Firm mattresses are commonly preferred by back sleepers, stomach sleepers, combination sleepers, and heavy people because they offer great support. If you fit into one of those categories and are looking for a high-quality firm mattress, you’re in the right place!
Below, I’m going to take you through the best firm mattresses of the year. If you want a little more info on choosing the best firm mattress for you, skip down to the bottom of my review. You can also head over to our Mattress Firmness Guide to learn more about how to choose the right firmness level for your needs.
Best Firm Mattresses of 2021
- Editor’s Pick – Plank
- Best Firm Innerspring Mattress – Saatva
- Best Firm Mattress for Stomach Sleepers – Helix Dawn
- Best Affordable Firm Mattress – Casper Element
- Best Firm Memory Foam Mattress – Bear
- Best Cooling Mattress – WinkBed
- Best Firm Mattress for Back Sleepers – GhostBed
- Best Organic Mattress – Birch
- Best Firm Mattress for Couples – Layla Hybrid
- Best Firm Mattress for Side Sleepers – Puffy
Top Firm Mattress Picks Explained
Read on for more details on all the mattresses featured above. I’ll continue to update this list as I test and review new mattresses, so don’t be surprised if your top picks get knocked out of the top spots! If you’re in a rush, I have a few quick facts about each mattress in a handy chart below.
Get two firm mattresses for the price of one with the Plank, a flippable mattress from Brooklyn Bedding that has one firm side and one extra firm side (and I do mean extra firm). The extra firm side features the strongest support of any mattress on this list, so it will appeal to folks who think a regular firm mattress is child’s play. It should also appeal to stomach sleepers, who need plenty of support to keep their hips elevated and their spines in a neutral alignment. For similar reasons, this bed might be a good choice for back sleepers who like a firm feel.
Because the Plank is so firm, you might be surprised to learn that it’s an all-foam mattress. But the firm high-density foam base offers even more support than some innerspring beds. The Plank’s cover comes with an optional cooling panel made of Phase Change Material that helps dissipate body heat. This could be a good add-on if you’re a stomach sleeper who wants to sleep cool. Keep in mind it will add an additional cost to your purchase.
The Plank comes with a 120-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
Ready to walk (or sleep on) the Plank? Head over to my full Plank mattress review for more on this bed.
The Plank is a great choice for the back and side sleepers that want super firm support.
Best Firm Innerspring Mattress
One of the most popular innerspring mattresses on the market, the Saatva employs individually wrapped coils and sturdy steel coils to offer the firm support and bounce of a classic innerspring mattress. The Saatva is offered in three different firmness options: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm. I’ve personally tested the Luxury Firm model and found it to be really supportive for back and stomach sleepers (but a bit too firm for side sleepers). This could be a great match for strict back or stomach sleepers as well as for combo sleepers who move between these positions. If you’d prefer an even firmer comfort level, you can opt for the Firm model.
No matter which model you choose, the bounciness of the Saatva’s springs means you’re likely to sleep more on top of the bed than “in” it, which is nice for combination sleepers who need ease of movement. Additionally, each model of this mattress is sturdy and durable. The Saatva is also well-suited to couples who are looking for a mattress that’s up to the task of supporting two bodies over the long-term.
The Saatva comes with a 180-night sleep trial and 15-year warranty.
Want to learn more? Spring on over to my full Saatva mattress review.
The Saatva mattress combines a luxurious pillow-top layer with two sections of coils for that classic innerspring feel.
Best Firm Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
The Helix Dawn mattress is my top pick if you’re a strict stomach sleeper looking for a firm mattress. Due to it’s firm top layer of Helix Dynamic Foam, you’ll feel like you’re “on-top” of the bed, keeping your hips from sinking in, and aligning your spine and shoulders. But, the Helix Dawn still offers pressure relief at your hips and shoulders, so you don’t have to sacrifice the “hugging” feel of a mattress that so many of us love.
Helix has a line of six mattresses and the Dawn is their firmest option. It also is available in a luxury version called the Helix Dawn Luxe. The Dawn is supported by wrapped pocketed coils to give sleepers bounce and lift. This is also helpful in supporting your body weight and allowing you to move and roll around, a great option for those who sleep with a partner or toss and turn throughout the night.
The Dawn comes with a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
Want to learn more about the Helix Dawn? Read my full Helix Dawn mattress review.
The Helix Dawn has firm support that is great for spine alignment!
Best Affordable Firm Mattress
The Casper Element stands out for achieving a high level of firmness without the support of coils. Instead, Casper’s firmest model is built with three layers of foam. Its comfort layer is made from poly foam, which has a quick response to pressure and helps keep you on top of the mattress (instead of sinking into it). Below that, you’ll find a more classic memory foam layer followed by a base layer of durable, high-density poly foam.
When layered on top of each other, these different foams combine to create a firm feel that offers plenty of mobility along with a little pressure relief. These qualities should make it a good fit for back and stomach sleepers, as the mattress is supportive enough to keep their spines in a neutral alignment. Considering its supportive nature and durable materials, the Element is priced extremely well.
The Casper comes with a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
Curious to learn more about this firm foam bed? Head on over to my full Casper Element mattress review.
A streamlined, balanced feel makes the Casper Element fabulous for a wide range of sleepers!
Best Memory Foam Mattress
The Bear mattress is a great option for those who prefer a firmer feel but love the body contouring properties of memory foam. The Bear’s comfort layer is made with cooling graphite gel memory foam, which doesn’t trap heat like traditional memory foam. Below that you’ll find a transition layer of responsive foam, which adds a bit of bounce. The Bear’s base is made from high-density poly foam which gives it some nice firm support.
I also think the Bear could be a good option for athletes. It’s cover is made of Celliant, a material that some studies suggest helps speed up athletic recovery. Athletes also need a combination of pressure relief and support, and the Bear offers just that.
The Bear comes with a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
Learn more in the full Bear mattress review.
The Bear Mattress offers firm support with a memory foam layer for gentle pressure relief.
Best Cooling Mattress
The WinkBed is a popular hybrid option for those who prefer a firmer bed. It has several features meant to keep you sleeping cool. First up is a breathable Tencel cover, which allows for airflow into the mattress. Then there’s the gel-infused foam, which helps draw heat away from sleeping bodies. And finally, the pocketed coil support layer allows for more airflow. So if you’re prone to sleeping hot, definitely give the WinkBeds a look!
The mattress comes in three firmness levels as well as a Plus model for heavy folks, so its feel will vary a bit depending on the model in question. The firm and medium-firm mattress models should both appeal to those who enjoy a firmer feel. Each WinkBed model also includes a Euro pillow top to offer a little pressure point relief (without sacrificing a firm feel).
The WinkBed comes with a 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty.
Interested in the WinkBed but want to know more? Don’t miss my full WinkBeds mattress review.
Built with a plush pillow top and a buoyant coil-on-coil structure, the WinkBeds is a great option for a wide range of sleepers! Just enter your email to save
Best Firm Mattress for Back Sleepers
Firm mattresses are often a good match for back sleepers, but the GhostBed stands out even amongst a sea of other firm models — especially for those back sleepers who prefer an all-foam feel. Its comfort layer is made from 1.5 inches of aerated latex, which offers some nice bounce and is very cooling. Latex mattresses are often great picks for sleepers who like a firm feel because of their naturally supportive, durable feel.
The GhostBed comes in at a 7 out of 10 on the mattress firmness scale. For reference, a medium-firm mattress is about a 6.5 out of 10 on the scale. So if you’re a back sleeper looking for a firm bed that also offers a bit of gentle pressure relief, the GhostBed is a great choice for you.
The GhostBed isn’t only a great option for back sleepers; I also really like it for hot sleepers. All GhostBeds are known for sleeping cool, and the Original is no exception. The combination of naturally cooling latex and gel-infused memory foam in this mattress really help prevent it from trapping body heat.
The GhostBed comes with a 101-night sleep trial and 20-year warranty.
Read more in my full GhostBed mattress review.
The GhostBed's combination of bouncy latex and body-hugging memory foam offer sleepers a nice, balanced feel.
Best Organic Mattress
Birch Living Bed
This hybrid bed-in-a-box should appeal to sleepers who like a firm mattress and are committed to going green. The mattress is composed entirely of eco-friendly materials, including an organic cotton cover, a comfort layer made of natural wool, and a section of all-natural Talalay latex. All of these layers are supported by pocketed coils. Birch also offers optional organic mattress toppers with these beds in case you prefer a softer feel.
The Birch features a firm feel, strong support, and fantastic bounce thanks to its Talalay latex and coil layers. This mattress should be a great fit for back and stomach sleepers, who need plenty of support to keep their spines in neutral alignment and prevent backaches and pains. And because it’s easy to move around on this bouncy mattress, it might also work well for combination sleepers who switch between their backs and stomachs.
The Birch comes with a 100-night sleep trial and 25-year warranty.
Is this the lean (er, firm), green mattress you’ve been looking for? Find out in my full Birch Living Bed review.
The Birch mattress uses natural materials like organic cotton and talalay latex to provide great comfort from an organic product, in fact all Birch products are Greenguard Gold certified!
Best Mattress for Couples
For couples that like a firm mattress, I’d highly recommend the Layla Hybrid. This flippable mattress is built with gentle top layers of memory foam for pressure relief, but is grounded in a tall section of ultra-sturdy pocketed coils.
The resulting feel is balanced, hedging slightly on the firmer side of things. But what’s really great about this bed is that couples (thanks to the flippable design) can switch between either a “Soft” or “Firm” side depending on their needs. Thankfully, both configurations feature top layers of memory foam, a plush material that actively works to isolate motion across the structure, which could be a big plus for couples.
The Layla Hybrid comes with a 120-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
Learn more at my full Layla Hybrid mattress review.
The Layla Hybrid uses foam and coil layers for two firmness options so you can choose the right support level for your sleep style.
Best Firm Mattress for Side Sleepers
Side sleepers often need a softer mattress that provides some pressure relief. But if you’re a side sleeper on the hunt for a firm bed, the Puffy could do the trick! This all foam, bed-in-a-box mattress should feel nice and firm to side sleepers. While I consider the Puffy mattress medium-firm, it should feel firmer to those who spend the entire night on their sides.
But, its “Gel Cloud” comfort layer makes the bed softer than most firm mattresses, so it will offer enough pressure relief for side sleepers as well. “Gel Cloud” foam is a memory foam alternative that sleeps cooler and helps alleviate aches and pains by providing great pressure relief.
The Puffy Mattress is a great option for lightweight to average weight sleepers, making it a great option for kids. The Puffy Mattress is perfect for those who don’t like to sink into the bed too much, but are light enough for their shoulders and hips not to jam into the mattress.
The Puffy comes with a 101-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty.
Learn more in my full Puffy mattress review.
The Puffy is an all-foam mattress that lives up to its name with soft, pressure relieving comfort!
Now that you know more about a few of the best firm mattresses out there, let’s talk a little bit about how to choose the right one for you! Keep in mind that firmness, aka the initial feel of a mattress when you lie down, is not the same as support, aka how well a mattress keeps your spine aligned. First up, let’s go over what to look for when choosing a firm mattress.
Certain types of mattresses tend to be firmer than others. If you’re looking for a firm mattress I’d recommend opting for an innerspring, hybrid, or latex mattress. Take a look below to learn more about the different types of firm mattresses.
- Innerspring mattresses – Innerspring mattresses are made of steel coils and topped with thin layers of foam. They normally have a firm, bouncy feel, and most sleepers looking for a firm mattress will likely find an innerspring bed that meets their needs.
- Latex mattresses – Latex mattresses use latex foams in their construction. These foams are naturally durable, cooling, and bouncy, and can have very firm, supportive feels. Latex mattresses often combine latex foams and steel coil support systems.
- Hybrid mattresses – Hybrid mattresses combine foam comfort layers with innerspring support coils. They can vary widely in feel, but there are plenty of great firm options available for sleepers looking for a firm bed.
- Foam mattresses – It is possible to find a firm foam or memory foam mattress, but these options may not be as durable or supportive as other mattress types because they use foam rather than coil support cores.
The Best Mattress Firmness for your Body Weight
Next, let’s take a look at what a firm mattress feels like for people with different weights. Depending on your body type, a firm mattress may or may not be the best fit for you.
Lighter sleepers are likely to find firm mattresses firmer than average weight sleepers because they won’t sink as far through these bed’s top foam layers. In general, light stomach sleepers should fare well on almost any firm mattress because stomach sleepers don’t need much pressure relief. But lightweight back and side sleepers might want to stick to a more medium-firm mattress if they’re looking for a firm feel. These beds will likely feel firm to lighter folks, and will offer them a little more pressure relief in these sleeping positions.
Average Weight Sleepers
Average weight people will likely experience mattresses as they’re advertised. That means a mattress advertised as firm or described as firm in reviews will likely feel firm to them. In general, a firm mattress is a great fit for any average sleepers who prefer this feel. But, if you’re a side sleeper, I might recommend opting for something a bit softer to ensure you get enough pressure relief at your hips and shoulders.
Firm mattresses are some of the best options for heavy people. These sleepers will likely find many mattresses a bit softer than the average sleeper, which means some firm mattresses may feel more medium-firm to these folks. A medium firmness level is considered universally comfortable, so heavy sleepers looking for this feel should opt for a firm bed. If you’re a heavy sleeper looking for a firm feel, a mattress designed specifically for heavy people could be a good fit.
Pressure relief is another important consideration when choosing a mattress. Firm mattresses tend to offer a bit less pressure relief than softer beds, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice appropriate relief. If pressure relief is a priority for you, I’d recommend looking for a bed that includes a few firm memory foam layers that offer some body-contouring. This will provide a bit of pressure relief, but allow for a firm feel.
Motion transfer is a measure of the amount of motion that travels from one side of the mattress to the other. Most sleepers who share a bed with a partner or pet prefer a bed with low motion transfer, or good motion isolation. Firm mattresses usually don’t isolate motion as well as softer beds, but you can still find a firm mattress with decent motion isolation. Hybrid mattresses with memory foam top layers, or firm all-foam mattresses are good options for sleepers looking for a bed that isolates motion well.
The last factor you’ll want to consider when buying a new firm mattress is price! A bed’s price will vary depending on the quality of the materials it’s made with. Generally, you can find certain foam and hybrid mattresses at budget prices, while many latex and innerspring mattresses can be pricier.
A new mattress is a big investment, but you can score good deals by shopping online, shopping during sales, and using our mattress coupons. Check out our best cheap mattresses guide for more tips on how to save money on your new bed!
Who is a Firm Mattress Best For?
Firm mattresses are especially helpful for sleepers who need firm support to keep their spines straight overnight. In the list below, I’ll describe who these sleepers are and why firm support is best for them. And check out our Mattress Firmness Guide for more information on selecting the feel and firmness that’s most appropriate for your body type and preferred sleeping position.
- Back sleepers can benefit from firm support because it will help them keep their spine neutrally aligned (read: straight) overnight. This is especially important for back sleepers who struggle with any kind of back pain.
- Stomach Sleepers need firm support because there are very few gaps between their bodies and their mattresses when they sleep. This means they really need a bed that won’t let their hips sink into the mattress. Sinking hips creates an arch in the back that leads to pain over time.
- Heavy people (over 250 lbs) tend to do best on firm mattresses because they’re a little more durable, and won’t sag as soon as a softer mattress. I’d also encourage these sleepers to opt for a firmer model than they think they need because mattresses are built with people between 130-250 lbs in mind. This means most beds will actually feel softer to heavier people than they do to other sleepers. Beds specifically designed for heavy people are more likely to feel as firm to these sleepers as advertised.
- People with back pain often do best on firm mattresses because they need to be extra conscious of their sleep posture. Keeping your spine straight overnight can help alleviate and prevent a lot of lower back pain over time. If this is something you find yourself struggling with, I also recommend checking out our best mattresses for back pain roundup!
Who Should Not Sleep on a Firm Mattress?
Certain sleepers actually need softer support or more sinkage to either keep their spines aligned or avoid pain. Take a look below to see who might benefit from a softer feel.
- Side Sleepers often do better on a soft to medium-soft mattress that helps alleviate pressure at their shoulders and hips. Some sinkage around the hips and shoulders actually helps keep your spine straight when you’re sleeping on your side. If you tend to sleep on your side more, I recommend reading through our review of the best mattresses for side sleepers.
- Sleepers with shoulder or hip pain can also benefit from the additional pressure relief a soft mattress offers, which can help alleviate pain and stiffness. If that sounds like you, head over to our best mattress for shoulder pain or best mattress for hip pain roundup to find the right fit for your needs.
- Lightweight sleepers often experience firm mattresses as even firmer than they’re intended to be, as I mentioned above. So, I often recommend these sleepers stick to more medium-firm or medium-soft mattresses to ensure they get enough pressure relief.
- Memory foam lovers who enjoy the feeling of “sinking” into bed often fare best on softer mattresses. If you want to feel like you’re really cuddled up inside your bed, instead of lifted up on top of it, one of our best soft mattresses could be a better fit for you.
How Do You Measure Mattress Firmness?
Here at Sleepopolis we measure mattress firmness using the mattress firmness scale. The scale ranges from 1-10, with 1 being the softest mattress ever and 10 being the firmest mattress ever. The industry standard for medium-firmness is a 6.5 out of 10. So if you’re looking for a firm mattress you should opt for a bed reviewers classify between 7 and 10 on the mattress firmness scale. Take a look below to learn more about mattress firmness levels, and check out our How to Choose a Mattress buying guide for some more info.
- 1-5: Mattresses that range from a 1-5 on the mattress firmness scale are truly soft mattresses. You’ll want to be careful to ensure a mattress in this range is supportive as well as soft. The Helix Sunset is a good example of a soft, but supportive, mattress.
- 6: Mattresses that fall at about a 6 on the firmness scale are medium-soft beds. Mattresses closer to a 6.5 are medium-firm. I’d recommend mattresses that fall in the 6-6.5 range for side sleepers. The GhostBed Luxe is a nice example of this type of bed.
- 7: Mattresses that get a 7 on the firmness scale are truly firm mattresses. The WinkBed above is a great example of a firm bed. Most sleepers on the hunt for a firm mattress should like a bed that falls at a 7 on the firmness scale.
- 8: Mattresses that score an 8 are extra-firm beds, and are especially good fits for stomach sleepers who need a lot of support. The Plank is a great example of an extra-firm mattress.
- 9: I’d describe these mattresses as ultra-firm, with almost no cushion at all. I’ve never reviewed a bed that falls at a 9 on the firmness scale.
- 10: I’d rank a hardwood floor as a 10 out of 10 on the mattress firmness scale. You’re very unlikely to ever encounter a bed this firm.
Pros and Cons of a Firm Mattress
Still not sure if a firm mattress is the right choice for you? Take a look at some of the pros and cons of firm mattresses to decide.
Benefits of a firm mattress
- Durability is a big perk of firm beds, which often last longer than soft mattresses. Choosing a high-quality firm mattress may help you avoid premature mattress sagging. But you can definitely find a durable soft mattress as well, so don’t let that determine your purchase.
- Firm mattresses can be more supportive than soft mattresses. Firmness is not the same thing as support, and it is possible to find a soft and supportive bed. But, if you’re looking for a lot of support, choosing a firm mattress is usually a safe bet.
- If you’re looking for great edge support, a firm mattress could be the way to go. The sides of these beds should support your weight without sagging or collapsing. This can actually make your bed feel a little bigger, which is a great added bonus!
- Since many firm beds use pocketed coil layers that promote airflow, they tend to sleep cool. This is a great perk for hot sleepers.
- Firmer mattresses often help you feel more “on top of the bed” than “stuck in” it. This could be nice for combination sleepers who need mobility for switching positions at night.
- It’s easier to distribute your weight evenly over the surface of a firm bed, which is a good way to alleviate aches and pains and prolong your mattress’s life.
- It’s easier for back and stomach sleepers to achieve a healthy spine alignment on a firm mattress. This means that these sleepers will be able to keep their spines straight (also known as a neutral spinal alignment) on these beds.
Drawbacks of a firm mattress
- If you’re looking for a soft and cuddly feel you may not get what you’re looking for on a firm mattress.
- You often need to sacrifice some pressure relief for support on firm beds. This is not a great feature for side sleepers or folks who struggle with shoulder or hip pain.
- If you like a slow moving mattress that offers some sinkage and hug, you won’t get what you need from a firm mattress. These beds tend to be more responsive.
- Side sleepers can struggle to keep their spines properly aligned on firm beds, which don’t allow enough sinkage around the shoulders and hips to let the spine drop into a neutral position.
Take a look at the table below to see how all my favorite firm beds stack up against each other.
|Mattress||Best For||Price (Queen)||Coupon||Review|
|Plank||Editor's Pick||$1,274||Brooklyn Bedding Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Saatva||Innerspring||$1,499||Saatva Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Helix Dawn||Stomach Sleepers||$1,099||Helix Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Casper Element||Cheap||$595||Casper Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Bear||Memory Foam||$995||Bear Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|WinkBeds||Cooling||$1,599||WinkBed Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|GhostBed||Back Sleepers||$1,295||Ghostbed Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Birch||Organic||$1,499||Check Coupons Page||Read Our Review!|
|Layla Hybrid||Couples||$1,649||Layla Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Puffy||Side Sleepers||$1,149||Puffy Coupon||Read Our Review!|
What is the best firm mattress?
It depends on how you sleep! But if you really want our opinion, the WinkBed won the “best firm mattress” spot in our best mattresses of 2021 list.
How do I shop for a firm mattress online?
When shopping for a firm mattress that you won’t try out in stores, we recommend reading reviews and opting for a bed reviewers rank between a 7 and a 10 on the mattress firmness scale. You can check out our How to Choose a Mattress buying guide for more tips.
Is a firm mattress better for your back?
It depends on how you sleep, but firm mattresses are generally better for your back. They help distribute your weight evenly, which will help you keep your spine straight and avoid back pain.
What is the difference between firmness and support?
Firmness refers to how hard or soft a mattress feels when you lie down on it. Support refers to how well a mattress keeps your spine in alignment. A soft mattress can be just as supportive as a firm mattress.