Innerspring Mattress Review – Are Steel Springs Still A Key Ingredient In A Really Comfortable Mattress? Surprisingly, Maybe So...
Innerspring, or coil, type mattresses are the most common version of mattress sold in the U.S. And while innerspring mattresses have been around since the early 1900's, they have changed radically in the last 10 - 15 years. Where innerspring mattresses used to be fairly simple beds, 6" - 8" thick with a continuous layer of coiled wire surrounded by a bit of foam or batted cotton - today they are clocking in at 11" - 15" thick and they often sport a substantial "pillow top" layer offering the latest innovation in mattress technology (memory foam, latex, etc.).
Why the move towards these high altitude mattresses? The fact is that old school mattress makers have realized that sleeping on a slab of steel wire is just not very comfortable, and outdated, when you consider all of the hybrid mattress options out there.
And as the mattress industry has seen new technologies enter the market, such as beds made using memory foam, latex, gel foams, even the popularity of digital air beds on the rise, conventional innerspring manufacturers have had to scramble to reinvent their product to try to compete. As a result, a new generation of far more comfortable coil type mattresses employing a unique technology has been created.
This technology enables the components to reduce pressure points far more efficiently, distribute weight evenly, and universally supports almost every body type, a kind of “one size fits” all mattress.
This technology, called a “pocketed coil” system, is actually pretty amazing. Rather than weaving all of the coils together in one big slab, unconnected coils are inserted one by one, each reacting differently to weight and movement, like a piston.
For example, on the outer edge of these mattresses, where you tend to sit, put your shoes on, or simply transfer to a standing position, the first few lines of coils may be stiffer, while as you get into particular zones of the bed, the coils may be slightly softer and cushier in feel. In one mattress, especially a high quality unit, you can get as many as 1,200 coils in a king size mattress, and around 1,000 in a queen!
Each single coil is wrapped in a fabric encasement, and the top and bottom of the entire array is attached to a flexible fabric that allows your body to operate each coil independently- an ingenious reinvention of a system that is more than a hundred years old.
Forward thinking manufacturers of coil or innerspring mattresses kept the innerspring core, but layered around it these new comfort layers. I’ve tried many of these mattresses, and since I am a latex fan, I tried to find a pocketed coil model that had some latex above it, since the floating and buoyant sensation that you get from latex would seem to enhance the effect of the coils. They feel springy, soft and supportive, but not too bouncy.
One thing I did notice about all of the pocketed coil type mattresses was one common feature - minimal motion transfer. I think this is because the coils are not all woven together, so you don’t get that springy, bouncy transfer from one coil to the next.
I also tried memory foam, and other kinds of layers, like wool, and although they had a nice feel, the memory foam kind of sank into the coil layers and did not keep me supported. If you have back and neck issues, a pocketed coil system with latex might be one solution, at least in my opinion.
With pocketed coil systems being the new trend in the mainframe mattress industry, you can find many options, especially in brick and mortar stores. Not as many online stores will carry them, primarily because they are difficult and expensive to ship, flat packed in large, unwieldy boxes. New technology however, has allowed pocketed coil mattresses to be built on a hinge system, allowing them to be rolled up, much like a foam “bed in a box” type mattress, so there are some options available from e-commerce stores for this new niche.
Again, I advise looking for solid third party reviews, a high BBB online rating, and a bulletproof return period of at least 100 nights, at no cost to you, and a warranty that has at least five years full replacement coverage. This insures that you will be covered in the event of failure, especially since these systems are still somewhat new.