What is a Hybrid Coil Mattress?

Hybrid coil mattresses are often called hybrid mattresses or just hybrids. These beds mix the support core of an innerspring mattress with the thick comfort layers of a foam bed. The result is a bed that’s bouncier than a foam mattress and contours better than an innerspring bed.

Our Recommendation: Zoma Hybrid

What is a Hybrid Coil Mattress?Our designers drew upon more than 20 years of mattress-making experience when creating the Zoma Hybrid. The hybrid’s blend of support and comfort can improve your sleep quality, leaving you refreshed and ready to face a new day.

The hybrid’s comfort layer is 2 inches of gel memory foam for a cool sleeping surface with pressure relief. We include triangular cutouts in the leg and shoulder areas as part of our Triangulex™ technology.

Triangulex™ allows the bed to contour closer for more pressure relief. Plus, the cutouts increase airflow through the mattress, wicking away accumulated heat.

Next is 2 inches of Reactiv™ foam. Reactiv™ is a springy material we designed to limit sinkage, preventing you from feeling stuck in your bed.

Six inches of pocketed coils support the Zoma Hybrid. We wrap all the coils in individual packets to promote independent reactions. That means that when you press down on a coil, it won’t affect the coils around it, limiting motion transfer.

The mattress’s base is an inch of firm foam. The stiff foam base provides a surface for the coils to push against, minimizing sagging.

A queen size Zoma Hybrid is $999 and includes a 10-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial. Should you decide the mattress isn’t the right bed for you, we will pick it up and offer you a full refund.

Construction of a Hybrid Mattress

Most hybrid mattresses can be broken down into three parts—a comfort layer, a transition layer, and a support core. More luxurious models may include a second transition layer or an added pillow top.

Manufacturers sometimes label a mattress a hybrid when it doesn’t combine innerspring coils with a foam comfort layer. For example, some companies may call an all-foam mattress a “foam hybrid” because it contains different foams. Knowing the composition of a real hybrid bed will prevent you from falling for marketing tactics.

Comfort Layer

A bed must have at least 2 inches of foam in the comfort layer to qualify as a true hybrid mattress. If the foam is thinner than 2 inches, it’s not a hybrid—but instead, an innerspring. Many hybrids have comfort foams between 3 to 5 inches.

Memory foam is the typical top layer in hybrids. However, some hybrids contain different types of foam, such as latex, gel foam, or poly-foam.

Transition Layer

Transition layers are sandwiched between the comfort layer and support core to serve as a buffer between the soft foam and the firm coils. These layers are usually a type of polyurethane foam. A less expensive hybrid may lack a transition layer, which can reduce the bed’s overall comfort.

Transition layers usually offer extra spinal support, preventing you from sinking down too far into the bed and misaligning your spine. This responsiveness can also keep you from feeling “stuck” in your mattress, helping the mattress quickly regain its shape when you move.

Support Core

Hundreds of pocketed coils support a hybrid mattress. These pocketed coils are steel springs wrapped up in foam or fabric.

One way you can judge the quality of a hybrid’s coils is by finding out the bed’s coil count. Some mattress brands may try to pass off a hybrid as a premium bed by advertising a coil count in the thousands. However, an extremely high coil count often means the manufacturer chose quantity over quality, using thin springs that are quick to lose support.

Look for coil counts between 400 to 1,200, depending on the size of the mattress you’re considering.

Benefits of a Hybrid

There are many advantages to sleeping on a hybrid mattress. The bed’s responsive pressure relief and cooling features can help you get a better night’s rest.

Pressure Relief

The top foam layer of a hybrid mattress provides more pressure relief than a standard innerspring mattress, and about as much pressure relief as you would find on a quality memory foam mattress. Plus, a hybrid’s pocketed coils often feature targeted support. Thinner coils are under areas that need more cushion, such as your shoulders and hips, for added pressure relief.

Responsiveness

Innerspring coils add a bounce to a hybrid that other kinds of mattresses usually lack. All-foam mattresses can trap a sleeper if the bed is slow to adapt to their movements. The coil’s springiness lifts a sleeper and prevents them from feeling stuck in their bed.

Edge Support

Most hybrids have stiff foams around the mattress’s perimeter to protect the coil layer. These rigid foams also create a supportive edge that people can sit on, making it easier to move in and out of bed. Edge support is especially important if you’re looking for a mattress for arthritis or another condition that limits a person’s movements.

However, edge support doesn’t come without a cost. Beds with edge support have a slightly smaller sleeping surface.

Motion Isolation

One of the biggest weaknesses of a traditional innerspring mattress is the bed’s tendency to let movement ripple across the mattress. If you shift even a little, your partner is likely to feel it on the other side of the bed.

The thick foam layers and pocketed coils of a hybrid provide better motion isolation. If you’re looking to share a bed, a hybrid is an excellent choice.

Durability

A hybrid mattress is relatively durable, often lasting between six to eight years. That puts it ahead of your typical innerspring and on par with an average memory foam mattress. The exact lifespan of a hybrid usually depends on its foam density and coil quality.

Drawbacks of a Hybrid

There’s no such thing as a perfect mattress. Hybrids come with a set of cons that may outweigh the pros, like any other mattress.

Expensive Prices

For many sleepers, the biggest hurdle for buying a hybrid is the higher price tag. Many hybrid mattresses cost between $1,000 to $2,000, with more luxurious models costing $3,000 or more.

If you want a fair deal on a new hybrid, try shopping with online mattress brands. Online companies ship directly to the customer and typically have fewer business expenses. They can usually sell their beds at lower prices than your local mattress store.

Noisy Coils

The fabric or pocket wrapped around each coil in a hybrid reduces the odds of squeaking or creaking, but it doesn’t eliminate them. Those who sleep on a hybrid complain far more about noise than all-foam mattress owners. However, hybrids are still quieter than traditional innersprings or airbeds with smart technology, which rely on potentially noisy electric pumps.

Too Much Bounce

The springiness of a hybrid mattress is one of its selling points. However, the bounce may be too much for some to handle. Couples in particular often find that a hybrid mattress may not isolate motion as well as an all-foam bed.

Judging a Hybrid Mattress

With so many mattresses on the market, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re shopping. One of the bigger questions consumers have is how they can judge the quality of a mattress. After all, it’s hardly as simple as paying for the most expensive mattress to get the highest quality.

Some research is required to choose the best hybrid mattress, but you don’t have to spend days on in-depth research. It’s often as simple as considering the density of the foam layer and the coil quality of the support system.

Foam Density

A foam’s density can give you an idea of how long the foam will last. High-density foams tend to be more durable because they contain more material. That extra material helps to bind the foam together, allowing it to resist more wear and tear.

However, there’s a drawback to dense foams. The material is quick to absorb heat but slow to release it. So a dense comfort foam can cause you to sleep hot.

When mattress shopping, it’s smart to look for a compromise and find a foam that’s not too light or too dense. A good comfort foam often weighs between 2 to 5 pounds per square foot.

Coil Gauge

Knowing the coil gauge can help you determine how long a hybrid is likely to last and how the hybrid may feel. Coil gauge expresses how thick a coil is, with a higher measurement indicating a thinner coil. Many coils are between 12 to 18 millimeters.

Thinner coils tend to feature less support than a thicker coil because they’re less resilient. However, a thinner coil can help promote a softer feel, while a thicker coil may create a firmer sleeping surface.

Coil Count

Coil count measures the numbers of coils in a hybrid mattress’s support layer. For a larger mattress, the number of coils should range between 800 to 1,200. Smaller mattress sizes, such as a twin bed, may only have a few hundred coils.

Be cautious when it comes to hybrid mattresses with thousands of coils. Less scrupulous manufacturers may increase the number of coils by using smaller, thinner coils that offer less support.

Other Mattress Types

There are more kinds of mattresses than hybrids. The best mattress for you might be a memory foam, latex, or innerspring mattress instead.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses have become one of the more popular mattress choices within the last decade. It’s not hard to figure out why, as the mattresses offer a mix of full-body support and pressure relief, usually at an affordable price. Many excellent memory foam mattresses cost less than $1000.

Memory foam beds owe much of their popularity to the rising trend of bed in a box mattresses. The foam is quick to compress, making the mattress simple to roll up and slide inside a box for home delivery. The material is also a popular choice for couples  because memory foam’s motion isolation promotes an undisturbed night of rest.

One big difference between a memory foam and a hybrid mattress is the bed’s feel. While both tend to have a conforming top layer of memory foam, the differing support layers can change how the top layer feels.

A memory foam mattress may have more of a “solid” sensation that feels like a hug. A hybrid offsets the foam’s malleability with springy coils that lift you.

There is one major drawback to a traditional memory foam mattress. Traditional memory foam mattresses are dense enough to trap body heat instead of releasing it. When too much heat accumulates, your sleeping surface grows hot.

Many manufacturers address this issue by adding cooling agents or producing a more breathable memory foam. Gel memory foam is a common alternative to traditional foam. But if you’re shopping for a cooling mattress, a hybrid might be the better choice. A memory foam hybrid is more breathable than an all-foam mattress because of its coil support system, which leaves room for airflow.

Latex

Latex mattresses often feel a lot like memory foam. Both memory foam and latex contour to a person when a sleeper lies down, relieving pressure points in the process.

However, latex foam can be distinguished from memory foam by its cooler, firmer feel. Many mattress companies offer an add-on pillow top to counterbalance latex’s inherent firmness. Latex is also naturally bouncier, raising you instead of cradling you as memory foam does.

You can choose between a natural or synthetic latex mattress. Rubber tree sap is harvested and processed to create natural latex. Synthetic latex is less expensive than natural latex, but also less durable. Many natural latex mattresses last more than a decade with minimal care.

Most natural latex mattresses contain other “green” ingredients such as wool and cotton. Often parts of a latex mattress are sewn rather than glued together to cut down on harmful adhesives. If you’re shopping for a mattress with organic components, a natural latex bed is a good choice.

Innerspring

A traditional innerspring mattress contains a coil layer wrapped in thin layers of foam and fabric. There a few different coil setups that an innerspring mattress can have, including:

  • Bonnell coils, which are shaped like an hourglass.
  • Offset coils, which are also hourglass-shaped but have hinges to reinforce the coils.
  • Continuous coils, which are connected wire rows that run throughout the mattress.

However, while lower-cost innerspring mattresses may still have one of these three coil setups, many modern innerspring mattresses rely on a pocketed coil system. Though they may have the same support as a hybrid, these innerspring beds lack the comfort provided by a hybrid’s thick foam layer.

If you’re shopping for a bouncy bed on a budget, an innerspring mattress isn’t a bad choice. However, we can’t recommend an innerspring mattress to relieve pressure and pain. Many innerspring owners have complained about a poor night’s sleep and back pain.

Innerspring mattresses also lack the durability of other types of mattresses. The average innerspring will sag in five or six years, perhaps even sooner if it contains thin coils.

About Mattress Firmness

One final point is what your best mattress firmness is. Mattress beds don’t all feel the same, and many companies offer a wide range of firmness options to provide comfort and support to all kinds of sleepers.

Your sleeping position and body type can affect how your mattress feels, which is why it’s essential to consider them when you’re shopping to find the right mattress.

Sleep Position

Your body position affects the support it needs as you sleep. A good mattress should keep your spine aligned and ease pressure points across your body. The mattress firmness best suited for those tasks depends on your sleep position.

A side sleeper’s body weight is concentrated on their shoulders and hips, which is why pressure points tend to build up in those areas. A mattress for a side sleeper should have plenty of pressure-relieving cushioning. Soft to medium feel beds are usually best.

Back sleepers need a mattress that can support their spine and has enough leeway to mold to their back’s curves. A mattress for back sleeping should have a medium-firm to firm feel. Back sleepers who want a soft bed should consider a medium mattress with targeted back support.

Gravity tends to push stomach sleepers’ bellies into their mattresses. While we recommend switching to another sleep position, those who want to continue stomach sleeping should shop for a firm mattress. A firm bed prevents sinkage and maintains neutral spine alignment.

Combination sleepers move between two or three positions, so their ideal mattress should provide sufficient support for all three. Try a medium mattress for a combination sleeper, since the firmness level is usually a perfect mix of support and cushion.

Body Type

A person’s body weight affects how much wear and tear they may place on a mattress. More weight means more pressure pushing down the bed.

Weight can also affect how a mattress feels. A soft mattress may not support a heavier person while a firm bed can feel just right. A petite person may consider a firm bed too hard and a soft mattress supportive enough.

Shopping for the right mattress for a heavier person over 230 pounds means looking at firmer beds. It takes more pressure for a firm mattress to soften up, enabling the bed to provide many years of comfortable rest.

If you weigh under 130 pounds, look for a softer mattress. Smaller people don’t push down as hard on a mattress as larger sleepers do, which means that a petite person may not experience pressure relief on a firm mattress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a hybrid mattress good for side sleepers?

Hybrid mattresses can be an excellent choice for side sleepers. While innerspring mattresses are well-known for their bounce, they are also infamous for complaints  about a lack of pressure relief. That makes an innerspring mattress a poor choice for a side sleeper since they need a bed that can ease pressure in their shoulders and hips.

Hybrid mattresses improve on an innerspring’s design with at least 2 to 3 inches of foam for padding and pressure relief. This extra cushioning can help a side sleeper get better sleep. When choosing a hybrid for a side sleeper, look for one with a soft to medium feel.

What is the best hybrid mattress to buy?

The best hybrid mattress for you will depend on your sleeping position, body weight, and available budget. Side sleepers and petite people should shop for a softer mattress. Back, stomach, and plus-size sleepers should consider a firmer bed.

The most important thing is making sure that you’re buying a true hybrid mattress. Brands may call a bed that contains different foams or a spring mattress with a pillow top a “hybrid.” These do not fit the criteria of a genuine hybrid, which is a pocketed coil system topped with at least 2 to 3 inches of foam (and sometimes as much as 5 or 6 inches).

Are hybrid mattresses worth the money?

The answer to this question is a matter of personal preference. A quality hybrid mattress usually costs more than $1,000, so only you can decide if the bed is worth the price.

Those that do transition from sleeping on an innerspring or foam mattress often find that a hybrid improves upon the design of each. You have more cushion and pressure relief on a hybrid than you do on an innerspring. Hybrids also have more responsiveness and cooling air circulation than a foam mattress.

If you’re unsure if a hybrid mattress is worth the price, try ordering one with a sleep trial. You will have a few months to decide if it’s the right mattress for you.

How long do hybrid mattresses last?

The average hybrid lasts between six to seven years. That’s a longer lifespan than a traditional innerspring or inexpensive foam mattress. However, it's not as long as a memory foam or natural latex mattress.

New hybrid designs are still being released and perfected. A higher expected lifespan may emerge as time passes.

Do hybrid mattresses squeak?

The encasements around each coil usually limit noise, along with motion transfer. Still, it is possible for the springs to squeak, particularly with age.

Evidence suggests that hybrids do squeak less than a traditional innerspring. More innerspring owners complain about noisy springs than hybrid owners.

What can I use instead of a box spring?

Instead of keeping a mattress on a box spring, you can look into buying a slatted foundation. We recommend foundations with slats no more than 3 inches apart. Otherwise, the base can't provide consistent support.

Other bed support options include:

  • Traditional panel bed
  • Adjustable bed bases
  • A piece of moisture-resistant plywood

Did We Help?

A hybrid coil mattress is an excellent option well-suited for more than just one type of sleeper. Hybrids can be a comfortable bed for plus-size, lightweight, and average-size people. Manufacturers produce hybrids with different firmness levels so that no matter what your favorite sleeping position is, you can find a hybrid that’s right for you.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Michelle Zhang, Wellness Writer Michelle Zhang

Michelle Zhang is a regular contributor to our Zoma blog and is our go-to sleep researcher. In her time with Zoma, Michelle has researched and published many articles on widespread sleeping habits and troubles. In her time outside of Zoma, Michelle is an occupational therapist and long-distance runner. She believes leading a healthy lifestyle is the key to getting better sleep at night.

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