10 Best Mattresses of 2018 (Ultimate Buyer’s Guide)
Find the best mattress for your sleeping style, lifestyle and budget
Shopping for a mattress for your kids can feel more overwhelming—and more important—than you might have thought. On one hand, you want to ensure your child has a mattress that affords them the best sleep possible, so they wake up rested, refreshed, and ready to learn and grow.
On the other hand, kids are smaller and lighter than the average adult, so what kind of support, materials, and (let’s be frank) price is appropriate? Does your child even know if he or she is a back, side, or stomach sleeper? And how long is this mattress expected to last?
In this guide, we’ll give a rundown of the top factors that will help you choose the most comfortable, durable mattress at the best value for your child. Then, we’ll reveal our top mattress picks for kids.
When buying a mattress for a growing child, size is an important factor. And since a high-quality mattress can last from 8-12 years, you want to feel you’re making a lasting choice. Twin, twin XL, or full-size mattresses are typically the best choices for children.
The age of the child you’re purchasing for plays the greatest role in this decision. If you’re buying a 2-year-old child her first post-crib bed, for example, a twin mattress might feel more appropriate than it would if you were buying it for a 13-year-old who might move it into her first post-collegiate apartment.
Parents usually choose a twin mattress for younger children, as they’re a great fit for smaller bodies and are undeniably the most affordable option. Most children will not outgrow a twin mattress until they are into their teen years. Twin XL mattresses add a few extra inches in length, and since it’s the reigning mattress size of college dorm beds everywhere, your child would already be familiar with the fit. Keep in mind, however, that twin XL mattresses need twin XL sheets—regular twin sheets will not fit this size mattress.
If space and budget allow, consider a full-size mattress. It can make cuddling in bed with your child even more comfortable, and although it’s more expensive, it may take your child all the way to adulthood. Additionally, if you’re shopping for a toddler’s first bed, and have a “convertible” crib that converts to a full-size headboard and footboard, purchasing a full-size mattress makes sense.
Adults can get cranky when they don’t sleep well, and (as you’ve probably already noticed) so can kids. If your kid’s bed doesn’t feel comfortable, he or she won’t get the necessary, quality sleep―and the benefits of quality sleep are seen in better school performance, happier mood level, and a ton of other factors. It’s been proven in studies that sleep deprivation is directly related to decreased academic performance, even in children as young as 7 years old.
Additionally, poor sleep can contribute to other negative outcomes, including hyperactivity, over-emotionality, tantrums, and clumsiness. Clearly, a good night’s sleep is as paramount for children as it is for adults.
In a mattress, comfort and support work together to provide that foundation for a good night’s sleep. A supportive mattress is one that properly aligns your spine while you sleep (especially important to ensure your child’s optimal health and growth), and a comfortable mattress is one with an overall firmness and feel that allows you to relax and feel good. We look for mattresses that check the box on both of these things.
As you look for the best mattress for your child, involve them in the process as well. Ask them, for example, if they like the way your bed feels, or about the feel in any other bed (at a grandparent’s, or a hotel) that they’ve slept in. Be sure that they use only one pillow so that their necks stay in alignment. And if your child already has a preferred sleeping position, let that guide you as well.
For example, stomach sleepers will feel swallowed up in a softer mattress, while side sleepers may find a very firm mattress is uncomfortable on pressure points. If your child does experience uncomfortable pressure around their legs while sleeping, let him or her know that drawing the legs up next to them while they sleep can make it feel better. Remember that each child is different, and to explore those different needs.
Studies have shown that dust mites in mattresses can trigger allergy symptoms, so if your child has allergies, there are additional things you should look for in a mattress. A mattress made with natural products, such as natural latex, is a great place to start—it’s difficult for bacteria and mold to grow on these types of products, and they can get rid of dust mites naturally.
As for that “new mattress smell,” it’s a common concern for both adult and younger mattress buyers. The smell, a chemical off-gassing, comes from the volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, contained in some of the mattress components and can cause headaches. It’s an especially common component in memory foam, but you may also recognize it from freshly-painted rooms or brand-new cars.
If you or your child is sensitive to this smell, a mattress containing products that are CertiPUR-US certified is your best bet. These mattresses will still have a low level of off-gassing, but will typically release all their VOCs within a few days. For best results, open the mattress in a well-ventilated room and let it fully expand a day or two before letting your child sleep on it.
You may think to yourself, “Do I need to spend as much on a mattress for my child as I do for myself?” Our answer: much as you would with your own mattress, you’ll need to spend a little more for a higher-quality product with components that will stand the test of time. Does this mean you’ll be spending $500 or more for it? Not necessarily. We’ve provided reviews of mattresses that cover a range of price points. Luckily, a smaller size mattress costs less than one you might buy for yourself. And if you consider how important a good mattress is to your kid’s overall health, you’ll find it’s worth the investment.
Below we’ve highlighted our top mattress picks for kids. If you want to read more about a particular mattress brand, we’ve got you covered in the next section.
Every child is different, with his or her own needs, and each parent is considering different price brackets for the best mattress possible. So take a look at things like the materials, rating, reviews, and price to help you decide. The “best choice” is the one that makes sense for your family.
And remember—seeing (and feeling) is believing. That’s why we’re only reviewing mattresses here that have a trial period of at least 100 nights. And free returns, since hassles are a pain in the neck (and you probably already have enough of that).
The best mattresses for kids:
Our daughter is 2.5 and loves her big kid bed!"Lloyd R.
2.5-3 out of 10
We bought this for our young son and we all fight over who gets to lay with him."Lilly
Medium firm: 6/10
Our athlete daughter is finally on her way to recovery with the help of the Bear."Jim B.
Medium firm: 6/10
We have it for my daughter, and she’s been sleeping so well."Kristina W.
Your kids deserve to get the best night’s sleep that their new mattress can provide. A good mattress that suits your kid’s needs gives them the best shot at a good night’s sleep possible—and gives you solid peace of mind.
If you have any questions about any of our picks or other mattresses, drop us a line. We’ll do our best to answer your questions.