The Best Innerspring Mattress

As determined by our top rated mattress reviews, expert advice,
and most importantly...your personal preference.

According to results of the poll in the right hand column of the home page, about 26% those who have taken the poll prefer innerspring mattresses. However, according to bedding market reports, innerspring models account for 80% to 90% of the number of mattresses sold and about 63% of mattress revenues. An obvious contributing factor is cost. Judging from the above market figures, a specialty sleep (non-spring) mattress costs about three times as much, on the average, as an innerspring model.

There are also other reasons for the high percentage of coil mattresses sold. For one thing, these are traditional mattresses, the ones most consumers are familiar with. For another thing, a good innerspring mattress is very supportive when new. When not too firm, an innerspring matress is also cushioning, and a mattress pad can make it softer if needed. They are also widely available with many manufacturers and several types to choose from.

The lower preference for innerspring mattresses in the Beds.Org poll may be due to owner dissatisfaction with coil mattresses which sagged within a few years. However, data indicates foam mattresses don't last too much longer. Therefore, the price differential makes replacing an innerspring mattress more feasable.

There are some innerspring models which are more durable. Much of this depends on the type, gauge, and density of the coils as well as the edge support and the overall quality of construction. On average, the more durable innerspring mattresses are more expensive.

A key factor is what actually sags in an innerspring mattress. Many models have considerable padding above the coil unit of foam, fiber or both. If these comfort layers are thick enough, the model is labelled a hybrid mattress. Often, it is the comfort layers that sag or compact, leaving indentations.

What are the key advantages of an innerspring mattress?

The one key advantage of an innerspring mattress is sure, consistent support. Unless coils fail, a user can assume any position on a traditional innerspring mattress without sinking in. If the mattress is too firm, pillows or a mattress topper may be used for pressure relief.

What types of mattress springs are used?

Bonnell Coils - These are the original mattress springs. They were developed from coils used in buggy and wagon seats. They are also the least expensive, because their assembly is the simplest. Bonnell coils are hourglass-shaped, wider at the top and narrower in the middle. This makes them very responsive and springy, thus comfortable. However, this shape provides a weak point where a coil may fail by deforming or breaking. Some Bonnells are not as narrow in the middle to make them stronger.

Also called open coils, Bonnell coils are tied to each other in a grid, and this grid is tied to a perimeter rod. This way, each coil shares the load with its neighbors. While this makes the innerspring unit stronger, it also transfers any changes in pressure across the mattress. This motion transfer leads to one sleeper's movements disturbng a partner.

Bonnell coils are still widely used because of cost, making mattresses more affordable.

Offset Coils - Also called Karr coils after their inventor, offset coils are more nearly cylindrical than Bonnells. The tops of the coils are oblong and squared off on opposite sides. Each coil is attached to one or two adjoining coils with helical wires, forming a hinge-like union. While a coil still gets some help from its neighbors, the connection is flexible, reducing motion transfer. Offset coil units are more expensive to make, therfore they are used in premium mattreses.

Continuous Coils - The name tells it: a row of continuous coils is formed from one wire. Generally, these rows are oriented head-to-toe in a mattress, but some models have criss-crossed rows for a more supportive mattress with a greater coil density. A continuous coil mattress is usually less flexible then a bonnell unit, meaning the motion transfer is greater. Continuous coils are usually less expensive than offset.

Pocket Coils - Individually wrapped pocket coils are also called Marshall coils after their inventor, James Marshall, an Englishman turned Canadian. Each coil is in a separate fabric pocket. These pockets are attached to each other in an array. Since the coils are not attached directly to others, each one responds independently to weight placed diectly on it. This way, pocket coils conform to the shape of the sleeper's body, providing better pressure relief than the previous coils.

Dual Coils - This is a recent development, patented in 2010 by Sealy. Essentially, two coils are formed from one wire with one coil inside the other, so they are are also called coil-in-coil. The taller outer coil has fewer turns and is more responsive. The shorter inner coil has more turns and is more supportive. These are also pocket coils, with one pair in each pocket. The combination of two coils makes this design suitable for sleeping partners of widely differing body sizes and weights. Since Sealy holds the patent, this design is principally found in Sealy and Stearns & Foster mattresses.

Microcoils - These are very short coils. There is no uniform standard defining how short a coil must be to be considered a microcoil, but 2" seems to be the maximum height for this classification. Short enough, such as ¾" or less, they are called mini-microcoils. Microcoils are short enough to be used in comfort layers, closer to the sleeper than the support core of the mattress. Microcoil layers are now found in some foam mattresses. In innerspring mattresses, a microcoil layer can serve as a moderator for a Bonnell, offset or continuous coil innerspring unit.

Wood Coils - The newest development in coils is the wooden coil developed by a Hungarian company. The advantage of wooden coils, acording to the developer, is the support of coils without metal. Metal coils act as amplifiers for electromagnetic radiation (radio waves) in the air, focusing it on the bed's users with a number of detrimental effects on helath. Mattresses with wood coils will be sold in America by Vital Wood.

Foam Springs - Another new development in mattress support systems is foam springs. Sometimes called "coils" in keeping with the convention of coiled springs in mattresses, these are individually formed structures of foam  providing support generally equivalent to that of metal coil springs, but withour the metal.

Here are some the key points needed to determine which innerspring mattress is best:

Coil Type - The type of coil greatly determines the support, comfort and durablility of an innerspring mattress, thus impacting user reviews. The basic, and most-used, types are Bonnell, offset, continuous, pocket coils, and dual coils. Also, under type, is the composition of the coil. Mostly these are steel or stainless steel. Also used are titanium alloys.

Gauge - This is how thick the coil wire is. The smaller the number, the thicker the wire. Heavier-gauge wire is stronger and longer lasting.

Coil Count - A higher coil count means more continuous support in the mattress. But the highest coil counts are achieved with lighter-gauge coils. This means a trade-off between coil gauge and coil count which may affect a user's review of the mattress.

Configuration - Some manufacturers create zones in their mattress innerspring units to provide firmer support to some parts of the body. Common is higher coil density and/or heavier coil gauge in the middle third of the mattress for lumbar support. Some makers have five or seven zones from head to foot. How this configuration (or the lack thereof) works could influence mattress ratings.

Comfort Padding - Innerspring mattresses are inherently firm. Many modern models use upholstery (comfort layers) to soften the mattress without compromising support. This is foam or fiber padding ranging from minimal thickness to several inches. While springs may fail, the constant flexing inherent with springs shortens the life of padding, especially foam. In fact, manufacturers discourage the use of box springs as foundations for foam mattresses for this very reason. Often the problem with a modern innerspring mattress is not with the innerspring, but with the comfort layers.

Cover - Part of the comfort of a mattress comes from the cover. First, it has to be tear resistant. Other considerations are smoothness, temperature control, elasticity, and whether it is quilted. For a tight-top innerspring mattress (minimal padding), woven fabric is fine. But for foam comfort layers, the stretchability of a knit material allows the cover to follow the response of the foam.

Warranty - Many times a user has warranty issues. How a manufacturer or retailer handles a warranty claim may have a bearing on a review.

Warranties for and innerspring mattresses with foam comfort layers spell out how much of a permanent indentation defines sagging. This is understandable, since a small amount of lasting impression is naturally expected in these materials.

Mattress warranties are written to cover design, materials and manufacturing defects, not wear due to natural usage. Conditions for the warranty are usually quite specific, requiring certain kinds of support for the mattress. Stains can void most warranties. The reason is simple. Stains usually indicate that a substance soaked the cover and possibly went into the mattress. Many liquids can cause metal coils to corrode and foams to deteriorate or degrade, which can compromise the bed’s support.

Do Innerspring Mattress Ratings Tell the True Story?

Here are the top 7 review ratings for innerspring mattresses on Beds.Org. These are ranked first for the number of reviews, then for the average ratings. # ... Model ......................... Average .... Number of ......................................... Rating ....... Reviews (click on number to see reviews)

1. Sealy Posturepedic ......... ........ 4 ..... ... 19 (entire brand)
2. Simmons Beautyrest ... ........ .. 4 ........ 11 (entire brand)
3. Serta-Perfect-Sleeper ...... ....... 4 ......... 7 (entire series)
4. Simmons Beautyrest Black ....... 4.5 .-..... 3 (entire series)
5. Stearns & Foster Luxury Firm . . 5 .-....... 2
6. Sealy Posturepedic Firm . ......... 4.5 ....... 2
7. Simmons Beautyrest Pillowtop .. 4.5 ....... 2 (covers more than one pillowtop model)

Out of the seven top-rated innerspring mattresses, three are Simmons, two are Sealy, one is Serta, and one is a Stearns & Foster model. The top two cover, respectively, the entire Posturepedic and Beautyrest brands, while the next two cover entire series. Stearns & Foster is a division of Sealy.

Overall, it appears that the best-reviewed innerspring mattresses are those by these four manufacturers. However, these companies are the ones with the widest distribution and the largest volume of innerspring mattress sales, and each of them has several other innerspring mattress reviews on this site. There are other manufacturers of innerspring mattresses, some of them high-priced luxury brands. Judging by the reviews themselves, it appears that innerspring mattresses by these manufacturers are reliable as far as the springs are concerned, and owners' problems have more to do with the comfort padding. Some rated the mattress as too firm, but that can be rectified with a mattress pad (or topper), which is the recommendation of some bedding experts—after all, it's less expensive to replace a pad than the whole mattress.

A word about top ratings and reviews

The reliability of mattress ratings (including those of innerspring models) based on polls and tallying of reviews depends on the number of respondents and how long they have used the mattresses they are reviewing. The larger the sample, the more faithfully representative the results are. And the longer customers have used mattresses, the better they know them, and the more reliable their evaluations. This is more true for mattresses than for several other kinds of products, mostly because of how they wear. Cushioning layers tend to “settle in” over time, and the feel can change over several months. This is why on customer reviews, the user has to say when the mattress was purchased. On one innerspring mattress review (below this list in ratings), the owner said, "Need a new one," and, "Was good when new." The review was written more than 15 years after the purchase date. is a proud member of these and other organizations