Mattress Buying Guide for Couples
If you share your bed with someone, then you likely already know there are many factors to consider when shopping for a new mattress — and striking a balance between mattress preferences and couples’ needs can be quite tricky. Will the mattress provide adequate firmness and support for both sleepers? Does it cut down on noise and minimize motion transfer? Is the mattress responsive enough for sex? Will it sleep hot?
Our Buyer’s Guide explores these and other considerations. We also compare different mattress types in terms of their suitability for couples. Get ready to learn everything you need to know when buying a mattress as a couple!
Mattress Buyer’s Guide for Couples
How to Choose the Best Mattress for Couples
From heat retention to suitability for sex, couples have several things to consider when selecting a new mattress. Review the following list of mattress qualities to determine what’s important to you as a couple and get started finding your perfect mattress.
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Motion Transfer and Isolation
When you shift sleep positions or get out of/into bed, your body creates motion that may disrupt your sleep partner. This can be a major disadvantage to sleeping with someone.
Some mattresses — including most memory foam and latex models — are engineered to absorb and isolate that motion to specific areas of the mattress. Other mattress types, such as innersprings, do little (if anything) to minimize motion transfer. Thicker mattresses tend to absorb and isolate motion more effectively than thinner ones. We recommend models that are at least 11 to 12 inches thick.
It’s important to note the inverse relationship between motion isolation and responsiveness, which is used to evaluate mattresses for sex. Mattresses that offer good motion isolation tend to be less responsive, and thus not as good for sex, whereas those with poor motion isolation are often highly responsive.
Noise control is linked to motion transfer and isolation, since mattresses that offer one typically offer the other as well. Mattresses made of foam or latex are often virtually silent when bearing weight. This can cut down on nighttime disruptions if your partner moves often during the night, and also ensure discreet sex.
Innersprings and hybrids tend to be noisier, largely due to their metal springs, while airbeds may produce loud noises due to air pumps and other electrical components.
Mattress Firmness and Feel
Firmness refers to how soft or firm the mattress feels beneath different sleepers. Most manufacturers rate firmness on a 1 to 10 scale, with 1 being the least firm and 10 being the firmest, but the vast majority of mattresses sold today fall between a 3 (Soft) and an 8 (Firm).
Firmness preferences sharply vary from sleeper to sleeper, and often depend on factors like height, body weight and sleep position. Someone who weighs 250 pounds and sleeps on their side, for instance, will usually feel most comfortable on a mattress rated 6 (Medium Firm) to 8 (Firm); anything with a lower firmness rating may lead to uncomfortable sinking. On the other hand, someone who weighs 100 pounds and sleeps on their back may need a less-firm mattress in order to sink into the sleep surface and alleviate pressure points.
Some couples compromise in terms of mattress firmness. However, if you and your sleep partner have significantly different firmness preferences, then a ‘split’ or ‘dual-firmness’ mattress might be the best option. These models — typically Queen and King sizes — feature different firmness ratings on either side to accommodate couples with different needs.
It’s also important to note that many airbeds sold today offer adjustable firmness settings, including dual-firmness settings for couples.
Related to firmness, feel refers to mattress properties like conforming and contouring. Some people prefer mattresses that conform closely to align the spine and alleviate pressure, while others prefer firmer surfaces that do not conform very much. When browsing for mattress models, be sure to discuss firmness and feel preferences with your sleep partner.
Suitability for Sex
If you sleep with a romantic partner, then sex is a major mattress consideration. Sex is linked to responsiveness. Mattresses that respond quickly to sleeper’s bodies tend to be bouncier and better for sex. Those with slow responsiveness are less bouncy, and they may create an uncomfortable sinking sensation; some couples liken this to ‘fighting the mattress.’
In addition to responsiveness, other mattress factors can be used to assess if it’s good for sex. These include:
- Ease of movement: Mattresses that conform closely to a sleeper’s body do not maintain a flat, even surface, and this can make moving around difficult.
- Noise: Mattresses that produce squeaks and other loud noises cannot ensure discreet sex the same way that silent models can.
- Cushioning: Mattresses should be thick enough to withstand the various motions that sex requires and provide sufficient cushioning without bottoming out.
- Durability: Most mattresses are designed to perform for six to seven years, but some may degrade faster due to sexual activity.
- Edge support: Some mattresses are reinforced with foam or other materials at the edges; this can prevent sinkage in places where people tend to sit. Other mattresses offer little to no edge support. Strong edge support means the entire mattress is suitable for sex.
Two of our favorite mattresses for couples, The WinkBed and the Loom & Leaf, have also been selected as the best mattresses for sex.
When discussing mattresses, ‘support’ refers to the bed’s ability to maintain a flat, even surface; this helps sleepers align their spine and alleviate pressure, regardless of their position. Both a lack of firmness and excessive firmness can negatively affect the supportive properties of a mattress. Unsupportive mattresses often sag in places, and this can exacerbate pain and pressure in the neck, shoulders, back and hips.
When more than one person uses a mattress, this creates greater amounts of compression, and more support is required. For this reason, Queen-, King-, or California King-size mattresses are usually the best option; smaller sizes may not offer enough support for both people.
All mattresses absorb body heat from sleepers. Some retain minimal body heat and tend to sleep cool. Others can be body heat traps that sleep uncomfortably warm or hot. Sleeping hot can lead to restless sleep and feelings of tiredness the next day.
Generally speaking, innersprings sleep the coolest while memory foam and memory foam hybrid mattresses sleep the warmest. Latex and airbeds may also sleep hot, but these mattresses tend to receive fewer complaints.
In addition to mattress type, there are other factors that impact how hot a mattress sleeps. These include mattress firmness, comfort layer materials, and sleeper body type.
Most mattresses sold today come with a ‘weight limit’, typically 600 pounds or more for a Queen- or King-size model. When choosing a mattress, couples need to consider their combined weight as a couple in regards to this weight limit.
Exceeding the weight limit can cause damage to the mattress, and may reduce its overall lifespan. Weight limits often vary by brand, model, and size, so mattress shoppers should inquire about this when comparing different options.
The Best Mattress Types for Couples
Now that you know what you’re looking for in a mattress, it’s helpful to understand the different types of mattresses you have to choose from, and to what extent they meet your requirements as a couple. Below we provide an overview of the most common mattress types you’ll encounter today, and evaluate their suitability for couples.
Best Innerspring Mattresses for Couples
WinkBeds Mattress Reviews
Construction: Innerspring mattresses use steel coils in their support core, above a base layer of polyfoam. The composition of the comfort layers can vary, but usually include at least one layer of foam, memory foam, latex foams, or minicoils.
Suitability for Couples: Innerspring beds are desirable for couples because of their characteristic bounce. The coil support core gives these beds a springiness that’s great for sex. However, that coil core also makes these beds noisier than others, which can be awkward if you want to have sex discreetly, or frustrating if you wake easily from your partner moving during the night.
Average Lifespan and Price: Innerspring mattresses are less durable than other mattress types, lasting about 5 to 6 years, but they are typically the most affordable, ranging from $800 to $1,100 for a Queen.
Best Foam Mattresses for Couples
Nectar Mattress Review
Loom & Leaf Mattress Review
Construction: Foam mattresses use high-density polyfoam in their support layer, and polyfoam or memory foam in their comfort layers.
Suitability for Couples: Foam mattresses have a pressure-relieving hug that makes them popular among those with chronic pain or anyone who wants to feel cradled by their mattress. This high conforming ability can interfere with the bed’s responsiveness during sex, however, creating the feeling of “fighting” the mattress. This sensation can be reduced with firmer models.
Regardless, foam mattresses offer other benefits to couples. These beds have the best motion isolation of all mattress types, with a quiet sleep surface that absorbs motion and noise — and minimizes disruptions from moving sleep partners. That quiet surface maintains its silence during amorous activity, so these beds can be a good option for parents or couples who want to enjoy sex discreetly. Finally, many foam mattress manufacturers offer dual firmness settings.
Average Lifespan and Price: Foam mattresses are average when it comes to lifespan and price, lasting around 6 to 7 years, and costing between $1,000 to $1500 for a Queen.
Best Latex Mattresses for Couples
Zenhaven Mattress Review
Construction: Latex mattresses may be made entirely of latex, with latex in both the support core and comfort layers. Alternately, they may use high-density polyfoam in the support layer and have additional comfort layers of memory foam or polyfoam. Ultimately, a latex mattress is so-called if it has at least one layer of latex in the comfort layer.
The latex used in a latex mattress may be organic, synthetic, or a blend of the two. All-latex (natural) models last longer and are less likely to break down than those that use synthetic latex foams.
Suitability for Couples: Latex mattresses absorb noise and movement very well, so these mattresses are as ideal for couples who wake easily from each other’s movements as they are for those who want to enjoy discreet sex. They tend to sleep cool, especially if they have a high proportion of natural latex in their construction. Latex mattresses provide a much more responsive surface than all-foam beds; however, some may find the bed isn’t quite bouncy enough for sex.
Average Lifespan and Price: Latex mattresses are significantly more durable than other mattress types, usually lasting 8 years or longer. They’re also more expensive, at $1,500 to $2,000 for a Queen.
Best Hybrid Mattresses for Couples
Helix Mattress Review
Avocado Mattress Review
Construction: Hybrid mattresses combine the structural features of foam and innerspring beds. The support core consists of a layer of individually pocketed coils, above a base layer of polyfoam. Comfort layers include at least two inches of memory foam or latex, with optional, additional layers of polyfoam or microcoils.
Suitability for Couples: Hybrid mattresses resolve many of the issues couples have with either foam or innerspring beds. The use of pocketed coils in the support core allows the bed to sleep cooler than all-foam beds, while still being responsive enough for sex. Thicker comfort layers facilitate better motion isolation, so the beds sleep quieter than innerspring beds and offer more contour, as well. Dual firmness options are somewhat common among hybrid mattresses, too.
Average Lifespan and Price: Hybrid mattresses run on the expensive side, with a Queen costing anywhere between $1,500 to $2,000. They should last 6 to 7 years on average.