Updated June 30, 2020

Best Firm Mattress

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Is an extra firm mattress good for back pain? Not always. Find out how to choose the best firm mattress for your back.

Is a Firm Mattress Better for Your Back?

You might have heard that sleeping on a firm mattress is better for back pain. This isn't always true.

If you struggle with back problems, try a medium-firm mattress first. Move on to a firmer mattress if you notice your hips sinking too much. A mattress should keep your spine aligned.

This means your head, shoulders, and hips should be in line with each other. Your spine will rest in a natural position, and you'll avoid straining your back.

Firmer mattresses are a great choice for heavy people or stomach sleepers who need more support. If you don't fall in those groups, going firmer is fine as long as your body is aligned.

Mattress Firmness Rating
  • 1–2: Very soft, little to no support
  • 3–4: Soft with some support, good for petite side sleepers
  • 5–7: Medium to medium-firm, good for most sleepers
  • 8–10: Firm with least amount of give, good for heavy people

Mattresses are expensive. You want to be sure you're making the right choices.

Don't miss our breakdown of firm mattress pros, cons, and shopping tips at the end.

Side Sleepers: Leesa Hybrid

Credit: Leesa

Side sleepers need the most pressure relief out of all the sleeping positions. The best mattress for a side sleeper is usually on the softer side. If you're set on getting a firmer mattress, go for a medium-firm bed like the Leesa Hybrid.

The Leesa Hybrid has a firmness rating of 6.5. You'll still get some firmness from the coils. But it also has enough cushion to take the load off your shoulders and hips. Any firmer and your limbs might fall asleep or your spine might curve too much.

The Leesa Hybrid mattress offers:

  • 1,000 pocketed coils for firmness
  • Memory foam layer for your hips and shoulders
  • Breathable top layer to avoid overheating
  • Little motion transfer

Leesa provides a 100-night trial period with free returns. They suggest that you try the mattress for at least 30 days before deciding to return it.

You can buy Leesa mattresses online or in person at Pottery Barn and West Elm stores.

Back Sleepers: WinkBed Firm

Credit: Winkbed

Back sleepers need a balanced mattress that will contour their body and keep the spine aligned. The WinkBed Firm mattress is a good firm bed without being too hard. It has enough push back on your body so you won't feel sunken in.

The mattress has a firmness rating of 7.5. It features targeted back support that cradles your pressures points without getting overly soft. It also has great edge support so you can use more of the sleeping surface.

The WinkBed Firm offers:

  • Firm Euro top that gives the right amount of cushion
  • Micro springs and individually wrapped coils for support and airflow
  • Three layers of heat-wicking materials for a cooler sleep
  • Great support for all bodies (petite sleepers should try their softer models)
  • Gel foam that reduces motion transfer

WinkBeds offers a 120-night trial period with free returns. They ask that you try the mattress out for 30 days before making a decision.

If you exchange your mattress, you'll only get a 60-night trial on the second mattress.

Stomach Sleepers: Saatva Classic Firm

Credit: Saatva

Stomach sleepers need to lie flat on top of the mattress. If you sink in, your spine will arch all night and you may wake up with back pain. Stomach sleepers need the most support and do well on firmer mattresses.

The Saatva Classic comes in three firmness options. The Firm model is an 8 in firmness. It has high-end features at a lower price than you'd find in stores. You won't sleep hot on the Saatva mattress thanks to its breathable organic cotton cover and coils.

The Saatva Classic Firm mattress offers:

  • Targeted back support for pain relief
  • Organic cotton cover or breathability and coolness
  • Coil-on-coil innerspring structure
  • Dual edge support system for more sleeping space and less sagging
  • Firm foam top to support stomach sleepers

Saatva offers a 120-day trial period with a $99 transportation fee for returns. They provide free white glove delivery, which means they'll set up the mattress in your room. They even remove your old mattress for you.

Can a firm mattress cause lower back pain?
Yes, a mattress that is too firm for you will make your back arch unnaturally. If the mattress doesn't properly contour your body, it could cause lower back pain.

Back Pain: Amerisleep AS2

Credit: Amerisleep

If you suffer from back pain, watch out for super firm or soft mattresses. A bed at any of those extremes can put more stress on your back. Look for a mattress that has just enough cushion to keep your body aligned without sagging.

The Amerisleep AS2 has a good amount of comfort at a firmness level of 7.5. It's designed to give you targeted support for proper spinal alignment. While a mattress might not cure your back pain, it should give you the right support for a good night's sleep.

The Amerisleep AS2 offers:

  • Sturdy medium-firm feel with a foam comfort layer
  • Cooling open-cell layer to keep heat away
  • Transition foam that targets support at different zones of your body
  • Plant-based support foam that won't sag
  • Bouncy foam lets you easily change positions

Amerisleep provides a 100-night risk-free trial. If you decide the mattress isn't right for you during that time, you'll receive a full refund. Amerisleep will also pick the unwanted mattress up for free.

Extra Firm Mattress: Plank by Brooklyn Bedding

Credit: Brooklyn Bedding

If most firm mattresses just don't feel firm enough, the Plank could be the right one for you. Like its name suggests, it offers a flat, supportive sleeping surface that won't sag. Surprisingly, this ultra-supportive mattress is an all-foam bed.

Despite the lack of innersprings, you'll definitely get that rigid support you're looking for. The mattress is also flippable, so you can choose your ideal firmness. The firm side is a level 7 while the extra firm side is a level 9.

The Plank offers:

  • Double-sided design for a customized sleep
  • Quilted gel memory foam to improve comfort
  • Firm TitanFlex foam layer adds support
  • High-density base foam for durability
  • Optional cooling panel to regulate sleeping temperature

Plank offers a 120-night trial period with free returns. You're required to try the bed for at least 30 days before returning it.

What can you do if your mattress is too firm?
You can soften a mattress instantly with a soft mattress topper. Make sure the layer you choose softens around your pressure points. This way you get the best of both worlds—a firm base with a cushiony top.

Other Firm Mattresses to Consider

Best Firm Mattress for Hot Sleepers: Casper Hybrid
The Casper Hybrid mattress is great for any sleep position and for hot sleepers. It uses breathable open-cell foam combined with pressure-relieving zones. It also offers durable springs and good edge support, making the bed firm throughout the entire surface.

Best Firm Mattress Under $500: Allswell
The Allswell mattress is a great mattress for less than $500. The mattress has individually wrapped coils, two layers of open-cell memory foam, and a quilted top for a medium-firm feel. It comes with a 100-day trial period.

Best Firm Bed in a Box: Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid
Choose from three firmness options and enjoy a two-inch foam comfort layer, a two-inch layer of firm foam, and a six-inch base of coils. The mattress includes a 10-year warranty and a 120-night trial.

Take Advantage of the Trial Period
Most companies give you at least 100 days to try out a mattress. If you don't like it, you can return it and get your money back. Some companies, like Nectar, even provide a 365-day trial period.

With any seller, make sure you ask about return fees and restocking fees. You don't want to be surprised by a smaller refund than you expected.

Pros and Cons of a Firm Mattress

If you're thinking of going firmer for your new mattress, make sure you weight the pros and cons before you shop. Firm mattresses aren't for everyone, so take your time to decide if it's right for you.


  • Good support for back and stomach sleepers
  • Great for heavy folks
  • Sturdy materials last longer
  • Resists sagging
  • Good edge support
  • Proper weight distribution


  • Not enough pressure relief for side sleepers
  • Could cause aches and pains for petite sleepers
  • Poor pressure relief
  • Too firm mattress can cause back to arch

Who Should Try a Firm Mattress

  • Larger people who struggle with mattress sagging
  • Back and stomach sleepers who need better spinal alignment
  • Couples who need extra edge support
  • People with medical conditions that require firm support

What Experts Say

CreditDonkey assembled a panel of industry experts to answer readers' most pressing questions:

  • What is the best type of mattress for a child?
  • Should you sleep on a firm or soft mattress?
  • What kind of mattress is best for back pain?

Here's what they said:

What to Consider Before Buying a Firm Mattress

Today, you can find mattresses for almost any price. Set your budget and know your sleep needs before shopping. $1,000 is a good price to start shopping. If you go for something cheaper, you might get a softer bed with less durable materials.

Sleep Position
Stomach and back sleepers need the most firmness. Side sleepers need more cushion. Shop with your sleeping position in mind. You can also use the our mattress firmness breakdown as a guide.

Body Weight
Heavier sleepers need a firmer mattress to account for sinking. If you sleep on a bed that's too soft, the sagging will put stress on your spine. This can lead to back pain and sore joints.

Mattress Type
Fans of firm mattresses should look for hybrid, latex, and innerspring mattresses. These types usually have more firm options. You can still find firm memory foam beds, but they're less common.

Bottom Line

The right mattress firmness depends on your sleep needs and preferences. The most important factor for long-term comfort is that it keeps your body aligned. Luckily, most mattress companies offer generous trial periods so you can test your options.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

More from CreditDonkey:

How Often Should You Replace Your Mattress

How Long Does a Mattress Last

How to Choose a Mattress

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