The 10 Best Firm Mattresses That Are Actually Worth the Hype — and the Money

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mattresses
mattresses

Layla

Best Overall

people - 887 Available at Saatva

Best Luxury

people - 1949 Available at Helix

Best Hybrid

people - 1499 Available at WinkBeds

Best Extra-Firm

people - 1274 Available at Brooklyn Bedding

Best for Side Sleepers

people - 1499 Available at Layla

Best for Back Pain

people - 1795 Available at Casper

Best Memory Foam

people - 1239 Available at Cocoon by Sealy

Best Value

people - 977 Available at GhostBed

Best Medium-Firm

people - 899 Available at Nectar

Best for Couples

people - 949 Available at Puffy

Tired of waking up with an achy back? Some experts say you should sleep on a firm mattress for more supportive sleep, but not all of the firm beds on the market right now are worth the hype (or the money). The best firm mattresses use sturdier materials, like steel coils and high-density foams, to keep your hips raised and spine in line, helping to keep pressure off of your back. And thanks to the emergence of bed-in-a-box mattresses you can buy online, you can shop high-quality, firm mattress designs at affordable prices from the comfort of home.

But in order to find the best firm mattress at the best price, you'll need a little help from the expert review team at Mattress Advisor. They put hundreds of beds to the test to find the top 10 firm beds for PEOPLE readers based on a 14-point testing methodology. These beds not only fall in a reasonable price range, but they also excel in key areas like spine alignment, durability, and edge support.

These are the best firm mattresses you can buy online in 2022:

The 10 Best Firm Mattresses

Best Overall Firm Mattress: Saatva Classic

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (coils and foam)

  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.3/10

  • Firmness: Plush (3/10), luxury-firm (6/10), and firm (8/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 180 nights

Looking for ultimate comfort combined with firm support? Chances are you'll find it in the Saatva Classic mattress. It's offered in three firmness levels — plush, luxury-firm, and firm — and the luxury-firm and firm models both fall on the upper end of the firmness scale. The luxury-firm option feels more like a true medium-firm, suiting back and side sleepers, while the firm setting is better for stomach sleepers. Whichever direction you choose, you can sink into the Saatva's quilted Euro-style pillow top for luxurious comfort.

As for how it performed in the lab, Mattress Advisor testers were blown away by this bed's steel coil base: It earned perfect 10 out of 10 scores in spine alignment, edge support, and durability. Complimentary white glove delivery tops this deal off, so you don't have to worry about hoisting this firm bed up the stairs.

Who it's best for: This bed is an especially good fit for people with back pain, due to the excellent lumbar support it provides.

How it feels: The Saatva Classic feels supportive but also comfortable, offering significant pressure relief (it earned an 8.75 out of 10 for pressure relief). That's due to its plush pillow top that allows you to sink into the surface.

Pros: Saatva will deliver and set up your new mattress while disposing of the old one free of charge. The Saatva Classic is one of the highest-scoring beds Mattress Advisor has ever tested.

Cons: Those who prefer the contouring feel of a memory foam mattress may not like the propped-up feel that the Saatva provides.

Buy It! Saatva Classic, $887 (orig. $1,695); saatva.com

mattresses
mattresses

Best Luxury Firm Mattress: Helix Dawn Luxe

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (coils and foam)

  • Mattress Advisor Score: Score coming soon

  • Firmness: Firm (8.5/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 100 nights

The Helix Dawn Luxe mattress is the perfect bed if you want to feel like you're sleeping at your favorite five-star hotel. Constructed from a base of over 1,000 individually wrapped coils, the Helix Luxe offers more than enough pushback to keep your spine aligned: It uses a unique system that provides more give under your shoulders and firm support by your hips. Three layers of contouring memory foam lay above the coils, helping to cushion your body as you press into the mattress.

As a bonus for both luxury lovers and hot sleepers, a breathable pillow top (literally) tops off the mattress, cradling your body in cool comfort.

Who it's best for: Back and stomach sleepers will feel well-supported on this mattress. For hot sleepers, the mattress top is infused with soft Tencel material that wicks away moisture and is more durable than cotton.

How it feels: Imagine the sensation of the best hotel bed you've ever slept on, but firmer. Sturdy coils and ultra-dense foam maintain stability, but the plush pillow top allows you to sink into the bed just enough for a little extra comfort.

Pros: Supportive, cooling, and responsive to your movements, the Helix Dawn boasts plenty of features to keep a variety of sleepers happy. It also uses high-quality materials, like dense foam and steel coils, which help make this bed durable and long-lasting.

Cons: Due to the firm nature of the foam layers, side sleepers may not be able to sink as deeply into the mattress for the level of pressure relief they need. This bed also has a luxury pricepoint to accompany its high-grade construction, so it's not ideal for shoppers sticking to a budget.

Buy It! Helix Dawn Luxe, $1,949; helixsleep.com

mattresses
mattresses

Best Firm Hybrid Mattress: The WinkBed

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (foam and coils)

  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.6/10

  • Firmness: Softer (4.5/10), luxury-firm (6.5/10), firmer (7.5/10), or plus (8/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 nights

A hybrid mattress is ideal if you want a firmer feel and the benefits of multiple mattress materials. The WinkBed combines multiple support zones of coils with gel-infused memory foam and a eucalyptus-based cover for a firm mattress lover's dream. The coils provide excellent spine alignment and responsiveness (it earned a 9 out of 10 in both categories from Mattress Advisor), while the foam and cooling cover keep you cushioned and sweat-free.

Plus, you have your pick of four firmness levels: Softer, luxury firm, firmer, and plus. Anything luxury firm or above classifies as a firm bed, so it really comes down to personal preference. Most back and stomach sleepers, or those looking to relieve back pain, will find comfort in the luxury firm and firmer models.

Who it's best for: Shoppers who want options will like being able to pick from The WinkBed's multiple firmness levels. Those with back pain will find relief in its supportive design, and combination sleepers will appreciate how easy it is to move around on The WinkBed's surface.

How it feels: The WinkBed feels comfortable, yet supportive. The coils keep you propped up with healthy spine alignment, while the foam layers and pillow top cushion your sides.

Pros: Two layers of coils help this bed respond quickly to your movements. Expert reviewers gave The WinkBed a perfect 10 in durability, plus it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Cons: If you're married to the feel of a memory foam mattress, you probably won't love The WinkBed's hybrid design. It's also pricey at $1,799 for a queen-size, so budget shoppers beware.

Buy It! The WinkBed, $1,499 (orig. $1,799); winkbeds.com

mattresses
mattresses

Best Extra-Firm Mattress: Brooklyn Bedding Plank

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam

  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.1/10

  • Firmness: Firm (7/10) and ultra-firm (9/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 nights

There are those who like it firm, and there are those who like it really firm. For the latter, the Brooklyn Bedding Plank is the top pick. Made entirely from memory foam, this bed uses a dual-sided design to offer you two firmness levels in a single mattress. So if you get ambitious in thinking you want an ultra-firm mattress, which falls at a 9 out of 10 on the firmness scale, you can always flip to the other side for a slightly softer feel (a 7 out of 10).

Mattress Advisor recommends this mattress mainly for stomach sleepers and those with back pain looking for a super supportive mattress. In the testing lab, the Plank earned high marks in key areas like spine alignment (8.75 out of 10), pressure relief (9 out of 10), and responsiveness (8.75 out of 10). As a bonus, this extra-firm mattress is just $1,274 for a queen size.

Who it's best for: The all-foam design of this mattress appeals to couples needing motion isolation. Motion isolation is when the bed absorbs movement so that you can rest uninterrupted even while your partner tosses and turns. This bed also works well for side sleepers due to its excellent pressure relief qualities.

How it feels: Despite its memory foam design, you won't sink into the surface like you would on a typical foam bed. That's because of its ultra-firm feel, which gives this mattress more of a dense, supportive sensation.

Pros: You get two firmness levels in one with this mattress, which gives you the ability to flip the bed whenever you want a softer or firmer feel. Plus, for a foam bed, it has great responsiveness, making it easy to switch positions.

Cons: Even though this is a firm mattress, it still won't have the same feeling as an innerspring bed. If you prefer the sturdy support of an innerspring or hybrid mattress, you might not like the feeling of this memory foam bed.

Buy It! Brooklyn Bedding Plank, $1,274; brooklynbedding.com

mattresses
mattresses

Best Firm Mattress for Side Sleepers: Layla Hybrid

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (coils and foam)

  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.1/10

  • Firmness: Medium-soft (4/10) and firm (7/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 nights

While a firm mattress isn't the go-to for most side sleepers, the Layla Hybrid may change your mind. Made from a hybrid combination of coils and memory foam, this flippable mattress doesn't skimp on pressure relief. In fact, it earned an 8 out of 10 in pressure relief and a 9 out of 10 in spine alignment for its ability to cushion pressure points and evenly distribute weight in the testing lab. Plus, it offers two firmness levels in one: One side is medium-soft, while the other is more of a true firm feel. So for side sleepers who want to experiment with a firmer mattress but aren't quite sure how they'll fare, the Layla's design is ideal.

This also makes this bed appealing to couples. When two bodies press into the mattress, it tends to wear the bed down more easily, so co-sleepers generally need more support. The firmer side works well in this aspect, and it also performed well in the motion isolation test, earning an 8 out of 10.

Who it's best for: The coil base helps promote airflow through the center of the mattress, making this bed a good choice for hot sleepers. We also like its versatility as a flippable mattress and its high scores in spine alignment, so people with back pain can find relief in this bed. High scores in responsiveness make it a good choice for combination sleepers as well.

How it feels: The Layla Hybrid feels bouncy and responsive due to individually wrapped coils underneath foam layers. The softer side of this flippable mattress provides more give for your pressure points, like the hips and shoulders. The firmer side feels more supportive with less of a contouring sensation.

Pros: Like the Plank, the Layla Hybrid is flippable, but the difference is that Layla's softer side has an even plusher feel. So if you're not completely sold on the idea of a firm mattress, this bed might accommodate those who might want something a bit more sumptuous.

Cons: Memory foam fans might be disappointed because you don't feel fully cradled in this mattress like you would in an all-foam bed.

Buy It! Layla Hybrid, $1,499 (orig. $1,699); laylasleep.com

mattresses
mattresses

Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain: Casper Wave Hybrid

  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (coils and foam)

  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.3/10

  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 120 nights

It's no secret that a firm mattress can help ward off back pain. And what better pick than the Casper Wave Hybrid, a medium-firm mattress that utilizes a continuous support system made up of 86 gel pods and 3D foam that molds to your body? The gel pods flex under your frame, while a base layer of coils underneath provide even more pushback for spine alignment. This creates full-body support and a floating sensation that leaves little to no pressure on your back.

Mattress Advisor testers gave it an impressive 9 out of 10 for spine alignment and equally high scores in cooling (9 out of 10) and responsiveness (9.25 out of 10), so whether or not you sleep hot or toss and turn, the Wave Hybrid has you covered.

Who it's best for: In addition to those with back pain, the Casper Wave Hybrid is well-suited for those who sleep hot due to its breathable design. Plus-size sleepers, or anyone needing a little extra support, are also a good fit for this bed.

How it feels: Soft foam fills in around your chest and shoulders, contouring around pressure points, while firmer foam keeps the hips raised and the spine aligned. You'll feel well-supported but also cushioned.

Pros: The Casper Wave Hybrid's hybrid construction of foam, gel pods, and coils helps keep it cool, responsive, and pressure-relieving. Unlike most hybrids, it also excels at motion transfer (it earned a 9 out of 10 score), so couples who rest together can enjoy uninterrupted sleep.

Cons: With an advanced construction comes a higher price tag. The Casper Wave Hybrid is the priciest bed on this list, classifying it as a luxury bed.

Buy It! Casper Wave Hybrid, $1,795 (orig. $2,895); casper.com

mattresses
mattresses

Best Firm Memory Foam Mattress: Cocoon Chill

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam

  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.7/10

  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6.5/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 100 nights

If you love the feeling of being hugged by your mattress as you drift off to dream land each night, the Cocoon Chill offers that classic memory foam feel with enough firm support to ensure healthy rest. Made from three simple layers of memory foam covered in a stretchy, soft cover, the Cocoon falls right in between that medium-firm to firm sweet spot. Plus, the Cocoon scored high in spine alignment, pressure relief, and responsiveness, earning scores of 8.5 out of 10 or higher in each category.

Who it's best for: The Cocoon works well for a variety of sleepers due to its high scores in multiple categories. Anyone who likes to be cradled by their bed will be a good fit for the Cocoon's contouring foam layers. It's also a great choice for couples who rest together — the Cocoon received a 9 out of 10 score in motion transfer.

How it feels: The Cocoon feels slightly firmer than medium-firm at a 6.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, while the three layers of foam keep you cushioned and comfortable.

Pros: High marks in spine alignment (9/10) help the Cocoon excel at relieving back pain.

Cons: The memory foam design of this bed inhibits its ability to sleep cool.

Buy It! Cocoon Chill, $1,239; cocoonbysealy.com

mattresses
mattresses

Best Value Firm Mattress: GhostBed Classic

  • Mattress Type: Latex with memory foam

  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.6/10

  • Firmness: Firm (7.5/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 101 nights

Latex beds aren't known for being affordable, but the GhostBed Classic combines synthetic latex with memory foam at a price point that won't induce sticker shock. Classified as a medium-firm to firm mattress, the GhostBed layers gel memory foam and latex foam over a 7.5-inch high-density foam core. The result? Incredible support. Latex is known for being a super durable, long-lasting material, after all, and judging by this bed's 9 out of 10 durability score, it's safe to say these materials held up in the lab. With a 20-year warranty and an under-$1,300 price tag for a queen size, the GhostBed will last you many nights of comfortable, firm rest.

Who it's best for: Combination sleepers are a good choice for this bed thanks to its responsiveness (it earned an 8.5 out of 10 score). This mattress is also a good fit for hot sleepers, as latex is a naturally breathable material. The GhostBed Classic received a 9 out of 10 score in cooling.

How it feels: The GhostBed Classic contours and conforms to your body, like a classic memory foam bed but with a twist. Latex is sandwiched between the foam layers, providing more bounce and responsiveness.

Pros: Testers gave the GhostBed high marks in cooling, durability, and responsiveness. Latex beds are also typically some of the priciest beds on the market, but the GhostBed is one of the most affordable beds on this list.

Cons: If you love nothing more than to sink into plush layers of foam, the GhostBed might feel too bouncy for you. While it doesn't have coils, the synthetic latex layer bounces back against your movements enough so that you don't feel completely cradled.

Buy It! GhostBed Classic, $977 (orig. $1,395); ghostbed.com

mattresses
mattresses

Best Medium-Firm Mattress: Nectar

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam

  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.7/10

  • Firmness: Medium-firm (6/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 365 nights

Medium-firm is known as the universally appealing firmness level that suits most preferences and sleep positions. And the Nectar mattress's medium-firm memory foam design doesn't disappoint. Two responsive layers of memory foam sit atop a durable base, which anchors the bed and provides an impressive level of stability for an all-foam mattress. The Nectar earned a 9 out of 10 in edge support from the review team, so if you sleep with a bed hog or like to hang near the side, you don't have to worry about sliding off (another benefit to resting on a firmer bed). And thanks to its balanced feel, the Nectar works for both back and side sleepers; it earned an 8.5 out of 10 in pressure relief and a 7.5 out of 10 in spine alignment.

At $799 for a standard queen, the Nectar is just as budget-friendly as it is comfortable.

Who it's best for: The Nectar works well for all sleep positions due to its medium-firm feel. Couples are also a good fit for this bed due to its motion-isolating qualities (it earned an 8.5 out of 10 in motion transfer).

How it feels: You'll sink into the Nectar just enough to enjoy pressure relief but without feeling like you're sinking into quicksand. It uses a high-density foam base to keep you supported and offers enough responsiveness to help you move around on the surface of the bed.

Pros: Coupled with its affordable price point, the Nectar comes with a lifetime warranty, one-year sleep trial, and a high-quality, durable design. Testers gave it an 8.5 out of 10 in durability.

Cons: Those who prefer the feel of an innerspring or hybrid bed may not like how much they sink into this mattress. While the Nectar has a medium-firm feel, it's still a memory foam bed and cradles your body instead of propping you up like coil-based beds do.

Buy It! Nectar, $899 (orig. $1,298); nectarsleep.com

mattresses
mattresses

Best Firm Mattress for Couples: Puffy

  • Mattress Type: Memory foam

  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9/10

  • Firmness: Firm (7/10)

  • Trial Period for Returns: 101 nights

A firm mattress is a good choice for co-sleepers or couples who snooze together. Since two bodies are pressing into the bed instead of just one, a firm mattress will provide plenty of pushback to keep both parties supported. The Puffy uses three layers of high-density memory foam to keep you squarely supported while also relieving tension along the hips and shoulders. Mattress Advisor experts gave it an 8.75 out of 10 for spine alignment and an 8 out of 10 for pressure relief, but motion transfer is the area where it really shines: The Puffy isolated motion so well, it earned a near-perfect 9.25 out of 10 score. This means no more middle-of-the-night interruptions if your partner enjoys late-night snacking or bathroom breaks.

Who it's best for: The Puffy is best suited for side sleepers and memory foam lovers. Its all-foam construction hugs your body for all-over comfort.

How it feels: The Puffy feels like a true memory foam mattress but slightly firmer than average (it falls at a 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale). You'll feel cushioned, but the firmer foam will keep you supported and your spine aligned.

Pros: The Puffy does a great job of absorbing motion, so couples can sleep well together without disturbing one another. Testers also found the Puffy to be more responsive than most all-foam beds (it earned an impressive 9 out of 10 in responsiveness). Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Cons: Although the Puffy uses gel-infused foam, it still won't sleep as cool as a hybrid or innerspring bed made with coils.

Buy It! Puffy, $949 (orig. $1,699); puffy.com

mattresses
mattresses

How to Measure Mattress Firmness

Because mattress firmness really comes down to individual preference — what feels super soft to you may feel firmer to someone else — mattress companies have created firmness scales as a way to compare how firm one bed feels versus another. The scale follows a 10-point scoring system, with 1 as the softest and 10 as the firmest.

The best firm mattresses typically lie on the upper end of the scale, right around a 7 or an 8. The experts at Mattress Advisor don't recommend choosing anything above an 8 — higher than that, and you'll probably feel like you're sleeping on a plank of wood (unless the mattress surface is cushioned by a plush pillow top). In the middle lies what's known as "medium-firm," or the firmness sweet spot, which is perfect for the Goldilocks sleepers of the world searching for that "just right" balanced feel.

While softer beds aim to cushion and cup your curves, a firm bed's goal is to keep you raised and lifted for proper support and spine alignment.

Whom Is a Firm Mattress Best For?

Best for:

  • Stomach sleepers: While some experts say stomach sleeping is a major no-no, if you find the face-down position just too comfy to stray away from, a firm mattress provides a solution. Firm beds prevent your hips from dipping into the mattress, which keeps the spine and neck in line and wards off back pain.

  • People with back pain: Because of the sturdier support firm mattresses give, they can provide ample relief for those suffering from back pain. Medium-firm to firm beds provide enough pushback to maintain healthy spine alignment, which keeps pressure off of the low back.

  • Hot sleepers: While this rule may not apply to all firm mattresses, most are made from a mix of breathable materials, like steel coils or latex. These materials happen to sleep cooler, since they naturally promote more airflow.

Not best for:

  • Side sleepers: Since side sleepers need a bed with more give to cushion pressure points (like the hips and shoulders), a firm mattress may not feel comfortable enough. Some side sleepers may wake with hip or shoulder pain if the surface is too hard.

  • Those who like to sink into their mattress: If you know you love nothing more than to come home after a long day and sink blissfully into your mattress, a firm mattress probably isn't right for you. A firm mattress keeps you propped up, much like a hotel-style bed.

How to Shop for the Best Firm Mattress

Shop Online

Rule number one to finding the best firm mattress? Shop online. Not only are the prices better (it's way easier to find a high-quality king-size bed in your price range), but you're able to take your time doing research by comparing different brands and reading various mattress reviews. Plus, you can conveniently do this entire process from the couch.

Try Out a Mattress

If you're feeling uneasy about taking the plunge on a new firm bed, have no fear: Online mattress brands offer lengthy sleep trial periods that give you ample time to break in your new mattress. If you find it's too firm or uncomfortable for your taste, simply return it during the trial period to receive a full refund.

Consider the Types of Firm Mattresses

Materials ultimately decide the feel of a mattress and just how firm it will be.

Innerspring

Innerspring mattresses are made from strong steel coils and tend to be some of the firmest beds because they typically lack top comfort layers. Instead, one layer of thin padding sits above the coils. Innerspring mattresses have a firm to extra-firm feel.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses can fall anywhere on the firmness scale, but they typically lean toward soft to medium-firm. That's because memory foam is a sinking material known for its pressure-relieving abilities.

Latex

Latex mattresses are inherently bouncy and responsive and can be found at all levels of firmness. Naturally pressure-relieving, even a firmer latex bed can provide contouring comfort.

Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses use a mix of any of the materials mentioned above, and typically fall at a happy medium on the firmness scale. They offer a nice balance of comfort and support, though some hybrids can be found on the upper end of the scale. But because they feature multiple comfort layers, even firmer hybrids generally feel more comfortable than a firm innerspring bed.

Mattress Advisor's Review Process

Each mattress on this list was put to the test (literally) in Mattress Advisor's lab, which is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bedding experts spent over 1,200 hours evaluating and comparing mattresses using a 14-point testing methodology to find the best firm mattresses.

While some of the factors tested are tied directly to performance — like responsiveness, edge support, and pressure relief — others are based around brand operations, such as customer service, shipping policies, and trial period. The Mattress Advisor team combines this proprietary methodology with in-depth interviews and customer experience to arrive at a weighted score out of 10.

Katie Simpson is a writer and editor at Mattress Advisor.

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