Innerspring Mattresses – Are Steel Springs Still A Key Ingredient In A Really Comfortable Mattress? Surprisingly, Maybe So...

innerspring mattress with springs showing

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that old school mattress makers have realized that sleeping on a slab of steel wire is just not very comfortable, and outdated, when you consider all of the hybrid mattress options out there.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.

While I was primarily visiting brick and mortar stores, I tried to find a similar product online, and not surprisingly, found a mattress on a web site called Habitat Furnishings. They created a specialized pocketed coil mattress that sells for a reasonable price, and it seems to have all of the ingredients you might want in a pocketed coil mattress. They use a 3” layer of pure latex, a layer of Jomma Wool (a really high quality kind of lambs wool) to make the mattress sleep cooler. They even give you an organic cover and a thirty year warranty.

The benefit I think of buying online, is many mattresses can be rolled and vacuum packaged, which is hugely popular, since mattresses don’t get damaged very much when shipped like this, and it makes it easy to deploy and unfurl on top of your foundation piece. Habitat ships their pocketed coil mattress this way, which I thought was really interesting, since I have never heard of a coil mattress being roll packed. No more tearing up your mattress dragging it up to your bedroom!

I also looked at their warranty and was very impressed. Knowing that they were selling their mattress sight unseen, they not only offer a full year to try out the mattress, but provide a 30 year warranty that also protects you with a full replacement guarantee should the mattress fail, for a full 15 years! I have not seen this kind of coverage, even with popular, big name brands.

I looked all over the web for another company with a similar product, especially a thirty year warranty, and couldn’t find anything even close. The crazy thing is, they are well reviewed, have an A+ BBB rating, and if you don’t like the mattress, you can return it within 365 days.

The mattress is called the Habitat Regal Tranquility, and you can check it out here-

Or, if you prefer talking with someone, they do offer live phone customer service 9am to 5pm Eastern Time, Monday - Friday, at 800-313-2591. All their staff seems to have years of experience and an in-depth knowledge working with innerspring and hybrid mattresses. They can help you see if the Regal Tranquility may be a solution for your particular sleep needs. I have found that not all companies selling mattresses even offer phone service, so it was nice to talk to a human being about the details as well.

It’s worth taking a look at, and I always like to reiterate when I write my articles that I don’t get a commission or referral fee for any sales from mattresses I recommend. I do ask for a small sponsor fee from a site, especially if I find a mattress I really like, to help me keep this site up and running.

I’m a piano tuner by day, but after a bad mattress shopping experience myself, I began to study the mattress industry and quickly learned that it pays to be an educated shopper. This led to me writing articles and eventually creating this site which features information about many different kinds of mattresses. Thanks for reading and good luck!
- Eben Goresko