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The 9 Types of Mattresses Explained

Zach Gentry
Helix Customer Experience Manager / Mattress Guru
Updated: February 1, 2020

When you’re looking for a new mattress, it’s only natural to ask yourself what type of mattress is best—or, more specifically, what is the best type of mattress for me?

 

There are so many mattress reviews for individual brands on the internet, and trying to dig through this information can leave you feeling even more frustrated in the end. It’s just a new bed. It should be simple, right?

 

That’s why the Helix Team built an organized, no-frills analysis of each mattress type to simplify your shopping and help you find the best kind of mattress for your sleep style and budget. Once you narrow down the type of mattress you want, it should be easier to find a brand that can provide you with a high-quality mattress.

Types of Mattress

We’ve narrowed the list down to 9, covering just about every type of mattress you can imagine. Each section links to its own page, where you can read about each type in more detail.

 

Here you’ll get the high-level pros and cons of each, the price range, firmness level and ideal sleeper and sleep position. We’ll also give a short description of each so you can get a broad understanding of each mattress type.

 

Pillow Top Mattresses

Hybrid Mattresses

Memory Foam Mattresses

Price Range: $400 to $2,000+

  • Ideal For: Couples, sleepers with chronic pain

Firmness Level: Varies

Pros:

  • Conforms to a sleeper’s specific body shape and position
  • Provides better support
  • Can offer more pain relief

Cons:

  • Can give you a feeling of being stuck
  • May retain too much heat

Developed in the 1960s, memory foam mattresses definitely aren’t a new invention, but many still consider them a top mattress type today. With pressure point relief in the lower back and an added comfort level, memory foam mattresses use viscoelastic material to provide better support and help relieve common aches like back pain. Many of these beds help align your spine throughout the night and keep your joints in the right position.

Latex Mattresses

Price Range: $500 to $2,500+

  • Ideal For: Natural mattress seekers and sleepers that prefer better temperature regulation

Firmness Level: Typically medium to firm

Pros:

  • Provides better temperature regulation than other types
  • More durable
  • Naturally more resistant to mold and dust mites

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • May not relieve pressure as well as some other types

Latex mattresses can be the right choice for sleepers and the environment. Known for their great motion isolation and natural resistance to dust mites and allergens, a latex mattress uses latex foam (and sometimes polyurethane foam) to provide better temperature regulation and durability. Check out our partner brand, Birch Living, to learn more about organic latex mattresses.

Pillow Top Mattresses

Price Range: Adds $200-$00

  • Ideal For: People that like that plush, hotel feel
  • Sleeping Style: All

Firmness Level: Medium to firm

Pros:

  • Added comfort and cushioning without impacting the support or natural cradling of the mattress

Cons:

  • May not be as durable as some mattress types
  • May begin to sag over time

While not technically a distinct type of mattress, pillow tops on mattresses are popular enough among consumers to warrant listing on this round up. Pillow-top mattresses refer to mattresses that have a soft top layer sewn onto the top of the actual mattress. They can be added to any type, including foam, hybrid and spring mattresses. Pillow-tops can vary quite a bit, so do your research on all actual mattress types before just blindly buying any mattress with a pillow top.

Hybrid Mattresses

Price Range: $500 to $3,000+

  • Ideal For: All sleepers, Couples

Firmness Level: Varies

Pros:

  • More versatile
  • Provides better edge support
  • Pocket-coils can often reduce motion transfer

Cons:

  • May retain more heat than some others
  • The heaviness of the mattress can make it difficult to move or transport

With a better support system for your lower back and hips, a hybrid mattress can provide better contouring and reduce motion transfer throughout the night. This can be an ideal choice for couples—unlike some mattress types, moving around or adjusting your position throughout the night is unlikely to disturb your partner. It’s decidedly the most versatile and complete mattress type on the market.

Waterbeds

Price Range: $200 to $1,500

  • Ideal For: Singles, sleepers with aches and pains

Firmness Level: Typically soft

Pros:

  • Can offer pain relief for sleepers with aches and pains

Cons:

  •  May not offer as much support as some mattress types
  • Prone to popping, leaking, or bursting if they aren’t taken care of properly

Although they may not be as popular as they once were, plenty of people still choose to sleep on a waterbed. Modern-day waterbeds are designed to prevent sagging over time and support your body weight. One of their biggest advantages is durability. While some mattresses may only last seven to ten years, waterbeds often have lifespans of twenty years.

Coil Mattresses

Price Range: $200 to $2,000+

  • Ideal For: Couples, sleepers who prefer a firmer bed
  • Sleeping Style: Back, side, and combo sleepers

Firmness Level: Typically medium to firm

Pros:

  • Cooler sleep
  • Generally cheaper

Cons:

  • May not absorb pressure as well as some other mattress types
  • Might be too firm or stiff for some sleepers

Having been around for centuries, the traditional innerspring mattress (or coil mattress) now uses steel coils to provide a more restful sleep. Depending on the number of coils and the coil gauge, these mattresses can range from medium-firm to extra-firm.

Gel Mattresses

Price Range: $300 to $3,000+

  • Ideal For: Sleepers who often get too hot during the night

Firmness Level: Varies

Pros:

  • Can offer a cooler sleep
  • Breathable and airy
  • Molds to your body shape

Cons:

  •  The cooling effect may wear off over time
  • Might not be as firm as some sleepers may prefer

Gel memory foam mattresses, which may feel similar to a memory foam bed, have an open-celled structure that expels your body heat rather than retaining it. As a result, these mattresses tend to feel more breathable while still providing all the support you would find in a memory foam bed.

Futon Mattress

Price Range: $200 to $1,000

  • Ideal For: Singles, sleepers looking for a versatile option

Firmness Level: Typically medium to firm

Pros:

  • Doesn’t sag or loose its shape as easily
  • Can also double as a couch

Cons:

  • Prone to mold and dust mites if you don’t air it out
  • Requires you to fold it up when you aren’t using it
  • Generally not so comfortable

Futons might be a popular choice for college dorm rooms or studio apartments, but these adjustable beds don’t need to be limited to the college years. Typically with a wooden or metal frame, futons can fold up when you aren’t using them and double as a couch. They are not recommended for every night sleeping, but aren’t a bad choice if you have guests staying over.

Air Mattresses

Price Range: $20 to $300

  • Ideal For: A couple nights maximum

Firmness Level: Typically medium to firm

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Affordable
  • Can provide easier movement and better blood circulation

Cons:

  • Can cause pain and stiffness in your joints and back
  • May not be a great long-term option for sleepers with chronic pain

Highly portable and easy to transport, air mattresses or air beds are mostly for convenience or quick comfort. Set up when you need one and deflate when it’s time to pack them away. While they aren’t typically a long-term solution, the firmness of these mattresses have been known to help keep your spine aligned better.

Take The Sleep Quiz To Find Your Match

There’s a lot that goes into finding the best mattress—so much so that it can feel a little overwhelming. Luckily, you can try the Helix Sleep Quiz today to get started on your journey for the perfect mattress according to your body size, sleep style, and unique preferences.