If you’ve ever slept on a firm mattress, then you know the feeling of sleeping “on” the bed rather than “in” it. There are a lot of benefits to this––the best firm mattress keeps your lower back from sinking out of alignment, allows for better air circulation, and keeps pressure points uplifted. There’s a variety of firm mattresses made for all sorts of sleep needs.
This Old House Reviews team worked with Mattress Advisor to test each firm mattress based on their mattress testing process. Each mattress is evaluated on a 14 step test and then ranked on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 equating to a perfect score. This guide helps break down what makes up a firm mattress, how firm you want your bed to be, and what the top online options are today based on our findings.
Best Firm Mattress- Our Top Picks
- Saatva Classic - Best Firm Luxury Mattress
- WinkBed - Best Firm Innerspring Mattress
- Plank - Best Extra Firm Mattress
- DreamCloud - Best Firm Hybrid Mattress
- Ghostbed - Best Firm Latex Mattress
- Bear - Best Firm Mattress for Athletes
- Helix Dawn Luxe - Best Firm Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Brooklyn Aurora - Best Firm Cooling Mattress
- Layla Hybrid - Best Firm Mattress for Couples
- Casper Wave Hybrid - Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain
Saatva Classic - Best Firm Luxury Mattress
If you’re searching amongst the best affordable luxury mattresses and what they have to offer, the Saatva Classic rises to the top. This hybrid mattress is made of durable materials, including a generous pillow top layer for the right balance of cushion with firm support. The Saatva mattress uses two different innerspring coil systems paired with foam to help with back support, cooling, and durability. The materials in this mattress are made to help with lumbar support, which helped it achieve a perfect spine alignment score in testing. There are two dedicated “firm” options you can choose from, so you can customize your firm mattress experience based on your needs. Free white glove delivery and setup are added luxurious perks.
- Achieved perfect durability and spine alignment scores in testing
- Accommodates heavyweight sleepers
- A great option for sleepers with back pain
The Winkbed - Best Firm Innerspring Mattress
Innerspring coils are a tried and true component of many firm mattresses. These mattresses are cooling and breathable by nature, with a bouncy feel. This bounce is the coils responding to movement atop the mattress, ensuring you’re constantly feeling supported. The WinkBed not only has four firmness options, but over 1,000 coils broken up into two layers. Whether you opt for a softer luxury-firm or an extra-firm bed, the WinkBed’s design helps with spine alignment and back pain. Earning a near-perfect responsiveness score, the Winkbed effortlessly reacts to your movements, so you can rest comfortably even when you move around a little more. However, because this is a luxury mattress handmade in the USA it comes in at a higher price that may be out of budget for some.
- Firmer levels best for back sleepers and stomach sleepers
- Excels at cooling
- Responsive to movement, important for combination sleepers
Plank - Best Extra Firm Mattress
The Plank is a mattress specifically designed for those who crave the firmest of the firm mattresses. It offers two firm sleep experiences in one––there is a firm side and an extra firm side, so sleepers can flip back and forth between the two options to determine which one works best for them. When put to the test, both sides of this mattress give strong spine alignment, responsiveness, and pressure relief. Firm mattresses are usually not a top pick for side sleepers, but the Plank proved in testing to give ample pressure relief. It also proved to keep testers’ lower backs supported, making it truly be compatible with all sleep positions.
- High test scores in responsiveness and pressure relief
- Can add a cooling topper to prevent overheating
- Good spine alignment for all sleep positions
DreamCloud - Best Firm Hybrid Mattress
One of Mattress Advisor’s best hybrid mattresses they’ve tested to date, the DreamCloud offers support for all types of sleepers regardless of position and body type. It achieved a 9 out of 10 or higher in responsiveness, durability, spine alignment, and edge support. The DreamCloud balances all of the benefits of a firm mattress with the pressure-relieving comfort you need for a good night’s sleep. With high test scores and a durable design, this hybrid mattress works for all sleep positions. As an added bonus, DreamCloud offers a lifetime warranty, so you know it’s made to last and keep you supported for the long haul.
- Solid motion isolation score (8.75) makes it good for couples
- Strong spine alignment
GhostBed - Best Firm Latex Mattress
Latex is a popular mattress material made from rubber tree sap that’s known for its cooling, responsive, and pressure-relieving features. The catch though, is it can be very costly. The GhostBed balances all of the properties latex offers with memory foam for a far lower price. This is a medium-firm mattress that’s responsive to your movements, while also preventing heat retention––making it ideal for combination and hot sleepers alike. Its materials are made to be durable, so it can support you for many nights to come. If you deal with back pain, this hybrid may not be the one for you.
- Materials promote great cooling
- Supportive enough for heavyweight sleepers
- Responsive for combination sleepers and couples
Bear - Best Firm Mattress for Athletes
People with active lifestyles need a mattress that will aid in recovery and help them wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another day. The Bear proved to be fit for the job, keeping testers’ spines supported while still responding to their movements and promoting airflow. Achieving a 9 out of 10 in both cooling and responsiveness, this memory foam mattress works to keep your temperature regulated and your body well-supported all night long. This mattress is categorized as medium-firm, making it an approachable firmness level for sleepers who want a mattress on the firmer side without sacrificing a bit of softness. Paired with a cooling cover, the Bear is an all-around great pick for ensuring you get a comfortable night’s rest.
- Cooling cover and gel memory foam prevent overheating
- Memory foam layers support the lower back
- Highly responsive to movement, helpful for couples
Helix Dawn Luxe - Best Firm Mattress for Side Sleepers
The best mattress for side sleepers supplies pressure relief for the hips and shoulders, while also maintaining lumbar support to prevent back pain. The Helix Dawn Luxe is a firm mattress that checks all these boxes, and is geared towards side sleepers’ needs. Using a cooling pillow top, responsive foam, and breathable coils this hybrid is made to keep the lumbar region supported while still giving firm, full body support. The Helix Dawn Luxe cradles you in comfort and gently contours the body, yet it doesn’t sag or sink in.
- Great pick for hot sleepers
- Works well for side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora - Best Firm Cooling Mattress
For many sleepers, their comfort level hinges not just on firmness, but also on temperature regulation. For those who want a firmer bed and a cool sleep experience, consider the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora. This hybrid mattress is made with a number of advanced cooling materials, including gel memory foam and cooling beads that carry heat away from your body. A robust coil system further promotes air flow while also offering targeted pressure relief, so you can sleep breezily and wake up feeling refreshed.
- Works well for every sleeping position
- A great pick for lightweight sleepers
- High test scores for responsiveness and cooling
Layla Hybrid - Best Firm Mattress for Couples
For couples who share a bed together it’s important to reach an agreement about firmness options. But also get a mattress offering decent motion isolation, so your movements in the night are less likely to rouse your partner from sleep. The Layla Hybrid excels in motion isolation, or absorbing the feeling of movement, earning it an 8.5 out of 10 in this category. It also offers a two-sided, flippable design that lets couples pick from either a softer or firmer side. This mattress uses gel memory foam and coils to stay responsive to movement, promote breathability, and support the spine. Whether you’re looking for customizability or solid support, the Layla has your back (literally).
- A good pick for your guest room
- Great for hot sleepers
- Supportive enough for all sleeping positions
Casper Wave Hybrid - Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain
A firm mattress is a prime option for anyone seeking back pain relief because it distributes your weight evenly while still keeping the spine supported. The Casper Wave Hybrid takes it to a new level, incorporating distinct support “zones” around the upper body, lumbar region, and lower body. As a result, this mattress got a top score for spine alignment, reaching a 9 out of 10. Its internal coil system ensures targeted relief for sensitive pressure points and a sore back, while a foam layer contours to your body and helps you feel cradled in place. The balance of pressure-relieving foam and springy coils creates a luxurious feel for a superior night’s sleep.
- Top spine alignment and responsiveness scores
- Works well for all body types and sleep positions
MA Score: The Mattress Advisor Score is a weighted score that takes into account 14 different factors related to the mattress’ performance, function, convenience and the brand’s social responsibility.
Firm Mattress Shopping Tips
While searching for the best firm mattress, make sure to consider how you like to sleep. Sleep position, lumbar support, and pressure relief are big determining factors in choosing a new firm mattress. Apart from the mattress, see what each brand has to offer in terms of sleep trials and warranties, ensuring you’re getting the most out of your purchase.
Let’s first dive into what constitutes a firm mattress.
How Do You Measure Firmness?
Mattress firmness is evaluated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 representing the firmest. 6 to 7 on that scale denote medium-firm, while 8 and up are classified as true firm. Note that, when we talk about the firmness scale, we are talking about the immediate feel you have when lying down on the bed. This is not quite the same as support, though the two can be related.
Who Should Get a Firm Mattress?
- Sleepers who suffer from back pain and need extra lumbar support benefit from a firm mattress. Spine alignment is important for all sleep positions, but sleepers with back pain may need even more support.
- A firm mattress will work for stomach sleepers who don’t want to feel like they are sinking down into their mattress. Sink too far, and it puts you at risk for back pain. Firm mattresses are often constructed to prevent sagging and remain supportive.
- A firmer option is a great pick for back sleepers who don’t want to feel like their hips are disappearing into the bed. Sagging hips can contribute to a misaligned spine, and a firm mattress can help keep your body supported and your hips lifted.
- Hot sleepers benefit from firmer mattresses, since there is little sink and almost no material that traps heat on the mattress surface.
Who Shouldn’t Get a Firm Mattress?
- Side sleepers who may want a softer mattress that hugs their hips and shoulders (which are major pressure points) may feel that a firm mattress is too hard on these joints. Medium-firm is a good bet for side sleepers, but a true firm may feel too strong. Plush mattresses are designed for those who want to sink into the comfort layer of their mattress.
Pros of Having a Firm Mattress
Spine alignment: Firmer mattresses can help you keep a straight and natural spine, which can help mediate or even eliminate any aches and pains.
Durability: Firm mattresses are often made from sturdier materials, which means they can hold up longer and support more body weight over time (a plus for couples and heavier sleepers).
Motion transfer: With a firm mattress, there is typically less risk of your movements disrupting your sleep partner.
Temperature regulation: Firmer mattresses tend to work well for temperature regulation, especially those that come with breathable materials, such as an organic cotton cover. With less cushioning material in the top layers, your body doesn’t sink into the mattress quite as much soless heat is trapped.
Edge support: Firmer mattresses are less likely to sag at the edges, which is especially welcome for those who like to sleep at the periphery of their bed.
Type of Mattress
Memory foam: Memory foam often falls somewhere in the medium-soft range, but a few mattress manufacturers now offer it in a firmer setting, as well. Whether used as the sole mattress material or simply as a support layer, memory foam tends to be great for relieving pressure points, promoting motion transfer, and offering zoned support.
Innerspring: Innerspring systems are great for responsiveness and typically lean toward the firmer side. They are made with metal coils, which tend to be great for promoting air circulation.
Latex: For those who prefer their beds to be made with natural materials, organic latex is one of the top options. Dunlop latex is firmer and made to be denser than softer Talalay latex. While latex is also cool and responsive, it’s more expensive than a conventional foam mattress.
Hybrid: Hybrid mattresses are simply made from multiple mattress materials to have a firm feel and heightened support. They typically come at a higher price point but tote more features thanks to the inclusion of coils, foams, and latex. High-quality polyfoam relieves pressure points while supportive coils protect the entire body.