What is a Hybrid Mattress

By McKenzie Hyde
Last Updated On February 24th, 2020

A hybrid mattress is a combination of memory foam and innersprings, forming the perfect bed. Hybrid beds contain pressure-relieving memory foam without losing the responsive innerspring feel. A true hybrid…

What is a Hybrid Mattress

A hybrid mattress is a combination of memory foam and innersprings, forming the perfect bed. Hybrid beds contain pressure-relieving memory foam without losing the responsive innerspring feel.

A true hybrid mattress contains a 2-inch comfort layer with a coiled support layer— other so-called hybrids are only combinations of memory foam latex, but because they do not contain support coils, they are not true hybrids. A hybrid mattress is a great choice for potential shoppers because of its pressure-relieving foam and good edge support.

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Materials Inside a Hybrid Mattress

Hybrid mattresses can contain different foams and coiled layers, usually broken up into three sections— the comfort layer, transitional layer, and support layer. However, a hybrid may have only one or two comfort layers, no transition layer, and then a basic support coil system. No matter the construction, the best hybrid should provide enough support and contouring for a good night’s sleep.

Comfort Layer

A comfort layer is usually the top layer of a hybrid mattress, unless the bed includes a pillow top or Euro-style topper. A hybrid’s comfort layer must be at least 2 inches thick and contain memory foam or latex. The comfort layer conforms to the body and relieves pressure points.

Transitional Layer

A transitional layer is usually made of either poly-foam, memory foam, or latex. The transitional layer provides extra cushioning and support between the comfort and support layers.

Support Layer

A support layer stabilizes the bed and evenly distributes body weight across the sleep surface. A hybrid’s support layer contains pocketed coils— steel coils individually-wrapped in fabric. This layer evenly supports the body and reduces motion transfer. Sleepers can also stay cooler thanks to the air circulation inside this layer.

Pros and Cons of Hybrids

A hybrid may not be for everyone— while a hybrid mattress provides body contouring and pressure relief, there could be an issue with heat retention. Take a look at the pros and cons of a hybrid bed and decide if it’s the best mattress for you.

Pros Cons
Pressure relief Expensive
Bounce Heavy
Motion isolation Risk of overheating
Edge support Noise potential
Motion transfer

Cost of Hybrids

Hybrid mattresses are one of the most expensive mattress types on the market. Hybrids contain more materials and layers, making them heavier than other mattress types too. The price tag ranges between $800 to over $4000, but the average price for a queen-sized hybrid mattress is $2077.

Hybrids Compared to Other Mattress Types

Hybrids are known for both their pressure-relieving properties and great edge support, while other mattress types may only specialize in one or the other, like the pressure relief of a memory foam mattress or the edge support from an innerspring.

Memory Foam Mattress

A memory foam mattress is made of foam layers— a basic model has a comfort layer of memory foam and a bottom layer of firm, supportive foam. Memory foam mattresses provide full-body contouring with excellent motion isolation.

Due to their dense structure, memory foam mattresses run the risk of overheating, but choosing a memory foam mattress with plant-based memory foam (breathable and low in emissions) or gel memory foam (gel absorbs and disperses heat) may solve this issue.

Innerspring Mattress

A traditional innerspring mattress contains a thin comfort layer of fiberfill or foam (usually in the form of a pillow top) and a support layer of innerspring coils. An innerspring mattress is responsive, has great edge support, and cools the sleeper through airflow in the support layer. Some drawbacks to an innerspring mattress are less pressure relief, little motion isolation, and noise potential from the innerspring system.

Latex Mattress

Latex is similar to memory foam— it’s conforming and pressure-relieving with excellent motion isolation. However, latex mattresses have a responsive bounce and sleep cooler than traditional memory foam. Latex mattresses also come at a higher cost, depending on if the mattress contains natural or synthetic latex. A latex mattress contains a comfort layer of latex and a support layer of either firm, supportive foam or latex.

Material Quality

Most hybrid mattresses last between 7 to 9 years, depending on the quality of the materials. When it comes to foam, take a look at its foundation, and for coils, look at the gauge and coil count to determine the quality.

Foam

To determine the quality of foam, make sure the foam layer rests on top of a sturdy support core, like steel coils. Another way to determine quality foam is the mattress warranty— a standard warranty lasts up to 10 years, and should cover manufacturing defects and sagging greater than 1 inch (this measurement varies depending on the brand). Also, read customer reviews older than 3 months for firsthand accounts from verified customers.

Coils

Check the coil gauge and coil count to determine coil quality. Coil gauge refers to the thickness of a coil and is measured in millimeters. The higher the measurement, the thinner the coil.

  • Thinnest: 18mm
  • Thickest: 12mm

Thinner coils provide softer support, while thicker coils feel firmer. Be careful of a mattress with a support layer containing high gauge coils— it may lack support and lead to premature sagging.

Coil count refers to the number of coils arranged in a single layer. The average coil count for a hybrid mattress ranges between 800 to over 2000. High coil count may not signify a bed is of high-quality— a support layer may contain 1800 coils, but if all those steel coils have a high coil gauge, the mattress is likely to sag prematurely.

Who Should Sleep on a Hybrid?

Some people may not want a hybrid mattress, and instead, prefer the full contouring ability of a memory foam mattress or a low-profile bed. However, hybrids can be a good choice for anyone—  particularly couples, heavy people, and hot sleepers.

Most Sleeping Positions

Hybrid mattresses may come in a variety of firmness options, so they can work for most, if not all sleeping positions. However, keep in mind that your weight, medical conditions, and budget also factor into the mattress you choose.

  • Side sleepers should choose a soft to medium mattress for extra cushioning to the shoulders and hips. Some hybrids may be too firm for side sleepers, so be sure to look for one with extra cushioning and thick comfort layers.
  • Back sleepers should choose a medium to firm mattress for enhanced support to the lower back.
  • Stomach sleepers should choose a medium-firm to firm mattress to keep the body resting on top without heavy sinkage. We also recommend stomach sleepers find the best mattress for back pain since sleeping in this position puts excess stress on your spine.
  • Combination sleepers should choose a medium to medium-firm mattress for consistent spinal alignment and easier movement.

Couples

Hybrids restrict motion transfer through the wrapped coils, so there’s less risk of sleep disruptions from sleep partner movement. Their bounciness makes switching between sleep positions easier.

Heavy People

Heavy people need a sturdy mattress to support their weight without risk of sagging. Hybrids are able to support a heavy person’s weight and contour to their bodies to relieve pressure points without risk of sagging.

Hot Sleepers

Hot sleepers need a mattress with excellent cooling properties to prevent overheating at night. Most hybrid mattresses have cooling features like gel memory foam, as well as excellent air circulation through the coiled support system. Hybrid beds also don’t cause the body to sink too deeply, instead keeping the body on the surface.

FAQs

Does a hybrid mattress need a box spring?

You may not need a box spring for a hybrid mattress, but it’s a good idea to double-check with the manufacturer before buying a new bed to see what kind of foundation works best with a hybrid mattress.

Are hybrid mattresses good for side sleepers?

Depending on the firmness level, a hybrid mattress could be a good choice for a side sleeper. Make sure to choose a soft to medium-firm mattress, depending on your weight.

Why Choose a Hybrid Mattress?

A hybrid mattress combines the properties of both memory foam and innersprings. This type of mattress is thicker and more expensive than other types, but it allows sleepers to experience the pressure relief of memory foam and the edge support of an innerspring.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.


About the author

McKenzie Hyde is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and a full-time writer focused on sleep health and the mattress industry. She currently writes articles on a variety of topics, ranging from sleep hygiene to the newest trends in the mattress and bedding industry. Just some of the topics she has covered include best sleep practices for students, the consequences of going without sleep, and choosing the right bed if you suffer from back pain. McKenzie Hyde holds a Master of Arts degree from Utah State University where she studied literature and writing. While there, she taught argumentative writing and wrote a variety of articles and analyses for literary and academic journals.

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