Innerspring vs. Memory Foam Mattresses – Which One Should You Choose?
Are you having trouble choosing the right mattress type for you? Innerspring and memory foam are the two types you probably heard of first, but do you know what they’re like?
Innerspring mattresses are slightly older, and memory foam isn’t precisely a newer material. Even though they’re very different, they’re equally trendy.
We created this memory foam vs. innerspring mattress guide to help you out! This article will cover what these two types entail, what their differences are, and which type you should choose based on your preferences and sleeping habits.
Before we begin covering the differences between these two mattress types, let’s look at some of the basic information about innerspring mattresses and memory foam mattresses. In this part of the article, you’ll find out what they’re made from, what their construction is like, and we’ll describe how they feel.
Innerspring mattresses are the oldest mattress type on the market. They used to be the only available type for a while. The first innerspring mattress was created in 1871, but they’re less popular today with the rise of newer types.
Mattresses are generally made with two layers – for support and comfort. The support core in a spring mattress is made with a steel coil support, and a thin foam layer is put on top of it.
Innerspring mattresses are known for their bounce and support.
Check out our list of best innerspring mattresses!
What Are Innerspring Mattresses Made From?
The central aspect of a spring mattress is its support core made from steel coils.
These coils can be constructed differently, but they provide a very similar feeling to the sleeper.
Innerspring mattresses are usually firmer and more supportive. Their construction makes them very durable, so they last a long time. They have a lot of bounce and respond fast. Because of the coils, the material is very breathable and has no issues with trapping heat.
This system is often used in hybrid mattresses. Hybrid mattresses are made by combining two mattress types.
However, the coil system is terrible at isolating motion, with some coil types being worse than others. The steel can also get very noisy and creaky. Let’s look at a couple of coil types and what they’re like.
Bonnell coils are separate coils with an hourglass shape. They sink when you put pressure on them, making them more body-conforming.
Continuous coils are made from a piece of wire that’s completely connected. They’re supportive but notoriously bad at isolating motion.
Pocketed coils mean that the bed is made from individually wrapped coils. Pocket coils are used to improve contouring, motion isolation, and support.
Offset coils also have an hourglass shape. They’re known as firm, durable and body-conforming.
Even though it’s not at the top of the list of the most popular mattress types today, an innerspring mattress has a lot of benefits.
The steel support core offers more support, especially for heavier sleepers. Added coils also improve edge support. This mattress is durable, has more bounce, and has alright body contouring.
The coil construction system also makes the material more breathable, which is what hot sleepers need.
The biggest problem is motion isolation, which is mostly non-existent. Pocketed coils are supposed to transfer less motion, but they still do it. Other coil types like Bonnell coils, offset coils and continuous coils are especially bad at isolating motion. The coils can also get creaky, especially with more use.
The innerspring support system is also often used in hybrid mattresses, giving them great support and durability.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses are usually made from two layers, one for support and the other for comfort. The support layer is supposed to keep your spine aligned, and in the case of memory foam mattresses, it’s made from firmer polyurethane foam. The comfort layers, which are supposed to provide comfort and contour your body, are made from softer viscoelastic polyurethane foam.
One of the most notable aspects of a memory foam mattress are its slow responsiveness and sound motion isolation.
Check out our list of best memory foam mattresses!
What Is Memory Foam Made From?
NASA first used memory foam in the 1960s for crash protection. It’s made by adding materials to polyurethane foam to make it more elastic and soft. This elasticity helped commercialize the material and turn it into a go-to component for mattresses.
Memory foam mattresses can have different firmness levels depending on how they’re made, but they’re predominantly softer. Memory foam is elastic but slow to respond, which means it takes a while to get back into its original shape once you put pressure on it.
The softness of a memory foam mattress makes it great for motion absorption and body contouring, but it also means that it will deteriorate faster.
Additionally, traditional memory foam mattresses are known for trapping heat. It’s not a breathable material, but the mattress industry tries to fix this by adding other materials like copper or graphite or by adding cooling gel pods and trying different types of construction.
Here are some of the most popular memory foams.
Traditional Memory Foam
Traditional memory foam mattresses have a so-called closed-cell structure, and it fits with the description we have given so far. It’s soft and offers excellent comfort, but it isn’t breathable.
Open-cell foam is created to try to battle the temperature regulation problem. Because of its construction, this memory foam is more breathable and softer but also prone to deterioration.
Foam With Gel Pods
As mentioned before, gel pods with cooling gel in them are also used to fix the issue of trapping heat. Furthermore, gel memory foam has improved firmness and bounce of the mattress. Gel memory foam can even have added gel pods in different zones that need more support.
Plant-Based Memory Foam
Plant-based memory foam is an eco-friendly option with corn oil and soybean ingredients. It has an open-cell structure, so it’s softer than other types of memory foam. Additionally, it’s less responsive and more bouncy.
Most mattress shoppers prefer memory foam mattresses because of their softness, body conformity, and pressure relief.
Body conformity and pressure relief are essential for side sleepers and those with painful pressure points.
The slow response of a foam mattress makes it feel like you’re sinking into it, which isn’t very good for some people, significantly heavier and older people who might feel stuck in it.A foam mattress traps body heat, making it bad for hot sleepers, but some versions try to fix this with added materials that try to lower the body temperature.
Innerspring vs. Memory Foam Mattresses – the Biggest Differences
That’s all the essential information you need about these mattresses! Now let’s cover the most crucial part of the memory foam vs innerspring mattresses debate – their differences. These two mattress types have a lot of differences, as you’ll see.
The most noticeable difference between memory foam and traditional innerspring mattresses is motion transfer.
A memory foam bed is so great at absorbing motion that you can put a glass of water on one side of the bed and jump up and down on the other, and the water won’t spill.
On the other hand, the coils in spring mattresses immediately transfer motion, so it’s best not to try this experiment. However, pocket coils are slightly better at isolating motion, which is why this type is usually the favorite spring mattress.
As mentioned before, traditional memory foam beds are notorious for trapping heat, which is bad for hot sleepers. This is the aspect of the memory foam vs. innerspring debate where the innerspring mattress wins.
Manufacturers try to fix the temperature regulation problem in foam mattresses in different ways, one of which is gel memory foam. Still, they can’t compare to the breathability that an open coil system in an innerspring mattress offers. Spring mattresses are definitely the right choice for those who sleep hot.
A supportive mattress is essential for health and good sleep quality. Both memory foam and innerspring mattresses are good at offering support in their ways, but spring mattresses win.
If you need extra support, an innerspring mattress is a better choice. The steel coils in a spring mattress offer more support than the support foam in a memory foam mattress, and they last longer. Although, gel memory foam can have firm support in certain areas with the help of gel pods.
Innerspring beds also have better edge support because of added coils around the perimeter, and they can handle more body weight. If you need a bed with a good combination of support and comfort, you can always go for a hybrid mattress.
Body contouring and pressure relief are two critical aspects of comfort. Some people, especially side sleepers and those with painful pressure points, need a mattress that quickly conforms to their bodies.
A foam mattress is a definite winner in this part of the innerspring vs. memory foam mattress debate. The comfort layers of this mattress are soft and body-contouring material, so it’s preferred by many. On the other hand, innerspring mattresses have more bounce and firmness, similar to latex mattresses. They can still conform to the body, just less than foam mattresses.
Firmness describes how soft or hard a mattress surface is to the touch, and it’s entirely subjective. Although, most people prefer a medium mattress.
Both innerspring and memory foam are almost entirely different when it comes to firmness. Spring mattresses are generally bouncy with a firm sleeping surface, and foam mattresses are known as soft and slow.
That being said, it all depends on construction and materials used. Foam firmness can vary depending on the foam material, and some traditional innerspring beds can be soft.
Memory foam and innerspring mattresses are entirely different when it comes to responsiveness. Memory foam usually has a slow response – if you put pressure on it, it will take a while to get back into its original shape.
On the other hand, traditional innerspring mattresses are fast to respond. They’re bouncy and a combination of steel coils and a thin top layer for the sleeping surface.
Some people prefer slow responsiveness, while some need their mattress to respond to their body fast. This also depends on your sleep position. For example, combination sleepers need a mattress with a fast response time, like a coil mattress or one from latex foam. Stomach sleepers and back sleepers also need a responsive mattress.
Memory foam is the definite winner in this category since it’s very good at absorbing motion and sound. It’s practically noiseless.
Innerspring mattresses are made with steel coils that can get very creaky, especially as time goes by. Memory foam is the better choice if you want a quiet bed.
The price of a mattress depends on many things. This, other than type, also includes the company, construction, materials, etc. This means that prices ranges can vary spending to different factors.
Still, innerspring mattresses tend to be more affordable than memory foam ones. However, there could be an expensive spring mattress and a cheap memory foam mattress. It all depends on your personal preferences and their value to you.
Check out our list of best mattresses for the money!
A mattress should last you a long time, but your personal preferences are more important for better sleep.
Still, traditional spring mattresses and their metal support are more supportive and durable. However, as they get older, coils can move around and become noisy. Memory foam tends to last shorter because of its softness and proneness to deterioration. Older memory foam mattresses usually have an indentation where people sleep.
Which One Should You Choose?
Now that you know all about the main differences between these two mattress types, you probably already know which one is right for you. Here are some additional tips that could help you out!
Why Should You Get an Innerspring Mattress?
First, let’s see why a spring mattress could be the right choice.
You Need More Support
The coils in a spring mattress provide firm support. This is especially great for heavier sleepers because it will be able to keep their spine aligned, and it will last longer.
Good Edge Support
Edge support is also crucial for heavier sleepers and those who like to sit on the side of the bed. Spring mattresses usually have extra steel on the perimeter to make the edge firmer.
Most innerspring mattresses have a traditional bounce to them. The metal coils make the spring mattresses very bouncy and give them a fast response time. This is excellent for some sleep positions like combination sleepers, but also back sleepers, and average weight stomach sleepers.
Better Temperature Regulation
One of the benefits of the coils support core is that it makes the mattress breathable because air can flow between the coils. The mattress doesn’t trap body heat, which is a big plus if you’re a hot sleeper.
Why Shouldn’t You Get an Innerspring Mattress?
But what about its flaws? Let’s look at why innerspring might not be the one for you.
Bad Motion Transfer
The coils system offers many benefits, but one of its main flaws is motion transfer. If you’re sharing a bed with a partner and you’re easy to wake up, avoid innerspring. Even pocketed coils transfer motion.
If you like your bed to be soundless, innerspring is not for you. The creaky coils will just get creakier with use, so avoid it if it’s not your thing.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Why Should You Get a Memory Foam Mattress?
What if memory foam is the proper choice? Here are some signs that could help you out.
You Sleep With a Partner
Memory foam is the best at motion isolation, which is why it’s preferred by couples. If your partner is tossing and turning on the other side of the memory foam mattress, you won’t even feel it.
Check out our list of best mattresses for couples if you need more ideas!
Side sleepers need both support and comfort. Their spine should be aligned in this sleeping position, and the mattress should comfort the widest parts of the body – hips, and shoulders. Memory foam is the perfect mattress for this, so you’ll probably love this mattress type if you’re a side sleeper.
Pressure relief is needed for those in pain. For example, those with back pain, or pain in their hips and shoulders, need a softer mattress to relieve those joints from the pain and pressure. Memory foam is excellent for this, so test it out if you need to relieve some stress.
Body contouring is essential when talking about side sleeping, and memory foam is the best at it. If you like a bed that will feel like a hug, try going for memory foam beds.
Why Shouldn’t You Get a Memory Foam Mattress?
Now let’s see why you should avoid memory foam at all costs.
You’re a Hot Sleeper
As mentioned a couple of times before, memory foam is awful for temperature regulation. It traps a lot of body heat and isn’t breathable at all. Avoid this mattress type if you sleep hot and need a cool sleeping surface. Some memory foams, like open cell memory foam and gel memory foam, are better at this but still have temperature issues.
Foam mattresses usually have a lot of sinkage, which isn’t preferred by everyone. The memory foam layers, combined with slow responsiveness, make some significantly heavier and older people feel like they’re stuck in and can’t move. If this sounds like something you wouldn’t like, don’t go for memory foam.
That’s everything we have to share with you regarding the memory foam vs. innerspring debate!
Innerspring mattresses are the right choice for you if you need more support and better temperature regulation, but know that they can’t isolate motion and can be very noisy. On the other hand, a memory foam mattress offers better body contouring, pressure relief, and excellent motion isolation, but it traps heat and isn’t that great for heavier sleepers. If you feel like you need a combination of these mattresses, you can always go for a hybrid mattress!
Remember to always choose your mattress based on your personal preferences and habits, check out reviews, and test out the bed if you have a chance to! Good luck finding your new mattress!