The 9 Best Firm Mattresses of 2020

Support your body and improve circulation

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Our Top Picks
"An eco-friendly option with five layers of foam, and no chemicals."
Runner-Up, Best Memory Foam:
Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress at Saatva
"Premium memory foam that's ideal for stomach sleepers."
Best for Back Pain:
Purple Mattress at Purple
"Hyper-Elastic Polymer Smart Comfort Grid offers support for the spine."
"Valued by customers for its firm product as well as its customer service."
"The four-layer mattress has a lower price point and trial period."
"Great choice for restless sleepers that sleep in many different positions at night."
"This dual-sided mattress offers ultra-firm and firm sleep surfaces."
Best for Side Sleepers:
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt at Amazon
"Spring coils and memory foam create the right amount of comfort and support."
"Combines the best of memory foam and coils for a better night’s sleep."

If you’re in the market for a new mattress, you are no doubt looking for a product that will be supportive, comfortable, and long-lasting. Firm mattresses today get their support from a variety of materials, including memory foam, gel, latex, and traditional spring construction. Some mattresses are a hybrid of several of these components, such as memory foam and gel or foam and springs. No matter which material you prefer, there are plenty of options to choose from—and if you experience low-back pain, research shows a medium-firm mattress may help you sleep more comfortably.

To help you find the best one for your needs, here, the best firm mattresses:

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.

Runner-Up, Best Memory Foam: Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress

If you like a luxe feel on your firm mattress, the Loom & Leaf from Saatva might be the one for you. Made from 5-pound memory foam and high-density support foam, the firm mattress creates the feeling of floating on top of the bed. It's a comfy and supportive choice for stomach sleepers and anyone who likes a firmer sleep surface. There's also a gel-infused foam layer to help hot sleepers stay cool, and the mattress has a soft quilted organic cotton cover that's antimicrobial. What's more, all the foam is CertiPUR-US certified, so you can be sure it's free from harmful chemicals.

The Loom & Leaf is available in all standard bed sizes, and there's also a relaxed firm option for those who prefer a little more plushness in their firm mattress. To help you buy with confidence, Saatva offers a 180-night home trial and a 15-year warranty. Plus, the company provides free white glove delivery to the room of your choice.

Best for Back Pain: Purple Mattress

Very Good

Aches and pains can be exacerbated by a bad mattress, leaving you sore and cranky during the day. For a more restful night's 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. Its non-toxic and hypoallergenic materials paired with its durable construction are a major plus. Also, the mattress is motion-isolating so your partner won’t disturb you if they get up frequently during the night. Also great: This relatively new company continues to use customer feedback to tweak its products. 

"We found that for back and side sleeping, the Purple performed beautifully. It cushioned, conformed, and cooled—earning top marks on all accounts. However, the Purple could lead to issues for stomach sleepers. The deep cushioning caused uncomfortable bowing in the lower back. If you spend most of your time on your stomach, this might not be the right mattress for you."—Stacey L. Nash, Product Tester

Best Support: Tuft & Needle Adaptive Foam Mattress

This company is valued for its 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, 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.

Best Budget: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice sleep or comfort. Nectar has one of the best mattresses on the market, and their signature medium-firm memory foam mattress is wallet-friendly. Their mattress works with all bed frames (box spring, platform, etc.) and has a ton of other features that you'll 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. There's also the no motion transfer feature, which cuts down on the bounce you feel when the bed is jostled. Nectar offers 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, is a major selling point for consumers who prefer to try other brands at home before making a final decision.

Best Medium Firm: Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress with 6 Premium Layers

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. 

Best Extra Firm: Plank by Brooklyn Bedding Mattress

The dual-sided Plank mattress offers two sleep experiences: One side has a .75-inch quilted top layer for an ultra-firm sleep surface, while the other side offers standard firmness with a 1.5-inch quilted layer. Whichever side you prefer, the firm, flat sleep surface is designed to create a neutral spine position and help you sleep comfortably. Beyond that, the mattress has 7 inches of high-density base foam for durability and stability, along with 2 inches of firm TitanFlex foam for deep compression support that prevents you from sinking too far into the mattress while you snooze.

The mattress is available in all standard sizes and arrives in a box, so you'll want to allow 24 hours for your new mattress to fully expand. If you're in the market for a truly firm mattress, the Plank is a great choice that gives you two firmness options in one. Plus, the mattress is backed by a 10-year warranty, so you can rest easy knowing that Plank has got you covered if there are any issues.

Best for Side Sleepers: Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

For side sleepers who prefer a firmer sleep surface, the TEMPUR-Adapt Medium Hybrid mattress combines spring coils and layers of support and comfort foam to relieve pressure points along your shoulders, hips, and knees. The 11-inch mattress also has a cool-to-the-touch knit cover with an antimicrobial treatment that's resistant to allergens like dust mites and dander.

The TEMPUR-Adapt mattress may help side sleepers wake up without the usual aches and pains. Another plus? This model is one of the most affordable mattresses in the Tempur-Pedic line, so you can get a good night's sleep at a more budget-friendly price.

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—and it doesn't have a heavy odor after being unpacked and doesn't irritate sensitive pressure points after months of regular use.

Final Verdict

If you're a side or back sleeper who wakes up with back pain, we recommend the Purple Mattress because it's designed to support you in all the right places and has excellent breathability. If you're looking for a budget-friendly option, the Nectar Foam Mattress (view at Nectar) is affordable and comfortable for all sleeping positions.

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.

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Article Sources
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  1. Kovacs F, Abraira V, Peña A et al. Effect of firmness of mattress on chronic non-specific low-back pain: randomised, double-blind, controlled, multicentre trial. The Lancet. 2003;362(9396):1599-1604. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(03)14792-7