In the Bedroom

Explain Coil Counts on Mattresses

Continuous Wire Coil Count

Remember the old saying he who dies with the most toys wins? What if we applied that same thinking to the number of wire coils found inside the typical mattress? Would having more coils make up a better quality inner mattress core? You might be surprised to learn that the old way of comparing beds does not necessarily apply to today’s mattresses. As matter of fact one bed can hardly be compared to another by coil count alone, this is due to the various coil systems available.

How to compare coil counts

There used to be  a time when coils were basically all built the same. These mattresses usually used a bonnel  or offset designed coil. The difference ended up being one of a couple things steel thickness, coil shape, number of turns in a coil and how many were used in a industry standard full size bed. Today comparing coils can be tricky at best and nearly impossible at worst. Tricks include playing games knowing that people rarely ask what size the count is based on. Problem is quoting coil counts for larger mattresses means inflated coil counts due to its bigger sizes.

Today we know that more coils actually affect the beds feel more so than affecting the mattresses overall quality something that was also mentioned in Consumer Reports Magazine. The number of coils being increased usually necessitates a smaller coil in addition to thinner steel wire referred to as the gauge or thickness. All must fit inside of a mattress adding to one of the numerous factors used to measure and compare beds in addition to coil count.

Coil type or kind can affect mattress coil counts?

Most people haven’t a clue what type of coil is in their mattress. Problems arise comparing coils. Example: pocketed coils, Marshall coils, fabric encased coils, encapsulated coils etc. All similar coils that are very comparable coils, yet as similar as they are, each is different. Some are taller, some are shorter. Others have been heated tempered once maybe even  double tempered to ensure coils shape over time through heat treating and cooling. Others claim such a process is unnecessary if you use significantly more wire to make the coil.

Continuous wire coils have been known to quote their coils systems by the number of inches, coil counts, while putting no focus on the number of turns a coil has from top to bottom a once widely used comparison method. Being made from one piece of wire, one coil flows  for stability into the next positioning coils closer or further apart for less or more support where needed.

Tall coil springs: Coil height may be one of the biggest factors to determine mattress life and today they’re thick. The trick being cheaper shorter steel coils can replace taller ones by using less expensive foam to make up the height.

Compare Individual Pocked Coil Counts

Foam encasement vs. border rods: Many of today’s mattresses use foam in place of a heavy duty steel border rod made of generally 6-8 gauge steel.  This race track edge eliminates nearly two full rows of metal coil springs and 1 or 2 border rods around the entire mattress perimeter making it hard to compare foam encased versions to traditionally built beds.

These are really just the tip of the iceberg considering all the various kinds of coils being made but know this, Leggett and Platt makes the majority of all the steel coils that go into all mattresses today. Consumer Reports has said “On the Whole Coil Count Doesn’t Matter”. What fails is the layers of cheap foam and padding. Personally I have not had a coil fail in too many years to remember and offer this advice. There are just too many better ways to compare mattress quality than the number of coils it contains.

Douglas Belleville

Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - click here to find out why!

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