Did you know that the average person spends approximately 26 years of their lives sleeping?

If you don’t have a comfortable yet supportive mattress, those years can translate into lots of aches and pains, ruining the quality of your life. But, when choosing a mattress, you might not know if you should opt for a foam or spring mattress.

Is a foam mattress better than a spring one?

While much has been said about foam mattresses and they’ve become popular in recent years, both foam and spring mattresses have their advantages.

While one isn’t necessarily better than the other, it helps to compare them to see what they have to offer you.

With that in mind, let’s explore what foam and spring mattresses are all about.

What Is A Foam Mattress?

Memory Foam Mattress

A foam mattress contains trapped air instead of springs to give you that lovely bounce when you fall into bed at the end of a long day.

Foam mattresses come in three types: memory foam, foam latex, and polyurethane foam.

Memory foam mattresses contain multiple layers of foam at different densities, foam latex is made by aerating a substance that’s like sap to produce air bubbles, and polyurethane foam is quite similar to memory foam but offers greater bounce.

Brief History Of Memory Foam

Memory foam has become one of the most popular types of foam mattresses.

It has an interesting history because it was created by NASA in the 1970s! It used to be called “slow spring back foam” as a result of how it could tolerate great amounts of pressure as well as heat but spring back to its form.

Memory foam became available to members of the public decades later, in 1991. However, these types of mattresses were restricted for use in hospitals because they offered such great support.

Thanks to their popularity, they soon became available for purchase by people who wanted comfortable yet supportive mattresses for their beds at home.

What Is A Spring Mattress?

Spring Mattress

A spring mattress contains springs or metal coils to provide support, and these are covered in foam.

It also usually contains upholstery to bring comfort to the mix and ensure that the person sleeping on the spring mattress can’t feel the coils underneath them.

While you might think that spring mattresses are all the same, there are different types.

  • Bonnell coil mattress: This mattress contains hourglass-shaped coils to offer support. It’s cost-effective so it’s not as strong as other types of spring mattresses.
  • Offset coil mattress: This type of mattress contains coils that are connected to each other, producing a tight layer to give you support. It’s strong but if you move on one side of the bed you’ll feel the bounce on the other side, so it’s not that suitable for couples.
  • Continuous coil mattress: This mattress contains a wire that’s twisted into hundreds of coils. It’s strong but similar to the offset coil design as it transfers motion.
  • Pocket coil mattress: This has innerspring coils that are individually covered in fabric. It’s expensive, but since its design prevents motion transfer it makes this type of mattress a popular choice.
  • Coil on coil mattress: This bed contains two coil layers that are on top of each other to boost the mattress’s level of support. This also prevents bounce.

History Of Spring Mattress

The spring mattress is much older than the foam mattress.

It was created in 1871, and has been a popular mattress for many years. Spring mattresses have changed in their design since they were invented, but their coil system is still present. Technology has changed and improved how comfortable and strong these beds can be.

Foam Vs Spring Mattress: What Are Their Differences?


Let’s explore the differences between foam and spring mattresses according to important features to look for when you purchase a new mattress.

Strength And Durability

If you’re looking for a strong, durable mattress that will last for a long time, then a foam mattress checks all the right boxes.

Although spring mattresses can also have a long lifespan, it’s been said that they can start to feel less comfortable after a lot of use. This is simply because their springs will begin to sag over time.

There’s another important thing to consider when it comes to mattress durability. Memory foam mattresses don’t allow body oils and dirt to accumulate as much as spring mattresses.

This means that foam doesn’t attract dust mites and can therefore last a long time to keep you comfortable.


Bounce is an important feature of mattresses, but how much bounce you like will vary from the next person. If you love a lot of bounce, you should opt for a spring mattress as it has the most of this feature.

Foam mattresses absorb movement and mould to your body, so they don’t spring back very quickly.

However, if you like the idea of having a foam mattress and you want a bit of bounce, your best bet is to choose a foam latex mattress as it will be a bit bouncier than other types.

Motion Transfer

This is an important feature to look for in a mattress if you share your bed with a partner. A spring mattress contains coils or springs that bounce as a response to movement, so if your partner is restless you will feel all their movements through the night.

This is why a foam mattress is a better idea if you share a bed because it absorbs movement much more effectively.


If you feel warm or sweat during the night, you don’t want your mattress to trap the heat. This is something that people usually complain about when it comes to foam mattresses, especially memory foam.

Since memory foam moulds to your body and holds onto the heat released by your body, this can make it feel quite hot. Spring mattresses are cooler than foam.

That said, if you really love memory foam mattresses then you should opt for gel memory foam. This contains gel in it to absorb your body heat and can help you to stay cooler during the night.

Body Contouring

If you need extra support, you’ll love foam mattresses that contour to your body shape to offer greater support. By comparison, spring mattresses don’t really do this, unless they contain a layer of memory foam on top of them.

Other Things to Consider When Purchasing a Mattress

Your Sleeping Position

Stomach Sleeping Position

You should take your preferred sleeping position into account as this will influence the decision of which mattress you should choose.

  • If you like to sleep on your stomach, a firm mattress such as a foam latex mattress is ideal as it will give you the support you need.
  • On the other hand, if you like to sleep on your side you will benefit from a softer mattress that gives you support for your hips and shoulders, so memory foam is a good choice.
  • If you sleep on your back, a blend of comfort and support is recommended, so a spring mattress will achieve it for you.

Your Weight

You should also consider your body weight. If you are larger, you will probably find that a spring mattress is a good choice. This is because you’ll be supported without experiencing any sinkage, which some people have reported about foam beds.


This is one area in which foam and spring mattresses are quite similar: they are available in a range of prices, so you’ll easily find one that’s well within your budget.

What About A Hybrid Mattress?

If you want the best of both mattresses, you might be drawn towards a hybrid mattress.

But, what, exactly is a hybrid mattress?

Here’s what you need to know.

A hybrid mattress basically combines modern foam materials with metal coils. So, you’ll find that these mattresses will have a thick layer of coils that are covered with a thick layer of foam.

Usually, memory foam or polyfoam are prime choices for this type of bed. You’ll find that there are also luxury hybrid mattresses available, and these have many layers of various materials in order to give sleepers more comfort.

Hybrids are great because they’re versatile and can accommodate different sleeping positions. They’re not just about comfort, though. They offer good support.

So, what are their drawbacks?

As with any mattress, a hybrid one has pros and cons. The biggest con associated with hybrid mattresses is their cost as they’re usually quite expensive.

Which Mattress Should You Choose?

Which Mattress Should You Choose

Now that we’ve looked at the main differences between foam and spring mattresses, you might still wonder which one is best for you.

Here’s a breakdown of which one to choose, and why.

Choose foam, especially memory foam, if:

  • You need to find a mattress for couples. This is because they prevent motion transfer more than spring mattresses.
  • You have regular body aches and pains. If you have pain, especially back pain, you will achieve great support because foam helps to maintain your spine alignment and it moulds your body shape.

Choose a spring mattress if:

  • You’re a back sleeper. As we touched on earlier, this type of mattress gives you greater comfort and support when you sleep on your back.
  • You like a bouncy bed. Spring mattresses give you greater bounceability than mattresses that are made out of foam.
  • You sweat during the night. You will benefit from a spring mattress that doesn’t absorb your body heat in the way that foam, such as memory foam, does. This will help you to stay cooler and more comfortable.

Can You Make A Mattress Firmer Or Softer?

If you have a mattress that you don’t want to replace with a new one just yet, you might wonder if you can make it firmer (more supportive) or softer (more comfortable) with an item like a mattress topper.

This is basically a removable layer that rests on top of your mattress.

If you choose a firm mattress topper this can make your mattress a little more supportive. This is because a topper is usually made out of foam that will also absorb movement and mould to your body shape.

It’s not just memory foam toppers that are available – you can find mattress toppers that are made out of latex, down or wool. How thick and dense the topper is will influence how firm it will be.

Bear in mind, however, that although a mattress topper will help to make your bed feel firmer, it won’t repair a sagging mattress.

You can also use a mattress topper to make your bed feel a bit softer if it’s too firm. If you want a memory foam mattress topper for this purpose, make sure you choose one with low density as it will be softer.

Related Questions

What mattress should you choose if you battle with hip pain?

A softer mattress is ideal for relieving hip pain as it doesn’t put pressure on the hips (or shoulders).

What is off-gassing and which mattress experiences it more?

Off-gassing is the chemical scent of a new mattress. This is common with memory foam mattresses. Make sure you air out your memory foam mattress for a few days to remove the smell.


If you need a new mattress, you might wonder if you should opt for a foam or spring mattress.

In this article, we’ve looked at what both of these types are, what their pros and cons are, and how they’re different to help you choose the best one for a great night’s sleep.


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