Buying a Mattress Guide

Need to improve the quality of your sleep? Our buying a mattress guide is here to help you decide on the perfect mattress.

Things to consider before you start your search…

This buying a mattress guide contains everything you need to know about choosing the right mattress.

With so many options available, buying a mattress that’s right and suits your needs can be difficult. There’s no denying that it’s a very personal decision; the perfect choice for you could be another person’s nightmare. What’s going to aid your bad back or offer the most support? What should you spend? How do you make sense of space-age memory foam? The latest pocket spring technology or luxurious hand-stitching?

At Jones & Tomlin, we’ve been selling the best brands and offering the very best night’s sleep for over 70 years. Our friendly staff are able to offer expert advice on buying a mattress; and you can rest easy in the knowledge that we’ll help to make your decision as easy as possible.

  • The best mattress for you isn’t necessarily the most expensive. However, having said that, it is worth spending as much as you can realistically afford to get the best possible night’s sleep.
  • The average lifespan of a mattress is 8-10 years. After regular use, a mattress may deteriorate by as much as 75% from its original condition.
  • An old mattress isn’t hygienic. We sweat up to a pint of fluid (per person) per night. Remember that house dust mites also accumulate in your mattress too.
  • Consider the space you need at night. A double mattress might fit and do the job; but a king size mattress offers more room to stretch out and get comfortable.
  • It’s all about support! Firm mattresses aren’t necessarily the best thing for bad backs. You need to lie IN a mattress, not on top of it.

Types of mattress

Open Coil

Best suited for occasional use, a child’s bed or budget option.

The classic spring mattress, also known as a Bonnell springs; are made from a continuous piece of wire and coiled into multiple springs. The springs are arranged in rows and strengthened by a heavy gauge outer wire on the perimeter. You’ll typically find 300 coils in a king size open coil mattress; however, they tend to be less supportive than other types. As a result, if you’re sharing a bed, you may well feel your sleep partner moving.

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Pocket Springs

A more luxurious option and a significant improvement on open coil.

Small and softer; springs are housed in individual fabric pockets, allowing them to function independently of each other. This support results in a reduction in pressure points; and minimalises transfer of movement from one sleeping partner to another.

Spring counts vary from 600 to 18,000; therefore, a higher spring count will often give you more support. However, the quantity and quality of fillings can be equally as important.

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Memory Foam

Designed to combat the most common sleep concerns.

Modern memory foam mattresses are made from polyurethane foam and chemicals to adapt its viscosity and density. Higher density foam will soften as it reacts to body heat; whilst lower density foam is touch sensitive and quickly moulds to the shape of the body.

These mattresses can aid circulation, help correct posture, align your spine and relieve joint pressure. Their hypo-allergenic properties mean they can be perfect for allergy sufferers.

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Suited to those who prefer a firmer bed

A highly durable, versatile and naturally derived material produced by tapping the rubber tree. As with memory foam, latex is hypo-allergenic and a great choice for people with asthma or allergies. Suited to those who prefer a firmer bed, small holes are added in the manufacturing process. This makes the foam more pliable and breathable. The larger and more numerous the holes, the softer the mattress will feel.

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Choosing The Right Mattress Firmness and Fillings

Only you know what’s comfy. There are so many factors that determine how firm your mattress should be; it’s almost impossible to standardise a guide. You should consider your body shape, weight, how likely you are to move around in the night and personal preference. Ultimately, you can’t beat trying mattresses out in store before you buy.

Mattresses are made up of a number of layers of material. The differing properties of these materials; therefore the way they are layered have a profound effect on the feel, comfort, breathability and overall quality.

Fillings can be synthetic, natural (or a combination of both); and are chosen for their resilience, durability, flexibility and ability to dissipate body moisture.

From polyester to responsive memory foam and anti-microbial latex; synthetics can be some of the most cost-effective and technically advanced fillings. On the other hand, natural fillings offer the ultimate in comfort and support; and are more breathable, responsive and durable than any synthetic fibre.

Natural Fillings


Cotton excels at dispersing excess moisture and is the material of choice to use near the surface of a mattress. It’s super soft and offers exceptional breathability for a perfect night’s sleep.


A resilient filling with a luxury feel. Lambswool is breathable and helps to regulate your temperature during the night. The natural fabric boasts fire retardant properties; reducing the chemicals in your mattress.


Often described as “nature’s spring.” When enough curled horse hair (from the mane) or cattle hair is in a pile, it creates a supportive platform that allows air and moisture to pass through.


Originating from the Angora goat, this incredibly elastic filling is highly durable and offers enhanced cooling properties alongside a luxurious feel.

Cashmere & Pashmina

Softer and finer than lambswool, cashmere is usually sourced in southern Asia and provides natural, light-weight insulation and added loft to mattress upholstery.


A prized natural fibre produced by the silkworm. It’s a luxurious fabric which helps to equalize body temperature and offers enhanced comfort.


A natural and greener alternative to oil based polyester fibres. Hemp is strong, absorbent and grown without pesticides.


The common name for Linacae, a family of annual herbs, flax is strong and very durable. The twine is used for the hand-stitching on the very best mattresses.


This remarkable material is renowned for its natural absorption, breathability and fresh sleeping surface. It’s normally combined with other materials to form the top layer of a mattress.

It’s not just about the inside…

Mattresses don’t just have a wide range of insides; they can be very different on the outside too. From decorative fabric covers to processes that improve longevity, your mattress can be finished in a number of ways. We’ve included three of the most popular finishes below.


A labour intensive process which gives absolute edge to edge support. This ensures that pocket springs and fillings are kept in place and prevents side panels from bulking out over time.


A decorative stitch that holds fillings inside the mattress and provides a further element of substance to the top. It’s ideal for those who prefer a softer and even feel.

Hand Tufting

Found on the most expensive mattresses, this process involves pinning the fillings at specific points on the surface of a mattress. Whilst improving the life of your mattress, the tightness of the tuft can reflect the overall firmness of the mattress.

Unsure whether your mattress needs changing?

These questions from the Sleep Council will help answer your questions…

Is your mattress 7 or 8 years old? The critical “7 year itch” can be a make or break moment for many marriages AND mattresses.

Did you have your most recent best night’s sleep on another mattress?

Are you waking up more frequently and feeling unrefreshed?

Do you disturb your partner, or vice versa, by changing sleeping position?

Does your mattress look used or worn? Does it feel lumpy?

Does it make suspicious noises in the night?

Is it sagging in the middle?

Are the base, legs or castors lumpy, worn or wobbly?

If you answered YES to 3 or more questions, your mattress is crying out to be changed! Learn how buying a mattress will change your life and you’ll be on a path to sleeping better and feeling great.

Visit our stores or call us on 01903 228911.

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