The innerspring mattress has been around since the 1930s. Despite newer mattress types like memory foam and latex beds entering the scene, traditional innerspring beds still make up two-thirds of overall mattress sales today.

Innerspring mattresses have earned their staying power due to their affordability and their ability to support a variety of sleepers, including stomach sleepers, individuals with back pain, and overweight individuals. However, newer mattress types have addressed some of the main complaints surrounding innerspring beds, such as their tendency to sag, short lifespan, noisiness, and lack of motion isolation.

Learn more about the different types of innerspring beds available, the pros and cons, and what you need to know as a consumer to buy the best bed for your needs.

Types of innerspring mattresses

The “innerspring” in innerspring mattress refers to the coil support core inside the bed. These coils give the bed its characteristic bounciness and provide support and pressure relief for the sleeper. An innerspring bed will use one of the four coil types listed below:

  • Bonnell coilBonnell coils are the oldest and most widely available option, as well as the cheapest. Bonnell coils have an hourglass shape and are reinforced with spiral-shaped wires (called helicals) and thick, low-gauge wire to handle high levels of compression.
  • offset coilOffset coils are also reinforced with helicals and have a hourglass shape, but are designed to create a hinging effect when the mattress is compressed. Double offset coils offer more hinging and support due to being straight at the top and the bottom, while free arm offset coils are not joined to other coils. Offset coils are very durable and tend to be more expensive.
  • continous wireContinuous wire coils are long wires in circular shapes that are reinforced by helicals on both sides to create a hinging effect similar to offset coils. These coils are very resilient but offer the lowest contour of all the coil options, so they provide minimal spinal support.
  • pocket coilPocket coils, also known as Marshall coils or encased coils, are wrapped in cloth pockets to provide the best contour of all the coil types. They also minimize motion transfer, but due to being made of thin, non-tempered steel, they have a shorter lifespan despite being the most expensive type of coil.

Above the coil support core, an innerspring bed will have comfort layers made of polyfoam, memory foam, or fabric.

Besides the type of coil used, you can further assess the quality of an innerspring mattress by looking at the gauge, pitch, and coil count.

  • Gauge refers to the thickness of the innerspring coils and wire in the support core. Gauge ranges from 18 on the thin end to 12 on the thick end. The thicker the gauge, the firmer the mattress.
  • Pitch describes the angle of the coils and wires in relation to the mattress surface.
  • Coil count ranges from 300 to 2,000. Up to 1,000, the coil count correlates with a better contour ability, longer lifespan, and higher cost, but past 1,000, it mostly just correlates with cost without much added benefit.

How does an innerspring mattress feel like to sleep on?

Innerspring mattresses provide less contour and pressure relief than latex and foam beds. They tend to be on the firmer side as well, and very firm options are often preferred by overweight individuals.

The coil support core gives innerspring beds their bounciness ideal for sex, although that same bounciness comes with noisiness and poor motion transfer which can rouse quiet sleepers during the night.

Innerspring mattresses are preferred by hot sleepers because they retain less body heat than memory foam and latex beds.

Pros and cons of innerspring mattresses

Review the following list of pros and cons to determine whether an innerspring mattress will suit your personal sleep needs:

Pros Cons
Widely available in stores and online

Most affordable mattress option

Cool sleeping surface

Bounciness suitable for sex

Premature sagging and shorter lifespan

Poor contour ability and pressure point relief

Poor motion isolation

Noisy sleep and sex surface

Pros of innerspring mattresses

Widely available in stores and online

Innerspring models are widely available in stores and online, which means you have your choice of models to choose from and how you’d like to order them. You can also test the feel out in store before purchasing.

Most affordable mattress option

The average innerspring bed is much more affordable than latex or memory foam beds, although pricier high-end models are available.

Cool sleeping surface

Innerspring mattresses sleep cooler than any other bed, due to their low foam content, making them a good option for hot sleepers.

Bounciness suitable for sex

The majority of people agree that innerspring mattresses are the best bed for sex, thanks to their naturally bouncy support core.

Cons of innerspring mattresses

Premature sagging and shorter lifespan

Innerspring mattresses are prone to sagging, especially around the edges where the coils can be easily indented. This gives them the shortest lifespan among all mattress types, on average.

Poor contour ability and pressure point relief

Innerspring beds do not contour to the body and thus do not offer sufficient pressure point relief for many sleepers, causing many individuals to feel an innerspring bed is too firm.

Poor motion isolation

While the coil support core offers support, it makes for a bed that doesn’t absorb motion well. As a result, innerspring beds are a poor fit for light sleepers, especially those who share the bed with a partner or pet.

Noisy sleep and sex surface

The innerspring bed’s bounciness provides a give that’s conducive to sex, but it may make the experience awkwardly noisy. Also, whenever their sleeping partner moves or gets out of bed, the other person is likely to hear it.

How much does an innerspring mattress cost?

Innerspring mattresses are usually the cheapest option on the market, with prices as low as $200. A quality queen innerspring mattress will cost about $600, which is $300 to $1,400 cheaper than other mattress types.

Mattress pricing will depend on the materials used in the comfort layer and the type of coil in the support core: bonnell and continuous wire coils are the cheapest, offset coils are somewhere in the middle, and pocket coils are the most expensive.

How long does an innerspring mattress last?

Generally, the average innerspring mattress lasts about 5.5 years, which is 2 to 3 years shorter than other mattress types.

As mentioned above, the coil gauge will impact the longevity of an innerspring bed. Low-gauge wire and tempered steel coils last longer than high-gauge wire and coils made of non-tempered steel. Pocketed coil support cores provide the best contour, but don’t last as long as bonnell and offset coils.

Purchasers of innerspring beds should take special care to note the terms of the warranty, especially in regards to sagging. Many manufacturers will replace the mattress for free if the sagging reaches a certain depth. Despite their short lifespans, warranties for innerspring mattresses may last up to 20 years, although at a certain point owners will have to start paying for certain transportation or replacement fees.

What type of sleeper is best suited to an innerspring mattress?

While innerspring mattresses are not known for excellent pressure relief, they are preferred by some sleepers. Medium-firm innerspring beds can alleviate moderate back pain, and they also provide adequate spinal support for stomach sleepers and individuals who weigh over 230 pounds.

Their bounciness makes them great for sex, but the accompanying poor motion transfer and noisiness makes them a bad option for couples where one or both individuals is a light sleeper.

Innerspring mattress FAQ checklist

As you begin shopping for an innerspring mattress, keep the following checklist of questions handy to make sure you find a quality mattress that supports your sleep needs:

  • What type of coils are used in the support core?
  • What is the gauge and coil count?
  • What materials are used in the comfort layer?
  • How noisy is this bed to sleep or have sex on?
  • Will this mattress provide me with adequate support, given my body weight and preferred sleeping position?
  • How long should I expect this mattress to last?
  • Is there a trial period and what is the return policy?
  • Is sagging covered under the warranty and for how long?

Additional resources

Ready to buy an innerspring mattress? Check out our guide to buying a mattress online.

Not sure an innerspring mattress is right for you? Read up on other types of mattresses: