When purchasing a new mattress, you’ll find that the three most popular options in Canada are the spring (or innerspring) mattress, the all-foam mattress, and the hybrid mattress. Unless you’re a bed expert, it’s unlikely that you know much about each type of mattress besides the basics.
It’s easy to make assumptions on mattress types based on the information you may have read or heard a long time ago. The mattress industry is ever-evolving, and today’s options are more diverse and complex than ever before. So abandon your preconceptions and prepare to learn everything there is to know about today’s common mattress types.
First up: the innerspring mattress. This mattress type has been around for the longest and looking back ten years ago, it was undoubtedly the most common type of mattress on offer. Innerspring mattresses are made with three standard layers: a solid foundation base, a core, and finally, the topmost comfort layer.
The foundation base is what provides structure and edge support for the entire mattress. It’s usually made out of compact wool or a similar material.
The core makes up the middle part of the mattress. This layer is what gives an innerspring mattress its name – it consists of a selection of springs and coils. The exact number of springs and coils depends on the mattress itself, but it’s generally considered that the more springs there are, the better support the mattress will offer. Thicker springs are, of course, always the better option for durability.
The comfort layer acts as a soft barrier between you and the springs. It obviously wouldn’t be very comfortable to sleep straight on top of the core layer, and the comfort layer provides a bit of padding and support to prevent the springs from digging in. This is usually made from a thin layer of foam or a similar material.
Pros of Innerspring Mattresses
If your budget can’t stretch very far, an innerspring mattress is a good option for you. With such a wide selection of innerspring mattresses available, you’ll easily find one that’s a great value for money. Many innerspring mattresses at the $400 to $700 mark are durable, high-quality, and a steal of a price.
Innerspring mattresses are the most familiar mattress type, and that means there are hundreds of options to choose from when it comes to making a purchase. You can find innerspring mattresses of different a range of different firmness levels and price tags, by a range of different brands. Not only does that mean you have a huge choice, but you will also have a good chance of being able to find an innerspring mattress at a bargain price in a stock clearance sale.
Proven history of comfort
Here’s a fact: innerspring mattresses wouldn’t have existed for so many years if they didn’t have a proven history of comfort. There are still hundreds of innerspring mattresses available today, and it certainly doesn’t look like they’re going away anytime soon. If you’re after a mattress that has been relied on for nearly 100 years, innerspring mattresses are for you.
Cons of Innerspring Mattresses
If you have ever owned an innerspring mattress, you’ll know that eventually, the inevitable happens: your springs get squeaky. While squeaky springs aren’t an issue as such, that doesn’t stop them from being annoying. If you are a light sleeper, you won’t appreciate being woken up by squeaking every time your partner rolls over or gets out of bed. Equally, if you’re attempting a certain discrete bedroom activity, squeaky springs are a dead giveaway.
Hotspot for dust mites
The problem with the innerspring mattress design is that it leaves plenty of room for certain tiny creatures called dust mites. Dust mites thrive in an innerspring mattress environment and only get more populous over time. If you are prone to night-time allergies, you may notice that sleeping on an innerspring mattress causes you to experience symptoms like coughing, sneezing, a scratchy throat, and itchy eyes.
Don’t provide much motion isolation
Even if you’re not frequently woken up by your mattress’ squeaky springs, there’s a chance you will be by the shaking of the bed with every movement your partner makes. One of the key issues with some innerspring mattresses is that they’re not so great at motion isolation. This means that every time you roll over or get up, instead of absorbing your motion, the mattress will transfer it across the whole surface area – including your partner’s side of the bed. Not ideal if you’re a light sleeper.
Won’t contour to your body shape
When compared to all-foam or hybrid mattresses, innerspring mattresses are far less capable of contouring to your body shape. They will recognize that you’re lying down on the bed and will sink beneath your weight, but that’s about it. There’s no special moulding to your spine, hips or shoulders, so if you’re the type to sleep on your back or side, you may experience spine misalignment.
Cheaper makes have a short lifespan
Innerspring mattresses are so common that there are plenty of bad apples amongst the good. If you opt for a cheap innerspring mattress, don’t be surprised if it only lasts 5-7 years. You may also notice that the soft top comfort layer is practically non-existent, which may make it feel as if you’re sleeping on a bed of rocks. The price of an innerspring mattress truly does reflect its quality, so never pay under $200 to $300 if you’re looking for something that will stand the test of time.
Difficult to transport
If you’re receiving a new innerspring mattress by post, this concern won’t apply to you. But if you are attempting to take one home from the store, you’re going to struggle. Your options are limited to finding a friend with a van that is big enough to store your mattress in the back or attaching the mattress to your car’s roof rack. Not the most convenient method of transportation either way.
All-foam mattresses were once only considered for use by those with chronic pain conditions or the elderly. Luckily, it didn’t take long for this mattress type to hit the mainstream mattress in a box market, big time. All-foam mattresses are now some of the most popular high-end mattresses available, and it’s all thanks to their ability to provide a quality level of comfort that you just can’t get with an innerspring alternative.
The two most popular offshoots of foam mattresses are latex and memory foam mattresses. The only thing that really differs between the two is the materials that are used to make them. Memory foam mattresses are made from, as the name suggests, memory foam, while latex mattresses are made from natural or synthetic latex.
All-foam mattresses don’t contain any springs or coils. Instead, they consist of three layers of foam, which increase in thickness from top to bottom of the mattress. These layers are the top comfort layer, the middle transitional layer, and the base support layer.
The top comfort layer is the softest layer of an all-foam mattress. It allows a sleeper’s body to sink into the mattress, and contours to the shape of the body, effectively relieving pressure points. This layer varies in thickness, depending on the firmness of the overall mattress
The middle transition layer is made out of the same foam material as the comfort layer but is thicker. It prevents the discomfort a heavier sleeper may experience if they were to sink right through the comfort layer and hit the bottom support layer.
The base layer offers all the support the mattress needs. As the thickest foam layer, it holds the mattress together and offers edge support.
Pros of All-Foam Mattresses
Offer good motion isolation
Both memory foam and latex foam mattresses absorb movement effectively. When you lie down on an all-foam mattress, instead of causing the springs to wobble, you will simply push down on the foam layers. Your movement won’t cause a chain reaction across the whole bed, which makes all-foam mattresses a better option for light sleepers who share their bed with a partner.
All-foam mattresses are a much better option for people who experience allergic reactions to dust mites. This is because the compact foam layers leave very little room for dust mites to accumulate, and many materials are resistant to allergens. If you want to avoid setting off your allergies every time you lie down in bed, an all-foam mattress is the best long-term option.
One of the biggest selling points of an all-foam mattress is its high level of comfort. Memory foam was actually first used by NASA for its astronauts, and the material was so popular that it is now used in a range of products designed with comfort in mind. All-foam mattresses mould to your body shape when you lie down, preventing pressure points and helping to give you a weightless feeling during sleep.
Accommodates to different positions
If you transition from sleeping on your front to your back, to your sides while you sleep, an all-foam mattress will support you no matter what. When you roll over into a new position, the mattress will gradually adjust and conform to your new pressure points, offering a balanced amount of support from your head to your toes.
Good for chronic pain and muscle soreness
The reason why the all-foam mattress took off in the first place was because of its pressure point relief. When you lie on a standard spring mattress, gravity will eventually do its thing, and will clash against the upward resistance of the bedding materials. This can cause “pressure points” which can affect circulation and lead to pain in affected parts of your body. All-foam mattresses distribute their support across your entire body, eliminating pressure points and preventing spine misalignment. This makes them a good option for people dealing with circulation issues, muscle soreness and chronic pain.
Suitable for adjustable beds
One type of bed frame that is rapidly increasing in popularity at the moment is the adjustable bed frame. This type of frame allows you to electronically adjust your bed to your perfect position, lifting and dropping the head and feet areas. A lot of adjustable bed frames also have built-in massage features and USB ports. All-foam mattresses can easily be placed on top of an adjustable bed frame, and are flexible enough to conform to the bed’s position as you adjust it. This won’t affect the quality or durability of your mattress, either.
If you’re looking for a mattress that will last long into the future, all-foam mattresses are a great option. They are very low commitment, and you won’t need to do anything other than give them the occasional vacuum and rotate them every three months as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. You won’t need to deal with a bust spring or an incessant squeaking over time, and your mattress will simply start to sink and contour less effective when it is coming to the end of its lifespan.
Cons of All-Foam Mattresses
Higher in cost
With an all-foam mattress, you certainly pay for the quality you will receive. But for some people, an all-foam mattress might simply be out of budget. You can expect a mattress of this type to cost between $700 and $1500, depending on the size you are looking for. While all-foam mattresses have a lifespan of many years, this might be too much of an upfront payment for you to consider.
Not so great for sex
The cushioning, sinking ability of an all-foam mattress means that when it comes to sex, you might not get the bounce you’re looking for. With that said, latex foam mattresses do offer a little more bounce than memory foam, so keep that in mind if finding a suitable bed for sleep and sex is important to you.
Can be hotter than spring mattresses
Because all-foam mattresses tend to be quite firm and compact, with some mattresses, you may experience poor air circulation and overheating. There’s less space for your body your heat to pass through, which means it may end up building up inside the mattress itself. A number of memory foam mattresses are now being designed especially with hot sleepers in mind, but you will probably still get a cooler sleep with an innerspring mattress.
We’ve looked at innerspring mattresses and all-foam mattresses – now for the in-between. Hybrid mattresses are a combination of both mattress types, and usually feature one or several foam layers along with a pocketed spring layer. This gives sleepers the benefit of a mattress that conforms to their shape and sinks beneath them, but also offers a bit more support, strength and bounce than an all-foam option.
You can usually find two layers in a hybrid mattress: a comfort layer and a support layer. The comfort layer consists of several layers of foam, usually made from memory foam or latex material. This layer is designed to provide cushioning for a sleeper, offering support and pressure relief to the neck, shoulders, back and hips. It also reduces the motion transfer that’s usually associated with innerspring mattresses
The base support layer consists of tiny pocketed coils, which give the mattress a more “bouncy” feel and a greater level of support. This layer gives the mattress its hybrid status and holds the whole bed together.
Pros of Hybrid Mattresses
Offer the best of both worlds
If you’d prefer to enjoy the benefits of both an all-foam and an innerspring mattress, hybrid mattresses are the perfect compromise. There’s no need to go without one of your favourite mattress features when hybrid mattresses combine the best features in one.
The issue with many innerspring beds is that it only takes the slightest movement to send shockwaves around the whole mattress. But with movement-absorbing comfort layers of foam separating sleepers from the springs, there’s no need to worry about motion transferral. The majority of hybrid mattresses also feature individual springs, so when one spring vibrates, it won’t cause the whole mattress to do the same.
Great value for money
Hybrid mattresses cost a little more than spring mattresses but are significantly lower in price than all-foam mattress types. You should be able to find a high-quality queen-size hybrid mattress around the $800 mark. This makes them a great value for money, considering you’re paying the features of both mattresses rolled into one. A hybrid mattress will generally last longer and maintain a better quality than an innerspring mattress, too, making it worth the extra cash on an initial purchase.
Can be paired with adjustable bed bases
Like all-foam mattresses, hybrid mattresses make great pairings with adjustable bed bases. If you’re looking to benefit from the best night’s sleep possible, combining an adjustable bed base with a hybrid mattress is a guaranteed recipe for success. You’ll be able to watch TV, sleep, and read in your favourite bed positions without compromising on comfort.
If you’re concerned that an all-foam mattress might sleep too hot for you, hybrid mattresses are your solution. You’ll still get the comfort of the foam layers, but your body heat won’t stay trapped inside the mattress. Instead, it’ll diffuse away from your body, pass through the foam and the spaces between the pocketed coils, and eventually leave the mattress through the sides and base. This will enable you to enjoy a much cooler night’s sleep.
Offer great edge support
Hybrid mattresses are designed to reflect the cost you pay for them, which often guarantees that all their features are to their highest standard. Edge support is no different, and many hybrid mattresses have built-in superior edge support systems that ensure the mattress maintains its shape throughout its lifespan. This is particularly useful if you need to be able to sit on the edge of your bed before lifting your legs onto the mattress.
Have a bit more give
Thanks to their spring layer, hybrid mattresses are bouncier and have a bit more give compared to all-foam designs. If you prefer a mattress that has a bit more bounce-back, hybrid mattresses fit the bill. They won’t provide too much of a slow-sinking feeling, so they’re a suitable option for sex.
Cons of Hybrid Mattresses
Prone to off-gassing
When you first purchase a hybrid mattress, you may notice it releases a slightly unusual odour, referred to as off-gassing. This odour usually comes from the mattress’ foam layers and will hang around for several days to a week after you unbox the mattress and cut away its protective plastic layering. It’s not a permanent downside to owning a hybrid mattress, and neither is it dangerous – but you may find the smell too unpleasant for sleeping around for the first week or so.
Slightly longer break-in period
It takes all mattresses some getting used to before you can truly say whether they’re perfect for you or not. With hybrid mattresses, this break-in period tends to be slightly longer. This means you will need to be patient for around three months as you get used to sleeping on your new bed. During this time, you might experience stiffness with the mattress that makes it difficult to get comfortable. Over time, the materials will become softer, and should eventually conform to your body shape.
Heaviest mattress option
Though there are many benefits to a combination of springs and foam in one mattress, this does make hybrid mattresses the heavier option of the three. Of course, you’re not going to be lifting your mattress very much anyway, aside from when you’re first bringing it home and when you’re rotating it every few months. But if heavy lifting is a struggle for you, and you don’t have someone who can offer a helping hand, keep in mind that hybrid mattresses are on the heavier side.
If she’s not catching up with her favourite home décor trends, you can find Mia whipping up endless new recipes in the kitchen. She loves any type of wine that lands in her glass, reading, fibre arts, and catching up on her favourite reality TV shows between hikes. On weekends, you can find her on the local trails with her best canine friend, Gadget.