Spring mattresses have been around since the late 1800’s. At their peak, they were seen as an incredible invention far beyond the times of hay and sheep wool. However, the invention of other materials has pushed spring mattresses onto the back burner of the mattress market. Developers have had to step up their design benefits and production techniques to compete. So, which is better: memory foam or spring mattresses? The answer depends on a multitude of unique factors as well as personal preference.
Spring mattresses are built using a technique called “pocket-coil systems.” These are the most affordable mattress style on the market. However, they are definitely not the most comfortable. Because of this, manufacturers have added pillow tops to spring mattresses to create a more comfortable option that promotes a better night’s sleep. This also creates more options as you are now able to pick different levels of firmness when purchasing a spring mattress.
However, the spring mattress does not contour to the body the way that memory foam does. Also, they don’t hold up as well, eventually sagging and creating indents under the weight of the user. Additionally, the springs push back against the body, making it impossible to achieve proper support and eventually becoming lumpy. Spring mattresses without pillow tops must be rotated and regularly flipped to prevent broken springs and material breakdown. On average, spring mattresses lose 16% of their support within the first year of purchase.
By far the most comfortable mattress on the market, memory foam has become the popular choice for consumers. Memory foam contours to the body, and does not have the uneven pressure points created by springs that lead to misalignment and muscle tension. A good memory foam mattress can reduce pressure points from unevenly pressing on the body by up to 80%. Though they used to be known to create temperature problems because the mattresses would take on body heat and become uncomfortable, newer gel foams have been added that stay cool at night.
Memory foam lasts much longer than spring mattresses, with typical warranties lasting up to twenty years. They don’t sag and break down the way that spring coils do. Manufacturers recommend rotating them only every six months, as compared to monthly rotations required for spring mattresses.
Allergens and Harsh Chemicals
Both types of mattresses have been reported to trap allergens and emit harsh chemicals that can cause respiratory issues and headaches. Spring mattresses with fluffy pillow tops are especially susceptible to dust mites and bed bugs. Though they are hypoallergenic and more resistant to dust mites, memory foam is usually made with synthetic materials and chemicals that can be harmful to the body long term.
Bed covers can be purchased for both mattresses. Spring mattress covers usually feature hypoallergenic materials to keep unwanted particles and critters from nesting in the mattress. Memory foam mattresses have coverage options that are flame-retardant and created with natural, organic materials to lessen the effects of the chemicals in the foam.
While spring mattresses are generally the more affordable option, some cheaper memory foam mattresses can fall into the same price range. The simplest spring mattress can be purchased for as low as $100.00, while pillow tops start around $300 depending on size. The lower end of the memory foam market starts at $400 but quickly escalates to $2,000.00 for cool-gel mattresses and organic material blends.
Pros and Cons
Memory Foam Pros
- More comfortable, reduction in pressure points creating a better quality of sleep and body restoration.
- Cheaper options are now available, making them as affordable as the upper end of spring mattresses.
- The durability of memory foam makes them last longer than spring mattresses.
Memory Foam Cons
- Harsh chemicals used to make the foam can have pungent smells and cause irritation such as headaches and breathing problems.
- The upper-end price range of memory foam mattresses is expensive.
- Memory foam that does not have the “cool-gel” feature can become very hot at night, lessening your quality of sleep.
Spring Coil Pros
- Spring mattresses are the lowest cost option in the mattress market.
- Pillow top features can make the mattress more durable and longer lasting.
Spring Coil Cons
- Uneven pressure points from the coils can cause back problems and contribute to poor circulation.
- Spring mattresses are not hypoallergenic and can trap dust mites and critters.