Firmness of a mattress is a fundamental concern to consider when you’re buying a mattress. While a lot of people assume that choosing a firm (or hard) mattress is great for certain conditions, in truth it depends on several factors including your weight (BMI), sleep position, medical conditions, and type of mattress. The best firm mattress should provide a nice balance between firmness and support. With these goals in mind, we’ll go ahead and pick the 5 best firm mattress 2018.
- Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress
- Saatva Innerspring Mattress
- Brentwood Home Cypress Mattress
- Olee Sleep Dura Spring Mattress
- Zinus Extra Firm iCoil Support Plus Mattress
How Is Mattress Firmness Measured?
The most common way to evaluate mattress firmness is on a scale of 1 to 10. Where 1 is the plushies, and 10 is the firmest. Mattresses on the extreme end of this spectrum are very rare. Most modern mattresses fall in the numbers ranging from 3-8, where 3 is soft, and 8 is extra firm. Remember, even when looking for an “extra firm” mattress, your job is not to find a rock to sleep on, but rather a mattress that qualifies for specific requirements.
A generic scale for mattress firmness is:
|Mattress Firmness||Firmness Scale|
It should be noted that these are not universal numbers, and you will find the name and range vary slightly across different companies and publications. For example, you may see 6-7 firmness called “medium firm”, or 8-9 as “firm”.
Similarly, firmness can be subjective to different sleepers. Two people may have very different opinions on the firmness of a mattress. For the purpose of this guide and list, we’ll largely stick to firmness measurements provided by manufacturers.
All best firm mattress contenders on this list have a firmness rating of 7 and above.
Who Needs A Firm Mattress?
There are three usual categories of sleepers that prefer a firm mattress:
- Heavy (overweight) sleepers: Plush mattresses can present a sinking, making the sleeper uncomfortable. It’s also likely that the sleeper finds themselves resting on the support layer (or even base) of the mattress. A firm mattress prevents sinking, keeping the sleeper comfortably on the comfort and transition layers. If you are above 250 lbs, you should consider a firm mattress. If you weight significantly more, check out our mattress recommendations for 400 pound people.
- Back sleepers: If you are a back sleeper, you need to support the S-curve on your spine. Here’s a simple test; while lying on your mattress, try to slip your hand between your lumbar region and the mattress. If you managed to do that with ease, you need to reconsider your sleeping surface. You don’t need to go into the extra-firm range, but something near a firmness scale of 7 should be suitable.
- Stomach sleepers: Stomach sleepers find that their pelvis takes on the highest weight while sleeping. Having a firmer mattress prevents your pelvis from sinking into the mattress, thus keeping your spine in better alignment.
- People with back pain: Recommendation for sleeping on a firm surface is often thrown around for people dealing with back pain. While it can be useful, it is not a catch-all solution. Like back sleepers, best firm mattress for back pain could be a medium-firm mattress at a scale of 7 or 7.5. If you are a stomach sleeper, checkout our mattress recommendations for stomach sleepers with lower back pain.
Considerations For The Best Firm Mattress
What Role Does Edge Support Play?
Edge support is an important consideration when picking the best firm mattress. You will likely have multiple activities related to the edge of the mattress, even if it’s just getting on/off the bed, or sitting down to wear your shoes. Firm mattresses that can’t manage good edge support will eventually show problems, especially sagging. This should be an important consideration for overweight sleepers.
How Do Firm Mattresses Fare For Sex?
While they do have great responsiveness, firm mattresses often don’t offer the cushioning that most people prefer during sex.
Is It Easier To Move On A Firm Mattress?
Yes. Since most sleepers won’t sink into the mattress, movement remains largely unrestricted. Heavier sleepers especially should be careful in choosing a mattress that does not make them sink.
Does A Firm Mattress Sleep Cooler?
Yes, and it is an important consideration for our best firm mattress 2018 list. Basically, firm mattresses don’t let you sink. With a lower surface area in contact with the mattress, the chance of heat retention and sleeping hot are dramatically reduced.
How Do Firm Mattresses Fair On Longevity?
Firm mattresses are generally longer lasting than plush mattresses. They have a lower risk of indentation, and are less susceptible to premature sagging.
Top 5 Firm Mattresses For 2018
1. Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress — Best Firm Mattress For Back Pain
Sleep on Latex is pretty confident about their Pure Green natural latex mattress. They’ve targeted it square at people with back pain, although there are obvious benefits (and marketing attempts) for back and stomach sleepers as well. Green credentials are on their side as well, given the use of natural latex and organic materials in creation of the mattress.
Pure Green mattress is available in a variety of size options, with three common firmness options viz. soft, medium, and firm. There are two firmness options available, one at 9-inch, and the other at 7-inches. In each case, the support foam is 6-inches of natural latex. The 9-inch mattress gets a comfort layer of latex. Both size options are packed in an organic cotton cover quilted to 1-inch height with a layer of organic New Zealand wool.
The mattress has an ILD rating of 44 for its support foam, which puts it somewhere near 8 on our conventional firmness scale. At ILD 30, the comfort foam is more in the range of medium-firm, but the 2-inch layer does not drop the overall firmness of the mattress significantly, and keeps it well within the range of firm mattresses.
|Sleep Trial||100 Nights|
|Good price point for a natural latex mattress||Can have some problems with off-gassing|
|Eco-conscious construction, with sustainably sourced materials||Edge support is a concern|
|Provides pressure relief||You need to complete minimum 30 days of the trial for returns to be accepted|
2. Saatva Innerspring Mattress — Popular Workhorse Mattress
Saatva innerspring has performed practically gloriously in our rankings for best firm mattress. It works great, performs better, and offers features usually available in the more expensive, luxury class mattresses.
The mattress is available in several sizes and three firmness options, and works great for most sleeping types and positions. Even as it uses luxury class comfort, it employees green, eco-friendly materials to up the ante. The innerspring mattress is topped with memory foam comfort layer, and finally, a layer of organic cotton pillowtop. Coils used for the innerspring come from recycled steel, and no chemical sprays have been used.
It puts in great effort for lumbar support, so you will find yourself enjoying better comfort for yourself and ease on your body’s pressure points. Their firm mattress is rated at eight on the firmness scale, and yes, that’s pretty well done, especially with the innerspring providing more boost. Saatva mattress is available in three firmness options, and has received glowing reviews from customers. If innerspring is your scene, definitely take a look at this mattress
|Free Trial||120 Nights|
|Great price point for features||Lacks a conforming feel for the comfort layer|
|Choice of sizes available||Can get noisy with age|
|White-glove delivery in contiguous USA|
3. Brentwood Home Cypress Mattress — Comfortable And Enhanced Pressure Relief
Now this is a mattress that would be suitable for most categories looking for a firm mattress. Granted, the Brentwood Home Cypress is at about 7 on the firmness scale, so it does have the possibility of being an excellent mix of comfort and firmness. The mattress starts with a 7-inch layer of base foam, topped with 2-inches of gel memory foam, and finally one-inch of quilted cover filled with natural New Zealand wool. Apart from being comfortable, the quilted cover also works as an excellent conduit for wicking away moisture.
Brentwood makes a point of mentioning that they try to use ethically-sourced material to make the “natural world” better. That means apart from NZ wool used in the mattress, the cover also is eco-sourced – made from bamboo wood cellulose. These are interesting bits, but we’d really see more of the eco-consciousness if they put more effort into eco-friendly foams.
|Free Trial||Retailer Policy (30 days)|
|Eco-conscious materials||May not work as well for heavier sleepers (more than 250 lbs)|
|Conforming and pressure relief||Poor edge support|
4. Olee Sleep Dura Spring Mattress — Firm Hybrid With Layers Of Comfort
This hybrid mattress has five layers, all arranged to provide a better, more comfortable sleep to stomach and back sleepers. While they throw the word “innovation” around for practically every material they use, a fair bit of that is vindicated by the performance and positive reviews the mattress has received.
The hybrid mattress starts with a layer of individually packed coils, followed by three layers of support and transition foam, topped by a layer of memory foam. The sleeper gets conforming support from the memory foam layer, while the other layers maintain a relative firmness. It’s a setup that also works rather suitably, since the pocketed coils also provide good edge support.
If there’s one thing missing from this mattress compared to its competition, it is the lack of eco-conscious materials. However, that can be overlooked in favor of how well it does its job. Olee Sleep Dura Spring mattress starts with a simple goal of keeping the spine aligned as you sleep. And it sticks to its guns and does that job pretty well.
|Free Trial||Retailer Policy (30 days)|
|Great pressure relief and support||The mattress can be fairly heavy|
|Does a good job at maintaining healthy sleep position||May not perform as well for heavier sleepers|
|Good edge support|
5. Zinus Extra Firm iCoil Support Plus Mattress — Great Value
As its name implies, the Zinus Extra Firm iCoil mattress is a very firm mattress, relying much on its coils and offering little by way of a comfort layer. The mattress is available in two versions, the 10-inch version with 7.5-inches of innerspring followed by two layers of foam at 1-inch for support and 1.5-inch for comfort layer. The 12-inch variant is more generous with foam, allowing 2.5-inch for the comfort layer.
Offering surprisingly good value, the Zinus Extra Firm iCoil is priced to be affordable, while not shirking away from its duties as a comfortable mattress. If you love the conforming feel of foam and its cradling, this mattress won’t work for you. But if you like some bounce and value for money, this is probably the best extra firm mattress in terms of value offered.
|Free Trial||30 nights|
|Great value for money||Not much fun if you enjoy the conforming and cradling support of foam|
|Excellent edge support||Can be noisy|
|Multiple size and height options|
Best Firm Mattress — The Conclusion
There’s a variety and range to consider when you go to pick the best firm mattress. Remember to consider and rely on your own feel and opinions, rather than being dependent on generic advice like “sleep on a hard surface for back pain”. Find a mattress where you are comfortable, and our list can be an excellent starting point, as we cover the best firm mattress 2018 candidates.