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- Best-rated firm mattress: Saatva Classic
- Best extra-firm mattress: Plank by Brooklyn Bedding
- Best firm cooling mattress: Brooklyn Aurora
- Best firm mattress for side sleepers: Helix Twilight LUXE
- Best firm mattress for low back pain: Casper Original
- Best firm lower cost mattress: Nectar Memory Foam
- Best firm pillow-top mattress: DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid
- Best firm hybrid mattress: WinkBed Hybrid
- Best firm memory foam mattress: Amerisleep AS1
When it comes to mattress firmness, everyone has their own preferences. If you’re a back sleeper, stomach sleeper, or tend to experience aches and pains, you may prefer sleeping on a mattress that provides more support but still has a high degree of comfort.
If you’re in the market for a mattress that offers good support for your core, back, and hips, and also scores high for comfort, there are plenty of firmer options to choose from.
We considered many criteria when selecting the best firm mattresses. We specifically looked at:
- The mattress’s firmness rating. Each mattress is rated luxury firm or higher. See the section below on firmness ratings to learn more.
- Recommendations from experts. We spoke with a back pain expert who regularly recommends firm mattresses for his patients.
- Manufacturer warranties. We made sure that each company discloses the manufacturer warranty on their website.
- Trial period and return policy. Each mattress included in this roundup has a generous trial period ranging from 100 nights to 365 nights. They also have a return policy that allows for free or inexpensive returns within the trial period.
- User reviews. We carefully considered user reviews and customer feedback from customers who’ve bought and used these mattresses.
- $ = under $1,000
- $$ = $1,000–$1,500
- $$$ = over $1,500
Mattress prices can vary widely by size and brand. Most mattresses come in a variety of sizes, from twin to California king. We based our price point on a standard queen-size mattress.
Before you buy a firm mattress, it helps to know how mattresses are rated on a scale of firmness.
What to know about firmness ratings
Mattresses are rated on a scale of 1 to 10 for their firmness, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. Other descriptors include firm, luxury firm, medium firm, and extra-firm. This is what these descriptions mean on the firmness scale:
- Luxury firm is often the softest on the firm scale, landing in the middle (around 6 to 7).
- Medium-firm is a step or two above luxury firm (around 7 to 8).
- Firm is one step above medium-firm (around 8 to 9).
- Extra-firm is reserved for the end of the spectrum and often equates to a numerical rating of 10.
Not sure where to start? No problem. We’ve rounded up nine of the best firm mattresses for 2021 to help you figure out which mattress may be a good choice for you.
Best-rated firm mattress
Key features: The Saatva Classic Mattress earns our top spot for best-rated firm mattress for several reasons. It continually receives high praises from its customers, you can customize the firmness of your mattress, and it’s made in the United States.
With three firmness options to choose from including plush soft (soft), luxury firm (medium), and firm, you’ll get the mattress you want with no difference in quality or cost.
Considerations: If you want a traditional innerspring mattress with a plush pillow top feel, this bed fits the bill. But if you’re looking for a true memory foam mattress, this may not be the right choice for you.
Both the luxury-firm and firm mattresses can accommodate most sleeping positions. However, they may not be the best option if you’re a true side sleeper since this level of firmness may not provide enough pressure relief when sleeping on your side.
Plank by Brooklyn Bedding
Key features: The Plank by Brooklyn Bedding gives you the freedom to choose your level of firmness, even after you bring the bed home. Designed as a flippable mattress, each side has a different firmness. One side ranks as an 8 on the firmness scale, and the other side a 10, or extra firm.
If you tend to get warm when you sleep, you can add an optional cooling top panel for an additional $200.
Considerations: This mattress is very firm and may be too firm for some people. More specifically, it’s not ideal for side sleepers, people who need sharp pressure point relief, or for those who wake easily when their partner moves around.
Key features: Hot sleepers looking for a luxury bed with advanced cooling technology may find what they need with the Brooklyn Aurora mattress. In fact, the cover feels cool to the touch.
Offered in three levels of firmness including soft, medium, and firm, this luxury mattress seems to be a good fit for all sleep styles, including side sleepers who need extra shoulder and hip support. Because it minimizes motion transfer, it may also be a good choice for couples.
Considerations: Because a mattress is an investment, make sure you’re sold on the Brooklyn Aurora before the trial period ends.
Helix Twilight LUXE
Key features: If you’re a side sleeper who’s looking for a medium-firm mattress that provides pressure point relief for your hips and shoulders, this bed just might deliver the goods for you.
Designed as a hybrid mattress with five layers of foam and wrapped coils, it also comes with a premium quilted pillow top and a breathable cover made out of a jersey material. Plus, according to many customers, it passes the motion transfer test, which means it’s a great choice for couples.
Considerations: The Helix Twilight LUXE sleeps cool, so you might find this mattress a little on the cold side if you normally have to bundle up for bed.
Key features: If you have low back pain, but don’t want to spend a ton of money on a mattress, the Casper may be a good option. The Casper is a medium-firm mattress with three layers of foam that works for side, stomach, and back sleepers.
Dr. Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS, of Montgomery County Chiropractic Center, says several of his patients with low back pain experience relief when sleeping on the Casper. His clinic recommends it for side sleepers due to its reinforced lumbar cushioning.
“The Casper, with its reinforced support zones in the shoulder and low back regions, helps people who sleep on their side avoid spinal compression,” he explained.
Considerations: The edge support on the Casper isn’t the best. And while this may not be a deal-breaker for some, if you like to sit or sleep on the edge of the bed, it may sag more than you’d like.
Nectar Memory Foam
Key features: If you don’t want to spend a thousand dollars or more on a mattress, the Nectar Memory Foam is a great option. Simple and affordable, this five-layer, medium-firm mattress is an excellent choice for most sleep styles.
The Nectar lands right in the middle of the firmness scale, which means it offers an ideal ratio of firmness and softness. It’s also a good option for hot sleepers since the quilted memory foam is designed to be breathable. Most notably, side sleepers will appreciate the pressure relief at the shoulders and hips.
Considerations: Stomach sleepers may experience low back pain with this mattress. If you need extra support for your hips, you may want to consider a firmer mattress.
DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid
Key features: Designed for all sleep positions, this medium/luxury-firm mattress combines gel-infused memory foam with individual encased coils to help optimize pressure point support. The cashmere blend Quilted Euro Top is a selling point if you’re looking for a firm mattress that offers pillow-top comfort. It’s also a top pick among hybrid mattresses.
Considerations: The extra cushioning and comfort of a pillow-top can provide extra support for heavier people, but if you’re on the lighter side and want to feel as if the bed “hugs” you, you may want to consider a different mattress.
Key features: Hybrid mattresses are a top choice for those who want the sturdy support of an innerspring mattress with the pressure relief of foam layers. And when it comes to hybrid models, the WinkBed ranks high among users.
This mattress comes in four firmness options: soft (4.5), luxury-firm (6.5), firmer (7.5), and plus (8) on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest.
Because you can customize the level of firmness, the WinkBed is a great choice for heavier people who need more support. Because it provides an extra lumbar support layer for proper spinal alignment, it’s also a popular choice for people with low back pain.
Considerations: The firmest mattress options may be too firm for side sleepers, especially those with smaller frames. If you like hybrid-type mattresses, you may want to consider the luxury-firm level of firmness.
Key features: Designed with back and stomach sleepers in mind, the Amerisleep AS1 is one of the firmest memory foam mattresses on the market. It’s also one of the more affordable options. Like other memory foam mattresses, the AS1 provides soothing pressure point relief and long-lasting comfort. It also keeps you cooler at night, thanks to their plant-based Bio-Pur material that allows more air to escape.
Considerations: The AS1 is high on the firmness scale, with most customers rating it a 7 or 8 out of 10. With that in mind, side sleepers may want to consider a softer bed.
Finding the right level of firmness for your body requires trying out a few mattresses before you decide on the firmness that works for you. You may want to test drive a few different models at a local mattress store to find your “sweet spot” when it comes to mattress firmness.
It’s also important to understand how mattresses are rated for firmness. Focus on mattresses that fall within the numerical firmness rating that’s right for you.
The chart below can also be used to determine the level of firmness your mattress should be based on your weight and regular sleeping position.
|Luxury firm||Medium firm||Firm||Extra firm|
|weigh less than 150 lbs. and sleep on your side||weigh less than 150 lbs. and sleep on your stomach||weigh between 150–250 lbs. and sleep on your back||weigh more than 250 lbs. and sleep on your side|
|weigh less than 150 lbs. and sleep on your back||weigh between 150–250 lbs. and sleep on your side||weigh more than 250 lbs. and sleep on your side||weigh more than 250 lbs. and sleep on your back|
|weigh between 150–250 lbs. and sleep on your side||weigh between 150–250 lbs. and sleep on your back||weigh more than 250 lbs. and sleep on your back||weigh more than 250 lbs. and sleep on your stomach|
A mattress is a major purchase. Before you buy, make sure the store or online site has a return policy that allows you to try the bed for at least 30 days and, if you’re not satisfied, you can get your money back. Also, consider the warranty. Aim for a 10-year or longer manufacturer warranty.
Also, consider the materials in the mattress, and, if possible, choose brands or styles that minimize the use of toxic materials.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about picking out a firm mattress:
What type of firm mattress should I look for?
The type of mattress firmness that may work best for you depends on a lot of factors, with one of the most important ones being your regular sleeping position. Sleeping positions tell a lot about what parts of your body need relief from pressure.
For example, a person who sleeps on their side needs more pressure relief that someone who sleeps on their back. Thus, they need a softer mattress.
Will a firm mattress help my back pain?
Firm mattresses can be helpful to those with back pain, especially if they sleep on their back.
However, it’s important to note that a mattress that’s too firm can be just as harmful as a mattress that’s too soft. You should aim for a mattress that allows for your spine to align itself naturally while you sleep.
What’s the difference between firmness and support?
Support in a mattress relates to how well your spine is being supported while you sleep, while firmness is how hard or soft your mattress is.
Either a firm or soft mattress can be supportive, or non-supportive, depending on your needs.
For example, if a firm mattress causes your spine to compress while you sleep, that mattress is not a supportive mattress for you.
Finding the right mattress requires time, patience, and a lot of research. It also helps to know your sleeping style and to find a mattress that’s a good fit for back, side, or stomach sleeping.
When choosing a firm mattress, assess the level of firmness as well as the cost, warranty, trial period, and materials used to manufacture the product. And make sure to note when your trial period starts and ends in case the mattress isn’t a good fit for you.