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Mattress Coil Counts: Pocket Sprung Vs Open Coil – Which Is Better?

Discover the difference between open coil and pocket sprung mattresses, plus the pros and cons of both.

When shopping for a new mattress, you may come across the terms 'pocket sprung' and 'open coil', but what do they actually mean, and do they make a difference? In this guide, we'll teach you all about pocket sprung vs open coil mattresses, give you the pros and cons of the two main mattress coil types, and hopefully help you decide on the best mattress for your needs.

Mattress springs in a pile next to pocket springs.

What is a pocket sprung mattress?

As the name suggests, pocket sprung mattresses contain lots of springs sewn into pockets of fabric. Each spring works completely independently of the others in the mattress, only reacting to pressure directly applied to it. Most high-quality pocket sprung mattresses will have at least 1000 springs, with firmer mattresses reaching up to 3000 springs. 

Of course, these mattresses also contain soft fillings, and sometimes even a memory foam layer along the top, making them quite soft and comfortable. Some people consider pocket sprung mattresses to be the 'updated' version of open coil mattresses, as they've taken the traditional use of springs and completely modernised them.

To find out more, read our pocket sprung mattress guide.

Pros and cons of pocket sprung mattresses

Now that you know what pocket sprung mattresses are, you're probably wondering if they're the right choice for you. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide:

Pros

  • No movement transfer: Since all of the springs inside of a pocket sprung mattress work independently of each other, they don't transfer movement. This means that if you're sharing the bed with someone else, them moving around on the mattress should cause you little to no disturbance.
  • Springy and bouncy: Pocket sprung mattresses are naturally quite springy and bouncy, meaning that you won't sink into your mattress when laying on it. This can be really good for individuals with back pain who require a more supportive mattress.
  • Wide range of options: The number of individual spring pockets can vary quite drastically in these mattresses, giving you lots of options to choose from. As mentioned earlier, most good pocket sprung mattresses will range anywhere from 1000 to 3000 springs.
  • Comfortable: The surface of a pocket sprung mattress is often very smooth and comfortable since all of the springs are surrounded by fabric. This reduces the chances of a stray spring digging into your back in the middle of the night.
  • More breathable: Pocket sprung mattresses have a pretty good airflow, which creates a cooling effect. This makes these mattresses ideal for those sleeping in warm environments or suffering from night sweats. The good airflow also manages to keep nasty things like mould and dust at bay, making pocket sprung mattresses a very healthy option.

Cons

  • Can get heavy: As we've already mentioned, pocket sprung mattresses contain thousands of springs, meaning that they can get pretty heavy. While at first, this may seem like a trivial thing to consider a con, having a heavy mattress can become quite problematic. For example, it's recommended to turn your mattress every few months and you may struggle to do so with a pocket sprung mattress, especially if you live alone. However, many modern pocket sprung mattresses are available rolled and boxed, making them really easy to carry upstairs.
  • Expensive: While they're not the most expensive option on the market, pocket sprung mattresses can still get quite pricey. This is especially true if you're after a mattress with a higher spring count, or with hypoallergenic fillings. Pocket springs are more advanced technology than regular coils, so they take more time, money, and effort to manufacture, resulting in a higher price. Luckily, we always ensure we offer you the best prices on the market.
  • Can be hard to get right: Depending on your size, weight and preferences, it can take some research to figure out which pocket sprung mattress is best for you. For example, if you're of a particularly light build, you won't feel the benefits of a firm pocket sprung mattress as much as you would a soft one. Our MattressFinder quiz will help you easily find your perfect mattress match, however.

What is an open coil mattress?

Open coil mattresses contain springs that are all connected to each other by wire rods, running from side to side inside the mattress. The springs and wire rods are usually shaped from just one sheet of steel, which is why everything is interconnected. 

The springs all work together to evenly distribute your body weight as you lay on the mattress. They are usually either soft, medium, or firm, and the firmness level is actually determined by the thickness of the wire rods rather than the number of springs in the mattress. Open coil mattresses are also known as traditional sprung mattresses, coil spring mattresses, or standard coil mattresses, and they're often used in orthopaedic or specialist firm mattresses as they can easily create an extra firm sleeping surface.

If you’re interested in finding more information on this type of mattress, you can read our dedicated open coil mattress guide

Pros and cons of an open coil mattress

Open coil mattresses are one of the most popular on the market, but why is that the case? What are the disadvantages to owning this type of mattress? Take a look at the pros and cons below:

Pros

  • Lightweight: Open coil mattresses usually only contain around 300 springs, so they're very lightweight. This makes them the perfect option for someone who lives alone or moves often, since lifting the mattress to turn it around or transport it elsewhere won't be an issue.
  • Maximum support: Since open coil mattresses are great for creating an extra firm surface, they can provide specialist support to your back, encouraging a straighter sleeping posture. Silentnight's Miracoil open coil mattresses are famous for their intense support in a variety of firmnesses.
  • Cheaper than most options: Since open coil mattresses are fairly simple to produce on a mass scale, they usually retail for lower prices than other mattress options. Of course, the price will depend on the specifics of the mattress you choose, but you likely won't be breaking the bank to buy an open coil mattress!

Cons

  • Lots of movement transfer: Since the springs inside open coil mattresses are all connected, you're unfortunately more likely to feel someone else's movements while in bed. This can be especially annoying for couples that don't necessarily wake up and go to bed at the same time, as they risk waking their partner simply by getting in or out of bed.
  • Upholstery migration: The springs inside open coil mattresses usually have quite large gaps between them, and if you sleep every night on a cheap open coil mattress, you'll likely notice the appearance of dips and lumps in uncomfortable places. The more premium the open coil mattress, however, the less likely you are to experience this problem.

The difference between open coil and pocket sprung mattresses

The main difference between open coil and pocket sprung mattresses is how the springs inside are arranged. As described earlier, open coil springs are all connected to each other whilst pocket springs exist within their individual fabric pockets.

Open coils are very easy to manufacture and have been around for quite some time, while pocket springs are a more advanced, recent technology. Open coil mattresses are usually cheaper than pocket sprung mattresses, because of their ability to be mass-produced with ease. Some perceive this price difference as an indication of pocket sprung mattresses being of higher quality, which is usually true.

While both types of mattresses are relatively supportive, the pocket spring system provides much more sturdy support. Open coils are great for general support, but doesn't provide targeted pressure relief like the pocket sprung does. Pocket sprung mattresses can be a lot heavier than open coil mattresses, but are available in boxed mattress form for convenience.

Young woman examines samples structure of spring mattress in furniture store. She studies different types of coils and their varying firmness, determined to find perfect fit.

Open coil vs pocket sprung: Which mattress is best for…

So, which type of mattress is best? Take a look below at some of the most important factors to consider when buying open coil vs pocket sprung mattresses and find out which is the better option for you.

Price?

Open coil mattresses are arguably the better option if you're on a budget. The cheapest ones will start at £99 and increase in price to a little over £1000, but never much more than that. Pocket sprung mattresses start at around £150, and can go up to nearly £2000 depending on how luxurious you want the fillings.

Back pain and support?

Pocket sprung mattresses provide much better targeted support than open coil mattresses, as they are able to move independently to precisely support pressure points. Open coil mattresses, however, can still provide adequate support, especially in orthopaedic mattresses, but if you're looking for the best mattress for back pain, we'd go for pocket springs.

Different styles of sleeping?

Both mattresses are great for any type of sleeping position, as this will come down to firmness. However, a pocket sprung mattress will be able to provide more targeted support if you sleep on your front or side, whereas an open coil mattress is perfect for back sleepers.

Maintenance and durability?

Pocket sprung mattresses will be a bit more durable than open coil mattresses since their springs are independent of each other. This means that there's a small chance of any dips or lumps developing, since the springs don't all act as one. However, open coil mattresses can be easier to maintain as they are lighter, and therefore easier to turn around every few months. They are also cheaper to replace, which may cancel out their shorter life span for some customers.

Movement in bed?

It's no surprise that pocket sprung mattresses are the better option when it comes to movement in bed. They don't transfer movement, unlike open coil mattresses, and therefore cause very little disruption when someone gets in and out of bed, or changes sleeping position.

Woman sitting on and testing a mattress in a bed showroom.

Summary: Should you get a pocket sprung or open coil mattress?

Overall, both have their benefits and will be the perfect option for the right person. If you're someone on a budget who doesn't share a bed, and doesn't need targeted support, go for open coils.

Alternatively, if you're willing to spend a bit more money, need good overall support, or share the bed with a partner who can't keep still at night, pocket springs are the way to go!

Curious to know more about pocket sprung mattresses, and how they compare to other higher-end mattress types? We've got you sorted. Check out our guide about pocket sprung vs memory foam vs hybrid mattresses to figure out which type is the one for you.