The 6 Best Types of Mattresses to Have on Your Radar (So You Don't Buy the Wrong One)
It’s 4 a.m., you’re wide awake, and you’ve spent the last five hours staring at your ceiling, reviewing your mental checklist. Every insomniac can relate, and getting through the next day can feel like an obstacle that’s been thrust upon you by Satan himself. Yes, we’ve tried all of the sleep tricks—from Headspace’s Guide to Sleep and using essential oils on our pillows. All we got was a massive zit from the oil, and still, we’ve found ourselves caffeine-dependent and cranky (which is the understatement of the year) the following day.
That said, we rarely stop and consider whether it’s our mattress that’s causing our sleep deprivation, as opposed to blaming our snoring spouses or pets. With all of the options to choose from, it’s hard to know which one is right for you. That’s where we come in: We’ve done the research for you, creating an updated guide to the best mattress types (with pros and cons) for every sleeper in 2021.
The Best Mattresses, At a Glance
- Hybrid: Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress
- Memory Foam: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
- Gel: Dreamcloud Gel-infused Mattress
- Latex: The Idle Latex Mattress
- Innerspring: Bear Mattress
- Pillow Top: Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress
Afraid of commitment? There’s a perfect solution that blends various elements of support from more traditional mattresses into one versatile cushion (if only we could find such a simple solution for our relationship fears). A hybrid mattress often features a combo of memory foam, gel and innerspring coil technology—as in, coils that are individually wrapped to retain their tension.
Great for side sleepers, the hybrid mattress’s pocket-wrapped coils curve to the shape of your body while providing support in the areas you need it most.
- Features layers from multiple mattress types, ranging from memory foam to coiled springs
- Increased air circulation, which prevents overheating
- No box spring required
- Pricier than traditional mattresses
2. Memory Foam
If you’re circumspect of the hybrid mattress, there’s another option that wants nothing to do with springs or coils and gives “hardcore comfort” a new meaning. Don’t believe us? “Memory foam, also known as temper foam, was developed under a NASA contract in the 1970s that set out to improve seat cushioning and crash protection for airline pilots and passengers,” according to NASA’s website. This mattress’s layers of adaptive foam are a great remedy for relieving back pain and common pressure points on your shoulders, hips and legs to promote better spinal alignment. Most memory foam mattresses are medium-firm, and if you’ve seen the famous wine glass test, you know that motion transfer isn’t an issue here. We recommend you check it out immediately.
- Adaptive foam layers are created to relieve common pressure points, decrease back pain and promote better spinal alignment
- Mattress sinks to surround the individual and is great for light sleepers who are easily woken up
- Ideal medium-firm mattress
- Not ideal for hot sleepers; its dense foam retains heat
- Comes with a smell directly out of the box (usually wears off in a couple of weeks)
- Mattresses are usually heavy and difficult to move
Have you ever spent a hot summer’s day in an apartment with no AC? Welcome to the unbearable discomfort of being a hot sleeper. If you’re someone who easily overheats at night, finding a cooling mattress should be your number one priority. And when it comes to combining the world of comfort and coolness, there’s really only one option: Gel-infused mattresses. Similar to traditional memory foam mattresses, gel-infused foam contours to your body while providing temperature regulation that’s designed to cool you down. “Adding cooling gels to the foam mixture improves the mattress’s heat dispersion. The gels absorb heat and wick it away—and the more evenly the gels are distributed throughout the bed, the better they are at carrying away body heat,” says Sarah Anderson, Certified Sleep Science Coach. So, sweaty sleepers, we recommend you *run* to get this mattress.
- Ideal for hot sleepers where air circulation and breathability reduces heat retention
- Responsive to movement and offers pressure relief
- Ideal medium-plush mattress
- Uses synthetic materials that might wear over time
- The cooling effect might not last all night
If you’re looking for a mattress that’s durable, eco-friendly *and* highly functional, latex is the way to go. “This type of mattress is both responsive and has pressure-relieving capabilities. They are also hypoallergenic (which is a plus!), and they combine latex with either springs or reflex foam to make sure the surface is super durable and supportive,” says PureWow writer Nikhita Mahtani. Plus, most of these mattresses are hypo-allergenic, so if you’re sensitive to allergens, we recommend going latex to combat those itchy eyes.
- Eco-friendly; latex is a natural product produced from the sap of the rubber tree
- Good for aches and pains
- Ideal for stomach sleepers
- It can be pricey
- Mattresses tend to be more firm than medium firm
- False advertising; many companies will advertise mattresses as latex when they’re really made up of synthetic materials (synthetic latex isn’t eco-friendly or hypo-allergenic)
Not looking to change things up? We’re all about sticking with what works, and if you’d like to find a mattress that’s been tried and tested for decades, we recommend you go with an innerspring. More of what you’d typically regard as a traditional mattress, innersprings often feel sturdier than more modern foams. According to Mahtani, “the interconnected coils are extra-durable and reduce the ripple effect that occurs when you move from one side of the bed to the other.”
- Mattresses feature a quilted top that usually comes in varying levels, from plush and soft medium and firm
- Great if you the sinking feeling of a memory foam
- Wireframe can feel stiff and uncomfortable
- Box-spring required
- Mattresses are prone to having springs break
6. Pillow Top
If you’re looking for plush, hotel-like luxury every single night, then you have to go pillow top. It’s light, it’s feathery and it’s the ultimate mattress for that cloud-esque feel that we dream of as kids. Many feature memory foam, latex or fiberfill, instead of traditional coils, which makes it more affordable, according to sleepfoundation.org.
- Ideal for plush and soft comfort levels
- Lightweight fabric makes it ideal for natural temperature regulation.
- No pressure relief
- There may be sagging and dipping over time