Mattress Types: Explained (2024)


In the quest for a good night’s sleep, the type of best mattress you choose plays a pivotal role. With numerous options available, understanding the nuances of different mattress types can be a game-changer.

This comprehensive guide will delve into the world of mattress types, discussing their variations and helping you select the perfect one.

How Many Types of Mattresses Are There?

There are five types of beds on the market right now: innerspring, foam, hybrid, latex, and adjustable beds. Mattress construction and material choices define the type of mattress.

Motion IsolationPoorGoodExcellentExcellentGood
Temperature RegulationGoodModerateGoodGoodExcellent

Which Type of Mattress is Best?

Mattress types are not created equal. Each offers a unique sleeping experience. Let’s explore the key categories:

1. Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses are the most conventional and earliest of the three most prevalent mattress designs.

These traditional mattresses are constructed with a fabric-covered support structure comprised of a metal wire system and springs; additional support is provided by cushioning material placed on top of the mattress.

How Much Variation Do Innerspring Mattresses Have?

Different innerspring mattresses can be identified by the coils that they employ. While these options are equally effective, pricing and texture vary greatly. Bonnell coils are the most popular and affordable option because of their widespread use.

  • Continuous Coil: Continuous coils are constructed by interlacing a single length of wire into various coils. Although these do not provide isolated support, a dense comfort layer on the mattress can provide overall support.
  • Bonnell: A metal wire connects the hourglass-shaped springs in the Bonnell Spring Mattress. An alternative name for this type of mattress is open coil spring mattress. Mattress springs are immobile; they are not capable of independent motion.
  • Offset: Offset coils are similar in appearance to their forebears, but they improve their performance in several ways, including being more responsive, pleasant, and quiet.

Offset coils are distinguished by their squared-off sides instead of their round top and bottom. Under less force, the coils bend like a hinge, and under more force, they push back with more force.

  • Marshall/Pocketed Coils: Pocketed coils comprise many smaller coils wrapped in fabric. The fabric covers are either sewn or glued together, which lets each spring move freely inside its fabric case. Pocketed, or Marshall coils, are very popular in hybrid mattresses.

2. Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses, often called memory foam mattresses, are a popular and innovative type of bedding that has gained widespread recognition for their unique properties and ability to provide a comfortable night’s sleep.

These mattresses are made from a particular type of memory foam, originally developed by NASA for use in space shuttles but has since found its way into the bedroom.

How Much Variation Do Foam Mattresses Have?

Foam beds come in a lot of different styles and prices. They can be soft or hard, cheap or expensive. Different kinds of materials are used in foam beds to support and relieve pressure. There are a lot of different kinds of foam, and most mattresses are made with more than one.

  • Memory Foam: Memory foam softens and molds to your shape using your body heat. This gives exceptional support and comfort. Memory foam gets its name because it progressively returns to its original shape after pressure is released and eventually remembers your ideal sleeping position and body shape.
  • Gel or Gel Infused Foam: Similar to a memory foam mattress, a gel memory foam mattress has gel pods added to the upper foam layers. Your neck and lower back will receive additional support from these gel capsules. They also give your mattress additional bounce, which speeds up the foam’s return to its natural shape.
  • Polyfoam: Mattresses made of polyurethane foam, sometimes called poly-foam, are made of the lowest-quality, least-priced foam. Polyurethane foam is commonly known as the material used to make couch cushions and inexpensive “egg crate” mattress tops.

3. Latex Mattresses

Latex is a sustainable product made from the milky white liquid inside rubber trees. The sap is processed into a dense foam after being extracted.

Latex foam, after being processed, has a texture not dissimilar to synthetic materials like polyfoam, with a few notable exceptions. Compared to memory foam sensation of latex is typically springier and less snug.

How Much Variation Do Latex Mattresses Have?

Dunlop and Talalay latex have different textures yet are highly resilient and long-lasting. Talalay latex is typically used in comfort layers due to its lighter, softer feel, but both types can be utilized effectively anywhere in an all-latex mattress.

  • Dunlop: Dunlop latex is one of the traditional methods of producing latex foam. In the Dunlop process, latex sap from rubber trees is whipped into a frothy liquid, poured into a mold, and then baked.

The latex naturally settles in the mold, with the bottom part being denser than the top. This density variation gives Dunlop latex its firm and supportive feel.

  • Talalay: Talalay latex is a more modern and complex latex manufacturing process. Similar to Dunlop latex, it begins with latex sap from rubber trees. Talalay latex is lighter, softer, and bouncier compared to Dunlop latex.

It has a plush and luxurious feel, making it ideal for comfort layers in mattresses. Talalay latex is often used near the surface of the mattress to provide a cushioning and pressure-relieving effect.

4. Hybrid Mattresses

A hybrid mattress combines the advantages of many layers of foam with classic spring coils to accommodate various body types and sleeping positions.

Even though a hybrid mattress might not be the ideal option for everyone, it might be an excellent starting point for buyers who aren’t sure what they want.

5. Alternative Mattresses

Alternative mattresses are a diverse category of bedding options that deviate from traditional innerspring or memory foam mattresses. These innovative mattresses cater to specific needs, lifestyles, and preferences.

How Much Variation Is There Between Alternative Mattresses?

When selecting an alternative mattress, it’s essential to consider factors like firmness, materials, and individual comfort requirements. Here’s an overview of some alternative mattress types:

  • Adjustable Beds: While not technically mattresses, adjustable beds are designed with a motorized base that allows you to raise or lower the head and foot of the bed.

They are ideal for individuals with specific health conditions or those who enjoy customizable sleeping positions.

  • Waterbeds: Waterbeds use water as the primary support system. They offer customizable firmness and a unique sleeping experience but may not be suitable for everyone.
  • Air Mattress: Air mattresses are adjustable and suitable for temporary use. They are often used for camping or accommodating guests.
  • Futon Mattress: Futon beds are versatile and can serve as a sofa and a bed. They are space-saving and suitable for smaller living spaces.
  • Pillowtop Mattress: This style has one gusseted layer that can be made of foam or fabric. A pillow-top cushion feels soft and “pillowy,” as the name suggests.

There is a tiny space between the layer and the mattress’s comfort layer underneath, where it is sewn into the top.

How Much Does Each Mattress Type Cost?

Mattresses come in a wide range of prices, from budget, low-quality choices to high-end models for people who want to live a high life. It is difficult to determine the average price of a mattress due to the wide range of prices.

Even though it was hard, we did our best to give you a rough idea of how much does a mattress costs. Once again, there will be exceptions, but you can use these averages to get a feel for retail pricing and see how different mattress types compare.

Mattress TypesTypical Price Range (Queen Size)
Adjustable Beds$899–$4,798


In the world of mattresses, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Understanding your preferences and needs is the key to a good night’s sleep. We hope this guide has shed light on the many mattress types available, helping you make an informed decision.

Remember, the right mattress can transform your sleep quality, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.


Does memory foam make your back hurt?

If the memory foam mattress is too soft, you might wake up with back pain even if it feels like you’re flying in the clouds. Your back won’t be able to stay in a normal position on a mattress that is too soft.

Does the type of mattress impact firmness?

Many people use polyfoam, memory foam, rubber, and fiber. A softer mattress has thicker comfort systems made of materials that mold your body more, while a harder mattress has thinner layers of less flexible materials.

Which type of mattress is more comfortable?

If you have back pain, you should probably sleep on a mattress that gives you both softness and support, like an innerspring or hybrid bed. On the other hand, people who have pain in their shoulders or hips should get a memory foam or rubber mattress because it conforms to their body and relieves pressure.

About the author

Best Mattress Advisor Editorial Team

Our dedicated team of experts, with more than two years of experience in the bedding industry, is committed to helping you achieve your best sleep yet. From in-depth reviews to comprehensive guides, we cover almost every aspect of sleep products, including mattresses, pillows, bed frames, and accessories. Explore our website and discover why we're the go-to resource for all things sleep-related.

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Best Mattress Advisor Editorial Team

Our dedicated team of experts, with more than two years of experience in the bedding industry, is committed to helping you achieve your best sleep yet. From in-depth reviews to comprehensive guides, we cover almost every aspect of sleep products, including mattresses, pillows, bed frames, and accessories. Explore our website and discover why we're the go-to resource for all things sleep-related.

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