Best Soft Mattresses in 2021
Nov 3rd, 2021 •
Finding the best soft mattress for your sleeping style and body type can make you feel a bit like Goldilocks. It has to be just right.
We’ll outline our top-rated soft mattresses and then go over everything you should know when shopping for a softer mattress to help you along in your search.
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The Best Soft Mattresses
- Best Soft Foam Mattress – Nolah
- Best for Pain Relief – Layla
- Best Soft Hybrid Mattress – Saatva
- Best Value Mattress – Tuft & Needle Mint
- Best Soft Luxury Mattress – Brooklyn Aurora
- Best Flippable Mattress – Zenhaven
- Most Supportive – Purple Hybrid Premier
- Most Eco-Friendly – Brentwood Home Oceano
Here are some of the top-rated soft mattresses based on extensive testing and customer feedback. Some of these mattresses come soft by standard, while others offer the option to customize your firmness level, allowing you to choose a softer model.
Below, we’ll share a review of each of these beds. To get a deeper look, click through to our individual mattress reviews, featured for each mattress.
Best Soft Foam Mattress
- Nolah is made with breathable airframe to allow body heat to escape
- Great for people with joint and back pain
Medium firm: 5 - 6 /10
The Nolah mattress is a foam mattress built with proprietary AirFoam. This material is designed to keep the mattress temperature neutral, which has several benefits. Memory foam naturally expands and contracts in hot and cold temperatures, but this material is built to resist those changes, making the Nolah more durable and long-lasting.
The AirFoam is also extra pressure-relieving, which helps sleepers avoid pain in the pressure points of the hips, shoulders, and knees.
The Nolah has a medium level of firmness (5-6/10) which is great for those looking for a little added firmness. The mattress comes with a 120-day trial period and a 15-year limited warranty.
Read our full Nolah mattress review.
Best for Pain Relief
- A mattress with a flippable design so you get two beds in one
- Copper-infused foam ease joint pain and joint stiffness
- Offers a lifetime warranty with purchase
Soft side: 4-5/10; Firm side: 7/10
The Layla is another flippable mattress on our list! There is a soft side (4-5/10) and the other is more firm (7/10). The Layla is a memory foam mattress that’s infused with copper. The copper infusion makes the Layla more breathable and cooling, plus it makes the mattress better suited to help reduce back pain and other joint pain.
The Layla comes with a 120-day trial period and a limited lifetime warranty.
Read our full Layla mattress review.
Best Soft Hybrid Mattress
- A customizable mattress made with eco-friendly materials
- Known for great edge support
- Choose your heigh and firmness when purchasing Saatva
The Saatva is a hybrid mattress built with a coil-on-coil design, memory foam layers, and a euro pillow top to cushion the top layer of the mattress. The Saatva is available in three firmness options: Plush Soft (3/10), Luxury Firm (5.5-6.5/10), and Firm (8/10). The Plush Soft Saatva has a super soft feel, so it’s the perfect mattress for people looking for a soft bed.
The Saatva mattress comes with a 120-day trial period and 15-year limited warranty. Plus, this bed comes with free white glove delivery and removal of your old mattress, making the shopping experience super simple!
Read our full Saatva mattress review.
Tuft & Needle Mint
Best Value Mattress
- A reasonably priced cooling mattress
- Scored well in spinal alignment and responsiveness
- A great mattress for relieving back pain
The Tuft & Needle Mint mattress is one-step above Tuft & Needle’s original mattress offering, but still priced at an affordable price point. This foam combo mattress is a 5/10 on the firmness scale, making it a nice soft to medium feel mattress that isn’t too soft.
The Mint comes with a 100-night sleep trial period so you can test it out to determine if it’s right for you, along with a 10-year limited warranty.
Read our full Mint mattress review.
Best Soft Luxury Mattress
- Brooklyn Bedding’s founder says this is the best bed he’s ever built
- One the best mattresses for side sleepers
- Choose from three firmness options: plush, medium, and firm
Available in soft (3/10), medium (5/10) or firm (7/10)
The Brooklyn Aurora is a luxury hybrid mattress by Brooklyn Bedding built with patented foam and pocket coils on the inside layers. This hybrid construction allows for a comfortable, supportive, and cooling sleep surface.
The Aurora is available in three firmness options: Soft (3/10), Medium (5/10), and Firm (7/10). Those interested in a super soft mattress will be best suited for the soft option, while those looking for a little more firmness will do well on the medium. The soft Aurora mattress has a nice plush feel that provides your body the cushioning you may be looking for.
The Aurora comes with a 120-day trial period and a 10-year warranty.
Read our full Brooklyn Aurora mattress review.
Best Flippable Mattress
- A great price for a flippable, organic mattress
- Awesome pressure relief and spine alignment
Soft side: 4-5/10; Firm side: 7-8/10
The Zenhaven is a mattress made by Saatva. This all-natural latex mattress is flippable, with a softer side (4-5/10) and a firmer side (7-8/10). For the undecided or fickle, a flippable mattress with two different firmness levels can ensure long-lasting comfort.
The Zenhaven comes with a 120-day trial period and a 20-year limited warranty.
Read our full Zenhaven mattress review.
Purple Hybrid Premier
- A great choice for side sleepers
- Available in two thickness levels
- Provides good motion isolation and cooling airflow
Soft - 4/10
The Purple Hybrid Premier is Purple’s latest mattress model. The Purple is a hybrid mattress made with a combination of hyper-elastic polymer and foam. These materials offer great support and pressure relief for sleepers.
The Purple Hybrid Premier Mattress is a very soft mattress with a firmness level of 4/10, which is rare for a hybrid mattress. Typically hybrid mattresses are built with innerspring coils as the support layer which adds extra firmness, but the Purple Hybrid Premier’s unique combination of materials allows it to stay super soft.
The Purple Hybrid Premier comes with a 100-day trial period and a 10-year warranty.
Read our full Purple Hybrid Premier mattress review.
Brentwood Home Oceano
- Made with non-toxic materials
- Peak responsiveness and pressure point relief
The Oceano mattress by Brentwood Home is a hybrid construction of coils and foam layers. This medium-soft mattress is a handcrafted eco-friendly bed that’s responsive, cooling, supportive, and comfortable.
The Oceano comes with a 120-day trial period and a 25-year limited warranty.
Read our full Oceano mattress review.
How to Find the Best Soft Mattress
Finding a soft mattress that’s right for you is a bit of a balancing act.
If you sleep on a mattress that’s too hard, you’ll wake up with fatigue and soreness on your pressure points (shoulders, hips, heels, depending on your sleep position). If your mattress is too soft, you’ll suffer from back and neck pain caused by a misaligned spine. Either way, the wrong mattress firmness can rob you of the sleep you need for health and wellness.
Mattress firmness may be the most important characteristic of your new bed. But it can be difficult to find the right firmness level without some guidance and a good at-home trial period. While personal preference plays a significant role in finding a mattress that you love, there are some objective guidelines that can help narrow your search.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll explain how you understand the mattress firmness scale and other factors to consider in your decision when looking for a soft mattress including your sleeping position, body type, and several other mattress performance factors so you can find the best mattress for you.
Understanding the Firmness Scale
The traditional way to buy a mattress used to be visiting a mattress store (or two or three) and flopping down on mattress after mattress searching for the most comfortable one. The problems with that method are:
- After traipsing around to several stores, any mattress is going to feel comfortable.
- The situation, complete with the full-on assault of fluorescent lights and Muzak, hardly replicates normal sleeping conditions.
- Most mattress sales reps earn a commission, rendering any advice they give suspicious.
These days you have the convenient option of ordering a bed-in–a-box mattress online from the comfort of your home, finding it delivered to your front door, and testing it out in your own bedroom for a generous trial period.
But with the hundreds of mattresses available online, you need a way to zero in on the soft mattresses of your dreams. That’s where the mattress firmness scale (and reviews from Mattress Advisor) comes in.
The mattress firmness scale includes ratings from 1 to 10 indicating the relative softness or firmness of any mattress.
Most average weight sleepers tend to prefer mattresses in the medium firm range with ratings of 6/10 to 7/10, but if you’re looking for a soft mattress, you want to choose from mattresses with ratings no higher than 5/10.
And while you may think a super soft mattress will be great for your sleep, sleep experts recommend steering away from mattresses rated 1/10 or 2/10 because of the risk of spinal misalignment.
So that puts your focus on mattresses that rate 3/10, 4/10, or 5/10 on the mattress firmness scale. A soft mattress with a firmness rating of 3/10 or 4/10 feels very plush and body-hugging. Sleepers would most accurately describe themselves sleeping “in” the soft mattress rather than “on” it.
Pros and Cons of a Soft Mattress
Like a lot of things in life, many of the best things about a soft mattress are also some of the worst things about them, depending who’s sleeping on them. But there are some benefits of sleeping on a softer mattress no matter who you are.
|Pros of a soft mattress||Cons of a soft mattress|
|Better motion isolation||Sleeping hot|
|Better pressure relief||Getting stuck in your mattress|
|Significant cradling||Ideal only for select sleepers|
|Poor edge support|
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of sleeping on a soft mattress.
Better motion isolation
All sleepers benefit when motion transfer is minimized. Motion transfer occurs when movements on one side of the bed disturb the other side of the mattress and, more importantly, the person sleeping on it.
That means, every time your partner rolls over, flips their pillow, or gets up for a drink of water, you’ll be jostled by their movement. Because many softer mattresses are made of at least some kind of memory foam, they usually do an excellent job of isolating motion so you can sleep through whatever is going on over there.
Better relief on pressure points
Firm mattresses can be really hard on the parts of your body that exert the most pressure on the mattress. Shoulders, hips, knees, and heels can take a beating on a firm mattress. Soft mattresses give under pressure to relieve strain on your pressure points.
If you’re looking for a good hug at the end of a long day, you can count on your soft mattress to always deliver, even when your partner can’t. Because a soft mattress will yield easily under your weight, you will feel like you’re sinking into a soft cloud rather than skimming the surface of your mattress.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to everything. Soft mattresses are no different.
Because a soft mattress will conform to your body, there is less space for air to circulate and dissipate your body heat. If you tend to sleep hot, be sure to look for a soft, cooling mattress with advanced technology such as gel-infused or open-celled memory foam or naturally cooler latex foam construction.
Getting stuck in your mattress
The increased cradling of a soft mattress can make it hard to get out of bed and even change positions. If you move around a lot while you sleep or have mobility issues, a soft mattress may require more strength and energy than you can exert at night.
You can avoid this problem by looking for a soft mattress that incorporates bouncier foam than most memory foams (like latex mattresses) to give you the push back you need to move with less effort.
Ideal only for select sleepers
Soft mattresses are not recommended for people who sleep on their stomachs (about 16% of sleepers) or back sleepers (about 10%) or for people who weigh more than 230 lbs. The significant amount of give may not provide sufficient support to keep your spine in a neutral position, resulting in back and neck pain.
Poor edge support
Some soft mattresses may collapse at the edge when you sleep or sit on them. Not only can that make you feel like you’re rolling off the bed if you sleep too close to the edge but can also lead to premature wear on your mattress. Be sure to find a soft mattress that has specific edge reinforcements to provide sufficient edge support.
Is a Soft Mattress Right for You?
While mattress firmness is partially a matter of personal preference, there are some body types and sleep styles that are better suited for a soft mattress.
Based on sleeping position
People who sleep on their sides need a mattress for side sleepers that will yield substantially to relieve pressure on shoulders and hips. A soft mattress may be the right choice to relieve pressure on your shoulders, hips, and knees that bear the brunt of your weight if you’re a side sleeper.
Soft mattresses are not a great choice for stomach sleepers or back sleepers. Soft mattresses will cause stomach and back sleepers to sink in too far and cause pain in the lower back from incorrect spinal alignment.
Based on body weight
No matter what their preferred sleep position, people who weigh less need a mattress that will yield easily to their lighter weight. The firmer the mattress, the less it will give under pressure. A mattress that is too firm will leave a light-weight sleeper perched on top of the mattress with too much pressure on their shoulders, hips, and heels.
Light-weight people (less than 130 lbs.) are best suited for a soft mattress.
This also means that soft mattresses are not ideal for people with a heavier body weight. Heavy people need a firmer mattress to support more weight.
By temperature regulation
A soft mattress allows you to sink into the mattress rather than rest on it. Cradled by the mattress, you will be surrounded by your own body heat, making you feel warm and cozy in bed.
If you keep your bedroom cool and often wake up looking for more covers, a softer mattress will help keep you warm at night.
But if you’re a naturally hot sleeper who often wakes up sweating anyways, soft mattress is not ideal for you, especially plush mattresses that are extra contouring.
By who is sleeping in the bed
Motion transfer can turn your partner’s restless night into your restless night. Softer mattresses do a better job of isolating motion than firmer mattresses, so soft mattresses are great for couples.
How to Adjust Your Mattress Firmness
So maybe you overestimated how soft your soft mattress should be. Or your mattress has become too soft over time. Now what?
Don’t panic. There are several steps you can take to add a bit of firmness to your mattress.
- Make sure you have the proper mattress foundation. Depending on the type of mattress you have, your foundation could be:
- Box spring
- Metal bed frame
- Metal platform base
- Slated bed foundation
- Solid platform bed
Make sure your foundation is on the manufacturer’s list of recommended foundations for your mattress. The easiest way to add some support to your soft bed is to slip a bunkie board between your mattress and your foundation.
This will add a firm, flat surface that may give you just the right amount of firmness you need. If you don’t mind altering your bedroom’s interior design, you could switch to a solid platform bed or simply lay your mattress on the floor.
To make your mattress firmer:
- Add a mattress topper. Yes, there are some mattress toppers that can actually add firmness to your soft mattress. Look for a relatively thick topper made of high-density memory foam or latex.
- Adjust your room temperature. If your mattress is made from memory foam, it will be slightly softer in a warmer bedroom. Try turning down the thermostat to a cooler temperature. Not only will your memory foam mattress stay a little firmer, but you’ll sleep better, too. The National Sleep Foundation recommends you keep the temperature in your bedroom between 65 and 72 degrees for optimal sleep.
- Flip or rotate. If your mattress has gotten softer over time, but you’re not ready to buy a new one, flip it over, if it is a two-sided mattress. If it is a one-sided mattress, simply rotating will allow you to sleep on a less worn area while the mattress recovers its shape.
Related: Best Flippable Mattresses
Conversely, in spite of your best efforts to find a soft mattress, the one you chose is still too firm for your liking. Again, don’t panic. You can make your mattress softer a couple of different ways.
To make your mattress softer:
- Add a mattress topper. Many mattress toppers can turn any mattress from firm to soft in a matter of minutes. But since there are some toppers that add firmness, be sure to check the description carefully.
- Adjust your room temperature. A memory foam mattress will become more supple in a warmer room. Just don’t exceed the recommendation of 72 degrees.
If all else fails, and you’re still not happy with your mattress you can return or exchange it. Make sure any mattress you buy comes with a generous trial period of at least 90 nights, and be sure to use it to the full duration of the trial. It can take as much as 30 days or more to break in your new mattress and even longer for your body to adjust to the change.
If you still are unsatisfied after sleeping on your mattress for 30 days or so and you’ve tried the above recommendations, you can ask to return your mattress or exchange it for a softer model. Be sure to only buy a mattress with a reasonable exchange policy.
What is the softest mattress?
Foam combo and memory foam mattress with multiple layers of foam are the softest mattresses. Some mattresses even have specific comfort layers in the bed.
Can an innerspring mattress be soft?
Typically innerspring mattresses are medium to medium-firm. Some innerspring mattresses are topped with a plush comfort layer or pillow top, but generally innersprings are more firm since their base layer is coils. See the best pillow top mattresses to find innerspring mattresses topped with a plush layer.
Can you make a mattress softer?
Yes! By adding a mattress topper or turning up the temperature in your room (heat makes foam softer) you can make your mattress feel softer.
What if the mattress I choose is too soft? Can I make it firmer?
Yes! You can add a topper to make it more firm (look for a high-density topper) or make your room colder. Some mattresses can be flipped to a more firm side (like the Layla). Depending on which mattress company you purchased from, they may even help you exchange your mattress if you don’t like the firmness.
As a reminder, here’s a recap of our top picks for the best soft mattresses:
|Nolah||AirFoam||5/10||Best Soft Foam Mattress|
|Layla||Memory foam||4/10||Best for Pain Relief|
|Saatva||Hybrid||3/10||Best Soft Hybrid Mattress|
|Tuft & Needle Mint||Foam combo||5/10||Best Value Mattress|
|Brooklyn Aurora||Luxury Hybrid||3/10||Best Soft Luxury Mattress|
|Zenhaven||Natural latex||4/10||Best Flippable Mattress|
|Purple Hybrid Premier||Hybrid||4/10||Most Supportive|
- VeryWell Health: verywellhealth.com/top-health-benefits-of-a-good-nights-sleep-2223766
- PR Newswire: prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-sleep-survey-pulls-back-the-covers-on-how-we-doze-and-dream-184798691.html
- National Sleep Foundation: sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/touch
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