If you want to live a long and healthy life, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. While having a relaxing evening routine and letting go of bad sleep habits help, it’s just as important to invest in high-quality products for your bed. If you’re waking up unrested or in discomfort or pain, it’s probably time to buy a new mattress.
While some people enjoy a soft, cushy mattress, others swear by a firm mattress for a good night’s sleep. Whether you’ve felt the ache of awakening on an overly soft bed, or you have yet to figure out what kind of mattress you need, read on to learn how to find the best firm mattress for your bed.
- BEST OVERALL: Ashley Chime 12 Inch Medium Firm Memory Foam Mattress
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Linenspa Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress
- BEST FOR BACK PAIN: Sweetnight Breeze 10 Inch Mattress
- BEST COOLING: Ghostbed 11 Inch Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress
- BEST FOR COUPLES: Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress from Sleep On Latex
- BEST HYBRID: BedStory 12 Inch Cool Gel Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress
- BEST INNERSPRING: Zinus 10 Inch Tight Top Innerspring Mattress
- BEST LATEX: Sunrising Bedding 8” Natural Latex Mattress
- BEST FOAM: Tuft & Needle – Original Adaptive Foam Mattress
- BEST AIR BED: INNOMAX Luxury Support Harmony Dual Digital Mattress
Types of Firm Mattresses
If you thought your options for mattresses were limited to “soft” and “firm,” think again. There is a wide range of firm mattresses to browse through, and the material that makes up each type offers specific sleeping benefits. Read on to learn more about these materials and discover which mattress type best suits you.
Hybrid mattresses are made up of both foam and spring coils, which, in terms of comfort, gives you the best of both worlds. Usually they’re layered with memory foam, but can also include latex, wool, or cotton. Hybrid mattresses tend to soften the motion transfer because of their extra cushion, relieving shoulder and hip pressure.
The downside of these modern mattresses is that they tend to be more expensive, and they can get warmer throughout the night. Some manufacturers design their products with gel- or copper-infused foams to reduce heat, but hybrid mattresses may still not be the best buy for hot sleepers.
The most traditional mattress material, innerspring, is interlocking metal spring coils that provide a firmer feel and form the bed’s core. Innerspring mattresses include other materials such as latex and memory foam layers, which offer more comfort. They’re also known for being supportive and relieving pressure points of those with muscle pain.
These mattresses are very durable, lasting up to 10 years and sometimes even longer than that. Typically, these mattresses come in a wide range of prices. Because of their excellent airflow, innerspring mattresses tend to make great beds for hot sleepers. Back and stomach sleepers also find innerspring mattresses comfortable.
Latex mattresses are known for their comfort, longevity, and eco-friendly materials, so it’s no surprise they’re among the most popular mattresses on the market. Not only do they conform to your body even better than memory foam, but they’re just as springy as an innerspring mattress and will bounce back to their original shape as soon as the pressure lifts. Because of this, they make the perfect mattress for sleepers who move around a lot at night.
Latex mattresses, especially those made with natural, eco-friendly latex, are naturally cool and can last over 20 years. However, latex makes for an excessively firm bed and might not be the best option for people who like a little cushion. And, some latex mattresses will form lasting imprints where a person sleeps; this issue is not frequent in beds made with 100 percent natural latex.
When it comes to foam mattresses, the term is usually referring to polyurethane foam and memory foam. Usually, polyurethane foam makes up just the upper layer in innerspring mattresses, while memory foam makes up the entire mattress. Since your body’s heat softens the bed, it can conform to you and relieve pain from unsupported pressure points.
While memory foam mattresses are supportive, some people report that they develop a sinking feeling over time, and they are known to trap heat. However, many manufacturers are designing them with cooling properties. Note that they also tend to be on the more expensive side.
Not at all like the blow-up air mattresses associated with camping, air bed mattresses are engineered with air chambers that you can add air to or release air from to get a firmer or softer feel. Most come with at least two chambers—one on each side—but can incorporate up to six or more. Because of this feature, air bed mattresses are the most customizable option available.
While they can last up to eight years, the downside of air bed mattresses is their high price tag. However, if you experience many aches and pains, this firm mattress can help you get the exact level of comfort you need.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Firm Mattress
By now you may have narrowed down the type of mattress you’re looking to purchase, but there are still other factors to consider. Everything from firmness level to your sleep position to your body weight can affect the kind of mattress that will give you the best slumber. Read on to learn what else you need to consider before investing in a new firm mattress.
Your preferred firmness level makes all the difference in your mattress choice. Defining what makes a mattress firm or soft is not a precise science and really depends on your preferences.
Because the middle of the road tends to be where most people lie, some brands have started to offer mattresses with universal comfort, meaning that the foam structure and layered design make the bed comfortable for every firmness level. Usually, these mattresses are made with a combination of memory foam and polyfoam.
It is important that you don’t confuse firmness with support. Firmness is all about what you find comfortable, while support is more about keeping your spine in alignment.
Firmness and comfort go hand-in-hand, and preferences differ with each individual. However, mattresses on the firmer side tend to be more solid than softer mattresses, making them well-suited for those who prefer a flatter, less giving surface.
With that in mind, latex, innerspring coil, and hybrid mattresses are all known to be comfortable options. If you’re concerned that a firm bed might not be as comfortable, you could opt for a pillow-top cover or look for a mattress built with a plush comfort layer. A little extra cushion could be all you need to get a good night’s sleep.
Motion isolation, also known as motion transfer, refers to how well a mattress can deaden motion. In a bed with excellent motion isolation, you can move around or get up without impacting the other side of the bed where another person might be sleeping. Because of that, motion isolation is particularly important for couples.
If you’re a light sleeper and your partner tends to move around a lot at night, a bed with excellent motion isolation might be the key to a good night’s rest. Foam mattresses, particularly memory foam, latex, and gel, tend to be the best for this, as they absorb movement instead of transferring it. If you’re a single sleeper, motion isolation might not be a big selling point for you.
Mattresses that provide pressure relief are key for people who wake up with aches, pains, or other kind of discomfort. Hip, shoulder, and neck discomfort is especially common for people who sleep on their sides.
Due to the innovative combination of engineered foam and air cells that redistribute pressure and provide relief, foam mattresses tend to be the best bet, particularly memory foam. If relieving pressure is a factor for you, you’ll want to seek out a bed that’s on the softer side.
Edge support refers to the encasement surrounding innerspring mattresses. Usually, this encasement is made of foam, thick coils, and a steel rod. High-quality edge support can prevent mattress sagging, increase the sleeping surface area, and even protect the sleeper from falling. It also makes it easier to sit on the edge of a bed.
While not all mattresses need edge support—like memory foam and latex mattresses, for example—if you’re buying an innerspring coil mattress, it helps with durability and longevity. Plus, if you’re sharing a smaller bed or sleeping on your stomach or back, edge support can give you more room to snooze.
The way you sleep also has a significant effect on what kind of mattress you should choose. Side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers all have different needs.
- Side sleepers tend to move around the most. Because of that, a soft- to medium-level mattress with motion isolation is often best. It should be just soft enough to contour your body and relieve pressure, without allowing you to sink in.
- Back sleepers need more firm mattresses, as their back can move out of alignment on one that is too soft.
- Stomach sleepers also need a firmer mattress in order to be as flat as possible, as a soft, sinking mattress can cause the spine to curve while sleeping, leading to lower back pain.
Body temperature is an important factor to consider when selecting a mattress. If you tend to run hot while you sleep, you’ll want to look for a mattress known for its cooling effect, such as coil layers, which provide airflow and prevent heat from being trapped. You’ll find this design in both innerspring, latex, and hybrid mattresses. Airbed mattresses also provide cooling temperatures thanks to their air chambers.
Foam mattresses, on the other hand, tend to absorb heat. However, many newer models are being built with gel- and copper-infused materials to promote temperature regulation.
Believe it or not, your body weight also affects the mattress you should be sleeping on, especially in terms of thickness.
Mattresses range between 6 and 16 inches, and people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 should opt for a thicker mattress. A general rule of thumb is that the higher your BMI, the thicker your mattress should be. Thicker mattresses tend to be on the firmer side, so you’ll have more support as you sleep and won’t have to worry about your mattress sinking over time. If you have a lower BMI, you’ll be fine with a less supportive and softer mattress.
Our Top Picks
Once you’ve got your preferred type of mattress in mind and a good idea of what factors would be the most beneficial to you, it’s time to start shopping. Keep reading for a selection of some of the best firm mattresses available.
It’s no wonder the Ashley Chime Firm Memory Foam Mattress is such a hit. Designed to provide the support needed for a night of deep, uninterrupted sleep, this mattress is built on a 10-inch layer of green tea-infused, ventilated foam. On top of that lies a 2-inch layer of gel- and charcoal-infused memory foam that’s engineered to provide not only pressure relief, but personalized comfort.
Plus, the supportive core reduces motion transfer, making this a great mattress for couples. It also helps that the price is affordable, and that it comes in four different thickness levels. Add in the fact that it’s made with hypoallergenic material, and it’s no wonder this mattress is so popular.
If you’re not ready to make a big investment, but still want a high-quality mattress, then the Linenspa Hybrid Mattress is the way to go. This mattress is made up of innerspring coils and hypoallergenic memory foam, which create a plush yet supportive medium level of firmness. This mattress comes in three different thickness levels—8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch—so you can choose the size that works best for you.
In addition to offering an ample amount of support, this mattress is priced lower than many comparable models.
Because of its ergonomic design and focus on eliminating back pain, the Sweetnight Breeze Mattress is a great option if you’re frequently waking up with an achy back. Its three layers target multiple stress points on your body to help align it properly, and the ventilated foam increases airflow, as well as eliminating motion disturbances.
The gel-infused foam not only provides medium-firm support to those with back issues, but helps the sleeper keep cool throughout the night. Also, the Sweetnight Breeze Mattress’ high-density foam is breathable and contains no harmful substances, so you can rest well knowing this durable mattress is safe.
While most memory foam mattresses trap heat, the Ghostbed Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress uses aerated plush latex to increase airflow and give off a cooling effect. The gel memory foam underneath minimizes pressure, while the mattress’s high-density support core makes it extremely durable and long-lasting.
In terms of firmness, the Ghostbed should prove soft enough to relieve your pressure points and firm enough to support spinal alignment. While side, back, and stomach sleepers may enjoy this cooling bed, those looking for serious back support might find its plush top layer too soft.
Designed with the optimal level of firmness in mind, the Pure Green Natural Mattress from Sleep On Latex conforms and molds to your body while not disturbing your partner on the other side of the bed.
This mattress is layered with 100 percent natural latex foam and topped with a cover made from a combination of 100 percent organic cotton and 100 percent organic New Zealand wool. Two thick layers of firm and soft latex foam absorb nearly every movement and keep you and your partner from disrupting each other’s slumber. It also helps that this bed contains tiny air chambers that run throughout the foam, enabling you to have a cool, comfortable sleep.
If you’re looking for a breathable mattress that’s soft, yet still provides plenty of support, look no further than the BedStory Memory Foam Pocket Spring Hybrid Mattress.
Constructed with layers of convoluted, cooling memory foam and encased inner wrap coils, this mattress is great for those in need of motion isolation. The 1-inch memory foam layer releases trapped heat; the 2.5-inch soft wave foam layer contours to your body; and the 7.5-inch pocket coils provide a firm base.
This mattress falls right in the middle of the firmness scale, so while it does provide high-density support, those with serious back issues may need a firmer base.
Innerspring mattresses tend to be the most supportive types of beds available, and the Zinus Innerspring Mattress is no exception. By combining high-density viscolatex foam with durable steel innersprings, this mattress is designed to keep your spine aligned and relieve pressure from your joints.
In addition, the mattress’s fiber quilting provides a cozy base that conforms to your body and gives you a stable surface from head to toe. The material is durable, built to last, and comes in three thickness levels for the ultimate customized comfort.
Manufactured through Talalay Latex technology, one of the healthiest, most natural processes available, the Sunrising Bedding Natural Latex Mattress provides comfort without toxins or harmful chemicals.
Using encased coil springs, this mattress provides better blood circulation by releasing the muscles and joints from the stress of holding up the body. The pocket coils also help to eliminate motion disturbance and provide targeted pressure relief. Constructed with cooling organic materials, strong edge support, and an even surface, this mattress is popular among sleepers with bad backs and achy joints.
People who adjust their sleeping positions need a mattress that can keep up. The Tuft & Needle Original Adaptive Foam Mattress is designed to relieve pressure—and its open-cell structure means that no matter where you move, your mattress follows.
In addition to its firm and responsive foam, this mattress also pulls away heat, thanks to the cooling gel and graphite beads woven into its plush cover. While it’s considered to be one of the comfier firm-foam beds out there, those who need a thicker mattress might find it less comfortable.
Though one of the more expensive mattresses available, this INNOMAX air bed mattress provides a level of comfort like no other. With 25 air chambers, this thick mattress gives you 6 inches of air suspension and a pressure-reduced sleep.
If that’s not a comfortable level for you, no worries. You can reduce or increase the amount of air in your bed to customize it to your preferred level of firmness. In addition, the anatomic layer and moisture-barrier backing provide overall comfort, coolness, and stability for your spine. This mattress comes in three sizes and includes a digital readout, mapping your pressure points.
The Advantages of Owning a Firm Mattress
While some people love a cozy, cloud-like bed, for others, a firm mattress is the only way to get a good night’s sleep. There are benefits to both types of beds, but firm mattresses have the upper hand in terms of body alignment and deeper sleep.
Here are the advantages of owning a firm mattress:
- There will be less stress on your muscles, veins, and arteries because your bones will absorb most of the pressure.
- Having less stress on your veins and arteries also means blood circulation will improve while you sleep.
- Your lower back will remain flat instead of collapsing, which allows for more oxygen intake.
- Your entire body will remain flat, which enables natural body alignment and leads to deeper, uninterrupted sleep.
- Because your weight will be distributed more evenly, you’ll avoid those morning body aches.
- If you sleep with a partner, you’ll be less likely to feel their every move.
FAQs About Firm Mattresses
Now that you’ve seen what it takes to make one of the best firm mattresses, it’s time to answer any remaining questions you might have about mattress selection. Below is more valuable information about firm mattresses and how to choose the most high-quality one for your bedroom.
Q. Do firm mattresses help with back and neck pain?
Yes. Firm mattresses prevent the sleeper from sinking, which can cause back and neck pain.
Q. Is a firm mattress bad for side sleepers?
Side sleepers typically need a medium-firm mattress. A mattress that’s too firm will cause discomfort on their hips and shoulders.
Q. Which type of mattress is the firmest?
While all mattress types come in various firmness levels, innerspring coil mattresses tend to be the firmest.
Q. Do firm mattresses last longer?
Yes. Firm mattresses tend to be more durable and long-lasting because they prevent sagging.