What is a hybrid mattress? Sleep experts explain

Hybrid mattresses have soared in popularity over the past few years – here's what makes them different

bedroom with double bed layered with sheets and pillows
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Choosing a mattress isn't something you can do in your sleep, and although many brands offer free trials that last for months, we'd much rather pick with confidence and avoid the hassle of returns. 

The hybrid mattress was invented in 2008 to make something more comfortable than the existing options of a mattress with either coil springs or foam. Hybrid models with springs and foam have since become some of the most popular out there, and you'll often hear them described as giving you the best of both worlds. 

Below, we explain what hybrid mattresses are to help you decide whether this might be the best mattress type for you, taking into consideration your sleeping position and budget.

hybrid mattress cross section with foam and springs

(Image credit: Emma - The Sleep Company)

What is a hybrid mattress?

Just like a hybrid car combines a conventional combustion engine and a newer electric motor, a hybrid mattress blends both traditional springs and foam. When choosing a mattress, remember that a hybrid mattress will always have foam, be it memory foam, latex, or cooling gel, and steel springs. 

In contrast, an innerspring mattress uses a coil system and a foam mattress has layers of foam and no coils.

So this blend of old and new is intended to give both comfort and support, with the foam yielding to the shape of your body and the coil springs providing firmer support below. The foam and springs mean the mattress has some bounce while also feeling sturdy.

And, as Theresa Schnorbach, sleep scientist from Emma - The Sleep Company points out, it removes that feeling of “sinking in” associated with a memory foam mattress.

blue bedroom with double bed, artwork and rattan covered wardrobe

(Image credit: Future PLC)

What are the pros of having a hybrid mattress?

Hybrid mattresses have benefits in terms of comfort, temperature, and noise. 

Relieve pressure points

Theresa Schnorbach says that because they reduce that 'sinking in' feeling, hybrid mattresses can help to relieve pressure from the muscles by keeping the body on top of the mattress. A hybrid mattress is also able to adapt to your body as you change positions throughout the night. 

Help you sleep cooler

'With more breathability, hybrid mattresses have the added benefit of improving temperature regulation which can aid better sleep,' Theresa explains. So replacing a memory foam with a hybrid mattress, as well as upgrading to the best pillows and best bed sheets, will make a difference if you tend to get too hot at night.

They're durable

The experts at Avocado Green Mattress highlight that not only do hybrids sleep 28% cooler, but they're also 26% more durable, according to a study by Kansas State University Institute of Environmental Research.  

Reduces disturbance

'A thick layer of memory foam around the springs reduces both noise and bounce of the springs, helping you to sleep comfortably all night,' Theresa adds. 

A hybrid is therefore a good choice for light sleepers and those who tend to move around a lot.

Suit all sleep positions

As well as being comfortable for side sleepers, they're also great if you sleep on your back or stomach.

What are the cons?

Price

Hybrid mattresses can often be more expensive than other mattresses.

Weight

Many are heavier than a standard mattress. That said, they shouldn't be flipped, only rotated, because of the layers of foam and springs.

'The downside is that they may not be as financially accessible to some people as they are on the higher side of a price tag,' comments Becca Fair, Certified Sleep Science Coach and Sleep Accessories Editor at Mattressnerd.com. 'Also, another con is everybody seems to be calling their mattress a "hybrid" these days, so doing your due diligence to ensure a product is "really" a hybrid is a must.'

colorful bedroom with bed, large yellow table lamp and bedside table

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Is a hybrid mattress firm or soft?

'Hybrid mattresses adapt to your body to offer support tailored to your needs,' says Theresa. 'Emma’s hybrid mattress, for example, has 5 Zone CarbonFlex Springs which work independently to provide precision support to promote proper spine alignment with the neck.'

'I have a hybrid mattress and it has transformed not just my sleep but my achy body!' says Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens, Lucy Searle. 'Over the years, I've tested and slept on regular and memory foam mattresses. I find the former too hard, and the latter I sink into. Hybrids offer the moulded comfort I need but the support, too.'

What is the main difference between a hybrid and a regular mattress?

A regular mattress uses springs to support and distribute the weight and pressure of your body while you sleep. A hybrid mattress has a spring base and an additional layer of foam on top, which is designed to boost the quality of your sleep. As mentioned above, this means you shouldn't flip hybrid mattresses as you would a regular spring mattress.

As a short-term fix, you could purchase one of the best mattress toppers to make your current sleep setup that bit more comfortable. 

Buy if you're thinking of buying, we can recommend the hybrid mattresses (below), which earned the top two places in our round-up of the best mattresses.

Saatva Classic Mattress | was $1,995, now $1,695 for Queen

Saatva Classic Mattress | <a href="https://www.prf.hn/click/camref:1100l8udd/pubref:hawk-custom-tracking/destination:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.saatva.com%2Fmattresses%2Fsaatva-classic" data-link-merchant="saatva.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">was $1,995, now $1,695 for Queen
Our top-rated mattress, the Saatva Classic has a quality Euro-top design, organic cotton cover, and reinforced coils. Saatva offer three different firmness options and two heights for a customized fit. It's now up to $350 off, but you can save up to $500, depending on your spending level. 

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress | was $1,199, now $899 for Queen, plus $599 worth of free gifts at DreamCloud

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress | <a href="https://dreamcloudsleep.xuok.net/c/221109/473934/8339?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dreamcloudsleep.com%2Fmattress" data-link-merchant="dreamcloudsleep.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">was $1,199, now $899 for Queen, plus $599 worth of free gifts at DreamCloud
Grab this top-rated mattress now for under $1,000, plus a bedding set worth $599 for free. DreamCloud's New Year sale offers 25% off our pick for the best value mattress plus free pillows, a mattress protector, and a luxury sheet set.

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.