Glossary of Mattress Terms

Welcome to our Mattress Dealzz glossary. We have taken the time to identify words in our industry that you may want to know the definition of or may just want to become more familiar with before you start your mattress shopping experience. And if you haven’t stopped by one of our stores yet, come visit us today!


Alternating Coil

A coil design based on the concept that because each coil in a given row is turned the opposite direction, the overall innerspring unit has less motion transfer because they off set each other’s energy.


Base Foam

A layer of highly densified foam positioned under the coil or main core unit of a mattress, designed to provide a solid foundation for the other mattress components to be built on, thus providing stability to the entire mattress.


Mattress Sizes

  • Twin: A bed measuring 74 inches long by 39 inches wide.
  • Twin Extra-Long: A bed measuring 80 inches long by 39 inches wide.
  • Full (Double): A bed that is 74 inches long and 54 inches wide.
  • Full Extra Long: Available as a special order, this bed measures 80 inches long by 54 inches wide (not a common size any longer)
  • Queen: A bed that is 80 inches long and 60 inches wide.
  • California Queen: Available as a special order, this bed measures 84 inches long by 60 inches wide (not a common size any longer).
  • Olympic Queen: No longer produced, a bed that is 80 inches long by 66 inches wide.
  • King: a bed that is 80 inches long and 76 inches wide.
  • California King: Sometimes referred to a “Cal-King” or “Western King”.  A bed that measures 84 inches long by 72 inches wide.

Note: All mattress products are produced by hand and therefore the sizes indicated above could vary slightly from one manufacture to another.



This describes the sides of a mattress or foundation (box spring).


Border Wire

A heavy wire attached to the outermost coils, providing shape and form for the mattress.


Body Impressions

A mattress surface indentation where a person sleeps, causing the upper layers of cushioning to become compressed. Body impressions up to 1 ½ inches are considered normal by most mattress manufactures, anything deeper, is deemed a warranty issue. Visit our products section to learn how we design our ZZZ’s Collection mattresses to minimize body impressions.


Box Spring

The name used to identify the lower part of a mattress set. Box springs helped act as a shock absorber when all mattresses were two-sided providing relief to the soft upholstery on the bottom of a two sided mattress. With the introduction of “one sided mattresses” with firm “base foam”, the need to protect the bottom of the mattress was eliminated. Now the industry refers to box springs as “foundations”. (See “foundations” for a more detailed description).


Center Ridge

This condition occurs on king and California king mattresses only because these products use two box springs (foundations). It is caused by ridged boarder wires of both box springs where they join, running head to toe under the mattress. Because this “center ridge “area is much firmer than the soft or “working wire” areas of both box springs, the mattress tends to raise up giving the appearance that it has a higher area running down the middle of the bed. Body impressions also magnify this condition. With the advent of foundations which are designed to be much more rigid, not having a function other than to elevate the mattress to the proper height, this condition is much rarer. See “foundation” for further information regarding box springs vs. foundations.


Center Support

A cross support used under a queen mattress set, that is required by all mattress manufactures, includes a wood or metal cross rail preferably in the middle area of the foundation and at least one foot that touches the floor to help prevent settling or “hammocking” through the middle area of a given mattress.


Coil Count

This refers to the number of innerspring coils in a mattress. A high coil count does not necessarily indicate better quality. Rather it is the design of a coil, the gauge of wire used and the way the coil is engineered that determines the comfort, support and durability that it will provide. The number given will usually be in reference to a queen size.


Comfort Options

  • Firm: Firm mattresses as the word describes, are the firmest style of mattresses. They generally provide the most resistance against pressure and the least amount of conforming. As a general rule, you can identify a firm mattress by a tight stitch/quilt pattern on a retail floor.
  • Plush: Plush mattresses tend to have more soft foam components, sometimes including memory foam and latex, creating a “softer” sleep surface. As a general rule, you can identify a plush mattress by a more open stitch/quilt pattern.
  • Euro Top: Sometimes referred to as a pillow top, a euro top style mattress is any mattress with two tape edges tightly attached to the boarder of a mattress. Generally speaking, the top panel of the mattress is sewn down tight to the edge without the “knife edge or gusset” that a true pillow top mattress has, giving the illusion that the mattress has a true pillow top. Manufactures use this style or technique to create firmer mattresses by pulling the top panel tight, thus giving the appearance of a pillow top.
  • Pillow Top: Pillow top mattress have a “floating” top panel that is attached to the lower part of the mattress using a V-Flap or Flange design. This manufacturing technique allows the top to freely conform, not being restricted or sewn down tight like a euro top style.


Convoluted Foam

Better known as “egg crate foam” by consumers, convoluted foam was designed to provide pressure relief utilizing “peaks and valleys”. Convoluted foam has a reputation in our industry for rapid compression rates aiding in the development of excessive body impressions. When it’s incorporated into a mattress design build and placed under other layers of foam air pockets or areas where there’s no solid foam or support occur. This condition is known as “false loft”. Refer to our products section for a further explanation as to why Mattress Dealzz products use no convoluted (egg crate) foams.


SMT (Surface Modification Technology)

With the introduction of convoluted foam products surface modification technology was born. Currently manufactures utilize other SMT designs to enhance or change the feel of selected areas of foam components. This is accomplished by utilizing different firmness levels of foams creating “comfort zones” in a given sleep surface.


Foam Encasement

A solid piece of firm foam the height of the core or spring unit running around the perimeter of a mattress providing additional edge support for both sitting on or sleeping out to the very edge. Refer to our products section for additional information.



Formerly called “box springs”, this term is now used industry wide to describe the lower part of a mattress set, the function being to elevate the sleep set to accommodate a headboard or bed. There are two basic types of construction, the first made of wood using a slat design on top and the second, utilizing wire welded together. Unlike traditional box springs, foundations are designed to be completely solid with no flex or movement, acting as a firm foundation/deck for one sided mattresses. See “Base Foam” for further insight.


Foundation Deck

This describes the top part of a foundation (box springs) that comes in contact with the bottom of a mattress. Most foundation decks are constructed using a non-skid type fabric to help keep the mattress from sliding or moving.



Refers to the thickness of wire used in a mattress and/or foundation. A lower gauge denotes a heavier/ thicker wire.


Helical Wire

A wire formed in a spiral design to attach adjacent rows of coils together in an inner spring unit. Depending on the particular inner spring design, “helical lacing” can run side to side or head to toe changing the feel and performance of the coil unit.


Innerspring Unit

The wire component of any mattress that uses metal coils as its “core” support unit. This is generally made up of coils, helicals and border wire.


Insulator Pad

A natural or synthetic blend compressed pad used as a barrier between the innerspring unit and the cushioning components (comfort package). This barrier keeps the cushioning layer(s) from compressing into the coils.



Derived from a rubber tree, this natural foam rubber product is very durable and makes a perfect component for the mattress industry. Available in all-natural form or produced in a synthetic blend with a better feel consistency, mattress manufactures utilize latex in several firmness combinations to achieve different comfort levels or feels. Mattresses are also manufactured with latex as the “core” component, thus replacing innerspring units. Several other products on the market also utilize layers of latex in the cushion layers over traditional innerspring units.


Low Profile foundation

Standard foundations are manufactured to be 9 inches high. To accommodate mattresses that are extremely tall, 5 inch low profile foundations are available.


Lumbar Support

Any element either in the upholstery package or the coil unit itself, that enhances the center third of the mattress, providing additional support.


Mattress Protector vs. Pad

Demand for traditional mattress pads began when mattresses were only available in firm and even firmer. Mattress pad manufactures made these pads to add “comfort” to those firm products. Today with the introduction of plush and pillow top products, pads are no longer necessary and even change the feel of your new mattress. All mattress manufactures require that a mattress cannot have any stains for the warranty to be valid. Mattress protectors are a thin fabric designed with a waterproof barrier on the backside that still breaths and offers protection against accidents or any spills without changing the feel of your new mattress investment.


No Turn / No Flip Mattress

Mattresses are now designed to provide continuous support without the need to turn them over and use the other reverse side. Most manufactures do not require end-over-end flipping in order to maintain their warranty.


Panel Shift

This condition occurs when foam layers detach and move or bunch up, creating a lump or uneven appearance on the top panel of a mattress. Most manufactures use glue or other methods to prevent panel shifting.


Pressure Points

Locations on an individual’s body where capillaries close due to pressure against that area which causes discomfort and excessive tossing and turning during sleep. Two common pressure points are the shoulders and hips. Pressure point related issues cause the sleeper to continually come out of “REM” sleep affecting both the quality and quantity of sleep required for a person to function in a healthy, daily manner.


Quilt Package

Sometimes referred to as the ”comfort package”, the top portion of upholstery layers of a mattress that could include natural or synthetic fiber, polyurethane and/or memory foams and latex.  Note: Mattress Dealzz uses no problematic synthetic fiber components in our products that increase the opportunity for body impressions. Refer to our products page for further explanation.



The top portion of a mattress including the fabric, sometimes fiber (see above regarding fiber) and the primary layers of foam quilted all together forming a “quilt package”. Also, mattress manufactures use different quilt/stich patterns to enhance the look and change the feel of a particular product.


Tack and Jump Quilt Pattern

Any stich designs that stiches one spot and then jumps to another spot creating a tufted look. Manufactures use tack and jump patterns to create products that are considered soft or luxurious. As a general rule, tack and jump products are most commonly used on pillow top style products.


Continuous Quilt Pattern

Any stich design that runs continually through the mattress top panel, causing the product to feel firmer. Manufactures use continuous patterns to create squares, diamond and other geometric patterns. As a general rule, continuous panel products are considered to be in the plush to firm range.


Tape Edge

Describes both a process and material used to join the top fabric panel and the side fabric boarder of a mattress together. Manufactures use several colors of tape edge materials to create different looks for a retailer’s floor. In recent years, tape edge fabrics have strips and sometimes even foil woven into them to create designer looks.



Ticking describes the actual fabrics use on the top panel of a mattress. Mattress panel fabrics or ticking, play a large role in how a mattress feels and can influence even the performance of a new mattress.


Tight Top

Tight top style mattresses are generally products that are not a pillow top design. As a general rule, manufactures use tight top products to offer a choice in comfort. Retailers will often show a firm and a companion product in a plush style, both in tight tops.


Wrapped Coil

Coils enclosed in a flexible fabric pocket to relieve pressure and block the transfer of motion between sleeping partners.