What's the Best Innerspring Mattress for the Money?
If you're shopping for an innerspring mattress, you're in good company. Innersprings account for more than 60 percent of all mattresses sold today, according to Consumer Reports.
One reason for their popularity: Innerspring beds, which use a system of steel support coils, often give you the best bang for your buck. You can find a high quality innerspring mattress for a lower price than other types such as memory foam or latex, says Michael Breus, PhD, a Los Angeles sleep disorder specialist and author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health.
So how much do you need to spend for a good innerspring mattress? In general, models made with high-quality materials start at about a thousand dollars, Breus says. After that, the cost will depend on the specific materials and extra features. The key is to make sure that you're investing in the right features, not bells and whistles you don't need. Keep the following do's and don'ts in mind as you shop.
Do: Consider the type of coil
Once you start your research, you'll likely encounter different types of coils, with names like Bonnell, continuous, and offset. When it comes to comfort, though, one of the most important distinctions is whether coils are "open" or "pocket." Pocketed coils, which are individually encased in fabric, are often pricier, but they contour to your body much better than open coils, says Breus. Because they can move independently, they are also better at isolating motion from one side of the bed to the other, so you won't feel your partner's movement as much.
Don't: Focus on coil count or gauge
Higher coil counts used to be associated with better quality, but today, the materials and construction of the coils are far more important. “These types of stats have the potential to be pretty misleading. People assume that more coils equals a better-quality mattress, but in reality, a manufacturer may have a high coil count but use low quality steel," explains Joe Auer, editor of the mattress review website Mattress Clarity. In general, anything over 400 in a queen size mattress is fine; more than that won't provide a noticeable difference in comfort or support.
This same principle holds true when it comes to considering the coil gauge, or the thickness of the coil in an innerspring mattress. While a higher gauge (i.e., a thinner coil) is better if you prefer a softer mattress, a lower gauge tends to last longer, says Auer. It's also a better choice if you're heavy, since thicker coils offer stronger support. In general, a coil gauge between 12 and 15 is a good range for comfort, support, and durability.
Learn More About Saatva's Innerspring Mattress
Do: Pay attention to lumbar support
Mattresses that have "zones" are designed to provide additional support in the middle third of the mattress, the all-important lumbar region. The manufacturer usually does this by pre-compressing cushioning or adding a layer of foam in that area. “The idea is that it's firm in the middle to support your back and softer on the top and bottom, which is more comfortable for your hips and shoulders," says Auer. Especially if you suffer from lower back pain, the extra support in your lumbar region might offer more comfort. (Here's a closer look Saatva's Lumbar Zone® Technology.)
Don't: Ignore the comfort layer
Where you can really feel the difference in quality among innerspring mattresses is the comfort layer that's used on top of the springs. “There's a world of difference between an innerspring mattress topped with a thin layer of latex foam and one with a very thick layer of memory foam," says Jack Mitcham, founder of mattress review site The Mattress Nerd. In general, it's worth paying a little bit more for a mattress with a high-quality foam comfort layer, Mitcham says.
Do: Spring for extra features
Edge support is key, especially if you struggle to get in and out of bed or are sharing your bed with a partner. A high-quality innerspring mattress should have features that prevent sagging edges, such as an extra layer of foam or heavier coils along the perimeter. Also, if you tend to feel hot when you sleep, make sure to look for a mattress covered with a natural, breathable material. Innerspring mattresses tend to sleep cooler than other mattress types, and you don't want to lose that benefit by opting for a cover that traps heat. To learn more about mattress types, here are the differences between innerspring and memory foam mattresses.
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