Innerspring mattresses have long held the lion’s share of the mattress market, but if mattress reviews are any indication, memory foam may be making significant headway. More and more brands are including memory foam in their core collections, and shoppers are becoming increasingly curious about foam technologies. Once seen as merely a trend or fad, memory foam beds so no sign of fading and may in fact become more ubiquitous in the coming years.
When considering a new bed however, many people are unsure where to start, or how memory foam mattress reviews actually compare to innersprings. In this article, we will look at some of the differences between the two mattress types in general, and then compare mattress reviews for several leading brands for those that are trying to choose the best mattress or are simply curious.
Memory Foam vs. Innersprings
Innerspring or coil mattresses utilize a system of metal springs for support, which is then topped with layers of fiber padding or foam for cushioning. Innerspring beds primarily differ in terms of the coil type (whether thy are connected or individual, pocketed or not, and what gauge the metal is. They can also come with a variety of materials in the topper layers. While some spring mattresses may contain layers of memory foam, and actual memory foam mattress has a different construction.
Memory foam mattresses have spring-less designs that feature memory foam layered over a foam core. The actual memory foam is a special type of polyurethane material that is designed to relieve pressure points by evenly distributing weight and contouring to rather than resisting the sleeper’s shape. Temperature sensitivity is what gives traditional memory foam these properties, as the foam softens and becomes pliable with body heat. Memory foams can also be made temperature neutral, meaning the foam is pliable and stable within a normal temperature range. The key variations within the memory foam industry involve different memory foam formulations and different densities. Memory foam can be made in the traditional manner of polyurethane foams, or may incorporate gel or plant-based ingredients. The density of memory foam affects support and durability (similar to coil gauge and count), with low-density (3.0 lbs and less), medium density (4.0-5.0 lbs) and high density (over 5.0 lbs) all offering different properties. The core component of the mattress will also vary by density, but is almost always made of a firm urethane foam.
Innerspring & Memory Foam Mattress Reviews
Below, we compare four series of innerspring mattresses and four models of memory foam mattresses to highlight the contrasts and allow readers to compare specifications and value. First, we provide a chart summarizing the details for springs, the explain the scores and ratings presented for both the spring and foam collections. Then, we contrast the overall findings for the two mattress types to show similarities and differences.
|Series||Tension Ease||Posturepedic Gel||Perfect Sleeper||Beautyrest Recharge|
|Support||Pocketed Coils||Pocketed Coils||Continuous Coils||Pocketed Coils|
|Topper||Fiber, Foam, Memory Foam||Fiber, Foam, Gel Memory Foam||Fiber, Foam, Gel Memory Foam||Fiber, Foam, Gel Foam|
|Cover||knit blend||knit blend||knit blend||knit blend|
|Warranty||10 years (5 full)||20 years (10 full)||20 years (10 full)||20 years (10 full)|
Innerspring mattresses as a whole usually receive owner satisfaction ratings between 60-65%, the equivalent of about 3 / 5 stars. Mattress reviews for innerspring beds generally praise initial comfort and support, wide selection, and ease of buying, but complain of issues with sagging, pain relief over time, motion transfer, and noise.
We chose four popular series from well-known companies that all fall within the mid-range of the market for innersprings: the Tension Ease from Englander, Sealy Posturepedic Gel, Serta Perfect Sleeper, and Simmons Beautyrest Recharge. Since model specifications and names tend to vary between retailers, we compared the beds at the “series” level, with each series containing 4-8 models with similar supports (usually the models just vary based on the amounts of foam or coil counts). All of the lines used combinations of fiber padding, foam, and quilting foam, in addition to gel foams and/or memory foams.
Odor – For the most part, innerspring mattresses have fairly low odor complaints, with 5% or less of mattress reviews mentioning odor or offgassing. This tends to be higher with models that use greater amounts of higher-density foams and memory foam in their layers. All of series received a B for odor, with the exception of the Englander Tension Ease which had slightly higher complaints.
Heat – Heat also tends to be relatively low for most innerspring mattresses, with greater amounts of memory foam increasing complaints of heat, regardless of gel inclusion. The Serta and Simmons lines had about 10% of mattress reviews complaining of heat retention while around 5% of mattress reviews on the Serta and Simmons line mentioned excess heat.
Motion – Overall, innerspring mattresses tend to perform worst when it comes to transferring motion across the mattress surface, however the three series that earned a B all use individually-pocketed coils which helps reduce transfer. The exception is Serta’s Perfect Sleeper line, which uses a continuous-coil system that tends to garner more complaints of motion transfer.
Noise – Noise in an innerspring mattress can come from squeaky coils and can become a nuisance. Around 5-6% of Serta and Simmons’ series mattress reviews mentioned noisy springs, while Englander Tension Ease and Sealy Posturepedic Gel mattress reviews were less likely to mention noisiness.
Pain Relief – Reports of increased pain are highest with spring beds, especially after a few years or with compression over one inch. All of the mattress series had similar rates of complaints regarding pain, with around 15% of owners saying they experienced back pain, often due to sagging.
Durability – Durability is another concern with spring beds, and all four of the series had fairly low scores in this regard. Between 20-25% of owners of each series reported sagging and impressions affecting comfort within the first 3 years of ownership, and average mattress ownership was between 6-7 years. Sealy Posturepedic Gel and Serta Perfect Sleeper were at the lower end (20%), while Englander Tension Ease and Simmons Beautyrest Recharge were on the higher end (25%).
Overall Satisfaction – All of the innerspring mattress series fell within the average range of owner satisfaction. The Sealy Posturepedic and Serta Perfect Sleeper lines saw ab0ut 65% of customers expressing satisfaction (3.25 / 5), while Simmons Beautyrest Recharge earned 62% (3.1 / 5) and the Englander Tension Ease earned 61% (3.05 / 5).
Warranty/Returns – The Simmons, Sealy and Serta lines all offer a 20 year limited warranty with full coverage for 10 years, and sagging covered after 1.5″ deep. Englander offers a 10 year limited warranty with 5 years full coverage (we could not find the sagging depth covered). Returns and trial periods offered will depend on individual dealer policies, with the exception of Serta who offers a 45 day trial period on their Perfect Sleeper series.
Pricing – The price range for the innerspring series proved fairly similar, with models beginning between $599 and $899 and going up to $1299-1700, usually depending on the amount of memory foam or gel memory foam used in the bed. Pricing is based on queen-sized MSRP and reported prices. The Sealy line appeared to have the highest starting cost, however the actual retail prices for all these beds can vary depending on different dealers.
Memory Foam Mattresses
|Brand||Tempurpedic||Serta iComfort||Amerisleep||Comfort Dreams|
|Support||2.1 lb Foam||1.5 lb Foam||2.0 lb Foam||1.5 lb Foam|
|Topper||5.3 lb memory foam, 5.3 lb foam||4.0 lb gel memory foam, 1.3 lb foam||4.5 lb plant-based memory foam||2.5-4.0 lb memory foam|
|Cover||knit blend||cotton-polyester||bamboo blend||cotton-polyester|
|Warranty||25 years (10 full)||25 years (15 full)||20 years (10 full)||5 yr limited|
|Returns||90 days||120 days||90 days||90 days|
As a collective category, about 80-82% of people who own a memory foam mattress report satisfaction (this might equate to an average rating of about 4 / 5 stars. The most praised traits for memory foam in general include pain and pressure relief, good durability, limited motion transfer and a lack of noise. However, a portion of mattress reviews mention issues with heat, odor, and difficulty moving.
For the memory foam mattress comparison, we chose four different types of memory foam that excel in their respective niches. Tempurpedic offers traditional memory foam with a focus on the luxury market, and the Contour Select is a low-to-mid range model in their collection. Serta iComfort focuses on mid-range gel memory foam, and the Genuis is also in the low-to-mid range of their offerings. Amerisleep offers plant-based memory foam, with Liberty in the middle of their collection. And the Comfort Dreams brand is a discount line, with the Select-A-Firmness 11″ model at the upper range of their selection.
Odor – Memory foam mattresses overall have somewhat high odor complaints, at around 15% overall, which usually tends to be lower with lower density foams and higher with high density foams. All of the beds were below average on odor except for Tempurpedic which came in at 15%. Comfort Dreams performed slightly better than average with 9% of mattress reviews mentioning odor, and iComfort and Amerisleep both performed better than average with around 3% of mattress reviews mentioning odor.
Heat – About 7-10% of memory foam mattress reviews overall mention over heating, again with higher densities more likely to have higher heat complaints. The Tempur-Contour Select reviews showed about 10% heat complaints, while the iComfort Genius and Comfort Dreams Select-a-Firmness having 5% heat complaint rates. Amerisleep’s Liberty came in the lowest at slightly less than 2%.
Motion – The ability to isolation motion is a benefit of most foam mattresses, and all of the brands reviewed did well on these aspect.
Noise – The components within memory foam mattresses are very unlikely to make noise, and as expected virtually no mattress reviews complained of noise for any of the brands.
Pain Relief – All of the memory foam mattress brands performed above average and about equally well for pain relief. However, as sagging increased, pain complaints were more likely over time.
Durability – Memory foam tends to be among the most durable and long lasting of mattress materials (latex also rates higher than springs), and combined, about 10-15% of memory foam mattress reviews in general mention sagging. All of the beds in our sample were average or better than average. 10% of Tempur Contour Select mattress reviews mentioned sagging, followed by 9% of the Comfort Dreams Select-A-Firmness, 8% of the iComfort Genius and 2% of the Amerisleep Liberty mattress reviews.
Overall Satisfaction – Reviews for the four models were mostly average or above average for memory foam in general. The Tempurpedic Contour Select satisfied about 78% of owners (3.9 / 5) and the Comfort Dreams Select-A-Firmness 81% (4.05 / 5), while 88% were satisfied with the iComfort Genius (4.4 / 5) and 92% with the Amerisleep Revere (4.6 / 5).
Warranty/Returns – The longest warranty was offered by iComfort with 25 years and 15 years full coverage, followed by Tempurpedic with 25 years and 10 years full coverage and Amerisleep with 20 years and 10 years full coverage. These three brands all cover sagging over 0.75″ deep. The Comfort Dreams bed has only 5 years of limited warranty coverage but doesn’t specify the sagging coverage. Amerisleep, Tempurpedic, and Comfort Dreams all offer 90 day trial periods for returns, while Serta offers 120 days on the iComfort line.
Pricing – The price ranges of the four mattresses vary considerably. Tempurpedic’s Contour line is the most expensive, with the queen size priced at $2199. The iComfort Genius costs $1374, and the Amerisleep Liberty is slightly lower at $1199. The Comfort Dreams Select-A-Firmness is the cheapest at $359.
Comparing Mattress Reviews
When compared directly, although innersprings in general are less likely to off-gas and retain heat, the inclusion of foam and memory foam in many leading spring designs as well as improving memory foam mattress technology has brought these numbers closer together. The Serta iComfort and Perfect Sleeper, Amerisleep Liberty, and Simmons Beautyrest Recharge all have low complaints odor. As far as heat, Amerisleep’s Liberty actually showed the lowest rate of complaint, while Tempurpedic, Englander and Sealy all scored somewhat high.
Motion isolation, noise, and and pain reduction all were consistently higher with the memory foam beds versus the spring beds. As far as durability goes, all of the spring series were twice as likely or more to sag compared to foam beds, with Amerisleep showing the lowest overall complaint rate of sagging in mattress reviews. Warranties proved fairly similar across the leading brands, however sagging depth must be nearly double for coverage to kick in on spring beds which may account for the lower long-term satisfaction rates. Memory foam brands are also more likely to offer long return policies.
Overall, every memory foam mattress scored significantly higher in overall customer satisfaction, some nearly 30% points higher which may be due to longevity, comfort, perceived value and other factors. Price-wise, while the Comfort Dreams memory mattress was cheapest overall, the innerspring beds had lower average price points, though the iComfort and Amerisleep models were not to much higher than the spring plus memory foam models.
While innerspring mattresses continue to sell well due to widespread familiarity and availability, the increased satisfaction ratings, similar prices, and potential for longer-lasting satisfaction can make memory foam worth checking into for many people. If you are weighing whether to buy an innerspring or memory foam bed, considering which factors and features are most important to you, looking at several brands of each, and comparing the pros and cons provided in mattress reviews are a few ways to see which may be better for your particular needs and situation.