A mattress described as orthopaedic just means that the spring gauge used is 12.5g. This is the thickest and strongest spring used in a bonnell (cage) sprung mattress.
In essence, orthopaedic just means firm. There should never be any health claims offered or any possible implication that an orthopaedic mattress can cure or help relieve any back problems.
When choosing your mattress, you should be looking at making it last you for the longest possible time coupled with lasting comfort. Getting an orthopaedic mattress means that the springs, being a 12.5gauge is as strong as you can get, therefore more durable to your weight being on it night after night.
Remember though, there is nothing special about an orthopaedic mattress. Even a 12.5g spring falls into the budget ranges of nearly all manufacturers.
Soft – Medium – Firm?
This can be quite a nonsense and used by salespeople to make you think that the mattress can be tailored to your exact requirements. It isn’t – Comfort levels really depend on price paid. A firm cage sprung mattress will have a 12.5 gauge spring – this is the thickest and strongest you can get. 13.5 gauge is thinner and therefore more ‘springy’ or soft! – it is also a cheaper component to produce.
For all cage sprung mattresses It is usually best practice to choose the strongest spring you can get as this is the most important part of the mattress. Most mattresses that are described as orthopaedic means that the mattress will be on the firmer side of the scale. However, there are some that have been manufactured to provide a softer sleep surface by use of softer waddings, foams and felts for the comfort layers.
If your budget cannot stretch to a pocket sprung mattress then carefully consider what type of comfort layer you choose on your orthopaedic mattress. Remember, the springs are just the support. A lower gauge spring such as 13g or 13.5g will not offer the longevity of a 12.5g spring.
As the springs are only the support part of the mattress they will only be supporting your bodyweight, what provides the comfort is your choice of comfort layer. It may be a viable option to add a decent topper to your mattress rather than spending over the odds on a mattress that has the equivalent of a topper already built in at a much higher price
A comfort layer is the final layer of padding just underneath the fabric. This will play a major part of how comfortable and how long lasting the mattress will be.
Comfort layers can be memory foam, lambswool, cashmere, polyester wadding, High Density foam, latex etc, or indeed a combination of these.
What comfort layer/s you choose will have an impact on the price of the mattress. The better the comfort layer, such as latex, the more expensive the mattress will be.
An orthopaedic mattress is usually the best from all the bonnell spring mattresses. The few extra pounds you pay between a mattress with a 12.5g spring or a 13.5g orthopaedic spring is relatively little compared to the extra lifespan your mattress will get. Although, the spring gauge should not be taken in isolation. When doing your price comparisons, take into account the quality and quantity of the waddings used in each. If the asking price is similar, then it is better to have a well padded 13.5g then a lightly filled 12.5g.