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Hybrid Mattresses: The Bedding Industry’s Hottest Trend? How To Buy A Mattress That Has The Right Stuff Without All the Fluff!

The Bedding Industry’s Hottest Category Has Reinvented The Bedding Business- But Should You Buy A Casper, Tuft & Needle, Loom And Leaf, Or Another Brand?- And, How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off!

Hybrid Mattress

I’ve been writing about products in the bedding industry for years now, and thousands of readers have studied and considered our advice on the products we review and the vendors and retailers we recommend.

Our site started out reviewing just a few categories of mattresses, but the list just keeps growing. Mattress designs have evolved, giving consumers a much better and broader selection of products to choose from, for sure, but it also makes choosing the right mattress a very daunting process. The fastest growing category is the hybrid mattress business, which includes Casper, Tuft&Needle, Loom And Leaf, Lull, and other larger companies. These mattresses are typically made using less expensive ingredients such as polyurethane foam, which leaves a large margin for advertising and marketing.

The obvious concern is the quality of the foam layers that are used in these beds. The outer covering, which gives a mattress curb appeal, is a strong part of the design element of these big sellers, but offer little when it comes to durability and lifespan, as well as comfort and support.

We’re here to help make it a little easier to choose just the right mattress for you, and in our discussion about Hybrid Mattresses, we’ll provide some good ammunition whether or not you are shopping in brick and mortar retail stores, or shopping online with an e-commerce site.

What Is A Hybrid Mattress, Anyway?

A hybrid mattress is very simply a mattress made using two or more different kinds of unique materials so that you can capitalize on the benefits of all of the components used, even better than say, if you had purchased two separate beds with just one of the key ingredients. The basic principle is that combining the ingredients of a hybrid mattress vastly increases the performance of the mattress as a whole, amplifying its benefit, if you will.

Example: A very common hybrid mattress sold today is a combination of latex and memory foam. Each has very unique benefits. Latex is elastic, buoyant, and spongy and cushy, while memory foam fills up around your body offering pressure point relief, but some folks complain of being “stuck” in memory foam. Adding latex to the bed reduces this problem, while preserving the sumptuous and responsiveness nature of the mattress. In other words, you get the best of both worlds.

Other hybrid mattresses combine memory foam with gel foam, or even thin layers of springs, called microcoils, or other exotic materials, like charcoal or copper infused foam layers, soy based foams, and much more. Because there are literally hundreds of options both online and in retail stores, it’s almost impossible to research each and every one.

The bedding industry has exploded in the last few years, with bed in the box mattresses dominating the industry. Along with hundreds of mattress web sites, dozens of so-called third party review sites have also flourished, though we advise to be extremely wary of these sites, since most of them cherry pick or even fabricate reviews.

Mattress retailers will ship mattresses to be “reviewed” by these sites, and then pay them to tout their product in a third party fashion, using lots of gold stars and quotes from “actual owners”. It’s actually becoming a scourge on the industry, and likely the FTC will intercede at some point since it is so completely out of control. Bottom line, just beware of these web sites.

The beauty of a Hybrid Mattress design is that the concept follows a minimalist approach, utilizing a few specific ingredients that deliver maximum comfort at a reasonable price. Generally, you can find a mattress like this for under $1,000, though if you want more bells and whistles, such as a more upgraded outer covering, or more than two unique materials inside the mattress, expect to pay $1,500-2,000 or more, especially if it is a brand name.

For example, let’s say you want to buy a latex mattress. You can buy a 100% latex mattress which is top to bottom pure latex, if you are concerned about keeping the mattress purely green, with no synthetic or man-made materials.

But, if you want to save some money, you could purchase a hybrid mattress, which contains a layer of pure latex on top and a less expensive support material underneath which may be a synthetic material. You might also consider a memory foam mattress, or a gel foam mattress, which can be made using similar methods, primarily consisting of the premium ingredient at the top, which reduces the cost of the mattress.

The dramatic increase in popularity of hybrid mattresses is largely driven by a “layer cake” approach. This concept simply involves using one ingredient you are looking to exploit the most for comfort as the top layer, and using quality materials as the base or supportive layer to provide the best overall feel. It is important, however, to not overlook the kinds of foam materials that makeup the support layers, as they can fail and develop rutting or depressions over time.

In the case of a hybrid mattress using a premium top layer such as memory foam, gel foam, or pure latex, what you are likely to find is a 2” or maybe 3” layer of these materials, and underneath you’d likely find a combination of one or two different high density synthetic layers which provide good support and accentuate the comfort of the top layer.

The overall effect is to deliver the same or an even higher level of comfort than if the mattress were made from the same material top to bottom. The best part is, the mattress is likely to be substantially less expensive, and in many cases, much lighter in weight.

It’s What’s Underneath That Really Adds To Lifespan And Durability

One key consideration though, is the quality of the synthetic high density foams used underneath, which can broadly range in quality from outright utility grade foams which aren’t even bedding grade material, (like foam you would use to pack household goods in a move) to extremely high quality foam layers that are especially designed to be used for support layers in mattresses.

Almost all of them are made using petroleum based products, which may be a concern for some folks. There are new materials and foams out there though that are manufactured without a lot of the toxic ingredients used in the past.

One example of this material is a specialized foam that is known as Certi-Pur® foam. This kind of foam is free of harmful ingredients typically found in petroleum based foams, like PBDE’s (poly-brominated di-ethyl ethers) which are toxic and achieved notoriety for contributing to ozone layer depletion, as well as formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and other toxins, all of which continue to off-gas over long periods of time.

It is available in many densities and degrees of firmness, so that it can be properly calibrated with the top layers of the mattress to deliver the highest level of comfort and support. Here’s a link to the consumer page for Certi-Pur®, which you can check out after reading my article.

Looking for Certi-Pur® foam is probably of paramount importance when considering a mattress, since your bed should be a safe place, free of chemicals and toxic ingredients. I always say we want our mattresses to be as close to toxin and chemical free as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask your retailer if they use safer foam layers like Certi-Pur®.

The bottom line is that you’re going to get a better deal on a Hybrid Mattress, which might be way more comfortable than a mattress made entirely of the premium ingredient on the top layer, and it may also be far more durable. Ask for warranties of at least five years, if not ten. Some companies offer trial periods too, so you can evaluate the comfort of the mattress, and if it does not work for you, you can get at least a partial refund, if not a full refund, if you send the product back.

Some consumers have had their favorite mattress for decades, and resist going too far astray from what they are comfortable with, especially innerspring mattress owners. They find their mattresses supportive and restful, but over time, they need to replace them simply because of depressions, rutting, and failure.

I noticed that there are a number of companies doing very innovative things with coils and other materials, combined together, to create a unique hybrid approach. For example, Habitat Furnishings offers a coil hybrid that uses individually suspended pocketed coils, that they describe being as sensitive to your body as is the touch of your fingers to a piano keyboard.

Their Regal Tranquility mattress offers a combination of individual pocketed coils, a 3” layer of pure latex, jomma wool (a really high quality layer of lamb’s wool), and a completely organic cover, for what seems to be a much lower price than the big box retailers. They even give you a free gel topper pad as a gift, which sits on top of this hybrid mattress, and customers seem to rave about it, according to the reviews shown on their site.

Also, the warranty is excellent, including a 15 year free replacement component, something I don’t often see.

Often I get asked about unusual materials that are on the cutting edge, like gel foams, or copper infused foams, even aluminum infused foam layers that apparently deflect heat. Many of these new, state of the art ingredients have never been seen in the industry before and they are rapidly finding their way into mattresses.

I think it’s important to share these products with customers who are looking for something that in many cases might be their last resort, especially, if they’ve tried everything else out there.

I did find a company doing something very unique with a product called “The FCO Hybrid Mattress”. It is available through a company called FCO Home Goods. They incorporate both memory foam and natural latex layers that can be interchanged to offer two unique feels, thanks to the innovative placement of a top mounted zipper, which makes it easy to move the layers around.

This mattress is nicely made using top of the line components. For example, the quality of the memory foam they use is 4lb density, vs. the cheaper and not as durable 3lb. version used commonly in the bedding industry. Also, they use a layer of pure latex, rather than a blended version of latex which is not as long lasting.

Both of these layers, the memory foam and the latex layers, can be switched around, one on top of the other, so you get a slightly different feel. It is kind of like buying two mattresses for the price of one.

The FCO Hybrid is also priced a bit lower than the big name brands like Casper, Loom & Leaf, Purple, and some other “flavor of the month” mattresses that seem to come and go. And, I checked to see how long the FCO site has been around, by using the Who-Is database, and they’ve actually been online since 1998, far longer than many of these newbie companies combined.

Habitat Furnishings, which carries the Regal Tranquility pocketed coil mattress, also offers an 8” Natural Latex Hybrid which consists of a 2” layer of 100% pure plant based latex on top of the Certi-Pur® foam I mentioned. They use two layers of Certi-Pur®, 32ILD synthetic 2.2 lb. density HD foam, underneath the top layer of natural latex.

The covering that they use on the outside of the mattress is the same cover that they use on their top to bottom pure latex mattresses, which is an organic cotton cover, that breathes and does not sleep hot.

This hybrid mattress is made using natural latex only, and does not offer the flexibility of the FCO Hybrid, which includes a layer of pressure relieving memory foam. Habitat also sells the Regal Tranquility pocketed coil hybrid I mentioned above.

Trial Period And Warranties- Make Yourself Bulletproof When Buying A Mattress Online

Shopping for a new bed can be daunting, but you can certainly score a great bed for under $800 in queen, maybe even king, if you compare ingredients, look for a decent no questions asked trial period of at least 90 days, and get a good solid warranty of at least 10 years, covering any defect or damage to the bed. We also recommend looking for a bed with a removable outer covering, which allows you to replace the cover in the event it is damaged.

Also, look for a company like Habitat Furnishings and FCO Homegoods, which are BBB A+ rated companies, and display the live link logo. If you can’t find these on a company’s web site, you shouldn’t really be shopping there, in our opinion. Beware of strangely unheard certifications on web sites too, like “TrustDoctor” or “Certified by The American Foam Institute”, often creative graphic design by the owner of the web site, and not a genuine third party organization. Honestly BBB and Consumer Reports are the only two organizations that are truly vetted and believable. Good luck!