Firm mattresses aren’t for everyone. In fact, the majority of sleepers prefer a medium-firm mattress. But for a few types of sleepers, a firm mattress is essential for blissful nights and pain-free mornings.
In this guide, we’ll share reviews of our 7 top-rated firm mattresses, and then in our buyer’s guide, we’ll walk you through everything you should consider when looking for a firmer bed.
In the following section, we’ll give you an in-depth look at each mattress.
No more aches and pains when we get up in the morning.”Carla R.
Available in plush soft: 3/10; luxury firm: 5.5-6.5/10; and firm: 8/10
The Saatva mattress is a customizable luxury innerspring mattress that offers all the bells and whistles. You can choose between three firmness levels to find the one that is just right for you. Plus, the mattress is designed with high-quality, eco-friendly materials.
The Saatva stands out for its great edge and lumbar support. Proper edge support is great for sleepers who stretch out on the edge of their bed or regularly sit on the edge to get ready in the morning. Lumbar support is key to a good night’s sleep that’s pain-free.
Firmness isn’t the only feature you can customize with the Saatva. You can also select a custom height and size of the mattress, and as a bonus, if you buy a mattress foundation through Saatva you can customize its height as well.
To top it all off, Saatva offers free white glove delivery for your new bed and free mattress removal for your old mattress. Mattress shopping doesn’t get any easier than that.
Read our full Saatva mattress review.
The Awara mattress is the perfect combination of comfort and cradling as well as a good amount of support.”Ron S.
The Awara mattress is a premium latex mattress built with natural materials, including sustainably sourced latex, wool, and cotton. The organic cotton cover is cool to the touch, perfect for people who suffer from night sweats, and the dunlop latex foam provides responsive cushioning for people who toss and turn.
This eco-friendly firm mattress is great for all sleeping positions and body types, pairing latex with 5-zoned pocket coils to offer a balance of comfort and support. The materials in the Awara mattress are also naturally breathable, so you’ll stay cool all night long.
Along with being natural, the Awara mattress is durable. They are so confident in the mattress’s comfort and durability that you get a year-long sleep trial and lifetime warranty with purchase.
Read our full Awara mattress review.
Our chronic back pain is GONE! I absolutely recommend this mattress to anyone who wakes up with their back hurting.”Erin M.
Customizable: Varies based on selection
Helix bed-in–a-box mattresses define customization with 7 unique mattress models, all with different firmness options and good for different sleep positions. Using Helix’s quiz, you can find the right firm mattress for side sleepers (we recommend the Helix Twilight).
Read More: Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
On top of customizability, Helix offers amazing responsiveness, edge support, and motion isolation, a good combination for couples and co-sleepers. Responsiveness allows you to toss and turn easily without being uncomfortable, and motion isolation keeps those movements from waking your sleep partner. Edge support allows you to comfortably sleep on the edge of the bed.
Helix gives you a 100-night trial period and a 10-year warranty with your mattress purchase, during which you can easily swap out one model for another. There is nothing keeping you from trying it out.
Read our full Helix mattress review.
The most comfortable bed ever slept on but most surprising was waking up with no back pain!”Samuel W.
Medium-Soft: 6/10; Extra Firm: 8/10
You may not think you can find a memory foam mattress that’s firm, but the Cocoon mattress proves that you can. The Cocoon Chill is a memory foam mattress that offers stellar pressure relief and spine alignment with its three-layer support system. The middle layer personalizes your firmness level to give you a restorative night’s sleep.
This firm bed utilizes foam layers and a phase change cover for cooling and breathability. The firm middle layer adds firm support to keep your spinal alignment nearly perfect, so you can be sure you’ll get a good night’s sleep on the Wave and wake with no back pain.
Read our full Cocoon mattress review.
No more achy backs in the morning!”Bethany
Firm to ultra-firm: 7/10 and 9/10
The Plank mattress by Brooklyn Bedding is great for those who think they want a firm mattress but they aren’t sure exactly how firm of a bed they want. Why? Because the Plank is flippable! That’s right, you can use either side of the mattress.
Read More: Best Flippable Mattress
One side of this foam bed is the “firm” side (7/10) and the other is “ultra-firm” (9/10). Both layers are uniquely stitched to provide a firm feel and minimal loft. Between the two layers, the Plank is designed with Brooklyn Bedding’s proprietary TitanFlex foam that offers support, durability, and pressure relief to keep you pain free and your mattress from sagging.
So if you’re looking for an extra-firm mattress, the Plank is a great option.
Read our full Plank mattress review.
I’d recommend this to anyone and everyone who depends on good sleep as much as me who works all the time and is on their feet.”Andrea
Available in plush, medium, and firm
The Spartan mattress, another offering by Brooklyn Bedding, is a luxury hybrid mattress specifically designed to provide optimal rest and relaxation for athletes and active adults. Receiving nearly perfect scores for spine alignment and responsiveness in our testing, the Spartan is a top-of-the-line hybrid mattress for restoration.
You can also choose your preferred firmness level between plush, medium, and firm for the Spartan. Side sleepers do best on the soft, combination sleepers on the medium, and stomach and back sleepers on the firm model.
Read our full Spartan mattress review.
This is the BEST mattress I have ever slept on!”Westair
Available in Medium or Luxury Firm
You may have heard that sleeping on the floor is good for back pain. While we wouldn’t recommend you sleep on the floor, the basis of the statement, that a firm surface can be good for sleepers with back pain, is true.
The Alexander Signature Series mattress is a great example of a firm mattress that appeals to sleepers with back pain. It is a best-selling mattress by Nest Bedding that comes in two firmness levels: medium and luxury firm. Back and stomach sleepers are typically most comfortable on the luxury firm, and for side sleepers the medium-firm option is typically best.
In our testing, the Alexander Signature Series mattress received one one of the highest scores ever for responsiveness! This makes it great for combination sleepers or people who move around frequently throughout the night as it quickly and seamlessly adjusts to new positions.
It also scored fantastically in spinal alignment and pressure relief, making it one of the best mattresses for back pain.
Read our full Alexander Signature Series mattress review.
When we talk about a firm mattress we’re referring to a mattress that is rated 7 to 8 out of 10 on the firmness scale. Sleeping on a firm mattress is more like floating on the bed rather than sinking into it. A firm mattress does not conform to your body, so you won’t get the “hug” you would feel with a softer mattress.
But remember, the firmness scale is just a starting point in your search for the perfect mattress. In this guide, we’ll cover
You might not be sure if a firm mattress is right for you. Here are a few features that people like about a firm mattress.
About 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives, with about 20% of them developing chronic pain. It was long thought that a very firm mattress was the best surface for back pain sufferers. But researchers have found that switching to medium-firm mattresses relieves back pain for many people. So, look for firm, but not too firm.
Sleepers with above average weights need the push-back of a firmer mattress with a dense support layer to keep them aligned. Sleeping on a mattress that does not evenly support their weight can cause sagging that will strain the curvature of your spine and cause your mattress to wear prematurely.
Related: Best Mattress for Heavy People
A firm mattress is recommended for people who sleep primarily on their stomachs or primarily on their backs. Stomach sleepers need the firm push back to prevent their backs from curving up.
Related: Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
Back sleepers also need a firm mattress to support the natural curve of their spine even while relieving pressure on their shoulders, hips, and heels. Because a firm mattress provides even support for the entire length of your body, both stomach and back sleepers can rest easy and wake pain-free.
While temperature control is largely a function of mattress material, a firm mattress can be cooler to sleep on than a softer mattress. A firm mattress allows more air circulation because sleepers sink in less than on a softer mattress. Better air circulation allows heat to dissipate, leaving you cooler as you sleep.
Think of your mattress like the sand at the beach. It’s really hard to walk or run in the soft sand that gives way every time you try to push off. But the sand that has been packed by the waves down by the water’s edge does not yield so easily, so you can move with less effort. A firm mattress is most like that packed sand—it has significant push-back, making it easier to shift positions and get up from your bed.
A firm mattress is not all a bed of roses. There are some issues that may be deal breakers for some people and should be considered as you shop for a firm mattress.
Now that you know a bit about the cons of firm mattresses, let’s go over who may want to avoid buying a firm bed.
Many people ask, are firm mattresses good for side sleepers? Unfortunately, side sleepers usually find that a firm mattress does not yield to their shoulders and hips enough to relieve the pressure on these areas. The result is a bad sleep and soreness in the morning.
Sleep experts recommend people with sleep apnea sleep on their sides to facilitate breathing and reduce the risk of snoring. Side sleepers risk sore pressure points on firm mattresses and should steer towards softer models for better comfort.
If you like the feeling of sleeping in your mattress rather than on it, you may not be comfortable on a firmer mattress. Even if a firm mattress has a comfort layer, it will only cradle you so far. If you prefer a contouring mattress that yields under your weight and embraces your body, a firmer mattress is not for you.
If you suffer from joint pain, a firm mattress may not provide you with the pressure point relief you need to sleep comfortably and wake without additional pain. If your mattress doesn’t yield enough at your shoulders, hips, knees, and heels while still being supportive, you could find it hard to get comfortable and wake with soreness.
Related: Best Mattress for Hip Pain
People who weigh less than 130 lbs. do not have the mass to compress a firm mattress sufficiently for comfort. The result is a feeling of floating on the surface of the mattress rather than relaxing into it.
More people sleep on medium-firm mattresses than any other type of mattress. If you think you want your mattress on the firm side but are unsure how firm, start your search with medium-firm mattresses.
Your mattress may have the firmness rating you sought, but you may still not be totally satisfied. Different mattress materials and construction methods can cause mattresses with the same firmness rating to perform differently. But don’t give up on your mattress yet. Here are two ways to make your mattress firmer.
Whether you want to add firmness to your top layer or make your firm mattress a little plusher, you can find mattress toppers that can add just the right amount of softness or firmness you’re looking for.
If your mattress is made with memory foam, lowering the temperature in your bedroom can help to keep it firmer through the night. Memory foam is designed to yield as it responds to body heat and pressure. It will yield less if it is kept cooler. You’ll sleep better not only because of the firmer bed but also because the ideal temperature for sleeping is around 65 degrees and can be as low as 60 degrees.
You might think that if a firm mattress is good for you, then an extra firm mattress would be very good for you. But a mattress that is too firm will not yield enough to support your back in a neutral position or relieve pressure points.
Try this test: If you sleep on your back, you should be able to slide your palm between the mattress and the small of your back fairly easily with no gap. If there is a gap, your mattress is too firm. Without a sufficient comfort layer that gently supports the natural curve of your lower back, you may wake with back pain, not to mention soreness in your joints.
A stomach sleeper on a mattress that is too firm may feel too much pressure on their chest making it hard to breathe. If you sleep on your side, you should steer away from firm mattresses because they will exert too much pressure on your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles and you’ll wake with soreness on these pressure points.
We recommend that you avoid mattresses at the far end of the firmness scale. They will be too hard to provide the comfort you need to sleep well and wake refreshed.
On the industry firmness scale that rates mattress firmness from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest, mattresses that fall within the 5 to 7 range and are described as medium to medium-firm mattresses.
Back sleepers need a mattress that is firm enough to keep their spine supported, but with a soft enough top layer to allow the spine to keep its natural shape. Firm mattresses with a pillow top are good options for back sleepers.
See the best pillow top mattresses.
|Saatva||Best Firm Innerspring Mattress||8.7/10|
|Awara||Best Eco-friendly Firm Mattress||8.8/10|
|Helix||Best for Side Sleepers||8.9/10|
|Cocoon Chill||Best Memory Foam Mattress||8.7/10|
|Plank||Best Extra Firm Mattress||9.1/10|
|Spartan||Best Firm Hybrid Mattress||9.2/10|
|Alexander Signature Series||Best for Back Pain||9.1/10|
Learn what mattress firmness really means and how to determine which firmness is best for you.
See our top-rated soft mattresses and then read tips for finding the best soft mattress for your sleep style and body type.