Contents of Article
- Construction Comparison
- Memory Foam Mattresses
- Independent Coils
- Firmness Comparison
- Price Comparison
- Which Bed Sleeps Cooler?
- Which Bed Would Be Best for a Side Sleeper?
- Should I Buy A Memory Foam Or A Coil Bed?
- 3 Good Memory Foam Mattresses:
- The Puffy
- The Nectar
- The Muse
- 3 Good Coil Mattresses
- Signature Sleep 13-inch Pillow-Top Independently-Encased Coil Mattress
- LINENSPA 12 Inch Gel Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress
- Swiss Ortho Sleep 12″
Today we are going to look at the differences and similarities between memory foam and coiled mattresses. We’re going to see which kind of construction method is better, what we like (and don’t like) about them, and we’re going to talk about things like cooling, pricing, and sleeping positions too.
At the end of this article we are going to review 3 of the best memory foam mattresses on the market, and 3 of the best coil mattresses on the market too.
Let’s get started.
Let’s take a look at how these two kinds of mattress are made to understand the fundamental differences between them.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam is one of the most well known and popular materials to have ever been used in mattress design.
The material is made up of lots of little cells of air which are completely enclosed. When the mattress is put under pressure, these cells collapse, which causes the contouring the material is well known for.
However, these cells also cause problems – which were quite difficult to solve for a while.
Over the night, hot air can get inside the cells and heat the air inside them up. Because the air cannot escape, hot spots form underneath the sleeper – and the mattress becomes uncomfortable. There are two ways of solving this issue, open-cell memory foam and cooling gel memory foam.
Open Cell Memory Foam
As the name suggests, this kind of memory foam has an opening in each cell. This allows the air inside to ventilate and the hotspots have a harder time forming.
Cooling Gel Memory Foam
Cooling gel doesn’t cool anything down, it just spreads the heat out. It’s a good thermal conductor, and when heat enters the mattress the gel absorbs the heat before it gets into the cells. The gel then spreads the heat out evenly to all the other gel in the product, making a more even distribution of heat to avoid hotspots (which results in a cooler sleeping sensation for the sleeper).
Coiled mattresses are regularly confused with innerspring mattresses, but they shouldn’t be – as they are entirely different things.
In an innerspring product (which is the kind of mattress that has been used for hundreds of years) all the coils in the layer are connected to one another. This means that when you put pressure on the mattress, all the coils will compress slightly – even if they are not being pushed down on. This creates a very general shape in the mattress which isn’t very representative of your body shape (and isn’t very supportive either).
In an independent coil layer, the coils are not connected at all – they will only compress when you are directly lying down on them. This makes an impression in the layer that is a very accurate representation of your body shape (instead of the general dip of an innerspring). It’s kind of like how memory foam contours to your body – just using springs instead of foam (it’s much less precise too, obviously).
The difference this makes is massive.
Individually coiled products provide huge amounts of support and are extremely comfortable too. They’re completely different to innerspring products in terms of performance.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that they both use metal…
You can get different levels of firmness from both memory foam and coil based products. There’s nothing to compare here, whatever level of firmness you want, you can have with either kind of mattress.
There’s not a whole lot of difference in price between memory foam and coil mattresses.
We couldn’t specifically point out to you that “coiled mattresses are more expensive” or visa versa. You can get cheap and expensive products that use both kinds of material. Some kinds of super fancy memory foam can be more expensive than coiled products, but they are the exception instead of the rule.
The truth is that with all other things being equal (which they never are) memory foam and coiled products cost more or less the same – unless you’re getting some kind of advanced variation of the base technologies.
Which Bed Sleeps Cooler?
This depends on the kind of memory foam we are comparing a coiled mattress too.
Normal memory foam without any cooling technology inside of it is one of the warmest sleeping surfaces on the planet – especially when used inside a top layer. Cooling gel memory foam and open cell memory foam, however, can be very cool sleeping surfaces.
Coiled layers in mattresses are mainly open free flowing air, the actual volume of the layer that is taken up by a solid material is very small compared to the size of the mattress. No foam layer can compete with this kind of free-flowing completely unrestricted ventilation.
To further complicate things, in real life, most products that use a coiled section will have some kind of memory foam layer on top of it – making it very hard to make an accurate comparison.
What we will say is that providing you’ve not got a standard memory foam top layer – both kinds of mattress will provide you with a cool and comfortable night’s sleep (as long as you pick a good product from a reputable brand).
Which Bed Would Be Best for a Side Sleeper?
Either, they are both excellent.
Memory foam is obviously one of the best materials in the world for side sleepers thanks to the adaptive contouring and pressure relief capabilities the material has.
However, independently wrapped coils offer a kind of contouring that works in a similar way to memory foam (just using coils instead of foam). Also, a few coiled products have zoned support sections that specifically tailor the amount of support to side sleepers at different points in the mattress.
To be totally honest, most coiled products will have a memory foam layer on them anyway. Either kind of mattress will be perfect for a side sleeper (providing you pick a product of a high enough quality).
Should I Buy A Memory Foam Or A Coil Bed?
This is a bit of a general question, and there are many factors that need to be taken into account when you decide on which bed to buy.
It’s more of a product-specific question than category specific question in our opinion. There are excellent memory foam products on the market, and there are excellent independent coil products on the market too.
We will say this however…
Usually, we’d struggle to recommend a product that doesn’t have some kind of a memory foam layer in it (or a memory foam alternative).
But we recommend products without independent coil sections all the time.
3 Good Memory Foam Mattresses:
In this section, we are going to take a look at what we think are the three best memory foam mattresses on the market right now. We’ll see what’s inside them layer by layer to find out what’s good (and what’s not so good) about them.
This is one of our all-time favorite mattresses, it uses advanced materials that are at the cutting edge of mattress technology. It’s a dual layer hybrid product, which would usually mean it’s a low-quality product – but this is anything but a “usual” mattress…
All of the performance this mattress provides comes from this layer, it is made from a patented material that Puffy have spent over 4 years developing at great expense. It’s one of the latest in a reasonably long line of “memory foam killers” which are materials specifically designed to outperform memory foam in every single way.
However, Puffy have failed slightly with this.
Comfort Cloud has very similar contouring properties to memory foam, but it’s not the same. In our opinion memory foam contours and supports the sleeper a little bit better than Comfort Cloud does – but admittedly, the difference is small.
The upside to Comfort Cloud is mainly found in the thermal regulation department. It doesn’t use a cell-based structure like memory foam does, so there’s nowhere for hot air to become trapped. In fact, Comfort Cloud has excellent ventilation properties, and there are not many foams of any kind that can compete with it in this regard.
Comfort Cloud has been infused with a special kind of cooling gel that Puffy created called Cooling Cloud. This cooling gel doesn’t try and cool down the product as much as possible, it aims for an optimum temperature instead. It does this because if Puffy used normal cooling gel, the mattress could end up being a little too cold for comfort.
As an “added bonus” comfort cloud also drastically improves on memory foam in contouring speed. Memory foam needs a little heat to fully contour (as it softens the cell walls) but as Comfort Cloud has no cells, it needs no heat to contour – and you’ll be almost completely supported within a matter of seconds of lying down.
High-Density Support Foam
This isa boring layer of normal support foam. It provides a stable base, but that’s about it. It’s comically basic compared to the advanced layer of Comfort Cloud above – but it gets the job done.
There are not that many brands we come across that have a reputation as big as Nectar. They are almost a household name, and they were one of the first mattress in a box companies that have taken the industry by storm.
The covering of the Nectar is made from a reasonably interesting wood-based material called cellulose. Despite being made from wood, it’s actually a super soft material that has natural antimicrobial properties and it is super breathable too.
Quilted Cooling Gel Memory Foam
We love this layer, and its made from one of the softest and most luxurious kinds of memory foam we have ever seen. It’s a cooling gel memory foam that works in the same way as we mentioned in the construction section earlier in the article. This layer has been quilted slightly too – which gives the product a lovely bit of loft and opulence that is really noticeable.
Cooling Gel Memory Foam
This is essentially a layer of the same material in the layer above, just without the quilting. It adds further cooling power to the product that makes it a super cool sleeping surface.
Hi Core Memory Foam
This is another advanced form of memory foam, and it’s one we don’t see often. Hi Core memory foam has no cooling technology built into it – but it’s extremely supportive. It adapts and contours more than normal memory foam, and it also shapes to your body quicker than normal foam too. It’s a great, complex material that is only included in a handful of the best mattresses on the planet.
This is another boring base layer of high-density support foam. It’s strong, stable, and does the important yet uninspiring job of securing the rest of the mattress well.
The Muse has a few technologies in it that we really like the look of. They are not as well known as Puffy or Nectar – but they are a promising young brand who have the potential to disrupt the industry in many different ways.
Diamond Breeze Cover
The cover of this product is perhaps one of the most advanced covers of any mattress on the market right now. Muse have created a soft thread that is made from metal, and they have woven it generously into this cover (you can’t feel it). The metal acts in a similar way to cooling gel and disperses your body heat across the entire surface of the mattress before it has the chance to penetrate the cover. It’s a genius design that does a huge amount to eliminate hotspots.
Cooling Gel Memory Foam
This is a layer of reasonably supportive medium firm memory foam that’s been infused with cooling gel. It’s as good as any other cooling gel foam we’ve talked about above, but there’s no point in us repeating ourselves here for the sake of it.
This is a layer of standard comfort foam that adds a little bit of support and firmness to the product. It’s mainly here to soften the gradient between the plusher luxurious layers above and the firmer base below.
High-Density Support Foam
This is a standard base that’s made from similar stuff to the bottom layers in the products above. It quietly provides support that the rest of the mattress depends on.
3 Good Coil Mattresses
So now we’ve seen the best that the memory foam category has to offer, let’s take a look at some of the best coil mattresses on the market to see how they compare.
Signature Sleep 13-inch Pillow-Top Independently-Encased Coil Mattress
This is one of the cheapest memory foam coil based hybrid products on the market. It doesn’t have the performance of some of the other products on this page – but it’s also less than half the price too.
Memory Foam Pillow Top
This mattress has a pillow top that’s similar to the pillow top on the Nectar. However, this time it has been stuffed with super soft and plush memory foam instead of cashmere wool. It gives the product a luxurious feel that is far superior to anything else in this price bracket.
This is a reasonably boring layer of high quality yet standard support foam. It’s of a medium firmness, it’s breathable, and it’s going to stand the test of time. But apart from that, there’s not much to say.
This is a layer of firmer support foam that is being talked up as an “insulator pad” by Signature Sleep. While it’s nothing special, it does effectively isolate motion that can be caused when there’s a mismatch between the size and weight of the sleeping partners.
This is a surprisingly high-quality layer of independently wrapped coils. Quite honestly we were surprised at just how well these coils perform considering we’re looking at a product that is at the budget end of the pricing spectrum. They work just as well as other coils in products that cost much more money, and we really take our hat off to Signature Sleep for including this kind of quality in this price bracket.
LINENSPA 12 Inch Gel Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress
This is another budget product, this time it’s from LinenSpa – another of the better low-cost mattress manufacturers. It’s a super plush product that is little more expensive than the Signature Sleep above, but it’s still not going to break the bank.
Cooling Gel Memory Foam
The top layer of this product is made from a high-quality layer of cooling gel memory foam. It’s very plush and soft – so it doesn’t provide that much support. The quality of the cooling gel is excellent, and it’s evenly distributed considering the price point this product is being sold at.
This is a layer of medium firm comfort foam that adds a bit of support while transitioning the firmness down into the firmer sections below with a gentle gradient.
Independently Wrapped Coils
This is another surprisingly high-quality layer of coils. They’re completely independent of one another and work in the same way as the product above. It’s this layer that is responsible for the huge amount of support that customers seem to love in the reviews we have read while researching this product.
This layer completely encases the coiled layer above. It’s thin on the top and the bottom, but it’s reasonably thick on the sides. This provides support at the edges of the mattress where things can get a little bit wobbly sometimes in lower quality products.
Swiss Ortho Sleep 12″
The last product we are going to be looking at today is from Swiss Ortho who is a small and reasonably unknown brand in the mattress industry. However, they are providing a great product at a great price point here – and we think it’s worth you checking their mattress out.
The cover of this product is made from Rayon, which is derived from bamboo fibers. It’s a super luxurious and soft material that is naturally good at wicking away sweat from the sleeper throughout the night. It’s also a fire retardant material and it’s exceptionally breathable – allowing maximum ventilation in and out of the mattress.
High-Density Memory Foam
This is a reasonably firm layer of high-density memory foam. This is our least favorite layer in the product as it has no cooling technology inside of it – despite it being in direct contact with the sleeper.
If this was a pure foam product we would have dismissed this mattress entirely because of this – however, the huge amount of ventilation provided in the coiled section below slightly compensates for this issue.
There’s not all that much different about this layer compared to the other coiled layers we’ve talked about today. It’s of an equally high quality, the coils are a little thicker (13 gauge) but they still contour and support with the kind of performance you’d expect from a decent quality independently coiled product.
So there you have it, that’s what we think are the best memory foam and coiled mattresses on the market right now.
These are two of the most popular and well-known kinds of mattress in the world. It feels a little bit strange comparing them in a head to head battle like this – because as you’ve seen in the products above, memory foam and independent coils usually complement each other instead of competing against one another.
Either way, all the products we have mentioned here today are prime examples of the best in the business for both categories of mattress. They are all excellent products that won’t disappoint, and you’ll get a great night’s sleep on any of them.
We think that they are all more than worthy of your consideration.