Offering pressure relief for the hips and shoulders, soft mattresses fare well for folks who sleep on their sides—which turns out to be about 60 percent of the population.
No matter your firmness preferences, when it comes to choosing a mattress, getting plenty of support is key. Some signs to look for to ensure your mattress is giving you the proper support? "You wake up ache-free in the neck, upper back, and lower back. You easily get comfortable; you can easily get in and out of bed no problem; you feel rested, and you don't wake up too much in the night to reposition," says Nicole Shallow, sleep specialist.
We researched and tested the plushest options for every preference and budget. When it comes to choosing a soft mattress, we sought out products that combined spinal support with luxuriously comfy details, such as thick pillow tops and body-cradling materials.
Saatva Classic Mattress
Extra-thick pillow top
Doesn't isolate movement
Fee for returns
After trying the Plush Soft version of Saatva's Classic Mattress at home, our tester gave it an almost-perfect overall score. She loved the extra-thick pillow top and appreciated that it's made with organic materials. There are several comfort levels to choose from, but the brand describes this one as a 3 out of 10 on the firmness scale, so it's undoubtedly one of the softest on the market. And despite the ultra-plush design, it's still plenty supportive.
This responsive hybrid mattress has a sturdy base with hundreds of sag-resistant steel springs and durable edge support on all four sides. Then there's a layer of individually wrapped coils that conform to your body and alleviate pressure, followed by responsive memory foam with zoned support. On the surface, you've got a generously thick quilted pillow top with an organic cotton cover.
This mattress doesn't isolate movement, so you'll feel it when your partner climbs into bed. There's also a fee to return it. But considering the overall quality, unbeatable plushness, and lifetime warranty, it's hard to go wrong.
Price at time of publish: $1,995 for Queen Size (11.5-inch-thick)
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, Cal king, split Cal king | Thickness: 11.5 or 14.5 inches | Type: Plush pillow-top | Materials: Steel pocketed coils, memory foam, organic cotton | Certifications: CertiPUR-US
Zinus Cloud Memory Foam Mattress
Five comfort layers
Plush and responsive
No twin XL or Cal king
The Zinus Cloud is a great choice if you're on a budget. This affordable mattress consists of five layers: 5 inches of high-density memory foam at the base, followed by 3 inches of comfort foam, then 2 inches of memory foam, 1 inch of responsive foam, and soft quilted padding on top. It has a soft and responsive feel that is particularly suited for side sleepers.
The foam is CertiPUR-US certified, ensuring it won't emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into your indoor air. This reasonably priced mattress is also backed by a 10-year warranty. We wish the Cloud came in a couple more sizes, but other than that, we really have no complaints.
Price at time of publish: $289 for Queen Size (12-inch-thick)
Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king | Thickness: 8, 10, or 12 inches | Type: Plush foam | Materials: Memory foam, comfort foam, high-density foam, microfiber | Certifications: CertiPUR-US
Avocado Organic Luxury Plush Mattress
Exceptionally thick and plush
Calls for extra-deep fitted sheet
If you're willing to shell out a little more money in the name of your most comfortable night's sleep, Avocado might be your best bet. A step up from the brand's beloved Green Mattress, the Luxury Plush Mattress isn't messing around when it comes to softness. (It's about a 3 out of 10 on the firmness scale.)
The base consists of nearly 2,000 fabric-encased micro-coils to offer zoned support and isolate movement, followed by several layers of wool and Oeko-Tek-certified cotton, silk, hemp padding, and latex. As for the gusset, you're looking at a thick, plush blend of natural textiles hand-finished with a needle-tufting technique. Since this mattress is 17 inches thick, bear in mind you'll need an extra-deep fitted sheet.
Price at time of publish: $5,599 for Queen Size
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king, split king | Thickness: 17 inches | Type: Plush | Materials: Latex, wool, hemp, silk, cotton, pocketed coils | Certifications: Climate Neutral, GOTS, Greenguard Gold, Oeko-Tex, eco-INSTITUT, Rainforest Alliance, 1% for the Planet
Best for Side Sleepers
Winkbeds The Winkbed
Takes pressure off hips and shoulders
WinkBeds makes the best option for side sleepers. This hybrid mattress comes in four comfort levels, and the softest option is about a 4.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale. It's 13.5 inches thick with multiple layers of pressure-relieving plushness.
You've got responsive zone support from individually wrapped coils, plus self-adjusting foam that conforms to the shape of your body. The extra-plush pillow top gently cradles your curves while taking pressure off your hips and shoulders. Motion-isolating technology, edge support, a breathable Tencel cover, and a lifetime guarantee are all icing on this multi-layered cake.
Price at time of publish: $1,799 for Queen Size
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king | Thickness: 13.5 inches | Type: Hybrid | Materials: Pocketed coils, gel-infused foam, Tencel | Certifications: Oeko-Tex, FSC, CertiPUR-US
Nectar Premier Memory Foam Mattress
Five comfort layers
Takes 24 hours to expand
If you're partial to foam, this one's for you. The Nectar Premier Mattress is 13 inches thick and boasts five layers of adaptive comfort. There are 7 inches of sturdy foam at the base, then 3 inches of self-adjusting foam for buoyancy and minimal motion transfer.
After that, there are 3 inches of memory foam infused with cooling gel and phase-change material (PCM) to keep you at a comfy temperature while you doze. On top is a super-soft and breathable quilted cover. This mattress also has edge support for added stability. Just a heads up—it'll take about 24 hours to fully expand when you take it out of the box.
Price at time of publish: $999 for Queen Size
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king, split king | Thickness: 13 inches | Type: Responsive foam | Materials: Gel-infused memory foam, phase-change material, support foam, poly-blend fabric | Certifications: CertiPUR-US
Sealy Posturepedic Soft Pillow Top Westerfield Mattress
Two layers of adaptive coils
Calls for extra-deep fitted sheet
The Sealy Westerfield Mattress comes in five comfort levels—and if you prefer innerspring but want your bed to be as plush as possible, the Soft Pillow Top option is your best bet. It features multiple layers of encased coils to offer motion-reducing stability without sacrificing flexibility.
Above the adaptive springs is a cooling layer of gel-infused memory foam, followed by aerated gel foam for extra breathability. The knit pillow top helps alleviate pressure from your hips and shoulders, while Sealy's DuraFlex system offers durable edge support on all sides. Since this mattress is 15 inches thick, you'll want to get an extra-deep fitted sheet.
Price at time of publish: $1,199 for Queen Size
Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king, Cal king | Thickness: 15 inches | Type: Innerspring pillow-top | Materials: Encased coils, gel-infused foam, knit fabric | Certifications: CertiPUR-US
Puffy Royal Hybrid Mattress
Plush, adaptable comfort
Can't decide whether innerspring or foam is right for you? Go with a hybrid mattress, like the Puffy Royal. Offering the best of both worlds, this bed-in-a-box features seven layers of adaptable comfort.
There are 7 inches of high-density foam surrounding individually wrapped reflexive coils. Just above is 2 inches of soft, responsive foam with zoned support, then 2 inches of gel-infused cooling foam, and two more layers of plush, body-conforming foam with temperature-regulating technology. We wish this mattress was more affordable but appreciate the lifetime warranty.
Price at time of publish: $2,399 for Queen Size
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king, split king | Thickness: 14 inches | Type: Hybrid plush | Materials: Gel-infused memory foam, encased coils, high-density foam, soft foam | Certifications: CertiPUR-US
DynastyMattress 14.5-Inch CoolBreeze Plush Medium Soft Gel Memory Foam Mattress
Gel-infused memory foam
Not CertiPUR-US certified
If you sleep hot or get night sweats, the CoolBreeze might be your best bet. The top layer of this medium-soft mattress is gel-infused memory foam. This helps draw warmth away from your body while preventing the memory foam from trapping heat, according to the brand.
This mattress is CeritPUR-US certified and when you take it out of the box, it expands almost immediately and doesn't have a chemical smell. We also like that the cover is removable and washable—a big plus for folks prone to night sweats.
Price at time of publish: $539 for Queen Size
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, short queen, queen, king, split king, Cal king, split Cal king, split head king | Thickness: 14.5 inches | Type: Plush foam | Materials: Gel-infused memory foam, soft foam, high-density memory foam | Certifications: CertiPUR-US, OKEO-TEX
Purple Hybrid Premier 4 Mattress
Springy coil base
Buoyant pressure relief
Built-in air channels
No twin size
Purple's Hybrid Premier 4 doesn't mess around when it comes to pressure relief. This mattress was designed for people who crave a soft, cradled feel. The upper layer is the brand's famous GelFlex Grid, an incredibly buoyant hyper-elastic polymer that continuously adapts to your shape and movements.
The springy base offers pressure relief through fabric-encased steel coils, while built-in air channels ensure breathability. This mattress is expensive, and it doesn't come in a twin size. But if you want an exceptionally soft, immersive sleeping experience, you won't be disappointed.
Price at time of publish: $3,499 for Queen Size
Sizes: Twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king, split king | Thickness: 13 inches | Type: Responsive grid | Materials: Hyper-elastic polymer, stainless steel coils, foam, poly-blend fabric | Certifications: CleanAir Gold, CertiPUR-US
Wayfair Sleep 11" Plush Pillow Top Mattress
Thick tufted gusset
Responsive coil system
Takes 72 hours to expand
If your sights are set on a pillow top, consider Wayfair Sleep's Plush Pillow Top Mattress. This mattress is not only reasonably priced but also incredibly comfortable. It's 11 inches thick with a pocketed coil base, followed by a layer of plush foam and a thick tufted gusset on top.
You'll get the responsiveness and support of an innerspring mattress without sacrificing a soft, cradling feel. This bed-in-a-box takes about 72 hours to fully expand. But other than that, we have no complaints about the affordable hybrid design.
Price at time of publish: $390 for Queen Size
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king | Thickness: 11 inches | Type: Plush pillow-top | Materials: Pocket coils, foam, polyester | Certifications: None
Overall, we like Saatva's Plush Soft Classic Mattress. It earned an almost-perfect score from our tester, thanks to its plush yet supportive hybrid design and extra-thick pillow top. On a budget? The ultra-plush Zinus Cloud Mattress is a solid choice that won't break the bank.
What to Look For When Buying a Soft Mattress
The softest mattresses are often made of different types of foam, including memory foam, soft foam, and aerated foam. Sleep specialist Nicole Shallow says memory foam is one of the most common options, as it forms to the shape of your body and relieves pressure points.
Additionally, some mattresses can retain heat, which can be uncomfortable for those who tend to sleep on the warmer side or experience night sweats. That being said, you may want to consider materials that provide a lot of airflow and breathability. "You are looking for materials that wick away moisture and have cooling effects to help keep your body temperature regulated," Shallow says. This may include gel and copper, as well as naturally thermo-regulating textiles like cotton and wool. You'll also find options containing fabric-encased coils.
"If you are a side sleeper, you may prefer a soft mattress, as it will provide full body support," says Shallow. This may go without saying if you're specifically looking for a plush model, but always check the firmness level before buying a mattress.
Brands often indicate firmness on a scale from one to 10 (one being the softest; 10 being the firmest). Softer options are usually somewhere between three and five—any lower than that, and you'll be sacrificing proper support. And while a soft mattress can provide cloud-like comfort, you'll definitely want to ensure that it also allows for optimal support and spinal alignment.
"Mattresses are usually between 8 and 14 inches in thickness," Shallow tells The Spruce. However, Shallow says to note how much of it is the pillow top or upper plush layer. Typically, you want 2 or 3 inches. "This is your comfort layer and something you really will need on a bed."
Thicker mattresses are sometimes softer and plusher, especially those with pillow tops. But this isn't always the case. Materials are usually a better indicator of softness. Sometimes, thicker mattresses can indicate additional cushioning and support for pressure relief and alignment. However, the ideal thickness of your mattress usually depends on a number of factors, like body weight and sleeping position.
What is the softest kind of mattress?
Plush pillow-top mattresses are generally the softest, as they're designed to cradle your body with thick layers of cloud-like support. That said, many types of mattresses can be considered "plush." Memory foam, hybrid, and even some innerspring mattresses can be exceptionally soft, depending on the materials and construction.
How do you make a mattress softer?
One of the easiest ways to make a mattress softer is to add a mattress topper. Toppers are made of many of the same materials as mattresses, such as memory foam, perforated foam, gel, wool, and cotton. You'll also find feather beds, which are filled with down and—you guessed it—feathers.
How often should you replace your mattress?
Generally speaking, you should replace a mattress about every seven years. This will help ensure you're sleeping on a supportive, hygienic surface. If yours isn't as comfortable as it used to be, a plush topper might help you sleep better. However, if your mattress is sagging or has a permanent odor, it's probably best to just get a new one.
Can a soft mattress provide enough support?
Yes, the right soft mattress can provide both adequate cushioning and proper support. Ensuring that your mattress helps maintain a proper spinal alignment and relieves pressure points is important, and not all mattresses can achieve this. Without adequate support, your spine may become misaligned, and you may experience back pain. Consider materials like latex and memory foam, which offer both comfort and support. When shopping for a mattress online, you'll also want to look into the return policy in case you change your mind about the mattress.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer and product reviewer specializing in home design, textiles, and lifestyle. For this story, she interviewed Nicole Shallow, a sleep specialist for buying tips and insight into the softest mattress materials. After considering dozens of models from myriad brands and reviewing insights from our home testers, she ultimately selected options that provide plushness, adaptable support, and pressure relief. Holland covers furniture, bedding, and sleep products at The Spruce. You can read more of her work on Travel + Leisure, MyDomaine, Byrdie, and People.