Memory Foam vs Hybrid Mattress

With so many different types of mattresses out there, finding the perfect one for you can feel like a daunting task. The two most popular types are memory foam and hybrid fillings, and while you might know a lot about memory foam, what exactly is a hybrid mattress? Below, we'll be answering any questions you might have about the differences between memory foam and hybrid mattresses, so you can work out which is the best option for you. We'll cover:

What is a hybrid mattress?

Where traditional memory foam mattresses consist of a single layer of memory foam, hybrid mattresses (also called combination mattresses) are those that contain two different mattress fillings. These are usually a pocket sprung system topped off with a comfort layer of memory foam, although some are made from latex or gel instead.

What are the benefits of a hybrid mattress?

Because they make the most of two different types of fillings, hybrid mattresses are good for a wide range of sleepers, especially back and front sleepers. But what are the benefits of a hybrid mattress compared to memory foam?

They're comfortable

Memory foam is made from a visco-elastic material that moulds around your body and has become popular due to its ability to cradle you as you sleep. A hybrid mattress has all the comfort and support of the memory foam top, with a pocket spring layer that provides extra cushioning for your spine as you sleep. This creates what some people like to call a weightless feeling.

They can be cooler than memory foam

Unless it has extra ventilation, like our Octasmart and Octaspring mattresses, traditional memory foam can often get quite warm. Hybrid mattresses have small gaps between the pocketed coils that helps with airflow, meaning they're better at dissipating heat. So, if you find that you tend to get too hot during the night, they could be a cooler option.

They're good for back pain

Because they contain two different fillings, hybrid mattresses offer more comfort characteristics than alternatives. The memory foam top of your hybrid mattress moulds around your body and works with the spring layer to support all your pressure points, including the base of your spine, your hips, and shoulders. This ensures that your weight is distributed evenly, and your body feels fully supported and relaxed as you sleep, making hybrid mattresses a great option for alleviating and preventing back pain.

If you suffer from back pain and you're interested in buying a new mattress to help, take a look at our guide to find out which mattress is best for a bad back.

They can be used on almost any bed frame

Another benefit of hybrid mattresses is that they're great for a wide variety of beds. Because the pocket springs offer more structure, hybrid mattresses can be used on any kind of bed frame, including slatted versions. On the other hand, memory foam needs a more supportive base such as a box spring.

Both hybrid and memory foam mattresses are flexible, with these types of filling adjusting with the bed frame without losing support or shape.

They have little motion transfer

In a traditional innerspring mattress, each coil is interconnected, which means every movement you make in bed is transferred across the whole mattress. One of the benefits of a hybrid memory foam mattress is that they allow for very little motion transfer. This is because the springs in a hybrid mattress are all separate from one another, meaning they can move individually without disturbing the rest of the bed as much.

Due to their springs, hybrid mattresses still allow for a minor amount of motion transfer. If you or your partner is a restless sleeper, then a memory foam foam mattress might be a better option for you as they have very little bounce.

They offer more edge support

Edge support refers to the structure and amount of resistance a mattress offers around its corners. Good edge support can:

  • Increase the surface area made for sleeping
  • Help your mattress last longer
  • Provide a good spot for sitting
  • Be more secure and stop you from rolling out of bed

As memory foam mattresses are usually made from one single section of foam, they will keep their structural integrity and generally don't have extra edge support built in. However, as hybrid mattresses are made from multiple layers, they usually have some form of edge support to protect the pocket sprung coils.

Whether you have edge support can be a matter of preference. If the benefits of edge support aren't a priority for you, then a memory foam mattress is a good option. Alternatively, some people like the extra security and strength edge support can offer, which makes a hybrid mattress a good option for children or those who weigh 18 stone or more.

What are the cons of a hybrid mattress?

The only downside to a hybrid mattress is that they're not quite as durable as memory foam mattresses. A well-made memory foam mattress can last anywhere from 10–20 years, while most hybrid fillings will usually last around 8–10 years. This is because a hybrid mattress's pocket spring layer can eventually become compressed through the years.

How long your mattress lasts depends on other factors such as your sleeping style and weight. Old, worn out mattresses can contribute to poor quality sleep and back pain. Luckily, our guide on when to replace your mattress will give you plenty of tips and advice for deciding when you've exhausted yours.

Should I choose memory foam or hybrid?

Mattresses aren't a one size fits all affair, which means it can take some research to find out which one would be right for you. Based on your sleeping position and body type, you might find certain mattress fillings more comfortable than others.

Memory foam and hybrid mattresses both come with their pros and cons, and deciding which one to go for depends on what you'd like from your mattress.

So, should you choose memory foam or hybrid?

Memory foam mattress

Hybrid mattress

You're a side sleeperThe memory foam comfort layer contours to the shape of your body, supporting your hips and straightening your spine.

You're a back or front sleeper The pocket spring layer offers more support around your pressure points, such as your lower back and shoulders, compared to full memory foam.

You sleep with a partner — Memory foam is great for limiting motion transfer, so is the best option if you sleep with a restless partner.

You get too hot during the night — Due to the extra spring layer, hybrid mattresses are more breathable and are better at dissipating heat.

You have back problems — The memory foam layer contours to the shape of your body which can help to relieve pressure on your back to reduce and prevent back pain.

You need extra support — The pocket spring layer and extra edge support means hybrid mattresses are perfect if you're a little heavier or need a more responsive bounce.

How can I find the best hybrid mattress for me?

The Material

Some hybrid mattresses with a memory foam comfort layer can be susceptible to moisture, mould, dust mites, and bacteria. If you have allergies, it's important that you pay attention to the material your hybrid mattress is made from. For example, all of our hybrid mattresses come with a hypoallergenic cover which protects against dust mites and bacteria. You could also opt for a hybrid mattress with a latex layer, such as our Octaspring TRIBRID latex hybrid mattress, Dormeo Options latex hybrid mattress, or Dormeo Select hybrid latex mattress. These have all the comfort and support of memory foam, but the latex layer is also naturally hypoallergenic.

The Firmness

You might have noticed that hybrid mattresses come in a range of firmness ratings, including medium/soft, medium, and medium/firm. The type of firmness you choose depends entirely on preference, but some sleeping positions tend to need a little more support than others.

Medium hybrid mattresses are the most versatile, so are perfect if you and your partner sleep in different positions or if you tend to move a lot during the night. For side sleepers, we'd generally recommend a memory foam mattress.

But, if you sleep with a partner who has different needs, we'd recommend something with a little more cushioning that will support your hips and spine alignment. A medium/soft hybrid mattress, such as our Octasmart Hybrid Deluxe, would be perfect. If this is your preferred sleeping style and you're not sure which firmness to go for, our guide to finding the best mattress and pillows for side sleepers will give you all the information you need.

Medium/firm mattresses offer a little more support and are a great option for those who sleep on their back or front, as well as those who need more support for their body weight. For more information, take a look at our guides to finding the best mattresses and pillows for back and front sleepers.

The Thickness

Your hybrid mattress thickness will come with at least two layers, and you'll want to make sure they're the right thickness so they'll offer you the right amount of comfort. Ideally, your mattress should be half comfort layer and half support, and each one should be at least 5–8cm (2–3 inches) deep. Too thin and you won't get the benefit from your memory foam or latex comfort layer.

Remember that some hybrid mattresses have a comfort layer made out of more than one material. For example, our Octasmart Hybrid mattress contains a memory foam top and an Octaspring middle that both make up the total comfort layer. So, it’s worth bearing this in mind when you're looking for the right hybrid mattress thickness.

If you're on the hunt for a new mattress, we have a wide range of hybrid mattresses, including those with our innovative Octasmart and Octaspring technologies, that are designed to give you a great night's sleep. We also have a fantastic selection of memory foam mattresses, all with a 60-night comfort guarantee. Not quite sure which mattress would be right for you? We have plenty of guides and advice that will answer any questions you may have to help you make the right decision.

Written by Phil Lawlor