Discover Your Ideal Mattress: Material, Sleeping Positions, Durability, and More
The type of mattress someone else loves won't necessarily be the right mattress for you. There’s a tremendous variety of mattresses on the market, all with individual firmness levels, qualities, and benefits.
If you're wondering what kind of mattress is best for you, here's a primer on the fundamental differences between common kinds of mattresses—and how to tell when it's time to upgrade your sleep surface.
What are the different types of mattresses?
There are four main types of beds: innerspring, hybrid, memory foam, and latex. Each mattress differs when it comes to firmness levels, motion transfer, durability, and cost. Each mattress type has individual features and is ideal for a variety of different sleepers.
Innerspring mattresses are the most commonly found mattress type and are the least expensive of the four, making them a good option if you're on a budget. Memory foam mattresses, meanwhile, are slightly more expensive and offer amazing body contouring.
Hybrid mattresses combine memory foam comfort layers and innerspring mattress systems and support all sleeping positions. Finally, latex mattresses are made from either natural or synthetic latex material. Natural latex mattresses are the most durable, and expensive, due to the nature of the material.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Latex Foam Mattresses
Price Level (Queen)
Medium-firm to extra-firm
Medium to firm
Soft to medium-firm
Soft to firm
Back sleepers, stomach sleepers
Back sleepers, side sleepers, stomach sleepers
Back sleepers, side sleepers
Back sleepers, side sleepers, stomach sleepers
Key features of an innerspring mattress
Innerspring mattresses are the most traditional and also the most common type of mattress. What differentiates innerspring mattresses from other mattress types is, of course, the “springiness" you'll feel when you lie on them. Even with foam comfort layers and motion isolation features, innerspring mattresses are still usually the most bouncy type of bed on the market.
The core of an innerspring is a steel coil support system, surrounded by layers of fabric, foam, other padding, and even additional coils. However, spring mattress types have gotten major upgrades in recent years, with the introduction of new coil designs and materials that help with comfort and ventilation.
That means innerspring mattress types can accommodate lots of different sleepers and preferences. Some are designed to be firmer, others more contouring to your body. Coil options, such as individually wrapped coils, make them less likely to transmit movement, which means you won't be jostled by your bed mate's every toss and turn.
Our Best Innerspring Mattress
Types of coils
By understanding how the different styles of steel coils affect mattress feel, you'll be able to identify the best coil system for your sleep needs. Here are the most common coil types you can find in innerspring mattresses:
- Bonnell coils: These are the original innerspring mattress coils and are also known as "open" coils. They're made in an hourglass shape for a springy feel. While Bonnell coils have good durability, they're not great for motion isolation or pressure relief.
- Pocketed coils: These are the most expensive coil type found in innerspring mattresses. They're individually wrapped in fabric to increase motion isolation so you won't feel your partner moving during the night. They're among the most durable types of coil and come in a variety of firmness levels to suit every sleeper.
- Offset coils: These have the same hourglass shape as Bonnell coils, but the bottom of the coil is offset when compressed to create a hinging effect. That hinging effect means they offer more contouring and lower back pain relief throughout the night.
- Continuous coils: These are similar to offset coils but have several rows of singular wires molded into the shapes of a circle. These are some of the firmest coils on the market, but they don't provide as much support as other coil types.
Key features of a hybrid mattress
Hybrid mattresses are similar to innerspring mattresses but have a soft foam comfort layer in addition to the central coil system. They most commonly use the pocketed coil system for increased motion isolation. They're a great option for everybody—no matter what position you choose to sleep in.
The pocket coil system offers breathability and support, while the soft, foam comfort layer gives you a comforting and luxurious feel. They contour to your body well and offer relief to your pressure points throughout the night.
Our Best Hybrid Mattress
Check out Saatva's ultimate buying guide for hybrid mattresses to learn more.
Key features of a memory foam mattress
Memory foam mattresses are made from viscoelastic polyurethane foam, which is known for its ability to mold and contour to your body.
Higher-density memory foam (4 to 5 pounds per cubic foot) softens in response to body heat, which usually happens over several seconds or a few minutes. The denser the foam, the more supportive the surface. Lower-density foam (3 pounds or less) responds to pressure—i.e., body weight—and offers a softer feel.
Another traditional pro to memory foam mattress types is their natural resistance to dust mites and other allergens. So, memory foam can make a great mattress material for those suffering from allergies as well.
There are quite a few different types of memory foam beds on the market, including traditional memory foam, open-cell memory foam, and gel memory foam.
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Types of memory foam
There are three types of foam beds: traditional, gel, and open-cell memory foam. Each foam bed offers individual benefits for different types of sleepers.
- Traditional memory foam: This material was originally created by NASA scientists back in the 1960s and has been around in mattresses since the '90s. Traditional memory foam offers excellent pressure point relief as it contours to your body throughout the night. However, keep in mind it's made from polyurethane and can sometimes give off a chemical smell—a process referred to as off-gassing.
- Gel memory foam: This is a new invention in the world of mattresses and has only been available since the mid-2000s. Gel memory foam offers an additional layer of cooling gel to help with temperature regulation throughout the night. It's great for hot sleepers.
- Open-cell memory foam: This type of memory foam has internal pockets, or open cells, which allow for better breathability and increased coolness during sleep. Eco-friendly memory foam, made with materials certified to be free of harmful chemicals, tends to have a more open-cell structure.
Key features of a latex mattress
Latex has a similarly conforming “feel" to memory foam, but the material's responsive quality gives it a buoyancy and elevating sensation that foam can't match. Natural latex is sustainably harvested from rubber trees and processed via one of two methods: Dunlop or Talalay.
Latex mattresses are oftentimes the best mattress choice for people with allergies because they're naturally hypoallergenic and more dust-mite resistant than other beds.
Latex also has an increased amount of temperature regulation for a cooling effect throughout the night. These beds are perfect for people who want the soft and plush feel of a memory foam mattress without poor temperature regulation.
Natural latex is also the most eco-friendly mattress option on the market. However, synthetic latex isn’t quite as sustainable.
There are a few different types of latex on the market that could change your sleeping experience.
Our Best Latex Mattress
Types of latex foam
There are three different types of latex foam: Dunlop latex, Talalay latex, and synthetic latex. Each one goes through a different manufacturing process and has its own set of pros and cons.
- Dunlop latex: This is the original type of natural latex foam used in mattresses. It's made from the sap of a rubber tree and was first produced in the 1930s. Dunlop latex is dense with a firm feel, offering excellent spinal alignment while remaining comfortable. It's also exceptionally durable.
- Talalay latex: This is the second iteration of natural latex foam. The manufacturing process is slightly different than Dunlop latex, resulting in a lighter, fluffier foam. Talalay latex has great airflow and is better at temperature regulation than other types of latex.
- Synthetic latex: This is traditionally made with a blend of latex foam and polyfoam, making it a lower-quality and less durable option. Synthetic latex is also less expensive. While it feels similar to latex foam made with natural materials, it doesn't offer quite the same benefits as natural latex.
Mattress types that you definitely should avoid
While many mattresses on the market can help you get a better night's sleep, there are also a few mattress types you should try to avoid as much as possible. These include:
- Air mattresses
These types of beds don’t offer the correct amount of support for your individual pressure points and can actually increase your likelihood of feeling neck and back pain. While sleeping on these mattress types every once in a while won't hurt you too much, you should try your best to avoid sleeping on them consistently.
Finding your ideal mattress with Saatva
Selecting a new mattress is a personal decision. Everyone has different mattress preferences, so what's ideal for you might not be right for someone else. Regardless of your unique sleep habits, finding the perfect mattress can go a long way toward improving your sleep.
Saatva has a wide range of high-quality mattresses to suit every sleep style. We offer everything from innerspring to memory foam to latex in a variety of firmness levels to support you while you snooze.
Take our online mattress quiz to learn which is the best mattress type for you. All of our mattresses come with a 180-night home trial so you can try one out at home before deciding if it's right for you.