Mattress Types

Inner-spring Mattress

What is it?

A coil mattress is a mattress that has coils at its core, sandwiched between outer layers, called comfort layers, on the top and bottom. Inner-spring mattresses vary by the shape and design of the coils, the total number of coils, the gauge of the wire to construct the coils, and how the coils are connected to each other to insure long-term integrity of the mattress. It is also important to understand the composition of the outer layers. High-end mattresses will fill their comfort layers with down feathers, wool, silk, premium foam, etc. Lower end mattresses will construct the comfort layer of lower grade foam, coconut fibers, and reclaimed cotton fibers, which are less comfortable initially, and more likely to break down and become lumpy long term.

Pros

Inner-spring mattresses are a solid choice, and they remain the best selling mattress cores in the market. The inner-springs provide good, overall support. They come in a wide variety of designs and levels of firmness that will please many shoppers.

Cons

There are really no cons to inner-spring mattresses. It’s just that other mattresses offer different advantages, like the adjustability of an air mattress, or the dust mite and mold resistance of latex mattresses.

Top Brands

Sealy, Serta, and Simmons

Foam Mattress

What is it?

When people speak of foam mattresses, they usually are talking about visco elastic or memory foam mattresses. This is a material that was developed by NASA in the 1970’s, and popularized by Tempur-Pedic in the 1990’s. Memory foam is usually used as the top 2 to 9 inches of a mattress. Tempur-Pedic integrates these tops onto polyurethane cores. Other manufacturers are now also putting memory foam on top of inner-spring and air bed mattresses.  For more information on Foam Mattresses, please see our Foam Mattress Buying Guide.

Pros

Memory foam is sensitive to both pressure and heat; different versions of the foam possess these characteristics to varying degrees. Memory foam enthusiasts often say that the mattress is both soft and supportive at the same time.

Cons

Memory foam mattresses, when new, go through a process of off-gassing, when the mattresses give off volatile gases as part of the break-in process. Most users find the smell goes away after a month, but some users continue to detect a smell indefinitely. Also, some users find that mattresses absorb body heat and, as a result, are uncomfortably warm.

Top Brands

Tempur-Pedic, Simmons, Dormia

Air Mattresses

What is it?

An air mattress is a sealed plastic container filled with air. In lower-end air mattresses, the entire mattress is a plastic container that may have a thin coating of some more comfortable material on top. At the higher end, the air containers are at the mattress core with an integrated comfort layer that might be polyurethane foam, memory foam, or a combination of quality materials. Higher end mattresses usually have individual air containers for each sleeper, with each sleeper in control of the air/firmness. 

Pros

Air mattresses are one of the few kinds of mattresses that enable you to adjust the firmness of the mattress on an as-needed basis. Many users find that air mattresses are supportive and comfortable.

Cons

Air mattresses tend to feel comfortable when the air container is at the core of the mattress, but air mattresses are less satisfying if they do not have a substantial comfort layer.

Top Brands

Select Comfort, Coleman, Aero

Latex Mattresses

What is it?

Latex mattresses, also called latex foam mattresses, are made from the sap of rubber trees. The material is processed and then injected into a mold with thousand of small pins, which when withdrawn, will provide ventilation for the mattress. Although some manufacturers put latex tops over coil mattresses, and latex combined with other materials, a real latex mattress is 100% latex, through and through.

Pros

There are many benefits to natural latex mattresses, which is why they are becoming so popular. Latex mattresses conform to the body and provide support in a manner similar to the popular memory foam mattresses. Latex mattresses are a natural product, and provide natural resistance to dust mites, molds, and mildew; this is a real advantage to allergy and asthma sufferers. Latex mattresses tend to be cooler than memory foam mattresses, for people who tend to “sleep hot”. And latex mattresses are very durable, projected to last 20 years, which is almost twice as long as inner-spring mattresses.

Cons

There are few negative characteristics associated with this product. There is a mild latex smell, which dissipates over time but may still be bothersome to a few users. Another factors some may consider a negative is the price. However, given the value and the years of use, latex mattresses are a good, long-term investment in comfort.

Leading Brands

Dormia, Sealy, FloBeds

Waterbed Mattresses

What it is?

A waterbed mattress is the mattress used in a waterbed. It is a large, plastic, reinforced bag with a screw top so water can be pumped in. Water beds tend to be cold, so most users either heat them with an electronic heater placed directly under the mattress, or use a thermal layer to protect the sleeper from the temperature. Traditional “hard sided” waterbed mattresses are used with wooden frames, either on the floor or on platforms. New soft sided waterbed mattresses can be used without a frame.

Pros

Many users find waterbeds to be fun. The water sloshes back and forth in response the movements of the user, and this can be hypnotic and comforting. Also, water beds are excellent at conforming to the user, and provide varying levels of support based on how much water is used.

Cons

Water beds are heavy and not suitable for use in all structures – make sure you home can support the weight before you install one. Many apartment buildings and rental units do not allow them. Some users find the rocking motion disturbing, and the movement of one member of a couple usually felt by the sleeping partner.

Top Brands

Somma, Land and Sky, American National

Gel Mattresses

What is it?

Gel mattresses are the newest thing on market. They use gel, similar to what is used in gel comfort insoles. There are not many providers offering these products, but they appear in a number of forms.

Pros

Gel mattresses have excellent conformation properties and they stay cool.

Cons

Limited consumer and product testing make this a somewhat risky purchase. Also, because gel can shift, the product design needs to include a method to contain or stabilize the gel.

Top Brands

Intelli-Gel, Drive, Dormia

Organic/Green Mattresses

What is it?

A mattress made of organic materials. This type of mattress is usually made from organic latex or they are inner-spring mattresses using organic wool and cotton in the comfort layer.

Pros

Good products for users who are sensitive to chemicals. Usually these are high-end and well-made products

Cons

Tend to be very expensive.

Top Brands

Royal-Pedic, Vivetique, Green Sleep

Hybrid Mattresses

What is it?

Until recently, the choice of mattress designs and materials was much more limited. Today, manufacturers are offering all sorts of variations: spring mattresses with latex tops, air beds with comfort tops, spring mattresses with comfort tops, and other combinations.

Pros

You can get match your favorite core with your favorite comfort layer.

Cons

Not all the hybrid combinations have gone through consumer testing, so you need to rely on your own impressions and tests of the mattress.

Top Brands

Various
 

Futon Bed Mattress

Buying a futon is a great idea. During the day, it can be used as a sofa but at nighttime, you can unfold it into a bed. These dual purpose furniture have become increasingly popular.

A good quality frame is important as you want it to stand up to the rigors of being folded and unfolded. But don't forget about the mattress. A futon bed mattress is what provides the comfort, not the frame.

You can read many futon bed mattress reviews and still be left confused. So, what should you look for when buying a futon bed mattress? First, it depends on the type of the futon frame. A bi-fold frame simply folds the mattress in half to form the seat and back support. A tri-fold frame will fold the mattress into thirds; one third being the seat, one third being the back, and the final third either folding over the back or underneath the seat. The tri-fold utilizes the shorter "width" of the mattress for seating while the bi-fold utilizes the longer "length". This gives the inherent advantage to the bi-fold because it looks much more like a conventional sofa-bed than does the tri-fold. It also provides a larger seating area for the consumer. Also, the futon bed mattress you buy for a trifold must be thinner than the thick, overstuffed mattresses used on a bi-fold. The bi-fold is by far the most popular choice.

Futon mattresses have specific uses and are built accordingly. It is not a "One-Size-Fits-All" situation. It is better to get a futon mattress that will specifically meet your needs. Futon bed mattresses are made from a variety of materials. A futon mattress made from cotton and foam is lightweight but will hold its shape. A cotton and foam combination futon bed mattress is the most sold type in the market. A cotton-polyester blend will give you a lighter mattress which is nice and soft, making it a popular choice with many. This blend is considered the best futon bed mattress for everyday use. If you want an even softer futon mattress then a cotton-wool combination is a good choice, however this type of mattress isn't very flexible, so it may not be a good choice if you plan on flipping it into a sofa frequently. You can even buy innerspring units. These can provide great support as well as comfort and are most suited where you'll be using your futon more as a bed than a sofa.

Pillow Top Mattresses

There are many reasons to purchase a pillow top mattress for your next bed. They have become extremely popular these days, yet some consumers remain confused over what they are exactly and what makes them different from your typical mattress top. If you fall into this last category, it’s time to learn more about this type of bed before you make a final decision on what you will purchase for your own bedroom.

What is a Pillow Top Mattress?

A pillow top refers only to the top layer of your mattress. This is an option that is now offered through many high quality mattress brands, as a topper on various models of their mattress sets. The pillow top is actually a separate layer of soft material that is sewn onto the top of the mattress; like an extra pad of cushion. Many are so soft that it is like sleeping suspended in air or on a cloud.

What are the Types of Pillow Top Mattresses?

If you decide that you like the extra comfort and support offered with this feature, then you will need to pick between a plush pillow top mattress and euro pillow top mattresses. The difference between the two is the amount of cushioning offered and how the top is sewn onto the mattress. A standard pillow top will show a separation around the edges from the mattress, while the euro top will just have piping running between them.

Pocket Coil Mattresses

The beauty of a pocket coil mattress is the way it hugs to your body. Instead of having metal cores that are connected to one another and thinly veiled with cheap foam, these coils are individually covered in their own little sleeve and generously surrounded with comforting materials. This allows your body to be firmly supported at every point, even when you move.

The pocket technology makes this the best bed for couples, since motion on one side does not translate as much into motion on the other side of the bed. You are less likely to toss and turn on pocket coil spring mattresses, but if you do it is likely your bed mate will continue on snoozing.

There are a couple name brands that are routinely rated high in consumer pocket coil mattress reviews, and it is worth taking a closer look at what they offer before making a purchase.

Sealy Correct Comfort Mattress

The Sealy pocket coil mattress delivers both comfort and support for your tired body. The top layers are soft and comforting, but the more your body weight sinks into the mattress the more support you receive from the firm lower layers. The result is comfort that allows you to fall sleep and support that allows you to stay asleep.

It also has a special designed edge that ensures the entire sleeping surface is consistent. This also means you can sit on the edge to get dressed or tie your shoes without the mattress caving down. This is a big improvement over latex mattresses, which tend to have weaker edges.

The Sealy mattress can be upgraded to models with memory foam or silk or wool fibers.

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