Mattress Guides

Best Firm Mattresses

If you love sleeping on a firm mattress, this guide is for you. See Mattress Nerd's top picks for the best firm mattresses online.

By Katie Terrell Hanna

Are you in the market for a new mattress and considering a firm bed? Or perhaps wondering if your current mattress is right for you? The level of firmness in your mattress is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the right mattress. Everyone has a preference, and for many, a requirement for the level of firmness they desire in a bed.

If you’re a stomach sleeper, a heavy sleeper, or maybe you suffer from back pain—a firm supportive mattress can be a great option for you. Some may not even realize they prefer a firmer mattress until they try it. Luckily, all the options we’ll review in this guide offer a generous trial period for customers to fall in love with their bed if they aren’t so sure upon purchase.

Whatever your reasons, if you’re in the market for a firmer mattress, we can help you make the best choice. This article will review the different levels of firmness used by mattress companies so you can choose the best option for you. We’ll also go over several factors to consider to keep an eye out for when you are making your selection. Finally, as with all our mattress reviews, we’ll share with you the best firm mattresses on the market. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

But first, let’s cover something important for making an informed a design: the mattress firmness scale.

The Firmness Scale

Firmness is judged differently from person to person based on your comfort level. But for the purpose of internet shopping, there is a scale that all mattress manufacturers use to help guide customers during their purchase. The scale goes from 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely soft and 10 being extremely firm. Here are the levels for your reference:

1 Extremely Soft. These are plush mattresses that you can sink into. 

2 – 3 Soft. Slightly more firm than extremely soft.

4 – 6 Medium. These mattresses are not too soft, but not too hard. Many hybrid mattresses are medium firmness. 

7-9 Firm. These are less conforming, stiffer mattresses that you don’t sink into. 

10 Extremely Firm. These are very hard and stiff. There is no sinking or softness. 

Now that you have a better understanding of just how firm a firm mattress feels, see our top picks for the best firm mattresses online.

The Best Firm Mattresses

MATTRESS NERD’S TOP 7 PICKS

Are you looking for the best firm mattress the internet has to offer? The Nerd Squad recommends the following brands:

Plank by Brooklyn Bedding

Who the Plank is Good For
  • Back and Stomach Sleepers
  • Couples
  • Those who weigh 230+ pounds 
  • Hot Sleepers 
Customer Rating
5 / 5
Firmness

Dual-sided: Firm and Extra Firm

Trial

120 nights

Reason to Buy

Exceptionally firm yet provides responsive layers

The first option on our list is the Plank mattress by Brooklyn Bedding. It is one of the firmest mattresses on the market. This is a flippable mattress with a ‘Firm’ side (a 7 on the firmness scale) and an ‘Extra Firm’ side (a 9 on the firmness scale). It has foam layers on both sides and a top comfort layer of quilted foam for some cushion.

It is minimally conforming and is a great option for stomach sleepers and those who weigh over 230 pounds. In addition, it isolates motion and makes no noise while bearing weight, so it’s a great option for couples.  

Bonus: Brooklyn Bedding mattresses come with free shipping to the United States, a 10-year warranty, and a 120-night trial period so you can send it back if you decide it’s not for you. 


 

airweave

Who airweave is Good For
  • Stomach & Back Sleepers
  • Couples
  • Hot Sleepers
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
Firmness

Extra-Firm: 9/10

Trial

100 nights

Reason to Buy

Made with proprietary airfiber that provides a firm yet buoyant firmness

As the name suggests, the Airweave was designed to improve airflow. It is made with a proprietary air-fiber, all-plastic, interwoven material. It is great for sleepers who enjoy an extra firm surface or need added support. The support in the center of the bed extends to the edges so you no matter where you end up throughout the night, you will have continuous support and comfort. 

Lighter sleepers may find that they do not sink deep enough into this mattress and thus do not get the desired relief of their pressure points. Whereas, heavier sleepers may find they sink too much and might put wear on the mattress at a much faster rate. Therefore, this mattress is ideal for those that are average rate. 

Bonus: Airweave mattresses come with free shipping and 100-night trial period so you can send it back if you decide it’s not for you. 


 

Leesa

Who Leesa is Good For
  • Combination Sleepers
  • Those who want firmness flexibility
  • Hot Sleepers
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
Firmness

Medium-firm: 6/10

Trial

100 nights

Reason to Buy

Responsive and supportive for back sleepers

The mattress offered by Leesa is a combination foam mattress. It works to relieve pain at pressure points, correct poor spinal alignment, and release trapped heat during the night. Each layer of this mattress plays a role in attacking the issues that most sleepers face.

The first two layers of foam are designed for comfort. Moving down, you reach a support core made of a higher density foam. The Leesa is a good middle-of-the-road firmness solution (measuring at a 5) for those who like their comfort as much as their support.

Bonus: The Leesa mattress comes with free shipping and a 100-night trial so you can try before you buy. It also comes with a 10-year warranty.


 

Saatva

Who Saatva is Good For
  • Side, Stomach, Back & Combination Sleepers
  • Heavy Sleepers
  • Those who suffer from back pain
  • Hot Sleepers
Customer Rating
5 / 5
Firmness

Offered plush, luxury firm and firm

Trial

120 nights

Reason to Buy

Custom firmness options

Next is the Saatva mattress. The Saatva is a hybrid innerspring, memory foam mattress that comes in three different firmness levels: ‘Plush Soft’, ‘Luxury Firm’, and ‘Firm’. While they tout the ‘Luxury Firm’ as being their best seller, if you prefer a mattress with a little extra firmness, the ‘Firm’ option is the better choice. 

The construction starts at the top with a thin layer of quilted organic cotton foam to cushion your joints and provide pressure point relief. Underneath that is a layer of individually wrapped pocket coils designed to conform to your body and reduce motion transfer. Finally, it contains a layer of gel memory foam that supports the spine. 

Bonus: Saatva mattresses have a 15-year warranty, a 120-night trial period, and complimentary white glove delivery and free removal of your old mattress.


 

The WinkBed

Who WinkBed is Good For
  • Side, Stomach, Back & Combination Sleepers 
  • Those who suffer from back and hip pain
  • Heavy Sleepers 
  • Hot Sleepers
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
Firmness

Offered at 4 firmness levels

Trial

120 nights

Reason to Buy

Triple-Zone Support

The WinkBed mattress is a hybrid of traditional innerspring mattresses and memory foam. It includes layers of polyfoam, gel memory foam, triple-tempered support springs, and a lumbar pad. All of these elements work together to eliminate muscle tension and align the spine so you get comfort and pain-free sleep.

WinkBeds offer their mattresses in three different firmness options. They are ‘Medium Soft’ (4.5), ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5), and ‘Firm’ (7.5). So, there is an option for every degree of firmness desired among buyers.

Bonus: WinkBeds come with free shipping to the United States and a 120-night trial so you can try before you buy. It also comes with an impressive lifetime warranty.


 

ZenHaven

Who ZenHaven is Good For
  • Side & Back Sleepers
  • Those who want firmness flexibility
  • Hot Sleepers
Customer Rating
4.9 / 5
Firmness

Dual-Sided: Plush and Firm

Trial Period

120 nights

Reason to Buy

Eco-friendly, supportive sleeping surface

ZenHaven, created by Saatva, is our all-latex superstar choice for a firm mattress that offers flexibility because it is flippable. One side is ‘Luxury Plush’ (4-5) and the other side is ‘Firm’ (7-8). The ZenHaven is constructed with four layers of Talalay latex foam and a five-zone lumbar support system. 

Zoned support works by providing firmer support to the head, back, torso and leg areas, while offering softer support in the shoulders and hips that need conforming support. Because of the five-zone support system, this mattress offers excellent spinal alignment and that of the neck and shoulders. 

Bonus: The ZenHaven mattresses have a 20-year warranty and a 120-night trial period.


 

Helix

Who Helix is Good For
  • Side, Back & Stomach Sleepers
  • Those that suffer from chronic back and joint pain
  • Low Motion Transfer
  • Hot Sleepers
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
Firmness

Firm: 8/10

Trial

100 nights

Reason to Buy

Added memory foam plush topper to provide firmness and contour

Helix has designed several versions of their mattress, one to suit every type of sleeper. Some of the factors they considered when designing their mattress include weight, body type, and sleep position; one mattress does not fit all. 

Their firm mattress options include the Helix Twilight and the Helix Dawn. Both offer a layered composition of memory foam and dynamic foam to create the right combination of pressure relief and contour for the body. Bottom line: they are comfortable, yet solid.

The Twilight is best for side sleepers and provides excellent pressure point relief. The Dawn is best suited for back and stomach sleepers and conforms well to the body. 

Bonus: Helix mattresses come with free shipping to the United States, a 100-night trial, and a 10-year warranty.


Who Should Sleep on a Firm Mattress?

It’s not secret firm beds are not for everyone. If you are wondering if a firm bed would make a good option for you, check out the following categories of sleepers. Do you fall into one of these categories? If so, you might want to give a firm mattress a shot.

  • People with Back Pain: Firm mattresses can provide support for those who suffer from back pain and other aches and pains. The improved spinal alignment that firm mattresses provide will reduce the likelihood of added soreness because of the mattress. 
  • Heavy Sleepers: Firm mattresses can also help provide support for those who carry more weight and sink too deeply into soft and even medium mattresses.
  • People who Prefer Firm: Preference matters. You should judge a mattress by how well you sleep while on it and your comfort level. While many who choose firm mattresses do so because they require the added support, some just prefer to sleep on a stiffer surface as opposed to a more plush environment.  

Benefits of Sleeping on a Firm Mattress

Improved spinal alignment

You may have heard from your doctor that proper posture is an important component to reducing chronic back pain. This doesn’t end when you’re sleeping. If the spine is out of alignment for 8 hours every day, you will notice via symptoms, such as aches and pains, that develop. A firmer mattress will reduce the risk of improper spinal alignment. 

Extra support

Your spine is not the only portion of your body that requires support while you sleep. Those who suffer from shoulder, neck, hip and other joint pain will require more support and stabilization from their mattress to reduce or ease pain. 

Deep Sleep

At least 20-25% of your sleep should be a deep sleep. To get to this stage in sleep, however, you need to feel comfortable and relaxed. Firm mattresses offer the support to allow your entire body to settle easily into a comfortable position so you can get sufficient time in deep sleep. 

Weight Distribution

If you suffer from joint pain and muscle stiffness, it could be because you aren’t using a firm enough mattress. Improper support will cause sagging in heavier areas on a soft mattress.

What to Watch Out For on a Firm Bed

Lower-pressure point relief

If you’ve been in the market for a new mattress, you’ve likely heard the phrase “pressure point relief.” A pressure point is any part of the body that feels uncomfortable when you lie down because of the “pressure” applied by the mattress to that area. 

If you don’t have the right mattress, these areas of body tissue will end up squeezed and it can restrict blood flow and cause stiffness. If this sounds like you, you’ll want to avoid mattresses that have low-pressure point relief. This is often the case with discount mattresses and outdated mattress models. 

To do that, you’ll want to review the highlights of your desired mattress and keep an eye out for that key phrase in your search.

Longer break-in period

Most mattresses take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to fully “break-in” or adjust to their final shape. This can be especially true for firm mattresses that are denser. Keep this in mind if you select a firm mattress and are initially startled by just how firm it is. Give it some time. 

It also takes a little time for your body to adjust to a new bed, especially if you were previously sleeping on the same old or wrong mattress for many years. The new mattress will provide the support and comfort you need, but it will take some time for your body to get used to it!

Firm isn’t for everyone

Is a firm mattress right for you? There’s only one way to be sure. Try it! The companies we’ve reviewed offer the opportunity to try their mattresses for a trial period to make sure it’s a good fit. But remember, while you do need firm support for proper spinal alignment, you risk overcompensation if you choose a mattress that is too firm. This will inhibit proper curvature, make your sleep very uncomfortable, and increase chronic pain. 


Conclusion

We’ve talked about why you might be in the market for a firm mattress and the varying degrees of firmness based on standards used by all the mattress manufacturers. In addition, we’ve covered the best firm mattresses on the market based on our very high standards of quality, comfort, and function. Finally, we reviewed the factors to consider and the components to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a firm mattress. 

Whether you require better spinal alignment to combat chronic back pain; you are a heavier sleeper who requires extra support, or you prefer a firmer surface to sleep on, you are now ready to decide with confidence and clarity. Go forth boldly and be on your way to a better night’s sleep!


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