Types of Mattresses

Susan Newcome / Associate Editor
Last updated on Aug 24, 2019.

It's 2019, and the mattress industry has seen a resurgence of research and development. Startup culture has infiltrated the mattress industry. There are no shortage of venture backed new age mattress companies that behave like the tech startups of Silicon Valley.

Buying a mattress isn't the type of thing we're used to doing very often. Studies show that the average person buys a new mattress every 7 to 10 years. Most millennials and young professionals might still be using the same mattress that their parents bought them in high school or college. That is, until their family constitution (and financial situation) changes.

So, with legions of new consumers coming into the market for a mattress (hey, its also pretty trendy too), the internet is plastered with ads for new wave mattress companies.

Part of the reason that this industry is so good right now is that mattresses are suddenly cool again. Shiny new marketing campaigns allow these digital native companies to reach consumers and have their messaging resonate in ways that weren't possible with your parents mattresses.

At MojoSleep, our goal is to help you understand whats available, what works, and give you the information you need to make sense of all of the noise. So with that in mind, let's take a look at the various types of mattress available on the market today.

All Foam / Memory Foam Mattresses

These were the first wave of products pushed out into the market that disrupted everything. They're primarily made of foam, typically memory foam upper layers with high density support foam bases, and can be manufactured cheaply, stuffed into a box, and shipped to your doorstep.

All foam mattresses can also provide a great nights sleep. Typically, companies switch up the construction layers of these mattresses to provide tailored firmness and support.

Some are flippable (which is a good idea), and some don't need to be flipped at all. Most companies offer generous return policies and 10-25 year (some lifetime) warranties because, due to the magic of modern foam materials, these beds can be quite durable and long lasting.

While most of the memory foam mattresses on the market are surprisingly affordable, there are some drawbacks.

First, memory foam mattress don't really sleep cool. In fact, memory foam works best with heat. That's why sometimes when you're sleeping in a cool room the mattress can feel harder, and when you're sleeping in a warm room it can feel more spongy. Memory foam relies on your body heat to deliver some of it's most interesting characteristics (namely the way it shapes and conforms to your imprint).

Second, all foam mattresses often lack edge support. This con has been mitigated somewhat with most modern revisions having reinforced edge foam perimeters, but it's important to consider if you're looking at this class of mattress.

Cooling Mattresses

With so many consumers sleeping hot on memory foam, the mattress companies were quick to up the ante and begin introducing alternative layers to address heat buildup.

Gels and porous foam composites are common, and help dissipate heat and provide airflow, two of the main requirements of a cool sleeping experience.

A lot of latex mattresses hit both the organic aspect (with the claim that some of the chemicals used in the production of gels and foam can off-gas and so on), and provide increased airflow through porous moulding processes.

One thing to note here is that while mattress toppers can be a great way to enhance an otherwise hard or uncomfortable mattress, they'll kill a lot of the cooling properties of the top layers of the bed. The same goes for mattress covers.

Hybrid Mattresses

A hybrid mattress is technically any mattress composed of more than one type of material. It could be air and foam, or foam and gel, but more often means the mattress contains coils. Coils, (what we sometimes refer to as springs), come in a handful of designs and provide buoyant support systems that help isolate pressure and provide for comfortable sleep.

Lower end mattresses contain continuous coils made out of a large uncut piece of wire. The downside here is that motion transfer is pretty large since the coils can't move individually.

Mid grade mattresses contain open coils, which often have an hourglass shape to them. They're able to move more independently and as such, are much better for isolating movement and pressure. You won't notice nearly as much when the dog jumps up onto the bed or your sleep partner rolls over in the middle of the night. Most traditional innerspring mattresses use this construction, and we all know how noisy and bouncy those can be. Delightful for kids to jump on, but not always particularly luxurious.

High end mattresses often contain individually wrapped pocket coils. The fabric wrapping allows them to work entirely independent of each other. They're also uniform in shape from top to bottom. Pocket coils provide superior motion isolation and support. Pocket coils are also known as Marshall coils.

So, there you have it. This is just kind of the 10,000 foot view of the most common types of mattresses available on the market today, but hopefully it gets you thinking, at least a little, about the type of mattress that'll be best for you.