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Are Memory Foam Mattresses Better Than Innerspring Mattresses?
Which is Right for You?

Last updated on March 20, 2019

With all the attention given to memory foam mattresses these days, many innerspring mattress owners wonder whether they might enjoy switching to a memory foam mattress. Naturally, this is largely a matter of personal preference, and not all memory foam or innerspring beds are the same (many innerspring mattresses even contain some memory foam).

Bottom Line: Both types can be comfortable, but each has a different "feel" and neither is better than the other.

Memory Foam vs Spring Beds

Memory foam devotees cite a unique sensation, describing the feeling as "melting" into the bed. Partners of restless sleepers also take great enjoyment from memory foam's unrivaled ability to minimize disturbance from movements on the other side of the bed.

On the flip side, this unique experience can take some adjustment, and may not be for everyone. A common complaint is that memory foam mattresses feel warmer than innerspring mattresses (see Memory Foam and Sleeping Hot), a byproduct of the very form-fitting quality for which they are praised. With more of your body's surface area in contact with the mattress, less of your skin is free to "breathe," resulting in discomfort and/or added perspiration for some people.

Memory Foam Innerspring
Bounce Little bounce More bouncy
Sleeping on the Edge Not as good Usually very good
Changing Sleep Positions 
Can be more difficult  Not an issue on most
Sleeping Hot Can feel warm More airflow


Are Memory Foam Mattresses Good for Side Sleeping?

Bottom line: Memory foam can be better for side sleepers

In our tests, both innerspring and memory foam mattresses can be equally supportive, especially for back sleepers.

For side sleepers, memory foam can have an advantage due to its excellent reputation for pressure relief -- especially important for side sleeping, where your body's weight is concentrated in shoulder and hip areas.

Stomach sleepers typically need firmer support to keep hips from sinking too far into a mattress. In this case, a mattress's firmness -- whether memory foam or spring -- is key, and either type of mattress can support stomach sleepers if they are firm enough.


Do Memory Foam Mattresses Last Longer than Spring?

Bottom line: Memory foam longevity is a question mark

A high quality memory foam mattress and a high quality innerspring mattress can both be well made and durable.

That said, memory foam material are still relatively new, without the long track record of steel springs, and only a few makers of memory foam mattresses have been around long enough to truly substantiate any claims about the longevity of their beds.

Mattress warranties for all mattresses vary in length, but 10 to 20 years is typical. More important than warranty length is the manufacturer's coverage for body impressions -- dips and sagging that can occur over time. No one enjoys rolling into a 'sink hole' in their mattress. The industry average for innerspring mattresses is 1" while most all-form mattresses are warranted again sagging of 3/4" or more. Whichever mattress you buy, be sure to check the manufacturer policy on this annoying issue than can occur over time and with use.

The Best of Both Worlds: Hybrid Mattresses

There's no need to settle for one type or the other. Many hybrid mattresses combine a support core of springs with memory foam on the top comfort layers giving a mattress the pressure relief and motion isolating benefits of memory foam with the edge support and bounce qualities of springs.

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.

Check out our Hybrid Mattress Buyer's Guide for more.

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