Many new mattress buyers often wonder: “Should I buy a spring or foam mattress?” The answer to this question will differ from one individual to the next. Both are good options and each has its own pros and cons. So, here’s a breakdown of memory foam vs spring mattresses with an in-depth look at the differences between the two.
Spring coil mattresses have been around since the late 1800s and it’s considered as the “traditional” mattress. The basic structure hasn’t changed much since it was first introduced but it has stood the test of time and has proven to be reliable and durable.
The spring mattresses are constructed with rows of coil springs that make up the core. The frame is then wrapped in fabric to provide cushioning and sturdiness of the coils.
There are a few factors that determine the feel, support and bounce of a spring mattress. They include the type of spring, the amount of springs, their thickness and how they connect with each others. Some of the spring mattresses also comes with additional layers, which provide extra comfort.
Many modern spring mattresses have evolved from the basic spring system and now offer various adaptations of this system. The three most popular options today include the following:
Continuous coils. This type of mattress features coils from one long wire. All the coils are interlinked, providing a stable structure.
Pocket springs. This system features individual coils, all of which are sewn into their own pocket of fabric. This allows for each coil to act independently, adjusting to the contours of your body and preventing motion transfer.
Bonnell springs. This is the oldest spring technology that is mostly used in entry-level mattresses. The springs here are hourglass-shaped with the end of the wire wrapped around the top and bottom circular portion. This allows for a good level of support but it also means that whatever happens on one side of the mattresses directly affects the other.
- Spring mattresses are fairly cheap to manufacture since the technology is pretty basic. However, some of the more advanced spring mattresses, such as pocket spring mattresses with multiple comfort layers, can cost as high as memory foam mattresses.
- Pricier spring mattresses that have pocket coils and comfort layers can provide isolated, orthopedic support and musculoskeletal alignment.
- There’s no break-in period when you buy a new spring mattress since they don’t mold to your body and don’t require the time to study your body contours and your preferred sleeping style.
- Spring mattresses are well ventilated since there’s space in between the coils, which allows for air flow. On top of that, unlike memory foam mattresses, spring mattresses don’t rely on heat for adjusting to your body. This eliminates the problem of getting too warm while you sleep.
- There’s no outgassing odor that can sometimes be experienced when sleeping on a memory foam mattress.
- The pressure of the coils and the uneven body support means that the mattress doesn’t address spinal alignment or pressure point support. This can result in aches and pains. So, it might not be the best option for you if you have chronic back or neck pain.
- Spring mattresses tend to have a shorter lifespan in comparison to memory foam. The mattresses often start to sag already after a couple years of use. Most manufacturers offer only up to 10 year warranties.
- These mattresses can also be quite noisy with squeaky sounds coming from your every movement.
- They also require more maintenance since it’s recommended to flip or rotate the mattress every 3-6 months in order to prevent the sagging.
- Most of these mattresses have noticeable motion transfer. If you sleep with a partner, he or she will feel every move that you make.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam was first introduced by NASA in the late 60s. It was used for cushioning inside the spacecraft. Since then, it has also gained popularity in the bedding industry, such as in mattresses and pillows.
The material is made from a substance called viscoelastic. The mattresses can be with different layers and different density of foam.
The main advantage of memory foam reacts to heat and pressure and as a result, it molds to your body’s curves. As it provides support for pressure points and helps to keep the spine properly aligned, memory foam mattresses are recommended for those who suffer from back or joints pain.
- As your body sinks into the mattress, it hugs every curvature of your body. This provides even distribution of weight. And it also provides relief for pressure points.
- There’s a wide variety of memory foam mattresses that is available on the market. You can choose different layers and different thickness. Plus, there are more levels from firm to soft.
- The molding characteristics of memory foam help to control motion transfer. Memory foam will absorb your movements and will allow sleeping partners to sleep undisturbed.
- The reduced compression within memory foam helps the mattress to hold its shape without any sagging.
- They usually have a longer lifespan than spring mattresses. They don’t sag as much and there are no mechanical parts that can break. Some manufacturers offer 20-year warranties.
- Memory foam mattresses are also low maintenance. You might just have to rotate it every half a year.
- Since memory foam responds to body temperature, older models of these mattresses used to produce a lot of heat. However, today most brands using cooling technologies, such as gel memory foam.
- Foam mattresses require a break-in period. First of all, it might initially emit an unpleasant chemical smell, though it will go away after some time. And secondly, before the material will start conforming to your body, it will need to study your body shape and your usual sleeping style, which can take some time.
- These mattresses can also be quite pricey since the technology and the materials are more expensive.
When it comes to choosing memory foam vs spring mattresses, there’s no right or wrong. Each type of mattress offers a different feel and different comfort. Both also have their advantages, as well as downsides. Some people prefer the bounciness of spring mattresses, while others love the conforming qualities of memory foam.