Firm mattresses sometimes get a bad rap for being perceived as uncomfortable and too stiff, but if you find the right one, it can give you the best of both worlds: support and comfort. In the event that your bed is too firm, mattress toppers are a great solution to add a bit of cushion.
If you prefer feeling like you’re sleeping “on” your bed rather than “in” it, or if your mattress has you waking up sore, then a firm mattress might be exactly what you need. The testing gurus at Mattress Advisor poured hours of research and data from their testing lab to find the best of the best firm mattresses.
Back and Stomach Sleepers
Extra firmness promotes spine alignment and provides pressure relief for back and stomach sleepers, which helps prevent morning stiffness and back pain.
Firm Mattress Lovers
Firm mattresses are also a great fit for people who enjoy extra support and feeling elevated, or like the feeling of sleeping “on top” of the bed rather than sinking into it.
Firm mattresses tend to isolate motion well, meaning if one partner tosses and turns, the movement won’t spread across the mattress. Firm mattresses also offer strong edge support, which allows two people to utilize the full area of the bed without feeling like they’re going to fall off the side.
RELATED: How to Choose the Best Bed Sheets
Firmness is measured with a 10-point scale, with one being the softest and 10 being the firmest. Measuring firmness is subjective, however, and the materials of the mattress can make a big difference. Mattresses come in four basic types: memory foam, innerspring, latex, and hybrid. Memory foam mattresses have a contouring effect that may make a firm mattress feel a little less stiff. Innerspring mattresses are made with a system of interconnected coils. Latex mattresses are made from natural or synthetic latex, and a firm latex mattress typically falls somewhere in between the memory foam and innerspring options. Hybrids can combine some or all of these materials to create one unique, firm bed.
The Saatva Classic is a hybrid made from luxurious materials that make you feel like you’re sleeping in a five-star hotel. It comes in three different firmness levels, including a firm model that’s an eight out of 10 on the firmness scale. It offers two different layers of coils to keep your body elevated and supported while a Euro pillow top and layer of memory foam give just a little cushion to make falling asleep feel heavenly. The cherry on top: Your Saatva purchase includes free white glove delivery.
The WinkBed isn’t your traditional innerspring mattress. It’s made with two layers of coils, a comfort layer of gel memory foam, and a Euro pillow top stuffed with foam for both cushioning and cooling comfort. The price point is a bit higher compared to other online mattresses, but it comes with a lot of value. Plus, you have a range of firm options to choose from, including a medium-firm “luxury firm” all the way to “extra firm.”
Want the firmest of the best firm mattresses? Brooklyn Bedding’s Plank fits the bill. This all-foam bed is dual sided, offering one firm side and one extra-firm side. On a scale of one to 10, the firm side ranks at a seven out of 10, while the extra-firm side comes in at a nine out of 10. This mattress has very little give, so if you sleep on your back or stomach it will provide excellent spine alignment and pressure relief. It also has superior durability and edge support, meaning it will retain its plank-like shape for a long time.
The Helix Twilight Luxe is a hybrid mattress that offers superior pressure relief, spine alignment, and durability. Made with a combination of coils and memory foam, this mattress may help reduce back pain thanks to its pressure point-relieving design. The layers of memory foam and coils uplift your spine, eliminating the feeling of being swallowed by your bed.
For side sleepers who truly enjoy a firm mattress, check out the DreamCloud. It’s a medium-firm hybrid made with coils and gel memory foam with incredible pressure relief. The DreamCloud focuses on pressure points like the hips and shoulders and redistributes that pressure to prevent back and neck pain. It comes with a 365-night sleep trial, so if you’re nervous about trying a firmer bed as a side sleeper, you have plenty of time to return it if it isn’t right for you.
The Brooklyn Aurora is another mattress from Brooklyn Bedding with a nice, firm feel, though a little less firm than the Plank. The Aurora has three firmness options, but it stands out from the rest because of its cooling features. The coils allow for great airflow, and the memory foam layers have breathable elements like cooling gel beads, making this an excellent choice for hot sleepers looking for a firm mattress.
The Amerisleep AS1 is one of the firmest memory foam mattresses ever tested by Mattress Advisor. There are two basic layers: the high-density support foam base and the cooling comfort layer made with eco-friendly materials. The Amerisleep AS1 also scored well in cooling thanks to the combination of a breathable cover and open-cell foam layers.
The Cocoon Chill is a great pick for couples who want a firm mattress. Compared to all the mattresses on this list, the Cocoon Chill tested incredibly well for responsiveness and motion transfer. Its responsiveness quickly adapts to a variety of sleep positions, and good motion isolation is key for those who don’t want to be awoken by their partner’s movements on the other side of the bed. The Chill is available with medium-firm and extra-firm options.
Megan Griffith (she/her) is a professional lifestyle writer for Mattress Advisor. As a new mom, she understands the importance of a good night's sleep, and she loves to write about the importance of rest.