When it comes to looking at a mattress you can buy, you might be surprised at just how many different types there are. Sure, you might have been aware of the classic spring mattress, or a foam mattress but even those can be broken down into further types.
So what are the different types? What makes them different from one another? And which one is perfect for you? In this guide, we’ll answer all of those pressing questions and help you find and buy a mattress that’s right for you.
Innerspring mattresses are the type of mattress that comes to most people’s minds, and for good reason. This type has been around for centuries and at its core, use springs to provide bounce, comfort and support. They can be categorised in the following types:
A continuous coil mattress is called so because it has one continuous length of wire throughout each row. Rows are tied next to each other by a spiral wire. They are one of the most common types of innerspring mattresses, mainly because of their great affordability.
Apart from their low price tag, continuous coils are also stable and provide consistent, smooth support. The main drawback of continuous coils are its lack of individual pressure point support and tendency to carry motion throughout the entire bed.
Bonnell coil mattresses are the oldest of its kind. They feature hourglass-shaped coils which are equally distributed in the mattress and connected with spiral wires.
Bonnell coils provide good back support since they tend to be more firm than other mattresses. However, they share the same pressure point and motion transfer drawbacks as continuous coils and are less durable.
Offset mattresses were designed to be an upgrade to Bonnell coils and feature the same hourglass-shaped coils but instead, have a square head instead of the circular shape of Bonnells.
Because of this, offset coils are able to contour to bodies better which addresses the lack of individual pressure point support that Bonnells have. However, this also makes offset coils more expensive than its counterparts.
Pocket springs are relatively new and feature individual strings wrapped in fabric, hence the pocket spring name. By wrapping them individually, the springs do not share weight with each other, preventing excessive motion transfer.
Pocketed coils also allow the mattress to greatly contour to different sleeping positions. The relatively more complex build of pocket spring mattresses however, makes it the most expensive type of innerspring mattress.
Foam mattresses are built with different layers of foam, each layer usually having different densities. These work together to provide both comfort and support. There are various types that provide various benefits.
Memory foam was first invented by NASA in the 1970s and has since become one of the most well-known and popular mattress and pillow materials. A memory foam mattress is great for body support without feeling overly firm. It’s gentle enough to relieve bodily aches and pains.
Memory foam however, is heavy, not waterproof and it’s lack of breathability can leave you waking up sweaty in the middle of the night. It’s also quite expensive when stacked up against other mattress types.
Gel-infused foam is simply memory foam that has been injected with a gel-like substance that acts to regulate the offset of the normal heat of memory foam. Like an ice pack, the gel cools down the mattress, preventing it from getting too hot in the middle of the night.
It goes without saying that this added feature of gel-foam mattresses makes it even more expensive than normal memory foam.
Latex foam is soft and provides ‘bouncy’ support which provides the same pain relief as other foam types – without the sinking sensation typical foam mattresses have.
The bounciness of latex isn’t for everyone however and those with latex allergies can forget about having this type of mattress for their bed.
Polyfoam is similar to memory form, from it’s build to it’s supportive and pain relieving nature. However, it is not as elastic and features a bouncy support, just like a latex mattress.
If you’re not a fan of the sinking feeling of memory foam or have latex allergies, polyfoam can be a great substitute for both aforementioned types.
Other types of mattress
Hybrid mattresses combine both foam and springs to create a mattress that features both benefits. They are made with different mattress materials including pocket springs and support foam. provide a great middle option for those whose preferences fall in the middle of foam and spring mattress types.
Hybrids may be expensive but they are comfortable without being too bouncy or plush, provide both pressure point and back support and are better regulated for temperature and motion transfer.
Waterbeds are a retro concept, with their popularity peaking in the 1980s. While they are able to provide some advantages such as pressure relief and the therapeutic effect of a warm bed, they are largely a novelty item. This is mainly due to their heaviness, set-up difficulty and potential for leaks.
Futons hail from Japan and other Eastern Asian countries, and are slowly gaining traction in the West. They are portable, easy to store and are easy to set-up. They also provide great back support. For those who prefer a more plush and soft mattress, futons may not be a suitable sleeping solution.
Find the best type of mattress for you
Hopefully you’ve come away from this guide knowing the differences between foam, spring, hybrid and even more obscure mattresses like waterbeds! Knowing the difference can help you make a decision on which kind of mattress to buy.
Still unsure of what type of mattress to pick? Hybrid mattresses are a great all-around option, but as we mentioned, they’re quite expensive. Luckily, our hybrid mattresses at Metia provide all the great benefits of hybrids, without the nightmare price tag. Check out our range now and start enjoying deeper, more restful sleep!