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The best firm mattress should keep your back from sagging into the bed, a big contributor to back pain. Here are the best firm mattresses, picked by experts.
McKenzie, a Certified Sleep Science Coach and proclaimed mattress expert, has been writing sleep content in the wellness space for over four years. After earning her certification from the Spencer Institute and dedicating hundreds of hours to sleep research, she has extensive knowledge on the topic and how to improve your quality of rest.
Having more experience with lying on mattresses than most, McKenzie has reviewed over 150 beds and a variety of different sleep products including pillows, mattress toppers and sheets. McKenzie has also been a guest on multiple radio shows including WGN Chicago as a sleep expert and contributed sleep advice to over 50 different websites.
Dr. Troy Mensen is a family medicine doctor based in the Chicago area. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Iowa and his doctorate at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
American Board of Family Medicine, Family Medicine
State of Illinois, Medical Examining Board License
University of Northern Iowa, BA
Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, DO
Though a firm mattress might not sound very comfortable, for a lot of people, it's the best way to get a good night's sleep. And that's especially true if you typically sleep on your back or stomach. The extra firmness helps to promote proper spine alignment, which helps alleviate pain and discomfort in your neck, back and hips. They're also a great pick if you typically run hot at night, as you won't sink into the bed as deeply, which helps you stay cool. And to help you find the best firm mattress for your needs and your budget, we've rounded up our top picks on the market right now below.
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. I have tested over 100 different mattresses throughout my career and have literally slept on the job for hours in honor of curating our CNET best lists. For our best firm mattress review, 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.
Continue on below to find your ideal mattress match.
What is the overall best firm mattress?
The Saatva Classic is a high-end mattress available in three different firmness levels and two height profiles. Considering each mattress is made to order, you'll essentially get a customized bed made to fit your preferences. It also has an ultra supportive design unlike most beds I've tested. Inside, the Saatva Classic boasts two coil layers and extra lumbar reinforcements.
Note that all prices quoted are the list price for a queen size, not inclusive of the frequent deals that mattress makers offer.
Type Hybrid mattressFirmness 3 firmness levels | Plush Soft: Medium or 5 | Luxury Firm: Medium-firm or 7 | Firm: 9/10 or firmTrial 365 nightsWarranty Lifetime warrantyPrice
Multiple firmness and height options available
Dual-coil construction makes for extra support
Lumbar Spinal Wire is great for back pain sufferers
Suits all body types
Might be out of some people's budgets
Return fee will cost $99
Why we chose the Saatva mattress: The Saatva mattress is a premium mattress worthy of a fancy five-star hotel room. Two-thirds of Saatva Classic's firmness options are on the firm end of the spectrum, giving you the chance to buy a hybrid mattress with a medium-firm or solid-firm profile. Looking for even more support? The Saatva Classic has two different coil layers and a Lumbar Support Spinal Wire for all the added reinforcements you could ask for. I also love its cozy, airy pillow top covered with organic cotton.
It's constructed with multiple layers of innerspring coils with luxury foams, that Lumbar Active Spinal Wire I mentioned for improved back support, multiple comfort layers and big, and a fluffy pillow top cushion. In the center is memory foam 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. I'd even dub the Saatva Classic as one of the best firm mattress picks for people who have back pain.
With the Saatva mattress, there are three firmness options and 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.
Type Cooling memory foam mattressFirmness Medium to medium-firm or 6Trial 100 nightsWarranty 10-year warrantyPrice scale $$Price
Effective cooling technology
A good value (cooling beds can be expensive)
Multiple height options
Hybrid model available to accommodate all body types
Might feel too cool if you don't sleep hot
Dense memory foam feel may give resistance to switching positions
Why we chose the Cocoon Chill mattress: Mattresses almost never live up to their cooling expectations, but Cocoon Chill is one of the exceptions. Its phase change cover is cold to the touch and helps regulate the body's temperature, so hot sleepers rest more comfortably throughout the night. This memory foam mattress also boasts a very reasonable price tag. Cooling mattresses can easily go for $1,000 or more because of the extra tech incorporated, but the Cocoon Chill from Sealy is an effective cooling mattress that won't break the bank.
Cocoon Chill has a three-layer construction with a cooling memory foam comfort layer and a top cover woven with cooling tech and a special phase-change material. This helps the cover physically feel cold to the touch, while the phase-change material draws your body heat from your body and evenly disperses it throughout the bed.
The memory foam feels dense and firm, although it does provide some pressure relief. I'd rate it around a six out of 10 on the firmness scale. The foam contours and molds around your body, but it doesn't suck you into the bed. It's also available in a 10-inch foam model or a 12-inch hybrid, making it a firm mattress that's accommodating for all body types.
Neutral-foam feel makes it easy for combination sleepers to switch positions
Won't be as supportive for heavier sleepers over 230 pounds
Why we chose the Plank mattress: 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. It may not be ideal bed heavier sleepers because of its foam construction, but Plank is one of the best firm mattress picks for back and stomach sleepers under 230 pounds who want versatility and firmness at an affordable cost.
The Plank is very properly named, and it's one of the firmest beds in our best firm mattress review. It's a foam bed-in-a-box mattress from Brooklyn Bedding that measures over 11 inches thick and has a flippable construction. 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 have the option to choose.
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.
Type Latex HybridFirmness 7 or medium-firm with the pillow top (9 or firm without)Trial 365 nightsWarranty 25-year limited warrantyPrice
Made with eco-friendly and sustainable materials
Boasts a long list of impressive green certifications
Accommodates all body types
Made with breathable materials, a plus for hot sleepers
Beds with organic materials tend to be more expensive
The pillow top costs a few extra hundred dollars
Why we chose the Avocado Green mattress: Almost as natural as the fruit it's named after, Avocado Green is a certified organic, environmentally friendly mattress. All the materials are either recycled or responsibly sourced from organic farms, which follow strict regulatory guidelines. Its main, latex-foam comfort material is perforated, so it also allows for increased airflow and doesn't retain heat like memory foam. The Avocado Green is firm by itself and a medium-firm if you add the pillow top.
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. 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.
Type Memory foam mattressFirmness Medium to medium-firm or 6Trial 365 nightsWarranty Forever warrantyPrice scale $Price
Good budget-friendly pick
Available in a hybrid model to accommodate all body types
Memory foam feel might feel too intense to switch positions
Why we chose the Nectar mattress: TheNectar is a popular online mattress brand with beds that boast a memory foam feel, similar to the expensive Tempur-Pedic mattresses. The best part? The Nectar bed is a fraction of the cost. After the foam is warmed by your body, the foam slowly morphs to accommodate the nooks and crannies of your figure. But you don't fall into a middle-of-the-bed sinkhole. Nectar is perfectly supportive for firm-bed lovers under the 230-pound range.
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."
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 the best firm mattress for sleepers who weigh under the 230-pound range. Read more about this bed in our Nectar mattress review.
Type Memory foam hybridFirmness 7 or Medium-firmTrial 100 nightsWarranty 20-year prorated warrantyPrice
Celliant-infused, machine-washable cover
Accommodates all body types
Why we chose the AS2 Hybrid mattress: The Amerisleep AS2 Hybrid, our best firm mattress for back pain pick, offers a good balance of pressure relief and support, keeps your spine in neutral alignment and it comes with a few extra bells and whistles. Its pressure-relieving memory foam bends around your joints and curves, while the coils and dense foam keep you propped up, with good neck and spinal alignment.
The main comfort layer inside the AS2 Hybrid is Bio-Pur memory foam, the brand's own material with an open-cell design and renewable, plant-based oils. It makes the foam more breathable, responsive, and environmentally friendly. Its pressure-relieving memory foam nestles your body without providing resistance or a sunken feel. It's a dense foam that hugs your joints and keeps your body supported in a straight alignment.
I also appreciate the bed's Celliant-infused cover, which is only in a handful of mattresses. It helps boost circulation and aids the body's natural repair process to help you feel more refreshed when you wake up. Before you write it off, it's officially recognized by the FDA as a medical device. Read more in our full Amerisleep mattress review.
Why we chose the WinkBed mattress: When you're looking for the best firm bed with a medium profile, the WinkBed Classic is a quality option that fits the bill. It's a premium hybrid with a medium-firm model that offers a comfortable, responsive feel more like that of neutral or blended foam. It's firm without being overly solid, and each WinkBed is put through a rigorous simulation to ensure long-lasting durability and support. It's one of those mattresses you'd find in a nice hotel or expensive AirBnB.
The WinkBed mattress is a pillow top mattress that combines the sturdiness and support of zoned pocketed innersprings, with the comfort and plushness of multiple foam layers and a fluffy pillow top. It's incredibly thick and the firm model is, as WinkBed says, "firm but not hard."
I'd rate the WinkBed's Firm model around a medium-firm. It'll keep your spine in proper alignment with your neck, 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.
Some sizes aren't available through Walmart, so you'll have to pay more through Allswell
Why we chose the Allswell mattress: There are few beds as good as Allswell that can also match its price. Allswell is a bed-in-a-box mattress made by Walmart, so it's on brand for them to enter the industry with a low-budget mattress. In this case, the Allswell mattress isn't actually "cheap." Instead, it's one of the best firm mattress picks you can get for the money as you can buy it for less than $500.
The Allswell mattress is a hybrid bed that's stronger and more supportive than other, more expensive all-foam beds. It has a layer of pocketed steel coils, a transition foam layer and copper gel-infused foam in the comfort layer for better temperature regulation. It's simple, supportive and accommodating for all body types.
I'd rate the Allswell mattress around a medium-firm or seven out of 10 on the firmness scale. You sit more on top of the bed than you do inside, and the foam is more responsive than traditional memory foam materials. Like most of the beds on this list, it'll be most ideal for back and stomach sleepers who want a firmer mattress profile. You can purchase the bed through the Allswell website, but I've found it's usually more affordable if you purchase straight through Walmart. Read more in our full Allswell mattress review.
Type Memory foam hybrid mattressFirmness 7 or medium-firmTrial 100 nightsWarranty 15-year limited warrantyPrice
Ultra supportive, primarily designed for heavy sleepers over 230 pounds
Extra dense memory foam offers a balance of support and pressure relief
Might be too supportive and firm for those under 200 pounds
Why we chose the Helix Plus mattress: Sleepers who weigh more and deal with back pain should look for an extra supportive and durable mattress, and Helix Plus checks those boxes. With a thick hybrid construction, medium-firm profile and extra large pocketed coils that can support up to 1,000 pounds, it's a solid pick that won't cost an arm and a leg.
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. 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 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.
Helix Dawn mattress: The Helix Dawn bed is a very supportive hybrid mattress that's as firm as firm beds can get, similar to Plank. Rated around a nine to 10 on the firmness scale, it could be a great firm mattress pick 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.
GhostBed Flex Mattress: 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.
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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.
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.
Best firm mattress FAQs
What is the best firm mattress?
Some of the best firm mattresses that range from medium-firm to firm include:
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.
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.
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.