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The Best Firm Mattresses – Top 6 Beds and Buying Guide

Our Research

147
Mattresses Considered
130
Hours of Research
8
Mattress Executives Interviewed
3
Sleep Experts Consulted

Quick Overview

When choosing a new mattress, softer does not always mean better or of higher quality. While many sleepers prefer beds that conform closely and form a close impression around their figures, some feel most comfortable on mattresses that conform to a minimal extent. For example, heavier individuals often prefer firmer beds because overly soft mattresses sink too deeply beneath their bodies; this can compromise support and lead to aches and pains. Many stomach sleepers prefer firmer beds, as well.

Best Firm Mattresses

Mattress firmness is evaluated using a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the least firm and 10 being the firmest. The vast majority of mattresses sold today fall between a 3 (‘Soft’) and an 8 (‘Extra Firm’). In addition to accommodating sleepers with certain preferences, firmer mattresses carry other benefits. They tend to be more responsive and better for sex, and often sleep cooler than mattresses that conform more closely.

Read on to learn more about firm mattresses, including our picks for the best firm mattresses. Our picks are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis. For the purposes of this article, we have only included mattress models that are available in a 6 (‘Medium Firm’) setting or firmer.

Our Top 6 Picks

The Best Firm Mattresses - Reviewed

Editor’s Pick – Plank by Brooklyn Bedding

Editor’s Pick –  Plank by Brooklyn Bedding

Highlights

  • Flippable with two firmness options
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Strong, durable support
  • Sleeps cool and responds well
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Editor’s Pick Overview

Our Editor’s Pick is the Plank mattress from Brooklyn Bedding, a flippable mattress with one side that is ‘Firm’ (or 7 on the 1-10 firmness scale) and another side that is ‘Extra Firm’ (or 9). This makes the Plank one of the firmest mattresses available today. It is ideal for those who prefer firm mattresses that do not conform very much, which often includes stomach sleepers and those who weigh more than 230 pounds. The mattress is constructed with firm foam layers on both sides, as well as top quilted foam layers that provide a bit of cushioning.

The Plank also isolates motion isolation to a significant extent and produces no noise when bearing weight. This makes it suitable for couples who prefer firmer beds, particularly if one or both of the sleepers awaken easily due to movement or noise. Compared to other all-foam beds, the Plank sleeps fairly cool as well. This is due in part to its breathable cotton-polyester cover.

Brooklyn Bedding offers free shipping to customers anywhere in the U.S. The Plank is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Good for:
  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups
  • People who prefer mattresses that conform very little
  • Those who sleep hot

Best Value – Saatva

Best Value –  Saatva

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4, 6, 7.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 15-year warranty
  • Strong, durable support
  • Good conforming and pressure relief
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Best Value Overview

A mattress with an expensive price-point does not necessarily mean it is high-quality – and by the same token, many low-cost mattresses outperform their higher-end competitors in several key areas. Our pick for the firm mattress with the best value is the Saatva, an innovative coil-on-coil innerspring that uses two spring layers to provide exceptional comfort and sleeper support. The comfort system contains pocketed coils, along with memory foam and polyfoam layers, while sturdy bonnell coils reinforce the support core very effectively. The result is a mattress that offers consistent body conforming and pressure relief, and also withstands sagging and indentations.

The Saatva is available in three firmness settings – Medium Soft’ (4), ‘Medium Firm’ (6), and ‘Firm’ (7.5) – as well as 11 1/2″ and 14 1/2″ profiles. This product range should accommodate most sleepers regardless of their firmness preferences, body type, or sleep position. The two firmer options should be sufficient for anyone who prefers a firmer bed. The ‘Medium Firm’ design offers some conforming and is suitable for most sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds; and the ‘Firm’ option should be sufficient for anyone who weighs more than 230 pounds, including back and stomach sleepers. The mattress also sleeps very cool, thanks in part to strong airflow throughout both coil layers.

Saatva offers free White Glove delivery – including in-home assembly and old mattress removal – to all customers in the contiguous U.S. Competing brands typically charge at least $100 for this service. The Saatva is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.

Good for:
  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Those who tend to sleep hot

Best Luxury – Birch Mattress

Best Luxury – Birch Mattress

Highlights

  • Medium Firm (6.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 25-year warranty
  • Natural, eco-friendly components
  • Consistent temperature neutrality
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Best Luxury Overview

Our Best Luxury pick is the Birch Mattress, a premium latex hybrid constructed from eco-friendly materials. The comfort system includes a top layer of natural and organic wool, followed by a secondary comfort layer of natural Talalay latex. These materials create a Medium Firm (6.5) feel that offers great support for back and stomach sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds, as well as heavier side sleepers.

The mattress also sleeps fairly cool thanks to its breathable organic-cotton cover, ventilated latex layer, and consistent air circulation through the pocketed coil layer. Because latex is naturally durable, the Birch Mattress has a longer-than-average expected lifespan, as well. The coils reinforce the bed nicely, resulting in minimal sagging in the sleep surface and sinkage along the edges.

The Birch Mattress has a price-point that is below-average compared to other latex hybrids. Birch also offers free shipping to all 50 states. The bed is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 25-year warranty.

Good for:
  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups
  • Eco-conscious shoppers
  • Hot sleepers

Best Latex Mattress – Zenhaven

Best Latex Mattress –  Zenhaven

Highlights

  • Durable, natural Talalay latex
  • Dual firmness design (4, 7)
  • Organic cotton and wool cover
  • Free White Glove delivery
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Best Latex Mattress Overview

The Zenhaven is an all-latex mattress that possesses a slate of features that make it a top choice for people who want a firm bed. The mattress has a distinct firmness feel on each side. The Firm side is a 7 on the 1-10 firmness scale, and the other side is a 4. This design gives people who generally prefer a firmer mattress a degree of flexibility in case their comfort preferences change.

The Zenhaven uses four layers of Talalay latex, a material that is known for its buoyant and springy feel. The two innermost layers are denser and serve as the support core for the bed. The two outermost layers are designed with fives zones, providing added responsiveness near the body’s major pressure points. The overall result is a firm sleeping surface that still relieves pressure and promotes spinal alignment.

The outer latex layers are aerated, letting air flow through to keep the mattress cool no matter which side you choose to sleep on. An organic cotton cover with an underside of organic wool provides additional comfort along with moisture-wicking for natural cooling.

The Zenhaven is manufactured by Saatva, who offers free White Glove delivery, which includes setup of the Zenhaven as well as removal of an old mattress. Once the Zenhaven is delivered, you have 120 nights to test it out and decide if it is the right fit for you. For the long-term, Saatva provides a 20-year warranty.

Good for:
  • Sleepers of all body weights and sleeping positions
  • People who like firmness flexibility
  • Those who tend to sleep hot

Best Memory Foam Mattress – Loom & Leaf

Best Memory Foam Mattress  –  Loom & Leaf

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (5.5, 8)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 15-year warranty
  • Excellent motion isolation and close conforming
  • Free White Glove delivery
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Best Memory Foam Mattress Overview

The Loom & Leaf by Saatva is a memory foam mattress offered in two firmness options. These include a ‘Firm’ (8), making it one of the firmest foam beds available, as well as a ‘Medium’ (5.5) option for sleepers who prefer a balance of firmness and softness.

The Loom & Leaf is built with comfort layers of gel memory foam and standard memory foam that hug the body and alleviate discomfort without excessive sagging. The mattress also sleeps fairly cool compared to other foam beds, due in part to its organic cotton cover. Another key strength of the Loom & Leaf mattress is motion isolation. Because the mattress absorbs and minimizes transfer so well and is virtually silent, it is a good option for couples – particularly if one or both of the sleepers awakens easily due to motion or noise.

Because Saatva manufactures the Loom & Leaf, this mattress is available with free White Glove delivery for customers in the contiguous U.S. The mattress is also backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.

Good for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Couples

Best Hybrid Mattress – WinkBed

Best Hybrid Mattress  –  WinkBed

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4.5, 6.5, 7.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Above-average responsiveness
  • Good pain and pressure relief
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Best Hybrid Mattress Overview

Most hybrid mattresses offer a balance of body-contouring pressure relief and robust support. The WinkBed is a standout in this category for several reasons. It is constructed with comfort layers of polyfoam, gel memory foam, and pocketed minicoils, as well as a compressed-cotton lumbar pad that targets pressure points in the lower back and hips. As a result, sleepers experience above-average pain relief.

Three firmness options are offered for a standard WinkBed: ‘Medium Soft’ (4.5), ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5), and ‘Firm’ (7.5). This range should accommodate most sleepers that prefer some level of firmness in their bed. Additionally, the WinkBed Plus is a ‘Medium Firm’ option that is specifically designed for heavier individuals; it swaps out the memory foam and minicoil layers for a single layer of latex. All four versions of the WinkBed sleep fairly cool and provide great edge support. The mattress is fairly quiet compared to other hybrids, as well.

The WinkBed’s is somewhat expensive, making it a good pick for shoppers with bigger budgets, but it still falls short of the average hybrid’s price-point. WinkBeds offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S.; the mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.

Good for:
  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy)
  • Back and hip pain sufferers
  • Those who tend to sleep hot

Best Firm Mattresses Buying Guide

Mattress firmness refers to how the bed’s surface feels underneath a sleeper’s body, and is directly tied to the materials used in the topmost comfort layer of the mattress. At Tuck, we evaluate firmness in mattresses using a 1-to-10 scale, with 1 being the least firm and 10 being the firmest. However, most mattresses sold today fall between a 3 (or ‘Soft’) and an 8 (‘Firm’).

This page will look at mattresses that are rated as a 7 and above. Some sleepers, such as heavier individuals and those who sleep on their back or stomach, tend to prefer firmer mattresses because they provide more comfort and support than less firm options. Firm mattresses are also linked to better durability, lower costs and a relatively cool sleep surface, but there are also drawbacks associated with firmer models.

Who Sleeps Best on Firm Mattresses?

First, let’s look at sleepers who prefer firm mattresses, as well as those who may not feel as comfortable on a firmer surface.

Firmness is often tied to the sleeper’s bodyweight. For the purposes of this page, ‘average weight’ is defined as 130 to 230 pounds. Generally speaking, people who are on the heavier side tend to prefer mattresses that are firmer, while those on the lighter side often choose mattresses with lower firmness ratings.

Pressure relief is a key reason for this trend. Firmer mattress require more weight for sleepers to sink into the mattress and alleviate their pressure points, and people in the below-average and average weight groups may not weigh enough to enjoy these qualities. On the other hand, softer mattresses may sink too deeply beneath heavier sleepers, resulting in added pain and pressure.

The table below lists the most popular firmness ratings for below-average, average, and above-average weight groups.

Weight Group Most Commonly Preferred Mattress Firmness
Below-average (Less than 130 Pounds) 4 (Medium Soft) and Lower
Average (130 to 230 Pounds) 5 (Medium) to 6 (Medium Firm)
Above-average (More than 230 Pounds) 7 (Firm) and Higher

In addition to bodyweight, firmness may also be linked to the sleeper’s preferred position in bed. People who sleep on their side require mattresses that help align their spine and alleviate pressure points that commonly develop due to this position. Back-sleepers, on the other hand, sleep in a position that naturally aligns the spine and do not require a soft mattress as often. For this reason, back-sleepers tend to feel more comfortable on a firmer mattress than side-sleepers.

Stomach-sleepers in the average and above-average weight groups may also prefer firmer mattresses because they will not sink too deeply. If a mattress is too soft, then heavier stomach-sleepers may sink too far and experience neck and shoulder pain.

The table below represents firmness preference trends among sleepers based on bodyweight and sleep position.

Weight Group Preferred Firmness for Most Side Sleepers Preferred Firmness for Most Back Sleepers Preferred Firmness for Most Stomach Sleepers
Below-average (Less than 130 pounds) 3 (Soft) to 5 (Medium) 4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm) 4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm)
Average (130 to 230 Pounds) 4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm) 5 (Medium) to 7 or 8 (Firm) 6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)
Above-average (More than 230 Pounds) 5 (Medium) to 6 (Medium Firm) 6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm) 6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)

Ultimately, every sleeper is different when it comes to mattress firmness, and we highly recommend testing out mattresses with different firmness ratings in order to pinpoint the feel that is best for you.

Common Qualities of Firm Mattresses

Next, let’s look at some of the construction and performance qualities shared by most mattresses rated as a 7 or higher on the firmness scale.

  • Longer Lifespan: Softer mattresses are prone to premature sagging or indentations in the sleep surface that can cause back pain and pressure over time. Firm mattresses are less susceptible to sagging and indenting, and typically last much longer.
  • Lower Thickness: One reason mattresses are firm is a lack of additional foams and other cushioning materials in the comfort layer. As a result, they tend to have low profiles compared to soft mattresses.
  • Less Expensive: The cushioning and padding that makes softer mattresses thicker is also the reason why many of these models have higher price-points compared to firmer mattresses.
  • Minimal Conforming and Pressure Relief: Sleepers do not sink as deeply into the surface of a firmer mattress, which may result in less pressure relief compared to softer mattresses.
  • Sleeping Cooler: When sleepers sink into a mattress, this may limit airflow and cause the surface to feel uncomfortably hot or warm. Firmer mattresses have better airflow and sleep cooler — although this also depends on the comfort layer materials, as foam and latex mattresses tend to retain more body heat from sleepers and feel much hotter than innersprings or hybrids.
  • Fewer Odors: Off-gassing smells are a common complaint regarding mattresses with high concentrations of foam. Firmer mattresses tend to have less foam, meaning they produce less off-gassing odor.
  • May Be Too Firm for Sex: When it comes to evaluating mattresses for sex, the top-rated models — usually Medium or Medium-Firm — offer a balance of comfort and responsiveness. Firm mattresses may be responsiveness but many lack the cushioning to accommodate comfortable sex.
  • Lower Weight/Easier to Move: Not surprisingly, mattresses with more layers tend to weigh more than those with fewer layers. For this reason, firmer mattresses tend to be lighter and easier to move than their softer counterparts.

The table below rates Soft, Medium/Medium-Firm, and Firm mattresses based on the performance factors described above:

Performance Factor Soft (4 and Lower) Medium to Medium Firm (5 to 6) Firm (7 and Higher)
Longevity Poor to Fair Good Good to Very Good
Thickness Thickest Thicker Least Thick
Average Price High Medium to High Low to Medium
Conforming and Pressure Relief Fair to Good Very Good Poor to Fair
Heat Retention Poor to Fair Good Very Good
Off-gassing Poor to Fair Fair to Good Good to Very Good
Sex Poor to Fair Very Good Fair
Easy to Move Poor to Fair Fair to Good Good to Very Good

Tips for Buying and Maintaining a Firm Mattress

If you have determined that a firmer mattress is right for you, please review the following tips for purchasing a suitable model and keeping it in good shape.

  • Take Advantage of Sleep Trials: Many manufacturers offer mattress sleep trials, which allow customers to test out their mattress for a given length of time (typically 90 to 120 nights). The customer may then return the for a full or partial refund before the sleep trial ends if they are not satisfied. In some cases, they may also be able to exchange their mattress for a model with a different firmness rating. If you are unsure about your specific firmness of choice, then a sleep trial can be highly beneficial.
  • Consider Dual Firmness: Let’s say you prefer a firmer mattress but your partner would rather sleep on a softer surface. Some manufacturers offer ‘dual-firmness’ mattress designs that feature different firmness ratings on each side of the bed to accommodate couples with varying preferences. These options tend to be more expensive than standard, single-firmness mattresses, but dual-firmness can be invaluable for some couples.
  • Shifting Firmness Preferences? A Flippable Model May Be Best: Although they are not common, some manufacturers offer flippable mattresses with different firmness ratings for each comfort layer and a shared support core. This is a suitable option is you prefer sleeping on a firm mattress some — but not all — of the time.
  • Know What’s Covered in the Warranty: Most mattress warranties consider sagging and indentations a defect as long as it measures to a certain depth (1″ to 1 1/2″, in most cases). One thing that is not covered under most mattress warranties: changes in the owner’s firmness and comfort preferences. So if you decide the firmness of your mattress is not right for you after the sleep trial has ended, you may not be able to replace or exchange it at a reduced rate.
  • Additional Layers Can Improve Comfort: If your sleep trial has ended and you find your mattress now feels too firm, a topper with a lower firmness rating may be useful. In addition to improved comfort, some toppers can also add support. A wide range of toppers are sold today. These include low-priced options like fabric, fiber, and feather toppers, as well as more expensive memory foam, latex, and wool toppers.
  • Choose Pillows Based on Firmness: Because sleepers don’t sink as deeply into firmer mattresses, they often require thicker, high-loft pillows for cushioning between their heads and the sleep surface. Medium- and low-loft pillows, by comparison, may not provide enough cushioning and can lead to increased neck and shoulder pain.

Conclusion

As we’ve discussed, a firmer mattress may be the best option for certain sleeper groups, such as those who sleep on their back or those who fall into the above-average weight group. If you prefer mattresses that are less firm, feel free to check out our guide to the Best Soft Mattresses. For more information on mattress firmness, please visit our Firmness Guide.

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