Latex over pocket coil mattress question

I am in the market for a king sized hybrid mattress (latex over pocket coil) w/minimal poly foam. Not much in my area but I did travel to a place that had a Green Sleep Saluna Mattress. It has a 3 " latex topper on a firmish pocket spring mattress. It was a great feeling bed. Unfortunately the price was way out of my range. However, I am toying with the idea of creating a bed that is close to that feel. A local company Jamestown mattress will make me a custom mattress. I am toying with the idea of quoting me it 2 ways. One with the latex top / pocket coil and one with just a barebones pocket coil mattress and I purchase the top separately. Will see which way is more cost effective.

I am, however, having a hard time finding the specs on the Green Sleep Saluna bed. If anyone knows where I could find these or how to find them, that would be great. One web site did mention the 3" topper was all natural dunlop and judging by the feel of the topper I would say it was in the soft to medium range though I would bet soft. The pocket springs were pretty firm and resulted in a medium firm feel overall. Could not locate specs on the spring system either.

Anyone have any other options for me? Maybe a competitor that is less expensive? Latex over pocket coil.


Hi zen4life,

The Green Sleep is a beautiful mattress and uses very high quality materials but as you mention, with the mattress and the recommended S200 foundation, you are looking at upwards of $5000 in a King. The best descriptions of the mattress (although there are no specific specs) are on their own website here and at one of their Canadian retailers here and as you can see the ingredients are great … but the price is not as great.

If I was in your shoes I would have Jamestown build you the exact mattress you wanted including the latex rather than a mattress designed to add a topper. I’m not sure they build a finished mattress with just the pocket coils and no polyfoam to add the topper and if it was me I wouldn’t want to add and pay for extra polyfoam if I didn’t have to (although you could certainly ask them). I do think highly of the value of the mattresses there though.

The other option I would strongly consider is to talk with one of our members, Dan at , who just happens to specialize in modular mattresses that use zoned pocket coils and latex and where the components can be individually chosen and even exchanged. :slight_smile:


Thanks Phoenix,

I took your advice and talked to Jamestown. They have a mattress called the Majestic Dream that is close to what I am looking for minus ALL the Poly Foam. Link to that bed :

We actually replaced the poly foam which is on the top layer with 2" of talalay latex. Ending up from top to bottom with this :

The nice quality cotton fabric cover from the Majestic mattress but with a zipper (bonus).
I am going to have them replace the cotton batting in the cover with joma wool.
2" Natural Talalay Latex (Soft) ILD 16-19
2" Natural Dunlop Latex (Med-Firm) ILD 24-27
1/4" Nova Pad
Some non-poly padding to separate coil from latex (he needs to ask about that)
720 Luraflex 14 Gauge Pocket Coil System

Its not 100% organic but thats ok, the cotton fabric (in cover and around springs) is not and the nova pad and whatever other pad they use may not be. He was not sure where the latex is made only that they get it from Sri Lanka and the cores and comfort layers are made in Connecticut. Perhaps thats enough infor for you to know?

This mattress custom made for me is approximately $2300

Now, compared to the Green Sleep which has :

Separate velour topper w/wool lining includes 3" soft dunlop (best guess based on some info I found ILD 20-24)
Really high-end pocket coil system w/organic cotton wrapped coils. In fact, everything in it is organic.

That mattress alone is $3500.

Seems like a no brainer to me. Do you think by replacing the poly with the latex, the end result will feel similar. He seemed to think so and I would think it would feel at least as good. What do you think?

Hi zen4life,

Your potential design sounds like it will certainly do the job at a much better value … and of course there is always the satisfaction of knowing that a mattress was custom built just for you.

My guess as to the firmness of the Green Sleep would be similar but being Dunlop it would probably be a little firmer (more along the lines of mid 20’s).

While they would be in the best position to know the similarity of the poly being replaced with the latex (because they would know the complete specs of the poly that is being replaced) … I would think that with the soft Talalay it would be similar yes (given that latex will feel different than lower density polyfoam even in a similar ILD). While “feel” is individual and subjective … by my personal preferences your custom version would feel better than the “standard” version and uses higher quality materials.

There are two main suppliers of Dunlop latex from Sri Lanka which are Latex Green and Arpico and both make good quality Dunlop latex. The Talalay made in Connecticut would be from Latex International which is one of the two main producers of high quality Talalay latex so overall the materials look good.

While of course this isn’t an exact duplicate of Green Sleep … the value is certainly better and I think you have made a very good choice. To me this is another “plus” for local manufacturing that can do a custom build when the “regular” models they make aren’t quite the way you want them :slight_smile:


I agree, it seems like a great value. The only other option that is less expensive carries with it lots of risk. For example, Pure Rest makes an Organic Innerspring mattress that is very reasonably priced :

And that mattress is sold at several web sites for under 1600 dollars. Adding a couple toppers from a place like FoamByMail for maybe 500 dollars total. Of course, there is a huge risk of what the end result feel would be like. Also, no way to tell what the quality of the coil system is. What do you think?

Hi zen4life,

While the PureRest is certainly less … it has no latex in it and with just the cotton and wool would be very firm … and would get firmer as the cotton and wool compressed.

Even their innerspring/latex hybrid … while it is two sided (which adds to value) … only has 2" of Dunlop latex on each side which would also be very firm.

One of our members also sells a similar firm one sided innerspring with wool and cotton over the springs and a 2" Dunlop comfort layer which is here.

I would never buy latex … or pretty much anything else either … from Foambymail (FBM). More about that in post #2 here (and the posts it links to). For me … getting what I want and expect is too important in a mattress to play around with “luck of the draw” materials. They are one of those cases where “cheap” can be very expensive. As you mentioned … they would be way too big a risk for me to consider as a reasonable option.

I would personally either work with a local manufacturer like you are or talk with Bay Bed to see what their equivalent modular mattress would be.


I got this from a member of another forum and wondered what you might think of it? It seems the specs told to me are not correct for the Jamestown Bed :

I couldn’t find specs on the GreenSleep mattress, either – I think you’ll need to call the manufacturer to get them. (Can’t fathom why they don’t just publish the specs. For something that expensive, I’d want to know every single detail.)

A custom mattress made by Jamestown might be fine, but be aware that the pocket coils they use are a lightweight gauge: the Leggett & Platt Body Print system uses 15 and 15.5 gauge steel for the pocket coils. Jamestown Mattress uses the second system on this L&P page: (The Jamestown website lists their Majestic Dream as having 14 gauge coils, but that is incorrect. They know it is incorrect – I had an email exchange with them months ago – but they haven’t fixed the site yet and probably haven’t fixed the in-store flyers.)

I’m not trying to discourage you from getting a custom mattress. They might build you something wonderful. I just want you to be aware that the GreenSleep – with the heavier-gauge steel (not sure what height the coils are) – will feel different from the Majestic Dream, which has a 6" pocket coil base of light-gauge steel.

If you like the feel of Jamestown’s mattress, you might be all set. Hope so.

Hi zen4life,

Before I developed this site I was the most frequent poster at “whatsthebest-mattress” forum and came to know that there are some good people there who are knowledgeable and give good advice and many who are not so knowledgeable and give questionable advice. The quality of the advice there can be very “mixed” to say the least. There are many there who mistake opinions for fact. In this case … it comes from someone who has had some difficult issues with an ongoing mattress saga (which are outlined in many posts there and in this forum as well) and has made many mistakes of judgement along the way that came from a lack of understanding about how mattresses are constructed and the function of various specs, layers, and components.

Jamestown of course is the best source of finding out the specs of their own mattresses and as I have mentioned … personal testing is the way to find out about the suitability of a mattress for each person. Innersprings come in many different gauges and each different design, gauge, coil count, and other innerspring specs are just one piece of the puzzle in an overall mattress design. As a single example … the insulator plays a significant role in the function of an innerspring even though this can easily be seen as an “insignificant” layer.

I personally think highly of the two “Jims” (father and son) who own Jamestown mattress and I believe they use good quality and value materials in the price ranges of their mattresses.

The support layers are certainly an important part of the puzzle but they are not usually the “weak link” of a mattress. In this case … I believe the “negative” or “cautionary tone” of this post is more about the disappointment of this particular member with her many “less than good” choices along the way (including the purchase of several toppers and the purchase of a mattress from Jamestown which she then quickly decided to take apart and try to “rebuild”) and not so much about the suitability of your choices.

Her comments about the difference between Green Sleep and the custom mattress are of course valid (they are not the same and will feel different as you already know from your personal testing) and her comments about the “specs” of a particular mattress (the listed specs vs the specs listed on the website) may also be true (and Jamestown would confirm this) but the spec difference is part of an overall design that you have tested as “working” for you and not so much about “better or worse”. Lower gauge coils will be firmer and higher gauge coils will be softer. Both have a place … along with many other pieces of the puzzle … in making a quality mattress that works for a particular individual.

Unfortunately, there are many people (and online mattress review sites that talk about “too hard” or “too soft” or “this mattress gave me a back ache” are filled with them) who believe that their personal choices about the suitability of a mattress for their needs and preferences also reflects on the quality of the mattress or components. Something that “doesn’t work” for one can be “perfect” for another and is not so much about the mattress but about the wisdom of their choices.


Yes, I agree with your comments and I actually talked to a Jim today from the Jamestown plant. Perhaps it was either the father or the son? Great guy. He did confirm that spring system in that bed was the L&P 3 zone 15/15.5 system.

However, he mentioned another spring system option they have that is relatively new. It uses a 7 zone system called Combi-Zone from L&P. Zones are created by alternating sections of 13.75-gauge Bolsa™ coils and 17-gauge Quantum™ coils. They are also 8" as opposed to 6". Would have little to no affect on the cost to me.

I also emailed green sleep. The 3" topper is Dunlop. I asked for the ILD but he gave me back 65 which must be the density. Do you know what that converts to for an ILD? Also, they use 13 gauge 6 turn coils. 768 coils in a queen.

The Jamestown Majestic Dream bed did “work” for me. I would rank it high just behind the Green Mile bed. My hesitation was only that 15/15.5 gauge steel is pretty thin steel and tends to feel soft. Knowing the Green Mile is 13, I think the newer spring system might work better for me since I do prefer firm. Granted I am risking the overall feel of the bed by using a different spring system.

Hi zen4life,

Innersprings can be very “technical” and there are many things that affect how they perform. Things like coil count, number of turns, coil density, coil geometry, types of helicals (if any which are not used in pocket coils), methods of securing the coils, coil height, foam borders or “tubs” and many other factors all lead to the end result which can be measured by two questions which are “how well does this mattress relieve pressure?” and “how well does this mattress keep me in alignment in all my sleeping positions?”. Coil counting or using the gauge of coils alone as a measure of the durability or performance of a mattress can be very misleading. They are a piece of the puzzle but there are many others as well.

In addition to the types and specs of the coils themselves … the layers in between the coils and you will also have a big effect on the suitability and performance (and firmness and durability) of any particular coil unit and the mattress itself. To say for example that 13 gauge coils creates a more durable mattress than 15 gauge coils is not necessarily accurate unless all the other factors also support this. Even the amount of “working steel” in a mattress (or the weight of the innerspring) … while more accurate perhaps than other measures or specs … does not tell the whole story and these are specs that aren’t generally provided by the manufacturer. As a single example … coils that are joined by helicals are not as independent as pocket coils but they will also spread pressure between more coils and so can be more durable … at the cost of motion separation and the ability to conform as well to different body shapes. This would also be affected by the type and amount of materials over the coils. The equivalent in foam would be “point elasticity” which is the ability of small areas to compress without affecting the areas next to them.

There is more about the different types of innersprings in this article.

Both Quantum coils and Bolsa coils are pocket coils which act independently and are used in different combinations to help create the desired performance characteristics of a mattress within the budget restrictions of the design and target price. The Combi-zone uses these two types of coils together to create different response zones in different areas of the mattress. The heavier parts use the firmer coils while the lighter parts use the softer coils to give more “gentle response” in these areas. As you can see as well from the Combi-zone description … coil height is more of a money saving measure which can lead to the use of less (more expensive) foams to create similar mattress heights which consumers “translate” into higher quality. I also question the value of a seven zoned system which IMO is more about marketing than actual benefit.

Basing a decision on a mattress based on coil specs alone would be somewhat like saying that larger wheels on a car have less rolling resistance and so the car can go faster without taking the engine, type of rubber, gear ratios, car weight, or many other factors into account.

None of this is to say either that the Green Sleep is not a high quality mattress (which of course it is). They use a high quality innerspring which is very strong, add 3" Dunlop latex (65 is a density measure based on kg/cu. meter which is in the soft range of Dunlop and would typically be a range in the low 20’s or even high teens but would also be firmer than the equivalent ILD talalay because it gets firmer faster as you compress it more) and add thick layers of organic wool and organic cotton both of which are expensive materials in a mattress. The quality is undeniable … but the “value” is open to question. There are many other manufacturers that use similar materials that are in lower price ranges but of course each person’s personal value equation is also subjective and depends on the many parts of a mattress purchase that are most important to each person.

If this mattress “worked” for you then I’m not sure of the value of changing it. Did it actually “feel” too soft (in the sense that you were out of alignment) or is it more a matter of thinking that a combination of 13.75 gauge with 17 gauge would be “better” (regardless of what was used over the coils to create the actual firmness of the mattress rather than just the coils themselves).

These are the types of things that I would discuss with the manufacturer but personal experience … with the guidance of the manufacturer themselves … would always “trump” theory. As I mentioned … the upper layers are usually the “weak link” of a mattress. Thinner upper layers will bring the lower layers (such as an innerspring) more into play and may change what works best and is most durable (such as in mattresses where the coils themselves are a big part of pressure relief") but it is the balance and interaction between all the layers that results in the end product and creates the overall durability of the mattress.


I agree that there are a lot more factors involved when looking at durability than just the coil gauge. However, in studying many different sources of information, while it is only one of the factors, the general consensus seemed to indicate it as being one of the most important. That info could be wrong, I am far from an expert. Not only that, higher gauge (thinner) coils are less expensive and are typically found in lower end mattresses. This seems to be one of their higher end mattresses.

It is not just about durability though, I was also interested in getting closer to the Green Sleep recipe. I do understand that is probably a long shot. In any event, if we throw out what’s above the coils in both mattresses, what can we say in general? I am very confident we can say this, the Green Sleep bed is firmer, by a lot. The specs lead me to believe this as well as the fact that I pressed down on both pocket coil samples and felt this difference.

That leads to the mystery of why both beds have a similar sense of firmness. If we look at the Majestic Dream, I believe the answer lies in what is above the coils. Above the coils, we have a 2 oz insulator pad, some 1.5 lb poly, inner panel (whatever that is), 2" Dunlop 24-27 Latex, quilted panels which also has 1.5 lb poly, and stretch knit fabric. I have a hunch that it is those layers giving me the sense of firmness.

I recall the district manager saying it had 2" poly in it, so I would venture to guess 2" 1.5 lb poly plus 2" 24-27 Dunlop is much more firm than Green Sleeps 3" of Dunlop 22-25. Would you agree?

So, let’s say I take all that poly out. And let’s say I replace it with 3" of Dunlop 22-25, in my effort to match the Green Sleep recipe. Now, I have the same ILD comfort layer but the springs are very, very different. At this point, I would worry that the springs are now much more in play, resulting in an overall reduction in firmness. That, I very much do not want.

As for my personal experience, I am not sure it counts for much. By my act of having them remove out all that poly and replace with dunlop, I am already altering it. And, quite possibly, by a lot. So, by considering the new coil system which should have an overall firmer feel with those 13.75 gauge coils (need to verify this), I was hoping it would get me closer to what I am looking for. But I agree with you, I need to work with the manufacturer and ask more questions to get the balance between the layers to work for me.

Hi zen4life,

In almost every case, the weak link of a mattress is not the coils … especially if they are reasonable quality … but the foam above it. There is a lot of information all over the internet that says a lot of things and it is certainly true that some coils are higher quality and more expensive components than others, but almost always the part of a mattress that softens and makes it unsuitable for sleeping is the foam and materials above the coils. If you talk with people who actually make mattresses and have to deal with returns (and local manufacturers are particularly sensitive to this because they depend almost entirely on their reputation rather than marketing and tend to err on the side of"fixing" issues rather than “denying” warranty coverage because of exclusions), they will confirm that this is most often the case. As I mentioned … thinner or softer foam layers will bring the coils into play more and there are many factors involved in the durability of a mattress but with almost all the coils that are reasonable quality that are used in mattresses today … they are not the weak link or the part that wears out the most quickly.

As for higher gauge coils only being used for low end mattresses … this is a link to a Hypnos super premium mattress that uses 16.5 and 17 gauge coils. You can also see here a line of very inexpensive mattresses that all use the same less expensive 13 gauge Bonnell coil and have different firmness levels. As I mentioned in the last post … there are many factors involved in the quality, firmness, and price of an innerspring mattress and focusing on only one of them … no matter how big a piece it may be … will never give you the whole picture.

If you “throw away” everything above the coils, you wouldn’t be sleeping on a mattress any more but directly on the coils themselves which are only one of the factors in the firmness of the complete mattress. In many cases what is above the coils will have a bigger effect on the firmness of the mattress than the coils themselves. No matter how firm a set of coils are … if you add for example 6" of soft foam above them … you have a soft mattress. If you have soft coils and add a firm insulator and firm foam above it … you have a firm mattress. Some people are also more sensitive to the firmness of a comfort layer and some are more sensitive to the firmness of the support layers and different heights and weights and body shapes and different levels of sensitivity may all perceive a different “type” and degree of firmness on the same mattress. While it’s certainly true that if you take the coils by themselves and all other factors are equal that lower gauge is thicker and firmer than higher gauge … again this s only part of the picture.

If however you are interested in getting to the Green sleep recipe using the same ingredients … then you would be looking for a mattress that was based on the specs of all the Green Sleep components (innerspring, latex, wool, cotton, and the other components) rather than looking for a mattress that had the pressure relief, alignment, and preferences you were looking for, In other words, there are many pathways to a similar end result, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Hopefully the reason that any two mattresses with different components may have the same firmness level (for a particular person) is not a mystery any more :slight_smile:

As a point of reference as well … the density of foam has little to do with the firmness level. Any particular density can be made from very soft to very firm. The insulator pads are usually a non woven firm material. You are correct that the layers above the innerspring will have a big affect on the firmness of the mattress. The closer to the top a layer is the more it can be “felt” for most people.

This is likely true but not necessarily. If the poly was very soft and someone was heavier, then you would go through it more and feel more of the Dunlop latex layer below it. The odds are good that the firmness level of the Dunlop in the two mattresses are very similar. Dunlop is usually measured by density and then “translated” into ILD so similar density levels of Dunlop (assuming both are all natural) would have a similar ILD. Layer thickness also plays a significant role in the firmness of foam (with thicker layers of the same ILD being softer).

You would have the same ILD comfort layer but the layer would be thicker (softer) and as you mentioned the springs are still different. Thicker foam layers and the insulator above the springs though would reduce the impact of the spring on the overall feel of the mattress not increase it. Again … this is where testing becomes much more accurate than an excercise in theory which has too many variables in both the mattress and how it interacts with each individual person to know how any mattress will feel for any individual for certain. Specs can certainly give you a sense of how it may feel (if you know the details of every component not just most of them) but your own experience will always “trump” theory. Even the ticking and quilting layers (the thick wool in the Green Sleep) will have an effect on the feel of the mattress.

Your experience counts for everything. It is the most important part of choosing a mattress. This plus the help and guidance of someone who knows the specifics of a mattress and who has the experience and knowledge to be good at “predicting” how different changes may feel is the most accurate way to test or “predict” a mattress. The alternative coil system would be both firmer (under your heavier parts) and softer (under your lighter parts). For example it may be firmer under your shoulders which may reduce the amount your shoulders can sink in and increase pressure in this area. the same would be true for your pelvic area. It would be “different” but may feel firmer (again depending on what they used above the coils) if you are more sensitive to how a mattress feels in a certain area of your bodyi (such as the shoulders) or softer if you are sensitive to the feel in a different area.

I certainly agree that this is the best way to get to a final outcome even though the pathway there may be different from the Green Sleep. There are many options that are closer to the “Green Sleep recipe” (alothough none would be the same) but they would involve an excercise in “spec matching” which can be very inaccurate rather than an exercise of personal experience and testing working with a local manufacturer.


Thanks for the good info. I think I am basically trying to get it roughly right without spec matching down to the last detail. At a very general and high-ish level, what looks to work for me is a comfort layer in the low 20 ILD range over an innerspring mattress with an overall feeling of what I would call a medium-firm bed.

That said, with me being primarliy a side sleeper and weighing 165 ish (5’10"), slender frame. What is the usual recommendation for comfort layers?

Here are the available latex options Jamestown uses and I have 4 inches for the comfort layer :

14-16 (super soft)
17-19 (soft)
24-27 (med-firm)
32-36 (firm)

14 (super soft)

In testing out Jamestown’s Latex, I would have preferred something in between the Dunlop 17-19 and 24-27. Which, interestingly enough, is exactly where the Green Sleep 3" Dunlop falls.

So, I am thinking of a couple options, though I think option 1 might be best :

Option 1
2" Dunlop 17-19 (soft)
2" Dunlop 24-27 (med-firm)

Option 2
1" Talalay 14 (super soft)
3" Dunlop 24-27 (med-firm)

The zippered cover will be a cotton stretch fabric if that matters. What do you think?

Hi zen4life,

The first comment I should make is that I would question the acccuracy of the Dunlop ILD’s. It is very common on the internet to translate one type of spec for another (for example metric specs for imperial specs or ILD measured at a different % of compression). While there are some newer Dunlop manufacturing methods that result in lower ILD Dunlop, most of the Dunlop that is listed in the teens actually has a higher ILD. You can confirm this by finding out the density of the Dunlop. If it is in the typical range of 65 or higher … it will likely be firmer. If it is one of the newer types of Dunlop with a density of 60 or less … then the ILD could be in the teens. Regardless of the listed density or ILD though … your own body fully relaxed will tell you if the combination of thickness and ILD and the innerspring and layers underneath it work well for pressure relief. The guidance of the people who make the mattresses can also help as they would be more familiar with the effect of making the kind of changes you are considering using materials they are familiar with in these particular constructions.

A “typical” comfort layer suggestion for a side sleeper in your height/weight range would be in the upper teens to lower 20’s in a 3-4" thick layer. Softer support layers or innersprings could use thinner layers for the same effect. Because you are on the slimmer side … you may be on the lower end of this range (and some people have needs and preferences that are outside of it completely).

If the ILD’s are accurate … I would probably tend towards the 17-19 range or perhaps one firmer with a softer innerspring but most importantly of all is that the combination of layers works for you because every layer (including the innerspring) affects every other layer above and below it. I would probably be looking in the 3" range and go up or down from there depending on your actual experience. There are more general guidelines in the overviews and in the “your statistics article” and the “your sleeping positions article”. There is also more information about putting the layers together in the “putting the layers together overview” and the pages that it leads to.

This would make sense although my guess is that the Green Sleep is more in line with the 24-27 range. Either of your options would be “in the range” but would both likely be softer than the Green Sleep because they are both thicker (4" vs the Green Sleep 3"). The latex Green may feel softer though or more “giving” than the ILD would indicate if it was tested on the S200 base.

The cover will certainly have an effect on the latex below it. A stretch knit cotton will affect the ability of the latex to conform to your body shape less than a woven fabric ticking. In addition to this … thick layers of wool (or other materials in the quilting) can also make a significant difference in how the latex below it feels and performs. Thicker layers of wool can create localized cushioning but can also reduce the ability of the latex to conform and relieve pressure along the entire surface of the body … particularly as it compresses and gets firmer … so these are also “layers” that will interact with all the rest.


Through several emails to Green Sleep, I was not able to get a definitive answer on the ILD of the Saluna topper. However, I did find a web site that sells a Green Sleep all latex bed. They do show ILD ratings :

Density: Available in soft (ILD equals 22-25), medium (ILD equals 32-35) and firm core (ILD equals 38-42).

Here is the link :

I emailed that info to Green Sleep and got this reply :

Interesting! I guess he found a way to convert the density to the ILD! The only way we were told in Malaysia to have the firmness is the density! So then it would be the 22-25 for the soft rubber.

This does not mean the info is correct. I know :slight_smile:

As for the cover, what would be the ideal cover for the type of mattress I am building (latex over innerspring)?

Hi zen4life,

I find it a little strange that a retailer knows the ILD when the manufacturer doesn’t :slight_smile:

To test for ILD … you would need a 6" core of the material you were testing and a testing machine with a 50 sq in metal foot with a pressure gauge attached to it. To take a reading … first a 1 lb pressure is applied and then the exact thickness is measured. The machine then compresses the 50 Sq In foot exactly 25% of the measured thickness. It then waits for a time (can’t remember exactly how long it’s supposed to be) to give the foam time to relax and then the pressure that is needed to keep the foot compressed to 25% of the material is measured. This is the IFD. The old method (ILD) just compressed the foam 25% and measured the pressure so the readings would be very similar. I really wonder if they have the equipment to do this and I would guess that their ILD numbers are a guesstimate.

the outer layers of a mattress are the cover (or ticking) and the materials, if any, that are quilted to it. The choices here involve tradeoffs that can fine tune the qualities of the mattress and make it closer to the ideal of each individual. Some of the tradeoffs involved in the quilting are in this article and some of the effects of different types of ticking are here. There is also more about natural vs synthetic choices here including some information about fire barriers. There is also more information about all the tradeoffs involved in these choices in various forum posts and a search on ticking/quilting and on quilting/ticking (you can click on these) will bring up quite a few posts with more information.


What do you think would be better for my custom build, tight top, pillow top, or eurotop?

I have heard many negative things about pillow top and since I am doing a zippered cover, should I go tight or euro top?


Hi zen4life,

Tight tops, Pillowtops, and Eurotops are just construction methods used for the top layers of material in a mattress. The issue with all of these is not the construction itself but the materials that are in it. Because most mainstream mattresses have pillowtops and eurotops that include thick layers of lower density soft polyfoam … the polyfoam is the source of the “pillowtop” reputation rather than the actual method of construction itself. Pillowtops for example have edges that can move independently and are a construction method that can be used to create a softer comfort layer.

If you are using a zippered cover, then it will likely be a “tight top” (unless the zip cover you are using has two separate compartments) and all the layers will be in the mattress cover. Of course you could also add a topper if you need to but this is different from a pillowtop or eurotop. Choosing a topper would use similar guidelines to choosing the comfort layer of a mattress although because it is more independent of the other layers it will “act” a little softer than a layer that is part of the mattress construction itself.


Thanks Phoenix, I think due to the zippered cover, a tight top would be best.

So, I checked out a Shifman Mattress and was impressed by the quality and level of firmness and am now considering one of them and just adding a 3" latex topper for the comfort layer. A couple reasons this may be a better option than the Jamestown Custom Build :

  1. The Shifman is a 2-sided mattress and known for its longevity so “should” last longer.

  2. Believe it or not, buying a low (less padding/heavy gauge Bonnel spring) to mid level Shifman (double the padding/heavy steel hi-profile double offset unit) and adding a 500 dollar 3" high quality topper is less expensive overall.

The one upside to the Jamestown is it uses a zoned pocket coil system versus the heavy steel gauge Bonnel unit in the lower end Shifman. However, in reading about zoned systems and such, I get the feeling for some people zoning is not needed and could actually raise issues. For me, I don’t believe I need such a thing considering that I am sleeping on an old, rather cheap pocket spring mattress now and other than the annoying sagging in the middle, does not cause me any issues.

What do you think?

Hi zen4life,

Before considering a Shifman … I would want to know the details of every single layer in the mattress. I can’t stress this enough.

They make some “nice” mattresses but they are not in the same value range as many other options and I personally believe there are many other options that would give you higher quality materials and MUCH better value. The longevity of a mattress has nothing to do with the name on it but has to do with the construction and materials that are inside it.

There is no way to know the value of a mattress without knowing what is in it. Look at the law tag first to get a sense of the materials and if it indicates the use of materials that you want to avoid (or that indicate the mattress should cost less than it does) then you will need a layer by layer description including the density of any polyfoam in the mattress. If there are no undesirable materials in the mattress … then it is safer to go by personal testing in terms of how well the mattress meets your needs and preferences although I would still want to know the details of the coils, the amount (layer thickness) of materials like latex, and the other components (ticking/quilting etc) so I could make more meaningful comparisons with other mattresses.

In other words if all the materials on the law tag are good … I wouldn’t be focused on “quality specs” so much as “value” specs. Quality specs are all about the quality and durability of the materials. “Value specs” are about knowing the different components and the type and amount of all the different materials (for example 3" of Dunlop latex vs 2" of Dunlop latex) so you can make more meaningful comparisons between mattresses. Comfort specs are the least important of all and are not even necessary when you are personally testing mattresses. These are about things like ILD or the firmness and/or softness of different layers that lead to the ability of the mattress to relieve pressure and keep you in alignment. The comfort specs really only come into play when you are looking at online options that you can’t personally test.

Two sided mattresses are a bonus of course and add to the cost/value of a mattress but can also play a limiting role in the thickness and type of comfort layers that are used. Everything has a tradeoff.

Again … while Jamestown is normally a good quality/value option … there are also other options available to you as well (depending on the importance to you of actually testing the specific mattress you are buying). You mentioned in an earlier post that the price at Jamestown was $2300 for a King and I’m assuming this is for the set and not mattress only . If I was in your shoes … this would be about the top of my budget for the type of mattress you are looking for (less for mattress only). While you can certainly go lots higher … I would question the need or value of doing so and there would need to be a reason that made a significant difference in performance or durability for me to consider it when this is alreay on the high side. There are all latex mattresses less than this (and latex is normally a more expensive material than innersprings).

As you mention … the benefits of zoning (and there are many different types and methods of zoning) depends on each individual and on how they interact with a mattress. Bear in mind that the two basic functions of a mattress are to provide pressure relief and keep you in alignment. There are many pathways to getting there for each individual. Each different type of innerspring and material has it’s own advantages and disadvantages and may require different combinations of materials to reach the same goal and may also have a different “feel” and meet the different preferences of each material. As an example … the firmer and less conforming the coils are … the more latex you will need to get to the same approximate outcome and the more conforming types of innersprings will need less latex (and of course there are also other factors involved as well). Higher quality materials … particularly in the upper layers … will result in a more durable mattress which of course is part of what justifies a higher price.

If a “basic” Shifman with a topper (again with confirmation of the makeup of the Shifman) turned out to be equivalent to the “best” value you had found … then I would question the value of all the choices you are considering because Shifman is not typically a “value” brand. Of course the specific prices you would be paying and the specific materials and construction of the mattress would say more than the brand name. Bear in mind too that simply adding a topper onto a “firm” mattress may not be the same as similar layers that are built into a mattress itself that also includes other less “obvious” materials and construction methods which may play a significant role in how it performs and feels.