Buying a mattress is more complicated than ever because technology has moved on a lot in the last decade. In the past, you only had the option of basic spring mattresses and you had to decide whether you wanted firm or soft. These days, there are all sorts of different types and memory foam seems to have taken over. There’s a new trend in online mattress companies selling high-tech foam mattresses, so does that mean that spring mattresses are obsolete? Not quite because spring mattresses do still have their advantages and it’s important to consider your own specific needs.
If you are buying a new mattress, you need to understand both spring and memory foam options and the benefits of each. This guide will break down the main differences between the two so you can make an informed decision.
Before spring mattresses were invented, mattresses were just big pillows filled with hay or down. The addition of springs provided plenty of support and this became the new norm for all mattresses.
Most spring mattresses are made up of a few layers. First, you have a layer of springs or metal coils, usually encased in foam. This is known as the support layer because it’s what gives support when you sleep. On top of the support layer, you then have the comfort layer. This can be made of different types of foam and upholstery and it’s there so you don’t feel the springs digging into your back.
All spring mattresses have this basic structure but they differ a lot depending on the type of springs used and the materials used in the comfort layer. Denser springs, for example, create a firm mattress that is perfect for front sleepers because it pushes back and stops their back from arching.
Different types of spring mattresses
When choosing a spring mattress, you need to know how the different arrangements of coils and springs create different types of mattresses. These are some of the most common types of spring mattresses you will come across.
The pocket coil mattress is the latest in spring mattress technology and it deals with a lot of the issues you find with other spring mattresses. It is constructed with lots of different springs, individually wrapped in fabric. The individually wrapped coils mean that the mattress doesn’t transfer motion that easily, so if you are in bed with a partner that tosses and turns a lot, you won’t notice a thing.
Coil on coil
If you want extra support and you like a very firm mattress, coil on coil is a good option. It is made with two layers of metal coils on top of one another for added support and reduced bounciness.
Offset coils are another good option if you like a firm mattress, but they do have issues. They are made with individual coils that are all connected to one another. They provide extra support because they are joined together, but this does mean that the mattress transfers motion a lot, so it’s not ideal for couples.
A continuous coil mattress gets its name because the coils are all made from a single piece of wire. This makes for a very hard wearing mattress that will last a long time. However, the single wire formation does cause a lot of motion transfer.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Spring mattresses have a lot of issues, especially with motion transfer, but memory foam mattresses aim to deal with that. Memory foam is made by treating polyurethane foam with various chemicals to change its density and firmness, depending on the kind of mattress you are trying to create. It’s the perfect material for mattresses because it molds to the shape of the body and it is sensitive to temperature.
Different types of memory foam
There are lots of different types of memory foam out there and the best mattresses are often made from a combination of different types. The Puffy mattress, for example, is one of the top-rated memory foam mattresses out there and it is constructed from a core support layer with a cooling gel memory foam top. You can get a discount on Puffy here if you do decide that memory foam is right for you. All of the different types of memory foam and the multiple layers can get confusing, so you need to know the different types when shopping for mattresses.
Standard memory foam
Basic memory foam is usually used for one of the layers in a mattress. The open-cell foam can be expanded to improve airflow and make it cooler.
Gel memory foam
Small beads of gel are often put into the memory foam to absorb body heat and keep you cool during the night. It is common for mattresses, like the Puffy, for example, to have a gel top layer that keeps you comfortable, with a dense support layer underneath.
Cooling memory foam
Gel can be used to cool memory foam but sometimes other materials, like graphite and copper are used because they help to distribute heat throughout the mattress and help you maintain your body temperature.
Plant-based memory foam
If you are concerned about the source of the materials and how eco-friendly they are, look for mattresses with plant-based memory foam. They use more sustainable alternatives to replace the petroleum that is often used.
Which Is Best?
So, now you know all of the different types of memory foam and spring mattresses that are available, how do you know which is best?
Overall, memory foam is the best option because it provides consistent support throughout the body, they’re great at managing temperature, and they don’t transfer motion anywhere near as much as a spring mattress. They offer excellent support, making them the best option for back sleepers. However, a pocket coil mattress can match a foam mattress in many of these areas.
If you like a bouncy mattress, you may prefer a spring mattress and they do tend to be cheaper than memory foam. You can also get hybrid mattresses these days, which have a combination of metal coils and memory foam layers.
Using the information in this guide, you should be able to make sense of the different mattress options available to you.