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When it comes to mattress firmness, everyone has their own preference. If you’re a back sleeper, stomach sleeper, or tend to experience aches and pains, you may prefer sleeping on a firm mattress. These mattresses provide more support but still have a high degree of comfort. If you’re in the market for a mattress that offers good support for your spine and hips, and also scores high for comfort, you have plenty of firmer options to choose from.

A firm mattress is, essentially, what it sounds like: a mattress that is firm to lay on. Of course, it’s not as hard as the floor, but in general, it won’t have a lot of give to it so you won’t sink in very far.

That’s why these mattresses are generally good choices for people with back pain, especially if you have nerve pain in your back or an injury that is still recovering. The firmness of the mattress will help keep your spine straight, which will reduce pressure on pain points.

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 descriptors mean on the firmness scale:

  • Luxury firm: This is often the softest on the firmness scale, landing in the middle (around 6 to 7).
  • Medium firm: This is a step or two above luxury firm (around 7 to 8).
  • Firm: This is one step above medium firm (around 8 to 9).
  • Extra firm: This is reserved for the end of the spectrum (around 10).

Stomach sleepers also generally prefer firm mattresses because it will help keep your back and hips straight and minimize tension the next day.

However, side sleepers or people with joint pain generally won’t find firm mattresses as comfortable.

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 above 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 feedback from customers who’ve bought and used these mattresses.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $1,200
  • $$ = $1,200–$1,500
  • $$$ = 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 pricing guide on a standard queen size mattress.

Not sure where to start? No problem. We’ve rounded up nine of the best firm mattresses for 2023 to help you figure out which mattress may be a good choice for you.

Best-rated firm mattress

Saatva Classic

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: hybrid

Key features: The Saatva Classic mattress earns our top spot for best-rated firm mattress for several reasons. It continues to receive high praise 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 can shop for 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.

Buy the Saatva Classic online.

Best extra-firm mattress

Plank by Brooklyn Bedding

  • Price: $$
  • Type: hybrid

Key features: The Plank by Brooklyn Bedding mattress 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 those who wake easily when their partner moves around.

Buy the Plank by Brooklyn Bedding online.

Best firm cooling mattress

Brooklyn Aurora

  • Price: $
  • Type: hybrid

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 sleeping 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: Make sure you’re sold on the Brooklyn Aurora mattress before the trial period ends.

Buy the Brooklyn Aurora online.

Best firm mattress for side sleepers

Helix Twilight LUXE

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: memory foam

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 mattress sleeps cool, so you might find it a little on the cold side if you usually have to bundle up for bed.

Buy the Helix Twilight LUXE online.

Best firm mattress for lower back pain

Casper Original

  • Price: $$
  • Type: foam

Key features: If you have lower back pain, but don’t want to spend a ton of money on a mattress, the Casper Original may be a good option. The Casper Original is a medium-firm mattress with three layers of foam that works for side, stomach, and back sleepers.

Dr. Allen Conrad, a chiropractor at Montgomery County Chiropractic Center, says several of his patients with lower back pain experience relief when sleeping on the Casper Original. 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 explains.

Considerations: The edge support on the Casper Original 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.

Buy the Casper Original online.

Best firm lower-cost mattress

Nectar Memory Foam

  • Price: $
  • Type: foam

Key features: If you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a mattress, the Nectar Memory Foam mattress is a solid 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 to 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 lower back pain with this mattress. If you need extra support for your hips, you may want to consider a firmer mattress.

Buy the Nectar Memory Foam online.

Best firm pillow top mattress

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: hybrid

Key features: Designed for all sleeping positions, this medium- to luxury-firm mattress combines gel-infused memory foam with individual encased coils to help optimize pressure point support. The cashmere blend quilted pillow 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 people with more weight, 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.

Buy the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid online.

Best firm hybrid mattress

WinkBed Hybrid

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: hybrid

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 Hybrid 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 Hybrid is a great choice for people who need more support. Since it provides an extra lumbar support layer for proper spinal alignment, it’s also a popular choice for people with lower 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.

Buy the WinkBed Hybrid online.

Best firm memory foam mattress

Amerisleep AS1

  • Price: $$
  • Type: foam or hybrid

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 should also keep you cooler at night, thanks to its 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.

Buy the Amerisleep AS1 online.

The comfort level of a mattress is subjective, so you may simply prefer the feel of a firm mattress. Those who don’t want to sink into their mattress may also naturally prefer a firmer sleep surface.

Firm mattresses are well-suited for back sleepers. Soft or medium mattresses are generally liked by side sleepers because they encourage proper spine alignment. But, firm mattresses support the lower back and prevent it from collapsing. Stomach sleepers may also prefer a firm mattress, as the support helps keep the spine aligned.

People with back pain will likely gravitate toward a firmer mattress that may provide more relief than a softer mattress. A firm mattress distributes weight equally and supports the hips and lower back.

Your body weight and height may also influence your preference for a firm mattress. People in larger bodies generally have an easier time getting in and out of bed with a firm mattress.

The main types of firm mattresses include foam, innerspring, and hybrid. The best type of firm mattress largely depends on each individual’s preferences and needs.


Foam mattresses are made with thick, dense layers of memory foam that conform to your body. Though the foam can feel soft to the touch, memory foam can provide ample support and pressure relief and if you share a bed with a partner, memory foam can absorb movement so you both can sleep undisturbed. Some people do not like the feeling of sinking into a mattress, though.


Innerspring mattresses are among the most commonly used mattress designs and the oldest type. Support is provided by an interlocked grid of spring coils covered by layers of padding. These tend to be more breathable, supportive, and cool than other types of firm mattresses due to their construction. However, they are likely to be heavier due to the metal coils. Depending on the mattress, you may be able to feel the coils through the top of the mattress.


If you’re having trouble deciding between memory foam and spring mattresses, a hybrid mattress may be the solution you’re looking for. A hybrid mattress can offer the best of both worlds — the support of an innerspring mattress with the pressure relief of a foam mattress. Layers of memory foam sit on top of springs near the bottom for a supportive base and comfortable sleep surface.

You’re likely to spend one-third of your life on your mattress, so choosing the right one is important for the quality of your sleep. The firmness level of your mattress is personal and varies per person. Once you’ve found the sweet spot in terms of comfort and firmness, your mattress is likely to support you in a number of ways:

  • Firm mattresses cradle and support the back without sinking in. When a mattress is too soft, you may wake up with an aching back due to a lack of support for the lower spine. Medium and firm mattresses are generally recommended for people who have lower back pain.
  • A firm mattress also encourages proper spinal alignment for back and stomach sleepers. If your mattress isn’t supportive enough for these sleeping positions, your lower back may sink lower than the rest of you, placing pressure on this area.
  • Since a firm mattress inhibits sinking, it tends to be cooler. Body heat escapes into the air instead of absorbing into the mattress and creating a warm sleeping environment. Those who sleep better when they are cooler may prefer a firm mattress since they’re less likely to become hot.
  • You’re less likely to slide or roll off a firm mattress since it distributes weight evenly. A soft mattress that allows you to sink or slump into it may result in more stumbles out of bed.

Generally, firm mattresses are best for those who have lower back pain and prefer a cool sleeping environment. They’re also well liked by back and stomach sleepers and those who want to avoid falling out of a bed that’s too soft.

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.

You can also use the chart below to determine the level of firmness your mattress should be based on your weight and regular sleeping position.

Sleeper sizeSide sleeperStomach sleeperBack sleeper
Weigh less than 150 pounds (lbs) luxury firmmedium firmluxury firm
Weigh 150-250 lbs medium firm or luxury firmmedium firm or firmmedium firm or firm
Weigh more than 150–250 lbsmedium firm or firmfirm or extra firmfirm or extra firm

A mattress is a major purchase so try to prepare yourself with knowledge ahead of time and consider the following when choosing which mattress to bring home:

  • Do your research: Buying a mattress is a big investment. You’ll be spending a lot of time sleeping on whatever you choose in the next several years. So, don’t necessarily go with the first one you see.
  • Speak with your partner: If you sleep with someone else, you’ll need to be on the same page when it comes to choosing the best mattress that will suit you both. If you absolutely cannot come to a consensus, you might consider mattresses that allow you to customize your experience on each side of the bed.
  • Take a quiz: Some manufacturers, like Casper, provide a quiz on their websites to help narrow down their offerings to what may suit you best. These quizzes take into consideration your body size, sleeping position, aches and pains, budget, and more.
  • Consider the extras: Some mattresses offer cool-top material. Others may include pillows as an added perk. Whatever the case, take those extra bells and whistles into account, but don’t let them distract from the main goal: finding the best mattress for your sleep.
  • Head to the store: You may find it more helpful to actually see and experience the mattress you intend to buy. Mattress stores let you feel the materials and test the firmness before you buy. This way, there are no surprises.
  • Look for money-back guarantees: That said, what feels good in a 10-minute shopping trip may not work overnight. Be sure to choose a mattress that offers a trial period or some other money-back guarantee. This way, you’re protected if it doesn’t end up being a match.
  • Budget: Of course, you’ll need to take your bank account into consideration when it comes to choosing a new mattress. More expensive isn’t always better, but going too cheap on materials and function may not be the best idea either.
  • Consider the company: Some companies are better than others with regard to the materials they source, the wages they pay their employees, the research that goes into their products, and the way they deal with their environmental impact. Read up on the mattress company before you buy to see if their practices align with your values.
  • Check the return policy: 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, get your money back.
  • Consider the warranty: Aim for a 10-year or longer manufacturer warranty.
  • Pay attention to the materials in the mattress: If possible, choose brands or styles that minimize the use of toxic materials.

If you think about it, it makes sense that back sleeping and stomach sleeping both put the most pressure on your spine during your slumber. Choosing a firm mattress can help align and support your spine in these positions.

Side sleeping or combination sleeping, on the other hand, may require a softer mattress for comfort. So, skip the extra-firm choices if you tend to move around a lot in your sleep or if you think you prefer your side over all other positions.

Complete your sleep setup with the following accessories:

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about picking out a firm mattress:

Will a firm mattress help my back pain?

Firm mattresses can be helpful for 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. Aim to find a mattress that allows for your spine to align itself naturally while you sleep.

How firm should my mattress be?

Your mattress should be firm enough to support your spine. This means you don’t want your back sagging or curving in an unnatural way. Beyond that, it’s somewhat subjective. This means that it’s really up to what you find comfortable. A 2019 review suggests that the firmness of any particular mattress may be perceived differently depending on your body shape, size, or weight.

Do I need a firm mattress?

Maybe. A lot of your mattress choice has to do with personal preference, body type, or pain. That said, people who sleep on their backs, stomachs, or who deal with back or neck pain may be more comfortable on a firmer mattress.

Sleeping positions tell a lot about what body parts need relief from pressure. For example, a person who sleeps on their side needs more pressure relief than someone who sleeps on their back. Thus, they need a softer mattress.

Are firm mattresses better for your back?

Possibly, but don’t necessarily choose the firmest one. According to a small 2015 study, a medium firm mattress was shown to significantly reduce cervical, dorsal, and lumbar pain but didn’t change the participant’s sleep quality. Additionally, that same study also indicates that a medium-firm mattress may relieve chronic pain better than a hard, very firm mattress. If you are experiencing chronic back pain, a medium-firm mattress may benefit you more than an extra-firm mattress, but you may not notice a change at all if you don’t experience frequent back pain.

Does a mattress get softer over time?

Yes. Mattresses tend to wear with daily use. That’s why many manufacturers recommend rotating your mattress 180 degrees every 3 to 6 months. Doing so will ensure you won’t get areas of sagging and encourage more even wear.

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 not 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.