January 2021

What is the best bed to buy? Picking the perfect mattress Guide.

What is the best bed or mattress for me? Here at John Ryan, we get asked this question about mattresses a lot! When buying a new mattress or bed there are a number of personal choices for the sleepers to decide on. However, there are some key areas that you will need to understand to find the perfect mattress.

Updated 2021: Choosing a new mattress is tricky, especially in retail stores who don’t necessarily have the expertise to recommend a suitable model. Before any mattresses are recommended a fact find of your mattress needs to take place. Researching a new mattress online is the perfect way to gather all these facts together and help you choose the very best mattress without even leaving home!

Artisan Bespoke 002
Here are our expert tips to find that perfect nights sleep.

Did you know your height, weight and sleeping style will all have an impact on which mattress will provide blissful nights sleep? We explain exactly what needs to be considered to find the perfect mattress.

How to choose the perfect mattress

  1. Heights and Bodyweights of Sleepers
  2. How do I want the bed to feel?
  3. What mattress fillings should I choose?
  4. What bed base will you use?
  5. What size of mattress should I choose?
  6. How much should I spend on a bed?

1. Heights and Body Weights of Sleepers Matters.

The first thing that you need to know when buying a new mattress is to find out if the spring tension/support is suitable for your body weight and height. The biggest mistake most mattress buyers make is ignoring this and then they end up with a mattress that will never be truly comfortable. If you get this wrong then there is no way to fix it. However, its really easy to get right when you know-how!

This information will indicate the spring tension you choose within the mattress, or the overall feel a mattress will create for the sleeper. For example, someone who is 5ft in height and weighs 14st, compared to someone 6ft in height and the same 14st body weight, will get a different level of comfort and support from the same mattress. As will someone of 8st compared to their partner on the same mattress who weighs 18st in weight.

As a rule of thumb, our Artisan Mattresses have the following weight/spring tension guidelines.

BodyweightSpring tension
Upto 16 Stone / 50-101kgMedium (1.4mm)
16 Stone / 101kg UpwardsFirm (1.6mm)
Available in Bespoke Products (Please Call)Soft (1.2mm)

When looking at retail mattresses the following spring gauges will equal the following tension.

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

2. How do I want the mattress/bed to feel?

This again is very personal to the individual concerned. You maybe 18st but still want to have a soft feeling mattress, so you would require a firm tension spring to give you the correct support level within the mattress, but you would then choose the mattress with the softest upholstery layers. This is where speaking to the advisor in the store (if they know what the are talking about?!) or giving our friendly team a call can really help. You need to know exactly what is in the mattress and how that will feel for your weight.

Springs and fillings come in a variety of tensions and rebound levels

In our pocket spring mattress ranges, we have a model that will offer a soft, medium and firm feel in the upholstery or comfort layers. Comfort layers come from the mattress fillings which is the next area you need to carefully consider.

1200 gsm of blended wool and cotton cross section
The mattress comfort comes from the different upholstery layers placed on top of the pocket spring or support system.
Upholstery LayerFibre TypeHow it will feel?
White FibreSyntheticSoft/Medium
Recycled Fibre / Eco FibreSyntheticMedium
Memory FoamSyntheticMedium/Firm
Igel / Hybrid FoamSyntheticMedium/Firm
PolycottonSynthetic/Natural BlendSoft/Medium
LinenSynthetic/Natural BlendMedium
Wool (Pure)NaturalSoft/Medium
Cotton (Pure)NaturalSoft
Latex (100% Natural)NaturalMedium/Firm
Coarse CashmereNaturalFirm
BambooNaturalSuper Soft
Horsetail NaturalFirm
Cashmere (Pure)NaturalSoft
VicunaNaturalSuper Soft
Spring tension is dictated by your weight and is often confused with 'mattress comfort' preferences
Spring tension is dictated by your weight and is often confused with 'mattress comfort' preferences
99% of people incorrectly choose a spring tension thinking its the comfort feel
99% of people incorrectly choose a spring tension thinking its the comfort feel

3. What mattress fillings/upholstery should I choose?

Do you want an entirely naturally filled mattress, or are you allergic to natural fibres? Do you have a preference for foam and latex over fibre filled mattresses?

Another thing to note is that natural products tend to offer a cooler sleeping surface, whether it be 100% Natural Latex or natural fibres, so if you are a particularly hot or warm sleeper, natural is the way to go.

Natural fibres such as wool offer a much cooler sleep surface

Sometimes in stores and showrooms, you will come across mattresses with a pillowtop layer attached to the top of the mattress. These can sometimes be quite deceptive, as the pillow top comfort layer, gives customers that soft comfort layer to sink into, which they instantly prefer. In reality, this pillow top layer, makes the mattress one-sided, meaning straight away you lose the flexibility to turn over your mattress, thus reducing its life.

The same pillowtop effect can be achieved by adding a separate mattress topper, to a fully turnable mattress, giving you that soft layer to sink into, but with a much longer-lasting mattress below.

4. What Bed Base will you use?

The mattress/bed base you use will change the feel and support level of the mattress. We say at John Ryan, any of our mattresses can be used with any base you choose.

Divans are ar superior to slatted bases which can damage mattresses if not boarded over

If you have an antique bed frame or a wooden slatted base, it won’t be a problem to use this with any of our mattresses, it may just be about modifying your base slightly.

If you are looking to buy a pocket sprung mattress, the rule is a sprung divan base will give the mattress a softer support feel. Any other type of base, solid top divan or slatted will give the very same mattress a slightly firmer support feel.

5. What size of mattress should I choose?

This is one point that customers need to take into consideration a little more than they usually do! The most popular UK bed size is a kingsize, you can read more on each mattress size here. Modern mattress construction methods mean that a good quality mattress can be quite deep, and certain mattress models have no bend or give in them whatsoever. So manoeuvring them in your property, up tight stairways or around tight turns is impossible.

Artisan Tailored Pocket 2000
A zip and link mattress can help alleviate tight access issues

If you think you may have any concerns with access into your property, to the room of choice, and you would still like to have the larger size kingsize or super kingsize mattresses, then the zip link mattresses will allow you to do this.

Mattress SizeDimensions
Small Single 2’ 6” x 6’3” (80cm x 190cm)
Single 3′ x 6’3″ (90cm x 190cm)
Small Double 4″ x 6’3 (120cm x 190cm)
Double 4’6″ x 6’3″ (135cm x 190cm)
Continental Double 4’7” x 6’6” (140cm x 200cm)
King 5′ x 6’6″ (150cm x 200cm)
Continental King 5’3″ x 6’6″ (160cm x 200cm)
Extra King 6’0 x 6’3 (182cm x 190cm)
Super King 6′ x 6’6″ (180cm x 200cm)

Also, note with larger size mattresses you will be required to turn and rotate them more frequently, also you will have to make a conscious effort to utilise the centre of the mattress, as this area tends to remain brand new, and forms a ridge in the centre. In larger size mattresses, this shows more prominently, as the area either side where you both sleep begins to settle, and the middle remains untouched.

Superking mattresses need regular turning and may develop a central ridge where you never sleep. Meaning zip and link versions can be better than a one piece.

A ridge in the centre of your mattress isn’t a fault with the mattress, it is a fault of your sleeping pattern and lack of maintenance in most cases!

6. How much should I spend on a bed?

This is a big question, and it immediately makes a difference as to which range of mattresses you will be able to consider. We would always advise spending as much as you possibly can on your mattress, rather than your base. A cheaper base will still support a mattress, but a cheaper mattress may not provide the support and comfort you require, for a substantial period of time, compared to a more expensive mattress.

Artisan Bespoke 002 Luxury Mattress
Knowing exactly what to expect for your budget gives you the upper hand when buying a new mattress.

If you want to read more on what to expect for your budget this guide is a great place to start!

How much to spend on a double mattress?What can I expect for my money?
Under £500Will not get you much at best a 13.5 gauge open coil/cage sprung with a thin polyester layer or a solid foam mattress.
£500Entry level spunbond springs with some form of synthetic upholstery. Usually one sided mattresses.
£750The beginnings of a basic pocket springs unit with 800 – 1000 count. No substantial amount of filling other than foams and synthetic materials. Two sided models.
£1000Should get you away from most low ranges and into the mid-range pocket spring models.
£1250Should get you a decent pocket sprung mattress with some Natural Fibre content.
£1500Should get you many manufacturers mid-range models with Natural Fibres
£1500-£2000Should get you a Hand Made primarily Natural Fibre Quality Mattress
£2000+You should expect 100% Natural Fibres and Traditional Hand Made Construction Method.
£5000+A Bespoke Hand Made Sleep System, High-end Spring Units & Featuring the Worlds Most Luxurious Natural Fibres.
  1. What to expect from a £500 Mattress
  2. What to expect from a £750 Mattress
  3. What to expect from a £1000 Mattress
  4. What to expect from a £1250 Mattress
  5. What to expect from a £1500 Mattress
  6. What to expect from a £2000 Mattress

Once you have considered all of the above questions about your mattress requirements this will give you a much clearer idea as to which mattress, or at least type of mattress is going to be the right mattress for you. Then you can start searching for a very specific mattress to meet all of your needs. Rather than just guessing based on price or the latest mattress fad! Better still you could speak to us and let us do the hard work for you.

Why not get in touch with our small friendly team of experts on 0161 437 4419. We’re here to help you cut through the confusion and find our perfect mattress saving you time and money.

Don't you deserve a mattress tailored just for you?
Our small friendly team can help you choose a mattress specifically tailored to your needs. With our 60 Day Love it or Return it Guarantee its completely risk-free.

We’re here to help

  • We are the mattress experts! Ask us anything about any mattress by any manufacturer for honest advice and support.

We are here to help
Alternatively speak to our small friendly team between 9am – 5pm and we’ll be happy to guide you through any questions you may have.
Call today 0161 437 4419
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