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How Mattresses Are Made

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Mattress construction from the inside-out

If reading about mattress construction sounds like a real, ahem, snooze, know this: The way a mattress is made determines how it feels. And how a mattress feels may be the difference between a fitful night and peaceful slumber!

The Big Picture

Two basic types of mattress make up the vast majority of the market: They’re called innerspring and memory foam. Made of steel coils, innerspring is, by far, the most common type. Memory foam, on the other hand, is made from polyurethane or latex foam, and is very dense foam. Memory foam is usually more expensive than innerspring.

Inside an Innerspring Mattress

Coils determine how much support (suspension versus springiness) the mattress will give. Manufacturers may use different types of coil shapes and structures, as well as different amounts of spacing and patterns to affect comfort. The next layer, top padding, isusually made from polyurethane foam. The outer layer (or ticking) is the material bound to the top padding with stitching. The way that ticking and top padding are attached influences the mattress’s overall feel. Large, wide patterns will create a cushioned feel, which smaller patterns feel tighter and firmer. Generally, the more coils an innerspring mattress contains, the more comfortable it’s bound to be—but if the number of coils is over 390, then you’re not likely to notice the difference, so don’t bother paying extra.

Inside a Memory Foam Mattress

Especially attractive to people with chronic pain conditions, memory foam mattresses consist of, essentially, very dense foam. When you lie on a foam mattress, your body heat softens the material, allowing it to “mold” to your body. One big advantage: In bigger beds, a memory foam mattress won’t shift as much as an innerspring when one partner turns or moves. So if you’re often disturbed by your partner’s tossing and turning in the middle of the night, it might be time to invest in a memory foam mattress. But one con: Because these mattresses mold to your body, they can absorb a lot of heat and make you feel hotter while you sleep. Some people also complain that they have a chemical smell.

What’s in a Mattress Anyway? Peeling Back the Layers of Quality Sleep

Have you ever wondered what a mattress is made of? Or how memory foam is made? Or the difference between a quilted mattress vs. spring mattress? As your mom always said, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

When considering your mattress options, you may wonder what’s going on beneath the fabric that makes it feel like you’re sleeping on clouds. Below is a thorough overview of the various materials that go into making a mattress so the next time you walk into a mattress store you can tell the salesperson exactly what you’re looking for, down to the foam type! The following materials found in many different types of mattresses are some of the key ingredients to a good night’s sleep.

The Most Common Materials In All Mattresses

A soft, movement-absorbing material that helps with temperature regulation and pressure point relief. Some common types of foam include memory foam, gel memory foam, polyurethane foam, and viscoelastic foam (also known as "rebounded foam").

Polyester Batting

Used as a filling in pillowtop mattresses and mattress covers.

Can be found in some mattresses for extra padding and temperature regulation.

Cotton

A breathable material used both inside and outside of the mattress.

Adhesives

Used in mattresses to bond layers, materials and seams together for the perfect fit. Quilting is often used in combination with adhesives to further strengthen the bond between layers.

Flame Retardants

Found in all mattresses sold in the United States due to flammability laws for fire resistance.

Steel Coils

Either formed as open coils or individually wrapped coils (also called pocketed coils), these are a key structural component that establish firm support at the base of the mattress.

Now that you know the most common mattress materials, let’s get more specific about what goes into the three most popular mattress types: innerspring, memory foam, and hybrid mattresses.

What is a Memory Foam Mattress made of?

These mattresses are known for lush layers of memory foam and polyurethane material which conform to your body. A newer addition to the memory foam family is gel memory foam which acts as a phase changing material (PCM).

On a spectrum from hard to soft, specialty foam layers work together to relieve pressure points from your joints and balance your body temperature. These layers conform to your body shape and absorb movement so you sleep undisturbed.

Memory Foam Mattress Cover Materials

Covers used on memory foam mattresses are typically stretch knit covers that allow you to settle comfortably into the foam. With the cover working its magic on top, higher density foams are used as the core layer of the bed to provide support. These beds do not have coils in them! This benefit is great for those who prefer to settle into the mattress with less of a bounce factor because the firmer core layer of foam helps provide a balanced support system.

What is this high-density foam core made of exactly? They are usually made of polyurethane, but can sometimes be made of more natural materials like soy-based foams or latex.

Since they don’t have coils, memory foam mattresses don’t need a foam encasement for edge support to hold the bed together. Some foam mattresses have firmer foam near the edge of the bed, but this is not necessary for support since the high-density foam offers even support throughout.

What is an Innerspring Mattress made of?

Innerspring mattresses come in two different systems: open coil or individually pocketed springs. The outer quilting is typically made of traditional cotton fabric blends that give each mattress a unique look, fitted with steel coil springs for a firm base support.

It’s important to remember that the number of coils doesn’t always amount to the same level of comfort from one mattress to the next, but plays a role in reducing motion transfer and offering support.

Each manufacturer uses different designs and support techniques to achieve this result, often including layers of polyurethane foam and filling inside the mattress. However, more luxurious innerspring mattresses will use other kinds of foam, including memory foam, gel memory foam and latex materials.

Innerspring Mattress Cover Materials

Cover materials can range from polyester to cotton or stretch knit, each one specifically designed to be soft and breathable. Fun fact: the tighter the cover, the firmer the bed will feel.

When you wake up and get ready for the day, edge support materials are important — especially if you prefer to put your shoes on while sitting at the edge of the bed! These materials range from thick metal rods to foam inserts and encasements. The more edge support you have, the more sleep (and sitting!) surface available.

What is a Hybrid Mattress made of?

Hybrid beds are among the latest and greatest options on the market for better sleep thanks to the many unique benefits hybrid mattresses offer. Specifically, they combine a 50/50 ratio of individually wrapped coils with memory foam to offer the best of both.

The coils offer support, while memory foam and gel memory foam layers conform to posture and regulate body temperature. Cotton fabric blends are added to protect the bed. You get the best of both mattress types above in the hybrid, plus personalized materials that are going to work together to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Hybrid Mattress Cover Materials

Hybrids tend to have a more elastic mattress cover so as not to interfere with the conforming benefits of the memory foam layers. Further enhancements to hybrid collections showcase foam encasements, made from high-density foam, which supports the edges of the mattress.

Knowing the basic building blocks of your mattress can help you ensure that your next bed has all your favorite ingredients for good night’s sleep.

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How to Find the Best Rated Mattress for You

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Back pain can be debilitating, turning what would otherwise be a full night’s rest into a night of tossing and turning. And, what’s worse is a night of restless sleeping makes it nearly impossible to get comfortable and catch the Zzz’s you need.

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If you’re in the market to buy a new mattress, but are on a budget, you may be worried that finding an affordable mattress may limit your selection. Rest assured, there are many different mattresses that are suited to fit any budget and sleep style.

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1 Offer valid 3/11/20 – 4/28/20. Savings applied to our low price. Savings vary by mattress and model (max savings up to $400). Product selection may vary by store. Offer not valid on previous purchases, floor models, clearance items, final markdown, Purple, tulo, iComfort, Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster or Sealy Hybrid. Other exclusions may apply. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Limited quantities available; offer valid while supplies last. Visit a store, call (877) 348-1012 or chat online for complete details.

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3 Offer valid 3/27/20 – 4/28/20. Receive a free Head Up 50 adjustable base (up to a $499.99 value) with select mattress purchases with minimum $999 purchase. Free adjustable base offer valid on same size mattress purchased. Split king or split California king base purchases consist of 2 bases. For split king or split California king purchases, consumer will receive one free adjustable base with promotion, with second base at regular price. Free adjustable base offer valid to complete mattress set, has no cash value and cannot be used as credit. Offer not valid on previous purchases, floor models, clearance items, final markdown, weekly deals, daily deals, Purple, tulo, iComfort, Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster, Sealy Hybrid, Nectar or DreamCloud. Other exclusions may apply. Adjustable bases not eligible for returns price of adjustable base (up to $499.99) will be deducted from refund if mattress is returned. Adjustable base may be pictured with furniture bed frame and headboard not included with offer. Limited quantities available offer valid while supplies last at participating locations. Visit a store, call (877) 348-1012 or chat online for complete details.

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*Among traditional mattress brands based on 2017-2019 Tempur Sealy Brand Tracker Report

How Is Memory Foam Made?

Memory Foam Developed by NASA

The very first memory foam material was developed by NASA in the 1970s. Their intention was to try to improve seat cushioning and crash protection for airline pilots and passengers. Memory foam has widespread commercial applications, in addition to the popular mattresses and pillows you are familiar with today.

Anybody who has gone shopping for a bed, a new pillow, or even a new bicycle seat or mouse pad wrist rest in the last two decades will have encountered memory foam. This new material has been applied to a huge range of uses since its introduction to the US in 1991—from revolutionary medical uses to gimmicky new product designs. But what is it, who came up with it, and how does it work?

Though it is a relatively recent phenomenon in the US, memory foam has been around in various forms since the midpoint of the century—the first work on the polyurethane polymers that go into memory foam was actually begun in 1937 by Otto Bayer and his coworkers In 1965 the nursing staff at Lankenau Hospital tested “inert polyurethane porous foam” pads for use as bedding material, and found that they prevented “decubitus ulcers” (also known as pressure ulcers, sustained by patients who spend long amounts of time lying down), and found them to be hypoallergenic and resistant to bacteria (Kraus 1965). In the 1960s, NASA did work on materials that would serve as better cushions, and would also keep astronauts comfortable and protected from the extreme g-forces of lift off. It was then that memory foam as we know it came into being.

Memory Foam vs. Polyurethane Foam

Memory foam starts its life as polyurethane foam—a material first manufactured in the 1950s by adding water, halocarbons, or hydrocarbons to a polyurethane mix. Depending on the chemicals added and the way it is processed, polyurethane can form anything from car parts to spray liner, or in this case, one of the most comfortable sleeping surfaces the world has ever seen.

In the modern production of memory foam, a polyol is mixed with a diisocyanate and water. The foam rises like bread, with an open cell structure that helps give it its unique ability to spring back slowly from pressure. The introduction of gases into the initial solution creates a bubble matrix; vary the application of chemicals, and the size of the bubbles changes. A more open cell structure will have more give, and allow more airflow through the material.

Memory Foam Firmness

The firmness of memory foam is rated by the IFD (Indention Force Deflection), also known as ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) measuring the force in pounds required to make a 25% indentation in a 4 inch thick foam square. Also important in measuring the “softness” of a foam is the density. Foam densities range from 1-7 lbs, but a good-quality foam will usually be at least 4 and usually 5 lbs. A foam with a high density, but low ILD may still feel firm when compressed, especially in a lower room temperature. The density together with the IFD/ILD and the resilience will determine the softness, firmness, and life-span of the foam. Foam that is lower density will more readily conform to pressure, whereas higher density foam (usually 5-lb. or above) molds itself to contours when warmed by body heat.

Major production of memory foam did not begin until NASA released it into the public domain in the 1980s.Fagerdala World Foamstook up the challenge of producing this somewhat difficult product, and in 1991 produced the “Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress.” Today numerous companies around the world produce visco-elastic memory foam, which gives consumers increased variety and price range. Unfortunately, it also increases the risk of purchasing cheaply-made foams that may deteriorate over time. Not all memory foam is made equal, as many of the overseas manufacturers work at reducing the cost of memory foam by adding in other “filler” type ingredients that reduce the quality and potentially add toxicity to the formulation. The real problem with overseas foam is the lack of quality standards that have been created in the United States.

What are futon mattresses made of?

Choosing the right futon mattress is easy once you understand how the filling materials cause the mattress to react differently to the weight of the human body and other criteria. The following graph should help you determine which futon mattress will perform best for your personal needs and application.

Please use this guide wisely. It is meant to help you understand how the product will perform, not judge its quality or value.

Consider how often someone will sleep on the futon. If you plan to only occasionally use it as a bed, perhaps as a guest bed, consider getting a less expensive futon mattress, such as a cotton-filled one. If you plan on using it nightly, you should splurge on a high-quality mattress.

Cotton, Foam, and Fiber

Basic futon mattresses are made of mostly cotton. A layer of foam is sometimes added to sustain the rigidity of the futon. Usually, the more cotton the mattress contains, the heavier and firmer it becomes. Cotton gets compressed over time and becomes hard and lumpy. This requires flipping and patting to break up the cotton fibers that have become hard and compacted over use. The more foam used, the better. The category of futons tends to be the most economical in price. The more foam that is added, the better is the futon. And when a layer of wool is encased over the cotton, it increases the comfort level and helps retain the shape of the mattress. Wool over cotton keeps your body cooler in the summer and warm in the winter and provides a springier feel for sitting and sleeping.

Innersprings and Pocket Coils

Futons have advanced quite a bit in comfort. Innerspring futons provide that conventional mattress feel and keep that added space between your body and the slats. The Pocket Coil mattress has individually wrapped coils which prevent motion transfer and increases the longevity of coil to retain its shape. Unlike cheaper innerspring conventional mattresses, these futons have an encased perimeter so it will hold its shape better while using it as a sofa. Innerspring futons are recommended for those active singles and couples. Our Galaxy mattress by Otis has a firmer feel and a little less bounce than our Pocketed Coil by King Koil. The Galaxy and Millenium futon mattresses use high-density layers of foam encasing these coils. These premium futon mattresses have a life span of 10 plus years.

Memory Foam

Visco memory foam is polyurethane with additional chemicals increasing its viscosity and density. It was developed in 1966 under a contract by NASA’s Ames Research Center to improve the safety of aircraft cushions. Futons that use Visco foam usually contain anywhere from 1-4 inches layers of Visco memory foam over multiple layers of high-density foam and a cotton/polyester batting underneath for added support. With memory foam, the futon mattress tucks snug on the frame and makes it easier for it to bend when opening and closing the frame. This category of futon mattresses is perfect for every day sitting. It feels like sitting on a normal sofa and the cushion keeps its shape without leaving any body imprints. This can also be used for everyday sleeping. It’s like having a memory foam topper but already constructed within the futon mattress. Some people are not big fans of memory foam for sleeping, but it is highly recommended for every day use as a sofa and provides superior comfort for your occasional guest.

Latex

Latex has become the current "hot" product, though, is that it is a uniquely comfortable sleep surface. Latex is both a very dense surface, but also because of its elastic properties, still has a yielding, giving, and conforming quality. So for those that just haven’t been able to get a good night’s sleep or have unrelieved pain issues, a latex mattress is a top of the line alternative that has a very different feel, offers unparalleled comfort and support, that may well do the trick. Cotton mattresses, much like futon mattresses, pack down over time and get much firmer, and while wool makes a very nice comfort layer, you still need a good mattress "core" or base, to layer the wool on top of.

Foam and Polyester

Foam futon mattresses do not use a cotton encasement but rather polyester. Polyester is lighter in weight and is a synthetic material that provides a plush surface and helps retain the shape of the futon. These futons are manufactured in the USA and are considered the best of futon mattresses. They simply don’t bottom out. The following mattresses are priced based on the number of layers of foam used. The more layers in the mattress, the better it’s comfort. The Haley 110 is highly recommended for those who want a real firm/soft sofa like feel for sitting and a firm and supportive feel for sleeping. These futons are built to last over 10 years and provide the most superior level of back support and comfort. Because cotton is not used, the high-density foam has a little bounce to it a more cushioned feel. The Moonshadow is made similar to the Haley 110 but has more of a plush feel for those that like it just a bit softer. These futons are also recommended for platform beds and can also withstand the weight for people of 200 lbs and up without bottoming out over long term use.

The Best Hybrid Mattresses – Buyer’s Guide & Top Picks

One of the newest developments in the mattress industry over the past decade has been the rapid growth of hybrid mattresses.

What characterizes a hybrid mattress? Well, it’s right there in the name: a hybrid is a mix, making use of various materials found in other popular types of mattresses. In particular, hybrids have a support core of coils like that found in an innerspring mattress along with a robust comfort system like that of a memory foam or latex bed.

The goal of the hybrid design to get the best of all worlds, offering the top features of each mattress type while minimizing the downsides of those other mattresses. For many sleepers, this gives hybrids a leg up on the competition, and it has made these extremely popular mattress models.

There is no single way to design and construct a hybrid mattress, and as a result, there is significant diversity in terms of how these mattresses feel, the features they offer, their durability, and their price. For most shoppers, trying to collect and process all the information about hybrids available online can be dizzying and can make it hard to know which are really the top options.

To make your mattress shopping a breeze, we’ve identified the top six hybrid mattresses based on our research. Each of these mattresses is described in detail in the first half of this guide. In the second half, we explain the components of a hybrid mattress, the benefits and downsides of this mattress type, and other vital information that can enable you to choose the best option for your needs.

What Are the Best Hybrid Mattresses?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to review all the mattresses that are on the market, and it can be a major challenge to figure out which are actually worthy of consideration. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and have narrowed down the options to just a handful of top picks.

BrandModelComfort LayerFirmnessPrice
DreamCloudMemory foam + latexMedium Firm (6.5)$1,199 (Queen)
Brooklyn SignatureGel-infused specialty polyfoam3 Choices: Soft (3) / Medium-Firm (6) / Firm (8)$949 (Queen)
Leesa HybridHybridFirm (7)$1,699 (Queen)
SaatvaPolyfoam + memory foam lumbar pad + micro-coils3 choices: Plush Soft (3-3.5), Luxury Firm (5-6), Firm (8)$1,199 (Queen)
WinkBedPolyfoam + Pocketed Microcoils3 Choices: Soft (4.5) / Luxury Firm (6.5), Firm (7.5)$1,599 (Queen)

DreamCloud

Why We Like it

  • A true hybrid: 8-layer design utilizes multiple high-end materials
  • Luxe comfort feel that retains responsiveness
  • Above-average temperature regulation
  • 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty

The DreamCloud mattress truly fits the idea of a hybrid. It employs a unique design with eight layers and takes advantage of a collection of materials to create a regal and inviting feel.

The luxury feel of the mattress starts right off the bat with the cover, which is made with a soft blend of cashmere and polyester. The top is designed as a plush pillow top stuffed with gel-infused memory foam that contours to the body without collecting excess heat.

Additional components of the comfort system include three more layers of different types of memory foam as well as one layer of natural latex. These materials create a sleeping surface that has a superb ability to relieve pressure and promote spinal alignment. At the same time, the comfort system preserves enough resilience to prevent feeling stuck in the mattress.

Adding to that resilience is the DreamCloud’s support core of foam-encased innerspring coils. The coils can compress based on how much weight is applied to different parts of the bed, supplementing the responsiveness of the comfort system and adding overall bounce. A thin layer of memory foam sits beneath the coils to reduce noise and add stability.

All of these components combine to create a sleeping surface that hits all the right points for mattress shoppers – comfort, bounce, temperature neutrality, and support. The memory foam layers provide notable motion isolation, and the organization of the layers facilitates airflow so that the DreamCloud sleeps cooler than most other mattresses that include significant amounts of memory foam.

Another major benefit of the DreamCloud is the company’s sleep trial. The trial lasts for a full year, meaning that you have 365 nights to try out the bed with the option to return it for a full refund if you’re not satisfied. DreamCloud also backs the mattress with a lifetime warranty.

Brooklyn Bedding Signature

Why We Like it

  • Pressure relief from specialty TitanFlex polyfoam
  • Notable bounce from Energex foam and pocketed coils
  • Available in three firmness options
  • Proven name in online mattress industry

Once upon a time, the Signature from Brooklyn Bedding was an all-foam mattress. Determined to deliver on their bold claim of inventing the #BestMattressEver, the company continued to revise the bed’s design and features. The ultimate result of that process is the Brooklyn Bedding Signature, a sophisticated hybrid mattress.

The Signature has a comfort system that is made up of a quilted cover and a top internal layer that is 2 inches of the company’s specialty TitanFlex polyfoam. This foam is gel-infused and highly responsive, giving it the ability to relieve pressure through moderate contouring but without significant heat buildup that can occur with traditional memory foam.

Beneath the TitanFlex layer is 2 inches of Energex foam that technically serves as a transition layer although it definitely contributes to the feel of the bed. Energex is a latex-like polyfoam, meaning that it offers notable bounce with light contouring. Underneath this layer is 6 inches of pocketed innerspring coils that rest on 1 inch of high-density polyfoam to reduce noise and increase stability.

The Brooklyn Bedding Signature is available in three firmness levels — Soft (4 on the firmness scale), Medium Firm (6), and Firm (8) — so that customers have plenty of choices to find the model that best works for them.

Overall, the Signature balances all of the aspects of performance that are important to most sleepers including spinal support, comfort, stability, bounce, and temperature regulation. It is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty from Brooklyn Bedding, one of the best-known names in the industry.

Leesa Hybrid

Why We Like it

  • Thick, pressure-relieving comfort layers
  • Consistent temperature neutrality
  • Resilient edge support
  • 100-night trial

Formerly knows as the Sapira, the Leesa Hybrid is suitable for sleepers with chronic aches and pains in their neck, shoulders, back, and other sensitive areas. The mattress is designed with three foam comfort layers, including a middle memory foam layer for consistent body conforming, spinal alignment, and pressure relief. These components create a balanced, medium-firm (6.5) feel that alleviates discomfort without sagging or sinking too much.

The support core features durable pocketed coils reinforced with a base layer of high-density polyfoam. These components give the bed excellent edge support, resulting in no roll-off and minimal sinkage in areas around the perimeter where owners tend to sit. Consistent air circulation through the coils makes the bed suitable for hot sleepers, as well.

At $1,799 in a Queen-size, the Leesa Hybrid is priced much lower than the average memory foam hybrid. Leesa also offers free shipping to all 50 states and backs the mattress with a 100-night sleep trial.

Saatva

Why We Like it

  • Two-tiered coils create excellent resilience
  • Memory foam lumbar pad for enhanced support
  • Sleek euro-style pillow top
  • Free white-glove installation

Saatva’s mattress can be hard to classify. Like an innerspring, its support core is made with a thick layer of coils. But its performance is taken to a new level with a second layer of micro-coils alongside layers of comfortable and supportive foam.

The base innerspring layer in the Saatva is made with steel coils and is either 4 inches or 7 inches thick depending on the model that you select. Above this is a 4-inch layer of pocketed micro-coils that provide more tailored cushioning to the body while maintaining significant bounce. Working along with the micro-coils are a memory foam lumbar pad and a euro-style pillow top with polyfoam and fiber fill.

These layers provide a sleeping surface that is able to limit motion transfer, resist heat buildup, and promote proper spinal alignment. For the comfort feel, the Saatva comes in three firmness levels that you can choose from: Plush Soft (3-3.5), Luxury Firm (5-6), and Firm (8).

A bonus for Saatva customers is free white-glove delivery. This includes setup of the Saatva in your bedroom and the haul-away of the packaging and an old mattress. This free service is just one of many reasons why Saatva consistently gets high marks for its customer support.

The Saatva comes with a 120-night sleep trial during which you can return the mattress for a refund; however, Saatva does deduct a $99 return shipping charge if you decide to make a return.

WinkBed

Why We Like it

  • Best-in-class edge support
  • Multiple firmness options to choose from
  • Contouring and bounce from coil-on-coil design
  • Lifetime warranty

The WinkBed is a thoughtfully constructed hybrid mattress that wins acclaim for its consistent comfort among sleepers in all positions and body weights. Anyone can find comfort from the WinkBed because it comes in three firmness settings: Soft (4.5), Luxury Firm (6.5), and Firm (7.5). The company also offers the WinkBed Plus, an option intended for sleepers over 300 pounds that has latex in the comfort layer.

The comfort system in the original WinkBed is made with two 1.5 inch layers of specialty polyfoams. These foams are gel-infused to reduce heat retention, and they have notable contouring to improve pressure relief. These foam layers are stitched into a euro-style pillow top.

Another part of the comfort system in the WinkBed is a 2.5-inch layer of pocketed micro-coils. These add stability and bounce while contributing to responsiveness as well. The support core is 7.5 inches of pocketed innerspring coils that are designed to be especially robust around the perimeter. This makes the WinkBed one of the best options on the market for people who value edge support.

All of the components in the WinkBed create a sleeping surface that can relieve pressure and isolate motion and at the same time offer plenty of bounce to make moving on the mattress, including for sex, hassle-free.

The WinkBed has a higher price tag than some other top hybrids, but customers love the performance of this mattress, making the price more than justified for most shoppers. WinkBed provides a 120-night sleep trial as well as a lifetime replacement warranty that provides coverage if a defect arises at any point in the future.

Hybrid Mattress Buying Guide

Deciding on a type of mattress to buy requires considering a broad range of factors. In the following sections, you can find the details about hybrid mattresses that can help you decide whether this mattress type is right for you.

What is a Hybrid Mattress?

Hybrid mattresses combine an innerspring coil support core with a robust comfort system typically composed of latex, memory foam, and/or specialty polyfoam.

Shoppers should note that “hybrid” is occasionally used as a marketing term to refer to any bed that combines multiple types of materials. However, to be a true hybrid mattress, the bed must combine a coil support core with a thick comfort layer. If a mattress is made with a latex or foam support core or has only a very thin comfort system, it does not qualify as a true hybrid mattress.

What Are the Components of a Hybrid Mattress?

The construction of a hybrid mattress can be understood by explaining its constituent parts: the support core, transition layer, comfort layer, and cover.

Support Core

A hybrid mattress must use a support core of innerspring coils. This layer of coils is usually six to eight inches tall and is located toward the bottom of the mattress.

In most hybrids, the support core is made with coils that are designed to compress with little influence from the surrounding coils. These may be referred to as pocketed, individually-wrapped, or foam-encased coils. This type of coil maintains a bouncy feel, provides a greater degree of responsiveness, and has less motion transfer compared to other types of coils.

In some mattresses, the coil support core may receive extra support from a base layer made with high-density polyfoam. When included, this layer is generally one to two inches tall. This foam layer can serve as a way to reduce the potential for noise from the coils and to add extra stability and shock absorption to the mattress.

The role of the support core in the mattress is to offer a sturdy base that helps drive the overall performance of the mattress. It is a backstop against excessive sagging and gives the mattress notable structural integrity while at the same time contributing to the bed’s comfort.

Transition Layer

The transition layer sits between the support core and the comfort system and serves as a middle ground to augment the performance of both. Not every hybrid mattress has a transition layer, but when it is used, it commonly is composed of polyfoam that is denser and firmer than the comfort layer. This layer can be used to reduce the pressure on the support core to help extend the lifespan of the mattress.

Comfort System

The comfort system is what you usually first notice when you lie down on a mattress. It is made up of the top layers of materials that are arranged to promote a specific level of firmness and contouring. The comfort system can be just one layer or can be made up of multiple layers arranged together in a particular way. Most of the time, the comfort system in a hybrid will be three to four inches tall, but this is not a hard and fast rule.

In hybrids, the most common materials used in the comfort system are memory foam and latex. Some manufacturers employ specialty polyfoams that are produced to have features resembling those of memory foam or latex. More than one of these materials can be used together in a hybrid to create a particular feel and sleeping experience.

Part of the comfort system can be included in the mattress as a pillow top layer. This means that it is sewn into part of the cover just above the other layers. This can appear as a gap between the very top of the mattress and the rest of the bed, or, in the case of a eurotop, can be sewn to have a flush appearance. Various materials, including latex, memory foam, polyfoam, fiberfill, wool, and cotton may be included in a pillow top, and the choice of material will directly affect the way the pillow top feels to sleep on.

Cover

The last component of a hybrid mattress is its cover. The same cover can go over all four sides of the mattress, or a different material can be used for the top than for the sides and bottom. Materials including cotton, wool, polyester, and rayon are popular choices for a cover because of their softness and ability to wick moisture and remain cool through the night.

How Much Does a Hybrid Mattress Cost?

Because of the diversity of materials and designs for hybrid mattresses, they tend to have a wider price range than some other mattress types. On average, a quality Queen-size hybrid costs in the range of $1,000 to $1,300, which is higher than the average for innerspring or memory foam beds. Numerous hybrid options are available for below this average price, and some high-end hybrid models can be as expensive as $5,000.

How Long Does a Hybrid Mattress Last?

With an average lifespan of six to eight years, a hybrid bed lasts longer than the average innerspring bed and around the same as a memory foam mattress. The longevity of a hybrid mattress is highly dependent on the quality of the coils and materials in the comfort system. Because hybrids rely on multiple layers, the overall useful life of the mattress can be reduced if one of those layers wears out prematurely.

Foam Density

Because weight is placed directly on the comfort system, it is a part of the mattress at a higher risk of wearing out and dragging down the performance of your mattress. If foam is used in the comfort system, the foam density can give you an idea of its likely durability.

Foam density is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF). The higher the PCF, the heavier and denser the foam, and in general, the less likely it is to give out. When possible, we advise looking for memory foams that are at least 3.5 PCF in the comfort layer. The density of polyfoam can be more variable. In the comfort layer, it is good for it to be 2 PCF or more; if used as part of the support core, 1.8 PCF is usually sufficient.

Coil Counts and Gauge

The coil count refers to the number of total coils that are in a mattress. The gauge measures the thickness of the coils. The higher the gauge, the thinner the coils.

Many mattresses have thicker coils around the exterior of the support core in order to offer more edge support. Mattresses with very thin coils can be at a greater risk of wearing out, but this will also depend on how the layers above the coils are arranged.

Coil count can be useful to review but can also be misleading. Larger mattresses will have a higher coil count, and quantity is not always better than quality. In any hybrid mattress, the performance and durability of the coils will be impacted by the way that the layers above have been set up and how pressure gets applied to the support core.

Hybrid Mattress Warranties

Every hybrid mattress should come with a long-term warranty. For most models, that warranty will be for 10 years or more. It’s worth taking a few minutes to review the warranty before you purchase a mattress. Generally, the warranty will cover defects but not normal wear-and-tear, which includes some indentations on the surface of the mattress. Reading the warranty also helps you understand your responsibilities to make sure that the warranty remains valid.

What Does it Feel Like to Sleep on a Hybrid Mattress?

The feel of a hybrid mattress is more variable than with most other mattress types because manufacturers can employ a wider range of materials and designs. While this makes it harder to generalize about the feel of a hybrid, it does mean that you usually have plenty of options, making it easier to find one that fits your preferences.

Because all hybrids have an innerspring support core, they tend to have moderate to significant bounce. Stability and edge support are both usually higher in hybrids than in all-foam mattresses.

Many hybrids have materials with at least medium contouring in the comfort system. For this reason, most hybrids provide quality pressure relief. However, because of the bounce from the coils, they tend to avoid issues of feeling trapped or stuck in the mattress.

Overall, remember that the design of the comfort system will have a major effect on the way it feels to sleep on any particular hybrid. The table below gives an idea of how — in general — some of the common hybrid comfort layer and pillow top materials compare.

BenefitsDownsides
Memory foam+Significant contouring for pressure relief +Excellent motion isolation +Very little noise-May have excess hug / can feel stuck in the bed -Can inhibit motion and negatively affect sex -Can retain heat -More likely to have edge support problems
Specialty polyfoam+Moderate contouring and bounce +Very little noise +Less heat retention compared to memory foam-May not have as much contouring or pressure relief -Usually transfers more motion than memory foam -Durability depends on how it was formulated by manufacturer
Latex+Moderate contouring and pressure point relief +Significant bounce, easy to move on the mattress +Durable +Minimal heat retention +Very little noise-Less contouring and pressure point relief compared to memory foam -Increased motion transfer -Often heavy and hard to move -Can be expensive -Some people have allergies to latex
Cotton+Soft +Breathable, promotes ventilation and cooling-Very limited contouring -Very little motion isolation -Virtually no bounce or resilience
Wool+Soft +Naturally moisture wicking with good temperature regulation-Very limited contouring -Very little motion isolation -Virtually no bounce or resilience -Can be expensive
Fiberfill+Usually soft +Generally less expensive to produce-Not as breathable as cotton or wool -Very limited contouring -Extremely limited motion isolation -Virtually no bounce or resilience

Firmness

The firmness feel of a hybrid will depend not just on the materials but also how the mattress maker has decided to formulate and layer those materials. The most popular firmness level is Medium Firm (around a 6 on the firmness scale), but some hybrids are offered in Soft and Firm models as well.

When looking at hybrid mattresses, you may come across the term ILD, which relates to firmness. ILD stands for indentation load deflection, and it is a measurement of the amount of force, determined in a lab, required to compress material to a specific level. The higher the ILD, the firmer the material. For memory foam, an ILD of 10-12 is soft, 13-15 is medium, and 16 or higher is firm. For latex, ILD ranges from 15 to 45, reflecting a broader total range.

If you are looking at ILD, keep in mind that it only describes one layer, not the whole mattress. ILD also doesn’t tell the whole story because it is affected by the thickness of the material itself. For these reasons, while it can be useful to see the ILD when it is listed, it is hard to rely on that number alone to judge the likely firmness of a mattress.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Mattress?

Some hybrids are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, most of these mattresses share the same benefits and downsides. Review the list below to help figure out if a hybrid is right for you. Pros Cons Pros

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