What is a Hybrid Mattress?
The term “hybrid” is defined as a combination of two or more different elements. It’s often used in biology to refer to mixed species, varieties, or breeds.
When it comes to mattresses, a hybrid refers to a bed that blends different components of an innerspring mattress with a foam bed. This gives a hybrid mattress a distinct feeling since it’s bouncier than a foam mattress but more conforming than a traditional spring bed.
Our Recommendation: Zoma Hybrid
We designed the Zoma Hybrid to provide a restorative and rejuvenating night’s rest. Every Zoma Hybrid contains four layers that work together to provide a comfortable sleep experience.
The top layer of gel memory foam conforms to your body for cooling pressure relief. The gel memory foam also contains cutouts in the shoulders and legs, as a means of regulating temperature.
Next is a transition layer of our special Reactiv™ foam. Reactiv™ is a responsive material designed to prevent you from sinking too far into the mattress. This feature keeps you from bottoming out on the support core or becoming “trapped” in your mattress.
Our hybrid is supported by 7 inches of pocketed coils. While bouncy, the coils don’t carry movement across the mattress because of the packets we encase around every coil. This motion isolation means a sudden movement from a partner won’t disturb your rest.
The base is an inch of supportive foam. The foam base provides a solid surface that helps maintain the mattress’s overall structure.
The price for a queen size Zoma Hybrid is $999 with free shipping. All of our mattresses include a 100-night sleep trial with free returns and a 10-year warranty. Our mattress warranty offers sagging coverage for any indentations that are deeper than 0.75 inches.
Layers of a Hybrid
A hybrid mattress should always have at least three layers, encased in a mattress cover:
- A top layer of foam, at least 2 inches thick. Many hybrids have a top memory foam layer, but you may also see hybrids with a poly-foam or latex foam comfort layer.
- A support core of pocketed coils, often 7 to 8 inches thick. Each coil is wrapped in a foam or fabric packet, which allows each coil to react individually and reduces motion isolation.
- A thin foam base to provide structural support and padding.
Many hybrid mattresses have rigid foams lining the bed’s perimeter to protect the coil layer. These firm foams also provide edge support, making it easier to get in and out of bed.
More luxurious hybrids include a transition layer between the comfort layer and the support core. A transition layer can improve the bed’s comfort and support. It prevents a person from sinking through the top foam layer and bottoming out on the stiff support core.
Often, the transition layer is responsive polyurethane foam. This kind of material can encourage neutral spine alignment.
Some hybrid mattresses also add on a pillow top, which provides an inch or two of extra padding for more comfort.
Pros and Cons of a Hybrid
Hybrid mattresses are designed to improve on both innerspring and foam mattresses’ constructions. And many of them do succeed at this, providing a more comfortable sleep experience. Still, the beds do come with drawbacks that offset their benefits.
A hybrid mattress has thicker comfort layers than the traditional innerspring bed. This added thickness allows a hybrid to provide more pressure relief than an innerspring mattress. Many innerspring owners have complained about the pain that comes from sleeping on a bed with poor pressure relief, which only worsens as time passes and the coils wear out.
Aside from low amounts of pressure relief, a traditional spring mattress has another weakness. Its supportive coils tend to carry every little movement you make across the mattress. If you share an innerspring bed with a partner, it’s possible for their tossing and turning to disturb your rest.
Hybrid mattresses have better motion isolation thanks to their pocketed coils. Every coil is wrapped to prevent motion transfer.
Memory foam mattresses normally feature excellent pressure relief and motion isolation. Memory foam’s main drawback is that it can retain too much heat.
The density of traditional memory foam limits how much air can flow through the mattress. A lack of airflow allows body heat to build up in the bed. If the mattress overheats, it can disturb your rest, reducing your sleep quality and leaving you at less than 100 percent in the morning.
The innerspring coils of a hybrid mattress leave a lot of space for air to circulate, wicking away body heat. That’s why a hybrid is an excellent cooling mattress for a hot sleeper.
Memory foam has been described as “cradling” or “hug-like” with its full-body support. And while many sleepers love that, others miss the lift of a traditional mattress.
A hybrid provides a good compromise between the two. The bed molds to your body while remaining responsive.
Another advantage hybrids have over foam mattresses is edge support. Most memory foam mattresses are so pressure-sensitive that you can’t sit on the mattress’s side. If you do, the bed will just give away underneath you.
Hybrid mattresses usually have stiff foams around the perimeter, offering edge support that can make it easier to move out of bed or sit on your mattress. However, edge support takes away some precious inches from the sleeping surface.
The biggest drawback of a hybrid mattress is the bed’s price. Hybrids have greater production costs since they blend innerspring and foam components.
A mid-range hybrid may cost around $1,200, while higher priced models cost $2,000 or more. On the other hand, there are hybrid mattresses in a box priced more affordably. However, we suggest staying away from super low priced beds since it’s questionable how much support and comfort these models can provide.
Since many hybrid mattresses are relatively new products, there’s also some uncertainty about how long the bed will last. According to Sleep Like the Dead, the average hybrid lasts about six to seven years. That number may change as new hybrids are released with improved designs, but it’s still less than the average memory foam mattress’s expected lifespan of seven or more years.
Coil-based mattresses such as hybrids do seem more prone to sagging over the years as the coils lose support. Examples of sagging include:
- Permanent body impressions
- Spots where you sink into the bed
- An uneven sleep surface
A mattress with thin, low-quality coils may lose its shape in as little as three years.
Misuse of the Term “Hybrid”
While not a true downside, we should note that there are no regulations regarding what can/cannot be called a hybrid mattress. A mattress company may call a bed a “hybrid mattress” as a marketing gimmick. It’s smart to look for details on a mattress’s construction before you buy it.
Remember that a true hybrid mattress should have at least 2 to 3 inches of foam on top of a coil support layer. If you can’t find any information on a mattress’s layers, it might be best to consider another mattress.
Budgeting for a Hybrid Mattress
Hybrid mattresses are one of the more expensive types of mattresses on the market. The average price for a queen size hybrid mattress is about $1,700. That said, plenty of hybrids are priced closer to $1,000. Still, only natural latex mattresses and airbeds with smart technology tend to cost more than a well-made hybrid.
You can find hybrids for a few hundred dollars. However, they may have thin coils that will quickly lose support or inexpensive foams that won’t bring as much comfort as a higher quality foam. Instead, try to budget between $1,000 to $2,000 for a quality hybrid mattress.
Other Mattress Buying Considerations
While it’s important to decide what mattress type you would prefer, it’s not all you should think about when shopping for a new mattress. You should also consider the best mattress firmness for you and be able to judge attached policies, such as a sleep trial and warranty.
Companies rely on a 1-10 firmness scale to determine a mattress’s feel. Usually, 1 is reserved for the softest mattresses and 10 the firmest, but some companies operate using the reverse. Either way, that number is typically then expressed with a label such as “soft,” “medium,” or firm.
A mattress’s firmness can make or break how you sleep. If you choose a bed that’s too soft or too firm, you might wake up with back pain or stiff joints. You can determine the right mattress firmness for you by considering your preferred sleep position and body type. Hybrids are available in all firmness options, so you should be able to find your ideal mattress.
Most of us tend to gravitate to one of three sleeping positions, resting on our sides, back, or stomach. Your favorite sleeping position affects what pressure points build up in your body and the alignment of your spine. The right firmness will ease pressure and keep the spine neutral.
Side sleepers tend to have pressure points build up in their hips and shoulders because those are the parts of their body that support them. A good mattress for a side sleeper should have a soft to medium feel, to ensure that the bed can mold itself to the body for maximum pressure relief.
Back sleepers may place the least amount of stress on their spines. Lying on your back evenly distributes your body weight and usually mimics the posture you have when you’re standing straight. Mattresses for back sleeping should have a medium-firm to firm feel to promote spine alignment, although a medium mattress is okay if it has targeted back support.
Stomach sleepers may want to consider switching to a different position. Lying on your stomach can push your belly into the mattress, stretch your spine out of alignment, and leave you with bad morning back pain. If you choose to continue stomach sleeping, a firm mattress can maintain optimal spinal alignment.
Combination sleepers can move between two or all three positions. A suitable mattress for combination sleeping should have a responsive medium feel and isolate motion. A hybrid mattress is a good choice because it mixes bounce and pressure relief.
Your weight determines how much you push down on the mattress, with a greater body weight placing more pressure on a bed.
A mattress for a heavy person (more than 230 pounds) might need a firmer feel to withstand the added pressure. A softer mattress can provide enough support if it has extra transition layers to prevent a sleeper from sinking into the mattress.
A petite person under 130 pounds should look for a soft mattress to better conform to their body. Because people who weigh less don’t press down as much, mattresses tend to feel firmer than they would for the average sleeper.
If you weigh between 130 and 230 pounds, you’re considered average weight. You can focus on your sleeping position as you look for the best hybrid mattress.
Sleep Trials and Warranties
You will likely compare features and firmness as you browse mattresses, to determine what the best mattress is. Don’t forget to see what sleep trial and warranty is attached to each mattress under your consideration.
A sleep trial and warranty can give you an idea of a mattress’s quality. Mattress companies determine a warranty’s length by testing what their mattresses can endure. Companies offer sleep trials knowing they will lose money on any returned beds, so they must have faith that their mattresses are a quality product to offer a sleep trial.
A sleep trial is the length of time a mattress company gives you to try out a mattress at home. The concept was popularized by bed in a box mattress companies because customers rarely had a way to try out a mattress before buying it. Most sleep trials last a few months, but some trials last up to a year.
In case your mattress ever develops a defect, warranties outline when and how you can file for mattress repairs or even get a replacement. Common defects covered in warranties include sagging at a certain depth, burst coils, and damage to the foam or fabric cover beyond expected wear and tear.
Sagging coverage is a good way to estimate a mattress’s quality. Companies will state the minimum depth of sagging needed for repairs or replacement. A lower number often means the company is confident that their mattress isn’t likely to sag.
The industry standard for a mattress warranty is 10 years. Any mattress with a shorter warranty may have been built with low-quality materials.
Some companies do offer warranties longer than a decade. The trade-off is that many of the warranties are prorated. A prorated warranty means you will pay partial costs to repair or replace your mattress.
Frequently Asked Questions
With so many different types of mattresses on the market, it’s hard to say that there’s one specific type that could be considered a “regular mattress.” What you’re most likely to think of is the traditional innerspring mattress, which shares a few features with a hybrid mattress.
Like the traditional innerspring, a hybrid mattress has a bouncy coil support system. However, a hybrid mattress usually has a thicker comfort layer of foam for improved contouring. A hybrid mattress may have a flatter top than the typical innerspring, though this is not guaranteed.
The biggest advantage of a hybrid mattress is the bed’s comfort levels. Its foam top is thicker than what you find on an innerspring mattress, conforming to your body for more pressure relief. A hybrid’s coil support keeps you lifted and cool, promoting air circulation to remove excess heat and moisture.
What keeps many customers from choosing a hybrid mattress is the bed’s price tag. A hybrid mattress usually costs more than a memory foam or innerspring mattress.
There’s also the chance that the hybrid will lose support within six or so years. To avoid paying for a new mattress too soon, look for a hybrid with an extensive warranty period that covers sagging under an inch or less.
We always recommend buying a mattress that’s at least 10 inches thick. A mattress that tall tends to offer adequate support, comfort, and durability.
Most hybrid mattresses are tall since they need at least three layers. A true hybrid has a foam base, a supportive coil system, and a top foam layer that’s at least 2 to 3 inches thick.
Even a low-cost hybrid mattress is usually at least 11 inches thick. Higher-priced models may be 13 or 14 inches tall.
For most hybrids, the answer is no, you cannot flip them. The typical hybrid has a top comfort layer and a bottom coil support on a thin foam base. Flipping the hybrid means compressing the comfort layer and sleeping on the stiff support foam.
There are a few hybrid mattresses designed to be flipped. These hybrids contain comfort layers on their tops and bottoms, a fact that’s usually made clear on the bed’s product page. If you’re unsure, it’s best to check with the mattress’s company customer support before you flip your bed.
No, you do not need to use a box spring with your mattress. A quality hybrid should not need the extra support of a box spring. Using a box spring may even void your hybrid mattress’s warranty.
A platform bed, slatted foundation, or adjustable base should provide all the support that a hybrid mattress needs.
Did We Help?
Now that you know what a hybrid mattress is, you’re in a better position to ask yourself if it’s the best mattress for you. Hybrids are well suited for all sleeping styles and body types. If you have a chronic pain condition, they can relieve pain and make it easier to move across your mattress.
Hybrids are one of the more expensive bed options. Many find the price fair. They enjoy how hybrids blend pressure-relieving foam with a cooling bounce. Shop for a hybrid mattress with a sleep trial to see if it’s right for you.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.