In this article
- Our picks
- Other mattresses we've tested
- How we test
- What to consider when buying a firm mattress
- Frequently asked questions
- More Products and sleep advice
Believe it or not the best night's sleep comes on a firm mattress. A firm mattress provides extra support, which helps to keep your spine properly aligned and to alleviate discomfort. It's a great choice if you sleep on your back or stomach and frequently suffer from. The best firm mattresses also help you sleep cooler because you don't sink into them as deeply.
Getting the right support is of particular importance if you weigh more than 230 pounds and if you're a back or stomach sleeper. So if you're searching for the best firm mattress with ample support that doesn't sacrifice comfort, the first thing you should focus on is the firmness level -- you don't want to sink into the bed like with a soft mattress. The right firm mattress for you will also really depend on your support needs and personal sleep preference. Medium-firm mattresses offer a little pressure relief, while firm mattresses offer maximum support.
We put together a list of the most comfortable hybrid mattresses, affordable firm beds, memory foam models and more to help you find the best firm mattress that meets your needs.
Note that all prices quoted are the list price for a queen size, not inclusive of the frequent deals that mattress makers offer.
If you're looking for a true firm mattress, Plank gets the job done and checks a ton of boxes. It's a foam mattress from Brooklyn Bedding that measures over 11 inches thick and has a flippable construction. You're able to sleep on each side, and both boast their own firmness level. That way, you get two firm profiles in one mattress. Whether you want a medium-firm feel with some pressure relief or a supportive, firm feel, you get the best of both worlds.
Flippable mattresses aren't as common in the mattress market, so this is a unique design that helps set the Plank mattress apart from other beds on our best firm mattress list. Flippable beds are longer-lasting than regular foam beds because you get use out of both sides. If one side wears, you can flip it to the other.
As far as feel goes, this mattress has a responsive, neutral-foam feel that contours your curves without making you feel like you're sinking into the mattress like you get with some memory foam beds. This is especially nice for people who toss and turn often during the middle of the night, it's much easier to move around on.
This may not be an ideal bed for heavier sleepers looking for a firm mattress because of its foam construction, but it's a great firm mattress for back and stomach sleepers under 230 pounds who want firmness at an affordable cost.
The WinkBed mattress is an affordable luxury bed fit for a hotel room in the Four Seasons. WinkBeds is a reputable brand, and it puts each mattress through a rigorous simulation to test beds for durability. So you know your WinkBed mattress is not only going to be comfortable and firm, but it'll also stand the test of time.
The WinkBed mattress is a pillow top mattress that combines the sturdiness and support of a traditional innerspring mattress with the comfort and plushness of a nice foam mattress. It's incredibly thick, and the firm model is, as WinkBed says, "firm but not hard." It's supportive, but you still feel the fluffiness and coziness from the foam and gel pillow top in the comfort layers.
I'd rate the WinkBed's firm model around a medium-firm, so it still offers a good amount of pressure relief. This is what makes it ideal for people who suffer from back pain. It'll keep your spine in proper alignment with your neck and head, but it isn't such a firm mattress that it'll cause irritation and press into your joints. Read more about the bed in our WinkBeds mattress review.
Memory foam mattress
5 or medium
Nectar is a popular online mattress brand with beds that boast a memory foam feel, similar to the expensive TempurPedic mattresses. The best part? The Nectar bed is a fraction of the cost. It has a firm mattress feel that takes a moment to warm up to your body. Once it does, you slowly become nestled into the layers of the mattress, and the foam remembers the shape of your body for several moments after you get up. Hence the name "memory foam." The brand claims the bed has a cooling cover, but I think it's more temperature-neutral. It does help you sleep more comfortably, but it isn't cool to the touch like other cooling beds I've tested.
I rated the firmness around a medium-firm, making it best for back, stomach or combination sleepers who are looking for a more supportive feel. Though, the original Nectar bed is only made out of foam. In that case, I think it's best for sleepers who weigh under the 230-pound range. Read more about this bed in our Nectar mattress review.
Mixed foam hybrid mattress
Medium or 5
Somehow both firm and soft, the Intellibed Signature Matrix Grand is really the best of both worlds. Squeezed between latex and foam layers, this hybrid mattress features a Gel Matrix, an elastic gel that flexes and moves to contour to your shape and evenly distribute body weight. I don't know how Intellibed does it, but the firmness of the mattress provides ample support to keep your spine in proper alignment, while the softness allows the right amount of give to alleviate pressure without sagging. It's a really nice balance.
As soon as I settled into the mattress, I could feel the pressure leaving my body. And after a few weeks on it, I was sleeping through the night and waking up free of pain. This makes it a great bed for all sleeping positions, including side sleepers who want more pressure relief.
The secret to Intellibed is its gel-like material in the mattress' comfort layers. It's flexible and soft, but at the same time, it keeps you feeling supported. It's kind of like a Dr. Sholl's shoe insole and similar to the material found in the Purple mattress.
3 firmness levels | Plush Soft: Medium or 5 | Luxury Firm: Medium-firm or 7 | Firm: 9/10 or firm
The Saatva mattress is constructed of layers of innerspring coils with luxury latex foam and a comfort layer of cushioning that's reminiscent of a pillow top. This provides just enough cushioning to make the mattress comfortable, but not too much that you feel like you're sinking in and out of alignment.
The hybrid mattress also has memory foam in the center of the mattress that provides special lumbar support, so your spine stays aligned, affording pressure relief, especially when you're sleeping on your side -- something that many other firm mattresses fall short on.
With the Saatva mattress, there are three firm options -- firm (rated an eight out of 10 on the standard-mattress firmness scale), luxury firm (rated a five to seven out of 10), and plush soft (five out of 10). There are also two mattress heights -- 11.5 inches and 14.5 inches. This essentially gives you the option to customize your firm mattress more because you can choose how soft or supportive you want it to be. Keep in mind, if you go with the deeper mattress, make sure you're also getting deep-pocket sheets. Read more in our full Saatva mattress review.
Memory foam hybrid mattress
5 or medium
25-year limited warranty
Rated a six to seven out of 10 on the mattress firmness scale, the GhostBed is classified as a medium-firm mattress. It's made of a combination of latex-like memory foams that have a soft, springy feel, but also provide enough support so you don't feel like you're sinking into the mattress (and then waking up in pain). It also has two rows of reinforced coils around the edge of the bed that hold the layers up and contribute to excellent edge-to-edge firmness level support.
Out of all of the firm bed options on this list, the GhostBed mattress brand felt most like a traditional spring mattress, in all of the right ways. Another thing I really liked about this mattress is that it always felt cool to the touch. The quilted cover of the foam mattress has cooling fibers that are directly woven in and help disperse body heat. Read more in our GhostBed Flex mattress review.
Memory foam hybrid mattress
7 or medium-firm
15-year limited warranty
The Helix Plus hybrid mattress, rated a seven to eight out of 10 on the firmness scale, is designed to offer extra support for heavier sleepers, although it's an excellent option for sleepers of any size and shape. It's made of wrapped coils and several layers of memory foam in varying densities, but the real star of the show is a 4-inch layer of high-density foam. This extra foam held up the other layers, providing adequate support, but also adding some cushioning that provided relief for my shoulders and hips.
Because the mattress is thicker -- it's 13 inches tall -- it will feel firmer if you have a lower body mass index, but I thought it had just the right amount of give. It was comfortable in any sleeping position (even for a stomach sleeper or combination sleepers) and provided motion isolation really well, so I didn't bounce around, even when my boyfriend moved in the middle of the night. Read more in our full Helix mattress review.
The DreamCloud Premier, DreamCloud's mid-level luxury mattress, is ideal for couples because it fits the bill for the main features co-sleepers look for: good edge support, motion isolation, durability and comfort.
The DreamCloud Premier is a premium bed with a cashmere cover and a thick, hybrid construction. This makes it durable and supportive for any body type, from small to large. It has individually wrapped coils that are designed with edge support reinforcements so the left and right sides are extra sturdy. This is especially helpful if you share a smaller bed with your partner, say a queen or full size.
This firm mattress is also made with memory foam, a material that's notoriously great at isolating motion. With that being said, the feel isn't so prominent that it feels like a dense memory foam bed. Instead, it's quick to respond to pressure and doesn't make you feel like you're falling into a sinkhole. It's a comfy bed that's difficult to dislike.
I'd rate this mattress around a medium to medium-firm, so it's not the firmest bed on this list. However, it's more versatile to accommodate a wider range of sleeping positions. If you spend some time during the night sleeping on your side, this mattress probably isn't going to feel uncomfortable for you.
7 or medium-firm with the pillow top (9 or firm without)
25-year limited warranty
$2,499 (with the pillow top) $1,999 without
Like it says in the name, Avocado is a green and environmentally-friendly mattress. All the materials are either recycled or responsibly sourced from organic farms, which follow strict regulatory guidelines. The foundation is made with recycled steel coils and the comfort layers include: organic latex made from the sap of a tropical rubber tree, New Zealand wool and organic cotton. It feels a bit firm, a medium-firm with the pillow top and firm without. However, if you sleep on your back or stomach and are particularly health-conscious, I think you'll be a big fan of the bed.
Organic latex beds are durable, hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. You won't have to worry about added chemicals in the mattress or the buildup up household allergens within the foam. It has a ton of certifications to back up its eco-friendly claims, and it's one of the best firm mattress models I've tested. Read more in our full Avocado mattress review.
Other mattresses we've tested
: The Purple Hybrid bed took everything we love about the Purple mattress and made it firmer and more supportive. It's rated around a medium-firm, though you can still feel the weightless pressure relief from the Purple Grid in the comfort layer. It has a unique feel that takes a moment to get used to, but it's comfortable and accommodating once you're used to it. It'll be suitable for just about body type and it accommodates back, stomach and combination sleepers.
: The Amerisleep AS2 mattress is rated around a medium-firm or a 7 on the scale, and it has a dense memory foam feel that's slow to respond to pressure. It'll take a moment for you to nestle into the layers, however, as dense memory foam tends to be triggered by heat. One of my favorite things about this bed is that it has a machine-washable cover, so it's much easier to get out a spill or stain.
: The Perfect Fit memory foam inside Cocoon, as it's aptly named, adapted to my body, providing pressure relief and support where I needed it most. It also has a nice firmness profile, rated around a medium-firm on the scale. Those are just some of the reasons that it may be the best firm mattress for you, too. This Cocoon chill memory foam sits on top of another foam layer, a responsive comfort layer, that provides a little bit of extra plushness (something many traditional memory foam mattress options are missing) and some extra support so the mattress never sank or sagged.
: The Helix Dawn bed is a hybrid mattress that's as firm as firm beds can get. Rated around a nine to 10 on the firmness scale, it's great for stomach or back sleepers under 230 pounds who want maximum support at an affordable price. I also like its general foam feel; it's like the foam out of your favorite comfy couch. It's more breathable and more responsive to pressure than memory foam.
How we test firm mattresses
CNET editors pick the products and services we write about based on editorial merit. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.
To test firm mattresses, we use our own instincts and pay close attention to how firm a bed feels. Particularly in comparison to other mattresses. We look for how much our body is engulfed by the foam, how far we sink into the bed and how supportive a bed feels in every sleeping position. If a bed presses strongly into our shoulders and hips while lying on our side, that's a good indicator it's firm.
Read more on how we test mattresses.
What to consider when buying a firm mattress
Back and stomach sleepers are the types who usually sleep most comfortably on a firm mattress. Side sleepers typically like softer beds that offer pressure relief to the hips and shoulders. If you're a side sleeper, you may not want a firm bed.
The lighter you are, the firmer a mattress is going to feel. People under 150 pounds will likely perceive a medium-firm bed as firm. The opposite is true for heavier sleepers; the heavier you are, the softer a bed is going to feel. If a bed is rated around a medium-firm and you weigh 245 pounds, it will likely feel closer to a medium instead. Keep this in mind when you're shopping for a bed so you choose the most suitable one.
All firm beds aren't made to be the same. Beds that are considered firm land between six to 10 on the firmness scale. Beds rated around six to eight are considered among the medium-firm range, while eight to 10 is firm territory. Medium-firm beds offer both pressure relief and support, while firm beds offer max support.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best firm mattress?
Some of the best firm mattresses that range from medium-firm to firm include:
- DreamCloud Premier
- Nectar Original
- Helix Plus
- Saatva Classic
- Avocado Green
- GhostBed Flex
Is a firm mattress better for sleeping?
It primarily depends on your favorite sleeping position. If you're a back or stomach sleeper, a firm mattress does a great job of keeping your neck and spine in proper alignment.
What firmness do hotel mattresses use?
Hotels tend to furnish their rooms with beds that fall in the medium to medium-firm range. That way, they can accommodate a wider range of sleeping position options because the beds aren't too firm or too soft.
Is plush firmer than medium?
Typically when you see the term "plush" when describing a mattress, it means it's more toward the soft side of the spectrum. So, a plush mattress is softer than a medium mattress.
Which mattress types are most firm?
Latex foam mattresses are generally the firmest compared with other foam mattresses, followed by innerspring mattresses. With that being said, there are plenty of softer latex mattress and innerspring mattress options on the market, too. It's difficult to generalize about firm bed mattresses when there are so many different ones on the market.
Is a firm mattress better for your back?
If you sleep on your back or stomach, a firm mattress can keep your spine and neck in a straight alignment to prevent you from sagging into the bed and experiencing back pain. However, if you're a side sleeper, a firm mattress can push into your body and promote a curved spine.
Do firm mattresses get softer?
Yes. All mattresses soften up over time with regular use and wear-and-tear. Memory foam beds also tend to get softer in the summer and firmer in the winter because they are so sensitive to temperature.
What is the difference between firmness and support?
In mattress terms, firmness and support almost go hand-in-hand. Support refers to a bed's ability to keep your back, neck, head, trunk and lower body propped and in proper alignment. Firmer beds tend to have the most support because they keep your body from sinking into the foam.
When a bed like the Casper models have zoned support designs, it means it's firmer under your back for ample support, and more soft pressure-relieving around your shoulders and trunk for more pressure relief.
More mattress advice
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.