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Published Sep. 13, 2021

The right mattress improves the quality of your sleep by offering the perfect balance of support and comfort. Shopping for a new mattress, however, can be intimidating. There are so many options on the market, and shoppers are faced with decisions about firmness, material, and thickness. 

We’ll break down what to look for when shopping for the best mattress for your sleep preferences and discuss the key considerations to keep in mind as you shop. Keep reading for tips on choosing the best option, and explore our curated picks for the best options on the market.

How We Picked the Best Mattress

Methodology 

While it’s easy to assume that all mattresses offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Several years of experience covering home goods and furniture as well as extensive product research went into choosing our final curated selection. We reviewed over 30 mattresses and weighed a number of practical considerations when making our recommendations. 

Type: Foam, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses all have their own benefits, so we considered all three types for this guide. 

Firmness: There is no perfect mattress firmness level, so we made sure to include plush, medium, and firm options in this guide to suit a variety of sleep preferences. 

Thickness: Mattresses range in height from about 5 inches to 20 inches. While thickness doesn’t necessarily relate to quality, most people do find a thicker one to be more comfortable. Taking that into account, we only considered mattresses with heights of 10 inches or more. 

Trial period: Since buying a mattress is such a personal decision, many manufacturers offer trial periods for you to test them out to ensure the right fit for you. We gave preference to brands that offered trial periods of 100 nights or more. 

Value: Buying a mattress is a major investment that can last a decade or more, so it’s worth it to save up to buy a high-quality model. That being said, we still considered value when making our recommendations and only included products that we considered to be a great price for the quality provided.

Size: In order to fairly compare the prices of all our recommended mattresses, this guide only features details for queen-sized mattresses (which measure 60 by 80 inches), though all models listed are also available in other sizes.

The Best Mattress: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: TUFT & NEEDLE Original Queen Mattress

Cool and Comfortable

Adaptive foam that’s infused with cooling gel and a 100-night trial period make this our top pick. Tuft and Needle

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Why It Made The Cut: The Tuft & Needle Original Mattress features adaptive foam that offers a medium level of support and plenty of comfort. 

Specs:

  • Type: Memory foam
  • Height: 10 inches
  • Firmness: Medium

Pros:

  • Relieves pressure
  • Foam is infused with cooling gel
  • Features adaptive, high-density foam
  • Includes 100-night sleep trial

Cons:

  • Foam mattresses require time to fully expand 
  • May have a chemical smell when delivered

While traditional foam mattresses caused sleepers to sink into the material, this pick from Tuft & Needle uses an adaptive foam that’s designed to provide a medium level of support without making you feel trapped. 

The brand’s proprietary foam features an open-cell structure that adapts to your body position as you sleep and is infused with graphite and gel beads to make the material more breathable and provide a cooling effect. The materials used are certified by CertiPUR-US as being free of harmful chemicals. 

With a medium firmness level, this mattress should be suitable for most sleepers, but back sleepers will particularly appreciate this level of support. Tuft & Needle offers a 100-night trial period in order to make sure the mattress is right for you. According to the manufacturer, 95 percent of buyers keep their mattresses after the trial period ends. Like most foam mattresses, this model needs up to 72 hours to expand after it’s delivered. 

Best Value: Zinus 10 Inch Memory Foam Mattress

Affordable and Firm

With a supportive foam base and a top layer of comfortable memory foam, this affordable mattress stands up to many pricier products on the market.

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Why It Made The Cut: Multiple layers of foam of varying densities allow this mattress from Zinus to provide firm support while still being comfortable. 

Specs: 

  • Type: Memory foam
  • Height: 10 inches
  • Firmness: Firm

Pros:

  • High weight capacity
  • Features multiple foam layers of varying densities
  • Infused with activated charcoal

Cons:

  • Foam mattresses require time to fully expand 
  • No sleep trial offered

With so many new brands and products on the market, buying a mattress no longer needs to be prohibitively expensive. This model from Zinus is extremely affordable and features 10 inches of foam in varying densities to provide the ideal combination of comfort and support. The 5.5-inch base provides a supportive foundation, while 2 inches of comfort foam allows for ventilation. The top layer is made up of 2.5 inches of memory foam that will make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud. 

The mattress is infused with natural ingredients like green tea and charcoal, which prevent moisture build-up. All materials used are CertiPUR-US certified. 

Since it has a firm support level, it’s ideal for side sleepers. It’s also a great pick for larger people because of its high weight capacity of 500 pounds. This model is available in a range of heights from 6 inches to 12 inches. 

Best for Back Sleepers: Leesa Hybrid 11″ Mattress

Hybrid Comfort

This model is designed specifically for back sleep, with extra support for the spine and reduced impact when another sleeper gets up in the middle of the night.
Leesa

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Why It Made The Cut: The Leesa Hybrid mattress combines more than 1,000 individually wrapped springs with a layer of comfy memory foam to create a medium firmness that’s perfect for back sleepers. 

Specs: 

  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 11 inches
  • Firmness: Medium

Pros:

  • Hybrid design featuring pocket coils and foam
  • Features a ventilated comfort layer
  • Includes 100-night sleep trial

Cons:

  • Because it comes rolled in a box, it will need time to expand

Back sleepers do best with a medium level of firmness that keeps their spines properly aligned when sleeping while also providing cushioning at key pressure points like the shoulders and hips. This hybrid model from Leesa features pocket springs covered in a top layer made from cozy memory foam. The comfort layer on top of the memory foam includes ventilation holes to prevent you from overheating as you sleep. 

Innerspring mattresses are known for having higher levels of motion transfer than foam mattresses, meaning that if your partner gets up in the middle of the night, you’ll feel the mattress shift. This model, however, includes over 1,000 individually wrapped springs to reduce motion transfer. The coils span the entire mattress so you won’t experience issues with the edges or corners sagging. 

While medium-firm mattresses are ideal for back sleepers, they’re also an excellent all-around pick if your mattress needs to accommodate various sleep positions. 

Best for Stomach Sleepers: Casper Sleep Element Mattress

Firm and Functional

This firm mattress from Casper is designed for stomach sleepers and comes with a 100-day trial period. Casper

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Why It Made The Cut: The Casper Sleep Element Mattress uses three layers of foam to provide a firm level of support that works well for stomach sleepers. 

Specs: 

  • Type: Foam
  • Height: 10 inches
  • Firmness: Firm

Pros:

  • Firm support for stomach sleepers
  • Perforated foam layer for air circulation
  • Includes 100-night sleep trial

Cons:

  • Foam mattresses require time to fully expand

Casper is one of the most well-known online mattress retailers and has carved out a niche on the market by creating well-made and affordable products that are consistently well-reviewed. Their Element mattress is a budget pick that’s constructed from three different types of foam and provides a firm support level. Stomach sleepers do best with a high level of support to alleviate the pressure placed on their chests, shoulders, knees, and hips. 

The top layer features a comfortable memory foam that relieves pressure by contouring to your body. The middle layer is made from AirScape, a perforated foam that provides air circulation that’s beneficial for hot sleepers. The base layer is extra-firm and durable to provide the maximum level of support. As an added bonus, each mattress is made using eco-friendly textiles and is constructed with 121 recycled plastic bottles. 

You can try out this mattress—or any other Casper mattress—for 100 nights to ensure it’s right for you. 

Best for Side Sleepers: Sealy Posturepedic Soft Feel Mattress

Plush Protection

The Sealy Posturepedic Soft Feel Mattress is our top pick for side sleepers because of its plush firmness level and hybrid design.

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Why It Made The Cut: This hybrid mattress features both an innerspring coil system and plush memory foam that perfectly suits side sleepers. Plus, it comes with a moisture-wicking mattress cover. 

Specs:

  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 13 inches
  • Firmness: Plush

Pros:

  • Targeted support in the center layer
  • Cooling foam is great for hot sleepers
  • A moisture-wicking cover helps you stay dry
  • 13-inch height

Cons:

  • No sleep trial offered

A plush mattress is best for side sleepers because they need cushioning on their pressure points. This model from Sealy combines an innerspring system with a gel foam top layer for a perfect balance of 13 inches of comfort and support. One unique feature of this model is that it has targeted reinforcement in the middle third of the mattress, which is where the heaviest part of your body needs support. 

The 660 coils are designed to prevent motion transfer, and the brand’s Stable Edge Pro coil system ensures the edges of the mattress don’t sag. The Euro Top cushion layer includes SealyCool Air Gel Foam, which adds breathability, making sleeping comfortable no matter the temperature. Each purchase includes a moisture-wicking protective cover that will improve the mattress’s longevity. While this mattress is soft, the same one is also available in medium and firm. 

Things to Consider Before Buying

Buying a mattress is an individual choice, and there’s no one product that will be a perfect match for everyone. Consider the answers to these questions before making your final pick.

Type of Mattress

Mattresses are generally split into three categories: foam, innerspring, and hybrid. 

  • Foam mattresses are made from memory foam, polyfoam, or latex foam. Varying levels of support can be achieved based on the foam’s density. They’re a great choice if you suffer from back pain because they contour to your body and keep your spine aligned as you sleep. Foam mattresses can be rolled up and shipped, which is why it’s easy to find them online. 
  • Innerspring mattresses feature metal springs or coils that support your weight and are covered by a layer of padding that comes in varying firmness levels. This padding is often made from foam, but innerspring mattresses tend to be more breathable than ones made completely from foam. They provide a more bouncy feel, and your body rests on top of the surface rather than sinking into it. 
  • Hybrid mattresses combine coils with foam to offer the benefits of each mattress type. Choose a hybrid mattress if you like the comfort of foam but need the support of an innerspring mattress. 

Sleep Position

Your sleep position is a key consideration when shopping for a mattress. 

  • Side sleepers are best served by a well-cushioned mattress because their hips and shoulders need to rest comfortably on the mattress. 
  • Back sleepers generally prefer medium-firm option because they require plenty of spine support as well as cushioning for pressure points like the hips, lower back, and shoulders. 
  • Stomach sleepers should consider a firm mattress in order to provide support to the chest, stomach, knees, and hips. All-foam picks probably aren’t the best fit for stomach sleepers because they may cause you to sink in and put strain on your lower back. 

FAQs

Q: How do you know when it’s time to replace your mattress?

Generally speaking, you should replace a mattress every 6 to 8 years. That being said, there’s no need to replace one that’s still comfortable and supportive. You’ll know it’s time to start shopping for a replacement if it begins to sag or you frequently wake up with back pain.

Q: Do you need a box spring?

Box springs were necessary when mattresses were thinner and less supportive, but most modern mattresses do not require a box spring and are designed to be used on platform-style bed frames.

Q: Is it better to sleep on a hard or soft mattress?

As with almost everything related to mattresses, firmness is a matter of preference. The ideal mattress firmness for you depends on your sleep position, body weight, and comfort preferences. There is no universally “better” mattress firmness; the right mattress for you is the one you feel most comfortable sleeping on.

Final Thoughts

Our recommendations cover a variety of types and styles to best suit your needs. The TUFT & NEEDLE is our top pick because of its adaptive foam construction and 100-night trial period. Our recommended choice for those on a budget is the Zinus 10 Inch Memory Foam Mattress for its supportive base and comfortable memory foam layer.

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