Memory Foam or Spring Mattress

Memory Foam vs Spring Mattress? Which is Better?

Comfort is a very important factor in choosing the right mattress to buy. For most of people it’s the most important one. Of course, the perfect comfort is not a universal category which fits to every person alike, but more the thing of personal preference. That’s why there are so many different manufacturers of bed gear and that’s why there will be no monopoly in the business. Anyways, in the past few decades, bed gear developed greatly and there are a lot of innovative types of beddings and mattresses to choose from. You can choose water beds, memory foam, pillow tops, air beds, spring et cetera. Memory foam beds shape themselves according to your body, while latex is here for proper support.

However, the good old spring mattresses are still there, serving as a good alternative to all those fancy models. To choose the best solution for your bedroom, you need to be aware of good sides and bad sides of all these mattress types. In this article, we’ll focus on the comparison between memory foam and spring mattresses.

When you make your preference, check out our UK mattress buyer’s guide.

Innerspring mattresses

Innerspring mattresses have been in use for a long time. During that time, various types of spring tech was invented, in order to provide different sorts of comfort to customers. Bonell Springs are individual helical shaped springs with a thinner middle part. Mattresses with these springs are usually the easiest on the budget and appropriately not very durable or comfortable. There are also continuous springs, which is one long single wire twisted into hundreds of individual springs linked together. Those links isolate motion and improve lifetime compared to Bonell.

Offset springs are individual springs linked by helix shaped lacing. The individual nature of them gives your body good support, and they are pretty stiff, so a lot of back ache patients prefer those because of their reactive force. They are also very durable, but they don’t reduce motion transfer very well. Finally, the most sophisticated type of innerspring are pocketed springs, which are soft and separately wrapped springs. The purpose of pocketed spring mattresses is to provide supreme conformity and support, but it’s at the expense of durability, because individual springs are less durable than the construction of interconnected springs.

Memory foam mattresses

As we mentioned, these are high end technology mattresses, developed with the consultation of NASA experts to provide the ultimate comfort. Memory foam is a material which shapes itself according to the body shape. The comfort of these mattresses depends on both the comfort layer, which is made from memory foam, and support layer, which is made of polyfoam. The feeling of sleeping is more sleeping in the bed instead on the bed, because of the feeling of sinking in the mattress. Memory foam is known for its ability of conforming to the shape of the sleeper’s body regardless of sleep position. However, on its own, it is not enough to make up an entire mattress from memory foam. Rather, it is used as a comfort layer, with the base consisting of a more resilient support layer of high density polyurethane foam. Read more about memory foam here!

A hand touching memory foam on a mattress

Hybrid mattresses

“Hybrid” most often refers to an innerspring-based mattress containing a significant amount of memory foam. Consumers should not, however, assume that these mattresses are true hybrids – in other words, that they consist 50% of memory foam.
While the amount of memory foam that a hybrid mattress has can vary by model, the average hybrid has two inches (5 cm) of memory foam, which is less than 20% of total mattress thickness.

Comfort and support

Pocketed spring mattresses should have a dedicated comparison with memory foam, because they both praise themselves as being able to form themselves according to the sleeper’s physical structure, which turns into supreme spinal alignment and pain relief.

If we look at comfort and support, pocket spring mattresses are basically similar to memory foam, but they respond to pressure with more spring comparing to them. As the result, pocket spring mattresses absorb pressure rather than reflecting it which makes the sinking feeling. So, if you’d like more bouncy feel to your bed, you’d better go with pocket spring mattresses.

On the other hand, memory foam mattresses, even the most expensive ones, have some amount of heat retention and a chemical odor at first. If you’re not a fan of those, you have other options which are also more affordable. The best of those would be a natural latex mattress, but it’s a bit more budget heavy than an innerspring.

Springs in a mattress

Back pain remedy

As we mentioned, traditional Bonell or continuous spring innerspring do not offer any conforming support. This is good for relieving stress from your pressure points and maintaining proper spinal alignment during your sleep. This makes them unsuitable for sufferers of back pain.

The real comparison then comes to pocketed spring mattresses against memory foam. While both of them offer enough of localized support and can adopt the shape of the sleeper’s body, they vary in their surface feel. Memory foam is soft and sinking, and pocketed spring mattresses are springy and reactive. So in the end, it is a matter of personal feel of you and your aching back.

Sleep types

Very important factor in comparison of the mattresses. For example, side sleepers put the most pressure on pressure points like shoulders and hips. That’s why they need a material that will mould itself to these convex body parts and keep the spine in good alignment during sleep. For this purpose the ideal solution is memory foam, but also pocketed spring mattresses and even hybrid mattresses. We have a buyer’s guide on the best mattresses for side sleepers so check it out to find your ideal mattress.

Stomach sleeper don’t put a lot of force on their pressure points. So, unless they have some condition that causes back pain, a regular innerspring mattress will do the job. Back sleepers don’t need much individualized support, because their bodies are already in their natural position, or close. If you sleep like this, you’ll be satisfied with some decent continuous spring or even Bonell spring mattress. If you have back pain, the better solution is some offset spring mattress.

The pros and cons

Now, let us sum up good and bad sides of each of these mattresses.

Innerspring mattresses


  • Available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Certain varieties offer conforming support.
  • Springy, reactive feel.
  • Generally inexpensive compared to memory foam.


  • Mainstream varieties may lack sufficient support / pressure relief for backache patients.
  • Only the most expensive mattresses offer a degree of motion isolation.

Memory foam mattresses


  • Moulds itself according to sleeper’s body.
  • Provides excellent support and pressure relief.
  • Available in all ranges of firmness.
  • Isolates motion.


  • Tends to get hot.
  • Temperature sensitivity may be a liability in extremes.
  • Initial chemical odor

Hybrid Mattresses


  • Compromise between comfort and support.
  • Many firmness options available.
  • Motion isolation is better than average.


  • Average durability.
  • Some heat retention.
  • Weight makes it hard to transport and handle.

The Verdict

Well, if you expected of us to say which one of these two mattresses is better, we’re afraid we’ll disappoint you. It is impossible to name one clear winner. Advantages and disadvantages of these types of mattresses are relevant to customers with specific requirements. Memory foam mattresses are better for people with chronic back pain, while spring mattresses of many kinds provide support similar to memory foam but with harder and springier feel. Not to mention details such as temperature sensitivity, motion transfer and maintenance. Basically, it all comes down to personal preference. But hopefully, now you have enough knowledge to make the most suitable choice.

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