Mattress firmness is rather subjective.
Although some of us do love softer mattresses, a firmer one (7-9 scores out of 10) in some cases might not only be more preferable but also actually cure some health conditions.
Want to know more?
I have reviewed 5 best extra firm mattresses on the market today and answered the main questions about the key points to consider when choosing a firm bed.
So, get cozy and continue reading!
A Quick Preview
|Model||Type||Layers||Trial and Warranty||Rating|
|Twilight by Helix||Hybrid||Helix Two-Touch design polyester cover;|
individually wrapped coils;
DuraDense foam base.
|100-night trial, 10-year warranty||9|
|Love and Sleep by Nest Bedding||Memory Foam||phase change cooling cover;|
edge support base polyfoam.
|100-night trial, lifetime warranty||8.5|
|Saatva||Innerspring||organic cotton cover + foam pillow top;|
lumbar support memory foam pad;
individually wrapped coils;
steel Bonnel coil base.
|120-night trial, 15-year warranty||7.5|
|Winkbeds||Hybrid||Tencel cover + gel-infused polyfoam pillow-top;|
pocketed coils with edge support dense polyfoam;
high-density polyfoam base.
|120-night trial, lifetime warranty||8|
|Loom and Leaf by Saatva||Memory Foam||quilted organic cotton cover;|
gel-infused convoluted memory foam with a spinal zone gel in the lumbar area;
dense memory foam;
dual-layer support base.
|120-night trial, 15-year warranty||8|
Our Reviews of 5 Best Extra Firm Mattresses
Best Extra Firm Mattress for Back Pain
Twilight by Helix
I begin this list of the top extra firm mattresses with the Twilight model by Helix. This mattress is just one of the many options available at Helix and it offers you four-layer support construction designed for a firmer feel without sacrificing proper pressure relief.
So, what’s so special about this mattress?
I was testing it after an intensive gym training and woke up pretty refreshed the next morning. People with chronic pain issues or those like me, who often strain too much at a gym, will benefit from the Twilight.
The supportive core of this extra firm mattress for back pain consists of two layers of high-density polyfoam and pocketed micro coils between them for reinforced edge support and precise contouring. The upper layer is made of memory foam, which is actually the key element providing back pain relief.
The two-touch design of the cover fabric allows the air to penetrate inside the mattress to help you sleep cooler. The cover is also very pleasant to the touch.
Overall, I advise you to choose this firm mattress if you’re seeking relief for your aches and pains and want to pump up the quality of your sleep.
Best Cheap Extra Firm Mattress
Love and Sleep by Nest Bedding
We are moving forward in my selection.
The next model that I decided to include here is the Love & Sleep by Nest Bedding. This top-rated extra firm mattress provides you with refreshing and restorative sleep at a very affordable price.
Let’s see what we have here.
First, this mattress allows you to maintain a neutral spine position whether you love to sleep on the back or stomach. Thanks to the layer of Energex foam, it also provides the needed amount of bounce for those romantic nights. You don’t get stuck in your mattress, as you would with traditional memory foam, and can easily move around the surface.
The second distinctive feature of this cheap extra firm mattress is the adaptive cooling technology. The manufacturer uses a phase-change cover for better temperature regulation throughout the night.
Thus, if you’re looking for an affordable firm bed with a balance between firmness and comfort, then totally go with this model!
Best Extra Firm Innerspring Mattress
The next place in my review is reserved for the Saatva. This is the best extra firm mattress for a bunch of reasons, with the main being the luxurious quality of materials and high responsiveness.
This is one of the few extra firm innerspring mattresses on the market with a ‘coil on coil’ supportive construction — that is, two layers of springs placed atop each other.
The upper layer is the individually wrapped pocketed micro coils, which are among the latest innovations on the marker. They ensure pin-point conforming and eliminate motion transfer. The lower layer is made of a solid steel coil block. Its main features are increased stability, enhanced edge support, and anti-sagging design.
Reviews of this extra firm mattress show that the brand also tries to make its product suitable for people with specific issues. Thus, the mattress has a reinforced foam pad in the lumbar area to help people with back pain make their sleep more rejuvenating.
So, if you’re a fan of a traditional bed with spring blocks but don’t mind a bit of luxury and comfort, then this model by Saatva will definitely appeal to you.
Best Extra Firm Mattress for Heavier Sleepers
Now, you must know how hard it might be to find the right mattress if you’re a large person.
But I’ve got you covered.
The Firm Plus model by WinkBeds is on my list of top-rated extra firm beds because it is designed specifically for heavy sleepers.
The construction of this extra firm mattress for heavy sleepers is targeted to support larger loads and can withstand active use even of two heavy sleepers without sagging. The seven-zone support system of coils aligns your spine and provides enhanced support for the lumbar area.
Motion isolation is key if you have another sleeper by your side. In the WinkBeds, undisturbed sleep is achieved by using polyfoam as the base and edge support foam encasement around the coils. These two absorb unwanted motion, compensating for the bounciness of springs and latex.
By the way, the layer of latex is a great component of the entire construction, as it promotes a healthier microclimate inside the mattress. And the breathable Tencel cover quilted with gel-infused foam improve temperature regulation as well.
Overall, if you’re a larger sleeper who loves sleeping atop the bed rather than getting stuck in it, then this is the mattress you need. It’s also a great option for hot sleepers.
Best Extra Firm Memory Foam Mattress
Loom and Leaf by Saatva
And the last model on my list of the best extra firm mattresses is the Loom & Leaf by Saatva. The manufacturer has put the luxury to a whole new level with this bed. It features a handcrafted quilted cover and four layers of different foams to ensure you the most comfortable nights.
But that’s not it.
The Loom & Leaf offers the cradling feel and pressure relief typical of memory foam while remaining firm and supportive. It contours to your body but doesn’t suck you in like quicksand.
Compared to other similar models, this extra firm memory foam mattress sleeps cooler. First, the organic cotton cover lets the air in. Next, the upper memory foam layer is infused with cooling gel and features an egg-crate design for better air circulation and heat removal.
This mattress will be a great deal for stomach and back sleepers, as it adapts to body curves and allows to maintain a relaxed spine position. If you’re craving five-star hotel comfort in your bedroom, this mattress that looks and feels luxurious is right for you!
How Is Mattress Firmness Measured?
The mattress firmness usually refers to the overall feeling you get when you first lie on your bed. Thus, defining the firmest mattress might be a daunting task if it’s based on subjective human preferences.
That’s why most mattress brands use a universally accepted firmness scale from 1 to 10 points, where 1 refers to a very soft sinking feel, while 10 is the hardest surface you can sleep on, such as rock.
According to this scale, all mattresses are divided into three main groups:
- Soft (3-5 points out of 10). These mattresses are rather plushy and cradling. They offer you generous sinkage and conforming properties.
- Medium (5-7 points out of 10). These have a more balanced feel and adapt to your body weight evenly.
- Firm (7-9 out of 10). If you love the feeling of floating atop your bed and don’t seek much cushioning, then this is your choice.
“Not all mattress brands follow this scale, though. Some refer to a reversed type, where 10 is the softest feel. So, keep that in mind or refer to mattress reviews when searching for needed firmness.”
Pros and Cons of Firm Beds
Now, let’s talk about the pros and cons that define an ultra firm mattress among models with different points on the scale.
So, the main advantages of firm beds are:
- Lower price. This is because they often have fewer comfort layers than softer models. And fewer layers means the production process is less resourceful and less expensive.
- Longer lifespan. Firm beds use a sturdier construction and denser materials for their core layers. Thus, they last longer and are less prone to sagging and indentations during their exploitation period.
- Better cooling properties. The softer mattress offers you more sinkage thus increasing the area of contact between your body and the cushions. This leads to heat retention and may disrupt your sleep because of overheating. Most firm mattresses are often devoid of this drawback.
- Better edge support. If you’re a person who shares a bed with a partner or prefers to sleep close to the edge, enhanced edge support is what you should look for. Compared to soft mattresses, most firmer models have less compression across the entire surface, including the edges.
- Less prone to odors. Because of denser materials, firm mattresses might emit fewer off-gassing. They are more immune to mildew development, which can also cause the funky smell to appear.
- Easier to move. Obviously, the more layers are inside the mattress, the heavier it will be. That’s why if you buy an extra firm Queen mattress or even larger King and Cal King, you’ll still be able to move it with a bit less effort than a thicker, softer mattress would require.
But there are a few cons you should know about:
- Minimal pressure relief. Because you don’t have much sinkage when sleeping on a firm mattress, your pressure points aren’t cradled properly, especially if you’re a side sleeper.
- Sometimes firm mattresses aren’t sex-friendly. The critical factor of the best bed for sex is the balance between motion response and cushioning. Firm mattresses, while being very responsive, might lack proper cushioning, which means that they can make up an uncomfortably hard surface for some people.
- Lower thickness. Again, the thinner the comfort layers, the thinner your mattress will be. Mind that this just isn’t to everyone’s liking.
“Always refer to the overall feel when choosing the perfect firm bed. The best way to define whether a mattress is suitable for you is to test several options with the needed firmness level.”
Also read: Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain
Is a Firm Mattress Right for You?
Now, after defining the key features of a firm bed, you need to make sure it’s the right option for you. Along with personal preferences, you’ll probably benefit from sleeping on an ultra firm mattress if you’re:
- Back sleeper. When you’re sleeping on your back, your spine is in the most relaxed position. You need even support to maintain its natural curves. For some sleepers, sleeping on a firmer bed is the easiest way to achieve it.
- Stomach sleeper. Although sleeping on your stomach is considered the least healthy position, for some people it’s the only way to ensure restorative sleep. So, if you fall asleep on your tummy, you might need a firmer bed that will support your lower back without creating awkward curves.
- Back and joint pain sufferer. Although research mostly shows that memory foam mattresses of medium firmness are best for people who experience different types of pain, a bunch of studies found that a firm mattress can be more beneficial for some categories of people. In particular, that’s the elderly who might have difficulty switching between positions during sleep because of their pain. Firmer beds are easier to move around, as you don’t sink into them too deeply.
- Heavy person. If your BMI is 30 or more, then softer mattresses will probably feel like a hammock for you. A firmer bed with a proper support system will distribute your weight more evenly.
- Hot sleepers. Again, a firm bed won’t allow you to sink into it. Thus, you won’t be trapped in the heat.
“Children may also benefit from sleeping on a firmer bed. As their spine and bones are still growing, they need to be properly aligned to prevent protrusions and scoliosis. Also, infants and newborns are recommended to sleep on firm surfaces to avoid risks of suffocation and SIDS.”
People Who Don’t Have to Sleep on a Super Firm Mattress
So, you’ve learned about the types of people who may receive the most beneficial sleep on a firm bed. Now, you may want to check if you’re falling into any of the three groups of people who certainly need to choose softer beds, according to mattress reviews and science:
- Lightweight sleepers. Thin people just don’t have enough weight to sink into a firm mattress. Thus, their bed will seem even firmer for them, and even the presence of a pillow top layer won’t help them achieve the desired comfort.
- Older people. This is rather a controversial point. As I’ve mentioned above, an old person might benefit from a firm bed if they suffer from chronic pains. Yet, the benefits of softer mattresses for older people are their cradling properties and ability to retain heat (due to the fact that thermoregulation impairs with age).
- Side sleepers. Side sleeping is the most common position among Americans. However, firm beds aren’t the best option to achieve good shut-eye if you’re a side sleeper, because you need more cradling for your protruding hips and shoulders. A softer mattress will serve much better for this.
“If you have acid reflux or suffer from sleep apnea, then your doctor might recommend that you sleep on your side. In this case, a firm mattress will not be the bed of choice for you.”
Also read: Best Mattresses Under $1000
Checklist for Finding the Perfect Firm Bed
- Consider dual firmness. If you have another sleeper by your side, who has totally different firmness preferences, you obviously don’t need to purchase an extra firm King mattress. That would be a self-centered decision. Instead, consider choosing models with different firmness on the left and the right side. Thus, the needs of both partners will be counted in.
- Add some layers. Remember that your perception of firmness may change while using the bed. Or, you may find the mattress to be too firm for you when your free trial period is already expired. In such cases, you may be able to alter the feel by using a mattress topper or pad.
- Choose flippable mattresses. If you are still not sure about the firmness you need, browse the Web for a flippable bed. These models have different firmness levels on both sides, so you can flip your bed and use the second sleeping surface in case you don’t like the first one.
- Find the right pillow. A suitable pillow is as crucial for your rest as the mattress itself. For a firm bed, you need a higher and firmer pillow, especially if you’re a side sleeper. Softer models with small loft won’t provide enough support for your neck, and you may wake up with pain.
- Take the most from trials. If you’re buying a bed online, you can make use of an extended trial period that most online brands will gladly offer to their customers. During this period, you can expect a hassle-free refund if you find out that the mattress isn’t suitable for you for some reason. Typically, these trials vary from 90 t0 120 days, which is pretty long compared to the standard return period in the brick-and-mortar store.
- Check the warranty coverage. After your trial ends, you may still count on a mattress replacement or a refund if the purchased product appears to be defective. Most mattress brands guarantee that the sagging depth will be not deeper than a level specified in the warranty conditions. If the mattress sags below that level, you can use the warranty. Sagging is just one of the possible defects covered by warranty, though.