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By definition, a hybrid mattress is constructed with a pocketed coil support core like found in some innerspring mattresses, as well as a comfort layer made of materials like memory foam and/or latex. The coils offer bounciness and optimal body support, while the comfort layer creates a body-contouring sleep surface that targets and targets pressure points.
The result is a mattress that represents the best of both worlds for many sleepers: a sleep surface that supports your body and relieves pressure. Many hybrids are also designed to minimize some of the drawbacks commonly associated with specific mattress types. For example, hybrids tend to be less bouncy than traditional innersprings; this creates less motion transfer, allowing couples who share a bed to sleep more soundly throughout the night. Hybrids also tend to retain less heat, and sleep cooler than most latex and memory foam models. However, these mattresses have been linked to certain problems; common complaints about hybrids include off-gassing, cumbersome weight and a high price-point.
You can go directly to our 2017 reviews and comparisons guide and learn about hybrid mattresses with the highest customer satisfaction ratings, or read on to peruse our comprehensive hybrid mattress guide.
Hybrid mattresses combine a coil-based innerspring support core with a comfort layer made of latex or memory foam. The support core of a hybrid mattress is always outfitted with pocketed coils, which are encased in fabric or cloth for more support and less motion transfer. A layer of base foam is usually located beneath the support core for extra padding and stability; the base material is almost always made of polyurethane foam, or polyfoam.
The comfort layer typically features memory foam and latex components; the specific ratio will vary by the manufacturer. In some cases the comfort layer is reinforced with gel to lower heat retention, allowing you to sleep cooler than you would on a traditional foam or latex mattress. Other models feature copper components in the comfort layer to help improve circulation and alleviate joint pain in sleepers.
Many hybrids sold today feature a third layer known as a pillow-top or euro-top, which is sewn to the top of the comfort layer. A pillow-top layer is sewn with a gap between the comfort layer, giving it a pillow-like appearance; euro-tops, on the other hand, are sewn flush with the comfort layer for a more uniform look. Pillow-tops and euro-tops can be constructed from a wide range of materials, such as cotton, wool, fiberfill or, in some cases, more latex or memory foam. Polyfoam may also be used.
Here’s a general rule-of-thumb for sizing a hybrid: the coil support core (including base foam) will measure roughly seven to eight inches in height; the foam layer will measure three to four inches; and the pillow-top will measure one-and-a-half to two inches. However, the dimensions of a hybrid mattress will vary by manufacturer.
It’s important to note that ‘hybrid’ is essentially a marketing term, and one that is consistently used incorrectly. In order to be a true hybrid, a mattress must feature a pocketed coil support core reinforced with foam and a comfort layer made of body-contouring material like latex and/or memory foam. The mattress size is another determining factor; true hybrids are roughly the same size as innersprings, and much larger than low-profile memory foam and latex mattresses.
Some mattresses do not meet this criteria, but are labeled as hybrids nonetheless. A common example: ‘springless hybrid’ mattresses that feature a comfort layer and support core constructed entirely from latex and foam. These models are not true hybrid mattresses because they do not include a coil-based support core. Same goes for ‘hybrid’ mattresses that feature thin foam or latex comfort layers and thick spring support cores; in a true hybrid, the comfort layer (often combined with a pillow-top) will be much thicker.
There is still plenty of confusion about the correct and incorrect definitions of a ‘hybrid mattress’. So as you’re visiting brick-and-mortar stores or navigating the web, be wary of ‘hybrid’ mattress labels — as well as customer reviews of these mattresses.
As the name implies, hybrid mattresses essentially bridge the gap between the way other mattress types feel. Let’s look at some key characteristics:
As with other mattresses, testing out hybrids in-person at a brick-and-mortar store is critical for finding the one that best fits your needs and preferences. Be sure to compare the feel of different hybrids, and also look at models with different components and composition ratios.
Due to the complex construction of hybrids, the latex, foam and coil of the mattress should be taken into consideration. Different measurements are used to evaluate each of these components.
Density is used to measure the supportiveness of memory foam and base foam. Density refers to how much compression a mattress can withstand while still providing adequate support for sleepers. Density is expressed in pounds per cubic foot, and is used to categorize foams into three grades: low (conventional), medium (HD) and high (HR).
Low-grade memory foam offers decent motion isolation and contouring, and will retain its shape very quickly. High-grade memory foam, on the other hand, provides excellent motion isolation and contouring — but shape recovery will take much longer. Medium-grade memory foam offers a good compromise between the two. Hybrid mattresses will commonly use more than one grade of memory foam in the comfort layer. For example, a hybrid comfort layer might feature one to two inches of low-density memory foam and another one to two inches of medium- or high-grade foam for extra support.
Polyfoam is also measured using density. Memory foam is much denser than polyfoam, so the scale is slightly different. The table below features a more detailed breakdown.
|Grade||Memory Foam Density (Pounds per Cubic Foot)||Polyfoam Density (Pounds per Cubic Foot)|
|Low (Conventional)||2.5 to 3.9||1.8 and lower|
|Medium (HD)||4.0 to 5.4||1.8 to 2.5|
|High (HR)||5.5 and higher||2.5 and higher|
While density can be used to evaluate supportiveness, indentation load deflection (ILD) is used to gauge the firmness of a mattress. ILD refers to the amount of compression needed to make a four-inch indentation on the top surface of a mattress. The higher the ILD number, the firmer the mattress — although mattresses may carry an ILD range (rather than a single rating) if the firmness is affected by factors like room temperature.
Latex and memory foam adhere to different ILD scales. Most memory foam mattresses on the market have a comfort layer with an ILD number that falls between 8 and 20; the ILD of latex, on the other hand, can range from 15-16 to 40 or higher. Low ILD memory foam and latex will conform very closely to your figure, but the material may also cause a ‘sinking’ feeling that might be uncomfortable. Alternatively, a higher ILD means an ultra-firm sleep surface that does not contour as closely (if at all); this can be problematic for people with chronic back or shoulder pain.
The table below features a breakdown of ILD ratings for memory foam and latex.
|Category||ILD Measurement||Foam Characteristics||Best for…|
|Very Soft||16 and lower||Mattress will sink extremely low, causing discomfort for some sleepers||Back or side sleepers|
|Soft||19-21||Mattress sinks considerably beneath most sleepers||Back or side sleepers|
|Medium||24-26||Balances softness and firmness, and will be comfortable for most sleepers||Side sleepers|
|Medium-Firm||29-31||Firm support with minimal sinking||Back or stomach sleepers|
|Firm||34-36||Very firm with little to no sinking||Back sleepers|
|Very Firm||39 and higher||Extremely firm with no sinking whatsoever, causing discomfort for some sleepers||Back sleepers|
One thing to note: ILD scales often omit certain numbers because these are seen as ‘middle-ground’ choices between the two adjacent categories. For example, an ILD of 28 should be considered a compromise between ‘medium’ and ‘medium-firm’.
Ultimately, you will be the best judge of the best density and ILD measurements in a hybrid mattress. Generally speaking, sleepers tend to prefer mattresses with a comfort layer density of at least 2.2 pounds per cubic inch, whether the layer is made of memory foam or polyfoam. The most popular memory foam layers have an ILD of 10 to 20, while the most popular latex layers range between 20 and 32 on the ILD scale.
You can evaluate the coils of a hybrid mattress using two measurements: gauge and coil count. Gauge refers to the thickness of the pocketed coils, and is expressed in numerals that represent different widths. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the measurement; most mattresses sold today range in gauge from 12 (thickest) to 18 (thinnest). Hybrids utilize pocketed coils, which are typically the highest-gauge (or thinnest) coils used in innerspring support cores. The gauge of pocketed coils typically falls between 14 and 18. Support cores with higher-gauge pocketed coils tend to have a longer lifespan and provide more stability.
In addition to the gauge, coil count may affect the how an innerspring mattress feels and how long it lasts — but not necessarily. The coil count of most pocketed coil support cores ranges from 800 to 1,200. Coil count may be used to evaluate the contouring abilities and projected lifespan of a mattress to a point, but the differences are negligible in mattresses with coil counts that exceed 1,000. ‘Coil count’ — like ‘hybrid — is a marketing term manufacturers use to sell mattresses. The biggest effect coil count will have on a mattress is found on the price-tag, since high coil counts are usually linked to higher costs.
|Hybrids provide a nice balance between two or more traditional mattress types.||Hybrids are among the most expensive mattresses on the market today.|
|The comfort layer contours more closely than latex and memory foam.||Off-gassing may occur in hybrids with high memory foam content.|
|Hybrids offer a nice mix of bounciness, body-contouring and motion isolation.||Hybrids will not be ideal for sleepers who prefer ultra-firm surfaces OR the sinking, effects of ultra-soft memory foam.|
|Hybrids are bouncier than latex or foam mattresses, making them more suitable for sex.||Innerspring-foam hybrids with polyfoam components (especially in the base foam) have a shorter lifespan than other mattresses.|
|A wide range of firmness levels ensures most shoppers will find a hybrid that is suitable for them.||Hybrids tend to be quite heavy, which can make moving and arranging them exceptionally difficult.|
The biggest upside of a hybrid mattress is that it will accommodate sleepers who feel dissatisfied with traditional innerspring, latex or memory foam models. Hybrids are designed to contour to your body more closely, providing better spinal alignment and more pressure relief than memory foam or latex beds.
They also minimize motion transfer without completely sacrificing the bounciness that sleepers have come to appreciate about innersprings. This makes hybrids especially suitable for sex. Latex and foam mattresses, on the other hand, have less bounciness and sink deeper when compressed; as a result, this can create a feeling of ‘fighting the bed’ during sex. Hybrids tend to retain less heat and sleep cooler than memory foam or synthetic latex, as well.
Hybrids are available in a wide selection of firmness levels to accommodate different sleeper preferences, as well. Whether you prefer the firmness of an innerspring or the sinking feeling of memory foam, chances are there is a hybrid on the market that will meet your expectations.
While hybrids may represent the ‘best of both worlds’ in many ways, these mattresses are also associated with several drawbacks. First and foremost: the cost. Hybrids tend to be much more expensive than innerspring or all-foam mattresses, as well as some latex models. Scroll down to the ‘Cost of a Hybrid Mattress’ section for more information about pricing.
Another issue with some hybrids is off-gassing. Particles known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are formed when mattresses are manufactured, and then released when the mattress is removed from its packaging. VOCs are generally harmless, although they may cause health concerns for people with severe allergies or respiratory ailments. However, the release of VOCs will also produce a strong, unpleasant odor known as off-gassing. Off-gassing is most closely associated with memory foam. The good news: the majority of hybrids sold today have no more than two to three inches of memory foam in the comfort layer, which leads to minimal off-gassing. And thankfully, off-gassing smells are not permanent; if you notice an odor coming from your hybrid mattress, simply let the mattress air out for a few days before using it, and refrain from putting sheets and other bedding on it until the odors are gone.
Longevity is another problem with many hybrids, since they often feature support cores with base foam made of cheaper, low-grade polyfoam. Although this material is cheaper for manufacturers, it degrades rather quickly; this can reduce the lifespan of the mattress by a considerable margin.
Finally, it’s important to note that hybrids tend to be much heavier than other models, making them more difficult to move and maneuver than other mattress types. However, heavier mattresses tend to have stronger, more durable components, so this could be a blessing in disguise.
As noted in the ‘cons’ section above, hybrids tend to degrade much faster than other mattress types. The lifespan will largely depend on the grade of polyfoam used to construct the support core, since low-grade foam wears out at a faster rate. If you are considering an hybrid, be sure to ask about the grade of the base foam. Unfortunately, many manufacturers utilize low-grade foam to make the base foam components. Pocketed coils are another issue, as these are high-gauge and considered less durable than other coil types used in traditional innersprings (such as bonnell, offset and continuous wire coils). Our findings indicate that the average hybrid mattress will last for six years before it needs to be replaced.
You should also make sure that your hybrid mattress comes with a solid warranty package. The warranty length is critical, but you should also take time to learn what is covered under the warranty. Traditional innersprings often come with warranties that cover premature sagging, while memory foam mattress warranties typically cover excessive indentation; a good hybrid warranty should include both. Additionally, the warranty should discuss in clear terms how the manufacturer handles warranty claims, turnaround time, shipping costs and the procedures for mattress replacement. For more information about warranties, please visit our guide to Understanding Mattress Warranties.
When it comes to the cost of a new hybrid mattress, expect to pay much more than you would for a standard innerspring or memory foam mattress. On the low end, a new hybrid can cost between $600 and $1,000. High-end and luxury models, on the other hand, may carry a price-tag of $4,000 or higher.
According to our findings, a new, high-quality hybrid mattress with a robust warranty will cost at least $1,000 to $1,500.
According to our data, hybrid mattresses carry a customer satisfaction rating of 71.0%, which is slightly lower than the satisfaction rating of memory foam mattresses (72.5%). By comparison, airbeds (79.2%) and latex mattresses (76.4%) are also more popular with sleepers, while innersprings hold the lowest satisfaction rating at 65.0%.
When shopping for a new hybrid mattress online or in a brick-and-mortar store, here are a few important questions to ask.
Although they are widely available and popular with customers, hybrids may not be the best option for you. Be sure to check out our guides innerspring mattresses, memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses and mattress firmness for more information on choosing the right mattress.
For more information on hybrids and other mattress materials, please visit the following pages on our site:
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