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Memory foam and hybrid models are two of the most popular mattress types on the market. You might hear people rave about memory foam beds or gush about the supportive feel of a hybrid, but which one is the real winner?

While each mattress type has its advantages and disadvantages, what works for your BFF might end up keeping you up all night. Below, we take a closer look at the differences between these two mattress types and provide tips on how to choose between a hybrid and memory foam model.

You might assume that any foam mattress contains memory foam, but not all of them do. Memory foam is just one type of foam. Others include latex, gel, and polyfoam.

Memory foam has a distinct feel that offers pressure relief by conforming to your body shape. Some people like the sunken-in feeling of memory foam, while others describe the sensation as feeling trapped in quicksand.

A hybrid mattress contains a combination of foam and pocketed or innerspring coils. Pocketed coils are individually wrapped, which helps reduce movement. Innerspring coils are all connected to one another, so they’re not ideal for motion isolation.

The foam in a hybrid mattress can be any type of foam, including gel, memory, latex, or a company’s specific foam. Gel foams are generally better at regulating temperatures than memory foams. Natural latex is a more eco-friendly option.

The combination of foam and coils in a hybrid mattress is designed to support with a dash of pressure relief. Since they may contain different materials, hybrid mattresses can feel wildly different from one another.

Here are some of the benefits of a memory foam mattress:

  • Softness. People tend to gravitate toward memory foam for the soft, body-conforming feeling of this type of foam.
  • Motion isolation. Foam mattresses without coils or springs tend to isolate movement, decreasing your chances of disturbing your sleep partner if you move around.
  • Affordable. Memory foam mattresses are typically cheaper than hybrid ones.

What’s not to love about a memory foam mattress? Here are a few potential drawbacks:

  • Trapped feeling. Some people hate the sinking feeling of memory foam. If you’re claustrophobic, opt for another type of mattress.
  • Less durable. Memory foam mattresses may be cheaper than hybrids, but they also tend to wear out quicker.
  • Not ideal for people with more weight. People with lower body weights will be most comfortable on memory foam surfaces. People with higher body weights will find their memory foam mattress wears out faster and may sink too much.

Why choose a hybrid mattress over a memory foam one? Here are a few reasons:

  • Good for multiple body types. With a combination of foam and coils, hybrids can support all kinds of bodies.
  • Durability. Because they contain coils and foam, they’re more durable in the long run than all-foam models.
  • Supportive. Coils prevent sinking known to happen with memory foam, so hybrids tend to be more supportive than all-foam models.

Here are a few downsides to a hybrid mattress:

  • Lower quality motion isolation. Models with innerspring coils won’t isolate movement as well as those with pocketed coils.
  • Expensive. The higher cost is a drawback but may also get you more support and better durability.

Sure, a hybrid may technically be more supportive than a memory foam mattress, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll find this type of surface more comfortable. What’s comfy for you might ruin someone else’s beauty sleep.

Memory foam mattresses tend to be softer than hybrids, but even hybrids can have soft layers. Mattress firmness will vary depending on your body type and weight. If you have higher body weight, a firm bed might feel softer than it would for someone with lower body weight.

When deciding between a hybrid or memory foam mattress, consider the major differences and figure out which of them is a deal breaker.

  • Weight capacity. How much do you weigh? Do you sleep with a partner or furry pal? If so, a memory foam mattress might not provide enough support. Opt for a hybrid instead.
  • Sinkage. Does the idea of sinking into your sleep surface evoke feelings of coziness? A memory foam mattress might help you sleep better. Does the thought of sinking into your mattress make you panic? Skip the foam and opt for a hybrid model.
  • Budget. If you sleep alone and need to stick to a strict budget, a memory foam mattress might be a more economical option.
  • Sleep style. Your sleeping position matters, too. Memory foam may not allow for easy movement if you’re a combination sleeper or you toss and turn. That said, the pressure-relieving properties of foam are ideal for side sleepers. A hybrid’s firm supportive design may be better for back and stomach sleepers.

Still can’t decide?

Browse our top hybrid and memory foam mattress picks.

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Whatever you settle on — hybrid or memory foam — be sure to buy from a company that allows you to try out your mattress. You can do hours of research, but an in-person sleep test is the only way to know whether a mattress feels comfortable to you.

Don’t be afraid to return a mattress that doesn’t feel right. You’ll spend a good chunk of your life sleeping on it, so it should be comfortable!


Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.