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Best Firm Mattresses

Logan Foley

Written by

Logan Foley, Certified Sleep Coach

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We recently updated this list to include the Nolah Evolution 15 - Firm as most comfortable, Saatva Classic - Firm as best luxury, Bear Elite Hybrid - Extra Firm as best for couples, and the Charles P. Rogers Estate SE as best for pressure relief. The Plank Luxe Hybrid remains our best overall pick for firm mattresses.

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Mattresses are often promoted as being “soft,” “plush,” or “cloud-like.” For many people, however, the best sleep actually comes from a firm mattress. A firm feel generally means more support and less sinkage, which can benefit those who weigh more than 230 pounds. Back and stomach sleepers may also prefer a firm mattress that reinforces their midsections, promotes even alignment, and reduces the potential for pressure points along the spine.

Each member of the Sleep Foundation testing team brings years of experience to our hands-on mattress evaluations. This diverse group includes side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers, as well as people with different body types. We rely on their varying experiences to evaluate each mattress across a wide range of performance metrics and create ratings that reflect the experiences of most sleepers. While firm feels were the main criteria for the list below, we also based our top picks on other factors such as durability, temperature regulation, and edge support.

The Best Firm Mattresses

Plank Luxe Hybrid

Best Overall

Plank Luxe Hybrid

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Nolah Evolution 15 - Firm

Most Comfortable

Nolah Evolution 15 - Firm

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Saatva Classic - Firm

Best Luxury

Saatva Classic - Firm

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DreamCloud Mattress

Best Medium-Firm

DreamCloud Mattress

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Bear Elite Hybrid - Extra Firm

Best for Couples

Bear Elite Hybrid - Extra Firm

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GhostBed Classic

Best Cooling

GhostBed Classic

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Charles P. Rogers Estate SE

Best Pressure Relief

Charles P. Rogers Estate SE

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Each of these mattresses not only offers a firm sleep surface but also stands out from the competition thanks to high-quality construction and above-average performance. Details about each of our best firm mattress picks can be found below. Scroll down even further for our comprehensive buyer’s guide, which discusses the pros and cons of firm mattresses, the people who benefit most from these mattresses, and what you can expect in terms of cost, longevity, and performance.

Product Details

Plank Luxe Hybrid

Best Overall

Plank Luxe Hybrid

Plank Luxe Hybrid
Price Range: $799 - $1,499
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Firm (7), Extra Firm (9)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, Short Queen, Olympic Queen, King, Short King, RV King, California King, Split California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • Those looking for multiple firmness levels in one mattress
Highlights:
  • Optional cooling panel for an additional fee
  • Flippable design with firm and extra firm feels
  • Short queen mattress and RV sizes available
Plank Luxe Hybrid

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklyn Bedding mattresses

The Plank Luxe Hybrid has a flippable design with two different feels. Sleepers who prefer a firm mattress but are not sure of their exact firmness needs may want to consider this pick.

What It’s Made of

A cover made from a breathable cotton-microfiber blend encases the mattress. An optional cooling panel made from phase change material is available for a fee. The panel is sewn into the cover, and is engineered to absorb excess body heat and dissipate it. Depending on the mattress side you choose, the top layer varies in thickness. The firm (7) side’s cover measures 1.5 inches, and the extra firm (9) side is .75 inches.

On the firm side, an additional layer of proprietary TitanFlex foam gently conforms to the body. Both sides have a high-density polyfoam comfort layer to distribute weight evenly. The shared pocketed coil support core adds stability to the design.

How It Performed

The mattress performed best for back and stomach sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds. Those who are at least 130 pounds and prefer a particularly firm mattress may also appreciate the Plank Luxe Hybrid. The mattress’ coil support core provides the bounce that many couples prefer for sex. Hot sleepers should find that the standard mattress cover retains little heat, but they may want to consider the cooling panel for enhanced temperature regulation.

Brooklyn Bedding offers twelve sizes, including options for short queen and RV beds, and the company ships free to customers in the contiguous U.S. A 120-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty back Plank Luxe Hybrid purchases.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Plank Luxe Hybrid has a flippable design for sleepers who are unsure of their firmness needs. Our testers who are over 230 pounds found the mattress incredibly supportive.”

Firmer WinkBed

Best for Back Pain

Firmer WinkBed

Firmer WinkBed
Price Range: $1,149 - $2,049
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who like the bounce of innerspring coils
  • People who tend to sleep or sit near the edge of the bed
  • Customers who want the peace-of-mind of a lifetime warranty
Highlights:
  • Plush Euro-top provides excellent cushioning
  • Coil system offers dynamic support
  • Lifetime warranty
Firmer WinkBed

Get $300 off all mattresses

The Firmer WinkBed is a hybrid mattress with a versatile design that should suit a wide range of sleepers. A robust coil system and comfort layers that contour evenly make the mattress an excellent option for people with back pain who need extra support to sleep comfortably.

What It’s Made of

The bed has a firm (7) feel and begins with a plush Euro-top quilted with two layers of gel-infused polyfoam. Beneath is a layer of SupportCell polyfoam, which has an above-average firmness compared to conventional polyfoam. This layer provides support but also maintains moderate contouring. The support core is composed of zoned pocketed coils. The springs are individually wrapped, meaning they better respond to the body to reduce motion isolation. The mattress surface is encased in a Tencel cover that feels cool to the touch.

How It Performed

While the coils are a key design element of the WinkBed, the mattress also takes advantage of its comfort layer materials. The dense and firm foams give a modest degree of contouring that is just enough to help keep the spine aligned without making the bed too soft. The WinkBed also provides excellent edge support thanks to the zoned configuration of the coils. The bounce from the coils makes it easy to move around on the mattress, including during intimate activities. The bed should feel comfortable for a range of sleepers, but it is especially well suited for back and stomach sleepers over 130 pounds.

The WinkBed comes with a 120-night sleep trial, so customers have the opportunity to try it out for an extended period in their bedroom. The company shows its faith in the durability of its product by offering a lifetime warranty that covers defects in materials and manufacturing.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“We found that the Firmer WinkBed model is a great bet for sleepers over 130 pounds. The support system is sturdier in the middle to make sure that your midsection doesn’t sink into the mattress core.”

Most Comfortable

Price (Queen): $
Mattress Type: 
Firmness: 
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Who it's best for:
  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • Couples
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Comfortable balance of strong support and light cushioning
  • Proprietary cooling cover and breathable coil support core limit heat buildup
  • Zoned coils provide targeted support and bolster the edges

The Nolah Evolution 15 is a high-profile hybrid mattress that comes in three distinct feels, including a firm (8) option. While some firm beds sacrifice cushioning and comfort for support, this model offers an even balance of pressure-relieving foam and sturdy coils to create a comfortable surface enjoyed by many sleepers.

What It’s Made of

The Evolution 15’s construction begins with a polyfoam-quilted Euro-top that gives the surface a plush initial feel. Next is a layer of graphite-infused polyfoam that contours to the body to relieve pressure points. The graphite infusion is intended to conduct heat away from the surface and dissipate it. A polyfoam transitional layer adds a cushion between the foam layers and the coils. This layer limits excessive sinkage and evenly distributes weight to promote spinal alignment.

Zoned pocketed coils offer targeted support to the midsection and shoulders, preventing uncomfortable sagging. Thicker coils also line the perimeter for extra reinforcement. The coil support core rests on a base layer made from recycled plant fibers. Proprietary ArcticTex fabric encases the mattress and aims to reduce heat buildup. The cover’s bottom half has handles for easy moving.

How It Performed

The firm model of the Evolution 15 offers light cushioning and strong support. Back sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds and stomach sleepers over 230 pounds may like this model’s even sleep surface. Our testing team found the Evolution a strong choice for couples and hot sleepers. Thanks to its responsive coil support core, the mattress provides bounce many prefer for sex. This bouncy feel facilitates movement across the mattress, and the coil-reinforced perimeter allows couples to lay and sit closer to the edges without slipping off. Airflow through the coil support core, cooling infusions, and the breathable cover help regulate temperature for hot sleepers.

Nolah ships free to customers in the contiguous U.S. The company offers a 120-night sleep trial, during which customers can return a mattress after a 30-night break-in period. Shoppers can also opt out of the sleep trial for a discount at checkout. Evolution 15 purchases come with a generous lifetime warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“As a back sleeper who prefers a firmer mattress, I really enjoyed the Nolah Evolution 15, particularly the firm (8) feel. The foam layers are also excellent at isolating motion. I did not feel my partner move at all.”

Plank

Best Extra-Firm

Plank

Plank
Price Range: $699 - $1349
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Firm (7), Extra Firm (9)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split California King, Short Full, Short Queen, Short King, Olympic Queen, RV King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who want an extra-firm option
  • People looking for a reversible firmness design
  • Those who put a premium on significant edge support
Highlights:
  • Flippable design with firm and extra firm options
  • One of the firmest feeling mattresses on the market
  • Optional cooling top panel enhances temperature regulation
Plank

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklyn Bedding mattresses

The Plank Mattress, designed and manufactured by the proven team at Brooklyn Bedding, is like a dream come true for people who want a firm mattress. The mattress is flippable, allowing customers to easily choose between a firm and extra firm feel.

What It’s Made of

The Plank is composed of four layers. When arranged for use on the Firm side, the top layer is .75 inches of fiber fill quilted into the cover. Next is 2 inches of a latex-like polyfoam known as TitanFlex that has light conforming and notable bounce. The next layer is the support core, which is 7 inches of high-density polyfoam. The final layer is 1.5 inches of fiber fill that is also quilted into the cover.

How It Performed

The Plank’s materials have limited heat retention, but the mattress is also available with an optional cooling top panel that has a phase change material (PCM) incorporated into it. The PCM holds a stable temperature by dissipating or retaining heat as needed over the course of the night.

For people who know they want a firmer feel but want flexibility in terms of just how hard their mattress feels, the Plank’s reversible firmness design is a major selling point. It also provides well above-average edge support and is easy to move around on top of.

Brooklyn Bedding backs the Plank with a 120-night sleep trial that lets you try out the mattress in your own home. The company also provides a 10-year limited warranty covering defects in materials and craftsmanship.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“As the name implies, the Plank doesn’t mess around with firmness. This model is the best bet for people over 230 pounds and anyone who’s had a hard time finding a mattress that’s firm enough.”

Best Luxury

Price (Queen): $
Mattress Type: 
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Who it's best for:
  • People who like the feel of an innerspring mattress
  • Sleepers who need extra lumbar padding
  • Shoppers who want free White Glove delivery
Highlights:
  • Available in 11.5-inch and 14.5-inch profiles
  • Memory foam lumbar pad alleviates pressure buildup in the lower back
  • Coil-on-coil design delivers firm support

The Saatva Classic comes in several different firmness options, and the firm (8) model offers excellent support for sleepers who need or prefer firm beds. The mattress offers an appealing mix of reinforcement and pressure point relief, especially for stomach and back sleepers. Its hybrid, coil-on-coil construction promotes excellent performance and durability. Shoppers willing to spend more money on high-quality materials may want to consider the Saatva.

What It’s Made of

The Saatva Classic is available in two profiles, 11.5 and 14.5 inches. Both models begin with foam layers encased in a Euro-style pillow-top, including a memory foam lumbar pad that can decrease pressure in the lower back – a common problem area for stomach and back sleepers. Firm layers of polyfoam round out the Saatva’s comfort system, creating more comfort without reducing the firm feel. A transitional layer of pocketed micro-coils provide extra support and bounce.

The support core in the Saatva is a layer of 13-gauge Bonnell coils. In the 11.5-inch model, the coils are 4 inches tall; in the 14.5-inch model, they are 7 inches tall. These coils offer a firm, stable foundation for the mattress, and the edges are buttressed with a high-density polyfoam encasement.

How It Performed

The Saatva Classic’s innovative design combines the excellent support of a traditional innerspring with the contouring and pressure relief of a foam hybrid. Back and stomach sleepers, people who weigh more than 230 pounds, and other sleepers who need extra support from their mattress should all be satisfied with the firm model.

Temperature regulation is another major strength of the Saatva Classic since both coil layers generate steady air circulation and the cover is made of breathable organic cotton. The ultra-supportive design also helps to ensure less sinkage and more surface airflow for sleepers.

After you’ve placed your order, Saatva works with you to coordinate free White Glove delivery that includes setup of the Saatva and removal of your existing mattress. You then have 365 nights to try it out with the option to return it for a refund, minus $99 deducted for return pickup. The mattress comes with a lifetime warranty to cover potential defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Saatva’s coil-on-coil design is firm where it counts but still has a bit of cushion thanks to its Euro-Top. The high-quality build edged out a lot of the competition during our durability tests.”

DreamCloud Mattress

Best Medium-Firm

DreamCloud Mattress

DreamCloud Mattress
Price Range: $699 - $1,299
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • All sleep positions (back, side, stomach, combination)
  • Those who sleep hot at night
  • Sleepers over 130 pounds
Highlights:
  • Medium firm feel offers a versatile choice for many sleep preferences
  • Exceptional 365-night sleep trial
  • Quilted cover provides plushness, without excessive body sink
DreamCloud Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on DreamCloud mattresses

The DreamCloud, a hybrid mattress with a quilted top and a thick profile, is a great medium firm (6) mattress that suits most sleepers. The quilted cover and memory foam comfort layer give this bed a somewhat-plush feel on top and provides some pressure relief, without compromising the bed’s firmness.

What It’s Made of

The quilted top consists of a cashmere poly-blend cover and a foam filling. This gives the very top of the mattress a plush, breathable feel, while the lower layers are supportive and firm. Under this is a layer of gel-infused memory foam that provides extra pressure relief and traps less body heat than conventional memory foam. This is followed by a polyfoam transition layer and an individually wrapped coil support core, which provides support and some ‘bounce’ to the bed, making it easier to move around on.

How It Performed

With a medium firm feel and tons of supportive layers, the DreamCloud is capable of suiting just about any sleeper type, with the possible exception of side sleepers under 130 pounds. Since the biggest portion of the mattress is a breathable coil support core, the DreamCloud doesn’t trap too much body heat and sleepers cool throughout the night. It also performs well in categories such as pressure relief, edge support, and ease of movement, making it a versatile, all-around well-performing mattress.

The DreamCloud comes at an average price-point for a hybrid mattress, which is impressive given it’s tall profile and quality materials. They offer an excellent guarantee, giving customers a 1-year sleep trial and a lifetime limited warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“We think the DreamCloud hits the sweet spot for most sleepers who weigh more than 130 pounds, but especially side sleepers, who will probably enjoy the plush quilted top the most.”

Helix Twilight

Best for Side Sleepers

Helix Twilight

Helix Twilight
Price Range: $699 - $1,449
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Firm (7)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Couples
  • Sleepers who have a hard time getting out of bed
  • Side sleepers
Highlights:
  • Pocketed coils line perimeter for enhanced edge support
  • Pressure-relieving memory foam comfort layer
  • Free shipping to all 50 states
Helix Twilight

Get up to $350 off + 2 free Dream Pillows

Many firm mattresses do not provide the pressure relief needed by many side sleepers. Thanks to its memory foam comfort layer, the Helix Twilight offers above-average performance for side sleepers compared to other firm mattresses.

What It’s Made of

A proprietary Soft Touch Design fabric cover encases the mattress, and is designed to encourage airflow. Next is a layer of pressure-relieving memory foam followed by a transitional layer of polyfoam. The latter adds a cushion between the comfort layer and the support core and helps to evenly distribute body weight.

Pocketed coils make up the support core, offering targeted support to the hips and shoulders. The coils are zoned along the perimeter for extra reinforcement when you get in and out of bed. A high-density polyfoam base layer stabilizes the mattress and prevents shifting.

How It Performed

Side and back sleepers who are at least 130 pounds see the most benefit from the mattress. Couples should find the coil support core provides the bounce many prefer for sex, while the memory foam comfort layer absorbs noise. Thanks to the reinforced perimeter, co-sleepers can lie closer to the edge without feeling like slipping off. Sleepers who need extra help getting out of bed should also appreciate the additional edge support.

Helix offers free shipping to all 50 states. Twilight mattress purchases come with a 100-night sleep trial, and a 10-year warranty protects against structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Our side-sleeping testers over 230 pounds found the Helix Twilight comfortable compared to other firm mattresses. The reinforced perimeter also helped our testers who need assistance getting out of bed.”

Best for Couples

Price (Queen): $
Mattress Type: 
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Who it's best for:
  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
  • People with pressure points who prefer a firmer mattress
Highlights:
  • Zoned comfort system offers targeted pressure relief to the hips and shoulders
  • Aerated foams and breathable support core prevent uncomfortable heat retention
  • 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty

Mattresses with foam layers slowly adapt to the body, which can cause heat retention. The Bear Elite Hybrid uses an aerated polyfoam layer and a breathable coil support core to facilitate internal airflow and keep sleepers cool. The mattress comes in three firmness options, but the Extra Firm (8) model is the ideal pick for sleepers who enjoy or require supportive surfaces. Couples seeking a bed that’s easy to move around on will appreciate the firmness.

What It’s Made of

A quilted Celliant and polyester blend cover featuring phase change material (PCM) encases the mattress, giving the surface a soft and cool feel. Underneath is a layer of copper-infused memory foam that closely contours to the body to alleviate pressure buildup. The copper infusion is meant to conduct heat away from the body to regulate temperature.

Next is a layer of zoned and aerated polyfoam that offers targeted pressure relief to the hips and shoulders while supporting the lower back. Pocketed coils in the support core limit uncomfortable sagging and keep the body on an even plane. The coils rest on a base layer of polyfoam that stabilizes the mattress.

How It Performed

Side sleepers over 230 pounds, back sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds, and stomach sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds will receive the most benefit from the strong support and light cushioning in the Extra Firm model. This model earned high pressure relief ratings compared to other firm mattresses. The zoned comfort system alleviates pressure points without sacrificing the firm feel many appreciate.

The Elite Hybrid excels at edge support. The coil support core bolsters the perimeter of the mattress, so sleepers can lay closer to the edges without rolling toward the center or slipping off. This feature is especially important for co-sleepers and those who have a hard time getting in and out of bed.

Bear offers free shipping to customers in the contiguous U.S. and a 120-night sleep trial. Customers can return mattresses anytime after the 30-night break-in period. Elite Hybrid purchases come with a lifetime warranty that protects against structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Bear Elite Hybrid is an excellent choice for hot sleepers who like the close ‘body hug’ of foam. This mattress effectively relieves pressure points without retaining excessive heat.”

GhostBed Classic

Best Cooling

GhostBed Classic

GhostBed Classic
Price Range: $945 - $2,190
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 101 Nights (30-Night Requirement)
Trial length: 101 Nights (30-Night Requirement)
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers weighing 230 pounds or less
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those easily disturbed by their partner’s movements
Highlights:
  • Contouring memory foam and responsive latex create a balanced comfort system
  • Breathable cover and steady internal airflow
  • Each purchase comes with two free pillows
GhostBed Classic

30% off all GhostBed mattresses & 2 free pillows. Free weighted blanket ($479 Value) with a minimum $1.5k order.

The GhostBed Classic is a medium firm (6) mattress that alleviates pressure, keeps cool, and doesn’t sink too much when you move across the surface. Couples should also enjoy the mattress thanks to its strong motion isolation. The latex won’t absorb as much movement as memory foam, but there should still be very little transfer when you or your partner changes positions or gets in and out of bed.

What It’s Made of

The latex layer is ventilated to promote air circulation near the surface, while the memory foam is infused with cooling gel intended to decrease heat absorption that can make sleepers feel uncomfortably warm. A support core of high-density polyfoam provides support and stability for the entire mattress. The cover, made from a breathable blend of viscose and polyester, also contributes to the GhostBed Classic’s above-average temperature control.

How It Performed

After testing this mattress, we’ve found it best suited to side and back sleepers – especially those who weigh up to 230 pounds. The latex and memory foam layers provide enough cushioning to improve alignment and reduce pressure points for side sleepers, while those who favor the back position can lie comfortably without sinking too much around the lower back and hips.

The mattress is priced competitively and all buyers receive two complimentary GhostPillows with their purchase. Shipping is free of charge for orders in the contiguous U.S. GhostBed backs the Classic with a 101-night trial and a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The latex comfort layer is the star of the GhostBed. It helps the surface feel resilient and responsive without sacrificing pressure relief. Side and back sleepers will get the most out of this one.”

Best Pressure Relief

Price (Queen): $
Mattress Type: 
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Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People seeking a firm bed that doesn’t sacrifice pressure relief
  • Back sleepers
Highlights:
  • Latex and coil design offers strong support
  • Responsive latex layers gently cradle the body
  • Breathable construction keeps the mattress cool

Some firm beds offer excellent support but end up sacrificing pressure relief that you get from soft, cushioned surfaces. The Charles P. Rogers Estate SE is a hybrid latex mattress that strikes a nice balance between support and pressure relief. It also has a unique design that allows owners to flip part of the mattress to slightly adjust the feel.

What It’s Made of

The bed begins with a knit cotton cover quilted with soft fibers, which provides a plush feel. Beneath is a Euro-top composed of Talalay latex, which is responsive and moderately contouring. This is followed by another latex layer that has a firmer feel. Next is a pocketed coil core that excels in support but also responds to your body as you move, followed by a thin foam layer. Foam panels line the bed’s perimeter to reinforce the edges.

The unique design of the Estate SE lets owners replace the top comfort layers if they begin to wear out or if your firmness preferences change. The bottom part of the mattress is also reversible, allowing you to flip the core with either the latex or foam side on top. The surface retains its firmness either way, but flipping the bottom part allows for slight modifications to the feel.

How It Performed

The Estate SE has a firm (7) feel that should feel adequately supportive for most back sleepers, as well as stomach sleepers who weigh over 230 pounds. Meanwhile the latex gently cradles the body, which may appeal to sleepers who experience painful pressure buildup in areas like the spine. This bed is also an excellent fit for sleepers who run hot, since latex is naturally breathable and air circulates freely through the coil system.

Charles P. Rogers offers a 100-night sleep trial, with a 30-night break-in period required. The bed also comes with a 15-year prorated warranty. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Most firm beds sacrifice comfort in the name of support, but the latex layers in the Charles P. Rogers Estate SE offer just the right amount of cushioning for sleepers who need a bit of pressure relief.”

Why You Can Trust Us

Our testing team assigns a firmness value to every mattress we evaluate. We use a 10-point scale, ranging from 1 (softest) to 10 (firmest). For our best firm mattress picks, we exclusively looked at models with a firmness of 6 (medium firm) or higher. These include mattresses that are exclusively designed with firmer feels, as well as flippable models with at least one firm surface and those sold in multiple firmness levels.

How We Evaluated These Mattresses

In all, we personally tested dozens of individual mattresses before deciding which models made our final cut. Our testers fall into groups based on weight and primary sleep position, so our findings should represent most sleepers regardless of their personal needs and preferences. For this list, we focused on defining qualities of firm mattresses such as surface feel and overall support. We also took pricing into account in order to make recommendations for shoppers on a budget.

To learn more about criteria we used for testing and rating firm mattresses, check out our product research methodology below:

  • Motion Isolation: This criteria refers to how effectively a mattress absorbs movement and prevents it from transferring across the surface. Motion isolation primarily concerns couples and other people who share their bed with someone else, as transfer can cause sleep disturbances.
  • Temperature Control: We evaluate temperature control based on a mattress’ ability to resist overheating and maintain a comfortable sleep surface temperature. Mattresses may sleep cool due to components with active cooling technology, or layers that passively promote airflow and breathability.
  • Pressure Relief: Many sleepers experience pressure buildup in areas such as the shoulders and hips. Mattresses can alleviate this discomfort and stop new pressure points from forming by cushioning the midsection and keeping the sleeper’s body on an even plane.
  • Off-Gassing: Off-gassing odor is common with new mattresses, particularly those that contain foam and other synthetic components. These smells generally dissipate within a day or two, but mattresses with more persistent off-gassing can lead to unpleasant sleep experiences.
  • Ease of Movement: A mattress that provides bounce and pushback will be easier to move across than a model that sinks beneath your weight. Although ease of movement is a strength of most firm mattresses, some models excel in this category more than others.
  • Edge Support: Mattresses with sturdy perimeter support feel relatively stable when you sleep close to the edges or get in and out of bed. This is another category where most firm mattresses perform well, especially those with mid-range profiles.
  • Sex: While preferences vary, most people prefer a responsive surface for sex that facilitates movements and provides good edge support. Cooling and temperature control are also important for this criteria.
  • Body Weight: During our mattress tests, we’ve noticed a strong link between body weight and preferred firmness level. Generally speaking, people who weigh at least 130 pounds and primarily sleep on their back or stomach feel most comfortable on firm mattresses.

Who is a Firm Mattress Best For?

Comfort is subjective, so there are no black-and-white rules about who should buy a firm mattress. Every sleeper should opt for the best fit for their needs and preferences. That said, there are general tendencies in terms of which people get the most benefit out of a firm bed.

Two major factors that play into the optimal firmness level are body weight and primary sleeping position. People who weigh over 230 pounds often prefer a firmer mattress because it keeps them from sinking too deeply into the bed, which can harm spinal alignment and cause overheating.

Back and stomach sleepers usually need a firmer feel to keep their abdomen and lumbar area from hyperextending, which can lead to lower back aches and pains.

While there are exceptions, the table below provides an outline of the top mattress firmness level based on a person’s weight and main sleeping position.

Weight Side Sleepers Back Sleepers Stomach Sleepers
Less than 130 Pounds Soft – Medium Medium Soft – Medium Firm Medium Soft – Medium Firm
130 to 230 Pounds Medium Soft – Medium Firm Medium – Firm Medium Firm – Firm
More than 230 Pounds Medium – Medium Firm Medium Firm – Firm Medium Firm – Firm

Sleeping Position


A person’s preferred sleeping position is closely tied to their ideal mattress firmness.

  • Side sleepers can struggle with a mattress that is too firm because it can generate an uncomfortable impact at their main pressure points like the hips and shoulders. This is especially true for people under 130 pounds.
  • Back sleepers generally benefit from a firmer mattress that keeps their midsection from sagging into a U-shape that can strain the lower back.
  • Stomach sleepers have similar support needs as back sleepers but often prefer an even firmer bed so that it doesn’t feel as though they are being suffocated or swallowed by their mattress.
  • Combination sleepers, who move between positions during the night, can appreciate a firm mattress if they spend more time on their back or stomach. A firmer bed can also prevent feeling stuck in the mattress, making it easier to adjust positions during the night.

Body Type

Body type and body weight affect how a person experiences the feel of a mattress and should be taken into account when purchasing a firm mattress.

The more that a person weighs, the more pressure they put on a mattress, so heavier people will sink more into any given bed. This means that people under 130 pounds tend to experience a firm mattress as very hard, but someone over 230 pounds may find it to have a comfortable amount of cushioning. Generally, as a person’s weight increases, so does their preference for a firm mattress.

Body Weight – Video

Watch this video from our Sleep Foundation Lab for a more in-depth look at how body weight affects the feel of your mattress.

How to Shop for a Firm Mattress Online

Buying a firm mattress online is both convenient and cost-effective. With a range of options to choose from and the ability to shop from home at your own pace, finding a great mattress is easier than ever.

It might seem odd to buy a firm mattress without feeling it in-person first to actually know how firm it is. Because of this, online mattress companies provide generous return policies known as sleep trials. This lets you use the mattress for a set period of time, usually 100 nights or more, with hassle-free returns. The sleep trial allows you to try the mattress in your own home, which gives you a far better sense of whether it will work for you.

Because there’s less overhead than with brick-and-mortar stores, it’s easy to find great deals for mattresses online. Mattress manufacturers frequently run promotions, and third-party sites, like SleepFoundation.org, often provide discounts or coupon codes to help you get the best price. Our site’s buying guides and reviews can also be a handy resource for finding the mattress that best fits your needs and budget.

Thanks to the compression process, online retailers can ship their “mattress in a box” for free, so shipping is almost always included in your purchase price. Some companies even include installation or offer it for an extra charge. Ordering is as easy as a few clicks, and payment with a credit card or methods like Paypal (on some sites) makes finalizing your order simple. Some retailers even offer financing programs as well.

Buying Online vs. Brick and Mortar – Video

Watch the video below to learn the pros and cons of shopping for a mattress online or in a store.

Important Mattress Considerations

Shopping for a new mattress can be overwhelming. Complex marketing campaigns can draw attention away from some of the most important considerations, and as a consumer, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Stay focused on these factors that are most likely to impact how satisfied you’ll be with your purchase.

  • Mattress Type and Materials: The composition of a mattress is one of the most important factors driving its performance and durability. Each type has pros and cons, and identifying the type you’re most interested in can help you narrow the field for better comparison shopping. Read more about mattress types in the section below.
  • Price: Given how much you rely on your mattress to promote quality sleep, it’s a product worth investing in. Nevertheless, you have to work within your budget, so a key factor to consider is how much you can realistically spend on a new mattress and any related accessories you might need (such as a new bed frame, sheets, or pillows).
  • Motion Isolation: If you share a mattress, good motion isolation can reduce the chances that you’ll be awoken by movement on another part of the bed. Firmer mattresses with less contouring usually transfer more motion, but the interior materials can significantly affect how much disturbance you’re likely to experience.
  • Pressure Relief: A firm mattress can still provide pressure relief by offering sufficient cushioning for pressure points. A slight amount of give, especially when tailored to the body’s weight, can contribute to proper spinal alignment.
  • Ease of Movement / Sex: Some mattresses make it easier to move around on the surface, which is especially important for anyone who wants to be able to effortlessly change their sleeping position or engage in intimate activities. Hybrid and latex mattresses tend to have the most bounce to facilitate movement.
  • Edge Support: You want your firm mattress to have that same feel across the bed, allowing you to effectively use the whole surface area. Strong edge support also makes it easier to sit on the edge of the bed without feeling like it is collapsing under you.
  • Temperature Neutrality: A mattress that retains heat can lead to a lack of sleep as you find yourself waking up in a sweat. If you tend to sleep hot, look for a mattress with materials that combat heat buildup.

Types of Firm Mattresses

If you’re not sure how to narrow down the available options, a good starting point is focusing on the types of mattresses available.

Each category of mattress has some shared characteristics of design and performance, but remember that there are exceptions. The type of mattress gives a sense of the likely feel, but the best information comes from digging into the details of any given brand and model.

Hybrid

Definition: Hybrid mattresses have two key components. The bottom component is the support core, which is built with innerspring coils. The top is the comfort system, and it is made with one or more materials like foam, latex, microcoils, wool, cotton, and polyester.

More Than Just Firm: With a strong base of coils, most hybrids have a firmer feel and quality edge support, but the comfort system brings extra benefits. For example, comfort layers can improve pressure relief and motion isolation.

Innerspring

Definition: An innerspring is made with one primary component, which is its innerspring support core. Unlike a hybrid, an innerspring has few materials that rest on top of the coils. Although there may be a thin amount of foam or fiber fill, it is usually not enough to strongly change the overall feel.

Reliably Firm: The lack of a developed comfort system means that innersprings tend to have a firm to extra firm feel. While they tend to lack pressure relief and motion isolation, most innersprings are reliably firm.

Latex

Definition: Latex is a rubber material that can either be harvested from sap from trees or produced chemically. A latex mattress is made with interior layers that are exclusively latex, and in mattresses, that latex is most often natural rather than synthetic.

Pronounced Bounce: Latex can be designed to be different levels of softness, but it is almost always resilient and bouncy. A firm latex mattress makes it easy to move on the bed and often can provide mild pressure relief as well.

Airbed

Definition: In an airbed, the support core is an air chamber that can be inflated or deflated to change the firmness. The air level is controlled by a smartphone or remote. There may be one or more layers above the support core to create a comfort layer.

Control Firmness at the Touch of a Button: No other mattress type provides as much control and flexibility as an airbed. With the push of a button, an airbed lets you make your bed feel harder or softer, allowing you to home in on your ideal firmness level.

Foam

Definition: All layers of a foam mattress are made with memory foam, polyfoam, fiber fill, or latex. Generally, the support core is high-density polyfoam, and one or more layers above serve as the comfort system.

Added Pressure Relief: Foams, especially memory foam, are able to hug the body by compressing in response to the amount of weight applied to them. Even in an otherwise firm mattress, this boosts pressure relief, which can be particularly useful to side sleepers.

Accessories to Complement Your Firm Mattress

Picking out a firm mattress is step one to getting your bed set up to perfectly suit your needs. Once you have the mattress, though, it’s worth putting some thought into a few accessories to optimize your bed.

Pillows

The best pillows will help make sure that your neck is supported and in line with the rest of your spine. On a firmer mattress, the pillow won’t sink much into the bed, so you’ll notice more of the pillow’s loft. Pillows made with feathers, down, polyester, or shredded foam or latex offer more ability to manipulate the pillow to adjust its fit under your head, and this can be a big plus for side sleepers. Back and stomach sleepers usually need lower-loft pillows, so thin pillows or models with a zippered cover that let you remove fill can be a good option. When a pillow is made with one piece of foam or latex, the loft is more stable. These pillows can work well on a firm surface as long as the selected loft matches with the support needs of the head and neck.

Mattress Toppers

If you’re looking for a firmer feel but don’t want to spring for an all-new mattress, a topper can be a temporary solution. A topper usually has a thickness of one to three inches and goes above your existing mattress and under your sheets. It can be made of foam, latex, fiber fill, wool, or down.

A topper provides an easy way to change the comfort level of your mattress, but it won’t be as durable or reliable as a new mattress. In addition, if your existing mattress is sagging or showing signs of wear, that will drag down the performance of any topper placed on top of it. For this reason, a topper is most appropriate when you are on a tight budget or only need a minor or short-term adjustment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is a firm mattress better for your back?

    While a firm mattress may be the best for one sleeper’s back, it could create pressure points for others. Sleeper type and weight factor heavily into determining whether or not a firm mattress is better for your back. Generally speaking, the best mattress for your back is one that keeps your spine evenly supported. Support needs differ depending on how much you weigh and what position you sleep in.

    A firmer mattress is best suited to back and stomach sleepers, especially those who weigh above 130 pounds. These groups may find that they sink into the core of a mattress that’s too soft, which can create an uncomfortable curve in the spine. A mattress that’s too firm can cause pressure buildup in some side sleepers and those who weigh less than 130 pounds. In order to choose the best mattress for your back, you should consider mattress construction, your weight, and sleep style. Taking advantage of a mattress’ sleep trial is an excellent way to determine whether or not the firmness level is right for you.

  • What mattress types are most firm?

    People who prefer the feeling of sleeping ‘on’, rather than ‘in’, their firm mattress should consider innerspring or latex models rather than all-foam or hybrid. All types of mattresses can be firm, but mattresses without pressure-relieving comfort systems usually feel subjectively firmer than those with that feature. Pressure relief and firmness are not the same, and a mattress that cradles the body can be firm enough beneath the comfort layers to properly support people who need a firm or even extra-firm bed.

    The latter two options usually have pressure-relieving foam comfort systems, making them feel subjectively softer. Innerspring beds typically have a thin comfort layer if they have one, while latex is naturally bouncier and more resilient than synthetic foams.

  • What is the best firm mattress?

    The best firm mattress is one that satisfies all your sleep requirements while providing the right amount of support. Knowing that you prefer a firm mattress is the first step in choosing a bed, but finding the right one also requires you to ask yourself other questions.

    Your preferred sleep position is particularly important since it will help determine what pressure relief and support you need. Side sleepers, for example, can develop pressure points, aches, and pains on a firm mattress with minimal pressure relief. People who sleep on their backs, on the other hand, tend to need less pressure relief but may appreciate extra pelvic support in the form of ergonomic zoning.

  • Are firm mattresses better for sleepers with back pain?

    While a mattress that is too soft can cause or worsen back pain, so too can a mattress that is too firm. Instead of focusing on finding an extra-firm mattress, people with back pain should learn what mattress firmness is best for their body type and preferred sleep position. Your spine will not be in alignment if your mattress is too soft, but a too-firm mattress can compress your joints and straighten the natural curve of your spine.

  • Is mattress firmness the same thing as mattress support?

    Firmness and support are related but separate factors to consider when choosing a mattress. Mattresses that are too soft will not offer the correct amount of support, but choosing a firmer mattress doesn’t necessarily mean it will be more supportive. In fact, a too-firm mattress can be unsupportive if it fails to allow for the natural curve of your spine.

    To determine the best firmness for your needs, consider your weight and preferred sleep position. Instead of increasing your mattress firmness past this level, consider a bed with a robust support system — such as an ergonomically zoned hybrid mattress — if you require more support.

About Our Editorial Team

author
Logan Foley

Certified Sleep Coach

Logan has extensive experience testing sleep products and producing sleep content. She is also a Certified Sleep Science Coach.