Mattress Type Comparison

Mattress Type Comparison

Memory Foam VS Latex

Memory Foam

THE GOOD: Memory foam mattresses overall rate as well as or better than other mattress types in owner satisfaction. Motion isolation and pressure-point relief are above average. Many highly rated brands / models are under $1000 (queen).

THE BAD: The main owner complaint is initial off gassing odor. Lesser complaints include heat retention, unsuitability for romance, temperature sensitivity, restricted movement, and poor longevity.

THE BEDS: Memory foam mattresses often consist of 1-7 inches of memory foam over support foam. Several firmness and density options are available. Memory foam is unique due to its weight sensitivity and conforming properties.


THE GOOD: Latex mattresses mostly have above-average owner satisfaction. Latex often has many of the advantages of memory foam but without many of the disadvantages. Latex mattresses can be all-natural which appeals to some health conscious or "green" buyers. Most manufacturers / retailers have good reputations.

THE BAD: Latex mattresses are the most difficult bed type to research and shop for. This is because of the many factors to consider (category, processing method, natural vs blended, etc.) as well as the fact that they can be difficult to try before buying because of their limited availability in mattress showrooms.

Also, unlike most other bed types, latex mattresses overall have fairly limited owner experience data available which makes accurately evaluating them challenging.

Innerspring Mattress Coil Types and Comparison

There are seemingly countless coil types, but almost all of them fall under one of the four types below. Each coil type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

1. Pocket. These are individual coils wrapped in fabric and are the most popular and widely used mattress coil type. They provide mostly consistent distribution of support and at least fair motion isolation. Pricier mattresses often feature a more advanced pocket coil design. Consumers seeking a highly "bouncy" mattress may want to avoid this coil.

2. Continuous. This coil type is likely second to pocket coils in popularity and use. A continuous coil system consists of coil rows made of continuous wire that run head to toe. This coil is often present on low- to mid-priced mattresses. While it is durable because each coil gets support from ones next to it, the system tends to not be especially supportive or quiet. In addition, because the system consists of one integrated piece, it tends to provide below average motion isolation making it a less-than-ideal choice for couples.

3. Bonnell / Open. This coil is hour-glass shaped and has a simple design. They are used in mattresses of various price points. Durability is often fair or better, but support is questionable and motion isolation is below average.

4. Offset. Offset coils are sometimes used in mid- to higher-priced mattresses. They are similar to Bonnell coils but have better spring action and support. Some variations have good motion isolation and noise control.

Coil Count

Coil count refers to the number of coils in the mattress. Most queen innerspring mattresses have a coil count of 450-900 with 725 being about average. Mattresses with a higher coil count are more expensive than mattresses with a lower count, all other things being equal.
Our research, however, shows little correlation between coil count and owner satisfaction or coil count and mattress longevity / durability overall. Nevertheless, heavier persons may want to consider buying a high-coil-count mattress as this may result in improved support and mattress strength.

Coil Gauge

Coil gauge is a measurement of how large the coil wire is in diameter. Mattress coil gauge often ranges from 12 to 15. The higher the gauge, the thinner the coil wire and the softer and springier the feel of the bed. Coil gauge in conjunction with the thickness and composition of the comfort layer largely determines the firmness level of a mattress.

Mattress Firmness and Sleeping Positions

To minimize pain and maximize comfort, it is important to have a mattress with a firmness level that is suitable for your sleeping position(s).

BACK sleepers tend to prefer medium to firm firmness. Back sleepers often do not require a soft mattress because pressure on the body is more evenly distributed than is the case for stomach and especially side sleepers. Back sleepers with large buttocks in proportion to the rest of their body may prefer medium (or even soft) firmness as opposed to firm to minimize pressure.

SIDE sleepers (especially those of average to below average size) tend to prefer medium to soft firmness. This is due to the fact that pressure tends to be focused on the hips and shoulders, a fairly small surface area. If a side sleeper has shoulder pain it likely means they have too firm a mattress and or too low a pillow. (Among side sleepers, body pillows are often popular as they help to equalize weight distribution and thereby reduce pressure points.)

STOMACH sleepers (also known as front sleepers) tend to prefer medium firmness. Too much firmness for these sleepers can result in pressure on the knees and front of hips, while too much softness can cause the sleeper to sink too far into the mattress perhaps undermining neck / head alignment and or ease of breathing.