We Tried the Best Hybrid Mattresses to Find a Happy Medium Between Squishy Foam and Springy Support
These picks catered to our every need.
Published May 27, 2022 9:04 PM
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If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning on an uncomfortable mattress, you know how essential a good one can be. Maybe your mattress is too old and run-down. But choosing a new one isn’t always a breeze if you’re stuck on the firm versus soft debate. Hybrid mattresses blend the two comfort styles, though, into one perfect bed—cushiony and backed by that sought-after innerspring for support.
We got to sleep and tested eight of the best hybrid mattresses to solve the guesswork (and maybe a creaky back) to find the ones worth mentioning. And yes, there is an element of design when it comes to a mattress. Considerations like height, profile, and even material do matter when you’re shopping. Our top picks are the best in class when it comes to performance at night and by light of day, too.
- Best overall: Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress
- Best value: Cocoon by Sealy Extra-Chill Hybrid
- Best bed and mattress duo: Floyd Home The Mattress
- Best for bunk beds: Avocado Eco Organic Kids Mattress
- Best for all-over-the-place sleepers: Saatva Classic Mattress
- Best for varied sleepers: Nest Bedding Signature Hybrid
- Best plush: Venus Williams Legend Hybrid
- Best for the big transition: Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress
Best Overall: Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Firmness: Medium-firm | Best for: Multi-position sleepers
What we like:
- 10-year warranty
- Excellent support framework
- Comes in all sizes
- Heavy to transport
- Cooling technology costs extra
Why we chose it: The crème de la crème of hybrid mattresses, this one really does have it all.
It’s hard to overstate how comfortable this 13-inch hybrid mattress truly is, and that may be due to Casper’s advanced technology. The Wave model, which is the brand’s upscale mattress, offers up to 86 gel pods, placed under the waist and lower back, which prevent sinking into the foam and keep the spine and back aligned, for less pain and aching. This model also has what the brand has trademarked as Zoned Support Max, what it calls “continuous ergonomic zones for full-body relief.” In areas that require more cushioning—such as where your shoulders land—the foam is softer. The bed is designed to relieve pressure in areas that require it.
The bed that we tested, a king, was also upgraded with the cooling Snow technology, which comes at an extra cost ($500), although the mattress already has AirScape 3 cooling gel built in between the layers to prevent overheating. One common complaint of foam mattresses has always been their tendency to overheat, but this mattress works to combat that (tested by a hot sleeper, this mattress is, we can attest, very much on the cool side of the spectrum). The Wave is under warranty for 10 years and covered under a 100-night sleep trial. One major drawback is the hefty price tag, steep even for hybrid mattresses.
Best Value: Cocoon by Sealy Extra-Chill Hybrid
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Firmness: Medium-firm | Best for: Side and back sleepers
What we like:
- Advanced cooling technology
- 10-year warranty
- Free shipping and returns
- Mattress is very heavy and can be difficult to move
- Some feel this mattress veers toward extra-firm
Why we chose it: An affordable hybrid that still brings plenty to the table.
With frequent sales that knock down its largest size to under $1,500, the Cocoon by Sealy is a true steal. This mattress, which we tested in a queen, leans toward medium-firm territory. Sealy has added a lot of technology to guarantee that body temperature remains regulated at night. The foam layer is now made from Phase Change Material, which the brand claims offers extra cooling comfort. And a cover over the mattress helps to stabilize body temperature. We did find that this mattress kept us cool throughout the night, and without breaking the bank.
At 12 inches, this mattress has a nice profile, and Sealy also offers a 10-year warranty, free shipping and returns, and a 100-night sleep trial. Although it is inexpensive, buyer beware: The price does not appear fixed, and nonsale prices are definitely more in tune with other hybrids on the market.
Best Bed and Mattress Duo: Floyd Home The Mattress
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king | Firmness: Medium-plush | Best for: Side sleepers
What we like:
- Free of formaldehyde and phthalate materials
- A low-emissions product
- Does not come in California king
- Mattresses are thinner, at 10 inches
- Floyd charges for shipping, only offers a 30-day return, and no warranty is mentioned
Why we chose it: A mattress and bed frame that are a match made in sleep heaven.
Newer to the market, Floyd is a direct-to-consumer furniture company known, in large part, for its sectional sofas. But the brand has recently come to the table with beds and mattresses, too, and these sleek, modern, low-profile pieces are cool to look at and excellent for smaller spaces. We tested the 10-inch twin-size Floyd mattress, made from formaldehyde- and phthalate-free materials. There is a lot to like about this streamlined pick, which prides itself on being a low-emissions product.
The mattress was definitely comfortable (medium, tending toward plush), even if it is on the thinner side, and it does look nice on the bed frame. (As a testing aside, we didn’t find that the thinner mattress impacted comfort as much as it impacted overall design.) There are a few small quibbles about this mattress. The company charges for shipping and only offers a 30-day return, but it comes in at an affordable price point. Since few mattresses come in lower profiles these days, this may be a good choice for those with lower ceilings or smaller spaces who want to make a room look a bit larger, as we were able to try it out in a child’s tiny bedroom.
Best for Bunk Beds: Avocado Eco Organic Kids Mattress
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full | Firmness: Medium | Best for: Most kinds of sleepers
What we like:
- Low profile and can be used on bunk and trundle beds
- Made from organic materials
- Completely nontoxic
- Sleep trial is limited, so if you have more than one child, take note
- May not be as supportive as some other mattress options for kids, which have dual sides for growth
Why we chose it: An organic hybrid mattress that can be used on a top bunk bed with ease.
One unique challenge of the top bunk is that it can only accommodate a mattress with a height of 6 inches or less, and few high-quality mattress makers offer anything in that category. Enter Avocado, the organic mattress company that produces mattresses for both children and adults. This low-profile mattress, which we tried out on a top bunk, is 6 inches thick and made from GOLS-certified organic latex, sourced from sustainable farms in India and Guatemala. Parents of young kids can be sure that there are no toxic chemicals, off-gassing, chemical flame retardants, fiberglass, or polyurethane here. Coils are made from recycled steel, and wool keeps the mattress naturally cool. Avocado has been named one of the most sustainable brands in America and participates in carbon-negative production and shipping. Our tester found the mattress dreamy to sleep on. One small downside: Compared with some other slim bunk mattresses, Avocado’s are on the pricier side.
Best for All-Over-the-Place Sleepers: Saatva Classic Mattress
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, California king, split California king, all available in 11.5 inches and 14.5 inches | Firmness: Variable | Best for: All kinds of sleepers
What we like:
- Multiple mattress depths available
- Split-king mattresses available
- 15-year warranty and 180-night trial
- Mattresses do not come in a box
- Custom-ordered mattresses take longer to arrive
- Bases sold separately and are pricey
Why we chose it: A truly customizable mattress that fits most sleepers’ needs.
The made-to-order Saatva Classic Mattress feels, in some ways, like a blast from the past. Of the mattresses we tested, the Saatva was the sole one that did not arrive in a box. Instead, our queen came the old-fashioned way, delivered on a truck. (Customers have the option to have their old mattress removed upon delivery, which we took advantage of.) Saatva allows you to choose between two mattress heights: 11.5 inches and 14 inches, meaning you can really curate the look of your bedroom. Similarly, its plushness level is up to you; we went with luxury firm, described as having the same feel as a “luxury hotel mattress,” but the brand also offers plush soft and firm, depending on individual needs. The mattress that we tested did, in fact, feel luxurious and not dissimilar from a night on a hotel bed.
We also loved that the mattresses come with a 15-year warranty and 180-night sleep trial, which is quite long for both. They’re also available in a lot of sizes, including split king and split California king. Just know that, since the mattresses are made to order, they can take longer to arrive. From order to delivery, ours took a little over a month.
Best for Varied Sleepers: Nest Bedding Signature Hybrid
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, split king, king, California king | Firmness: Medium, plush, and firm options | Best for: All kinds of sleepers
What we like:
- Lifetime renewal exchange
- 3 firmness options
- 365-night sleep trial
- 3-, 5-, and 10-year warranties are an additional cost
- No cooling technology
- Beds are made to order and take about 2 weeks to ship
Why we chose it: A mattress with varying firmness that caters to many different types of sleepers.
With its 365-night sleep trial, Nest Bedding’s signature hybrid mattress offers what many cannot: an entire year to settle in and decide whether or not you really love it. This was the determining factor for our tester, who tried this mattress in a queen and described her previous mattress tendencies as “finicky.” Nest offers multiple firmness options, making it a great choice for those seeking a truly personalized experience (we chose a plusher mattress, but those who prefer a medium-firm or firm mattress can opt for those, too). The brand also offers a lifetime renewal exchange program, in case you’re dissatisfied with the mattress, which is good news, since three-, five-, and 10-year warranties are extra, and it’s more sustainable than tossing your old one to the curb. Nest’s mattresses are absent of any cooling technology, though testing did not reveal that this one ran particularly hot.
Best Plush: Venus Williams Legend Hybrid
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, split king, king, California king | Firmness: Medium-plush | Best for: Side and back sleepers
What we like:
- Comes with weighted blanket
- 25-year warranty
- Free shipping
- Mattress is very heavy and can be hard to move
- May be too soft for some sleepers
- Among the most expensive mattresses we tested
Why we chose it: A hybrid mattress that appeals to the plush lovers among us.
A collaboration between industry expert Marc L. Werner and tennis pro Venus Williams, GhostBed’s Venus Williams Legend Hybrid 12-inch height mattress has plenty to brag about. Sustainably minded, 25 percent of the mattress’s ultra-cooling cover is made from recycled water bottles. The so-called Venus FIT layer, a mineral-infused gel memory foam, is supposed to promote faster muscle recovery and better sleep; it’s hard to say whether or not we felt all of these perks, based on our trial of this king-size mattress, but we did feel well rested after sleeping on it. We also felt plenty cool, and GhostBed, as a brand, is widely known for its cooler sleep technology.
Some other bonuses to this bed: It comes with a stellar 25-year warranty, a 101-night sleep trial, and ships to your door for free. It is also CertiPUR-U.S. certified, meaning that it has been made with no ozone depleters, heavy metals, prohibited phthalates, volatile organic compounds, or formaldehyde. Because it’s a plush mattress, it may fall into the “too soft” category for some sleepers. It was also among the more expensive mattresses that we tested.
Best for the Big Transition: Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress
Sizes: Twin, twin trundle, twin trundle short, full | Firmness: Firm | Best for: All kinds of sleepers
What we like:
- Waterproof for accidents and spills
- Certified organic
- Only available in limited sizes
- 30-day trial, which is a bit short
- Somewhat expensive, given the size
Why we chose it: A quality organic mattress that will grow with your child.
Naturepedic’s 2-in-1 mattress offers a natural transition for younger children who are migrating from their crib days to a big-kid bed. On one waterproof side, children who are still transitioning from diapers or learning the ropes of potty training can sleep through the night without fear of wetting the bed (aka a saving grace for you too during cleanup). The opposite side offers a more quilted feel. Regular mattresses are 7 inches high, though the trundle option—which we tested—is a 6-inch profile. The mattress is, however, only available in four sizes, which may be limiting to those who want larger beds for their children from the start. But these mattresses have no flame retardants or polyurethane and are produced using organic cotton by skilled workers in the Midwest.
How We Chose These Products
We prioritized hybrid mattresses that offer an element of sustainability, either in their production or shipping, and favored those that use organic materials when possible (tending toward brands that disclose what materials they use and how they process their mattresses). In testing, we ordered a variety of mattresses in different sizes, in accordance with the spaces that we could accommodate, and slept on them in rotation for a number of weeks to test for firmness, cooling capabilities, and height profile to determine how the mattress actually looked in the room.
Our Shopping Checklist
Design and Materials
Hybrid mattresses merge memory foam and innersprings, and come in a combination of sizes, heights, and comfort levels. Height can range anywhere from 6 inches (typically for a bunk or trundle mattress) to 14 inches (for a super-high-profile, thick mattress), though most fall somewhere in between, at around 11 to 13 inches. Comfort level in hybrid mattresses is measured by the terms firm and plush, much like it is with other types of mattresses on the market. Hybrids, just the same, are available in many different sizes, including twin, full, queen, king, split king, California king, and split California king.
Most are considered to be medium-firm mattresses, although there are a few brands that make plush-style hybrid mattresses.
The majority of hybrids are under warranty, and while the standard industry number is around 10 years, some brands offer up to 25 years for their models. You will want to check whether the one you’re looking at offers a 10-, 15-, 20-, or even a 25-year warranty and what it includes or precludes.
Although the majority of mattresses these days ship for free, make sure to read the fine print. A handful of brands and retailers do charge additional delivery fees, so be mindful of this as you’re adding to your cart.
Sleep Trials and Returns
Ever since the advent of the mattress-in-a-box, the standard sleep trial (that is, the amount of nights that you can sleep on a mattress and still return it for a full refund) has been about 100 nights. Most retailers still abide by this rule, more or less, with some going above and beyond and offering an entire year trial and some offering only 30 days. Returns are another minefield. Most brands will accept returns, but some may require you to sleep on the mattress for 30 nights first. There are some caveats to returns, as well, including ones that are ripped, stained, or generally damaged.
Q: What is the difference between a memory foam and hybrid mattress?
Memory foam mattresses, says Rosie Osmun, sleep author at Eachnight.com, are made entirely from foam. “They must consist of at least two layers: a top layer of memory foam and an underlying base foam that structures the mattress,” she says. “Higher-quality memory foam mattresses may have other layers in between for an improved feel, such as a transition foam to limit how far a sleeper sinks into their mattress.” A hybrid mattress, though, Osmun says, is made only partly of foam. “To qualify as a hybrid mattress, the hybrid must have a foam top at least a couple of inches thick, followed by a core of pocketed coils and a foundation for the coils to rest upon. As with a memory foam mattress, manufacturers may add in additional layers for more cushion, responsiveness, cooling, etc.”
Q: Do hybrid mattresses get softer over time?
Most mattresses—and this includes hybrids—pretty much are what they are when you get them, Osmun says. “It normally doesn’t take a few weeks for a new mattress to feel good if it’s the right one,” she says. Mattresses can get slightly softer over time, but, for the most part, a hybrid is the way it’s supposed to be when you purchase it.
Q. How important is mattress height when it comes to bedroom aesthetics?
“Every inch matters in design,” says Brett Phillips, co-owner of Phillips House in Fort Worth, Texas. “The height of the mattress will impact the reveal and look of your headboard. The higher the mattress, the smaller the reveal on your headboard. You may want to stack your pillows instead of having them leaned up against the headboard.” Additionally, Phillips says, some prefer to climb up into bed and others prefer to sleep closer to the ground. Mattress shoppers, he adds, should also consider room proportions. Do you have low ceilings? A thick mattress can actually make a room with low ceilings look unintentionally smaller.
Q: How long does it take to break in a hybrid mattress?
Hybrid mattresses adjust to the body relatively quickly (Osmun says that it should take less than a few weeks). She also notes that sleepers can help things along by lounging on the mattress during the day or walking across the surface barefoot.
Q. Should I use a box spring with my hybrid mattress?
You don’t need to use a box spring with a hybrid mattress. “A more traditional look has a box spring and mattress,” Phillips says. “A more modern and clean look utilizes a platform. Make sure you have plenty of base support for the type of mattress you purchase.” Plain metal frames won’t do; you’ll want a support frame with slats if you opt to forgo the box spring.
Q. How does cooling technology work, and how does it impact sleep health?
Although most sleepers actually cool down as they fall asleep, according to Osmun, the heat given off by our bodies is reabsorbed by a mattress. “If the bed lacks cooling features to release this heat, then it can build up, causing night sweats and discomfort that can jar a sleeper out of sleep,” she adds. Foam mattresses have a not-so-far-out reputation for their tendency to retain body heat compared to spring mattresses. However, many manufacturers do address this issue today by carefully engineering their foam’s structure for better airflow, along with adding materials that help move heat away from a sleeper’s body.
The Last Word
Hybrid mattresses marry the softness of a foam mattress with the support of an innerspring. Our top pick, the Casper Wave, conforms to the body where you need it most, and even offers extra cooling technology for hot sleepers.
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