High density foam vs pocket coils for sofa seat cushion

High Density Foam vs Pocket Coil: Which Sofa Cushion is Better?

Struggling to find the comfiest seat cushions for your sofa? Let us help you! In this blog, we'll dive into the crucial role seat cushions play in sofa comfort. Uncover the differences between high density foam and pocket coil options, and choose the best fit for your ultimate seating pleasure. Get ready to relax in style!

At a glance: high density foam cores vs. pocket coils

High density foam vs pocket coils

In this article, we'll explore foam cores and pocket coils in detail. But if you're looking for a quick overview of their pros and cons, check out the comparison below.  Save time and make the right choice for your sofa without reading the whole article. 


In general, high-density foam is more long-lasting than pocket coil. Foams with density >=28 usually have a lifespan of 5–10 years, and can last longer than 10 years if density >38. However, pocket coils typically last 3–5 years. High-quality pocket coils can last 5–8 years. The difference in durability is mainly due to the pocket coil being wrapped with non-woven fabric, which tends to degrade after 3–5 years, making the coils more likely to puncture the surrounding foam and causing an uneven seat cushion. 

Motion transfer

Foam cushions are great at isolating motion, making them perfect for situations where you share a cushion with others. Opting for sofas with individual cushions can further minimise motion transfer. Premium pocket coils offer improved motion isolation. This is because pocket coils are wrapped individually, which helps reduce motion transfer between different seating areas. 


Pocket coil cushions offer a more "active" support compared to foam. Pocket coils offer bounce and resistance, while foam provides a soft, enveloping feel. Both options offer an extraordinary level of support and comfort, but foam excels in providing support, especially for those seeking relief from back pain while sitting.


Foam sofas are generally pricier than pocket spring sofas. Top-quality pocket coil furniture tends to be more expensive than even the highest-priced high density foam options. On the other hand, the most budget-friendly foam core cushions are often cheaper than pocket coil spring equivalents. If you seek a balance between price and quality, foam is the better choice, offering excellent value for money. 

Now that we've explored the pros and cons of foam cores and pocket coils, let's delve deeper into each type of cushion. This will help you make an informed decision and choose the best option for your needs.

High density foam

What is high density foam? High-density foam is a widely used type of polyurethane foam in the furniture industry. It is composed of numerous tightly packed open cells or bubbles, allowing air to pass through with ease. This makes it an excellent choice for providing comfortable padding in cushions, mattresses, and other similar products. High-density foams are known for their durability due to their strong cell structure, ensuring the material retains its shape effectively. It is important to note that foam density primarily indicates quality and durability, not the softness or firmness of the cushion.

What is foam density and firmness? 

A common misconception is that a higher density of foam indicates a higher firmness level, but this is not necessarily true. To understand this, consider two cubes with the same density of 30 kg per cubic metre – one filled with feathers and the other with rocks. Despite having the same density, the feather-filled cube will not be as firm as the rock-filled one. Density and firmness are distinct measurements of foam strength and quality. Firmness refers to how soft or firm the foam feels, rated on a scale between 10 and 60 or more. On the other hand, density represents the weight of the foam, usually ranging from 12 kg per cubic metre to 56 kg per cubic metre. Density serves as an indicator of quality and longevity, while the firmness indicates the surface feel of the foam.

How is the firmness of foam measured?

Foam firmness for sofa

Firmness is measured by using the Indent Load Deflection (ILD) test. For instance, a 15" x 15" x 4" foam block undergoes pressure from a circular disk measuring 1 foot in diameter and 4 inches thick. The ILD rating is determined when the disk compresses the foam by 25% of its thickness, or 1 inch. The amount of weight required to achieve this compression becomes the foam's ILD number, indicating its firmness. Higher ILD numbers indicate firmer foams, while lower numbers represent softer foams. Most foams have ILD ratings between 15 and 60.

How to understand foam density? 

Foam density for sofa

When comparing high and low foam density, the difference is more noticeable when placed together, as higher density foam appears more uniform with fibre compared to lower density foam. The lifespan of foam increases with greater density, especially when you increase the surface area or thickness of the foam. Higher density foams also offer better motion isolation. However, keep in mind that higher density foam tends to be more expensive due to the increased material used, but it also has a longer expected lifespan. For sofas in busy family rooms with high usage, a higher density foam, around 35 - 45, would be recommended for optimal durability and comfort.

Pocket Coil

Pocket coil seat cushion for sofa

What are pocket coils?

Pocket coils, a type of spring technology, have been used in mattresses since the early 1900s and have recently gained popularity in furniture. Unlike traditional coil cushions where the coils are interconnected, pocket coils are individually wrapped in fabric pockets. While more commonly found in mattresses, pocket coils are increasingly used in sofa cushions as an appealing alternative to high-density foam. The general rule for pocket coil systems is that the more coils there are, the more responsive and motion-controlled the seat cushion will be, providing both support and comfort. However, it's essential to note that pocket coil cushions also include a layer of foam for added comfort. When considering pocket coil cushions, it's crucial to inquire about the type of foam used, as it significantly affects the overall comfort experience.

Pros of pocket coils

  • Motion Isolation: Pocket coils reduce motion transfer, making them ideal for shared seating spaces.
  • Responsive and Bouncy: Pocket coil cushions offer the responsiveness of foam cores with added bounce due to the springs' quick return to their original shape.
  • Increased Airflow: The design allows better air circulation, leading to a cooler seating surface.
  • Wide Budget Range: Available at several price points, making them suitable for various budget levels.

Cons of pocket coils

  • Potential for Bad Posture: Cheaper pocket coil furniture may lack sufficient back support, leading to bad posture.
  • Higher Price: The best spring sofas tend to be more expensive than top-quality foam furniture.
  • Limited Motion Isolation: Compared to foam, only the most expensive pocket coils offer motion isolation.
  • Noise and Durability Concerns: Some pocket coils may produce noise over time and have a shorter lifespan compared to foam.

The Right Cushion for Your Sofa!

If you prefer a seat cushion with exceptional durability and value for money, then foam seat cushions are the way to go. They provide long-lasting support and comfort, especially for those seeking relief from back pain while sitting. On the other hand, if motion isolation is a top priority, and you want a cushion that offers bounce and resistance, then premium pocket coil cushions are the ideal choice. Whether it's foam or pocket coil, both options offer their unique advantages, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your sofa and seating comfort.

If you are opening to exploring foam cushion sofas, why not start with our carefully curated selection of sofas?

Last update: 30th Jul 2023

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.