What Are Pocketed Coils In Mattresses?

Pocketed coils are often assumed to be the same as innerspring coils, but actually they are different.

By Sheryl Grassie

Mar 25th, 2021


In the late 1850’s, steel coils were invented as supports for furniture, in particular for chairs. By 1865, these coils were used as a bed base, like a box spring, and patented. In 1871, coils were first placed inside a mattress resulting in the innerspring mattress.

Pocket coils, where the springs are individually wrapped or encased in a sleeve, were developed in the late 1800’s by James Marshall, a British inventor. He went on to secure a Canadian patient on his Marshall coils and became the founder of the Marshall Mattress Company using his patented technology.

Understanding Coils: How Are Pocketed Coils Different?

Before we delve into the differences in coil mattress construction, it helps to know just a little about coils. They are made of steel springs, and come in different shapes and thicknesses or gauges. Mattresses also vary in the number of coils they have per square foot of the mattress. More is better to a point, but after a certain coil density, more does not improve comfort.

In a mattress with pocketed coils, each individual spring has its own pocket, hence the name. Every coil in the mattress is separately enclosed or wrapped in fabric, making them independent from one another. Pocketed coils offer a superior form of support because the coils respond to pressure individually, minimizing motion transfer and better contouring to the body.

With a traditional innerspring mattress, where the coils are all tied together and move in relation to each other, the fit is far less specific as pressure on one spring causes large sections of the mattress to depress. Not only does this affect individual support, but it can affect a partner sleeping in the bed as well. Another benefit of pocketed coils is that they work extremely well to support specific pressure points on the body during sleep.

Traditional Innerspring

Try picturing a bed of springs. You know what it looks like; a bunch of metal coils all fastened together, each one an hourglass shape. Now picture pressing down in one place, you can hear the squeaking of the springs in your mind as you press down. What happens to the mattress is the surrounding springs, since they are all tied together, will all depress.

When lying on a traditional innerspring mattress, pressure on one coil creates a hollow with all the coils surrounding it. This further causes a gap between parts of your body and the bed. If a larger body part presses down on the springs, like your hip or your shoulder, the depression may extend far across the bed.

Picture placing a glass of water on one side of the bed, and then pressing on a coil on the other, the indentation you make will affect the glass far across the bed, possibly causing it to spill.

Pocketed Coils

Pocketed coils are designed to combat the shortcomings of a traditional innerspring. Each coil is a cylinder instead of an hourglass for more stability, and each one is individually covered in cloth, so less squeaking. They are not tied to each other but wrapped separately.

Picture a bed of wrapped coils, now picture pressing down on one of them. That one coil depresses, but nothing around it. Place a glass of water close to you on the bed and press down on a coil next to it. The coil goes down in an isolated fashion not affecting the glass at all, no motion transfer. In terms of support, this translates to a far superior system for your body.

Pocketed Coils Versus Memory Foam

We choose a mattress in the hopes of reliable support for our bodies and to ensure a good night’s sleep. There are many kinds of mattresses on the market targeting the needs of different sleepers. With the pocketed coil system, mattresses are better able to contour to an individual’s particular shape and to keep motion transfer on the mattress to a minimum.

This is also the hallmark of memory foam mattresses: great individual support, but memory foam can be hot to sleep on. Pocketed coils better conduct air through the mattress, are breathable, so much cooler. They do, however, accumulate dust easier than a memory foam or latex mattress, which can be an issue for people with allergies.

Hybrid Mattresses

In an endless quest for the perfect mattress, manufacturers continue to create hybrids of the best options. One popular option is a pocketed coil mattress with a memory foam layer on top. This mattress is somewhat less dense than straight memory foam, is cool, and offers the support of both types of mattresses.

Related: Best hybrid mattress


Pocketed coils were invented at the end of the 1800’s as a way to provide better support. They are individually wrapped springs that work independently and offer a number of benefits over a traditional innerspring mattress. They are more comfortable, minimize motion across the entire bed, are durable, breathe, and are cool. They offer great support for spinal alignment. Competing with memory foam for many of these same features, manufacturers offer hybrid mattresses that combine both.