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How to Choose Between a Memory Foam vs. Spring vs. Hybrid Mattress


Memory Foam vs. Spring vs. Hybrid Mattresses: What’s the Difference?

We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. It’s been well documented that sleep can improve our physical and mental health, playing a major role in our well-being.

Of course, getting enough sleep is easier said than done. People have trouble sleeping for many reasons, from stress to shift work to that one overeager neighbor who likes to mow his lawn on Saturday mornings. But the outcome is always the same—one way or another, not getting enough sleep hurts your quality of life.

A good mattress may not be able to solve all these problems, but it can play a huge role in the quality of your sleep.

A Sleep Foundation study found that 41% of people toss and turn a few nights a week, and nearly a quarter have sleep trouble due to a restless partner.

If that sounds familiar, finding the right mattress could be the key to getting more Zzzs and waking up refreshed. But, how do you choose the right mattress? Memory foam vs. spring mattress? hybrid vs memory foam? Latex foam or memory foam mattresses? With so many different types on the market, how do you decide?

In general, most mattresses on the market can be categorized as innerspring, foam, or hybrid. In this guide, we’re going to explain exactly what this means, what the benefits and drawbacks of each type are, and who each type suits best.

What Is a Spring Mattress?

Characterized as the quintessential bedding choice, a spring or innerspring mattress stands out as the epitome of tradition. The crux of a spring mattress lies in its support system, a harmonious interconnection of steel spring coils that defines its classic structure.

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The coils are usually crafted with steel wire of different gauges or thicknesses and lined up in rows designed to adjust support as you change your body position through the night. A note about coil gauge: the lower the gauge number, the firmer the coil spring. The steel used in mattress coils varies typically from 12- to 15-gauge varieties. So a mattress with 15-gauge coils will have a softer feel than a firm 12-gauge coil mattress.

Types of Spring Mattresses

Even though all spring mattresses work on the same basic principles, there are a couple of different types you should be aware of.

Bonnell Coils

This type of system uses hourglass-shaped springs throughout. Mattresses made with Bonnell coils are the least expensive, but also the least durable.

Offset Coils

These springs are also hourglass-shaped but connected at the top and bottom and set very close together, making mattresses made with offset coils very durable. The downside of this type of coil is that the interconnectivity of the springs doesn't limit motion transfer.

Continuous Coils

Continuous coils are crafted from a single long wire that is shaped into individual S-shaped coils. Like offset coils, continuous coils make a long-lasting mattress but may not keep you from feeling someone else's movements while you sleep.

What are ‘Individually wrapped springs?’

More recently, individually wrapped spring technology has emerged in the mattress space. With wrapped springs, the coils are individually wrapped within their own fabric housing (rather than interconnected) to promote more responsiveness, freedom of movement, and enhanced support. The springs are housed in a padded shell and encased with various quilted, padded, and fabric layers. Leesa’s Sapira Hybrid Mattress contains 1,000+ premium-grade steel springs engineered from about 20 feet of recycled steel billet.

Spring Mattress Pros

  • Innerspring mattresses can be cooler than foam mattresses since body heat can disperse more readily.

  • Spring mattresses tend to be less expensive than foam or memory foam.

Spring Mattress Cons

  • Metal coils offer less back support and pressure relief than foam beds.

  • Traditional spring mattresses can begin to sag if you use the same sleeping position most nights.

Who Should Choose a Spring Mattress?

Spring mattresses are a great choice for those looking for an affordable option, hot sleepers, and those who prefer firmer support.

What Is a Memory Foam Mattress?

Today’s memory foam mattresses are typically constructed of multiple types of foam layered to maximize sleep quality, provide superior support, and facilitate maximum recovery during the sleep cycle.

If you’ve landed here at Leesa, you’ve probably been researching memory foam mattresses and want to discover the differences, the benefits, and the level of quality found in today’s advanced and meticulously designed Leesa mattresses. Foam mattresses consist of multiple layers; a foundation or base layer, a middle layer of body contouring memory foam, and a top layer to provide support and airflow.

The Original Mattress sleeps cool through breathable, responsive foams for all-night comfort. Shop Now

What Are the Different Types of Foam Mattresses?

Foam mattresses are a newer addition to the market. Many companies use proprietary foams, which means that there are many different kinds, but they mainly fall into a few different categories.

Latex Foam

Latex is a natural material obtained from tapping the rubber tree. The process is similar to how maple syrup is produced, but instead of tree sap, the tappers collect the milky-white fluid found beneath the bark. This product is then made into commercial latex or natural rubber.

When used in latex mattresses, the liquid latex is turned into foam using a chemical process. The resulting material has some of the natural flexibility and bounce of any latex or rubber product—and it's a relatively environmentally friendly option.

Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane is a plastic-like material used in all sorts of everyday objects. Its versatility means that it can take many different forms, and it's commonly used in the mattress industry.

Memory Foam

You've likely seen the handprint trick on memory foam in ads, right? Well, here's a fun fact: NASA originally developed memory foam to give extra cushioning to their test pilots. It's no wonder memory foam has become a go-to for comfy mattresses and more!

Foam Mattress Pros

  • Foam beds conform to your body, providing sufficient support and pain relief for pressure points.

  • Unlike spring mattresses, foam mattresses limit motion transfer, making them a great choice for couples.

Foam Mattress Cons

  • Foam mattresses can trap body heat, which can be a problem for hot sleepers.

  • Before using them, you may need to air out some foam mattresses, a process known as off-gassing.

Who Should Choose a Memory Foam Mattress?

Foam or memory foam mattresses are a great choice for anyone who wants targeted support and for couples who want to limit motion transfer.

What is a Hybrid Mattress?

This type of mattress is trending as an option for those who like the best attributes of both memory foam and innerspring mattresses. Essentially, the hybrid is an innerspring core encased by high-density foam and topped with multiple layers of the same high-support memory and polyurethane foams used in trending memory foam mattresses. A hybrid mattress may be the best choice for those who enjoy a blend of spring support but insist on the quality and contouring of memory foam.

Hybrid Mattress Pros

  • This mattress type offers a unique combination of support that can offer pressure relief for any sleeping position.

  • Manufacturers are now producing many different types of foam, including memory foam, gel memory foam, and more, for many different purposes. These foam layers can offer extra support, comfort, or even cooling to help reduce body heat.

Hybrid Mattress Cons

  • These mattresses can be expensive.

  • Most hybrids still need to be off-gas before use.

Recommended for:

This type of mattress is a great choice for people who tend to change sleeping positions throughout the night, hot sleepers, and couples who want a compromise between firm support and motion transfer.

How Can Leesa Help?

Shopping for a mattress has always been a stressful experience, but with new technologies and the advent of online mattress shopping, there are more options than ever. Foam vs. spring mattress vs. hybrid seems like just the beginning. Soft? Firm? Plush? Pillow-top or memory foam? Cooling gel-infused? Smartphone-enabled? The sheer number of options can be daunting, but what it really boils down to is: Does it help you sleep better?

At Leesa, we’re committed to helping you get a better night’s sleep. We want to help demystify sleep with helpful guides like this one and, of course, provide premium mattresses that employ the best technology from every type of mattress and at every price point.

We offer a variety of mattress types that fit a wide range of needs, from the affordable Studio Mattress to the luxury Legend Hybrid Mattress, we have something for everyone.

Leesa mattresses also come with a few perks. We offer free shipping straight to your door, 100 nights to make sure the mattress is a good fit, a 10-year warranty, and financing eligibility. Plus, all of our mattresses are designed and assembled in the USA.
To learn more, check out our full range of mattresses.


Which is the best memory foam mattress?

The answer to this question depends on many variables and may be different for each person. At Leesa, we've created the Legend Hybrid Mattress with a memory foam recovery layer that contours to your body, offering relief to pressure points. Combined with our comfort layer, relief and stability layer, and quick-response layer, we think it makes the best memory foam mattress out there.

How long does a memory foam mattress last?

A memory foam mattress should last about 8-10 years. Memory foam should last just as long as any other mattress component, but of course, the durability of any mattress will depend on the quality of the materials as well as production methods. At Leesa, we offer a 10-year full replacement limited mattress warranty.

How do I dispose of a mattress and box spring?

The way to dispose of a mattress and box spring will depend largely on where you live, what kind of recycling centers or charity programs are nearby, and where your new mattress is coming from. Some charities and recycling centers will accept mattresses, and some cities have programs for the pickup of large objects. If your new mattress is coming from Leesa, you can opt for in-home delivery and setup at checkout. It includes the removal of your old mattress and box spring and set up of your brand new Leesa products.

Where can I buy a box spring mattress?

If you have a traditional innerspring mattress, you'll want to use a box spring with it. You can buy a box spring mattress at any traditional mattress store, however, foam and hybrid mattresses are becoming more common. If you're looking to support a foam mattress or a mattress with coils and foam, we don't recommend using a box spring. Instead, try a platform bed, adjustable base, foundation, or bed frame.

Do hybrid mattresses last longer than memory foam mattresses?

Hybrid mattresses typically have a longer lifespan than memory foam mattresses. With their mix of innerspring coils and memory foam, hybrids tend to last longer and stay supportive. The coils keep them from sagging and help them hold up well over time.

Which type of mattress is better for motion isolation: memory foam or hybrid?

Memory foam mattresses excel at isolating motion, ensuring a peaceful night's sleep even when your partner moves around.

Can I use a memory foam or hybrid mattress with an adjustable bed frame?

Both memory foam and hybrid mattresses are suitable for use with adjustable bed frames. These mattresses are flexible and work well with adjustable bases, all while keeping their shape intact.

Are memory foam mattresses or hybrid mattresses better for back pain?

Memory foam mattresses are often a go-to for back pain because they mold to your body and provide support and relief from pressure. However, individual preferences vary, and some people may find relief with the support offered by hybrid mattresses.
We recommend trying out different mattresses to find the most comfortable one for your back pain. That’s why Leesa offers a free trial period of our products. Indulge in the ultimate sleep experience with Leesa's premium mattresses, backed by our 100-night trial.