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The Best Mattresses You Can Buy Online, As Tested by Strategist Editors

We slept on each of these for at least a week.

Best of the boxed mattresses — and beyond. Photo: Nishant Choksi/Courtesy of the vendor
Best of the boxed mattresses — and beyond. Photo: Nishant Choksi/Courtesy of the vendor
Best of the boxed mattresses — and beyond. Photo: Nishant Choksi/Courtesy of the vendor

We wrote in 2017 about a golden age of mattresses. So many start-ups had arisen to challenge the likes of Sleepy’s and Tempur-Pedic — Casper, Tuft & Needle, Leesa, and Saatva, among many others. Since then, the mattress-sphere has only gotten more crowded, with more new brands launching and existing ones rolling out new models and phasing out older ones. Meanwhile, the essential question — “What mattress should I buy?” — has become trickier to answer.

To help make sense of it all, our staff has been trying these beds out ourselves and making note of how they feel to actually sleep on in real life. We’ve tested more than 30 mattresses since 2018 and we’re still going strong, with several newer mattress models in our current testing queue. All the mattresses here are some of the best-reviewed on the market, so there are no duds. But rather than name the “best mattress for everyone,” which we’re convinced doesn’t exist, we set out to judge each on its own terms. That’s because determining which mattress to buy will always depend on you — your sleeping position, temperature, firmness preference, and budget — and the perfect mattress only becomes obvious once you’ve actually slept on it.

Still, we hope these reviews serve as a baseline for how firm, springy, or cushy a brand’s other products might be. If you don’t want to scroll through all of the options, you can click any of the links below to jump to their corresponding mattresses — or read on for how we tested and what we looked for.

A couple of things to note: Unless noted otherwise, the starting prices we’ve listed are for queen-size mattresses. In some cases, for companies that offer more than one mattress design, we tested only one option. We’ll be testing more mattresses in the future, but for now, here’s our answer to that question about which mattress you should buy.

In This Article

What we’re looking for

Construction

Traditionally, innerspring mattresses were “filled with coiled steel springs (typically between 600 and 1,000) for support, topped with batting for comfort, and wrapped in ticking.” Some companies sell innerspring styles online and ship direct to consumer, but they are not as common of an offering among so-called bed-in-a-box companies as mattresses made primarily of foam, which can be squished into a box and easily shipped to your home. All-foam mattresses are the most prevalent option but over the last several years, more companies have started selling hybrid mattresses, meaning there is a layer of springs that’s covered by a layer of foam. The construction of your mattress — including the number of layers of foam and the type of foam, and whether or not it contains springs — will determine how much support it provides. The type of foam and how it’s layered can also factor into temperature regulation and affect how warm or cool you feel when you sleep on it.

Innerspring mattresses typically have more bounce to them, meaning you’ll sleep more “on top” of the mattress. All-foam and pillow-top mattresses let you sink in a bit more and contour around your body; they also tend to provide more motion isolation, which can be important if you’re sharing a bed with someone else. Depending on your preferences, hybrid mattresses can offer the best of both worlds. Our testers took note of how enveloped or supported they felt; whether a mattress caused them to sleep warmer or cooler than usual; and, in cases of shared sleeping arrangements, whether they could feel partners or pets moving around.

Firmness and Support

Often, manufacturers rate their mattresses on a firmness scale from one to ten, but we’ve seen that the way you sleep will also have an impact on the type of mattress you find most comfortable and how you experience its firmness. Side sleepers, for example, need pressure relief on their hips and shoulders, along with a mattress that supports the alignment of the spine, shoulders, and pelvis. Back sleepers will do better with a firmer mattress, which helps support the spine, and stomach sleepers often prefer softer mattresses that cradle their body but are not so soft that they sink in.

Sleep Quality

This is arguably the most important factor to consider when buying a mattress, but it’s also the hardest to quantify. Some of our writers and editors used sleep trackers or sleep-tracking apps to study their sleep quality. Others have anecdotal evidence, like waking up without an alarm or with less back pain, or never sweating through their sheets.

Best overall

TL;DR: Saatva’s combo of inner springs, memory foam, and a pillow top comes in three different firmness levels, providing options for all sorts of sleepers. In May 2022, the brand increased its trial period to a full year and added a lifetime warranty (to replace its previous 15-year warranty). It also boasts one of the best delivery options, with free white-glove service and free removal of your old mattress.

Construction: Saatva, which has been around since 2010, was one of the first online innerspring mattress companies, and though it now makes hybrid and all-foam mattresses, its classic mattress is an innerspring. An organic-cotton pillow top covers a top layer of ecofriendly memory foam, which sits on a level of individually wrapped coils above another layer of recycled-steel coils and a poly foam base. The mattress comes in two heights — 11.5 inches or 14.5 inches — though that shouldn’t affect firmness or support.

Firmness and Support: Saatva offers three firmness levels for its classic mattress: soft, luxury firm, and firm.

Who Tested It: Simone Kitchens, Strategist senior editor.

How I Sleep: Back-to-side sleeper who prefers a firm mattress.

How I Slept: Because of my generally sore back, I was tasked with testing some of the firm mattresses out there. Side sleepers, Saatva told me, are said to prefer the luxury firm. So I got it, and my first impression was that it felt very sturdy. But lying down, I immediately noticed how incredibly bouncy the double layer of coils makes the luxury firm. I can certainly see why side sleepers would like the pressure relief it offers, but I decided to swap it for the firm, hoping it would focus support on my lumbar region, which it very much did. You feel more on top of it because of the steel springs, but you still have the contoured shape of the raised pillow top. I move around at night, shifting from my back to my side to my stomach, but the firmness of this mattress never created a sunken, stuck feeling, which I’ve found happening with memory foam. Instead, the supported feeling of this bed (which is still pretty plush) kept my lower back from collapsing in, making my spine feel more aligned overall.

What Else to Know: 365-day trial | Lifetime warranty | Free white-glove delivery to 48 states and free mattress removal | $99 processing fee for returns and exchanges during the trial period

Best (less expensive) overall mattress

TL;DR: This is one of the best values for a mattress, full stop.

Construction: Zinus mattresses have a pretty simple build. They’re made of foam of varying density levels, with none of the proprietary technology you see from companies with higher price tags. This 12-inch model has two layers of high-density foam, a layer of comfort foam, and a top layer of memory foam infused with gel, which theoretically disperses body heat better than normal memory foam. The cover, made from breathable fabric, is designed to keep you cool with its loose, woven knit that allows air to flow through.

Firmness and Support: This cooling gel memory-foam mattress has only one firmness, with no clear guidelines on how firm that might be.

Who Tested It: Karen Iorio Adelson, former Strategist senior writer.

How I Sleep: Side sleeper who prefers a firm mattress and runs hot.

How I Slept: Considering my usual preference for a firm mattress, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this one. The top layer is definitely plush, but instead of sinking into it, I felt more like the mattress was rising up to meet me and fill in the spaces where I need some extra padding, like under my back and knees. It’s easy to feel the firmer layers underneath supporting all that softness on top. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice any cooling effects — temperature-wise, it felt no different from my normal Casper mattress or one from Bear that I also tested — but for a mattress so affordable, I’m okay relying on moisture-wicking sheets and breathable pajamas instead. After a couple of weeks, the mattress kept its plush yet supportive feel, and the denser foam layers didn’t feel compressed or squishy from regular use.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free shipping to 48 states | No white-glove delivery

Best foam mattresses

Best all-foam mattress

TL;DR: This is a good mattress for anyone who doesn’t want to overthink it, with substantial pressure relief that suits all types of sleepers.

Construction: Leesa is one of the OG mattress-in-a-box companies — it’s been selling an all-foam mattress since 2014. In 2018, Leesa reformulated its basic mattress for the first time, replacing its top layer of trademarked Avena foam, a latex alternative, with a layer of what’s called “LSA200 foam technology.” Beneath this so-called comfort layer is a layer of memory foam, followed by a support layer.

Firmness and Support: According to Jamie Diamonstein, one of Leesa’s co-founders, the comfort layer has improved “pushback,” meaning it better fills in the gaps around your body when you lie down. “The goal was to enhance the pressure relief of the body through this technology,” he says. “We’ve created a foam that responds to the shape and the sleeping position of your body, then it pushes back and balances your body out.”

Who Tested It: Maxine Builder, Strategist editor.

How I Sleep: Stomach sleeper who prefers a plush mattress.

How I Slept: I used a sleep tracker for five nights while testing this mattress, and according to the data, I fell into a deep sleep quickly and stayed there every night. The mattress felt soft and plush, but I never sank down into it. My partner, who is so enamored with sleeping on hard surfaces that he sometimes naps on a yoga mat on our hardwood floor, raved about the pressure relief and comfort he felt from the foam filling in the small of his back while he slept.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free standard shipping to all 50 states | White-glove delivery for $150

Best basic all-foam mattress

TL;DR: Another crowd-pleaser for anyone who’s happy with all-foam construction, Tuft & Needle is a very smart choice for anyone looking to spend a bit less.

Construction: Tuft & Needle offers three mattresses: the Original foam mattress; the Mint, an upgraded version of the original; and the Hybrid, which has both foam and springs. The Original has just two layers of material: a seven-inch support layer of dense foam as the base and a three-inch top comfort layer of proprietary Adaptive Foam infused with a “cooling gel” and graphite to keep sleepers cool.

Firmness and Support: The mattress’s simplicity may explain its lower price. It’s a couple hundred dollars less than other foam competitors — but its appeal is meant to be broad and is aimed at a wide range of sleeping preferences and body weights.

Who Tested It: Lauren Ro, Strategist writer.

How I Sleep: Back-to-side sleeper who prefers a firm mattress.

How I Slept: Right off the bat, the mattress felt substantial. The textured-fabric cover felt plush to the touch, and when I pressed my open hand down on the mattress, it bounced back with a friendly rebound. Lying on the Tuft & Needle for the first time, I immediately felt embraced. Sleeping on my back, I felt supported and cocooned at the same time, and when I turned to my side, the transition felt natural. The company calls its in-house Tuft & Needle Adaptive Foam “soft and comfy while still being bouncy and supportive,” and I completely agree. My husband also really likes it, and he’s a back and stomach sleeper whose temperature runs a little hotter than mine.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free standard shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery for $150

Best memory-foam mattress

TL;DR: Get all of the benefits of memory foam — including motion isolation and meaningful support — without overheating.

Construction: The Nectar Memory-Foam Mattress is an all-foam bed with a quilted cover on top of layers of “gel-infused” memory foam, support memory foam, and high-density poly foam. In 2019, Nectar debuted a pricier mattress called the Nectar Lush that’s very similar to the one we tested, except it’s slightly softer and an inch thicker because it includes a layer of the brand’s gel-coated cooling foam, which the memory-foam mattress does not have.

Firmness and Support: Because of all that foam, the Nectar is quite firm. (It’s so firm, in fact, that an illustration on the company’s website shows a bowling ball bouncing next to an undisturbed wineglass.)

Who Tested It: Casey Lewis, former Strategist senior editor.

How I Sleep: Stomach-to-side sleeper who sleeps hot.

How I Slept: At first, the Nectar seemed almost too firm to the touch. When I plopped down on a corner, it had nearly no bounce at all. But when I curled up to go to sleep, it was surprisingly enveloping — and for the first time ever, I didn’t wake up every time my dog flopped or fidgeted throughout the night. The mattress has just the right amount of give, in that it’s comfortable for me to move around on, but I don’t feel anyone (or anything) else moving around. What’s more: My worries about the memory foam overheating me never came to fruition. Apparently, the mattress’s cooling gel, which honestly sounded a little dubious to me, really does work. While I still woke up with stress dreams, I never once woke up with sweat-soaked sheets.

What Else to Know: 365-day trial | Forever warranty | Free standard shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery for $149

Best latex mattresses

Best plush latex mattress

TL;DR: A truly plush mattress that’s made with centuries-old mattress-making techniques but meets modern environmental standards.

Construction: PlushBeds makes all of its mattresses in a California factory using naturally derived, sustainable materials — an operation, it notes, that has received both Global Organic Textile Standard and Global Organic Latex Standard certifications. According to the brand, all of its mattresses are made following centuries-old methods of European mattress-makers; according to a representative, “hand side stitching, hand-compression tufting, and hand-stitching covers” are three such techniques used. But PlushBeds mattresses’ materials — latex and gel memory foam — are more modern. The Natural Bliss mattress contains two layers of Arpico latex (a natural latex made from tapping rubber trees that the brand says have been grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides), a so-called Eco Fire Barrier layer (made of a chemical-free fire-retardant material), and a hand-stitched organic-cotton cover. It comes in three thicknesses — six, eight, or ten inches — with the thicker mattresses made of heftier latex layers.

Firmness and Support: No matter the thickness you choose, you can choose either a medium or medium-firm mattress. (We tested the medium.)

Who Tested It: Hilary Reid, former Strategist writer.

How I Slept: The Natural Bliss mattress I tested was ten inches thick, with the softest firmness level available. When I first sat down on it, I was immediately taken by how plush it was — something I appreciated even more when I lay down. The mattress had a pleasingly old-fashioned feel to it; it’s hard to describe, but it felt like the sort of mattress you’d find in a spare room at your grandmother’s house — something well made that she held onto for that reason (which kind of makes sense when you consider the company’s use of old-world-style manufacturing techniques). Lying on my side and my stomach was incredibly comfortable: I felt both supported and like I was sinking into the bed a bit, which had a pleasantly coddling effect that I think helped me sleep more deeply. Before sleeping on the Natural Bliss, I slept on a spring-and-foam mattress and would occasionally wake up with tension in my muscles. But I never woke up tense after a night on the latex Natural Bliss; in fact, I often woke with my muscles feeling noticeably relaxed. While I don’t have any allergies or chemical sensitivities, I can imagine the latex mattress making a lot of sense for someone who does.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 25-year limited warranty | Free standard shipping to 48 states | $249 white-glove delivery

Best pillow-top latex mattress

TL;DR: If you want a lot of support plus cushioning, Avocado is a foam-coil-hybrid mattress that can give you both, along with an ecofriendly construction.

Construction: Avocado set out to create the greenest mattress on the market using nontoxic natural and organic materials, as well as ecofriendly production processes. The brand offers a variety of adult-size mattresses (in addition to a lower-profile kids’ mattress and two that are specifically designed for cribs). The most well-known models are the Green and the Vegan, which is essentially the Green minus the wool; both are foam-coil hybrids that layer ecoconscious, natural Dunlop latex (made from tree sap); 1,414 individually wrapped coils made of recycled steel; organic cotton; and organic wool. In June 2019, Avocado stopped using food-grade silica as a fire retardant and replaced it with organic wool — or organic cotton, in the case of the Vegan. (In early 2022, the brand also launched a new budget-friendly model, the Eco Organic, with similar organic cotton, wool, and latex construction, but with only 988 coils and thus a slightly softer feel.) If it matters to you, Avocado makes its mattresses in California and negates its shipping and delivery emissions through carbon-offset projects.

Firmness and Support: You can choose from the standard mattress, which rates a seven out of ten in firmness according to Avocado’s own system, or the same mattress with an additional two-inch plush Dunlop latex pillow top — the one I tested — which rates a six.

Who Tested It: Liza Corsillo, Strategist senior writer.

How I Sleep: Back-to-side sleeper who prefers a firm and cool mattress.

How I Slept: The first thing I noticed about the Avocado Green mattress was its height compared to my previous Casper mattress. The Casper measures ten inches, and the Avocado with additional pillow-top measures 13 inches. I’ve never preferred a tall bed, but there was definitely something decadent about flopping down on a giant slab of rising dough. It took a few nights to get used to the feeling that I was floating above the mattress, rather than sinking into it, but two weeks in, I felt incredibly well supported and less affected by my boyfriend shifting and changing positions. And though I was initially skeptical, I now look forward to splaying myself out on the cushy pillow-top layer — it’s by far the fanciest part of my apartment.

While some people won’t care about things like petroleum-based polyurethane foams or chemical adhesives, I appreciated knowing the Avocado lacked those things. What it does have makes the mattress naturally antimicrobial, more breathable, and dust-mite resistant. I’ll always be the kind of person who prefers sleeping with the window open (partly because I don’t have control over the heat in my apartment), but hot sleepers should know that the Green mattress is a big improvement over my Casper, which made my night sweats worse.

What Else to Know: 365-day trial | 25-year limited warranty | Free shipping to 48 states | In-home delivery starts at $249

Best hybrid mattresses

Best overall hybrid mattress

The Aviya Mattress
$1,049
$1,049 at Aviya Mattress
Buy
with code: STRAT200

TL;DR: Aviya is supportive but soft and another can’t-go-wrong choice for those who don’t want to overthink it but know that they’d prefer an innerspring system (like a plus-size sleeper).

Construction: Aviya makes just one style of mattress that has three layers of high-density foam over a coiled innerspring system. Unlike the Saatva, our pick for best overall mattress, the Aviya has two inches of foam above the coils, making it more of a hybrid than a true innerspring.

Firmness and Support: Aviya offers three options for firmness: plush, luxury firm, and firm.

Who Tested It: Lori Keong, former Strategist writer.

How I Sleep: Combination sleeper who prefers a medium-firm mattress.

How I Slept: I tested the medium-firm option, Aviya’s most popular style, and flopping down, I was immediately taken by how plush yet delightfully bouncy this mattress was. The inner springs are a big plus, but they’re buried far beneath the layers of foam. I was amazed at just how propped-up and aligned my body felt while supine, yet how comfortably I slept thanks to the padding of the quilted-foam top. I could see back sleepers appreciating the lack of give in this mattress — there is virtually no sinkage, which I tested by dropping two ten-pound weights on top of it. But the plush top still lends itself well to dozing on your side or stomach. I’d even go so far as to say that sleeping on the Aviya changed my perception of what “soft but supportive” means.

What Else to Know: 100-night trial | 10-year warranty | Free standard shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery suspended due to COVID

Best ecofriendly hybrid mattress

$1,449
$1,449 at Birch
Buy
with code: BLACKFRIDAY400

TL;DR: Come for the all-natural materials and handmade construction, but stay for the plush yet supportive mattress that’s suitable for most types of sleepers.

Construction: Looking at the Birch website, you’d never know that it’s also owned by Helix; though both labels make hybrid mattresses, that’s about where the similarities end. The main selling point for Birch is that it’s a “nontoxic” mattress made from “thoughtfully sourced” materials — including Rainforest Alliance–certified latex from sustainably tapped rubber trees, organic cotton, America-manufactured steel, and all-natural birch wool from New Zealand sheep. That wool is the standout material, as it provides cushion and plushness, helps regulate temperature, and acts as a natural flame retardant. In October 2021, Birch launched a second mattress — the Luxe Natural — that has a similar construction to the original we tested. But additional “comfort layers” made of organic cashmere and targeted lumbar support are part of what makes it more luxe.

Firmness and Support: Birch says the feel of the Birch Natural is “medium firm,” and if you want something a little more plush, you can add the brand’s (also organic) plush mattress topper for an additional $450. (The Birch Natural Luxe is also described as medium firm.)

Who Tested It: Maxine Builder, Strategist editor.

How I Sleep: Stomach sleeper who prefers a plush mattress.

How I Slept: It’s never been a main concern of mine to sleep on an all-natural mattress — I’m more about maximizing comfort for me and my partner — and really, the only time I was acutely aware of Birch’s materials was during the unboxing. Unlike other all-foam or foam-based hybrid mattresses I’ve tested, this one had no chemical smell. It sprung into shape faster than any other mattress-in-a-box that I’ve unboxed, needing only about half an hour to fully expand (whereas other mattresses need up to 24 hours).

What impressed me most about the Birch is how supportive yet plush it is — a dream for a stomach sleeper like me, who tosses and turns throughout the night. The wool cushioning cradles every curve of my body, no matter how I’m positioned, yet I never feel like I’m being pulled under, thanks to the firm support of the steel coils. My partner, who has described sleeping on a foam mattress pad in the back of a minivan as “comfortable,” initially found this mattress to be “too sinky.” After two weeks of sleeping on it, he still preferred sleeping on the Leesa but conceded that the Birch provided more than enough support (though I think he still would prefer something firmer, and that’s a fight we’ll be having until the end of days).

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 25-year limited warranty | Free standard shipping to all 50 states | No white-glove delivery

Best medium-firm hybrid mattress

TL;DR: An affordable, slightly softer hybrid mattress with an especially stylish cover.

Construction: Launched in May 2022, the Leesa Original Hybrid is a more budget-friendly alternative to Leesa’s Sapira Hybrid mattress that sandwiches 789 “active response” springs between a high-density-foam base layer and two CertiPUR-US-certified foam top layers — one made of memory foam for pressure relief, the other made of high-airflow foam for breathability. The “cool knit” polyester-and-viscose cover is a step up aesthetically from more traditional-looking white quilted mattress covers; reminiscent of a classic T-shirt, it’s heather gray with a diagonal pattern and Leesa’s signature white accent stripes.

Firmness and Support: Leesa says the Original Hybrid is medium-firm, with a firmness range of six to eight on a scale of one to ten, making it the firmest mattress the company sells. The innerspring core is more supportive than the all-foam Leesa Original reviewed above; the brand recommends it for all body types and sleeping positions and describes it as the Leesa Original “with bounce.”

Who Tested It: Ambar Pardilla, Strategist writer

How I Sleep: Combination sleeper who prefers a firmer mattress and runs hot.

How I Slept: Before I received the Leesa Original Hybrid, I was sleeping on an Allswell namesake hybrid mattress I’d purchased a few years earlier. The Leesa is firmer than the more cushiony Allswell, with good edge support and a comfortable level of bounciness — it’s definitely a mattress you sleep on top of, rather than sink into. I tend to go to sleep on my side and wake up on my back, and I never had any trouble changing positions. I felt supported either way, with my posture aligned as it’s supposed to be. And even though I run hot while I sleep, I’m relieved that the Leesa didn’t make me wake up in a sweat (as has sometimes happened with mattresses past). Part of the reason is that the Leesa Original Hybrid has a fabric cover (reminiscent of Ralph Lauren sheets) made from an especially breathable knit. It’s so comfortable, in fact, that I sometimes sleep directly on it when I’m in between washing my sheets.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free standard shipping to all 50 states | White-glove delivery for $150

Best (less expensive) hybrid mattress

Helix Dawn Mattress
$999
Photo: retailer
$999 at Helix
Buy
with code: CYBERMON250

TL;DR: An affordable and firm hybrid mattress that avoids that sinking feeling, thanks to its balanced combination of springs and foam.

Construction: Helix doesn’t offer just one style of mattress-in-a-box. It has more than a dozen, ranging from plush to firm, including six “Luxe” mattresses that each have six layers of foam and a pillow top instead of the standard four layers. Most of its standard mattresses, including the Dawn, are made of four layers — one layer has springs, and the rest are various foams.

Firmness and Support: Of Helix’s available mattresses, the Dawn is its firmest. The main differences between it and Helix’s less firm options, according to the brand, is that the Dawn’s second foam “comfort layer” has a firmer feel than other models’ comfort layers. The company rates the Dawn’s firmness level as eight or nine on a scale of one to ten and suggests it for back and stomach sleepers.

Who Tested It: Louis Cheslaw, Strategist associate editor.

How I Sleep: Side sleeper who prefers a firm mattress.

How I Slept: Even though this is a mattress designed for back and stomach sleepers, it was the one that was recommended to me when I took the brand’s sleep quiz; I told representatives from Helix that I am a side sleeper who prefers something firm, and they promised it would work for me, too. Sleeping on the Dawn, 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. Presumably because of its coils, I also never once felt like I was sinking into the mattress — even on days I worked for hours in bed. When my girlfriend spent the night on it with me, we never rolled inward toward each other, as we would on the all-foam mattress we had been sleeping on. This support revealed itself in other ways, too: When sitting on the edge of the Dawn to, say, put my socks on or scroll through my inbox in the morning, I never slipped off.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10- to 15-year limited warranty | Free standard shipping to all 50 states | In-home delivery suspended due to COVID

Best hybrid mattress for motion isolation

TL;DR: This foam-and-innerspring hybrid provides motion isolation and support for partners whose movements tend to disrupt each other.

Construction: Saatva’s Memory Foam Hybrid is 11.5 inches tall, layering an organic cotton cover and 1.5 inches of memory foam over coils made from recycled steel. The mattress also has a half-inch layer of cooling, gel-infused memory foam through the middle third of the mattress to disperse your body heat and provide enhanced lumbar support. (Also on the cooling front, the memory-foam layer features a “wave” design with rolling cutouts to promote airflow.) The eight-inch innerspring layer is made of “pocketed” steel coils that are individually wrapped to help with motion isolation, and sits on a one-inch layer of support foam. The perimeter of the mattress is also wrapped in high-density foam rails to provide extra-strong edge support. All of the foam in the mattress is CertiPUR-US certified foam, and no chemical flame retardants are used.

Firmness and Support: The Saatva Memory Foam Hybrid comes in one firmness level that the company rates as medium firm and says is best suited for side sleepers. It has zoned support through the center third of the mattress to provide lower-back-pressure relief.

Who Tested It: Latifah Miles, Strategist writer

How I Sleep: Side sleeper who doesn’t move around much but sleeps next to a restless partner who tends to toss and turn.

How I Slept: Prior to trying the Saatva mattress, I was sleeping on a lower-profile all-foam mattress that was generally getting the job done. My fiancé and I both prefer a medium-firm mattress that has some cushiness to it but is very supportive. We were also looking for a mattress that helps to limit motion transfer when one of us rolls over or when we’re on different sleeping schedules. When I first laid down on the Saatva, I was worried it was too soft, because the quilted top and memory-foam layers are very forward. But when I actually slept on the mattress, the top layers contoured around my body while the coils prevented that sinking feeling that can come with memory foam. The coils are also designed to absorb motion which, for me, is essential. My fiancé moves around more and wakes up earlier than I do and the Saatva has more noticeable motion isolation than our previous mattress — I don’t even feel him getting out of bed to start his pre-dawn morning routine. When we’ve had popcorn movie nights in bed, the bowl stays put even if we are moving and shifting. And the extra-firm edge support around the perimeter (which is crucial to keep you from feeling like you’re sliding off the mattress when you get out of bed or sit on the edge) adds even more stability. I also realized that within a few nights of sleeping on the mattress, my fiancé, who is often restless and snores very loudly, seemed to be sleeping more peacefully (and more quietly, too). He told me he feels like he’s getting the best sleep of his life, and is waking up less often during the night. All that, plus the fact that Saatva delivers its mattresses unfurled and sleep-ready, while offering free disposal of your old mattress, has made us converts.

What Else to Know: 365-night trial | Lifetime warranty | Free white-glove delivery | Free mattress and foundation removal

Best plush hybrid mattress

TL;DR: The Casper Nova Hybrid is a plush mattress that still delivers a decent amount of support (and more so than the Original Casper).

Construction: Casper released the Nova Hybrid in March 2020, and it’s billed as the plushest among the company’s hybrid (foam-and-spring) mattresses. It’s mostly memory foam on top of a layer of springs, and the top layer is made of soft, pillowlike material — Casper calls it “puff fabric” — to make it cozier.

Firmness and Support: Like Casper’s Original Mattress, the Nova Hybrid has zoned support, with softer foam around the shoulders and more support under the hips and lower back. The design is meant to appeal to those who do want a soft mattress without a sinking feeling.

Who Tested It: Chloe Anello, former Strategist writer.

How I Sleep: Combination sleeper who runs cold.

How I Slept: Because Casper touts the Nova Hybrid as its plushest option, I kind of expected I’d sink into it, but the memory foam actually offers more support than I thought it would without being too firm. It claims to be “cooling” since its two top layers of foam are perforated (making it more breathable), but I found it retained my heat if I stayed in a position for a long time. (As someone who’s always cold, that’s actually a major plus for me, but take note if you tend to sleep warm. Since we first tested the Nova Hybrid, Casper has introduced an add-on Snow Technology option, which adds extra cooling features like the brand’s QuickCool cover for $500 more.) Since I started using this mattress, I also think I toss and turn much less: I tracked my sleep score with my Fitbit and noticed it improved a few points after a few days of sleeping on the Nova Hybrid — and has pretty much remained consistent ever since.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery for $149

Best flippable hybrid mattress

TL;DR: Layla’s flippable design almost makes it feel like you’re getting two mattresses for the price of one.

Construction: Layla, founded in 2016, offers two styles of mattress: an all-foam model and a coil-foam hybrid. The hybrid mattress consists of seven layers (the all-foam one has six); at its center is a six-inch layer of springy coils that offer increased airflow and more support, especially for larger bodies. Those foam layers are made of a copper-gel memory foam that the brand says has cooling ability.

Firmness and Support: Both the all-foam and hybrid mattresses are flippable, with one side featuring a layer of softer memory foam and the other a layer of firmer foam. Layla rates firmness on a scale of one to ten; the soft side ranks at a four and the firm side at a seven, regardless of construction.

Who Tested It: Tembe Denton-Hurst, Strategist writer.

How I Sleep: Plus-size back-to-stomach sleeper who prefers a soft mattress.

How I Slept: The Layla Hybrid is bouncy, and never gives that sinking feeling. My partner and I have had no problems sleeping through the night on it — we never overheat, nor do we feel each other moving around. We’ve also slept on both sides, firm and soft, and each proved supportive. I prefer the softer side because I like my mattresses to be a bit plusher, but the firm side isn’t too firm for my taste — perhaps a smidge firmer than the Allswell Luxe Hybrid, which I’ve slept on happily for the last three years. While there are cheaper hybrid mattresses (like my beloved Allswell), the ability to simply flip this one should you want a softer or firmer feel makes it worth the investment, especially if you’re sharing a mattress with someone who prefers a different feel. It’s almost like you’re getting two mattresses for the price of one.

What Else to Know: 120-day trial | 10-year warranty | Free shipping to 48 states | No white-glove delivery

Best innerspring mattress

TL;DR: The Parachute Eco Comfort is the only mattress we tested with absolutely no foam. It has a firm feel, thanks to the classic innerspring construction.

Construction: This mattress is spiritually modeled after a Hästens model that, years ago, Parachute founder Ariel Kaye saved up to buy. “I’m not saying we use horsehair or the same construction, but the idea was always to have a heritage mattress,” Kaye says. That’s also why Parachute uses only springs — there are 6,000 coils in the queen size — and zero foam, which is said to lose shape and break down. There are two levels of coils sandwiched between wool and covered in quilted, organic cotton.

Firmness and Support: This is a firm mattress, one that Parachute says is firmer than most hybrid mattresses but softer than traditional innercoil mattresses.

Who Tested It: Margaret Rhodes, former Strategist senior editor.

How I Sleep: Stomach-to-side sleeper who likes a soft but supportive mattress.

How I Slept: In the age of the foam mattress, it’s easy to forget how breezy springs feel. (At least I did.) Parachute’s mattress is very firm, so my initial impression was one of sleeping on a very sturdy topper floating on nothing — I immediately noticed that my body heat was no longer trapped beneath me. Because Parachute deliberately made a firm mattress, it recommends that lovers of soft ones add Parachute’s mattress topper, which we’ve actually, separately, deemed the best of its kind. I tried that, and the pillowy layer on top of such a supportive mattress works well.

One more thing: Ever since Wendi McLendon-Covey told the Strategist about looking for “an organic mattress that wouldn’t leach chemicals,” I’ve had a back-of-my-mind paranoia about sleeping nestled into carcinogenic brain-cell-killing fumes. Paranoid, yes, but the fact that Parachute’s mattress uses 100 percent organic cotton and New Zealand wool brings me some welcome peace of mind. It also doesn’t smell like anything, meaning it has none of the plastic aroma that issues from a lot of other vacuum-packed mattresses. (That effect is called “off-gassing,” and it’s not harmful, just unpleasant.)

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free ground shipping to all 50 states | White-glove delivery for $150

Best cooling mattresses

Best overall cooling mattress

TL;DR: Upgrading from Tuft & Needle’s Original model to the Mint buys you extra cooling layers and a medium firmness that works for multiple sleep styles.

Construction: The Mint Mattress is a premium version of the Tuft & Needle Original Mattress, and it shares some design elements with the Original. Both have a foam base that is topped with Tuft & Needle’s proprietary Adaptive Foam. But the Mint has two additional layers of Adaptive Foam, compared to the Original’s one, as well as additional edge support. Its two-inch middle layer of Adaptive Foam is infused with a purportedly cooling ceramic gel, and its three-inch top layer of Adaptive Foam is infused with graphite that the brand claims will “pull body heat away.” Additionally, Tuft & Needle updated the Mint in May 2022 with a new cover that has a zip-off, machine-washable top.

Firmness and Support: While made of denser foam than Tuft & Needle’s Original Mattress, a representative for the brand says the Mint actually feels softer — but overall, it still is a medium firmness.

Who Tested It: Arielle Avila, Strategist writer.

How I Sleep: Combination sleeper who runs hot and prefers a plush mattress.

How I Slept: Before I got the Mint, I slept on Zinus’s affordable Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress. Out of the box, I could immediately tell the Mint is more luxurious. While it actually isn’t as thick as my Zinus, the Mint felt more substantial and looked nicer, with its gray knit cover. Over time, I had started to sink into my Zinus so much that I couldn’t tell how flat my pillows had become. This quickly became apparent when I started sleeping on the Mint, which felt way more supportive — so much so that I needed to buy new pillows. Without my body sinking into the mattress, my flat ones weren’t supportive enough of my neck. While supportive, the Mint never felt too firm on my hips or shoulders whenever I rolled to my side. Instead, I’d describe the feeling as being cradled, something I also felt when sleeping on my stomach.

I didn’t really understand what the term “soft yet supportive” meant until I slept on the Mint, but that’s exactly how I’d describe it. My boyfriend, who shares the mattress and prefers a firmer feel, also slept well on it — he claimed he woke up more refreshed than ever. As for the mattress’s cooling abilities, I’ll just say this: There were a couple nights I forgot to turn my fan on and didn’t wake up drenched. My boyfriend, who runs hot like I do, also remarked he didn’t get as hot sleeping on this mattress.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free standard shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery for $150

Best all-foam cooling mattress

$849
$849 at Nolah Mattress
Buy
with code: STRAT50OFF

TL;DR: A cooling mattress that delivers on its promise, even with an all-foam construction.

Construction: Each of Nolah’s U.S.–made mattresses is constructed with Nolah AirFoam — a proprietary, temperature-neutral foam the company says is created without using the chemicals found in traditional memory-foam mattresses that can trap heat. This proprietary foam, Nolah claims, makes its mattresses cooler than any other memory-foam mattresses. The Original 10-Inch mattress is topped with two inches of Nolah AirFoam; beneath that is a one-inch layer of high-resilience foam that the company claims makes the mattress 300 percent more durable than the average memory-foam mattress. The rest of the mattress consists of a high-density breathable base foam.

Firmness and Support: Beyond being cooling and durable, Nolah says the mattress is also particularly comfortable for side sleepers, because its combination of foams results in a plush but supportive mattress with a medium amount of body contouring. The brand also makes a 12-inch all-foam mattress and a 15-inch hybrid option. All of its mattresses use the same cooling technology.

Who Tested It: Jenna Milliner-Waddell, Strategist writer.

How I Sleep: Side-to-stomach sleeper who runs hot.

How I Slept: While I was not expecting this — or any — mattress alone to stop me from being a night sweater, Nolah’s memory foam does feel cooler to sleep on than other memory foam I’ve slept on. I can tell because I don’t get overheated as fast sleeping on the Nolah Original as I have on other mattresses. In fact, I slept on it as summer turned to fall in New York City and actually needed to turn on the heat in my bedroom a few times — something I’d do in the past, but usually not until it was closer to winter. Before sleeping on the Nolah Original, I was sleeping on a pillow-top innerspring mattress, and I never thought there was anything wrong with that mattress until I started using the Nolah one and noticed that I’m actually sleeping better. The best way I can tell? I used to need a weighted blanket to get an uninterrupted night of sleep, but with the Nolah, I have been sleeping through the night (and often to my alarm) without one. Its top layers of memory foam have some give, but the mattress is much firmer than my old one: When I sit on it, I notice a soft bounce, but when fully reclined, I feel totally supported.

What Else to Know: 120-day trial | Lifetime limited warranty | Free shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery starts at $125

Best mattress with cooling gel

Purple Mattress - Queen
$1,299
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

TL;DR: With a truly unique construction and anomalous materials, Purple’s mattress is well suited to those who sleep hot and hate foam — and who are game to try something very different.

Construction: Unlike traditional spring-coil mattresses, the Purple features several different layers — one is a set of coils, topped by a thin layer of memory foam, which sits under several inches of Purple’s proprietary polymer material and a layer of fabric. The Hyper-Elastic Polymer layer isn’t a smooth plane but a grid of squares, which you can definitely feel. The polymer was invented in 1996 by the brothers Tony and Terry Pearce (both engineers), and it’s a strong but moldable gel-like material that was then used in medical beds, Dr. Scholl’s soles, and toy balls.

Firmness and Support: Purple describes its original mattress as medium-firm, with a “very stable feel.”

Who Tested It: Jason Chen, former Strategist deputy editor.

How I Sleep: Side sleeper who prefers a firm mattress.

How I Slept: Plopping down on the mattress was a brand-new sensation: You’re very aware of the gel surface, which has almost the rubbery give of a kids’ party bouncy house. I didn’t mind the texture of the square grid, though, because the mattress has such supportive structure. When I lay on my side, it was like being cradled rather than smothered, the way I felt on my old foam mattress. 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.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery for $200

Best mattress with cooling technology

TL;DR: There are lots of mattress brands that promise temperature-regulating abilities. But none deliver on that promise quite like Eight Sleep, the maker of the only mattress technology the Strategist has tested that has shown a quantifiable ability to make those who sleep on it actually feel warmer or cooler by using an app and a water-filled pump.

Construction: Eight Sleep makes a line of memory-foam mattresses with smart, app-compatible top layers that track sleep stages, sleep duration, overall quality of sleep, and other factors such as heart-rate variability and respiratory rate. The brand’s most novel feature by far is you can set each side of any Eight Sleep mattress to its own temperature — anywhere from 55 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit — which can adjust throughout the night. (The app asks you a few questions about your sleep habits to help you find the right temperature(s) for you.) This heating-and-cooling ability is controlled through what the brand calls the Hub, an external cube the size of a bathroom trash can that pumps heated and cooled water through a thick hose connected to the mattress’s heating/cooling layer, which goes over it like a mattress pad.

No matter which model you buy, you have to do a bit of assembly by placing the heating/cooling layer on top of the mattress itself. (You can also buy the heating/cooling layer and Hub separately, to use with a mattress you already have.) When you first set up the mattress, you’re instructed to pour two cups of water into the Hub — and a little hydrogen peroxide, something the brand doesn’t supply but suggests adding during setup in order to keep the system clean. Eight Sleep also suggests using distilled water, though the company notes that you can use regular tap water for the initial setup if you don’t have any distilled water on hand before switching to distilled on the next refill. You need to regularly refill the Hub with more water too, but the app conveniently tells you when it’s time for that. The Hub, which is meant to sit on the floor of your bedroom, constantly hums while it’s on; the sound is similar to that of white noise, though, so it’s not loud and might actually appeal to some people. It’s certainly much quieter than a window AC unit.

Firmness and Support: Eight Sleep says the mattress is “medium firm.”

Who Tested It: Dominique Pariso, Strategist writer.

How I Sleep: Back-to-side sleeper who runs extremely hot.

How I Slept: An earlier model of Eight Sleep’s mattress and cooling tech was tested by former Strategist senior editor Peter Martin, who loved the temperature settings and described the mattress itself as “supportive but plush,” noting that once he added the cover on top, the mattress became more firm. Because EightSleep is phasing out that earlier model, for this round of testing, I focused on the Pod Pro cover, using it on my existing all-foam mattress. I have been described as a human space heater in the past and routinely keep my bedroom window open in January, crank my AC to the lowest possible setting in the summer, and once made it through an entire New England winter without turning the heat on once. If I can’t achieve tundra temperatures, I will inevitably sweat through my sheets and spend the entire night tossing and turning, so I was very excited to test out the Pod Pro cover.

Installing the cover onto my mattress was a breeze thanks to Eight Sleep’s guidance, which you can follow via the cover’s smartphone app or by watching a very informative video on Eight Sleep’s website. The corresponding Hub is about the size of a computer modem, and while it doesn’t exactly match the rest of my room décor, it’s small enough that I was able to tuck it to the side of my nightstand. Yes, you can still see it (and the tubing that connects it to the mattress cover), but for what is ostensibly a water pump in the middle of my bedroom, it’s a fairly unobtrusive one.

The free version of the app, which is the version I tested, provides sleep statistics that cover everything from how many times you toss and turn to your sleeping heart rate, all of which are interesting. But by far my favorite feature is the fact that once you set your preferred temperature and typical bed time, the Hub will begin cooling your mattress to have it ready for when you hop into bed. It also adjusts the temperature throughout the night as you sleep. (If you want to go all in on sleep tracking, you can access even more features, including digital sleep coaching, for an additional monthly membership fee.) I agree with Peter that, because of the cover’s construction, my formerly soft mattress became more of a medium-firm-to-firm mattress. While I initially thought that would be a major problem since I usually prefer a mattress that’s as close to cloudlike as possible, I’ve still gotten the best sleep of my life.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial (30-day trial on purchases of only a PodPro cover) | 10-year warranty for the mattress; 2-year warranty for the heating/cooling tech | Free shipping to 48 states | No white-glove delivery

Best mattress for side sleepers

TL;DR: The original Casper mattress skews a tad softer, and hot sleepers don’t always love the foam — but it offers a nice balance of comfort and support, especially for stomach sleepers.

Construction: The original premise of Casper was that one mattress could make everyone happy. The company has since abandoned this Goldilocksian ideal and made other models, but this is the original: a four-layer foam construction with firmer support around the shoulders and hips. Formerly called the Casper Mattress, the company has rebranded it as the Casper Original Mattress.

Firmness and Support: The Casper Original has “zoned support,” which means the foam’s firmness changes slightly across different areas of the mattress to help with support and alignment. So there’s softer foam around the shoulders and firmer foam under the hips, waist, and lower back. That support should prevent sinking without forgoing comfort.

Who Tested It: Margaret Rhodes, former Strategist senior editor.

How I Sleep: Stomach-to-side sleeper who likes a soft but supportive mattress.

How I Slept: I owned a Casper before this project (as did several other Strategist staffers), so my evaluation is actually based on a year’s worth of sleep. And it was great. I didn’t have any sleep complaints before, but graduating from my Ikea mattress to the Casper was like flipping a light switch. It’s definitely a foam mattress, and for some people (like Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo), that makes it feel hot. It also means that for some people (like former Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson), it feels on the softer side. I often can’t fall asleep at all unless I’m fully prostrate, and I found its support to be squarely in the middle, with absolutely no painful give around the back, but cushy enough that collapsing into it at the end of the day felt like a reward. (Former Strategist writer Lori Keong also had one and liked it.)

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery for $149

Best mattress for stomach sleepers

TL;DR: Allswell has made a stellar firm mattress: You’re being good to your spine, but the feel is still comfortable. It’s also a remarkable value for the price.

Construction: Allswell is Walmart’s mattress-in-a-box brand, and it launched in 2017. It offers four models: the 12-inch-tall Luxe Hybrid, an even firmer 12-inch-tall hybrid cheekily named the Brick, a cheaper hybrid mattress simply called the Allswell, and the Supreme, a 14-inch-tall hybrid with a temperature-regulating foam layer and so-called Euro top. All of them have the same basic construction: A layer of individually wrapped coils is topped with high-density foam and copper-gel-infused memory foam.

Firmness and Support: According to Allswell’s own ratings, the Allswell Luxe Hybrid is the softest of the four models the brand offers. (Unsurprisingly, the firmest is the Brick.) The coils are meant to help minimize motion transfer and provide edge support on all sides.

Who Tested It: Margaret Rhodes, former Strategist senior editor.

How I Sleep: Stomach-to-side sleeper, who likes a soft but supportive mattress.

How I Slept: The strangest thing happened the first time I slept on the Allswell: I lay down on my back to assess the mattress, noting how buoyant I felt. And then I stayed that way and passed out. (It’s almost physiologically impossible for me to do this.) Perhaps I was feeling emotionally spent — I had just crawled into bed after seeing A Star Is Born — but more accurately, there was something comfortably paralyzing about letting this very firm mattress straighten out my skeleton. If I were writing taglines, I’d call the Luxe Hybrid “sumptuously Spartan.” The plush topper is soft, to be sure, but you float firmly atop the mattress instead of nestling in. I slept like a rock for eight hours, several nights in a row. In the mornings, while my alarm clock snoozed, I’d return to my back from a fetal position and could practically feel my spine unfurling again, realigning for the day.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free shipping to 47 states | White-glove delivery suspended due to COVID

Best mattress for back sleepers

TL;DR: Even without springs, this mattress offered enough support to alleviate back pain, and despite its memory foam, it never caused overheating.

Construction: Cocoon Chill is Tempur-Sealy’s bed-in-a-box offering, and the mattress comes with a heat-dissipating knit cover. The firm option’s construction is pretty straightforward: two inches of memory foam atop eight inches of high-density foam. The soft version has a transition-foam layer to separate the memory foam from the base layer; the company says side sleepers prefer it for that reason.

Firmness and Support: There are two levels of support — soft and firm.

Who Tested It: Simone Kitchens, Strategist senior editor.

How I Sleep: Back-to-side sleeper who prefers a firm mattress.

How I Slept: The Cocoon Chill in firm is every bit as firm as the innerspring-coil mattress I’ve slept on for years, but the memory foam hugs me in a way that makes my lower back feel particularly supported. Weird visual for you: Imagine two open palms gently lifting up your sacrum area. There was no hip-sinking feeling; the foam filled in the areas around my lower spine that generally ache, making it feel like I was very much on top of the mattress. The first night, I don’t remember moving around all that much. The following morning, the usual roll-out-of-bed lower-back creakiness was gone.

I have very specific sleeping issues. I’ve had acupuncture and done physical therapy over the years to alleviate chronic back and neck soreness. Right before trying the Cocoon Chill, I had a new, specific bit of spinal pain. 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. And although memory foam can cause you to heat up, it was never an issue here.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free standard shipping to all 50 states | No white-glove delivery

Best mattress for back pain

TL;DR: The firm construction, including a lumbar-focused support pad, offers balanced support that can ease nightly back pain but doesn’t sacrifice comfort.

Construction: WinkBeds’ mattresses are handmade to order in Wisconsin, and many of the people working at its factory have been building beds by hand for most of their careers. Wink CEO Dan Adler says certain techniques — like hand-sewing the mattress quilt and tape edge, and laying the inner springs by hand — ensure the quality of construction on every mattress the company makes. From top to bottom, these mattresses have a thin layer of foam (for comfiness), air springs (to keep things cool), a support pad (to keep your lumbar area well-supported), and tempered steel coils (for pushback, and to keep the mattress from losing shape).

Firmness and Support: The WinkBed is available in three firmnesses: softer, luxury firm, and firm. There is also the Plus, specifically designed for heavier people.

Who Tested It: Katy Schneider, New York Magazine features editor.

How I Sleep: Combination sleeper who prefers a soft mattress.

How I Slept: 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.” Because the memory-foam layer is thin, it still felt soft without enveloping my body. The mattress also seems to have saved my boyfriend’s back — he claims he hasn’t woken up with pain since we started sleeping on it — and its springs seem to absorb our movement. My boyfriend often comes to bed much later than I do, and I found that I noticed him flopping down a whole lot less on the WinkBed than I did on my old bed. I also find that I’m comfortable on the WinkBed on my back, side, or stomach.

What Else to Know: 120-day trial | Lifetime limited warranty | Free standard delivery to 48 states | No white-glove delivery

Best mattress for athletes

Bear Original Mattress
From $649
Photo: Courtesy of the vendor
From $649 at Bear Mattress
Buy
with code: STRATEGIST35

TL;DR: Our tester — a devoted runner — did find some truth to Bear’s claims that its mattress promotes muscle recovery after workouts.

Construction: Bear claims its four-layer foam mattresses are engineered for athletes, promoting temperature regulation and quicker muscle recovery after workouts. These benefits purportedly come from a mattress cover made from a licensed technology called Celliant, a synthetic fiber designed to direct body heat back into the muscles as restorative infrared heat. It sounds like science fiction, but there have been some clinical studies with promising initial results, including one conducted at the University of California Irvine Medical Center showing that Celliant-infused socks helped relieve chronic foot pain.

Firmness and Support: Bear describes its mattress as medium-firm, with enough sinkage and contour to ergonomically support athletes’ bodies.

Who Tested It: Karen Iorio Adelson, Strategist senior writer.

How I Sleep: Side sleeper who prefers a firm mattress and runs hot.

How I Slept: A pressure-map test of the Bear on Sleepopolis shows pressure points along the hips and shoulders for side sleepers, which was consistent with my experience. But my husband, who sleeps on his stomach, didn’t experience any pain, so the Bear seems more compatible with back and stomach sleepers. The Celliant cover doesn’t feel noticeably different to the touch from any other mattress cover. But — and it may be totally psychological — my legs did feel fresher and less fatigued than they normally would on days after doing sprints and thigh-punishing barre workouts. (I also tested the Molecule 1, another mattress that claims to be designed for athletes, and though I slept soundly, I didn’t necessarily feel more restored on my morning runs than I do when sleeping on my Casper.)

What Else to Know: 365-day trial | Lifetime limited warranty | Free standard shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery starts at $100

Best mattresses for kids

Best mattress for tweens and teens

TL;DR: Avocado’s Eco Organic mattress is a certified-organic and budget-friendly pick for middle-of-the-road sleepers who don’t have any specific mattress requirements or aches and pains to resolve, especially people with lighter builds like many tweens and teens.

Construction: Avocado has built its entire brand around constructing mattresses with natural, nontoxic materials and manufacturing them using a sustainable production process. The Eco Organic is the brand’s most budget-conscious offering: In a king size, it costs $1,000 less than Avocado’s most popular mattress model, the Green, but still features the same foam-coil hybrid construction and certified-organic materials. It has a base of recycled steel coils that are pocketed to encourage airflow, topped by a two-inch comfort layer made of organic and naturally antimicrobial Dunlop latex, as well as organic wool (a natural flame retardant) and organic cotton. It does not contain any polyurethane foams, polyester fibers, chemical adhesives, or chemical flame retardants. The Eco Organic does have fewer coils than the brand’s other models (975 coils in the king-size Eco Organic mattress versus 1,414 coils in the Green and Vegan models), which gives it a slightly softer feeling.

Firmness and Support: The Eco Organic comes in one firmness level, which Avocado describes as “gentle-firm”; according to the brand’s own firmness scale, it ranks right in the middle at a five out of ten, with ten being the firmest. The Eco Organic provides uniform support across the entire surface of the mattress (in contrast to the zoned support of many of Avocado’s other mattress models), and there is no option to purchase it with an attached pillow top (though you can always add a mattress topper from Avocado or any other brand).

Who Tested It: Kitty Guo, Strategist junior writer.

How I Sleep: Combination sleeper — back, side, stomach, you name it — with no specific sleep or temperature concerns.

How I Slept: I’m an average, unfussy sleeper in every respect: I can conk out in any position, I don’t toss or turn too much, I don’t really run hot or cold, and I don’t have any back pain or muscle aches to contend with (yet …). I do prefer a slightly firm mattress with more support rather than one I sink into, but I don’t want to feel like I’m sleeping on a granite countertop, either. Though Avocado puts the Eco Organic at a five out of ten on the firmness scale, I’d personally say it’s a little firmer than that, maybe a 6.5 or so — which is the ideal level of firmness for me. At ten inches tall, the mattress’s height is fairly standard, and I didn’t feel like I had to stoop down or clamber up to get in bed. (For comparison’s sake, Avocado’s lower-profile kids’ mattress is seven inches tall, and most of its other models are 11 inches tall or taller.) I was previously sleeping on a cheap Ikea mattress bequeathed by the former tenant whose lease I took over, and the difference once I switched to the Eco Organic was palpable — I always felt like the Ikea one was a bit too low and saggy, but with the Eco Organic, I felt like Goldilocks testing out Baby Bear’s bed: just right.

Since the Eco Organic contains fewer coils than other Avocado models, its level of support is more suited to those with smaller, lighter builds. (It’s also a solid option for back and stomach sleepers, who typically don’t require as much zoned pressure relief as side sleepers.) That, combined with its price range and all-organic construction, makes it a great pick for growing tweens and teens who have yet to experience the sleep concerns that often come with age and aren’t particularly picky about the feel of their mattress.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free shipping to 48 states | In-home delivery starts at $249

Best mattress for kids

[Editors’ note: Casper is phasing out the Element as of February 2022, though it is still available on Amazon. We’re actively testing kids’ mattresses and planning to update our pick soon.]

TL;DR: Casper is a trusted company, and the Element comes at a great price, but it’s best for smaller and lighter bodies — like children — that won’t sink quite so much into the soft foam.

Construction: The Element is an offshoot of Casper’s flagship model, the Casper Original. It’s the brand’s most basic and affordable option. It contains three layers of “premium” foam, as opposed to the Original’s four, with a firm bottom support layer, a middle layer made of responsive memory foam, and a soft breathable top layer. It’s also thinner, at ten inches, as opposed to the Original’s 11 inches.

Firmness and Support: With one less layer of foam than the already soft Original, the Element runs soft.

Who Tested It: Lauren Ro, Strategist writer.

How I Sleep: Back-to-side sleeper who prefers a firm mattress.

How I Slept: The first thing my husband and I noticed was that the mattress was soft. Perhaps too soft. Sitting on it, I noticed that the edge of the mattress gave way easily (though that is common in foam mattresses). Still, that first night, we slept great, and the entire week, too. But by the second week, we both noticed that we sunk a little too much into the foam and missed the support and pressure relief of our coil-spring mattress. Reviewers have noted that the Element is ideal for lighter people like children, and, after sleeping on it, that makes sense. Across all brands, foam will often start to contour to the weight of your body, leaving hip- or shoulder-shaped divots. But if you weigh less, like many children do, that’s less likely to happen.

What Else to Know: 100-day trial | 10-year limited warranty | Free shipping to 48 states | White-glove delivery for $149

Other Mattresses We’ve Tested

Not all of the mattresses that we’ve tested are singularly the best, and even though our writers and editors didn’t feel these models stood out from the crowd, you may find their reviews helpful. So we’ve outlined all of the mattresses we’ve tested here, with some notes on why they haven’t received superlatives.

Bear Hybrid Mattress
$1,126
$1,126

Like the Bear Original Mattress, the hybrid has a top layer made with Celliant fibers woven into the quilting. The big difference is that this mattress has a layer of dozens of individually wrapped coils — or springs — in addition to its four layers of foam. It’s nearly double the price of the original, but it’s not noticeably cooler or more restorative. And according to Strategist contributor Steven John, who tested a twin-size version of this mattress, “I conk out just as easily on the Bear Hybrid as I do on the Casper Wave Hybrid.” However, in early 2022, Bear released a new mattress model called the Elite Hybrid, which promises all the features of its Hybrid mattress plus zoned support and enhanced airflow; we’ve added it to our testing queue.

$1,126 at Bear Mattress
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with code: STRATEGIST35

The Casper Wave Hybrid is a souped-up, premium version of the original Casper that’s designed to provide targeted support for your back, neck, and shoulders along 33 points in the mattress through contoured foam and dome-shaped gel pods that are said to work for all shapes and sizes. At more than $2,500 for a queen, it is very much Casper’s “luxury” option that’s best suited for sleep obsessives and mattress-heads, and there are other firm hybrid mattresses available for much less. Former Strategist writer Lori Keong found that the mattress ran hot, as well.

The Emma Mattress - Queen
$699
$699

Emma is a European brand that makes one all-foam mattress with three layers: a cushioning base layer, a spine-supporting middle layer, and a top layer of proprietary cooling memory foam that the brand claims is more breathable than regular memory foam. Though the company claims the mattress has a medium-firm feel, associate editor Louis Cheslaw found upon testing it that it “ran on the softer side of medium-firm. When I sat on the side of my bed (to put socks on, or before fully getting out of it), I sometimes felt like I was slipping off of it, a sensation I have not experienced with firmer mattresses I’ve had. On rainy days, when I’d get back into bed to read or work, the mattress didn’t quite give the amount of support I needed to comfortably do so for an extended period. And when my partner and I shared the mattress, it gave just enough that we’d inch inward toward each other.” There are better soft mattresses that provide more support, especially for heavier sleepers, like the Aviya or the Leesa.

Helix Dusk Mattress
From $699
From $699

Strategist editor Maxine Builder tested the Helix Dusk in 2018, and though it was labeled as the brand’s middle-of-the-road option — neither firm nor plush — both she and her partner found it to be extremely soft and felt it ran very hot. It turns out that Builder was not the only reviewer to describe even Helix’s medium-feel mattress as too soft, because in 2020, Helix swapped out its regular mattresses’ memory-foam layer — one of four layers of foam — for a firmer memory foam, which promises to give this particular model that much more support. We have not tested this new version of the Dusk (though folks on Reddit seem to say that Helix still runs on the soft side).

Molecule 1 Mattress
$674
$674

The Molecule is a soft, very sink-in-able mattress — and Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson found that it “felt like a marshmallow” in comparison to the Casper Original. It’s designed for athletes, but it’s not better than the Bear Original. And though it’s cooling and has good airflow for an all-foam mattress, you’ll get more support with the Nolah.

From $920

Nest’s king-size and California King mattresses are available with dual firmness levels — a potential selling point for partners who have different sleep preferences and enough space for a big bed. Previously called the Alexander Hybrid, the Sparrow has a flippable and replaceable top foam layer, making it a decent alternative to the Birch Natural, our pick for Best Ecofriendly Hybrid Mattress. Strategist kitchen and dining writer Emma Wartzman, a combination sleeper “who moves around a lot during the night,” purchased this mattress in March 2022 to replace a worn-out innerspring and reported that after just a few weeks, the “back and neck pain that I was waking up with every morning is literally gone.”

Saatva Latex Hybrid Mattress (Queen)
$1,845
$1,845

Saatva bills its Latex Hybrid Mattress as its most environmentally friendly, in part because one of its layers is made from a naturally derived latex instead of memory foam. But unlike Saatva’s Classic Mattress, our best overall pick, there are no firmness levels to choose between. Strategist editorial coordinator Kelsie Schrader tested this mattress and found it to be “soft and bouncy yet supportive the first — and every subsequent — time I sat down to read on it. I never felt like I was sinking nor did I have to shift my weight to a new spot, even after an hour of reading.” It’s supportive enough for all kinds of sleepers, but unless you’re actively looking for ecofriendly materials, it’s not necessarily too different from the Saatva Classic.

Writer and filmmaker Kelsey Darragh learned about this Zinus mattress from her social-media followers. She went with it, because “it cost only a few hundred bucks and has more than 40,000 reviews and strong four-star ratings on Amazon.” It’s slightly more expensive than the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress that our senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson tested, but the construction is very similar even though it’s slightly more expensive, and there’s no clear benefit from the addition of green tea or charcoal in the top layer of foam (though the brand does claim they help block moisture absorption and keep the mattress smelling “fresh as a daisy”). That being said, Darragh reports that her “overall REM sleep went up 30 minutes after I bought the Green Tea,” and she found the foam to be a very effective shock absorber.

Other Mattresses We’re Testing Now

We’ll be testing several mattresses throughout 2022. We’ve matched Strategist editors and writers with the following models based on their sleep preferences and needs, and we’ll publish their reviews in the coming months.

Allswell Brick: An even firmer version of our pick for best firm mattress, with a name we can’t resist.

Avocado Eco Organic Kids: A lower-profile version of Avocado’s new budget-friendly line that the brand says is well suited to bunk beds and trundle beds.

Birch Luxe Natural: An upgraded version of our current pick for best ecofriendly hybrid mattress.

Bear Elite Hybrid: Bear’s newest mattress, which launched in early 2022, is a luxury model that comes in three firmness levels and features a cooling cover as well as zoned hip and shoulder support.

Helix Kids Mattress: A flippable mattress whose two sides offer different firmness levels for kids ages 3–7 and ages 8–12.

Nectar Premier Copper: Nectar, the maker of our pick for best memory-foam mattress, bills its Premier Copper mattress as its coolest-sleeping model thanks to heat-conductive copper fibers in the cover that are supposed to wick away body heat.

Nest Puffin Kids: A budget-friendly memory-foam mattress designed for kids.

Nest Lark Kids: Nest’s higher-end kids’ mattress, constructed of latex, foam, cotton, and wool.

Purple Kid Mattress: Purple’s kids-centric mattress features the same signature gel-like grid as its adult-oriented mattress models, but the company says it’s designed to feel a bit softer, and it features a machine-washable cover.

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The Best Mattresses, As Tested by Strategist Editors