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Spring Mattress vs Memory Foam Mattress: What's The Difference?

Spring Mattress vs Memory Foam Mattress: What's The Difference?

When you’re searching for a new mattress online, there are two types of beds that you’ll see time and time again: spring vs memory foam mattresses. While all mattresses tend to look very similar from the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts - especially if you are trying to give your sleeping habits a makeover.

The best way to avoid mattress shopping fatigue is to identify your sleeping needs first, and then select the best mattress type that will tick all your sleep requirements. Your main checkboxes for the best mattress should include comfort, support, and cooling (among a few other things we’ll dive into later).

Depending on how you sleep, the aches and pains you’re dealing with, and how hot you get under the covers - you might find that there’s clearly a better choice between a spring and memory foam mattress.

We’ll take an in-depth look at spring and memory foam mattress and in just a few minutes you’ll clearly know which style of mattress your sleep will thank you for. Let’s get started.

History Of Spring & Memory Foam Mattresses

History Of Spring & Memory Foam Mattresses

Just a little background for you - spring mattresses have been around for a very long time. The first mattress with innersprings was invented by Heinrich Westphal in 1871. Heinrich took the humble wool filled mattress which was popular in those days, added springs, and sleepers quickly fell in love with the gentle bounce and increased support of this reinforced mattress design.

Fast-forward to 1966, and things start to get really comfy. NASA engineer Charles Yoast, tasked with designing a material that would allow astronauts to feel adaptive-support in changing environments, invents a revolutionary ‘viscoelastic foam’ with a soft yet firm feel.

Now more commonly referred to as memory foam, this mattress without springs took the industry by storm redefining previous conceptions of comfort and support.

Memory Foam Mattress: Types, Features, & Benefits

In recent years, memory foam mattresses have gained a lot of attention. Largely because the entire mattress industry got a shake-up once companies like Puffy innovated the bed-in-a-box. A high-quality, extremely comfortable, incredibly supportive mattress that gets delivered to your door at fraction of the price you would spend in store.

In the hay days of mattress sales, in-store mattress sales people gained quite a reputation for hiking up prices with fancy jargon and false promises. The ability for memory foam to be compressed and delivered for free really changed the game and now customers can get the best mattress at an affordable price.

Types of Memory Foam Mattress

What makes memory foam so unique when you compare mattresses materials is the cradling feeling it has on the body - this comfort is often compared to getting a gentle hug as you sleep.

The adaptive nature of this foam is what most mattress reviews state is what they fall in love with. Memory foam is firm yet soft and doesn’t bounce like traditional innerspring mattresses.

Traditional memory foam: Traditional memory foam is one of the most common materials you will find in a range of mattress types including hybrid mattresses and cloud mattresses.
    Memory foam is so popular because it molds to the body and has a special way of evenly distributing weight for a seamless sleep experience. Unlike spring beds where you feel like you’re literally laying ‘on-top’ of the mattress, memory foam conforms to the body.
    Gel-infused memory foam: Gel-infused memory foam is generally used on the top layer of mattresses to deliver additional cooling. Gel memory foam is layered in the construction of the best cooling mattresses to promote better heat transfer and regulate body temperature - a great benefit for hot sleepers.

    Features of Memory Foam Mattress

    There’s a reason why memory foam mattresses are considered the best mattress of 2020. They are like the all-rounder; delivering on comfort, support, price, and more. Check out all the much-loved features of memory foam below:

    Cooling: Many of the most comfortable mattresses are memory foam because they sleep cool in the summer and nice and cozy in the winter. The open cell structure in memory foam promotes better airflow that ensures heat doesn’t get trapped between the layers of the bed.

    Support: The highly-contouring and body-adaptive properties in a memory foam mattress make it a great choice for sleepers who deal with aches and pains. The comfort layers of memory foam are designed to relieve pressure points and cradles muscles and joints for sleep that's comfy and rejuvenating.

    Motion isolation: Memory foam has a high level of viscosity which is a fancy word that simply means it resists the flow of motion very well. This is what makes memory foam the best type of mattress for couples. Movement energy gets absorbed by the material so that partners do not get disturbed by sudden movements.

    The Key Benefit of Memory Foam Mattress

    The key benefit of sleeping on a memory foam mattress is the advanced level of support it provides to the body.

    Spring Mattress: Types, Features, & Benefits

    Spring mattresses, innerspring mattresses, and coil mattresses all tend to fall under the same umbrella because the way these beds are constructed have many similarities. In the early days of spring bed design, it was easy to tell how old a spring mattress was depending on how many squeaks you could hear.

    Nowadays, it’s rare to find an award-winning mattress that is built with 100% springs. Most modern innerspring mattresses have top layers of memory foam and gel-infused memory foam - these types of beds are called hybrids as they combine the best features of each mattress type.

    Types of Spring Mattress

    Mattresses with springs in the construction come in a variety of styles, but the most popular right now are innersprings, pocket coils, and hybrids. Below you will find a breakdown of each one and how they are different.

    Innerspring mattress: The innerspring mattress variety is uniquely designed with springs that are interconnected - some industry experts refer to this system as "open coil." All the springs are connected so they move as one. Because all the springs are linked, they move together which is what creates that squeaky sound on many old innerspring beds.

    Pocket coil mattress: Pocket coils are, also referred to as encased coils, are different because they are individually wrapped. This means they move independently when pressure is applied to the bed providing a unique comfort and support which has made them popular.

    Hybrid mattress: If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, a hybrid might be just what you’re looking for. Hybrid mattresses combine layers of memory foam with coils for a sleep experience that is contouring like memory foam, with the added stability of a spring coil system in the core.

    Features of spring mattresses 

    When it comes to spring mattresses, especially the newer varieties, it’s the slight bounce, responsiveness, and stability that sleepers tend to enjoy most. We’re laying down these key spring mattress features below:

    Responsive with bounce: Mattress responsiveness related to how the mattress acts when pressure is applied. Compared to memory foam mattresses that conform to the body, beds with springs respond with a slight bounce offering a more traditional comfort experience some people enjoy.

    Stability: Quality spring mattresses offer greater stability, especially foam-encased coil types, which are commonly found in the best hybrid mattresses. It is said that hybrids are a better choice for heavier sleepers who want to experience the benefits of memory foam with a little extra stability.

    Firmness: Mattresses with springs or coils tend to be firmer than traditional memory foam beds. For sleepers who still want the medium-firm comfort of memory foam may prefer the hybrid option.

    Key Benefit of a Spring Mattress

    The key benefit of sleeping on a spring or coil mattress is that you will experience a greater level of stability and a slight bouncy responsiveness when you move around.

    Memory Foam vs Spring Mattress: What To Choose

    Memory Foam vs Spring Mattress: What To Choose

    No one can deny the importance of quality sleep. Not only does a good night's rest provide the energy we need to make the most of the day, but it’s also essential for the rest and recovery of our body and immune system. Customers are spoilt for choice - there are a lot of different mattress options to suit the different ways everyone likes to snooze.

    If you’re weighing up between a memory foam or spring variety, think about how much support your body needs, and the type of feeling you’re looking for. Memory foam is a great all-rounder and it suits most sleepers.

    Mattresses with springs have a little bounce and a responsive feeling. If you want both - go for a hybrid mattress. Ready to start shopping? Trial any Puffy memory foam or hybrid for 101-nights risk-free.




    Certified Sleep Science Coach

    Written by Monica Chinsami, Certified Sleep Science Coach

    Monica is a writer who is passionate about the connection between wellness and sleep. She believes sleep has the power to unlock our greatest potential for health and happiness. Topics she's covered range from well-being, to the latest trends in sleep health and bedroom aesthetics. Monica holds a BA in Journalism from Monash University and is a Certified Sleep Science Coach.