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Innerspring Pillow Top Mattress
|See Saatva Mattress||Saatva is a luxury innerspring mattress that's offered in three different firmnesses. They have a Luxury Firm mattress and a Firm mattress, alongside a Plush Soft option. All three come with an organic cotton pillow top.|
Medium Firm Mattress
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|DreamCloud is a luxury mattress that sits at about a medium firm on our ratings scale. It has micro coils, several layers of dense memory foam, latex foam, and a quilted cashmere cover. It's supportive, firmer, and completely worth your time to learn more about.|
Extra Firm Mattress
|Plank is a two sided firm mattress that's affordable and offers a new take on a bed in a box mattress. It's also offered in all the typical sizes, including twin up to queen and king.|
Best Under $500
|Allswell is an affordable mattress that's about a medium firm and should work for most sleeping positions. All things considered, Allswell could be the best cheap firm mattress on the market right now.|
Memory Foam Mattress
|$200 Off + Gift|
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|GhostBed Luxe is a cooling memory foam mattress that's semi firm and can even handle some side sleepers. This is one of the most comfortable firm memory foam beds we've reviewed.|
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So you’re looking for a firm mattress. Chances are you’re a back sleeper, or you’re a heavier individual, or maybe you have a health concern that calls for a hard bed to sleep on. Back in the day, a firm mattress meant that you had to have a hybrid or spring mattress on top of box springs. Think of your grandma’s old mattress in her guest bedroom, or your dorm bed. But now, with all of the amazing new mattress technology like latex or even Purple mattresses, you have a wide range of options to choose from, meaning you no longer have to sacrifice comfort for a firm mattress.
You might notice some consistencies in this post, such as all of these beds will rank as a medium firm to firm on our firmness scale, all are going to be best mainly for back and stomach sleepers, and all should be accommodating for heavier folks. None of these beds will be the best options for side sleepers, as they need a soft, pressure relieving surface to accommodate for their hips and shoulders when on their side. In this post, we’ll explain which are the best firm or hard mattresses, and why.
Saatva is our “best innerspring mattress” choice for this list. Saatva is a luxury mattress brand that doesn’t believe their beds should be put in boxes, so they offer free white-glove delivery.
This means a delivery company will hand deliver your new mattress to you (with or without the white gloves), set it up exactly how and where you want it, and then remove your old mattress— all complimentary. The downside to this is that they charge $99 for returns, should you change your mind about the bed. We doubt you’ll do that, but we mention it so you’re aware.
Saatva comes in multiple firmness levels, and for this post we specifically like the Luxury Firm model and Firm model. We rated them as a medium-firm to firm on our firmness scale. This bed is built with a dual coil system of individually wrapped coils and a steel coil base, and then has a firm pillow top that’s very responsive, so you will probably never feel “stuck in the mud.” This bed has some bounce to it (great for pillow fights), and an organic cotton cover that we think smells like burlap (in a good way!).
The springs in this mattress make it accommodating for all body types, but we recommend back and stomach sleepers, and combination sleepers look into the Luxury Firm model and side sleepers look into the Plush Soft model. They also have the Firm model for strict stomach and back sleepers.
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DreamCloud has a firm memory foam feel with a quilted cover mixed in. It’s actually one of the more unique beds that we’ve tested to date.
In total, DreamCloud is 15″ thick with numerous layers of memory foam, alongside micro-coils and a sheet of latex foam. Because the bed is about a medium firm, you won’t necessarily feel all of the layers, but rather you will just noticed that it has a big, puffy pillow top. This is the type of bed you want to nestle into and never get out of.
Because it is such a thick and luxurious bed, it will be a pretty good option for heavy people or anyone that just wants a supportive bed. In general, you will remain on top of the mattress, which is why from the get-go we say it’s a little better for back and stomach sleepers. Of course, it will soften with use, but on day one it will be quite firm.
Perhaps the best part about DreamCloud is that it comes with a 365-night trial period and completely free returns. We think if you know what you’re getting into, there’s very little chance that you’ll return it, but at least you have the option—and the trial period is three times as long as the average bed in a box mattress.
Plank is a new mattress concept in that it’s double sided, and both sides are firm. They have a luxury firm side and an extra firm side. You can see our firmness ratings for each side in the graphic below.
As you can see, we rated their “Soft” side as a semi firm and the “Firm” side as an extra firm. Despite the firmness level, however, we recommend medium and petite individuals try out Plank. If you’re heavy (i.e. well over 250 lb) there are other options to look into such as the Big Fig mattress.
This bed is great for back and stomach sleepers, though, combination sleepers will probably be fine on the softer side. At the end of the day, though, we put Plank on the list because of the firmer side for people that want an ultra firm mattress.
The Allswell is an inexpensive hybrid mattress that ships in a box. It’s also fairly new to the mattress scene and is backed by one of the world’s largest retailers, Walmart. This hybrid mattress is constructed with pocketed coils and a memory foam top layer. Some Slumber Yard team members have compared the feeling of this bed to that of laying on an extra-thick bed of grass, because there’s a thin layer of cushion before the firm ground, or in this case, individually wrapped coils.
Our overall firmness rating for the bed is closer to a medium-firm, which means it will be able to accomodate all sleeping positions, although side sleepers need to break in the mattress first. Still, we find it to be supremely comfortable, especially when you think about the fact that it’s a cheap mattress.
Allswell is made in the USA, comes with free shipping and returns, and has a 10-year warranty. The MSRP is under $500 for the queen size mattress. And that is before you apply any discounts. Most of the time, you can expect the queen size to cost you about $350. If you go to AllswellHome.com you can see current deals and offers.
$200 Off + Gift
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The GhostBed Luxe is for those of you who tend to sleep hot, and are looking to cool down. This bed uses gel memory foam with a mix of a Japanese cooling fiber, giving you a “GhostHug” feel (a cold memory foam hug). Heavier folks will probably get that “GhostHug,” but average sized individuals might not because the lighter you are, the less you sink into the material.
Although this is a firm bed, a medium-firm to firm on our scale, there’s still slow responsiveness, which means it takes a second or two for the foam to regain shape when weight is removed from the spot, which might make switching sleep positions more difficult.
The GhostBed Luxe is going to be accommodating for heavy folks because it’s a thicker bed made with quality materials, and of course the firmness helps it to manage heavier people. Even so, we prefer you look into a hybrid bed first, but GhostBed Luxe is one of the better options for overweight and large individuals.
We also think this bed will be great for back and stomach sleepers, and combo sleepers will be fine as long as they sleep mostly on their back and stomach. A little bit of side sleeping is okay with this one, but it’s not the best bed out there for strict side sleeping.
Changing mattresses can be difficult, especially when switching from a soft mattress to a firm one. Your body might need anywhere from several days to a full month to adjust to a new sleeping surface. But many times, these changes will be better for you in the long run. Having a sagging or worn out mattress can lead to issues with the spine, breathing, and blood flow. They can also just negatively affect your night’s sleep, which can cause issues with how you perform during the day.
The process of finding a new mattress in general can sometimes seem daunting. Your bed should be an investment in your life for the next 10-15 years, a happy place, and where you spend about a third of your life sleeping.
Mattresses are also a costly item, being anywhere from $200 to over $1,000 (depending on size and quality). We wish we could tell you plain and simple what the best mattress is to buy, but there are too many factors involved. Making sure you do your research on your specific needs regarding how you like to sleep is very important before taking the leap and purchasing a new mattress.
Here at the Slumber Yard, we literally have a room piled full of mattresses that we test out on a daily basis. We have a complete spectrum of beds, ranging from college student affordable to almost over-the-top luxurious. We have tested poly foam beds, memory foam beds, latex beds, beds with coils, and more. We think about things like whether or not there’s enough edge support for couples. Will this bed sleep hot, or cool? Is this too much for my child’s twin mattress? We take all the guesswork out of the equation for you, because we’re basically mattress nerds.
We have a firmness scale here at the Slumber Yard to help categorize the firmness level of every mattress we test. It makes things easier for both us and you. Our scale ranges from soft, to medium-soft, to medium, to medium-firm, and finally, firm. All of the beds on this list have been rated either a medium firm or firm. Please keep in mind that firmness is a term dependent on body weight, which we explain later in this post, but we have a wide range of Slumber Yard team members in all different body shapes and sizes, which helps us find a median place on the firmness scale for each bed. If you’re looking for the most supportive beds out there, check out our list of the Best Mattresses for Heavy & Obese People.
There are usually some specific qualifications for people who tend to seek out a hard mattress. First is that you’re possibly a back or stomach sleeper. Back and stomach sleepers need a firm surface that won’t let their head, hips, or shoulders sink into the mattress too much, which would cause the spine to curve or arch. Back and stomach sleepers need to keep their spine in neutral alignment, which can prevent back pain and waking up with soreness. We notice that back sleepers typically like a firmer surface, and then stomach sleepers might need a little bit more cushion, like a pillow top.
Another reason you may want a firmer bed is that you might be a heavier individual. Firmness is a relative term to weight, which can make things tricky if you’re either much heavier (250 lb+) or much lighter (100 lb-). Heavier individuals tend to sink into a mattress deeper, because they’re displacing more weight into it. This makes the bed feel softer for them. If you’re a heavier individual who sleeps on their back or stomach, or might just prefer a very firm bed in general, it can be more difficult for you to find what you’re looking for.
The last reason for wanting a harder sleep surface is that you might have a medical condition that requires a firm mattress every night. Whether that has to do with spinal issues, breathing issues, or something else, always consult with your doctor before making a final decision and purchasing a new bed.
Since the covers on the mattresses listed above aren’t machine washable, you’ll have to take a few extra steps to get them clean when you or your loved one makes an accidental spill. It’s pretty simple — all you need is a mild detergent, warm water, and a towel. Just make sure you don’t use too much water because it may cause damage to the foam in your mattress, which is obviously the last thing you want when you’re just trying to clean up some orange juice from breakfast-in-bed.
Many online mattresses have removable covers, but you need to be careful because that doesn’t mean it’s machine washable. If you do, you’re at risk of shrinking the cover to the point where it won’t fit over your mattress anymore. If your desire for a bed with a removable cover outweighs your yearning for one of our top rated firm mattresses, check out our review on a Helix Mattress and Yogabed.
Every mattress on this list besides Saatva is considered a “bed-in-a-box” mattress, and will show up outside your front door inside a box about 4 ft tall (or a bag, but it’s still the same concept). At first glance, you might wonder if you accidentally purchased a mattress topper. We assure you, whatever size mattress you ordered is going to be in there. If you’re still a little skeptical, you’ll warm up to the idea once you don’t have to struggle carrying a mattress as tall as you are through your front door all the way to your bedroom.
How do they fit a 6 ft long king size mattress in a box only ⅔ the size? The simple answer is they’re rolled up and compressed, so they take up a lot less space than they normally would inside your bedroom. Once you unbox your new mattress, you’ll want to lay it on a flat surface and wait about 24-48 hours so you can allow time for it to decompress and off-gas.
Basically all of our mattresses are sent to us straight from the company so we can properly review, and compare the beds to other brands. Even though that’s the case, we’ll always keep our reviews unbiased and honest. Other than some other review sites out there, we aren’t owned by a company and we don’t accept bribes. If we say we like a mattress or product, you can rest assured that the members on our team with a range of body types and sleeper types gave it our stamp-of-approval.
When you purchase from an online mattress company, you get to take advantage of their generous return and trial period policies. All of the brands listed above offer free shipping and will give you a risk-free trial period to make sure you’re happy with the firmness level you chose. Some brands give you an average of 100 days to test it out, while other companies like DreamCloud will give you an entire year. If you decide you don’t like your mattress within the trial period, you’ll be able to return your mattress for 100% of your money back. Most companies just urge you to wait at least 30 days before you make a final decision, so you can allow your body to become acclimated to your new mattress. This is another thing bed-in-a-box companies has over many Brick-and-mortar retailers. The brands who are strictly in-store usually require you to exchange your mattress, rather than get your money back with a return. We want to note there are a few states who charge a small mattress recycling fee to safely get rid of your mattress, so double check to see if your state is one of them.