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September 2013

What about other hybrid foams?

Whilst we are aware of a number of other foams with gel beads, intelligent heat dispersal and so forth used in mattresses, the only two Hybrids we will recommend are Laygel and Coolblue at this stage. There are a number of hybrid foams out there but how can you tell them apart? What are the differences between them? This article tries to help explain the terms that may baffle you otherwise!

Hybrid foams have burst onto the market with the rise of boxed rolled mattresses such as Eve, Casper and Simba all creating their own branded ‘foams’. The issue with these is that they lack the detail you need to be able to work out their qualities and whether thats suitable for your sleeping requirements. This article will help show the details of a number of foams so you can make a more informed purchase decision.

Hybrid 50009 2
Before you set off to buy a new fancy foam mattress make sure you know exactly what to look out for

What is a hybrid foam mattress?

Any material that doesn’t respond to heat, ie viscoelastic, can’t legitimately be called memory foam in our opinion, at best it’s in the memory foam family, but more accurately we call these hybrid foams. Hybrid foam mattresses offer some excellent benefits over memory foam mattresses.

The two we use, Laygel and Coolblue, have been tried and tested and truly do what they say on the tin. Remember there are hundreds of memory foams and hybrid Foams out there with varying qualities, so each supplier is trying to come up with a new way to say or sell the same idea. It’s important you avoid the jargon and spin and get down to the basics. Let’s investigate some of the foams on the scene.

Geltex Mattress Foam

Sealy has released their Geltex foam which we were shown by Sealy scientists themselves at the National Bed show 2013. It’s a hybrid foam mixing a gel compound into a foam. They showed us some cell structures and gave us a demonstration that it has more responsiveness than traditional memory foam. What puzzled me was there were no specifics on the density or hardness of the foam. The representative stated that Geltex has the ‘triangle of sleep’, which covers ventilation, pressure relief and support. What exactly does this mean we asked? We didn’t really get any firm convincing answers!

Any quality hybrid foam should offer these three properties. Without knowing the density and specifics, it’s hard to quantify these 3 pillars of Geltex. There were also no data sheets provided on Geltex. Which as we know makes it very difficult to compare to our hybrid foams, we will have to watch this space as the new Sealy Hybrid range has only recently been released and there is little customer feedback on them.

Cool Gel /Gel-Zone

Cool Gel / Gel Zone has recently, 2014, started to make an appearance but again there are no specifics on this foam, its density, behaviour or response rates. There are claims that it is 15 times less heat retentive than memory foam but I’ve seen no clinical trials or data sheets to support this. Also, the claim its the ‘softest solid on the planet’ sound very grandiose but I’m unsure what this oxymoronic statement actually means or is tested by!

Mammoth Sports Mattresses

Mammoth mattresses specialise in ‘sports mattresses’ using medical grade foam. But what exactly are they? Mammoth doesn’t give any details on the density of their medical grade foam again making it very hard to compare or say with any certainty. My experience is that any synthetic foam can be classed as a medical grade if it’s robust and doesn’t harbour bacteria.

Usually, medical grade foam is used on hospital beds and is basically a very firm reflex foam, the supportive element of a memory or hybrid mattress. Mammoth mattresses castellate and cut lines into the top of their foam which allows them to soften the feel of the top layer without necessarily layering other foams on top. This means that a solid block can be used which is then castellated to give a softer feel on the top but with support.

They do have a range with latex, again no blend given, and other foams together but, in essence, it is the cutting of the foam that provides the comfort / softer top layer.

Kaymeds K3Gel

Kaymed is one of the UK’s foam and mattress manufacturers. They recently released the K3Gel which is a type of grid/mesh like gel material used in mattresses. They describe it as being less heat retentive and allowing air to circulate more freely through the cubes. From our experience, the K3Gel has a rubbery jelly-like feel and it feels quite soft. I’m uncertain of the makeup and density of the foam so can’t really liken it to any other foam or material.

It looks at first glance somewhat similar to Mammoths grid-like mattress construction but upon further inspection is entirely different this being a complete unit of grid gel/foam. The question we have is that once it’s compressed surely the grid flattens into a gel-like sheet once you’re in bed? So how does the air circulation work? What happens to the air flow if it’s compressed entirely? That said, it certainly is an interesting idea.

k3gel mesh john ryan
K3Gel mesh is one of the more intricate hybrid mattress foams

Viscool / Viscoool

What is viscool/ viscoool? Is viscool any good? These are a few recent questions that a few of you have asked and so we have done some digging! We must distinguish that viscool is an American foam made by American Excelsior which manufactures their own brand of breathable foam. We have not been able to test this out as it seems to primarily exist in the USA and not Europe. Then there is viscoool, different to viscool (confusing huh!) seen in Carpet rights beds department. This Viscool is also listed in the Salus Viscool 1000 which categorises it like memory foam whereas Carpet right class is as a less heat retentive foam.

Again there are zero actual details on this foam on their site or any other so it’s a bit of a mystery so far. This material is used on their pillow top ranges at present and you already know our aversion to the dreaded pillow top mattress with its myriad of problems! You can read our review on why pillow top mattresses are a bad idea here.

Remember to ask the important questions when looking at Hybrid Foams

  • What is the depth of the foams used?
  • What is the density of the foams?
  • Are they heat sensitive?
  • What is the rebound rate?

Guide to hybrid foams Laygel and Coolblue

What do memory foam and latex mattresses really feel like?

 

Summary

As always there are varying qualities of these foams and we only provide quality foams we have tried and tested ourselves. We have produced a video on the hybrid foams we use, what’s in them and how they react so you can make up your own mind! If you can’t find out the depth, density or logical explanation for how the foams work I would take caution. If one thing is sure, when talking about hybrid foams the science is always wheeled out to confuse and baffle you so take care. We specialise in talking plain English so call us if you need any assistance with hybrid foams.

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