Encapsulated Innerspring Mattresses vs Mattresses with Border Rods

Encapsulated Innerspring Mattresses vs Border Rod Mattresses

When purchasing mattresses in bulk for a housing facility, you have a number of objectives to accomplish. As a starting point, you want the mattresses to hold up for as long as possible, so you get a good return on your investment and can reserve resources for other needs.

In addition to value, you’ll also want a comfortable mattress that allows everyone to get a good night of sleep. It’s on this second point where many mattress options on the market today fall short. While they have been designed for durability and low cost, those mattresses may come up short with regard to the comfort that your users deserve.

In this article, we are going to talk about two categories of mattresses in this market – encapsulated innerspring mattresses and border rod mattresses. At MTJ American, we favor the encapsulated innerspring design for multiple reasons, which we will get into below.

What’s the Difference?

Unless you work in the mattress industry, you may not be familiar with these two mattress designs. Here is a quick overview of how they differ –

  • Encapsulated Innerspring Mattress. This style of mattress uses a foam border to encase the structure of the design. In other words, under the cover, there is foam running around the entire perimeter of the mattress.
  • Border Rod Mattress. As the name would suggest, this design uses a rod that runs around the edge of the mattress (again, under the cover) to give the mattress its shape.

Both of these designs are viable, and they can each create a mattress that will work in a dormitory or other housing facility. But, as we’ll see below, they have different performance characteristics based on their designs.

Pros and Cons

As you get ready to make a mattress purchase for your facility or organization, you really don’t need to know much about the design basics of a given mattress. What you need to know is how the product can serve your needs, and what drawbacks you may need to consider.

Let’s start by looking at the pros and cons of the encapsulated innerspring mattress design.

  • PRO – Comfortable to sleep on and comfortable to sit on. 
  • PRO – Able to sit on edge of mattress without damaging the structure. Border rods can bend and when they do, they stay bent. 
  • PRO – Longer lasting design than a border rod mattress
  • PRO - Transporting the mattress is easy because the foam side rails allow the mattress to bend freely without damaging the integrity of the core.
  • CON – Can be more expensive than alternatives

 On the other hand, here is what we find with border rod mattresses.

  • PRO – Low cost thanks to compromises made in the design process
  • CON – Much less comfortable than an encapsulated innerspring design particularly during egress and ingress. 
  • CON – Won’t last as long because once the rod bends, it's impossible to retain it's original shape and they bend quite easily. 
  • CON-  Border rod mattresses can be more difficult to move because they cannot bend without damaging the steel border rod. 
  • CON – Border rods can puncture the cover of the mattress, causing painful abrasions against the skin. 


Which One Should You Buy?

The pros and cons lists above should make it pretty obvious – an encapsulated innerspring mattress is going to be the better option for almost every buyer. These types of mattresses deliver on comfort and longevity, which are the two main factors for this type of purchase.

In addition to the positive attributes we’ve highlighted so far, there is also the easy-to-clean nature of these mattresses to consider as a positive. If your staff has to clean a large number of these mattresses each day, keeping this task simple is a big advantage.

The only thing we can say in favor of a border rod mattress is the low cost of the product. If you have an extremely tight budget and simply can’t afford anything else, this could be an option. However, it’s worth remembering that a border rod design shouldn’t be expected to last as long, so your savings in the short term will be eaten up when you have to order replacement mattresses in the near future.


A Choice to Last

Simply put, you’ll be better served with an encapsulated innerspring mattress than a border rod mattress. Spending slightly more upfront on this purchase is going to pay off for years, and you’ll be offering a better sleeping experience along the way, as well. These kinds of small decisions can have a major impact on day-to-day operations, so get this one right and go with the encapsulated innerspring design.