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Saturday, November 26th, 2022

Types Of Mattresses | All You Need To Know

Types Of Mattresses

Waking up with a sore back is never fun! 

Replacing an old mattress with a new one might seem simple, but there are so many factors to consider in this decision. For instance, the type of mattress you buy will depend on how long you plan on using it or how many people will sleep on it. 

Plus, we can’t ignore the fact that individuals have different needs — some need a firmer option for back support, while others prefer softer surfaces. If you get the wrong type of mattress, it might interrupt your sleep and even cause back issues. This is why a lot of thought needs to go into the mattress-buying process. 

If you are just starting out on a research journey for a new mattress, we suggest beginning with understanding the types of mattresses. So, here’s a detailed list of all the types of mattresses that you can choose from– 

Types Of Mattresses

Types Of Mattresses

Honestly, there are many things to consider before buying a new mattress because there’s a selection of options waiting to be discovered. Over the years, companies have created new mattress styles with unique materials that you might not have heard of before. 

Thus, we recommend taking a look at all the possibilities before locking down a final selection. In this section, we’ll list the mattress types and the pros and cons of each selection. Let’s check it out- 

1. Memory Foam Mattress

Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses are made of a special type of polyurethane foam and are one of the more popular options for beds these days. Memory foam is the upgraded version of polyfoam, which is soft yet lacks the slow-moving feeling that memory foam mattresses provide. 

In fact, the material is designed to contour to the shape of the sleeper, which generates a feeling of sleeping in a cozy nook. Memory foam beds are usually formed of all layers of foam, with the same few layers finding their way into other hybrid beds too. 

Different types of mattresses can provide comfort and a good amount of pressure relief, but memory foam mattresses sink in, almost cradling the sleeper. Try it out for yourself the next time you’re in the store — press your hand on the mattress and watch it move slowly back in place. 

Essentially, this holding of body weight makes it the perfect mattress for those who like the extra cushiony feeling while settling into a deep slumber. 

Who Should Use Memory Foam Mattresses?

Sleepers who are already struggling with pressure issues, aches, and pains while resting can find a good use for a memory foam mattress. Whether you sleep on your back or on the side, the memory foam material hugs all the curves of the body. 

Also, even if weight is applied to the foam mattress for a long time, it goes back into place; thus, there is no need to flip it over. It’s a great option if you need a low-maintenance mattress that also offers maximum isolation in movement.

Thus, this makes for an ideal choice for couples that want mattress motion restricted so that there is minimum disturbance to either party. 

Pros
  • Motion isolation
  • Relieves pressure
  • Hypoallergenic material
  • Low maintenance
Cons
  • May overheat

2. Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring Mattresses

Back in the day, innerspring mattresses were all the rage. Nowadays, not so much because the trend has evolved into accommodating other options like foam, air, and organic mattresses. If we compare the popular option of today to the innerspring mattresses, the main difference is the use of coils or springs within the mattress. 

Unlike memory foam mattresses that are constructed entirely out of foam materials, innerspring mattresses provide support via different types of steel coils. The coils within the innerspring mattress support the body weight and bounce back into place when the weight is shifted. 

As a rule, we consider that a higher quality innerspring mattress has a higher number of coils. The reason for its popularity in yesteryears and even these days is for its reasonable price. Yet, these types of mattresses may not be ideal in the long run because the coils get damaged fast and may need replacement after a while. 

Basically, there are three common coil types used in innerspring mattresses-

a) Bonnell Coils

Bonnell coils are the ones that look like hourglasses and coil around like a helix when put together. Innerspring mattresses made from these coils are moderately priced since they are not the most comfortable of the lot.

b) Continuous Coils

This system involves using a long but single wire that is spread out to form the entirety of the innerspring mattress. Since the full length of the mattresses is made up of a wriggling S-shaped coil instead of individual coils at intervals, it tends to last longer than regular innerspring mattresses.

c) Encased Coils

Unlike other spring mattress types, the encased models have coils that are individually wrapped or pocketed. These types of coils are not connected to each other, which is why they provide much better motion isolation. You will find these coils shaped like thin barrels in hybrid mattresses. 

Who Should Use Innerspring Mattresses?

This depends on personal preference but remember – these beds will be more bouncier than memory foam mattresses. So, if you are a light sleeper or combination sleeper that likes to change sleeping positions often, it might be better to use an innerspring mattress.

Again, a memory foam mattress will give you the feeling of sinking, while an innerspring option will feel like you’re sleeping “on” the bed. Some people who already have mobility issues might prefer the feeling of traditional innerspring beds.

Additionally, sleepers that want better ventilation along with firm body support will appreciate this mattress type. 

Pros
  • Better ventilation
  • Available in many types
  • Suitable for sleepers with mobility problems
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Motion transfer

3. Hybrid Mattress

Hybrid Mattress

Ask anyone out there, and most sleepers might tell you they have switched an older bed for a new hybrid mattress. What’s special about this option is that it combines the positive aspects of innerspring mattresses and memory foam mattresses to form a comfy bed

If you look closely at the mattress materials, they are likely to be formed with a layer of coiled springs and a few layers of foam. Usually, there’s one layer of coil bedding and two or three layers of different foams, which include memory foams or latex. 

Pretty much all hybrid mattresses are customizable, so you can select the amount of bounce or sinking-in feeling you need. Add a few more layers of foam for a softer bed, and remove a few to get a firmer variety. 

Here’s an example — if you want better support for pressure points in the spine yet don’t want to sleep hot, go for a hybrid option. One thing we particularly like is the option to select special hybrid mattresses that provide zoned support. This means that the layers are adjusted to suit specific parts of the body, like the spine. 

Who Should Use Hybrid Mattresses?

Typically, people prefer this option for a few reasons, with the most prominent being its ability to provide comfort in different sleeping positions. So, we can safely say that this option is quite versatile, and almost anyone can use it for a good night’s sleep. 

In a few cases, we have seen back sleepers and stomach sleepers prefer hybrid mattress types because they support the body well in these positions. Also, if you want a temperature-controlling mattress but don’t want the bouncy effects of innerspring beds, go for something in between like a hybrid.

Anyway, there are plenty of brands and options to choose from, which give you a wide range of collections at your disposal. 

Pros
  • Better body support
  • Variety of options
  • Suits most sleeping types
  • Does not trap body heat
Cons
  • Costly

4. Gel Beds

Gel Beds

As we’ve mentioned earlier, people who sleep on memory foam beds love the cushiony softness but aren’t big fans of waking up in pools of sweat. Unless you are living in a cooler region, an equal alternative to a memory foam mattress might be required. This is where gel-infused foam mattresses come into the picture. 

Gel-infused memory foam provides the same body support and pressure relief as memory foam without an increase in mattress temperature. Foam mattresses need to be dense, but they also have limited airflow that leaves no place for the body heat to escape. With gel memory foam, this problem is eliminated because the gel keeps the mattress cool throughout the night. 

Essentially, manufacturers infuse the gel into the foam mattress because it takes a long time to trap body heat. This type of mattress is perfect if you don’t want to let go of foam mattresses yet still want the temperature of the foam beds regulated.

Who Should Use Gel Mattresses?

We recommend this type of bed for those people who tend to sweat often yet wish to take advantage of cozy foam beds. 

The good thing about gel-infused beds is that they are almost entirely made of foam, so sleeping on them doesn’t feel as different. The same pressure relief benefits with motion isolation are found in gel beds too. Although it might not be the most affordable mattress on the market, a gel-infused foam mattress offers plenty of benefits for its cost. 

Pros
  • Keeps body cool
  • Adapts to sleeping position
  • Soft and comforting
  • Practical and low maintenance
Cons
  • Made of synthetic materials

5. Latex Mattresses

Nature para latex pillow and mattress. Latex Mattresses.

If you are not convinced about foam mattresses and are looking for alternative mattress types, the next best option is a latex mattress. Natural latex is obtained from the byproducts of sap from rubber trees which makes it an environmentally-friendly mattress option. 

Latex mattresses have pretty much the same qualities as memory foam mattresses, with the only difference being in their material origin. It allows for body contouring and supports pressure relief for some essential spots, just like foam mattresses. In our experience and according to those who have used both, latex beds are slightly more bouncy.

Ultimately, it comes down to preference, and maybe you should try both out because the sleeping experiences are similar. Do keep in mind while selecting that latex options are much more airy and have a slight bounce to them.

Also, a latex bed can be constructed using natural or synthetic latex, which means that not all options are eco-friendly. Try to check beforehand if the mattress is verified by the Global Organic Latex Standard, which certifies the safety standards for latex mattresses. Also, latex mattresses are manufactured in two ways — Talalay style and Dunlop.

a) Talalay

The Talalay process involves filling the mold with latex and then allowing a vacuum to suck out the air within. The resulting latex mattress is still unstable after this procedure which is why it is frozen afterward. Once that is done, the final mattress has an even texture throughout, unlike the Dunlop latex mattress. 

b) Dunlop

In the Dunlop process of making a latex mattress, the latex is poured into the mold all at once. With this technique, the final product is denser towards the bottom and softer at the top.

Who Should Use Latex Mattresses?

As far as who can use this mattress, it is quite suitable for people with allergies. You see, natural latex is resistant to dust mites and hypoallergenic due to its superior ventilation mechanism. 

Another benefit of increased airflow through the mattress is that it hardly ever gets hot while sleeping on it. Hot sleepers or people who get uncomfortable by hotbeds can switch to latex options for better breathability and cooling. 

Also, this mattress type is ideal for combination or side sleepers because this bed will support constant movement easily. Its slightly bouncy nature will allow switching sides with ease. 

Pros
  • Buoyant material
  • Better breathability
  • Uses natural materials
  • Suitable for hot sleepers
Cons
  • Heavy

6. Organic Mattresses

Organic Mattresses

Living a lifestyle that limits the damage to the environment can have many forms, and one way involves switching the mattresses we use. Nowadays, you can purchase organic mattresses made of natural materials, limiting your exposure to chemicals. 

Usually, organic mattresses are made of materials like natural latex, organic cotton, recycled coils, and organic wool. The companies that manufacture these mattresses try to keep the process free of toxins and harmful chemicals. 

In addition, the products are always marketed as eco-responsible with certifications so that it’s easier for customers to spot them among other mattresses. Check for Global Organic Textile Standard certified mattresses to get good quality material in your organic mattress.

Also, some mattresses come with a GREENGUARD GOLD certification which indicates that the materials used are natural and non-toxic. Similar to these, there are many other environmental certifications that you can check if you are eco-conscious. The sleep quality in these mattresses is pretty high; however, they tend to cost more. 

Who Should Use Organic Mattresses?

An organic option is a perfect mattress for those who wish to reduce their carbon footprint and those who wish to use natural materials. Apart from providing all the comforts a good mattress should provide, a well-made organic mattress can also relieve pressure in the body. 

Also, this option will work well for those people who live in climates that change often. This is because natural materials like cotton and wool are great at retaining heat in winter and dissipating heat in summer. Thus, you can truly use these mattresses comfortably in all seasons, especially in summer when some beds tend to get hot.

Pros
  • Regulates temperature
  • Eco-friendly mattress
  • Free of toxins and chemicals
  • Relieves pressure
Cons
  • Higher price range
  • Few brand options

7. Water Beds

Beautiful luxury comfortable white pillow and blanket decoration interior of bedroom. Water Beds.

Water beds might seem like a modern invention that is marketed for their relaxation benefits. But the truth is that water beds have been around for quite some time and were used to assist patients with bedsores. 

Essentially, the mattress is filled with water which gives a sensation of floating gently in water while sleeping. This might not be the first mattress option people go for, but it is popular as an alternative way to relax for a few hours. 

With the option to customize the water level in the bed, you can get the desired fullness depending on your body weight. If you fill the waterbed with very little water, then there would be too much movement, and filling it too much will be uncomfortable too. 

Typically, water beds have different chambers, and each of them can have different levels of water. There is also the option to have free-flowing water in these chambers or have a restricted water flow. These adjustable settings are ideal if there are two people sleeping on the bed since each side can have a different water setting. 

Who Should Use Water Mattresses?

Although it may not be mainstream, a few sleepers may enjoy the sensation of sleeping on a waterbed. This type of bed adapts well to the shape of the body and prevents pressure from building up on the hips, shoulders, and knees. 

Also, people prone to allergies to regular mattresses will benefit from sleeping on waterbeds. Besides, it’s easy to maintain these mattresses because the outer vinyl cover is resistant to dust and stains. 

Pros
  • Comfortable to sleep on
  • Heating options
  • Firmness is adjustable
  • Suitable for people allergic to natural and chemical materials
Cons
  • Susceptible to leaks

8. Adjustable Beds

Electrical adjustable patient bed in hospital room. Technology of medical and hospital services. Adjustable Beds.

If you’ve always wished for a bed that could be used for multiple purposes in the house, an adjustable bed is your best bet. They look like any other bed, but they can recline and adjust in two or more directions when watching TV or when you wish to stretch your legs. 

This bed is ideal for those who wish to read or work in a sitting position but do not wish to invest in a new chair for the same. Typically, the price of these beds is higher because they come with moving electrical parts like motors. 

Some of these adjustable beds also have pain-relieving abilities because changing the bed angle allows for targeting different pressure points. 

Who Should Use Adjustable Mattresses?

Adjustable beds are good for people with chronic pain and conditions which may require frequent adjusting of bed positions. 

Pros
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Pain relief
  • Comfort
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Slightly pricey

9. Pillow Top Mattresses

Pillow Top Mattresses

Now, the pillow top mattresses have an extra layer of padding on the top which can be several inches thick. There are various reasons for adding this type of mattress to the bed, with the most common one being extra comfort. In some cases, the topper provides better durability, cooling, and bounce. 

Generally, a pillow top layer can be made out of natural materials like wool, cotton, latex, and sometimes even foam. Since the whole point of these mattresses is to add an extra layer of comfort, they are softer to touch than other mattresses. 

However, it is true that these mattresses come at a higher price, but it might be worth it for the extra comfort. Still, there are a few budget-friendly options available from select brands. 

The cushioning of pillow top mattresses is ideal for people who require pressure relief in some parts of the body. 

In addition, it also isolates motion so that there is minimal movement of the bed while sleeping. Note that it may require some maintenance because it needs frequent rotation due to sagging. Also, the options made of foam will retain heat and might feel hot to sleep in during the summer. 

Who Should Use Pillow Top Mattresses?

If you are one of those people who require extra cushioned support while sleeping, the pillow top mattress is for you. In fact, many types of sleepers can use this type of bed with ease. 

Pros
  • Added comfort
  • Motion isolation
  • Soft to touch
  • Ideal for pressure relief
Cons
  • Retains heat
  • High maintenance

10. Air Mattresses

Beautiful girl in the bed. Air Mattresses.

Don’t look down upon air beds or air mattresses just because they sound like something a vacationer would use. Yes, we know how air mattresses are associated with college students who roll them out on the floor in replacement for “real” beds! 

But, times are different now, and air mattresses available today are made of high-quality materials that are quite durable. One reason to replace the bed with an air mattress instead of foam or hybrid mattresses is for its light weight. 

That’s right; many sleepers are tired of moving around bulky mattresses and flipping them to different sides for better adjustability. With air mattresses, the problem of lifting and storing them is solved because they can also deflate and shrink into a box. 

Besides, these are the most affordable mattresses you’ll find, and some of them even come with thin foam layers for extra comfort. Sleeping on these beds long-term might not be the best choice for everyone, but they are perfect if you need a mattress for a short time. 

Who Should Use Air Mattresses?

First of all, the firmness of these beds is easy to adjust on your own because it all depends on the amount of air you pump. Thus, if the bed seems too firm, allow some air out. 

Those of you who move around often might find air mattresses pretty useful because they are super portable and light. Of course, they won’t be as comfortable to sleep on as foam mattresses, and neither will help with back issues or relieve pressure. 

However, an air mattress is ideal for talking along with you on a camping trip as a temporary bed or for guests visiting over. In any case, it makes for an affordable replacement mattress if you only need a bed to sleep on for a few days. 

Pros
  • Firm-feeling mattress
  • Portable option
  • Low in cost
  • Easily adjustable firmness
Cons
  • Tendency to tear
  • Not suitable for long-term sleeping

Types Of Mattresses Frequently Asked Questions ?

Are mattresses harder when new?

In the beginning, mattresses will be much firmer than they turn out to be later. If the mattress feels a bit firm when you first use it, remember that it will become softer with time. It is recommended to use a mattress for at least a month to judge if it fits your needs. 

Just as a new pair of shoes need to be worn a few times to feel comfortable, mattresses need to be used for a while. If you wish to hasten the process of loosening the mattress, try stepping on it a few times to soften it up. 

Can I wash mattresses?

It’s not possible to wash a mattress with water, but there are ways to keep it clean and fresh. Keeping the mattress covered will anyway keep it protected from unwanted spills and stains. 

Additionally, you could clean some spots using a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. Apart from that, steam cleaning the mattress periodically will also help in keeping the mattress fresh and deodorized. 

How long do mattresses last?

Typically, a good mattress will last for 7-10 years if maintained in good condition. If extra care is taken, it could last for much longer. However, remember that the longevity also depends on the materials used to construct it. 

Types Of Mattresses Final Words

Types Of Mattresses Final Words

As we’ve already discussed, selecting a mattress is a personal decision, and everyone will have their preferences. We suggest buying from a mattress store that offers at least a month of trial policy. During this time frame, you’ll be able to decide whether the mattress is the right choice for you. 

In any case, we hope you find the perfect mattress soon enough. See you next time! 

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Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson is the heart of the team, senior editor and our Head of Product Reviews which means she sets the testing parameters of each group review ensuring that tests resemble everyday use.

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