Here is a comprehensive A – Z glossary of bedding and mattress terms used in the industry. They will help you understand some of the bedding terminologies you will likely come across when looking for the best mattress to meet your specific needs.
Note: This glossary does not include mattress sizes. You can find these by clicking to our Mattress Sizes page.
A – Z List of Bedding Industry Terminology
Adjustable Bed: An adjustable bed can be raised into various positions by means of electric motors. They are similar to the beds found in hospitals, where your upper body, legs and back can be raised or lowered individually to provide you with your most comfortable sleeping and resting positions.
Air Bed: An air bed supports you on compressed air. Rather than foam or steel coils, air beds provide support by means of chambers or even coils of air pumped up to a pressure that can support your body. You can change the hardness or softness of an air bed by controlling the air pressure within the mattress.
Air Chambers: This term relates to the individual cells, coils or chambers that make up an air bed. Each air chamber is attached to others and can provide proper support for your pressure points without upsetting the stability of the mattress.
Antimicrobial: This term means that the mattress has been treated to prevent the growth of microbes, bacteria, fungi, molds and dust mites. Antimicrobial treatment can be used of foams and fibers used within the mattress, and also mattress covers and encasements that are your top sleeping surfaces.
Articulation: You may see the term ‘articulation’ referred to in connection with adjustable frames or beds. The articulation refers to the number of points where the bed will fold: so 2-point articulation has two folding sections.
Batting: Batting is a form of cotton felt used as padding inside the mattress. May also be referred to as batt.
Bed Frame: The frame that holds the mattress and often also the foundation. A bed frame can be constructed using wood or metal (the latter is sometimes referred as a Hollywood frame) and is normally fitted with legs and castors (wheels). Bed frames of certain sizes (e.g. Queen and King) should be fitted with a central support bar and also a central leg to provide sufficient support for the mattress. They are conventionally 7.25 inches high from the bottom of the frame to the floor (low profile versions can be 5.75 inches high). Failure to provide these supports could invalidate your mattress warranty.
Bed Springs: This is form of open box spring foundation without any cover or upholstery. See ‘Box Spring’ below.
Binding tape: A fabric tape that is used to bind the part of the mattress or foundation/base where areas of pouter cover or ticking meet – generally at the meeting point of the vertical and horizontal panels. The binding tape forms a type of edge trim to the foundation or the mattress.
Bio-Based: The product referred to in this way is made largely, or even completely, using renewable materials sourced from plants or animals (terrestrial or marine) or other biological materials. In the USA, bio bedding must contain at least 12% of such materials. Mattresses have no such statutory requirement.
Biodegradable: A biodegradable product will decompose after being disposed of. It will break down into organic matter, water and carbon dioxide depending on its composition. There is no legal time period for ‘biodegradability’ and it can take from up to 5 months for paper items to almost never for many plastics.
Body Impression: This term is often used in mattress warranties. Body impression refers to the indentation made in the cushioning layers of a mattress by the weight of the person lying on it. This is normal compression and in many cases is restricted to between 1 and 1.5 inches by most warranties. This is not the same as sagging, which is a general loss of support in a mattress.
Bonnell Coil: A Bonnell coil mattress consists of hourglass-shaped springs connected together by a mesh of metal to make the support system for the mattress. It is a traditional way to construct a mattress, and many find it suits them. However, the Bonnell coil system gets some bad press due to issues with pressure point aggravation and excessive motion transfer. Most modern innerspring mattresses are made using pocket springs – see reference below under P.
Border Rod: A border rod is a heavy steel wire that runs round the wedges of an innerspring or box spring unit to help the mattress keep its shape under pressure. It may also provide a degree of edge support. It may also be referred to as a border wire.
Border Wire: See ‘border rod’ above.
Boric acid: A chemical additive used when garneting of cotton and other fibers to provide resistance to ignition by lighted cigarettes. Garneting relates to the recovery of waste cotton back to its fibrous state for reuse. This technique is used in the manufacture of mattress ticking and covers.
Box Spring: A box spring is a mattress foundation that consists of heavy steel coil springs mounted in a wooden frame. There is no padding on a box spring foundation, and it is technically the only base that can properly be referred to as a foundation. Wooden or slatted platforms are correctly known as bases. The innerspring mattress works best with box springs, although they can be used with most other mattress types. They help absorb shock and distribute weight more evenly. Check your warranty, because some require box spring foundations to be used for the warranty to be valid.
Box-top mattress: A box-top mattress is one where the existing top surface of a mattress (upholstery and cover) fitted with a rectangular encasement of the same measurements as the top of the mattress. It is similar to a pillow top, but unlike a pillow top, the entire surface can be slept on. There is no drop in thickness towards the wedges of a box-top. It fundamentally provides a flat surface on top of the mattress.
Bunk bed: A bunk bed is a two-tiered bed, generally made with wood but there are metal models available.
The principal come in the form of two twin-size beds – one up and one down, although some mod have the lower bunk as a double. The two units can often be separated and used as two separate floor-level single/twin beds.
Bunkie: A mattress, usually twin-size, and platform base that can be used on bunk beds, on the floor or while camping. It is a base, particularly useful for foam mattresses, and is used as a daybed or with a trundle mattress.
Carbon: Carbon is a good conductor that is sometimes added to foams, particularly memory foams, to disperse heat throughout the mattress. It is used in the form of graphite which is infused throughout the foam to keep you cooler at night.
Chemicals of Concern: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses this term for certain chemicals that raise “serious environmental or health concerns”. Many of these may not be dangerous initially but can build up in your body with repeated exposure and present a serious risk to health. Such chemicals include phthalate plasticizers and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Mattresses with the CertiPUR-US label are certified to be free of these substances.
Coils and Coil Springs: Wire spirals (usually steel wire) used as a support layer in an innerspring
Coir: This is a coarse fiber obtained from coconut shells and often used in insulation pads for mattresses and bedding. mattress or box spring foundation. There are few different types including Bonnell, Continuous, Hourglass, Marshall and Offset coils. See their individual entries in this glossary.
Comfort Layers: You will often see this term in mattress descriptions. It refers to the layers of foam or other cushioning usually lying over the support layer of high density foam or of innersprings. Comfort layers provide the comfort while the support layers support your body weight.
Continuous Coils: A system used in some innerspring mattresses where the spring system is manufactured from one single piece of flexible steel wire.
Convertible Sofa: A sofa that converts to a bed when needed. Usually, the bed comes in the form of a thinnish mattress lying on a folding metal frame. This is sometimes referred to as a sofa sleeper and normally used as an emergency bed for guests.
Convoluted Foam: Otherwise known as “egg crate foam” such foam is shaped in the form of an egg crate. It is softer to lie on than flat foam and helps improve your blood circulation by reducing the pressure on your pressure points.
Cornell Test: This is a testing system for mattress firmness and resistance to body impressions devised at Cornell University. Two heavy round surfaces are forced into the mattress 100,000 times with periodic testing for permanent changes or support failures.
Cotton Felt: This is a form of cotton produced by the process of garneting. In this process old cotton is combed out into individual fiber threads and then formed into a continuous layer. Such layers are combined to produce cotton batt. Cotton felt is produced by compressing several layers of the batt that can help prevent further compression by the human body. In other words, it helps extend the lifetime of the mattress without permanent impressions.
Cover: The mattress cover is also referred to as “ticking”. It encases the mattress and holds it all together.
Crib Mattress: A crib mattress, made for baby cribs, is a firm mattress with water resistant covers and side vents to generate air circulation inside the mattress and helps remove damp, heat and odors.
Crown: A mattress crown is the convex nature of a mattress. If a mattress has a crown of stated height, that is the difference between the height of the center of the mattress with the edges. A half-inch is typical, though it can be more.
Damask: This is a woven thick fabric, also known as ‘ticking’ used for mattress covers. The design on damask is woven into the fabric, and not just printed onto it. You generally find this on high quality mattresses and comes in a number of different types. Among these are Belgian (soft fabric with high thread count), Jacquard (woven on a special Jacquard loom), Matelasse (with a raised design) and Tapestry (a heavy form of damask).
Daybed: A type of bed that can be used as a sofa or a bed. It usually takes the form of a twin mattress enclosed on three sides like a sofa and can be used either for sitting or for sleeping.
Deck: A nautical terms which coincidentally also refers to the top surface of a platform base designed to support a hard sided waterbed’s frame. The other important part of the frame is the pedestal which you can find under ‘P’.
Density: The density of mattress foam is its weight for a specific volume. This is usually expressed in pounds per cubic feet or grams per cubic centimeter. The higher the density the firmer the foam will be.
Dunlop Latex: There are two types of latex: Dunlop and Talalay. With Dunlop latex, the raw liquid latex (or liquid rubber) is whipped up with air to form a foam. The foam is then poured into a mold and hardened. It can also be vulcanized with sulfur. Dunlop latex is firmer than latex produced by the Talalay process (see below under Talalay). Unlike Talalay latex, Dunlop is not vacuum sealed, and the heavier particles sink to the bottom resulting in a foam with a harder and softer side. For this reason, Dunlop latex has the most use as a support rather than a comfort foam layer.
Dust Cover: A fabric attached beneath a mattress foundation or base to contain or prevent the intrusion of dust.
Edge guard: An edge guard is added to the edge of a box spring or a mattress to provide extra support to their sides.
Egg Crate Foam: Refer to ‘Convoluted foam’ above.
Engineered edge support: Many innerspring units are located just away from the edge of the mattress. This gives you a feeling of lack of edge support from the mattress. With engineered edge support, the coils at the outer edge of the innerspring unit are positioned under the border rod so you don’t feel as if you are about to roll out of the bed.
Euro Top: This is a layer of comfort padding sewn to the edges of the top of a mattress to improve its comfort. Unlike a pillow top (see below) it appears to be part of the mattress and not an addition to it.
Filler Cloth: A plain fabric that replaces ticking as the cover on top of a foundation or base. Such cloths are often used to prevent slipping of the mattress on the foundation.
Fire Retardant: A substance applied to the mattress, or incorporated into it, that reduces its flammability. Since 2007, all mattresses sold in the US have had to meet certain fire-retardant standards.
Firmness: The resistance of a mattress to compression – much the same definition as for any material. The term refers to the support provided by a mattress, or by individual layers. Most mattresses have a soft to medium firm comfort layer and a firm support base to hold the sleeper’s weight.
Flanging: This is where a fabric strip is sewn onto the edge of the mattress cover. During assembly of the mattress, the strip is attached to the perimeter of the innerspring unit to prevent the cover and filling from moving.
Flipping: Flipping refers to turning a mattress over as opposed to turning or rotating it. The bottom becomes the top and the top the bottom. Mattresses can usually only be flipped if the top and bottom surfaces are the same. Flipping can keep a mattress looking and feeling fresh by preventing impressions that may occur when the same side is always used. Check your warranty because some need you to flip the mattress regularly to keep it valid. See ‘Rotating’ for turning a mattress round 180 degrees.
Foam: Foam is the natural and synthetic material used in practically all mattresses. It can be used as a component layer in an innerspring mattress or as the entire comfort and support layers in 100% foam mattresses. Most used foams are memory foam, polyurethane foam (aka poly foam) and latex.
Foam Encasing: These are stiff, high density foam rails used around the internal perimeter of a mattress to prevent the edges of the mattress from degrading. This system can also be used in air and soft sided water beds to provide a stiff perimeter edge for the air chamber or water bladder.
Foam foundation: This is a foundation consisting of a slatted wooden frame covered with cardboard and topped with at least 2 inches of foam and the entire thing covered with ticking.
Foundation: The support used to hold a mattress. The term ‘foundation’ is correctly applied to a box spring unit. It is sometimes incorrectly used for solid or slatted wooden mattress bases or adjustable metal units for which the correct term is a base.
Frame: When used in terms of a bed frame, this term refers to a rigid wood structure designed to hold a hard-sided waterbed mattress and also refers to the metal structure of an adjustable bed frame.
Free Flow: This refers to a waterbed with a single bladder with no dampening fixtures or fiber filling to prevent the water inside from flowing or sloshing around.
Futon: A futon is a Japanese style of the bed which is simply made from a filling and a cover. It is traditionally made from cotton but may also contain foam and innersprings. It is traditionally designed for use on a floor, but can also be used on a wooden base.
Garneting: Short cotton fibers, often from recovered waste cotton items, are combed out and formed into a thin long sheet or web. These sheets or webs are layered to form a batting that is suitable for use in mattresses.
Gel foam: Generally a visco-elastic or memory foam containing beads of a semi-solid gel. The gel absorbs heat and distributes it throughout the foam layer thus helping to keep you cool.
Gauge: This is a metric for the thickness of the wire used in a coil or spring, and generally runs from zero to 30 gauge. The lower the gauge the thicker the wire and stiffer the spring. Innerspring mattresses usually use coils of 12.5 to 17.0 gauge.
Grid/Grid Top: The grid is the steel lattice that connects the top ends of the spring coils in a box spring foundation. It is also known as a grid top.
Hard-Sided Waterbed: This is the original classic waterbed construction: a water bladder secured inside a wooden frame foundation to maintain its correct shape.
Helical: The wire spirals used to secure the rows of coils in an innerspring mattress. Adjacent rows are secured with helicals to prevent them from moving away from each other and losing shape and support.
High-contour mattress: This term describes a mattress that is measures 9” – 13” thick. A mattress below 9” thick is considered “standard” and a mattress over 13” thick is regarded as being “custom.”
High riser: This term is used for a frame or a sofa with two mattresses of equal size without a backrest. The frame slides out with the lower bed and rises to form a full or two single beds. It is good for unexpected guests or sleepovers.
Hog ring: This is named after the ring in a hog’s nose. It is used to secure the flange material and insulator to an innerspring unit.
Hospital Bed: Often used as a synonym for an adjustable bed, named after the adjustable beds in hospitals.
Hourglass Coils/Springs: Steel coils or springs manufactured in an hourglass shaped for maximum stability and support. They are commonly used in innerspring mattresses.
Hybrid Mattress: A mattress with a core of water and the rest foam. Fundamentally a water/foam hybrid bed. It is also used for mattresses using two fundamentally different support and comfort concepts such as foam and innersprings.
Hydraulic Waterbed: In this type of waterbed, the bladder is in the form of numerous individual compartments or mini-bladders. They are connected by small holes so that support is maintained along with separation of motion between two partners.
Hypoallergenic: This means that contact with the mattress or its components is less likely to lead to an allergic reaction than non-hypoallergenic mattresses. There is no guarantee that it will be allergen-free or that the user will not suffer an allergic reaction. However, it is less likely than normal.
Indentation Force Deflection (IFD): The force in pounds needed to compress a foam by 25% of its original height. The average IFD for foams lies between 10 lb for the softest foams and 80 lbs for the hardest.
Innerspring Mattress: A mattress with a core of steel coil springs. Such mattresses normally have layers of foam around the spring unit. These can be of softer foam at the top of the mattress and harder foam between that and the innerspring layer.
Insulator: In the mattress industry, an insulator is a material used to cover the top and bottom surfaces of an innerspring unit to prevent the other layers from cupping into the central space of the coils. Anything from a wire mesh to a foam pad or layer on non-woven fabric is used.
Karr Coils: See ‘Offset Coils’ below.
Knit Fabric: Such fabrics used in mattress covers have a knitted construction which is stretchier and softer than other fabrics. Sometimes used as ticking – the outer cover of a mattress.
Latex: A spongy form of natural or synthetic rubber where the liquid rubber is mixed and frothed with air then solidified to create a spongy material. There are two types used in the mattress industry: Dunlop and Talalay – refer to their individual entries here for details of the difference between them.
Loft: The height and fluffiness of a filling or padding – mainly used in the bedding industry when referring to the fill of pillows.
Lumbar Region: This term refers to the lower back, between the bottom ribs and the pelvis. Your spine is not straight up and down but is in an elongated S shape when viewed from the side. The lumbar region is the lower curve, just above the tail, and this can be the source of severe and chronic pain should its natural shape not be supported by your mattress. (See ‘Pressure Points’ below).
Marshall Coil: Otherwise known as a pocketed coil, a marshal coil is separated from its neighbors by being secured within its own fabric pocket. This allows a good level of motion separation between partners.
Memory Foam: A type of polyurethane foam that softens with the heat and pressure of your body to conform to its shape. It reduces pressure on your pressure points (mainly shoulder, hips, buttocks and knees) and reverts to its original smooth finish when you move in bed. So no matter where you sleep the mattress supports you the same. Also known as viscoelastic foam, this was originally developed by NASA to absorb the G forces of acceleration on astronauts.
Microcoils: Microcoils are smaller, lighter and narrower wire coils than a normal innerspring coil. They start at around 1” – 2.5” high with a maximum of around 4”. They can be held within an innerspring support mesh or be individually wrapped pocketed coils. They follow the contours of your body than standard coils, cool you more efficiently and provide superb motion separation.
Migration: This refers to the movement of fibers in a mattress over time. Quilting patterns can reduce this as can the use of certain high-quality fibers.
Motion Separation: The degree by which the movement of two people on a mattress affect each other. Memory foam mattresses provide a high level of motion separation while innerspring mattresses are poor in this respect.
Molded Foam Core: A flexible foam core made in molds and used as the main support system in a foam mattress.
Mounting: The way a box spring foundation unit is attached to a metal or wooden frame.
Natural Latex: Latex obtained from the rubber tree. It has good softness and elasticity, and being natural is biodegradable. Natural latex is also resistant to dust mites, bacteria and molds so are a good foam base for those subject to allergies.
No-Flip Mattress: When you find one of these it means that the mattress cannot be flipped over. It has a sleeping surface on one side only, so you won’t invalidate your warranty by not regularly flipping it.
Off-Gassing: This is the evaporation of volatile chemicals from certain foams into the air. See “Chemicals of Concern” and “VOCs”. Off-Gassing often occurs with mattresses delivered rolled up in a box.
Offset Coil: Offset coils are usually found in higher priced innerspring mattresses. They are also known as Karr coils after their inventor Frank Karr. They have the same type of hourglass shape as Bonnell coils; except that their ends are squared enabling them to be attached to the same squared ends of two other coils by helical wires. This acts like a hinge, enabling each coil to respond individually, thus creating an extremely flexible spring mesh. This makes the offset coil mattress an excellent option for side sleepers and couples needing minimum motion transfer.
Organic: The term ‘Organic’ refers to a product that has been produced without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or any other substance that is not natural. The Organic certifying body for mattresses and bedding is the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). This can include organic cotton and wool. Only foods and fibers can be labeled organic, not foams such as latex.
Orthopedic: A general term for a mattress that can provide correct support for your pressure points and alignment of your spine and other structures. It does not necessarily refer to a hard or firm mattress but provides a combination of comfort and support – preferably also with good contouring to your body shape.
Polybrominated Diphenylethers (PBDE): These are flame retardant chemicals used in foams, fabrics, and plastics. The slow down ignition time and cut the rate at which fires can spread. See Chemicals of Concern above.
Pedestal: The base of a platform foundation designed to support a hard-sided waterbed. The pedestal and the ‘Deck’ above it ensures an even distribution of the weight of the water mattress so as to minimize the stress placed on the seams – and also on the floor!
Phthalates: These are plasticizers used to make resins and plastics flexible. A number of these have been banned for use in many baby products, including children’s and baby mattresses by the 2009 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The designation CertiPUR-US is an indication that phthalates are among the chemicals not used in the manufacture of a foam, mattress topper or mattress.
Pillow Top: A pillow top is a soft, comfortable layer of foam, cotton or any other fiber that is attached to the surface of a mattress. A pillow top is usually sewn over the surface of the mattress.
Pincore Holes: These are deep holes that are spread over the body of a latex mattress to make it feel softer. The larger the holes, the softer the mattress will appear to be.
Platform Foundation/Base: This type of mattress base contains no coils or torsion bars that absorb the load of the mattress. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘poly box’.
Plush: A simple term that refers to comfort. A plush mattress top offers a softer feel to it than a top not described as such does.
Pocketed Coils: This is a type of innerspring mattress where each individual coil is wrapped in its own pocket of fabric. Unlike standard coils or Bonnell springs, the movement of one coil does not significantly also move the adjoining springs because the springs are not attached to each other. They are also referred to as Marshall coils (see Marshall Coils above).
Poly Foam: Another term for polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam is the base foam used to manufacture memory foam but is also a good mattress foam itself that can be manufactured in a variety of firmness levels.
Posturized: A ‘posturized’ mattress is one where additional support is used to prevent the center of a mattress from sagging. A box spring foundation can also be posturized in this way.
Pressure Points: These are specific parts of your body where blood flow can be restricted by pressure on a mattress. The most common two pressure points are the shoulders and hips, and the knees and elbows can also be affected. For back sleepers, the shoulders /upper back and pelvis/buttocks are the two main pressure points.
Prorated Warranty: A common type of mattress warranty/guarantee whereby, after a specified period of use, the customer must pay a portion of the original price to have the faulty mattress replaced. This period of use may be defined by some companies as beginning at the delivery date. It is very important to read your warranty carefully and understand its terms.
Quilting: This is a comfort layer stitched beneath the ticking that covers the mattress. It may offer extra comfort and also include a pillow top or Euro top layer (see reference to both terms above). Quilting may also refer to the type of stitching used to attach the layer to the ticking or any layer in the mattress.
Repositioning: This refers to a change of sleeping positions by a person during the night. An example of repositioning is rolling from your side onto your back during the night.
Resiliency: The property of how quickly a mattress, coil or padding will spring back to its original shape after pressure is taken from it.
Rollator test: This is a test to establish the potential life of a mattress. A six-sided roller weighing around 230 lb is passed over a sleep set (e.g. mattress + quilt) to determine the strength of the sleep set. This tests the strength of the mattress, quilt, and springs etc. The standard number of passes to duplicate the life of a mattress is 100,000.
Safety Liner: This can often be found in a waterbed, where the ‘safety liner’ will surround the bladder to contain leaks in the event of a puncture.
Sagging: This term refers to the way a mattress sinks due to loss of support in certain areas. It is not the same as a ‘body impression’ which is due to lying on the same part of a mattress all the time. Body impressions can often be avoided by flipping or turning a mattress, but not generally sagging. This is also known as ‘dishing’ or ‘hammocking’.
Self-Inflating: This is a type of air bed that is filled with a type of foam that expands by itself when the air is admitted to the mattress. It is particularly useful for camping.
Semi-Waveless: A waterbed where the bladder contains a quantity of fiber filling enough to reduce water movement in the bladder by around 50% relative to the movement of water in a free flow waterbed.
Slatted Base: A mattress base comprising a wooden from with slats running horizontally down its length. The fabric is normally used to cover the wooden slats and the spaces between them. It may also be referred to as a ‘built up’ foundation.
Sleep Products Safety Council hangtag: A hangtag used voluntarily by bedding manufacturers since 1987. The hangtag safety program provides important consumer information about the safe use of bedding and other sleep-related products. Manufacturers must certify that they use the tag only on mattresses that meet the Federal Standard for the Flammability of Mattresses and Mattress Pads. The tag is available as a hangtag or permanent label.
Sleep Test: This is a test period permitted by some mattress manufacturers when the buyer may return the product without quibble if they don’t like it. Sleep tests typically last 100+ days but may be shorter. The manufacturer will often require that you use the product for a specified time period (e.g. 30 days) to give it a proper test before returning it.
Smooth Top: A mattress that is not quilted, but is smooth on the top surface.
Soft-Sided Waterbed: This is a waterbed where the bladder is encased in foam and upholstery. It looks just like a traditional innerspring mattress and is occasionally referred to as a hybrid mattress (refer to ‘Hybrid Mattress’ above).
Spacer fabric: This is a ticking composed of two layers of fabric connected by means of short vertical fibers between them, allowing good air circulation round the mattress.
Split Sizes: Split King and Split Queen refer to two mattresses of approximately half the width of each of these mattress sizes. They are intended for use on adjustable bases (such as hospital beds) where each side can be adjusted individually. A normal King size, for example, would be unsuitable since each side of an adjustable bed will likely be in different positions.
Support: This term refers to the way a mattress pushes back on you when you lie on it, and how it maintains your spine in the correct position to prevent it from giving you pain. Your spine looks straight when viewed from front or back, but is an elongate ‘S’ shape when viewed from the side. Your neck is the top curve and your lower back the lower curve. Good support means that your back is maintained in this shape while you sleep.
Synthetic Latex: A form of latex made chemically from oil-based materials. It is regarded as being less flexible than natural latex (Dunlop or Talalay) but more consistent because it is not a natural product with natural inconsistencies.
Talalay Latex: Talalay latex is manufactured by whipping up natural latex with air until it becomes a foam. This wet foam is then poured into a mold. A vacuum pump is used to remove air from the foam so the various latex particles completely fill the entire mold space. It is then frozen and vulcanized by adding sulfur. This sets the uniform structure of the foam. The process is suitable for use with natural and synthetic latex and provides a foam that can be produced in a number of softness levels. It is generally softer than Dunlop latex so more suitable for comfort layers.
Tape Edge: A seam in the form of a cord that runs round the edges of the surface of a mattress. Also a type of sewing machine that is designed to stitch binding tape to the side panels and top and bottom edges of a mattress.
Ticking: The outer fabric layer of a mattress that can come in various forms. The two most common types are Knit and Damask, both of which have been defined earlier.
Tight Top Mattress: The mattress has a traditional quilted surface, but no pillow or Euro top over that surface.
Torsion Bars: These are thick wire bars that are sometimes used to provide support for innerspring mattresses. They are bent at a right angle (90o) to provide a more rigid foundation than box springs. Such foundations are also referred to as Torsion Module Foundations.
Trundle Bed: A low bed that can be pushed under a higher bed when not in use. Some designs enable the bed to spring up into a larger or higher bed.
Tufting: The name given to the stitching that holds the padding layers of a mattress in their correct position.
Ultra-Waveless: An ultra-waveless waterbed is one that has a substantial quantity of fiber in its bladder. This reduces the motion of the water to around just 5% of a free flow waterbed. There is practically no movement of water inside the bladder.
Uniflex grid: A steel wire grid that covers the top and bottom coils on an innerspring unit to prevent pocketing of material down into the coil. It also helps to distribute the body weight of a person. Also see ‘’Insulator” above.
Upholstery: This term refers to all the comfort features of a mattress: cushioning, quilting, ticking etc.
Ventilators: These are the small eyelets or screens (metal or plastic) in the sides of the mattress to allow air to flow into and out of the mattress interior.
Visco-Elastic Foam: Same as memory foam (above).
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): These are vapors from volatile substances used during mattress manufacture. VOCs are often substances hazardous to health when present above a certain level in the air. Most of these will have dissipated by the time you receive your mattress.
Wall-Hugger: This is used in relation to adjustable beds. A wall hugger maintains the alignment of the bed relative to nightstands or bedside tables when its position is adjusted. It does this by moving the bed backwards towards the wall as the head of the bed is raised or dropped.
Warranty: A manufacturer’s statement that certain flaws in the product will be fixed without charge. The warranty generally applies only to manufacturing defects and is available for a limited period of time. Always read your warranty and make sure you understand it. It will not usually cover wear and tear or misuse. Also, see ‘Prorated Warranty ‘above.
Whisper Quiet: This is a term used with adjustable beds and pumping systems (for air or waterbeds). The electric motor or air pump is housed in such a way as to operate very quietly.
Wool: Wool is used as a fire retardant just beneath the ticking of a mattress. Wool is naturally fire resistant and meets most federal fire standards with the minimal use of chemical fire retardants.
Working Turn: You may come across this term in relation to spring coils. A working turn is a measure of the tightness of the coils: Two working turns to equate to a 360 degree revolution of a coil.
Ultimate Glossary of Bedding and Mattress Terms: Summary
This glossary of bedding and mattress terms should help you when buying a new mattress. InsideBedroom provides you with all you need to know about bedding and mattresses. It is always wise to have all the information you gather before purchasing any items for your bedroom, and this website provides you with all the bedding and mattress tips you need.