Memory Foam vs. Latex Hybrid Mattresses: What’s the Best?
Recently, hybrid mattresses have exploded in popularity thanks to the accessibility of online shopping. Many manufacturers now offer different types of hybrid mattresses, even hybrid mattresses in a box, to meet increasing demand.
The two most common hybrids are memory foam or latex. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, which can make the choice difficult. Our guide will explain the benefits and drawbacks of both so that you can make a more informed decision.
What is a Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress?
A memory foam hybrid has a memory foam comfort layer and a supportive coil base. This design essentially combines an innerspring mattress with a memory foam bed. To qualify as a true hybrid, the bed must have at least 2 to 3 inches of memory foam.
Why would the manufacturer blend elements from memory foam and innerspring mattresses together? It’s because a hybrid’s design minimizes the downfalls of each.
A hybrid is more comfortable than a traditional innerspring because of the addition of pressure-relieving foam. It is also more breathable than a conventional memory foam mattress. However, while hybrids minimize the shortcomings of both memory foam and innerspring beds, they still have their own downsides you’ll need to consider.
Pros of Memory Foam Hybrids
A memory foam hybrid is an excellent option for many sleepers. The bed’s design can offer pressure relief, motion isolation, edge support, and help control allergy symptoms.
Memory foam is one of the best materials for pressure relief—the foam yields to pressure and heat, allowing memory foam to contour to your body’s curves. The full-body support of memory foam limits pressure build-up, leading to more restful sleep.
Some manufacturers even arrange their hybrid’s coils for targeted pressure relief. Thinner, softer coils may be placed under sensitive areas such as your hips and shoulders. The added cushion improves contouring and eases pressure points.
Memory foam was originally designed for aircraft to improve the odds of surviving a crash. The material absorbs shock at the point of impact. When placed in a mattress, memory foam prevents your every movement from rippling across the mattress.
A hybrid also limits motion isolation with its pocketed coil support base. Since they are wrapped, each coil can react individually to your movements, reducing the risk of sags developing.
Most hybrid mattresses have rigid foams surrounding the coil layer to act as edge support.
Edge support is a particularly helpful feature if you have chronic pain or difficulty moving because it makes getting in and out of bed easier. Traditional memory foam mattresses give way when you sit on the edge, making you feel stuck or trapped.
Edge support isn’t without its drawbacks, though. It decreases the total surface area of your mattress, leaving you with less room to move around in bed.
A memory foam comfort layer naturally limits the number of allergens and dust mites in your mattress. The foam’s density is too high for most allergens to infiltrate it. Memory foam is also a good alternative for anyone who’s allergic to natural materials, such as wool.
A hybrid bed is a more hypoallergenic choice than its traditional counterpart, an innerspring mattress. The average innerspring can accumulate many allergens because its thin comfort layers can’t prevent dirt, dust, and other debris from accumulating in it. A hybrid’s thicker comfort layer is better at keeping out allergens and pests.
Cons of Memory Foam Hybrids
A memory foam hybrid isn’t flawless. There are drawbacks that sleepers should consider.
It’s impossible to make a memory foam bed without adding in petrochemicals, which are processed from crude oil and natural gas. Some manufacturers substitute a percentage of petrochemicals with plant-based materials, such as castor oil.
You also can’t make a memory foam mattress without volatile organic compounds (VOCs), though it is possible to produce a mattress with only trace amounts of VOCs.
When you unbox a new memory foam mattress, lingering VOCs from production will break down at room temperature. This chemical process is off-gassing. Off-gassing creates a noticeable smell that many people find unpleasant.
The scent usually disappears within a week, and you can speed up the process by keeping your mattress in a well-ventilated area. If the smell bothers you too much to sleep, try encasing your mattress in a protector. A tight woven protector can limit that new mattress smell.
Perhaps the most well-known drawback of a memory foam bed is how the material can trap heat. The density of traditional memory foam didn’t allow absorbed heat to escape easily. You might wake up in a sweat if body heat builds and warms your sleeping surface.
Many manufacturers mix in cooling gels and other materials to help memory foam disperse heat better. A hybrid’s design also helps reduce heat retention. The breathable coil layer provides more room for air circulation than a traditional memory foam mattress’s dense base layer.
Memory foam is usually a budget-friendly material. Memory foam hybrids have high production costs because they’re a mix of both quality foam and coils.
Conventional memory foam mattresses are typically more affordable. Many memory foam mattresses cost under $1000. If you want a conforming bed but aren’t ready to invest in a hybrid, a pure foam mattress is an excellent choice.
What is a Latex Hybrid Mattress?
A latex hybrid is a mattress with a latex foam top and a coil support system. The foam top should feature at least 2 to 3 inches of latex.
There are two types of natural latex, known as Dunlop and Talalay latex. Both are made from rubber tree sap. However, producers following the Talalay process add synthetic materials. That makes Dunlop latex the only 100 percent natural latex.
You’ll also find mattresses with synthetic latex. Synthetic latex mattresses are less durable and sustainable than natural latex beds. However, synthetic latex is inexpensive and a good alternative if you’re allergic to natural latex.
Pros of Latex Hybrids
A latex hybrid mattress can be a good choice if you want an eco-friendly, durable bed with some bounce.
A hybrid with a latex top may feature more bounce than the average hybrid mattress. Latex is a springy material with a natural lift. If you enjoy lying on top of your mattress instead of sinking slightly, a latex hybrid is a good choice.
A natural latex mattress is a sustainable product. Dunlop latex is the most environmentally friendly choice since the Talalay latex process mixes in poly-foam fillers. Many latex mattress manufacturers also use other natural materials such as organic wool.
If you want to shop green, double-check that you’re buying a natural latex mattress. Synthetic latex mattresses are made from combinations of chemical compounds, so they’re not an eco-friendly product.
Natural latex mattresses are well-known for their durability. A cared-for latex mattress can last up to 15 years. That lifespan is more than twice the length of the average memory foam mattress’s lifespan of about 7 years.
However, it’s still uncertain how long a latex hybrid mattress lasts. Because the design is still a new innovation, we can’t say a latex hybrid would last more than a decade. While latex is a sturdy material, many coils wear down and sag within 5 to 7 years. Even a resilient top layer won’t feel comfortable if it’s on an unsupportive coil base.
Cons of Latex Hybrid
There’s no such thing as a perfect mattress, and latex hybrids are no exception. You might discover a latex hybrid is too bouncy or costs too much money.
Too Much Bounce
Latex is often a more sensitive material than memory foam. That extra bit of springiness can limit sinkage and keep you on top of the mattress. However, the bounciness might feel excessive when paired with a hybrid’s coil support.
Latex is a naturally expensive material because of how difficult it is to produce. First, rubber tree sap must be harvested and shipped back. Then, a mattress manufacturer must pour the sap into a mold and allow the material to set.
Complicating the price issue is the fact that hybrids are already a costly choice. Even hybrids without latex usually have prices higher than $1,000. That is why a latex hybrid can be one of the more expensive mattress types on the market.
Hard to Find
A latex hybrid is a relatively rare mattress type. You’re more likely to find a memory foam or poly-foam hybrid in your search. This rarity also means there’s a limited selection when it comes to latex hybrids.
About Mattress Firmness
One thing memory foam and latex hybrids have in common is that they’re available in a wide range of firmnesses. The right mattress firmness for you will depend on your sleep position and body type.
Your sleeping position determines where pressure points will build up in your body. Side sleepers tend to have pressure accumulate in their shoulders and hips. A mattress for side sleeping should have a soft to medium feel.
Back and stomach sleepers need support more than they do pressure-relieving cushion. A mattress for back sleeping should be medium-firm to firm. A medium feel bed is fine for a back sleeper if it features targeted back support.
A stomach sleeper’s mattress should have a firm feel. A firm bed limits sinkage and prevents spinal misalignment.
Your body weight affects how much you push down on a mattress. A softer mattress is often too conforming for a heavier person and may misalign their spine. A mattress for a heavy sleeper over 230 pounds should have a firm feel to withstand their weight better.
If you weigh under 130 pounds, a soft mattress may be needed for full-body pressure relief. A firmer bed may not sufficiently contour to your body.
Consider the Zoma Hybrid
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of hybrids, you’re better prepared to judge our Zoma Hybrid mattress’s quality. Our Zoma Hybrid mixes gel memory foam with pocketed coils to create a blend of cool cushion and bouncy support.
The gel foam has triangular cutouts in the head, shoulder, and leg areas as part of our Triangulex™ technology. The cutouts add a flexible cushion for more pressure points to these sensitive areas. Plus, air can circulate through the cutouts and wick away body heat.
Our hybrid also has Reactiv™ foam sandwiched between the comfort and support layers. Reactiv™ foam has a bouncy feel that creates a more responsive bed. As you move across the mattress, it’s quick to snap back to its original shape.
A queen size Zoma Hybrid is $999 and includes a 100-night trial period and a 10-year warranty. If you’re not satisfied with the Zoma Hybrid during your sleep trial, we will schedule a home pickup and offer a full refund.
Frequently Asked Questions
Latex and memory foam are both available in a wide variety of firmnesses. Side sleepers can choose a soft to medium mattress, while back and stomach sleepers can enjoy a medium-firm to firm mattress. That said, many sleepers believe that latex feels a little firmer than memory foam.
No, memory foam and latex are made out of different materials. Memory foam is polyurethane foam with added pressure and heat sensitivity. Natural latex foam is made by whipping rubber tree sap into a foam.
Hybrids are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a mattress to soothe back pain. Many hybrid mattresses have coils arranged to offer targeted back support. Plus, their foam tops can contour to your back’s curves for pressure and pain relief.
If you’re suffering from morning back pain, you might want to look for a medium-firm hybrid mattress. A 2015 study recommends a medium-firm mattress for relieving back pain.
Hybrids are an excellent mattress for side sleepers who want a bed with some bounce. The traditional bouncy innerspring mattress isn’t a good choice for side sleepers. Most innerspring mattresses can’t conform well enough to ease pressure in the shoulders and hips.
A hybrid mattress for side sleepers balances pressure-relieving cushion with supportive springs.
Many choose a hybrid bed for its bouncy nature. Hybrid manufacturers improve upon the conventional coil design by encasing every coil. This design isolates the coils' reactions, limiting motion transfer, and preventing sleep disturbances.
Hybrid mattresses also feature excellent pressure relief. Their thick foam tops can fully contour to your body.
There are quite a few ways that memory foam and latex differ. Natural latex can be a 100 percent organic material. However, many manufacturers add in poly-foam fillers to soften latex’s feel. To create latex, rubber tree sap is harvested and whipped into foam.
Conversely, memory foam must contain petrochemicals. Manufacturers can replace a portion with plant-based substitutes. However, it’s impossible to cut petrochemicals from production completely.
Latex can feel cooler, bouncier, and firmer than memory foam. Because of latex’s added bounce, it may offer a little less motion isolation than a memory foam mattress.
Did We Help?
The growing popularity of hybrid mattresses means you have many options if you want a bouncy bed. Memory foam and latex hybrids are two common types, but they’re not your only options. Many budget mattresses combine a poly-foam top layer with a coil base.
No matter what type of hybrid you pick, make sure you always buy a mattress with a sleep trial. A sleep trial gives you a few months to decide if a mattress feels right for you. If it’s not the best mattress, you can return it and get your money back.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.