You’ve never been so spoiled for choice as you are today when it comes to the different types of mattresses available on the market, and you also have a huge choice of bed frames to accommodate your new mattress. However, this also makes it overwhelming when you’re shopping for a new mattress, and no one wants to get stuck with a very old one that doesn’t offer adequate support.
The key is to have a general idea of what you want for your new type of mattress when you first start shopping. We’re going to help you with this task by narrowing down the top 12 types of mattresses available on the current market below.
Choosing the right type of mattress can take time, and it’s something that you should carefully consider because you’ll sleep on it for the next few years. Backtherapy mattress by Aaron Yoo / CC BY-ND 2.0
1. Adjustable Air Mattress
Air mattresses are very popular with outdoor enthusiasts to help improve the overall camping experience. Recent innovations brought this type of mattress to the bedroom, and you can now fill independent chambers to the desired firmness level to give you the perfect sleeping experience. The air chamber then gets covered with a layer of padding or upholstery materials, and this can be latex or memory foam. The goal is to help create a comfortable and cool sleeping surface that is durable.
They come designed to mimic the look of a traditional bed and mattress, but most of them come outfitted with a remote control that lets you adjust the firmness levels according to your tastes. Because there is more than one air chamber in the design, it’s usually possible to adjust each side of the bed separately. This gives you a customized sleeping experience for any couple who has different sleep preferences.
Many people mistakenly think that the air design means that this type of mattress is an inexpensive choice. However, you’re paying for the technology behind the mattress. This means that it drives the price up very quickly, and a lower-end entry-level model will cost upwards of $500. They can get up to $10,000 to $15,000 each, depending on the size and technology you want. On average, you should expect to pay $2,200.
Innerspring types of mattresses are one of the most common and oldest designs on the market. They were first invented in 1857, and they’ve come a long way since then in terms of upgrades to make them much more stable and comfortable. You can even add storage under them if you have a smaller room.
They come outfitted with a steel coil support system that gives your whole body excellent support to help keep your spine in alignment. You can arrange the coils one of two ways. They can be individually wrapped or connected. When you choose the connected design, the coils will all feed into one unit, and the bed gets a more bouncy feel. When you sleep on it, you can feel it if your partner moves because the coils will respond as a single unit to their shifting.
With a pocket and individually wrapped design, the coils will function independently from one another. When you’re sleeping in this bed, you may not feel any bounce or movement if your partner rolls over in the middle of the night. The coils also feature an upholstery or padding cover to give you softness, comfort, and more support. Generally speaking, the more coils that this mattress has, the more points of contact your bed will have to your body and the greater support it can offer.
Unlike memory foam, these types of mattress aren’t always hypoallergenic. They can collect mold, dust, allergens, and even bed bugs. There are a few ways that you can combat this issue, including washing the bedding regularly in hot water and using an electric blanket to reduce the humidity levels. This is also one of the most affordable options on the market, and you can pay anywhere from $100 to $2,000 for it. The average cost comes in at less than $1,000.
Memory foam is very popular in mattresses and pillows, but it was originally invented by NASA in the 1970s. The original purpose of this material was to give better cushioning on the seat and crash protection for pilots and passengers on airplanes, and this is still a huge use of this material to date.
This material works well for types of mattresses for a range of reasons. It’s also called Visco Elastic foam, and it works to conform to your body’s curves while ensuring that it dispenses your weight evenly over the surface of the mattress. This can help with pain relief for anyone who has aching joints or pain in the mornings from laying in one position too long. Memory foam also works as a heat activated material, and this allows it to contour and soften when it comes into contact with your body temperature.
If you’re someone who routinely gets cold when you sleep, this type of mattress could help keep you warmer. The same technology that allows it to mold to your body can make it seem warmer overall. If you’re someone who sleeps warm, you might want to pick out a type of mattress that has new technology that injects a gel-like substance into the foam to keep it cooler. It helps to improve the overall air circulation through the support layers to keep you cooler.
Unlike most types of mattress, memory foam can resist allergens and bacteria. You also won’t have to worry about bed bugs, mold, or dust mites. There is a large price range attached to this mattress type, and you can spend anywhere from $100 to $4,000 for the mattress alone. The quality and brand will play the biggest roles in the price, and the average cost is $1,400.
4. Futon Mattress
Futons are popular for doubling as beds in apartments and small spaces like a balcony where you want extra soft seating. You’ll get a mattress that doubles as a sofa cushion when you fold it up, but it has to be thick enough to act as a type of mattress when you fold it back down. It’s a great choice for studio apartments, and you get a fairly firm bed that folds naturally to fit onto the frame. They come made out of a huge range of materials, including polyester, foam, cotton, and springs. Many designs have combinations of materials.
5. Gel Mattress
One of the biggest complaints people have regarding foam mattresses is that it works to trap heat. This is because the foam has a more dense construction to support your body; However, the denseness is the exact thing that stops or limits air from flowing through it. In turn, this brings your temperature up. Throughout the night as you sleep, the heat gets trapped inside the mattress, and this can make you hotter.
Gel-based types of mattresses work to offset this heating effect that comes with memory foam. It usually gets infused into the foam of the mattress to make it naturally cooler. As you sleep, the gel will take on the temperature of the material around it. However, it tends to take hours to do this. As a direct result, you’ll be able to stay cooler as you sleep.
6. Green Eco-Friendly Mattresses
You’ve most likely found natural fiber types of mattresses on the market if you’ve already started your search. This is exactly what it sounds like, and the mattress possesses natural fibers in the makeup instead of synthetic ones like foam. The materials can come in a range of combinations, and you can pay more for these mattress types because there is much more detail in the overall manufacturing process. They don’t use chemicals in the manufacturing process, and this helps you reduce your carbon footprint.
Many types of mattresses in this category come with a Greenguard certification mark on them, and this indicates that it uses natural materials and a dedicated production process. There are also vegan mattresses in this category, and it’s possible to find avocado mattresses too. You have to know that the price tag is usually higher, and it can easily range between $1,000 and $3,400 per mattress.
Hybrid types of mattresses are one example of how the sleep industry combined products to improve comfort levels. Most of these mattresses come with layers of comfortable memory foam technology with an innerspring core to help create a surface that gives you excellent comfort, durability, and support. This design comes with several advantages too. For example, by incorporating stand-alone pocketed coil technology in the design, the sleeper will feel less motion during the night to get a more restful sleep.
Also, by combining technology, the mattress keeps the feel and look of a traditional sleeping surface. If you like the bed to bounce a little, this is a great perk. This mattress also comes in the traditional shape rather than the straight lines and low profile that memory foam options have. Because they have a foam layer on top, you’ll get the hypoallergenic benefits. The bed can easily resist bed bugs, mold, dust mites, and allergens. However, this is one of the most expensive options that range from $550 to $4,000 or more with a $2,200 average.
Just like you’d guess from the name, the innerspring mattress has an internal steel coil spring system. The spring design allows the mattress to keep the ideal shape. The coils usually get covered by a layer of padding, upholstery, or natural materials, including latex foam, fiber, or foam to help provide support. You can arrange them individually or connect them. The connected coils get all fed into the same unit to give you a bouncier feel and better support. However, it also allows you to feel your partner’s movements because each spring is connected.
For coils that are individually arranged, they get pocketed alone. This means that your partner’s movements in the bed might not have an impact on how you sleep because it lowers the motion transfer. The more coils your mattress has, the more comfort and support you get. There are a few innerspring types of mattresses available, including:
Bonnell coils are some of the first innerspring coils to be invented, and they’re still popular today. They appeared in the 1800s to help pad buggy cushions. They take on an hourglass form, and they have a helix structure when you put them together. This is a middle-range price option.
This type of coil uses a single wire to form the entire bed’s support system. They get made into an S-shape instead of a traditional coil. Because the whole system has a single wire that interlinks, you’ll get more durability at a lower price point.
Marshall or Pocketed Coil
These coils are also called wrapped coils or encased coils, depending on who you talk to. Unlike the other ones we touched on, these coils don’t get wired together. They work independently of one another, and this allows you to have more support and less motion transfer.
During the construction process, manufacturers use thin-gauge wire in a barrel-shaped design. When you’re looking at innerspring types of mattresses, you’ll hear people talk about coil gauge. Higher numbers mean a thinner gauge. So, the thinner the coil is, the softer your mattress will be. Thicker gauge coils will give you more durability, but they’ll also make the mattress firmer.
If you don’t want to think about squeaky springs, especially when kids are active during sleepovers, you’ll want to look at offset coils. They form an hourglass shape like Bonnell coils do, but the bottoms and tops of the coils have a flattened edge. The edges work to create a hinged effect that helps them conform to your body’s shape better. They’re supportive, durable, sturdy, and quiet.
These are the most common types of mattresses because they’ve been around the longest, and they offer a huge durability factor that can make them last for years. Street Mattress by Ashley Ringrose / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Latex types of mattresses were first invented in the 1930s, but they didn’t hit mainstream production until the 1960s. They originally had extremely high production and material costs, and this made them much more expensive than the competition. In turn, this made them way out of budget for the average person. During the past two or three decades, technology advances have made this a much more affordable type of mattress for the average person to have. Today, they’re a more affordable but high-end option.
Latex is made from petroleum-based materials, and this makes it a popular type of mattress amongst eco-conscious consumers because it’s more environmentally-friendly. The resilient material offers a good deal of support, just like you’d get with memory foam. You get a comfortable sleeping surface that will take the pressure off of your shoulders and hips to help you stay in the correct alignment.
They’re also a great choice if you have issues with lower back pain. If you move around a lot at night, this could be a good option for you too. Latex works to suppress motion, and this makes it much less likely that you’ll feel it if your partner tosses or turns to help you both get a good night’s rest.
10. Pillow Top Mattress
Also known as the Euro-top mattress, this type of mattress has a thicker layer of padding that can be up to several inches thick on top of your bed. This makes it great for your kid’s room. Depending on the material of your pillow top, it can offer benefits like bounce, durability, cooling, or enhanced comfort.
You can create a pillow top layer using one of more of the following: foam, cotton, wool, or latex. They tend to be on the more expensive side for mattresses. So, if you’re worried about your budget, this may not be a good option for you.
11. Polyfoam Mattress
There are many different types of foam available on the market, and one is polyfoam. Several online mattress companies developed their own blends of this material, and this allows you to get a custom mattress at an affordable price. Polyfoam is petroleum based with synthetic materials. It also has chemicals in it with scary sounding names.
However, most of the time, the chemicals get processed in a way that neutralizes any effects they could have and makes them harmless. If you’re seriously considering this type of mattress, look for one that is CertiPUR-US certified. This certification ensures that the mattress is free of ozone depleters, mercury, chemical flame retardants, heavy metals, lead, and formaldehyde. Also, check the mattress’s density level because the more dense it is, the more firm it is.
During the 1970s and 1980s, waterbeds were extremely popular for a type of mattress. They lost a lot of their popularity in the 1990s, but you can still buy them in a design and structure that works for you. They give you support using a water chamber system, and they come in soft or hard-sided designs. Hard-sided ones have the water chambers housed in a rectangular wooden frame, and soft-sided models put the water chambers inside a rigid foam frame before zipping it inside a fabric casing. The water chambers then get covered with padding like fiber or foam.
The mattress sits on top of a platform. You can pick out a free flow chamber system where nothing obstructs the water’s natural movement. If you want something with less movement, you can pick out a waveless model that reduces how much the water can flow through the chambers. This is usually a less expensive pick, and they range from $50.00 to $1,800 with the average cost falling around $200. However, they are prone to developing leaks over time.
Common Mattress Sizes
There are five common mattress sizes currently, and it’s important that you pick the size that fits your bedroom and space while working with your lifestyle and needs. We’ve outlined the most common sizes below.
Twin-sized mattresses are 75-inches long by 39-inches wide. They’re a great size for a single child sleeper, but they can also accommodate one adult. Anyone who is over six-feet tall won’t be too comfortable in this bed because it’s too short. You’ll usually find this bed in a child’s room, and they’re also the standard size for bunk beds and daybeds.
A full size mattress measures 75-inches long by 54-inches wide, and they’re also referred to as a double mattress. They’re twice as wide as a twin type of mattress. They’re a solid choice for a single person who is under six feet tall. They’re commonly found situated in guest rooms, and they’re popular in college dorms or apartments.
Queen beds are 80-inches long by 60-inches wide, and they’re the most popular mattress size to buy in the United States. You get five more inches in length over a twin or full-sized bed. Queens beds are a nice choice for couples, growing teens, or taller adults.
One of the largest types of mattresses is the king, and it measures 80-inches long by 76-inches wide. If this is the size you want, you want to measure your bedroom first to ensure that you have enough space for it. It’s a popular choice for couples as each person gets the size of a twin mattress to sleep on. Pet owners also like this size as there is enough room for their pets and partner.
Finally, California king is 84-inches long by 72-inches wide. If you need more length when you sleep or if you’re a taller version, this is the type of mattress you want to consider. These beds are four inches narrower than a traditional king-sized bed, and this makes them a good fit for a space that isn’t wide enough to accommodate a king sized bed.
Important Mattress Buying Considerations
When you start shopping for your new type of mattress, there are a few things that you want to take into consideration when you shop. Doing so will help to ensure that you get a mattress that is going to serve you well for years and give you a nice sleeping experience. Front Porch Mattress by Shane Adams / CC BY 2.0
There are a lot of affordable types of mattresses available, but any extras can quickly add up and cause you to go over your set budget. If you’re shopping online for your mattress, it’s less likely that this will happen. However, in store, salespeople can offer you upgrades that cause your prices to go up. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to determine what you can comfortably spend ahead of time. You want to factor in money for extended warranties, delivery fees, fabric guarding, and more.
If you’re shopping in-store, you may have negotiation room. Warehouse clubs like Sam’s or Costco won’t give you any negotiation room, but furniture stores or specialty chains can have big markups on the products that make them more willing to give you a deal. You should ask about any available discounts, and don’t be afraid to comparison shop for a better price point. Some salespeople will take up to 30% off the listed price.
As part of your shopping process, ask about delivery fees. Some retailers can charge hundreds of dollars to deliver and install your mattress. When your delivery arrives, you want to carefully inspect the product to make sure that it’s still intact and doesn’t have any staining or damage. Check the label and see that it’s made out of all new material before you sign for it. Keep all of your paperwork and documents in case you need to file a warranty claim in the future.
Since you’re most likely going to do in-depth research about the type of mattress you want before you buy it, you most likely won’t need to return it. However, it’s important to know that the retailer you’re going to work with offers store credit or a full refund if something goes wrong. Ask how long the return period is. This could be called a comfort guarantee, and this will tell you how long you have to decide whether or not you want to keep the mattress. Some companies offer a few weeks but others offer 120 days.
Be prepared that bigger retailers like Macy’s or Sears can charge a restocking fee for any types of mattresses they take back, and it can be up to 15% of the purchase price. You could also get charged if they need to use their trucks to get the mattress back to the store. However, some sellers can have incentives or perks included to help sweeten the deal.
We’ve outlined 12 popular types of mattresses for you, and you can take this guide to help you narrow down your choices to the one that is going to suit you the best. Don’t forget to take mattress size and the short buyer’s guide into consideration because this will help you narrow down your choices much quicker so you can start getting a good night’s sleep.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.