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Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 11 Nov 2011 22:19 #1

  • SleeplessinDallas
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Hi Phoenix & all!

As we progress, I'm doing my due diligence on pocket coil systems. I'm specifically reasearching the Berkeley Ergonomics beds, but generally other pocket coils as well.

A have a number of questions that I'm hoping you can shed some light on regarding quality. I've learned that the Berkeley Ergonomics "Willow" or "Alpine" model is as follows:
- 1530 pockets coils for a king- they are honeycombed like the attached photo.
- Since it's honeycombed, some are taller & others shorter. I believe the taller rows are ~13.75 gauge & the shorter rows are ~16.75 gauge. (2.1mm & 1.4mm since they are German coils)
- Coil tensile strength is 1900-2100N/mm2 (not sure what this means) ;)
- then they are 2" of latex on top and a wool cover.

Primarily I wondered about the following:-the durability of pocket coils in general, but specifically with the stats above.
- the coil count listed above for a king
- if honeycombed multilevel structure adds to the strength or durability
- if adding a topper of wool & latex would extended the life of this set- by buffering the coils a bit more than just the 2" of latex or if it doesnt matter at all.


And then lastly in my digging, I've read various conflicting things about foundations for this type of bed. Whether a solid wood foundation is best or whether a flexible slat foundation is best. One source said that coil beds like this should NOT be paired with a flexible slat foundation. Sovn of course tells you that they were built to go together. So, just wondering thoughts on that too.

Getting there & learning tons! :)


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Re: Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 11 Nov 2011 22:21 #2

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Here's another side cut of the "Willow" from Berkeley Ergo.

The coil system + 2" of soft, medium, or firm talalay latex based on preference.

BTW- the gauges I gave you are for the C&D models- firmer than the A&B option.

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Re: Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 12 Nov 2011 01:46 #3

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Hi Sleepless,

These coils aren't honeycombed but laid in parallel lines. Honecombed coils are when each coils is placed in between the coils in the row beside them.

The thinner gauge coils would almost certainly be the taller ones as the goal with coil systems is to have a variable spring rate with the softer springs (or part of the springs) compressing first and then transitioning into firmer coils (or firmer compression) after the initial compression. This is to increase the ability of the top part of the coil system to take on a body shape without losing the ability of the firmer coils (or deeper compression) to provide good support.

The higher coil count would provide the equivalent of better "point elasticity" meaning that smaller areas can compress without afftecting the area around it. Higher coil counts are usually an indication of either a honecomb layout (which can fit more coils into a given area with less "gaps" between the coils) or a smaller coil diameter. In this case the coils would be a smaller diameter since they are not honeycombed.

Other factors in terms of how a coil performs would be the number of turns in the coil, the type of steel used, any pre-compression in the coils, zoning, coil height, coil travel, spring rate, fabric used, and many other factors. The manufacturing of springs is a complicated blend of materials and metallurgical science and the math involved in spring performance.

These are clearly high quality coil systems ... but how suitable they are for each individual depends on how well they interact with the layers above them to produce pressure relief and alignment. Beyond this it becomes a matter of durability and price. Since most steel coils outside of the cheap imports are usually quite durable ... the biggest issue really is how the innerspring interacts with the layers above and below it and with the person who sleeps on it.

A boxspring is usually a good idea with innerspring mattresses if for no other reason than to act as a shock absorber. Innersprings can "take a set" beyond a certain pressure or with sudden shocks and the boxspring can help offset plastic deformation or compression set in an innerspring. In some innerspring mattresses ... the boxspring is also part of the designed performance of the mattress.

Primarily I wondered about the following:-the durability of pocket coils in general, but specifically with the stats above.
- the coil count listed above for a king


The coil count is high and the gauge of the shorter springs is also strong. I would expect that this would last a very long time. Pocket coils in general will not last as long as a comparable spring in other designs (which are attached to each other and "share the load" more) because they compress more individually without affecting their neighboring springs. Having said that though, there are so many variables involved that it would really be impossible to generalize. Good quality pocket coils in most circumstances will be quite durable and suitable for most people. For very heavy people it would be more important to pay attention to coil gauge, number of turns, number of coils, and other factors which translate into the amount of "working steel" in a pocket coil innerspring.

- if honeycombed multilevel structure adds to the strength or durability


Honeycombed (which this isn't) would add to the number of coils which would improve durability (all other factors being equal). the multilevel structure would have less of an effect on durability as it would on comfort and the ability of the innerspring to be "soft on top" and "supportive underneath".

- if adding a topper of wool & latex would extended the life of this set- by buffering the coils a bit more than just the 2" of latex or if it doesnt matter at all.


This would do more to change the feel of the pocket coil and the latex and the overall mattress than it would add to its life. It would reduce the ability of the latex and to a much smaller degree the coils to act individually under pressure and "firm up" the mattress to some degree depending on the thickness and density of the wool and how much it was compressed and how it was quilted. It would not really have any effect on the durability of the coils.

In the end ... there are too many factors in innerspring design to really take all of them into account and/or make accurate predictions and if they are good quality, then they are not normally the weak link in a mattress anyway. Like everything else in mattresses ... the most important part of every component is how well it helps each individual with pressure relief, how well it contributes to spinal alignment and the most accurate way to determine this is to actually lie on the mattress. Beyond this, preferences, durability (or likely weak links), and the benefits of the component versus its cost are the most important considerations.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 13 Nov 2011 01:38 #4

  • SleeplessinDallas
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Thank you Phoenix, this is helpful!

Sovn & Berkeley both do state that their coils are honeycombed & it does look like they are in person. I'm thinking maybe this photo is just not clear from the angle. Here's what their site says.....

The right support with little motion
Our carbon steel, German coils are hand-assembled in a honey-comb layout. They give "head-to-toe" support, yet allow enough give to reduce pressure at the high contact points. Because of our unique honey-comb design, our coils move independently, responding to your body contour and weight, but only exactly where you need it.


For the box spring-- does that mean that the flexible slat system would be good afterall? Since it would absorb some of the shock for the springs- as opposed to a solid wood non-flex foundation?

In the store- the "C" model seems like a good fit b/c the coils are firmer than those in the A/B model & with the firmer coils in the C/D model- you then determine either a softer 2" latex top, or firmer. I liked the firmer coils with the softer latex top- the C b/c it seemed to provide good alignment and conformity, but the 2" of 25ILD talalay latex on gave it just enough cush on top. But, the core was still firm enough to keep alignment while on my stomach.....in the store anyway. Need to go back again.

They do also have the all latex mattress, but now that I've slept on latex and couldnt seem to adjust, I'm just slightly hesitant about that b/c I just seemed to have trouble with the feeling of ALL latex for some reason. The latex over coils seems like maybe it gives the benefit of latex, but still a bit more traditional feel b/c of the coils.

I think the all latex option might be more durability in the long run, but again, if I could get a nice happy 10 years out of a good coil system + 2" latex, I would be MORE than thrilled!!!

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Re: Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 13 Nov 2011 04:58 #5

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Hi Sleepless,

The first picture sure didn't look honeycombed but the second one does and I took a closer look at the BE site and you are right, the shorter coils (darker) are nested in between the taller coils and it is a honeycomb pattern. The pictures were a little misleading and I was not so observant :). That's good news.

I'd be a little hesitant to put a pocket coil mattress on a slatted frame. Roewa ... the manufacturer of the slatted base ... hedges a bit on this but doesn't normally recommend it either ( see the last paragraph here ). There certainly are some innerspring mattresses that are designed to work on a flat slatted, semi-flex or solid base and I would tend to go with the recommendations of the manufacturer rather than the store that sold them.

You have my curiosity up now though and I plan to phone a few of the BE outlets and BE itself to see what they say and if they are consistent ... particularly since the manufacturer of the slatted base they are using doesn't really recommend it either. Normally a tension adjustable base will do better and is designed to be underneath a foam core mattress.

They do also have the all latex mattress, but now that I've slept on latex and couldnt seem to adjust, I'm just slightly hesitant about that b/c I just seemed to have trouble with the feeling of ALL latex for some reason. The latex over coils seems like maybe it gives the benefit of latex, but still a bit more traditional feel b/c of the coils.


I think this is a very good choice for those who are more comfortable with the feel of an innerspring vs an all latex core and with latex in the comfort layers and a good quality innerspring ... particularly a good pocket coil or offset coil ... it would make a high quality and durable mattress.

I think the all latex option might be more durability in the long run, but again, if I could get a nice happy 10 years out of a good coil system + 2" latex, I would be MORE than thrilled!!!


With latex in the comfort layers ... you should certainly have no problem with getting a good 10 years (and probably more) out of this construction.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 13 Nov 2011 21:40 #6

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I too am very interested in the Berkeley Ergonomics mattresses. They are the only pocketed coil mattresses I have found other than very expensive, handmade, imported ones (Hastens, Vi-Spring) and the Big S brands. I first saw them on the internet at DesignSleep in Ohio. I then found them in a few other locations including SOVN in Dallas. Dallas is only a few hours' drive away so that seemed like a possibility. Unfortunately, their prices are significantly higher than every other BE outlet. So i have been watching this thread with interest. I have slept on latex for years and find that it is not providing enough lower back support anymore. The BE mattresses look like a wonderful option. However, I am hesitant to order one sight unseen. Also, the honeycomb/parallel coil issue is puzzling. The pics posted certainly look like the least expensive BE model which is parallel construction. So, is the Willow really the Alpine and is there a direct correspondence to the other names assigned by various retailers to these mattresses (i.e. DesignSleep Riviera). The unique names and minor variations are reminscent of the major mattress makers' games! :( All of the retailers sell the same adjustable slat foundation and really recommend it but there is considerable discussion of that issue as well. Sure would be nice to get some feedback from someone who owns one of these!

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Re: Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 14 Nov 2011 01:12 #7

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Hi anonymous!

I just checked DesignSleep as well.

It looks like the "Euro Simple" is the least expensive option at $1518 for king. It's a parallel coil layout & fewer coils (880 for queen) than the Willow / Alpine / Riviera. Here's the pic:



The Riviera appears to be the same as the Willow & Alpine- honeycomb coils & more of them. Having a hard time attaching two photos to the same posting, so will attached it next.

I agree that the pricing at Sovn is way out of line with every other store in the country that sells these beds. Still determining my approach on that if I decide to go with this line of beds.

I really want to love the all latex, but just not sure I love that feel.
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Re: Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 14 Nov 2011 01:13 #8

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Oops- the photo above is the Riviera- honeycombed.

Below is the Eurosimple- parallel:

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Re: Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 14 Nov 2011 02:04 #9

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Wow! I just posted a very long post about similarly constructed mattresses from the Natural Mattress Store (EcoCloud), The Natural Bed Store, Keetsa, Dunlopillo, and so on for feedback and it just disappeared when I hit post :(

Will try to repost tomorrow.

The long and short was that I was wondering if there are other similarly constructed beds I should consider. I like the quality and simplicity of Berkeley, but I am not married to that brand- nor to the Sovn prices if there are other ones I should think about too!!!

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Re: Due diligence on pocket coil mattresses 14 Nov 2011 03:08 #10

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Also very interested to hear what you discover about these coil beds on the flex slats Phoenix!

When you go to Sovn, Sleep Works, etc...- they only offer the flexible slats or solid wood foundation. No boxsprings.

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