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Best Mattress of 2024: Top 9 Picks From Our Testing Team

UPDATED
Expert Tested

Table of Contents
line-star And the Award for the Top Mattress of 2024 Goes to…

Helix Midnight

This design offers the broadest appeal across body types and sleep positions. The Helix Midnight performs well where other hybrids fall short and delivers a comfortable balance of cushioning, support, and responsiveness.

There’s no such thing as a perfect mattress, but some models perform better than others when it comes to things like durability, pressure relief, temperature control, and overall support. To select our top mattress picks of the year, we reached out to sleepers like you to find out what worked best for them while personally testing hundreds of mattresses in our test lab with those criteria in mind.

Our 2024 best mattresses guide covers everything you need to know about buying a new bed. Read on to take a closer look at the best mattresses of the year, or jump over to sleeper-specific guides on the best mattresses for back pain or those for side sleepers.

Presidents’ Day Mattress Sales Are Here!

Presidents’ Day is a great time to purchase a new mattress. Many leading brands offer major sales and discounts throughout the month of February. Check out our list of Presidents’ Day mattress sales for details about the biggest deals.

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Read on to see why the following nine options made our list of 2024’s best mattresses.

Sleep Doctor’s Picks

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Best Mattress Overall

Helix Midnight

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The Helix Midnight may be intended for side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds, but its medium firm hybrid construction makes the mattress suitable for a wide range of sleeper types. Consistent cooling and sturdy edge support add to the appealing design, and an approachable sticker price makes it a solid choice for shoppers with tight budgets.

Buy from Helix
Ideal For:

Combination Sleepers

Firmness:

Medium Firm (6)

Feel:

Close-Conforming Foam

Value:

Great Value

Pros

  • Adaptive foam layers contour evenly without too much hug
  • Zoned perimeter coils limit sinkage when you sleep close to the edges
  • Below-average pricing for a hybrid model

Cons

  • May lack support for back and stomach sleepers over 230 pounds
  • High potential for strong off-gassing odor after the mattress is unboxed

Why We Like It

During hands-on tests, the Midnight fared best among our side and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds, and our stomach sleepers under 130 pounds. Gentle contouring from the foam layers means most sleepers receive adequate cushioning without the deep “hug” that can occur with soft memory foam, and the coils give the surface an inviting bounce when you get in and out of bed. This responsiveness helps you change sleep positions easily and move across the mattress.

Temperature control is another defining quality of the Helix Midnight. Air circulates throughout the coil system to maintain a comfortable interior temperature for the mattress, while a breathable cover offsets heat retention from the foam layers. You can upgrade to a cooling cover made of phase change fabric if you tend to sleep excessively hot or sweat during the night.

How Does It Feel?

The Midnight’s comfort system consists of a memory foam top layer over dense transitional polyfoam. These materials conform to your figure and alleviate pain and pressure in sensitive areas, but uncomfortable sinkage shouldn’t be an issue — especially if you primarily use the side or back sleep positions. Thick pocketed coils create a strong support system and add springiness to the surface.

Read our full Helix Mattress Review
Sleep Doctor's proprietary image of the Luxury Firm WinkBed mattress
TSD_WinkBed_2
Sleep Doctor's proprietary image of the Luxury Firm WinkBed mattress
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Most Comfortable Mattress

Luxury Firm WinkBed

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

Of the WinkBed’s four firmness levels, our testing team has determined the Luxury Firm design offers the broadest appeal across different body types and sleep positions. Adaptive foam layers and zoned coils deliver a comfortable balance of cushioning, support, and responsiveness.

Buy from WinkBeds
Ideal For:

Couples

Firmness:

Medium Firm (6)

Feel:

Plush, Supportive Surface

Value:

Good Value

Pros

  • Thick foam layers contour evenly while maintaining even support
  • Perimeter feels exceptionally sturdy thanks to a zoned coil system
  • Great cooling from the breathable cover and steady airflow in the coil layer

Cons

  • Too firm for some side sleepers under 130 pounds
  • Not supportive enough for some back and stomach sleepers over 230 pounds

Why We Like It

We found that the Luxury Firm WinkBed performs well in areas where hybrids often fall short. One example is motion isolation, which we test by having two people lie side by side on each mattress. Neither tester noticed much motion transfer across the surface when the other person moved around on their side of the bed, so the mattress is a good option if you are easily awakened by your sleep partner’s movements at night. At the same time, the coils are responsive enough to create some bounce on the surface. Most of us were able to move across the mattress without sinking or feeling trapped.

How Does It Feel?

After testing the four available firmness levels, we’ve found that the Luxury Firm – a medium firm (6) model – offers the most comfortable combination of cushioning and support for your body. The versatile, balanced feel made this mattress popular with our testers across different body types and preferred sleep positions.

Most of our testers found that the foam layers conform to the body without too much give or sinkage. We also noticed extra pushback around the midsection, where the coils are zoned to feel stronger. This pushback kept the back and stomach sleepers on our team from sinking too much around our lower back and hips – a common source of discomfort for people who use these positions. The Luxury WinkBed also excels in cooling thanks to the Tencel cover and a good amount of airflow through the coils.

Read our full Luxury Firm WinkBed review
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Best Value Mattress

Emma Hybrid Comfort

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The Emma Hybrid Comfort combines adaptive foam comfort layers with supportive coils, resulting in a balanced mattress that feels comfortable across different sleep positions. A yearlong sleep trial sweetens the deal.

Buy from Emma
Ideal For:

Combination Sleepers

Firmness:

Medium Firm (6)

Feel:

Cushioned, Supportive Surface

Value:

Great Value

Pros

  • Hybrid design features thick foam layers and a zoned coil system
  • Airflow through coils offers strong temperature regulation
  • 365-night sleep trial

Cons

  • Too soft for stomach sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds
  • Foam may emit off-gassing upon unboxing

Why We Like It

The Emma Hybrid Comfort offers a balanced feel by combining plush foam layers with a strong coil system. Side sleepers above 130 pounds and back sleepers up to 230 pounds benefited most from the mix of cradling and support. Stomach sleepers under 130 pounds also found the bed comfortable. The middle-of-the-road feel is a good fit for couples who have different sleep preferences. Another strong performance area was temperature control, which was due in part to the airflow through the coils. Compared to other foam hybrids we’ve tested, this model stands out for its reasonable price-point and generous one-year sleep trial.

How Does It Feel?

The comfort system features several foam layers, starting with a polyfoam layer engineered to reduce heat retention. Underneath is a memory foam layer that enhances contouring and absorbs motion on the surface, followed by a higher density polyfoam layer to prevent too much sinkage. The result is a medium firm (6) overall feel that lightly cushions your joints but doesn’t hug your body excessively. Sturdy coils in the support core offer a lot of pushback to support the lower back. The coils are zoned to deliver extra support where it’s most needed, including along the perimeter of the bed.

SD_SaatvaLatexHybrid_2
SD_SaatvaLatexHybrid_2

Best Luxury Mattress

Saatva Classic

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The Saatva Classic’s innovative coil-on-coil design delivers zoned support, reinforcing the midsection while gently cradling lighter areas of the body. The mattress is available in three firmness levels, and all customers receive free White Glove delivery and a 365-night trial.

Buy from Saatva
Ideal For:

Back Sleepers

Firmness:

Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)

Feel:

Bouncy, Supportive Surface

Value:

Fair Value

Pros

  • Coil-on-coil design ensures exceptional responsiveness and support
  • Mattress is available in three firmness levels and two profiles
  • Free White Glove delivery for all orders

Cons

  • Significant bounce limits motion isolation
  • May not provide enough contouring for side sleepers

Why We Like It

Thanks to its innovative coil-on-coil construction, the Saatva Classic is well suited to people looking for a bouncy, supportive mattress that won’t sink too much beneath their weight. Free White Glove delivery should also incentivize those who would rather not set up a new mattress on their own. Couriers drive the mattress directly to your residence, assemble it in a room of your choice, and remove your old mattress or box spring upon request. This type of delivery service usually starts at $150, so you may want to go this route if you need help setting up your new mattress — the Saatva Classic is pretty heavy.

How Does It Feel?

The Saatva Classic has a Euro-top padded with two foam layers, followed by a transitional layer of pocketed microcoils and a support core of robust, low-gauge hourglass coils made from recycled steel. Thanks to this “coil-on-coil” design, most of our testers noticed a fair amount of bounce that prevented them from sinking or feeling stuck as they moved across the mattress. We also noticed very little roll-off when testing the bed for perimeter support by lying and sitting along the edges. This was especially true for the Classic’s firmest, tallest design.

Each firmness level feels distinct from the others. Our testers felt the closest contouring from the soft (3) model, gentler cushioning from the medium firm (6), and very little padding from the firm (8). There was also some variability between the 11.5-inch and 14.5-inch profiles, the latter of which has base coils that are 4 inches thicker than the former’s. The taller profile feels bouncier and sturdier, but most of our testers weighing up to 230 pounds still received adequate support from the 11.5-inch model.

Read our full Saatva Classic review
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Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Nolah Evolution 15

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The Nolah Evolution 15 offers excellent cushioning thanks to thick foam layers on the surface, while the sturdy coils ensure plenty of pushback. It’s a perfect design for side sleepers seeking a balance of cradling and support.

Buy from Nolah
Ideal For:

Most Sleepers

Firmness:

Medium (5) Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)

Feel:

Varies by Firmness

Value:

Good Value

Pros

  • Thick foam layers excel at cushioning and pressure relief
  • Three firmness options
  • Sturdy coils and zoned design deliver support for the lower back

Cons

  • You may need to purchase deep pocket sheets to accommodate the bed’s thick profile
  • Foam layers may off-gas for a few days after unboxing

Why We Like It

We’ve tested many hybrid beds, but this model stands out with exceptionally thick foam layers on top and a substantial 15-inch profile. The quilted Euro-top cradles your body and is followed by adaptive polyfoam layers, all of which conform closely to your body and alleviate pressure points. A support core of coils is designed with three zones to further enhance pressure relief where it’s needed most. The perimeter is lined with reinforced coils to boost edge support.

How Does It Feel?

The Nolah Evolution is available in three firmness levels that correspond to medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (8) on our test lab’s firmness scale. We found that the softest model was an ideal match for side sleepers up to 230 pounds, since it deeply cushioned the shoulders and hips during our tests, while the medium firm design was best suited to side sleepers weighing 130 pounds or more. Most side sleepers found the firm option offered too little cushioning for the shoulders and hips.

The foam layers may absorb some heat, but air circulation through the coils and a cooling fabric in the cover both helped offset this heat retention. The Nolah Evolution 15 is a good choice for side sleepers who enjoy the hug of foam but tend to overheat on all-foam beds.

Nolah Evolution Hybrid Mattress Review
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Best Cooling Mattress

PlushBeds Botanical Bliss

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

With three profiles and two firmness options to pick from, the PlushBeds Botanical Bliss is one of the most customizable models on this list. The latex design gently cradles the body while delivering excellent support, with a wool layer for added cushioning.

Buy from PlushBeds
Ideal For:

Hot Sleepers

Firmness:

Medium Firm (6), Firm (7)

Feel:

Responsive Latex

Value:

Fair Value

Pros

  • Available in three profiles and two firmness options
  • Latex and wool design balances gentle contouring with sturdy support
  • Carries GOLS, GOTS, and GREENGUARD Gold certifications to ensure organic sourcing

Cons

  • Sleepers with a latex allergy should not use this bed
  • Heavy design can make the mattress difficult to lift alone

Why We Like It

The PlushBeds Botanical Bliss combines organic latex and other eco-friendly materials to deliver personalized comfort and support. With a choice of two firmness levels and the added assurance of PlushBeds’ comfort exchange program, the mattress is a comfortable choice for a wide range of sleepers. The mattress holds certifications from GOTS, GOLS, and GREENGUARD Gold, indicating that the materials comply with certain safety and environmental standards. One of the standout features of this mattress is PlushBeds’ 100-night comfort exchange program, which lets you order an additional comfort layer if you decide your initial mattress purchase is too soft or firm.

How Does It Feel?

You can choose between three heights — 9 inches, 10 inches, or 12 inches — as well as medium firm (6) or firm (7) feels. Each version begins with a soft and breathable organic cotton cover and a layer of organic wool. Both materials naturally wick away heat and moisture, helping you stay cool and dry. This is followed by a layer of Talalay latex that balances contouring with subtle bounce. The thick support core is composed of one to two layers of Dunlop latex, depending on the height. Dunlop is firmer and denser than Talalay latex. 

Our testers didn’t notice a substantial difference between the three height options. However, side sleepers up to 230 pounds and back sleepers under 130 pounds preferred the medium firm versions, while other back and side sleepers opted for the firm models. Most stomach sleepers liked the enhanced support of the firm mattresses, although a few testers under 130 pounds said they slightly preferred the medium firm feel. 

Read our full PlushBeds Botanical Bliss review
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Best Mattress for Couples

Nest Bedding Sparrow

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

Available in three firmness levels and dual-firmness settings for king and California king sizes, the Nest Bedding Sparrow isolates motion, feels supportive along the perimeter, and sleeps cool. All of these qualities make the mattress particularly well-suited to couples.

Buy from Nest Bedding
Ideal For:

Couples

Firmness:

Soft (3), Medium (5), Firm (7)

Feel:

Close-Conforming Foam

Value:

Good Value

Pros

  • Three firmness options
  • Foam comfort system excels at pressure relief
  • Thick foam layers reduce motion transfer

Cons

  • Foam layers may trap body heat
  • May feel too adaptive for stomach sleepers

Why We Like It

The Sparrow is available in three different firmness options – soft (3), medium (5), and firm (7) – but during tests, the firm model earned high marks from many of our testers, especially back and side sleepers over 130 pounds. Side sleepers up to 230 pounds and back sleepers up to 130 pounds enjoyed the medium model. The soft model earned good reviews from side sleepers up to 130 pounds, but side sleepers in heavier weight categories may prefer a firmer option. Some heat buildup is to be expected for beds with foam comfort systems, but the Sparrow felt temperature-neutral for many of our testers – even those who normally sleep hot. Phase change material infused into the cover offsets heat retention. Meanwhile airflow through the coil system helps ventilate the mattress to keep it cool.

How Does It Feel?

The bed is designed with three layers of foam over a 6-inch coil system. A top memory foam layer closely cradles your body, followed by a polyfoam Energex layer with a responsive feel and another polyfoam layer with enhanced support. The Energex layer varies in firmness depending on the model you choose, but our testers found that all three models offer a well-cushioned surface. Thanks to the thick foam comfort system, the mattress excelled at motion isolation tests in our sleep lab. This means you’ll feel very little motion transfer when your sleep partner shifts in the middle of the night. The bed also offers excellent pressure relief, especially in the soft and medium models. This appealed to testers who typically experience pressure buildup in the shoulders, hips, or spine.

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Best Mattress for Back Pain

Bear Elite Hybrid

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The Bear Elite Hybrid’s balanced design offers robust support and even cushioning to alleviate pressure-induced pain in the hips. Cooling materials in the cover and top layers also make the mattress resistant to heat retention.

Buy from Bear
Ideal For:

Hot Sleepers

Firmness:

Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)

Feel:

Plush, Supportive Surface

Value:

Good Value

Pros

  • Mixed-foam comfort system delivers even contouring
  • Cover made with Celliant and phase change material engineered to sleep cool
  • Three firmness options

Cons

  • Foam layers may off-gas initially
  • Softer models offer less edge support

Why We Like It

Most of us agreed that the Bear Elite Hybrid’s foam hybrid design makes it a great choice for sleepers seeking a supportive mattress with even cushioning for pressure points. The medium option earned the highest ratings from back and side sleepers under 130 pounds since these sleepers need ample cushioning for the shoulders, hips, and spine. The medium firm option was best suited to side sleepers who weighed at least 130 pounds and back sleepers up to 230 pounds, while the firm performed best for side and back sleepers over 230 pounds and most stomach sleepers. Cooling was one of the Elite Hybrid’s most notable strengths. The Celliant and PCM cover and steady airflow through the coils kept our hot sleepers comfortable throughout testing. Our sensors detected minimal heat buildup.

How Does It Feel?

The Elite Hybrid is available in medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (8) options. All models begin with a top layer of memory foam that contours to the body to alleviate pressure while ensuring your weight is evenly distributed across the surface. This layer is also infused with copper meant to reduce heat buildup. Transitional polyfoam adds a bit of extra cushioning and prevents your body from sinking too deeply into the support core. Pocketed coils make up the core, offering targeted support to prevent uncomfortable sinkage. A perimeter reinforcement helps the mattress bear your weight along the edges. The coils rest on a polyfoam base layer to prevent shifting. A breathable quilted cover encases the mattress, giving the surface a plush initial feel. The cover is made with Celliant and phase change material (PCM), both engineered to maintain a neutral temperature on the surface.

Read our full Bear Elite Hybrid review
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Best Eco-Friendly Mattress

Avocado Eco Organic Mattress

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The Avocado Eco Organic Mattress is firm, responsive, and highly supportive. Our tests show these qualities are particularly helpful if you primarily sleep on your stomach. The mattress’ sticker price is also well below-average for a latex hybrid.

Buy from Avocado
Ideal For:

Stomach Sleepers

Firmness:

Medium Firm (6)

Feel:

Responsive Latex

Value:

Fair Value

Pros

  • Eco-friendly components include sustainably sourced cotton, wool, and latex
  • Latex hybrid design is naturally durable, responsive, and breathable
  • Exceptional cooling and moisture control

Cons

  • Minimal contouring and limited pressure relief
  • Too bouncy to fully isolate motion

Why We Like It

The Avocado Eco Organic Mattress should meet the needs of any stomach sleeper seeking a firm, supportive, and responsive sleep surface. Hot sleepers should enjoy the breathable components of this latex hybrid design. Avocado has also earned a reputation for sleep products made mostly or entirely from sustainable materials. The latex, cotton, and wool have all been certified as organic. The company also used offset projects to achieve carbon negative shipping. Even the wrapping paper in the mattress delivery box is produced through eco-friendly means. While many latex hybrids – including most Avocado models – are on the expensive side, the Eco Organic Mattress is modestly priced for shoppers with tight budgets.

How Does It Feel?

The Eco Organic Mattress is medium firm (6) and our testers noted gentle cushioning, robust support, and easy movement across the surface. The mattress was especially popular with the stomach sleepers on our testing crew. The latex comfort layer is firm and responsive compared to memory foam, so deep sinkage was not an issue, and zoned coils deliver some much-needed support around the midsection. Temperature control is another strong point. We detected very little heat buildup on the surface, and the mattress slept cooler than the majority of foam beds we’ve tested. The latex is ventilated and the coils promote steady airflow, so there is plenty of circulation to help the interior of the mattress stay cool. The organic cotton cover and wool fire barrier are both breathable as well, and the wool wicks moisture away from the body on humid nights.

Read our full Avocado Eco Organic review

Why You Should Trust Us

Getting a good night’s sleep is hard enough without having to worry about things like foam density and coil tension. With that in mind, renowned sleep doctor Dr. Michael J. Breus has worked with our product testing team to toil over 4,000+ sleep products (including 1,934 mattresses) in our Seattle-based Test Lab over the past eight years so sleepers like you can rest easier. 

What we’ve learned has dictated how and why we test what we do, what we look for in a bed and a bed company, and which tools and products can ultimately lead to better sleep.

As sleep science and product experts, we find joy in taking products home to sleep on, monitoring real-time sleep data, and staying current on the science of sleep health and sleep-tech trends to provide data-backed recommendations you can trust.

In our Test Lab we monitor things like heat retention, motion isolation, and pressure maps, and you’ll also see sleep-health experts like Dr. Breus drop by to adjust a firmness rating or offer tips on syncing the sleep environment with sleep hygiene. 

Our goal at the Test Lab is to take the guesswork out of your sleep journey to lull you into your best-slept self, because better days ahead start with better sleep.

Testing Criteria

Mattress comfort is highly subjective and largely based on body weight and sleep position. Our recommendations are based on feedback from testers who side sleep, back sleep, and stomach sleep across three different weight groups: less than 130 pounds, 130 to 230 pounds, and more than 230 pounds. Our testing process looks at data points across design and performance elements across, including:

Motion Isolation

A mattress with great motion isolation absorbs movement on one side of the bed and prevents it from transferring to the other– It’s a quality that’s important, especially to people who share a bed with a partner. To test for motion isolation, two testers lie side-by-side on a mattress and feel for movement. Then we compress the mattress with kettlebells to measure impact and situate a container of water at the end of the mattress to evaluate surface stability. Our in-home testers then measure waves of movement on the mattress using vibration-sensing technology.


Temperature Neutrality

This performance category refers to how well a mattress maintains a comfortable temperature. To measure heat absorption, we begin with the “hot bottle test,” during which we place a heated thermos on the mattress and record how long it takes for the heat to dissipate, relying on thermal technology to measure heat buildup on the mattress surface. Testers of varying weights also take turns lying on the mattress in different positions to see if the mattress sleeps too warm for side, back, or stomach sleepers.


Pressure Relief

People experience pressure build up in areas like the hips and shoulders due to uneven spinal alignment and lack of support. A mattress can either reduce or worsen these pressure points. To test for pressure relief, our testers take turns lying down on a mattress in different positions to see if they experience pressure in the shoulders, back, or hips. We can see this via body-mapping sensors, which use color-coded imaging to display areas of the body where pressure buildup occurs.


Edge Support

To determine whether a mattress feels stable along the edges, we conduct a series of tests that mimic everyday movements. These include lying in the middle of the mattress and rolling toward the edge, sitting along the perimeter to tie shoes, and getting in and out of bed. While this happens, we measure how much compression occurs along the edges and how well the perimeter recovers after the weight is removed. This is also known as the “press test.”


Ease of Movement

A mattress with a responsive, springy surface is usually easier to move across than one that sinks beneath your weight. We test ease of movement by first asking testers to crawl across the mattress, pressing as deeply as possible to gauge how restrictive the surface is. We also place kettlebells in the center, then time how long the surface needs to recover its full shape.


Odor Emissions

Most new mattresses emit chemical odors after unboxing, but certain materials are associated with stronger odors. After unboxing each mattress that arrives in our lab, we set a timer and use a subjective “smell test” to evaluate these odors at intervals of 10 minutes, one hour, three hours, and 24 hours. Most of these odors come from the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in synthetic foam. Using a VOC meter, we measure the concentration of these compounds in the room relative to a room with normal VOC levels.

Finding the Right Mattress for Your Needs

Every sleeper’s needs are different and a sleep system can take many forms. A combination of variables, from sleep position to the loft of your pillow and what type of sheets you use can contribute to the quality of your sleep. 

Use the categories and watch the video below to narrow down your mattress search according to your specific needs.

More Mattress Options

Mattress Construction: What’s Best for Me?

Mattress materials have evolved alongside our sleep habits, technology, and the global supply chain. Today’s beds feature materials and design elements that make them better suited to certain types of sleepers, and less so for others. Understanding how these elements affect your sleep experience can help determine which mattress type is best for you.

opening quote icon A lot of factors come into play when shopping for a mattress – your sleep position, firmness preference, whether you sleep hot or cold. Keep these factors in mind when looking for a compatible mattress. opening quote icon
Dr. Michael Breus, Clinical Psychologist, Sleep Medicine Expert and Combination Sleeper

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses are constructed with top layers of memory foam or polyfoam, and support layers of dense polyfoam. These mattresses conform to the body, creating a sensation of sleeping “in” the mattress as opposed to “on” the surface. If you prefer the feel of a close body hug while you sleep, you’re a prime candidate for a foam mattress.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrids combine the cushioning of an all-foam or all-latex mattress with the added support and breathability of innersprings. Most hybrid mattresses contain thick foam or latex comfort layers, followed by a pocketed coil support core. A well-rounded design allows these mattresses to rate well across different performance categories, including pressure relief, motion isolation, temperature control, and edge support.

Latex Mattresses

Traditional all-latex mattresses contain latex layers that become progressively firmer and denser from top to bottom, resulting in a well-cushioned surface and supportive base. Latex contours to the body but also feels somewhat responsive and sleeps fairly cool. Anyone who dislikes the deep body hug or hotter feel of memory foam should consider latex instead.

Airbed Mattresses

Airbeds feature support cores with air chambers, which you can inflate or deflate to adjust the firmness level in certain areas of the bed. Most airbeds also contain thin comfort layers of foam or latex. Airbeds offer unmatched customization options for single sleepers and couples, but on average they’re the most expensive mattress type by a landslide.

Innerspring Mattresses

Traditional innerspring mattresses are constructed with thin comfort layers and thick coil systems, resulting in sturdy support and exceptional responsiveness but usually underperform in areas like pressure relief and motion isolation. Hybrids have thicker comfort layers and less disruptive coils than traditional innersprings, resulting in a more balanced performance, but some manufacturers use the terms “hybrid” and “innerspring” interchangeably.

Quick Comparison of Mattress Types

All-FoamHybridLatexAirbedInnerspring
Comfort System MaterialMemory foam, polyfoam, latex, and/or fabricsMicrocoils, memory foam, polyfoam, latex, and/or fabricsLatexFoam, latexFoam, latex, and/or fabrics
Support CoreBase polyfoamInnerspring coilsLatexAir chamberCoils
Typical Longevity6 to 8 years6 to 8 years6 to 10 years8 to 10 years5 to 7 years
General Price Range$900-1,300$1,500-2,000$1,600-2,000$2,000-2,400$600-1,100
Most Common StrengthsPressure relief, motion isolation, quiet performance, affordabilityEase of movement, sturdiness, edge support, temperature controlEase of movement, temperature control, durabilityAdjustable firmness, temperature controlEase of movement, edge support, temperature regulation
Most Common WeaknessesReduced ease of movement, heat retention, off-gassingInsufficient pressure relief, motion transfer, noise, higher average priceInsufficient pressure relief, motion transfer, heavy/bulky, higher average priceExpensive, noiseMotion transfer, noise, less pressure relief

Mattress Firmness: What Level Is Best for Me?

Some mattresses are designed to feel soft and conform closely to your body, while others are made to be firmer and more supportive. There is no universal “best firmness” because the most comfortable mattress for any given person depends on factors like body weight and primary sleep position. 

After personally testing hundreds of mattresses, we found that side sleepers generally prefer softer mattresses than back and stomach sleepers. Likewise, people who weigh less than 130 pounds often need a softer mattress to feel comfortable, whereas sleepers who weigh more may need additional support.

Firmness Scale

We judge mattress firmness using a 10-point scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the most firm. The numbers break down like this:

  • Extra Soft (1-2): The mattress sinks very deeply and lacks the support to withstand much weight over 130 pounds.
  • Soft (3): Deep contouring occurs, but the base layers offer a noticeable measure of support.
  • Medium Soft (4): Thick comfort layers over a substantive support system create a semi-balanced feel with an emphasis on cushioning.
  • Medium (5): An even ratio of comfort and support materials results in moderate contouring and limited sinkage.
  • Medium Firm (6): The mattress offers light yet noticeable contouring and fairly sturdy support. In our experience, this is the most popular firmness level.
  • Firm (7-8): The mattress shouldn’t sink much for people who weigh 130 pounds or more, but cushioning materials may provide slight plushness on the surface.
  • Extra Firm (9-10): Little to no contouring occurs and the surface feels completely even.

Most mattresses made today fall between 3 and 7 on our scale.

The table below represents a summary of our findings regarding the best mattress for side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers in different weight categories.

Less Than 130 pounds
130 to 230 pounds
More Than 230 pounds

Side Sleepers

Soft (3) to medium (5)

Medium soft (4) to medium firm (6)

Medium (5) to firm (7)

Back Sleepers

Medium soft (4) to medium firm (6)

Medium (5) to firm (7)

Medium firm (6) to firm (8)

Stomach Sleepers

Medium soft (4) to medium firm (6)

Medium firm (6) to firm (7)

Medium firm (6) to extra firm (9)

The best way to pinpoint your ideal firmness level is to test out as many mattresses as possible. Many mattresses are sold in different firmness levels to accommodate different types of sleepers. Certain mattress models also give you the opportunity to evaluate multiple firmness levels in one design. These include:

  • Flippable Mattresses: These models have a sleep surface on the top and bottom sides. In most cases, the sides have different firmness levels.
  • Dual-Firmness Mattresses: These mattresses are geared toward couples with contrasting firmness preferences. They feature different firmness levels on the left and right sides.
  • Mattresses With Adjustable Layers: While somewhat rare, these mattresses have modular designs that allow you change the firmness by swapping out layers or rearranging their top-to-bottom order. Most of the beds we’ve found with this design are all-latex models.

How Do I Shop for a New Mattress?

If you’re buying a mattress for the first time, you may be unsure about where to shop, what to look for, and how much you should expect to spend. We’ll cover the nuts and bolts of buying a mattress below.

Buying Online vs. In-Store

Shopping for a new mattress in a brick-and-mortar store has its advantages, including being able to feel a mattress and speak to an expert in-person. Buying a mattress online, however, allows you to purchase from the comfort of your own home. Mattress stores also carry higher overhead costs and typically charge more for mattresses, so you’ll probably save money by buying online.

Do Your Research and Wait for a Mattress Sale

Mattress sales are common throughout the calendar year. If you’re shopping on a budget, sales are the best times to buy a mattress. The biggest sales coincide with federal holidays like Presidents Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. In recent years, many mattress brands have also embraced shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Additionally, some sellers offer year-round discounts and promotions. We recommend taking time to nail down your ideal mattress based on construction and firmness, then waiting until a sale to make your purchase.

Sleep Trials, Warranties, and Free Shipping

Free ground shipping is standard for online mattress orders. The mattress is compressed into a box and delivered directly to your door. If you would like or need assistance setting up a new mattress, many brands offer full-service White Glove delivery for an added charge.

The vast majority of online mattresses come with sleep trials of at least 90 nights, and some last up to a year. Return shipping is usually included. These trials are a great way to test out a mattress for a lengthy period without committing to it.

Most new mattresses come with warranties against manufacturing defects and usually cover the mattress for 10 to 25 years. If you notice a defect in your mattress during the warranty period, contact the manufacturer – you may be entitled to free repairs or a new replacement mattress.

Make sure you read the fine print on your warranty when you’re setting up a new mattress. Some warranties are very specific about details around storage and use of the bed, so it’s possible to void your warranty on accident by storing a mattress on its side or using the wrong kind of bed base.

Become a Mattress Expert

Mattresses are widely available online and in retail stores. The question is where – and when – to buy them. Our buying guides break down everything from how to care for your mattress to how to buy a new mattress with confidence.

About The Author

David Rubin

Certified Sleep Science Coach, Director of Product Testing


David is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with a lifelong passion for well-being and health optimization. His interest in sleep developed with the arrival of his son, when sleep suddenly became a precious commodity.

  • POSITION: Side sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Hot Sleeper
  • CHRONOTYPE: Lion

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Have questions about sleep? Submit them here! We use your questions to help us decide topics for articles, videos, and newsletters. We try to answer as many questions as possible. You can also send us an emailPlease note, we cannot provide specific medical advice, and always recommend you contact your doctor for any medical matters. 

 

 

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