The Definitive Guide to Mattress Types and Materials

bare mattress on a brown bed frame

Sleep‘s a big deal. It’s how you recharge your batteries and start your day, so it’s essential to have a bed that helps you get the most out of your snooze time. But finding the right mattress is tricky because there are SO many options.

Shopping for a new mattress can be a pain. Here’s our rule of thumb: no one model will work for everyone, but you’ll find the right one for you if you focus on your preferences and what’s available in your budget.

Start by assessing what kind of sleeper you are so you know which mattress features to prioritize. Then, peruse local stores and online retailers for options, and consider narrowing the field by using online reviews as a resource. Finally, try out different mattresses in person and have an idea of what a good deal might look like for your budget.

What Is a Mattress?

When it comes to choosing a mattress, the options can seem overwhelming. There are dozens of types, from memory foam to innerspring, hybrids, and beyond. This diversity in opportunity can make it challenging to determine which is best for your needs.

Mattresses are the foundation for a good night’s sleep. They support your body to get comfortable and help you stay warm and insulated. The right mattress can also help relieve pressure points and keep your back.

Getting the perfect amount of sleep every night is one of the most important things you can do for your health, and we know replacing a mattress can be exhausting. Since they’re not inexpensive purchases, it’s crucial to get one that suits your sleeping needs.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or your family, choosing the best mattress can make all the difference in getting a good night’s sleep.
But, what is a mattress?

According to Merriam-Webster, a mattress, at its core, is “a fabric case filled with a resilient material (such as cotton, hair, feathers, foam rubber, or an arrangement of coiled springs) used either alone as a bed or on a bedstead.” Mattresses come in all different sizes and shapes, with various levels of comfort and support.

stack of twin size mattresses

Important Information to Consider When Purchasing a Mattress

Before we get into further details, here’s a quick overview of the most important things to look for when you’re shopping for a mattress.

First, there’s comfort. Only you can determine your comfort level, so be sure to test out several mattresses with the type of pillow you plan to use.

Next, think about support. A mattress should provide proper support for your spine and joints; it shouldn’t sag or make you feel like you’re sinking into it.

Materials are essential. The materials used in each mattress affect its quality and durability. Look for natural materials such as wool and cotton whenever possible.

And finally, it’s essential to understand the mattress’ warranty. A good warranty indicates that a manufacturer has faith in its product; look for at least a ten-year warranty.

The Most Common Mattress Materials

That sinking feeling you get when you wake up in the morning after another night filled with tossing and turning, searching for the best position to relieve your aching back, is proof that your current mattress isn’t doing its job.

You’ve been there. You wake up the next day with back or shoulder pain, or you notice by the middle of the day that your neck has a kink in it that feels like it could hold a large marble.

If only you could have gotten more information about what your mattress is made of before you bought it! The following materials are found in many different beds and are critical ingredients to a good night’s sleep.


Foam, a soft material that absorbs movement, is excellent for temperature regulation. Because foam cushions the body, it can help to relieve pressure points and prevent tossing and turning. Different types of foam have varying characteristics.

Memory foam is one of the most popular types of foam. Still, depending on your preferences and sleep position, our beds also feature many other options, including gel memory foam and polyurethane foam.

foam mattress with a hand imprint

Memory Foam Mattresses We Love

12 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress

by Zinus 

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Polyester Batting

Polyester is a standard synthetic fiber with good resistance to stretching and shrinking. In addition, most polyester is made from recycled plastic bottles, making it more sustainable than many other types of fibers.

Polyester Batting is the most common type of filling used in pillowtop mattresses. It is a blend of different-sized polyester fibers and is hypoallergenic and resistant to mold and mildew.
What makes it unique is the highly insulating property which gives maximum warmth to its users. In addition, it is lighter, durable, and less expensive than goose-down filled winter bedding products.


Wool comes from sheep and is used in mattresses. Wool is breathable, allowing air to flow through it and carry heat away from the body. Wool is a natural fiber that has many benefits. It can improve the quality of sleep and regulate temperature. Mattresses with wool use it as an extra layer of padding to give you more comfort while sleeping.


Cotton is a natural material used for padding or filling mattresses, pillows, and other padded furniture. It adds cushioning so you can have high comfort levels while sleeping.

Cotton is a soft, breathable, and renewable material that makes for a comfortable mattress. In addition, its natural insulating and moisture-wicking qualities keep you cool and dry throughout the night.
Buttery soft, and hypoallergenic, organic cotton is sustainably harvested. It’s easy to care for, so you can get a good night’s sleep every night.

person pressing down on a cotton mattress


Adhesives are a critical component of every mattress. They’re most commonly used to bond layers and materials together. For example, they’re used to hold together the cover, quilting, and foam in the comfort layer of your mattress.

Adhesives can have various properties – some are strong, others heat-activated, or elastic. The suitable adhesive can glue the right layer together to create the perfect mattress fit.

Flame Retardants

Thanks to flammability laws, mattresses all have fire-resistant materials woven into the fabrics that meet federal requirements and help protect against the possibility of fire. Currently, all mattresses manufactured in the United States are required to include flame-retardant materials.

A wide variety of materials can serve as flame retardants, including wool, boric acid, silicon, and aluminum silicate. This variety means that even if you see a “natural” mattress boasting natural or organic filling materials, it will still include some type of flame-retardant covering.

Steel Coils

Steel coils are individually wrapped (sometimes referred to as pocketed coils) that are the key structural component of innerspring mattresses and hybrid mattresses. They’re generally sturdy durable and provide firm support at the base of your mattress.

A mattress’s coils determine its firmness, durability, and shape retention. Made from steel wire bent into S or hourglass shapes, most mattresses use 300-coil-count Bonnell coils for a balance of comfort and support.

The base of most mattresses is made up of a series of nested coils called “springs.” Each ring is individually wrapped with cloth to provide a softer feel, and thicker gauge wire means the mattress will be firmer. Depending on the number and thickness of the coil gauges, plus whether or not the mattress has an overall layer of foam across the top, these can make for very different bed feels.

Seven Most Common Types of Mattresses

Whether you’re buying a new mattress for your old bed or replacing your old one, finding the right mattress type is an important buying decision.

When it comes to achieving a good night’s sleep, no one will settle for less. Therefore, it is imperative to focus on achieving a great night’s rest. One of the first things to figure out is the mattress type you want to use.

To help make the decision easier, here are the top seven most common types of mattresses.

corner shot of a pillow top mattress


For those who love the softness of a pillow but long for the comfort of a mattress, a pillow-top mattress is probably just right. The cushiony top layer is designed to add extra comfort to your bed. This top can be made out of cotton, wool, gel, foam – or a combination of the four. It’s usually no more than an inch thick and can be stitched into the mattress cover or placed on top.

This type of mattress (with mattress topper) provides a high level of comfort that most people are looking for in a bed. Moreover, it also provides pressure relief on sensitive areas that may help improve sleep quality by reducing tossing and turning during sleep. However, this type of mattress is not suitable for sleepers who prefer a firmer bed because its plush feel reduces the firmness of the overall mattress.

Pillow tops are known for their comfort and plushness. The extra layer allows you to sink further into the mattress than usual, providing full-body support and excellent pressure relief. They also help relieve back pain by keeping your spine aligned. Because of this, they’re often recommended for side sleepers. However, it does not provide much bounce or firmness because it is so soft. This softness means that you might have more trouble changing positions throughout the night.

Pillow Top Mattresses We Love


An air mattress or air bed is made of comfortable materials. They are designed to provide comfort and support to your body while you rest. Furthermore, they allow you to customize the firmness level that suits your needs. This adjustability ensures proper alignment of the spine and provides pressure relief to the body.

More premium air mattresses also come with an additional layer of plush, premium foam, which adds more comfort to the bed surface. It also provides a pillow-top feel that creates a cozy sleeping environment. These foam layers are made from different materials, such as memory foam and polyurethane foam.

In some models, the air mattress also has a built-in pump for easy inflation and deflation of the bed. Air mattresses are available in different sizes, such as queen, king size, twin size mattress, and full. It can fit any standard bed frame or box spring. You can use it with or without a foundation or box spring if you prefer not to use one.

Air Mattresses We Love


It is always exciting to find a new mattress that you can try out. But it is also not easy to choose the right bed. With the many options out there, you might end up getting confused about what to pick.
Nowadays, you can order beds directly online.

A bed in a box is an all-foam construction. They are also called compressed mattresses because they are rolled and wrapped tightly for shipping. And, they’re great for stomach sleepers!

You might wonder how this type of mattress is made? It is simple! The layers of foam are rolled together, then vacuum sealed, and placed inside the box. It is easy to unpack since it is like taking out your items from any box. This type of bed is one of the most convenient mattresses on the market today since you can unpack it and wait for it to achieve its entire shape. In no time, you will be able to enjoy comfortable sleep!

mattress in a cardboard box

Bed In The Box Mattresses We Love


Memory foam beds are made from viscoelastic material. This material is a type of polyurethane combined with other chemicals to increase its density and viscosity. Memory foam mattresses can take on various shapes when weight is applied, but they always return to their original form once the weight is removed.

Memory foam mattresses are available in a wide range of densities, referring to how much one cubic foot of the mattress weighs. However, memory foam beds with low density (3 pounds per cubic foot or less) may not be durable enough to provide adequate support over time. On the other hand, memory foam with high density (greater than 5 pounds per cubic foot) tends to be stiff and uncomfortable for many sleepers. For this reason, sleep experts recommend choosing a memory foam mattress with mid-range density (4 to 5 pounds per cubic foot).

Memory Foam Mattresses We Love

12 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress

by Zinus 

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The innerspring mattress is an ideal bed for those looking for a traditional feel. In addition, it offers a bouncy surface that you cannot find in other mattresses.

Due to its popularity, the quality of the innerspring mattress has also improved. Manufacturers made innovations to enhance the quality of this mattress type. It has a spring coil system as its core support and comfort layer on top of it.

The comfort layer of the innerspring mattress uses polyfoam or latex material. The core layer uses one of these four types of coils: Bonnell, offset, continuous wire coils, or pocketed coils.

All of these coils have the same primary purpose. They provide support to your body. However, since there are different types of spring coils for you to choose from, it’s essential that you know which one suits your needs best when buying a mattress online.

Innerspring Mattreses We Love

8 Inch Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Medium-Firm Mattress

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As the name suggests, Latex mattresses are mattresses that use latex as one of the materials in their construction.

The natural origins of latex make this material ideal for eco-conscious shoppers. Latex is hypoallergenic, so it won’t attract dust mites or aggravate allergies; this makes it a popular choice among people with asthma or other respiratory issues. The material feels soft but durable and doesn’t tend to develop body impressions as some mattress foams do over time. While latex is more expensive than other types of mattress foam, in general, it tends to be very durable and long-lasting.

The biggest drawback to a latex mattress is its cost. Natural latex and latex foam are even more expensive than memory foam, which helps explain why it’s relatively rare in mattresses sold online or in brick-and-mortar stores. Synthetic latex has become more common, but this material is not as durable or springy as natural versions.

detailed shot of a latex mattress

Latex Mattresses We Love


A hybrid mattress is the best of both worlds. The result? You can experience both the pressure relief of a foam mattress and the sturdy firm mattress feel of traditional spring mattresses.

Some hybrid mattresses even have a pillow top layer to help you stay cool at night. So if you’ve got back pain or a side sleeper who wants a bit more support, this is the mattress for you.

Hybrid mattresses are an ideal choice for sleepers who want the best of both worlds: the pressure relief of memory foam, latex, or gel on top and the sturdy feel of a traditional spring mattress below. In addition, hybrid beds can be an excellent option for couples with different sleep preferences or those who want firm mattresses.

While the layers of foam on top may vary in firmness depending on the brand and bed you choose, you’ll always be able to enjoy the bounce and responsiveness of a coil mattress.

Some hybrids also offer extra cooling technology, high-density edge support, or motion isolation. These perks can make these beds even more appealing to sleepers looking for a high-quality mattress at an affordable price from a mattress store.

Hybrid Mattresses We Love

8 Inch Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Medium-Firm Mattress

by Linenspa 

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