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Searched for: PS: I should have mentioned as well that in many cases innerspring/fiber mattresses are on the firm side, particularly as the fibers compress,
24 Feb 2017 16:08
  • phoenix
  • phoenix's Avatar
Hi KittyMac,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! :)

I'm so confused & poor health makes me unable to devote the energy to research that seems needed. I hope you can clear things up for me a bit!

While researching a mattress can indeed be confusing, the mattress shopping tutorial here breaks it down into easily manageable steps and is a good reference to have. In its simplest form, choosing the "best possible" mattress for any particular person really comes down to FIRST finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers (online for you) that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in that are in a budget range you are comfortable with and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then ...

1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP ... and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or "fine tune" the mattress and any costs involved if you can't test a mattress in person or aren't confident that your mattress is a suitable choice. As you stated you can’t go out and test anything locally, you would then rely upon detailed phone conversations with knowledgeable and reliable manufacturers or retailers.

2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you are considering relative to your weight/BMI range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress (see the durability guidelines here ).

3. Comparing your finalists for "value" based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

I have some special needs: MCS means I can not tolerate offgassing from memory foam, risky fire retardants & that sort of thing. Latex allergy is not so bad that I need a latex-free factory but I do need a latex-free mattress. And I live in the middle of nowhere & am not well enough to travel, so I can't try in person, I am stuck ordering online. I live on the Canadian-US border so can buy from either country.

I’m sorry to learn of your multiple health issues. It sounds as if some sort of mattress without any foam might be more appropriate for you.

I am considering a wool mattress. They are very firm but with a thick topper of fluffier wool to add softness, they might be very comfy.

Wool mattresses can feel soft or hard, depending upon the type of breed used for the raw wool and the thickness and resilience of the wool fibers, the compression of the wool batts, the tufting or quilting of the topper, and the overall construction and layering of the mattress/topper along with the amount of wool inside will all affect the feel and performance. Wool is a great material that is a strong preference for some people and there are certainly some good benefits to sleeping on wool but it will be different and firmer than sleeping on a soft foam material, and it will also get a little firmer (by about 30%) as it compresses over time.

I have slept surprisingly well on futons.

Futons generally use cotton on the inside, but there are some made with wool.

The 2 manufacturers I looked at claimed their mattresses would last generations! That seems like a good value!

While a good wool mattress can have a durable comfort life, I wouldn’t consider it to be something lasting for generations, although there are wool comforters, toppers and blankets that people keep for a very long time (which again wouldn’t be the norm nor would I recommend).

But could they really be OK for a bad back?

There would be no way for any company, manufacturer or individual to be able to predict what might be best for your back, as there is no one mattress that is best for a bad back. The most important goal of a mattress is to provide a sleeping surface that helps to provide a more “neutral” alignment and allow you to relax while doing so. What that might be would be different for each person.

One was "surround ewe" and the other "shepherd's dream", btw

Both of those companies are very knowledgeable about their products and I think highly of them and their products. A good source of information about wool, and manufacturers who make wool mattresses and toppers, are listed in post #3 here . I wouldn’t hesitate to browse their web sites and follow up with any of them with a phone call for any particular questions that you might have.

We do live in a swampy region and I wonder if wool might breathe less, & get moldy, in the 80%+ humidity of our summers. Or did I read somewhere that wool resist mold?

Wool is better at "storing" moisture inside while it stays dry on the outside of the fiber and gradually releases the moisture inside it into the surrounding atmosphere which is why it does such a great job at controlling humidity and temperature. Wool will not control the humidity in a room, but it can help to create a bit more of a comfortable sleeping environment in a more humid atmosphere.

Mold can exist in any type of material as long as there is enough moisture, a proper temperature, high humidity, and a food source. There are even mildews that are specific to wool. The key is to control the humidity within your bedroom (below 65%; 45%-55% preferable) and a temperature between 64-68 degrees also commonly being recommended.

The other thing I was looking at would surely breathe well & not mold- coils on coils

See my note above about mold and where it can grow.

Naturepedic is the one I was looking at. It has pocket coils inside and micro coils on top, with a pad of cotton & wool on top of that. I assume that the coils would wear out some day while a wool mattress would still be going strong. Right?

Their EOS mattress can be ordered without latex. The steel in the springs would generally last longer than wool as a comfort layer, as the wool will compress over time and become firm, and a tempered steel spring will tend to maintain a more consistent feel longer than a comfort layer of wool.

So my biggest sources of indecision are wondering which type would be best for my chronic pain, and which would withstand a humid climate best, and lastly which would give the longest life & thus the best cost-per-year-of-use.

Unfortunately, I can only help with "how" to choose. It's just not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components, because the first "rule" of picking out a mattress is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person (especially with your unique health concerns) to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, or PPP or how a mattress will "feel" to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or "theory at a distance" that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here ).

While it's not possible to "diagnose" bad back or comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because they can be very complex and there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP or any "symptoms" they experience ... there is more about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here .

Another source of information (although certainly not a complete listing) for you regarding mattresses of which I am aware that do not use foams are listed here .

I hope this information gives you a good start in your search.

14 Feb 2017 16:55
  • phoenix
  • phoenix's Avatar
Hi If It Wasn’t For The Foam,

Your question is incredibly similar to one here on the forum posted just a few days ago. I’d refer you to my reply in post #2 here . The mattress you’re attempting to copy has a quite unique structure and there aren’t many off of the top of my head that are similar except what I listed in that post.

Also, if you’re interested in mattresses made without foam, you may wish to look at this post as well.

There's more complete information about the products and components used by Berkeley Ergonomics on their web site, and I do think highly of them. The different spring units come form Germany and Sweden and are quite high quality. You certainly could contact BE if you desired more specific information and see what they would be willing to provide and what they would consider proprietary. The flexible slat system is actually quite durable, but not necessary is you wouldn't want to use it. Some do like the ability to customize different zones, and it will have an impact upon the comfort of the mattress.

12 Feb 2013 23:16
  • phoenix
  • phoenix's Avatar
Hi Brigabart,

The better options I'm aware of in the Raleigh, NC area are listed in post #6 here .

I would call the ones that seem to make or carry mattresses that interest you and have a more natural or organic focus and talk to them about your needs on the phone and then visit the ones that you are most interested in trying or talking to.

There are also online options available but you won't be able to test these in person so while they may provide a good value reference I would focus first on local options.

This is a very incomplete list with some examples of some manufacturers that make mattresses similar to what you are looking for (innerspring/natural fibers with no foam) to give you some ideas and a sense of the wide variety of designs and pricing available. Some of these include latex which you may want to exclude but you can look on their sites to see what they have available.

mygreenmattress.com (a member of this site)

www.gardnermattress.com/ (a member of this site)


www.vivetique.com/ see here as well www.daxstores.com/



www.lifekind.com/index.php/ and their sister company www.omimattress.com/



sleeptek.ca/ see here thenaturalsleepstore.com/products/sueno-organic-innerspring-mattress.html for an example



www.landandsky.com/index.asp see here for examples www.thenaturalbedstore.com/organic-mattress.asp





www.donsmattress.com/home.html Medford, MA. Small company making cotton mattresses.

mcroskey.com/ San Francisco, CA

There are also some "super premium" mattresses that use innersprings and natural fibers in their construction ... some of which can go well into mid 5 figures. these include manufacturers such as VI Springs ... Hastens ... Savoir ... Relyon ... and Hypnos .

There are also some "old style" manufacturers in various areas of the country that still make innerspring/natural fiber mattresses as well but "foam free" mattresses certainly aren't nearly as common as mattresses that contain some type of foam.

Hope this helps ... and you should at least have some interesting reading to do :)


PS: I should have mentioned as well that in many cases innerspring/fiber mattresses are on the firm side, particularly as the fibers compress, and if you want to add a wool topper for some extra softness and to relieve pressure points then post #3 here has some of the better sources for these I'm aware of.
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