Ah, shopping for mattresses. It’s an intimidating prospect under the best circumstances, but it can be especially daunting when you don’t know what you’re looking for. And mattress shopping becomes even more difficult if you don’t know the terminology.
If you’re looking for a new mattress, you’ve undoubtedly come across the terms “memory foam” and “hybrid”. These are two of the most popular types of mattresses at the moment, and there are some fantastic options out there.
Deciding on the type of mattress you want is a great first step toward finding the right mattress for you. To help you narrow down your decision, we have all the information you need to choose between memory foam and hybrid mattresses.
Together with the help of Casper, let’s find out which type of mattress is best for you.
What Are The Definitions?
What is a memory foam mattress?
Memory foam mattresses are made of a polymer known as polyurethane. This material was actually created for NASA but has since become a staple in furniture and mattress construction.
Memory foam generally has a soft feel that slowly compresses when pressure is applied. If you lie on a memory foam mattress, you should feel yourself slowly sink in.
When we talk about memory foam mattresses in this post, there are no springs in the mattress, only foam. For instance, the Casper mattress features comfort foam, memory foam, a transition layer with Zoned Support, and a durable support foam. There are no springs in the mattress.
See the best memory foam mattresses.
What is a hybrid mattress?
A hybrid mattress is pretty much what it sounds like: It’s a mix of two different styles of mattresses.
While you will hear mattresses with different types of foam referred to as a “hybrid,” for our purposes we are speaking of mattresses with springs and then a comfort layer on top. The comfort layer could consist of latex, polyfoam, or even memory foam. For instance, the Casper Hybrid mattress contains comfort foam, memory foam, a transition layer with Zoned Support, and pocketed coils.
See the best hybrid mattresses.
What Are The Differences Between Memory Foam And Hybrid Mattresses?
This one design variation makes the mattresses different in quite a few ways.
For instance, hybrid mattresses are generally going to cost more than memory foam mattresses. This is not always the case, but coils usually add some cost to a mattress.
While the coils might make the mattress more pricey, they also offer some extra benefits. Coils add a level of support so they can handle heavier weights than a memory foam mattress. They also offer more support for back sleepers and are some of the best mattresses for stomach sleepers.
The coils also allow for more airflow, making hybrid mattresses more breathable than memory foam mattresses. Because air moves throughout the mattress, hybrid mattresses shouldn’t trap as much heat as memory foam mattresses.
Finally, the coils make hybrid mattresses more durable than memory foam mattresses. Memory foam is known to sag over time, while coils should ensure the mattress does not break down so quickly. See our list of the best mattresses that won’t sag for more information.
The Benefits Of Memory Foam
- Memory foam features great pressure relief and contouring- Memory foam offers great pressure relief, making it one of the best mattress types for side sleepers. It cushions the joints and relieves pressure on the heavier areas of the body. It also takes the shape of your body and fills in any gaps. This helps keep your spine in neutral alignment.
- Memory foam is quiet- While hybrid mattresses aren’t necessarily going to be loud, springs can start to squeak over time. You won’t have this issue with memory foam. It does not creak or make audible noises when you move around on the mattress.
- Memory foam cuts down on motion transfer- Memory foam is known to absorb movement in a mattress. If you move around on a memory foam mattress, your motion should be more isolated to that specific area. This can be especially valuable if you sleep with a partner and don’t want to disturb each other in the night.
The Drawbacks Of Memory Foam
- Memory foam can trap heat- One of the main issues with memory foam has to do with its temperature regulation or lack thereof. Pure memory foam has been shown to trap heat. When you sleep on a memory foam mattress, this heat may be directed back at you, causing you to overheat. However, some foam mattresses combat these issues. For instance, the Casper features a breathable cover and open-celled foam that doesn’t trap heat. While it is a memory foam mattress, it should still help you sleep cool.
- Memory foam can sag over time- Memory foam mattresses can also sag more quickly than other types of mattresses. Memory foam is a very soft material, so over time, you could leave an impression in the mattress. If you want a memory foam mattress, consider something with high-density memory foam. Memory foam with a density of 4 or 5 lb will last much longer than something with a density of 2.5 to 3.5 lb. For instance, the Casper features high-density foams that won’t sag as quickly as what you find in some other memory foam mattresses.
- You could feel stuck- Memory foam can be a very slow-moving material, and when you move around on top of a memory foam mattress, it might not respond very quickly. When this happens, you could get the feeling that you are stuck in the mattress. However, some memory foam mattresses, such as the Casper, are faster to respond. In this case, the combination of comfort foam, memory foam, and Zoned Support ensures it is still easy to move around.
The Benefits Of Hybrid Mattresses
- Hybrid mattresses are very breathable- The coils in hybrid mattresses add some breathability. There is plenty of room for air to flow through the mattress and keep the mattress from holding too much heat.
- They are very supportive- The addition of coils also adds some support to hybrid mattresses. Coils are able to handle heavier weights and also provide the support needed for back sleeping and stomach sleeping.
- They feature a balance of comfort and support- At the same time, hybrid mattresses usually have a softer comfort layer on top. This means hybrid mattresses can be both comfortable and supportive. This makes them good mattresses for combination sleepers.
- They are durable mattresses- Coils are also a very durable material. This means hybrid mattresses can stand up to many more years of use and the mattress shouldn’t sag too quickly.
The Drawbacks Of Hybrid Mattresses
- They have a higher price tag- While not all hybrid mattresses cost more than memory foam mattresses, this is usually the case. Because of this, a hybrid mattress might not be in everyone’s budget.
- They aren’t the best with motion transfer- Even if a hybrid mattress features a very soft comfort layer, it probably won’t cut down on motion transfer as well as an all-foam mattress. If your partner moves around on the other side of the mattress, you could feel it more on a hybrid mattress.
- They are heavier and more cumbersome- In general, hybrid mattresses will weigh more than a pure memory foam mattress. Because of this, it might be more difficult to move the mattress. This might only be an issue when you are moving to a new house or apartment, but it is worth noting. Wondering how to move a mattress? Read our full written article.
Who Should Choose A Memory Foam Mattress?
Okay, let’s get down to it. It’s time to make a choice. Who should pick a memory foam mattress?
- Those who prefer to sleep “in” their mattress- Memory foam allows you to really sink into the mattress. If you like to slowly sink into your mattress and feel it envelop you, a pure memory foam mattress could be the way to go. Overall, you should feel more like you are sleeping “in” your mattress rather than “on” it.
- You are a side sleeper- Memory foam is usually superior when it comes to pressure relief. If you are primarily a side sleeper, a memory foam mattress could be a great choice. While lying on your side, you should feel the pressure on your shoulders and hips melt away. Just make sure to find a mattress with a thick enough comfort layer. You don’t want to be bottoming out!
- You want to save money up front- If you choose to go with a memory foam mattress, you will most likely spend less money. For those with a smaller mattress budget, a memory foam mattress could be a solid choice.
- You sleep with a partner- If you’re looking for a couples mattress, memory foam is always a good option. This material is great at isolating motion in the mattress, so if you or your partner move around at night, you shouldn’t disturb one another.
RELATED: Best Mattress For Couples
Who Should Choose A Hybrid Mattress?
Okay, so who should consider a hybrid mattress? What type of person is going to get the most out of one of the best hybrid mattresses?
- You like to sleep on top of your mattress- Compared to memory foam mattresses, hybrids make it so you sleep more on top of the mattress. If you don’t want to sink far into your mattress, a hybrid mattress could be right for you. It should also be more easy to move around on a hybrid.
- You are a hot sleeper- If you have trouble overheating at night, a hybrid mattress could be a good solution. Hybrids feature coils, which promote airflow throughout the mattress. This helps regulate the temperature of the mattress and makes a hybrid a great choice for hot sleepers.
- You are looking for a long-term investment- A hybrid mattress could cost you more money up front, but it could also last longer than a pure memory foam mattress. Coils are very durable, so they should add some serious life to the mattress. If you want a mattress to last you a good amount of time, a hybrid could be the way to go – hybrid are some of the best value mattresses.
- You are a larger person or have extra support needs- Coils add a good amount of support to a mattress. Unlike a base foam, coils can support much heavier weights. If you need the best mattress for a heavier person or just need some more support, a hybrid mattress is worth looking into.
- You switch positions at night- While hybrid mattresses are very supportive, they can also have a soft comfort layer. This gives many hybrid mattresses a balance of comfort and support. If you change positions at night, you should get the support you need for stomach and back sleeping, and you should feel some comfort when you are on your side.
If you keep all this in mind, it shouldn’t be hard to choose between memory foam and hybrid mattresses. They both have a lot to offer, but they really are a better fit for different types of people.
If you have more questions about which one choose, leave a comment below!