The wide array of options can overwhelm shoppers when selecting the perfect mattress. Among the popular choices are memory foam and innerspring mattresses, each with distinct features and benefits. Understanding the differences between these two mattress styles is crucial in making an informed decision for a good night’s sleep.
Memory foam mattresses are referred for their contouring abilities, providing excellent pressure relief and motion isolation. On the other side sleepers‘ hand, innerspring mattresses offer a more traditional feel with their coil support system, promoting airflow and responsiveness. This article aims to delve into the contrasting features of these two mattress types, allowing you to make an informed decision and find the sleep surface that suits your needs.
What Are Innerspring Mattresses?
Innerspring mattresses are a classic bedding option consisting of two main components: a sturdy support core and a softer comfort system. The support core is the mattress’s foundation and is constructed using materials like high-density polyfoam, metal coils, or latex. On top of this, the comfort system comprises various responsive materials such as cotton, wool, polyfoam, two memory foam layers, or latex, providing a plush surface for sleepers.
The key feature of innerspring beds is their use of metal coils within the support core. These coils offer excellent durability and resilience, ensuring a long-lasting and supportive base for the mattress. Meanwhile, the comfort layer typically has continuous coils and remains relatively thin, around 2 inches or less. Should the comfort layer exceed 2 inches in thickness, the mattress is usually classified as a hybrid rather than a traditional innerspring model.
Innerspring mattresses have maintained their popularity since their inception in the 1870s dating back over a century. Even though innerspring mattresses are memory foam in modern times, they remain a preferred choice for many due to their affordability and reliable design.
What Are Memory Foam Mattresses?
Memory foam mattresses consist entirely of foam, featuring at least one layer of memory foam for comfort. They do not include metal springs commonly found in memory foam mattresses in hybrid and innerspring models. Instead, the support cores of memory foam mattresses are typically made of high-density polyfoam.
It’s important to note that while memory foam may be present in the comfort layers of hybrid and innerspring mattresses, they are not typically referred to as “memory foam mattresses” unless they are entirely memory foam models in-based.
“memory foam mattress” refers to viscoelastic polyurethane foam, which is denser and more viscous than materials like polyfoam. This unique foam offers a distinctive, soft-yet-supportive feel. Originally developed by NASA in the 1960s for spacecraft use, memory foam has since been adapted for commercial purposes, particularly mattresses.
Memory foam possesses exceptional properties that make it highly suitable for mattresses. Its standout feature is its adaptability. When exposed to body heat and pressure, memory foam gradually conforms to the body’s shape. This characteristic is responsible for the signature body-hugging sensation associated with a memory foam mattress.
Differences Between Innerspring and Memory Foam Mattresses
Apart from their structural and design features, innerspring and memory foam mattresses exhibit distinct performance variations across multiple categories.
- Feel: Innerspring mattresses often give the sensation of sleeping “on” the bed, while memory foam mattresses provide a feeling of sleeping “in” the bed. Memory foam enables the body to sink in, offering a close-conforming sleep experience, whereas innerspring beds feel more even and supportive.
- Support: Both types of mattresses offer good support, but they achieve it differently. Innerspring beds provide even support throughout the surface due to their stiff metal coils, which resist compression and create a supportive flat surface. The supportiveness of memory foam depends on the foam density, with denser foams being more durable and supportive. For individuals weighing over 230 lbs, innerspring mattresses generally provide better firm support than memory foam.
- Conforming: It refers to how well a mattress adapts to the sleeper’s body shape. Memory foam excels in conforming as it responds to body heat and pressure, creating an impression on the sleep surface that closely conforms to the body. Innerspring mattresses provide a relatively flat and even sleep surface with minimal contouring.
- Pressure Relief: Memory foam tends to outperform innerspring beds in terms of pressure relief. Its superior conforming ability allows for better cushioning and support of the body’s pressure points, helping to alleviate pain and discomfort and promote proper spinal alignment. Innerspring mattresses, with their thinner comfort layers and firmer feel, may offer minimal pressure relief unless a sleeper requires a firm surface.
- Temperature Neutrality: Regarding temperature neutrality, innerspring beds generally fare better than memory foam mattresses. Memory foam’s close hug can restrict airflow, trapping heat against the body. Additionally, memory foam beds’ foam layers and support cores tend to be less breathable, impeding heat dissipation. In contrast, innerspring mattresses have better surface airflow and overall breathability, often resulting in a cooler sleep experience.
- Cost: Comparing mattress costs can be subjective, as a wide range of cost points are available. Both innerspring and memory foam mattresses of similar quality are typically priced similarly. On average, quality innerspring mattresses cost around $800, while memory foam mattresses cost around $1,000. It’s worth noting that budget-friendly options are available for both types. However, extremely low-cost memory foam beds may be less common due to the specialized nature of the foam material.
- Durability & Lifespan: Memory foam mattresses generally have a slightly longer lifespan than innerspring models. On average, memory foam mattresses can last 6-7 years, while innerspring mattresses last between 5.5-6.5 years. The durability of a mattress depends on various factors. For memory foam, the density rating plays a significant role in determining its lifespan, while for innerspring beds, coil design and thickness are key factors that affect durability.
Memory foam vs. innerspring: How to choose
When choosing the perfect mattress, the variations between memory foam and innerspring offer something unique for each sleeper. Understanding your sleep style and comfort preferences is key to making the right decision:
- Embrace or bounce: The allure of memory foam lies in its contouring embrace, but it may not suit everyone. However, modern innerspring designs now incorporate foam comfort layers, providing the best of both worlds with a responsive yet cushioned feel.
- Cool or warm: An innerspring mattress might be your best bet if you get hot while sleeping. Its open structure allows for better airflow, maintaining a cooler sleeping surface. Alternatively, you can explore gel memory foam beds, which utilize the cooling gel to regulate temperature effectively.
- Sharing the bed: Memory foam reduces motion transfer, making it an excellent choice for couples. The person on one side of the bed won’t feel disruptions caused by their partner’s movements. Though innerspring mattresses used to lack in this area, newer advancements, such as pocketed coils and all-foam comfort layers, have improved motion isolation.
- Back pain and support: For those with orthopedic conditions, memory foam’s contouring support can be beneficial, especially for neck and joint issues. However, suppose you move around frequently during the night or prioritize back pain relief and spinal alignment. In that case, the firm feels that robust support of an innerspring mattress might be more suitable.
Remember that the best choice ultimately depends on your unique sleep preferences, so take the time to consider these factors before making your decision.
Memory Foam vs. Innerspring Mattresses for Value
Memory foam mattresses and innerspring mattresses are quite comparable in terms of value for the price. However, a higher price tag for a spring mattress does not necessarily indicate superior quality.
Regarding the lifespan of spring mattresses, memory foam mattresses typically last around ten years and are usually priced between $700 and $2,000. On the other hand, innerspring mattresses have a lifespan of approximately six to eight years and generally fall within the price range of $500 to $1,500.
When purchasing a new mattress, it is crucial to prioritize your sleeping habits over the price point. Instead of solely focusing on cost, consider factors that are most relevant to your sleeping position and your comfort and well-being.
Innerspring and memory foam alternatives
If you find yourself uninterested in traditional memory foam and innerspring mattresses, there’s no need to worry. You have a couple of excellent alternatives: hybrid and latex mattresses.
Latex foam mattresses provide a cooler sleeping experience compared to traditional memory foam mattresses. They are particularly beneficial for individuals who tend to get hot during the night but still desire the luxurious and soft feel of a memory foam bed. While latex mattresses may come with a higher price tag, they offer exceptional durability, often lasting over 15 years. This longevity makes them a worthwhile investment in the long run.
On the other hand, hybrid mattresses offer a softer alternative to traditional innerspring mattresses. They incorporate a foam layer between the coil system and a plush pillow top, resulting in a comfortable and supportive sleep surface. Hybrid beds are an excellent choice for those who seek the support provided by an innerspring mattress but prefer a slightly softer and more indulgent feel. It’s worth noting that hybrid mattresses are typically pricier than a traditional innerspring mattresses, but their extended lifespan justifies the higher cost.
In conclusion, understanding the differences between innerspring and memory foam mattresses is essential to make the right choice for your sleeping needs. Innerspring mattresses offer traditional comfort, durability, and better temperature regulation, while memory foam mattresses excel in contouring support, pressure relief, and motion isolation. Take into consideration your preferences, budget, and specific health concerns before making a decision. We hope this article has provided valuable insights, helping you select the perfect mattress for restful nights and rejuvenated mornings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Memory foam mattresses are generally better at providing back pain relief due to their ability to conform to the body’s shape and alleviate pressure points.
Yes, innerspring mattresses typically have a longer lifespan, while memory foam mattresses may lose their supportive qualities over time.
Yes, adding a memory foam topper on an innerspring mattress can enhance its comfort and pressure-relieving properties.
Traditional memory foam mattresses can retain heat, but newer models with cooling features are available for hot sleepers.
Memory foam mattresses are often recommended for side sleepers due to their ability to cushion and contour the shoulders and hips.
No, memory foam mattresses are not designed to be flipped, as they have specific comfort layers on top.