Pocket Coil versus Innerspring Mattresses

Most people probably don’t think too much about what’s inside their mattress, focusing on how soft they feel laying or jumping on. Not all mattresses are rectangles filled with fluff — they’re constructed in different ways with a variety of materials, one of which involves a lot of metal. While laying across a ton of metal sounds intimidating, a well-constructed mattress shouldn’t have you feeling the prodding of metal. 

The two prominent types of metal mattresses are innerspring mattresses and pocket coil mattresses. These consist of the majority of beds you’ve slept on that aren’t memory foam mattresses. Although they’re pretty similar in that they consist of several metal coils dispersed throughout the mattress to provide even support, there are a few distinctions:

What’s an innerspring mattress like?

These are the most common and traditional mattresses, built with uncovered metal coils all throughout the mattress, creating a strong, resilient core. Innerspring mattresses have been around since the 1800s and are relatively easy to produce, making their price typically wallet-friendly.

 The top of an innerspring mattress usually feels firm and smooth, held up by either hourglass or cylindrical-shaped coils. That might be good for aesthetics, but such a surface typically doesn’t conform to your body very well. They may not be the best option if you’re looking for a mattress that’ll contour to every inch of your body. Unsurprisingly, they aren’t the most optimal choices for pressure relief either. And with all those metal coils, they make quite a bit of noise if you’re going to be moving around on the bed, so it may not be the optimal choice for those of us with housemates. 

However, innerspring mattresses typically don’t heat up too much for those of us whose bodies tend to heat up laying on a mattress. That’s because the bare springs allow for a lot of airflow throughout the mattress. But if you’re a heated sleeper turned off by innersprings, don’t forget that memory foam mattresses topped by gel layers are also another (but slightly pricier) option that’ll also help you stay cool. 

What’s a pocket spring mattress like?

Pocket coil mattresses are also made with metal springs, but each coil is wrapped with fabric and is shaped cylindrically. Each coil moves independently, making it more flexible when it comes to weight distribution and pressure relief. Motion transfer is relatively lower than innerspring mattresses, so this might be a better option for any hyperactive sleepers sharing the bed. Physically, they feel quite a bit softer than innerspring mattresses. 

Since the coils are independent of one another, this means they may wear out at different rates. If you usually sleep on one side of the bed, that side may wear out faster than the other side. This means your side may be worn out when you introduce a new partner who’ll be sleeping on the other side of the bed, leading to a replacement before their side is worn out. If this is likely to happen in the foreseeable future, you might want to consider a hybrid mattress that combines foam and coils.

Pocket coil mattresses tend to be slightly pricier than their innerspring counterparts, although the differences nowadays aren’t too significant most of the time. Many offer payment plans, such as Lull’s hybrid mattress, going for as low as $37/month so you can experience the pressure relief of a foam mattress with the sturdy support of traditional spring mattresses.