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Comfort is key when you’re choosing a new mattress, and that means finding the right level of firmness.

The firmness of a mattress is not a measure of its level of support. Instead, mattress firmness refers to the top layer of the mattress — it’s what you feel when you lie down.

If you’re looking for a mattress that strikes a good balance between cushioning comfort and the support you need for a good night’s sleep, a medium-firm mattress can be a good choice. We rounded up eight of the best options to help you get started.

Many people prefer medium-firm mattresses because of their combination of comfort and support. But there are other benefits, too.

Some research suggests medium-firm mattresses can improve sleep comfort and quality. Other research has found self-adjusted, medium-firm mattresses may improve back pain.

Medium-firm mattresses can also be a good choice if your preferred sleep position varies. They’ll give you the support and cushion you need as you move from your side to your back to your belly.

Medium-firm mattresses also work well for lighter to moderate body weights. They’re also a good compromise if you share your bed with someone who prefers a firmer sleeping surface than you do (or vice versa).

We looked for mattresses that are rated medium-firm by each brand. To narrow down the list, here’s what we considered.

  • Safety and brand reputation. All of the medium-firm mattresses on our list comply with federal flammability standards and are made by reputable companies who stand by their products.
  • Materials certifications. We prioritized mattresses with third-party material certifications like CertiPUR-US, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
  • Free trials and warranties. Each mattress on our list comes with a free in-home trial and competitive warranty.
  • Customer reviews. We read through reviews on each brand’s site to see what customers say about them.

Pricing guide

Prices are based on a queen-size mattress.

  • $ = under $1,000
  • $$ = $1,000–$1,600
  • $$$ = over $1,600

Best medium-firm mattress for back pain

Saatva Classic Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches

The Saatva Classic mattress is available in three firmness levels, but Saatva says the luxury firm is preferred by 82 percent of customers. It’s rated between a 5 and 7, offering a balance between cushioning support and uplifting support. You can also add an optional adjustable base to the Saatva Classic.

The Saatva mattress is recommended by leading U.S. chiropractors and earned the Congress of Chiropractic State Association’s seal of approval. It comes with a 180-night home trial and free white glove delivery.

Buy the Saatva Classic Mattress online.

Best medium-firm mattress for an adjustable bed

Saatva Solaire Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Adjustable hybrid
  • Height: 13 inches

With 50 firmness options and six layers of comfort, the Saatva Solaire lets you choose the firmness level that suits you on any given night. An internal air chamber adjusts firmness gradually, while an organic cotton pillow top and memory foam layers provide cooling.

The mattress comes with a 25-year pro-rated warranty, a 180-night in-home trial, and free white glove delivery and setup, so you know how to use the remote properly. They’ll also haul away your old mattress upon request.

Buy the Saatva Solaire Mattress online.

Best medium-firm hybrid mattress

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 14 inches

The DreamCloud is a luxury firm mattress rated at 6.5. Individually wrapped coils and two layers of pressure-relieving gel memory foam adapt to your body to give support as you sleep. A quilted foam and cashmere top can help regulate body temperature to minimize overheating.

Reviewers rave about the perfect blend of firmness and softness in the DreamCloud, which comes with a 365-night home trial, a lifetime warranty, and free shipping and returns.

Buy the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress online.

Best organic medium-firm mattress

Naturepedic Chorus Organic Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 10 inches

The Naturepedic Chorus is an organic mattress made with a universal medium firmness level — think of it as the Goldilocks option. It’s designed to be just right for almost everyone.

Organic cotton and wool batting combine with a PLA layer made of non-GMO super cane, plus glueless support coils and micro coils for a supportive sleep surface.

The mattress ships free and has a 90-night sleep trial. Naturepedic also offers free returns and a 10-year limited warranty.

Buy the Naturepedic Chorus Organic Mattress online.

Best medium-firm mattress under $700

Tuft & Needle Original Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: Foam
  • Height: 10 inches

The Tuft & Needle original mattress is a medium-firm, all-foam option priced under $700. The proprietary adaptive foam is CertiPUR-US-certified for pressure relief and support, plus includes graphite and gel for cooling. The mattress is designed to be universally comfortable, no matter how you sleep.

T&N mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial, so you can test its firmness at home for yourself. You’ll also get free shipping and a 10-year warranty.

Buy the Tuft & Needle Original Mattress online.

Best medium-firm foam mattress

Nest Bedding Love & Sleep Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: Foam
  • Height: 10 inches

With high-density, Greenguard Gold-certified foam and a cooling comfort layer, the Nest Bedding all-foam mattress provides a balance of bounce and support.

The nontoxic mattress is available in two firmness levels. Medium is listed at 5, with an optimal blend of adaptive and supportive foam layers. Firm is between and 7 and 8, offering more support. Both options are made with cooling fabrics.

Try it at home for 100 nights with free shipping, free exchanges, and free returns. You’ll also get a limited lifetime warranty that covers manufacturing flaws and indentations of greater than 1 inch.

Buy the Nest Bedding Love & Sleep Mattress online.

Best medium-firm mattress for side sleepers

Leesa Hybrid Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 11 inches

The Leesa Hybrid mattress is rated as a 5 to 7, and it offers support no matter how you prefer to sleep — back, side, or stomach. Body contouring premium foams and more than 1,000 pocket springs can offer pressure relief.

The Leesa Hybrid comes with a 100-night trial, free delivery, and a 10-year warranty.

Buy the Leesa Hybrid Mattress online.

Best medium-firm mattress with pillow top

Avocado Green Mattress

  • Price: $$$ (with pillow top)
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 13 inches (with pillow top)

Avocado’s natural mattress is made with GOLS-certified latex and GOTS-certified wool and cotton, plus over 1,400 tempered steel coils arranged in five ergonomic zones.

The pillow top is an extra expense, but it adds two permanently attached additional layers of organic latex. The pillow top is rated as gentle-firm — a 6 on the scale.

Avocado’s organic mattress comes with a 1-year trial and free shipping. It’s handmade in the United States and comes with a 25-year warranty.

Buy the Avocado Green Mattress online.

If you’re looking for a medium-firm option, there are a few things to consider.

  • Mattress ratings. Keep in mind that mattress ratings will vary from brand to brand but they’ll serve as a good starting point. Look for something in the range of 5 to 7 on the scale.
  • Mattress type and materials. You can find medium-firm mattresses in hybrid, memory foam, or innerspring options. Innerspring mattresses use coils for support, while hybrid mattresses are a mix of coils and foam. There are a few types of foam mattresses, including memory and latex.
  • Material certifications. Make a point of shopping for mattresses with materials that have third-party certifications. That way, you’ll know the company has met stringent quality standards for safety.
  • Performance. Beyond firmness level, consider the importance of features like motion isolation, temperature regulation, edge support, and off-gassing. If you share your bed with a partner or you tend to sleep hot, you’ll want to find a medium-firm option that suits your needs.
  • In-home trials and warranties. Whether you’re shopping in-store or online, opt for a mattress with a generous in-home trial and easy returns or exchanges. Also, look for a brand that offers a warranty in case you run into issues.

If upgrading your mattress is not an option, there are other ways to make your bed more comfortable. Think new pillows, sheets, and comforters, a supportive mattress topper, or even bedroom ambience.

Pillows and bedding

The right pillow can make a world of difference in the quality of your sleep. If you’re regularly waking up with pain in your neck and upper back, swapping out your pillow can be a good option. Look for one designed to accommodate your preferred sleep position.

If overheating is an issue at night, a cooling pillowcase and comforter can keep you more comfortable.

Scratchy sheets or heavy comforters that keep you overly warm can also stand between you and a good night’s sleep. Soft, breathable sheets in classic cotton, silky-soft bamboo, breathable linen, or luxurious silk might be worth the upgrade.

Take a good look at your comforter for the season, too. If you use the same one year-round, switching between a lightweight summer option to something that will keep you warm and toasty when it’s cooler may help you sleep better.

Mattress toppers

A mattress topper can be a smart and economical way to instantly refresh your bed. Depending on what you buy, you can add softness or support, make your bed cooler or more contouring, accommodate your preferred sleeping position, and even test out different materials like memory foam and latex.

Bedroom ambience

It’s easy to fixate on the bed itself if you’re having trouble sleeping, but it’s important to consider the sleep environment as a whole. A study from 2012 found that room temperature is one of the most important factors for high quality sleep.

Try setting the thermostat to roughly 65°F and make sure you’re using bed linens that will keep you warm in cooler months and cool in warmer months.

Keep the room dark to keep exterior lighting out and consider it a device-free sanctuary.

Finally, you might even consider painting your bedroom walls. Pale shades of blue, green, and even yellow can be calming and relaxing. Opt for a matte finish to keep light from reflecting, which can be too stimulating when you’re trying to wind down for sleep.

While mattress companies have their own firmness scales, they’re all rated between 1 and 10. Medium-firm mattresses are usually rated between 5 and 7, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest.

Remember, these scales are not universal, so expect a little deviation in feel between different brands that share the same rating.

How do medium-firm mattresses compare to soft and firm mattresses?

Medium-firm mattresses are designed to have a softer, more cushiony feel than firm mattresses, which are usually around an 8 on the firmness scale. Soft mattresses, which are typically between 2 and 3 on the scale, tend to compress faster and more easily than medium-firm mattresses when you lie down. You’ll notice more of a “sinking in” sensation, too.

Are medium-firm mattresses good or bad for back pain?

Research has found that self-adjusted, medium-mattresses can help improve sleep quality in people with back pain.

Who are medium-firm mattresses best for?

Medium-firm mattresses are popular because they accommodate a wide range of sleepers. They’re supportive and cushioning enough for most sleep positions, particularly for people who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds. Those below that weight range generally tend to find softer mattresses more comfortable.

Sleepers with heavier body weights may want to look for mattresses that are specifically designed for long-term comfort and quality to better achieve quality sleep.

They can also be a good choice if you need to compromise with a partner who has a different opinion of comfort. And if you’re dealing with back pain, a medium-firm mattress may help.

Does “medium-firm” mean the same thing to everyone?

No. Remember, firmness is a reference to how a mattress feels when you lie down on it. Things like body weight and preferred sleep position will affect how a mattress feels to you, and it could be quite different from what someone else is feeling, even if they’re lying right next to you!

Medium-firm mattresses are a popular choice for a reason. Designed to provide plenty of support and a comforting feel, they work well for people with lower body weights, those who switch positions during the night, or people who share their bed with a partner.

Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, standup paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.