The 10 Mattress Types, Explained (Best & Worst for Sleepers)

Types of Matttresses

There are so many different types of sleepers in the world. There are deep sleepers, light sleepers, side sleepers, back sleepers, stomach sleepers.

The list goes on and on. People rest in wildly varied ways.

Therefore, it makes sense that people need wildly varied things from their mattresses.

Some people are seeking a new bed that provides firm comfort, some want something very soft.

Certain customers need to stay cool during the night, some do not.

Some people want to sleep in a bed that is adjustable and perfect for two people who exhibit different sleep patterns and some are just looking for a twin-sized bed perfect for a bachelor.

There are many types of sleepers in the world and a mattress for seemingly every type.

Let’s look into the different types of mattresses on the market and who they are designed for.

1. Memory Foam

memory foam mattress

Memory foam mattresses are perhaps the most popular type of bed on the market today. You see them advertised everywhere and people swear by their comfortable, healing powers.

Memory foam technology was created by NASA in the 1970s and has come a long way since then. This impossibly soft type of fabric absorbs pressure and motion and stays wonderfully firm while also remaining soft at the same time.

Memory foam beds seem to learn and adapt to your body and contour to the natural curves in your frame. It is surprising how strong a memory foam mattress remains, even after years of use. It will feel as comfortable and supportive as it did on day one for a long, long time.

Best for: Side sleepers, sleepers with shoulder and hip pain

Worst for: Warm sleepers

2. Gel

gel memory foam mattress

If you like the idea of a memory foam mattress but have found that they often make you feel too warm in your sleep, a gel mattress is probably perfect for you.

The gel material is often added to a foam mattress and has a different look and feel than typical memory foam.

The construction of the gel helps to dissipate and transfer your body heat so it provides a much cooler rest than most memory foam mattresses. If you want a bed that has a regulated temperature, a gel mattress is ideal for you.

Best for: Sleepers with joint pain, warm sleepers

Worst for: Sleepers on a budget

3. Hybrid

hybrid mattress

A hybrid mattress takes time-tested construction and pairs it with modern technology.  This type of bed combines both springs and foam.

Springs, which have been around for generations, and foam, which is a relatively new creation in the mattress industry, come together to give consumers a good middle-of-the-road mattress that provides support and comfort and softness and firmness.

A hybrid mattress truly is the best of both worlds and is softer than a normal spring bed while also not as firm as a typical foam one. One of the bonuses of a hybrid mattress is that it doesn’t come with the annoying sounds of springs whenever you lay down. What a relief.

Best for: Sleepers on a budget, sleepers with joint aches

Worst for: Sleepers who are looking for amazing motion isolation

4. Pillowtop

pillowtop mattress

A pillowtop mattress is a solution for your stiff back and shoulders and is as easy as putting on a sheet. With a pillowtop, you are not buying a new mattress but rather a spring or foam layer that you will add to the bed you already own.

Pillowtop come in all sorts of varieties, from memory foam to soft and feathery to firm and thick. You can find a pillow topper for whatever you want.

The benefit of a pillowtop is that you don’t have to go out and buy a brand new mattress, you can simply enhance the one you have at home.

Installation is quite easy but make sure you measure your bed before purchasing a pillowtop because if you get the wrong size, applying the mattress topper will become a frustrating pain.

Best for: Sleepers on a budget, sleepers who don’t love either spring or foam beds

Worst for: Sleepers who want lots of customization

5. Adjustable Beds

adjustable bed

Adjustable beds are the mattress for people who want lots and lots of customization. If you want relief and support in specific parts of your body and want to adjust everything from the height of your feet, head, or shoulders, the adjustable bed is perfect for you.

Over the years, the adjustable bed mattress has been perfected to handle many types of health issues, from sleep apnea to heartburn to muscle aches.

The technology of an adjustable bed has come a long way and is no longer just for people who suffer from crippling medical issues.

Now you can find modern adjustable beds that are created solely to help your comfort and not your health. In a world of vast customization, an adjustable bed shines bright.

Best for: Sleepers with serious back or joint pain, sleepers who want to customize their sleep routine

Worst for: Sleepers looking to save money, sleepers who want an easy installation

6. Innerspring

innerspring mattress

Innerspring mattresses are a fancy way to talk about a bed filled with rows of coils and metal springs.

This type of mattress has been around for decades but don’t let that fool you because Innerspring beds have evolved a lot lately. The science behind these beds has grown tremendously and now you can find innerspring beds that are customizable and specific to your every need.

The number of coils in each innerspring mattress dictates the level of support and, thankfully, there are now many different types of coils on the market, crafted to address very real and chronic issues like back pain and various bodily injuries.

The innerspring mattress has changed a lot and it is now a high-quality and comfortable sleeping experience that can make you feel brand new.

Best for: Sleepers needing localized support

Worst for: Sleepers wanting a mattress for a long, long time

7. Latex

latex mattress

With a latex mattress, you receive a bed that is soft and comfortable but also still gives you the same pressure relief as multiple other foam mattresses.

Through a long, complicated scientific process, latex is transformed into foam that feels bouncy and light but also stays firm and rebounds quickly from the added weight.

While many people love it, some customers do not like the “sinking” feeling they get when laying on certain foam mattresses.

You get far less of that with a latex bed and instead feel a sort of structured, firm support throughout the night.

Best for: Sleepers who want firmness with bounce

Worst for: Sleepers with latex allergies

8. Water Bed


The water bed isn’t just some relic of the 1970s and 80s. No, the water bed is actually a very practical and helpful type of mattress that can alleviate some truly painful injuries in the back and shoulders.

Despite what some people may say, the water bed is also very safe and not prone to leaking.

A water bed is great for people who have injured parts of their body, including the back. The natural feel and support of the water mattress can work wonders on pain.

And the water can be heated too, to add an extra level of therapeutic relief. Is a water bed difficult to transport and install? Sadly, yes. But it contains many benefits that people may not immediately think of.

Best for: Sleepers with serious back injuries

Worst for: Sleepers who hate complicated installation

9. Air Bed


The air bed has long been a staple of college dorms and childhood sleepovers but it serves more of a purpose than people may think. This is the perfect mattress to sleep on during a trip or between mattress purchases or when you need a firm, reliable rest.

Many air beds now come with built-in internal pumps too, meaning filling it up has never been easier.

Many more also have memory foam toppers installed so you can get more comfort from an air bed than you ever have before. While an air bed may not be a perfect long term mattress, it certainly isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be.

Best for: Sleepers on a trip, sleepers on a budget

Worst for: Sleepers with chronic injuries, sleepers who don’t want a long installation or set-up

10. Futon


The futon mattress is one of the most criticized on the market. People give it a hard time and see it as a vestige of a past generation. But the futon isn’t what it once was.

The futon is a couch-bed combo. During the day, you can sit on it like you would any sofa. At night, you can unfold it and use it as a bed. The mattress is typically firm and thick, perfect for both sitting and sleeping on.

While futons used to all feel the same, they are now built with a variety of springs and foam toppers, which means you not only get a rather comfortable bed but a rather comfortable sofa too. The futon isn’t what it once was and should not be written off.

Best for: Sleepers on a budget

Worst for: Sleepers who share a bed, sleepers who want an easy set-up

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