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Mattress Type Buying Guide – Key Points

Harrison Beds - Pure Performance Hampton Divan Set

Having trouble finding a good nights sleep? Here are our top key points from our mattress type buying guide to help you find the best mattress for you.

Your sleeping needs

How you sleep, firmness preference and whether you need a mattress for two people are important factors in determining the type of mattress you should buy.

Sleeping problems

Certain types of mattresses are designed to alleviate back or joint pain and help those who have trouble sleeping.

Come and see for yourself

Based near Guildford, Vale Furnishers are one of Surrey and Hampshire’s leading furniture shop specialists. In our Ash Vale showroom’s extensive bedroom department, you’ll find an enormous range of memory foam, pocket sprung, orthopaedic, open coil and hybrid mattresses for sale. Why not come by for a lie-down?

This mattress type buying guide will help you understand the differences between pocket sprung, memory foam and orthopaedic mattresses. If you have any questions, please call us on 01252 325525 to speak to our experts. Further details about the features and benefits of our mattresses can be found on our website. Please note: we highly recommend a visit to our Ash Vale showroom near Guildford so you can try them out, as the suitability of a mattress is a very personal thing.

What is a pocket sprung mattress?

Hypnos pocket sprung mattress

A pocket sprung mattress is filled with small individual springs housed in separate fabric pockets, allowing each spring to move independently. This is unlike the traditional open coil spring mattress, where every spring is aligned together in a wire frame, moving as one unit.


  • Pocket sprung mattresses tend to have much higher spring counts than open coil mattresses, offering greater support and allowing the mattress to conform to your body shape.
  • As the pocket springs work independently, you’re less likely to disturb your partner if you move around in the night than on an open coil mattress.
  • Pocket sprung mattresses are ideal if you and your partner are of different weights.
  • Pocket sprung mattresses ensure that you maintain correct posture during the night.
  • Pocket sprung mattresses are more breathable than memory foam, offering a cooler night’s sleep.
  • The level of comfort offered by a pocket sprung mattress is considered very high.


  • Pocket sprung mattresses are much more expensive than open coil mattresses (they tend to be on par with memory foam).
  • Pocket sprung mattresses require flipping and rotating to maintain their longevity.
  • The density of the fillings can make a pocket sprung mattress heavy to turn.
  • Pocket sprung mattresses are usually filled with natural materials like wool, which can exacerbate certain allergies.
  • Pocket sprung mattresses don’t tend to last as long as memory foam mattresses.

What is a memory foam mattress?

Tempur memory foam mattress

Memory foam is a high-density viscoelastic polyurethane foam originally invented by NASA. It reacts to body heat and moulds to the contours of your body in a very unique way. Many people consider memory foam mattresses the most comfortable mattresses on the market, and the best ones for people with back and joint pain.


  • By moulding to the shape of your body, memory foam mattresses evenly distribute your weight, cushion your joints, relieve pressure points, soothe aches and pains and offer unparalleled support for all body types.
  • Memory foam mattresses are very highly acclaimed for their comfort and for enhancing sleep quality.
  • A memory foam mattress doesn’t transfer motion, which means you’re very unlikely to be disturbed by your partner’s movements during the night.
  • Memory foam mattresses are perfect for couples of different weights.
  • Memory foam mattresses generally last longer than pocket sprung mattresses.
  • There is no need to flip a memory foam mattress, but they will benefit from occasional rotating in order to even out wear.
  • Memory foam is synthetic and impervious to dust mites, so it will not aggravate allergies.
  • A range of firmness options are available.


  • Memory foam offers a unique feeling that can take some adjustment.
  • You can experience a ‘sinking’ feeling with memory foam because of how it moulds and conforms to your shape and weight; some people dislike this.
  • The foam’s very high density causes reduced air circulation around your body, making the mattress feel warmer. People find this helpful in winter, but can feel too hot in summer. (Some newer-style memory foam mattresses tend to be more breathable.)
  • Memory foam is very heavy due to its density.
  • Memory foam mattresses tend to be quite expensive.

What is an orthopaedic mattress?

the right mattress makes the best sleep

An orthopaedic mattress is one that’s specially designed to reduce stress on your back, neck and joints and alleviate aches and pains. They tend to be firmer, with a spring gauge of 12.5, which is the firmest and most durable spring available in a mattress. You can buy pocket sprung or open coil orthopaedic mattresses.

You can also buy memory foam orthopaedic mattresses that do not have springs; instead they’re designed to mimic the firmness and orthopaedic qualities of sprung versions.

As an orthopaedic mattress is essentially a firmer mattress with extra care given to its constitution and pain-relieving qualities, you also need to consider the pros and cons of the particular type of mattress, discussed above.

Other mattress types to consider

A number of bed brands offer mattresses with special spring systems. For instance, Harrison builds mattresses featuring a unique pocket sprung core it calls “Revolution”. With every pocket spring, a small spring is housed inside a larger one. This offers a two-stage action that provides twice the comfort and support of a traditional pocket spring and helps you maintain best posture at all times.

Other mattresses have luxurious pillow tops with extra springs and fillings, and some are hybrid mattresses blending pocket spring systems with layers of memory foam to offer the qualities of both. For more information on how to choose the right pillow, please refer to this simple pillow buying guide.

What mattress should you buy?

Vale Furnishers - Bernalda Bed Frame

This depends on two main things: your individual sleeping needs and your budget. Open coil mattresses are the cheapest mattresses you can buy (and you can get open coil mattresses with orthopaedic qualities, as described above). However, they don’t offer the same levels of tailored comfort and support that you get from pocket sprung and memory foam mattresses. The cost of a mattress also depends on the brand and the materials used.

If you have joint/back pain, an orthopaedic mattress could be your best option. If you’re a light sleeper and easily disturbed by your partner, choose a pocket sprung or memory foam mattress instead of open coil. If your budget is tight and you have to go for open coil, consider a larger mattress—king or super king size—so that there is ample room for both of you. If you have allergies, consider memory foam, and if you tend to get very hot at night, go for pocket springs.

However, please note that this is general advice and may not apply to you. Everyone is different and has their own individual needs and comfort requirements. The only way to truly know if a particular mattress is right for you is to try it out. At our Ash Vale showroom, you can lounge around on our beds for as long as you need to get a feel for them. Unlike most department stores, we also let you try out our extensive collection of pillows on all our beds, allowing you to experience the bed as you would at home and find what works for you. What’s even better is that from time to time some of our brands let you try a bed in your home before you buy it!

How to get further help and advice

For any questions not covered in this mattress type buying guide, you can get in contact with us. We have beds and mattresses from some of the UK’s best bed brands, including HarrisonHypnos and Tempur. You can learn more about the features and benefits of particular mattresses on our website. Alternatively, you can call us on 01252 325525 or email us at and relay your queries to our enthusiastic sales advisers, who are always happy to help.

Your mattress buying checklist

  • What is your budget?
  • How soft or firm do you need your mattress to be?
  • Do you have trouble sleeping?
  • Do you have back, neck or joint pain?
  • Are you looking for a mattress for two people?
  • Are you a light sleeper?
  • How hot do you get at night?
  • Do you have any allergies?
Do you have any questions not covered in this mattress type buying guide?
Please contact our furniture experts in Surrey and Hampshire on 01252 325525 for more information.

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  • Karen Anne

    Well after reading your mattress buyers guide I’m much more able to buy the correct mattress for myself and my partner. Your guide is detailed and comprehensive allowing me the choice of phoning a member of yoyr sales team if im still unsure.
    Considering I’ve been maximally trying to “mattress educate” myself for a little over 12 months, I’m now mattress choice knowledgeable so armed with my mattress education class of today 29th of January 2019, I’m off to meet your sales team yeaaahhh I’m no longer ‘confused. Com’! However being blind is a slight problem hence why I still need some support when choosing my new mattress as stated I will be calling your sales team. I will no longer hesitate ‘re my choices so I will be calling your team today..
    Thanks for your help kind regards Karen Anne Jones.