Understanding your mattress: Main Mattress Components
Posted on July 12, 2011
A mattress consists of three major components, they are:
- Upholstery layers
- An innerspring coil unit
- The box spring or foundation
The upholstery layers account for the major portion of the mattress cost. They are commonly referred to as padding, and are the reason behind thicker mattresses. Through research, mattress manufacturers have found that adding more quantity and better quality of comfort materials will provide a more comfortable sleeping surface and also a longer comfort life.
These layers can consist of manmade materials, natural fibers, and a variety of foams. Every bed will have approximately 3-8 layers of padding, with each layer of padding being a different material. Looking at these three major components, the padding alone will cost more than the innerspring unit and foundation/box spring combined. Trusted name brand manufacturers will give you better padding and more of it as you spend more. Wool, cashmere, silk, memory foam, and latex foam are more commonly known and usually signal a better overall quality of padding. As with most items, these padding layers also come in different grades, so don’t expect the wool in a $1,000 mattress to be as good as with a $3,000 model.
The innerspring coil unit is the base of your mattress. It allows the even distribution of your body weight while you are lying down. The innerspring, also known as the coil, will hold its strength for many years. The coils are what offer support to your body where you need it most. Usually the more coils present, the higher the price.
Many people ask if more coils are better, however, there is no definite answer. More coils are better when the manufacturer spaces the same size and type of coils closer together providing more coils in the same size mattress. Trying to compare the quality of mattresses between brands based on coil count is not applicable. Realistically, there are just too many variables in coil design, function, and durability for consumers to understand what they are getting without spending days on coil research. So you can focus on selecting the right comfort feel and particular model for your needs.
Most of us know of the box spring, but they can vary in design. Some manufacturers still use a true box spring that will have a coil or modular coil spring system within it. These coils act as little shock absorbers, so when force and weight are applied to the top of the mattress, the box spring will give slightly underneath. In many cases, a good box spring will extend the life of your mattress and help to prolong your investment. A working box spring has long been considered the best way to build a premium mattress set.
Recent technology changes have some mattress lines using a foundation. Framed in either wood or steel, foundations look like box springs but have no shock absorbing abilities. The base has no components to wear out, and provides a more rigid feel. The box spring has been around longer, but the change in today’s mattress design allows for the use of a foundation in many applications.