Hybrid vs. Innerspring Mattresses

In This Article
The Evolution of Mattress Comfort
Hybrid vs. Innerspring Mattresses: Key Differences
What Is a Hybrid Mattress?
What Is an Innerspring Mattress?
Which Model Is Right For Me?
Nolah’s Hybrid Options

The Evolution of Mattress Comfort

First made in 1871 by German inventor Heinrich Westphal, innerspring mattresses remain the most popular mattress type worldwide. Innerspring models certainly aren't the most advanced kind of bed, but their affordability and accessibility have given them staying power. 

Today, innerspring mattresses have tough competition. Thanks to e-commerce and mattress compression technology, modern mattress brands have shifted their focus toward foam, natural latex, and hybrid models.

Hybrid mattresses—the latest development in mattress technology—have much in common with traditional innerspring mattresses, but they pack in far more features. You can think of hybrid mattresses as next-generation iterations of innerspring beds. These premium mattresses haven't been around long enough to rival innerspring beds in popularity, but they exceed their predecessor in terms of comfort and support. 

Hybrid vs. Innerspring Mattresses: Key Differences 

So, what's the difference between hybrid and innerspring mattresses? 

Both mattress models have a coil support core—the primary difference between innerspring and hybrid mattresses is the quality and number of comfort layers that rest on top of the spring system. 

Innerspring mattresses have one comfort layer on top, often a stuffed pillowtop or a sheet of foam. On the other hand, hybrid mattresses have numerous comfort layers—typically foam or latex—that provide cushioning and additional support. As a result, hybrid mattresses usually have a much thicker profile than traditional innerspring mattresses and offer deeper support. They also provide more cushioning and pressure relief. 

What Is a Hybrid Mattress?

Hybrids are luxury mattresses and often employ the latest advancements in sleep technology. Because they pack in so many features and layers, they generally cost more than all-foam, all-latex, and innerspring models. Granted, they offer the most support. 

While traditional innerspring mattresses tend to lack cushioning and contouring, foam and latex mattresses don’t offer as much resistance as coil mattresses. By combining a spring support system with multiple comfort layers, hybrid beds address the shortcomings of the other mattress types. You can think of hybrid mattresses as an all-in-one solution to your sleep needs. 


Memory Foam vs. Foam vs. Latex Hybrids 

When you buy a hybrid mattress, you get to decide which cushioning material you want on top: foam (​​polyurethane foam or polyfoam), memory foam (viscoelastic polyurethane), or latex foam. These mattress foams all hug your curves and respond to your movements, but they differ in feel and other characteristics. 

The table below summarizes the unique qualities associated with traditional memory foam, Nolah AirFoam™ (our proprietary polyfoam used in the Nolah Evolution hybrid), and all-natural Talalay latex (the latex foam used in the Nolah Natural hybrid).  

Memory Foam
Nolah AirFoam™
Talalay Latex
-Close contouring

-Deep conforming (can jeopardize spinal alignment,
especially in softer models) 
-Gentle contouring
-Gentle contouring
Pressure Relief
-Takes a few seconds to react to pressure and pressure removal 
-Reacts quickly to pressure and pressure removal 
-Responds instantaneously to pressure and pressure removal,
giving the material its signature bounce 
-Contains heat-trapping viscoelastic chemicals

-Low breathability 
-No viscoelastic chemicals

-100% temperature neutral

-No viscoelastic chemicals

-100% temperature neutral

-Highly breathable with perforated design
-Excellent, lasts even longer than Nolah AirFoam™ 

Aside from cushioning your curves and joints, a hybrid mattress's comfort layers also provide additional support. Each layer of a hybrid serves a unique purpose, so they may differ in density and other construction qualities. However, they all work together to make one comfortable, supportive mattress with a uniform feel. This multi-layer design allows brands to offer the same mattress model in different firmness levels.

Hybrid Support

As with traditional innerspring mattresses, hybrids used tensioned coils to provide resistance. The force from the springs stabilizes the sleeper while keeping their spine supported and aligned. 

How much support a coil system offers depends on a combination of factors, including coil type, size, count, tension, and gauge. When shopping for an innerspring or hybrid bed, shoppers should look at these features collectively, as they all work together to give the mattress structure and strength. 

Hybrid mattresses almost always use pocketed, individually-wrapped coils. Many higher-end innerspring mattresses employ this design as well, but older innerspring beds and discount models use a single continuous coil for the entire support system.

With pocketed coils, each spring stands alone, enhancing responsiveness and motion isolation. This design also increases the mattress’s overall durability, and most pocketed coils use a breathable casing fabric like cotton that doesn’t interfere with air circulation and cooling. 

It depends on the maker and model, but most hybrid mattresses also feature targeted support zones. For example, Nolah’s hybrids all have a TriZone™ design, providing enhanced support around the heaviest regions of the body. Many hybrids also have reinforced edges, using stronger and thicker coils around the perimeter. You’ll find these features in some higher-end innerspring mattresses as well. 

What Is an Innerspring Mattress? 

Innerspring mattresses have the same coil support core as hybrid mattresses but don’t have numerous foam or latex comfort layers on top. Instead, they have just one layer for cushioning and contouring. In most cases, the uppermost layer consists of foam, memory foam, or a stuffed pillowtop. 

The Comfort Layer

The thickness and material used for the comfort layer contribute to an innerspring mattress’s overall firmness level and feel. These factors also set each innerspring mattress model apart in cost, contouring, pressure relief, temperature regulation, and durability. 

In general, the thicker the comfort layer, the more cushioning and pressure relief the mattress offers. However, a single layer can only do so much. Hybrids provide more comfort and support than traditional innerspring beds, thanks to their multi-layer construction. 

Innerspring Support 

As previously mentioned, innerspring mattresses may use a continuous coil or the more advanced pocketed coil design. Individually-wrapped coils offer better durability, responsiveness, and motion isolation, and this design allows for targeted support zones. 

Innerspring mattresses don’t offer as much support as their hybrid counterparts, but a high-quality model will still offer enough stability and spinal alignment for many sleepers. However, without multiple layers of cushioning comfort, innerspring mattresses provide limited pressure relief. For many people, sleeping on a low-quality innerspring mattress aggravates pressure points and joints, causing aches and pains. 

Which Model Is Right For Me?

Still can’t decide between a hybrid and innerspring mattress? That’s okay! Answering the questions below can help you make a decision and point you toward your ideal bed. 

What’s your budget? 

Hybrid mattresses are thicker and packed with more comfort and support features than traditional innerspring beds. As a result, they generally cost more. However, shoppers should note that hybrid mattresses last longer. You may pay more up front, but you won’t have to replace your bed until years down the road. 

What’s your sleep position?

Contouring and pressure relief are important for all sleepers, but especially side and back sleepers. If you sleep in either position and struggle with joint pain or back pain, we recommend a hybrid (or an all-form or all-latex model) over an innerspring mattress. Aside from top-of-the-line models, traditional innerspring mattresses don’t offer enough cushioning to relieve stress in high-pressure areas. 

That said, stomach sleepers don’t want a mattress with too much contouring and cushioning. For many stomach sleepers, both innerspring mattresses and firmer hybrids make a good fit. 

Which comfort and support features matter most to you?

Everyone has unique sleep habits and physical needs. That’s why mattresses aren’t a one-size-fits-all commodity. Ask yourself, what do you need from your mattress for healthy, comfortable sleep? 

If cushioning, pressure relief, motion isolation (great for anyone who shares a bed), and responsiveness are critical for you, it’s likely worth it to spend more and choose a hybrid. 

Nolah’s Hybrid Options 

For shoppers who decide a hybrid mattress is the way to go, Nolah offers two premium options—our Nolah Evolution foam hybrid and Nolah Natural latex hybrid. 

Both models offer targeted support with an 8-inch layer of HDMax™ Tri-Zone™ coils. The Nolah Evolution features a luxurious quilted Euro topper plus three foam layers, including a cooling layer of graphite-infused AirFoamICE™. Meanwhile, the Nolah Natural uses Talalay latex foam, a highly-responsive material made with sustainable latex. Shoppers can click here to learn more about the Nolah Evolution and here to see the Nolah Natural.