Foam vs. Spring Mattress: Complete Comparison Guide
Foam vs. spring mattresses: what are the differences? Let's talk about the fundamentals of these major mattress types and their sub-categories.
There are a few variables to consider when shopping for a new mattress. What material should you choose? What size do you need? How about the firmness? Foam vs. spring mattresses: which one is better?
There is an ongoing debate about whether a foam mattress or a spring mattress is more suitable. While there are thousands of foam and spring mattresses available online or in stores, selecting one that you believe is superior can be quite a chore.
In this foam vs. spring mattress comparison guide, we will break down the types of foam and spring mattresses, their pros and cons, and their differences to help you be informed when making your purchase.
We've pretty much all heard about foam, but there is more to this noteworthy material. Foam mattresses are among the most popular mattress varieties, providing the right amount of plush comfort and body support. Here are some major types of foam beds:
Poly Foam Mattress
Let's talk about mattress science. Polyurethane foam, or poly foam, is structured by combining the organic compounds polyols and diisocyanates. This blend creates a resilient sleep product that lets you sink when you lie down.
A foam mattress comes in three grades of durability:
1. Conventional Polyfoam Mattress (Lowest Grade)
This cheap grade polyurethane foam ranges from less than 1.5 pcf (pounds per cubic foot) and is very inexpensive but prone to rapid degradation. This means that no matter how affordable your conventional foam mattress is, there is no guarantee you will enjoy its value.
This soft, less supportive mattress may feel comfortable at first but cannot relieve pressure points compared to other mattress types. This can work as a temporary sleep surface but is not a long-term solution.
2. High-Density Polyfoam Mattress (HD)
Having a density of 1.5 to less than 1.8 pcf, high-density foam is firmer and provides better pressure relief than low-grade polyfoam. This is also long-lasting, making it a good choice for a durable comfort layer. Aside from being used as a mattress foam layer, many furniture cushions also feature HD foam.
3. High-Resiliency Polyfoam (HR)
High-resiliency poly foam, or HR poly foam, has a density of 1.8 to 2.5 pcf, making it the highest quality among the three grades mentioned. This foam material provides the proper pressure relief while being conducive as a comfort foam layer with the right firmness and plush feel. It is also notably durable.
Poly foam is affordable.
Poly foam is highly versatile, featuring different firmness rates and foam densities.
Poly foam is comfortable and supportive.
Compared to a spring mattress, foam is a quieter sleep solution.
Poly foam can be created with lower-quality materials.
Poly foam does not last long compared to other foam varieties like memory foam or latex.
When constantly used, poly foam can compress as it responds to weight pressure.
Memory Foam Mattress
A memory foam mattress is also called viscoelastic foam. This foam mattress is a type of polyurethane foam but is manufactured with some additives to make the bed more resilient. The most popular feature of memory foam is its ability to follow the spine's natural contour using body heat.
Although memory foam is a widely used material in creating mattresses, mattress toppers, pillows, and furniture cushioning, these were not its initial uses. Dating back to the 1960s, NASA invented memory foam to reduce the pressure astronauts experience when going in and out of the Earth's atmosphere. Mattress manufacturers then realise the potential of this material for pressure relief. Fast forward to the present, and memory foam is used by many mattress brands and furniture designers.
This viscous foam provides proper body contouring with its soft but solid build. This means that when you lie down on a memory foam mattress, the material will follow your body's curves to target your pressure points. Since it is elastic, a memory foam mattress can get back to its original shape once the weight pressure is gone. This is good for side sleepers, who feel the pressure mainly on the heaviest parts of their bodies when lying down, like the hips and shoulders.
Memory foam mattresses come in different types: traditional memory foam, plant-based memory foam, and gel-infused foam.
Traditional memory foam is a petroleum-based polymer product that is dense, soft, and affordable. However, because of its structure, standard memory foam traps heat to a greater extent than other types, which is not recommended for hot sleepers. Moreover, environmentalists don't favour the petroleum-based materials used in creating this foam mattress. This is where a plant-based memory foam mattress becomes a great choice.
A plant-based memory foam mattress is more eco-friendly since it is manufactured from coconut or soy materials. The materials used, along with its open cell memory foam structure, regulate the mattress' temperature better than traditional memory foam. If you're looking for a cooler option, opt for gel memory foam.
Memory foam mattress offers exceptional pressure relief.
This mattress provides less motion transfer than latex or innerspring mattress.
Memory foam is great for side sleepers and can benefit other sleeping positions too.
Memory foam mattresses are durable but fairly priced.
Memory foam mattresses are also quieter than spring mattresses.
Memory foam uses body temperature to contour pressure points, making the sleep surface hot. This can be uncomfortable for many sleepers.
Memory foam mattresses produce an off-gassing smell due to the chemicals used during their creation.
Although many sleepers love the contouring comfort of a memory foam mattress, others might feel uncomfortable because of the stuck feeling it provides.
Gel Foam Mattress
A gel foam mattress is a foam mattress type that includes gel pods within its structure. These gel beads make the bed cooler and bouncier than traditional mattresses, even when the body temperature rises during warmer seasons. This structure is ideal for hot sleepers. This also helps regulate the stuck feeling by bouncing back to its original shape faster when one tosses and turns.
It provides a cooler comfort layer compared to traditional foam.
The gel layer makes the memory foam mattress more responsive.
It helps in regulating heat better than other memory foam mattresses.
Like traditional memory foam, this mattress is made from synthetic materials that produce an off-gassing smell.
A latex foam mattress is made from natural latex rubber, known for its bounce and eco-friendly structure. It is different from memory foam in terms of materials used in manufacturing, but it also differs in terms of the comfort it provides.
When sleeping on a latex mattress, you will experience a bouncy or springy sensation instead of contour. This will make you feel like you're sleeping "on" a mattress, not "in" the mattress. Because of this bouncy feel, latex takes a shorter time to go back to its original shape when you toss and turn. This makes this firmer mattress a cooler sleep solution for hot sleepers, yet it does not fail to provide a soft and supportive base.
Latex is categorised into three types based on how it is made. Although known as a natural mattress material, it can also be created using synthetic elements that imitate the feel of genuine latex.
Natural latex belongs to the most durable mattress varieties, with Dunlop and Talalay as its major types. Dunlop latex is created by pouring natural latex into a mould, allowing it to settle, and making a firm and supportive organic mattress. Talalay latex uses synthetic fillers to create a luxe, pillowy feel for pressure relief. This uses a lower percentage of organic latex. Synthetic latex, as its name describes, is made from inorganic materials that have the feel of an organic mattress.
Latex is highly durable. It does not lose its shape fast compared to poly foam or innerspring mattresses.
Instead of letting your body sink when you lie down, latex offers a pushback comfort and edge support, providing a more breathable sleep base, especially for hot sleepers and back sleepers.
Latex is highly supportive and comes in different firmness ratings.
Latex is quieter than innerspring mattresses.
Its natural foam layers are environmentally friendly.
Because of its benefits, latex foam is more expensive than other mattress varieties, including memory foam and spring mattresses.
It provides less contour comfort than memory foam mattresses.
Out of the three most popular types of mattresses—memory foam, latex, and innerspring—the innerspring mattress is the oldest and most traditionally used type. Having been around for years, traditional spring mattresses offer a familiar feel with their breathable fabric cover, cushioning, and supportive coil system. Compared to a memory foam mattress, an innerspring mattress is firmer and more breathable, thanks to the gaps created by its metal coils. This is why many mattress shoppers love the breathable and smooth feel innerspring mattresses provide. The major types of spring mattresses include Bonnell coils, offset coils, continuous coils, and pocketed coils.
Bonnell Spring Mattress
Bonnell spring Mattresses are the most traditional among the spring mattresses. Bonnell coils are hourglass-shaped metal coils that support the mattress.
This traditional mattress is known for its firmness and support, making it suitable for stomach and back sleepers. However, because it lacks contour comfort, it doesn't target pressure points as much as other mattresses. Another innerspring mattress type, the continuous coil mattress, performs the same way as Bonnell spring types. The major difference is that the coil system of the former is connectedly wired, thus called continuous coils.
- Traditional innerspring mattresses, such as Bonnell coils, offset coils, and continuous coil beds, have been on the market for the longest time. This means the technology used in creating these mattresses has been well-established and continues to evolve over time.
- Spring mattresses tend to be more beneficial for those who sleep hot because they provide ventilation during slumber.
- Innerspring mattresses are firmer than foam mattresses, giving a sleeping on a mattress feel that many mattress shoppers prefer.
- Spring mattresses are durable.
- A spring mattress is more affordable than hybrid mattresses and all foam mattresses.
Innerspring mattresses are heavier than foam mattresses. At the same time, they require regular flipping and rotating to maintain the quality of the bed.
Some spring mattresses, such as those with offset coils and continuous coils, do not provide adequate motion transfer technology. Although an offset coil mattress offers better motion isolation than a traditional spring mattress, it still provides significantly disturbing motion transfer. If opting for a spring mattress, try looking for a pocketed coil variety.
Bonnell coil mattresses do not offer edge support, which many sleepers find uncomfortable.
Not all mattress shoppers prefer the springy feel of coil mattresses.
Pocketed Spring Mattress
Although they provide firm support to the body, innerspring mattresses are notorious for their lack of support and movement transfer when the bed is shared. This causes a disturbance, especially for those who sleep lightly. A pocketed spring mattress is a revolutionary mattress type that serves as an excellent solution for those who prefer the breathability of a spring mattress and the comfort of a foam mattress.
Unlike continuous coils, pocketed coils feature individually enclosed mattress coils that respond well to movements. This system reduces transfer while individually responding to motion pressure. This provides adequate support and pressure relief.
We recommend pocketed coils if:
Mattress sharers have different weight ranges and sleeping positions
If one is sharing a mattress with someone who tosses and turns often
Pocketed spring mattresses present excellent motion isolation.
The individually-pocketed coils also help promote proper body support during slumber compared to traditional, offset, and continuous coil.
Pocket coils have an edge support system for a comfortable and safer mattress feel.
High-end pocketed spring mattresses are made of premium materials, so you don't have to worry about premature sagging or degradation of quality.
- It is important that both sleepers are comfortable with the foam used in enclosing the individual pocket coils. Otherwise, they might not enjoy the comfort that spring mattresses offer.
- Pocketed spring mattresses are more expensive than many mattress variations. This is because of the quality of the materials and the specialised structure. If you plan to buy a pocketed spring mattress, set your budget well and choose the best pocket coils that suit your needs to maximize your investment.
Memory Foam vs Spring Mattress: The Differences
Both foam mattresses and spring mattresses have unique features and benefits. Here's a quick breakdown of their differences to give you a clearer view when shopping for a new mattress.
Your preferred sleep position matters when choosing a mattress. Different foam mattress varieties offer various advantages for many sleeping positions. Ultimately, side sleepers will enjoy the contouring feel of a memory foam mattress. A firmer latex bed can be beneficial for the back sleeping position. Since foam mattresses usually follow the body's shape, combination sleepers might not favour the feeling of being stuck. Stomach sleepers should also avoid softer mattresses to prevent the unbalanced distribution of their weight during sleep.
Back and stomach sleepers also favour spring mattresses because of the more solid support they provide, giving them the proper pushback for targeting pressure points.
Aside from the sleeping position, both spring and foam mattresses provide different types of comfort based on the sleeper's body weight. A spring mattress is ideal if you are on the heavier side since it provides a strong pushback for better body support. A foam mattress is less supportive and thus recommended for light sleepers. If two mattress sharers have different body weights, opt for an individually pocketed spring mattress.
Depending on your dominant sleep position, many types of mattresses can help alleviate your back pain or support your spine alignment. Memory foam and latex mattresses relieve pressure by providing enough cushioning for your spine. They are also efficient in targeting pressure points depending on the amount of sinking your body needs. When buying a foam mattress, make sure the foam material and firmness suit your sleep position.
A good coil mattress that supports your spine's alignment is a pocket spring mattress.
The temperature in Singapore can be scorching and humid, so choosing the right mattress that will keep you comfortable despite the extreme temperature is essential. Foam and spring mattresses exhibit a considerable difference in terms of temperature sensitivity.
Foam mattresses, specifically memory foam, soften with body heat to give you hugging comfort. Because of this, they tend to overheat, unlike spring mattresses, which are structured to reduce heat retention due to the spaces allotted between mattress coils. If you love the plush feel of a foam mattress, latex and gel-infused mattresses are good choices.
If you're sharing a mattress with your partner, make sure you choose a mattress that has proper motion isolation to prevent anyone from being disturbed when one tosses and turns. A spring mattress can be very supportive but lacks movement isolation. It's a good thing manufacturers designed a pocketed spring mattress that addresses this deficiency. Foam mattresses also provide better motion isolation compared to spring mattresses.
Due to the presence of coils, innerspring beds tend to sag faster than full-foam beds. Moreover, although coils are made of durable metal, they tend to lose their flexibility over time, depending on how you use the spring mattress.
We cannot go over budget when preparing to buy a new mattress. Ultimately, a traditional spring mattress will be the least expensive. Foam mattresses typically cost more, especially those made with high-end technologies. If you have a bigger budget for your bed, you may venture into a luxury mattress or hybrid mattress that offers a mixture of either memory foam or latex and springs.
Foam vs Spring Mattress: Which is Better for You?
Both foam and spring mattresses support various needs and comfort preferences. Some may favour the benefits of a foam mattress. Some may find innerspring mattresses more beneficial for quality sleep. When choosing between a foam or spring mattress, assess your needs and carefully understand what's inside the mattress you are buying.
Do not hesitate to ask questions and clarify confusion when buying a mattress. The mattress market offers free trial periods for buyers who want to gauge their new bed. Many online mattress shops offer a 100-day free mattress trial to help shoppers choose the right mattress.
Ready to shop for your next mattress? Take a look at Megafurniture's vast collection of high-quality mattresses that will surely give your sleep a significant upgrade.
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