What Is a Hybrid Mattress?
A hybrid mattress is a type of mattress that may be ideal for you if you are having trouble deciding between innerspring and memory foam mattresses.
May 21st, 2020 •
It can be tough to find the right mattress for your needs. You may have read that memory foam mattresses can be a little soft for some and that they can sleep hot. Yet innerspring mattresses just do not offer the level of contouring and comfort that memory foam mattresses do. For many, the solution is a hybrid mattress.
What Is a Hybrid Mattress?
Hybrid mattresses combine two or more mattress types into one. Typically, this will include innerspring coils and comfort layers made from materials like memory foam and latex. These unique combinations result in a mattress with some of the benefits of an innerspring mattress, a memory foam mattress, and even a latex mattress, without the same downfalls.
Manufacturers use different combinations of mattress materials with the hope of creating a product that retains the best mattress benefits of certain mattress types while reducing or eliminating some of their downfalls. The idea is to create a mattress that has the best of both worlds.
What’s Inside a Hybrid Mattress?
Hybrid mattresses are usually made up of the following layers.
1. Support Layer
The base layer is the one that provides the primary support, firmness, and structure of the mattress. This is most often made up of individually wrapped coils known as pocketed coils that can move independently while providing a bouncy, responsive support. This support core is usually thick, measuring around six to eight inches. This layer is to thank for the integrity and firmness that a hybrid mattress offers.
2. Transition Layer
The transition layer is the cushioning or barrier between the comfort layer and the base support layer. Oftentimes, the transition layer is made of dense foam or latex material.
Not every hybrid mattress contains a dense memory foam layer, but when they do, it can be located either below the coil system or between it and the comfort layer. This very firm polyfoam adds to the mattress’s support systems, which can help to extend the longevity of a hybrid mattress.
3. Comfort Layer
The comfort layer is the layer of the mattress closest to the top of the mattress. It is usually made from memory foam, latex, polyfoam, or multiple layers of these materials, although comfort layers of memory foam are the most common. The composition and thickness of this layer is what largely dictates how the mattress feels when you lie on it.
Mattresses with latex will be more firm, bouncy, and responsive than those with just memory foam. Thicker memory foam will usually yield a mattress with better contouring and pressure point relief. The quality of the foam here is important for the long-term comfort of the mattress.
Some comfort layers will be copper-infused or gel-infused to lower heat retention, allowing those who use the mattress to sleep cooler.
4. Pillow-Top or Euro-Top
Many hybrids will include a final layer to enhance the comfort of the sleep surface called a Euro-top or pillow-top that is similar to those used in traditional innerspring pillowtop mattresses. This layer is filled with materials like wool, cotton, or fiberfill to make the top of the mattress plush and soft.
Read More: Best Pillow Top Mattresses
What’s the Difference Between a Hybrid Mattress and a Regular Mattress?
Before you choose the best type of mattress for you, it is helpful to understand what it feels like to sleep on the different types of mattresses. We have compared hybrid mattresses with the other popular mattress types, so you can know what to expect if you purchase a hybrid mattress.
Hybrid Mattress vs Memory Foam Mattress
When compared to memory foam mattresses, hybrid mattresses will usually be more firm, responsive, bouncy, and breathable. Hybrid mattresses are better for hot sleepers than foam beds thanks to the breathability of the springs. A hybrid mattress will not usually offer the same level of pressure point relief and contouring, but it will still offer some of these benefits.
Read More: Memory Foam vs Spring Mattresses
Hybrid Mattress vs Innerspring Mattress
When compared to traditional innerspring mattresses, hybrid mattresses will be softer, quieter, and better at contouring to the body and relieving pressure. You will feel more like you are hugged by a hybrid mattress thanks to the thick foam comfort layer. A hybrid mattress will also sleep warmer and be less bouncy and responsive when compared to an innerspring mattress. Hybrids also offer better motion isolation than a traditional mattress, which is good for couples.
Hybrid Mattress vs Latex Mattress
When compared to latex mattresses, hybrid mattresses will be softer and offer enhanced contouring and comfort when the top layer is made from memory foam. A hybrid mattress is likely to sleep hotter and be less bouncy and responsive.
The Pros and Cons of the Hybrid Mattress
- Contouring: Foam hybrid mattresses tend to use memory foam as the comfort layer in order to provide optimal contouring that relieves pressure points. This can help to reduce aches and pains.
- Supportive: The innerspring base is supportive, resulting in a mattress that is a bit more supportive than a memory foam mattress, particularly when it comes to edge support. This can be helpful for getting in and out of bed and for those who prefer a medium-firm mattress.
- Isolates Motion: Memory foam is great at absorbing shock, making hybrid mattresses better at reducing motion transfer than a traditional innerspring mattress.
- Regulates temperature: The innerspring mattress base is more breathable than memory foam, allowing for hybrid mattresses to sleep cooler than memory foam mattresses.
- Responsive: The supportive core of coils makes hybrid mattresses much more responsive than memory foam mattresses. This means that it will more quickly adjust to your movements. The result is a mattress that is good for those who move around at night and those who struggle to get out of bed.
- Quiet: Thanks to the thick comfort layer of memory foam and/or latex, hybrid mattresses do not tend to make much noise when you move around on them. However, they are not usually as quiet at a memory foam or latex mattress.
- Expensive: Hybrid mattresses are one of the most expensive types of mattresses, beat out on average only by air mattresses. This price tag may or may not be worth it, depending on if the unique benefits of a hybrid mattress are applicable to your needs.
- Heavy: Hybrid mattresses are both heavy and bulky, making them hard to move and ship. This can make shipping costs more expensive and can be troublesome when moving from one home to another.
- Not very bouncy: Because of the upper layer of comfort foam, hybrid mattresses are not nearly as bouncy as innerspring mattresses. It takes much more pressure to feel the bounce-back, which can be a downside for those who like the extra support that bounciness provides.
- Can sleep hot: Temperature can be a con for those who are extremely temperature sensitive. While hybrid mattresses sleep cooler than most memory foam mattresses, they tend to sleep warmer than innerspring or latex mattresses. The thicker the comfort layer, the warmer the hybrid mattress is likely to sleep.
Who Are Hybrid Mattresses Best For?
Hybrid mattresses are best for those who have tried innerspring and memory foam mattresses and found neither one perfect. Specifically, if you relate to the following, a hybrid mattress may be good for you:
- You find innerspring mattresses too firm.
- You wake up with aches and pains after sleeping on an innerspring mattress.
- You dislike the noise from innerspring mattresses.
- You sleep hot on memory foam mattresses. (Pro tip: Look specifically for cooling mattresses when you shop.)
- You find memory foam mattresses too soft.
- You sink in too much on memory foam (typically meaning that it is not supportive or responsive enough for you).
- You find memory foam not responsive enough for sex.
- You have trouble getting out of a memory foam mattress.
There are also some people who may want to avoid a hybrid mattress. Generally, if you like the feel of either innerspring or memory foam mattresses, you may be able to get what you need at a lower price point because hybrid mattresses are usually more expensive than either of these options.
How to Shop for a Hybrid Mattress
Just as any other type of mattress, hybrid mattresses come in a variety of quality levels and price points. When shopping for a hybrid mattress, you should examine the composition and thickness of each layer to determine if it will meet your needs.
- First, learn what types of coils are used in the innerspring mattress layer. The nicest coils when it comes to comfort, noise, and motion transfer and known as pocketed coils or Marshall coils.
- Next, read about the types of foam or other materials used in the comfort layer. Latex is going to result in a firmer, more responsive mattress. Memory foam will result in a mattress that is much better at conforming to your body, and is an important layer if you are a side sleeper who needs extra pressure relief.
- Finally, check out reviews and the mattress warranty. These are helpful tools when learning what to expect and how long your mattress may last. The longer and more robust the warranty, likely the higher quality of materials that are being used.
Is a hybrid mattress good for side sleepers?
Hybrid mattresses work for all sleep positions, but they especially provide the pressure point relief and spinal support needed for side sleepers. The best hybrid mattress for side sleepers uses a plush pillow or euro tops for the hips and shoulders to sink into.
Is a hybrid mattress good for back pain?
Hybrid mattresses that offer great spinal alignment and pressure relief work well for back pain. Be sure to look for a bed with a firmness level that’s medium to medium-firm to evenly distribute your body weight; this will also keep your spine aligned.
Do you need a box spring with a hybrid mattress?
No, hybrid mattresses do not need a box spring because the strong layers can support themselves. If you have a metal bed frame, then a box spring is necessary to support it. Otherwise, you can pick any other strong, sturdy foundation.
What are the best hybrid mattresses?
The best hybrid mattresses are made of premium materials, high-density foam, low coil gauges, and have many layers to prevent sagging. Three of our personal favorites include Saatva, DreamCloud, and the Casper Hybrid. To see our full list check out the Best Hybrid Mattress Guide.
Hybrid beds are a popular option for those whose needs are not met by either a memory foam or traditional innerspring mattress. This type of mattress can be great for all sleeping positions, allowing for a medium-firm, contouring, comfortable feel with good responsiveness and support. When shopping for your next new mattress, consider hybrids.
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