Pocket springs – The arguments

This comment was submitted by a reader who raised an interesting and valid point about the use of Harrisons Posturfil and HD mini springs as a viable component to supplement the upholstery layers. In order to make for easier reading, I have added my responses directly below each point. 

Please use the Ask us function to raise any additional questions on springs or mattress components.

Minisprings DL This is supplementary to his original line of questioning but reading our article on pocket springs explained will help to put  this comment into perspective.

Are slatted bases suitable for heavy pocket sprung mattresses?

2013/02/25 at 18:07
Hi John and Ryan,
Thank you for providing such an informative, generous and brilliant website. Also, for answering my questions so quickly. Wow!!

I’m glad you enjoyed the questions! I certainly found your answers both informative and enjoyable. (Thank you). Also very thought – provoking, regarding springs.

It is now very clear to me that you need to consider all the variables together, and not base your choice on one factor. I must say, though, that your answers to individual points on comfort and support are all very helpful, in their own right, and this post is really about the support aspects. (I’ll be sure to also consider your advice on toppings as well).

I wrote this post because we intend to buy a new bed frame and also a new mattress in the near future. (The cheaper mattress which we recently bought, is just a stop-gap, and will become the guest bed when we move house.) So we do have to go through the whole selection process, and it’s a good job we found your site first!! :-)

We’d be very grateful for any further comments on whether a slatted base would be ok for a new and “good quality” heavy pocket sprung mattress, (and if we choose this combination, should we add anything else) or if we should really change our thoughts to a sprung edge divan. 

John Ryans Response

It annoys me immensely when I see mattresses described as ‘For Bedsteads’. This is a fairly new marketing technique and the only reason I see this used is another avenue of potential sales. I have a slatted bedframe and Ryan has a Sprung Edged Divan. There is undoubtedly a difference in overall comfort level. The SE Divan Base being the better option as the spring edging in the divan offers a considerably greater degree of suspension for the mattress.

Bedframes, either flat slatted or sprung slatted, do not offer this degree of suspension and so the resilience of the mattress is impeded (less forgiving). Divan bases are not the most glamorous of items and so the compromise you will have to make is between Form or Function.

We are currently looking to manufacture a low-level spring system to sit directly onto slatted bases (a mini mattress if you will). This will be able to offer the suspension qualities of a sprung edged divan for those of us who like the design aesthetics of a bedframe.

The slight downside to this addition will be an increase in height to the overall mattress and spring combo. Some bed frames are designed so that the tailboard is slightly higher than the mattress so the thought has to be put into the overall look of the finished bed or purchase the frame with this in mind.

As a justification for this response, And So To Bed (high-end retailer) offers a selection of well-crafted bedframes and it is unlikely they will insist that only the Vi Spring Bedstead mattresses they supply will be suitable for their bedframes. 

What are the pros and cons of Vi-spring and Harrisons spring manufacture method?

Also, we need to consider further, the pros and cons between the Harrison type and the Vi-spring/your own type of construction. Bearing in mind that we can balance the upholstery by careful choice of topper(s) but cannot alter the support springs, other than by choosing what is under the mattress.

John Ryans response

It has to be borne in mind that Vi-Spring and Harrison’s manufacture their mattresses utilising two completely different methods of construction. Vi-Spring stands by their hundred-year-old heritage and known as the first manufacturer to utilise a pocket spring  system.  Harrisons have their own spring manufacturing company (Spinks Springs) and obviously will take a different tack using spring technology to improve on what is currently out there.

For someone to categorically state whether one system is better than the other would be rather churlish. There are valid arguments on both sides and no doubt Mt Harrison and Mr Vi Spring could discuss at length the validity of their own methods and viewpoints of construction.

For this Keith, it would be rather unfair of me to comment further before you give these respective manufacturers the opportunity to justify their own construction methods themselves. Once you have their responses to this particular question I would be more than happy to offer my opinion. 

Does the diameter of a pocket spring wire affect its stiffness?

OK. now to the springs. You raised several very interesting points, especially about the layers of support springs, including the observations you were given by a spring manufacturer.
I have an engineering background, and you’ve prompted me to look up some basic spring theory, and have another think about this. (What a minefield, and it raises more questions than answers. !!!) I’d be interested in anyone else’s ideas as this is just my theory:

In a coil spring, it’s stiffness (spring rate) is affected by the material it is made of; the thickness of the wire; the diameter of the coils; and the number of active coils (coils that are free to deflect). Reducing the diameter makes the spring stiffer. Reducing the number of active coils also makes the spring stiffer.

John Ryans response

The first part of your comment is right. The thickness of the wire (gauge) does (obviously) influence the overall tension. The question is, how many of these springs becomes the optimum number? For example, will 1000 pockets of a certain spring tension be enough for a particular users bodyweight – Or, will 2000 provide you with a more ‘comfortable’ mattress?

The second part of your comment asks will reducing the number of active turns make the spring ‘stiffer’? I personally don’t think it does, and again it all bears on the actual gauge of the wire used. If we look at Hypnos Beds as an example of this, they utilise the Ultrasens™ pocket system within their top of range mattresses. The top of range Sandringham uses a 17 turn spring and their Baroness utilises a 10 turn (Ultrasens) spring.

Going down in their range they then start to utilise their ReActive™ pocket springs in their mattresses. The top of the range in this sector utilises an 8 turn spring going down to 6 active turns in their Regent model. Within their Orthos Collection, they utilise ReActive™ 10, 8 or 6 dependant on the model. However, these are only available in Firm or Extra Firm tensions.

The Ultrasens™ spring is a patented design only used by Hypnos, Look at their site in order to understand the design features of this particular spring [Here]. I believe the ReActive™ pocket spring they use is the traditional barrel shaped spring (I cannot find any descriptive reference to this) and I would be inclined to ask them what the difference / benefits is / are between their ReActive™ pocket spring and the 6 turn pocket Vi-Spring utilises. Additionally, the most intriguing question would be, can the difference in overall support between the Ultrasens and ReActive springs be measured? Can the difference in price between models using these different spring types be justified?

Vi-Spring utilises a 6 turn spring right through their entire range in various gauges, diameters and counts. Taking into consideration their top of (core) range Magnificence retails in the region of £17.000 or indeed their Majesty (Harrods exclusive) retails in the region of £50.000 it begs the question, is a 6 turn pocket spring ample? I would ask you to question the appropriate manufacturers this quite concise question in order to get their view on this.

Will a firm 2000 spring mattress have to use thinner gauge springs compared to a firm 1000 pocket spring mattress?

We can assume that springs used in a pocket-sprung mattress all have a linear spring rate. This is because they look as though they would not “bottom out” during use. (Variable rate springs have some tight coils which are designed to bottom out and become inactive after some load is applied. This leaves less “active” coils, making remaining movement of the spring stiffer, under an additional load.)

Let’s assume that all mattress pocket springs are all made from the same steel material, just to make things easy. We are also led to believe that they are all made from 3 common gauges of wire.

A manufacturer can control the stiffness (support) of a mattress by using any combination of (a) more/less, smaller/larger diameter springs across the area of the matt; (b) by using springs with more / less coils; or (c) by using different guage springs.

Let’s look at an example question, that a consumer might think about, when trying to guess what benefits they could get for their money when they are being influenced by the manufacturers’ adverts:

Q: Will a 2000-spring “firm” mattress have smaller but lighter gauge springs, than a 1000-spring “firm” unit, and should it feel the same or more or less supportive? This is something that only the manufacturer would know, from their design process. I suspect that the higher spring count may theoretically give a more “finely detailed” contour in its support, but given sufficient wadding, would this make a real difference anyway? Who knows?

John Ryans response

Interesting question. The gauge of the wire can be the same in a 1000 or 2000 unit. Theoretically, the more springs as you say will give a more finely detailed contour to the sleeper. The theory I liked was the bowling ball analogy. On 1000 springs the ball would be using say nine springs. The centre of the ball (pressure point) would be depressing the centre spring more than the surrounding eight springs dispersing the load. On a 2000 unit, the ball would be using say 18 springs. The centre of the ball (pressure point) would be depressing 4 springs with the remaining 14 springs dispersing the load. Theoretically, the four springs on the 2000 unit will not be depressed as fully as the one spring thereby providing less resistance.

Taking this theory a step further, does that imply that a double layer of 2000 springs gives the support required but, less than twice the resistance of a 2000 unit? If so, at what point does it stop? Like I said in response to your previous comment Keith, someone with a good understanding of engineering physics will be able to pinpoint more accurately a simple explanation to the optimum spring count vs load thesis.

Do mattress springs all have an equal support rating?

I guess that only someone with your own experience and a lot of time for testing, could test several combinations and make a general conclusion to compare between models in a range, or between manufactures. Even then, I guess it would be quite difficult.

The amount of support in a mattress could only really be known, and compared, by the consumer, if manufacturers provided a “support value” identifying how much the mattress springs will deflect if a given weight is applied to a given area, for each model.

John Ryans response

Absolutely. Our plans for the future site is to include videos bench testing various spring types using various weights to see how each performs. Currently, we can only speculate and theorise. The Support Value for a given body weight would indeed be much more beneficial to the consumer than the ridiculous SMoF (Soft Medium or Firm) description so prevalent throughout this  industry. 

Do all mattress manufacturers follow an agreed standard set of spring tensions?

I suppose that a less detailed approach could be to ask you, if:
(a) Do any (or all) manufacturer try to balance out the factors so that all their own “firm” mattresses have the same support and ditto for “medium” and “soft”?

(b) Is there any industry standard that means that “firm” “medium” or “soft” will give very similar support between different makes of a mattress?

John Ryans response

In short No! or at the very least, unlikely. There is no industry standard for SMoF. When I first started to look into this I couldn’t understand how a mattress could be described as SMoF without knowing the end users actual bodyweight. Being the sceptic I am, I suppose it is in the retailers interest for you not to know the Support Values. I envisage the consumer asking the retailer will (this particular mattress) be right for me? and just get a resounding Yes and a sale.   So how can this anomaly be rectified?

As a secondary viewpoint on this, it has to be understood that overall support / tension is not wholly down to the springs used. You could have a mattress with identical springs but by using different combinations and levels of upholstery will give you a completely different level of comfort.  This is quite an arguable subject and no doubt there are many points of view. My own viewpoint is that a retailer with knowledge of construction methods and how each component works with each other coupled with knowing a persons body weight ‘should’ equal the perfect mattress. 

Will double rows of smaller springs provide a different tension to a single row of springs?
OK, so onto double rows of springs… I had a think about this.

Basically, let’s take (say) a 6-inch spring, which will be compressed 1 inch by a 20lb weight. (spring rate 20lbs/inch). Now, cut that spring in half, to give you two 3″ springs. Put these two halves end-to-end, (and basically you still have the same spring). Add the 20lb load, and you can imagine that the total 1-inch compression will be divided between the two shorter 3″ springs. Each half-spring will compress half an inch under 20lbs load, (spring rate 40lbs per inch for each spring). ( note that in each spring you’ve  halved the number of active coils to double its stiffness).

Now say you have another 6-inch spring, half as stiff as the original.(10lbs per inch) and do the same thing. A half of this spring will become a 3-inch spring with a stiffness of 20 lbs per inch.

Here’s the good bit …. now put two different half-springs end-to-end. 3″ at 20lbs / inch and 3″ at 40 lbs/inch. Again, compress this combination with a 20 lb weight. The first spring will deflect 1″ and the other will deflect 1/2 ” .. a total of 1.5 inches. Resultant spring rate is 13.33 lbs/inch.

That sounded complicated, but what it tells us is that by using two different strength half-length springs, in different combinations, you can achieve three different total spring rates. Wow, what a complicated way of doing it, though!

It also illustrates that you do not get a variable spring rate by butting two different springs end-to-end; just a different strength.

I’m sure nobody would bother to actually cut springs in half, so the half-length springs must be made separately. Perhaps a stock of several different stiffness half- length springs in the factory would allow a manufacturer to build a custom made mattress with a wider variety of stiffnesses, or with different support for each sleeping partner? But this could also be done by simply using a wider variety of full-length springs, too. I wonder if there is a cost benefit to the manufacturer?

Is there some other (real) benefit to these double rows, (I’ve never seen one advertised!), or is this maybe a gimmick to add more price than worth? Comments from anyone on this would be most welcome …

John Ryans response

I can understand completely your train of thought here but I do think we are over analysing this and only a bench test could conclusively confirm or disprove the theory. Something for a later date perhaps. My own views on the double spring layout is borne from our introduction of our Artisan Bespoke 002. Between the two layers of springs there is an insulating layer of Calico clipped to the outer springs – otherwise there may be a tendency for the loose springs on top to work it’s way through and fall between the underlying springs beneath. You could view this insulator as the ‘barrier’ to withstand the main compression of the user and therefore, the top layer of springs is taking the bulk of the pressure applied.

The double spring technique can also be seen as adding an additional level of suspension and particularly more so if partnered with a sprung edged base which offers a further element to this.  I do hold the viewpoint that progressive suspension of all components including upholstery layers offer a greater degree of comfort and longevity. People often ask why we use two layers of latex in our Origins Pocket Latex rather than just one layer of the same combined thickness and really it boils down to theory – being that there has to be an end point where one component reaches it’s optimum tension before the secondary layer kicks in. This applies more to different layers of upholstery rather than latex but we apply this principle to the latex just in case. Upholstery within a (good) mattress is built up with the firmer elements at the bottom directly above the springs and gets progressively softer to the top of the mattress.

Going back to the double spring technique, it could be viewed in the same way. The first layer of springs will reach optimum load before the secondary layer starts to kick in. Looking at your next question I think I will carry on this conversation there. 

How necessary is Harrisons revolution spring?

Ah, now Harrison’s Revolution spring……
I guess that the spring-in-spring theory is that the outer spring must be compressed by some amount of force before the inner spring is contacted. At this point, additional deflection from a further force is resisted by both springs in each pocket.(ie the mattress becomes firmer at this point). I’m sure this must work in both theories and in practice.

The real question is, “What difference should this make to things which affect the sleeper’s posture / sleep experience / etc.?” I can see that for a given firmness of mattress, a very light person may perhaps not deflect the mattress very far, deflecting mainly the lighter springs, whilst a heavy partner, instead of sinking very deeply, is supported more firmly when they contact the second set of springs, thus reducing the amount that they “sink” any further.

The big question for me to ask, though, is that given the “right ” amount of support for the sleeper, would this two-stage support system feel any different, and what do the manufacturers propose as the benefits when compared to a simple pocket spring, also giving the “right” support?
Your own considered opinion on this would be much appreciated.

John Ryans response

Once again, Keith, I do think this question should be initially directed to Harrisons before I make further comment. It is viable and well thought out premise. I would also couple this question to the comment you make below. 

Do micro springs provide more comfort than traditional upholstery fillings?

Nearly finished! … Harrisons Posturefil and HD.
I think you have answered my query mostly, by your first comment.

I believe from Harrison’s blurb, that these springs function as part of the comfort upholstery. ( Am I right?) So the main question is, I wonder if you are able to comment on whether these tend to give more or less comfort as compared to a similarly priced mattress with a similar amount of support, but with more wadding instead of the Posturefil & HD springs?

What I’d also like to find out, is, what the supposed roles of the two items are. (Just because I’m intrigued) They come in various combinations, and with variations in the wadding, throughout the mattress quality / price range. They must be different to each other. Or is this perhaps a perceived Worth / Price thing?

The second question I suppose, is, that when considering the comfort layers of a mattress generally, what are we hoping to achieve? Something that feels “soft”? Something that moulds to our shape and stays there? Something that moulds but is springy? Something which firmly supports those parts of the body which are not pressing down on the support springs? Takes pressure off the parts of the body that are taking most of the weight? Helps us to move easily / or stop us moving? Or what?

And in the case of these little springs, the question then becomes, “which of these attributes would they be good at, and which would they not? ”

John Ryan response

This last portion of your comment is the key to your original line of questioning and couple this to your question above about Revolution Springs would make for very interesting reading when you get a response off Harrisons. There is no doubt about it that the Revolution Spring system has its benefits. However, does the introduction / addition of the HD and / or Posturfil springs improve the overall feel of any particular mattress and if so what is the optimum number that will do this?

The Spink and Edgar Empire, as I have said before utilises a total of 21,700 springs (Revolution and HD – RRP: £15,171 [KS]: (Mar 2013)) in the mattress alone (4000 in the base). If this is the optimum number which is in their top of range mattress – How much of a compromise if any, is the customer making by opting for a mid range mattress – say the S&E Elegance (£1,877 [KS] March 2013) which utilises a total of 4500 springs in the mattress alone?

The perception a reasonable person would make of this is that the more springs equal the better mattress. If this is the right way to look at this, it begs a further question as to how much of a difference in comfort for the price paid can one expect to compromise?

Will mattress tufts compress over time?

I do note that traditional tufted mattresses have a very uneven surface when new … very compressed at the tufts, soft and full in between. Obviously, the soft areas become a bit compacted over time, and the unevenness can be bridged with a topper. Should a good mattress “even out”, or stay high in between the tufts? And, coming back to the Harrison springs, Would these be likely to retain their springiness, longer than traditional wadding (in a similarly priced mattress of course)?

John Ryans response

The undulations on the mattress will indeed flatten out over time – they are supposed to. New upholstery is always at a premium loft when new and settlement, particularly on natural fibres is an intrinsic part of the bedding in process. This should be a slow process and the more you can do to slow down this process the better – hence our obsession with toppers. This also brings me to the anomaly about trying mattresses in store. What a person feels from day one is not the same as they will feel some months down the line. Like new shoes, all mattresses need to be broken in (slowly) and will get more comfortable as time goes by.

I have no doubt that mini springs will retain their ‘springiness’. The most obvious question to this would be are springs better than horsehair to provide the resilient layer within the mattress? Horsehair being the natural equivalent of a metal spring. Again, another question to ask Harrison’s for an alternative and welcome point of view.


We understand this was so long and complicated, but you have got us intrigued, and we’re finding this subject quite fascinating. It’s certainly true what you say that there’s so much you need to consider with spring tensions, wire diameters and numbers of turns and that there’s such little information freely available.  If you need help with springs or mattress components give our small expert team a call to assist you.


View Comments
  • Adam says:

    I have read your excellent articles on the benefits of using a sprung base divan over a slatted base for a pocket sprung mattress. My query is that I currently have a pocket sprung mattress which is sat upon a solid slatted bedstead. I would like to keep using the bedstead if at all possible, so I read with interest that you are considering offering a very thin mattress to sit between the slats and the mattress.

    Any ideas on when this will be available? Also in the meantime I have toyed with the idea of using a memory foam topper, but rather than having it on top of the mattress, I was thinking about placing it under the mattress to provide a bit of extra cushioning. I don’t know whether this is advisable or not though, so any feedback would be gratefully received. Regards, Adam

    Hi Adam. I have a prototype being made which I shall trial on my slatted bedframe – I cannot foresee this coming to fruition for a couple of months or so. There is no doubt about it that this addition should replicate the benefits and feeling of a sprung edged base and give you the optimum foundation for you and your mattress. The trick / problem is to find the correct height and tension of spring in order to support the mattress and user to prevent it being overly compressed.

    I’m not particularly sure if a Memory Foam Topper will have the suspension qualities required to do a similar job or if it will completely flatten under the weights applied. If you do decide to try this out I would be interested in your feedback. John and Ryan.

  • Sabu says:

    Hi there, John and Ryan

    I would’ve thought a thin layer of reconstituted foam which should soften over time, to put under the mattress. I haven’t tried it, just a thought. Harrison sell an undermattress but I haven’t been able to find anyone who has it in stock to see. Do you know anything about this one? i.e does it work? Apparently its only 5cm high. I hope the work on your mini mattress is going well. Do keep us informed.

    All the best, Sabu

    Hi Sabu. I agree, based on the principle that anything is better than nothing.

    The Harrison’s undermattress for slatted bedframes is precisely the right way to go about re-creating the sprung edge suspension that all pocket sprung mattresses will benefit from. I too haven’t actually seen them in the flesh so to speak, but I cannot find any reason to assume they wouldn’t work. The theory is so blindingly obvious.

    Our prototypes have shown that the suspension properties gained from an undermattress is indeed beneficial – to the user and also to the mattress. We have commissioned the production of a much smaller pocket unit using a firmer mini spring which will, like Harrison’s be in the region of 5-6cm deep.

    I will email you as soon as they come off the production line. John and Ryan.

    2013/03/19 at 18:54
    Hi John and Ryan

    Many thanks. Sabu

  • Charles Rockwell says:

    The purpose of double pocketed spring rows is twofold. The extra row creates extra friction as the springs rub against the fabric pockets. If you compare the mattress to an equivalent single row mattress it will have less motion transferred to the other side. This is sort of like the Tempurpedic advertisement where the wine glass stays in place while somebody jumps on the bed. The other benefit is that the springs in a double row are only half the length, so they are less likely to bend out of column as they are compressed. This helps longevity as coils moving out of column can press through the fabric. Other than that, there is nothing you can do with two springs that you couldn’t do with a single spring.

    Hi Charles. Thanks for this. Our spring man has said that there is no difference between one spring at ten inches say, and two springs at five inches particularly if the diameter of the wire and spring is same. What happens is that there will be a difference in overall tension / support based on the extra turns the springs have. So, if the ten inch spring has 10 turns and the five inch spring has five turns – using two of these should not significantly alter the overall support.

    We have another day booked with spring guy at the beginning of October, and we want to test the proof of this statement. This will also flag up the question – what happens when one layer of 2000 springs is used as opposed to 2 layers of 1000 springs with differing diameters. Will post findings when completed. John and Ryan.

  • Brian says:

    Hi J & R
    Fascinating Q & A on mattress springs
    Here are two more
    Are double layer springs always contained in the same long pocket or are there Two separate spring layers in short pockets ?
    If so, the springs would not likely to be directly over each other.
    This might have the effect of engaging two or more springs in the bottom layer.
    What effect would this have ?

    Where there is a spring within spring
    The weight of person would effect the engagement of the lower spring.
    So would this be a waste of money for certain body weights.
    Any ideas what that weight might be.


    Hi Brian. Good questions. Firstly, springs used in a double layer are invariably always within their own little pockets. Air suspension springs (3000 counts) will have one long pocket attached to two shorter pockets. When we asked our spring guy where the point of tension rests when a spring is placed on top of the other, he said that both the springs share the load equally – therefore two five turn springs (one on top of the other) will act in the same way as a ten turn spring. It is unlikely that the top spring will be so out of alignment with the bottom spring to cause any discrepancy.

    The spring in spring system (Harrison Spinks) is a tricky one to evaluate. Like you say, if the person is of a very lightweight, the inner spring becomes superfluous as the user will not have enough bodyweight to engage the inner spring. However, this does become beneficial to users of varying bodyweights but thought has to come into play to ensure the spring tension is right for the user..

    It is said that the spring deflection should not exceed 40% of the load (user) and so, based on this rule of thumb calculation you can easily assume that if you sink into the mattress and it depresses about half way down the tension is not right for the user(s).

    We are still exploring the minefield of spring variances / counts / types etc; and we are still of the mind that one row of calico encased pocket springs of the right tension is enough for the majority of users. Tried and tested for over a hundred years it becomes apparent that some spring types and variances are there just for the sake of being different without any rational explanation of why .. they are better. Please continue to offer viewpoints on this subject. We still have a long way to go. John and Ryan.

    2013/10/23 at 16:14
    Hi Ryan
    Thanks for your reply
    Just got back to the Post today – could not find it earlier [So much]
    Now Book Marked
    As you say spring counts / types is a minefield – before considering anything else
    But thanks to you, some clarity is emerging.

    Noted the comment from ‘Spring Man’ in that Two springs same as One for overall length …
    Is this saying, don’t pay extra for two tier springing of same total length ?
    Or even Pocket in Pocket ?
    [Just a sales gimmick ? or a worthwhile difference ?]

    Hi again Brian. We are still trying to clarify what the differences will be with two tier springing. Our next visit with ‘spring man’ will include a bench test to see if two tier springs perform better / worse / similar than a one spring unit.

    A bit more comment
    I started my mattress search pretty much like everyone else – Popular Brand names / Big stores. – Then I found your site – followed your advice and asked questions – sent emails – the answers I received would form the basis of a manual for selling snake oil.

    So where does this leave the average mattress shopper ?
    Wanting to support local business ?
    Within arms reach if something goes wrong ?
    Comparing what is available ? No chance
    Fair deal ? Slim chance of that
    Best advice ? – is ‘Lie on it Sir ‘ ‘Just so long as you feel comfotable ….’
    – ‘More springs the better’

    This brings me to the options of upping the ante to something for example from Vi Spring / Others, where they do declare content
    or to a manufacturer such as yourselves.

    With Vi Spring [And others]
    Pros: I can see the products locally / Feel the quality ! / Can try for size [Have a laugh at the sales pitches ]

    Cons: Just a tad expensive ? Don’t know the weight of any mattresses
    Have seen more poor reviews than good ones

    With J&R
    Pros: Fully specified / Consideration of user needs / All questions answered / Not seen a bad review / Approx weights available
    Cons: Not local / Cant see or feel the quality / Cannot try / Maybe too heavy

    So, still working on decision -no rush.

    Thanks Brian. Feel free to call the office or comment further if you have any further questions. John and Ryan

  • Brian says:

    Hello again
    Since I have been in no hurry to purchase a mattress – I continued to ‘google’ ….
    Came up with this

    Comments in much the same way as yourselves but for USA / Canada
    You may know of this site – which is pretty much a Mirror image of the Mattress industry in UK as can be found.

    Thought I would post this to your site for any one wishing to ‘Corroborate’ your findings

    I particularly liked the view that the ‘Brands’ were “Selling a story not a mattress ” … [Or customers were Buying the story !]

    From my own experience of buying in the USA ‘The Brand’ is all powerful.


    Hi again Brian. The Mattress Underground is a good site and goes to show the confusion of buying a mattress extends across our waters and not just prevalent within the UK.

    You did raise a particular bug-bear of Ryan’s about ‘The Story’ where the sales patter goes into great length about the exclusivity of a particular component or how a particular component has come to be used. This becomes apparent in the bulk of all Memory Foam mattress descriptions when the nomenclature of ‘NASA inspired’ or ‘Developed by NASA’ is bandied about. The same is true with wool for example; Is there really a significant comfort difference between British Fleece Wool and Shetland Wool? The story for Shetland Wool is obviously more exciting – The exclusivity, The breeds of sheep. The regional aspect etc. But when used within the actual mattress does this exclusivity (and of course price) have an overall effect on the user? Good points Brian, keep them coming. John and Ryan.

    Hello Once more
    Hope you can stand this one – closer to the nitty gritty

    Three matt question – within budget – required for a 12 stone user
    Pocket latex 1500 / Tailored pocket 2000 / Artisan Naturals
    The better option decision …

    Hi again Brian – Sorry for the delay in replying. I’m going to answer your questions as you ask them for ease of reading.
    Since you originally commented we have introduced a further model for your consideration – The Artisan 1500 and it is this model that I think you should seriously consider. The long and short of all of this is your available budget and of course The Naturals is the best of the bunch but does come in at a price. 12st is not overly heavy and therefore the support element is not a crucial factor.

    I assume that the Latex 1500 springs are ‘Non Calico’ – would there be any benefit by upgrading [If available] to ‘Calico springs’ ? / Extra Latex ?
    Better primary / base layers ? – What could they be ? and at what cost ?
    A tailored Latex if you like ? or go to one of the other 2 options.

    There is no option to tailor make The Origins Latex – it is what it is. The springs are not calico – Calico springs are introduced at our Artisan Naturals level. The price of this particular spring unit is due to the man hours it takes to produce such a unit and is not worth spending on unless the appropriate upholstery is also utilised.

    Tailored Pocket 2000 described as two tier ‘Non Calico’
    Is there a benefit using two tiers over one ‘Non Calico’ ?
    Your ‘Springs’ postings seem to suggest not or waiting comment from Spring experts ?

    The Tailored Pocket may be too supportive for your bodyweights even with the option of having them in a soft tension and again The Artisan 1500 seems to me to tick all your boxes for support and comfort. The double tier spring unit and single tier unit investigations are still underway and this will be a long term project. I currently have absolutely no source material on this and have to pick my way through all the BS to achieve a logical point of view. I have recently received my software to input spring tensions / diameters / turns / lengths/ sizes etc and the result should give me a more accurate detailing of a particular spring. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Analysing a single spring is not the end of the story. I then have to compute what the effect would be when a number of springs are joined together side by side.

    For now I am quite confident that a double tier unit offers no benefit to a user of a lightweight such as yours. Even though our spring guy (whom I will be seeing again in the new year (he is very expensive) ) says the mechanics will be the same as one spring – but then obviously there may be more turns over the two units and the question arises how will these extra turns affect the overall support? I would welcome any comment from mechanical engineers with their point of view to help me with this.

    Artisan Naturals
    Would this be better for longevity / suitability / comfort than Latex

    It’s a well built mattress for the money – Cannot be compared to Latex as they are two completely different builds. Compare Latex against all Memory Foam and Latex offerings.

    Would the Tufty bumps of a sprung matress be noticeable [Not used to ‘Tufts’ ] – Would use a topper of some sort.
    Some people are quite susceptible to these tufts. A good topper is of course the answer and as a topper is a must .. it will of course be beneficial. The height of tufting is a good indication to the amount of upholstery contained. Over time through weight and usage settlement of the upholstery will occur naturally and these undulations will flatten out. This has to be a slow process and my OCD about the usage of toppers helps slow down this process considerably.

    Also are there any padding layers around sides / ends of J&R matts
    I ask this because during my quest for the eureka moment I have pondered the Big Brands and when you can feel the springs along the side of a mattress [RA] that’s not too reassuring.
    Very good question. The answer is yes – Absolutely!
    A sign of a cheap mattress is as you describe – if you can feel the springs by running your hand across the side panel of the mattress then take that into consideration of the price. All of our mattresses have compressed polyester of varying weights (600 – 800 gsm) as the padding to the side panel. All mattresses that adopt Hand Side Stitching will have a backing material of sorts. Vi Spring, as a way of high end example use Wool or Wool and Coir as backing material (weights not known).

    I should say, my current Mattress is Dunlopillo [Not sprung] Med/soft
    Sleep position is back / sides – mostly diagonal – single user

    I must also add that, since my experience with the Dunlopillo has been good my search has also included ‘Solid’ Latex [Abaca Organic being preferred] who seem to offer a good product – seeming to be well specified and described with sketches – But a tad too expensive …

    Would be grateful if you are able to consider this for me

    Dunlopillo is a licensed product [Brand] and although available worldwide there can be no strict specification of a particular model or component. The UK has very strict Fire Retardency laws and therefore the Latex we [UK] use to comply is completely different than say USA or elsewhere. I previously had a Dunlopillo mattress (solid core) and the latex that was used in that model is completely different to the latex currently being used. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence online of peoples dissatisfaction with current Dunlopillo when compared to their previous model…

    Dunlopillo was recently sold by Hilding Anders to Steinhoff. As far as I know, the current supplier of Latex used in these products is Latexco. Despite some quite in-depth inquiries I am unable to track down the supplier and spec of the old Dunlopillo latex we were all so familiar with.

    We are shortly going to launch our sister site ‘John Ryan Contemporary’ (hopefully by the new year). This is headed by Lee who has been delving deep into the world of memory Foam and latex in much the same vein as we have done with pocket sprung mattresses. The sister site is already a similar size to this which goes to show what a minefield this particular area of the mattress industry is. In response to your comment I would be quite cynical about Organic Latex – What exactly is it? Does organic mean that the crop is grown without the need of fertilizer or pesticide? Does organic refer to the fabric covering or to the actual latex? I know Lee has researched this [dubious] area thoroughly and has been met more times that I care to mention with brick walls and BS. This is too great a subject to impart in a comment and only when we have a factual account of this multi billion pound industry will we publish our findings.

    Thanks again Brian for your questions. They do benefit a lot of people. John and Ryan.
    2013/11/19 at 20:45
    Hi J & R
    Thanks for the response to my last post [Hello Once More … ]

    When your response didn’t show for a few days – I thought, Whoops ‘Overdone it this time’ … You are not going to answer …
    Well you did – Brilliantly and interestingly.

    Thanks for all that –
    Regards Brian

    Hi again Brian. Your questions and comments are interesting (to read and respond to) because you are delving deep, and well past the superficial layer of dubious specifications. I must admit that when initially starting out many people are completely daunted by what they actually need to know about their purchase and it is quite probable that many people just give up and hope upon hope that they make the right choice. John and Ryan.

  • Kelly says:

    I am looking at the 800 pocket memory rest assured heritage mattress as due to being off work through illness I do not have the budget I would usually have to spend on a new mattress. It is for a standard double & just for me to use & I don’t know if 800 will be ok/good enough to get the adequate support for the couple of years of usage until I am back at work & can get myself one of your much nicer ones! Your website has been a great find for information but I am confused for the lower budget end of the market. It says medium soft but on many other sites they say they would actually rate it as just a good medium. I am 5’3″ & weigh just under 8 stone. Any advice would be very much appreciated. On main sites it is called the Audley 800 memory.

    Hi Kelly,
    I have looked at the description of the Audley 800 mattress and note that there is a vagueness in relation to the upholstery fillings. Yes 800 pocket springs are ok for a double sized mattress, however, without specific details of the upholstery by way of GSM (grams per square metre) it is impossible to advise on the quality or possible performance of this mattress. I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful in respect of the Audley 800, but as stated, I cannot give an opinion on another mattress without knowing exactly what is in it. You could try and obtain further information regarding the upholstery from the manufacturer and if you can obtain more specific details, please let me know and I may be able to advise further.

    I appreciate that at the moment budget is an issue for you, but if you were able to raise it to £410 then our Origins Comfort 1000 mattress would provide you with the comfort and support you need for your body weight. A full description including upholstery breakdown is available on our site in respect of the Origins Comfort. I hope that this helps, regards Mike.

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