Which one is best?
There is a lot of confusing information about sofa suspension systems in circulation, and in particular, eight-way hand tied suspensions. Some will tell you it is the best, an indicator of high quality, others will tell you it is old fashioned and out of date. In our experience, just about any suspension system can be done well or poorly. We have found that sofa quality is less about a particular method and more about the quality of materials used combined with the workmanship employed in the execution.
Some things in terms of quality you can determine just by looking, touching, and sitting on a sofa. Are the arms heavily padded or do you feel the frame immediately? Is the foam squishy and does it collapse easily when you squeeze or does it have body and bounce back? Does the sofa have weight or is it light and flimsy? Does the upholstery look expensive or cheap? Is the stitching crooked or straight? Is the style sophisticated or out of date? What is the warranty? Does the sofa cost $500, $1500, $2500 or more?
When it comes to things hidden from view, such as the suspension system, the attributes of what you CAN see and feel on the outside, in combination with price and warranty, will be a good indicator of the workmanship on the inside, regardless the type of suspension.
The three most common sofa suspensions are eight-way hand tied, sinuous spring and uni-directional webbing. Below is a brief description of each.
Eight-way hand tied
A series of coiled springs run from the back to the front of the sofa and are tied together and attached to the sofa frame by hand in eight different directions. The purpose of tying the springs together is so they move in concert providing a soft, bouncy support for the seat cushions.
A series of serpentine springs are attached at the front and back of the sofa frame in 2-3-inch intervals. Additionally, a series of straight wires run perpendicular to the S-shaped springs and connect the rows to each other. The sinuous spring method requires less frame depth than eight-way hand tied systems allowing for sleeker and modern designs.
Latex rubber filaments are fully wrapped in a polypropylene yarn and woven into 3-inch strips. These wide, flat strips are attached from the back to front of the sofa frame in two inch increments and cover about two-thirds of the open area between the frame, distributing weight evenly along the entire cushion surface. Because the webbing is installed in one direction only, it provides an independent suspension for each seat so that movement is more isolated and less likely to disturb others.