Everything to Know About a Hybrid Mattress Before You Spend Over $1,000

published Dec 25, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Tessa Cooper

No one buys a new mattress without dragging their heels a little. Mattresses may be necessary, but they’re quite an investment, so it’s understandable if you make up reasons to not buy a new one until the situation becomes dire. Plus, finding the best possible mattress for your comfort is challenging. If your time has come to purchase a new one, and you’ve seen the term “hybrid mattress” tossed around, here’s what that means and why a hybrid mattress may be worth your consideration.

Most people have one image of traditional mattresses: a grid of hard coils set within a soft outer shell. You might also think of a foam sleeper, made from various latex, memory foam, or gel materials. But as the name suggests, a hybrid mattress combines the two concepts with the goal of balancing softness and support. It can also provide more airflow than an all-foam mattress. 

But is it right for your best rest? I asked Byron Golub, vice president of product and merchandising at mattress company Saatva (which sells hybrid mattresses among other types of mattresses), about the benefits and drawbacks of hybrid mattresses. 

What Is a Hybrid Mattress Made Of?

In a hybrid mattress, there are typically four layers: coils, memory foam, a cooling gel, and a plush topper.

You’re not ditching springs altogether in a hybrid sleeper. Inner metal coils are still at the base, but individually wrapped in fabric to help better absorb movement, per Golub, so all the springs don’t react at once. (Some hybrid designs use connected coils, but it’s much less common.) 

Next comes a memory foam comfort layer that allows the mattress to conform to your body. “Hybrid mattresses feel responsive, like innerspring mattresses, but they also have a slightly contouring feel, thanks to the foam in the comfort layer,” Golub says. (While memory foam is most common, some hybrid mattresses may have a soft latex or polyfoam comfort layer.) The mix of coils and foam provides more support at the edges of your bed than you’d find in a memory foam mattress.

“Hybrid mattresses can also include cooling materials like gel or graphite in the comfort layer and have a pillow top for additional cushioning,” according to Golub.

Credit: Design: Apartment Therapy

Essentially, a hybrid mattress combines the best of a traditional mattress’s support and breathability with the highlights of modern memory foam technology. Most hybrid mattresses have the four main layers outlined above, and some may have extra support for different firmness levels or additional cooling layers.  

Who Is a Hybrid Mattress Right For?

More than 60% of American adults are side sleepers, according to the Sleep Foundation — and, as it turns out, good candidates for a hybrid sleep solution. “Hybrid mattresses are an excellent option for individuals who sleep on their sides,” Golub says. “Their unique combination of foam and innerspring support targets shoulders and hips, two major pressure points for side sleepers.” 

“You should consider the level of firmness, especially if you have back pain,” Golub says. People experiencing back pain could benefit from a “medium-firm” mattress’s soft-yet-firm support, according to a December 2021 article in the Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology

A hybrid mattress with the cooling properties of a gel layer may help hot sleepers skip nighttime sweat sessions. 

Sleeping with a partner? The memory foam and the individually wrapped pocket coils could make it less likely you’ll feel the tossing and turning of someone sleeping next to you. “Because [hybrid mattresses] reduce motion transfer, they’re a good choice for couples,” Golub adds. 

It all comes down to whether you find a hybrid mattress comfortable when you sleep on it. Either test one out in-store or take advantage of warranties and trial periods — many brands allow for at least a 30-night trial period.

How Much Does a Hybrid Mattress Cost?

Golub says that if there’s any real pitfall to a hybrid mattress, it’s that many of the options can be expensive — like, well over $1,000. “Some hybrid models can have a higher average cost than others because you are paying for a more specialized sleep experience and the additional materials needed to create it,” he notes. 

One way to look at this purchase is to divide the cost by the number of years you’ll ideally be sleeping on this mattress. The Better Sleep Council says it’s best to start shopping for a new mattress after seven years, but most people can hold onto theirs for a decade. Do the math to see if it’s a purchase that makes sense for you and your budget. Of course, prioritizing your sleep is one of the best decisions you can make for your health.