Types Of Mattresses Pros And Cons

Types Of Mattresses Pros And Cons: 19 Mattress Types Compared

By jwilder

Types Of Mattresses Pros And Cons

When you begin shopping for a new mattress, you might be surprised to see how many different types of mattresses there are.

This is especially true if you haven’t purchased a new mattress in a few years - mattress technology has leapt forward in recent years.

That’s why we put together this comparison of 18 kinds of mattresses for you, including the types of mattresses pros and cons. Compare each mattress, find the one that you like, and upgrade your sleep and quality of life!

Types of Mattresses Compared

1. Split King Mattress

These mattresses are, basically, a pair of Twin XL-size mattresses pushed up next to one another. They’re most commonly found as an option for adjustable beds. The “split” in the middle allows one person to adjust the bed to their perfect sleeping or lounging position without disturbing their partner. It’s a wonderful convenience for any couple that keeps different sleep routines or has different preferred sleeping positions!

Pros

  • Convenient for couples with different routines
  • Usually cheaper than buying 1 king mattress

Cons

  • Only useful for couples, not a great benefit for individuals
  • Bed bases are very expensive

2. Split Queen Mattress

Just like the Split King, the Split Queen mattress is really two mattresses being used as one. These are a bit harder to find, because the Split King is much more popular and many mattresses don’t bother with the Split Queen. However, if you want to save some money on your split adjustable bed and don’t mind having a little less space in your bed, they’re a great option for you!

Pros

  • Less expensive than a Split King
  • Provides the same luxurious feeling and convenience

Cons

  • Harder to find
  • One side of the bed feels a bit small

3. Euro Top Mattress

These mattresses are a type of pillow-top mattress that has a layer of extra soft padding at the top. This allows the manufacturer to use denser, more supportive foam in the main part of the mattress without sacrificing the comfortable, “plush” feeling that most people prefer. As a result, Euro-top mattresses are an ideal combination of softness and support!

Pros

  • Combines plush top with supportive mattress body
  • “Euro”-style stitching lasts longer than normal pillow-top stitching

Cons

  • Not as soft as a normal pillow-top; trades a bit of softness for added durability

4. Memory Foam Mattress

Originally developed by NASA, memory foam is a dense yet soft foam that gently cradles the body, rather than pushing up against it. As a result, people who use memory foam mattresses often remark that they feel more like floating than laying down. Once memory foam mattresses were introduced to the market, it took less than 25 years for them to become one of the most common types of mattresses in the world.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable, mattress gently cradles body
  • Relatively affordable- roughly the same as traditional mattresses

Cons

  • These mattresses hold onto body heat, can become uncomfortably hot for some users

5. Gel Memory Foam Mattress

To combat the main drawback of memory foam mattresses- the way they hold onto body heat- mattress companies developed gel-infused memory foam. The gel beads help body heat to travel away from your body as you sleep rather than keep it trapped at the surface. As a result, gel memory foam mattresses are more comfortable and more expensive than normal memory foam!

Pros

  • Excellent temperature regulation
  • Same softness/comfort as memory foam

Cons

  • Tend to be on the expensive side

6. Low-Profile Mattress

These mattresses do exactly what the name implies- they keep a low profile and are less than 8 inches thick. These mattresses are ideal for folding beds, futons, or people who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new mattress. Thinner doesn’t always mean uncomfortable, though you should do your research before buying a low-profile mattress. Finding a high-quality thin mattress can save you lots of money and make your bedroom look less cluttered than it would with a massive, 18-inch mattress.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Have a “minimal and simple” appearance but can still be very comfortable

Cons

  • Some low-profile mattresses are to thin for comfort
  • Not suitable for most heavy users- high chance of sinking to the bottom

7. Orthopedic Mattress

This term describes mattresses specifically built to accommodate joint and back issues. Orthopedic mattresses do an excellent job of evenly distributing body weight and pressure so that the user’s joints can decompress and relax. If you have severe joint issues, or you’re just tired of waking up sore each morning, it might be time to upgrade to an orthopedic mattress!

Pros

  • Excel at pressure distribution
  • Allow your joints to relax and heal as you sleep

Cons

  • Many mattresses are labled orthopedic when they aren’t; hard to discern between “real” and “fake”

8. Posturpedic Mattress

This line of orthopedic mattresses from Sealy is known for being incredibly comfortable to sleep on and friendly to the spine. Engineered to keep the spine in perfect alignment in every sleeping position, Posturpedic mattresses are a premium line that are ideal for any senior who’s looking for a mattress that will help their back or sciatica pain. Remember, though, that you’ll be paying a lot more for it!

Pros

  • Strong reputation for helping back and joint issues
  • Very comfortable for all sleeping positions

Cons

  • One of the most expensive mattress brands

9. Cushion Firm Mattress

This is a type of mattress that uses different densities of foam or filling to create a layered mattress. The bottom layer is much thicker and more supportive (and may or may not include innersprings), while the upper layer is softer and has a cushioning effect. The result is a mattress that serves both people who like a soft mattress and a firm mattress equally. You get the spinal support and stability of a firm mattress with the cushioned, “cradling” qualities of an ultra-soft mattress!


The term “cushion-firm” can be used to refer to pillow-top, euro-top, or any other mattress that combines a firm and soft layer together. This means you can find cushion-firm mattresses in a wide variety of materials and configurations.

Pros

  • Provides support and stability for firm sleepers
  • Has enough softness for people who desire lots of cushion
  • Depending on the person, can be very good for the back

Cons

  • Can be too firm for some users’ preferences

10. Bamboo Mattress

Bamboo, when properly processed, is softer than cotton. Bamboo mattresses are some of the softest and most breathable mattresses on the market. The big advantage of bamboo fiber, aside from comfort, is that it’s naturally hypoallergenic. If you have dust allergies, switching to a bamboo mattress or bamboo mattress topper is a great way to experience relaxing, undisturbed sleep

Pros

  • Naturally hypoallergenic
  • Softer than cotton
  • Easier on the environment to produce

Cons

  • More expensive than other mattress types

11. iCoil Mattress

Zinus 8 Inch iCoil Spring and Foam Mattress, Twin

iCoils were developed by Zinus and represent a new innovation in innerspring mattress design. These coils are exceptionally springy and don’t lose their shape or strength easily. On top of that, they’re much smaller than traditional innerspring coils, making them less obtrusive while still providing the strength and bounce that many people prefer.

Pros

  • Same strength and bounce as innerpsrings but in a more flexible design
  • Great for adjustable beds

Cons

  • Only available in Zinus-brand mattresses

12. Short Queen Mattress

The normal size of a Queen mattress is 60 inches wide and 80 inches long. The Short Queen, on the other hand, is the same width as the normal Queen, but is 5 inches shorter. This makes it perfect for people who like the width of the Queen mattress but need to save some space. You get all the room you need to share the bed with your spouse or partner but save some floor space in a tight bedroom!

Pros

  • Equal width to normal Queen mattress
  • Five inches shorter, saves space in small bedrooms

Cons

  • Uncommon mattress size, can be hard to find from a brand you like

13. Futon Mattress

Futons are dual-purpose pieces of furniture that can be used as a couch and as a bed. Futon mattresses are very dense, thin (usually less than 8 inches) mattresses that can fold easily when the futon is being used as a couch. Most of the time, futon mattresses aren’t the most comfortable or luxurious products in the world, but they are certainly cost-effective and space-saving.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Can be used as a sofa or a bed

Cons

  • Rarely as comfortable as a traditional mattress

14. Low Air-Loss Mattress

These mattresses, unlike the air mattress you might be used to from camping or staying with relatives, are designed for use with hospital beds. They’re made with up to 24 heavy-duty air chambers that inflate and deflate to the comfort of the user. They are very effective at preventing pressure sores, a serious issue that affects millions of seniors in the US each year.

Pros

  • Effective at preventing and treating pressure sores
  • Ideal for people who use hospital beds- comfort and medical benefits

Cons

  • Usually much more expensive than other hospital bed mattresses

15. Contoured Mattress

These mattresses are a specific category of memory foam that is engineered to more accurately contour to the shape of your body. This is helpful for people who have back pain or soreness from their bed; the contoured mattress helps people sleep with their spines in perfect alignment. If you experience chronic back pain and you have an old, uncomfortable mattress, a contoured memory foam upgrade might be right for you!

Pros

  • Contours to the body and aligns the spine while sleeping
  • Beneficial for people with spinal issues or chronic pain

Cons

  • It can be easy for low-quality mattresses to claim “contouring” without backing it up

16. Trundle Mattress

Trundle mattresses are small, thin mattresses (usually in a Twin size) made for trundle beds. These beds are great space-savers; they tuck under the frame of a larger bed and make it easy for people to give their guests a place to sleep. These beds are mostly used in guest bedrooms or for people sharing a room as roommates, not as a couple.

Pros

  • Space-saving design
  • Great for guest beds

Cons

  • Not much use for seniors or as a primary, “every night” mattress

17. Pocketed Coil Mattress

Traditional innerspring mattresses are made with a series of metal coils fixed on a wire frame. They’re very bouncy and can last a long time, but they are also very uncomfortable after a few years. Pocketed coil mattresses, rather than having each coil attached to a wire frame, insert each coil into an air pocket individually. This allows makers of memory foam mattresses and adjustable beds to use supportive coils in an unobtrusive, more comfortable way.

Pros

  • Same support and bounce as innerspring mattresses
  • Pockets help regulate temperature; cooler than memory foam without pockets
  • Great for adjustable bed bases

Cons

  • More expensive than traditional or memory foam mattresses

18. Egg Crate Mattress

These mattresses have a top layer that’s shaped just like an egg crate with dimples all across the surface. These dimples accomplish two goals: regulating temperature and cradling the body without creating a “sinking” feeling. You can find these mattresses from many premium and low-priced brands, but the easiest way to get the “egg crate” comfort is to get an egg crate mattress topper!

Pros

  • Does a great job of regulating temperature
  • Cradles the body without creating a sinking feeling

Cons

  • Don’t last as long as traditional matresses

Frequently Asked Questions - Mattress Pads, Toppers & Protectors

What is a Mattress Pad For?

Mattress pads are thin pieces of cloth that go over the surface of the mattress and add a small layer of protection and softness. They’re almost like a small quilt that lays on the mattress underneath the sheets. Mattress pads are used to give the mattress a layer of protection against wear and tear, as well as provide a little bit of extra comfort.

What is a Mattress Topper Used For?

Mattress toppers are inexpensive ways to upgrade the comfort and performance of your existing mattress. You can add a couple of inches of memory foam, a hypoallergenic layer, or get a mattress topper with air chambers for pressure sore prevention.

Each type of mattress topper has a different purpose, so it’s best to shop around before you buy. But, they all have one thing in common- they’re a cost-efficient way to upgrade your existing mattress!

What is the Difference Between a Mattress Pad and a Mattress Topper?

Mattress toppers come in all sorts of different configurations for different purposes. Mattress pads, on the other hand, have pretty much one function- to add softness and a bit of protection. If you want to add a couple inches of gel foam, or upgrade your mattress, get a mattress topper. Otherwise, a mattress pad is all you need!

What is a Mattress Protector?

Mattress protectors are thin sheets of fabric that prevent dust, dirt, and (unfortunately) liquid from getting inside the mattress. Once a mattress is dirty or stained, it’s hard to restore it and make it look brand new. That’s why people opt for mattress protectors- they are much less expensive than replacing a mattress that’s gotten worn down too fast.

Tips for Buying the Best Mattress Type for Your Needs

Mattresses Are an Investment

It’s no secret that mattresses are expensive, but that doesn’t mean you should try to save as much money as you can. In fact, the opposite is true. Because you’ll be sleeping on it each night, your mattress gets a lot of use. If you get a cheap mattress, it can have negative effects on your health and quality of life.

Search for the Right Firmness

This, outside of mattresses made for medical purposes, is the most important factor in the mattress you choose. If it’s too firm, you’ll struggle to fall asleep at night. If it’s too soft, you’re going to have a hard time feeling comfortable in your desired sleeping position. This is largely subjective- the best mattress is the one that you feel the best in!

Consider Your Medical Needs

If you have more serious medical needs, such as a bad back or joint issue, don’t settle for a mattress that won’t help. Look for mattresses that have orthopedic qualities that will help you sleep comfortably and wake up without feeling stiff and sore!

Final Thoughts: Different Types of Mattresses Pros and Cons

There are many different types of mattresses that you can choose from, and it can feel overwhelming at times. The most important things to remember, though, are to explore your options thoroughly and look for the mattress that fits you best- not the one that claims to be perfect! So, which mattress type do you think you’ll choose?

Do you have any questions about a specific mattress category? Let us know in the comments section below!


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