HOW WE DECIDED
Overview Of Best Firm Mattresses
So you’re looking for a firm mattress, whether it’s a queen or king size. Chances are you’re a back or stomach 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 spring mattress on top of a foundation. 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, including Hyper-Elastic Polymer, you have a wide range of options to choose from, meaning you no longer have to sacrifice comfort for a firm mattress.
Best Firm Mattresses
You might notice some consistencies in this post, such as all of these beds will rank as a medium firm to ultra firm on our firmness scale, all are going to be best mainly for people that favor their stomach and/or back, 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 what are the best firm or hard mattresses, and why.
Best Rated Firm Beds
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 $3,000 (depending on size and quality). We wish we could tell you plain and simple what the best mattress is for the money, but there are too many factors involved. As just one example, if you want a medium firm mattress there are about 20 products to consider, which are totally different from if you want an extra firm mattress. 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. Not only that, but if you get a king size mattress rather than a queen, obviously there will be a major impact on price.
Choosing the best firm mattress is important to make sure you’re receiving the support you need. We chose the top 6 best firm mattresses based on their quality, customer reviews, comfort and more.
|AT A GLANCE||PRICING||HEADLINE|
|Pillow Top||$200 Off Orders $1,000+ Applied in Cart||Saatva Classic is the original innerspring mattress online. It comes in three firmness options, all of which have coils for support and a fluffy pillow top.|
|Unique||Free Gifts w/ Mattress Purchase||Purple Hybrid is a coil mattress that features a proprietary comfort layer called Hyper-Elastic Polymer. It’s a unique mattress thats comfortable and great for hot sleepers.|
|Mixed Foam Value Pick!||20% Off Code: SLUMBERYARD20||Plank is one of the best firm mattresses online. It’s made in the USA and is flippable, so you can experience two different profiles on the same bed.|
|Latex Foam||$200 Off Code: LABORDAY200||The Avocado Green Mattress is the most sought after natural/organic mattress online. It’s supportive, comfortable, and constructed with high quality materials.|
|Memory Foam||$200 Off Discount In Cart||Loom & Leaf is one of the nicest, most luxurious memory foam mattresses online. It comes in two firmness profiles and has an organic cotton cover.|
|Mixed Foam||20% Off Code: SLUMBERYARD20||The Titan is a supportive hybrid mattress that has a firm, neutral-foam feel. The bed is specifically designed with heavy people in mind.|
Extra Firm vs Medium Firm
When it comes to a new firm mattress, there’s a gigantic difference between extra firm and medium firm. In our reviews we generally consider extra firm mattresses to feel like a thin layer of foam on a board. I know that doesn’t sound appealing, but it represents the lack of pressure relief that an ultra firm mattress will offer. There are plenty of extra firm beds out there, but you will have a shorter list than if you were looking for a medium firm mattress, which is perhaps the most popular comfort level.
A medium firm mattress offers a good amount of pressure relief, but not so much that you’re “melting” into the bed. You should still feel the support, but immediately recognize that this is semi firm, not ultra firm. The majority of brands we’ve published reviews for offer a medium firm bed, or something just a little softer. You’d rather start too firm than too soft with your new bed, especially if you’re wondering what is the best firm mattress for your particular situation.
The Most Comfortable Mattress Is A Subjective Term
We mention this in almost all of our mattress reviews. We want to bring it up here to remind you that comfort—and even firmness—is a relative term. If you’re looking for an extra firm mattress, your idea of comfort will be different from most people because most people select a bed in the medium to medium firm range.
Additionally, your weight affects your interpretation of feel and firmness. The more pressure you’re applying to the bed, the softer it will feel. Thus, if you have a semi firm mattress, to you it might feel like a soft bed. Likewise if you’re petite, a semi firm bed might feel ultra firm. With that in mind, finding the most comfortable firm mattress might not be as straightforward as you had hoped since our opinion is most certainly different from yours. We might think one mattress is comfortable and you disagree. Mattress shopping is subjective, there’s no way around it.
Saatva — Best Firm Mattress
Saatva is our “Firm Coil 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 two firmer options. 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 Euro 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 most people, including combination sleepers, look into the medium firm model. They also have the firm model, but remember, that’s an extra firm mattress.
Purple 2 — Best Medium Firm Mattress
Purple 2 is our top pick for the best medium firm mattress. To be frank, there were a heck of a lot of beds that we considered for this designation, but we ultimately chose Purple 2 because it’s a unique mattress that’s comfortable, supportive, and has some x-factor features that people seem to love.
For instance, the secret sauce to a Purple mattress is Hyper-Elastic Polymer. It is squishy, stretchy, and supportive, but more impressively, it’s somehow soft and firm at the same time. For the record, on the king mattress (and the other sizes, too) this model has 2” of HEP. Here’s a look at the material:
But it’s not just the “feel” of Hyper-Elastic Polymer that makes it intriguing. Because it’s laid out in a grid format, it allows for tremendous amounts of airflow to keep you at a comfortable sleep temperature.
Hyper-Elastic Polymer is just the “comfort” layer for Purple 2, however. For support the bed has 7.5” pocket coils, which help to create a weightless type effect when you lay on the bed. This is another reason why we’re calling it the best medium firm mattress. It certainly doesn’t feel ultra firm, nor is it overly soft. When you lay on your belly or back, you feel as though you’re floating on top of Purple 2, and when you switch to your side, you experience plenty of pressure relief.
We just think overall, Purple 2 is highly accommodating, especially if you get the king size mattress, and especially if you’re open to a new style of bed. There’s a real chance that you won’t like it (in which case it comes with free returns), but there’s also a serious chance that you absolutely love it. That’s for you to decide.
As for pricing, the MSRP for the queen mattress is about $1,600. That’s a little higher than the average firm mattress online, but not egregious considering how unique it is. Purple will also offer discounts from time to time. Looking for more Purple? Check out the Original Purple Mattress Review.
Plank — Best Extra Firm Mattress
Plank is a new mattress concept in that it’s double sided, and both sides are firm. They have a medium 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. If you need a comfortable firm mattress, Plank gives you two chances to get it right.
Avocado — Most Comfortable
Avocado is our top pick for the most comfortable firm mattress, but it’s much more than that. For starters, in all likelihood it’s the most popular bed that has natural/eco-friendly materials. The cover is made with organic cotton. The comfort layer is organic latex foam. And even the coils are made of recycled steel.
You can also find Avocado as a medium firm mattress if you opt for the topper. This adds an additional layer of foam to provide more cushioning. We expect that most people will go this route. If you choose the Avocado mattress without the topper, it will measure about 11” thick and have an extra firm feel—still very comfortable, but quite a bit firmer.
In nearly all of our reviews involving Avocado, we focus on the fact that it’s more expensive than the standard online mattress. That’s true, but for the money, we actually think it’s a really good value because of all the upgraded materials and certifications.
Avocado also comes with free shipping and returns, and has a 25-year warranty (and did we mention a full-year trial period?). The MSRP without the topper is under $1,400 for the queen mattress. And that is before you apply any discounts. Most of the time, you can expect the queen size mattress to cost you about $1,300. If you go to Avocado’s website you can see current deals and offers.
Loom & Leaf — Best Semi Firm Foam Mattress
Loom & Leaf is a luxurious mattress that comes in two comfort profiles, both of which are fairly firm. The most popular option is the “Relaxed Firm” model, which is pretty close to a true medium-firm, or what you might call a semi firm mattress. This option should be able to accommodate all sleeping styles.
If, however, you want an extra firm mattress, you might consider the “Firm” model, which offers a good deal of support and very little compression. We consider the “Firm” option to be best for strict stomach and/or back sleepers.
Another thing to point out with Loom & Leaf is that it’s made entirely of foam. You can think of it as basically the foam version of the Saatva Classic mattress (Saatva actually owns L&L). It has the organic cotton cover, soft pillow top, and luxurious branding.
The main reason to get Loom & Leaf is that you’re attracted to a “firm foam” feel and want a really nice bed. Overall, we’d say it’s more of a back and stomach sleeper bed, but we also expect that side sleepers will like the “Relaxed Firm” option. About the worst thing with L&L is the price tag—which is typically between $1,200 and $1,900, depending on discounts and sizes.
Titan — Best For Heavy People
We selected Titan as our top pick for the best firm mattress for heavy people. Interestingly, this bed is specifically made for people that weigh over 250 lbs. As such, it is really supportive and resilient, made with “TitanCaliber” coils.
For the average person, Titan would be considered pretty close to extra firm, but for someone weighing around 300 lbs, we’d designate it as a semi firm mattress. It has a fairly simple feel—just a firm foam—and it’s surprisingly low-cost.
Titan is under $1,100 for the queen mattress and under $1,400 for the king size mattress. That’s before promotions. Post-discount, the queen should be under the $1K mark, and the king, under the $1,200 mark.
Titan is made by Brooklyn Bedding and ships directly from Arizona where the mattress is made. It comes with free shipping, free returns, and a 120-night trial period.
A few great alternatives to Titan are Big Fig, Saatva, and WinkBed Plus. As much as we love those beds, they are more expensive than Titan, which was the deciding factor for us.
Rated By Us
Here at the Slumber Yard, we literally have a room piled full of queen mattresses that we test out on a daily basis. We have a complete spectrum of beds, ranging from college student prices to almost over-the-top luxurious—and some that are just fantastic mattresses for the money. We have published reviews of poly foam beds, memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses, beds with coils, and more. We think about things like whether or not there’s enough edge support on the queen mattress 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. So, if you’re searching for ultra firm or semi firm, we’ve got you covered.
How We Selected Firm Mattresses
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, ultra firm. All of the beds on this list have been rated either a medium firm or extra 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.
Who Is A Firm Mattress Best For?
When choosing a mattress, there are many considerations you should think about including body type, personal preference and sleeping position. A poor mattress can have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep, as can a high-quality mattress. In general, firm mattresses are excellent for people looking for more support and relief from back pain. We’ll cover the specific considerations that might make firm mattresses your best choice.
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. These 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. You 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, perhaps even an extra firm one, and then belly sleepers might need a little bit more cushion such as a medium firm mattress.
Back and stomach sleepers generally sleep more comfortably on beds that have a firmer profile, whereas side sleepers or combo sleepers need a little more cushion to provide pressure relief. We think the best option for stomach sleepers would be a medium mattress or firmer.
If you’re a side sleeper, the best mattress for you is probably medium to soft. As a side sleeper, you’ll need more cushion to contour around your hips and shoulders. If your mattress is too firm, there will be too much pressure around these areas that can misalign your spine and cause pain.
Another reason you may want a firm 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 main on their back or belly, or might just prefer an ultra firm bed in general, it can be more difficult for you to find what you’re looking for. Contrast that with someone that weighs under 150 lbs who will think even a semi firm mattress is extra firm.
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.
Before you begin shopping for a mattress, evaluate all of these considerations. Knowing your preferences ahead of time will make the shopping experience faster and easier. Understanding what you need will also help you ensure you’re making the best choice about your next mattress purchase.
How To Clean Your New Mattress
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, a towel, and a few other ingredients you’ll see listen down below. 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.
First, gather the ingredients you’ll need to clean your mattress by hand:
- Mild detergent
- Warm water
- Baking soda
Make sure you don’t use too much water. 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. To hand-clean your mattress, create a mixture of detergent and water. Spot clean any stains with the detergent mixture using a towel. Once you’ve finished wiping off mattress stains, let the cover dry. Afterward, sprinkle baking soda onto the mattress and let it sit for several hours. The baking soda can help absorb odors and make your mattress fresher. After a few hours, vacuum the baking soda off of the mattress.
The Best Medium Firm Mattress Brands
We made one selection for the best medium firm mattress, but the truth is that there are a dozen or so really fantastic beds in that firmness range. And for the record, we consider a medium firm and semi firm mattress to be the same thing.
Now, why are they so popular? Well, in many cases people just prefer a slightly firmer profile, but in other cases, it’s about starting firmer because all beds. In fact, if you want a bed to be just firmer than a “medium” you probably want to start a little up the firmness chain. Another reason would be that a medium firm mattress is really accommodating because in many cases you can sleep in any and all sleeping positions. That means, if you’re spending a lot of time on your side at night, often times a semi firm mattress will be plenty accommodating—and the same would be generally true for people laying on their stomach or back, too.
There are countless other reasons why you might like this style of bed, but let’s not waste anymore time—let’s take a look at the best medium firm mattresses, according to our editors:
- Loom & Leaf
It’s not fair to say that above is an exhaustive list. The truth is that there are dozens of medium firm mattresses that we like a lot, and you probably will too. We’d say, you can start with our list and expand from there. Also, we left out plenty of beds that come in multiple firmness options, including Brooklyn Signature, Amerisleep, Helix Sleep, Nest Alexander, and plenty of others. You may want to look through our Mattress Reviews page to see more beds.
Best Extra Firm Mattress Brands
We’ve covered the semi firm mattress, but what about the ultra firm one? After all, there’s a huge number of people that outright prefer an extra firm mattress—whether because of a health condition or just for comfort. An ultra firm mattress is one that doesn’t have a whole lot of give. The idea is that you feel as if you’re laying on a thick bed of grass. You get a little cushioning, but not much. With all of that in mind, let’s take a look a list of best extra firm mattresses:
- Brooklyn Bedding
- Big Fig
Clearly, we could make our list much longer, but that’s a fantastic place to start. Our selection, often times, is Plank because it offers two different firmness options. There’s the medium firm and the ultra firm, so it’s kind of like the best of both worlds. If you’re wondering what is the best firm mattress, we do think plenty of people will like that bed, but of course there are countless other great options.
Pros and Cons of Sleeping On A Firm Mattress
- Excellent for heavy individuals – Since firm mattresses have more support, they’re less likely to sag and create discomfort for heavier individuals.
- Spine alignment – Firm mattresses allow your spine to rest in a more neutral position, helping to relieve daily pain from slouching and curving.
- Durability – Firm mattresses are built with more stability and are known to last longer than soft mattresses because you don’t sink into them as much.
- More painful for joints – People who suffer from conditions like arthritis might experience more pain from firm mattresses and increased pressure on their joints.
- Breaking in period – If you aren’t used to a firm mattress, there’s a period of time where you’ll need to break it in and get used to it. It may feel too hard at first before you can get used to it.
- Bad for side sleepers – A firm mattress might create too much pressure for side sleepers’ shoulders and hips
Most Popular Accessories For A Firm Bed
Once you’ve purchased your best mattress, enhance your comfort with some of the most popular firm mattress accessories:
- Foam mattress topper – A foam mattress topper gives you a little more cushion if you’re still adjusting to your firm mattress or need a bit more contour while you sleep.
- Sturdy foundation – A sturdy foundation is especially helpful for heavier individuals or couples. The foundation, like the one from Big Fig, serves as an extra support layer and provides additional durability.
- Wraparound pillow – A wraparound pillow gives you extra support for your neck and shoulders. If you sleep on your side occasionally, a wraparound pillow can help relieve some of the pressure around your neck that the mattress might cause otherwise.
More About Online Mattresses
Most of the mattress reviews we’ve published include a “boxed mattress,” and will show up outside your front door inside packaging that’s 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 compress a 6 ft long queen mattress to 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 remove the packaging from 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. The entire online mattress concept just offers a wonderful product for the money.
How Did The Slumber Yard Get These Mattresses?
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.
Returns and Trial Periods
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 find the most comfortable firm mattress for you.
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 online mattress 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.
The Best Size Of Firm Bed
In general, the size of bed you get has little to no impact on its firmness rating or overall comfort of the bed. The one thing that we want to point out is that if you have two people on the same bed, they will have different estimates in terms of how firm it is. That said, the best way to make two people happy on the bed is to have them get a firm king mattress. Why is that so? Well, they will have more room on the king size mattress so they don’t bump into each other all the time. Getting comfortable for one person can be difficult—especially on an older mattress—and when you add a second person, the equation gets quite a bit more difficult to solve. We advise “sizing up” and getting a king mattress. Now, obviously, you’d get a firm king mattress since you’re interested in the beds in the 6-10 range in terms of hardness.
Having said all of that, we realize that not everyone can afford a king mattress. In that case, for one person or two, we suggest the queen size mattress, which measures in at 60″ x 80″ typically. A firm queen mattress will generally have fairly strong edge support, so if you are sleeping with a partner, that’s an advantage over certain other beds. But how much larger is the king mattress than the queen? It’s about 25% larger in terms of overall space, which is why we say couples should get a king if they can afford it.
As it relates to firm mattresses, there is no single best “type” of bed, so long as it’s comfortable and supportive to you. For instance, some people will prefer an innerspring mattress, while others will want a bed made entirely of foam—it’s all up to you.
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 find the most comfortable firm mattress for you.
Our testing team rates firmness from the perspective of the average American whom weighs between 180 lbs and 200 lbs. If you’re over about 200 lbs, beds will feel softer to you. Conversely, if you’re under about 130 lbs, all beds will feel firmer.
Our editors consider a medium-firm mattress to be around a 6-8 on the firmness scale, whereas an extra firm mattress is between an 8 and 10 on that same scale.
An extra firm mattress is excellent for your back as long as you’re a back or stomach sleeper. A firm mattress provides support that aligns your spine to relieve pressure and pain.
Plank and Avocado offer some of the firmest mattresses you can buy online. The extra firm mattress is excellent for back and stomach sleepers while also offering a medium-firm side for more comfort.
A hard mattress is best for heavier individuals and back sleepers who need more spine support. A soft mattress is usually better for side sleepers or people looking for more joint relief while they sleep.