Memory Foam vs. Hybrid Mattress: What Is the Difference?

Memory Foam vs. Hybrid Mattress: What Is the Difference?

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Last Updated on Mar 04, 2024

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    While shopping for mattresses, you may come across many unfamiliar terms like pillow top, poly foam, pocketed coils, and many more. Among the mattress lingo, memory foam and hybrid mattresses are common terms that come up, because they're the most popular types of mattresses on the market. 

    And though they share some similarities, their distinctive differences must be considered for you to make the final call on whether a memory foam mattress or hybrid mattress is best for your sleep needs.

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    Memory Foam vs. Hybrid Mattress

    The differences between hybrid and memory foam mattresses: 

    ParametersMemory FoamHybrid Mattresses
    Price Range$250 - $1,200$1,000 - $3,000+
    Feel and ComfortContouring and cradlingSupportive and breathable
    AdvantagesPressure relief / Minimal motion transfer / Quiet / HypoallergenicBreathable / Durable / More support for heavier sleepers
    DisadvantagesCan sleep hot / Difficulty in switching positions / May sag over timeCan become squeaky over time / More motion transfer / Can be pricey

    What Is a Memory Foam Mattress?

    Memory foam mattresses are made of a layer of memory foam and layers of other foams, but have no springs or other internal structures. The slow response makes it look like memory foam holds the "memory" of the movement by holding the shape of the object that was on the surface. 

    The main component of memory foam consists of polyurethane foam. This component undergoes the manufacturing process using chemicals and sometimes plant-based oil, and then, under pressure and heat, it is conformed and stretched.

    NASA originally designed memory foam for cushioning in aircraft seats because of its viscoelastic property. Hence, it is also known as viscoelastic foam. Also, thanks to its pressure relief and close-conforming factor, memory foam has been popular since the 90s.

    Furthermore, every manufacturer uses different processes and methods for making memory foam. This affects the feel and function of memory foam, and is often kept as a proprietary secret. However, according to one general rule, every memory foam product contains at least some degree of polyether polyol, which is responsible for the viscosity and elasticity of foam. 

    What Is a Hybrid Mattress?

    Hybrid mattresses are a mix of two different styles of beds. And here, hybrid beds consist of a coiled-based support core of innerspring with a comforting layer over the top. 

    The composition and materials of the hybrid bed's comfort layer differ between models; the comfort layer could be made of latex, polyfoam, fiber, microcoils, or even memory foam. Plus, the edges are supported by thicker coils along the sides, making it easier for people with movement difficulties to get in and out of bed.

    Moreover, hybrid mattresses are designed with the pressure-relieving capabilities of multiple layers of foam and the classic comfort of an innerspring mattress to satisfy the range of body types and sleeping positions. 

    Their firmness can range from soft to firm on the scale, depending on the responsiveness of the coil and the top cushioning layer of foam. However, in memory foam vs hybrid comparison, hybrid mattresses are more expensive.

    Benefits of Memory Foam Mattresses

    Even though the memory foam beds are only made of foam, they have a lot to offer.

    Pressure Relief

    Memory foam provides excellent pressure relief by conforming to your body's shape, cushioning the pressure points and weak joints, and helping to aid in the better alignment of the spine and body.

    Minimal Motion Transfer

    Due to the viscosity of the memory foam, it's excellent at absorbing any motion on the surface. It's ideal for couples sensitive to vibration, or for people whose kids or pets like to snuggle up on the bed with them. 

    Quiet

    Since there are no coils or internal structures, memory foam mattresses are practically silent. And though hybrid mattresses may not make a sound when you first purchase it, the springs could start to creak and squeak over time.

    Hypoallergenic

    The dense structure of memory foam and the other foam layers make it hard for allergens like dust, mites, and molds to penetrate the mattress core. Thus, allergens don't typically build up inside memory foam mattresses.

    Drawbacks of Memory Foam Mattresses

    Although sleeping on memory foam offers many beneficial advantages, there are also some drawbacks.  

    Overheating

    Memory foams use the body's temperature to help mold themselves to your shape, but it can also tend to trap that heat, which may be directed back to the sleeper, causing them to overheat. However, you can improve its temperature neutrality and keep it cool by choosing gel memory foam, adding a cooling mattress topper, changing the mattress foundation, keeping the room temperature cool, and/or using natural fiber bedding.

    Motion Inhibition

    Memory foams are slow-moving materials and take time to readjust to their original form. Thus, when it contours to the body and sinks in, it can create something like a 'quicksand' feeling that inhibits movement and may be uncomfortable for some people who toss and turn overnight.

    Lacks Edge Support

    Memory foam mattresses don't have coils, and therefore have less edge-to-edge support. This means when a person sits on the edge, it may sink in. If a person sleeps on the edge, they feel like they'll fall off the bed.

    May Sag Over Time

    Memory foam is a soft material, so over time, the impressions on the mattress might not bounce back, causing it to sag in some spots.

    Less Durable

    Because memory foam can sag easily and lacks any internal structures or coils for support, it may not last as long as a hybrid.

    Benefits of Hybrid Mattresses

    Hybrid mattresses have many benefits and positive attributes.

    Breathable

    Thanks to the coil support system, there is plenty of room for airflow among the coils in the hybrid mattress, which keeps the mattress from holding too much heat. Some hybrids sleep cooler than an all-foam mattress.

    Durable 

    Coils are durable materials, and since steel is sturdy and supportive, hybrid mattresses can last a long time and have less chance of sagging. Furthermore, unlike memory foam builds, they lack the "slow sink" and can support heavier weights. They also do not restrict movement and support every sleeping position.

    Luxurious 

    Hybrid mattresses are designed with luxury firmness in mind. They may be more comfortable than memory foam, especially for people who prefer to sleep on the bed rather than sinking in.  

    Extra Edge Support

    An individually-wrapped coil support system allows the surface to be bouncy and sturdy simultaneously. Plus, the coils supporting the edges allow the sleepers to enjoy the whole surface of the mattress without feeling like they are rolling off or sagging.

    Drawbacks of Hybrid Mattresses

    It's important to consider both the benefits and disadvantages before buying a product. If a hybrid mattress seems like a good choice, let's review the downsides.

    Heavier and Cumbersome

    Because of their steel coil system, hybrid mattresses are usually heavier than other mattresses and may be more difficult to maneuver. However, this could only be an issue while setting it up or if someone is moving to a new house or apartment.

    Pricey 

    A hybrid mattress might be more expensive since they tend to be more durable and get more use before it's time to replace it. But there are also budget-friendly options available online and in stores.

    More Motion Transfer

    Though hybrid mattresses feature a soft comfort layer, the springs can may not isolate motion as well. Since coils tend to be bouncy, they spread motion across the surface like a pendulum that spreads from one part of the mattress to another. 

    Noisy 

    The coils in the hybrid mattresses break down over time, and may get creaky and squeaky. Although it isn't a huge deal, it can still be disruptive if the person is a light sleeper.

    Who Should Choose a Memory Foam Mattress?

    Now that we've shared advantages and disadvantages of each build, let's explore some people who may prefer memory foam.

    Side Sleeper

    Memory foam mattresses are a good choice for side sleepers since they help support all the pressure points like shoulders and hips, and contour to your curves. Make sure you choose a mattress that's thick and plush if you like that feeling.

    Likes Sinking In

    The comfort level is different when the body sinks into the mattress, like getting a bear hug. And memory foam allows the sleeper to slowly sink into the blissful world of dreams and comfort.

    Anti-Allergic

    One of the pros of memory foam is that it keeps allergens like dust, mites, and mold from penetrating the mattresses. Therefore, it is suitable for people with allergies. 

    Couples

    Memory foams rank higher than hybrid mattresses when it comes to couples. Due to its motion-absorbing technology, it is ideal for people sharing the same bed.

    Budget Friendly

    If a person wants to save money but needs a comfortable mattress, then memory foam is a perfect choice since it will likely cost less than other options.

    Who Should Choose a Hybrid Mattress?

    Here are some sleepers that may be better suited for a hybrid mattress.

    Likes to Be on Top of the Mattress

    Unlike memory foam mattresses, hybrid mattresses consist of internal structures that keep the body from sinking in, making them an ideal choice for people who like to sleep on their beds.

    Hot Sleeper

    Because of the core coils, hybrid mattresses tend to sleep cooler than foam mattresses. There is ample room among coils for airflow to keep the mattress from overheating, which allows a comfortable sleep experience. 

    Long Term Investment

    If a person is looking for a long-lasting mattress and money isn't an issue, then a hybrid mattress could be their ideal choice. The coils in the hybrid mattresses are made of steel and durable, adding some serious life to them. 

    Needs Extra Support

    Unlike memory foam, hybrid mattresses have an edge-to-edge support system, which means they can stand more weight and allow the sleeper to use every inch of the mattress surface. 

    Often Switches Positions

    The top layer of foam comforter in the hybrid mattresses balances the support and comfort of the sleeper. It supports the back sleeper and allows them to switch positions if uncomfortable without inhibiting their movements comfortably.

    What Is Better: Memory Foam or Hybrid Mattress?

    Though there are differences between these two types of mattresses, they contribute equally to a good night's sleep. Which one is better for you depends on your personal preference.

    With so many mattresses on the market, buying a new bed can be overwhelming. It's important to look for a mattress with a long sleep trial so you can test it out at home and make sure it's perfect for you.

    To choose between memory foam and hybrid mattresses, consider all the pros and cons, along with your comfort and budget, before making the final decision.

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