Eachnight may earn commissions for products you purchase through our links. Our articles and reviews include affiliate links and advertisements, including amerisleep advertising. Learn more Updated September 4, 2021Purchasing a new hybrid mattress is one of the best ways to level up your sleep experience. Hybrids combine all the best features of an innerspring with all the best features of a foam mattress. This design creates a bed that is cushioning yet supportive, contouring yet cool, and responsive but not too bouncy.However, with all the different hybrid mattresses on the market today, it can be difficult to know if you’re picking the best hybrid for you. There are tons of questions you have to answer:Which firmness level do you need?What’s the best material for you?What coil gauge do you prefer?And what on earth is edge support anyway?Below, we’ll talk about how to answer all these questions. We also discuss some ways to ensure you’re buying the best hybrid for your needs.Layers of a Hybrid MattressHybrid mattresses have two essential layers—the comfort layer and the support layer—and several optional layers. The number and thickness of each layer will determine the feel and firmness of your bed.Comfort LayerThe mattress’s top layer is called the comfort layer, and where you sleep. With hybrids, the comfort layer must be at least two inches thick, and it has to be foam. Hybrid comfort layers can be any type of foam (more on that below), so the type of hybrid you get just depends on your preferences.The comfort layer’s job is to cushion your body to relieve pressure in your joints. The foam must also contour to your shape to complement the support offered by the subsequent layers. The comfort layer’s thickness can also affect its firmness level. However, it’s not the only factor that determines the firmness.Transition LayerThe transition layer is optional and comes in only some hybrids. Most transition layers are made of higher-density polyurethane foam. The transition layer is typically an inch or two in thickness, and its job is to protect your joints (especially hips and shoulders) from the pressure caused by the coil support layer.Support LayerAs its name suggests, the support layer’s job is to support you. In fact, this portion of the mattress is responsible for keeping your body lifted onto the bed, preventing sinkage, and promoting neutral spinal alignment.While innerspring mattresses can have an open coil or pocket coil support layers, and memory foam or latex mattresses have foam support layers, hybrids must always have pocketed coils in their support core. Even if it has more than two inches of foam, if it doesn’t have a pocket coil support layer, it isn’t a hybrid mattress.To get adequate support, you want to ensure that the support layer is no less than 50 percent of the mattress’s total depth. For instance, if your hybrid mattress is 14 inches tall, you’ll want your coil support layer to be no less than 7 inches thick, regardless of what layers it has over or under it.Base LayerAnother optional layer, the base layer of a hybrid, normally is around an inch thick and sits underneath the coils. The base layer’s job is to help the mattress keep its shape longer, protect the coils from damage, and reduce motion transfer and noise.Hybrid Comfort Layer MaterialsSince hybrids can come with any type of foam, they have a huge range of possible feels, responsiveness levels, and temperature regulating abilities.Some hybrids might come with more than one type of foam, though many of them can come with multiple densities of the same foam type. In other words, a latex hybrid’s comfort layer may be soft latex foam, while its transition layer is harder latex.Latex FoamLatex foam is made from the natural sap of the rubber tree. This sap is harvested from plantations and processed into many products. You might find latex in gloves, tires, erasers, balloons, and, of course, foam for mattresses.Latex mattresses are a great choice if you like naturally cooling foam with a lot of responsiveness. Latex is also pretty much your only option if you want an all-natural foam.This type of foam is also the best bet if you want a durable mattress. Latex has the highest life expectancy of all the foams commonly found in mattresses.SEE ALSO: How Long Does a Mattress Last?There are two different types of natural latex: Dunlop and Talalay. These two latexes are not made from two different types of raw rubber. Rather, their difference lies entirely in how they’re processed.Dunlop LatexThe Dunlop process is simpler and more energy-efficient than the Talalay process, so Dunlop latex will be a little cheaper (though not significantly). To create Dunlop latex, manufacturers whip the raw liquid latex into a foam, pour it into a mold, and vulcanize it. After vulcanization, the fresh latex foam is washed and dried to remove leftover impurities.In addition to being cheaper, Dunlop latex is also denser than Talalay latex and it’s a little less bouncy. You might enjoy this latex if you want a more eco-friendly and durable foam.Talalay LatexTalalay latex is a little more complicated to make, which means it’s a bit less energy-efficient and eco-friendly than Dunlop. Talalay latex is whipped into a foam just like Dunlop latex, but it’s only poured halfway up its mold. Once in the mold, the latex foam is allowed to proof until it rises like dough to the top of the mold.The latex is then flash-frozen, vulcanized, washed and dried, and prepped for cutting and shipping. Talalay latex might be the right choice for you if you want a bouncier, more breathable latex foam. Keep in mind, though, the differences between these two foams are noticeable but not significant.Synthetic LatexThere is a third latex option called Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR). This synthetic latex alternative is spun out of petroleum products to imitate the feel of natural latex.The problem with SBR is that it doesn’t do a very good job at this imitation. It’s not as supportive, not as breathable, and not as durable as the real thing. For this reason, SBR doesn’t normally appear in high-quality mattresses.Memory FoamMemory foam is a special type of polyurethane foam designed to cradle and support the human body. Memory foam’s original intent was to cushion pilots during high-speed flights like in a fighter jet or a rocket. However, it was quickly repurposed by the mattress industry because of its ability to conform to your unique shape, offering customized support.If you want a mattress that follows the natural curve of your body to offer pressure relief and support to the areas that need them, memory foam mattresses are tough to beat. This is also a great choice if you’re shopping for a new mattress on a budget, as memory foam is more cost-effective than latex foam.Open-Cell Memory FoamOne of the biggest complaints about traditional memory foam is that it can be sweltering hot. The material is so dense it retains body heat instead of releasing it. Nowadays, most memory foam isn’t traditional, and there have been several innovations that help this sleep technology better regulate temperature.One of the most common updates to traditional memory foam is open cell technology. In open-cell construction, thousands of tiny pockets distributed throughout the memory foam help increase its breathability. The extra airflow helps circulate cooler air through the mattress and move your body heat away from you.Gel Memory FoamGel additives are another great way to cool down memory foam. Manufacturers might:Place a thin layer of gel over the top of the memory foamInfuse the liquid foam with thousands of gel microbeadsSwirl gel right into the foamHowever they do it, the gel helps distribute body heat away from you to keep you cool all night long.SEE ALSO: Memory Foam vs Memory Gel FoamPlant-Based Memory FoamAnother update to traditional memory foam is plant-based memory foam. These materials are made using fewer petroleum products and more plant oils. This formula creates a more breathable and more responsive mattress. Not only can plant-based foam help keep you cool, but it can also resist sink and bounce back to its original shape faster than entirely synthetic memory foam.To top it off, plant-based memory foams are also more eco-friendly and lower in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These are chemical emissions that can pose a threat to human health in high quantities and can still cause mild symptoms like nausea and headache in lower quantities.Pillow TopIt’s a lot more common to see pillow tops on innerspring mattresses than hybrids. However, you might run across a hybrid with a pillow top on occasion. Pillow tops are not actually part of the comfort layer. Rather, they’re extra padding sewn on top of the comfort layer to provide additional cradling. Common pillow top materials include foam, cotton, wool, down, or any other plush stuffing.Pillow tops come in two styles, the standard pillow top and the Euro-top. The standard pillow top is sewn on top of the mattress, cover included. This makes it obvious that the pillow top is an addition to the usual mattress design. Conversely, a Euro-top is sewn on underneath the mattress cover, creating a more clean design.SEE ALSO: Euro Top vs. Pillow Top MattressHybrid Support Layer Coil SystemHybrids always have a pocketed coil support core. These barrel-shaped coils are each encased in their own fabric or foam sleeve and stacked against each other. Because they move independently, pocketed coils offer better support than open coils, which tend to compress in a U-shape rather than contouring to your shape.There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your coil support core. Namely, you should consider:Coil countCoil gaugeEdge supportEach of these factors will affect how your mattress sleeps and how long it lasts, so you need to be aware of them before you purchase.Coil CountCoil count is the number of coils that occur in a mattress. Of course, the bigger the mattress, the more coils it will have. For example, a California king should have more coils than a twin XL.However, you’ll find that most two hybrids of the same size don’t have the same coil count. One queen hybrid might have 300 coils while another has 2000. But which is better?Turns out, right in the middle is best. Mattresses with low coil counts won’t have sufficient support, nor will they last long. On the flip side, mattresses with high coil counts are often nothing more than a sales gimmick or an excuse to overcharge.Once you hit a certain threshold, upping the number of coils doesn’t increase the quality of the mattress. That’s why a count between 400 and 1000 for a queen is ideal.Coil GaugeCoil gauge means the thickness of each individual coil, and it’s usually measured on a scale of 12 to 15. Thicker coils have a lower gauge, and thinner coils have a higher one. If you want a firmer mattress, a lower gauge like a 12 or 13 will likely be the right choice for you.If you want a more forgiving mattress, a 14 might be more up your alley. 15 is the least firm, but it might not be durable enough to last as long as you want.Edge SupportEdge support is your mattress’s ability to maintain its shape around the left and right sides. If you sit on a mattress with your feet on the floor, and it keeps its shape to lift you up, it has good edge support. If it collapses under your body weight and makes you feel like you’re about to slide off the bed, it doesn’t have good edge support.Most of the time, manufacturers increase a hybrid mattress’s edge support either by upping the coil count around the sides of the bed or by decreasing the gauge of the coils around the edges.Edge support might not seem all that important, but it is vital to a good night’s sleep, especially for couples. If you sleep close to the edge of a bed with poor edge support, you could wind up spending every night feeling like you’re going to fall out of bed—or else actually fall out of bed!Hybrid Firmness LevelsLike all mattresses, hybrids can come in the full range of firmness levels, and the one you get is going to depend on your body type, your main sleeping position, and your preferences.As a reminder, the firmness scale goes from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest. Generally speaking, just about all mattresses are going to fall between a 3 and an 8 since there’s not a huge market for mattresses with absolutely no support or absolutely no give.SoftSoft mattresses often have a ton of give and not a lot of lift. You’ll want to be careful with them if you’re heavier or you sleep in a position that requires more support. Soft mattresses are best for petite sleepers (under 130 pounds) and side sleepers:Small sleepers might not get enough compression from a harder bed. A soft mattress provides full-body pressure reliefSide sleepers require more pressure point relief around their shoulders and hips, the heavier parts of the bodyMedium-SoftMedium-soft mattresses still have a lot of give, but they offer a little more support. This firmness level might be a good alternative for average-weight or heavier side sleepers who don’t get sufficient lift out of a soft mattress.MediumMedium firmness is right in the center between firm and soft mattresses, offering lots of cushioning while still providing adequate lift. Medium mattresses are versatile, and they’re great for lots of different sleepers.Some plus-size side sleepers (over 230 pounds) find softer beds have too much sinkage. They might get enough lift from a medium mattress without sacrificing pressure relief.Combo sleepers may appreciate the medium mattress’s ability to accommodate whichever sleep position they choose.Couples might be able to compromise on a medium’s middle-of-the-road firmness. Others may prefer the feel of a split mattress, with a different firmness on each side.Lastly, petite back sleepers may find a medium mattress offers enough compression for their lighter frames.Medium-FirmMedium-firm mattresses offer more resistance and less give. You’ll still get some pressure point relief, but if you’re petite or a side sleeper, you might experience pain in your pressure points from the support core.People who may do well on a medium-firm mattress include:Heavier sleepersBack sleepersPetite stomach sleepersMedium-firm mattresses have also been found to be the best firmness level for back pain sufferers because they provide adequate support to the spine without eliminating cushioning altogether.FirmWhile firm mattresses do offer a little padding, they mostly provide lift and very little give. Most sleepers find them too hard, but they are good for a few individuals. Plus-sized back sleepers and stomach sleepers might appreciate the resistance of a firm mattress.Stomach sleepers especially need a firm bed. Why? Because their pelvises tend to sink into the bed, causing back pain when the spine is over-extended. Hot sleepers may also appreciate a firm mattress because it won’t “hug” their bodies and retain heat.Hybrid DurabilityThere are several factors that can determine how long your hybrid lasts. Some of these factors have to do with its materials and construction. For instance, a hybrid with a base layer might outlast one without any base foam. Hybrids with low-gauge coils may resist sagging longer than hybrids with high-gauge coils. And latex hybrids will probably outlast memory foam ones.There are also things you can do to make your mattress last longer. Rotating your mattress is a biggie. Most hybrids aren’t flippable (though you occasionally might find one that is), but you can still rotate them by turning the mattress so that the end at the foot of the bed sits at the head and vice versa. Doing this once every six months will help your coils and foam wear evenly.Having a mattress protector is another great way to make your hybrid last. Not only do many manufacturers require a protector in their warranty agreement, but a protector will also defend your mattress against dust, mites, moisture, mold, and other threats that can reduce its lifespan.SEE ALSO: How to Clean a MattressHybrid Certifications to Look ForIf you want a high-quality bed with a low toxic chemical content and eco-friendly/socially responsible manufacturing, there are a few certifications to be on the lookout for:CertiPUR-US®GOLSGOTSGREENGUARD GoldOeko-Tex® Standard 100CertiPUR-US®Hybrids containing memory foam can apply for the CertiPUR-US® certification. This certificate guarantees that the memory foam components of your mattress are low in VOCs and made without toxins like chemical flame retardants, heavy metals, and formaldehyde.GOLSGOLS stands for Global Organic Latex Standard, and a latex mattress with this certificate has demonstrated to the certifying body that the latex in the mattress is organic, environmentally friendly, and socially ethical, meaning employees working at the rubber plantations or latex processing facilities were paid a fair wage and were not exploited.GOTSGOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard and it has a lot of the same requirements as the GOLS certificate, but it applies to textiles like wool, cotton, flax, bamboo viscose, and other natural fibers used to make fabric. Mattresses might sport this certificate if they have an organic cotton cover, down pillow top, or some other component containing all-natural textiles.GREENGUARD GoldUnlike some of the other certifications on this list, the GREENGUARD Gold certificate applies to the entire product rather than just a few of its components. If you get a mattress with a GREENGUARD Gold certificate, the mattress is low in VOC emissions and will not negatively impact indoor air quality.Oeko-Tex® Standard 100The Standard 100 certificate also focuses on harmful substances, testing every component of a product for a range of potentially toxic chemicals such as azo dyes, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and other substances that can threaten human health.Average Hybrid CostOne of the worst things about hybrid mattresses is their expense. Foams are often more expensive than other plush materials, pocket coils are more expensive than open coil systems, and putting all these components together also isn’t cheap. This manufacturing expense gets passed on to the customer, meaning hybrids are, on average, the most expensive bed.While they have a huge range in quality and luxury features, a reasonable price for a queen hybrid is between $1000 and $3500. If you find a hybrid cheaper than this, you should ensure you’re getting a good quality product. If you find a more expensive hybrid, you’ll want to make sure you understand how the manufacturer justifies the price tag.SEE ALSO: How Much Does a Mattress Cost?Best Sleepers for HybridsHybrids are great for any and all types of sleepers, but they’re especially beneficial for individuals with certain needs and sleep issues.Back and Joint Pain SufferersIf you wake up with joint or back pain, a hybrid might offer you some relief. Hybrids are one of the best mattress types for pain because the pocketed coil core and foam comfort layers are highly contouring, so they can compress in the right spots and rise to meet your body in the right areas to both support your back and relieve pressure around your joints.CouplesCouples who don’t want to bother with the hassle and expense of a split king might find a hybrid is a good alternative. Since the coils operate independently, they’ll compress differently for each partner, meaning each individual in the bed can get more customizable support than they could expect from a traditional innerspring mattress.Hot SleepersIf you’re a hot sleeper but you don’t like the bounce or inferior support of an open coil mattress, a hybrid could be a good alternative for you. The pocket coils still encourage a lot of airflow through the mattress. Combined with a latex or gel foam comfort layer, a hybrid can be just as cool as an innerspring.Plus Size SleepersSome plus-size sleepers may find an all-foam mattress just isn’t supportive enough no matter its firmness level, and yet they might think innerspring beds are too bouncy and uncomfortable. Hybrids can solve both of these problems by offering the sturdy support of coils without losing the plushness of foam.Hybrid BasesYou can put your hybrid on one of several different types of bases. The only thing to keep in mind is hybrids are heavy, so you’ll want rigid support underneath them that can take their weight without caving.Mattress FoundationA mattress foundation is a wooden or metal frame with slats stretched across it. Intervals between slats usually range between 2 and 5 inches, but between 2 and 3 inches is best because it still allows for air circulation while offering sufficient support.Like box springs, mattress foundations are made to go in a bed frame rather than sitting on the floor. You then lay your mattress on top of the foundation for extra height and support.Platform BedLike mattress foundations, platform beds are support frames with regularly spaced slats. Unlike mattress foundations, platform beds are made to stand on their own. Platforms are often just a minimalist frame with legs, but they can come in tons of fun layouts.Some platform beds have headboards and footboards. Others have storage space. Some even have canopies!Adjustable BasesDo you think a hybrid can’t go on an adjustable bed because of its coil support layer? Hybrid mattresses are actually quite flexible and can bend with an adjustable bed just fine.Hybrids can make a great addition to your adjustable bed. They offer great support without sacrificing airflow, keeping you comfortable in any position.Pros and Cons of a Hybrid MattressHybrid mattresses are comfortable, supportive, cooling, and responsive. However, they do have a couple of issues you need to consider.The biggest problem with hybrids is their expense. If you’re shopping for a new mattress on a tight budget, a lot of hybrids may be out of your reach. Still, it’s possible to find budget-friendly hybrids with high-quality materials.Another big problem with hybrids is their weight. Hybrids aren’t light, and they can be cumbersome to relocate. This may be an issue for you if you move a lot. It may even be a problem when changing the bedsheets if you have trouble lifting things.ProsEncourages airflowOffers customizable supportRelieves pressure pointsCompatible with adjustable baseMore durable than innerspringConsExpensiveDifficult to moveFAQsAre hybrids and innersprings the same thing?Hybrids and innerspring beds may both have coil support systems, but they’re two different types of mattresses. Innerspring beds can have an open coil support system as well as a pocketed coil one. They can also come with a comfort layer made of any number of materials, from wool to cotton to fiberfill and even down.Meanwhile, hybrids can never have any support core other than a pocketed coil one. They can also have no less than two inches of foam in their comfort layer. If your mattress lacks these features, it’s not a hybrid.Is a hybrid better than an all-foam mattress?The best mattress for you depends on your personal preferences. Latex and memory foam mattresses are great options that can keep you just as comfortable as a hybrid and can even offer a few advantages over their pocketed coil cousins.For instance, if you want a mattress that’s built to last, memory foam or latex mattresses are both more durable than hybrids. While hybrids will last you a long time, their coils will eventually lose tension and cause the mattress to sag. All-foam mattresses don’t have any coils to break down, meaning they can often resist sagging longer.All-foam mattresses can be more budget-friendly than hybrids. Specifically, latex mattresses are also more eco-friendly and non-toxic than any other mattress type, including hybrids.On the flip side, hybrid mattresses are generally more cooling and more responsive than any all-foam mattress. So if your priorities are coolness and bounce, a hybrid might be a better choice for you.Can I put a hybrid on box springs?The short answer is no. Hybrids are too heavy for box springs. They’ll crush the box spring set under their weight, causing it to wear out faster than it should or even break.The lack of rigid support can also wear out your hybrid too fast. This is why many hybrid warranties forbid the use of box springs under their product. Instead, try a solid flat surface or a slatted frame to support a hybrid.Which sleep position is a hybrid best for?Hybrids are great for all sleep styles. Your sleep style dictates the firmness you need rather than the type of bed you need:Side sleepers need the softest bedsBack sleepers and combo sleepers need middle-of-the-road mattressesStomach sleepers need the firmest bedsBut sleepers of all position preferences can enjoy a hybrid.Are hybrids that come in a box still good?Buying a mattress online has exploded in popularity in recent years. Hybrids are no exception to this trend. Some mattress retailers offer both in-store and online options. Others only feature bed in a box mattresses. Don’t worry, there are tons of high-quality mail-order hybrids to choose from as you shop.The fact that your bed comes in a box is not an indicator of its overall quality. To get a good sense of your hybrid’s quality, take a look at things like certifications, construction, materials, and reviews rather than how it’s shipped.Bottom LineA high-quality hybrid mattress can take your sleep experience from “meh” to “amazing” in one night. As long as you get the right firmness level and foam comfort layer for your needs, a hybrid mattress might just be the best bed you’ve ever slept on at night.About the author Narwan AminiAfter graduating with her Bachelor of Arts degree, Narwan Amini set out to connect with others through writing and narration. She’s often intrigued by sleep’s impact on all aspects of life and aims to assist others in achieving a good night’s sleep. Being multilingual, she’s able to reach a larger audience and hopes to share the importance of restorative sleep and quality bedding. Find more articles by Narwan Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.