If you’re shopping for a new mattress, you’ve likely come across the terms “latex” and “hybrid” mattresses at this point. Both are growing in popularity – and for good reason. These mattress types share valuable features like cooling, pressure relief, durability, and support. That raises the question, then, as to which one is better.
The answer to that will depend on your unique needs and preferences. Below we’ll go over the pros and cons of each, as well as which design might suit you better depending on things like budget, preferred sleeping position, and more.
What’s a Hybrid Mattress?
A hybrid mattress is a combination of two different styles of mattresses. They’re made with both innerspring coils and foam, giving you both the support of the coils and the comfort of foam. The best hybrid beds are carefully constructed with specific layers to create a product that is cooling, responsive, and durable.
Hybrid Mattress Construction
The comfort layer of a hybrid mattress is the one on top, or closest to you, the sleeper. This layer offers soft cushioning and contours to your body. Ideally, a great comfort layer will be at least two inches thick.
The transition layer lies between the comfort layer at the top and the firmer support core below. This layer can either be made of the same or different material as the comfort layer, but it will usually be slightly firmer than the topmost layer.
There are a few common types of foam material used to create the comfort and transition layers in hybrid mattresses, each with their own benefits. Polyfoam, for example, is the less expensive option and is great for cushioning the body and responding to movement, but it’s not quite as durable as memory foam or latex. Memory foam cushions the body and relieves pressure by contouring to your unique body shape. Latex foam provides body contouring and is very responsive to movement, though it is the most expensive option.
The support core is made up of coils. Usually, these are pocketed coils, which means each coil is wrapped in fabric (versus interconnected coils found in innerspring beds). As a result, each coil moves independently, adapting to your body and creating more motion isolation than interconnected coils would.
The bottommost layer of a hybrid mattress is the base. This layer acts as a stabilizer for the support coils above it. This layer is usually made of highly dense poly foam and makes for a more durable mattress.
Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Mattress
- Temperature Regulation: If you are a hot sleeper, you’ll understand how important this feature is. The pocketed coils in hybrid mattresses provide better airflow than all-foam mattresses. Companies will also implement other helpful features into these beds, such as cooling foams infused with gel or temperature-regulating fabrics in the cover like cotton or Tencel.
- Motion Isolation: Motion isolation is a mattress’ ability to prevent movement from one part of the bed to the other. For example, if you sleep with a partner and your partner gets up in the middle of the night, a mattress with a lot of motion isolation would minimize the impact of their movement on your part of the mattress. If you are a light sleeper, you know how important this can be.Luckily, hybrid mattresses are better than traditional innerspring mattresses at isolating motion in this way. This is because of the pocketed coils combined with the top foam layers that absorb impact.
- Edge Support:As you might assume, edge support is the amount of support that a mattress provides at its edges. This feature is important because mattresses without much edge support won’t allow you to comfortably sit on the edge, and may even cause you to sink, sag, or fall off the bed while sleeping. Fortunately, most hybrid mattresses provide excellent edge support and create more comfort, safety, and space for you and your partner while sleeping.
- Responsive: A mattress’s responsiveness is how quickly and to what degree it responds to your movements. For example, a traditional innerspring mattress is going to be the most responsive mattress, because its coils respond almost immediately when you move. (Just imagine being a kid and jumping on the bed. The coils respond quickly by sinking in and then applying pressure back up.)A hybrid mattress has coils in its construction, so it is typically more responsive than something like a memory foam mattress.
- Durable: Hybrids are considered more durable than something like a traditional innerspring mattress because of their top foam layers. These prevent the springs from poking through after a year or two. Most hybrids are expected to last an average of seven years, although this can be longer or shorter depending on the quality of materials used.
- Heavy: The combination of both foams and coils makes hybrid mattresses heavier and bulkier than other types, such as memory foam beds, As a result, they can be harder to move. If you plan to get a hybrid, you’ll want to have help setting up your bed.
- More Expensive Than Traditional Types: While hybrid mattresses are generally less expensive than latex mattresses (which we will get to in the next section), they are still typically more expensive than memory foam or innerspring models. Some hybrid mattresses cost less than others, but a quality model could run you at least 1,200 dollars.
- Some Motion Transfer: Hybrid mattresses are better at isolating motion than traditional innerspring mattresses, however, there is still some motion transfer. This is because hybrids still have springs, even if they are typically individually wrapped. A mattress with no springs, like a memory foam mattress, will have even better motion isolation than a hybrid.
What’s a Latex Mattress?
Latex mattresses are rubber foam mattresses, meaning at their core, they are made from a rubberized material that has been whipped into a foam. This material is then molded and cured in sheets that are stacked on top of similar materials or integrated with others.
Latex beds are great for cooling buoyant, and contouring, whether they’re made from natural or synthetic materials.
Types of Latex Mattresses
Latex mattresses come in three basic varieties: natural, synthetic, or some combination of the two. Natural latex is what it sounds like – it’s made from natural components, rather than being man-made like synthetic rubber is.
There is also a major difference in price between natural and synthetic latex mattresses. Natural mattresses will cost more; sometimes much more. However, natural latex beds usually last longer and don’t smell of rubber after you unpack them. Plus, they are environmentally friendly.
There are two important certifications to keep in mind when shopping for a natural latex mattress: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
GOTS lets you, the consumer, know that the materials used in your natural latex mattress were harvested in an environmentally and socially-responsible way in every step from manufacturing to labeling.
A GOLS label lets you know that your mattress was made with organic, raw material and that it meets the processing standard for organic latex. This certification also means the mattress was made with human health, safety and welfare, and the environment as top priorities.
There are two specific types of natural latex: Dunlop and Talalay.
To make Dunlop latex, the first step is to tab rubber trees and gather liquid latex. This material is then whipped up, placed into a mold, and then heated to create one large, continuous piece of rubber foam. Dunlop mattresses tend to feel firmer, if not, at times inconsistent.
Unlike the Dunlop method, when making a Talalay mattress, only some of the latex is poured into the mold. This means the latex can expand and then the air is extracted. This particular part of the process gives Talalay mattresses an open-cell structure that has a cooling effect. The next step in the Talalay process is to flash-freeze the latex and split it into multiple sections. These sections are then glued together to make the mattress’s final form. The result of all of these steps is a mattress that stays cool and responds well to pressure. Talalay mattresses tend to feel softer but can have seams.
Unlike natural rubber, which is tapped from rubber trees, the rubber used in synthetic latex mattresses is a man-made creation and comes from petroleum.
The biggest benefit to buying synthetic is the difference in price point. A natural latex mattress can cost you twice as much, if not more, as a synthetic mattress. However, synthetic mattresses aren’t environmentally-friendly and can have a strong, rubbery odor, especially in the first few days.
Whether you choose natural or synthetic materials for your latex mattress, both are constructed in the same way.
Latex Mattress Construction
The comfort layer is the one closest to the sleeper. The latex here is made through the Dunlop or Talalay process. A Talalay comfort layer is more popular, however, because it tends to be softer and more uniform in texture.
The support base can be made either in the Dunlop or Talalay process as well. This layer is beneath the top comfort layer and is more dense. Dunlop lends itself well to this layer as it tends to be a firmer, denser material.
Pros and Cons of a Latex Mattress
- Cooler: These mattresses tend to sleep cooler, especially Talalay mattresses because they have an open-cell structure. If you are somebody who sleeps hot at night, the benefits of a cooling mattress could help you achieve a more peaceful rest.
- Hypoallergenic: If you experience allergies at night, things like dust mites, mildew, and mold will only make them worse. Fortunately, latex mattresses are inhospitable to these common allergens. However, be sure that you don’t have a latex allergy if you are looking into this type of mattress!
- Eco-Friendly: Natural latex mattresses are among the most eco-friendly. This is because they are made from naturally-tapped rubber. Be sure to keep an eye out for the GOTS and GOLS labels when shopping, as this will let you know if it is truly a sustainable option.
- Durable: Whether it’s a natural or synthetic mattress, latex tends to be more durable than other types of mattresses. While an innerspring or even hybrid mattress might last about seven years, a latex mattress could last anywhere from 10-20 years, depending on the quality of materials and how you maintain it.
- Responsive: Latex mattresses tend to be highly responsive, which means they quickly adjust to your movements and respond accordingly. Buoyant mattresses are great for those with limited mobility or combination sleepers because they foster easier repositioning.
- Expensive: A major downside to latex is the price, particularly for natural latex beds, which often cost upwards of $2,500 for a Queen model.To lower the cost, you might try looking for a synthetic or blended mattress, which offers many of the same comfort benefits as a natural one. Also, shopping online might provide you with better deals and eliminate some of the supply chain costs.
- Motion Transfer: Latex is a naturally bouncy material, which means that it might transfer a good amount of motion when somebody moves on the bed. If you are a light sleeper and somebody moving next to you tends to disturb you at night, latex might not be the best option for you.
- Heavier: Latex tends to be a heavier material than other foams used in mattresses. You can expect a latex mattress to weigh anywhere from 90 to 125+ pounds, depending on the mattress size and density. Luckily, even though they are heavy, they tend not to be as cumbersome and awkward as traditionally-shipped beds.
What are the Similarities and Differences Between Latex and Hybrid Beds?
Hybrid and latex mattresses actually have more commonalities than they do differences. With either, you’re going to get a great mattress with valuable features.
Both types of mattresses are cooling. Hybrid mattresses are cooling because of the airflow between their pocketed coils, whereas latex mattresses stay cool because of their open cell structure (especially Talalay mattresses.)
Multiple Firmness Options
Both types come in multiple firmness options. While hybrids with memory foam are more body-contouring, hybrids with latex can feel more responsive. Purely latex mattresses can vary in firmness depending on how they were made: Dunlop-manufactured beds tend to be firmer and Talalay-made ones feel softer.
Hybrids have multiple layers and components, which makes them more expensive. Naturally-occurring latex is also an expensive material to harvest and process. With either of these mattresses, you will likely pay anywhere from 900-5,000 dollars.
You’ll likely need extra help when trying to carry a hybrid or latex bed. The multiple layers in a hybrid make it a heavier mattress. Latex (either synthetic or natural) is a dense material, which makes for a heavier mattress.
Compatible With Different Bases
Both types of mattresses work well with different types of bed bases, including adjustable beds, platform beds, and foundations. Therefore, you won’t need a box spring for either of these mattresses.
A hybrid mattress will have some buoyancy, but lying on it, you’ll mostly feel its contouring qualities. However, this will depend on the foams used. Memory foam provides more of a deeper hug, which would take away from the buoyancy. A latex mattress, on the other hand, should feel highly responsive because latex is a naturally bouncy material.
If a hybrid mattress’s comfort layer is memory foam, it will do a better job of isolating motion. Latex is a dense material, but it is also a buoyant one. Therefore, latex does not do as good a job at isolating motion, which couples should keep in mind.
A hybrid has coils, and coils tend to break and lose their bounce after about 7 years. Compare this to a latex mattress, which could last 10 years or more.
How Do Latex and Hybrid Beds Perform for Different Body Types and Sleep Positions?
Different types of mattresses tend to work better for certain body types and sleep positions. By considering your body type and sleep style, you’ll have a better chance of finding a mattress that enhances your sleep.
Typically, lightweight sleepers prefer softer mattresses. Latex mattresses can provide great pressure relief, but they tend to be on the firmer side, so they might not be the best fit for sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds. In this case, hybrid mattresses with a memory foam comfort layer and a medium or plush firmness might be the better option here.
Average-sized sleepers include those weighing between 130 and 230 pounds. If you’re an average-sized sleeper, you’ll likely do well with either type of mattress, but it’s recommended that you go for a medium to firm one, depending on your sleep position. For example, if you’re an average-sized stomach sleeper, a firmer feel should suit you best.
Heavy sleepers should use firmer mattresses that deliver robust support for proper body alignment. While latex is typically a firm material, hybrid mattresses have extra support from the coils. So, if you’re a person who weighs above 230 pounds, you might find that the pushback from the coils and the added support from the foams work well for you.
If you are sleeping next to a partner and it disturbs you when they move at night, a hybrid mattress might be the better option for you. This is because they tend to have better motion isolation than latex mattresses, particularly if they contain movement-absorbing memory foam.
Side sleepers need a mattress that is softer and more contouring than those sleeping on their backs or stomachs. This means that firmer, bouncier latex mattresses may not be your best fit unless you’re able to find a softer model. Generally, softer hybrid mattresses with a memory foam comfort layer will provide the plush pressure relief needed for sleeping on your side.
A firmer latex mattress will work well for back sleepers and some of these mattresses have the added bonus of being flippable – meaning, one side is firmer than the other, so you’ll have more versatility. A hybrid mattress will also work well for this group and has the added bonus of coils and comfort foam, which will help with spine alignment and relieve pressure from the shoulders. Most back sleepers should look for a latex or hybrid bed with a medium-firm feel that provides the right balance of pressure relief and support.
Stomach sleepers need a mattress that provides a lot of support so their midsection doesn’t dip, causing a potentially painful curve in the lower back. Hybrid and latex models that are firmer could work for this group. For stomach sleepers, a Dunlop latex bed will provide that firmer feel stomach sleepers seek. As mentioned, hybrid mattresses will also work, but be sure you’re getting a firmer mattress that’s at least a 7 on a 1-10 firmness scale.
Combination sleepers do well with mattresses that have more bounce. If you’re moving around at night, you won’t want to feel “stuck” in the layers. For this reason, the bouncier latex mattress might be your best bet if you’re a combination sleeper. You may also consider a hybrid mattress with a latex comfort layer, rather than memory foam on top for added responsiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know if a latex mattress is natural?
You can find out if a latex mattress is natural by checking the product label. If it is made with natural latex, it should say so. Be on the lookout for labels like GOTS or GOLS, which will let you know that not only is the mattress natural, but it was made in a socially and environmentally-responsible way. Most companies will advertise that the latex in their product is 100 percent natural. If they do not, this could mean their latex is synthetic or blended.
You can also put the mattress through some at-home tests yourself. First, smell the mattress; synthetic latex tends to have a rubbery, more chemical smell, especially when it is brand new. Then try bending the mattress; a natural latex mattress should fold in half, whereas a synthetic one might not. Third, attempt to lift the mattress safely; a natural latex mattress will likely be heavier than a synthetic one.
Are hybrid or latex mattresses more durable?
Latex and hybrids are two of the most durable mattress design, but In general, latex mattresses are considered more durable than hybrids. This is because hybrid mattresses have coils, which will wear out faster than a latex mattress with no coils. A hybrid mattress usually lasts about 7 years, compared to a latex mattress which can last up to 10 or more.
Is latex a hybrid mattress?
A latex mattress is not a hybrid mattress. However, some hybrids have latex comfort layers, and in many cases, these beds will be included under the latex mattress umbrella. For the basis of this comparison, though, we are focusing on latex beds that have an all-foam construction.
Is a latex or hybrid mattress better?
This will depend entirely on your body type, sleep position, and other preferences. For those who need a firmer, more bouncy mattress, latex might be the best solution. Couples, side sleepers, and those who prefer a mattress that is more contouring will likely enjoy a hybrid more. The good news is that online companies give lengthy trial periods so you can try out the mattress you’re interested in for yourself and see what’s the better fit.
Are hybrid mattresses healthy?
Hybrid mattresses provide great support and can help maintain proper spinal alignment and relieve pressure from the shoulders. This is because of the combination of both coils and foam. They’re also breathable and sleep cooler than a memory foam mattress.
Is latex a good material for mattresses?
Latex is a great material for a mattress, especially when it comes to long-term comfort and durability. These types of mattresses can last 10 years or more, which is significantly more than other types of mattresses. Natural mattresses are also sustainable and an excellent choice for eco-conscious shoppers.
What bed is best for people with allergies?
Latex mattresses are a great option for people who live with allergies because this material is naturally resistant to dust, mildew, and mold. However, some people have latex allergies that can be severe. Before purchasing a latex bed, you’ll want to find out if you have a latex allergy.
Is a hybrid mattress good for back pain?
Hybrid mattresses offer fantastic support from individually-wrapped coils that move independently, adjusting to your body for superior comfort and motion isolation. They also have several layers of foam to provide added support and pressure relief. As a result, they should do a great job of keeping your spine in good alignment to improve your back pain and prevent it from worsening. Some hybrids are even made with special zoned support layers that can offer advanced comfort for those with back pain.
Natalie is a content writer for Sleep Advisor with a deep passion for all things health and a fascination with the mysterious activity that is sleep. Outside of writing about sleep, she is a bestselling author, improviser, and creative writing teacher based out of Austin.
When she's doing none of these things, you will most likely find her outdoors, at the gym, or... asleep.