A Pocket Sprung Mattress Buying Guide

What is a pocket spring and how is it made?

The first pocket sprung mattress was made well over a hundred years ago. It was the invention of an English engineer called James Marshall.

As the name implies, a pocket spring is an individual spring that sits in its own little pocket. The pocket itself can be made with a cotton fabric or with spunbond. An organic pocket sprung mattress is made using springs that are encased in spunbond because all cotton fabrics that are not certified as organic now contain genetically modified material. Sadly, it isn’t yet possible to buy the type of cotton fabric needed as an organic product.  Each spring is individually made by machine and dropped into its pocket and sealed. The pockets are attached to each other, but when made up into a mattress the rows of pockets run from the top to the bottom of the mattress so that one person tossing and turning won’t affect the other. There is a perception that the higher the number of springs the ‘better’ the mattress, but this really isn’t true!  A spring count is always based on how many springs there are in a 150 x 200 unit (King size) and can vary from 600 up to as many as 3000.  The springs are tiny and higher spring counts are achieved by putting one on top of another, or even one inside another, but this can lead to distortion and an uneven surface. Pocket springs are what’s used as a base for most luxury mattresses in the UK, and an Abaca organic pocket sprung mattress is both luxurious and long lasting.

How is a pocket sprung mattress made?

All pocket sprung mattresses have layers of fillings and a cover. Most mattresses are made by machine nowadays, but all our Abaca organic pocket sprung mattresses are made by hand.  Layers of materials are built up on each side of the spring then hand sewn into place and a cover put on by hand. The long tapes that go through a mattress which are held in place by felt or wool ‘buttons’ are really important in a sprung mattress. They help hold all the layers securely, but also act like bulkheads inside the mattress so that the springs can’t move around. The layers inside a mattress that has a flat top are often glued in place. 

What to consider when buying an pocket sprung mattress

First of all don’t get distracted by spring counts. We use 1000 count springs which are robust enough to give you a long-lasting mattress and which fit very neatly into a frame.

If the mattress you’re looking at is suspiciously light, then there probably aren’t enough fillings in there to protect the springs from the sleeper or the sleeper from the springs!

Do choose a mattress that has been tufted … that means it has buttons made of felt or wool and tapes that run through the mattress. It’s a much stronger construction.

A mattress made with organic natural materials allows your body to breathe and improves sleep quality.

A 100,000 mattresses a week end up in landfill in the UK alone, so when you’re choosing your pocket sprung mattress make sure that the fillings are recyclable.

Measuring a bed for a pocket sprung mattress

Pocket sprung mattresses are often bought for beds which are non- standard sizes. So whether you’ve got a four poster or an awkward size bed that’s been built to fit in a particular space, a pocket sprung mattress can be made to fit. .  It’s perfectly possible to make a pocket sprung mattress to any shape or size but it’s really important to get the measurements right. If the bed is a four poster or one in which the mattress sits within a wooden frame, then having the right shape and size mattress is crucial. Pictures are always helpful, an accurate drawing with the correct length and width even more so. Remember that if you’re putting your pocket sprung mattress into a wooden box frame that the mattress needs to be 2 centimetres or so smaller otherwise it’s really difficult to tuck a sheet in.

What sort of bed can I put a pocket sprung mattress on?

A pocket sprung mattress will sit quite happily on any sort of frame so long as it is properly supported. So if you’re using a slatted base, please make sure that the gap between the slats is no more than about 5 cms, ( 2” ). If the gap is much more than that and you want to keep the bed please give us a call as we have solutions. It’s always best to put a mattress made from natural materials on to a base that allows it to breathe. A slatted base is perfect, but if your bed has a box base or is a divan style then the materials inside may well be man-made and not breathable. You can prolong the life of your mattress by putting a wool blanket between the mattress and the bed base. That will give the mattress a better surface to sit on in the case of a divan type bed and will reduce wear if the base is made of wooden slats.

How long will a pocket sprung mattress last?

A pocket sprung mattress will last a long time if it’s looked after properly. The mattress ought to be turned regularly but carefully as folding them over or dropping them on their sides on the floor can cause rows of springs to be displaced. Protecting the mattress with a good protector is always recommended. All mattresses made with natural materials benefit from being stripped back and allowed to air once a week.

Abaca organic pocket sprung mattresses

We make three different types of organic pocket sprung mattresses.

They are each available in soft, medium or firm, and can be made to any size.