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One of the first things people consider when buying a mattress is what kind of sleepers they are. If you belong to the group of back or stomach sleepers, then a firmer bed may be a more suitable option for you.
Also, harder sleeping surfaces tend to be better for heavier individuals as well, since they offer better support.
We all know how difficult it might be to find the right bed even if you know what you are searching for. This is why we’ve made a list of our top 6 picks of firm mattresses to help you with your choice.
And if you’re looking for something else not quite as firm, check out our highest rated mattresses.
6 Highest Rated "Hard" Mattress Reviews
Linenspa - Best Pressure Relief
In our opinion, the best firm mattress is the Linenspa.
Are you looking for an affordable firm mattress for yours or your kid’s room? Linenspa Mattress might then be the right choice for you.
With its 5 inches, this product provides the needed support as well as the much-wanted pressure relief during sleep. The base is 4-inches thick, and it consists of high-density base foam which ensures proper back support, giving the construction a firm and stable feel. The one-inch upper layer is made from gel-infused memory foam, which relieves your pressure points while ensuring proper temperature distribution.
You will be able to sleep on your back, or your stomach without worrying about sinking or not having sufficient back support. The mattress is suitable for both bunk bed or trundles, making it an excellent choice for your kids’ room.
Zinus Extra Firm - Best Support
Zinus Extra Firm iCoil is a suitable choice for anyone looking for extra firm support. You will be able to sleep soundly during the whole night with your spine nicely aligned.
The 10-inch construction consists of 7.5 inches base layer which is made from pocketed springs which ensure motion isolation. One inch of the high-density foam layer and 1.5 inches of comfort foam offers the needed comfort while providing the extra firm support. The top is covered with 0.5 inches of microfiber quilted fabric which will help you sleep peacefully and comfortably.
The green tea extract gives freshness while active charcoal reduces odor and absorbs moisture. The individually wrapped iCoil technology does wonders to pain relief and back support. The foam is durable, and CertiPUR-US certified.
Ssecretland - Best Bed in a Box
Ssecretland bed-in-a-box in is suitable for different frames, including box spring, floor, adjustable and many more, making it an excellent and affordable choice. The medium support will give your body the needed comfort and enable you to rest properly.
The construction is 8 inches thick, and it consists of three foam layers. The 4 inches of base support foam provides the ultimate support, while the 2 inches of HD gel memory foam and 2 inches of HD comfortable layer offer pressure relief and comfortable surface for sleeping. The gel regulates temperature by dispersing the accumulated heat, while the base layer ensures equal support.
The middle layer with comfortable foam offers not just support but also bounce and support. The product comes rolled and compressed. Upon unpacking, the bed will regain its original shape in around 72 hours.
Searching for more impressive bed-in-a-box models? Click here.
BedStory - Best Cooling
The gel hybrid mattress from BedStory in color black will give you not only the sufficient level of firmness but also enable you to sleep cool and wake up refreshed. The convoluted foam, in combination with individually wrapped coils, offers support and breathability.
The 12 inches construction has a durable base consisting of individual pocket springs which keep the frame stable and durable while isolating movement and allowing you to sleep without interruptions. The two rows of hardened springs improve durability and make the edges resistant to sagging. The cooling effect is made possible through convoluted memory foam which enhances breathability.
The material is dust-mite and bacteria resistant. The bed-in-a-box is conveniently packed for easy shipping. You should leave it for up to 72 hours to expend.
Best Price Mattress - Most Comfortable
If you want to feel as if you are sleeping on a cloud while in bed, think about Best Price Mattress. You should wake up refreshed and relaxed.
The three-layer mattress is 10 inches thick with base layer being 5 inches and made from high-density base foam. The middle part is two inches and is made from pressure relief foam. The upper part consists of 3 inches of memory foam which provides the much-wanted cloud-like feeling.
The balanced support is ensured through a durable base, the breathability, and pressure through its middle part, while the top layer provides the uninterrupted sleep. All the foam is CertiPUR-US Certified. The cover is made from Poly-Jacquard fabric for a nice finish.
Sweetnight - Best for Pain Relief
Sweetnight Mattress with flippable sides offers soft to medium-firm comfort and does wonders in the way of pain relief. The two comfort choices enable you do find the ideal option for yourself and free yourself from pain.
The mattress is 10 inches thick, and it’s made from four layers. The 3-inches base is from high-density foam, while the 2-inch top consists of gel-infused memory foam. The middle layers are 4-inches of unique three-zoned comfort foam with open cell technology, and one inch of ventilated comfort foam.
You will be able to sleep soundly and pain-free and in a cool environment, without feeling pressure in your hips, hips, or neck. The bed is antibacterial and dust-mite resistant. The anti-microbial characteristics, in combination with breathability and comfort, make it a suitable option not only for people with back pain but also for those prone to allergies.
Guidelines When Buying a Hard Mattress
Check the Warranty Coverage
The two things that are considered defects and are covered by most warranties are indentations and sagging of the mattress. Therefore, you should be able to return or exchange the product if any of these two flaws appear, as long as they measure to a certain depth. You should check the exact numbers with the manufacturer.
However, you should also note that the changes in your firmness or comfort preferences probably won’t be covered by the warranty. The best thing would, therefore, be to decide on the desired level of firmness before purchasing the mattress. You probably won’t be able to exchange the product at a reduced rate after the trial period finishes if you decide on another kind of bed.
Check if They Offer a Sleep Trial
Many manufacturers offer sleep trials which usually last between 90 and 120 nights. In case you are not satisfied with the product, you may be able to return it before the trial period expires for a partial or a full refund. The great thing about this option is that you will be given sufficient time to test the bed and see how it works for you in the long run. Some manufacturers even allow you to exchange the mattress for the one with a different firmness rating.
Therefore, there are two things you can do if you are unsure about the desired level of firmness. The first thing would be to pick a company that offers great trial periods. The second, to choose the one that will also offer you a chance to change the product for another one if needed.
Consider Your Partner's Firmness
It is not uncommon for couples to have different preferences when talking about how hard the bed surface should be. To avoid making compromises and choosing a bed that works for one partner, but makes other partner’s nights a nightmare, many couples opt for a dual-firmness mattress. These products feature different levels of firmness on both sides, making it a suitable option for many couples.
Although these beds tend to be a bit more expensive than regular ones, they can be seen as priceless for some couples.
Add more Layers
If, after some time, you discover that your mattress is too firm for you, don’t despair. You can opt for a topper that will make your sleeping surface softer, of, if needed, with even more support.
The market is full of choices, ranging from more affordable ones made from fiber or feathers to more expensive ones, made from latex, memory foam, or even wool. The choice is up to you, but know that one additional layer can do wonders to your bed and make it even more comfortable.
Pick the Right Pillow
To ensure a comfortable sleep, it is also essential to choose the right pillow for yourself. Hard bed surfaces do not allow sleepers to sink deeply. This is why you should select a high-loft pillow which will provide a sufficient amount of cushioning you’re your neck and shoulders.
The medium- or low-loft pillows, on the other hand, might not be able to provide enough cushioning, and might even cause neck and shoulder pain.
For perfect combination you can also check our list of perfect beds for neck pain sufferers, here.
Check Flippable Models
If you happen to like sleeping on different surfaces, and you find it challenging to decide on a single one, choose to buy a bed with flippable sides. Although they are not overly advertised, rest assured that many manufacturers offer these kinds of models, so you won’t have any difficulty in finding them.
A Guide to Sleeping with a Firm Mattress
We all love to feel as comfortable as possible while we are sleeping. To achieve that, we look for the best choice of bed for ourselves, based on our body weight and our general preferences. People who are a bit heavier tend to feel more comfortable on a hard surface, whereas those who are lighter opt for softer options.
The reason for the division is simple: firmer mattress will provide more pressure relief to heavier people, whereas they will feel too hard and uncomfortable for the others. The softer beds will make people on the heavier side sink too much and can cause them pain, whereas the firm ones will alleviate pressure points.
User's Body Weight
|Weight Group||*Side sleepers||*Back sleepers||*Stomach sleepers|
|Below average weight (less than 130 pounds)||3 (Soft) to 5 (Medium)||4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm)||4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm)|
|Average weight (130 – 230 pounds)||4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm)||5 (Medium) to 7 or 8 (Firm)||6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)|
|Above average weight (more than 230 pounds)||5 (Medium) to 6 (Medium Firm)||6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)||6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)|
*Preferred level of firmness for different sleep positions.
Best Characteristics of Very Firm Mattresses
|Performance factor||Soft (4 and Lower)||Medium to Medium Firm (5 to 6)||Firm (7 and Higher)|
|Longevity||Poor to Fair||Good||Good to Very Good|
|Thickness||The Thickest||Thicker||Least Thick|
|Average Price||High||Medium to High||Low to Medium|
|Conforming and Pressure Relief||Fair to Good||Very Good||Poor to Fair|
|Heat Retention||Poor to Fair||Good||Very Good|
|Off-gassing||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good|
|Easy to Move||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good|
Firm mattresses tend to retain less body heat than softer ones due to better airflow. By sinking into a softer surface, your body heat is more easily absorbed by the construction, causing you to sleep hot. Hard surfaces do not allow so much sinking and, therefore, do not retain heat as much.
For more cooling bed solutions, see our best gel-infused memory foam mattresses list.
Softer beds have a lot of padding and cushioning, which is why they are usually more expensive than firm beds.
Firm beds have fewer layers than the soft ones for one simple reason – they don’t need all that padding and cushioning. Due to this, they can be significantly lighter and easier to move, making them an ideal choice for anyone moving furniture or houses a lot.
Products made from foam are usually characterized by producing off-gassing odors. Since firm beds are usually made with less foam, they normally don’t have so many problems with this issue.
Having a stable and hard construction, hard mattresses usually last longer than soft ones. Softer products tend to sag or indent faster and cause improper support which eventually leads to backache. Firmer beds tend to last much longer due to their construction.
Less Pressure Relief
Note also that hard mattresses will not be as conforming as the softer ones. Also, they do not allow the sleeper to sink as much, which further means you will receive less pressure relief on this surface than on a softer one.
Not Too Thick
Also, do not expect these products to be too thick. They won’t have so much padding and cushioning as the softer ones, causing them to have a low profile. In order to provide the needed support, they usually have minimal comfort layers.
Understanding Mattress Firmness
What is Mattress Firmness?
When we talk about bed firmness, we primarily talk about the feel it provides, especially in terms of comfort. Two opposing sides of the scale would be, e.g., sleeping on concrete on the one side, and, e.g., feeling as if you were floating on a cloud on the other.
However, it is not easy to precisely define firmness as it feels different to different people. This is why manufacturers provide products with varying levels of hardness to help them find the ideal option for them.
Firmness vs. Support
These two terms, although relatable, are not the same. Support refers to how well your spine is aligned and whether or not the bed offers proper pressure relief. Firmness, on the other hand, refers to how soft or hard the bed surface is.
A mattress with excellent support will ensure your spine is aligned properly, and your joints pain and pressure-free. Firmness is more about the feeling the bed provides, and it can be highly subjective. While some experience a certain surface, e.g., as soft, others may see it as medium and vice versa.
For full body and spine support, check our top rated orthopedic mattresses guide here.
The market is filled with expressions describing sleeping products as, e.g., soft, medium, plush, etc. Although these expressions are widely used, it can be tricky to know what they are describing, especially when comparing products from two or more manufacturers. This is why the best thing is to consult a firmness scale which goes from number 1 (the softest) to number 10 (the firmest).
Below you can find an overview of the scale with additional information:
|1 (extremely soft)||This type of plush bed is very rare as it provides the maximum level of softness and sinking
|2-3 (soft)||Very soft and plush with a lot of sink
|4-6 (medium)||A common level of firmness with some plush and more limited sinking|
|7-9 (firm)||Much harder bed with only limited sink and softness|
|10 (extremely firm)||This type is rare since it provides no sink nor softness or plushness|
Scaling Firmness, Support and Sleep Position
It is not an easy job to select a bed that will tick all the boxes for you. There are many things to consider when choosing such a product, with the most important ones being: firmness preference, your sleeping position, and the necessary support.
When we talk about firmness, we primarily think of comfort. Comfort means different things to different people. However, we can all agree that the mattress that provides you with a cozy and uninterrupted sleep is the one that can be called comfortable. The bed is the place of relaxation and rest, and those are the first two thoughts that should be on our mind when we think of it.
Apart from providing you with a pleasant sleeping environment, the mattress should also enable you to feel no pain or pressure while resting. The worst thing this kind of product can do is cause you to get up in pain. With all this in mind, you should try and determine which is the optimal level of firmness you require.
To choose the most suitable bed, you will first have to determine what you consider comfortable in terms of firmness. The great way to do this is to start from your current bed and see if it goes more towards harder or softer surfaces, and whether or not you like it. Think about other mattresses you’ve slept on in hotels or at a friend’s house and think about how much you’ve enjoyed it.
When you take all of this into mind, you should be able to know whether you prefer soft, medium, or firm beds. The manufacturers will always provide general guidance about the most suitable option for the sleepers based on their weight and sleeping position. This, however, does not necessarily have to apply on you, and you can, of course, choose the one that you feel the best in.
When we talk about the weight, there is a general rule that heavier people sleep better on harder surfaces, whereas lighter ones feel more pleasant on softer mattresses. The reason for this is that the weight of the sleepers influences how the bed feels. Nobody likes sinking too deep while sleeping because you lose support in this way and wake up in pain.
Sleeping position is another essential factor. Typically, people who sleep on their side feel most comfortable on the beds that range between 3 and 7 on a firmness scale, with the middle being the best option for the most. They put additional pressure on their shoulders and hips, which is why they need a medium to a firm surface to sink a bit and feel pressure-free.
- Back sleepers mostly choose beds on a scale between 4 and 7. This position does wonders to the spine by enabling it to remain in a natural position. However, a certain level of support and hardness is needed to ensure that additional pressure is not put on it.
- Stomach sleepers most commonly choose the products which are between 4 and 7 on a scale, with most of them choosing the ones closer to 7. Due to this sleeping position, the stomach and the pelvis tend to sink quite a lot, and if not provided with sufficient support, may produce the unnatural “U” shape. To avoid this, this group of sleepers should opt for a harder mattress.
- Combination sleepers sleep best on the products which are between 4 and 6 on the scale. Medium-firm mattresses are the most suitable choice for them because they provide the needed support, without being either too soft or too hard.
|Firmness level||Sleeping Position||Support|
|Firm||Suitable for back and stomach sleepers||Offers total support
|Medium||Suitable for back, stomach and side sleepers||Offers significant support with a plush feeling|
|Soft||Suitable for side and combination sleepers||Doesn’t provide much support|
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Firm Mattresses Recommended for Back Pain Sufferers?
We all want to feel as pleasant and as cozy as possible when we go to rest. This becomes even more important when we suffer from back pain. The best choice for these situations tends to be a medium-firm mattress which provides sufficient back support, but cushions you at the same time, leaving you well-rested and pain-free.
View our selection of top rated beds for back pain sufferers.
Should Mattress Toppers Be Firm?
Whether or not a topper should be firm depends solely on your personal preference. A denser topper will give a firmer feel, which, in turn, will provide you with more support and make your bed surface harder. They can be an affordable solution for anyone in need of a harder surface or for anyone wanting to try this option.
Should Side Sleepers Use a Firm Mattress?
Due to their sleep position, side sleepers put more pressure on their shoulders and hips. Due to this, many people who sleep like this choose medium to soft beds which allow their body to sink a little bit and feel no pressure on their joints. Firm surfaces, on the other hand, would not alleviate the pressure points.
Instead of this, check out our selection of perfect bed options for side sleepers, here.
Firm mattresses are a great solution for many people for their significant support and proper spinal alignment. They are especially beneficial to stomach sleepers who need harder surfaces to prevent unnatural curving. Also, heavier people may find a hard mattress as more pleasant and comfortable because they prevent excessive body sinking.