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What are Different Types of Mattresses?

Last Updated on April 9, 2020 by Ben Locke

Purchasing a new mattress is a very important task as the mattress will be your sleep companion for years or even a decade. You will spend around 30,000 hours of your life sleeping and would not want to buy a mattress that gives you sleepless nights. Buying a new mattress can be a costly investment (around $1,000+); thus, it is crucial that you consider all factors related to its shopping. We understand it can be a daunting task for many, and that is why we have done the research for you and listed everything important to help you make an informed decision.

There are mattresses available in the market based on the firmness, technology, various materials used, among several other things. We have mentioned everything that you need to know like:

  • The different types of mattresses available
  • Which one to buy for your sleeping position and pain relief
  • When is the right time to replace your mattress?
  • Points to consider while buying the mattress online
  • Busting some common myths about the same
  • Tips to take care of your mattress

Different Types of Mattresses

The market is flooded with different types of mattresses. Make sure you know all to pick the right one.

Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam was invented back in the 1970s by NASA for airplane seat cushioning and is used till date. Initially, this material didn’t work because of the high manufacturing costs, but over time, its sales boosted. It was also used as hospital beds for its ability to reduce pressure points. Not to your surprise, the name comes from the ability to conform to the body shape when pressed on it and memorizes the original shape later on. The first memory foam mattress available in the market was in 1991 – the ‘Tempur Pedic Swedish Mattress.’

This mattress is one of the most widely used mattresses in America. One reason is that it creates a ‘sinking in’ sensation. When you press your hand on it, you will realize it takes shape and bounces back once you release the pressure. One drawback of this kind is that it traps heat. So, if you are the one that gets sweaty often, then this type may not be suitable for you. The memory foam mattress is the perfect choice for side sleepers and people having body pain who require extra support. Some more benefits of memory foam are:

    • Does not exhibit motion transfer
    • Works with adjustable bed
    • Resistant to dust mites
    • Correct spinal alignment

Innerspring Mattress

This kind of mattress is the most sold but is now slowing being overtaken by the other types of mattresses. The coil or innerspring mattress had been very popular in the 1900s. These are made of steel coils that compress when body weight is put on them.One reason why this type is popular is because of the low price tag, but they wear down faster. It provides you more bounce, but you will need to replace the innerspring mattress sooner when compared to other types. The only drawback of this type is that it has an average life span of 6 years, not as good as other types.

Continuous Coil

These coils use a single wire to create the whole support system of the mattress. This kind is not made into the traditional coil but an S shape. These will last you longer because of its single and interlinked wire.


This type of coil creates an hourglass shape. It is similar to the Bonnell coils, but the only difference is that the top and bottom have flat edges. The flat edges conform better to the body shape for its hinging effect. These coils are popular for their longevity, sturdiness, and supportiveness.


The first type of coil ever invented is the Bonnell, and it is still commonly used in innerspring mattresses. These were made for comfortable buggy seats early in the 1800s and then expanded to the mattress industry. These look similar to the offset coils. They are in the shape of an hourglass and look like helix when combined. The price of this coil falls under the mid-range category.

Marshal Coil

Marshall coils are popularly known as encased and wrapped coils as well. These coils are not wired together, like the other kinds, and work solely. The benefit of this is that they provide more support and also exhibit motion isolation. When it comes to their construction, they are made of thin gauge and designed in a barrel shape. You may have heard about the coil gauge while looking for the mattress. When the number of coil gauge is high, it means that the gauge is thinner. Thus, you need to remember, thinner the coil, softer the mattress, and thicker coils offer firmer mattress. The firmer mattresses are known to be more durable.

Pocketed Coil

These are the same as marshal coils. Like Marshall coils, the higher number represents better support and quality. Some more benefits of innerspring are:

      • Sturdy edge support
      • Better for sex
      • Easy availability
      • Affordable price-tag

Gel Mattresses

Memory foam traps heat, and it is one major drawback of that type. The reason is that to provide the required support to your body, the foam has to be dense, and thus, it limits airflow, making the temperature rise. The gel works to minimize the heating effect of the memory foam. The gel is naturally cooling and is filled in the foam. Thus, you would not feel hot due to the mattress, but remember, the gel takes some time to take on the temperature. Ultimately, you will stay cooler when you sleep when compared to memory foam.

Latex Mattresses

Latex is a natural bedding choice that was first created in the 1920s. It is made of natural latex, which is a byproduct of rubber. If you are searching for eco-friendly and natural bedding, then latex is the best option. This mattress material contours the body and provides support like memory foam but not as much as the memory foam. If you are looking for a bouncier mattress, then latex is the right choice. Latex is manufactured in two ways Dunlop and Talalay. In Dunlop, there are more sediments at the bottom, and its fluffier at the top. Talalay is a mixture of light and frothy foam. It is used in comfort layers.  Some more benefits of latex are:

    • Lasts longer than other mattresses
    • Cooler than foam
    • No noise
    • No motion transfer


Waterbeds were in the market even before innerspring. They were invented by Dr. Neill Arnott, a Scottish physician. His aim behind this invention was to help bed-ridden patients with bedsore. Most patients find sleeping on the waterbed very soothing and make them feel like they are growing on it.  Customization is possible when you go shopping for waterbeds. You can adjust the water depending on your body weight. You can either go for restricted or free-flowing water flow. Water double beds are also available, and in case your partner has preferences, then you can adjust the settings on that side. The only drawback of this type is it is very heavy and takes time to set up unlike other types of mattresses.

Hybrid Mattresses

These beds are gaining popularity because they provide the required support and bounciness like innerspring mattresses along with softness and comfort of memory foam or latex. And yes, that is why it’s named as Hybrid. Its construction is- a layer of coils at the bottom and one to three layers of memory foam or latex on the top. These provide you a custom experience. Make sure to look at what each brand is providing in their hybrid mattress. For instance, in case you are looking for more pressure point relief and bounce, then a hybrid mattress having spring at the bottom and memory foam on top works best. An open-cell foam structure will be a cherry on the cake as it provides more breathability. Some more benefits of a hybrid mattress are:

    • Great motion isolation
    • More pain relief
    • Strong edge support

Polyfoam Mattress

Polyfoam is a special type of foam made by mattress makers to serve a specific purpose. Bedding companies create their custom type of foam that works for specific requirements and are usually given an affordable price tag. This means that when you go to customize your bed, in all probability, it is made from Polyfoam. Polyfoam is created using a mixture of several chemicals. This does not mean that the polyfoam mattress is harmful.  While manufacturing this mattress, the chemicals used are processed in a way that its effects are neutralized. When you are looking to buy a polyfoam bed, make sure that it is CertiPUR-US certified, Which makes certain that your mattress is free of mercury, lead, ozone depleters, chemicals, and heavy metals.

Pillowtop Mattress

This mattress is also known as a Euro-top mattress. It has a thick layer of padding on top of the bed.  You can get different benefits like durability, comfort, extra bounce, and cooling based on the kind of material used inside the padding. Often this layer is made of different materials like wool, foam, cotton, or latex. Depending on the material you choose, the cost of the mattress is determined.


Do not confuse this with the mattress you used to put on the floor during your college days. If you are looking for another option to the bulky air mattress, then the airbed is an ideal choice. The best part about the 21st-century airbed is that they are adjustable on both sides. This means that if your sleeping partner prefers different air pressure, you can have a customized preference. With airbeds, you don’t have to worry about the sagging effect that happens over some time. They look like regular foam mattresses but are different. Drawbacks of this type are that they are a bit noisy and repairing could be expensive. Some more benefits of airbeds are:

    • Last longer than other types
    • Customizable comfort
    • Ideal for any sleeping position for body pain

Adjustable Beds

Gone are those days when adjustable beds were used only in hospitals. The beds that are available today can be controlled with remotes to give you a custom experience of massage if you have a body ache. They look like regular beds but with extra comfort. If you like reading a book while on the bed or suffer from back pain or snoring, this kind of bed is perfect for you. As expected, the price of this bed is high but certainly worth it.  The only drawback of this type of bed is you need to incur maintenance expenses if you would like to move it from one place to another.

Organic Mattress

Last but not least, an organic mattress is an ideal choice for those who are concerned about the environment. It uses materials like recycled steel support coils, organic cotton and wool, and natural latex. They are perfect for the kid’s room.

Specialty Mattresses

Now that we have covered all the regular mattresses available in the market let’s move on to specialty mattresses.

Smart Mattress

Yes, you are guested right; this matters is app-controlled and tracks your sleep quality. The best part about this mattress is that it tracks your sleep health and then adjusts to offer you the required support and comfort.  No doubt it is costly, but if you are willing to give it a try, then request for 90 to 100 days sleep trials.

Air Mattress

The air beds and air mattresses are different. These are temporary solutions to airbeds. There are many types of options available in this and are perfect for camping, guest room, etc.

Flippable Mattress

Most mattresses found today are one-sided and cannot be flipped.  If you are looking for a mattress that can be used both ways, then sleep well mattress is the right choice. These are priced higher than the regular mattress, but for the additional money that you pay, you get extra longevity.

Mattresses For Specific Sleeping Positions

Based on your sleeping position, you should choose a mattress. Let’s delve into each type. Please note that we have recommended specific mattresses for sleeping positions; however, personal preferences are subjective.

Ideal Mattress For Side Sleeping

If you are a side sleeper, then you may experience pain in your hips and shoulders when you wake up in the morning. This is because they are primary pressure points, And if you don’t provide them the required support, they get compressed overnight, thus being painful in the morning. It is best to choose a mattress that provides extra cushion and softness for pain relief.  The ideal type of mattress, in this case, is latex or memory foam.  Also, a hybrid mattress with extra padding can provide the required support to your joints.

Ideal Mattress For Stomach Sleeping

Your back and neck do not get the required support when you sleep on your stomach.  Though it can help you reduce snoring and sleep apnea, if you have back problems, then do not give strain to your spine by sleeping on your stomach. In this case, choose a firm mattress that will prevent your hips and stomach from sinking, which can create more problems to your spine.  The firmness of the mattress depends on how much you can handle, but make sure you are comfortable.

Ideal Mattress Back Sleeping

Sleeping on the back is one of the most common positions.  The main consideration here should be to provide support and comfort to your spine. While you are sleeping on your back, if your hips sink into the bed, this puts pressure on your spine and can give you severe back pain. Thus, you require a mattress that is firm enough to avoid sinking. Hybrid or innerspring mattress with high firmness is an ideal choice.  You can also go with an adjustable air bed to give custom support to your spine.

Ideal Mattress for Pain Relief

Most people suffer from back pain or regular body pain. This can be due to the wrong sleeping position or sleeping on the wrong type of mattress. Mattress technology advancement is the best it can ever be because it makes mattresses that can help you give pain relief.

Ideal Mattress For Back Pain

Back pain is the most common type of pain caused by a bad mattress. When your spine does not get the right support and is out of alignment, back pain arises. This happens when you sleep on a mattress that supports your hips and shoulders but not your spine. The pressure of your body weight falls on your spine, leading to back pain that persists even when you are not sleeping. You need to look for a mattress that is:

    • Firm but soft. The firmness level can be between 5 to 7. a memory foam mattress is an ideal pick.
    • Consider your weight while choosing a mattress for back pain. If you weigh more than 200 pounds, add a few points of firmness to a mattress.
    • If you sleep on your side, then pick a mattress having firmness levels 4 or 5.
    • If you are a stomach sleeper, the firmness was level of the mattress can go high up to point 8.
    • Lastly, if you share your bed with someone, get a dual firmness mattress.

Ideal Mattress For Leg Pain

Leg pain and nighttime cramps can be associated with sleeping positions for the mattress you sleep on along with your strenuous day time activities. Side sleeping position is quite common, especially the fetal position, which has an adverse effect on your legs. One leg is under more pressure, and your knees are bent for long hours.

Mattresses can help

    • You require software mattresses that provide a cushion to your sore muscles. The firmness level of these mattresses should be 4 to 5.
    • Hybrid mattresses are an ideal choice for leg pain relief and give comfort to your legs and provide the right support for your spine.
    • If you are sleeping on a single mattress, replace your mattress with a larger size so that you can sleep with your legs spread instead of sleeping in a fetal position.

Ideal Mattress For Hip Pain

Most seniors suffer from hip pain. Millions of Americans complain of chronic hip pain, which can be due to sleeping on the wrong type of mattress. The support you receive while sleeping plays a vital role in pain relief.

Look for a mattress that is:

    • If you are a side sleeper, the mattress should be firm and highly supportive.
    • Brother sleeping positions, the matter should be soft to allow spine alignment, But should not be very soft That your body sings into it.
    • Memory foam and latex mattresses are an ideal choice as they conform to your body shape.

Ideal Mattress For Shoulder Pain

Tension in your neck and shoulder can lead to chronic shoulder pain. One main reason for this is the sedentary lifestyle, and sleeping on an improper mattress can aggravate the problem. Another reason for this pain can be your spine poorly supported during sleep. Changing the sleeping position can be difficult; however, getting the right mattress can help you get relief to an extent. Ensure your mattress is:

    • A firm mattress that can provide support to your whole back and opting the back sleeping position will be helpful in this case.
    • If you are a side sleeper, then the pillow top mattress is an ideal choice as it conforms to the body shape. Ensure the firmness level is between 5 to 7.
    • Hybrid, memory foam, and latex mattresses are also an ideal choice for shoulder pain relief.

Along with changing your mattress, try to change your sleeping position and make sure that your sitting and standing posture is erect.

Ideal Mattress For Joint Pain

Joint pain after waking up in the morning is often experienced by older people, but to your surprise, this can be due to a poor mattress. If you are young and experiencing this, then you should know that it may lead to arthritis and joint inflammation. Look for a mattress that is:

    • Large enough. One of the reasons for joint pain can be sleeping in awkward positions due to space limitations. Look for a mattress that has enough space to let you move around.
    • Not very soft because you may sink into it and then would not move around during the night. A mattress having a firmness of levels 6 to 8 is recommended.
    • Hybrid mattresses because it provides an ample amount of support that you need. It provides the required comfort and firmness.

Please remember to see your doctor if the joint pain persists even after replacing the mattress.

When Should You Replace Your Mattress?

Most people fail to know the right time to replace their mattress, and this may lead them to body pain. If you notice the following signs, it is the right time to buy a new mattress:

When is the Mattress Past its Life

Consider the age of the mattress. Irrespective of how durable it is, over a certain number of years, it will not be of good use to you. The right time to replace a mattress is after using it for 7 to 8 years. You may use it for another year only if it is a guest room mattress that is not used regularly.

You Experience Body Pain And Stiffness

Are you experiencing constant body pain after waking up in the morning even if you have rested and you are certain there is nothing else to be blamed for it? This morning pain can be due to your mattress. You may be turning and tossing the entire night to find a comfortable sleeping position, but you couldn’t sleep. The reason can be that the center portion of the mattress has sunk, and the comfort layer has deteriorated.

You Are Growing Older

People become more sensitive to pressure points on a mattress after they turn 40.  So if you or anyone in your family is over 40 and haven’t replaced the mattress for a while now, then to get a new one.

Your Mattress Is Sagging

If you find a sagging impression on your mattress or if you feel you are sleeping on a hammock, then it’s time to get a new mattress.  You can easily notice the sagging impression in a spring mattress but not in foam ones. One way to test this is ascertaining how long it takes for the mattress to be back in its original form after you get up.  If it takes above 30 seconds, you probably should replace it.

Tears in the Mattress

This might sound obvious to you, but many people tend to ignore it.  If you find more than visible wear and tear on your mattress, do not wait for long to get it replaced. With time the tears will become worse, and it will affect your sleep quality.

Lumps in Mattress

As you know, sagging is bad, in the same way, lumps are worse. When you find lumps in your mattress, it means that the contents inside it are out of place.  Ensure to replace your mattress at the earliest.

Stains on Mattress

If you clean your mattress well and still find stains on it, it might be time to get a new one Even if you are sleeping well in it.  This is because persistent stains will attract dust and molds, which will lead to health problems.

Bed Bugs on Mattress

These blood-sucking uninvited guests are tough to get rid of.  If they have found a home in your mattress, wait no longer but replace it. Don’t know how to spot them? If you find red itchy spots on your skin while sleeping, then there are chances of the bedbugs being present in your mattress. Take a magnifying glass to look for red, brown, or white tiny insects at the sides of your mattress. If you find them, hurry to get the mattress replaced.

How To Select A New Mattress?

If you are looking to buy a new mattress,  you might find it difficult because of the choices available. Apart from the different types of mattresses and sleeping positions, there are a few other considerations that will help you filter and find the right one.

Mattress size

The table below will help you decide the size.

Mattress Firmness

The perfect firmness of the mattress is determined by two factors the sleeping position and the weight of the sleeper. Side sleepers find comfort on a soft mattress; on the other hand, stomach and back sleepers go for firm or medium for mattresses. The table mentioned below will help you understand the firmness level and scale rating in detail:

Weight of Mattress

When it comes to sleeper’s weight, individuals of less than 130 pounds requires soft mattresses for more comfort and pressure relief.  Individuals weighing more than 230 pounds required firmer mattresses to avoid sinkage. If your sleeping partner prefers a different firmness level, you can opt for a dual firmness mattress that will help you change the settings of each side. The chart below will help you understand the firmness level you should go for considering your body weight.

Budget for Mattress

When it comes to the price, mattresses vary significantly. Spring mattresses are available at a cheaper rate than the other types of mattresses, but all boils down to the brand and model you choose. The table below shows you an average price for different queen size mattresses, which is the most popular mattress size.

Thickness of Mattresses

Mattress thickness can vary from 5 inches to 15 inches.  It is one of the most important things to consider while buying a mattress. But why is it so important? This is because a person weighing 100 lbs is comfortable sleeping on a mattress with a specific thickness. A person weighing 170 lbs may not be comfortable on the same mattress and would experience body pain. The more thickness, the more bodyweight it can sustain.

Warranty on Mattresses

All brands provide a warranty but the number of years very widely and also the terms and conditions. The warranty period can range from 10 to 25 years and with only cover manufacturing defects like broken coil etc. If you are looking for adjustable mattresses, it is important to read the fine warranty print carefully to ensure what qualifies for the coverage. Some brands cover repairing costs while some don’t.

Shipping and Delivery of Mattress

Many brands charge for delivering the mattress to your doorstep while some do it for free. Make sure it does not take weeks for the mattress to arrive. Know the expected delivery before placing an order. When the mattress arrives, make sure you carefully check the entire product to find any damage or staining.  Also, check the label and ensure it has an ‘all-new material’ written on it  before signing.  Also, keep all the labels and invoices safely for warranty claims.

Return Policy of Mattresses

It is important to look for a retailer that offers you a return policy if you are not satisfied with the mattress. All brands offer returns within the stipulated time, which ranges from 30 days to 120 days. A few large retailers may charge you restocking fees of up to 15%.  Make sure you know about such hidden charges before placing an order.

Common Myths About Mattresses

Firmer Mattress Provides Extra Back Support

Sleeping on a mattress that is as hard as a rock won’t help you with back pain; rather will make it worse. To fix the back pain, you need a mattress that is firm and has enough softness to contour your body shape.

Flip the Mattress Often

This holds true only if your mattress is two-sided.  Most mattresses available today are one-sided and do not require to be flipped often. Read through the user manual before flipping it.

Lying on Mattress Before Buying Is The Best Test

It isn’t.  You might feel comfortable by lying on the mattress for a few minutes, but it doesn’t ensure that you will be able to have a comfortable sleep and get relief from your pain. Check if your retailer provides sleep trials.

More Coils, Better the Mattress Is

No doubt, the coil count is linked to client satisfaction, but there are many other things linked to it as well — factors like thickness, coil gauge, coil type, comfort layer material, etc.

You Need A New Spring Box When You Buy A New Mattress

Many brands offer a good deal when you buy the mattress and spring box together, but this does not mean that it has to be bought. If you already have a spring box which is in good condition, it is definitely enough unless you are buying mattresses like an air bed and a water bed.

Tips To Take Care Of Your Mattress

Maintaining your mattress is very important to lengthen its life and avoid body pain. You want it to last for a long time and be worth every penny you pay for.

How To Take Care Of Your Mattress?

A Good Quality Frame

The quality of the frame plays an equally important role as the quality of the mattress. The best would be to go with wood frames, but it’s always better to ask the mattress brand what they prefer because each type and brand have a specific recommendation.

Wash Clean and Replace The Sheets Often

This is the most important way to maintain your mattress and should be done at least once a week. This will prevent the buildup of dust, molds, and other forms of allergens. It also slows down the wearing of mattresses.

Keep the Mattress Dry

Your mattress can develop mold if it is not dry. A mattress protector will be of help. Do not put a wet towel and sweaty clothes on the bed.

Remove Stains ASAP

Try to remove the stains as soon as possible. Letting them linger on the mattress for too long will attract dust and mold and can lead to allergies.

Don’t Let Kids Use It As Trampoline

Jumping on the mattress is one of the favorite past time of kids. Ensure that you do not allow kids to bounce on it because any unnecessary pressure on the mattress will reduce its lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions on Online Mattress Buying

Which Mattress Is The Best For Back Pain?

With everything that we have gone through about the different types of mattresses, the medium firm memory foam mattress is an ideal choice for everyone suffering from back pain. This mattress contours to your body shape without leaving any gaps and give optimal rest to your spine.

When Is The Best Month To Buy A New Mattress?

May is the right time to buy a new mattress. The reason is that in June, brands come up with new products and want to sell off as much stock as they have till May. So, in May, you will find the best deals.

How To Pick The Right Mattress?

It’s a very subjective and open-ended question. You need to analyze your needs and then choose the right one. Let us help you: If you want bounciness or sleep on your side, then innerspring is the best option. In the same way, if you are looking for a firm base, then memory foam and latex mattress are ideal. If your partner has the habit of tossing around during sleep, then again, latex and memory foam is the best. If you are too bored with the regular mattresses and need some change, the air mattresses with dual-chamber are a hit.

How Long Should A Mattress Last?

Most quality and high-end mattresses last you for 8-10 years or even more if you care for it in a proper and company-prescribed way. It is recommended to replace the mattress every 10 years to avoid body pain. Foam and latex mattresses have a life span of more than 10 years. In the same way, water beds can last for 7-8 years and even more if maintained properly. Innerspring mattresses have a lifespan of 8 years, and the air beds last for around 5-6 years.

Hope you have got all the information you were looking for to buy a new mattress. There is no shortage of mattresses. There is something for everyone, every requirement, and budget.

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