Once you’ve chosen a level of firmness that feels comfortable, you can then narrow down your search for the perfect mattress. There are four main types of mattress:
- Open spring mattress
- Pocket spring mattress
- Memory foam mattress
- Latex mattress
In addition, there are one sided mattresses and two sided mattresses. In this blog we’ll explain how each type of mattress is constructed, along with the pros and cons of each option.
Open Spring Mattress
An open spring mattress uses a single length of metal wire coiled into multiple springs, clipped north to south and held in shape by a wire border rod. This design is also known as an open coil or continuous coil mattress. The number of springs varies between 100 and 400, depending on the size of mattress; with a standard double incorporating around 300 springs.
Reinforced Rod Edge
The majority of sprung mattresses come with a rod edge. It frames the spring unit to help keep the springs in place. Such edges prevent the “roll off” feeling and help the mattress last longer without sagging.
If the mattress is for an overweight sleeper, you may want to consider stronger and thicker rod edges to make bed edges more durable. Even more edge support can be achieved by adding extra butterfly springs to the unit.
Open spring mattresses are typically machine stitched and mass produced, leading to high availability and affordability. As the lowest cost option, these mattresses are lightweight and easy to turn; however, they have a tendency to be less supportive over time than other mattresses.
An open spring mattress is a popular choice for children’s bedrooms or for a guest mattress. The expected lifespan of a standard quality open spring mattress is 3 to 5 years, so it’s important to choose the best quality you can afford with this model.
The quality of the mattress will depend on the gauge (thickness) of the wire springs. A heavier gauge (lower gauge number) provides thicker springs, firmer support and higher durability.
Quality, comfort and longevity are also determined by the type and amount of filling used. A firm open coil mattress can give excellent orthopaedic support, while an inbuilt mattress topper can increase comfort if required.
Pocket Spring Mattress
In a pocket spring mattress, individual springs are housed in separate pockets. Each spring works independently, enabling the mattress to mould to the shape of your body for a superior level of support. A pocket spring mattress is among the few mattresses that may suit back, stomach and side sleepers.
The number of springs used can vary substantially, however the number of springs does not necessarily increase the quality of the mattress.
As a highly versatile mattress, a good quality pocket spring mattress should last between 7-10 years. Quality will usually be reflected in the price and defined by a combination of factors, including:
- The strength and gauge of the spring wire
- The type of filling materials used
- The quantity of filling used
- The quality of the topping material
Foam Encapsulated Edge
Pocket spring mattresses often feature a foam encapsulated edge, which encases the inner part of the mattress with a supportive and durable polyurethane foam edge. This acts to reinforce the whole mattress construction, preventing sagging and the roll off shape commonly caused by sitting on the edge of the bed.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam is a synthetic material made from millions of heat sensitive cells. In reaction to body heat, a memory foam mattress moulds to your body shape in minutes, relieving pressure on your joints and absorbing your weight. The foam also adjusts to new positions as you move during the night, and returns quickly to its original shape when pressure is removed.
Memory foam mattresses are an ideal choice where extra pressure relief for joints, bones and muscular tension is beneficial, or for side sleepers seeking extra cushioning and support. Memory foam also reduces disturbance from partner movement, by providing even support for all areas of the body.
Gel Infused Memory Foam
Some mattress manufacturers also offer a gel infused memory foam option, designed to reduce heat build-up. The foam is filled with gel microbeads that increase the mattress’s density while helping to regulate temperature.
A latex mattress is filled with hypo-allergenic latex foam to create a breathable, supportive and resilient surface. Latex is a natural material with a structure that is resistant to dust mites, making it an ideal choice for allergy and asthma sufferers. As latex flexes in response to weight and movement, it is favoured by people who prefer a firmer mattress, overweight sleepers and stomach sleepers. While latex is designed to last for many years, a poorer quality mattress can develop lumps and latex can be heavy to turn.
A one-sided mattress is designed to be used on one side throughout its life. In this type of mattress, the top part of the mattress is designed to provide comfort and cushioning, while the lower section provides body support. Onesided mattresses often incorporate innovative materials, such as memory foam. While you will not need to flip this type of mattress, you can extend its lifespan through regular 180° rotation.
A two-sided mattress looks the same on both sides, typically constructed with inner springs covered by fibre padding and a surface material. They offer the same support to your body no matter how you position them and benefit from being flipped and rotated regularly to increase even weight distribution and fluff up the fibre fillings.
- A two-sided mattress lasts about twice as long as a one-sided mattress
- A two-sided mattress should be flipped regularly – ideally once a month (the basic rule of thumb is that the longer you want it to last, the more frequently you should flip it)
- Ideally two people are required to flip or rotate a larger or heavier mattress
Hand Stitched Mattress
A luxury hand-stitched mattress provides more support to the edge of the mattress and helps it maintain its shape for longer. The craftsmen tie the outer mattress materials to the inner mechanism, making it much more durable. Since this job requires a high skill level and a formidable amount of time, the cost of such mattresses may be higher than other models.
Luxury mattresses are designed to provide superior comfort and pleasure, often incorporating premium materials and hand-craftsmanship to increase aesthetic appeal, durability and health benefits. Luxury mattresses often favour softer natural or organic materials over synthetic alternatives, and may include additional layers of filling or embossed cover detailing. Some luxury mattresses also offer multiple firmness levels within a single mattress using natural foam layers.