This is a Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid (the Ability firm). Note the flat top in comparison to the more traditional Posturepedic below. Images courtesy of Overstock.com
Hybrid mattresses are the latest fad in the mattress world. It seems like most manufacturers are coming out with a model or two. But what is a hybrid mattress and what are some of the pros and cons? Is this the next best thing in sleep hygiene, or just marketing hype? Let’s take a closer look.
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A hybrid is defined by Google as a “a thing made by combining two different elements.” In the case of hybrid mattresses, the two elements are old-school innerspring mattresses and specialty foam mattresses. A hybrid mattress will typically have coils (usually individually pocketed coils) and memory foam and/or latex on top.
If you’re well-versed in mattresses, you may have a question at this point.
“Don’t most regular coil mattresses use memory foam and/or latex on top?”
Well, yes. In some respects, the “hybrid” name is just a marketing term. It’s an evolutionary step rather than a revolutionary one. Hybrid mattresses tend to have a little more foam and a little less of the other comfort materials than traditional innersprings. Also, the top of the hybrid mattress is usually flatter, more like a foam mattress, rather than tufted like a traditional innerspring mattress (though there are exceptions).
This is a more traditional innerspring mattress. Note the tufting on the top (the little indents). Most (but not all) hybrid mattresses use a smooth surface instead.
A word of caution: not everything labeled a “hybrid” mattress is really a hybrid. It’s in fashion now for some manufacturers to call every mattress with both springs and foam “hybrid.” The real hybrid mattresses are those that use larger blocks of foam on the top and use less fiber. Hybrid mattresses have a very particular feel to them that’s hard to describe, but if you spend some time on them you’ll notice the difference. The feel is somewhere between the slow-response of a foam mattress and the bounciness of the older traditional mattresses. If you try a mattress that feels just like every other innerspring mattress, and it uses a tufted top (the little indents sewn down), it’s probably not what most people would consider a real hybrid. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. Check for support and comfort with any bed you try, hybrid or not. If you need help in this area, check out my mattress buying guide.
Since hybrid mattresses are just a variation of innerspring mattresses, the pros and cons of innersprings apply to hybrids as well. That is to say, they’re easier to move around in than all-foam mattresses and a little cheaper, but not quite as good at separating motion or contouring to your body. Here are a couple additional pros and cons specific to hybrids:
The basics remain the same: try out the mattresses and check for support and comfort. Don’t pay too much attention to the word hybrid, as it is mostly a marketing term, but at least be aware that the mattress will have a slightly different feel, somewhere in between an all-foam mattress and the more traditional innersprings. It’s not necessarily better or worse than any other type of mattress. Just slightly different.
Do you own a hybrid bed? If so, leave a comment below and let the world know what you think of it.