Innerspring Mattress Buying Guide

There is a good chance that you have had, or do have an innerspring mattress right now.  They are the most popular mattress and have been since the early 1900′s.

Components of an Innerspring Mattress

The Spring Core

The spring core is what puts the “spring” in innerspring.  It is made up of many spring coils, made of steel.  These coils are the reason your bed is bouncy.

The gauge of the coil determines whether you have a stiff bed or one that gives more under pressure.  Higher quality mattresses will usually have a 14-15.5 gauge which has more give than lesser quality mattresses with 12.5 gauge coils.

The four different types of springs are Bonnell coils, Marshall coils, Offset coils and Continuous coils.  You can read more about each here.

The Foundation

A foundation is typically a separate piece than a mattress.  These are most commonly referred to as box springs, even though a box spring is just one type of mattress foundation.  The following are the three most common kinds of mattress foundations:

  1. Box Spring – A rigid frame which usually contains extra heavy duty springs.  The springs allow your mattress to have some more bounce and offer softer support.  One major con to using a box spring is that they allow your mattress to sag.
  2. Traditional Wood Foundation – Commonly known in the bed industry as an “Ortho Box.”  These foundation are made with a soft wood like pine and consist of 7-8 support slats.  A wood foundation typically increases the stability and firmness of the mattress.
  3. Grid Foundation – Combination of wood and steel.  These foundations are known to provide the greatest innerspring mattress support.

The Upholstery Layers

Some mattress manufacturers will call this the “comfort layer”.  The upholstery layer is often the part of the mattress which is used in a sales pitch because of the different materials covering the mattress or even the “topper” layer.  The topper layer can increase the softness of a mattress and can contain latex or memory foam.

See our other guides:

Memory Foam Mattress Buying Guide

Latex Mattress Buying Guide