What Makes a Mattress “Hybrid”?
Whereas most mattresses consist of one type of support structure, hybrid mattresses have at least two. At their core is a supportive innerspring system like those found in coil mattresses. This coil layer is topped with one or more layers of latex, memory foam, or gel.
The terms innerspring and coil are often used interchangeably to refer to mattresses made with steel coils, or springs, that provide firm support with a bit of give. These have been the mattress industry’s most popular design for decades. There are many types of innerspring mattresses but most nowadays consist of a continuous spring or several individually wrapped coils. Many modern designs offer balanced support and better responsiveness compared to earlier, simpler iterations.
Memory foam, latex, and gel mattresses have become increasingly popular in the past several years since Serta released its first memory foam mattress to the public. Each material has distinct qualities. But all are best-known for their body-contouring attributes.
Hybrids can utilize various materials and features, but all combine some attributes of both of these main design types.
The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Mattresses
Most sleepers want enough support to maintain equilibrium, which is something coil mattresses excel at. A bed without adequate support, whether sagging or too soft, may cause spinal imbalance, resulting in excessive pressure on certain parts of the body and, subsequently, pain and stiffness in the back, head, neck, shoulders, and joints. Latex, memory foam, and gel alone can provide sufficient support, but hybrid designs’ coil cores take it up a notch to provide pressure point support.
Hybrid mattresses also contain edge support, which some memory foam models lack.
One of the biggest complaints about memory foam mattresses is that they tend to run hot.
Memory foam is designed to respond to body heat; it’s how it achieves its signature body contouring. However, that isn’t ideal for sleepers with a propensity to overheating at night, particularly since a cool environment is conducive to a better night’s sleep.
Many memory foam manufacturers have incorporated solutions, such as built-in cooling channels or beads or moisture and heat-wicking fabrics. While gel and latex tend to be naturally cooler than traditional memory foam, hybrid mattresses, with their coil cores, may do an even better job at stimulating airflow and maintaining consistent coolness.
Pain and discomfort are among the leading causes of sleep difficulties. Finding a mattress with pressure-relieving properties and adequate support is crucial for people with chronic pain or musculoskeletal issues.
While firm mattresses are traditionally recommended for people with back issues, a too-firm mattress can exacerbate discomfort and stiffness. That’s where memory foam, gel, and latex, with their flexible, body-contouring attributes, shine.
Details vary from one manufacturer and model to another, but most hybrid mattresses, with their one or more top layers of contouring material, are medium firm and can offer the relief sleepers need without sacrificing support and comfort.
While some options are more affordable than others, hybrids are typically more expensive than other mattress types. On average, queen-size innerspring mattresses run about $850, latex a little under $2,000, and hybrids slightly over $2,000.
Keep in mind prices can vary significantly from around $500 to $3,000, depending on manufacturer and model, for almost any mattress type. That said, hybrids are generally a bit pricier as they require a combination of materials.
Less Contouring & Motion Isolation
Hybrid mattresses don’t offer quite as much contouring as traditional memory foam models. If you like the feeling of “sinking” into the bed and being wholly enveloped, this might not be for you. Similarly, memory foam is excellent for isolating individual sleepers, whereas innerspring designs are not so much. Hybrids do offer a middle ground, but their motion isolation is not on par with traditional foam.
What to Look for in a Hybrid Mattress
Coil Type and Position
The best hybrid mattresses contain a core made of individually wrapped “pocket” coils that provide balanced support and better motion isolation. Some top-rated products also include comfort zones where coils are situated at different levels to provide optimal support to particular body areas, such as the shoulders and hips.
Number of Layers
Look for multiple layers of foam, latex, or gel as well. The best hybrid mattresses incorporate two to four layers for optimal cushion and pressure relief.
When shopping for a hybrid mattress (or any mattress), check for quality, durable materials. Generally, hybrid mattresses tend to last a bit longer than strict innerspring or memory foam models due to their combination of materials. However, if the materials are cheap, they’re likely to wear out faster.