Getting a good night’s sleep begins with choosing the right mattress. It’s also one of the most challenging because the perfect match is highly individual. It is our goal to make sure you understand our extensive mattress coverage so that you can find the best mattress and get the best night’s sleep.
1. Best foam mattresses
If you like the feeling of sinking into your bed rather than lying on it, a mattress made entirely or mostly of polyurethane foam (aka polyfoam) may be best for you. It is true that memory foam mattresses conform to your body and provide a “hugging” feeling as you settle in, but they can also make you feel trapped.
Non-memory foam mattresses don’t have the curved profile of memory foam types, but they move more easily. Our guide to the best foam mattresses includes options for polyurethane foam with and without memory foam. Prices for foam mattresses vary widely. Our low-cost memory foam mattress Novaform ComfortGrande and non-memory foam mattress Tuft & Needle New Original are well under $1,000 each. Our favorite high-end memory foam, Loom & Leaf (Loom), is more than twice as expensive, but made of more durable material.
Consider a foam mattress if:
- You want a close fit. The direct, cuddly hug of a foam mattress hits you where it hurts—in a good way. The soft and supportive feel will relieve your more finicky pressure points.
Skip the foam mattress if:
- You sleep hot. Memory foam tends to trap heat, which will most likely leave you sweating when you wake up.
2. Best latex mattresses
Latex mattresses generally feel bouncier and more breathable than mattresses made of memory foam or polyfoam, but some models may feel stiff or overly bouncy. Additionally, they tend to be more expensive than regular foam mattresses. Since latex is inherently more durable, a latex mattress could be a good choice if you weigh more than 200 pounds or want a bed with a longer warranty than a typical foam bed’s 10-year warranty. We’ve tried three all-latex mattresses over the years and found the Zenhaven (shown here with a box spring) to be softer than the others, and therefore more comfortable.
Consider a latex mattress if:
- You want to live long. Latex is more durable than memory foam or foam. If you weigh over 200 pounds, are on regular bed rest, or just don’t want to go through the hassle of buying another mattress anytime soon, latex may be the right choice.
- You sleep hot. Latex is inherently more breathable than memory foam or styrofoam and therefore may sleep cooler.
Skip latex mattresses if:
- You are on a tight budget. Unfortunately, cheap latex mattresses are often too firm and can have an unpleasant springy feel. When shopping for a latex mattress, splurging is not only necessary but highly recommended.
- You want a super soft, or deeply comfortable mattress. Latex is stretchy and generally not as soft or conforming as memory foam.
3. Best hybrid mattress
Hybrid mattresses do not have an official definition. We cover foam beds made of underwire and sock covers, as well as popular innerspring mattresses designed with lots of foam. Two of our favorite hybrid mattresses, the Leesa Sapira Hybrid and the Tempur-Adapt (a mid-size hybrid mattress), have been at or near the top of our foam mattress tests for the past two years. The Hybrid WinkBed (Deluxe), with its quilted cover, foam, and a layer of bottom coils, is our top pick in our guide to the best innerspring mattresses.
Consider a hybrid mattress if:
- You and your sleep partner need to compromise. Typically, a hybrid mattress neither sinks nor bounces much; it offers a feeling somewhere in between an all-foam mattress and a traditional innerspring.
4. Best innerspring mattress
The innerspring mattress offers a light feel, thanks to steel coils that support layers of fiber and foam on top of the quilting. An innerspring mattress offers more bounce, firmer edges, and essentially more airflow than an all-foam mattress. But innerspring are notoriously difficult to buy, traditionally requiring a trip to the mattress store to browse through dozens of different models with confusing names, specs, and features.
The WinkBed (luxury) and the IKEA Hesstun (medium), along with other picks in our guide to innerspring mattresses, performed best in our tests. WinkBed, for example, can be purchased online, often with a generous trial period and return policy.
Consider an innerspring mattress if:
- You want a bouncy, traditional feel. If an all-foam mattress makes you feel hot and get stuck in place, a more breathable, bouncy innerspring might be better for you.
- You like to choose. Innerspring mattresses tend to offer a wider range of firmness options than all-foam models.
Skip the innerspring mattress if:
- Your budget is very tight. In our testing, we found that the sub-$500 innerspring we tested had very little cushioning and felt spartan.
- You want a bed in a box. While some decent innerspring come rolled up in a box, most require home delivery and installation.
5. Best cheap mattress
Cheap mattresses (less than $500 for a queen) tend to be pretty basic. They’re usually all-foam (or pre-foam-blend) mattresses with fewer layers, made from a lower-density foam, and offer fewer extras (like a free trial period) than more expensive options. (The innerspring mattresses we tested in this price range felt rather flimsy and uncomfortable overall.)
The Zinus Green Tea Cooling Swirl Memory Foam Blend and the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam are two medium-firm mattresses that performed well in our rating tests and found the sweet spot between comfort and affordability.
Consider an inexpensive mattress if:
You don’t need a durable bed. Typical mattresses under $500 are made from less durable materials and come with a shorter warranty than pricier beds.
Skip cheap mattresses if:
You want to choose. Most cheap mattresses are medium firm; it’s hard to find cheap mattresses that are very soft or really firm. Most don’t offer a variety of firmness options like pricier mattresses.
6. Best soft mattress
Sometimes, the best mattress for you really comes down to your preferences. For those who know they like an ultra-luxe, cozy feel, a premium mattress with soft to medium softness comfortably contour the shoulders and hips while still providing firm underlying support. Side sleepers usually benefit most from a soft mattress, as firmer options put pressure on the shoulders and hips.
After comparing more than a dozen soft mattresses, including some of our softer picks, we recommend a few. For a more resilient take on the classic innerspring that still offers light support on the surface, try Serta Perfect Renewed Night Plush. Testers also liked the Winkbed in the Softer, our pick for the premium version in our guide to innerspring mattresses, for its deep, dense cushioning. Stearns & Foster Estate (Pillow Top Soft) is an upgraded innerspring pick that features a padded, quilted surface to reduce pressure while still providing great support.
7. The best mattress for your sleeping position
People change positions throughout the night more than they realize. But choosing a mattress based on how your head starts when it hits the pillow may improve comfort and help you fall asleep more easily. It’s mostly about matching your sleeping position to how firm your mattress is.
1) The Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
Side sleepers typically feel most comfortable on a medium-soft to medium mattress. They’re soft enough to cushion your shoulders and hips, yet supportive enough to keep your spine aligned. The full foam Loom & Leaf (Loom & Leaf) has a comfortable feel without being too stinky, while the Leesa Sapira Hybrid is slightly firmer and more bouncy.
2) Best mattresses for back sleepers
Back sleepers generally prefer a medium-firm mattress. These prevent curvature of the spine while also cushioning the shoulders, lower back, and hips. Those who prefer firm mattresses might consider the Novaform ComfortGrande; those who prefer to release pressure without the “fluff” might try the slow-sinking Tempur-Adapt (a mid-weight hybrid). For a smoother, softer feel, slightly springy Charles P. Rogers Estate SE innerspring might be tempting.
3) Best mattresses for bed rest
Bed sleepers are best to choose a medium firm or slightly firm mattress. This keeps your back from arching while still hugging your midsection. Stearns & Foster Estate (Pillow Top Firm) use classic innerspring buoyancy lifts to do this; Tempur -Adapt (medium hybrid) for support and contoured flex pressure relief; full latex Zenhaven for good back support (for most people) and soft cushioning.
4) Best Mattresses for Back Pain
People with back pain need to pay special attention to keeping their spine aligned. Studies have shown that people with back pain who sleep on medium-firm mattresses feel more comfortable than those who don’t. The fluffy-top Novaform ComfortGrande Foam Mattress is on the middle end of medium firmness, while the flat-top Tempur-Adapt (medium hybrid) is on the firmer side. For a softer feel (and a choice of firmness levels), try the innerspring Charles P. Rogers Estate SE or the all-latex Zenhaven; both are double-sided, with medium firmness on one side and a slightly firmer side.
8. Popular mattress brands
Just because you might find rave reviews on social media for a particular mattress brand doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good mattress for you. What’s more, objectively speaking, a brand’s most expensive model isn’t always it’s best offering; sometimes, an entry-level or mid-priced design will get you more bang for your buck.
The popular online mattress company recently revamped its entire line, and we got to test a couple of the new products in late 2020. In general, Casper mattresses are good but tend to be too expensive for what you get, and having “special” features might not be all that beneficial. However, we think Casper Original may have the broadest appeal.
With mattresses for every firmness preference and sleeping position, Helix offers more options than most mattress companies online. In our 2020 tests, the Helix Plus—which is designed for increased durability and marketed for “plus-size” sleepers—was actually loved by testers of all sizes.
Over the years, Leesa has expanded from selling a single all-foam mattress under $1,000 to offering hybrid, budget, and luxury beds. The affordable, just-bouncy Leesa Sapira Hybrid has been winning over testers since we first began evaluating it in 2018.
Proprietary gel foam is used in Purple’s mattresses, which are inspired by medical-grade cushions. Most of our testers thought it wobbled uncomfortably, but two employees and their spouses who have owned the Purple for at least a year said it kept up fine. The Purple Original doesn’t feel as Jelly-like as the Hybrid or the models above.
5) The Saatva Company
The Saatva company offers a range of mattress types from innerspring, foam, and latex to ‘plus size’ hybrid mattresses, adjustable air beds, and cribs. We think Loom & Leaf has some of the highest quality materials you’ll find in an all-foam mattress online.
6) Tuft & Needle
Memory foam folks looking for an upholstered bed without that sinking feeling might appreciate Tuft & Needle’s offerings, which now include regular and “cooling” versions of its all-foam beds, as well as hybrid versions. So far, testers have only tested the Original, and while some of our longtime testers say their product has softened over the years, they all love the foamy feel and think it’s a good value bed.
7) Sleep Number
Sleep Number’s “smart” bed lets couples adjust the side of the bed to their liking and track their sleep. The more cushioning you want, the more expensive the model. If you’re used to plush beds with good support, we think you’ll have to skip the i8’s entry- and mid-level offerings and springs.
Nectar’s all-foam mattresses aren’t particularly distinctive, but their soft feel (rare in memory foam beds) might appeal to side sleepers or those who prefer a softer mattress. We worry about durability, but Nectar’s bed comes with a one-year trial and a lifetime warranty. Of the three mattresses Nectar offers, the entry-level Nectar Original might be worth considering.
9. How do you find the perfect mattress?
Defining the ideal mattress is very subjective. Every sleeper has an idea of the perfect firmness level. Optimal support and elasticity depend on a person’s sleeping position and body weight. Additionally, the right mattress can depend on whether someone shares a bed, whether they sleep hot, and of course, their budget.
Taking all these factors into consideration, it is impossible to say that there is only one best mattress. For this reason, we’ve divided our top picks into separate categories so you can find the best options for specific mattress types and mattress performance.
10. Frequently asked questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about mattresses.
1) Which mattress is best for me?
When choosing a new mattress, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important considerations is the hardness level. Some people prefer a softer mattress that molds to the contours of the body, while others prefer a firmer mattress that offers firm support. Your ideal level of firmness may depend on your body type and preferred sleeping position. If you share a bed with people who have different firmness preferences, a dual-firm mattress that feels different on each side may be best for you.
You also need to consider performance areas. If you tend to sleep hot, a mattress made with breathable material that promotes air flow and prevents heat-trapping may be the best option. If you tend to sleep near the edges of your bed, you may want a mattress with strong edge support, rather than one that sags around the perimeter when pressure is applied.
If you feel sharp pressure points on your spine, we recommend choosing a mattress that cushions and conforms to your body. Couples who prefer to have sex on spring mattresses may want a more responsive model. Finally, you should consider pricing. The price of a new mattress can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. The construction of the mattress usually determines the sticker price.
Foam beds and traditional innerspring are usually the most affordable options, full latex models and hybrid models tend to be somewhere in the middle, and air beds are the most expensive. If you feel like you need extra time to test a mattress before deciding whether to keep it, you should consider buying from a brand that offers at least a 120-night sleep trial.
2) What type of mattress is the most comfortable?
Whether you find your mattress comfortable is very personal and depends on factors such as your body type and preferred sleeping position. For example, a back sleeper who weighs more than 230 pounds will generally prefer a much firmer mattress than a side sleeper who weighs less than 130 pounds.
Mattresses can also feel comfortable in the short term but become uncomfortable after a few hours or even days, making it difficult to choose the right mattress without sleeping on it.
In addition to finding a mattress that feels “comfortable,” we also recommend that you think carefully about what your body needs before purchasing a new mattress. It can be helpful to choose a mattress with a sleep trial, as this allows you to double-check that your new bed is comfortable before buying.
3) What is the best mattress for a thermal pillow?
If you sleep warmly, you should consider purchasing an innerspring or latex mattress. An innerspring mattress without a foam comfort layer provides the best temperature neutrality due to its excellent airflow, while latex is naturally temperature neutral and stays much cooler throughout the night than synthetic foam.
Hybrid latex can be even cooler because pocketed coils provide airflow in the same way innerspring do. If you like the feel of synthetic foam — such as memory foam — looks for hybrid foams with temperature regulation. They’re warmer than innerspring or latex mattresses but still offer better temperature regulation than a standard all-foam bed.
4) What is the best mattress in a box?
There’s no easy answer to this question, as the “best” mattress is very subjective—a bed that’s perfect for one person might cause another person insomnia and pain. You should always start by identifying your sleep needs, which include personal preference but should be based on your sleeping position and body type.
You will be able to choose a mattress type, firmness option, and features based on these details and your budget. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can rely on independent mattress reviews to determine which mattress in the box is right for you.
5) What are the options for my mattress size?
Available in six standard mattress sizes. The smallest standard sizes are Twin and Twin XL. They are both approximately 38 inches wide, making them ideal for single sleepers. The full size is a bit wide, but still probably too narrow for two people.
A standard double bed measures approximately 60 inches wide by 80 inches long, making it ideal for anyone sharing a bed with a partner.
King and California king are the largest standard sizes and should provide plenty of room for two, especially if small children or pets also share the sleeping space. Even larger sizes like the Alaskan King are available, but not widely – these usually require a custom order.
If you and your partner use an adjustable bed, you may want to consider a split queen, split king, or split California king mattress. The models are split lengthwise in the middle, allowing each of you to adjust the bed to your preferred angle without disturbing the other.