I think I chose the wrong Gardner Mattress...

The closest mattress manufacturer on the “trusted member list”, is Gardner. Spindle is a little further away and Yankee Mattress factory further still. I’d like to find something that works with Gardner so that I can do an exchange rather than ask for a refund.

We had been sleeping on a big-box Beautyrest for 11 years. Both my wife and I are back and stomach sleepers. I actually prefer stomach, but it has been gradually leading to more back pain over the years, so I’m spending more and more time on my back instead. I can get some pain relief by laying on my side with knees bent, but I can’t actually fall sleep like that. Over the past year or so, even sleeping on my back is not pain free. I get mid-back pain after a few hours and then toss and turn for the rest of the night. A pillow under the knees helps but doesn’t eliminate the pain. I figured we were do for a new mattress, so I went to Gardner on the recommendation of a friend. We both prefer something between medium and medium-firm. The Beautyrest was medium firmness pocket coil with a pretty basic pillow top (probably regular poly foam).

When I first went to Gardner and asked for something medium to medium-firm, they showed me their traditional tufted innerspring mattresses. I ruled this out immediately because they don’t use pocketed coils and thus don’t have good motion isolation, with is important. Then I looked at their pocket coil options which ALL use a L&P Quantum coil (15 gauge 968-coil count for Queen). I’m not sure which specific L&P Quantum coil this is (there seem to be a lot), but I’m guessing Bolsa?

The way they categorize their pocketed coil mattresses is kind of confusing. For most other manufacturers, the firmness level is front-and-center, but at Gardner, ALL of their non-organic pocket coil mattresses are implicitly considered to be “soft” (read the description on their website), even though the different layering options (foam, latex, or combination of the two), affect the feel. I dismissed the organic options because I just assumed they were more expensive, but not fundamentally different (probably a mistake). I chose the option which had 2 inches of latex (they couldn’t tell me the ILD of the latex) under 2 inches of memory foam, because a latex-only layer felt too bouncy, and foam only felt too “sinky”, but alas, it’s not working for me. While it felt OK in the store, at home, I can’t fall asleep without drugs and my back aches more than ever in the morning (so, wrong choice!).

The salesman has been very patient with my questions and is willing to do an exchange/refund. He is suggesting that I should try their “organic ergo” which has the EXACT SAME pocket coil as the “soft support” mattresses, and is even described on their website as “soft support remade for a chemical-free life”. Despite this website description he claims that the “organic ergo” should be a lot firmer than the mattress I original chose, particularly because it is tufted, while the “soft support” mattresses are not tufted. He says that all of the material, including the coils, are compressed down due to the tufting, which results in a firmer feel. That kind of makes sense, but I’m confused as to why they would describe this as “soft support remade for a chemical-free life”. Also, its not clear to me whether the tufting process actually compresses the coils, or only the cotton and wool upholstery material sandwiching them.

In general, although they offer 4 different levels of firmness for their traditional innerspring mattresses, there aren’t very clear and objective descriptions of the firmness level of everything else that they sell. Hence, the seemingly contradictory info about the “organic ergo” being firm, but ALSO being described as an organic version of their “soft support” mattress, which is described as being for customers who want a soft mattress.

To add to my confusion, I went to a local big-box retailer (Jordan’s furniture) and they told me that any mattress with 15 gauge coils (like Gardner’s L&P Quantum coil) should be considered soft.

Someone please help me make sense of all of this!

Hello, Thomase.

The unfortunate part of all of this is that the terminology for firmness ratings is very loosely defined and extremely subjective. It really boils down to experiencing different mattresses in-person and see what feels good to you. Not all spring systems are created equal - the height of the coils, and thus number of turns, as well as the gauge and arrangement of the coils are all going to come in to play when considering firmness.

In our experience, a supportive spring system is the basis for any proper mattress. “Firmness” then relies more on the comfort layers above the coils. We’ve always chosen spring systems that will support any frame individual properly, and carry different models with varying firmness levels at the surface to accommodate the different needs of different sleep profiles (back, stomach, side).

We do in fact use pocketed coils with 15.5 gauge and 14.5 gauge coils in our mattresses, which provide for supports not only in the sleep area of the mattress but also firmer edge support coils. In our Natural Escape hybrid mattress, we pair this spring system with 3 inches of supportive Dunlop latex and button tuft the mattress for increased durability. Dunlop latex pairs well in a hybrid mattress with coils because it contours to your body without over-compressing.