So, what type of mattress do you need? Which of them will make you sleep and feel much better? Our goal is to provide you with all the info you need to make the right decision.
A quick look at all the types of mattress
First, you need to make sure that you know about all the most common types of mattresses on the market. There are only 4 of them, so you can get all the most important info by taking a look at the table.
For more information on each, check out the sections with the detailed description of every type of mattress — we provided them after the chart.
|Price varies from/to||$170–$1,200||$600–2,500+||$300–$1,200+||$650–$2,200+|
|Most common health benefits||Relieves back, hip & shoulder pain||Relieves back & joint pain, allergen-free||Relieves shoulder & back pain||Improves sleep, provides more support, relieves back pain|
|Basic info||Made of foundation, core & comfort layer, may contain connected or non-connected coils||All-natural products, made of rubber trees that were whipped into foam||Made of polyurethane, may have gel cooling layer||Combine memory foam, gel, or latex with an innerspring base.|
Note that this is basic information. Health benefits, for example, are generalized: we recommend seeing a doctor and getting precise prescriptions. It will allow you to choose the best variant. However, we take a closer look at each type of mattress below.
Moreover, there are also the so-called subtypes or alternative types of mattresses, which are as follows:
- Gel-infused mattresses
- Pillow-top mattresses
- Futon mattresses
- Air and airbed mattresses (cheap and luxury options respectively)
- Waterbed mattresses
These are the subtypes that have a specific common feature, for example, gel-infused mattresses have a gel layer or memory foam gel-infused layer with cooling properties, futon mattresses are used on futons only and are pretty cheap. Or these are the subtypes that are rarely used for sleep, the so-called portable mattresses, airbeds, and waterbeds. We will also take a closer look at them below.
But let us analyze the 4 most common types, which are innerspring mattresses, memory foam mattresses, hybrids, and latex mattresses, first.
Innerspring mattresses — a classic that never gets old
These are some of the most common and oldest types of mattresses. We bet you have slept on one of them at least once — they have been the No. 1 mattresses for decades and still remain popular due to the reasonable price and great support they provide.
An innerspring mattress is made of:
- The base made of fiber
- The core with coils of a certain type (interconnected or pocketed coils)
- The upper layer, also known as the comfort layer.
The type of springs in the innerspring mattress largely determine the level of support, motion control, and durability of the mattress. In general, there are two types of coils: pocketed (each spring in a separate pocket) and connected (continuous, bonnel, offset) coils.
Connected coils provide better support but it also means that motion isolation is not as good as one may expect. Pocketed coils are much better when it comes to motion transfer, and they are also conforming, but they are not as good as connected coils for heavy people because of lack of firmness and support.
Comfort layer may be different. It is often made of wool, cotton, or polyester. However, if it is made of latex, memory foam or has a gel layer, it cannot be considered a true innerspring mattress. If there are coils + latex, foam, or gel, this mattress falls under the category of hybrids.
Who needs an innerspring mattress?
It might be a good option for you if:
- You are looking for lower back pain relief — such mattresses are very supportive which relieves pressure and therefore, pain in this area.
- You are not ready to spend a fortune on a mattress — these are some of the most affordable options on the market.
- You are a stomach or a combo sleeper — on such beds, you will not sink into the bottom layers of your mattress, and at the same time, you will be able to move around easily.
- You are sensitive and hate that mattress odor.
Innerspring mattresses: benefits & drawbacks
Let’s sum up all the most important facts about this type of mattress.
- Some of the most supportive mattresses
- Works for heavier people
- Great edge support
- Last long
- Back pain relief, pressure relief
- No deep sinking into a mattress
- Reasonable and even low price
- Pretty cooling, good for hot sleepers
- No so good motion isolation
Conclusions on innerspring mattresses
In general, it is no wonder that this type of mattress is still popular. It is good for combo sleepers, stomach sleepers, and heavy people because of the great support they provide. They are also good for hot sleepers who can’t relax and have a really good rest on memory foam.
Yes, innerspring mattresses with connected coils are not so good for couples because of poor motion isolation, but you can choose innerspring mattresses with pocketed coils to solve this problem. The price is pretty low, too.
However, if you are looking for a softer, less noisy, more modern & durable mattress that will not sag this fast, take a closer look at other types of mattresses.
Memory foam mattress — No. 1 mattress in the United States?
Memory foam is used to manufacture a lot of products from mattresses and pillows to shoe pads and headphones. It is elastic material that “has memory” and can conform to an object, for example, a sleeper’s body perfectly. It can recover within a short time — if you buy such a mattress, you will receive a relatively small box. But once you unpack it, you will see the mattress inflating really rapidly, recovering its true form.
Currently, it is a champion on the market due to a relatively low price, good support, and plenty of other properties. Still, it is perfect for some people and just does not work for others. To which group do you belong? Let us see.
Who needs a memory foam mattress?
It might be a good option for you if:
- You feel pressure in your hips and shoulders and look for back or neck pain relief.
- You like to slowly sink into the mattress — memory foam mattresses are quite soft and they conform to your body perfectly.
- You are a side sleeper and pressure relief is your top priority.
- You are looking for a quality but not too expensive option.
Memory foam mattresses: benefits & drawbacks
So, what are the main pros & cons of this type of mattress? Let us take a look
- Amazing option for side sleepers
- The best for pressure and pain relief
- Pretty durable
- Definitely not noisy
- Great motion isolation
- Conforms to body perfectly
- It traps heat
- It is difficult to move around on a memory foam mattress
- It is sagging over time
- It is not the best option for active sleepers
- It is very popular, and not all manufacturers make effort to produce quality products
Conclusions on memory foam mattresses
It is the most popular type of mattress to date. It is soft, conforming, supportive enough, and it is just perfect for side sleepers. Memory foam mattresses are often bought by couples who want their bed not to be noisy and not to transfer motion. The price is reasonable, too — there are a lot of options that cost up to $500. However, memory foam is not as good for hot sleepers, active sleepers and those who are looking for a mattress that will not sag.
Latex mattress — why is it the priciest option?
Contrary to popular belief, latex mattresses are not the super new type of mattresses. They have a lot of history, actually. Just like innerspring mattresses, it’s been used for a really long time, for decades, to be exact.
Latex is synonymous with rubber, but in mattress terms, these are not the same things. material used in latex mattresses is rather the rubberized foam. Unlike the latter, it does not give a slow response — it is bouncy, it is more responsive, it is elastic, and it feels like you are floating on the surface. Hence, though latex is “rubberized foam”, it is not exactly foam and not exactly rubber — it is another material that has its pros & cons. What are they? Let us analyze it in more detail to find out.
Who needs a latex mattress?
It might be a good option for you if:
- You are a back sleeper and look for something bouncy and at the same time comfortable.
- You are a hot sleeper.
- You look for something firmer than memory foam.
- You sleep with your spouse, partner, child, etc., and if one of you is an active sleeper who is moving all the time.
- You don’t want to sink into a mattress and like sleeping on top of it.
- Support is very important for you.
- You look for the most lasting option on the market.
- You want to avoid dust, mould, bacteria at all costs and look for something resistant to them.
- You look for pain and pressure relief, especially if you have back pain.
Latex mattresses: benefits & drawbacks
Now let us take a look at the main pros & cons of this type of mattresses.
- It is cooling
- It is responsive, so you can move around easily
- Super durable, more durable than other mattresses
- It doesn’t sag over a long period
- It’s eco friendly and hypoallergenic
- Pricier than other mattresses
- Not as good for pressure relief as memory foam
Conclusions on latex mattresses
Such mattresses are much softer, more responsive than innerspring mattresses but more supportive and much cooler than memory foam ones. It is probably the “best” type just because it may work for different types of sleepers: side, back, combo sleepers, couples, singles, etc.
However, it is also more expensive than other mattresses. Some people believe it is the right decision to purchase something more expensive but more lasting, some think that the difference between latex and other types of mattresses is not so big to pay this much money. In general, it’s always up to you. Just consider your own priorities, expectations and your budget.
Hybrids — mattresses that took the best from other types
Some sleepers say that those who invented hybrid mattresses were geniuses. Well, hybrids are definitely great if made of quality materials and using the right technologies, but does it mean they are perfect? Not really. Like other types of mattresses, they have their downsides as well as benefits.
As we noted before, hybrids are the mattresses with coils and a foam layer. It means that you can enjoy the benefits of both: the support of coils (if they are pocketed, the mattress is likely to have very good motion isolation, too) and that soft, slowly moving, pleasant feel of quality memory foam or latex. Some hybrid mattresses contain a lot of layers, for example, a top latex or memory foam layer, transition foam layer, base layer and coils support layer. Yes, that is a complex and often pretty expensive construction that, however, can make you feel great and sleep well.
Who needs a hybrid mattress?
It might be a good option for you if:
- You are an active sleeper who does not want to stuck in a mattress every single night.
- You are a hot sleeper looking for a mattress covered with foam that would not trap heat.
- You are pretty heavy and look for a supportive and at the same time soft mattress.
- You are ready to pay more to enjoy better sleep.
- Supportive mattress with the softer top
- Lots of variations
- Different top layers to choose from
- Very durable
- Perfect for hot sleepers
- Good for all sleeping positions
- More expensive than innerspring and memory foam mattresses
- Difficult to move around
- Not so good when it comes to motion isolation as memory foam
Conclusions on hybrid mattresses
So, can we say that hybrids are actually better than other types of mattresses? No, we cannot. Again, it all depends on your preferences, budget, expectations, etc. Of course, there are some objectively good things like extended lifespan, better overall support, better edge support, and opportunity to enjoy softness without sinking down to the bottom layers of the mattress, but these mattress are usually pricier and not as good in motion isolation as their cheaper alternatives, in particular, $200 memory foam mattresses.
Subtypes or alternative types of mattresses: from waterbeds to gel mattresses
It is a relatively new technology, but it took only a few years for every manufacturer to start using it. This technology is called gel infusing. We have already described memory foam before, and gel-infused foam keeps its all good properties and even becomes better. Here are two most important things gel adds and does to your mattress:
- Foam or latex with gel feels more supportive when you are lying on it. It is bouncier, so you don’t sink as deep into your mattress as you did before.
- It makes the whole bed cooler. Why are 2 out of 3 mattresses gel-infused? Because manufacturers understand that a lot of people are hot sleepers. Gel foam was initially designed to make soft materials not as hot as they used to be.
All the mattresses that have a gel layer are a bit more supportive and a bit cooler, so consider this when choosing a mattress. If you are sweating during the night, an item with the word “gel” in the name might be a better option.
What is a pillow-top mattress? In fact, it is a regular mattress, usually an innerspring mattress or hybrid with the additional layer of padding made of a soft material like latex, memory foam, fiberfill, fabric, etc. Such mattresses were designed for those who were looking for support and firmness (provided by springs) and at the same time wanted to sleep on a plush, soft surface.
The good news is if you have already bought a regular mattress, for example, and innerspring one, you can buy a topper made of foam, latex, gel-infused cooling material and make your bed significantly softer.
As the name suggests, these are the mattresses you usually put on a futon. Such mattresses are cheap (the price usually varies from 200 to 400 dollars) and made of pretty durable compressed materials like foam (the most common one), wool, latex, and cotton.
They are usually pretty firm and they last longer just because in most cases, people don’t use them regularly. Still, though people are usually not too picky when it comes to futon mattresses, finding a quality, soft yet supportive mattress for your guests is still possible — there are pretty many options on the market.
We bet we don’t have to explain what good old portable air mattresses are. You use the pump to inflate a mattress, and you can use it as it is or by adding a softer topper. Such options have a few benefits, actually, in particular, portability, durability (if you care about your mattress well enough), a really low price (you can buy a great item for $100), no sagging and adjustable firmness.
However, people rarely sleep on such mattresses. They are good for camping, but not always for your back, unless you didn’t buy that $3,000 adjustable air mattress with air chambers.
The main advantage of a water mattress is the opportunity to heat it. Seriously, it is very helpful if you have certain health issues. Such mattresses can also be very relaxing, but the truth is that just like air mattresses, they are not designed for regular sleep. They are not supportive enough, leaks are a big problem, it may have strange smell, and such items usually don’t last for decades.
Types of mattresses — the bottom line
What conclusions can we draw? re 4 main types of mattresses. They are innerspring mattresses, foam mattresses, hybrids, and latex mattresses. There are also subtypes of mattresses. They are gel mattresses, pillow-top mattresses, waterbeds, airbeds, and futon mattresses.
Here are the most important facts you should know about each of them.
- Innerspring mattresses are very supportive and long-lasting, perfect for combo and stomach sleepers.
- Memory foam mattresses are softer, they are good for side sleepers and those who like it when their body is slowly sinking into a mattress.
- Hybrids took the best from both worlds. They are supportive because they contain springs and at the same type soft and plush due to the foam top layer.
- Latex is the most expensive, natural, soft but bouncy material. It is supportive and soft at the same time.
- Pillow tops are great for those who want to make a traditional innerspring mattress or hybrid bed a bit softer by using a topper or buying a mattress with an additional pillow layer.
- Futon mattresses. Usually, these are guest beds, but there are a lot of cheap and flexible memory foam mattresses that can provide the pretty high level of comfort.
- Air and water mattresses. They have some advantages, but they are not designed for regular sleep if it is not luxurious mattresses with customizable air or water chambers.
As you can see, it is not as complicated as it may seem. All types of mattresses have their benefits and drawbacks, and the trick is to find the option that would be perfect for you.