What Is an Innerspring Mattress?

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Are you considering whether or not to buy an innerspring mattress? These mattresses are known for their support, bounce, and affordability. Let’s peel back the covers and take a closer look at the ever-popular innerspring to see if it’s the right mattress choice for you.

What Is an Innerspring Mattress?

An innerspring type of mattress uses metal coils that are usually made of steel to provide support. These coils can be connected or individually wrapped in fabric, making for a strong and long-lasting base for the mattress. The comfort, firmness, and support of an innerspring mattress can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size, shape, and number of coils used and the padding and materials surrounding them.

Types of Innerspring Coils

There are several different types of innerspring mattresses, each with its own unique construction and characteristics.

  1. Bonnell Coil: the most traditional type of innerspring mattresses, Bonnel coils feature an hourglass-shaped coil design that provides good support and durability.
  2. Offset Coils: featuring an hourglass shape similar to Bonnell coils but with a squared-off top and bottom, offset coils conform more to the body for better pressure relief.
  3. Continuous Coil: consists of a single piece of wire that forms a series of S-shaped coils, providing a more stable and consistent support surface.
  4. Pocketed Coil: also known as wrapped or encased coils, these individually wrapped coils move independently, providing more targeted support and reduced motion transfer.
  5. Hybrid: mattresses that combine innerspring coils with other materials like memory foam, latex, or gel to provide a mix of support and pressure relief.

A cut out innerspring mattress showing its inner layers

What Does an Innerspring Mattress Feel Like?

Generally, innerspring mattresses provide a firmer and bouncier feel than memory foam or latex mattresses. The feel of an innerspring mattress can vary depending on the type of coils used and the thickness and quality of the padding and material layers on top of the coils.

  • Bonnell coil mattresses can feel more traditional, with a noticeable bounce and some motion transfer.
  • Offset coil mattresses can feel more conforming and pressure-relieving than Bonnell coils while still providing good support.
  • Pocketed coil mattresses with individually wrapped coils can better adapt to the body’s shape and weight distribution.
  • Hybrid mattresses, which combine innerspring coils with other materials like memory foam or latex, can provide a mix of support and pressure relief, depending on the specific materials used.

Innerspring Mattress Pros and Cons

Like all mattresses, innerspring mattresses come with some very specific pros and cons. When you’re shopping for a mattress and considering an innerspring, here are a few things to keep in mind.


  • Good support: Innerspring mattresses are known for their strong and stable support system, which can be beneficial for those who prefer a firmer feel or need extra support for their back, hips, or shoulders.
  • Cooling: Innerspring mattresses can promote better airflow and ventilation, which can help dissipate heat and keep you cool while sleeping.
  • Durability: Innerspring mattresses are generally more durable than other types, especially if they have a high coil count or quality construction.
  • Bounce: Innerspring mattresses can provide a noticeable bounce and responsiveness, which can be useful for activities like sex or for those who like a more lively feel.


  • Motion transfer: Innerspring mattresses can transfer more motion than other types of mattresses, as the coils can transfer movement across the bed’s surface, which may disturb a partner’s sleep.
  • Noise: Innerspring mattresses can produce noise, especially if the coils are older or of lower quality, which can disrupt sleep.
  • Limited pressure relief: Innerspring mattresses may not provide enough pressure relief for some sleepers, especially those with chronic pain or pressure points, as the coils can push back against the body.
  • Prone to sagging: Innerspring mattresses can develop sagging or body impressions over time, especially if they are of lower quality or not maintained properly.

Back Sleeping On Innerspring Mattress

A hand presses into an innerspring mattress with a cut out revealing its inner layers

How Long Does an Innerspring Mattress Last?

How long a mattress lasts is a big factor when it comes time to make a buying decision. The lifespan of an innerspring mattress can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the materials used, how much it’s used, and the level of care and maintenance provided. In general, however, an innerspring mattress can be expected to last between seven and 10 years on average.

That being said, some innerspring mattresses can last longer than 10 years, while others may start to deteriorate or lose support after only a few years.

Factors that can affect the lifespan of an innerspring mattress include:

  • The type and gauge of the coils used.
  • The quality of the padding and upholstery layers.
  • The weight and sleeping position of the user.
  • The frequency and intensity of use.

To maximize the lifespan of an innerspring mattress, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for care and maintenance, which may include rotating the mattress regularly, using a supportive foundation, and keeping it clean and dry. Regular inspections and replacing worn-out or sagging mattresses can also help prolong the life of an innerspring mattress.

Do Innerspring Mattresses Need a Box Spring?

Innerspring mattresses don’t necessarily need a box spring, but they do require a supportive foundation to maintain their shape, stability, and durability.

If you choose to use a box spring with your innerspring mattress, make sure that it is compatible with the mattress and that it is in good condition, with no sagging or broken slats. A box spring can provide additional support, height, and shock absorption for the mattress, but it’s not always necessary and can be replaced with other types of foundations if needed.

A box spring is one type of foundation that can be used with an innerspring mattress, but there are other options as well. You may choose to put your innerspring mattress on a platform bed, slatted bed frame, adjustable bed frame, or any flat and sturdy surface. The key is to ensure that the foundation is sturdy and level, and provides enough support for the weight and structure of the mattress.

Can You Flip an Innerspring Mattress?

The specific design and construction of an innerspring mattress will help you determine if you can flip it or not. Older varieties of innerspring mattresses may be flippable, but most newer innerspring mattresses feature a non-flippable design. These mattresses are meant to be used only with the designated side up, and flipping them can damage the support system or compromise their performance.

How often should you flip your mattress? If you have a flippable bed it is typically recommended to do so every three months to once a year to distribute the wear and tear more evenly and prevent sagging or body impressions. If flipping is not recommended, rotating the mattress from head to foot every few months can still be beneficial to extend its lifespan and maintain its shape.

WinkBed Mattress - Construction

How to Clean an Innerspring Mattress

Cleaning an innerspring mattress can help keep it free from allergens and stains and help it reach its maximum lifespan. Before you clean a mattress, be sure to check the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Generally speaking, the following steps are how to clean an innerspring mattress:

  1. Remove bedding and vacuum the mattress: Pay special attention to seams, edges, and crevices where dust, dirt, or pet hair can accumulate.
  2. Treat stains with a gentle cleaner: Apply the solution to the stain using a clean cloth or sponge, and gently blot or rub the area, taking care not to saturate the mattress.
  3. Air out the mattress: Open windows or use a fan to circulate fresh air around the mattress, which can help dissipate any lingering odors or moisture.
  4. Use a fabric freshener:  Let the freshener sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it up.
  5. Protect the mattress: To prevent future stains or damage to the mattress, consider using a mattress protector or encasement, which can shield the mattress from spills, allergens, and bed bugs.

It’s important to avoid using harsh chemicals or saturating the mattress with water or cleaning solutions, as this can damage the coils or padding and compromise the mattress’s performance. Instead, focus on gentle cleaning methods and regular maintenance to keep your innerspring mattress clean and comfortable for years to come.

What to Look for When Buying an Innerspring Mattress

When shopping for the best innerspring mattress, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you get the best possible value and comfort. Here are some things to look for:

Coil Count

The number of coils that make up an innerspring mattress can range from a few hundred to over a thousand and can affect the level of support and durability of the mattress. Generally, a higher coil count can provide better support and less sagging over time.

Coil Gauge

The thickness of the metal wire used for the coils, also known as the coil gauge, can affect the firmness and durability of the mattress. A lower gauge (thicker wire) can provide a firmer feel and more durability, while a higher gauge (thinner wire) can provide a softer feel but may not last as long.

Motion Isolation

Innerspring mattresses can be prone to motion transfer, meaning that movement on one side of the bed can be felt on the other side. Look for mattresses with individually wrapped coils or other technologies that can reduce motion transfer when looking for the best mattress for couples.

Edge Support

A strong and stable edge support can make it easier to get in and out of bed, as well as prevent sagging or roll-off. Look for mattresses with reinforced edges or perimeter coils for better edge support.


The comfort layers on top of the coils can affect the overall feel and pressure relief of the mattress. When you want the most comfortable mattress, look for innerspring mattresses with comfortable and breathable materials that can provide both support and cushioning.

Pressure Relief

When you need the best mattress for pressure points and prioritize pressure relief, then an innerspring hybrid may be the best option. With a hybrid mattress, you’ll get the support of an innerspring combined with the same pressure-relieving cushioning from memory foam or latex.


Innerspring mattresses can vary widely in price, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. When it comes to the best mattresses for the money, however, innerspring mattresses typically come out on top as one of the more affordable mattress types. 

glass of water on a Saatva mattress


Are innerspring mattresses good?

Innerspring mattresses are popular mattresses providing good support and bounce. A high-quality innerspring can be a great choice for those looking for a firmer feel. 

How much do innerspring mattresses cost?

Innerspring mattresses can range from a couple of hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on how they’re made and what materials are used in the construction of the mattress. They tend to be the least expensive mattress type.

Are innerspring mattresses toxic?

It depends on the materials used in its construction. If your innerspring mattress includes natural latex layers or materials such as organic cotton or wool, it may be nontoxic. However, if it includes layers of foam and chemical fire retardants, it may not be the best choice for someone looking for the best organic and nontoxic mattresses.

Do innerspring mattresses sag?

Over time, and with continual use, an innerspring mattress may sag. The best way to prevent a sagging mattress is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care and cleaning and to flip or rotate the mattress regularly. If sagging has already started, you may be able to fix a sagging mattress by rotating or adding a mattress topper to improve comfort.

Can you use an innerspring mattress on an adjustable base?

An innerspring mattress can be used with any supportive and flat base, including an adjustable base. When using an adjustable base for an innerspring mattress, set the mattress directly on the base; do not add a box spring between the mattress and base.

Is an innerspring mattress good for back pain?

An innerspring mattress can be a good mattress for back pain. Innerspring mattress types often provide great support due to the steel coils, and pocketed coils in particular may offer more support as they best distribute weight across an innerspring mattress.

Melissa Zimmerman

Melissa Zimmerman is a writer with a passion for sleep and wellness. When she's not researching and writing about health and wellness, you can find her reading books and spending time with her son and dogs in her Northern California home. Connect with Melissa at www.proseandpurpose.com