Mattress construction in our current day consists of many different factors. Science and engineering have added many various design options to sleep system designs. Materials have changed, everything from support layer advancements to spring construction has been upgraded, made more efficient and more comfortable.
Springs are what we will cover today in our blog series on mattress construction. Springs make up a vital part of your mattress comfort. While many mattress designs do not contain springs in them, i.e. all memory foam, all latex mattresses, the majority of mattresses bought by consumers are spring system designs. Spring mattresses have always been the leader in mattress sales, with memory foam becoming a significant market contributor in recent decades.
Springs add a support layer that can be fine-tuned by adjusting spring compression, spring wire gauge, and spring design. Various construction designs give different overall comfort. Within the next few paragraphs, we’ll discuss each of these variations in depth and go over which models are the ones you should consider for your mattress at home.
Mattress Spring History
Mattress construction began using springs in the mid19th century. Before that mattress construction relied on natural fiber such as cotton, feathers, hay, and even horse hair. Spring usage was adapted from carriage seats. The seats of carriages had begun using upholstered springs for comfort on longer bumpier rides. This comfort was immediately seen as beneficial in the mattresses of the time.
The first spring system developed was named the Bonnell Coil System. It relied on hourglass-shaped coils linked together to a cross wire and a heavier gauged support wire system. It is an economical spring system that is easier to make. Many manufacturers still use this design in the entry-level products for the sake of lower pricing.
Spring manufacturing companies in the United States have been around for a very long time. Firms like Leggett & Platt established in 1883, Spinks Springs in 1840, HSM in 1940 have been staples in the world of mattress construction for many years. Leggett & Platt, the industry leader, is in most US manufactured mattress designs.
Spring construction can vary from design to design. Springs can be hour-glass shaped like Bonnell, continuous wire coils, individual coils, and heat forged. Here is a look at construction pros and cons;
Bonnell Construction allows for lower price points. The design makes for easier construction, therefore, lower price. The issue though is the durability of this design is the weakest of all designs. The expected life of a Bonnell spring system is 3-5 years of nightly use.
Bonnell Spring construction is excellent for consideration of a child’s mattress. Mattresses with these springs are sold at more affordable prices which is attractive when considering a child’s bed is replaced more often due to growth, stains, and other factors of wear caused by play, jumping, and abuse.
Continuous Coil systems are helical designed springs, the wire of the system is all one wire wrapped from coil to coil. This design lends itself to limiting motion transfer much better than that of the Bonnell system. This system is much more durable and is excellent for back pain sufferers.
Tied Coil Systems
Tied coil systems are individual coils laced together with a wire lace. This design allows the mattress to conform to your body and give sturdier lumbar support. Tied coil systems tend to be firmer, so they’re also an excellent choice for back pain sufferers. This construction method makes it quite durable, so these mattresses often come with longer warranties. Tied coil systems do not eliminate motion transfer, so those who sleep with a restless partner will feel movement on their side of the bed.
The Marshall coil is a softer, individually wrapped coil system. The individual coil does a better job of conforming to the body than other systems. Since each coil is individually wrapped, these mattresses eliminate motion transfer, the energy caused by partner motion of tossing and turning. The individual coil design also makes the Marshal coil ideal for use with adjustable bases or foundations. Since each spring works independently, this system is slightly less durable than a continuous or tied coil. This concern of durability is a moot point though as the comfort materials in your mattress will wear quicker than the coil system.
Specialty Spring Systems
Advancements in technology have allowed for the development of specialty springs with specific application and usage in mattress construction. Below are two of the more common spring systems in use now. They are specific to one manufacturer, Leggett & Platt, which is the leading US supplier of spring systems.
NanoCoil® by Leggett & Platt
Comprised of fabric-encased innersprings, NanoCoil® performance layer outlasts foam and other specialty layers.
- Won’t sag or settle like foam does.
- Bends and flexes for a supportive, personalized feel.
- Increases coil counts.
- Provides a long-lasting sleep surface with a variety of layering options.
The Quantum® Edge unit features side rails made up of our narrow-diameter Quantum coils with Caliber steel coils at the head and foot.
- Quantum side rails deliver enhanced support at the edge of the bed.
- Caliber head and foot coils offer a more supportive edge than foam encasement.
- Steel coils are tested 26% more durable than foam and bend 24% easier, meaning less wear and tear when used with an adjustable base.
Hopefully, this has answered questions about the differences in mattress spring systems and the differences in some of the pricing between mattress models. Technology is a determiner in costing of all mattresses. Technology also translates to quality and durability which are main considerations in mattress purchases.
Please read through our other blogs on mattress comfort layers for further information on your next sleep purchase! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment box below.
About the author:
Javier is the owner of Sleep Well, a professionally trained sleep store, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs. He lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others.
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around church, family, exercising, four great dogs, and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.