When deciding how firm your mattress should be, consider your sleep style and recurring pain points. If you’re a side sleeper, you may need a softer mattress than you’re used to. Alternatively, if you experience lower back pain, you may be perfect for a firm mattress.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the main things to consider when deciding how firm your bed should be and then touch upon our firm mattress recommendations.
Research and Resources
In making this article, we:
- Researched the benefits of firm mattresses and how they promote better sleep.
- Utilized numerous mattress guides and reviews to gather the most helpful information.
- Spent 18 hours writing and editing the article to deliver the most valuable content to our readers.
Best Firm Mattresses of 2019
|Brand||Mattress||Mattress Type||Sleep Trial & Warranty||Price (Queen)|
|Amerisleep AS2||Memory Foam||100 Nights & 20 Years||$1099
|Plank||All-Foam||120 Nights & 10 Years||$999|
|WinkBed||Hybrid||120 Nights & 10 Years||$1599|
|Saatva||Innerspring||120 Nights & 15 Years||$1099|
|Essential||Memory Foam||100 Nights & 10 Years||$595|
|Dawn||Hybrid||100 Nights & 10 Years||$995|
|Original Purple||All-Foam||100 Nights & 10 Years||$999|
Our Editors’ recommend the Amerisleep AS2 as their preferred firm mattress. Amerisleep makes and sells five memory foam mattresses; each model ranges in firmness and is built with different sleepers in mind.
Their AS1 and AS2 are firm and medium-firm, respectively. Then, comes their AS3, a medium mattress, followed by their AS4 and AS5— softer models.
You may be wondering why we didn’t recommend Amerisleep’s AS1, as technically it’s Amerisleep’s firmest mattress; however, the AS1 is lacking in targeted support technology, which contributes to healthy sleep.
Amerisleep integrates HIVE® technology into every one of their mattresses besides their AS1. The reason they don’t integrate HIVE® into the AS1 is that it can take away from the firmness of the AS1; so if you’re looking to “sleep on a rock,” their AS1 is the closest thing to it. That said, we’ll be focusing solely on the AS2 below.
Amerisleep’s AS2, their medium-firm mattress, is recommended to both back and stomach sleepers. It’s also been voted their best mattress for back pain relief because it is soft enough to allow for pressure relief but firm enough to hold your spine in a neutral, healthy position. Let’s look at the design of this bed:
The first layer of the AS2 is 2 inches of Amerisleep’s proprietary Bio-Pur®. When you lay on this layer, it’ll mold to your body and fill the gaps between you and the bed, offering instant comfort and tension relief.
HIVE® technology directly below Bio-Pur® offers extra support, ensuring you won’t sink uncomfortably far into the bed. This layer is made by grouping hexagonal shaped cutouts into five comfort zones within the foam; these hexagons are closer together to feel firmer where you need more support, and farther apart to feel softer where you need more cushion. The design of this technology promotes healthy sleep and prevents your body from falling into unnatural sleep positions.
The last layer of this bed is Amerisleeps’ Bio-Core® foam, a high-density poly-foam core. This layer is designed to be strong and durable, offering firm support to the two layers and sleeper above.
All three of these layers work together to provide sleepers with a comfortable, firm sleeping surface. If you buy an Amerisleep bed and decide it’s not suitable for your sleep needs, you have the option to exchange it for a different model or return it for a full refund through their 100-night sleep trial.
On the other hand, if you choose to keep your Amerisleep bed because it’s a good match for you, it’s protected for the next 20 years under Amerisleep’s extensive mattress warranty.
Amerisleep AS2 Highlights
- Pressure-relieving, plant-based memory foam
- HIVE® technology promotes healthy sleep styles
- Recommended for lower back pain relief
2. Brooklyn Bedding Plank
Brooklyn Bedding recently released a mattress designed for “sleepers who say a typical firm is never enough,” called Plank. As the name suggests, this bed is meant to be as firm and as flat as sleeping on a plank.
The unique feature about this bed is that its flippable firmness; meaning one side of the mattress has one firmness, and when you flip it over, the other said has another. Another flippable firmness bed is the Layla, but unlike the Plank, the Layla offers one firm side and one soft side— whereas the Plank offers one side as “Firm” and one side as “Extra Firm.”
Brooklyn Bedding hopes to offer better back support and increase your oxygen flow by creating one of the flattest mattresses in the market. Below, we’ll talk about the makeup of this bed.
Starting with the firm side up, the Plank has 1.5 inches of pillow-top material in place to offer a bit of cushion between you and the firm foam. Quilted within this layer is an inch of gel memory foam, built to resist body impressions, ensuring you won’t be sinking into the material.
On their website, you have the option to swap this cushy pillow-top for a cooling one, infused with extra cooling technologies. If you’re a hot sleeper, paying the additional price for bonus cooling technologies could make all the difference in the comfort of your bed.
There are two layers to the Plank mattress: 2 inches of firm TitanFlex™ foam and 7 inches of high-density, solid poly-foam. Below the 1.5-inch pillow top layer lies the TitanFlex™ material. TitanFlex™ is Brooklyn Bedding’s proprietary poly-foam, engineered to feel like a mix between memory foam and latex foam. When you lay on this bed, TitanFlex™ offers deep compression support.
Below the layer of TitanFlex™ is the Plank’s support layer, durable poly-foam. If you choose to use the “Extra Firm” side of this mattress, this will be the first layer your body touches. The solidity of this layer should prevent you from sinking even the slightest bit into the bed. Not only does this layer serve as the “Extra Firm” surface, but it also gives the rest of the bed enhanced support to prevent premature deterioration.
Finally, the design of the Plank is finished off with a .75 inch quilted pillow-top above the high-density foam layer. This layer is thin enough to create virtually no space between you and the dense layer below but is in place to offer instant comfort when you lay down on this bed.
When you shop with Brooklyn Bedding, you receive a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty. They also ship their beds for free throughout the continental US— and, if you decide to return your mattress during your sleep trial, they will return it free of charge, too.
If you are looking for the firmest of the firm and are a stomach or back sleeper, the Plank is worth looking into; however, it does lack in zoned support technology, and instead only offers gel memory foam to contour and support your body. If you experience frequent pressure points from your bed, the Plank could be too firm for your body.
- Flippable firmness
- Gel memory foam helps keep you cool
- Proprietary foams relieve pressure points
WinkBeds makes one of the top-rated hybrid mattresses. The WinkBed is available as “Softer,” “Luxury Firm,” “Firmer,” and “Plus.” Depending on how firm you prefer, WinkBed offers a range of “firm” beds, and their “Plus” firmness is available for heavier sleepers who require more support from their mattress.
The WinkBed combines poly-foam, gel memory foam, and a pocketed coil system to create both a solid and pain-relieving mattress. Let’s look at the layers of this bed:
When you lay down on the WinkBed, you’re met with a layer of gel-infused memory foam. There are a few benefits to infusing gel in memory foam, besides creating a cooler sleeping surface, gel is thought to increase the firmness where it’s placed.
Many brands will infuse gel into the lumbar regions of the first layer of their bed to create enhanced back support, however, WinkBeds infuses gel into their entire top layer. Doing this reduces the chance of the memory foam trapping heat, and it prevents your body from sinking into the foam. Having said that, this layer should still contour to your body and offer pressure relief.
Below the layer of memory foam lies the micro-coils, referred to on their website as the LumbarLayer™. Micro coils are, as you can imagine, not as tall and durable as a full pocketed coil system. Rather, these coils are thinner and hold your body up in the mattress, preventing a sinking feeling. It’s important to note, these coils offer more support for your torso and prevent your spine from sagging— hence the name LumbarLayer™.
Finally, lies the durable pocketed coil layer. These coils give the bed a firmer, bouncier feel and offer zoned support for your body in five specific areas. These three layers combined suspend your body “on top of the mattress” and are engineered to prevent against uncomfortable sinking. Plus, they help limit motion transfer so you can get a good night’s sleep.
When you buy a WinkBed, it comes with free shipping, free returns, 120-night sleep trial, and full replacement lifetime warranty. WinkBeds offers one of the best warranties we’ve seen while researching beds.
Though their beds come with a higher price tag, the warranty ensures your investment is backed for the rest of your life— which could prevent you from having to dish out another thousand dollars 10 years down the line when it’s time for a new bed.
- Different “Firm” firmnesses
- LumbarLayer™ technology alleviates back pain
- Comes with full replacement lifetime warranty
Next on our list is the Saatva, an innerspring mattress. Saatva is a well-known online mattress brands that sells high-quality mattresses at an affordable price. The Saatva is available in three different firmness levels: “Plush Soft,” “Luxury Firm,” and “Firm.”
On their website, they mention their Luxury Firm model is their best seller, but if you prefer an exceptionally solid mattress, their Firm option is probably more up your alley.
One of the big perks to buying the Saatva mattress is that their beds are actually designed to help reduce and prevent back pain. Considering how many people suffer from chronic backaches and discomfort, this can be especially important for some sleepers. Let’s talk about the design of this bed.
The Saatva’s pillow top is a thin layer of foam quilted in organic cotton. When you lay on this bed, the pillow top offers just a bit of cushioning comfort to alleviate pressure points and prevent pain.
Immediately below the pillow top is a layer of individually wrapped micro-coils. These are designed to conform to your body similar to how a foam layer would, but they offer bouncy responsiveness and contribute to motion isolation, too.
Next, lies Saatva’s Spinal Zone Technology, a layer of gel memory foam located in the lumbar region of this bed. This technology offers extra support for your spine and promotes healthy sleep styles.
Finally, the base layer of the Saatva is a durable coil system. These coils offer the bed extra support and are designed to prevent premature sagging through the mattress. Plus, Saatva encases these layers in a thick foam to increase this bed’s edge support.
You can only buy the Saatva online, but when you do, it comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty. They also offer complimentary White Glove Delivery and free removal of your old mattress.
- Designed to alleviate and prevent back pain
- Coil-on-coil design increases airflow and pushes body heat out of the bed
- Free White Glove Delivery and removal of your old mattress
5. Casper Essential
Casper is one of the most popular bed-in-a-box mattress company, so it should come as no surprise that they make a notable firm bed. Casper carries three mattress models: their flagship Casper bed, the Essential, and the Wave.
We recommend sleepers seeking a firm bed to choose their Essential model. Plus, Casper’s essential is a budget-friendly option, costing only $595 for a Queen size.
Let’s talk about the design of the Essential.
Overall, the Essential stands 11 inches tall and has three layers. The comfort layer is a responsive, latex-like polyurethane foam; this foam is designed to cushion your body like memory foam would, but also prevent sinkage in the mattress.
Next, is a layer of memory foam. Casper places memory foam below their comfort layer to offer deep pressure-relief— which is espeically important for sleepers with pain points. The base layer of the Essential is a durable poly-foam to give the bed shape and support.
You can find Casper beds online and also in select Target locations across the nation. Regardless of how you buy, their beds come with a 100-night trial period and a 10-year warranty.
- Budget-friendly choice
- Features Casper’s responsive latex-like foam
- Offers exceptional pressure relief
6. Helix Dawn
Another popular firm hybrid mattress is the Helix Dawn. We are fans of the Helix brand because they strive to help their customers find the most comfortable mattress for their specific sleep needs.
When you visit the Helix site, you’re prompted to fill out a questionnaire regarding your sleep style and personal preferences, and then you’re paired with your perfect new mattress.
All in all, Helix sells seven different hybrid mattresses. Each bed is tailored for specific sleep styles and range in firmness. On their website, they clearly label who each bed is best suited for, making shopping with them easy.
If you’re interested in a firm Helix mattress, choose their Dawn model. Let’s talk about this bed’s construction.
The comfort layer of the Dawn is Helix’s Dynamic Foam, a latex-like poly-foam. When you lay on this bed, this foam will cushion your body enough to relieve pressure, but because Helix designed it to have a firm feel, it’ll keep you mostly suspended on the mattress.
The next layer is a transition layer of poly-foam. Helix modifies the firmness of this layer depending on your body type, so you can achieve optimal comfort on their beds.
Next, is the Dawn’s pocketed coil system. These provide zoned support for the sleeper and limit motion transfer throughout the mattress, helping you get deeper, undisturbed sleep. Lastly, the base of this bed is a thin layer of poly-foam to give the bed shape and extra support.
Helix only sells their beds online, so they offer a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty with each of them.
Helix Dawn Highlights
- Customized to your body type
- Features Helix’s pressure-relieving Helix Dynamic Foam
- Breathable, hybrid design
7. Original Purple
The last mattress on our list is the Original Purple. Purple is another popular online mattress brand that launched only a few years back. When they first debuted, they only sold their all-foam flagship model, Purple. However, this year, they released three hybrid versions of their namesake model.
Their firmest bed, though, is their original Purple. Let’s talk about the design of this mattress.
The Purple mattress was designed to be the world’s first ever “No-Pressure” bed. The founders of Purple even patented a new material to use in their beds, hyper-elastic polymer. Purple fashions this material into a mattress-sized grid to create their bed’s Smart Comfort Grid™.
Every Purple mattress contains the Smart Comfort Grid™ as it’s comfort layer. This grid promotes airflow through the mattress, minimizes motion transfer, and relieves pressure points for exceptional pain relief. Plus, because Purple designs their beds for universal comfort, this grid can adapt to most sleep styles and body types.
The second layer of the Purple mattress is a transition layer of cushioning poly-foam to act as a barrier between the Smart Comfort Grid™ and the core of the mattress. Last but not least, the base of the mattress is a solid, high-density poly-foam to give the bed added support and reinforce its shape.
Purple mattresses can be bought online or at select Mattress Firm locations, and every bed comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
- Smart Comfort Grid™ offers variety of sleep-promoting benefits
- Designed to be a “No-Pressure” mattress
- Compatible with all sleep styles
Things to Consider when Finding the Best Firm Mattress
If only finding the most comfortable mattress was as simple as declaring you want a firm bed, and choosing one out of the hundreds to try. Unfortunately, the process is a bit more complicated than so.
How firm a bed feels varies greatly by who is laying on it. Meaning, what may feel firm to one person, may not feel the exact same to the next— this can make buying a mattress for a couple tricky. Below, we’ll discuss what specifically to account for before choosing your next firm mattress.
If you prefer to shop in-store, you can find an assortment of firm mattresses sold by legacy brands such as Simmons Beautyrest, Serta, and Sealy. Most mattress retailers carry these big name brands and more, so you’re bound to find quite a bit of variety.
A perk to buying with big name brands is that they make and carry most of their mattress models in a variety of firmness levels. Meaning, you can pinpoint the features you’re looking for in a mattress, then choose the firm option of the model you like. This takes the focus away from finding a firm bed that meets your sleep needs and allows you to focus on the features of the bed itself.
Plus, most of these big name brands receive glowing reviews and come with a sleep trial period, allowing you to shop in confidence.
Before you can choose the best firm mattress for your particular needs, take a step back and consider different mattress types. There are four main types of mattresses: memory foam, latex, innerspring, and hybrid. All of these mattress types are made in a variety of firmness levels.
Memory foam mattresses are some of the best for alleviating chronic pains. If you frequently suffer from neck or back pains, these beds are probably best for you. Memory foam contours to your body unlike any other material to relieve pressure and tension. These beds can adapt to almost any body type or sleep style, so they’re an option for just about every kind of sleeper.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly or hypoallergenic bed, latex mattresses are great for you. Like memory foam, latex is cushioning and pressure-relieving; however, latex is more responsive than memory foam and creates a different feel from your mattress. Many regard latex as feeling firmer than memory foam due to it’s increased responsiveness. These beds offer a more lifting, “on the bed” feel in comparison to other foam beds.
Innerspring mattresses are defined by their coil system. These beds don’t contain layers of foam, so any cushioning comfort these beds provide come from their cover. Innerspring beds are bouncy and do not conform to your body. Often, these beds cannot isolate motion well. If you like a bouncy bed and don’t want a mattress with conforming foam layers, an innerspring can be a fit for you.
Hybrid mattresses combine the comfort of foam layers with the responsiveness of a pocketed coil system. If you’re a fan of the bounciness an innerspring mattress provides, but also need cushioning comfort, choose a hybrid. Because these beds combine multiple high-quality materials to create a dynamic sleep surface, they’re usually a bit pricier.
How you sleep also influences how firm your mattress should be. Typically stomach and back sleepers are more comfortable on firmer mattresses because they hold your body in a neutral position and aid in maintaining a healthy spine.
On the other hand, side sleepers need to find a mattress that is soft enough to allow their hips and shoulders to compress in the bed. When side sleepers sleep on firmer mattresses, they don’t always let the hips and shoulders to sink into the bed adequately, which can result in pressure points and chronic pains.
Your height, weight, and build can impact how a bed molds to your body and supports you. If you don’t bring much weight to the mattress, it may seem like many beds feel firm.
However, if you’re on the heavier side, or have a weight above 250 pounds, you’ll probably find most beds feel soft and unsupportive.
Firm mattresses do well when it comes to fostering a healthy spine, but firm mattresses with built-in zoned support do much better. Zoned support reinforces proper spinal alignment, enhances support in the lumbar region of your body, and offers relief for pressure points.
Did You Find Your Next Bed?
We hope this guide has helped point you towards the most suitable mattress for your own sleeping needs. Remember, consider your own body type and sleep style before taking a shot in the dark regarding how firm your bed should be. If you buy the wrong bed, it can result in uncomfortable nights, unhealthy sleep positions, and recurring pains. Choose the healthiest option for yourself by reading online mattress reviews and buying guides, and shop in confidence knowing most brands offer generous sleep trials with their beds— helping you make the best decision for yourself.