Shopping for a new mattress can be a daunting prospect. Not only do you have to narrow down your favorite brand and features, but there are also the various mattress types to consider.
From pillow top to memory foam, mattresses come in all sorts and sizes, which is why we’ve provided this handy guide to help you find the right type of mattress for your unique sleep style.
A classic choice, innerspring mattresses are widely available and are offered in countless comfort levels from ultra-plush to extra firm. They’re affordable, familiar, and easy to customize, which has made innerspring mattresses the most popular consumer option.
Innerspring mattresses are designed with steel coil support systems that differ depending on the manufacturer. As such, spring shapes, coil gauge, the number of coils, and upholstery material will vary from brand to brand. Some of our favorite innerspring brands include Serta, Simmons, Beautyrest, and Sealy.
Coils are placed at even intervals throughout the mattress, reinforced around the edges to prevent the springs from rolling out and to reduce sagging. Thicker wire coils provide more support than smaller gauges, allowing innerspring mattresses to come in various comfort preferences.
The more coils distributed through the mattress, the more even the support. A well-constructed innerspring mattress will contour to the body and provide continued support to the sleeper all night long.
Pillow Top Versus Tight-top
When shopping for an innerspring mattress, you’ll come across the terms “pillow top” and “firm tight-top.” These designations further describe an innerspring’s comfort features.
A pillow top mattress features an extra upholstery layer on top of the mattress body. The pillow top can be made from various foam or fibers and range in thickness. The fluffiest pillow top option is a Euro-top mattress, which is several inches taller than a tight-top.
A firm tight-top mattress doesn’t have this additional padding. Its top upholstery layer rests just a few inches from the coils, resulting in a solid feel that’s ideal for sleepers who like a firm bed. Tight-top mattresses provide plenty of support and are often made from softer materials to make them as comfortable as possible.
As with any type of mattress, innersprings do have their downsides. The springs can be noisy if the product is poorly designed, and it’s difficult to isolate motion between one side of the bed and the other. This means you could end up disturbing your partner during a restless night’s sleep.
Furthermore, pillow top and Euro-top mattresses are not designed to be flipped, which limits you to rotating the mattress every so often to wear it evenly.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses have gained popularity because of their ability to conform to an individual sleeper’s body no matter the preferred sleep position.
Also known as viscoelastic foam, memory foam molds to the body’s contours and disperses weight evenly throughout the mattress, providing a comfortable sleep experience without morning pains and achy joints.
Foam mattresses are also ideal for people suffering from allergies and asthma. Memory foam is resistant to dust mites, bedbugs, mold, bacteria, and other allergens, making it a great hypoallergenic option. Manufacturers now produce memory foam mattresses in multiple thicknesses to help you find the one that best contours to your body.
While not true of all brands, some foam mattresses have an initial odor from gassing that wears off shortly after unboxing. Memory foam can also retain more heat than other mattress types and may be difficult for some people to move around on.
Having trouble deciding between a memory foam and an innerspring mattress? Consider a hybrid!
Hybrid mattresses start with a traditional steel coil support system and add either memory foam, polyurethane foam, latex foam, or gel materials. For example, the Serta iComfort is a lush pillow top mattress designed with gel memory foam material for all-foam support. One of the biggest benefits of gel is that it dissipates body heat, keeping you cool all night long.
Brands such as Sealy opt for premium memory foam in their hybrid mattresses. The result is a mattress with individually pocketed coils and extra cushioning to prevent sagging, boost airflow, and provide bounce. Many hybrid mattresses also come with machine-washable covers, making them easy to care for.
While hybrid mattresses serve as a great compromise between two classic options, there are some downsides. Hybrids tend to be pricier than innerspring mattresses and can retain heat if not designed with cooling foam materials. They’re often heavy and feature a shorter life span than most innerspring mattresses, but these factors vary according to the brand.
Adjustable Mattress Foundation
Adjustable beds have become quite common in recent years because they provide an array of new sleeping positions. Adjustable beds allow you to raise the mattress’s head or feet to watch television, relax, read a book, or sleep with your feet up, all at the push of a button. They’re also ideal for people with certain health conditions, including acid reflux, neck pain, or respiratory issues.
Brands such as Serta, Sealy, and Steams & Foster have created adjustable mattress foundations designed to work with their corresponding mattresses. Since you can choose to add a pillow top, Euro-top, or firm mattress, you can fully customize your sleep experience with an adjustable mattress foundation.
Adjustable mattress foundations can be expensive and heavy, and unless the bed features a push-button operation, it can be an annoyance to adjust manually.
With so many mattress types offered at JCPenney, we encourage you to take your time and consider the options. A new mattress is an investment you’ll use every night for years to come.