Contents of Article
- Construction Comparison
- Firmness Comparison
- Price Comparison
- Which Bed Sleeps Cooler?
- Which Bed Would Be Best For A Side Sleeper?
- Should I Buy A Memory Foam Or A Hybrid Bed?
- 3 Great Memory Foam Mattresses:
- The Puffy
- The Nectar
- The Muse
- 3 Hybrid Mattresses we Recommend
- The DreamCloud
- LUCID 12 inch King Hybrid Mattress
- The Solay
Today we are going to clear up the misconceptions about hybrid mattresses, and we’re going to compare them to memory foam products in a head to head review. We’re going to look at things like firmness, support, cooling, and pricing to see which kind of mattress is best.
At the end of this article, we are going to provide you with 6 product recommendations (3 of each kind of mattress) that represent the very best both categories have to offer.
This is going to be a little bit tricky, so put your thinking caps on.
Hybrid Memory Foam Products
When people talk about hybrid mattresses they can often mean one of two things.
The true definition of a hybrid product is a mattress that has more than one layer and uses two or more different materials in its design.
This means that a product that uses a memory foam top layer and a support foam bottom layer is technically a hybrid product (albeit a boring one).
The reason manufacturers use different layers of different materials is because it allows them to combine their various strengths to create a final product that benefits from all of them. This also allows them to compensate for any weaknesses in certain materials, making a much stronger final product with much better performance.
It is exceptionally rare to find a pure memory foam mattress that doesn’t use at least two different types of memory foam (which makes it a hybrid product).
They do exist, but they are generally pretty lousy products, memory foam on its own has some serious shortcomings that are best addressed in a hybrid design pattern with other materials supporting it.
Coiled Hybrid Products
In common parlance, some people think that a hybrid mattress is a product that combines foam layers with a coiled section. While these products are hybrid mattresses (because they use two or more different materials) a hybrid product doesn’t need to use a coiled section to be able to use the term “hybrid”.
In A Nutshell: Coiled hybrid products still use different materials, in different layers, to combine different properties for the benefit of the final product. It just so happens to be that one of the layers in products like this is a coiled layer. If this layer was made out of sponge cake instead of coils, it would still be a hybrid product.
We’re almost certain that you’ve come here today to find out about the difference between the following categories of mattress:
- Pure foam products that use at least one layer of memory foam
- Products that combine foam layers with a coiled section
So that’s what we’re going to give you.
Whenever we talk about a hybrid product in this article, assume that we’re talking about a coiled mattress that uses one or more layers of foam.
Note: If we’re ever talking more generally about all hybrid products (with or without coils) we’ll let you know as and when that happens.
Coiled hybrid products, foam hybrid products, and pure memory foam products can all be found in a wide range of different firmness levels. You’ll be able to find a product that’s right for you regardless of which kind of mattress you decide upon.
There’s a wide range of products in both categories of mattress, and you’ll find them in every price bracket out there. With the exception of some very exotic kinds of memory foam, in general, there’s no notable difference in price between hybrid coil and hybrid foam products.
Which Bed Sleeps Cooler?
All things being equal, hybrid coil products will generally sleep cooler than hybrid foam products.
This is because inside the coiled section you’re mainly going to find free-flowing air in-between the coils. No solid foam layer could ever provide ventilation that can compete with this amount of empty space.
Note: This doesn’t mean that all pure foam products are going to sleep hot, it just means that if everything else was equal (which it never is) a coiled hybrid would be cooler than a solid foam product.
Which Bed Would Be Best For A Side Sleeper?
This largely depends on the quality of the mattress, the design patterns used, and other product specific factors. Both kinds of mattress can have excellent products that give side sleepers a great night’s sleep.
However, that being said, we’d struggle to recommend a hybrid coil based product that didn’t have some kind of memory foam layer. The contouring properties it provides give the product levels of pressure distribution and support that mattresses without memory foam struggle to achieve.
Should I Buy A Memory Foam Or A Hybrid Bed?
You should avoid pure memory foam products that don’t have other materials in them – memory foam on its own has serious shortcomings that need to be balanced with other materials to create a good final product.
That being said, there are a wide range of excellent hybrid products (coil or foam based) on the market – and there are mattresses in both categories that we absolutely love.
As such, we think that both kinds of mattress are worthy of your consideration.
3 Great Memory Foam Mattresses:
In this section, we are going to take a look at 3 of the best memory foam products on the market. We’re going to look at them layer by layer to see what kind of materials are inside and how they interact with one another to provide the exceptional levels of performance that have earned them a recommendation here today.
We’re going to start off by looking at the Puffy. This is a unique mattress that is unlike anything else on the market right now. It doesn’t actually use memory foam in its construction – instead, Puffy has made their own kind of foam that’s similar. There are only 2 layers in this product, which only just technically makes it a hybrid mattress…
The reason that Puffy can get away with only having 2 layers in this product is largely because of the performance that is provided by this top layer. It’s made from a material called Comfort Cloud, and Puffy spent over 4 years (and a huge amount of money) developing it.
Comfort Cloud is very similar to memory foam in terms of support and contouring. Just like normal memory foam, it will contour to your body and cradle you exactly where you need to be supported. It offers a similar level of contouring performance, but quite honestly we think memory foam is a little better (but only just).
The reason Puffy has made a material that is “just about as good as memory foam” in the contouring department is because it has none of the weaknesses that memory foam is well known for.
For example, memory foam mattresses take a little bit of time to contour completely. This is because the material needs to warm up and soften before it can offer support. Because Comfort Cloud doesn’t use a cell-based system, it doesn’t need any heat to start contouring – and it’s almost instant.
The lack of cells inside Comfort Cloud also means that this is a much cooler material than memory foam. It’s very breathable and naturally wants to distribute heat evenly throughout its surface. A special kind of cooling gel has been added to the layer called Cooling Cloud to further improve on these already impressive cooling credentials.
Cooling Cloud tries to make the mattress an optimal temperature (whereas normal cooling gel tries to be as cool as possible). If Puffy used a normal gel, the mattress would possibly be too cold, which to us mattress nerds is quite an astonishing achievement.
High-Density Support Foam
This layer is a boring yet quality layer of high-density support foam. It’s just a stable base for the layer above to rest on while it provides all the amazing performance we’ve just talked about.
There are few brands in the world that have the same kind of brand name recognition as Nectar. They were one of the original “mattress in a box” companies that started the current boom in the industry, and they’ve retained their reputation and respect throughout the years.
Let’s look at the layers inside to see how it works.
We love the covering of the Nectar, it’s made from a clever and reasonably unusual material called Tencel. It’s a completely natural and eco-friendly fabric that’s made from cellulose (derived from wood fibers), but despite this, it’s super soft. It has some natural bacteria-killing properties that are going to keep your mattress smelling fresher for longer – and it’s super breathable too.
Quilted Cooling Gel Memory Foam
This is one of the most comfortable memory foam layers we’ve ever seen in any mattress. It’s a cooling gel memory foam that works hard to distribute heat and prevent hot spots from occurring. However, it’s quite a soft memory foam that has been quilted slightly. This gives the product a little bit of loft and plushness that makes it feel like it belongs in a 5-star resort or a fancy hotel. It’s a lovely, simple little addition that customers seem to anecdotally enjoy (based on their reviews).
Cooling Gel Memory Foam
This layer is made from a standard cooling gel memory foam, it’s basically the exact same stuff that’s in the layer above – just without the quilting. It adds further cooling power to the product, and the two layers in tandem (with the breathable Tencel cover) make it a super cool product.
Hi Core Memory Foam
This is an advanced (and expensive) form of memory foam that is much more adaptive and supportive than normal memory foam. This is where the bulk of the pressure relief and excellent levels of support that made this mattress famous takes place. It’s also a very quick material to contour, and while it’s nowhere near as quick as the Comfort Cloud we talked about in the Puffy – it’s noticeably better than standard memory foam.
High-Density Support Foam
This layer is again boring and standard. It provides a stable base, it’s made from quality materials, and there’s not much else to say.
The Muse is a great product that uses some innovative technologies and design patterns to provide you with excellent performance at a reasonable price point.
Diamond Breeze Cover
The interesting thing about this cover is that it has “diamond breeze” technology inside of it. This is a unique design pattern that uses super small and thin strands of metal woven into the fabric. The metal disperses heat in a similar kind of way as cooling gel and spreads it out (eliminating hot spots) before it has the chance to enter the layers below.
Cooling Gel Memory Foam
This is a layer of cooling gel memory foam that’s of a high quality. There’s not much else to say here that we haven’t said about the products above. It’s good stuff, it keeps you cool, and it spreads the heat out well.
This layer of comfort foam is medium firm and is reasonably supportive. This layer is mainly here to provide a cheap yet effective transition from the softer plusher materials above to the supportive base below.
High-Density Support Foam
Again, this is essentially the same material as the base layers in the other products we’ve talked about. It’s a good quality material that secures and stabilizes the rest of the mattress.
3 Hybrid Mattresses we Recommend
Let’s take a look at 3 of the top coiled hybrid mattresses to see how they differ from the foam based hybrid products we talked about above.
We love the DreamCloud, it’s one of the finest examples of hybrid mattress design where foam and coils work hand in hand in perfect harmony.
The top section of the DreamCloud is essentially a huge pillow that has been stitched on to the top of the mattress. It’s super soft and makes the product feel very luxurious thanks to the generous amount of cashmere wool it is filled with.
Cooling Gel Memory Foam
Again, this is another layer of reasonably standard cooling gel memory foam. It’s a high-quality foam that’s similar to all the other cooling gel foams that we’ve talked about above.
Quilted Memory Foam
This layer of memory foam has been quilted in a similar way to the top layer of the Nectar. It provides luxury and loft to the product, and it further creates a resort style feel to the mattress (that’s made even better by being combined with the eurotop layer). Unlike the Nectar, however, this layer is not infused with cooling gel – but this far down into the mattress, it’s not really a problem.
Natural Latex Foam
Latex is one of the most expensive and impressive materials used in mattress design. In this product, it adds a little bit of bounce to the mattress, which is something many memory foam based products can lack. It’s also an excellent thermal regulator and will provide huge amounts of ventilation for hot air to flow freely inside the mattress.
Memory Foam X 2
There are two layers of standard memory foam next that are high quality yet boring. They’ve got no cooling tech inside them, and the top layer is firmer than the bottom layer – creating a gradient to the most interesting layer of the whole product below.
Best Rest Coils
These coils are a prime example of how coil based technology can improve upon pure foam-based products. They are independent coils that will only compress when you directly apply pressure to them. This means that the layer creates an impression that is very similar to your body shape instead of a general “dip”. It’s kind of like the contouring power of memory foam, just less precise, and with coils instead of foam.
However, the interesting part about this layer is the way it has been divided into zones.
There are 5 different parts to this layer, each of which has a different coil density. By doing this the mattress can support you where you need it, and provide you a little bit of slack where you don’t. It’s a simple concept that’s extremely effective – but it’s not one we see often, unfortunately.
High-Density Memory Foam
The base layer here is a little different to the other products on this page as it’s made from a high-density memory foam (instead of a high-density support foam). It provides a little more support and stability to the product, and it does its job well.
LUCID is well known for providing great products at a very reasonable price point. This product has some unique design features and infusions that make it stand out above the rest of the competition in the budget price bracket.
Ventilated Memory Foam
This is a layer of standard memory foam that’s not been infused with cooling gel. This is a problem usually, but the ventilation holes that have been drilled into the layer make things a little cooler.
It’s a reasonably warm sleeping surface in all honesty, but it’s far from being too warm to be comfortable. The layer has been infused with charcoal to remove smells that new memory foam mattresses can suffer from, and it keeps things fresher throughout the lifetime of the mattress.
This is a standard layer of transition foam that’s been infused with aloe vera. It again helps keep things fresher for longer, but the main purpose of the layer is to provide a gradient to the support section below.
The coils in this section are independent of one another and will only compress when under direct pressure (as we mentioned in the DreamCloud section above). However, they are not zoned like the DreamCloud and it’s a “one size fits all approach” instead. Regardless of this they still provide excellent levels of support.
This is a very thin layer of foam that encircles the coil layer above completely. It provides support around the edges of the mattress, and it stabilizes the coils slightly as they would otherwise be in direct contact with the bed frame.
The final product we are going to be recommending today is the Solay mattress. It’s another great example of what a well-designed hybrid mattress should be like. This is what you’re going to find inside:
This is made from the same organic Tencel material as the cover in the Nectar mattress – it’s super breathable, and it fights microbes and bacteria to keep your mattress fresh.
Cooling Gel Memory Foam
This is a soft cooling gel memory foam layer that is of an exceptionally high quality. We’re not going to repeat ourselves for the sake of it, it’s more or less the same as every other cooling gel we have talked about today.
Motion Reducing Foam
Because the layer above is quite soft, there could be some motion transfer when one sleeping partner moves throughout the night. This layer has been included to minimize the amount of disturbance caused when this happens – it’s particularly useful when one sleeping partner is much bigger than the other.
High-Density Comfort Foam
This layer provides a little bit of support and is mainly a transition layer to the coiled section below.
This is a layer of independent pocketed coils that will only compress with direct pressure applied to them (as we’ve mentioned a few times already). They are not zoned like the DreamCloud, but they are still extremely supportive and comfortable.
High-Density Support Foam
This is another base layer made from the same stuff as almost every other base layer we’ve mentioned today. It’s high quality, and it gets the job done.
So there you have it, hopefully, now you know a little bit more about memory foam and hybrid mattresses.
The product recommendations we have listed for you here today really are the cream of the crop. They’re products we talk about frequently in other articles, and they represent the very best that both kinds of mattress have to offer.
We would be shocked if you were disappointed by the performance or value for money that any of them provide – and they are all worthy of being added to your shortlist.