S&F Intellicoil vs. regular pocketed coil

Hi…does anyone have any opinions about the S&F Intellicoil vs. the “regular” pocketed coil?

The company we bought the S&F “Traditional” level mattress through is unable to get the “Estate” line, which is where the Intellicoil starts. So, they (of course) have tried to convince me that the Intellicoil - which is of the “coil within a coil” design - is not necessary, as you need to compress the outer coil 4’’ until the inner coil gets any weight on it.

To me, that sounds like a bit of malarkey, and I’m intuitively inclined to think that the Intellicoil would indeed provide the “better” sleep experience.

Would love to hear opinions on this, as we only have 1 week left until we need to make the call on whether to return the Traditional level S&F and try something else. (PS: We already tried 100% latex - ugh. More on that later).

Hi bbb_63,

Most of what you will be told about innersprings are marketing and often have little relationship to someone’s actual sleeping experience on a specific mattress. What you were told was “partly” correct because the taller coil does have to compress enough before the shorter coil starts to compress but the type of comfort layers would have just as much to do with how the coils responded and interacted with your height/weight/body shape and sleeping positions and would have at least as much effect on how well the mattress met your needs and preferences. Much of the focus of the coil manufacturers is to reduce manufacturing costs by using an innerspring to replace the function of a premium foam which would do the same thing. In this case … you have a firmer pocket coil (when the two compress together) with a degree of softer compression (lets say it is 4") which would be similar to having the firmer coil with a 4" layer of softer high performance foam (with a softer ILD and a fairly high compression modulus) on top of it.

Sealy is a more vertically integrated manufacturer than most so using their own wire and coils would represent a cost savings over the need to buy foam from an outside source. Of course to "justify this … the coils need to have a “story” attached to them that consumers will believe. Even Leggett & Platt (which supplies the majority of the innersprings used by most mattress manufacturers) “sells” their product to their “customers”, the mattress manufacturers, based primarily on the profit margins that using various components can provide over other materials and will build a marketing story that highlights the positives and minimizes the negatives involved. You can see an example of a “story” based on the cost savings of using coils to replace foams and the “story” they attach to this here.

The foam manufacturers will do the same thing as they seek to convince the same set of mattress manufacturer “customers” to use more of their product in their mattresses to replace other components and materials and how this can increase their profit margins based on a marketing story that that highlights the benefits of their materials and the profit margins they can provide.

There are two main functions of a mattress and buying a mattress on “performance” specs rather than actual testing will usually lead to some “less than optimal” and lower value expensive choices (such as Stearns and Foster) because even the cheapest materials can perform well in the highly managed and subjective atmosphere of most mattress showrooms. Even basic Bonnell coils can make great choices for many people with the appropriate layers and materials above them. Every layer of a mattress works together with every other layer and each mattress construction works differently for different people. Coils today are usually good quality and I would put much more trust in the PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Preferences) that you experience while testing a mattress than I would the “specs” of any particular coil which is only part of the overall feel and performance of the mattress.

Things like “coil counting” and trying to predict the specifics of how a particular coil may interact with each person based on specs are not a great way to buy a mattress and are one of the main sources of most of the misleading stories that are used to sell mattresses. Far more important is knowing the materials and “quality specs” of every layer of the mattress (particularly the comfort layers which are the first to “fail”) so you can identify the weak link or links in the mattress (the part that will soften or degrade the fastest) and so you can make more meaningful comparisons with other mattresses. Keep in mind that every material in a mattress boils down to how it contributes to PPP and how long the materials in the mattress will keep a similar level of performance. There are many ways and combinations of materials that will lead to a similar PPP “outcome”. The coils are normally not the weak link in a mattress and are also only a piece of the construction and how all the components interact together will have more to do with how a mattress feels and performs than any single component.

So in essence … your needs (pressure relief and alignment) and preferences (temperature, motion isolation, overall feel and response and many other subjective or preference factors) are the way to buy a mattress and the “specs” that are the most important are the ones related to the quality and durability of the mattress materials which in almost every case is the thickness and density of the polyfoam and other “cheaper” layers in the mattress.

I also hope that your experience on a latex mattress wasn’t with Stearns and Foster or many of the other larger brands because they are certainly not representative of latex mattresses and in most cases you would be sleeping on polyfoam more than latex. As you mentioned though … that’s another story :slight_smile:


Hi, Phoenix. Thanks much for the very detailed and helpful reply.

Our experience with Latex was on a 100% latex bed (Flobeds). They make a heck of a product and really stand behind it - it just doesn’t appear to be for us (at least so far) - I still would like to find a solution that works for us, as we still have the bed.

What I THINK we need is a Flobed with a pocketed coil at the foundation layer. Unfortunately, no such animal seems to exist in the industry today - aside from Berkley Ergonomics. I’d like to try these guys out, but they nearest showroom is almost 5 hours from my house (ugh).

As we also own a S&F “tank”, I’m trying to determine if using this (or a swap, as mentioned in my other post) + a memory foam topper would be a good solution. But I’m also trying to figure out if it will make any noticeable difference if we upgrade from the “core” S&F (with non-Intellicoil pocketed coils) to the next “Estate” level with the Intellicoil “coil within a coil”…would that make ANY difference in comfort? (Assuming comparable quilt and comfort layers?)


Hi bbb_63,

I think my comments about most of this was in my reply to your other post but there are a few things you mentioned that weren’t answered there.

There are quite a few manufacturers who make latex/innerspring hybrids besides BE (although theirs is very nice and has options in both the support and comfort layers that can customize it for each customer) and if you let me know the city you live in I’d be happy to look and see if I know of any options within reasonable driving distance.

If everything else in the mattress was exactly the same then the intellicoil would be like having an extra softer layer right above the firmer innerspring and the closer to the top this was (the thinner the layers above it were) … the more you would be likely to feel the additional softness of the “soft” part of the coil. Thicker layers above the coil would isolate you more from the compression of the coil. Either way though … if the single coil was the same as the “firm part” of the intellicoil … then the softer part of the intellicoil would be noticeable yes. Whether this would be an improvement or a “negative” would depend on the person and the layers above it.

Bear in mind that mattresses built with an intellicoil take the performance of this type of coil (and it’s thinner gauge and different variable spring rate) into account in the overall construction of the mattress so you wouldn’t likely find a mattress where the only difference was the type of coil and all the other components were exactly the same.


Thanks, Phoenix. I’m in the Detroit, Michigan area. So, if there are any “latex over spring” options nearby, would VERY much like to know so that we can check them out.

Hi bbb_63,

Post #2 here should help. The various manufacturers don’t list all their models on their websites (so a few calls may be necessary) but there is at least one fairly local option and likely several more that either manufacture or sell latex/innerspring hybrids.

Hope this helps