When shopping for a new mattress, all the industry terms and lingo may seem confusing. What exactly is the difference between one mattress to another you may ask? They all seem the same to me? Truth be told, there are only several different elements that go into the anatomy of a mattress today.

Mattress sets are scientifically engineered sleep systems created from different components such as springs, air and foam, despite their simplistic exterior appearance. Every mattress requires a foundation or box spring that properly supports the mattress to ensure the comfort and durability of the mattress. Together a mattress and its foundation create a sleep set.


1- Innerspring mattresses are composed of precisely configured tempered steel (coil springs) and several different qualities of foam (padding), which work together to reduce stress to pressure points such as shoulders and hips, support your weight, and comfortably suspend your body throughout the night.

2- Innerspring support is provided by a variety of different configurations of individual coils that are placed together, individual coils that are placed in fabric pockets, or one continuous wire that forms an entire row of coils. An important variable to these three types of innerspring construction is the gauge of steel. The coil count combined with the gauge of steel and border support system is critical in the creation of a quality mattress set.

3- Coil Gauge: The gauge of coil is the thickness of the wire used in a mattress. The lower the gauge the thicker/heavier the wire, which may mean more support.

4- Coil Count: This indicates the number of coils used in an innerspring mattress. Unlike the measurement of thread count, a high coil count does not necessarily translate into a higher quality mattress. Instead, the design of a coil, the gauge of the wire used, and the way the coil is engineered are equally significant indicators of the support, comfort, and durability the mattress will provide.

5- Edge Support: Mattresses with edge support offer edge-to-edge comfort across the entire mattress, helping the mattress retain its shape and provide long lasting comfort. Edge support also reduces the chance of mattress edge sink (typically caused by sitting on the edge of the mattress) over a period of time. Edge support is provided using several methods, such as additional coils near the edge of the mattress, foam encasement for the innerspring unit, or a tied coil construction.

6- Foam mattresses are designed specifically for pressure management. When lying on a foam mattress, the foam should immediately distribute your body weight properly across the sleeping surface and reduce uncomfortable pressure points. Foam sleep sets are constructed using multiple layers of foam. Some foam has an open cell structure, while others have closed cell foams. Open cell foams have absorbing properties as well as cushioning characteristics. These foams help to cradle the body. Closed cell structured foams have a lower absorption rate; however they offer higher levels of support.

7- Latex Foams have a different cell structure than those found in memory foams, which make them more breathable and naturally hypo-allergenic. Latex is made from the rubber tree, is eco-friendly, and a biodegradable product. Latex easily forms to the contours of the body, but is not prone to lasting body impressions.

8- Memory Foams are denser than other foams and can be more supportive than other types of mattresses. These types of mattresses are comprised of temperature sensitive foams, which mold to the body quickly and help to limit motion transfer.


There are several different types of coils in a mattress that offer different types of support:

Bonnell coils are the oldest and most common. First adapted from buggy seat springs of the 19th century, they are still prevalent in mid-priced mattresses. Bonnell springs are a knotted, round-top, hourglass-shaped steel wire coil. When laced together with cross wire helices, these coils form the simplest innerspring unit, also referred to as a Bonnell unit.

Pocketed coils, also known as marshall coils, wrapped coils, or encased coils are thin-gauge, barrel-shaped, knotless coils individually encased in fabric pockets. Some manufacturers pre-compress these coils, which makes the mattress firmer and allows for motion separation between the sides of the bed. As the springs are not wired together, they work more or less independently: the weight on one spring does not affect its neighbors. Even after wear, two people side-by-side on a pocket spring mattress do not tend to make the mattress sag in the middle. Pocketed coils are used in mattresses to reduce the sensation of movement on a bed.

Offset coils are an hourglass type of coil on which portions of the top and bottom convolutions have been flattened. In assembling the innerspring unit, these flat segments of wire are hinged together with helical wires. The hinging effect of the unit is designed to conform to body shape. LFK coils are an un-knotted offset coil with a cylindrical or columnar shape. Offset coil systems are known to make less noise because they are constructed with a hinge-like rounded top and bottom. These are often found in higher-end mattresses. Offset coils are designed to hinge, thus conforming to body shape. They are very sturdy, stable innersprings that provide great support.

Continuous coils (the Leggett & Platt brand name is Mira-coil) is an innerspring configuration in which the rows of coils are formed from a single piece of wire. They work in a hinging effect similar to that of offset coils. Continuous coils are different in that they are s-shaped, not coiled, and made from one long wire. This can provide a very stable, interlinked coil system that has also been noted as more durable.

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