Hybrid mattresses are the latest fad in the mattress industry. These are beds that combine memory foam and innersprings. Actually, this is really not that new at all since that is essentially the way mattresses have been manufactured for many decades. The big change is getting rid of the fluff – fiber and upholstery, the stuff that flattens like a pancake, and replacing it exclusively with memory foam, or some other more durable pressure relieving substance. The marketing types are already feverishly working on names for these new products. Look for names and descriptions like hybrids, half-breeds, duos, crossbreeds, and combos. I’m sure whatever verbiage the experts put together will be most exciting.
Hybrids are easy to spot on the floor at any mattress shop. They have a nice flat look, similar to memory foam beds. If you see a bed with “buttons”, the stitching and tufting on top of the mattress, that is probably not a hybrid.
The Good – If your choice is between traditional innerspring and hybrids, the hybrid is the way to go. When you take out the fluff, you have a more durable mattress. One of the top complaints about mattresses is body impressions. If the comfort layers are exclusively memory foam, or even latex, that mattress will have a much longer comfort life. Remember, comfort life refers to the amount of time one can sleep on a bed comfortably. This will be substantially less in most cases than the warranty life. Comfort always trumps other considerations, so make sure the hybrid feels better than the traditional.
The Neutral – Hybrids will sometimes carry longer warranties of 20+ years which is good. Unfortunately, the threshold for a valid claim remains the same as traditional mattresses – 1.5″. To me, this would indicate that the manufacturer has no more faith in the durability of hybrids than their regular innerspring mattresses. Most top memory foam mattresses have a threshold of .75″. That may not sound like much, but these are recovery measurements, and not measuring while somebody is actually on the mattress. For someone with a very sensitive back, even .5″ could be problematic. They would be hospitalized if their hips were misaligned by over an inch for 8 hours every night. And if the impression is 1.25″ deep, its not out of whack to imagine that it could be much deeper with someone on the mattress.
The Bad – These mattresses have innersprings! Why is the industry still pushing 19th century technology? The human body should not be on steel springs. The problems with motion transfer, alignment, pressure, and even durability remain when you have springs. But, if you like having a little more “bounce” to your bed, than hybrids may be just right.
The Ugly – Some of these hybrids can be priced from $2000 to $3000 in queen size. You can find some pretty good memory foam beds under $2000 these days with better warranties, AND longer comfort life. So unless you just really love the feel, memory foam beds still are a better solution in many cases.
A good quality memory foam mattress is still the best solution in most cases. But hybrids offer an alternative to the traditional. If you can find one that fits your comfort needs, and is reasonably priced, there are some advantages over the traditional innerspring mattress. And as I said before, comfort trumps everything else. Test the bed on your back and in your sleeping position. Make sure your body is aligned properly in your favorite position. Make sure there are no pressure issues, and you are not sinking like you are in a hammock. And most importantly, make sure you have, IN WRITING, a policy that allows you to exchange the mattress. Until you sleep 8 hours a night for a few weeks on that mattress, you really want know if its the right one for you.
One final thought, I would recommend sticking with the S-brand manufacturers. Just like any other mattress category, there are hundreds of manufacturers attempting to take your money, and give you far less in return.
Happy Mattress Shopping!