What can you expect for your money?

It is a fact that no matter how clued up you think you are, it is unlikely you really know what you can expect for your money. This post will give you an indication of what you can reasonably expect in relation to your budget.


Firstly, there are a few things that you should know in relation to retail pricing. All components used in mattresses cost the manufacturer relatively the same price. Just because ‘Brand X’ uses a container full of springs on a weekly basis does not necessarily mean that they are paying substantially less for them. It then follows that it will be the same for fabrics, waddings and fillings.

The raw cost price of a mattress will generally be the same, for a ‘like for like’ model, for all manufacturers. You are then quite right to wonder why there are such huge price differences for essentially the same mattress. Well, once the mattress has been manufactured, additional costs have to be added by the manufacturer to the raw cost such as advertising, promotion, transport, logistics and so on.

How much is a mattress?

Depending on the size of the manufacturer depends on how high these additional costs can go. The bigger the manufacturer, the higher the costs. After all these have been added, and the mattress is in the shop, there is then the retailer’s costs to consider. Shop costs of rent, rates, staffing costs to sell the bed, delivery costs to get the bed to you, and so on. After all that the retailer adds on his mark-up, or share of the profit in order to keep his business growing or to divide between the shareholders.

When you find your “like for like” mattress, virtually tear them apart to see where all your extra money is going!  Is it on the mattress or on the advertising?

What fillings should you have in your mattress?

Even though there are well over 4000 models of mattress out there you really don’t have much of a choice. How so? For a budget of around £600, the main upholstery will be either/or polyester or visco-elastic foam nothing more. When I say nothing more, I mean any other waddings added that can offer the slightest significant improvement to the mattress, other than having it contained in the specification and this inclusion could be relatively worthless.

Mattresses that contain natural fibres (lambswool, cashmere, hair, cotton, mohair etc) in such a quantity for them to be beneficial or to make up the mattress completely, just do not exist for budgets less than £800.

What your money will get you in a mattress

Take a quick look through the models I have on offer. Use this as a starter point as I think it would be difficult to beat. Let us say for example your budget is around £400 (Double). I say that this amount can get you 1000 pocket springs, double sided with a decent polyester wadding, reflex foam aiding the support and longevity and an above average fabric a total of 1250 GSM (Grams per square meter). Incidentally, this is our minimum standard, we do not sell a lower quality than this.

Using the main comparison details of 1000 pocket springs, reflex foam (25mm) and polyester (1250 GSM) you should then search each shop or site looking for a similarly built mattress for a similar price. When you have your list of possible candidates for comparison you then look at all the additional details such as fabric quality, detailing, service, guarantee etc

Use the same initial principle no matter what your budget find out what it can get you and then try to match it or beat it for comparison.

In General using double sizes as an example:

How much to spend on a double mattress?What can I expect for my money?
£250Will not get you much at best a 13.5 gauge open coil / cage sprung with a thin polyester layer.
£350Could get you a fairly OK orthopaedic mattress or the beginnings of a basic pocket springs with 800 – 1000 count. No substantial amount of filling other than foams and synthetic materials
£500Should get you away from most low-mid ranges and into the basic pocket spring models
£700Should get you an average pocket sprung mattress.
£850Should get you many manufacturers mid-range models.
£1000-£2000Should get you a hand made primarily Natural Fibre Mattress
£2000+You should expect 100% Natural Fibres and traditional construction methods
£5000+A bespoke hand made sleep system, high end spring units & featuring the Worlds Most Luxurious Natural Fibres

We’re adding a disclaimer here

If you are looking at high-end mattresses with premium weight natural fillings as the main components then prices will indeed be in excess of the £1000 plus ballpark. My comments here relate to mass produced mattresses without a predominant natural fillings content.

The rule of thumb is to get the best ‘components’ your budget can buy. If £300 can get you a pocket sprung mattress why settle for a cage sprung mattress for the same money? When a budget is an issue it is better to complement an average pocket sprung mattress by adding your own comfort layers. Do not expect to be able to get everything you need to be included. For example, you have found a 1000 pocket sprung mattress. The fillings used will no doubt be polyester (1200 GSM should be expected at the very least). You will then have to add a supplementary comfort layer in the form of mattress topper or enhancer to give you an additional comfort layer. Combine all this together with a decent mattress protector that has fitted side panels to keep everything in place.

Mattress polyester: Bear in mind that as polyester is the most basic component of mattress upholstery – hence the cheap price it really does not have a very long lifespan. Without taking the above measures of care, it will not be too long for the mattress to develop dips and indents where the polyester refuses to spring back to life. Bear in mind that we all perspire through the night and this is the mattress worst enemy. It is better to replace the topper or whatever every so often than it is to change your mattress.

Keep notes on what you see

Make sure that you are comparing like for like and component by component.  After visiting a few sites without them, you will become lost and forget the important specification details. However, and unfortunately, you will soon see that these basic fundamental details are missing from many descriptions.  If they are vague then phone or email the retailer or manufacturer and ask.

These missing details are done purposefully so you just end up through sheer frustration, sticking a pin into a long list of potentials and hoping upon hope you have made the right choice. Don’t be embarrassed by asking what the mattress is composed of by weight!

GSM is the only way you will be able to tell the construction build quality of any mattress. Have a look at Vi Springs site (and ours) as a good example of how descriptions should be listed. They tell you and show you in great detail what is inside their mattresses, how the components are put together, and you are in a better position to see exactly and without any shadow of a doubt where your money is going.


This is how every mattress online and in store should be described in order for you to sort out the chaff from the wheat. If the adequate description is not there, and you are confronted with a list of dubious and superfluous pseudo terms that mean absolutely nothing then start asking questions. Why is that there? What is the weight of? What weight are the upholstery layers? How much of that is used? Is it better than?

Need more information? Then get in touch with our team of expert mattress specialists.


View Comments
  • Julian says:

    I was wondering what you think of the John Lewis “own brand” mattresses (made by Spink and Edgar, I believe). In particular the “Premier” range? We’ve tried them out in a local store, and the Premier 2 seemed quite comfortable (1&3 were too soft). Are they worth the money?

    We need to replace a 25 year old Myers orthopedic mattress (yes I know it is ancient!), and I was suprised to find that several others of the mattresses we’ve tried out in shops were *less* comfortable than our worn out one 🙂

    Hi Julian, You are right, these are manufactured by Harrison’s for John Lewis but.. Does Harrison’s et al have an ‘identical’ model in order for you to compare? I personally do not know and I would imagine only a handful of senior execs in each company know the real answer for sure. John Lewis may have their own brand mattresses manufactured to an increased specification but sold for much less than equivalent models sold under the Harrison’s Branding. A good reason to NOT shop by brand alone.

    In the case of the JL Premier 2 (Kingsize £1500) the only difference from what I can glean compared to the JL Premier 1 (Kingsize £1150) is 200 more springs and an extra row of hand side stitching. The weight difference between the two is just 3kg which can be accounted to the additional springs. Is this worth an additional £350 to you?

    Your direct question asks me if they are worth the money? The answer is – I do not know. And there are precious few who do. For just one simple reason.

    The descriptions on the JL site tells me that the Premier 1 contains; Egyptian cotton, mohair, cape wool and horsehair . The Premier 2 contains; Egyptian cotton, mohair, cape wool and horsehair. So the only obvious differences are the couple I mention above.

    However, Could there be more cotton (most expensive component) in the Premier 2 mattress? Or more wool? More mohair? .. And so on. These most fundamental and important details – the quality and the weights – are sadly missing. Not only on JL’s site but from nearly all others as well.

    Incidentally, The Premier 3 (Kingsize £2000) contains; Cashmere, cattlehair, wool, Egyptian cotton and mohair. Is the inclusion of Cashmere and Cattlehair worth the extra asked? Does it contain loads of expensive Cashmere and a little bit of cheap cattlehair? Or vice versa? Granted there are more springs, but what exactly will the extra money be getting you?

    Knowing these tiny little details would help you to compare like for like quickly and with relative ease from every single retail source. So why do you think you cannot find them?

    That was a good question Julian, highlighting the number 1 reason why you and everyone else who is reading this will have great difficulty to find the right mattress at the right price. John.

  • Ajay says:


    I recently started looking at mattresses in Dreams. Liked the sound and feel of a pocket sprung with foam/latex comfort layer. The latex ones we tried (they only had 2) weren’t great but the foam ones were quite impressive. We took a fancy to the kaymed (or inner wisdom) monarchy. This has 2400 pocket springs and is classed as 3 in terms of firmness. What are your thoughts on this and do you have an equivalent in your range which you could recommend?

    We also found the Dynasty comfortable but as that was in a different Dreams store it was difficult to compare. With both of these close to £1200 I couldn’t help but feel like it was quite expensive for why it was though.

    FYI I am around 12 stones and the wife is around 10 stones. We both sleep on our sides and we would prefer something medium (we hate very soft and think we need something a little more comfortable than our 7 year orthopaedic mattress). Suggestions welcome.

    Thanks in advance.

    Hi Ajay. Here is the listing from Dream;
    The Monarchy mattress features the Silhouette dual spring system for unrivalled support. It´s sumptuously quilted with layers of Kay-tech memory foam to alleviate pressure. This mattress is foam encased for total edge support and covered with a luxurious soft touch fabric.

    My thoughts? At £1399 for a Kingsize – which includes a saving of £500 from the RRP of £1899. My thoughts are they are taking the P***

    I would go back to Dreams and ask them the following questions.
    1. WTF is a Sillhouette Dual spring system?
    1a. Are they better than pocket springs?
    1b. Why are they better than pocket springs
    1c. Are the springs the reason why this particular memory foam mattress is so expensive?
    1d. If not then what is it?
    2. How sumptuous are the layers of Kay-Tech memory Foam?
    2a. How many layers are there?
    3. Is kay-Tech memory Foam better than British Vita memory Foam
    3a: Could it be the same thing?
    3b. What are the differences that make it better?

    Do you see where I am going with this? What makes my blood boil is that Dreams are asking you to part with £1400 for a mattress – a memory foam mattress no less – and no real description of what you are paying for. For petes sake do not let a salesman – anywhere – hoodwink you with psuedo nonsense. You know you can buy a foam encapsulated memory foam mattress for around £500 or so. What makes this particular foam encapsulated mattress so much better that it costs three times the accepted norm?

    If you don’t know what it is you are spending your hard earned on then ask! You only buy a mattress every so often so there is absolutely no shame in admitting you do not know what they are on about. My cynical side would tell me the salesman wouldn’t know either or at least give a plausable explanation. Sillouette Dual Spring System indeed! John and Ryan.

    Hi – me again. Thanks for the suggestions and you make sense with the questions you asked me. We’ve since tried some different ones out and are now considering a latex top with pocket springs. We went to furniture village and tried several. One that did catch my eye was the Millbrook Pocket Latex which was on at around £720 or so.

    Can you tell me a little bit about what this mattress is like and whether you have something similar in your range? Also I believe my wife has sent in a couple of emails regarding this so would be grateful if you could drop us a reply when you get a chance

    Hi Ajay. Millbrook do three latex models in their core range – Sensual / Supreme / Elite – Let me know which one of these caught your eye. Incidentally, did you not ask these questions at Furniture Village? You should really be getting all the information you can, even from Millbrook themselves, and then coming to a conclusion as to who is giving you the most reliable or indeed sensible answers. John and Ryan.

  • Ajay says:

    Hi – me again. Thanks for the suggestions and you make sense with the questions you asked me. We’ve since tried some different ones out and are now considering a latex top with pocket springs. We went to furniture village and tried several. One that did catch my eye was the Millbrook Pocket Latex which was on at around £720 or so.

    Can you tell me a little bit about what this mattress is like and whether you have something similar in your range? Also I believe my wife has sent in a couple of emails regarding this so would be grateful if you could drop us a reply when you get a chance

    Hi Ajay. Millbrook do three latex models in their core range – Sensual / Supreme / Elite – Let me know which one of these caught your eye. John and Ryan.

  • Shirley says:

    I am considering buying a double divan bed approx £400-£450 in price. I have seen a Sleepeezee Back Care 800 Essential pocket springs which seems quite comfortable, with 2 drawers, at Carpet Right for £489.62. This would be used for a guest bedroom. What are your thoughts on this, would I be getting value for money or am I just paying for a brand name?. Would you know the detailed description at all for this mattress ? Would be grateful for your comments.
    Hi Shirley, I would say that our Origins Reflex Pocket 1000 (£550 – Double – 2 drawers) is a better overall buy. The extremely vague description of the Back care 800 does not give any indication as to what is inside the mattress. Obviously, it indicates an 800 pocket spring count (Kingsize) but the lack of any information whatsoever on the quantity of fillings would lead me to believe it is a basic polyester (I am guessing an 800 – 1000GSM) on polypad insulator, one sided mattress. Obviously I would like you to contact Sleepeezee Customer Services on 01634 290257 and ask them what the precise breakdown of this particular mattress is: What fillings are used on top of the spring unit? It is quite likely going to be polyester and so what is the weight by GSM? [For this retail price 1200 GSM would be an acceptable weight]. Also, is it one sided or two sided? [It looks like a one sided mattress but you should expect this to be in the specification] The detailing and finish is relatively basic but I don’t think you could expect anything more.

    As a sidenote and if your budget cannot stretch to our Origins Reflex, Argos has the Layezee Whisper Pocket 2 draw Divan for £379.99 – This is certainly not a recco but it gives you another set for comparison. Again, there is no detailed breakdown of specification [Phone Layezee Customer Service 01282 851111 – Silentnight are not known for being generous with their specs!] But it shows you that there was a [posibly] similar model out there for £100 less – unless you ask the right questions you will not know whether you are getting £100 less of mattress or the Sleepeezee one was overpriced by £100. Incidentally there was no mention of any pocket spring count on the Argos model.

    Hope this helps Shirley. And for everyone else, when selecting mattresses you really must have at least three of similar build in order to make an informed comparison and then start digging for the relevant detail. And if the details you need are not there PHONE THEM AND ASK. John and Ryan.

  • Denise Kirk. says:

    Can you help me please! I am a large lady (over 20st) my husband is 15st. We have tried caged sprung, latex foam (adjustable bed at the time) cheap memory foam, expensive memory foam. fairly priced pocket spung (years ago) and combinations of all I have 2 mattresses in our loft I have been talked into buying.

    We now have an ottomen bed (so hard base) the mattress that came with it I was assured would be perfect for me as it was for very overweight people! Its driving me mad after 9 months of trying it it’s awful when you sit on side the top of the mattress almost meets the bottom its like sitting on a board I am partialy disabled so spend a good deal of my time either sitting or lying on my bed.I have for the last few days been looking on line for a mattress that is a reasonable price and pocket sprung, but with ranges of pockets from 850 to 3500 iI am toataly confused, with what I have spent in mattress’s in the last 5 years I could have bought a really expensive one (but then it would be wrong for me with my luck with mattress’s. sorry this is so long

    Hi Denise. I hate it when I hear stories like this. Being of a larger build and with specific requirements the advice you ‘should’ be receiving ‘should’ be entirely in your interests. Please call the number at the top of the page and ask Marie to forward me your telephone number so I can speak with you direct. John.

  • John says:

    Hi guys. I have to congratulate you on the wealth of information you provide on your website…. I think it’s brilliant!
    OK…. that was the praise… now the request for some help and information….
    I wholly appreciate your comments and suggestions on ‘budget’ type mattresses and will readily admit to having been bitten (or rather my wife was because she paid) I can’t stand the uncomfortable evenings any longer but equally cannot afford to splash the cash on the luxury mattress my heart and back desires. Soooooooo…… I have looked, as we all try to do, at maybe getting something half decent at a discounted price. Yeah, yeah I hear you all say…. been there, tried that and ended up with something the dog curls up on!

    How does ex-showroom or exhibition models sound? I’ve managed to find a company that supplies such items and am considering buying from them. The model I’m looking at are both Hypnos kingsize mattresses. One is the ID3 double sided and the other is an Evesham. With prices ranging around £220 to £240 including delivery for something described as ‘slightly marked’ do you think this deal could be bettered?
    Both my wife and I are around the 13 stone region.
    Your help would be much appreciated as I’m desperate for a good nights kip!

    Hi John. We have no qualms at all with ex-showroom models / damaged through delivery / shop soiled etc. However, the models you mention are still budget mattresses. The Evesham for example has a regular retail price of around £350 (Kingsize).

    To put this into perspective one of our lowest priced mattresses is The Origins Reflex at £415. (Kingsize). As much as we try, we have not found any mattress below this standard / Price that we would be prepared to put our name to. This is despite there being literally hundreds of mattresses ‘out there’ that can be retailed at between £200 – £400, and as you can now vouch, once the initial pleasure of handing over not too much money has been erased from your memory, the long term issue of comfort is now forefront of your mind.

    However, there are solutions to all of this. Lets say your budget for a kingsize mattress is in the £300 ball park. Realistically, this is not much at all and even the ‘Bag of Springs’ simile is far too generous to use . What you can do for your £300 is to cobble together your own mattress. Understand that for this budget there will be absolutely nothing that you can buy that will suit your needs and comfort together, so buying the ex display model at £220 (try to hunt out a 1000 pocket spring unit at the very least) and topping it off with a very good topper £100 – £140 to use as the primary layer of comfort is probably a far better use of your money than spending the lot on a mattress that costs around £320. Hope this helps John. Please add further comment to let us know what you did and how it fared. John and Ryan.

  • Pauline says:

    Hi guys

    Need some decent sleep so need some help in getting it!

    In March we purchased a ‘Silentnight Witney Box Pillowtop’ double divan from Argos. It was advertised half price at £220 so we thought lets get ourselves a bargain – ha ha. This is the worst bed i have ever slept on (and i slept on a sofabed for 4 months!!!).

    The description from Argos said it is a Miracoil 3 with pillowtop comfort layer and indicated that it was medium – but it feels like sleeping on a carpet with a duvet underneath. I purchased a mattress topper to make it more comfortable but even with this it is still too firm and i wake up with sore shoulders and hips. My husband can tolerate it now but only just.

    We have decided that we cannot continue to function like this and so need to get a new bed and this is where the difficulty comes in – what can we get for our budget????

    We had a look in dreams and they too had a ‘sale’ on a bed that we liked. it’s the Zen Revitalise with latex and feels great when you chill on it for 10 mins. But is it a good buy? Its (supposedly) reduced from £1500 to £600. Anyway, after reading your website for last four evenings, i have decided against a ‘no turn’ mattress – so that one’s out then.

    the benefit to me is that i can buy a new bed from a store and get 12 months interest free credit and unless i save for the next 12 months first, then i don’t really have a choice.

    My husband is 5’10 and 12 stone and i am 5’8 and a boney 9.5 stone. We are desperately in need of a good nights sleep so your advice will be really appreciated.

    Many thanks
    Pauline & Bill

    Hi Pauline and Bill. If there were any ‘Decent’ mattresses that could be retailed below £300. we would be selling them – there isn’t! Our Origins Reflex is amongst the best you can get and this is our minimum standard that we would be prepared to put our name to.

    We fully understand and appreciate the limitations on budgets and it is with this in mind that we think your money will be better spent on the aforementioned model [Read Here] (priced well below the Zen model – please don’t).

    The bases that go with models within this price range are pretty much standard and it is with this in mind that I think your current base will be quite adequate for now. At a later date you can purchase a bedframe (Cheap slatted bedframes (not metal) are substantially better than cheap divan bases) when funds allow. John and Ryan.

  • albert meehan says:

    I am thinking of buying an Artisan Bespoke 002 and during your comparisons you say that this is a close comparrison to the vi spring tiara – I can not reconcile this as, for example the spring count and hand stitching are different. Surley the closer comparison would be the Stowe at RRP OF £4800 for the king size

    Hi Albert, thanks for this. Can’t really see it myself. I have desperately tried to find the weights and measures of the upholstery in The John lewis Stowe (Vi Spring) and cannot find anything to do a reasonable comparison. If you happen to know what the build of The Stowe is I would be grateful for any information.

    As a sidenote, but more to clarify, we do not say these are like for like (identical) models. What we do say is that the Tiara Superb is quite a good comparable model to our Bespoke 002. The reason we can do this is that we know precisely the build make of The Tiara Superb and doing a side by side comparison you can easily tell what the differences are and then come to your own judgement as to where and whom you spend your money.

    Our Artisan Bespoke 002 is £1735 for the Kingsize and The Tiara Superb is £5559 [Furniture Village: Apr 2013]. There are three rows of Hand side Stitching on The Tiara Superb and we also have three rows of hand Side Stitching on our Artisan Bespoke 002. The spring count in our Bespoke 002 has approx 250 more then the TS but this is so nominal it shouldn’t even come into the equation.

    To summarise, we retail our Artisan Bespoke for about £3500 less than a comparable model (The TS). The weights and measures comparisons are given freely and openly because we are proud of how this model is constructed. Hope this helps Albert, and please let me know what you can find out about the build of The Stowe. John and Ryan.

  • Derek says:

    Hi guys. I’ve only just discovered (hopefully not too late) your fantastic site and love how open you are and how much help and advice you offer.

    I wonder if I could just pick your brains about a mattress I have just bought. I was looking for a decent quality king sized matttress came across the ‘Scafel’ mattress from PSBC. it was advertised at £2200 for the king size model. Their clearance section said they had a cancelled export order which meant they had some to dispose of for the knockdown price of £1000. A very grovelling phone call enabled me to bag one for £800. I’ve paid for it although I’m not expecting delivery for 2-3 weeks. To the untrained eye (mine) this looks a real bargain. I wonder if you could reassure me? I do get a 60 night trial so can always return it if it turns out I’ve been seduced by the spiel..


    Hi Derek, It’s always good when you can get a return mattress, of saleable quality, for a discount price. It is always worth asking companies, especially if you know exactly what you want and are not too bothered about forgoing the trial or return period. As for the quality and construction of the mattress you have bought, I’ve tried searching and can’t find any details on this! If you can provide any further detail we will happily give some advice on its components. I hope that your bed is providing you with a comfortable and supportive nights sleep! Lee (John Ryan Contemporary)

  • Jimmy Burns says:

    Hi guys

    Was wanting some advice on a new mattress and I like the look of your site and how you speak.

    I am limited to around £600 for a double mattress. What would you recommend?


    Hi Jimmy, We base all of our recommendation upon several factors such as body weights, preferred feel and budget. I note that you have only indicated a budget and would ask that you contact our office by telephone to advise the other factors and obtain specific advice as to the suitability of any of our products. Kind regards Mike.

  • Hayley says:

    I’m thinking of buying this bed
    Zen Revitalise Pocket Spring Divan Bed – Medium Firm
    Is it a good bed
    Me & my husband are 40 years old between 15 & 17 St & 5.8
    I have fibromyalgia/ M,E & was told latex would be better than memory form
    I’m so confused
    I’m happy to spend £400/£800 in the sale for a super king size divan bed
    I have brought so many in the past but they never lasted
    My husband aways liked having a firm bed & I always had a memory form topper so it was softer for me but we both agree now we need something softer for our my joints

    Hi Hayley, Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to provide a recommendation regarding products other than our own. The main reason for this is that the information provided regarding the upholstery layers and other fillings is very vague and not specific in terms of GSM (grams per square metre). What we would say is that if something seems good in the sale, it does not follow that it is a good purchase. You must investigate the construction and warranty provided and consider if in fact, it would be prudent to spend more rather than settle for what appears a good deal in the short term. Regards Mike.

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