Hybrid (Spring + Foam) Mattresses
Combining Springs with High-End Comfort Materials

A hybrid mattress is designed to combine the best aspects of one type of bed with the best aspects of another. Today, the term “hybrid” most commonly refers to a bed that uses modern specialty comfort materials in its top layers (such as memory foam, latex or gel), together with a traditional innerspring support core underneath. The idea behind these hybrid mattresses is to combine the well-established durability and support of coil springs with the proven comfort and pressure relief of specialty padding materials.

About Hybrid Mattresses

When people think of a memory foam or latex mattress, they are usually thinking of a mattress that does not have coils. But the two technologies can happily co-exit in one mattress. In fact, no mattress is made entirely of specialty materials such as memory foam or gel. Most memory foam or latex mattresses have a thick layer of polyurethane foam on the bottom, which serves as a substitute for the innerspring core.

To understand what makes this so confusing, we need to look at how mattresses are marketed. As a consumer, you are told that this mattress over here is a “memory foam” mattress, while this one over here is an “innerspring” mattress that has memory foam on the top. Logically, you might conclude that the first mattress must be all memory foam, while the second mattress only has memory foam in the top comfort layers. However, the reality is that both mattresses only have memory foam in the top comfort layers. So actually, one of the biggest distinctions between them may be whether your support layer is coming from a block of polyurethane foam or a coil spring unit.

Net, you should understand that the decision of what type of comfort materials you like is completely separate from what kind of support layer you want. Over the past decade, as specialty mattresses have steadily gained in popularity, all-foam mattresses have proven to be very popular sellers. And while a “foam core” has many important benefits, there are also a number of inherent benefits to a spring core. Once you decide that you like the comfort and pressure relief of specialty materials such as memory foam, latex and gel, you then need to choose a bed with the support characteristics that are right for you.

Benefits of Hybrid Mattresses

  • Durability. Spring core beds have been around for more than 100 years, so their durability is well understood. In addition, tempered steel is known to be a much more resilient material than polyurethane foam. As such, over a long period of time, a well-made steel spring should maintain its shape and resistance better than polyurethane foam. For people that are heavier, or are buying a mattress with thinner and/or lower-quality foam in the upper layers, this difference may prove relevant to you during the lifespan of your mattress.
  • Responsiveness. As we all know, there is nothing quite like the bounciness of an innerspring mattress. So if “bounce per ounce” is an important metric for you, you should certainly be considering beds with a spring core.
  • Maneuverability. Even if your bed is a “no flip” model, it is usually still recommended that you rotate it regularly for more even wear. Because a foam core is typically heavier than a spring core, you may find this easier to do with a hybrid mattress than with a foam-core mattress.
  • Sustainability. Most innerspring units are made from recycled steel, whereas polyurethane foam is a petroleum-based product.

Other Considerations

If you are choosing between a hybrid mattress and a foam-core mattress, you might also want to consider some of the most commonly cited benefits of foam-core beds:

  • Motion isolation. Perhaps the most commonly cited benefit of foam core beds is the lack of motion disturbance (or motion transfer) caused by your partner’s movements, which is indeed a key advantage relative to many innerspring beds. That said, if motion isolation is an important issue for you, a hybrid mattress made with a “pocket coil” spring unit will also provide a good solution to this problem.
  • Compatibility with adjustable bases. Another attractive aspect of foam-core beds is their ability to be used with adjustable bases. While many innerspring beds do not possess this feature, it should be known that there are also a large number of hybrid mattresses that are specifically designed to be compatible with adjustable bases.
  • Lack of sound. If you have ever had a squeaky or creaky bed, you may be drawn to the simple fact that foam is inherently quiet. That said, the majority of springs that are sold today are very well-made and thus do not tend to have issues on this front.

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