Types of Mattresses – A Complete Guide
Shopping for a new mattress can get confusing, especially when you run into all of the different types of mattresses.
How can you know which one is good for you? What should you watch out for? Welcome to our mattress types guide, where we’ll go over the fundamentals and help choose your next mattress. Let’s get into it!
Foam mattresses are one of the most famous types of mattresses. In an all-foam mattress, the supportive layer is made from firmer foam, and the comfort layers are made from softer foam.
They can have varying firmness levels, but they’re usually on the softer side. Foam mattresses are famous for contouring the body, relieving pressure really well, and giving a very slow response. They also block motion very well, making them a good choice for couples and light sleepers.
Because they are inexpensive, memory foam mattresses are typically the go-to types of mattresses for people on a budget. This doesn’t mean that all of them are budget-friendly, some more luxurious options can get pretty expensive.
Foam mattresses aren’t especially supportive or durable, and their edges aren’t very firm. Because foam is a closed-cell material, it tends to trap heat.
There are a couple of different types of foam mattress materials, and they can even be combined into one mattress.
Memory foam is a viscoelastic foam created by NASA. Today, it’s considered as the most comfortable type of mattress.
Memory foam beds are made from high-density polyfoam in the support layer with memory foam layers on top for comfort. Memory foam itself is too soft to offer proper support, so a firmer foam needs to be used. Still, a memory foam mattress isn’t the most durable and supportive.
Memory foam mattresses contour the body, relieve pressure, and isolate motion. A memory foam mattress is also a good option if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic bed that’s less likely to harbor dust mites.
It’s slightly more expensive than regular foam, but a memory foam mattress can still be found for a lower price. There’s just one problem—traditional memory foam beds are notorious for trapping heat. However, there are ways to fix that.
Gel-infused memory foam mattresses are made for people who sleep hot. This memory foam is infused with gel, so it can handle body heat better than the traditional version of the material.
In comparison to memory foam, the differences aren’t all that big. Gel-infused memory foam mattresses are a little bit more firm and responsive. Other than that, it’s very similar to traditional memory foam.
Gel mattresses can be a good option if you’re a hot sleeper who really needs all of the benefits that memory foam comes with, like pain relief and contouring. But keep in mind that this type of mattress with advanced foams is usually more expensive.
Copper-infused memory foam and foam mattresses with little packets of gel are two other types of high-tech foams made to help regulate temperature. However, most mattresses made of memory foam are still not very breathable, even when they’re gel mattresses.
Also known as polyurethane foam, polyfoam is the firmest, most durable, and least expensive type of foam on the market. High-density polyfoam is usually used for the support layer, but softer foam layers can be used for comfort too.
This material isn’t nearly as comfortable as memory foam. If you like a firmer mattress with less pain relief and slightly more bounce, this is the one for you.
Polyurethane foam is also not good at temperature regulation, just like memory foam, and can be made with a lot of harmful chemicals. That’s why you should always look for a polyfoam mattress with a CertiPUR-US certification.
If you like a softer mattress or suffer from painful joints, you’ll love this material that relieves the pressure points. The sleeping position this is best for is side sleeping.
Foam mattresses offer great motion isolation, so they’re also a good choice for couples.
- Contouring material
- Relieves pressure very well
- Good motion isolation
- Usually budget friendly
- Bad temperature regulation, unless it’s gel foam
- Not very durable
- Weak edge support
Innerspring mattresses are the oldest type of mattress around. An innerspring mattress is constructed with a steel coil support system and thin comfort layers on top.
Innerspring mattresses aren’t the most comfortable type of mattresses, and they certainly aren’t everybody’s favorite. However, the steel coils offer a lot of support, so you’ve got to give them that!
Innerspring mattresses even come with superb edge support, which is great for older people, heavier sleepers, and those who like to sleep near the edge of their bed. These mattresses tend to be bouncy and firmer, but even that can vary. Innerspring beds are also generally budget-friendly and breathable.
Even though they’re more durable than foam, coils can fall apart easily, depending on the quality and coil count. Even with pocketed coils, it doesn’t block motion very well, so it’s not the best choice for couples.
Additionally, if you suffer from allergies and have a problem with dust, avoid innersprings. Their breathable construction and a lot of inside space make them a great place for bed bugs.
Not all innerspring mattresses are completely the same. Their attributes can depend on how the metal coils in them are constructed.
The support layer of an innerspring mattress can be made from one single wire formed into coils. This type of construction offers a lot of support and durability, but it also means you’ll get no motion isolation. This one definitely isn’t for couples!
Bonnell coils are separate coils in the shape of an hourglass. They cost slightly more than continuous coils, but they offer better support and motion isolation.
Similar to Bonnell coils, offset coils have an hourglass shape, but with flat edges on top and bottom. This makes the mattress more contoured and even less squeaky. They generally help create a more durable and firm mattress.
If you’re looking for an innerspring mattress that doesn’t transfer motion, one with encased or pocketed coils is the best option. In this mattress, each individual coil is covered in some material, whether it’s cloth or foam. This stops the spring mattress from transferring motion and even offers better support. Although they’re more often found in hybrid mattresses.
Innerspring mattresses aren’t everyone’s favorite, but they are a good choice for people who need firmer support. We would recommend innerspring mattresses for back sleepers and stomach sleepers because they need a firmer and more supportive mattress.The good support of innerspring beds also makes them a good choice for people who suffer from lower back pain. Innerspring mattresses can also offer more support for heavier sleepers and are a good breathable option for hot sleepers.
- Can be very supportive
- Tends to be an affordable mattress type
- Very breathable and doesn’t trap body heat
- Numerous firmness options
- Doesn’t relieve a lot of pressure
- Coils aren’t very durable and can get noisy over time
- Generally bad motion isolation
Latex mattresses can be made with natural, synthetic, or blended latex. Natural latex is considered the best and most luxurious material, while synthetic latex is more similar to memory foam.
Natural latex mattresses are extremely durable and supportive. Latex beds can even last up to 10 years, and some mattress companies even offer a lifetime warranty for this type of mattress.
Although they’re not as good as memory foam, they do a good job at relieving pressure and isolating motion. But unlike memory foam, latex is known for its fast response.
Also, temperature regulation is one area where they outperform memory foam. So if you’re looking for that soft memory foam feel without the unbearable hotness that comes with it, you’re on the right track here.
Even though most organic mattresses are made from latex, know that not all natural latex mattresses are organic mattresses! Make sure to look for the right certifications, like the Global Organic Latex Standard. And if you’re getting an organic cotton mattress cover to go with it, check if it fits the Global Organic Textile Standard for your mattress.
The biggest problem with natural latex mattresses is that they can get pretty expensive. After all, it’s a luxurious material, but if you have the funds, it’s worth it. The edge support is also usually lacking.
Additionally, there are two types of mattresses made from latex, depending on how the material is shaped: Dunlop and Talalay. However, the differences between these two latex mattresses are slight.
During the Dunlop process, the whole batch of latex is poured into a mold, and the material sinks to the bottom. This means that the latex foam at the top of the mattress is usually lighter and more airy than the bottom, creating two sides with varying firmness levels.
A vacuum is used during the Talalay process to suck out the air from the mold, after which the latex is frozen. This results in consistent firmness levels throughout the mattress.
If you’re looking for an organic mattress without harmful materials and dust mites, latex is a great option. Because of how responsive it is, you can sleep in any position on it, but combination sleepers will love it the most. It also relieves pressure very well, so it’s good for people who sleep on their sides or have sore joints.
- Extremely durable
- Natural latex is better for the sleeper and the environment
- Relieves pressure well and offers good motion isolation
- More breathable than foam
- Natural latex can get very pricy
- This material weighs a lot, so it’ll be harder to move around
Can’t make up your mind between two types of mattresses? Look no further than hybrid mattresses. They really are the best of both worlds.
Hybrid mattresses are a combination of two mattress types. Even though there are various combinations, the most common one has coils from an innerspring bed in the support layer and some sort of foam on top for comfort, so we’ll focus on them here.
A hybrid mattress is a great combination of support and comfort. They’re also easy to customize, so you can choose a mattress with stronger coils and the foam you need. They tend to offer good pressure relief, contouring, and breathability.
Even though the bad sides of the materials they’re made from are minimized, they can still be there. A hybrid mattress can have trouble with things like motion isolation or breathability. Also, they aren’t very budget-friendly and can be on the heavy side because of their construction.
If you think none of the other mattresses on this list would work for you, look for a hybrid. A good combination of materials you’ll think you love can do wonders for your sleep. A hybrid mattress is the best choice for anyone looking for a great level of support and comfort. It can be a good choice for all sleeping positions,hot sleepers, and people who suffer from joint pain. Because they’re generally more sturdy and durable, hybrid mattresses are also a good choice for heavier side sleepers because they offer support but relieve pressure points.
- The best of both worlds
- Very customizable
- Superb support and edge support
- Excellent durability
- Not a very budget-friendly option
- Construction makes them heavy
Pillow Top Mattresses
Pillow top mattresses are sort of similar to hybrid mattresses. Their defining characteristic is a plush pillow top that covers the mattress, while the rest of the mattress can be made from anything.
The material a pillowtop mattress is made from can vary, so the attributes of the bed greatly depend on it. It definitely adds height to the mattress, but it can also make it more pressure-relieving, contouring, and even breathable in some cases.
A pillow top can be put on a hybrid, innerspring, latex, foam, or even other options. It seems like it offers just more softness and comfort, but a pillow top can also add better support.
It creates a luxurious feel, but it can still be found in a more budget-friendly price range. It all depends on what other materials it’s made from. However, pillow tops aren’t very durable.
Generally, a pillow top is something you have to try before figuring out whether you like this type of mattress or not. Technically speaking, you could also use a mattress topper to upgrade your current mattress and see if a pillow tops is something you’ll like.
Pillow-top mattresses are a good choice for people looking for more comfort and a luxurious feel. They can be good for all sleeping positions and requirements because of the wide variety. However, they aren’t durable enough for heavy sleepers and can retain heat.
- More comfort
- Luxury feel
- Can be budget friendly
- Various options
- Tends to sag
- Some materials can trap heat
Adjustable beds are made for sleepers who need to change the elevation and shape of the bed, and these beds need an adjustable mattress to match.
Adjustable mattresses aren’t only good for bedridden people. They can also help with blood flow, airflow, and overall better sleeping habits for everyone. But, their popularity is on the rise.
You do need to try it out first, though. It’s definitely not everybody’s cup of tea.
Not every type of mattress is good for adjustable bed mattresses. Most foam mattresses can be used for these beds, though, but it all depends. Remember to always check with the manufacturer on whether your new mattress can be used for an adjustable bed.
On the other hand, mattresses with coils in them, like hybrid or innerspring, aren’t the type that can be used as adjustable bed mattresses like this. It may be different for hybrids, depending on what they’re made of.
Adjustable beds are best for bedridden people who suffer from chronic conditions that make it hard for them to sleep, sit, or move. It’s a good choice for older people and those who probably spend a lot of time in bed. Just make sure to use the right mattress for it.
- More comfort for elderly people and people with chronic conditions
- Pain relief
- Improves sleep quality
- Can get very expensive
- Not every mattress type is made to be adjustable
When you see the word “air mattress,” the first thing that comes to mind is probably the old-fashioned air beds you used for camping. However, there are actually a lot more modern options for air beds out there.
Air beds are called that because the support layer is filled with air. The best thing about them is that they have varying mattress firmness levels, meaning that you can control the firmness so that it suits you and your needs.
Air might not be the best and sturdiest option for support, but there are air mattresses of different quality levels; yes, you can find those camping ones, or you can even invest in high-quality air mattresses that feel like a real bed.
It can even be mixed with other materials, so the levels of pressure relief, contouring, and even motion isolation can vary. However, keep in mind that these mattresses are less durable and can get very expensive.
Air mattresses are a good choice for anyone looking for a non-traditional mattress with adjustable firmness levels. They’re also a better choice for camping, guest rooms, and other similar places where they won’t be used all of the time.
- Adjustable firmness levels
- Various options
- Can be made with different material
- Price can get very high if you want better quality
- Aren’t very durable
Waterbeds can be a good choice for people looking for a therapeutic bed with good pressure relief. However, you have to keep in mind that they’re not made for everybody. It is not stable or durable enough for people who have difficulty getting out of bed and heavier sleepers.
- A therapeutic effect
- Pressure relief
- Maintenance and durability
- Very heavy
- Very expensive
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Different Mattress Types Are There?
The most common types of mattresses you’ll likely run into are foam, innerspring, latex and hybrid.
However, as you can see in this article, there are a lot more less popular options, and one of them could be perfect for you. What if you’re meant to sleep on a less traditional option, like a waterbed or an airbed? Look into these mattress types more to find out whether they’re right for you.
Not to mention, some of these overlap and use the same materials, so there are a lot of types and subtypes out there.
What Is the Best Mattress Type?
There are so many different types of mattresses, it can get confusing.
It’s simple. The best type of mattress is the one that suits your needs and personal preferences.
Everybody is different, and all of us need different things to get a good night’s sleep. Remember to choose a mattress type based on your sleeping habits and what you like.
Let’s look at your sleeping position. For example, side sleepers need a more contouring material, like foam. On the other hand, back sleepers and stomach sleepers need a little bit more firmness, so even an innerspring can be perfect for them. And finally, combination sleepers will likely love a latex mattress because of its responsiveness.
But it also depends on the sleeper’s weight, light and average weight sleepers can easily sleep on a less durable mattress, and either foam or springs are right for them. But heavier sleepers need a bit more support, so coils are usually a must because they can handle more.
There are a lot of other points you’ll have to cover before you choose the best mattress for you. Do you sleep with a partner? Are you a hot sleeper? Answer these questions before making your purchase.
What Is the Best Mattress Type for Hot Sleepers?
If you’re a hot sleeper, you need to find a breathable mattress that won’t trap heat and make it hell for you to sleep on. No pun intended.
The one material you should definitely avoid is memory foam. Foam beds are notorious for trapping heat, and you won’t like it. A latex bed is a slightly better option.
Good heat-resistant mattresses for hot sleepers include innerspring, hybrid, and latex mattresses, but a pillowtop, an airbed, or a waterbed can also be solid choices.
Well, that’s all you need to know about the different mattress types on the market. What do you think? Did this guide help you realize which mattress is the best one for you?
Remember to always choose your mattress based on your personal needs and preferences. What position do you sleep in? Do you share a bed with someone? Answer these questions before making your choice. The right mattress is right around the corner. Good luck finding your new bed!