Shopping for the best soft mattress balances a fine line between support and firmness. While you may want it to feel soft to the touch, you also want it to provide the correct type of support for your sleeping style. Different factors like sleeping position, body weight, and environmental factors can all play a role in selecting your perfect mattress. And also, keep in mind what is best for one body might not be best for another.
Throughout this guide, we’re going to walk through many of the most important considerations to look at when selecting the best soft mattress. We’ll review what makes a soft mattress great and who benefits the most from soft mattresses.
Best Soft Mattresses of 2021
- Best Mattress for the Money – Helix Sunset
- Best Soft Mattress for Back Pain – WinkBeds Mattress
- Best Soft Memory Foam Mattress – Layla
- Best Innerspring Mattress – Saatva
- Best Soft Mattress for Back Sleepers – Leesa Legend Mattress
- Best Soft Mattress for Shoulder Pain – Nectar
- Best Medium Soft Mattress – Idle Sleep Gel Plush
- Best Soft Mattress for Side Sleepers – Bear Hybrid
- Best Soft Mattress for Combination Sleepers – Amerisleep AS4
What’s the Best Soft Mattress?
So what’s the best plush mattress on the market? The best soft mattress will have optimal mattress support without resulting in unnecessary firmness. It will provide body-contouring, pressure relief, and deep compression support. Side sleepers may gravitate towards soft mattresses more than any other type of sleeper.
Lastly, the best soft mattress will not be prone to “sleeping hot”. The right use of materials will allow air to flow throughout the night and prevent heat retention around the sleeper.
Best Mattress for the Money
Helix Sunset Mattress
One mattress that delivers on soft and value is the Helix mattress. Helix actually builds a mattress custom based on your preferences, so the mattress can meet a variety of needs – but one of those needs is definitely soft!
The Helix construction always varies, but a soft hybrid construction will suit a lot of people looking for a comfortable soft mattress. Learn more in my full Helix mattress review.
Whether you choose the standard or luxe edition, Helix mattresses have something to offer every style of sleeper!
Best Soft Mattress for Back Pain
So far I’ve talked about an all foam mattress and one that uses polymer for comfort, but what if you’re interested in a more traditional pillow top build? You’re in luck because the WinkBed is a hybrid mattress that provide the feel of an old school bed.
WinkBed makes this mattress in three firmnesses (as well as a plus version for heavier folks in need of more support) and I find their ratings to be pretty true to their support level, so if you’re looking for a soft mattress go with the soft WinkBed. Even with the soft foams and microcoils on top, the WinkBed is well supported with zoned coil support below.
Another benefit of the WinkBed is that it sleeps cool thanks to its breathability, tencel cover and gel infused foams. So if you’re looking for a traditional innerspring feel that sleeps a bit cooler then I can definitely recommend the WinkBed.
Price on the WinkBed ranges from $1049 – $1849 but you can save $200 by using the code SLEEPOPOLIS200
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!
Best Soft Memory Foam Mattress
I’m going to have to be a little bit more specific with the Layla as it is a flippable mattress, so it gives you a choice of softer or firmer support depending on which side of the mattress you have on top. Both sides of Layla use copper infused memory foam for pressure relief but since this is the video for Best Soft Mattress I’m going to recommend putting the Soft side up.
I mentioned the memory foam in the Layla is infused with copper and that was done for a reason as it helps to draw heat away from the sleeper. This is important because while memory foam has great advantages for comfort, one of its drawbacks is that it traps body heat. Layla has made a pretty breathable memory foam that provides relief, while still allowing the sleeper to stay cool.
Price normally ranges from $499 – $999 but you can save $110 but using the code SLEEPOPOLIS at checkout.
The Layla has a few other great construction features including copper infused memory foam, which helps you sleep cool as well. Learn more in my full Layla mattress review.
A flippable design makes the Layla mattress a truly customizable bedroom accessory.
Best Innerspring Mattress
While you may not think that an innerspring mattress could be soft, there are a few springy options on the market that are actually quite gentle. For an introduction to one of these dreamy beauties, let’s take a look at the Saatva mattress.
Built with a coil-on-coil construction, this innerspring mattress is bouncy and supportive, working as it does to position the sleeper on top of the structure. This can be great for folks who struggle with aches and pains, as it means the spine will be lifted into a healthy alignment. But one of the coolest things about the Saatva mattress is that it’s actually available in three different firmnesses: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm. If you’re after a softer vibe, I’d recommend checking out the Plush Soft Saatva, which features gentle foams and extra padding in the pillow top layer.
Get all the details you need at 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 Soft Mattress for Back Sleepers
Leesa Legend Mattress
The Leesa Original mattress is a hybrid bed that I really like for back sleepers, looking for a soft feel. It’s soft enough to offer plenty of pressure relief, but its pocketed coil layer offers enough support to help these folks comfortable.
This mattress is bouncy and responsive, which is great for combination sleepers because it is easy to move around and change positions on. Most back and side combo sleepers will find this mattress just supportive enough too keep their spine neutrally aligned, but soft enough that it will fill in the lumbar region (lower back) and cushion other sensitive parts of the body.
See my full Leesa Legend mattress review.
- Great for Back Sleepers
- Sleeps Cool
Best Soft Mattress for Shoulder Pain
Soft mattresses can be great for shoulder pain. Typically built with gentle materials like memory foam, these beds cushion the shoulders and alleviate tension all night long. If you think a soft mattress might be the ticket for you, I recommend checking out the Nectar mattress.
This bed features a whopping five inches of plush memory foam in its top layers. This translates to ample sinkage, pressure relief, and body-contouring, all attributes that do wonders for those who struggle with shoulder pain. The secret is that the longer you rest on top of a memory foam mattress, the more its layers contour to your shoulders, hips, and lower back. This helps to provide a little cushiony support to these sensitive spots and ensure endless nights of pain-free sleep.
To learn more about this bed, check out my full Nectar mattress review.
Sleepers will sink deep into the Nectar mattress for some soothing pressure relief, something that side sleepers will particularly appreciate! Click here to get $399 of free accessories with every mattress purchase!
Best Medium Soft Mattress
Idle Sleep Gel Plush
If you’re looking for a soft feel without sacrificing too much support then something more in the medium support range might be to your liking. The Idle Sleep Gel Plush uses super soft comfort foams, hence the name, so you’ll get incredible pressure relief when you climb into bed. But this mattress isn’t just cloud like comfort, there’s also some good support below for good spinal alignment.
Unsurprisingly I think side sleepers are going to love the soft feel of the Idle Gel Plush, but I also think back sleepers that like a memory foam feel will appreciate it as well. If you want to get into bed and sink into the layers, without sacrificing some medium support, take a look at the Idle Sleep Gel Plush.
Read our Idle Gel Plush review for our full testing results
The Idle Gel Plush has a super soft feel you can sink deep into for an amazing night's sleep. Save 30% by clicking this link!
Best Soft Mattress for Side Sleepers
In general I like soft mattresses for side sleepers because they provide better pressure relief, something that benefits side sleepers especially because they put so much weight over their shoulders. The Bear Hybrid has a softer feel thanks to its memory foam comfort layer, which allows for a contouring feel as you sink into bed. A lot of memory foam mattresses can cause the sleeper to feel stuck in bed, but because this is a hybrid mattress, the pocketed coils provide some really nice bounce so you can move around easily.
Along with side sleepers I also think couples will like the Bear Hybrid because it does a good job isolating motion transfer and has solid edge support, which are two key factors when looking for a mattress to share. All of these reasons and more great performance are what I think the Bear Pro is the best soft mattress for side sleepers.
Read the full Bear Hybrid mattress review on Sleepopolis.
Specifically designed for athletes, the Bear Hybrid is a great supportive option for active sleepers.
Best Soft Mattress for Combination Sleepers
Amerisleep AS4 Mattress
The Amerisleep line ranges in support from the extra firm (AS1) to the extremely plush (AS5). Since this list is looking at the best soft mattresses available, I would lean towards the AS4 or AS5 models. For combination sleepers looking for a soft feel I would go with Amerisleep AS4.
The AS4 uses a four inch memory foam comfort layer, so you can sink deep into bed for pressure relief, but I still found that it responded to pressure quick enough to allow me to change positions. Along with that the AS4 has enough support for back/side combo sleepers to have good spinal alignment in both positions
Read the full Amerisleep mattress review to learn more!
On the softer side, the AS4 could be a great pick for side sleepers! Get 30% off with code SLEEPOPOLIS.
Mattress Support vs. Firmness
Above all else in a mattress, support is absolutely KEY. Now, that may trip up some sleepers… ““wait… I thought this guide was about soft mattresses, I don’t want too much support”. Firmness equating support is a bit of a misnomer. Mattress support and mattress firmness are two stand-alone qualities in any mattress. While they do work in tandem, they are not one and the same. For instance, a mattress could have a soft feel with great support or a firm feel with lousy support.
Good mattress support simply means that it keeps your spine in proper alignment without creating pressure points. Irritating pressure points can lead to back pain and restless night.
Mattress firmness, on the other hand, is defined as how hard or soft a mattress feels. Different manufacturers use different materials to convey varying levels of firmness.
It’s most important to remember that support and firmness are different. Soft mattresses can still provide great support. However, softer mattresses are held to a higher standard in terms of material quality in order to provide that level of support. With softer materials also come new potential problems, including heat retention, feeling stuck, or spinal alignment issues. Good design and material selection helps to minimize these issues, while still creating a soft cloud-like feeling.
Who is a soft mattress right for?
Softer mattresses can be appropriate for a variety of sleeper types and positions. In general, softer mattresses are ideally suited for side sleepers. The softer layers allow for a better contouring hug and support along the curves of the body. Some back and stomach sleepers may also enjoy the softer feel, but it really comes down a personal preference for these sleepers.
Stomach sleepers especially should be wary of going too soft, as the deeper hug can create a lack of support along the mid section, creating pressure points and pain in the lower back.
Sleepers who weight less (150 pounds or less) may also find that soft suits their needs better. Lighter sleepers may float on top of medium or firmer mattresses due to the materials that require higher pressure levels before creating sinkage. The softer materials allow sinkage at lower weights, creating better pressure relief for these sleepers.
Do soft mattresses “sleep hot”?
In the mattress world, there is a condition that some mattresses suffer from called “sleeping hot”. This can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common are 1) the materials (usually memory foam) are absorbing and retaining heat and/or 2) the level of hug in the mattress is such that an excess of material is wrapping around the sleeper. In general, soft mattresses are more susceptible to sleeping hot than medium or firm mattresses.
For this reason, it’s critically important to consider the design, construction, and materials of the mattress. Soft mattresses that use large amounts of memory foam, especially in the top layers, may be more likely to sleep warm because they retain heat. Ventilated memory foam or memory foams infused with gel, copper, or other cooling materials can help to mitigate some of the heat risk.
If you are concerned about sleeping warm you will want to look for mattresses that:
- Use a thin cover – this will minimize the quantity of material wrapping around you
- Use a design that places memory foam below the top layers – top layers of latex, polymer, gel, pillow tops, or other more breathable materials will help to reduce the risk of heat retention
- Use advanced memory foam – not all memory foam is created equal, some memory foams are more advanced in terms of their ability to breathe and not retain heat
- Use coils – coil mattresses that use pillow tops or true hybrid mattresses generally breathe better and remain cooler than 100% foam mattresses
Will a soft mattress help with my back pain?
For many sleepers, back pain is a frustrating part of their nightly routine. Back pain can occur for any type of sleeper, regardless of what position you sleep in. Also, it can be caused by a variety of factors, but one of the most common is inadequate mattress support. In general, most who struggle with back pain will require a medium, slightly firm, or firm mattress. A soft mattress, even one with good support, can create additional problems and pain for the back.
For those who suffer with back pain, but are certain they still want / need a softer feel, selecting a mattress with a modern thin cover design can help. Traditional quilted covers, padded, or pillow top covers that are excessively soft are most liable to exacerbate back pain. However, thin covers where the softness of the mattress is derived from supportive foam, coil, or hybrid layers generally provide a stronger and more supportive base.
Summary: The Best Soft Mattresses
|Mattress||Best For||Price (Queen)||Coupon||Review|
|Helix Sunset||The Money||$999||Helix Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|WinkBeds||Back Pain||$1,599||WinkBed Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Layla||Memory Foam||$1,049||Layla Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Saatva||Innerspring||$1,399||Saatva Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Leesa||Back Sleepers||$899||Leesa Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Nectar||Shoulder Pain||$799||Nectar Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Idle Gel Plush||Medium-Soft||$1,399||Idle Sleep Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Bear||Side Sleepers||$800||Bear Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Amerisleep AS4||Combination Sleepers||$1,799||Amerisleep Coupon||Read Our Review!|
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