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How to find the coil guage that works for you 13 May 2022 13:46 #1

Me having a slight curve in my lower spine, and somewhat athletic build, I have always done well in a medium feel mattress, and by Medium meaning, I lightly sink in, th mattress coils are supporting me, not majorly sinking, and not pushing me back up, and feeling the softness of the top materials on mattress.
I do know that I sleep comfortable on hotel matresses. My allergies started up a few years ago and now can’t deal with off gassing on some mattresses, I ordered a Sterns and Foster mattress to replace my old one, and didn’t realize the changes. It felt amazing, BUT I got sick with the off gassing, I don’t know the coil guage on the Sterns and Foster. I know I tried a mattress that was 12 guage and that was like sleeping on the floor.
Is there a majority coil gauge that side and back sleepers do well with?
I’m looking at building my own mattress, Or purchasing one that it compresses because I need to get it up stairs.
It seems a lot of matresss companies have a standard of 3 inches top of the coils. I’m thinking the coils are just as important as what’s on top, and I don’t want to be like everyone else has options to adding toppers, I don’t want to be 6 feet up off the floor and thousands in debt. Thank you.

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How to find the coil guage that works for you 13 May 2022 15:15 #2

lgouin:

I have always done well in a medium feel mattress, and by Medium meaning, I lightly sink in, the mattress coils are supporting me, not majorly sinking, and not pushing me back up, and feeling the softness of the top materials on mattress.


It sounds like you're describing something with good alignment/support characteristics, but something that still has good point elasticity on top. Springs do "push back" (otherwise you'd just sink through the entire mattress). Being overly simple here, the major job of the innerspring unit is to help keep you in a relatively neutral alignment and prevent you from bottoming out. This is sometimes referred to as "support". The primary job of the comfort materials placed atop the innerspring unit is to provide pressure relief and distribution, although in reality all of the materials within the mattress work together to provide both support and comfort.

I do know that I sleep comfortable on hotel mattresses.


In general, hospitality/contract bedding tends to have an overall comfort in the cushion firm to moderate plush range, with generally decent supportive innerspring units. I discuss this in a little more detail in this Beducation video.

I know I tried a mattress that was 12 gauge and that was like sleeping on the floor. Is there a majority coil gauge that side and back sleepers do well with?


For any innerspring unit, 12 gauge would tend to be quite thick steel, and regardless of the spring design it would probably result in a quite firm support core, although the overall feel of the mattress is a combination of all of the materials within the mattress. There isn't necessarily one innerspring unit that works best for side, back or stomach sleepers, as again the overall feel of a mattress is a combination of all of the materials within that mattress. Different springs definitely have their own unique characteristics, and some excel in certain areas. Pocketed springs by themselves tend to be more point elastic. Open-ended offset springs also can offer good point elasticity. Knotted offset springs tend to be a little less contouring, as is the case generally with knotted hourglass (Bonnell) springs. Also, realize that when talking about springs, we're really looking at how the completed innerspring unit performs. So springs can take on different characteristics when joined together to create a complete unit. When looking at an innerspring unit, you look at the design/style of the springs being used, their profile/height, the pitch of their coils, the thickness of the steel, their mean diameter, the method of joining...things like this. It really is a fascinating field. Speaking very generally for an innerspring unit by itself, you can get good point elasticity / contouring (which is something that side sleepers tend to prefer) with variations of pocketed innerspring units as well as open-ended offset innerspring units. While the gauge of steel will impact the way an innerspring unit performs, it isn't the main thing that I would focus upon when considering what type of innerspring unit to consider. I'd instead focus upon the design and the other things I previously mentioned.

I’m looking at building my own mattress,


Building your own mattress can be quite an adventure. If you decide to do this, enter into the process with a bit of an experimentation, realizing that you may stumble upon something that works well, but that you may also go through many different variations and spend quite a bit of money without creating anything that you find appropriate. Manage your expectations when you go into the process with your eyes wide open. And be sure to choose componentry that is higher quality (there are multiple reference posts on this site explaining about low versus high quality padding materials) to help hedge your results in the direction of a more durable and consistent product.

Or purchasing one that it compresses because I need to get it up stairs.


Some manufacturers of traditional "flat" mattresses are now offering the option to have the product shipped as a roll-packed, boxed-bed product.

It seems a lot of mattress companies have a standard of 3 inches top of the coils.


I'm not aware of such a standard. It just may be a coincidence that some of the products you've examined are using that much padding material. Generally speaking, the more comfort material placed atop the innerspring unit, the deeper the comfort cradle and the softer surface plushness the manufacturer is attempting to achieve. But this is also determined by the thickness of the different types of padding material being used, the softness of that material, the density of the material, the ordering of the layering of that material, its support factor, and things along those lines. Overall I try to recommend to people to find a comfort that has "just enough" softness, as we know that over time padding material tends to soften up a bit.

I’m thinking the coils are just as important as what’s on top


Correct - all of the componentry within the mattress is important and plays a specific role.

I don’t want to be like everyone else has options to adding toppers, I don’t want to be 6 feet up off the floor and thousands in debt.


Toppers can be a very effective way at (usually) adding comfort to a mattress, but ideally I try to have people find something that "out of the box" matches their particular needs. As far as cost, price and quality can have very little to do with each other in the mattress industry (especially with some of the larger brands), but from a componentry standpoint higher density padding materials generally are more expensive than lower quality / lower density materials. And some build-your-own-bed experiments can easily become quite expensive. But it can also be a fun and educational process.

Good luck!
Jeff Scheuer, The Beducator™ Owner of Mattress To Go
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