Last Updated on May 27, 2021 by Ines
Foam or Coil/Innerspring crib mattress
How to decide what’s best for your baby?
Babies sleep a lot! Yes, I know, at that time, it didn’t seem so to me either, but they do. Your baby will spend much of her first year in her crib, so choosing a safe crib and a proper crib mattress is crucial. Crib mattresses are available with numerous features, however, your first decision is whether you will pick a foam or coil crib mattress.
Some might won’t agree, but nowadays, foam baby crib mattresses are as good as coil models. Of course, I’m talking about quality models on both sides. However, if you’re trying to decide between a foam or innerspring/coil crib mattress, there are few differences that could help you with your decision.
Which one is better, a foam or coil crib mattress?
As long as you choose a crib mattress of good quality, both types are suitable! Both foam and spring crib mattresses can provide excellent support and keep their shape well for a long time.
What about the price?
For instance, foam crib mattresses tend to be cheaper than innerspring models. You can find a quality foam crib mattress for less money than a quality coil model. That’s because the material for foam mattresses is more affordable. And remember, that doesn’t mean it is not quality or safe!
Quality foam is durable, firm, without chemicals or VOC off-gassing, and it can be even organic!
Our favorite foam and coil crib mattresses:
FOAM CRIB MATTRESS
Dourxi crib and toddler bed mattress
COIL CRIB MATTRESS
Serta Tranquility innerspring crib and toddler mattress
RELATED: Best baby crib mattresses in 2021
Foam vs. Coil crib mattresses
Foam crib mattress
Foam crib mattresses have become much more durable over the last years. With normal use, they hold up just as long as innerspring models.
Structure of a crib mattress with a foam core:
The structure of foam mattresses is not, as complex, as the coil mattress’s structure. However, it is proven to be equally effective in providing firmness and sufficient support to your child.
Foam crib mattresses are made of a polyurethane foam core that is surrounded by vinyl or fabric cover.
You can also opt for a dual-sided foam crib mattress, which consists of two layers of different firmness. One side is made of a firmer foam, which provides safe sleeping space for newborns and young babies. The other, toddler’s side, has plushier memory foam for their coziness.
The structure of a dual-sided foam crib mattress
While vinyl covers are waterproof, are those made of fabric usually only water-resistant, but more breathable. Anyway, the best covers are those with more layers, with double or triple laminated ticking, which is reinforced with nylon. Such covers are more durable, more resistant to tears and holes, and better tolerates frequent cleaning.
Foam’s thickness, weight & density
Foam mattresses are available in a variety of thicknesses, where the thickness of most models is between 3 and 6 inches. Foam crib mattresses also not weight a lot. Most of them are lighter than 13 pounds. Because of such characteristics, is changing sheets generally easier from innerspring models.
Better foam mattresses have denser foam of better quality. Such models are a bit heavier but still slightly lighter from innerspring crib mattresses.
Baby’s Little Place Tip: The foam’s density is usually not listed on the label, but you can assess it by comparing foam mattresses’ weight.
heavier foam mattress = denser foam = better quality
Foam crib mattresses comparing to innerspring models:
- they are cheaper than innerspring mattresses
- foam crib mattresses are lighter than innerspring mattresses, which makes changing sheets easier
- foam is less springy, so there is less chance to be used as a trampoline when your baby grows
- if you don’t pick a quality one, it won’t last as long as the spring mattress
- low-price foam baby crib mattresses have a bigger potential to indent from cheap innerspring models
- the chances of initial smell are higher
Innerspring crib mattress
Innerspring baby crib mattresses have a core made of spings, which is surrounded by multiple layers of different materials. Better innerspring mattresses have more coils of better thickness!
Never buy a mattress, if you don’t know its exact structure! It must have the description about what’s inside!
The innerspring mattress’s structure
- coils in the core
- insulator pad
- cushioning material
- cushioning material
- mattress’s cover
Innerspring/coil crib mattresses are heavier because of springs in their core. Their weight ranges from 15 to 30 pounds.
The quality and firmness of innerspring crib mattresses are defined by the number and the thickness of steel coils in the core. Crib mattresses with more coils are generally better. If there are more springs in the same space, they are closer to each other, which results in a firmer structure.
However, more coils don’t always mean better firmness. You have to find the perfect combination of coil count and steel gauge (coil thickness). A mattress with fewer coils but a thicker steel gauge can be firmer from the one with more innerspring of worse quality.
- Coil count: While the cheapest crib mattresses have less than 80 springs have expensive ones 200 or even more coils. The general recommendations for a quality baby crib mattress are about 135 -150 coils.
- The thickness of crib-mattress coils: Steal gauge ranges from 19 to 12.5 gauge, where the lower the number is, the thicker the steel is.
The first layer is the insulated pad, which prevents the coils from poking through the mattress’s surface. The best insulator pads are fiber wrap pads, made from pressed scraps of cloth, and coir fiber pads made of shredded coconut shells. Coconut pads are more expensive, but either works well in crib mattresses.
Some of the insulator pads of a lower quality are woven polyester, hard felt, and plastic-mesh insulator pad. Innerspring mattresses with such insulator pads are less durable, tend to form pockets over time, and become concave, which creates a safety hazard.
The next layer above the insulated pad is the cushioning. It can be made of cotton, foam, or polyester.
While cotton and foam are OK, don’t choose the polyester. Yes, it is cheaper, which makes the whole purchase more affordable, but it’s less durable, and mattresses with polyester cushioning tend to form pockets sooner.
The entire innerspring baby crib mattress is surrounded by fabric or vinyl cover. Fabric covers enable better breathability, but those made of vinyl are more durable. A multilayer vinyl cover resists tears, punctures, stains, and leaks better than fabric cover.
But choosing vinyl over the fabric doesn’t mean that you have to settle with worse breathability. Look for the mattress with the side venting holes that also enable the perfect air circulation.
Border Rods are a must-have on innerspring baby crib mattresses!
Border roads provide strong side and edge support, extra firmness, and better durability. Border roads keep the mattress from sagging when your baby stands or walks near the edge.
What adds to the price and increase the quality and comfort of the innerspring mattress?
- coil count
- the thickness of crib-mattress coils
- number of layers
- the material’s quality in each layer
- the mattress cover
Innerspring crib mattress comparing to a foam model:
- it will probably last longer than a foam mattress
- an innerspring crib mattress is a durable choice
- they tend to have a better edge support
- a higher price
- it is heavier from foam mattresses
- the bounce on innerspring crib mattresses is bigger
As you can see, it doesn’t matter whether you choose a foam or coil crib mattress. It is more important to focus on its quality and features! A quality crib mattress will not only contribute to a better baby’s sleep, but help with proper baby’s bone and muscle development too!
The material is far from everything you have to consider when buying a baby crib mattress!
No matter if you choose a foam or innerspring mattress, it must fit into your crib perfectly! In fact, a snug fit and sufficient firmness are the most important features you should look for when buying a crib mattress for your baby! You can read more about them in our baby crib mattress buying guide, where you will get all information you need before purchasing a crib mattress.