Innerspring vs Memory Foam

In a previous article, we were discussing about spring mattresses and foam mattresses in general. In this article, however, we are going to discuss about two specific types of spring mattress and foam mattress, which are innerspring and memory foam. Essentially, choosing a mattress depends more on personal needs and preferences. Neither is absolutely better than the other. It is just like choosing between chocolate and vanilla; some people like chocolate more whereas some others prefer vanilla. Still, you may not be aware yet about the differences between innerspring and memory foam. That’s why, below, we are going to see the comparisons between the two technologies widely used for beds. Therefore, you will be able to determine whether innerspring or memory foam is more suitable for you.

What are Innerspring Mattresses?

An innerspring mattress utilizes a steel coil support system that is covered by padding and upholstery materials, such as foam layers, fiber layers, or even additional layers of smaller steel springs. Nevertheless, different innerspring mattresses may differ by the spring shape, the spring arrangement, the number of coils, and the coil gauge. Such vast variety allows innerspring mattresses to provide different levels of firmness and support, allowing different people to find the firmness and support that is the most comfortable for them. In general, more number of coils would result in more points of support, thus delivering more contouring and support.

What are Memory Foam Mattresses?

Memory foam is made using mainly polyurethane, but is combined with additional chemicals to increase the density and viscosity. Memory foam is sometimes referred to as low-resilience polyurethane foam (LRPu foam) or viscoelastic polyurethane foam. Memory foam with higher density can soften in reaction to the heat from the sleeper’s body. As the effect, it will mold and contour the sleeper’s body in a few minutes, producing what people call as sinkage and contouring. Such effect is loved by some sleepers because it relieves pressure points, allowing for a very comfortable sleep. Though memory foam mattresses are known to have molded spots that last for some time after contouring to one’s body, newer models have been designed to be able to recover more quickly to the original shape.

Innerspring vs. Memory Foam: Price

Perhaps the first thing that some people consider when choosing a mattress is the price. Some people think that innerspring/memory foam mattresses are more expensive. However, as a matter of fact, both innerspring and memory foam mattresses are available in various price ranges. You can find very inexpensive models of either type; well, even so, the quality of these cheap models may suffer. Cheap innerspring mattress may have bad durability and firmness, whilst cheap memory foam mattresses may have awful support and heat retention. On the other hand, higher priced models are usually more comfortable and durable. Be careful, however, because there are some cheaply made models that carry high price tags. Thus, it is important for you to learn more about a mattress’s construction and character before going for the purchase.

Innerspring vs. Memory Foam: Comfort

Both innerspring and memory foam can be comfortable, but their different characteristics make them suitable for different people. Innerspring mattresses are known for their exceptional support. The coils allow the mattress to support your entire body evenly and with great weight distribution. The coils also react quickly to a change of body position. Because of these traits, innerspring mattresses are generally more suitable for back sleepers and people who move a lot when sleeping. The coils will conform to the body shape and support the spine properly while the muscles relax – a quality that is very important for back sleepers.

On the other hand, memory foam mattresses are known for the superior contouring and pressure relief. Due to the nature, memory foam mattresses are somehow not as supportive as innerspring mattresses. But they contour to the shape of the sleeper’s body very well. Such trait particularly suits people who sleep on their sides. Many sleepers also love the ‘hug’ feel produced by the sinkage and contouring. Nevertheless, memory foam mattresses may not be suitable for you if you move a lot in your sleep. You see, the memory foam layer would have molded spots after it contours to your body position; it will take some time again to mold every time you move.

Regarding heat retention, well, innerspring mattresses are generally better. This is because of the open inner structure, which enables more air circulation and cooling. Some memory foam mattresses may have a fair amount of heat retention, but modern models have been designed to allow more air circulation for better cooling that is comparable to innerspring mattresses.

Innerspring vs. Memory Foam: Durability

Innerspring and memory foam mattresses have varying durability. A cheap innerspring mattress may use low-gauge coils which are easy to break. Once a coil is broken, the weight distribution will suffer, and it is just a matter of time until some other coils break too. There is a possibility that a broken piece of coil will protrude through the top padding layer, which is not only causing discomfort but also dangerous. However, a good quality innerspring mattress would use thick, strong, high-gauge coils that are virtually indestructible. Such mattresses can last for more than ten years.

Similarly, cheap memory foam mattresses are not built to last. After some time, they will begin to sag, losing the ability to support with a proper alignment and developing body impressions. But higher quality memory foam mattresses can last much longer. Usually, those are the ones with higher density levels.

InnerspringMemory Foam
- A steel coil support system with padding and upholstery materials- Made using polyurethane combined with additional chemicals to increase the density and viscosity
- Great support- Great contouring
- Immediate response to a change of body position- May take some time to recover and to adapt to a change
- Suitable for back sleepers and people who move a lot when sleeping- Suitable for side sleepers and people who don’t move much


To conclude our article, innerspring and memory foam mattresses are made for different people. Their quality may vary, depending on the price and brand that you choose. In general, innerspring mattresses are more suitable for back sleepers and people who move a lot when sleeping due to the great support and immediate responsiveness. Meanwhile, memory foam mattresses are better for side sleepers, people who don’t move very much when sleeping, or if you simply like the ‘hug’ feel. This is because of the superb contouring and pressure relief.

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