What is a Hybrid Mattress?
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, using 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.

Are Hybrid Mattresses Good?

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-exist 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.

Below: Example of a hybrid mattress -- the Beautyrest Black Calista -- with pocketed coils below, and layers of foam comfort materials on top

Hybrid mattress with pocketed coils and foams

What are the Benefits of Hybrid Mattresses?

  • 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. Most all-foam beds do not bounce at all.
  • 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.
  • Better airflow. A coil support unit is made mainly of steel and air, allowing for more air circulation than an all-foam mattress. This could be a benefit for those concerned about overheating or sleeping hot.
  • Edge support. Mattresses using a coil support layer generally provide better edge support compared to all-foam beds, important if you tend to sit or lay on the edge of a mattress. (Some all foam beds combat this with special edge-support features.)

Motion isolation is one area where hybrid beds often don't do as well as all-foam beds. If you are easily disturbed by a partner's movements on the other side of the bed, this might be important to you. All-foam beds have almost no bounce, and no springs, so in our tests, they typically score very highly on motion transfer (or lack thereof).

Most of the hybrid mattresses we have tested use pocketed coils, and that improves motion isolation a good deal over beds using connected coil innersprings. The majority of the hybrid mattresses we have tested do nearly as well as all-foam for motion transfer, but check our individual reviews if this is a priority for you.

How Long Do Hybrid Mattresses Last?

Spring core beds have been around for more than 100 years, so their durability is well understood. Hybrid mattresses have a spring core, so that part of the mattress should last as long as any other high-quality innerspring mattress. A well-made steel spring core should maintain its shape and resistance better than polyurethane support foam. For people that are heavier than about 250 lbs., 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.

How Much Do Hybrid Mattresses Cost?

Price is probably the other major consideration. Generally, if an all-foam mattress isn't using a lot of premium materials (like several layers of high-density memory foam or all-natural latex), a foam-core bed can cost less than hybrid mattress. And hybrid mattresses generally cost more than standard innerspring beds as well. However, the difference is not so great that a hybrid mattress is out of the general range of modern mattresses (roughly $800 to $1,500 for a quality queen size bed).

Hybrid Mattress Brands

GoodBed has reviewed a number of hybrid mattresses, all of which combine a pocketed-coil support unit with various comfort materials. Click on each for our testing results. Aviya mattress uses bio-based foams over coils. The Avocado Green mattress uses natural latex over its pocketed coils, as does the Nest Hybrid Latex bed. The Beautyrest Black Calista is one of a number of beds using memory foam on top of pocked coils, a group that also includes the Tomorrow Sleep Hybrid, the Nest Alexander Hybrid, and the Sapira mattress. And other beds use standard comfort foams atop pocketed coils, like the Brooklyn Signature mattress and the DreamCloud bed.

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