A well-designed mattress with just the right amount of firmness can alleviate back pain and help you sleep better.
Our Top Picks
Best Memory Foam: Zinus Memory Green Tea Mattress at Amazon
"An eco-friendly option with five layers of foam, and no chemicals."
Best Support: Tuft & Needle at Amazon
"Valued by customers for its firm product as well as its customer service."
Best Budget: Nectar Foam Mattress at Nectar
"The four-layer mattress has a lower price point and trial period."
Best Medium Firm: DreamCloud Medium Firm Hybrid Mattress at DreamCloud
"Great choice for restless sleepers that sleep in many different positions at night."
Best for Back Pain: Purple Mattress at Amazon
"Hyper-Elastic Polymer Smart Comfort Grid offers support for the spine."
Best Extra Firm: Brentwood Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress at Amazon
"Gel layer molds around the shape of your body to relieve pressure points."
Best for Side Sleepers: The Essential by Casper at Amazon
"The Zoned Support keeps the spine aligned for side sleepers."
"Combines the best of memory foam and coils for a better night’s sleep."
01 of 08
Best Memory Foam: Zinus Memory Green Tea Mattress
Zinus has created an eco-friendly firm green tea mattress that provides a firm surface without coils or toxins. A green tea mattress uses natural oil from the plant and leaves in lieu of synthetic fillers such as petroleum. The Zinus green tea mattress is thick at a foot in depth and offers significant support with its five layers of foam. This also brings down the price while maintaining a high level of quality over the long term. It is shipped to your door in a slim box and pops open to expand to its normal size over a day or two. A knitted jacquard cover protects the 2-inch gel-infused memory foam that pillows around the body but keeps the spine nicely aligned for side, back, and stomach sleepers. The 3-inch comfort foam cushions you as you sleep. The two layers of 3.5-inch high-density foam offer firm support for the entire bed and together reduce motion that is felt on the surface.
02 of 08
Best Support: Tuft & Needle Adaptive Foam Mattress
This company is valued by customers for their high-quality products as well as their customer service, competitive pricing, and superior materials. Tuft & Needle has used customer feedback to create a new foam base that is infused with cooling gel and graphite to pull the heat from your body at night. The poly-blend plush cover is soft, breathable and heat wicking. It is thicker than previous Tuft & Needle covers so it won’t tear or pill up over years of tossing and turning in the washer. The company created a foam material that is stronger and more supportive, according to users, making it one of the better firm mattresses on the market. The entire bed comes rolled up neatly in a box for easy placement in any room on any floor.
03 of 08
Best Budget: Nectar Foam Mattress
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice sleep or comfort. Nectar has consistently been rated by consumers as one of the best mattresses on the market and their signature medium-firm memory foam mattress ranges from $399 for a twin to $1,050 for a California king. Their mattress works with all bed frames (box spring, platform, etc.) and has a ton of other features that users love.
For one thing, the four-layer mattress has a gel-infused, quilted memory foam layer that surrounds a dense foam core so it perfectly aligns with the back and hips no matter what your sleeping position. Reviewers also raved about Nectar’s no motion transfer feature. This cuts down on the bounce you feel when the bed is jostled. Nectar offer’s an extended trial period if you want to try it out before plunking down a big deposit on a bed. That, paired with the year-long full money back guarantee was a major selling point. It was also easy to use and a big plus for consumers who preferred to try other brands at home before making a final decision.
04 of 08
Best Medium Firm: DreamCloud Luxury Medium Firm Hybrid Mattress
A medium firm mattress is a favorite choice for those who tend to be restless sleepers. If you don’t always sleep in one position, DreamCloud’s Luxury Hybrid Mattress can help you find the sweet spot no matter where you lay your head throughout the night. It has 15 inches of engineered foam and coils topped with a true tufted cashmere blend Euro top. Whether you sleep on your back, side, stomach or a variation of all three, the DreamCloud was made to make you sleep better in any position. The breathable fabrics and patented BestRest coils offer firm support for the gel-infused memory foam that distributes body heat.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best for Back Pain: Purple Mattress
Aches and pains can be exacerbated by a bad mattress, leaving you sore and cranky during the day. For a more restful night sleep, invest in a mattress with proper support but enough cushion that it won't feel like sleeping on a board. Purple Mattress is a firm mattress that supports you in all the right places while you rest. The Hyper-Elastic Polymer Smart Comfort Grid offers support for the spine to maintain its natural curve. If you tend to get hot at night the open-grid design cushions your body and keeps the air flowing to keep your body temperature down under piles of covers. It’s non-toxic and hypoallergenic materials were a plus for buyers paired with its durable construction. The mattress is motion-isolating so your partner won’t disturb you if they get up frequently during the night. This relatively new company continues to use customer feedback to tweak its products.
06 of 08
Best Extra Firm: Brentwood 7” Gel Infused HD Memory Foam Mattress
Buyers flock to this company for its environmentally-friendly materials and processes as well as the quality of the final product. The one-inch gel-infused cool comfort layer molds around the shape of your body to actively relieve pressure points. Brentwood uses a natural anti-microbial material to keep out dust mites and reduce allergies. It is heavier than most mattresses of its same size, according to reviewers, but it comes neatly in a box and rolls out to full size. All of the components, from the bamboo cover to the New Zealand wool, are made in the U.S. The bamboo cover is free of toxins and can be removed to throw in the washer. The New Zealand wool wicks away moisture and regulates body temperature to keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The gel memory foam is certified free of any toxic chemicals by CertiPUR-US. It also comes with a hefty 25-year warranty if the bed breaks down, a plus for many buyers who turned to Brentwood for its consistent support of its products.
07 of 08
Best for Side Sleepers: The Essential by Casper
Skeptics have made this mattress company a star for side-sleepers. Casper has created mattresses that solve nighttime pain problems and cut down on reviewers’ sleepless nights. The built-in special zoning makes this bed ideal for those who sleep on their side. The Zoned Support keeps the spine aligned for side sleepers who can get kinks and pinched nerves when the hips, shoulders, and neck are perpendicular to the bed. It is firmer under the hips and softer under the shoulders to keep the spine in a natural alignment. The 10-inch thick mattress is topped with 1.5 inches of proprietary foam that reviewers found was good at keeping them cool and comfortable. The top layer remained firm yet cushiony. The second layer of memory foam relieves pressure points and the third layer leads to the finch base layer. It arrives in the iconic white and blue striped box for easy transportation to any room in the house.
08 of 08
Best Firm-Hybrid: Alexander Signature Hybrid Luxury Firm
A true hybrid mattress combines the best of memory foam and coils for a better night’s sleep. Nest Bedding’s Alexander is one of the best mattresses that combines foam and coils to create a "luxury firm" bed. It features four layers of quality materials starting with a plush quilted cover. The copper-infused Energex memory and smart flow foam cover the Quantum Edge pocketed coils. These wrapped coils provide a firm foundation as well as airflow so body heat doesn’t build up while you sleep. Together they create a comfortable bed for couples or heavy sleepers. The copper keeps you cool and the pocketed coils provide a satisfying bounce to this fairly firm mattress hybrid. The Alexander arrives tidily encased in a box. Reviewers mentioned it didn’t have a heavy odor after being unpacked and didn’t irritate sensitive pressure points after months of regular use.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought a top-rated firm mattress that our reviewers tested for 147 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this mattress, from its material to its heat retention. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Firm Mattress
Material When buying a mattress, it’s essential to consider what material (or combination of materials) it’s made from. There are a variety of commonly used mattress materials, including foam, steel coils, and latex, all of which have various pros and cons. For instance, many people like how foam contours to the body, but it can get uncomfortably warm during the night. Coils, on the other hand, are better at keeping you cool, but you’re more likely to feel your partner shifting around.
Thickness Today, mattresses can be anywhere from six to 20+ inches thick. The thickness of a mattress can impact your experience in a few ways. For one, heavier individuals tend to need thicker mattresses to support their bodies and minimize sagging. Further, thick mattresses often need special sheets with “extra deep” pockets — an additional expense on top of your purchase.
Heat retention When shopping for a mattress, think about whether you tend to get hot or cold at night. Certain materials, such as memory foam, are better at retaining heat, while others are better for temperature regulation, like latex and gels.
Test Results: Zinus Memory Green Tea Mattress (Best Memory Foam)
What We Like
Conforms to your body
What We Don't Like
Some heat retention
“I like that it feels firm to the touch but when you lay or sit on it, it's very cushy and conforms to your shape,” raved one of our testers about this memory foam mattress. One of our reviewers noted, “It also returns to its original shape when you get up rather than flattening.” As with a lot of memory foam mattresses, our testers said it retains heat, however, that didn’t affect their overall experience. “It does retain a bit of heat overnight, but for the most part it regulates temperature fairly well,” one of our reviewers observed. “It smelled amazing the moment I opened it — never had a problem with an odd smell,” reported one of our testers.