Buying a new mattress is exciting, especially if it’s been a while since you last shopped for one. Science has come a long way in just the past few years, and new innovations can allow you to find just the product that will work best for your specific sleep needs.
However, it would be pretty costly to determine which is best for you based strictly on personal experience. There are many different mattress types available on the market, and you owe it to yourself to understand the differences in order to find the one that offers what you’re looking for. Here, we will analyze 15 of some of the most common to help you make a more educated purchasing decision.
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When you think of innerspring mattresses, you might imagine yourself as a little kid jumping on a squeaky bed that obviously had some type of metal inside. This would be the standard innerspring mattress, and it’s made using a steel coil support system. While you may very well remember sleeping on this type of mattress, you have less likely seen what they look like on the inside. These products use springs that are connected into a single unit, and, as the number of coils increases, the higher the quality of sleep.
Although the standard innerspring can seem primitive to those who have since moved on to take advantage of newer mattress technologies, the fact remains that they are still the most popular. And there are many good reasons why this is the case. Aside from the fact that they are incredibly consumer-friendly when it comes to affordability, they also:
- Have a variety of firmness options
- Are widely available
- Are easy to transport
However, it’s important to be aware that there are a few setbacks. You get what you pay for, and, while these types of mattresses are easy on the budget, they are known to lack quality when it comes to their ability to counteract pain and pressure points. You may also experience noise as the springs begin to wear, creating the classic squeaky bed when you roll over at night. Furthermore, standard innerspring mattresses are often more prone to wearing out quickly. Thus, while you save money on the initial purchase, you can easily lose in the long run when you have to go out and replace your mattress.
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Some Unfortunate Facts About Innerspring Mattresses
There are a number of reasons why you might make the decision to invest in a standard innerspring mattress. Whether a new mattress is necessary and you have a limited budget or you appreciate that they do offer considerable overall support at a low price, it can be the right choice for some.
Before you consider pursuing the purchase of this mattress type, there are a few potential cons that may be deal-breakers that are well worth taking into consideration including:
- Low overall owner satisfaction rating when used on a consistent basis
- Limited durability as sagging can begin to occur within just a few years in cheaper innerspring types
- Typically are one-sided and are therefore unable to be flipped
- Suggestions predict that products like memory foam may eventually replace innerspring mattresses
#2. Types Of Coils or Innerspring Mattresses
Coils, for the most part, are just what they sound like. But, just what is it about the properties of these cylindrical components that so strongly dictates the quality of your sleep? One of the main aspects that should be considered in a coil or innerspring mattress is the coil construction, and there are four primary types you’re likely to face as you shop. From least expensive to most expensive:
- Continuous coils
- Marshall Or Pocket Coil
Continuous coils are named such because they are made from one long wire. Furthermore, rather than coiling the metal, it’s instead S-shaped. This is a decent option if you are on a budget.
The Bonnell coils are going to be the ones you’ll likely encounter the most frequently. If cost is your primary driving factor in your final decision, you may want to look for a product featuring the Bonnell coil system. However, offset coils feature a higher degree of quality and produce less noise.
Offset coils are one of most conforming innerspring types next to the pocketed coil. They’re similar to Bonnell coils in which they have an hourglass shape. The difference being, they are constructed with a hinge-like squared top and bottom that is joined with the coil next to it. This produces a hinging effect that’ll flex under pressure.
Marshall Coil or Pocketed Coil
Marshal Coils are synonymous with Pocketed Coil, which we get more into just below.
Don’t Overlook Coil Gauge
It may seem as though you need to get a college degree in mattress materials in order to make the best choice. The truth is, the investment in time you dedicate to making an informed decision can pay off substantially, and just one more thing you should consider as you shop for a coil mattress is the coil gauge.
Lower numbers are typically indicative of a thicker coil, and a thicker coil means a firmer mattress. Therefore, if you want a bed you can sink into, you’d opt for one that features a coil gauge rating of 15 over 12.
#3. Pocketed Coil
If you’re not quite sure what a pocketed coil mattress is, the keyword is a coil. It’s synonymous with spring, which puts it in the same general family as the innerspring mattress. However, there are some qualities that set the pocketed coil mattresses apart that are good to be aware of while you shop.
For starters, these types of the mattress have a higher focus on minimizing motion transfer. Because of their general reputation for the bounciness, innerspring mattresses often disturb one sleeper when the other moves. However, pocketed coil mattresses are designed a little bit differently. Rather than being wired together with other coils, these are wrapped separately in fabric encasements.
An Investment Worth Making Over Innerspring If You Have a Sleeping Partner
Pocketed coil mattresses are the most expensive of innersprings, and they often make a great investment if you want to go beyond the standard innerspring mattress. While you may have to pay a higher price, they can provide you the additional rest you need that is often lost due to disturbances throughout the night.
Because of the fact that the springs in this product are individually wrapped, they are more readily allowed to work independently. This means, when pressure is applied to one spot, it will have a minimal effect on the surrounding springs. Even if you think you’re getting the sleep you need, the quality is compromised every time your restless sleeping partner tosses and turns throughout the night, and this option can minimize the problems that commonly result.
Considering the Qualities
There are two sides to every coin, and there are high-quality innerspring mattresses on the market well worth taking a look at. Your ideal next mattress may be comprised of innerspring technology, and there are a few signs that this may be a good option if you:
- Enjoy a bed that offers a high degree of bounce
- Don’t enjoy beds that have that sinking in feeling
- Appreciate the qualities that a bed with excellent edge support has to offer.
#4. Natural Fiber
If you’ve already spent considerable time reviewing the types of mattresses on the market, you may have come across natural fiber options. These products are just what they sound like. Within your mattress are natural fibers rather than many of the manufactured products on the market like foams. Materials come in a variety of combinations, and you can typically expect to pay a higher price since these products require more intricate detail in the manufacturing process.
The Eco-Friendly Option
Let’s face it. While most of us are aware of the many ways in which we are putting strains on our environment, far fewer of us are taking significant measures to reduce them. However, making investment in natural fiber mattresses can help you do just that. Since most of these products are created without the use of chemicals, you can rest assured that you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint with this purchasing choice. You can purchase with ease when you see the official Greenguard certification mark as this indicates the product has been carefully considered when it comes to impact on the environment and health.
It’s hard to determine whether or not a natural fiber mattress would be right for you when it comes to the overall comfort level. That’s because they come in so many forms, and some of them, like horsetail, may be awkward to sleep on. That’s why it’s important to consider which type of natural material you’d like to invest in. There are many on the market, and just some of these include:
- Organic cotton, which can last up to 15 years
- Organic wool, an elastic material that is great at regulating temperature
- Hemp, a great option for anyone living a vegan lifestyle
- Coconut coir, which provides a buoyant quality
- Latex, harvested from rubber trees and featuring fire-resistant qualities
- Bamboo, a resource that is easily renewed
#5. Memory Foam
Foam mattresses are highly popular, and there’s a good chance you’ve at least sampled some type of relaxation tool utilizing foam technology. Famous for its ability to envelope its user and make them feel snug, there are a number of industries taking advantage of this innovation including:
If you enjoy the feeling of sinking into your bed and being enveloped and cradled to sleep, then a memory foam mattress may be just what you’re in the market for. These products are known for their ease in contouring to the body and slow restoration to original form when pressure is released. Think of the material that, when pressed on with your hand and released, leaves an impression for a few seconds.
While you may have heard of memory foam or even tried it out for yourself, what you may not have known is that it’s origins lie with NASA. It was in the early 1960’s when scientists began working with a material known as viscoelastic. This soft and energy-absorbent substance serves to offer protection to pilots as it is incorporated in the manufacturing process of airplane seats.
Became Notable for Comfort
It may seem strange that something we’ve commonly grown to associate with mattresses was, indeed, created in response to space exploration. We should remember that memory foam was originally intended for safety measures.
Since memory foam is able to effectively distribute body weight in response to heat and pressure, it does provide the added degree of support necessary in the event of high impact collision. In an airplane crash, for example, this could minimize injuries or even death. However, it was quickly noted just how comfortable the end product was. Shortly after its initial introduction in the aerospace industry, it was also being used in the production of:
- Safety helmets
- Seating pads for the disabled
Memory foam mattresses and pillows took the world by storm, and it is now one of the most popular mattress materials on the market.
Benefits Beyond Comfort
When it comes to comfort, memory foam mattresses have a relatively high rate of customer satisfaction. However, that’s not the only reason you may want to consider the purchase of a memory foam product. Just a few of the features you should carefully consider include:
- High level of pressure point relief
- Encourages proper spine alignment
- Can help not only in pain relief but also prevention
- Low motion transfer
- Reduced dust mites and other allergens
- Can fit adjustable beds, which we’ll discuss in a moment, with ease
Durable, lasting as long as a decade.
No mattress offers the right features for everyone, and that’s because there are so many different preferences out there. While one person may be attracted to the sinking-in feeling of memory foam, others may prefer just the opposite, and a SomniGel mattress provides just what this type of consumer is looking for.
If you’re in the market for a mattress that can quickly bounce back to its original form when you release pressure, gel foam delivers. In fact, there has even been an impressive test performed in which an elephant steps on a SomniGel product, and it quickly springs back to normal once the massive foot is removed.
Seemingly Defying Physics
Anyone who has taken even high school physics has been exposed to the fact that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. However, this intriguing product type seems to defy physics. When you lay on these mattresses, they don’t push back like you’re probably accustomed to. This is because they feature contact surfaces as low as just 22 percent and an impressive 78 percent open air. Aside from the fact that it can feel as though you’re sleeping on air, you’ll likely also appreciate:
- Impressive ability to disperse heat, thus allowing you to sleep cooler and more comfortably
- Hollow columns within the mattress that allows for increased airflow to more easily control temperature and keep the bed fresh
#7. Latex Mattresses
All latex beds are becoming increasingly popular. Aside from the fact that they are made using a natural resource, they are also affordable and feature the durability you need to make the most of your mattress investment.
As familiar as you feel you may be with latex, you probably weren’t aware that not all latex is made the same. There are two distinct manufacturing processes that are applied in the creation of all latex products that result in different qualities. Failure to at least be aware of the differences in these options can cause you to decide on a product that simply doesn’t deliver the level of quality you expect.
During the Dunlop process, a thick sap is whipped up after being extracted from trees. Once they are appropriately formed, the sap is baked into its final configuration.
Two Steps Further With Talalay
Talalay latex involves two extra steps which ultimately lead to the development of columns with which air can more easily flow. Think increased breathability. By removing air with a vacuum and then instantly freezing the latex before baking, consumers are able to enjoy an increased ability to sleep cooler.
The Good and the Bad
Aside from the fact that they can help you reduce your carbon footprint, they also offer a number of unique qualities:
- Don’t use chemicals
- Don’t require flipping and rotation
- Feature minimal off-gassing
However, if you do make this investment, you can expect a few negative aspects. For starters, they are typically more expensive than innerspring mattresses. However, if you are willing to invest a little more for a quality product, this is often money well spent. Latex mattresses can be heavier and more difficult to move.
#8. Innerspring Latex Hybrid Mattress
It’s pretty clear to see that there’s much that can be done with latex, and just another option on the market is the innerspring latex hybrid mattress. As the name clearly implies, this product combines the features of innerspring mattresses with latex, and one of the most notable results to take advantage of is the fact that you can often enjoy the relaxing latex properties at a lower price when innersprings are also incorporated. You will also enjoy
- Antimicrobial features typical of latex
- Springs can provide additional support
- The end product is typically durable when compared to equally-priced competitors on the market
As with any type of hybrid, however, there is always the possibility of structural weaknesses due to the combination of different properties. In order to decide if this is going to be an issue for you, it’s often a good idea to look for a product that offers an initial trial period or at least go to a store to try out the different innerspring latex hybrids available to see if there are any evident issues you should be aware of.
#9. Polyfoam Latex Hybrid
While a large percentage of the population would agree they find themselves indulging in a variety of sleeping positions during the course of any given night, the fact remains that there are also those who have a particular sleeping position they prefer for long periods of time. If this describes you and you favor side sleeping, a polyfoam latex hybrid could prove to be just the product you’ve been looking for.
Do Your Homework and Know What to Look For
Just as with any big decision you make in life, the choice to invest in polyfoam latex hybrid models requires you to do some homework in order to know what you’re looking for. This is because there are so many compromises on the quality that can be easy for clever marketers to downplay when you are ignorant of them.
One of the most important to consider is whether the latex portion of your hybrid is made using the Dunlop or Talalay process. While they share a number of the same qualities, the fact remains that two additional steps in the Talalay process allow for a higher degree of breathability, thus allowing sleepers the ability to maintain lower body temperature throughout the night. Just a few other things you should be on the lookout for as you shop include:
- Use of durable and non-toxic materials
- Use of materials with a good Certi-Pur® rating (you can learn more about what these ratings mean on the consumer page for Certi-Pur®)
- The softness or firmness level of the product (higher softness is ideal for stomach sleepers while you may opt for something firmer if you prefer to sleep on your side or back)
Hybrid options allow you to take some of the most attractive qualities of your favorite mattress types and combine them into an ideal product. While it often can require a higher degree of research on your part, it can prove to be well worth it when the end result is the discovery of a hybrid mattress that specifically caters to your preferences.
While you may think that innerspring mattresses have the longest history, you may be interested to know that they are predated by waterbeds. These products have been around since the early 1800’s, and they were originally designed by a Scottish physician named Neil Arnott. It was his intention to help his patients overcome painful bedsores.
In recent years, there have been claims that waterbeds can cause back problems. While this may be the case for some sleepers, it’s not something that can be expected for everyone. After all, a study was conductedthat revealed there isn’t such thing as an ideal bed type. Conducted by Kim Bergholdt, DC, of Denmark’s Funen Back Center, 160 patients who complained of lower back pain were assigned to use one of three beds types at random. These included:
- Hard futon
- Foam mattress
- Water bed
The results revealed that it’s all about personal choice. While the water bed and foam mattress were slightly more popular than the hard futon, there were still those who reported a preference for the harder mattress type. The truth is, while waterbeds are effective in conforming to all pressure points, but can lack proper support especially in earlier models.
Pros and Cons of Waterbeds
Before you make the investment in a waterbed, it’s important to take a look at the pros and cons. There’s no such thing as a perfect bed. It’s all about weighing what’s important to you against the possible downsides of ownership of a particular mattress type.
- Contains barriers that can adjust wave action to full, partial, or no wave to help encourage individual back health
- Sometimes offers two settings in order for you and your sleeping partner to maintain the ability to individually adjust settings such as water temperature and firmness
- Can make your back more limber
- Maintaining proper heat levels can have an adverse impact on your monthly electric bill
- Can be difficult to move as you must completely disassemble, reassemble, and refill every time the bed is transported even a short distance
- Chance of puncture and leaking
- Tiresome setup
#11. Innerspring Memory Foam Hybrids
Hybrid products are all the rave. From hybrid cars to plants and more, there’s a good possibility that you’ve already purchased material utilizing this type of technology. But, do you really know what this means? In order to know if a hybrid mattress would best allow you to sleep on a schedule even with a busy life, it’s necessary to consider just what it means to be a hybrid.
What’s a Hybrid?
A hybrid really does sound scientific, but there really isn’t that much to it. Basically, hybrid means the combination of two materials or technologies to make something new. For example, for cars, features of the combustion and electric engines are converged. As close as the produce section of your grocery stores lie forms of hybrids. Blackberries and raspberries, for instance, combine to produce boysenberries.
When it comes to hybrid mattresses, it’s all about understanding just what type of a combination you’re getting yourself into. When you combine innersprings and foam, there are a number of benefits that result. Just some of these include:
- Precise support where you need it most
- Supplemental support as foam and springs both provide support in different ways
- Potential cost savings over all memory foam mattresses
Not the Best Choice if You Don’t Like Innerspring
Since innerspring technologies are frequently implemented into hybrid mattresses, many of the innerspring features apply. Therefore, if you don’t prefer this mattress type, then this may not be the best choice for you. However, if you tend to prefer innerspring mattresses, hybrid versions offer a few more features you may enjoy such as:
- Higher degree of contour ability
- Addition of the foam creates a unique and enjoyable feel that many people find difficult to replicate with other mattress materials
A Few Potential Flaws
It’s just as important to know what you don’t want in a mattress as to be aware of the features you’re looking for. If you think you may want to explore this option further, a few downsides include:
- Sometimes more expensive than comparable products quality-wise due to their current trending status
- With many people confused as to exactly what comprises a hybrid, you may have to do some research before purchasing a product to verify that it is, indeed, a hybrid
#12. The Pillow-top Mattress
It’s probably becoming quite clear that there are more mattress types on the market than you ever even considered, and another viable option you have on the table is the pillow-top mattress. Commonly used with innerspring or even air mattresses, pillow-top technology allows for an increased level of comfort by adding several more inches of padding on the top layer of the mattress. Commonly referred to as Euro top mattresses, these products offer the buyer a number of options as just some of the material you can choose from includes:
- Memory foam
In order to help you easily weigh the pros and cons of the pillow-top mattress, it helps to see them laid out, and I will do that for you as follows:
- Has cooling properties
- Comfortable fiberfill layer
- Keeps its shape
- Quick bounce back
- Slight odor
- May be too soft for some
It’s clear to see that, while there are several intriguing factors that could make a pillow-top mattress an attractive choice, there are also negative aspects that could prove to send you back to the drawing board. However, if you have a desire to make a minimal investment now and are prepared for a quick replacement, this could be a great transitional product which could provide you the boost in sleep quality you need to stay happy and healthy.
#13. All Polyfoam
If you already have a pretty good idea that the foam mattress will provide the best qualities for you, your choice is only partially made. You now must decide what type of foam you’d like to invest in, and a popular choice is polyfoam.
Derived from petroleum, this option combines the use of a polyol and an isocyanate mixed with water. The end result? A flexible foam that has proven by far to be the most popular amongst foam mattress consumers. Even more interesting is the fact that this is one of the least expensive materials modern bed-in-a-box manufacturers use.
When you hear some of the components of polyfoam mattresses such as Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate, it can be easy to fear for your safety. After all, some of these chemicals can be hazardous to your health. However, you’ll be pleased to know that, when implemented for the use of mattresses, special processes take place to ensure these components are non-toxic.
Consider the Density
If you’re in the market for a polyfoam mattress, the most important aspect to keep in mind as you shop is density.The higher the density level, the more durable you can expect the product to be. It’s well worth noting that mattress manufacturers are not required to provide their density levels, and, if they are sub-par, this is an aspect most will likely avoid discussing when they can.
However, when you find one that is willing to disclose their product’s mass per unit volume, this could be a good sign that you’re investing in a quality product. You may also want to take the time to speak with customer service representatives of various companies to see how they act when you bring up density levels.
Just a few other components that are critical to your health that you may find compelling about polyfoam include:
- High level of relief from aches and pains after a long day
- Helps encourage proper posture and spine alignment
- Through the use of inorganic fibers, sleepers can enjoy a degree of relief from allergies
Can encourage proper head elevation to reduce the symptoms of disorders such as sleep apnea.
#14. Adjustable Beds
With so many products on the market and the fact that you hopefully won’t have to make the investment again for several years, you may be a little hesitant to make your final purchasing decision. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider adjustable beds. This option allows you do just what the name implies. You have the control to make necessary adjustments to allow for the changes you may need in order to accommodate your every need. Just a few situations in which this ability can prove beneficial include:
- You need to move your bed accordingly in order to comfortably work on your laptop to turn in your term paper on time.
- You or your partner suffer from sinus pressure, excessive snoring, or back pain.
- You want to prop your legs up to enjoy a snack with your favorite sitcom on television.
- You’ve had a long day and want to take advantage of the massage option that some products feature. With the flip of a switch, you can be enjoying your own spa-like experience in your bedroom.
Adjustable beds are also versatile in the fact that they can be used not only with box springs but also with adjustable bases in order to offer you even more customization. You really can have your cake and eat it too when you opt for these products as they can typically be used with any headboard or footboard. However, there are a few potential downsides that you should be aware of before you make up your mind, and just a few of these include:
- Expect to make a sizable investment as these products can easily cost you in excess of $2,500.
- Because they typically include components such as motors, joints, and more, you can expect maintenance costs, too, to be higher.
- They can be loud.
- If you expect you’ll need to move the bed frequently, be ready for a heavier product.
- Due to their unique sizes, it can prove more difficult to find the right sheets.
- Can prove difficult to keep clean, and you often have to invest in custom tools to maintain hygienic quality.
When you think of an airbed, you may immediately imagine the blowup mattress at grandma’s house that left you feeling a little bit homesick during a summertime visit. However, don’t be too quick to dismiss this option as technology has come a long way. There are a number of quality air mattresses on the market that have implemented advanced features that can leave you feeling more well-rested than you ever imagined. Just a few of the benefits you can take advantage of include:
- Depending on the product, you can often enjoy two settings to accommodate both your and your sleeping partner’s unique needs.
- Ability to manipulate firmness level can help you alleviate pain more effectively.
- Because of the use of PVC material, off-gassing is minimal or even non-existent.
- Sagging is not an issue.
It’s clear to see that there’s more to airbeds than often meets the eye. However, as exciting as these features may be, there are a few negative aspects to investigate as you shop. Keep in mind that:
- Assembly can last as long as an hour
- Lower-quality warranties are common
- Use of loud pumps is often necessary
These cons are ones that many consumers decide they can live with considering the high value of the benefits.
Making Your Shopping Easier and More Effective
Your investment in a new mattress is a reasonably sizable one. Just as you certainly wouldn’t want to buy a new car without first taking it for a test run, you don’t want to buy a mattress you’ll be entrusting your nocturnal well-being to without understanding a little more about its design and features. With so many different mattress types on the market, it can be easy to find yourself a little confused as you shop.
That’s why we’ve provided this helpful list. As you consider your options, use the few minutes it takes to compare the various types with your unique needs and preferences to best ensure you find just the product that will fit your lifestyle.
Mattress Type Comparisons and Material Quality
Scale 1-10 with 10 being optimal
|Rank||Cost||Heat Retention||Durability||Odor||Motion Xfer||Popularity|
|#5||Innerspring Memory Foam Hybrid||7||6||8||5||8||7|
|#7||Innerspring Latex Hybrid||6||6||7||8||6||7|
|#9||Polyfoam Latex Hybrid||6||8||8||7||7||7|
Check out our article on What You Need to Know About Mattress Certifications and Safety