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latex vs hybrid - image of zenhaven and saatva latex hybrid mattresses

Latex vs. Hybrid: What’s the Difference?

If you’re shopping for a new mattress, it’s easy to end up split between latex and hybrid. Both mattress types are popular choices because they offer a combination of uplifting comfort and support.

But what’s the difference between latex vs. hybrid mattresses, and which one might be best for you? Read on to learn everything you need to know about these two mattress types, including the pros and cons of each.

What is a hybrid mattress?

A hybrid mattress is a cross between two mattress types—typically innerspring and some sort of foam—for a “best of both worlds” sleeping experience, says Bill Fish, certified sleep science coach and general manager of SleepFoundation.org. Take good care of a high-quality hybrid mattress, and it should last upwards of 10 years.

saatva latex hybrid mattress diagram

A look at the layers inside the Saatva Latex Hybrid

What it’s made of

Hybrid mattresses feature multiple layers for support and comfort. Here’s what you’ll typically find between the covers:

  • Steel coil support system. A base support of steel coils creates that classic springy mattress feel. Premier hybrid mattresses include individually-wrapped coils, which move on their own to reduce motion transfer.
  • Atop that, a comfort layer made of body-hugging memory foam, polyfoam, or responsive latex. Some hybrid mattresses also have cooling materials that are slow to conduct heat like gel or graphite copper to help keep your bed cool.
  • A pillow top made of foam, cotton, wool, or fiberfill provides a final layer of cushioning.

Benefits of a hybrid mattress

Hybrid mattresses are well-known for offering the best of many other mattress types. Here’s what that means for you:

  • Sleeping on a hybrid mattress feels like floating on the surface. Thanks to a combination of memory foam or latex and springs, hybrid mattresses are buoyant for comfort you won’t sink into.
  • Hybrid mattresses reduce motion transfer. Individually-wrapped coils topped with foam lower the chances that you and your partner will wake each other up when you shift in position or get out of bed at night.
  • They keep you cool. With high-tech cooling materials plus airflow between coils, hybrid mattresses make for a cool sleeping experience, unlike some other traditional memory foam mattresses.
  • They’re comfortable for any sleeping position. With varying options for firmness and comfort layers, hybrid mattresses can easily suit your personal preferences.
  • They’re soft on pressure points. The additional comfort layers of a hybrid mattress can help distribute your body weight and take the strain off of your back, shoulders, and hips.

Drawbacks of a hybrid mattress

Since hybrid mattresses offer features that you love in innerspring and memory foam or latex mattresses, they do tend to be more expensive than more traditional mattress options. (If you’re looking for a mattress on a budget, here are a few helpful mattress shopping tips to keep in mind.)

Choosing the right hybrid mattress for your sleep position

A hybrid mattress can make a great fit for any sleeping position. Here’s how to choose the right firmness level for yours:

  • If you’re a side sleeper, try out a softer hybrid mattress to relieve pressure on your back, shoulders, and hips.
  • If you’re a back sleeper, go for a medium firm hybrid mattress to cushion your pressure points but maintain the natural curvature of your spine.
  • If you’re a stomach sleeper, consider a firm hybrid mattress to help keep your posture in check.
  • If you tend to switch up sleeping positions or you and your partner have different sleeping positions, a medium firm hybrid mattress can support your back and reduce pressure on your joints at the same time.
  • If you have a heavier body (think: 230 pounds and up), a firm hybrid mattress can provide the combination of support and cushioning you need.

What is a latex mattress?

A latex mattress is made from 100% natural latex from the sap of the rubber tree, though latex beds can also be made from synthetic materials or a blend of both. The two types of natural latex you’ll find in a latex mattress are Talalay and Dunlop. A natural latex mattress can last up to 20 years, making it one of the longest-lasting mattress types on the market.

zenhaven latex mattress layer diagram

A look at the layers inside the Zenhaven latex mattress

What it’s made of

Latex mattress construction is pretty simple. The bottom layer is the support core, while the top layers are engineered for comfort. (In the flippable Zenhaven mattress, the support core is in the middle, and it’s surrounded by comfort layers on either side.) A latex mattress will also include other materials, such as organic cotton or natural wool, commonly used as a flame retardant, in the padding and cover.

Benefits of a latex mattress

Here, a few of the pros of sleeping on a latex mattress:

  • Latex mattresses are supportive and comfortable. Latex conforms to your body like memory foam but remains buoyant, so you sleep on top of your mattress without sinking into it.
  • Latex mattresses are a good choice if you have allergies. Natural latex resists mold and dust mites and it’s hypoallergenic—a win-win! (Here’s what you need to know if you have a latex allergy).
  • They stay cool. Compared to other types of foam, latex has a more open cell structure which allows for a cooler night’s sleep thanks to increased airflow.
  • They’re eco-friendly. Sustainable, nontoxic, and biodegradable, natural latex is a greener mattress choice compared with other mattresses made with foams that may contain hazardous chemicals like formaldehyde and perfluorocarbons.
  • They’re ultra-durable. Because natural latex is such a strong material, latex mattresses can outlast other mattress types by about five to 10 years.

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Drawbacks of a latex mattress

Latex mattresses do come with a few potential cons:

  • Latex mattresses are expensive. Due to the cost of production, latex mattresses are pricier than other mattress types. While synthetic latex beds are cheaper, they’re not as earth-friendly or durable as their natural counterparts. (Here’s how to find the best latex mattress for your budget.)
  • They’re heavy. Latex mattresses tend to be even heavier than other mattress types, so you may need extra help moving your mattress.

Choosing the right latex mattress for your sleep position

Like the hybrid, latex beds are good for all sleep styles.

  • If you’re a side sleeper, latex mattresses are a great choice because they cushion your pressure points. Choose a plusher, softer latex mattress for a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • If you’re a back sleeper, try a medium-firm latex mattress for a balance of support and comfort to keep your spine aligned and pressure points pain-free.
  • If you’re a stomach sleeper, a medium firm to firm latex mattress can help keep your back in good alignment while also cushioning your joints.

The difference between a hybrid and latex mattress

All in all, hybrid and latex beds offer many of the same benefits: They’re comfortable yet supportive and can suit any sleeping position.

However, the materials they’re made from do make for a different experience. “Latex is going to give you a more bouncy feeling than memory foam (a common topper for the hybrid), but not quite as much as coils would,” says Fish.

If you like the sound of latex and want the feel of a hybrid, you don’t have to choose between the two: You can get both in a latex hybrid mattress.

Still not sure which mattress type is right for you? We’ve rounded up our guides on the differences between popular types of mattresses to help make your decision easier:

Lauren Krouse is a freelance writer and researcher based in North Carolina. A graduate of the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program at UNC-Wilmington, she loves writing about all things health, fitness, politics, and activism. When she’s not typing away, you can find her meditating, weightlifting, playing soccer, or walking in the woods with her partner and two rescue dogs.