Below, you'll find a side-by-side comparison of the significant differences between these two types of mattresses.
Any foam - cold foam, gel foam, polyurethane foam, memory foam, etc.
Any spring - pocket sprung, open coil, etc.
Generally softer or medium-firm
Generally firmer or medium-firm
Stability & support
A high-quality foam mattress can offer good stability & support
Excellent stability & support, especially for heavier weight sleepers
Suitable for (general guideline)
Light- and average-weight sleepers
Side or back sleepers
People who like softer or medium-firm mattresses
Sleepers of any bodyweight
Any sleeping preference
Sleepers who need more support
Average to good temperature regulation
Excellent temperature regulation
Usually not removable
Available as bed-in-a-box mattresses
Only hybrid models available as bed-in-a-box mattresses
High-density foam mattresses should last 8 - 10 years
Very high-quality spring mattresses should last 7 - 10 years
Synthetic foam mattresses usually emit a chemical smell when first unpacked
Often cheaper to mid-range
Quality spring mattresses are usually more expensive than all-foam mattresses
We can't say that one type of mattress is better than another.
But, you will find that a certain kind of mattress will be better suited to you.
Let's go into an overview of these two types of mattresses to help you figure out which one is best for you. 👇
What is a foam mattress?
Foam mattresses, in a nutshell, are all-foam beds.
They're especially popular as bed-in-a-box mattresses as foam can be so easily compressed and vacuum-packed for in-a-box delivery. 📦
Most foam mattresses consist of two or more layers of foam, and all-foam mattresses will likely combine multiple types of foam for the best sleeping experience.
Different types of foam mattresses
There are many different types of foam mattresses available.
You're likely to find a foam mattress to suit any budget, but we'd recommend you stay away from low-density, cheaper models.
Here is an overview of the most common types of foam used in foam mattresses.
Polyfoam is very common in modern foam beds.
Foam made from polyurethane is known to be a bit more bouncy and springy, and it's often used as the top comfort layer in a mattress. 😴
There are different types of polyfoam available.
The two most common types of polyfoam used are:
Standard soft polyfoam, which isused as comfort or transitional layers.
High-density polyfoam (also known as cold foam), a firmer foam used in lower support & base layers.
Most all-foam mattresses will feature a layer of cold foam at their base.
Memory foam (also often called viscoelastic polyurethane foam or low-resilience polyurethane foam) is also made predominantly of polyurethane but includes a few additional chemicals to increase viscosity and density.
NASA first designed it as a pressure-absorbing material to cushion astronauts' seats and absorb impact during space travel. 🚀
It's called "memory" foam as the material tends to retain the shape of your body for a few seconds after pressure is applied.
Foam vs spring: Which mattress is best suited to you?
As you may have gathered, there are some pretty stark differences between foam mattresses and spring mattresses.
Naturally, this will result in a different sleeping experience.
So how exactly do foam mattresses and spring mattresses differ in terms of their feel and sleeping comfort?
Let's find out. 👇
What does sleeping on a foam mattress feel like?
We'll disregard all the cheaper foam mattresses on the market as we really don't want you to have a terrible night's sleep.
So let's consider what the best foam mattresses, like memory foam and latex mattresses, feel like.
In general, foam mattresses:
Adapt well to your shape for body-hugging comfort & support.
Relieve pressure effectively, ensuring you wake up pain- and tension-free.
Have excellent motion isolation so that you won't be disturbed by your partner's movements at night.
Are a bit softer, making them great for side sleepers.
Retain more body heat & offer a slightly warmer feel, so they're great for people who quickly feel cold at night.
These properties make foam mattresses an excellent choice for anyone with orthopaedic concerns, couples, people who want more warmth, and slide sleepers. 👍
You may experience off-gassing when first unpacking a new foam mattress. This is an odd chemical smell, but it's not toxic or harmful. We'd recommend airing your new mattress until the smell disappears.
As foam mattresses are generally softer, they allow for more sinkage.
This is particularly important for side sleepers, who need to sink into the foams a bit more deeply for optimal spinal alignment.
On the downside, heavy-weight sleepers or those of a larger build can often sink in too deeply.
If you sleep on your stomach or back, you should be especially wary of the hammock effect. 🏖
This puts a lot of strain on the spine and can cause back problems.
But, of course, there are also firmer foam mattresses available, like the Nectar mattress.
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