The Best Firm Mattresses for Every Type of Sleeper, According to Experts

If you’re looking for the right combination of comfort and support, a firm mattress may be the answer—here’s why.
By Jillian Mueller
Updated November 05, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
  • Best Extra Firm Mattress
  • Best Firm Luxury Mattress
    Saatva Classic
  • Best for Back Pain
    Casper Wave Hybrid
  • Best for Side Sleepers
    Helix Twilight Luxe
  • Best Firm Innerspring Mattress
    DreamCloud Premier
  • Best for Couples
    Layla Hybrid
  • Best Firm Cooling Mattress
    Brooklyn Aurora
  • Best for Athletes
    Bear Hybrid
  • Best Firm Memory Foam Mattress
    Cocoon Chill
  • Best for Stomach Sleepers
    Amerisleep AS1

Ever feel like you’re slowly sinking into a pit in the middle of your mattress when you’re trying to fall asleep at night? If this scenario sounds familiar, it might be time to consider a firmer mattress.

Firm mattresses have more pushback than softer types, which can help relieve back pain and make you feel as if you are floating on top of the surface instead of sinking in. “A firm mattress helps support the spine's alignment, and therefore prevents people from sinking into positions that cause back or joint pain,” said Mike Calabrese, a licensed chiropractor in New York City. They also provide phenomenal support for back and stomach sleepers by evenly distributing weight and keeping one’s hips propped up

If the last firm mattress you slept on was an awful bunk from your childhood summer camp, you’ll be pleased to learn about the vast selection of firm mattresses available now that marry support and comfort. You can choose from luxury brands, eco-friendly beds, mattresses with special cooling technology, and more options that will get you excited for bedtime.  

But with an array of firm options available from mattress brands, how do you know which is right for you? Not to worry––the expert team at Mattress Advisor compiled a list of the 10 best firm mattresses for different types of sleepers. Scroll through the easy-to-follow guide, below, to find the option that best suits your individual needs and sleep style.

These are the 10 best firm mattresses on the market: 

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of firm mattresses and what each of these has to offer. But first, here’s a quick overview of what mattress firmness actually means. 

How is firmness measured in a mattress?

Mattress firmness is subjective and varies from person to person; a mattress that feels firm to you may be too soft for someone else’s taste. For this reason, mattress companies came up with a firmness scale to rate how firm a mattress is compared to others on the market. This scale describes mattress firmness using a scoring system of 1 through 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. 

While most mattresses are considered medium or medium-firm, which typically puts them between a 5 and 7 on the scale, a firm mattress falls around 7 or 8. Understandably, the different textures each provide a different sleeping experience: A softer mattress cradles your body while a firm mattress feels like hovering on top of the bed rather than sinking into it. The experts at Mattress Advisor recommend going no further than an 8 on the firmness scale to achieve the right balance between support and comfort—a mattress that’s too firm may end up being uncomfortable.

Benefits of a firm mattress

Spine alignment

A firm mattress provides more pushback to support the entire length of your body, which helps keep the natural curves of your spine in alignment and prevents you from sinking into a funky position that can leave you sore. Firm mattresses also aid in relieving back pain by maintaining a neutral spine position, alleviating any excess pressure placed on the lower or upper back.

Even weight distribution

Have you ever sunk so far into a mattress that you felt stuck? That won’t happen with a firm mattress—instead, it’ll keep your body elevated on the surface so you can move around (and get out of bed) easily. A lack of support can cause sagging in softer mattresses, but with firm beds, your weight is more evenly distributed, creating a smooth surface that props you up.

Extra support

Firm mattresses provide superior support thanks to their sturdy feel. By helping to stabilize the body, thus keeping the spine from twisting into uncomfortable positions, they’re a great solution for those who frequently suffer from aches and pains. Plus, if you like to sprawl out across your mattress or sit on the edge of the bed to put your shoes on, you’ll benefit from the increased edge support of a firm mattress. It’ll prevent you from falling out of bed or sinking into the sides.

Motion isolation

Since harder textures respond less to movement, a firm mattress will reduce the amount of motion transfer that makes its way over to your side of the bed—which is ideal if you sleep with a partner or pet and don’t want to wake up every time they stir throughout the night.

Who is a firm mattress best for?

People with back pain

According to a 2009 study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, more than 80% of people will experience lower back pain at some point throughout their lives. If you are in this majority, a firmer mattress is a great choice for you. Studies have shown that the support of a medium-firm mattress can significantly improve sleep quality and stress levels, which can help reduce back pain.

Back and stomach sleepers

Both back and stomach sleepers will benefit from a firmer mattress. Back sleepers need a mattress that keeps the spine in alignment with their natural curves while they are stretched out at night. Similarly, stomach sleepers need a mattress with enough support to prevent their stomach from sinking too far into the mattress and pulling the spine into an unnatural “u” shape. Since a firmer mattress supports the entire length of the body, it can help back and stomach sleepers enjoy nights of pain-free rest.

The 10 best firm mattresses

Credit: Plank Mattress

Brooklyn Bedding’s innovative Plank mattress allows you to experience two different firmness levels in one mattress because it’s flippable—one side is firm, coming in at a 7 on the firmness scale, while the other is ultra-firm, or a 9. Both levels provide adequate support to help distribute body weight evenly and prevent sleepers from sinking into the mattress, but the ultra-firm side in particular offers phenomenal aid to back and stomach sleepers. It keeps sleepers’ spines in near-perfect alignment and earned high marks from Mattress Advisor in pressure relief and responsiveness, meaning you’ll stay comfortable even as you shift positions.

The Plank scored exceptionally well in Mattress Advisor’s edge support test, which is an important criterion when it comes to maintaining the mattress’ firmness and preventing it from sagging. Mattress Advisor testers said they felt like the mattress was gripping them and keeping them from falling off the bed. The Plank also had notably easy assembly—it arrives in a compact bed-in-a-box, and the testers were able to set it up in less than two minutes.

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5
  • Firmness: Available in firm and ultra-firm 
  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 days

To buy: Plank Mattress, $1,249, (Click to see exclusive offer)

Credit: Saatva Mattress

The Saatva is a hybrid mattress that provides a firmer level of support without skimping on luxury features that make you feel like royalty. It’s made of high-quality eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, an antimicrobial-treated cover, and a plush pillow top. To add another layer of decadence, it even comes with complimentary white glove delivery, meaning that Saatva representatives will set up your new mattress in your home and remove your old mattress for free. 

The Saatva comes in multiple firmness levels to suit every sleeping position, including firm and a slightly softer “luxury firm.” The firm option is a great choice for stomach and back sleepers who prefer to feel like they’re resting on top of the mattress rather than sinking into it, while the luxury firm model is the best mattress for side sleepers who want some cushion but still prefer a mattress on the firm side. 

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (memory foam and pocketed coils)
  • Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5
  • Firmness: Available in plush soft, luxury firm, and firm
  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 days

To buy: Saatva Classic Mattress, $1,199, (Click to see exclusive offer)

Credit: Casper Mattress

The Casper Wave Hybrid uses a 5-layer support system that works to relieve pressure from your back and spine. The supportive gel memory foam layer keeps the spine in alignment, while a pressure-relieving layer distributes weight away from pressure points. To top off your sleeping experience, a comfort layer provides surface-level cushioning.  

The Casper’s signature 5-layer technology earned it excellent scores on the Mattress Advisor spinal alignment and edge support tests, along with an endorsement from the American Chiropractic Association. In addition to being a top pick for those with back pain, this mattress performed very well in Mattress Advisor’s motion transfer test, which means it’ll prevent your partner or pet from waking you up if they move around during the night.

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam 
  • Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Trial Period for Returns: 100 days

To buy: Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress, $2,595, (Click to see exclusive offer)

Credit: Helix Twilight Luxe

The Helix Twilight Luxe combines pocketed coils and memory foam to give you the best aspects of both materials—the supportive pushback of an innerspring mattress with the plush contouring feel of foam—in a single bed. This marriage of support and pressure relief makes the Helix Twilight Luxe a great pick for side sleepers who prefer a firmer mattress. 

In this mattress, supportive coils keep the spine aligned and cradle the hips and shoulders—which bear most of the body’s weight in the side sleeping position—while a layer of memory foam relieves pressure from the joints and back. This option doesn’t skimp on comfort, either. It’s topped with a breathable gel material that keeps the bed feeling plush and comfy without sacrificing support.

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (memory foam and pocketed coils)
  • Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Trial Period for Returns: 100 days

To buy: Helix Twilight Luxe Mattress, $1,849, (Click to see exclusive offer)

Credit: DreamCloud

The DreamCloud Premier is a luxury innerspring mattress that offers a lot of bang for your buck. Its coil interior works to keep your spine in alignment and your pressure points supported without the sinkage that sometimes comes with memory foam. Plus, this particular mattress includes a soft, cashmere cover for an extra layer of comfort.

Innerspring mattresses are a great option for combination sleepers, who tend to change positions throughout the night and would benefit from a bed that responds to frequent movement. 

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid 
  • Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Trial Period for Returns: 365 days

To buy: DreamCloud Premier Mattress, $1,399, (Click to see exclusive offer)

Credit: Layla Hybrid

For couples with differing sleep styles and firmness preferences, the Layla Hybrid offers a savvy solution with its two-in-one mattress design: This flippable bed is medium-soft on one side and medium-firm on the other. The medium-firm option—which is a 7 on the firmness scale—suits most sleepers by striking a nice balance between comfort and support. For side sleepers, the medium-soft option allows your hips and shoulders to sink slightly into the mattress, relieving tension along pressure points. No matter the position you and your partner sleep in, the Layla Hybrid has you covered.

The Layla Hybrid also excels at isolating movement, so you won’t be disturbed if your partner gets up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom (the mattress’ responsiveness makes it a great bed for sex, too). Plus, it functions as a cooling mattress, promoting breathability through a perforated polyfoam layer and innerspring coils.

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid 
  • Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5
  • Firmness: Soft and firm
  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 days

To buy: Layla Hybrid Mattress, $1,699, (Click to see exclusive offer)

Credit: Brooklyn Aurora

If you suffer from night sweats or just like to sleep cool, consider the Brooklyn Aurora. This hybrid mattress comes wrapped in a breathable gel layer and features cooling beads that are designed to regulate your body temperature and provide icy relief. The best part is that it doesn’t sacrifice support for comfort. With three different firmness levels—plush, medium, and firm—the mattress can be customized to meet your specific sleep needs.

The Brooklyn Aurora also received high marks in responsiveness from Mattress Advisor, meaning you can shift positions with ease while the mattress’ durable pocket coils keep you feeling secure and supported.

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid 
  • Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5
  • Firmness: Plush, medium, and firm
  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 days

To buy: Brooklyn Aurora Mattress, $1,699, (Click to see exclusive offer)

Credit: Bear

Whether you’re an avid runner, a yogi, or just love to stay active, the Bear Hybrid was made with you in mind. This mattress uses a cooling cover and open cell foam to keep you sleeping comfortably. Its price tag proves you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a high-quality product.

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid
  • Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Trial Period for Returns: 100 days

To buy: Bear Hybrid Mattress, $1,390, (Click to see exclusive offer)

Credit: Cocoon

The Cocoon Chill, available in medium or extra firm, is made with layers of memory foam that offer pressure relief and dependable support. This bed lifts pressure points, like the hips and shoulders, while keeping the spine straight—which is especially important for side sleepers, though its level of responsiveness makes the Cocoon a solid choice for any sleep position.

An added bonus of the Chill is the cooling cover, a feature not typically found in memory foam mattresses. It works to dispel extra body heat and keep sleepers cool. 

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Trial Period for Returns: 100 days

To buy: Cocoon Chill Mattress, $930, (Click to see exclusive offer)

Credit: Ameri

As the firmest model out of all of Amerisleep’s memory foam beds, the Amerisleep AS1 suits back and stomach sleepers alike, providing pressure relief and support in both positions. Two layers of supportive foam provide durability and cushioning, which stomach and back sleepers may enjoy.

The Amerisleep AS1 is on the firm side of most mattresses, so it’s no surprise that it scored quite high on the spinal alignment test. Stomach sleepers who prefer extra support may appreciate the firmness and supportiveness of this bed. 

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Trial Period for Returns: 100 days

To buy: Amerisleep AS1 Mattress, $1,299, (Click to see exclusive offer)

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