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Finding a new mattress can be difficult enough. Not knowing the technical and insider terms can make it that much more frustrating. That is why we feel it is important to have a resource that gives you the inside scoop on what all these descriptions, terms and attributes mean.
Below is a list comprised of words and terms commonly used when describing and explaining mattresses and their features. It is organized alphabetically and it should help you navigate the world of mattress hunting a little easier.
Avena Foam – Avena foam is a proprietary foam that is meant to be an alternative to latex foam. It is made to provide comfort as well as support, unlike a memory foam that only provides comfort. It is also breathable and self adjusts to your bodies movements.
Base Foam/Support Foam – This is the foam used as the foundation of certain mattresses that typically will be heavier and denser to give the mattress its main support over time.
Bed in a Box/Boxed Delivery – This is referring to the delivery style of the mattress. This indicates that the mattress will be compressed and roll packed to fit into a box that is than able to be delivered by a courier like USPS, UPS or FedEx.
Bounce – The bounce of a mattress is going to be similar to its responsiveness. Bounce more specifically in terms of mattresses refers to the direct result of weight and force applied and how the mattress reacts and springs back.
Coil on Coil System – A coil on coil system is comprised of two coil systems that are layered on top of one another to provide the support, durability and benefits of both coils sets. Typically a thicker, more substantial coil system is below a lighter more springy coil system to provide a layer of dense core support with an added layer of flexible support. In many instances either one or both coil sets are pocketed, or wrapped, to reduce motion transfer.
- Mattress Example: Saatva
Comfort Guarantee – Comfort Guarantee is the manufacturers promise to help adjust or exchange your mattress during the trial period if you are not comfortable on your new mattress. Typically this is down by exchanging the mattress for a different option or adding a topper or something similar to alter the feel. Some companies use a comfort guarantee in place of returns, however, some companies still accept returns if altering the product still doesn’t work for you.
Convoluted Foam – Convoluted foam references the shape of the foam not the material. This foam is created by notching out caverns in the foam and leaving numerous “hills and valleys” per say that create the egg crate effect. This allows for more air flow that keeps the mattress cool and also provides pressure relief.
Custom Mattress – Custom mattresses are mattresses that are made to your unique specifications. Details about your size, sleeping preferences as well as other factors are calculated to engineer a mattress to be made to best suit you. This creates a custom made mattress just for you for optimal comfort and support.
Dunlop Latex Foam – Dunlop latex is defined by the process in which the latex is manufactured. Dunlop latex is extracted, whipped and poured into a mold and baked. This creates a denser, more durable latex foam that is typically firmer than Talalay Foam.
- Mattress Example: Spindle Mattress
Edge Support – Edge support refers to the support in place around the perimeter of the mattress. This is going to help with fully utilizing the entire edge to edge sleep surface as well as provide stability if you need to sit on the edge of the bed.
Euro Top – A euro top is the style in how the cover of the mattress is sewn over the top “plush” layer. This is similar to a pillow top but instead of a dividing groove between the top layer and the rest of the mattress there is a smooth, flat transition around the perimeter.
Heat Dissipation – Heat dissipation is how well heat is directed away from the body or the source of heat. Many mattresses will try to combat retaining heat and try to use materials and engineering to pull the heat away.
Hybrid Mattress – A hybrid mattress is using both an innerspring or coil core and using memory foam or latex foam to as well to create the a mattress with the benefits of both technologies.
ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) – The ILD is a scientific method on how to measure the firmness or softness a foam is based on its response to controlled and consistent compression. The ILD is determined after the machine has reached 25% of the indentation of the foam. The number that is then associated with the ILD is the pounds of pressure it took to reach the 25% mark. In example, if it takes 20 lbs of pressure to hit 25% indentation then the ILD will be 20. In the end the higher the score equates to firmer foams and the lower the score to softer foams.
Innerspring Coils – Innerspring coils are, also referred to as mattress springs or mattress coils, are the used in coil mattresses as the core and main support of the mattress. These coils can vary in gauge, size and shape to provide different advantages and support options.
- Mattress Examples: Saatva Mattress
Latex Foam – Latex foam is foam that is derived from the sap of the rubber tree and is usually specified as Dunlop latex, Talalay latex and synthetic latex. It is a foam that is associated with good bounce and responsiveness as well as cooling properties.
Memory Foam – Memory Foam is a visco-elastic polyurethane foam that has specific properties that are more sensitive to pressure and temperature. This foam is associated with a conforming, hugging feel that molds to your shape with the help of the warmth of your body temperature. It also has a slower reaction time and is known to hold heat. Not all memory foams are created equal. The densities will vary anywhere from less than 1.5lbs/ft cubed to 8lbs/ft cubed. This will make a huge difference in quality weight and firmness.
Micro Coils – Micro coils are a coil system that is made of miniature coils that are smaller than the typical mattress coils. There are usually more of them to create the proper support as well as a more flexible, thin gauged coil that are more pliable.
Motion Transfer – Motion transfer refers to the vibrations felt throughout the mattress when weight and movement are applied. This can create partner disturbance if the vibrations are too strong.
Natural Latex Foam – Natural latex is latex foam that is made with either all or mostly sap from the rubber tree and limited or no fillers. *Unfortunately natural doesn’t necessarily mean that there are no fillers, however there should be limited amounts if there are any at all.
Off Gassing – Off Gassing refers to the noxious odors that are given off during the unboxing, unwrapping and set-up portion of receiving your mattress. Certain odors from the manufacturing process as well as particula materials in the mattress are confined to an airtight, condensed plastic wrapping that doesn’t allow for breathability. So when it is finally opened these odors are at their highest and may be noticed.
Pillow Top – Pillow top refers to the style in how the cover of the mattress is sewn over the top “plush” layer. This is similar to a euro top but instead of a smooth, flat transition around the perimeter there is a dividing groove between the top layer and the rest of mattress that gives the look of a separate layer.
Pocketed Coils – Pocketed coils refer to a coil system in which each coil is individually wrapped with material to help soften any vibrations that may increase motion transfer. Sometimes this type of coil is also referred to as wrapped coils.
Poly Foam – Polyurethane foam, shortened to poly foam, is a manmade foam that uses various petrochemicals to create foam. All poly foams will be less expensive and have less quality than latex and memory foam. These foams differ widely based on the combination of chemicals, quality and process by which they’re made. The higher the density the more durable poly foam will be. However, poly foam still breaks down over time and will not be as durable as a quality latex foam.
Pressure Relief/Points – Pressure relief, when referring to a mattress, basically means how well the mattress is able to support your body to alleviate tension and pressure while you are laying down. If you are able to lay down and feel your body feel supported, yet relaxed the pressure relief is good.
Responsiveness – The responsiveness of a mattress is references how quickly it adjusts to movement and pressure. This is important to note especially when comparing foams. Some foams will be more responsive, meaning they will move with you quicker and others will be less responsive, meaning they take a little longer to move with you and typically hold their shape a bit longer.
Roll Packed – The term roll packed references the machine used to compress the mattresses before they are put into their boxes for shipment.
Sink(age) – Sink, or sinkage, is a term used to describe how much your body will be enveloped by the mattress. A mattress with more sinkage will allow more of your body to be cocooned by the mattress where a bed with less sinkage will keep your body closer to the surface.
Sleeps Cool – Sleeping cool is a term used to describe how well the mattress retains or dissipates heat. The foams used in mattresses can sometimes hold and retain heat more than others. If you are a warm sleeper and prefer something that has properties specifically to aide in keeping your body temperature regulated.
Support – The support of a mattress sounds like it would coincide with how firm or soft it is, however, the support is going to actually be how well the mattress gives you the necessary core for proper spinal alignment and posture. A mattress can have a very soft foam top and still have a supportive foundation and core, just like a firm mattress may feel firm on top but lack the necessary core to give you proper support.
Synthetic Latex Foam – Synthetic latex is latex that uses the sap of rubber trees as well as manmade fillers to create a latex that is stiffer and less durable than natural latex.
Talalay Latex Foam – Talalay latex is defined by the process in which the latex is manufactured. Talalay latex is extracted, whipped and poured into a mold. It is then put in a vacuum chamber where excess air is removed, then flash frozen to stabilize materials and finally baked. This creates a more cushiony, consistent latex foam that is typically softer than Dunlop Foam.
- Mattress Example: Zenhaven Mattress
Transition Foam – Transition foam is the foam used between the softer, comfort foams and the denser base foams to allow the foams to have a degree of separation for optimal performance.
Trial Period – The trial period is the designated number of days in which you are given to test your mattress before you are unable to exchange or return it. Since many online mattresses are unavailable to try before purchasing you are given a time to try it before committing.
Value – Value is sometimes mistaken with budget. Value is much more than just a price, the value is considering what you are getting for that price.
Warranty – The warranty refers to the manufacturer’s commitment to their product and their guarantee to replace or repair any issues covered in that commitment during a designated period of time. Many warranties do you specific guidelines and regulations that must be adhered to by the purchaser in order to uphold the guarantee.
White Glove Delivery – White glove delivery service is an in-home delivery and set-up process some mattress companies provide when you purchase your mattress. This service takes all the work of setting up the mattress for the purchaser and is instead done by a company that will bring your mattress to your house and set it up in the designated space.
Zoned Coils – Zoned coils refer to a coil system that is has designated zones that use thicker gauge or thinner gauge coils or more or less coils depending on the specific support needed in that area. Typically the area under the lumbar and back has denser, heavier coils to provide more support for the mass of the body weight. While the coils under the head and feet are less thick to provide the necessary support for less body weight.