Memory Foam Versus Hybrid Mattresses: What Our Editors Really Think
And which one is best for you.
Published Apr 22, 2022 1:00 AM
In the great memory foam versus hybrid mattress debate, where do you fall? We’re here to help you decide (or maybe you’ll appreciate them both). In some instances, you can quickly distinguish one mattress from the other with a simple glance, but the interior differences can be vast; truly defining each type is a lot more technical than it seems. We tapped Sleep Foundation product expert Keith Cushner and a few Domino editors for a definitive and easy-to-understand breakdown of what sets the two mattresses apart.
What Is a Hybrid Mattress?
The most distinguishing feature of a hybrid mattress is its construction: comfy inner layers of either latex, gel, or foam over a sturdy grid of pocketed coil springs that sit atop another thin layer of supportive padding and foam. On the surface, a standard hybrid has a smooth appearance: If you prefer your mattress to have a modern-meets-minimalist look, then this one’s for you.
With a hybrid, you’re experiencing two different mattress styles in a single bed, and you have flexibility in choosing which duo that will be. Essentially, are you a latex-and-springs or a gel-and-springs person? Or maybe you’re all about foam and springs!
According to Cushner, hybrid mattresses also tend to maintain a steady temperature because they have a breathable core. And speaking of that inner layer, it’s filled with isolated pockets of metal springs that contribute to solid edge support, aka the resistance around the perimeter of the mattress. Perch on the side of the bed with confidence—you won’t tumble off anytime soon. However, hybrids typically have a higher transfer-motion rate than foam mattresses, so if you’re easily disturbed by movements, a 100 percent memory foam may be a better option for you.
Facts and Figures
While hybrids have a life span of up to 10 years, they cost between $1,000 and $3,000, which is on the higher end.
Who Should Choose a Hybrid Mattress
A firm mattress lover should go for a hybrid, given it combines the comforting contour of a foam (or latex or gel) mattress with the support of an innerspring. It’s also ideal for anyone who sleeps perilously near the mattress edge. According to our research, however, all sleeping types can get some sound snoozing in on a hybrid.
Take a Domino Editor’s Word for It
I’m a stomach sleeper and my boyfriend is a side and back sleeper, and we both love our Nest hybrid! We used to have a very firm spring mattress, and this is way better. I never thought I’d like a soft mattress so much; it’s incredibly supportive, and I haven’t had any back pain since we got it a couple months ago. It’s like sleeping on top of a cloud as opposed to sinking into one. —Julie Vadnal, deputy editor
What Is a Memory Foam Mattress?
The top portion of a memory foam mattress consists of one or more layers of low-resistance polyurethane foam that mold to your body while offering relief for back pain and cushioning for pressure points. Beneath this layer is even more foam that keeps heat away from the mattress surface. The core of the mattress is a slab of foam for more support and stability.
P.S. Memory foam isn’t biodegradable and you might experience some off-gassing during unpackaging. All-natural alternatives, like 100 percent latex mattresses, may be more your jam if you prioritize sustainability.
Compared to the hybrid, Cushner says memory foam mattresses isolate motion better. Most of these mattresses are also hypoallergenic, so allergy sufferers, take note. Another bonus: The material is so dense that it’s more difficult for dust mites or other allergens to build up inside of it.
Something else to keep in mind: Memory foam has a slow response, so it takes longer to return to its original form after you move to a new spot. “It can be hard to change positions because you sink into the bed and it contours to you,” explains Cushner. Memory foam also lacks the sturdy edge support that hybrids are known for, which means there’s less protection against midnight roll-offs and getting out of bed for an early-morning workout is that much harder.
“It is very true that memory foam bedding sleeps hot,” adds Cushner. Where the hybrid has a cooling, breathable core, a memory foam is dense and lacks the channels to keep air flowing.
Facts and Figures
Expect to spend between $800 and $2,500 on this style, and get between seven and 10 years of use out of it.
Who Should Choose a Memory Foam Mattress
Light sleepers who are easily disturbed by movement from partners or pets will love the motion isolation of a memory foam mattress (the coil-free middle makes it noticeably less bouncy, Cushner says). This softer option is also great for anyone who suffers from back or joint pain.
Take a Domino Editor’s Word for It
I have a four-year-old memory foam Lull mattress and don’t love it. It’s too soft for this back and side sleeper! But I topped it with a graphite/latex Saatva mattress topper, so I am snoozing like a queen lately. —Samantha Weiss-Hills, deputy commerce editor