The 10 Best Firm Mattresses in 2023

The Saatva Classic is our top pick overall

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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.

The best firm mattresses help relieve back pain by providing greater pushback to make you feel like you're floating on top of the surface instead of sagging down into it. "A firm mattress helps support the spine's alignment, and therefore prevents people from sinking into positions that cause back or joint pain," Mike Calabrese, a licensed chiropractor in New York City, tells Health. Firm mattresses 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. But with so many firm beds to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

Best Firm Mattresses of 2023

The 10 best firm mattresses

Best Overall Firm Mattress: Saatva Classic

Saatva Mattress
Saatva

Key Specs

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.3/10
  • Firmness: Plush-soft (3/10), luxury-firm (6/10), and firm (8/10)

Why We Chose It

The Saatva Classic is a hybrid mattress with multiple firmness levels, which make it a good fit for different types of sleepers. Stomach and back sleepers who don't like the feeling of sinking into their mattress may prefer the firmest option. But for side sleepers who want a little more cushion, the luxury-firm model is a solid choice.

Pros & Cons

Pros: The Saatva Classic is a good choice for people living with back pain and those who need a cooler mattress. It comes with a 15-year warranty and an 180-night window for returns.

Cons: The Saatva Classic may not be the best choice for people on a budget or those who need a fast product delivery.

Overview

The Saatva Classic's high-quality construction includes a dual-coil innerspring system, an organic cotton cover, and a plush pillow top. The innerspring system in particular contributed to the bed's high Mattress Advisor scores in key areas like spine alignment (10/10), pressure relief (8.75/10), and responsiveness (8.5/10).

Unlike other online mattress brands, Saatva offers free white glove delivery, meaning your new mattress will be set up in your home and your old mattress removed at no extra cost.

From the Sleep Lab: "You really get that luxury experience when you lie on the Saatva. It feels like you're treating yourself. The luxury-firm model hits the sweet spot for balancing comfort and firmness."

Best Extra-Firm Mattress: Brooklyn Bedding Plank

Plank Mattress
Plank

Key Specs

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.1/10
  • Firmness: Firm (7/10) and ultra-firm (9/10)

Why We Chose It

The Brooklyn Bedding Plank is designed with two levels of firmness, a 7 and an ultra-firm 9 score. You can flip the dual-sided mattress to choose the best level of firmness and pressure-point comfort.

Pros & Cons

Pros: The Brooklyn Bedding Plank gets high marks for keeping sleepers' spines in near-perfect alignment and for being responsive to motion.

Cons: People accustomed to all-foam mattresses may find the edge support more firm than they're used to. Both mattress sides may be too firm for side sleepers who require more pressure relief at their hips and shoulders.

Overview

The Brooklyn Bedding Plank mattress is best for back, stomach, and combination sleepers as well as couples. The high-density foam base provides sturdy support, and both levels of the flippable mattress provide adequate support to help distribute body weight evenly and prevent sleepers from sinking into the mattress.

The mattress comes with a 120-night trial and return period, and a 10-year warranty. It's easy to assemble and testers were able to set it up in less than two minutes.

From the Sleep Lab: "If you've ever gone so far as to sleep on the floor because you like firmness, you can get that feeling in a much more comfortable way with the Plank. The bed definitely lives up to its firm reputation, and the cooling panel is an excellent touch if you don't mind spending a little extra."

Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain: The WinkBed

Mattress Lifestyle Photos
WinkBeds

Key Specs

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.6/10
  • Firmness: Soft (4.5/10), luxury-firm (6.5/10), firm (7.5/10), and plus (8/10)

Why We Chose It

The WinkBed is available in four different firmness levels (soft, luxury-firm, firm, and plus), though the firm and plus are recommended for sleepers with back pain. It's a good option for back, stomach, and combination sleepers, those with back pain, and hot sleepers.

Pros & Cons

Pros: The mattress can accommodate a broad range of sleepers while offering the breathability of the innerspring layer.

Cons: The WinkBed only offers moderate motion isolation, meaning movement is easily transferred across the surface of the bed, which is not ideal for people who sleep with a partner.

Overview

Mattress Advisor testers who experience back pain enjoyed sleeping on the firm WinkBed. This hybrid mattress combines an innerspring coil system with a soft pillow top to deliver support and comfort. The bed excelled in the spine alignment test (8.75/10), which is important if you're trying to limit the amount of pressure placed on your lower back.

The mattress comes with a lifetime warranty, and the company offers a trial and return period of 120 nights.

From the Sleep Lab: "I like how you feel support and pressure relief in any position on this mattress. It also sleeps cool, which helps me stay comfortable as a hot sleeper."

Best Firm Mattress for Side Sleepers: Helix Dawn Luxe

Mattress Lifestyle Photos
Helix

Key Specs

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.7/10
  • Firmness: Firm (8.5/10)

Why We Chose It

The Helix Dawn Luxe combines a plush pillow top with a firm feel to provide a high level of support without skimping on comfort. The bed also comes with a breathable Tencel cover, which will help keep you cool during the night.

Pros & Cons

Pros: This is a good mattress option for people living with back pain and for sleepers who prefer a cooler mattress during the night.

Cons: It's a firm mattress, so the Helix Dawn may not be the best choice for side sleepers and those who prefer a softer mattress.

Overview

The breathable cover of the Helix Dawn promotes airflow, and its individually wrapped coils offer cushier support under the shoulders and firmer support under the hips. The plush pillow top creates a soft surface to sink into, though side sleepers need to be sure they're getting adequate pressure relief to avoid pain.

For the Helix Dawn, there's a 100-night trial period and a 15-year warranty.

Helix offers six beds in its standard lineup, providing options for all types of sleepers at a variety of firmness levels. The brand also created Luxe versions of each bed, which feature a pillow top and special lumbar support system that make these mattresses 2 inches taller than their standard counterparts.

From the Sleep Lab: "The big difference with the Helix Midnight and Helix Dawn is the type of foam. Firm mattress lovers should really feel and appreciate the firm difference the dense polyfoam makes in the Dawn."

Best Firm Luxury Mattress: DreamCloud

Mattress Lifestyle Photos
DreamCloud

Key Specs

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.1/10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6.5/10)

Why We Chose It

At less than $2,000 for a queen size, the DreamCloud is relatively affordable compared to other hybrid beds. The mattress is especially great for back sleepers who want medium-firm support.

Pros & Cons

Pros: The DreamCloud is a good choice for side, back, and stomach sleepers, sleepers with back or hip pain, and couples.

Cons: Heavier sleepers, typically weighing more than 230 pounds, may not find the DreamCloud to be the best option.

Overview

The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress that features a luxurious cashmere blend cover and gel-infused memory foam. When testers sank into the surface, they commented on the excellent pressure relief it provided, awarding the bed an 8.75 out of 10 in the category.

The DreamCloud also features individually wrapped coils, which reviewers said kept their spines in a healthy alignment and added stability around the perimeter of the mattress. The bed earned a 9 out of 10 for both spine alignment and edge support. Looking for a tad more comfort? The brand offers an extra dose of coziness in its sister model, the DreamCloud Premier, which has a plush pillow top.

The company offers a full year (365 nights) for a trial period and a lifetime warranty.

From the Sleep Lab: "The cover of DreamCloud feels so soft and nice, I might never be bothered to sleep on top of sheets. But it's not so cozy and snug that you can't move—you get that nice propped-up feeling from the coils. The edge support is also robust enough that two people can easily sleep on a firm queen size without feeling at risk of rolling off the side."

Best Cooling Firm Mattress: GhostBed Classic

Mattress Lifestyle Photos
GhostBed
  • Who It's Best For: Side, back, and combination sleepers, hot sleepers, and couples
  • What Stands Out: The durable materials, like latex, its excellent cooling capabilities, and the robust warranty
  • Mattress Type: Latex with foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.6/10
  • Firmness: Firm (7.5/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 101 nights
  • Warranty: 20 years

The GhostBed Classic is made of memory foam and breathable latex, which testers say helps combat night sweats. Latex is a natural temperature regulator, but it also responds to movement and works to keep the spine aligned and hips elevated. Plus, the GhostBed Classic comes with an ultra-breathable cover that wicks away moisture. All of these features earned the bed an 8.5 out of 10 in Mattress Advisor's cooling test.

Though the mattress provides plenty of support, it may be too firm for side sleepers who need extra cushioning around the hips and shoulders. Those sleepers might prefer the brand's newer model, the GhostBed 3D Matrix, over the original because of its slightly softer firmness level (it ranks as medium-firm on the firmness scale). Every mattress in GhostBed's lineup has a 20- to 25-year warranty—for comparison, most competitors offer 10- to 15-year warranties.

From the Sleep Lab: "Off the bat, you can tell the GhostBed feels more breathable than a typical memory foam mattress, plus it's cool to the touch. However, it still has that cushioning memory foam feel and nicely cradled my lower back."

Best Firm Hybrid Mattress: Awara

Mattress Lifestyle Photos
Awara
  • Who It's Best For: Back, stomach, and combination sleepers, hot sleepers, sleepers with allergies, and couples
  • What Stands Out: The sustainable materials, like natural latex and organic wool, the bed's excellent responsiveness, and its durable construction
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (latex and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.8/10
  • Firmness: Firm (7/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 365 nights
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Hybrid mattresses like the Awara combine materials for a unique sleep experience. In this case: innerspring coils that make switching positions seamless and a foam top layer that's incredibly comfortable. Awara differentiates itself from other hybrid mattresses by using natural Dunlop latex in its construction. A material known for its durability, this latex variety is a byproduct of tapping sap from rubber trees. Its bounce and contouring properties helped the mattress earn solid scores in both spine alignment (8.5/10) and responsiveness (8.25/10) from Mattress Advisor testers.

Although Awara will appeal to firm mattress aficionados thanks to its sturdy 7 out of 10 ranking on the firmness scale, the quilted cover of organic cotton and wool kept sleepers cozy during the night, according to testers.

From the Sleep Lab: "I didn't know latex was used in mattresses before I was a tester, and it quickly became one of my favorite materials. Everything from the nonexistent off-gassing to the increased breathability gives Awara a definite edge in the firm hybrid mattress category."

Best Firm Memory Foam Mattress: Puffy

puffy mattress
Puffy
  • Who It's Best For: Back and side sleepers and those with back pain
  • What Stands Out: Its huggable feel, excellent lumbar support, and robust warranty
  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9/10
  • Firmness: Firm (7/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 101 nights
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Love the huggable feel of memory foam but want something firmer so you don't feel stuck in your mattress? Puffy might be your new go-to, according to Mattress Advisor testers. Puffy is rated a 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale, so the mattress has a more supportive feel than most memory foam beds. However, firmer support doesn't mean less pressure relief in this case. The Puffy earned an 8 out of 10 in the Mattress Advisor pressure relief test. Testers who suffer from back pain noted that the bed's five-layer construction alleviated some of the strain they experience, so they awarded it an 8.75 out of 10 for spine alignment. Side, stomach, and back sleepers all reported that they maintained a healthy posture during the night.

Another benefit to Puffy: It comes with a lifetime warranty, so you know you're getting a durable product.

From the Sleep Lab: "Puffy is one of my favorite memory foam mattresses I've tested. You not only get that 'floating on air' feeling from the firmness of the mattress, but also plenty of pressure relief. For couples who want a firm mattress, the Puffy excels at mitigating motion transfer, which is why we scored it a 9.25 out of 10 [in that category]."

Best Firm Mattress for Couples: Layla Hybrid

Mattress Lifestyle Photos
Layla
  • Who It's Best For: Side, back, and stomach sleepers, couples, and sleepers who want options
  • What Stands Out: The flippable design, impressive motion isolation, and cooling features
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.7/10
  • Firmness: Medium-soft (4/10) and medium-firm (7/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 nights
  • Warranty: 10 years

For couples with differing sleep styles and firmness preferences, the Layla Hybrid offers a savvy solution that's rare among online mattresses: a two-in-one 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 firm 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 what position you and your partner sleep in, the Layla Hybrid has you covered.

The bed 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's 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.

From the Sleep Lab: "While the soft side is a little plush for me, it's unique to have a flippable hybrid. The medium-firm side hits that nice balance of support and comfort—something that people with back pain often look for."

Best Firm Mattress for Pressure Relief: Casper Wave Hybrid

Casper Mattress
Casper
  • Who It's Best For: Side, back, and stomach sleepers, hot sleepers, and couples
  • What Stands Out: Unique targeted support that provides a softer feel under the shoulders but a firmer feel under the hips, the responsive latex layer, and the universally appealing medium firmness level
  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.3/10
  • Firmness: Medium (5/10)
  • Trial Period for Returns: 100 nights
  • Warranty: 10 years

The Casper Wave Hybrid uses a support system made of memory foam and nearly 90 gel pods to relieve pressure on the back. Mattress Advisor testers say the bed kept their spines in alignment throughout the night and distributed weight evenly to alleviate pressure points (overall, it earned an 8.5 out of 10 for pressure relief). Underneath the zoned support grid is a base of individually wrapped coils that provides even more stability. The mattress also includes natural latex, which is perforated to help disperse body heat.

The Casper Wave Hybrid is a comfortable mattress that works well for a variety of sleep positions thanks to its medium firmness level. However, due to the bed's higher price tag—$2,695 for a queen—it's not the best pick for budget shoppers.

From the Sleep Lab: "The responsiveness of the Casper Wave's latex makes moving around really easy and you don't feel stifled when switching positions. So, if you're a solo sleeper who switches positions often, even a firm twin-size mattress should feel like enough room as you adjust and move through the night."

Final Verdict

While all these mattresses checked our boxes as high-quality firm mattresses, Saatva Classic topped the list. This hybrid mattress is available in a range of firmness levels to suit any type of sleeper. Plus, it's built to last, with a dual-coil innerspring system. This system accounts for the bed's spine alignment, pressure relief, and responsiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is firmness measured in a mattress?

Mattress firmness is subjective and varies from person to person, so the mattress industry uses scoring from one to 10 to describe it from low to high. Most mattresses are considered medium or medium-firm, putting them between 5 and 7 on the scale. A firm mattress falls around 7 or 8. Beyond the 8 level, an extra-firm mattress may seem uncomfortable.

Is a firm mattress better for your back?

A firm mattress can benefit people with lower back pain, which affects more than 80% of people at some point in their lives.People who sleep on their backs and stomachs may prefer the spinal alignment and support.

Q: How can I tell if my mattress is too firm?

If you wake up in the morning with pain and soreness in your shoulders, hips, or lower back, this is a sign that your mattress could be too firm. Still feeling tired in the morning is another indicator that you're resting on a hard mattress—you probably couldn't find a comfortable sleep position and tossed and turned throughout the night.

How does your sleep position relate to firmness?

Back and stomach sleepers tend to benefit from a more supportive surface. Side sleepers typically prefer a softer surface that provides pressure relief to the shoulders and hips and support for the spine, often using a firm foam mattress. Combination sleepers switch positions through the night and move more easily on a firm mattress.

How does body type relate to the firm mattress?

If one sleeper who weighs 110 pounds and another who weighs 220 pounds lie on the same mattress, they could have a completely different take on how firm the bed feels. The heavier sleeper may sink more deeply into the mattress, leaving them with the sense of a softer feel. Sleep position plays a role, too. A light stomach sleeper may find more support in a softer mattress than a stomach sleeper weighing more than 130 pounds and needing a firm model.

Body Weight and Level of Mattress Firmness
Weight Ideal firmness level
Less than 130 pounds Soft to medium-firm
130 to 230 pounds Medium-soft to firm
More than 230 pounds Medium-firm to firm

Benefits of a firm mattress

Spine alignment

An extra-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.

Types of firm mattresses

Innerspring

Made from sturdy coils, innerspring mattresses offer a supportive base that gives you the feeling of sleeping "on" your mattress, rather than "in." In general, this mattress type only has one comfort layer on top of the coils, giving it a firm to extra-firm feel. However, that means if you're looking for deep, cradling pressure relief, you may feel underwhelmed by the cushioning offered on an innerspring mattress.

Memory foam

Known for contouring to your body's curves, memory foam mattresses typically contain several layers of poly foam or memory foam. The memory foam base is made from high-density foam, giving the bed its structure and durability. Memory foam beds are available in a variety of firmness levels, but they tend to err more on the soft to medium-firm side. However if you prefer a firm memory foam mattress, you'll still be able to enjoy pressure relief, as the material excels at cradling points of contact.

Hybrid

Constructed from both coils and foam (and sometimes other materials like latex), hybrid mattresses offer both the support of innerspring coils and pressure relief of memory foam. They typically operate by having coils on the bottom, and several comfort layers up top. While most hybrid models have a sturdier medium-firm to firm feel, the comfort layers allow your body to sink into a cushioning surface.

Latex

Made from rubber, latex mattresses use either synthetic or natural latex to give sleepers a pressure-relieving, bouncy feel. Latex mattresses are versatile, and can feel plush or firm. One benefit of a more firm latex build is that you can move about easily on the mattress's responsive surface while still alleviating your body's tense areas.

Best accessories for a firm mattress

Pillows

The pillow you use is crucial for supporting your head and neck as you sleep. When you rest on a firmer mattress, the pillow won't press into the bed as much. This means you'll be more aware of the pillow's loft, or height.

Side sleepers benefit from pillows made with feathers, down, polyester, shredded foam, or latex because these materials are easily adjustable and allow sleepers to manipulate the loft of the pillow to their liking.

Back and stomach sleepers usually prefer to use pillows with a lower loft since the main concern with these sleep positions is neutral alignment of the spine, head, and neck. On a firmer surface, these types of sleepers should use a pillow crafted from a single piece of latex or foam. This creates a more stable structure for the head and neck.

Mattress toppers

If you're on a tighter budget, a mattress topper can be an affordable solution if you don't want to splurge on a brand new mattress. This accessory usually measures 2 to 3 inches in thickness and sits on top of your mattress. While mattress toppers can be made from many different materials, latex and memory foam toppers usually provide the best support.

However, keep in mind that a mattress topper will never be as durable or reliable as a new mattress. Mattress toppers aren't designed to make up for a lack of durability, so if your current bed is sagging, a topper won't fix the problem. A mattress topper is best when used to tweak the comfort level of an already supportive mattress.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully by now you have a solid grasp of the key factors to look for when firm mattress shopping. Combine that with your knowledge of the top picks available online, and you're ready to trade in your sagging bed for something more supportive. Remember though to also keep your personal preferences and unique needs in mind as you browse. For example, to some sleepers, only an ultra-firm surface will suffice, while to others, a medium-firm mattress is the perfect middle ground. Happy shopping!

Give yourself time to break in your mattress. It can take 30 to 90 days for the body to adjust to a new one. After that time period, if it's still too firm, add a mattress pad or a topper. A 1-inch-thick topper made of memory foam can add a lot of body-contouring comfort and pressure relief. It's also a good idea to rotate or flip your mattress to help it last longer and to make sure that it wears evenly.

Methodology

The expert team at Mattress Advisor tested hundreds of beds using a 14-point testing methodology to determine which firm mattresses score highest in categories like spine alignment, durability, and pressure relief. Bedding experts spent over 1,200 hours evaluating and comparing mattresses using a 14-point testing methodology to find the best firm beds on the market.

While some of the factors tested are tied directly to performance, like responsiveness, edge support, and pressure relief, others are based around brand operations, such as customer service, shipping policies, and trial period. The Mattress Advisor team combines this proprietary methodology with in-depth interviews and customer experience to arrive at a weighted score out of 10. Below is a list of criteria used to rate each mattress:

Spine alignment: How well the mattress maintains the natural 'S' curve of the spine

Pressure relief: How well the mattress relieves pressure at common pain points like the shoulders and hips

Edge support: How much support the mattress provides at the edge of the bed for functional use and how comfortable the edge is to lie on

Responsiveness: How quickly the mattress adapts or responds to changes in movement. This is particularly key for combination sleepers, who switch positions frequently during the night

Motion transfer: How well the mattress isolates motion. This is especially important for couples who sleep together and don't want to be disturbed by their partner's movements

Durability: Relates to longevity and overall quality of a mattress's materials. Determines the lifespan of a bed

Cooling: How well the mattress promotes airflow and limits heat retention. Also factors in any extra cooling features like gel infusions or aerated foam

Ease of set up: How easy the unboxing process is, which includes components like weight, time it takes to set up the mattress, and number of people needed to do it

Trial period: How long you have to decide whether or not you want to keep the mattress

Return policy: How easy the return process is, if refunds are offered, and if mattress removal is available

Warranty: How long the warranty is and what it covers

Shipping: How long it takes for your bed to ship and if there are any costs associated with shipping

Customer service: How quickly customer service responds to queries, the level of detail the team provides, and how helpful the team is overall

Social impact: Takes into consideration a company's social missions, charitable causes, and sustainability efforts. This includes the quality of a mattress's materials and where they are made

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Sources
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  1. American Chiropractic Association. Back Pain Facts and Statistics.