What are the different types of mattresses

Mattress education

Different types of mattresses

All mattresses have (1) a foundation layer, which is primarily responsible for the support in a mattress and (2) comfort layers, mostly responsible for (you guessed it) the comfort in a mattress.

There are two types of mattresses found in Australia – the innerspring style or a solid foam style (we’ve left out waterbeds because these are technically a bladder full of water, not a mattress in our opinion).

Innerspring Mattress

The most traditional style of mattress (and the one that we favour) is where the mattress foundation is an innerspring unit and the comfort layers are foam.

Whilst there are many different types of innerspring units (see this page for the full run-down) the undisputed leader in this category is the pocket spring unit. For comfort, body-conformance and with almost zero partner disturbance, a pocket spring unit is the clear choice for just about every premium mattress brand in the world,

The rest of the category is made up of the older-style ‘tied’ spring unit, including Bonnell, Offset and Continuous coil. Whilst there’s no doubt that these are a more robust style of unit, they do not conform to the sleeper anywhere as well as a pocket spring unit, therefore reducing the comfort in a mattress considerably. The ‘tied’ spring units also have issues with movement so it is almost impossible to eliminate partner disturbance in these style of mattresses.

Solid Foam Mattress

This is where a mattress is constructed entirely of foam. The foundation layer is usually a firmer, lower-cost foam and the comfort layers are more premium foams, such as latex or memory foam.

Hybrid Mattress

A term coined in the US as a way for traditional innerspring manufacturers to keep market share when solid foam mattresses entered the market. It sounds trendy but it is essentially an innerspring mattress with a larger quantity of foam built into the comfort layers.


Popular with the online mattress stores because of the ease and lower cost to ship across the country, most of these mattresses are made up entirely of foam. Solid foam is the easiest style to compress and roll. However, some rolled mattresses now consist of pocket springs minus the solid edge frames to hold the pocket springs together. We don’t ever recommend this style of mattress. Pocket springs that lack solid perimeter frames have very little structural integrity – in fact they can be pretty flimsy. This is our biggest issue with any mattress that can be rolled up – lack of structure and very little edge support (see our specifications category to read about edge support).



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