Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (2023)

Buying a new mattress can be a confusing process. With hundreds of beds to choose from across dozens of categories, it can feel overwhelming. Luckily, you can easily narrow your search by focusing on one big question: do you want a foam or spring mattress?

We will focus on the differences between foam and innerspring mattresses. Learning more about these two categories can help you be more informed when choosing the right mattress for your needs.

foam mattresses

DescriptionAdvantagesIn contrast
All-foam construction, usually with a mix of memory foam, polyurethane foam, and other materials. Available in almost every price range, from $300 to over $3,000.
  • excellent compliance
  • Very good motion isolation.
  • The material feels soft, but still offers good support
  • Good pressure relief in problem areas
  • Available from budget to ultra luxury.
  • Generally preferred by side sleepers
  • Most foams "outgas", a period of 1-3 days during which the mattress releases an unpleasant odor when first installed.
  • Some foams sleep hot and retain body heat.
  • Doesn't have much bounce
  • Luxury models can be expensive

innerspring mattresses

DescriptionAdvantagesIn contrast
Constructed from metal coils or springs that provide underlying support and thin layers of foam. Available in most price ranges, typically $300 to $1,500+
  • generally affordable
  • Responds with a small jump
  • Offers a firm hold
  • Excellent airflow for a cooler sleeping experience
  • More support than foam for heavier individuals.
  • Broadcast more movement
  • The springs can make noise
  • Sagging over time is common, especially on cheaper models.
  • The durability depends heavily on the starting quality of the mattress and the size and weight of the sleeper.

What is the difference between a cold foam mattress and a spring mattress?It depends on the materials used and the style of construction. The details of each style are discussed in later sections.

Which one is better?There is no definitive answer to this question.

Of the two mattress types, innerspring beds are the older and more "traditional" option. Some might consider them outdated, but there are many modern, comfortable, and quality innerspring mattresses out there.

Foam mattresses are a newer concept but extremely popular. WhileMemory foam was originally invented in the 1960s., the foams used today are much more advanced. Manufacturers now make specific foams designed for specific applications (cooling, support, pressure relieving) and combine them to create round mattresses.

When comparing foam mattresses and innerspring mattresses, there is no clear "better" or "worse" option. There are just too many variables to consider to make a blanket statement that one is better than the other.

Rather, it is better to frame the question as asking what is the best option for you and your needs. Each type of mattress tends to perform better in certain ways, so it's generally better suited to the needs of different types of sleepers. There are also many differences in performance between models of the same type, so it's important to research how a mattress is built.

Can't decide between a foam bed and a feather bed? Try our mattress quiz to find out which one is right for you!

When trying to choose between a foam mattress and an innerspring mattress, you need to consider factors such as sleeping position, body weight, budget, and personal sleeping preferences. Our quiz below will help you determine if a foam or feather bed is right for you.

(Video) Innerspring Vs Memory Foam Mattresses - The Ultimate Showdown!

Find your mattress

Answer5Simple questions to find your perfect mattress

What position do you sleep in?

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (1)


    Usually you wake up sleeping on your side

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (2)


    Usually you wake up sleeping on your back

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (3)


    You sleep face down

    (Video) Memory Foam Vs Innerspring Mattress - Which Is Better For You?

Do you have pain while sleeping?

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (4)

    back and/or side pain

    I often have back pain and/or flank pain upon waking up and starting the day.

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (5)

    Neck and/or shoulder pain

    I often have neck and/or shoulder pain upon waking and starting the day

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (6)

    Little or no pain

    I rarely have pain while sleeping

Do you have material preferences?

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (7)

    inner spring

    I prefer a more traditional coil based mattress

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (8)


    I prefer a coilless design made from memory foam, latex, and fabric.

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (9)

    No preference/other

    I don't bother with any material as long as I feel good while sleeping.

    (Video) What's the Difference Between Innerspring, Foam and Hybrid Mattresses?

do you sleep warm

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (10)


    He tends to get hot at night and often wakes up sweaty.

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (11)


    They never have a problem with it being too hot at night.

do you sleep with a partner

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (12)


    We recommend beds with excellent motion isolation to accommodate partner's movements throughout the night.

  • Foam mattresses vs. innerspring mattresses: which is better? | sleep basis (13)


    Motion isolation plays only a minor role in our mattress recommendations

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What is a foam mattress?

Foam mattresses are full-foam beds that are extremely popular with online mattress buyers. They can be made from a variety of foam materialsmemory foamto polyfoam and typically contain multiple individual layers. Foam beds can be soft or firm, inexpensive or luxurious, so there's a lot to choose from in this category.

Foam beds use a variety of materials to provide support and relieve pressure. There are many types of foam, and manufacturers often use multiple materials in each mattress.

types of foam

Polyurethane foam (poly)– Polyurethane foam, commonly referred to simply as “polyfoam”, is a common component of modern foam beds. Polyfoam is known to be much moreAttachmentjelasticthan materials such as viscoelastic. Polyfoam is often used as a layer in modern foam mattresses and as the top comfort layer in box spring beds.

  • regular polyfoamIt is a relatively soft standard foam used primarily in transition layers.
  • High density Polyschaumit is stronger and is often used in the support layers underneath.
  • high resilience PolyschaumIt's firmer and more supportive, but significantly more expensive, so its use is less common.

memory foam– Viscoelastic is another widely used foam material. It is made from similar polyurethane materials to which ingredients have been added to increase its density and viscosity. Memory foam is great forpressure relief, as it adapts to the shape of the body. The term "memory" in memory foam refers to the material's tendency to retain the body's shape for a few seconds after it has been indented.

(Video) Sleepys Classic Mattress Collection 2022 EXPLAINED by GoodBed

  • Standard memory foamIt's the traditional material that's soft yet supportive and generally affordable.
  • Open cell viscoelastic foamIt is designed with openings in the tiny foam cells that allow for better airflow. This material has a slightly softer feel, allowing you to sleep cooler on warm nights.
  • Gel memory foamIt has tiny beads of gel embedded in the memory foam material. The gel combined with the open-cell design helps improve cooling and airflow.

Latexschaum– Latex is a material similar to natural rubber, from which a durable and resilient foam can be made.Latex matsare usually considered aown category, but some manufacturers also use a thin layer of latex on foam bedding. Latex is often prized for its durability and environmental friendliness, although it's generally much more expensive than traditional polyurethane-based foams.

  • Latex-DunlopIt's made using a more traditional and simple process and results in a slightly firmer feel.
  • Latex-TalalayFoaming is a more energy-intensive process that creates latex with a more resilient yet soft feel.

Keep in mind that most mattress manufacturers use a combination of different foam materials to create a comfortable, well-balanced bed. Typically you will see foam mattresses made up of 2 to 5 layers, each with different materials, densities and uses. When it comes to cheap mattresses, you might see single-layer polyfoam beds, but otherwise expect a combination of layers of foam in most modern mattresses.

What is a spring mattress?

Innerspring mattresses, also calledinnerspring mattresses, are beds that use tens to hundreds of metal springs to provide an underlying support layer. They also have layers of softer plush material to increase comfort. Some find that innerspring mattresses feel more supportive than foam mattresses, at least initially. This is especially true for heavier individuals who may benefit more from coil spring support systems than a foam base.

Several factors can affect how a box spring bed feels. Coil count is an important factor; Most quality beds have around 400 coils or more on a queen-size mattress. However, remember that a higher number of coils does not necessarily equate to a higher quality bed, as there are many factors at play.

Feather beds also often have layers of foam surrounding the coils and a plush or polyfoam comfort layer on top. The quality, material and thickness of these layers can greatly affect the comfort and feel of the mattress.

The thickness of the coil, related to the thickness of the wire used, affects the strength of the bed. Manufacturers clearly state the desired firmness of each mattress model, so checking coil strength isn't too important for consumers.

Finally, the different types of springs used in these mattresses affect their comfort and support scores.

Types of springs/coils

Bobinas Bonnell- Bonnell springs are the original design used in innerspring mattresses and are still used by some manufacturers today. They are hourglass shaped and can be made soft or hard depending on the gauge of the wire. Bonnell springs are simple and inexpensive, which is why many mattresses use them.

pocket coils– Also known as Bagged Coils, this design consists of metal coils individually wrapped in fabric sleeves. This allows each coil to move independently, which has the added effect of reducing noise. Bag coils are commonly used in higher end beds and tend to be more expensive to manufacture. They do a great job of targeting pressure relief and tend to give an overall more buoyant feel.

compensated coils– Compensated coils share some properties with pocket coils but are attached with hinge wires. This allows the coils to flex under slight pressure while still providing firm support when needed. Staggered coils can offer more strength than pocket coils that many innerspring beds come withhigher degrees of hardnessMore than 7 out of 10 use some type of compensated coil. Beyond this application, compensated coils are not commonly used.

Continuous coils- The continuous coil design consists of a single wire used to build a full series of "coils". Then each of these rows is attached to each other by spiral wires. This design provides a very firm support system, but because every component is fixed, endless coils are much less able to conform to the body's profile.

Which one is better for you?

Ultimately, choosing the right bed for you involves much more than choosing between foam and innerspring. There are quality, comfortable and supportive mattresses of both types, so choosing the right mattress model is more important in the end.

With that said, there are a few final things to note.

Most people will be happy with a quality foam mattress. The foam offers an excellent compromise by providing a supportive and pressure-relieving fit while still feeling soft and comfortable. Side sleepers in particular prefer foam beds, as they often adapt better to the shape of the body.

People who are prone to heat at night can opt for an innerspring mattress. Innerspring beds offer much better airflow, which keeps the bed cool at night.

(Video) Memory Foam vs. Hybrid Mattress - Which Is Best?

Heavy sleepers or stomach sleepers should opt for innerspring, hybrid, or very firm foam beds for adequate support. Softer foam models will likely sag too much for these sleepers to be comfortable.

Most online mattress retailers now offer free trial periods where you can test the bed for several months. If you are unsure about a mattress, this flexibility can give you some peace of mind when purchasing.


Which is better memory foam mattress or innerspring mattress? ›

Memory foam tends to outperform innerspring beds when it comes to pressure relief, thanks to its superior conforming. Innerspring mattresses have thinner comfort layers and are typically firmer, so pressure relief is often minimal unless sleepers require a firm, sturdy sleep surface.

What mattress is the healthiest to sleep? ›

Hybrid mattresses are the healthiest beds to sleep on. They provide the structural support your entire body needs while offering the comforting layers of latex and quilted cotton on top.

Is innerspring or memory foam better for back pain? ›

Innerspring Mattresses are Better for Aches and Pains

The innerspring, or encased coils, offer extra-firm, responsive support that helps with spinal alignment, which in turn helps alleviate back pain.

Which last longer memory foam or spring mattress? ›

Durability. While spring mattresses can last a while, the springs can sag after five to eight years of use. However, the thicker the coils, the longer the mattress will last. Memory foam is generally considered to be the more durable option, lasting between eight and 12 years.

What are the disadvantages of memory foam mattress? ›

II. Cons
  • Memory foam mattresses can be quite heavy. ...
  • They have been known to be hotter than normal mattresses because they cradle your body and the dense foam retains heat. ...
  • In hot climates the mattress may be softer than expected and in cold climates it may be harder than expected.
Feb 26, 2023

Are foam mattresses good for your back? ›

Yes, memory foam mattresses are the best for relieving back pain. They conform to your body providing pressure-point relief, reducing aches. Memory foam's body-conforming feature is the best in all mattress types. This viscoelastic foam forms to the natural curvature of your spine, promoting lumbar support.

What kind of mattress does hotels use? ›

Upscale hotels usually use luxury mattresses that are either hybrid , traditional innerspring , or memory foam mattresses. Hybrid mattresses are becoming particularly commonplace, as they strike the balance between supportive innerspring coals and body-cradling memory foam.

What mattress do most hospitals use? ›

Foam mattresses are the most common hospital bed mattresses on the market. With so many benefits, it is most likely that this will be one of the best options for your loved one or patient. Foam mattresses provide patients with the best of both worlds: comfort and therapeutic support.

Which mattress is better for spine? ›

People suffering from back pain should choose memory foam or latex foam mattresses. These provide pain relief by evenly distributing the body weight and help in proper spinal alignment and blood circulation.

What kind of mattress is best for back and leg pain? ›

Thick memory foam and polyfoam comfort layers reduce motion transfer and cushion pressure points for those with sciatica.

Why does my back hurt on a memory foam mattress? ›

Most complaints about memory foam mattresses such as Tempur, Eve, Emma, Leesa and Nectar are that they make sleepers incredibly hot and can sag quickly causing both body indentations and back pain for some sleepers.

Which mattress is best for long term? ›

  • Most Popular Mattress Reviews. Casper. Purple. Saatva Classic.
  • Foam Mattress Reviews. Eight Sleep Pod Pro.
  • Hybrid Mattress Reviews. Big Fig. Leesa Sapira Hybrid. Nest Sparrow. Saatva Memory Foam Hybrid.
  • Awara. Birch Natural. Nolah Natural. Saatva Latex Hybrid. WinkBeds EcoCloud.
Feb 17, 2023

Is memory foam better than pocket springs? ›

Memory foam vs pocket sprung side-by-side comparison

The pocket sprung mattress comes out on top regarding affordability and choice, however, the memory foam is unrivalled for its durability and shock absorption.

What is the main problem of memory foam? ›

Memory foam may contain isocyanates, which, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. Exposure to isocyanates can also lead to chest tightness and asthma.

What are the disadvantages of foam? ›

Compared to other types of insulations it' is more expensive. It should not be exposed to direct sunlight and certain solvents. People allergic to foam insulation may develop health issues on coming in direct contact with it.

Do memory foam mattresses cause health problems? ›

Memory foam is generally considered safe for sleepers, though people with respiratory issues or certain allergies may find that the material irritates their skin or lungs. These sleepers can opt for natural latex or other organic mattresses that provide some of the same benefits as memory foam.

Is memory foam good for side sleepers? ›

Memory foam, latex and hybrid mattresses are ideal for side sleepers because they offer pressure relief for proper alignment, whereas innerspring mattresses can't contour around pressure points.

What are top 5 mattresses? ›

  • Purple Mattress.
  • Saatva Mattress.
  • Avocado Mattress.
  • Helix Mattress.
  • DreamCloud Mattress.
  • WinkBed Mattress.
  • Tempurpedic Mattress.
  • Nolah Mattress.
4 days ago

What is the best name brand mattress to buy? ›

Our mattress brand recommendations:
  • Best Overall: Helix Midnight.
  • Best for Couples: Saatva Classic.
  • Most Luxurious: The WinkBed.
  • Best Extra-Firm: Brooklyn Bedding Plank.
  • Best for Sex: DreamCloud Premier.
  • Best Cooling: GhostBed Luxe.
  • Best for Back Pain: Puffy Lux.
  • Best Value: Nectar.
Nov 29, 2022

What is the most comfortable mattress on the market today? ›

The Most Comfortable Mattresses
  • Best Overall. Layla Mattress. ...
  • Best Value. Nectar Mattress. ...
  • Best for Side Sleepers. Helix Midnight. ...
  • Best for Back Pain. WinkBed. ...
  • Best for Combination Sleepers. DreamCloud Mattress. ...
  • Best for Couples. Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe. ...
  • Best for Heavy Sleepers. Emma CliMax Hybrid. ...
  • Best Luxury. Saatva Classic.
7 days ago

Why do hotel mattresses feel so good? ›

Hotels beds are incredibly comfortable thanks to their use of mattress toppers. These can significantly adjust mattress firmness and the quality of your rest. A mattress topper is simply an added layer of cushioning that rests on top of your old mattress and provides support and extra levels of comfort.

Who makes the Ritz Carlton mattress? ›

Ritz-Carlton: Via the hotel's online store, guests can order this custom-designed Stearns & Foster-manufactured bed.

What mattress brand is used in luxury hotels? ›

Additionally, most hotels turn to classic brands such as Sealy, Serta-Simmons, and Beautyrest. To fully recreate your hotel sleeping experience, you can opt for one of these brands. Because hotels purchase luxury mattresses, they're likely to run you at least $2,000.

What kind of mattress do physical therapists recommend? ›

In the past, this led physicians to recommend firm mattresses for optimum support of the spine, but recent studies suggest that semi-firm mattress may have the most beneficial impact. Ideally, you will choose a bed within the mid-range that is neither too soft nor too firm.

What mattress do neurosurgeons recommend? ›

For more spine support, latex and memory foam are typically best. They add either softness or firmness, good support for your joints, and motion control for others on the bed.

Why are hospital beds so comfy? ›

High-quality hospital bed mattresses use progressive laminated foams or memory foam to adapt to the occupant's body shape and position. They are engineered to distribute forces intelligently, mitigating the shear and pressure that causes bedsores. Consumer-grade mattresses are not designed for home hospital beds.

What is the best type of mattress on the market? ›

Best Mattress Ratings
  • Best Organic Latex Mattress: Avocado Green »
  • Best Mattress for Back Pain (tie): The WinkBed »
  • Best Firm Mattress: Saatva Classic »
  • Best Organic Mattress (tie): Birch Natural »
  • Best Mattress for Heavy People: Nolah Evolution 15-Inch »
  • Best Lower-Priced Mattress (tie): Helix Midnight »

Which type of mattress is better? ›

Foam is the best option for you, with either memory foam or latex foam serving the purpose. Since you sleep on your back, you need proper spinal alignment and decent contouring. A medium-firm mattress is ideal for you. Memory foam or latex foam with good support is perfect for back sleepers.

What is the advantage of innerspring mattress? ›

Innerspring beds don't have as many layers and materials, so they're cheaper to produce than most other mattresses. Also, innerspring beds are great for hot sleepers as the coil unit often provides plenty of airflow. They have lots of bounce and give a traditional feel that many sleepers may be used to.

What is better than memory foam mattress? ›

Lifespan & Durability

Latex mattresses are typically more durable than their memory foam counterparts. Some latex beds may last up to 20 years with proper care, while memory foam lasts around ten years. Latex is a more resilient material, meaning it bounces back into shape faster and is less likely to sag over time.

What type of mattress do most hotels use? ›

First, hotel beds are most commonly either hybrid or innerspring mattresses that fall around a medium on the firmness scale to suit most people. Additionally, most hotels turn to classic brands such as Sealy, Serta-Simmons, and Beautyrest.

Is it better to sleep on a harder or softer mattress? ›

Body weight

Generally speaking, heavier people prefer firmer mattresses. Soft foams may sink in too much for comfort and adequate support. Conversely, lighter sleepers may sink in less and find firm beds to be uncomfortably hard, so they generally prefer soft to medium firm options.

Which mattress is best and comfortable? ›

The Most Comfortable Mattresses
  • Best Overall. Layla Mattress. ...
  • Best Value. Nectar Mattress. ...
  • Best for Side Sleepers. Helix Midnight. ...
  • Best for Back Pain. WinkBed. ...
  • Best for Combination Sleepers. DreamCloud Mattress. ...
  • Best for Couples. Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe. ...
  • Best for Heavy Sleepers. Emma CliMax Hybrid. ...
  • Best Luxury. Saatva Classic.
7 days ago

Which mattress is good for everyday use? ›

Our Top Picks. According to us, the Sleepy Original is the best overall mattress that addresses all your worries, including back pain, joint stiffness, and comfortable sleep. Depending on how stiff they are, one of its surfaces is medium firm and the other is medium soft.

Are innerspring mattresses good for side sleepers? ›

The mattress has a medium firm (6) feel that suited an impressive range of body types and personal preferences during testing. The moderate cushioning and responsive feel made it especially compatible for back and side sleepers over 130 pounds.

What type of foam is best for sleeping? ›

We strongly believe that latex foam is, by far, the best type of foam to use in mattresses. Latex foam offers several significant advantages over Polyurethane foam and Memory foam.

What is a healthy alternative to memory foam? ›

Natural latex is a popular alternative to traditional memory foam. Like memory foam, it is very supportive and provides cushion for pressure points. Unlike some memory foam, natural latex has good temperature regulation and is resistant to dust mites, mold and mildew.


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