Mattress Types

Which new mattress styles work best for you? The key to making the right purchase for a good night’s sleep is two-fold: First, you’ll need to thoroughly explore the different types of mattresses available on the market today, and then you’ll need to decide which of those is the best mattress for your budget, bedroom, and sleep style. There’s a lot to consider: How do you sleep? Do you normally get hot or cold at night? Are you trying to match a new mattress with an existing box spring or a new bed frame?

There are a few key items you’ll need to know about your sleep style, and you’ll have to price out what you can afford for the size and space you have. But first, let’s take a look at the different varieties of new mattresses on the market today.

Exploring Mattress Types

Long gone are the days of spring mattresses with the same universal materials. The market for mattresses has expanded to include vastly different materials, constructions and effects for different types of sleepers. Whether you have specific allergies or you’re trying to be environmentally friendly, there’s a mattress with materials created with you in mind. And even if you like old school innerspring mattresses, they’re still quite popular and manufacturers have made advancements in their technology. Let’s take a look at the different models:

Pillow Top Mattresses

Pillow top mattresses, sometimes known as a “boxtop mattress,” are thicker than normal mattresses and easily identified by the additional soft padding at the surface. The easiest way to identify a pillow top mattress is the surface, which quite literally looks like a pillow is attached to the surface.

The most common kind of padding in a pillow top is polyurethane foam, but you can also find pillow tops made with memory foam or latex. Because most pillowtop mattresses run thicker than a standard mattress, some sheets won’t fit.

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses, also known as “coil mattresses,” have a more traditional construction, using a steel coil support system to create support. The type of coil in an innerspring can vary between a connected series of springs meant to work as a unit, or individually wrapped “pocketed” coils designed to operate independently. Innerspring mattresses feature a top-level of cushioning made of latex foam or fiber to add softness. Some innerspring mattresses also feature a second layer of smaller, interconnected springs for support and motion isolation.

The rule of thumb for measuring the quality of an innerspring mattress is the higher number of coils, the better quality the mattress. Also, be sure to look for the coil gauge on an innerspring mattress. The lower the number of the gauge, the firmer the bed will be. Lower numbers (15 or below) mean an innerspring mattress won’t sag over time.

One of the most popular and affordable innerspring mattresses on the market is the Aviya. It’s a traditional innerspring mattress made in the United States and built with eco-friendly, CertiPUR-US® certified materials.

Aviya mattresses start with a quilted pillow top layer and a layer cooling poly-foam, followed by two more foam layers to prevent sagging and provide additional support. Underneath is a traditional innerspring core, featuring pocketed coils to cut down motion transfer and support sleepers by their individual zones.

Starting with the quilted pillow top, the Aviya bed’s cotton cover contains a 1-inch layer of cooling poly-foam underneath to offer immediate comfort and regulate your temperature. Inside the mattress, Aviya includes two thin layers of foam to prevent sagging and offer pressure relief and lumbar support. Underneath the innerspring coils are another layer of foam, and the entire bed is encased in 3 inches of foam reinforcement. Best of all, you can choose from plush, luxury firm, or firm, allowing you to find the coil firmness best suited for your sleep style. Aviya also comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam was first created by NASA to help aid astronauts as their bodies acclimatized to Earth’s gravity returning from space by gently supporting their joints and back. Overtime the same technology was incorporated into mattresses to create better support for sleepers battling back pain and pressure points.

Memory foam mattresses can be considered any combination of memory foam and innerspring coils or just layers of memory foam. The actual memory foam, also known as visco-elastic foam, is designed to use your body heat to help mold to the shape of your body, creating a personalized support structure.

A great choice for an affordable memory foam mattress is the Zinus Green Tea bed. It’s extremely popular on Amazon. The 12-inch Green Tea mattress has four layers: three inches of memory foam, two inches of a “transition layer” made of high-density foam, and two 3.5-inch layers of poly foam.

Zinus is also a great foam bed purchase if you’re on a budget. You can find their queen size mattress on Amazon for around $300. The mattress also comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Latex Mattresses

Popular for sleepers seeking pressure point relief, a latex mattress is made only with pure latex (made from rubber tree sap) and without a combination of other materials. There are two forms of latex mattresses: Talalay and Dunlop. Dunlop is denser, therefore it creates a firmer mattress ideal for people looking for support. Talalay latex is considered the nicer material because of its softer, more gentle feel. Talalay is usually more popular with sleepers looking for more cushioning.

Air Mattresses

Temporary air mattresses are popular because they can be deflated for easy storage. Air mattresses can be made from a variety of materials, with vinyl, plastic, and rubber as the most common. Most temporary air mattresses can be inflated either by mouth or using an electric pump, but there’s a different type of air bed, “permanents,” meant for regular use. They feature a hybrid construction of materials and air pockets which can be adjusted depending on the desired firmness level.

If you need a reliable, comfortable air mattress for your home, try the SoundAsleep Dream. It boasts a “ComfortCoil Technology” with 40 internal air coils designed to create stability. The SoundAsleep Dream inflates in under four minutes and is designed to hold up to 500 pounds on each mattress.

The Dream is also engineered to stay in place on the floor, and its 19-inch height and 20-pound deflated weight provide size and durability not normally associated with an air mattress.


Waterbeds were a very popular option in the United States in the 1970s. They’re less common today but still in use by some sleepers who are looking to relieve pressure points or have concerns about dust mites. Waterbeds are mattresses filled with water, and because they’re completely sealed there’s no concern about allergens. Waterbeds are primarily categorized as either soft-sided or hard-sided. Hard-sided waterbeds sit on a wood frame on a deck, while soft-sided waterbeds can fit into existing bed frames. Some waterbeds can be heated to achieve different comfort levels. However, because of the movement of the water, there is a considerable amount of motion transfer in water beds.

One of the most popular waterbeds on the market is the Classic Mattress-Semi Waveless waterbed. The Classic is a hard-sided waterbed without a frame, boasting a layer of resin bonded fiber on its surface to reduce the rippling sensation felt on most waterbeds.

The water in a Classic is contained in a 24-millimeter vinyl cover, which is thicker than normal waterbed cases. Every aspect of the Classic’s design is meant to create a floating sensation for the sleeper without excess motion found in normal waterbeds.

Organic Mattresses

For environmentally-conscious consumers, an organic mattress is any mattress constructed entirely from nontoxic, non-processed materials like wood, wool, cotton, latex, and other materials found in nature. The structure of a natural fiber or organic mattress can vary so long as there are no synthetic materials involved in the construction. Organic mattresses are popular among eco-conscious consumers, those suffering from allergies to processed materials, or sleepers with sensitive skin.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses will use two or more of the above styles of mattress construction together. The most popular hybrid mattresses usually feature the combination of foam comfort layers on top of coils. The combination of these styles often produces a mattress that is very firm but soft to the touch.

The Avocado Green mattress is a popular hybrid option at an affordable price. Constructed entirely with all-natural ingredients, Avocado mattresses are topped with a blended cover made of cotton and wool, with two layers of Dunlop latex and an innerspring support core of pocketed coils. You can purchase an Avocado mattress with or without a pillowtop surface. If you choose the pillowtop, the mattress’s thickness expands from 11 inches to 13.

What Type of Mattress Fits My Sleeping Style?

Before you try to decide which kind of mattress you should purchase, be sure to know your sleeping style. Do you normally fall and stay asleep on your side? Do you sleep on your back or stomach? Choosing the right mattress depends on your most frequent sleeping positions. Combined with your body weight and body type, how you sleep affects your spinal alignment. And choosing a firm mattress or soft mattress can impact your health.

Side Sleepers

If you’re prone to sleeping on your side, either with your legs straight or in the fetal position, consider purchasing a traditional memory foam mattress. The contouring of memory foam helps support pressure points for side sleepers while preserving good spine alignment.

Back Sleepers

If you’re most comfortable sleeping on your back, your preferences will be different than most side or stomach sleepers. Back sleepers often battle snoring, sleep apnea, and lower back pain.

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers often face challenges dealing with their back and neck after sleeping. Stomach sleeping creates the most stress on the spine, so the needs of stomach sleepers can often be different than side or back sleepers.

What Type of Mattress Fits My Budget?

There are plenty of specific factors you’ll consider when buying a new mattress, but no matter what your preference is, you’ll still likely have to consider a budget. The good news is there are a variety of brands offering each style of mattresses at various prices.

A mattress can easily run you thousands of dollars, especially if you’re shopping for a king-size model. But it’s possible to find a good night’s sleep on a budget. If you’re interested in a memory foam or hybrid mattress, there are plenty available around the $1,000 range or cheaper.

If you’re looking for a bargain buy (around $500), try the memory foam mattress from Dynasty Mattress. It’s a CertiPUR-US certified 12-inch mattress with four layers you can buy on most major retail sites. Despite the affordable price (some retailers offer Dynasty for as low as $380), Dynasty offers a 30-year warranty, a 120-night sleep trial, and two free gel memory foam pillows.

The $1,000 range is often the spot where most consumers budget when looking for a new mattress. While you can easily spend more on a variety of different brands, this range offers a lot of variety while still coming in on budget.

In addition to the Amerisleep AS1 and the Zoma, check out the “flippable” memory foam mattress from Layla. The memory foam mattress features a “soft” side (3 inches of copper-infused memory foam) and a “hard” side (just 1 inch) with two layers of convoluted poly-foam and a core foam designed to minimize motion transfer. Layla’s flippable mattress comes with a 120-night trial and a lifetime warranty covering any sagging of the mattress of at least 1 inch. You can usually find a Layla mattress around the $1,000 range, meaning you could spend just a grand for a great mattress for life.

Extra Things to Consider When Shopping Mattress Types

So you’ve found the mattress type that fits your sleep style and it’s in your budget. There are still a few things to consider before making your purchase.

Adjustable Beds

An adjustable bed frame is a nice complement to a new mattress, as they allow you to find the most comfortable position for sleeping. Most popular in hospitals, adjustable beds are any bed featuring a connected series of surfaces hinged together that can be moved into a series of different positions, usually by a motor. Adjustable beds can most commonly be moved to raise the upper body and lower body independently, depending on a particular medical need. Adjustable beds are often preferred by those with medical conditions requiring special attention for circulation or lower back pain.

These are most compatible with all-foam mattresses like latex and memory foam beds, but they also work with some hybrid mattresses, as well. If you’re looking for a total sleep upgrade, consider pairing your new bed with one of these sleep-promoting bases.

Check for a Warranty

Mattress companies offer different kinds of warranties depending on the type of mattress they’re selling you. Check for specific language about the condition of the mattress that would allow you to request a replacement or refund (sagging, losing shape, etc.), and shop around to see if there’s a longer warranty available. Most mattress companies offer at least a 10-year warranty.

Measure All of the Mattress

Because of the variety of new mattresses on the market, one size no longer fits all. If you’re trying to pair a new mattress with an existing bed frame or set of sheets, be sure to measure more than just the width and length of a normal twin, queen, king, or California king. Many new mattress types have a variety of depths affecting the display of a bed in a frame or with a headboard. Also, deeper mattresses might not be compatible with particular kinds of sheets.

Trial Periods

If you’re considering a bed but you’re not sure, chances are there’s a trial period for you to use the bed at home. There’s no more scientific method for testing mattress styles than actually sleeping on them for at least a few weeks. Be sure to check the specifics on the trial period, including anything that could damage or void the trial period and require payment for the mattress.

The Best Mattress Type Is Different for Everyone

There’s no hard and fast rule on “good” or “bad” choices for a new mattress type. While certain styles like memory foam and bed-in-a-box promotions have become increasingly popular in recent years, there’s no guarantee you’ll have a good night’s sleep on one until you try it.

Don’t be afraid to try out a variety of mattress types depending on your sleep style. Issues like heat retention and mattress feel can only really be gauged by consistent at-home use, so don’t be afraid to use a company’s limited-time trial offer and return policy. At the end of the day, the best mattress is only discovered through sleep. The perfect mattress provides high-quality value and the best night’s sleep possible.

Medical Disclaimer: The information contained on the site should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. The information provided here is for informational purposes only.

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