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All the Best Firm Mattresses We’ve Ever Written About

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

If you’re the type of person who would be happy snoozing on hardwood or resting on concrete, you’re probably already in the market for a firm mattress. But even if you don’t think you’re a firm-mattress person, one can be a nice option if you need a touch more support when you sleep — and we’ve done the work to help you find one that suits your preferences.

Our writers and editors are constantly testing mattresses you can buy online, and here, we’ve listed the best firm mattresses we’ve tried. Our reviews are based on at least a week’s worth of sleep by different types of sleepers, so if you’re a back sleeper who needs pressure relief, look for the Strategist editor who is too. And if you don’t see something you like here, don’t worry: We’ve tested more than 30 mattresses total, and we’ve compiled our reviews of all-foam options and cooling mattresses as well. (Note that for ease of comparison, the prices given below are for queen-size mattresses, but all are available in different sizes.)

Best all-around | Best less expensive | Best all-foam | Best for restless sleepers | Best for combination sleepers | Best for back pain | Best hotel-quality | Best cooling

What we’re looking for

Construction: There are three main types of mattresses: innerspring, all-foam, and hybrid. Typically, innerspring mattresses that contain steel coils will be more firm and supportive than all-foam mattresses, though this is by no means a universal decree.

Materials: The amount and type of foam in a mattress greatly affects its firmness. Polyfoam, memory foam, and latex foam all feature slightly different densities, and different mattresses will combine and layer them to varying results. A thinner topmost layer of foam will result in greater firmness than a thick layer.

Sleep position: The position you prefer to sleep in may affect how comfortable a mattress feels for you. The lack of “sink” in a firm mattress can provide better spinal and hip support for those who sleep on their back or stomach. Side sleepers, meanwhile, may feel that a super-firm mattress exerts uncomfortable pressure on their shoulders and hips and may want a mattress with a bit more give.

Best all-around firm mattress


Hybrid | Memory foam | Back and side sleepers

Saatva’s classic hybrid mattress offers plenty of support and pressure relief, making it an attractive option for those who are comfortable in multiple sleep positions — including Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens, a back-to-side sleeper who prefers a mattress that supports her “generally sore” back. She found that out of the three different firmness levels offered by the brand, the firmest one was both the most supportive and the most comfortable: “The firmness of this mattress never created a sunken, stuck feeling, which I’ve found happening with memory foam,” she says. “Instead, the supported feeling of this bed (which still manages to be pretty plush) kept my lower back from collapsing in, making my spine feel more aligned overall.”

Best (less expensive) firm mattress

Hybrid | Memory foam | Stomach and side sleepers

Former Strategist senior editor Margaret Rhodes is a stomach-to-side sleeper who tends to prefer softer mattresses, but with Allswell’s Luxe Hybrid — which is nearly half the price of the firm Saatva mattress above — she says, “There was something comfortably paralyzing about letting this very firm mattress straighten out my skeleton.” The mattress provides what Rhodes says is a “sumptuously Spartan” feel, thanks to its construction, which combines individually wrapped coils with a soft layer of high-density foam and copper-gel-infused memory foam. The top layer is soft, Rhodes says, “but you’ll float firmly atop the mattress instead of nestling in.”

Best firm all-foam mattress


All-foam | Memory foam and polyfoam | Back and side sleepers

The Sealy Cocoon Chill is an all-foam mattress that Kitchens, who also tested the Saatva Classic, describes as “every bit as firm as the innerspring coil mattress I’ve slept on for years.” The Cocoon has just two foam layers — memory foam on top of high-density foam — but still feels substantial, and it was sturdy enough to combat some of her chronic back pain and neck soreness: “Right before trying the Cocoon Chill, I had a new, specific bit of spinal pain,” she says. “But much of that immediately subsided after that first night and hasn’t returned. Crawling into this bed at the end of the day gives me a floating yet hugged feeling that I find to be full-body relaxing.” Plus, if the memory foam shows any indentations or dips lower than one inch, a full return is covered by Sealy’s ten-year limited warranty.

Best firm mattress for restless sleepers


All-foam | Memory foam | Stomach sleepers

At first, Nectar’s memory-foam mattress “seemed almost too firm to the touch,” says former Strategist senior editor Casey Lewis, a stomach-to-side sleeper who shares a bed with a fidgety pitbull-boxer. But when she “plopped down on a corner, it had nearly no bounce at all,” she says. This quality lends itself to excellent motion isolation, which helped her sleep without worrying about her dog waking her up. Like the Sealy Cocoon Chill above, the Nectar contains three foam layers, but has an added “shift resistant” lower cover to provide sturdy support. The thick base foam layer provides the bulk of the support, followed by a thin middle layer of soft, transitional foam and three inches of memory-foam gel. Because of all that foam, Lewis says it’s quite firm. But despite this mattress’s overall dense structure and feel, the softer top layers of foam supply it with “just the right amount of give.”

Best firm mattress for combination sleepers

Photo: retailer

Hybrid | Polyfoam | Combination sleepers

Helix’s Dawn mattress is the brand’s firmest, and though it was specifically designed for back and stomach sleepers, a brand representative told former Strategist associate editor Louis Cheslaw it works for those who favor their sides too. The mattress is made up of one layer of wrapped coils and three layers of responsive foam for ergonomic back support, and Cheslaw says, “I drifted off as quickly as I ever have, regularly slept through the night, and never woke up feeling hot, sweaty, or achy in the morning.” Warm sleepers have the option to add a cooling cover for $199.

Best firm mattress for back pain

The WinkBed Mattress

Hybrid | Memory foam | Combination sleepers

WinkBeds’s mattress is made with a combination of memory foam (for comfiness), air springs (to keep you cool), tempered steel coils (to maintain the mattress’s shape), and an ergonomic pad (for lumbar support) — all of which “saved” New York features editor Katy Schneider’s boyfriend, who “claims he hasn’t woken up with pain since we started sleeping on it.” Schneider, who’s always changing her sleeping position and has spent her life sleeping on soft beds, was a tougher sell. But in the end, they both liked WinkBeds’ “luxury firm” model. “Because the memory-foam layer is thin, it still felt soft without enveloping my body,” she says. And thanks to the motion isolation provided by the springs, she no longer notices when her boyfriend comes to bed late. “Though I bristled at the word firm, I quickly converted from ‘Will only sleep on pillows’ to ‘I think I’m a firm-mattress person,’” she says.

Best hotel-quality firm mattress

Innerspring | No foam | Stomach and side sleepers

Parachute makes some of our favorite linens and home staples, but in addition to hotel-quality robes and towels, it offers its own luxury mattress. Dubbed simply “the Mattress,” Parachute’s take on an ecofriendly bed features an 6,000-coil spring interior and zero foam, which the brand says tends to deteriorate. Rhodes was pleasantly surprised that, unlike other mattresses she has tried, Parachute’s didn’t emit a plasticky aroma when she opened the box. She was also pleased with the bed’s luxurious, handsome tufted cover and appreciated the lack of heat-retaining foam, but pointed out that the springs-only design may be a little too firm for some. “My initial impression was one of sleeping on a very sturdy topper floating on top of nothing,” Rhodes says. If you need something softer, Parachute recommends adding one of its Strategist-approved mattress toppers for extra comfort, which Rhodes ultimately found worked well for her: “It’s positioned as a luxury, hotel-style mattress, and it really feels like one.”

Best cooling firm mattress

Purple Mattress - Queen
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

All-foam | Polyfoam | Side sleepers

Unlike other mattresses, Purple’s tops off coils and a thin layer of memory foam with several inches of a grid-like proprietary polymer you’ll find in Dr. Scholl’s soles and bouncy toy balls. The grid structure provides support and makes the mattress feel firm, while the polymer material provides a slight sink. The mattress construction proved ideal for former Strategist deputy editor Jason Chen, a side-sleeper who likes a mattress that’s more firm than soft. It also helps body heat dissipate so you don’t find yourself waking up in the middle of the night on a furnace of your own creation. “When I lay on my side, it was like being cradled, rather than smothered, the way I felt on my old foam mattress,” said Chen. “My pressure points in my shoulders and hips never ached — I used to have to move around to avoid spots that had dipped and retained heat, but the gel layer never held divots. After a week, I was fully converted and found myself wanting to spend time in bed during the day: reading magazines, using my laptop, playing with the dog.”

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All the Best Firm Mattresses We’ve Ever Written About