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Innerspring (Coil) Mattress Reviews

Updated May 5, 2015
Innerspring mattresses are the tried and true classic - the bed we all grew up sleeping on. While it might seem that innerspring or coil spring mattresses are giving way to popular memory foam and latex mattress models, there are still many of us who will only consider a so-called "traditional" innerspring/coil bed.

There's comfort in the familiar. But it's largely a question of optics and marketing. We see innerspring mattresses everywhere. They beckon to be test-driven and even kids want to jump on them.

Every beautiful showroom features plush, sophisticated beds topped with gorgeous bedding. We gaze in wonder, "Can my bedroom really look like that?"

Compare this experience to buying a memory foam or latex bed in a box online. (It's kind of like buying original art online…it will never replace buying from a gallery).

Positives/Advantages

Variety of prices: On average, expect to invest around $1,500 to $2,000 for a high quality queen sized model. Luxury brands can easily cost $3,000 to $5,000 plus. See pricing tips below.

Romance-friendly: Mattresses that offer some bounce or springiness are preferred by most couples. Unlike latex or memory foam mattresses that create a sinking effect, innerspring models offer easier maneuverability.

Variety of comfort levels: Innerspring mattresses come in the widest range of choices from ultra soft to ultra firm and everything in between. Going with a non-major brand will limit your choices.

Negatives/Problems

Issues around sagging: How many of us regret our investment? Researching owner satisfaction reveals some noteworthy findings. When mattresses are purchased for occasional or light use, owners seem very satisfied. But those who sleep regularly on their mattress only report high satisfaction in the first few years. Satisfaction declines fast. This is due largely to issues around sagging which affects both appearance and comfort.

In fact, our research of mattress consumer feedback has found sagging is a problem reported by about 25% of owners. Related to this problem is warranty coverage. Getting compensated can be problematic because manufacturers need to know what exactly went wrong. Was it the manufacturer's defect or owner's misuse of the mattress? Often owners are faced with unexpected shipping charges on top of their claim.

Tip: It's a misconception that sagging is directly related to the mattress itself. Often it's the pillow top comfort layers that are the problem. Ironically, models with luxury comfort layers are usually the more expensive. It may be better to choose a thinner comfort layer model or even buy a separate mattress topper so it can be replaced in the future without having to buy a whole new mattress.

Pressure points: Coil spring beds are not known for above average long-term pain relief. Again, sagging is the culprit here. Any uneven surface over time will create pain.

Noise: While you can expect a memory foam or latex mattress to be whisper quiet, you will run the risk of noise whenever a spring coil system is used.

Design and Materials

If you've been visualizing Slinky-like coils inside your mattress, you might be surprised to learn how many coil types there actually are. There are important differences and the type of coil will partly contribute to the price of your mattress. Aside from the comfort layer or pillowtop, the type of coil construction will determine how firm or soft your bed is.

For example, mattress innersprings can be constructed from thicker wire (resulting in less spring/more firmness), and vary in how many coils and individual turns each has. The coil diameter is important too. A wider width combined with a thinner wire will result in a bouncier or more springy bed.

Then there's coil height to think about…but let's get down to what you really need to know: Innerspring coil systems are the most important part of the mattress support system. The purpose of coils is to provide different levels of softness and firmness and help your mattress keep its shape as it molds to your body. Higher coil counts, say 600 or so for a queen size, will provide good medium level support. As a general rule, higher coil counts will offer better body-conforming comfort, but you'll pay a price!

Bonnell or open coils are simply curved with no bells and whistles and are a first choice for lower priced models. Think about a seat cushion in a classic car or old fashioned buggy. Expect average durability. Pocket coils are a little fancier than bonnell because they are individually wrapped in fabric. Pocket coils are a popular choice for mid-range to luxury as they offer better movement isolation and body support. These coil systems can vary greatly, and some are more advanced and pricier.

Offset coils closely resemble bonnell coils but are designed to have better bounce and support features. Finally, the continuous coil springs used in non-luxury models resemble rows of wires that run across the entire mattress rather than separated and wrapped. A downside is the lack of support due to simple construction.

Popular Brands and Models

The 3 major "S" brands, Serta, Simmons and Sealy, are firmly established market leaders. Popular models include the Simmons Beautyrest line, Sealy Posturepedic, and the Serta iSeries collection.

See Also:

Prices

Be a smart mattress shopper! Pricing on inner spring mattresses is largely related to how and where the purchase is made. It's no surprise that "brick and mortar" mattress retailers offer premium pricing to cover their business expenses, including leasing large expensive showrooms and ongoing marketing campaigns. On average, expect to invest around $1,500 to $2,000 for a queen sized model.

Luxury brands can easily cost $3,000 to $5,000 plus. Be sure to consider buying directly online from the manufacturer if possible to access the best warranty and likely the best price too.

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