If you’re shopping for a mattress online, you may be struggling to decide which is the best one for you. There are a ton of options to choose from, and it’s not always easy to know which mattresses are truly the cream of the crop.
We’ve done the research and testing to make this process easier. Our suggestions help you find a mattress that will let you sleep peacefully night after night. The mattresses that we’ve selected as the best in specific categories are the top picks based on their performance, durability, and value.
Our guide kicks off with detailed information about our picks for the best mattresses of 2020 and then, for those who want to get into the ins-and-outs of the mattress buying process, covers the key topics that a savvy mattress shopper should be aware of.
The Nectar mattress is proof that finding a great mattress doesn’t have to break the bank, and for that reason, it is our pick for the top value among the best mattresses on the market today.
The appeal of the Nectar doesn’t just stem from its affordable price point. Its performance is impressive, powered by numerous layers of memory foam that relieve pressure across the surface of the mattress.
The top three layers of the Nectar are all made with memory foam. The top two layers are each one inch and gel-infused. The topmost of these is quilted into the bed’s moisture-wicking Tencel cover. The third layer is three inches tall and made with Nectar’s Adaptive Hi Core memory foam.
Each of these memory foam components has a slightly different feel on its own, but when combined, they provided the comfort system with solid motion isolation and contouring. A support core with especially high-density polyfoam — 2.2 pounds per cubic foot (PCF) — prevents uncomfortable sinking into the bed.
The feel of the Nectar is Medium Firm (6), and with its conforming properties, this makes it a match with side sleepers, particularly those who weigh more than 130 pounds. Many back and stomach sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds can also thrive on this mattress.
Nectar’s 365-night sleep trial, which is among the longest in the industry, and lifetime warranty are exclamation points on the value offered by this quality mattress that is available at a very accessible price point.
Best Firmness Options
The WinkBed, a hybrid with a robust coil-on-coil design, takes the top spot for the most customizable mattress while proving that a true luxury mattress doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. To make sure that customers find the right feel, the WinkBed is available in Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), and Firm (7) models.
A classy euro-style pillow-top punctuates the look of the WinkBed, but it’s what’s inside that makes this mattress one of the best. The comfort system includes a latex-like polyfoam quilted into the pillow-top layer that helps accommodate the body’s hot spots for pain and soreness.
Underneath the polyfoam is the first set of springs in the coil-on-coil construction. These are individually-wrapped micro-coils that are responsive and effective at compressing to meet the body’s needs.
The support core is a taller layer of zoned pocketed coils that step up the overall amount of bounce and create powerful support all the way out to the edge of the bed. Customers who like to sleep or sit near the edge of their mattress rave about the stability of the WinkBed around its perimeter.
The combined effect of the polyfoam, micro-coils, and full-size coils is a balanced and welcoming feel that puts customers in the lap of luxury. This set of features allows the mattress to isolate motion, stay cool, and facilitate sexual activity better than most hybrids on the market.
To make sure that customers find the right feel, the WinkBed is available in Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), and Firm (7) models. The Winkbed comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a dependable lifetime warranty.
A major selling point of hybrid mattress design is the ability to harness the benefits of different materials while minimizing their downsides, and the fruits of that approach are evident in the DreamCloud, our pick for the best hybrid mattress.
Its construction utilizes three types of foam along with innerspring coils to deliver a potent blend of characteristics including sound conforming, bounce, motion isolation, and temperature control.
A two-tiered comfort system starts with a layer of gel-infused memory foam. This layer keeps the body supported through modest cradling of heavier zones and pressure points. The next layer is a polyfoam with slightly less contouring and more bounce, offering a welcome balance to the memory foam’s feel.
The support core is made with pocketed coils that are set up into five zones to better adapt to the body and how its weight is placed on the mattress. The springs shore up stability at the edge and create notable bounce that enhances ease of movement across the whole mattress surface. A low-profile layer of high-density polyfoam goes underneath the coils to fortify the mattress and limit noise from the coils.
A Medium Firm (6) feel can fit the needs of many sleepers and is often a top choice for side and back sleepers. The balanced performance serves most combination sleepers and couples as well.
The DreamCloud’s sleep trial lasts for a full year, giving customers 365 nights to truly see how well it works for them. Over the long haul, customers can rest easy knowing that they are covered by DreamCloud’s lifetime warranty.
Helix is a direct-to-consumer mattress brand known for offering their customers a personalized mattress shopping experience, producing 13 different hybrid mattresses with the goal of accommodating any type of sleeper. The Helix Midnight is their most popular option, featuring a medium firm feel and and balancing pressure relief and support.
The top two layers of the Midnight are made with foam. The top layer is Helix’s Memory Plus Foam, which cradles pressure points while keeping a degree of responsiveness. The second layer is transition polyfoam that stops significant sinking into the mattress. Under this is a pocketed coil support core, which provides a sturdy foundation and a bit of ‘bounce’ to the mattress, making it easier to move around on.
The Helix Midnight has a Medium Firm (6) feel, and with its blend of pressure relief and ease of movement on the mattress, it is a solid choice for people in many sleeping positions. It’s also a hit with combination sleepers who need to be able to smoothly switch their posture during the night. The Midnight is a good all-around bed that performed well most categories, including pressure relief, temperature control, and a edge support.
The sleep trial for the Midnight Luxe is 100 nights, and Helix backs the mattress with a 10-year warranty that covers defects in materials and manufacturing.
The innerspring bed has a long history in the mattress industry. While the traditional innerspring style has fallen in popularity, many sleepers still seek out its bouncy feel. For these shoppers, the Saatva is a top pick, especially because it supplements that bounce with dependable pressure relief.
The top of the Saatva mattress utilizes several types of foam, including specialty polyfoam as well as a memory foam pad under the lumbar area. These foams are quilted into the euro-style pillow-top made with smooth and breathable organic cotton.
Underneath the pillow top is a coil-on-coil interior design. The top layer of coils is four inches thick, and the coils are individually-wrapped to give them enhanced ability to tailor to the body and decrease motion transfer. The second coil layer forms the mattress support core, and it is either 4.5 or 7.5 inches depending on the model that you select. This layer uses hefty 13-gauge springs that are bolstered by a high-density foam encasement around the perimeter for better edge support.
In this mattress construction, the two coils layers create responsiveness and make it easy to move on the bed while also lightly contouring to the body for pressure point cushioning. Plenty of airflow through the coils keeps this mattress cool through the night.
Firmness options include Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), and Firm (7), allowing any customer to choose what best suits their preferences.
Installation plus haul-away of an old mattress, known as White-Glove delivery, is included as is a 120-night sleep trial (with a $99 return shipping fee) and a 15-year warranty.
Made by Helix Sleep, the Birch mattress is a latex hybrid with a high quality construction and a medium-firm feel.
The Birch has two comfort layers under an organic cotton cover. The first layer is made from a wool blend, a breathable material that wicks moisture away from the surface. The second layer consists of natural Talalay latex, a breathable and responsive foam that conforms moderately to the sleepers body.
Under these layers is a substantial pocketed coil support core. These coils are a lower-gauge, meaning they’re thicker and more durable. Each coil is individually pocketed, which improves motion isolation. Under the coils is a layer of natural wool batting.
Performance-wise, the birch stands out above the crowd in durability, temperature control, and ease of movement. As a medium-firm mattress that doesn’t conform too closely, the Birch should sufficiently support almost all sleepers, with the possible exception of lightweight side sleepers.
Birch offers a 100 night sleep trial and a 25 year warranty, which is an above average guarantee in the mattress world. Plus, they ship free to all 50 US states.
Most mattresses sold online are one-sided and never meant to be flipped, but the Layla mattress is a compelling alternative. With a reversible design that has different firmness levels on each side, the Layla gives customers more flexibility to find a feel that’s just right for their needs.
As a flippable mattress, you can sleep on either side of the Layla. It has a height of ten inches and four internal layers:
Three inches of copper-infused memory foam
Two inches of zoned polyfoam with Surface Modification Technology (SMT)
Four inches of high-density support polyfoam
One inch of copper-infused memory foam
When placed with the layers in this arrangement from top-to-bottom, the Layla has a Medium Soft (4) feel. When flipped, the feel is Firm (7). On both sides, memory foam works to soften impact at pressure points and promote spinal alignment. The copper infusion fights bacteria buildup and heat retention. On the Medium Soft side, the zoned polyfoam layer gives extra support to heavier parts of the body thanks to the SMT material.
Having a choice of firmness is especially useful for people who aren’t sure of their ideal mattress feel or for teenagers who may find that their comfort preferences change as they grow.
The Layla has an affordable price, particularly for a flippable memory foam mattress. In addition, Layla lets customers test out the mattress in their own bedroom for 120 nights, providing ample time to see how each side feels. A lifetime warranty covers defects in materials and manufacturing for as long as you own the bed.
When built to a high standard, latex beds are a compelling choice, especially for people who like a bouncy mattress. With an eco-conscious focus in its materials, there’s no doubt that the PlushBeds Botanical Bliss is built to meet lofty standards.
Natural latex is the driving force behind the Botanical Bliss; more specifically, the mattress employs multiple layers of organic, GOLS-certified Dunlop latex. In the 10-inch model, there are three Dunlop latex layers, each of which is three inches tall. Rounding out the mattress is a half-inch thick cover of wool and cotton that are both GOTS-certified.
Sleepers who want a responsive mattress love the Botanical Bliss since latex generates a springy feel that makes it a breeze to switch sleeping positions or take part in sexual activities. Latex also sleeps cool, and the excellent temperature regulation is furthered by the breathable materials in the cover. Even with these features, this mattress can still conform enough to maintain spinal alignment for most sleepers.
Two firmness builds are available — Medium (5) and Firm (7) — with side sleepers leaning toward the Medium and back and stomach sleepers toward the Firm. The latex layers within the mattress can be re-arranged to adjust the firmness even further, allowing for four possible firmness levels ranging from soft (3) to Firm (7). The Botanical Bliss is also offered in 9-inch and 12-inch versions that are still all-latex but with some variation in their layering.
While the environmentally friendly materials in the Botanical Bliss push up its retail price, customers can normally find promotions to get a better deal. After purchasing, there’s a 100-night sleep trial to test it out. A free comfort layer exchange is also offered during the trial. The long-term warranty lasts for 25 years.
While there is ample competition for the best all-foam mattress, the Leesa Original takes home the prize thanks to its extended track record of customer satisfaction and simple-yet-effective design.
This 10-inch mattress has three layers, the top two of which form the comfort system. The topmost layer is two inches of a latex-like polyfoam with a combination of bounce and contouring. The next layer is two inches of memory foam that can contour to the body and isolate motion. The bottom layer is the support core, which is composed of six inches of high-density polyfoam.
While each foam layer has a distinct feel, they work in conjunction to give the Leesa the ability to reduce pressure and promote spinal alignment without causing sleepers to feel stuck in the bed. It has above-average motion isolation, enough bounce to prevent problems when trying to move on the mattress, and better temperature control than many all-foam beds. A Medium (5) feel works well for many sleepers, especially side sleepers and individuals under 130 pounds.
Leesa was an early riser in the online mattress industry, and the Leesa Original has thousands of positive reviews from its years on the market. In addition, Leesa is a B-Corp, which means that a positive social impact is codified as part of its corporate charter.
Customers can take advantage of a 100-night sleep trial to try out the mattress, and Leesa backs each Leesa Original with a 10-year limited warranty.
Shoppers looking for the top value among all-foam mattresses need not look further than the Tuft & Needle Original. This mattress doesn’t have lots of bells and whistles, but its quality materials and design make it a high-performing option at an excellent price.
A defining feature of the Tuft & Needle mattresses is Adaptive Foam, a particular polyfoam formulation created by the company. It has a mix of characteristics found in both latex and memory foam. For example, it provides moderate cradling of the body, moderate bounce, limited heat retention (thanks in part to an infusion of gel and graphite), and solid motion isolation.
In the Tuft & Needle Original, Adaptive Foam makes up the top three inches of the 10-inch mattress. The bottom seven inches are a high-density polyfoam support core. Along with the Adaptive Foam, this support core keeps the body from sinking too far into the bed and facilitates easier movement on the mattress.
The firmness level is Medium Firm (6), providing for broad appeal to different types of sleepers. People under 230 pounds in most positions, including combination sleepers, can have positive results with the Tuft & Needle Original, a fact that is borne out by thousands of rave reviews from this company’s extended track record.
This is a mattress that has a budget-friendly price but doesn’t cut corners. It also comes with a risk-free, 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty that covers defects in manufacturing and materials.
Best Latex Hybrid
A latex hybrid takes advantage of two robust mattress components, an innerspring support core and latex comfort layer, and the Awara is a standout version that is our pick for the best luxury latex hybrid.
In this case, luxury derives from simplicity and the use of high-end materials. The comfort system is four inches of natural Dunlop latex, and the support core is nine inches of thick innerspring coils. The cover is a blend of organic cotton and wool.
The latex is certified by the Rainforest Alliance based on rigorous standards of environmental protection and forest conservation. With a thick layer of this material, the Awara mattress offers durability and significant bounce while gently conforming to the body for spinal support.
The pocketed coils give the mattress a stable feel, including around the edges, because of reinforced support near the perimeter. These strong coils increase the responsiveness of the Awara, which is part of why it’s a top choice for people with an active sex life.
With no components that retain substantial heat, the Awara sleeps cool, and its Medium Firm (6) feel fits the needs of the majority of sleepers, including those over 230 pounds who benefit from its sturdy feel.
Even though it’s a luxury mattress with high-end, eco-friendly materials, the Awara’s price tag won’t cause sticker shock. In addition, it comes with a sleep trial that lasts for 365 nights and a Forever Warranty providing lifetime coverage against mattress defects.
Best Pressure Relief
Viscoelastic foam, also known as memory foam, has a storied history. First developed by NASA to support astronauts during space shuttle launches, this foam has become one of the most popular materials for mattresses. The Amerisleep AS3, which features a thick layer of memory foam complemented by other high-performance components, takes home the top spot for the best memory foam mattress.
The comfort system of the AS3 has two distinct foam layers. The top layer is three inches of high-quality memory foam. This Bio-Pur memory foam, which is produced with plant-based oils replacing many petrochemicals, has a lower environmental footprint than traditional memory foam.
In addition, the Bio-Pur foam uses an open-cell design to permit more ventilation, and with a high density (4 PCF), it is sturdy and long-lasting. With a three-inch thick layer, it provides excellent motion isolation as well as great pressure relief for people with shoulder, back, and hip pain.
Underneath the memory foam is a two-inch polyfoam layer. This foam uses Surface Modification Technology to reinforce the cushioning for certain zones of the body. Working in tandem with the memory foam, it both prevents unwanted sinking into the bed and bolsters overall spinal support.
The AS3’s cover is made with a Celliant fabric that converts body heat to infrared rays, which may promote cooler sleep and as an added bonus to pain sufferers, improved muscle recovery overnight.
With a Medium (5) firmness feel, the AS3 is great for people under 130 pounds as well as most side sleepers. The sleep trial is 100 nights, and the warranty provides coverage for 20 years.
Best for Athletes
Whether you’re a world-class athlete, everyday gym-goer, or occasional rec league participant, your body needs proper care from your mattress to keep you well-rested and pain-free. The Bear Mattress, with an all-foam design and Celliant cover, is just the ticket and takes the prize for the best mattress for athletes.
Several components of the Bear Mattress design make it well-suited for people with an active lifestyle. The Celliant material in the cover promotes tissue and muscle recovery by reflecting heat from the body back as infrared energy, helping keep your body in top shape for physical exertion.
The comfort system in the Bear also works to promote comfort and pain-free support. The top layer is two inches of memory foam with above-average contouring and pressure relief. The foam is infused with a graphite gel to reduce the chances that you’ll wake up from sleeping hot.
The second layer of the comfort system is two inches of a transition polyfoam that works against excess sinking into the bed. The transition polyfoam is helped in that effort by the six-inch support core made of high-density polyfoam.
The Bear has a Medium (5) firmness that offers an excellent middle ground and meets the needs of most sleepers. For back and stomach sleepers, the best fit is among those who weigh under 130 pounds.
Athletes and other customers can try out the Bear for 100 nights during a no-risk sleep trial. The interior mattress components have a 10-year warranty, and the Celliant cover has a 1-year warranty.
The Avocado Green Mattress takes the top spot as the best organic mattress thanks to its eco-friendly materials and top-notch performance. This latex hybrid incorporates sustainable materials that deliver a great night’s sleep and a responsible environmental footprint.
The comfort system of the Avocado mattress is a two-inch layer of natural Dunlop latex. This latex has received certification from the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), a leading program for validating organic production. The cotton and wool in the cover are certified by the related Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Eight inches of pocketed innerspring coils make up the majority of the Avocado’s support core. Five zones have distinct coil thickness to better suit the body’s main pressure points and reinforce the edge of the mattress. Underneath the coils are one inch of organic Dunlop latex to further step up the stability and bounce of the mattress.
The feel of the Avocado is Firm (7), and along with the mild contouring of latex, this serves back and stomach sleepers extremely well. Side sleepers may prefer the Pillow-Top option that has two more inches of latex and a Medium Firm (6) feel.
In either model, the latex and coils work together to cushion the body while offering a significant amount of bounce, making this a good mattress for both sleep and sex. The Avocado’s design also limits heat retention, so the mattress works well for hot sleepers.
The Avocado comes with an extended sleep trial of 365 nights and is backed by a 25-year warranty.
To some people, sleeping hot may seem like it’s just a nuisance, but hot sleepers know that it can be burdensome and a major barrier to quality sleep. A standout cooling mattress, like the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora, can help remedy this problem thanks to its excellent temperature regulation.
Brooklyn Bedding is a well-known name in the mattress industry with a history dating back over two decades. The design of the Aurora incorporates knowledge built up over that time to create a dependable and cooling mattress.
The cover uses a phase change material (PCM) that has specialized temperature control properties that allow it to more rapidly dissipate heat when the body warms up.
The Aurora’s comfort system provides support while also limiting heat retention. The top layer of CopperFlex foam is 1.5 inches thick and has light conforming properties. It’s infused with copper that reduces the buildup of both heat and bacteria. The second layer is two inches of TitanFlex latex-like polyfoam that blends bounce and conforming. The third layer is one inch of gel-infused memory foam for a boost in pressure relief.
The support system has eight inches of individually-wrapped coils on top of one inch of polyfoam. This support core delivers clear bounce, a dependable sturdiness, and above-average edge support. Air flows through the coils to keep heat from collecting in these layers.
Soft (3), Medium (5), and Firm (7) options are available, providing shoppers with multiple choices to suit their needs.
The Aurora’s sleep trial lasts for 120 nights, and Brooklyn Bedding provides a 10-year warranty to cover potential defects.
The Idle Hybrid is an innovative mattress with flippable, hybrid design. More supportive and durable than the average hybrid mattress, this bed from Idle sets itself apart through innovation. Idle offers a choice between medium (5) and medium firm (6) feels, also allowing users to have one on each side.
The outside of the Idle Hybrid is made of their Thermocool fabric, which is a soft material that’s designed to prevent your body from becoming trapped in the bed overnight. The comfort later consists of an inch of their soft, contouring foam topped by their proprietary buoyancy foam. Unlike memory foam, which conforms closely to relieve pressure, Buoyancy foam combines both pressure relief and responsiveness, giving it more support and enhancing ease of movement.
The support core is made of quantum edge-to-edge pocketed coils. Unlike most hybrid support cores, which feature as few as 300 springs, this one has 1,000 individually pocketed coils for a more support and dynamic sleeping experience. The result of this construction is an all-around mattress that performs well in pressure relief, overall support, edge support, temperature control, and ease of movement.
Since it’s flippable, The Idle Sleep Hybrid is more durable than the average mattress. Nonetheless, it’s sold at an average price point. Remarkably, Idle offers an 18-month sleep trial and a lifetime warranty. They also ship free to the contiguous US.
The Zoma Mattress is an all-foam bed made with athletes in mind. Its zoned Triangulex memory foam provides targeted pressure relief and support for a great night’s sleep and enhanced muscle recovery. The mattress has a Medium (5 out of 10) feel.
The Zoma is topped by a proprietary memory foam called Triangulex. This foam is zoned, meaning it features different three feels across different parts of the layer, ensuring pressure relief on the back and shoulders while the midsection remains supported. Under this layer is a layer of their Reactiv polyfoam, which is a more responsive foam that provides additional support and gives the mattress some ‘bounce’. At the bottom is a high-density polyfoam support core. The result is a somewhat-thick, 11 inch mattress that conforms closely to the sleepers body without allowing it to sink too deeply.
Based on our performance tests, the Zomas’s key strengths are in pressure relief and motion isolation, which is a result of its close conforming foam construction. This makes it perfect for sleepers who experience back and hip pain, light sleepers, and couples. It also performs fairly well in edge support and ease of movement due to responsive polyfoam layers.
The Zoma comes at a slightly below average price point for a memory foam mattress. The company offers a 100 night sleep trial and a 10 year warranty, and offers free shipping and returns to the contiguous US.
The Nolah Original, the flagship mattress from Nolah Sleep, is a mixed-polyfoam model that’s great for relieving pressure points in the back and hips. The Nolah Original is also relatively affordable compared to other foam-based mattress models.
Comfort layers of Nolah Airfoam and high-resilience polyfoam offer a balance of support and conforming for optimal cushioning in areas of the body that need it the most. Airfoam is a proprietary foam that combines the conforming of memory foam and the responsiveness of higher-density polyfoam. A high-density polyfoam base layer reinforces the sleep surface, and a moisture-wicking cover allows the bed to sleep fairly cool compared to other foam-based mattresses.
In terms of firmness, the Nolah Original is a Medium (5.5), which is one of the most popular settings for sleepers today. Due to its moderately conforming all-foam construction, the Nolah performs especially well in pressure relief and motion isolation, and fairly well across the board in our other performance categories.
The Nolah Original comes at an average price point for a foam mattress, and Nolah guarantees it with a 120-night sleep trial and a nonprorated 15-year warranty.
While most mattresses fit well into one of the few common mattress categories, the Airweave presents a brand new approach to mattress construction. The Airweave is composed entirely of their Airfiber material, which is an interwoven fibers that provides excellent support and breathability.
Unlike foams, airfiber does not conform very closely to the sleeper’s body, providing a feeling more akin to sleeping ‘on’ the mattress rather than ‘in’ it. This makes the Airweave an excellent choice for back and stomach sleepers, who tend to have their midsections sink too far into foam. Also unlike foams, airfiber consists of a ton of space, making it trap less body heat and sleep cooler. The cover of the mattress is made of a soft polyester.
One of the largest innovations of the AIrweave is that the interior components can be removed from the cover and thrown into a washing machine. While other mattresses need to be spot cleaned, with the interior often being impossible to clean, users can keep this bed free of things like fluids, skin cells, and dust extremely easily. Also distinguished by eco-friendliness, Airfiber is a made of recyclable plastic, which won’t end up in landfills like foam and spring mattresses.
The Airweave comes with a 100 night sleep trail and a 10-year limited warranty. They also ship free to the contiguous US.
The Cocoon Chill comes in two firmness options: medium soft and medium firm. Regardless of which firmness level you choose, the cover of the mattress is made with a phase-change material that’s designed to draw heat away from your body.
Both models also feature a memory foam comfort layer. Memory foam is known for its pressure relieving qualities, but it also helps with motion isolation. This means that you’re less likely to feel your partner moving around at night if you share the bed, which can be a benefit for couples. The medium soft model also contains a polyfoam transitional layer that offers further cushioning. Both models have a high-density polyfoam support core.
The mattress’ all-foam construction best serves sleepers who weigh less than 230 pounds, as heavier sleepers generally require more support for proper spinal alignment. Side sleepers and sleepers under 130 pounds in particular appreciate the cradling contouring of the Cocoon Chill’s memory foam comfort layer.
The bed is made in the U.S., and is backed by a 100-night sleep trial during which you can try out the bed and return it if you are not satisfied for any reason, with no mandatory break-in period. Sealy also offers free shipping to all 50 states and includes a 10-year full replacement warranty.
For more personalized mattress guides, check out the following pages:
Defining the ideal mattress is extremely subjective. Every sleeper has their own idea of the perfect firmness level. Optimal support and bounce can depend on a person’s sleeping position and body weight. The right mattress can also vary based on whether someone shares a bed, whether they sleep hot, and of course, their budget.
Given all these factors, it’s impossible to say that there’s one single best mattress. For that reason, we’ve broken our top picks into individual categories so that you can find the best bets among specific mattress types and aspects of mattress performance.
If you’re in the process of looking at mattress options, you might be wondering which category best suits you. Every mattress has pros and cons based on its construction, and while mattress manufacturers try to incorporate features to minimize drawbacks, those attempts don’t always work out.
A great way to narrow down your options is to focus on these critical performance factors, considering which are most important to you and which mattresses best fit your priorities.
Besides price, firmness is quite possibly the most important factor to consider in choosing a new mattress.
The Firmness Scale
While firmness isn’t an exact science, we try to use a consistent, 1-10 scale to explain how hard or soft a mattress feels.
|Test Firmness Scale||Firmness Rating|
Mattresses at the far ends of the scale — such as 1-2 and 9-10 — are too hard or soft for most people, so these beds are rare.
What is the Most Popular Firmness Level?
The most popular firmness is Medium (5) to Medium Firm (6) because it offers a more moderate and balanced feel that can work for a wide variety of sleepers. This is why most hotel beds are around this firmness level.
Firmness By Sleeping Position and Body Weight
One aspect of firmness is simple preference: some people just like the feel of a softer or harder bed. But it can also be heavily influenced by sleeping position and weight because these factors affect how a person puts pressure on a mattress.
|Under 130 Pounds||130 to 230 Pounds||Over 230 Pounds|
|Side Sleepers||Soft (3) to Medium (5)||Medium Soft (4) to Medium Firm (6)||Medium (5) to Firm (7)|
|Back Sleepers||Medium Soft (4) to Medium Firm (6)||Medium (5) to Firm (7)||Medium Firm (6) to Firm (8)|
|Stomach Sleepers||Medium Soft (4) to Medium Firm (6)||Medium Firm (6) to Firm (7)||Medium Firm (6) to Extra Firm (8)|
Thinking About Your Preferred Firmness
If you’re not sure of what firmness level is best for you, there are a few questions to consider to help select a mattress:
Remember, too, that when you shop online, you’ll almost always have a sleep trial of around 100 nights to try out a mattress with the option to return it. If you find that the firmness really doesn’t work for you, you won’t be stuck with a mattress you don’t like.
When shopping for a mattress, some people may overlook just how critical it is to consider their sleeping position. Even a well-built, high-quality mattress may leave you unsatisfied if it’s not the right match for your sleeping position.
The body’s widest areas are around the shoulders and the hips. When sleeping on your side, these joints press deeply into a mattress and can be significant pain points. In addition, if they sink in too much or not enough, they can wind up out of line with the rest of the body, putting serious pressure on the spine.
There’s a slight natural curve in the spine in the area of the lower back. This part of the body, known as the lumbar spine, has numerous flexible muscles that can get aggravated if they aren’t properly supported.
When a mattress is too soft, the midsection can droop into the mattress, and if it’s too firm, the curve of the spine won’t be cushioned. In either case, there’s a risk of lower back pain, which is why most back sleepers need a Medium to Firm bed.
Stomach sleepers are at even greater risk than back sleepers of suffering from excess pressure on the lower spine. If their belly area sags into the bed, the dangerous U-shape can wreak havoc on their back. On top of that, stomach sleepers generally don’t want a mattress with too much hug because it can feel like they are suffocating or being swallowed up by the bed.
People who switch up their sleeping position during the night are known as combination sleepers or sometimes “rotisserie sleepers.” At any body weight, they generally do best with a mattress that best matches their primary sleeping position.
In addition, a responsive mattress provides combination sleepers without enough bounce to adjust their position without disruption during the night. For combination sleepers who share a bed, their partners value excellent motion isolation that keeps them from being disturbed when the combination sleeper shifts their position.
One of the most useful tools we have for organizing the bevy of mattresses on the market is breaking them down by type. These types are defined by the interior construction of the mattress.
Each type has certain benefits and is best suited for particular kinds of sleepers. At the same time, each type has potential downsides that should be considered as well. Reviewing each mattress type isn’t an attempt to determine that one is definitively better than another; instead, it’s a means of helping to decide which is the best option for you.
|Support Core||Innerspring Coils||Latex||Support Polyfoam||Support Polyfoam||Innerspring Coils||Air Chambers|
|Comfort System||One or more layers of micro-coils, foam, latex, and/or textiles||Latex||Memory foam; may be supplemented by polyfoam, latex, and/or textiles||One or more layers of polyfoam, latex, and/or textiles||None or thin layer of polyfoam or textiles||None or one or more layers of foam, latex, and/or textiles|
|Contouring / Pressure Relief||Medium to High||Medium||High||Medium to High||Low||Low to High|
|Bounce||Medium to High||High||Low to Medium||Low to Medium||High||Low to High|
|Motion Isolation||Low to High||Medium||High||Medium to High||Low||Low to High|
|Temperature Control||Medium to High||High||Low to Medium||Low to Medium||High||Low to High|
|Typical Durability||6 to 8 years||8 to 10 years||6 to 8 years||6 to 8 years||5 Years||6 to 8 years|
|General Price Range||$1,500-2,000||$1,600-2,000||$900-1,500||$900-1,300||$300-1,100||$2,000-2,400|
Definition: A hybrid has a coil-based support core and a thick comfort system made up of one or materials including micro-coils, memory foam, polyfoam, latex, wool, and cotton.
Price Range: $1,500-2,000
Who it’s Best for: People who want a balanced feel; sleepers who want notable bounce; those who like an innerspring feel but need more pressure relief; most hot sleepers; people who want edge support.
Considerations (drawbacks): There are a diverse number of hybrids, so it can be harder to generalize about their performance. When they have more bounce, they may lack motion isolation and pressure relief. When they have lots of conforming, they may be prone to sleeping hot or having too much sink.
Definition: These mattresses are made entirely with latex in the interior componentry. Natural latex is the most common type of latex used in mattresses sold online.
Price Range: $1,600-2,000
Who it’s Best for: People who want a mattress with lots of bounce; shoppers who prioritize a good mattress for sex; durability-focused customers; people who want only mild contouring.
Considerations (drawbacks): For some people, latex mattresses may be too bouncy or not have enough conforming. A higher price tag and a heavier, bulkier profile can be negatives as well.
Definition: A memory foam mattress has a support core of polyfoam and a comfort system with a significant memory foam component. Other materials like latex or polyfoam may be used in the comfort system as well.
Price Range: $900-1,500
Who it’s Best for: People who want deep contouring; couples who need significant motion isolation; sleepers who want a noise-free mattress; anyone who prefers the feel of sleeping “in” the mattress.
Considerations (drawbacks): The deep hug and low responsiveness can cause some people to feel stuck in a memory foam bed, which can be uncomfortable and may restrict sexual activity. Memory foam has a tendency to heat up that can be a problem for hot sleepers.
Definition: An all-foam mattress has no coil components. The support core is made with polyfoam, and the comfort system uses polyfoam, latex, and/or textiles like cotton and wool.
Price Range: $900-1,300
Who it’s Best for: Sleepers who need solid pressure relief; people who want more motion isolation; customers who prioritize a silent mattress; shoppers who want some benefits of foam without the full-on effect of memory foam; value seekers.
Considerations (drawbacks): Some all-foam beds fall far short of the support offered by memory foam. In some cases, the comfort system layers can be too thin and prone to wearing out prematurely. Softer all-foam beds can be problematic for back and stomach sleepers. As with memory foam, heat retention and lack of responsiveness can be issues on some all-foam beds.
Definition: An innerspring is built entirely or almost entirely with a coil-based support core. There is little or no comfort system to speak of, and any comfort layer is thin and made of textile fabrics or polyfoam.
Price Range: $300-1,100
Who it’s Best for: Budget shoppers; people who want to purchase a separate mattress topper; people who don’t have major pressure points; sleepers who want a firm, bouncy mattress.
Considerations (drawbacks): Innersprings offer very little in the way of contouring and pressure relief, which is a problem for people with pronounced pressure points. These mattresses do little to isolate motion, reducing their utility for couples. Some innersprings are squeaky or creaky.
Definition: In an airbed, the support core is a chamber that is filled with air. The amount of air can be changed to adjust the firmness feel in real time. A comfort system can include one or more layers and may include foam, latex, and/or textile fabrics.
Price Range: $2,000-2,400
Who it’s Best for: People who want maximum firmness flexibility; couples who want a different feel on each side.
Considerations (drawbacks): There are fewer airbed options on the market, and they tend to be the most expensive type of mattress. Depending on the design of the comfort system, airbeds may lack in pressure relief, motion isolation, responsiveness, and/or temperature control.
Performance and feel are essential considerations when buying a mattress; however, they aren’t the only factors to consider. Getting familiar with a company’s policies can help avoid surprises after you’ve made your purchase.
Fortunately, on the whole, online mattress shopping has made the industry more customer-friendly than ever. Nevertheless, you’ll want to take a close look at policies related to shipping, returns, warranties, and pricing when purchasing a mattress.
For almost all mattresses sold online, free bed-in-a-box shipping is available in the contiguous 48 U.S. states. This means that the mattress comes compressed in plastic inside a box delivered to your doorstep. Once you bring the box to your bedroom and open the packaging, the bed expands to its full size. Lifting and setting up the mattress normally requires two or more people.
Many manufacturers have White-Glove delivery services that send technicians to your home to set up the new mattress and take away your old one. For some beds, this service may be included for free while other manufacturers offer it at an extra charge. It may not be available in all geographic locations.
Customers in Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. territories, and other countries may not have shipping options available to them for all mattress brands. It is always best for customers in these areas to check with the mattress company to find out about shipping availability, costs, and timeframes.
To let customers try out a mattress, it’s normal for a mattress purchased online to come with a generous return policy known as a sleep trial. During the trial, you can initiate a return for a refund if you aren’t satisfied.
The standard sleep trial is around 100 nights, but some last for a year or longer. In many cases, you’ll need to keep the mattress for up to 30 nights as a break-in period before you can ask for a return.
In the majority of sleep trials, there are no return shipping fees, but there are exceptions. Charges for expedited or White-Glove delivery are not normally refundable. If you ask for a return, the mattress company may pick up the mattress from your home or work with you to find a nearby location for donation.
A warranty provides protection against defects in the materials themselves or in the build, or workmanship, of the mattress. Warranties do not cover accidental damage from spills or drops, and they also don’t cover normal, expected wear-and-tear.
When looking at the warranty, consider not just its length but also its terms. A non-prorated warranty offers more robust coverage that doesn’t change over time. A prorated warranty provides coverage that decreases the longer you’ve owned the bed. Though the fine print can be tedious, it’s worth reading through to know how much protection a warranty actually offers.
When we’ve listed prices in this guide, we’ve focused on MSRP, also known as the retail or sticker price. But it’s important for customers to know that it’s rare to pay this full price when shopping for a mattress either online or in a physical store.
There are almost always promotions or discounts that reduce your final price, sweeten the deal with freebies (like pillows or sheets), or both. Good deals are abundant online and will normally be clearly advertised on the websites of mattress manufacturers. That said, if you’re not seeing a promotion, you can check with third-party sites like ours for sale information, promo codes, and coupons.