Memory Foam Mattress vs. Hybrid Mattress

By Stacy Liman
Last Updated On February 17th, 2020

Hybrid mattresses were born from the need to combine the benefits of a traditional spring mattress with memory foam or latex. While some hybrid beds may have memory foam in them, memory…

Memory Foam Mattress vs. Hybrid Mattress

Hybrid mattresses were born from the need to combine the benefits of a traditional spring mattress with memory foam or latex. While some hybrid beds may have memory foam in them, memory foam beds do not have the quintessential element of a hybrid—a pocket coil layer. This is a key differentiating factor between these two types of mattresses.

There are other differences such as their bounce, materials used, layer composition, durability, and edge support. You may decide on a memory foam or a hybrid depending on your personal preferences.

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What Is A Memory Foam Mattress?

Memory foam conforms to your body and provides pressure relief. The temperature and pressure-sensitive memory foam responds to your body heat and softens while conforming to your body contours.

Memory foam is made by treating polyurethane foam with chemicals to enhance its density and viscosity. Also known as viscoelastic foam, the malleable memory foam almost gives you a “hug” when you lie down on it.

When you lie on memory foam, the pressure, and temperature from your body make it contour to your curves providing you with pressure-point relief. The foam contouring to your body evenly distributes your body weight on the sleeping surface, relieving pressure off joints or other strained body parts. Memory foam may help in alleviating back pain because memory foam’s molding nature allows it to fill in the gaps made by the spine’s natural curvature, enhancing lumbar support.

Though memory foam has many benefits, heat retention can be a drawback. Traditional memory is quite dense, and as such, it traps body heat and prevents airflow, making the mattress warm up faster. To beat this drawback, mattress manufacturers have come up with many options such as injecting air into the cells to make open-cell memory foam.

Nowadays, most memory foam mattresses on the market have an open-cell structure for enhanced breathability. Other options such as substituting a portion of the petroleum-based product with plant-based oils, adding cooling gels and additives like copper and graphite to memory foam also help in cooling the bed.

Layers in a Memory Foam Mattress

A memory foam mattress is generally categorized into three layers—comfort, transition, and support. The comfort layer includes the memory foam layer on top which lends the mattress its feel. This layer’s firmness level determines the firmness you feel when you lie on the bed. The transition layer may include memory foam or polyfoam which supports the top layer and smooths the transition between the layers. The support layer usually includes a high-density polyfoam layer which is responsible for the mattresses’ durability.

Including all these layers a memory foam mattress may be anywhere between 6 to 16 inches tall. If you don’t want to invest in a mattress immediately, you may opt for a memory foam mattress topper. The toppers are 2 to 4 inches tall and may help you experience the feel of a memory foam mattress.

What Is A Hybrid Mattress?

A hybrid, as the name suggests, combines the features of two types of mattresses—an innerspring and memory foam, or an innerspring and a latex mattress. Technically a hybrid mattress includes a pocketed coil layer for core support and at least 2 inches memory foam or latex as the comfort layer.

Be wary of dubious products when you are buying a hybrid mattress. Mattress manufacturers may mix different materials and sell it as a “hybrid,”  but be cautious about checking on the pocketed coil layer and 2 inches memory foam or latex—the two essential factors which make up a hybrid mattress. The pocket coil layer has firmer edges augmenting the edge support, making it easier to get in and out of the bed without sagging the edges.

Hybrid mattresses were invented to combine the benefits of an innerspring mattress with memory foam or latex. While the hybrids include the advantages of two types of mattresses, they were designed to counteract the disadvantages of both.

For example, in a memory foam hybrid, you can enjoy the conforming feel while the pocketed coil layer enhances the bounce and breathability. You are getting the advantages of both memory foam and innerspring mattresses without the drawbacks.

Coils promote airflow within the mattress and lend extra support and bounce to the bed, all features which are typically missing from a traditional memory foam mattress. Stomach sleepers may reap benefits from the extra support and bounce, which prevents their spine from arching unnaturally.

Moreover, pocketed coils encased in fabric reduce motion transfer, addressing a concern of traditional innerspring mattresses. Springs and coils in the traditional innerspring mattress are known to transfer motion because they are usually connected.

The Layers of a Hybrid Mattress

Most hybrid mattresses have a 6-8 inch pocketed coil layer as their support core. Some hybrids may have a one or two-inch tall high-density polyfoam layer beneath the pocketed coil support structure to enhance durability, support, and shock absorption while reducing the chances of noise. A stronger base layer enhances structural integrity and promotes durability.

Some hybrid beds have a transition layer, while others don’t. When present, a transition layer is usually made of high-density polyfoam that reduces pressure to the support layer and enhances the top comfort layer’s performance. By reducing pressure on the support layer, the transition layer extends the bed’s durability, while amplifying the softness of the comfort layer.

The comfort layer is at the very top which usually includes memory foam or latex. You can choose the comfort layer’s firmness level depending on your body type and sleeping position. Both memory foam and latex are available in varying firmness levels.

Usually, lightweight sleepers may need a softer mattress as compared to those on the heavier side who need firmer support to avoid sinking into the mattress. Depending on their body weight, side sleepers and back sleepers may need medium or medium-firm support to relax their muscles and feel comfortable in bed.

Sometimes hybrid beds may have a pillow top above the comfort layer. It’s essentially extra padding sewn atop the mattress for even more cushioning. In a pillow top mattress, you may feel a gap between the comfort layer and the extra padding is sewn atop, but a Euro pillow top is sewn in such a way that there is no gap between the comfort layer and the padding. Materials such as memory foam, latex, cotton, wool, fiberfill or polyfoam may be used in the padding for both pillow and Euro tops.

Pricing

Hybrids tend to be more expensive than memory foam mattresses because they combine both coils and foam. Some memory foam mattresses with extra sleep-promoting technologies can cost more; but as a general rule of thumb, you should expect to spend more on a hybrid than a memory foam bed. Below, we list the prices of our memory foam and hybrid mattress models.

Prices of our Amerisleep mattresses in queen size:

Mattress Price
AS1$999
AS2$1099
AS2 Hybrid$1299
AS3$1199
AS3 Hybrid$1399
AS4$1499
AS5$1899
AS5 Hybrid$2099

Differences Between Memory Foam and Hybrid Mattress

A memory foam hybrid may be slightly different from an all-memory foam mattress because of the additional pocketed coil layer, but they still feel slightly similar. However, a latex hybrid will feel much different than a memory foam hybrid.

ParametersMemory FoamHybrid
PriceAvailable in a vast price range, but is usually less expensive than a hybridAvailable in a vast range, but the additional pocketed coil layer makes it more expensive than its memory foam counterpart
DurabilityMemory foam may be more durable than hybridsPocketed coils have a higher gauge which means thinner material that is prone to wear and tear
Motion IsolationMemory foam is very good at isolating motion transferPocketed coils are individually encased in fabric enabling them to isolate motion transfer
Temperature RegulationTechnological advancements have made memory foam better at regulating temperatureHybrids are very good at temperature regulation because pocket coils promote airflow and enhance temperature regulation
ResponsivenessIs body-conforming and pressure-relieving, but not as responsive as hybridsThe pocketed coil layer gives a bounce to the bed, enhancing its responsiveness
Pain-ReducingMemory foam is good at reducing joint pain and back painIf a hybrid has a memory foam comfort layer, then it is equally good at reducing pain

FAQS

Does a hybrid mattress experience off-gassing?

If a hybrid bed contains memory foam as its comfort layer, it may lead to some off-gassing, which occurs when chemicals used to make the foam are released after unboxing. Off-gassing does not lead to any serious health issues, although it can cause minor nausea and dizziness in some people.

Does a memory foam last longer than a hybrid?

A bed’s durability depends on the strength of materials used in its construction. A hybrid bed has a pocket coil layer which is more susceptible to wear and tear than high-quality memory foam. Moreover, a hybrid usually has many layers to it, and if any of those layers do not perform well, it affects the bed’s durability.

Which Type of Mattress is Suitable for me?

Finding the best mattress for yourself may seem like a daunting task. Start off by asking yourself what kind of feel you want in your mattress. If you like the body-conforming and cradling feel, then memory foam may be suitable for you, but if you want a little more bounce added to your new mattress then a hybrid may be the best mattress for you. Read all mattress reviews, features, and specifications before buying your new mattress.


About the author

Stacy Liman is a journalism graduate student and a freelance writer with a focus on mindfulness and content marketing. Stacy enjoys discovering new mattresses and connecting people with their perfect bed, but she more so enjoys understanding and writing about the science of sleep to help people get deeper, healthier rest.

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