January 17, 2017

How Do Innerspring and Memory Foam Mattress Reviews Compare?

How Do Innerspring and Memory Foam Mattress Reviews Compare?

Curious about how innerspring and memory foam mattresses compare not only in terms of costs, but also in comfort and lifespan? In this article, we will look at the two mattress categories side-by-side to explain the differences. We’ll also compare innerspring versus memory foam mattress reviews to see what people like and dislike about each of these beds.

How Do Innersprings and Memory Foam Mattresses Compare?

To see what makes innerspring and memory foam mattresses different, you need to understand what each mattress is made of. These two types of beds use different materials to support sleepers, and as a result, both innerspring and memory foam beds each have unique strengths and weaknesses.

What’s Inside

Innerspring mattresses utilize support cores made of metal coils. These coils can come in different shapes and in different configurations. On top of these springs are usually layers of compressed foam designed to prevent pressure points. They are also typically topped with regular poly foam and/or layers of fluffy fiber filling for comfort. Higher end models may include layers of memory foam, latex, wool or horsehair in the toppers as well.

Memory foam mattresses contain two essential layers. The bottom layer, or core, is made of regular polyurethane, and it’s function is to provide support. This layer is topped with the actual memory foam, which is a specialized type of polyurethane. Some manufacturers may include multiple layers of polyurethane or memory foam, or add other materials like fiber padding. Some brands also infuse memory foam with gel particles or use a portion of plant-based oils to reduce petroleum content.

How They Work

On an innerspring mattress, the springs compress with your body weight when you lie down. Heavier areas of your body like shoulders and hips will compress coils furthest, supporting the bulk of your body weight. Spring beds that limit contouring may not support the body’s natural alignment, especially for side sleepers, which can contribute to back pain. Offset and pocketed coils tend to provide better contouring and lower back support than continuous and bonnell coil systems. The padding layers of the mattress are what prevents the coils from pressing into your body, offering good comfort initially. But when the foam and pillowtop layers wear out or develop deep impressions, people often report increased pain due to the upward resistance of the springs.

On a memory foam mattress, the cells of the foam compress with your body weight when you lie down, offering less resistance and pressure than springs. Tempurature-sensitive memory foams slowly adjust and mold closely to sleepers with body heat, while temperature-neutral foams adjust quickly and feel less viscous. Because memory foam contours better than metal springs and transfers weight across it’s surface, areas like the lower back may be better supported while pressure on heavier areas is reduced. Because the memory foam layer is what provides the contouring and pressure-relieving benefits, thicker layers allow for higher levels contouring, while thinner layers offer a firmer feel. Low density memory foam or low density core layers may not provide adequate support over time, especially for heavier sleepers however.

How They Feel

Innerspring mattresses feel bouncy and springy due to the tension of the springs. They push the sleeper upwards, which can help assist sleepers when getting out of bed. The springy motion is also preferred by some for non-sleep activities. However, the motion can be troublesome for some as one partner’s movements can jostle the other and affect sleep. Some models with individual pocket coils can reduce motion transfer, though memory foam consistently rates better in this regard.

On a memory foam bed, there is no springy or bouncy feeling. With denser, temperature sensitive foams, sleepers often describe a melting or sinking sensation. On temperature neutral or less dense foams, the sinking sensation is less pronounced, but the feel is often still described as “floating”. Because there are no springs, memory foam excels at isolation motion and reducing partner disturbances, though denser and slow-response foams may be difficult to move on for some sleepers.

Lifespan

Both memory foam and innerspring mattresses can last as little as a few years to over 10 years depending on the type and quality of the bed. On average however, people keep spring mattresses around 6 years, and memory foam mattresses around 7-8 years. Within the mattress categories, pocket and innerspring coils tend to have better track records for durability, while offset and bonnell coils have shorter lifespans. Within the memory foam category, mattresses with higher density foams tend to have longer lifespans than those with low density foams.

About 25% of innerspring owners complain of sagging affecting comfort within the first 3 years of ownership, compared to about 10% of memory foam owners. Among mid-range brands, innerspring warranties are also tend to offer less coverage against sagging. Many brands only offer coverage against impressions over 1.5” for 5-10 years, whereas mid and high end memory foam brands tend to cover sagging over 1.0” or less for 10 years or more.

Prices

The price of a new mattress varies significantly depending on where you buy, the brand, the materials used and even when you buy. Both memory foam and innerspring mattresses can be found under $500 and over $5000, but cost between $1000 and $1500 on average. Although memory foam has a reputation for being more expensive, quality memory foam beds are often priced fairly similarly to higher-quality innerspring mattresses.

Availability

Innerspring beds remain the most popular and the most common mattress type in the US. These types of beds can be found at hundreds of mattress retailers, department stores and online. Memory foam mattresses are the second most popular mattress type, but selection can be somewhat limited in local shops (although many brands are available online).

Innerspring and Memory Foam Mattress Reviews

Consumer reviews are another helpful way to compare innerspring and memory foam mattresses. Several sources of reviews can be found online from retailer websites and independent review websites, as well as on forums and social media. Look for unmoderated or third-party verified reviews rather than “testimonials” which are often hand-selected by the seller. Mattress reviews can help you identify trends, for example you might take note if a high proportion of people report the same problem or the same benefit. While individual comfort preferences will vary, information in reviews can offer helpful insight when trying to compare mattress types and different brands.

Summary of Innerspring and Memory Foam Reviews

Here’s how SleepLikeTheDead.com rates the two mattress types based on innerspring and memory foam mattress reviews they’ve gathered:

 InnerspringsMemory Foam
Average Owner Satisfaction63%81%
PainFair-PoorGood
SupportGood-FairGood
ConformabilityGood-FairGood-Excellent
Motion IsolationFair-PoorGood
Sleeping Hot5-10%10%
Odor10%15%
Noise30%0%
AvailabilityExcellentGood

Comparison of Popular Innerspring and Memory Foam Brands

Here is an overview of reviews and pricing from a few leading brands of innerspring and memory foam mattresses. Data comes from our previous comparison of memory foam mattress brands (which also offers a more in-depth look at reviews) and from retailer websites and their-party review websites.

Brand/ModelTypeOwner SatisfactionQueen Price
Tempurpedic Cloud SupremeMemory Foam (medium-high)83%$2399
Serta iComfort SavantMemory Foam (low-high)81%$1574
Amerisleep RevereMemory Foam (medium)92%$1299
Simmons Comforpedic Balanced DaysMemory Foam (medium)82%$1800
Walmart Spa Sensations MyGel 10”Memory Foam (low)80%$360
Stearns & Foster Lux EstatePocket Coils + Memory Foam & Latex69%$2199
Simmons Beautyrest Recharge World Class AlexandriaPocket Coils + Memory Foam75%$1499
Serta iSeries ApplausePocket Coils + Memory Foam75%$1249
Serta Perfect Sleeper Smart Surface Highfield FirmHybrid Continuous Coils65%$749
Sealy Brand Traditional FirmOffset Coils69%$699

As you can see, in terms of price, good quality memory foam mattresses often cost about the same as good quality innerspring mattresses ($1200-1800), with the exception of some luxury-positioned brands.  Memory foam brands tend to average around 80% owner satisfaction, and the five models in the comparison above all fall at or above that mark, with Amerisleep’s medium density, temperature neutral Revere bed scoring highest. Innerspring beds average 63% owner satisfaction, and the five popular brands profiled above all scored better than average, but still several points lower than the memory foam group. The two higher-rated spring beds from Simmons and Serta both feature pocket coils and memory foam comfort layers. While some spring beds rate well and some foam beds rate poorly, in general, a greater percentage of owners report satisfaction with memory foam.

Which is Best?

If you are trying to decide which type of mattress would be best for you, consider how you sleep and what is important to you in a bed. Do you often wake up with painful pressure points or back pain? Does your partner bother you when they get out of bed or move? Are you concerned about heat or odors? Taking inventory of what do and do not want in your next mattress can help you identify which type offers the best potential match.

Innerspring and memory foam mattresses are the most popular beds on the market, and each have strengths and weaknesses to consider, as well as brands that perform above and below “average” ratings. Overall, memory foam mattresses tend to earn better reviews and ratings than innerspring mattresses in similar price ranges. This is largely due to fewer reports of issues like pressure points and motion transfer, and slightly longer lifespans.  However, every person has a different idea of what makes a mattress comfortable, so no single mattress type is going to best for everyone. Even some of the highest rated mattress brands still only satisfy about 85-90% of customers, which means thorough research and good return policies are important when buying a new mattress. If you are unsure which type would be right for you, read a variety of reviews online and check out several brands of both innerspring and memory foam mattresses to see which best fits your sleep needs.

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