There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all sleep solution. Every person has unique sleep needs and preferences. Finding the right mattress is a matter of understanding what those unique sleep needs are, and what mattress benefits and features solve for those needs.
Along those lines, one of the most commonly asked questions we get is “What’s the difference between an innerspring mattress and an all-foam mattress?”
The short answer is that both can provide high quality sleep. Our more in-depth answers will take you through the construction of each type of mattress, which sleep needs they best address, and how to determine which version is right for you.
An introduction to Traditional Innerspring and Hybrid Mattresses
There are two main types of innerspring mattresses: traditional innerspring and hybrid mattresses.
Traditional innerspring beds are made with an interconnected “grid” of coils covered by a layer of wool or padding.
Hybrid mattresses, made with individually pocketed springs, tend to minimize motion transfer better than other types of innerspring mattresses while delivering deep compression support—and they are the most common of type of innerspring mattress on the market today. Hybrid mattresses feature one or more layers of foam on top of the base of individually pocketed springs. This combination allows manufacturers to pair the advantages of coils with the key benefits of foam, including contouring, responsiveness, quilting and even surface infusions for cooling.
Benefits of innerspring mattresses:
- The types of coils used in a mattress will change the way it feels. Many high-quality hybrid mattresses use individually pocketed springs, which reduce motion transfer while enhancing support. Consequently, hybrid innerspring mattresses with individually pocketed springs are great for couples who need some extra support.
- Hybrid and innerspring mattresses allow for greater airflow, allowing you to sleep cooler than other types of mattresses.
- Hybrid innerspring mattresses that blend springs with comfort foam layers are usually the most versatile type of bed, providing targeted pressure point relief with variable foams and surface treatments for those who have unique sleep needs.
- Quality hybrid and innerspring mattresses have heavier gauge coils on the perimeter of the bed, offering superior edge support compared to most all-foam beds.
- Both hybrid innerspring and traditional innerspring mattresses tend to be more affordable than other types of mattresses — though you can still expect to pay more for certain types of hybrid beds with higher quality technology and materials.
An introduction to All-Foam Mattresses
All-foam mattresses come with a variety of features and benefits. Some foam mattresses are made using one or two types of foam, while others can feature up to five different layers. Contrary to popular belief, the number of layers does matter — that’s because foam mattresses with three or more layers can create more dynamic support, a gentler transition from top comfort layers to core support layers, and provide enhanced breathability with transitional layers.
Foam mattresses can also be made of many different types of foam, including memory foam, latex foam, or latex-alternative foams. More advanced mattress construction will offer key benefits like cooling gel infusions to enhance breathability and moderate sleep temperature. The two most popular categories of high quality foam, based on benefits, are latex or latex alternative foams that deliver a higher degree of responsiveness, and memory foam, which delivers a higher degree of contouring.
Benefits of latex and latex alternative foam mattresses:
- Latex and latex alternative foams are “quick response”—meaning they respond quickly to movement. Consequently, latex and latex alternative foams are great for sleepers who want contouring pressure point relief but want to avoid the sinking feeling of memory foam. Of the two, latex is the more buoyant material, adjusting to your body each time you move. A latex alternatives foam will offer less bounce, bridging the gap between the compression of visco-elastic memory foam and the hyper-reactivity of latex.
- Latex and latex alternative foams are naturally breathable, making them a great choice for hot sleepers and those that suffer from night sweats.
- Both latex and latex alternative foams offer a distinctive blend of pressure point relief with a “sleep on top” feel.
Benefits of memory foam mattresses:
- Since memory foam is best-in-class for motion isolation, memory foam beds are great for couples who want uninterrupted sleep, even if a partner is tossing and turning.
- Since memory foam is a slow-response foam, memory foam mattresses are a good choice for light sleepers who have a hard time getting comfortable.
- Memory foam is extremely adaptable to the curves of the body, making them particularly good for side sleepers and people with chronic pain near pressure points.
How to choose the right type of mattress
The type of mattress you choose depends on what your most critical sleep needs are, so it’s important to list out what matters most to you. Take a moment to determine how important each of these factors are in your sleep solution:
- Amount of support (soft vs. firm for proper spinal alignment)
- Responsiveness (slow vs. fast response)
- Contouring (sinkability vs that “on top” feeling)
- Pressure point relief (often determined by your sleep position)
- Breathability and cooling (airflow vs. advanced cooling technology)
- Minimized sleep disturbance (bouncy responsiveness vs. contouring responsiveness)
If you are looking for the ultimate combination of benefits—individually pocketed springs and high quality foams with advanced features—there are several options on the market:
- Bloom Hybrid: pairs eco-friendly Talalay latex and individually encased coils, topped with a cover made of Joma Wool™ and organic cotton
- Spartan: pairs two latex alternative layers and one gel memory foam layer with individually encased coils, topped with a patented Nanobionic® cover for faster recovery
- Brooklyn Aurora: pairs two latex alternative layers and one gel memory foam layer with individually encased coils, enhanced by a phase change molecule (PCM) surface infusion of TitanCool™ to create the perfect sleep temperature.
- Brooklyn Signature: pairs two latex alternative layers with individually encased coils, topped with quilted gel memory foam
Different types of mattresses work for different types of sleepers, but there are some important factors to look for in any mattress you consider. Before buying a foam or a hybrid/innerspring mattress, make sure:
- The mattress comes with at least a 10-year warranty
- The company offers at least a free 120-night trial
- There are clear instructions for how to return or exchange your mattress
- There is dedicated customer support should you have any trouble with your new mattress