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Best firm mattress: solid support for pain-free sleep

Stop that sinking feeling with the best firm mattresses – recommended by our sleep experts

One of the best firm mattresses, a Sweetnight Prime Memory Foam Mattress in a modern farmhouse-style bedroom
(Image credit: Sweetnight)
Best firm mattress 2024: Jump Menu

A Naturepedic Chorus mattress in a traditional bedroom

(Image credit: Naturepedic)

1. The list in brief ↴
2. Best overall: Naturepedic Chorus
3. Best for back pain: Nectar Memory Foam
4. Best memory foam: Emma Original
5.  Best luxury: Sattva Classic
6. Best for combination sleepers: Sweetnight Prime
7.  Best cooling: Casper Wave Hybrid Snow
8. How to choose
9. How we test

At first, you may think the softer the bed, the better. But if you're a front sleeper, get hot in the night, or suffer from back, or joint pain, then there's nothing worse than the sinking feeling you get from plusher mattresses. One of the best firm mattresses can help with spinal alignment, back support, and pressure relief. Investing in a firm bed may make all the difference to getting your best sleep yet. 

However, we've found most manufacturers focus on making the softest beds possible, with memory foam and pillow-top options being the most popular. With a noticeable gap in the market for firm beds, we've taken the time to research and find the best firm mattresses to buy online. 

Tried, tested, and recommended by us, these are the firm mattresses worth investing in – all of which feature in our best mattress guide. Your back will thank you later. 

Best firm mattress deals

It's the best time of the year to bag big-ticket items, such as mattress, at major discounts. Some of the best firm mattresses are on sale right now for less than $700. 

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress | Was $1,099, now $659 at Nectar
Best for back pain

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress | Was $1,099, now $659 at Nectar
If you sleep on your back, and you tend to wake with aches and pains, you should consider investing in the best mattress for back pain. If you take advantage of the seasonal sales, you could save $350. Our expert tester, who suffers from fibromyalgia, found that the Nectar absorbed the pressure from her joints and kept her hips and spine in line. 

Casey's Nectar Memory Foam Mattress review has more detail.

Emma Original Mattress | Was $1,053, now $469 at Emma

Emma Original Mattress | Was $1,053, now $469 at Emma
This bed-in-a-box is selling at half-price. The Emma Original impressed on test with its medium-firm feel to suit all sleep styles, as well as its excellent edge support. This mattress boasts thousands of five-star reviews on the Emma site, praising its comfort and versatility. We think it's one of the best affordable mattresses on the market. 

Chiana's Emma Original Mattress review has more detail.

SweetNight Prime Memory Foam Mattress | Was $1,309.00, now $720 at SweetNight

SweetNight Prime Memory Foam Mattress | Was $1,309.00, now $720 at SweetNight
This memory foam mattress delivers four firmness levels in one. Just flip, rotate, or roll to the other side to find the level of support that suits you. The SweetNight Mattress is made for front, back, side, and combination sleepers alike. Not bad for $720.

Alex's Sweetnight Prime Mattress review has more detail.

Saatva Classic Mattress | Was $1,995, now $1,695 at Saatva
Best on test

Saatva Classic Mattress | Was $1,995, now $1,695 at Saatva
This isn't a new deal. The Saatva Classic has been selling for $1,695 since at least last May, by my count. But it's a decent price to pay for the best mattress in the world. This luxury innerspring incorporates Lumbar Zone technology to send support where you need it most. 

Jaclyn's Saatva Classic Mattress review has more detail.

The quick list

We've summarised the best firm mattresses here, so if you only want the headlines, you're in the right place. We go into more detail further down the page.

The best firm mattresses in 2024

You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best firm mattress overall

The firmest mattress on the market

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 10"
Type: Innerspring
Comfort: Medium firm
RRP: $1,199-$2,499

Reasons to buy

+
Made with organic materials
+
Odor free
+
Minimal motion transfer
+
Reasonably priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Almost too firm
-
No edge support
-
Not cooling
Buy it if

✅ You want the firmest mattress available: this specializes in firm feelings
✅ You're on a budget: this is reasonably priced
✅ You want a natural mattress: this uses ethically sourced, organic materials

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want the best mattress overall: there are better ones, but they won't be as firm
❌ You need edge support: this is pretty poor
❌ You're a hot sleeper: this isn't cooling

The bottom line

🔎 Naturepedic Chorus this is by far the firmest mattress in our guide, in fact, it might be too firm for some

We don't often put mattresses with only four stars at the top of our buying guides, but we have good reason with Naturepedic's. If you're looking for a seriously firm mattress, you won't find one better than this. It's not a medium comfort mattress, it's not medium-firm, it's not even firm, it's really firm. It's still incredibly comfortable thanks to 6 layers of encased coil, but has none of the sinking feeling of the most popular mattresses on the market.,

It's also an excellent option for those looking for no-nasty natural mattresses. This is made with ethically sourced, organic materials, so you won't need to worry about any fiberglass or potentially harmful chemicals sneaking into your bedroom.

As we've highlighted, this only got four stars in our review. This is because it's not cooling and, towards the edges of the mattress, the support significantly wanes. If you size up, hopefully you won't feel the firmness fall away towards the edges.

Read more: Naturepedic Chorus Mattress review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FirmnessThe firmest mattress by miles★★★★★
MotionNo movement at all★★★★★
ValueReasonable price★★★★★

The best firm mattress for back pain

Perfect for soothing back pain and joint aches

Specifications

Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, Split King
Depth: 12”
Type: Memory foam
Comfort: Medium-firm to firm
Sleep trial: 1 year
Warranty: Lifetime
RRP: $499-$1,338

Reasons to buy

+
Proven to help with back pain
+
Affordable 
+
Lifetime guarantee + 365-day trial period
+
A breathable outer layer keeps it cool

Reasons to avoid

-
Edge support could be better
-
Easily forms impressions
Buy it if

✅ You want a medium-firm feel: this is the perfect balance
✅ You have back and muscle aches: this is proven to help ease them
✅ You share a bed: this has motion-isolation technology

Don't buy it if:

❌ You sleep at the edges: the support here is weak
❌ You need bounce-back: this easily forms impressions
❌ You need serious firmness: the Naturepedic is firmer

The bottom line

🔎 Nectar Memory Foam mattress this is not too soft and not too hard, but sometimes, choosing middle ground means sacrificing on the ultimate firmness

Memory foam is not usually the material of choice for a firm mattress, but if you suffer from back pain, this is the firm mattress you're going to be grateful for. Its' our best choice for back pain, as our reviewer Casey found it alleviated some pain of her fibromyalgia. While you should be very careful not to rely on buying a mattress for back pain (and more on that below), there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that it's helped some people relieve their discomfort. It's a great price too, as it's almost always almost under $700. 

However, we found this mattress has some of the infamous off-gassing odor that comes with memory foam mattresses, but it faded after a couple of days. You may also notice over time your body forms impressions – especially if you stay in one place at night.

Read more: Nectar Memory foam mattress review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FirmnessPretty firm, with some edge issues★★★★
MotionSome movement across the mattress★★★★★
ValueReasonable price★★★★★

The best memory foam firm mattress

For that sink-in feeling with some support undreneath

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 10"
Type: Memory foam
Comfort: Medium-firm
Sleep Trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $699–$1,599

Reasons to buy

+
Suitable for all sleep positions 
+
Emma offers a 100-day trial period
+
A soft but supportive memory foam mattress 
+
Affordable 

Reasons to avoid

-
Maybe a bit warm for hot sleepers 
-
May not offer enough support for plus-sized sleepers
Buy it if

✅ You want a sink-in feel: this is the closest you'll come in form mattresses
✅ You want reassurance: Emma offers a 100 day trial
✅ You need easy delivery: this comes in a box

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need a firm mattress specialist: this is almost too soft to make it into our guide
❌ You're a hot sleeper: it won't cool you
❌ You're plus sized: without springs, this might not offer enough support

The bottom line

🔎 Emma Original memory foam feels like the antithesis of firmness, but this balances the two almost perfectly. It's on the soft side of firmness

Considering this is a bed-in-the-box option, our tester was impressed with this Emma mattress. Its soft but supportive layers cradled her joints without feeling as though she was sinking into the mattress, as you might expect with a memory foam option.

Our expert often suffered with joint pain, which would wake her up in the night. However, after a few weeks of testing, the Emma mattress had relieved all her issues within a few weeks. 

These are the results we would expect from mattresses twice the price: Emma mattresses start at under $700, so this is a firm - sorry - favorite amongst our testers. It comes in a box, so is easy to transport and unpack without requiring a whole family's help.

There's no ignoring the fact that memory foam mattresses sleep hot. Compared to other firm mattresses on this list, it's one to avoid if you're an especially sweaty sleeper.

Read more: Emma Original Mattress review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FirmnessSupportive, but some memory foam softness★★★★
MotionVery littke movement across the bed★★★★★
ValueGreat price★★★★★

The best luxury firm mattress

Our favorite mattress in many other categories, which offers two firm options

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Depth: 11.5” or 14"
Type: Hybrid memory foam and steel springs
Comfort: Medium, medium-firm, firm
Sleep trial: 1 year
Warranty: Lifetime
RRP: $995-$2,710

Reasons to buy

+
Available in three firmness levels
+
Hybrid combines memory foam and coils
+
Organic cotton cover, CertiPUR-US foam
+
Stays cooler than an all-foam mattress
+
White-Glove Delivery

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for sleepers looking for a super soft surface
-
Expensive + $99 Return fee
Buy it if

✅ You want custom firmness: this has three different options
✅ You're chemical conscious: this is crafted with eco-friendly materials
✅ You sleep at the edges: this is supportive across the whole bed

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: this has a $99 return fee
❌ You want a totally organic mattress: this has some memory foam inside
❌ You need a super super supportive mattress: the memory foam weakens the overall support slightly

The bottom line

🔎 Saatva Classic as a generic mattress, this is close to faultless. This is also an incredible firm mattress, but the memory foam means it has some give and isn't considered fully-organic

Taking the number one stop in our best mattress guide, the Saatva classic is the most comfortable and supportive firm mattress on test. It's a hybrid so it offers the perfect balance between cushioning your joints and supporting spinal alignment. It didn't take top spot for firm mattresses, because nothing matches up to how firm the Naturepedic is, but this is still considerable.

This mattress comes in three firmnesses: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm. We tested the Luxury Firm and found it suits side, front, and back sleepers. This medium option is more towards the firmer side – the firm being even better for those needing a hard sleep surface. Our tester Jaclyn loved it for its unbelievable pressure relief, so you'll barely notice pain if you turn over in the night, as well as near-perfect edge support motion isolation. 

It's impossible to avoid the price of this mattress - it's pretty expensive. We also aren't fans of the $99 return fee if you don't like the mattress and the relatively short 1-year warranty. 

Read more: Saatva Classic Mattress review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FirmnessGood range of firmness levels★★★★
MotionVery littke movement across the bed★★★★★
ValueExpensive with a returns fee too★★★★

The best firm mattress for combination sleepers

An excellent option if you're searching for 'firm but soft' luxury

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King, Split Cal King
Depth: 10" or 12"
Type: Foam
Firmness: 4 profiles
Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King
RRP: $919-$1532

Reasons to buy

+
Supportive right to the edges
+
Four sections of support
+
Feels incredibly premium

Reasons to avoid

-
Zones can be quite distinct
-
Can't combine total opposite firmness options
Buy it if

✅ You're looking for luxury: this is crafted from premium materials
✅ You share a bed: this has low motion transfer
✅ You want bespoke firmness: there are four, customizable zones

Don't buy it if:

❌ You sleep on your own: if you move around you'll be in different zones
❌ You're on a budget: this is expensive
❌ Your partner wants a super soft option: this isn't available

The bottom line

🔎 Sweetnight Prime is a comfortable, luxurious option which offers pain relief. It can't combine total opposites, but is brilliant nevertheless

If you're not quite ready for a sleep divorce, but have different sleeping needs to your partner, this is the best option available. With four firmness profiles across the bed, you can choose a range of softness levels on both sides, and you can flip the mattress for even more options. In spite of these custom 'zones' there's very little motion transfer. You can see why it's no overstatement when people say this mattress has saved their marriage.

Our experts tested this for over a month and loved it. The different zones are particularly excellent if you need different firmness at different times. For example, if you have back pain that isn't constant throughout the week there might be times when you need less and more firmness. The Sweetnight offers flexibility without you needing to buy a new mattress.

We had to start being really picky to find fault with Sweetnight's mattress. For example, if you move across the whole mattress in your sleep, you'll find yourself out of the firmness zone. Also, you can't combine the absolute softest and firmest options in one mattress either.

Read more: Sweetnight Prime review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FirmnessFeels really firm, but poor edge support★★★★
MotionLow motion tranfer★★★★★
ValueExpensive with a returns fee too★★★★

The best firm mattress for cooling

Any mattress with snow in the name promises big things and this nearly delivers on them

Specifications

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 13"
Type: Hybrid
Comfort: Medium
RRP: $2,095 - $3,795

Reasons to buy

+
Can keep the bed 6 degrees cooler than other mattresses
+
Zoned support
+
Gel pods for extra support
+
Responsive foam

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in extra large
-
Weak edge support
Buy it if

✅ You're a hot sleeper: this has the best cooling technology of the guide
✅ You share a bed: this comes with zoned support
✅ You want firmness, but some sink-in feeling: this is a good balance

Don't buy it if:

❌ You have a small room: this is only available in large sizes
❌You sleep at the edges: this lacks support there
❌ You have back pain: the responsive foam might be too soft

The bottom line

🔎 Casper Wave Hybrid Snow this is bottom of the buying guide, but we still gave it 4.5 stars as a generic mattress; it's a little on the soft side, especially at the edges.

If you're a hot sleeper who also suffers from back pain, you might feel like the Gods of sleep dealt you a rough hand. Casper are here to change that. This mattress is packed with smart, innovative technology, which claims to keep you six degrees cooler overnight. Our expert testers described sleeping on this mattress as 'refreshing', so we're confident you'll be pleased with the Casper Wave Hybrid Snow.

Aside from smart cooling technology, this comes with gel pods and zoned support. If you share a bed, this will align with your spine and ensure that you're cool and comfortable all night. Whilst this might sound lovely to the average hot sleeper, some alarm bells might be ringing if you want a firm mattress. Whilst the coiled springs are generally very supportive, the responsive foam and sink-in topper doesn't offer the ultra-firm feeling that you might want from a mattress.

It's also worth noting that this is only available in larger sizes, so if you have a small bedroom, you won't be able to fit this in.

Read more: Casper Wave Hybrid Snow review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FirmnessFeels really firm, but poor edge support★★★★
MotionLow motion tranfer★★★★★
ValueExpensive and only in big sizes★★★

How to choose the best firm mattress for you:

When it comes to choosing the right mattress for you, there are a three things to consider if you're wanting the best firmness bed:

Sleep style
Generally back and stomach sleepers sleep best on a firm mattress. This is because it will support the spine more. Soft beds may sink too much and cause lower back pain. Side sleepers may also find a firm mattress comfortable, though this usually comes down to personal preference. 

Weight
If you are on the lighter side, you may find a firm mattress feels hard. The heavier you are, the softer it will feel. Consider your weight before buying a firm mattress. Most mattresses will have a weight guide to check which firmness rating will fit best. 

Firmness scale
Where two different mattresses may be considered firm, they can feel different. Instead of seeing whether a mattress is classed as medium, medium-firm, or firm, it's best to check the firmness scale for a representative reading. Beds that are between 6 and 10 can be considered firm – 6 being on the softer side, 8-10 being the firmest. 

How we tested these firm mattresses

Homes & Gardens' mattress review process is editorially independent and not influenced by any third parties. Our reviews are based on the real-life experience of using these products at home and testers sleep on each featured mattress for at least four weeks. We usually hold on to samples for longer so we can assess how they hold up to wear and tear and different seasonal conditions. 

The best firm mattresses on this list have been selected from the many mattress reviews conducted by our specialist reviews team. They have to have a firmness rating of medium-firm and above and adhere to claims of comfort, joint support and back pain relief that most are looking for in a firm mattress. We put various tests in place and ask testers to be transparent about their sleep styles and habits. 

For more insight into our hands-on review process, refer to our how we test review guidelines. Meet our mattress testers: 


Tested by
Jaclyn Turner photo
Tested by
Jaclyn Turner

Our former sleep ecommerce editor, Jaclyn frequently tests out and stays up to date on all things mattresses and bedding. She's not willing to sacrifice comfort or value and is after a mattress that makes it easy to sleep through the night. In addition to Homes & Gardens, you can find her work in Real Homes, Livingetc, Apartment Therapy, MyDomaine, and The Spruce. She lives in Atlanta, GA. 

Tested by
Antonia Santoro headshot
Tested by
Antonia Santoro

Antonia has worked in media and publishing for over a decade at brands like The New York Times, People, Entertainment Weekly, and Page Six. She now works on the Audience Development team here at Future.

Casey Clark freelancer
Casey Clark

Casey Clark is a freelance writer who covers beauty and style. She has been a writer for nearly three years and has been featured in Tom's Guide, Real Simple, Taste of Home, Forbes, and Insider. She graduated from Hofstra University magna cum laude with a journalism degree and minors in public relations and creative writing. 

Tested by
Chiana Dickson
Tested by
Chiana Dickson

Chiana is our Junior Writer, and spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website. She helps readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips. She reviewed the Emma Original mattress for this guide.

How to choose a firm mattress

When it comes to choosing the right mattress for you, there are a three things to consider if you're wanting the best firmness bed: 

  • Sleep style: Generally back and stomach sleepers sleep best on a firm mattress. This is because it will support the spine more. Soft beds may sink too much and cause lower back pain. Side sleepers may also find a firm mattress comfortable, though this usually comes down to personal preference. 
  • Weight: If you are on the lighter side, you may find a firm mattress feels hard. The heavier you are, the softer it will feel. Consider your weight before buying a firm mattress. Most mattresses will have a weight guide to check which firmness rating will fit best. 
  • Firmness scale: Where two different mattresses may be considered firm, they can feel different. Instead of seeing whether a mattress is classed as medium, medium-firm, or firm, it's best to check the firmness scale for a representative reading. Beds that are between 6 and 10 can be considered firm – 6 being on the softer side, 8-10 being the firmest. 

FAQs

Can a firm mattress help back pain?

Yes, but our usual qualification applies. If you suffer from back pain, speak to a doctor. Back pain can be caused by many different conditions and should always be discussed with a medical professional first. 

There's no guarantee that a new mattress will solve back pain. You could spend thousands of dollars on a mattress to relieve your back only to find that your new, expensive bed does nothing for your discomfort. With that said, I've personally found that if I'm sleeping on a mattress softer than my own - if I'm in a hotel, or visiting family - then it can exacerbate back pain. Exacerbate is the keyword. Unless you're sleeping on a broken mattress, no mattress can cause back pain, but a soft mattress can make bad pain worse. 

All of this means that a firm mattress can help back pain, but it won't remove it. Manual labor, the wrong office chair, incorrect form in the gym, or just random back luck can cause back pain. A firm mattress is a great help, but don't expect any miracles. 

Can side sleepers use a firm mattress?

Absolutely. As a side-sleeper, I like firmness to help with spinal alignment. If the mattress was too soft, I run the risk of sinking, which causes my knees to overlap, putting me out of form. Though it's important to find what feels comfortable for you. Almost all mattresses will suit side sleepers, but additional needs like back pain or joint ache may mean a firm or soft mattress suits you better.  

Do heavier people need a firm mattress?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer here, but it tends to be the case that heavier people benefit from a firmer mattress. Soft mattresses compress more than firm ones, so if you weigh more than average, you might find that a soft mattress sags and becomes lumpy. It's a good idea to check the weight limits on any mattress you buy. 

For example, the Nectar mattress featured above is rated for up to 650lbs, so if you're single, it will work, but might not if both you and your partner are heavier than average. We haven't tested it yet, but Saatva's Luxury Hybrid HD  is a version of the mattress featured above that's specifically designed for heavier couples.


If your current mattress is in good condition but isn't supporting your needs, then it might be worth getting a mattress topper to make your mattress firmer instead. More affordable than buying a brand new bed, adding a topper will save you money and help protect your back for better sleep. 

Louise Oliphant
Ecommerce Editor

Louise is your eCommerce Editor and sleep specialist to help you wind down well. A connoisseur of the mattress world, Louise previously covered sleep and wellness (as well as the occasional organizational buy) at Real Homes, and has tried, tested, and reviewed some of the buys for your bedroom. With an MA in International Journalism and PR experience, Louise brings bags of bedding expertise and enjoys nothing more than helping readers find solutions and products that best suit their sleep needs.