Mattress Coils: Considerations When Purchasing a Mattress

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When purchasing a mattress, a factor of consideration for consumers is the kind and number of mattress coils in the mattress to best suit the customer’s sleeping needs. Mattress coils, or mattress springs, are integral to the mattress’ support, which in turn impacts comfort and sleep quality.

For those with back pain, back issues, or other concerns for support, considering various alternatives of mattress coils may be key to finding the ideal mattress.

Coil Gauges

The gauge number of a mattress coil indicates the mattress’ thickness. The lower the gauge number of the mattress coil, the thicker the coil. Therefore, the lower the gauge number, the firmer and stiffer the mattress will feel, offering a harder surface for the mattress.

Mattress coil gauges typically range from 12 to 15. If the customer is looking for a forgiving mattress, an ideal gauge number would be 14. However, if the customer is looking for a mattress that offers more firm support, an ideal gauge number would be 13 or lower.

Mattresses with lower coil gauges typically last longer because the thicker wire wears out slower over time. However, most consumers replace their mattress before the coils wear out, regardless of their gauge, and therefore gauge number should not be a heavy consideration in regards to durability.

Number of Coils

The number of coils can impact bodily support and mattress longevity. Consumers should generally avoid mattresses with low coil counts; however, an absolute minimum coil count is difficult to determine because of the variety in mattress sizes.

Generally, full mattresses should have at least 300 coils, queen mattresses should have at least 400 coils, and king mattresses should have at least 380 coils. However, mattresses with coil counts much greater than the minimum level of coils may not actually offer a substantially higher level of comfort or support. For example, mattresses with low coil counts may promote higher coil density, which provides greater support.

Type of Coil

The type and construction of the coil may be considered more important than the number of coils and the gauge of coils. There are three main types of mattress coils:

  • Hourglass Coils: Hourglass coils are the most common type of mattress coil. Two subtypes of hourglass coils are Bonnell and offset hourglass coils. Bonnell coils are less expensive to make and are therefore more popular, whereas offset coils are constructed with a hinge-like rounded top and bottom and therefore make less noise when slept on. Offset coils also conform more to the user’s body shape. The Sealy Posturepedic coil system uses offset coils.
  • Pocketed Coils: Pocketed coils, also known as Marshall coils or encased coils, reduce the sensation of movement on the bed because each coil is wrapped in a textile. Pocketed coils are often used in high-end mattresses because they are expensive to manufacture and create. These coils have become more popular over the years.
  • Continuous Coils: Continuous coils, also known as Mira-coils, are made in an S-shaped curve rather than being coiled, and are made from one long wire. These coils provide a more stable and interlinked coil structure. Mattresses with continuous coils have been noted to be more durable. The largest company using continuous coils is Serta Mattress Company.

Other Factors

Other factors include whether or not the mattress coils have been tempered. Tempered coils are more durable because they have been heated and cooled repeatedly to ensure and solidify the shape of the coil. For customers who require firm support, such as those with a larger frame or greater mass, tempered coils may be ideal.

Works Consulted
“All About Mattress Coils.” Sit ‘n Sleep. Sit ‘n Sleep, 22 Aug. 2009. Web. 11 July 2017.
“Definition of Coil & Coil Count.” Furniture. Furniture.com, n.d. Web. 11 July 2017.
“What Is a Mattress Coil Gauge?” US-Mattress. Bedding Pros LLC, n.d. Web. 11 July 2017.

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Joe Auer

Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site. He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 100 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 4 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications. When he isn't testing sleep products, he enjoys working out, reading both fiction and non-fiction, and playing classical piano. He enjoys traveling as well, and not just to test out hotel mattresses! Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.

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