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Innerspring mattresses have been manufactured since the 19th century and are widely sold to this day, representing a significant portion of current mattress sales. Their popularity with consumers is largely due to their high levels of support; many owners claim their bed maintains an even, comfortable surface. They are also highly responsive, and couples say this makes them the best mattresses for sex. Innersprings are often priced lower than other mattress types, as well.
Most innersprings consist of two main components: the comfort layers and the support core. The comfort layers in most innersprings are made from polyfoam, but some also contain thin memory foam or latex layers. The support cores, as a rule, must contain steel coils. Common coil types include bonnell, offset, continuous-wire, and pocketed.
This guide to innerspring mattresses includes details about innerspring mattress construction, as well as our picks for the best innersprings sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner data, as well as intensive product research.
Best Innerspring Mattresses
Editor’s Choice – Saatva
Best Value – Signature Sleep Contour (10″) Mattress
Best Luxury – The WinkBed
Best for Heavyweight Sleepers – Big Fig Mattress
Many innersprings are too firm for some sleepers, but the Saatva is available in three firmness options to accommodate different preferences: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), and Firm (7.5).
Additionally, the mattress features a Euro-top cushioning layer consisting of polyfoam and dacron fibers. The comfort system also includes memory foam, polyfoam, and pocketed coil layers. As a result, the Saatva offers better conforming and more pressure relief than the average innerspring. The low-gauge bonnell coil support core also helps the bed maintain a flat, even surface and reinforces the edges, which minimizes sinkage in areas where people sit.
The Saatva mattress is responsive enough for sex. It also sleeps cooler than most mattresses with comparable comfort layers, largely due to dual coil layers that provide good air circulation. Compared to other coil-based mattresses, the Saatva is also relatively quiet.
Saatva offers free White Glove delivery to customers in the contiguous U.S. This service includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal. The Saatva is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.
The Contour from Signature Sleep is a reversible innerspring mattress available in two thickness options. We’ve chosen the 8″ model for our Best Value pick because it has earned comparable customer ratings compared to the 10″ model, but almost always has a lower price-point.
Signature Sleep exclusively sells mattresses through third-party retailers, so prices for the Contour vary by distributor. For example, the mattress is currently sold on Amazon.com for $219 in a Queen size – which is more than $800 below the average innerspring price-point.
The Contour is highly durable, thanks to its reversible construction. Both sides of the mattress are considered Medium in terms of firmness, or 5.5 on the 1-10 firmness scale. By flipping the mattress periodically, owners can extend the bed’s overall lifespan. The Contour is also constructed with pocketed coils, which provide edge support and produce less noise than other coil types.
The WinkBed is a luxury innerspring that is available in three firmness options – Medium Soft (4.5), Medium Firm (6.5), and Firm (7.5). This makes it suitable for most body types, weights, and sleep positions.
The innovative comfort system contains polyfoam, gel polyfoam, and microcoil layers, as well as a lumbar pad to provide extra back support. The support core features pocketed coils encased in foam, which helps the mattress sleep cooler and offers stronger edge support. In addition to the standard WinkBed, the WinkBed Plus substitutes latex for polyfoam and microcoils in the comfort system; this model is considered Medium Firm (6.5).
The WinkBed is more responsive and better for sex than other innersprings. It also conforms closely to alleviate aches and pains, and isolates motion transfer to a significant extent.
Customers in the contiguous U.S. who order the WinkBed qualify for free delivery, and White Glove services are available for an additional charge. The mattress is backed by a lifetime warranty, which can save owners a lot of money in the long run.
Mattress support can be problematic for people in the heavy weight group (more than 230 pounds). Many innersprings are not designed to withstand this much weight, and often develop sagging and deteriorate quickly.
The Big Fig, which is specifically designed for larger sleepers, is 13″ thick; higher bed profiles are often more comfortable for heavier people because they provide more support and are less prone to sagging. Firmness is another consideration, since excessively soft mattresses tend to sink too deeply beneath larger individuals. The Big Fig is Medium Firm (6.5), which offers a good balance of support and pressure relief. The Big Fig’s comfort layers consist of ventilated latex and high-density polyfoam for close conforming. The pocketed coil support core cools down the mattress and provides robust edge support.
Big Fig offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The mattress comes with a 101-night sleep trial and a fully nonprorated 20-year warranty.
Originally used to pad the seats of horse-drawn carriages, innerspring cushioning was first developed for bedding by inventor Berliner Heinrich Westphal in the early 1870s. The design was revolutionary: a firm sleep surface insulated with rows of metal coils to help withstand compression and provide bodily support. The innerspring mattress was patented in the United States two decades later, and has dominated the American sales market since the 1930s. In recent years, the innerspring has competed against newer mattress types, such as polyfoam/memory foam, latex, hybrid, and airbed models. However, innerspring construction is still found in the majority of mattresses sold nationwide — roughly two-thirds of overall industry sales, according to recent estimates.
The popularity of innerspring mattresses (also known as coil mattresses) has endured for several reasons. These mattresses are the most widely available and typically the most affordable, making them relatively cheap and easy to buy compared to other mattress models. Some types of innerspring are also well-suited to certain sleepers, such as stomach sleepers, people with moderate back pain and individuals who weigh more than 250 pounds. However, several criticisms about innersprings still persist. These include premature sagging, lack of motion isolation and a short lifespan. The majority of innerspring owners have reported fair to low satisfaction levels, and these scores are significantly lower than other mattress types. As a result, innersprings have managed to become both the most popular, widely sold mattresses in the country — and the least liked.
You can jump directly to our 2018 mattress reviews and comparisons guide to learn about innersprings with the highest customer satisfaction ratings, or read on to peruse our comprehensive innerspring guide.
The term ‘innerspring’ does not refer to the entire mattress, but rather the support core. This innermost layer of a mattress is designed to provide spinal support and pressure relief for sleepers while also withstanding compression and preventing the mattress from completely collapsing. The support core works in tandem with the topmost layer, or comfort layer, which is constructed from softer, more responsive material in order to provide a suitable sleep surface. Most innersprings have comfort layers made of polyfoam or memory foam.
An innerspring support core consists of metal springs, or coils, that are evenly spaced throughout the core to maximize support and ensure proper weight distribution. In most cases, coils are molded from tempered steel, which is considered more resilient than non-tempered steel or other metals. Coils situated at the borders of a mattress are often reinforced with foam, webbing or other sturdy materials for added longevity and performance, since the edges of innerspring mattresses are more prone to sagging than the central area.
Today’s innerspring mattresses are distinguished by the type of coils, which fall into one of four different categories.
Bonnell coils are the oldest coil type used today, and also cheaper and more widely available compared to other innerspring coils. Molded from tempered steel in an hourglass shape, bonnell coils are joined together with spiral-shaped wires known as helicals and often reinforced with thick, low-gauge wire. As a result, bonnells can withstand high levels of compression without shifting or falling apart. You will often find bonnell coils in mattresses used in places that accommodate a steady stream of sleepers, such as hotels, dorms and nursing homes.
Offset coils are made of tempered steel, shaped like hourglasses and joined together with helicals. However, the bottom of an offset coil is straightened to create a hinging effect when the mattress is compressed. Two variations of the offset coil are also common. Double offset coils are straightened at both the top and bottom for extra hinging and more support. The free arm offset coil, on the other hand, is not joined with neighboring coils. Offset, double offset and free arm offset coils are considered highly durable — and as a result, these mattresses tend to run on the expensive side.
Continuous wire coils feature several rows of long, singular wires that are molded into circular shapes and joined by helicals on both sides. This creates a hinging motion that is similar to that of offset coils. Although noted for its stability and resilience, this arrangement cannot contour to your figure like other innerspring types. The result, in most cases, is a mattress with a long lifespan that provides minimal levels of spinal support.
Pocket or pocketed coils, also known as Marshall coils or encased coils, are wrapped in cloth, and connected to neighboring coils by strands of fabric attached with hot glue; no helicals or additional wire attachments are used. Compared to other innerspring configurations, pocket coils enhance the mattress’s contouring effects and cut down on motion transfer. Not surprisingly, these mattresses tend to be the most expensive models available. However, many pocket coils are made of thin, non-tempered steel, giving these mattresses a shorter lifespan than other innersprings.
According to our findings, innerspring owners and users have reported the following experiences:
The firmness of a mattress is somewhat linked to the gauge, or thickness, of the innerspring coils and wires. Gauge is measured in numerals that represent different widths. Most innersprings sold today range in gauge from 18 (thinnest) to 12 (thickest). The lower (thicker) the gauge of the wires and coils, the firmer the mattress will feel. You can also evaluate innerspring firmness using pitch, or the angle of the coils/wires in relation to the top surface of the mattress.
In addition to the coil type, material and gauge, coil count is another factor that may affect the way an innerspring mattress feels. The coil count of most mattresses falls between 500 and 1,000, although this number can range from 300 on the low end to more than 2,000. To a point, the coil count can be used to evaluate the contouring ability and lifespan of a mattress; models with a high coil count also tend to be the priciest, while those with low coil counts are usually the cheapest.
However, you should avoid judging the overall quality of a mattress based on coil count alone — and in some cases, the number is merely a marketing gimmick. Today’s experts note that the best innerspring mattresses on the market have a coil count ranging between 600 and 1,000 individual coils. Coil counts in excess of 1,000 are not necessarily linked to increased levels of support, comfort and mattress performance. A good rule-of-thumb when evaluating an innerspring: coil type, coil material, wire gauge and coil count, as well as the comfort layer materials, should all be taken into consideration.
The table below looks at coil count, wire gauge and other important factors related to the four primary innerspring mattress types.
|Coil Type||Shape||Joiner||Wire Gauge||Coil Count||Price Point|
|Bonnell||Rounded hourglass||Helicals and low-gauge wire||Low to High||300 to 600||$|
|Offset||Hourglass with straightened end(s)||Helicals||Low to medium||600 to 2,000||$$|
|Continuous||Straight line||Helicals||Medium to High||400 to 800||$|
|Pocketed||Spiral with cloth encasement||Hot-melt glue||High||800 to 1,200||$$$|
The lifespan of an innerspring mattress will depend on several factors. These include coil gauge and composition. Low-gauge wire is more resilient than high-gauge wire; likewise, coils made of tempered steel will have a longer lifespan than those made of non-tempered steel. For this reason, pocketed coils — made of high-gauge, non-tempered steel — have the shortest lifespan of all innerspring types. Continuous wire coils are built to withstand more compression, although they are usually made of medium- to high-gauge wire. Bonnell and offset coils, both made of tempered steel that is often low- or medium-gauge, are considered the most resilient.
That being said, our findings indicate that innerspring mattresses have an average lifespan of five and a half years, the lowest among all mattress types. Warranties are crucial for innerspring owners because they often include coverage for sagging. When a sagging claim is filed, then the manufacturer will replace the mattress free-of-charge if the indentation reaches a certain depth; otherwise, replacement expenses will fall on the mattress owner.
Warranty length is also important. Although innerspring mattresses usually last up to five and a half years, warranties may run as high as 20 years in length. The warranty will be divided into non-prorated and prorated periods; owners must pay more out-of-pocket expenses during the prorated period, which is typically the longest of the two. Also take time to learn about the manufacturer’s process for addressing warranty claims, as well as any additional fees or shipping costs for replacing a damaged mattress.
Check out our guide to Understanding Mattress Warranties for more information about this topic.
Coil type can partially determine the cost of an innerspring mattress. Pocketed coils tend to be the least expensive option; offset coils are considered mid-range; and bonnell and continuous wire coils are usually the cheapest. Regardless of coil configuration, innersprings are by and large the cheapest mattress option on the market. The cost of some premium innerspring models ranges from $1,500 to more than $2,500. On the low end, a new innerspring may cost less than $200.
Based on our findings, the average innerspring mattress costs $1,038. One thing to note: because innersprings cannot be compressed for shipping, online orders may include additional transport fees of up to $100.
When shopping for a new innerspring mattress online or in a store, make sure to inquire about the following topics:
Although they are widely available and more affordable than other mattress models, innersprings may not be the best option for you. Be sure to check out the following guides on Tuck.com: