The Best Firm Mattresses – Top 6 Beds and Buying Guide

Our Review Process

 

Tuck’s mattress recommendations are based on more than 200,000 verified customer experiences and our team’s exhaustive testing procedure. We never recommend a bed we haven’t personally experienced and tested in our lab. You can rest assured, when you’re ready to buy, the mattress you pick meets Tuck’s lofty standards.

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Quick Summary

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.

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’) or firmer.

Best Firm Mattresses

Editor’s Pick – Plank

Best Value Mattress – Sleep On Latex Pure Green Mattress (9″)

Best Luxury Mattress – Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Contour Collection

Best Mattress for Side Sleepers – Loom & Leaf

Best Mattress for Cool Sleep – airweave

Best Organic Mattress – Avocado Green

How We Decided

 

147 mattresses considered –– 130 hours of research –– 8 mattress executives interviewed –– 3 sleep experts consulted

Best Firm Mattresses – Tuck's Top 6 Beds

Plank – Editor's Pick

Highlights
  • Flippable with two firmness options
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Strong, durable support
  • Sleeps cool and responds well

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

Check Price | Read Our Full Plank Mattress Review

Sleep on Latex Pure Green Mattress (9") – Best Value Mattress

Highlights
  • Multiple firmness options (3.5, 5.5, 7.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
  • Great motion isolation

The Pure Green Mattress from Sleep on Latex is available in two thickness profiles, 7″ and 9″. We’ve chosen the 9″ model as our Best Value Mattress because it is more supportive to individuals in all weight groups than the 7″ option, but the price-point for the 9″ bed is still very low compared to other latex mattresses.

Customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free shipping when they order a Pure Green Mattress. Sleep on Latex also offers a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty for this bed.

Good for:

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in every weight group (light, average, heavy)
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Those who tend to sleep hot

Check Price | Read Our Full Sleep on Latex Pure Green Mattress (9″) Mattress Review

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Contour Collection – Best Luxury Mattress

Highlights
  • Multiple firmness options (6, 7)
  • 90-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
  • Very good motion isolation

The TEMPUR-Contour collection from Tempur-Pedic features three memory foam mattress models. The Elite and Elite Breeze, which are 12.5″ thick and ‘Firm’ (7); and the Rhapsody Luxe, which is 13.5″ thick and ‘Medium Firm’ (6). This selection gives firm mattress sleepers three potential options.

Tempur-Pedic mattresses are renowned for their pressure relieving abilities, and the TEMPUR-Contour models are no exception. The memory foam comfort layer conforms closely without excessive sagging, while a high-density polyfoam support core helps the bed maintain an even, comfortable surface. The bed also isolates motion transfer very well and makes virtually no noise. And unlike many memory foam models, TEMPUR-Cloud beds have exceptional durability and longer-than-average lifespans; most won’t need to be replaced for at least seven years.

Prices are above-average for the TEMPUR-Cloud mattresses, which makes them a good choice for shoppers with bigger budgets. Tempur-Pedic customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free White Glove delivery, which includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal. The mattress comes with a 90-night sleep trial and a nonprorated 10-year warranty.

Good for:

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

Check Price | Read Our Full Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Contour Collection Mattress Review

Loom & Leaf – Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

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

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.

Both firmness options for the Loom & Leaf are suitable for side sleepers; they provide extra support to sensitive areas like the shoulders and hips, which can improve spinal alignment and reduce pressure points throughout the body. Comfort layers of gel memory foam and standard memory foam hug the body 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

Check Price | Read Our Full Loom & Leaf Mattress Review

airweave – Best Mattress for Cool Sleep

Highlights
  • Extra Firm (8.5)
  • 60-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Exceptionally responsive surface
  • Innovative material construction

Inspired by ultra-firm mattresses that are popular in East Asia, the airweave Mattress is one of the firmest beds sold today. This is largely due to its construction; the 8.5″ mattress is designed with layers of ‘Airfiber’ – a proprietary material made from food-grade polyethylene – in both the comfort system and the support core. The material has strong responsiveness and will not sink much, which helps back and stomach sleepers with spinal alignment.

The Airfiber material is highly durable and the airweave has a lifespan that far exceeds that of the average mattress. The airweave also sleeps very cool due to good air circulation within the individual layers, as well as the breathable cotton-blend cover. And because the mattress is exceptionally lightweight, it is easy to lift and move for most adults.

airweave ships mattresses for free within the contiguous U.S., and White Glove delivery is available for a flat fee of $40. The mattress is backed by a 60-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Good for:

  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups
  • Those who tend to sleep hot
  • Sleepers who prefer low-profile beds

Check Price | Read Our Full airweave Mattress Review

Avocado – Best Organic Mattress

Highlights
  • Multiple firmness options (5.5, 6.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 20-year warranty
  • Good motion isolation and conforming
  • Zoned coils provide strong edge support

The Avocado Green is a latex hybrid mattress offered in two firmness settings: ‘Medium’ (5.5) and ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5). This selection should be suitable for sleepers who prefer mattresses that are somewhat firm.

The Avocado Green is also a good pick for eco-friendly mattress shoppers. Comfort layers made of natural Dunlop latex and organic wool offer close conforming and pressure-relieving cushioning. The mattress also sleeps very cool thanks to these components, as well as the organic cotton cover and good air circulation throughout the pocketed coil support core. Shoppers who desire more padding can opt for the pillow-top design, which adds two inches of latex to the comfort system.

The mattress is highly supportive, as well. The coils are zoned, with higher-gauge (thinner) springs around the perimeter and a mix of low- and high-gauge springs in the center. This absorbs the sleeper’s weight more effectively and also helps minimize sinkage around the edges of the bed where people tend to sit.

Avocado customers in all 50 states qualify for free shipping. The mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial, as well as a longer-than-average 20-year warranty.

Good for:

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in every weight group (light, average, heavy)
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Those who tend to sleep hot

Check Price | Read Our Full Avocado Mattress Review

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/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.