Spring Mattress Vs Foam Mattress

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written by sleep expert Lauren Hall

Spring Mattress Vs Foam Mattress

Often when choosing a new mattress, the cost is a big part of the equation. However, it is not the only factor, and considering how long a mattress will last these days, you need to ensure you are choosing wisely.

In this ‘Spring Mattress vs Foam Mattress’ comparison, we look at the 8-key elements you need to consider.


What Are Spring And Foam Mattresses?

Spring Mattress

The best innerspring mattresses are often seen as more “traditional” as they are the predecessor to the foam mattress. They consist of lots of metal coils suspended in the other materials of the mattress.

They can offer a lot of support, particularly for heavier people or those with back ailments. However, a good quality spring mattress can be comfortable for anybody.

Innerspring mattresses are more traditional, and some see them as old-fashioned – however, they are still prevalent. They offer a lot of bounce, good temperature control, and come in a wide variety of prices.

Spring mattresses support the body by pushing back with a similar amount of pressure that the body applies. One potential drawback with this construction can be that the body does not apply the same amount of pressure evenly across the mattress. Thus, the body areas that press down the hardest of the bed, typically the chest, hips, and head, will get the most pushback. For some sleepers, this can cause nighttime discomfort.

Foam Mattress

Foam mattresses rely on air trapped within aerated substances (rather than springs) to offer support and bounce. Foam mattresses generally consist of three broad types: polyurethane foam, memory foam, and foam latex.


Polyurethane foam is commonly the uppermost layer in an innerspring mattress. A single layer of polyurethane can be constructed into part of a polyurethane foam mattress. It’s chemically similar to memory foam, but without the added viscosity boosters, this means it’s a much more bouncy and springy feeling than memory foam.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are made of multiple layers of different densities of foam. The foam is made of polyurethane. It was adopted by hospitals for use in wheelchairs or beds of immobile patients and eventually made its way to the mass market.

Foam Latex
Foam latex is created by aerating a sap-like substance in order to create air bubbles. The result is a firm but bouncy support, which is uniform throughout the bed. Unlike memory foam, latex pushes back, meaning it offers superior firmness and pressure relief.


Memory Foam Vs Spring Mattress: Comfort

Spring Mattresses

When it comes to the issue of comfort, we all probably know who the ‘Winner’ is, but this isn’t always apparent at first glance.

Spring mattresses can look just as comfortable as their foam counterparts, but the trouble is they don’t have the same comfort-related features as foam mattresses.

The lack of comfort associated with spring mattresses is because they don’t offer very much [If any] pressure relief.

All of your body weight will be concentrated on your spine and your lower back. Your arms are also likely to be affected too simply because your weight is not distributed throughout the mattress.

Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses have been made to be as comfortable as possible. The layers of memory foam, followed by layers of comfortable materials, are there to give us the best nights’ sleep possible.

This type of mattress has been designed to distribute our body weight and make us feel as if we’re floating on a cloud or something close to that in any case.

This type of mattress is typically one of the most comfortable you will come across, regardless of the price. If it’s the comfort you’re looking for, then you need to be on the hunt for a memory foam mattress.


Memory Foam Vs Spring Mattress: Pain Relief

Spring Mattresses

When it comes to the issue of pain relief, you may already be aware that spring mattresses offer little back support, which isn’t ideal if you suffer from back pain.

A restful nights’ sleep is likely to be the answer to some of your pain, but if your spring mattress isn’t offering you a lot of support, you may not get the nights’ sleep you’re looking for.

During the first few weeks, your new spring mattress may offer you a bit of pain relief, but after a while, it’s likely that the springs will begin to sag and stretch.

When this happens, you will no longer receive optimum support, which means you’re not likely to get the pain relief you need either.

Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses can offer you quite a lot of pain relief if your pain is associated with sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t support you.

Back pain and pain in your joints can also be relieved when using a mattress such as this. Memory foam mattresses are unlikely to take all of your pain away, but the support they offer can and often does help.


Spring vs Foam: Price

Spring Mattresses

If it’s the price that’s important to you, then a spring mattress is usually the clear ‘Winner’. Low in price, this type of mattress can be considerably cheaper than its foam counterpart.

The reasons for the low price probably come down to the fact that they just aren’t as popular anymore. Spring mattresses were at one point, the only type of mattress you could buy, but things have changed, and now they are the ones that have been left trailing behind.

This isn’t to say that you cannot pay a lot of money for a spring mattress, there are so expensive ones out there, but when you compare them to the foam mattresses, nine times out of ten they are far cheaper.

If it’s a cheap mattress that you’re looking for, then a spring mattress may be the right one for you.

Foam Mattresses

You’re probably aware that foam mattresses can and often do come with a high price. The higher price is usually due to the amount of memory foam that has been used in the mattress, along with other materials to help it last longer, and stay cleaner [Think, green tea, and aloe vera].

While you can buy some foam mattresses for less than $100, they won’t be at the top of the range ones, and they certainly won’t offer you an excellent level of support. Be prepared to pay at least $400 for a very good memory foam mattress.


Spring vs Foam: Durability

Spring Mattresses

The issue of durability can throw things up in the air slightly. Spring mattresses can last up to 10 years, meaning that they could appear to be great value for money.

If you want a mattress that lasts you up to a decade, then you either need to pay a lot of money for a foam mattress or a lot less for a standard spring one.

Spring mattresses by their very nature are more durable, simply because they contain springs, and even if they have lost their new mattress shape and comfort, they will still keep going for quite some time

Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses simply don’t tend to last as long as spring mattresses do. They may last up to 5 years, some may last longer, but it all depends on the brands that you buy.

A great way to check how long your foam mattress is likely to last is to take a look at the warranty. This will give an indication of how long it will last, but you shouldn’t take the manufacturer’s word for it.

If you would like your new mattress to last a long time, you will need to pay top dollar for it. Otherwise, your new mattress could last up to 5 years.


Spring vs Foam on Warranty

Spring Mattresses

Truth be told, the warranty on spring mattresses is not great. There seems no reasonable explanation available as to why there seems to be a distinct lack of warranty, but maybe the manufacturers think there’s no need for one that lasts more than a few years.

Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses come with varying warranties, from 1 year, up to 25. As always, please check the conditions of the warranty, as you may be covered for some things, and not others.

Warranties typically cover manufacturing defects and any problems caused by them. A mattress with a 25-year warranty indicates the product is of a high standard, and you shouldn’t have any issues with it.


Memory Foam Vs Spring Mattress: Health Benefits

Spring Mattresses

If you need to be positioned as high as you can in bed, then a spring mattress may be the best option for you. If you have difficulty getting out of bed, or you tend to roll around as you sit up, this is where a spring mattress could come in handy.

There seem to be no other obvious health benefits to using this type of mattress, so if you have a bad back or you simply wish to relieve aches and pains, you may need to look at a different type of mattress instead.

Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses come with many health benefits; they spread your body weight across the mattress and therefore put less pressure on your joints and spine.

This means that your body is likely to get more rest while you sleep, and you should feel more refreshed when you wake. A lot of people, especially those who are bed-bound, can fall victim to bedsores.

Memory foam mattresses help lower the incidences of bedsores because the body’s weight is spread throughout the mattress, and you’re therefore supported.

Another benefit of using a memory foam mattress is that there’s less motion disturbance. When someone in the bed with you moves, you’re less likely to feel that movement. This can result in a better night’s sleep, which is ultimately what we’re all looking for.


Spring vs. Foam: Life Span

Spring Mattresses

Spring mattresses can last up to 10 years, which is quite a long time. Mattresses such as these have metal innards, which can help with longevity. If you want a long-lasting mattress, this is the type you should opt for.

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses can and do last up to 10 years, but you may have to spend quite a bit more cash than you planned. A foam mattress’s usual life is about 5 years, for those that cost around the $500 mark and have someone sleeping on them every night.


Memory Foam Vs Spring Mattress: Ease of Cleaning

Spring Mattresses

Because of how spring mattresses are made, they can be a great place for dust mites to live. While this may not necessarily bother you, it can affect those who have a lot of allergies.

Mattresses can potentially be cleaned now and again, but you will have to use the manufacturer-approved ones and ensure they are allowed to dry properly.

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses are tough to clean; some brands cannot be cleaned, whereas others come with a removable cover that can be cleaned with no problem.

If you would like a spotless memory foam mattress, you will need to keep it covered at all times and perhaps use a vacuum on it now and again.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which mattress is best for back pain foam or spring?

When choosing between a memory foam mattress and spring mattresses for back pain, higher-end spring mattresses such as offset coil and pocket coil are often best for those with back pain because they offer a solid combination of stiffness, springiness, and conformity.

Is it better to sleep on a hard or soft mattress?

While having a firmer mattress provides your bones with more resistance and support, a softer mattress can give you the comfort and cushion you need to sleep happy throughout the night. If you prefer soft, then a memory foam mattress may be the way to go.

Which mattress is used in 5-star hotels?

While most luxury hotels use pillow-top mattresses to meet every guest’s sleep demands, a pillow-top doesn’t need to be the best option for your home. Some hotels have mentioned that their guests love memory foam or innerspring mattresses with medium firmness, but of course, each mattress type comes with its unique benefits.

How many springs should a good mattress have?

A ‘good’ mattress will generally have above 1000 springs, accepting that a higher spring count equals better quality and, more often than not, a higher price.

Are spring mattresses bad for your back?

Spring mattresses are cheaper than memory foam, less durable, transfer motion to another person on the bed, and for 2 out of the 2 different types of coil mattresses, aren’t recommended for people suffering from back pain.

What are the disadvantages of memory foam mattresses?

Memory foam may be cozy at first, but memory foam reviews always involve customers reporting their mattress has serious dips, and as a result the foam eventually does not bounce back. These dips can cause body aches and back pain because you’re not getting the support you need.


Wrapping Up The Spring Mattress vs Foam Mattress Debate

As you can see, there are a few differences between spring mattresses and their memory foam counterparts. When we consider the two types of mattresses, it’s clear to see there’s a ‘Winner’.

Memory foam mattresses seem to support the body so much more than spring mattresses do, and they come with a lot of health benefits, in addition to being hugely comfortable.

This type of mattress can be a lot more expensive than a spring mattress, and they may not last as long, but it’s likely you will get a better nights’ sleep, and wake up with fewer aches and pains.

Related Post: Best Memory Foam Mattress [Review]