

Egyptian Cotton, Hemp, Flax & Cotton Blend

This is the next comfort layer before the support layers. It provides the mattress with a firmer feel after you’ve sunk through the blended Wool and Viscose. What’s interesting is the blend again is missing. Having such a broad blend of fibres can mean that you’re getting a small amount of each of their properties. Flax, for example, is a very supportive firm fibre whereas Cotton is very soft with a low loft.

We would guess that they have used a blend to help keep the loft high without increasing the GSM, ie keeping the amounts low for the price point. We tend not to use blends of more than 2 fibres as you can end up diluting their individual properties and lose the value of them. It does, however, allow you to state that there are lots of natural fibre ‘types’ in a mattress without having the benefits of them each being their own layer. We would estimate this pad to be 700-1000 GSM.

The Spring Support

The spring support in the mattress is listed as a medium feel but no specific spring gauge information is given. The micro springs again have no gauge given making it hard to do a direct comparison but we will move onto why we don’t rate high-density springs next!

2.5k High Density (Micro) Pocket Springs

We’re going to be honest, we never see the point in Micro Springs in mattress construction. In the most part, they are simply used to bulk up the spring count so it can be used as a marketing tool. As the competition for ‘which mattress has the most springs’ develops. In our experiments, these mico springs compress almost instantly when used in mattresses making them pretty much useless. As they are just over an inch in depth they provide little to no resistance once they have compressed. A horsetail layer would be far better here for support and resistance.

Synthetic micro springs in a row
Micro springs or HD springs are the latest marketing tool to inflate spring counts in mattresses

Cortec™ pocket spring system

The main support system is provided by Cortec pocket springs. There’s no count given but taking the 2,500 HD springs away from the 5900 figure we can estimate its around 3,400. Cortec springs are a relatively new development where pocket springs have been reduced in size and made thinner. The argument is that they are lighter and can be more responsive. However, a springs sole function is to compress and extend dependant on the forces put on it. A sleeper in the case of a mattress. We’re not sure whey they need to be thinner or what the benefit is other than being able to cram more in a mattress.

The maximum amount of pocket springs you can fit in a king-size is 2,000 in a single layer. Meaning that anything above this means reduced sized springs or layers of tiny micro springs. To find out what spring tension you require we have a handy table below. Remember: Your bodyweight dictates the spring tension, not the comfort feel of the bed
Your bodyweight dictates the spring tension, not the comfort feel of the bed
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

The truth is still out on the Cortec pocket springs longevity as its relatively new compared to calico encased pocket springs which have been used for the past 30 years or so. The cynic in us makes us think they are just used to help increase the spring count with no discernible benefit to the consumer. Time will tell.

Eco White Fibre Pad

This is a synthetic white fibre pad used as an insulator for this one-sided mattress. White fibre causes much confusion for mattress shoppers. This is because it’s essentially the same as polyester. Retailers are looking for ways to move away from the P-word which is why ‘White Fibre’ has made an appearance. The word eco could relate to it being recycled as in shredded and repurposed polyester. However, without details, we’re not sure what the Eco refers to.

Polyester cross section
White Fibre is also known as Polyester

How did the Egyptian Cotton 5900 mattress feel?

The mattress in the showroom has a soft feel in the top layer and a medium support feel. We tested the medium spring tension over the firm. Based on this it is probably ideal for those wanting a medium soft feel between 11 stone and 15 stone. If you’re 16 stone and over then the firm tension would be recommended. It’s a tufted mattress with a satin viscose cover which felt soft and looked uniform. There’s no split tension option but they do offer it in Zip & Links. It wasn’t clear if you could have a Zip and Link in two different tensions, ie medium and a firm.

Single fibre types are preferable over blends
Single fibre types are preferable over blends
White fibre is another term for polyester
White fibre is another term for polyester
Mattress Comparison the John Lewis
Natural Collection Egyptian Cotton 5900

Based on the price point of £1000 for a kingsize and the feel of the mattress we can directly compare this model to the Artisan 1500 Natural Fibre Two-sided model in our range. The main differences being the notable increase in fillings and the detailing. Our Artisan 1500 is hand side stitched, hand-tufted and is available in split tensions.

We have used as best we can a similar range of components to The Artisan Naturals in order to garner the closest match in terms of support and comfort levels. For example; The insulating layer (1200 gsm Cashmere) is the same weight and similar in overall quality and feel to the Mohair as used in The Naturals – this is the most expensive component in this mattress – but critical to achieving the correct support and comfort properties for a medium feel mattress. It has a slightly firmer feel to the John Lewis model in the top comfort layers.

The mattress cover is completely Chemical-Free using a Natural plant-based fire retardancy protection.

This Artisan 1500 model comes with a 5-year full guarantee vs the 7 Year warranty of the John Lewis model (care needs to be taken between a Guarantee and Warranty exclusions read more here).

Artisan 1500
Artisan 1500
Artisan 1500 John Lewis Egyptian Cotton 5900
Total 4300GSM 2,500 GSM BM (ESTIMATED)
Sides 2 1
Rated Excellent Trustpilot
View our comparison Model

The John Lewis Natural Collection Egyptian Cotton 5900 was comfortable and relatively well made for the price point. However, we would always like to see models at the £1,000 price point using two-sided construction methods to aid mattress longevity. Likewise, the quilted side panels look and felt quite cheap given the quality of the Natural fibres. A machine side stitched panel would be preferable. If this was a £700 model then we could accept these components but believe you can get far more for your money with our Artisan 1500.

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