What is the best mattress? – Pros and Cons of different types

Man and best mattress

Do you wonder what is the best mattress for you? Buying a new mattress is an exciting and challenging experience for all of us. Not just because it is a middle-term investment, but your pick has a significant effect on your nights’ and daily life’s quality. When you walk into a mattress store and try any mattress you find there, it is hard or even impossible to evaluate and decide if it can provide what you need. The salesman’s words, the lights, and the situation’s urge all hinder you from relaxing and feeling the mattress’s actual quality. Even more, you cannot compare a 10 minutes trial to a whole night’s sleep. This post goes through all the most popular mattress types, their attributes, pros, and cons to help you narrow down the giant selection of online and in-store options and support you to make a more confident purchase.

Innerspring mattresses

First of all, talk about the father of modern mattresses, innerspring or coil mattresses. The name is from the metal support coils that build up an innerspring mattress’s core. These mattresses are the most frequently used ones and are available since the early 1900s. However, I think all of us can recall memories of a pure metal bed frame with a so-called squeaky mattress inside it with metal coils and with some padding; modern innerspring mattresses are different and much more comfortable. Often they come with additional layers of different types of foams while keeping the bouncy feeling of the coil mattresses. 

Types of innerspring mattresses by the types of coils

Innerspring mattresses have different types based on the coils they contain in their core. They work and provide support with wire coils but using a different approach. Based on the individual practices, the duration, supportiveness, noise level, and price change type by type.

Bonell coils

Bonell coils were invented the earliest and were used since the 1800s in buggy seat cushions. They look like an hourglass and often are connected to make up a continuous structure. This bond makes it more durable but makes motion transfer pure. This Bonell coil mattress is the type you might remember from your childhood at grandma.

Offset coils

The most significant disadvantage of a coil mattress is the noise that you can experience. If you are afraid of this problem, check out offset coils. Offset coils also have an hourglass shape as the Bonell coils, but besides, they have flattened edges at the top and bottom. The center of the coils has a hinging connection to these edges. This approach makes the offset coils much more silent than a Bonell coil.

Continuous coils

This solution is a continuous interlink system of one single wire in every row. Each row is tied to the next one by a spiral wire. This connection makes these mattress cores durable and supportive but is less effective in motion isolation. The rows usually are formed from head to toes to make this motion transfer problem more tolerable.

Pocketed coils

In a pocketed coil mattress, the springs are wrapped individually in fabric to move freely, and there is no interaction between the coils. These individual pockets solve the motion transfer problem, and motion isolation becomes much more effective while the mattress keeps the bouncy characteristic of an innerspring mattress.

Innerspring mattress – Pros&Cons

ProsCons
• Affordable price range
• Excellent air circulation between the coils – cooler sleeping experience
• Strong edges
• Suitable for many sleep positions
• Responsive – better for sex
• Continuous coil mattresses have pure motion isolation
• Shorter lifespan
• Not good if you have joint pain
• Coils can make some noise

Foam mattresses

Foam mattresses are the new generation of modern mattresses. However, manufacturers have used several types of foams for decades now. Let’s see what kind of foams are the most popular in mattresses and their benefits or drawbacks.

Memory foam

You might know, but memory foam was invented by NASA in the 60s and not for sleeping or comfort but for safety reasons. They used it for seat cushions to save pilots in case of crashes. Shortly everyone realized that this material could incredibly increase the comfort factor of mattresses. So today, you can hardly find a mattress manufacturer who doesn’t use this material. This material reflects slowly on movements and provides a hugging and well contouring feeling since you sink into the mattress instead of lying on the top of it. It gets back its original form slowly after the pressure is released. Memory foam shows its great benefits in pressure relief and supports side sleeping positions very well.

most comfortable mattress

Memory foam – Pros&Cons

ProsCons
• Provide support for the entire body
• Excellent motion isolation
• Long lifespan
• Excellent pressure relief attribute
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• Resistant to dust mites
• Noiseless
• Trap air that can lead to overheating
• Less responsive
• Weak edge support
• The sinking feeling is not for everyone
• Quite expensive

Check the best memory foam mattress choices of the year in our recommendation.

Gel foam

The biggest problem with memory foam that causes the most unpleasant feeling about this material traps the heat. This heat retention is because memory foam needs to be dense enough to provide sufficient support for your body. High density comes with pure air circulation ability, and it leads to overheating. 

Gel-infused foam mattresses are invented and frequently used to solve this problem. Gel-infused into the foam to make it naturally cooler. The feel of gel-infused memory foam is slightly different from pure memory foam, so if it is possible, try out one if you like it.

Latex

Traditionally latex is made of a white liquid extracted from the rubber trees. This liquid is harvested from the living tree. During the manufacturing, water is removed, and the material remains perfect for various products, in this case, for a mattress with a remarkable cooling factor with high responsiveness. Besides this natural option, synthetic versions also appeared on the market. Synthetic latex is a mixture of synthetic polymers and the extract of the rubber tree. This option is less expensive but less healthy also.

Types of latex

There are two main ways producers create from the rubber tree: extract a latex foam, and as a result, they get Dunlop or Talalay latex foam. Manufacturers tend to say that their product is better, but the reality is that they are just different because of the manufacturing process; let’s see how.

  • Dunlop latex – In both cases, the rubber tree extract goes through a vulcanization process while liquid latex is hardened into a solid substance. The creation of Dunlop latex is a cost and energy-effective mode. The liquid after the extraction is poured into a mold and “baked” in its final form, and that’s it, Dunlop latex is ready.
  • Talalay latex – To get Talalay latex, two additional steps are required during the vulcanization. When the extract is in the closed mold, air needs to be vacuumed from it, then the air-free latex instantly gets frozen, then “baked”. This process guarantees better air circulation in the latex foam.

As a final result, there are some differences between the two latex foams, but not many:

  • Dunlop latex is denser than Talalay latex.
  • Producing Dunlop is more energy-efficient so that the final product can be cheaper.
  • Dunlop feels springy while Talalay is rather bouncy.

Latex – Pros&Cons

ProsCons
• Good responsiveness
• Keep you cool
• Impressive lifespan
• Eco friendly and organic
• Advanced body contouring without a “sinking” feeling
• High average price
• Heavy and difficult to move
• Pure edge support

Polyfoam

The mattress market is flooded with different types of foam, and many manufacturers use several types of them in their products, so you can find the foam that fits your needs the most. Always keep in mind to check the density of the foam in the mattress. The denser the foam, the durable the mattress is.

All of the foams, such as the popular polyfoam, are synthetic and full of ingredients and chemicals that could sound scary. If you are buying a foam mattress, always check if it is CertiPUR-US Certified. This certification label ensures you that the foam is free from harmful chemicals, heavy metals, formaldehyde, ozone depleters, flame retardants, and mercury lead. 

Hybrid mattresses

Hybrid mattresses are combining innerspring mattresses and foam mattresses. They have an innerspring support layer and a 2-3 inch thick memory or latex foam comfort layer on the top. They tend to be an ideal combination of solid support and a hugging, cozy feel. 

By definition, a hybrid mattress is at least 2 inches of memory foam layer combined with a pocket coil supportive core. 

Of course, you will find other combinations listed as a hybrid mattress, but it will be an incorrect term. You will find not just innerspring latex or innerspring memory foam hybrids if you look around on the market. You can even purchase so-called hybrid mattresses that combine any foam core with a latex or memory foam comfort layer. However, these mattresses don’t fulfill the exact definition of a hybrid mattress; they still can be the most comfortable option for you.

couple happy with a mattress

Hybrid mattress – Pros&Cons

ProsCons
• Strong edge support
• Good responsiveness
• Less sinking feel than pure memory foam
• Advanced pressure relief combined with efficient support
• Better air circulation than pure foam mattresses can provide
• High price
• A shorter lifespan
• Potentially not noiseless
• Memory foam versions still can retain heat
• Not as efficient motion isolation as pure foam mattresses has

Please find the best hybrid mattress options of the year in our recommendation.

What is the best mattress – Comparison of the most prevalent types

Now we went through all the most popular and frequently bought mattress options of the online and in-store market. I put together a comparison table with the most crucial features of mattresses to see each prevalent types’ strengths and weaknesses.

Mattress typeLifespan (years)Price rangeFirmnessMotion isolationResponsiveness
Innerspring6-8 Budget till premiumMedium to firmSome motion transfer occursExcellent
Memory foam8-10Average till premium Soft to mediumExcellentPure
Gel-infused foam10-12Average till premiumSoft to mediumExcellentPure
Latex foam10-12Average till premiumMediumGoodGood
Polyfoam10-12Average till premiumSoft to mediumGoodPure
Innerspring Hybrid8-10Average till premiumMediumGoodGood

Alternative special mattresses

Besides the prevalent and often bought viral types, there are other alternatives, particular kinds of mattresses with excellent attributes that might fulfill your specific needs. Have a look at them briefly to get an idea of what other possibilities you have if you need something unique and different from the trendy and popular types.

Natural fiber mattress

These mattresses use several natural fibers to build up the support and comfort layers of a mattress. Most of these mattresses are free from chemicals and synthetic solutions, so they are a good choice if you would like to avoid any non-natural element. There are many fibers available on the market, and they provide different sleeping experiences, so it is essential to give a try to the one you think could work for you before the purchase.

The most popular natural fibers you can find in mattresses are the following. Besides these prevalent items, you still can find other solutions:

  • Organic wool
  • Organic cotton
  • Hemp
  • Coconut coir
  • Bamboo
  • Horsetail

Pillowtop mattress

Pillowtop mattresses are often called Euro-top mattresses. They are regular, usually innerspring mattresses with a soft and cushion-like top layer. This type could be an excellent choice for those side sleepers who won’t buy a memory foam mattress because of any reason. The plush top layer will give the shoulder and hip area a sinking feeling to maintain a proper spine alignment.

The pillowtop could provide additional features such as extra cooling, bounciness, durability, and extra comfort based on its material.

Organic mattress

Organic mattresses are good choices for environmentally conscious customers or those who are afraid of chemicals or toxins. The selection based on the used materials is quite broad. If you are interested in such an option, you can still browse between numerous solutions.

The most popular materials used in the organic mattresses:

  • Organic wool
  • Natural latex
  • Recycled steel coils
  • Organic cotton

As a plus, organic manufacturers try to keep their processes economically friendly and use eco-friendly wrapping materials. If you would like to have an organic mattress, the best to look for the GREENGUARD GOLD certification.

Waterbed

Waterbeds are even older than innerspring mattresses. They have been in use since the 1800s since a Scottish physician called Neil Arnott started to use them to help patients overcome bedsores. This bed type was trendy in the 80s because they provide a floating relaxing feel and perfectly adjustable to body weight. Significant disadvantages are that they are heavy, difficult to move, and take a lot of time to set it up.

Airbed

First of all, make it clear that an airbed is not the same as an air mattress you inflate with a pump and toss on the floor when suddenly steps in more quests you expected. Airbed looks like your regular bed and is often created together with foam layers. The great advantage of these modern beds is that they are adjustable individually on each side, so if you and your partner’s sleeping preferences do not match, it is no longer a problem. Another hurray, using an airbed, you do not need to worry about sagging anymore.

To summarize

This post tried to give you some guidance on what mattress is the best for you. Together with our mattress Buying Guide, you will have all the knowledge to be confident; search, act, and ask like a pro.

It is incredible if you would like to keep yourself informed but never lose the real focus; the goal is to feel comfortable. Not just in your new bed put during the journey till you find your new mattress. I wish you to find the best mattress and “Sleep Tight”!

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