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Sleeping on a cloud doesn’t work for everyone.
In fact, some people would rather lay on a stiffer bed than on a squishy soft mattress. If you are one of them, you may find this guide helpful.
We are going to look at the 4 best extra-firm mattresses and learn what aspects to consider when shopping. So, let’s get started!
A Quick Preview
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Second Best Choice
Saatva (Firm Option)
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Best for Heavier Users
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Firm Mattress for Hot Sleepers
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Key Decision Factors for Choosing the Best Extra Firm Mattress
The key decision factors for choosing the best extra firm mattress include its ability to support, its edge support, and how much sinkage it offers.
Some mattresses have specific zoned supports, while others have firm cores or fewer comfort layers. A strong edge support can improve the strength of the mattress overall and increase its firm feel. Mattresses that have less sinkage are also typically more firm.
|Key Factor||How to Measure|
|Firmness||Mattresses with firmness ratings between 8 and 10 from our tests are considered extra firm.|
|Edge Support||Edge support should be no more than 4 inches. This means the mattress is stable enough to support a person’s weight.|
|Sinkage||A minimal sinkage of around 1-2 inches recorded is usually a good indicator that the mattress is extra firm.|
Extra Firm Mattresses - Our Tests
When testing mattresses to see if they can be called extra firm, we look at their ability to support, edge support, and sinkage.
Testing a mattress's ability to support a sleeper includes taking the layers apart, checking its core, and understanding how dense the layers or coils are and how much weight they might hold. Edge support is tested by sitting on the edge of the mattress and measuring the compressions.
Sinkage is measured by lying in the center of the mattress and recording sinkage on different body parts. We also used a weighted ball (or a big water bottle) for this test.
You can read more about other factors we test for here.
List of 4 Best Extra Firm Mattresses
Editor's Choice - Plank Mattress
- Durability is increased with the mattress' flippable option.
- Provides superb lumbar support as well as spinal alignment.
- It comes equipped with an optional cooling cover excellent for temperature regulation.
- Mattress construction is specifically engineered to improve breathing and proper blood flow.
Tired of searching for a mattress that is firm enough to your taste? Or maybe, you aren’t sure which firmness you need? The Plank mattress by Brooklyn Bedding can be a solution in both cases. Its 2-in-1 firmness can help you choose the right feel and will offer unbeatable spinal support no matter what your final choice will be.
According to the manufacturer, the mattress has a Firm (8/10) and Ultra Firm (10/10) sides. The former offers just a drop of sinkage to relieve pressure in your back and shoulders, while the latter delivers a truly floating feel and offers some benefits for your circulatory system.
Now, beds like the Plank typically sleep cooler but you can ask for an additional cooling panel just in case. This panel is made of phase-change materials (PCMs) that can ensure comfortable sleep throughout the year.
Now, being one of the best extra firm mattresses, the Plank also comes with great edge support. Brooklyn Bedding states that they use the most durable and firmest foams in the industry, so you can expect a sturdy perimeter for a longer time.
Even though The Ultra-Firm side seems pretty hard at first, it’s quite supportive and comfortable to sleep on. And the regular Firm side can offer you a good level of pressure relief and proper spinal support.
The Plank is by far the most exceptionally firm mattress I’ve reviewed, with a sinkage measurement of only 1 inch on its Extra Firm side, and 2 inches on its Firm side. Less sinkage means more support, but also less contouring. That means the Plank will feel more comfortable for heavier sleepers on the Extra Firm side, and more comfortable for light-weight sleepers on the Firm side. This contrasts Puffy, with a sinkage of as much as 2.5 inches.
Design and Construction
The construction of the Plank emphasizes support with its minimal comfort layers of 0.75 inches on the Extra Firm side and 2.75 inches on the Firm side. This puts me in contact with the high-density core much quicker, and I have fewer layers to sink into, so I feel straighter and more comfortable on my back.
The cooling cover feels cool to the touch due to its Phase Change Material composition, and it helped keep me cool. The minimal sinkage also plays a role in keeping heat away, as I was less in heat-retaining memory foam layers.
The Plank’s 6-inch high-density core is made to take on more weight to handle pressure over a more extended period than other models.
Key Decision Factors
Firmness: When testing the Plank, I noticed its firmness heavily depended on its minimal comfort layers and high-density core, and rated the Firm side as 8.5. The Extra Firm side had only 0.75 inches of comfort materials, which immediately put me closer to the high-density core, and kept my spine super straight, so I rated its firmness as 9.5.
Edge Support: The Plank also had decent edge support, which I measured at 4.3 on its Extra Firm side.
Sinkage: The Plank’s sinkage is also incredibly minimal, measured at only 1 inch on its Extra Firm side, which can keep you comfortable while emphasizing spinal alignment.
Based on our Tests
From my findings, the Plank was excellent for spinal support, especially on its Extra Firm side. I was well supported while on my back and stomach, and the cooling cover helped me feel more comfortable while sleeping.
Read our full Plank mattress review for more information.
- Back sleepers. The Plank’s extra firm side uses minimal comfort layers, which can be helpful in keeping the spine straight and tension-free.
- Hot sleepers. The GlacioTex cooling cover can help draw away heat. This, along with the minimal sinkage, mean you’re never trapped in heat-retaining layers. This can help you get better sleep that’s free of night sweats.
- Active couples. The Plank’s edge support and firm surface area provide a good base for freedom of movement, which can be helpful for couples.
- Excellent firmness on its Extra Firm side
- Cooling cover helps draw away heat
- Good edge support
- Good durability thanks to its high-density core
- Cover feels a bit slippery when sitting on the edge
- Too firm for lightweight sleepers
Second Best Choice - Saatva (Firm Option)
- offers precise contouring thanks to the coil-on-coil construction;
- reinforced edge support feature that affords users with more space.
- additional lumbar layer for spine support.
Saatva is one of the best extra firm mattresses for a bunch of reasons, with the main being the luxurious quality of materials and high responsiveness.
This is one of the few 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 market. 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.
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.
Saatva has excellent edge support, partially due to its coil base, but also due to its dedicated foam perimeter. Its edge compressions are around 3.2 inches, which is relatively moderate compared to other models. The AS3, for example, has edge compressions totaling 5.4 inches, which can feel a bit too much, especially if you want a firm mattress.
Design and Construction
The cover of the Saatva is made of hypoallergenic material, which can help you stay symptom-free if you’re sensitive to allergens.
Under the cover is 3 inches of cushioning foam that can spread your weight over a larger space. I felt cradled while lying down, but I was also well-supported.
The lumbar technology below the foam comprises a thin, high-density foam layer and reinforced coils in the center third of the mattress, which supports the hips and lumbar more. I enjoyed the freedom of movement while lying on the coils, and I noticed the edge support let me use the entire width.
Key Decision Factors
Firmness: The Saatva uses unique lumbar technology to support the spine, earning a rating of 8. From my first-hand experience, I was well supported under my hips, while I experienced some give for my shoulders while lying on my side.
Edge Support: Using a high-density foam perimeter, I noticed the edge felt softer than a standard reinforced coil perimeter. However, it still gets the job done, increasing the usable surface of the mattress.
Sinkage: The Saatva has moderate sinkage due to its cushioning euro pillow top. I was cradled in the top layers without sinking too much, well-balanced by the lumbar technology and coils below.
Based on our Tests
Using my first-hand experience, the Saatva not only conformed and cradled but also supported. I noticed the Saatva lifted my hips, and I had extra support in the center third of the mattress, which was convenient when I turned on my side, as my shoulders had more give to sink comfortably.
Read our full Saatva mattress review for more information.
- Back sleepers. The lumber technology within the Saatva mattress does an excellent job of keeping the spine straight and responding well to extra pressure over a long time, which can be good for back sleepers to stay tension-free.
- Restless partners. The conforming euro pillow top does well to isolate motion, which can help you sleep undisturbed even if you have a partner that tosses and turns.
- Sleepers who prefer non-toxic components. The flame barrier in the Saatva Mattress is plant-based and non-toxic, a cleaner, more environmentally friendly, and safer solution for sensitive sleepers.
- Excellent lumbar support
- Good pressure relief due to its cushioning pillow top
- A chemical-free flame barrier as a non-toxic option
- Feels and looks like a 5-star luxury mattress
- Is a bit expensive for a tight budget
- Top of the mattress may feel too cushioning for heavier individuals
Best for Heavier Users - Winkbeds
- comes in an extra-firm variation to ensure reliable support for heavier individuals;
- combines breathable materials, making it great for hot sleepers;
- zoned construction to offer adaptive support and aid proper spinal alignment during sleep.
Now, you must know how hard it might be to find the right mattress if you’re a large person...
Well, don’t worry, WinkBeds has you covered.
The Firm Plus model by WinkBeds is on this list of top-rated extra firm beds because it is designed specifically for heavy users.
The construction of this mattress 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 person 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.
From my tests, I found WinkBed to have some of the best bounce, measuring its total bounce value at 9.89 inches with my testing object. WinkBed’s bounce is mainly due to its strong coils, which contrasts models like Zoma, made of all-foam with a bounce value of 8.45 inches. Good bounce means the coils can better support heavier users.
Design and Construction
The Winkbed offers a unique Tencel cover that I noticed felt cool. Along with the gel memory foam euro pillow-top and breathable coils, I never had an issue with overheating.
The memory foam doubles as a cushioning layer for pressure relief, and I felt my muscles release their tension while lying down.
Regarding support, the Winkbed has a coil system made to provide even support to the body, and a reinforced edge that further enhances the strength of the overall bed. Despite being cradled, I never felt like I would sink too low and become misaligned.
Key Decision Factors
Firmness: The Winkbed has good firmness due to its 5 inches of comfort layers well-balanced by its pocketed coils, which I rated at 6.5. I could lie down with my spine well-supported and have freedom of movement due to the springiness of the coils.
Edge Support: The reinforced coils around the perimeter offer excellent edge support, where I measured compressions of only 2.25 inches. This is much less than the maximum edge support of 4 inches, which is about as high as compressions should be to have a stable surface. That means you can easily use the entire bed width without issues.
Sinkage: The Winkbed measures about 2.36 inches from our review, enough sinkage to feel enveloped but not so you’re stuck in the layers.
Based on our Tests
During my trial and error, the Winkbed felt firm enough for my back and thighs to sink in comfortably while supporting my lumbar and hips. Thanks to the responsive coils, I noticed a lot of tension relief and freedom of movement.
Read our full Winkbed mattress review for more information.
- Hot sleepers. The mix of a Tencel cover, gel memory foam, and breathable coils helps wick away excess heat from your body, improving sleep quality and keeping you from waking up in the night due to heat build-up.
- Sleepers who enjoy sleeping on or near the edge. The reinforced coils along the perimeter of the Winkbed help ensure you’re supported, even if you’re sitting or lying near the edge, which allows you to use the entire bed with peace of mind.
- Combination sleepers. The Winkbed’s mix of coils and soft gel memory foam cradle and cushion your shoulders on your side and support your spine on your back. The responsive coils also allow you the freedom to change sleeping positions quickly.
- The cover is cool to the touch
- Excellent responsive coils
- Great edge support
- Euro pillow-top looks appealing
- Moderate motion isolation
- Non-removable cover, making it harder to keep clean
Best Firm Mattress for Hot Sleepers — Novosbed
- the optional Comfort+ layer can make your mattress even firmer for better spinal alignment.
- tencel cover and open-cell foam help to disperse heat, keeping you cooler.
- the top cover is removable and easy to wash, helping keep your bed feeling fresh.
The Novosbed is my best firm mattress for hot sleepers due to its cooling technology, unique Comfort+ layer, and removable top cover. With a surface temperature of 85.1 degrees Fahrenheit, the Novosbed’s cool-to-the-touch Tencel cover and open-cell memory foam work together to create better airflow, dispersing heat and keeping your temperature neutral. This is cooler than the Winkbed (a hybrid with its own cooling properties) by 4.5%, plus the Novosbed minimal sinkage of 1.92 inches keeps you out of heat-trapping layers more, increasing the coolness effect.
By itself, the Novosbed (the Firm option) feels Firm, but with the firm Comfort+, the Novosbed can feel Extra Firm, helping keep your spine in neutral, tension-free alignment. In addition, the removable top cover is something worth mentioning. It’s removed via zippers in just 2-3 seconds and can be washed, keeping your room feeling fresh.
Design and Construction
The Novosbed comes with 4 inches of comfort layers and 2 inches of open-cell memory foam, which was soft and contouring. However, I didn’t sink into the layers too much, meaning its supportive base at 7 inches thick does an excellent job of keeping my spine straight and my body on an even plane.
If you’re sensitive to the environment, the Novosbed does come with a zippable cover, which can be easily removed and washed. The cover itself feels cool as it’s made up of Tencel fabric which, along with the open-cell foam below, helped me stay cool.
Key Decision Factors
Firmness: The Novosbed’s 4 inches of comfort materials is enough to cradle and provide weight redistribution for pressure relief, which I rated at a 7. I was well-supported while lying on both my stomach and back.
Edge Support: Measuring 4.1 inches for compressions along the edge, the Novosbed has the right amount of sinkage to ensure you can use the entire bed width. From my review, I never felt like I was at risk of falling off while lying close to the edge.
Sinkage: From my hands-on experience, the Novosbed’s sinkage measured at 1.92 inches, a bit less than the parameter of 2 inches. That means the Novosbed will feel more firm simply due to not sinking in the layers too deeply, highlighting its strong core beneath the comfort layers. From my review, I noticed the sinkage was very strong on my side and may feel too firm for lightweight side sleepers.
Based on our Tests
From our review, the Novosbed has enough support to feel comfortable on my back and stomach but may feel too firm while on my side. Its mix of a breathable cover and open-cell foam does help regulate heat, though, and I never felt hot during the night.
Read our full Novosbed mattress review for more information.
- Active couples. The mix of decent edge support and a firm base ensures you have a stable area that allows freedom of movement and enough bounce. This helps so you’re not feeling stuck in unresponsive layers.
- Heavy sleepers. The minimal sinkage means heavier sleepers can use the supportive core in the Novosbed, experiencing a straight spine and lifted hips that will help release muscle tension.
- Sensitive sleepers. With the ability to remove the cover with easy-to-use zippers and wash it, sensitive sleepers can keep their sleeping space clean and allergen-free more easily and quickly.
- Easy-to-remove cover
- Cradling layers for weight re-distribution
- Has a supportive core for increased durability
- May sag under too much pressure
- May feel too firm for sensitive or lightweight sleepers
How Is Mattress Firmness Measured?
Measuring the mattress firmness usually refers to the overall feeling you get when you first lie on the 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 concrete.
According to this scale, all mattresses are divided into three main groups:
- Soft (3-5 on the firmness scale). Such mattresses are plushy and cradling. Many of them feel like a cloud, with a generous hug and plenty of give. This firmness level is mainly suited for petite individuals, side sleepers, and people with tender joints.
- Medium to medium-firm (5-7 on the firmness scale). Such mattresses have a more balanced feel. They are neither too soft nor too stiff. This firmness level is typically favored by combination sleepers, back sleepers, and average-weight individuals.
- Firm (7-8 on the firmness scale). These mattresses deliver firm support and make sleepers feel like they float atop the bed. There isn’t much cushioning in this case. Such mattresses are usually ideal for strict stomach sleepers and heavier individuals.
- Extra-firm (9-10 on the firmness scale). Of course, it might be challenging to find a real 10, but such mattresses do exist. An extra-firm model would have minimal cushioning while delivering sturdy support. Such mattresses can handle an impressive weight load. They are typically recommended to overweight sleepers who require more substantial support.
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.
Also Read: Mattresses for Osteoporosis
What are the Pros and Cons of an Extra-Firm Mattress?
The pros of an extra-firm mattress include a lower price, longer lifespan, and better edge support, while the cons of an extra-firm mattress include less pressure relief, less response, and less mattress thickness.
The main advantages of extra-firm beds are:
- Lower price. This is because they often have fewer comfort layers than softer models. And fewer layers means the production process requires less resources and costs less.
- Longer lifespan. Firm beds are sturdier in construction and use denser materials for their core layers. This means they last longer and are less prone to sagging and indentations.
However, this aspect would depend on the foundation. Even an extra-firm mattress can develop soft sports and lose its supportive properties if it’s not supportive enough. Now, solid foundations usually deliver firm, reliable support. Slatted models must make sure the slats aren’t spaced too far from each other.
- 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 softer mattresses, most extra firm models have less compression across the entire surface, including the edges.
- Less prone to odours. Because of the denser materials used, really firm mattresses can release fewer gaseous chemicals. They are also more immune to mildew development, which can also cause a funky smell to appear.
- Easier to move. Obviously, the more layers inside the mattress, the heavier it will be. That’s why if you buy a queen-sized mattress, larger king, or Cal king, you’ll still be able to move it with less effort than a thicker, softer mattress.
- Less likely to cause overheating. Extra-firm mattresses don’t usually envelop the sleeper (unlike softer models). And less of a hug means fewer chances for heat retention. Therefore, extra-firm mattresses can be an excellent solution for chronic hot sleepers.
There are a few drawbacks of extra-firm beds you should know about:
- Minimal pressure relief. Because you don’t have much sinkage or hug when sleeping on a firm mattress, your pressure points aren’t cradled properly, especially if you’re a side sleeper.
- Sometimes extra-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. Keep in mind that this just isn’t to everyone’s liking.
- Not usually compatible with sleeping on one side. This sleeping style is the most common, which means an extra-firm mattress might not work for a very wide range of users. The thing is, when sleeping on one side on a firm mattress, users can experience sore pressure points. Elbows and hips would push against the surface of the mattress instead of being hugged by the comfort layers. This usually causes pressure build-up and often - pain.
Always refer to the overall feel when choosing the perfect 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: Top-rated Alaskan King Mattresses
Is an Extra-Firm Mattress Right for You?
Now, after defining the key features of a 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 a:
- 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.
- Person with circulatory problems. An extra-firm mattress keeps your spine in the neutral position, thus reducing the pressure on your muscles, organs, and overall system. And since there are no pinched and squeezed blood vessels, you can maintain healthy blood circulation through the night.
- Back pain sufferer. Although research mostly shows that medium firmness is best for people who experience back pain (1), some studies found that firmer beds may bring more pain relief than softer ones (2). The thing is, a firm mattress is likelier to help sleepers maintain a properly aligned, neutral spine during the night. A stiffer mattress can prevent unwanted sinkage and spine curvatures, keeping it relatively straight and thus, preventing pressure (and pain) build-up in certain areas of the back.
- People with somewhat limited mobility (for instance, due to back or hip pain). Because firmer mattresses aren’t hugging, they aren’t likely to restrict one’s movement either. Additionally, stiff models have stronger edges. This could come in handy for those users who find it a bit difficult to get out of bed. They can rely on the mattress’s edges, press into them, and get a little boost to stand up. With a softer mattress, that would be quite hard.
- 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. Sleeping on a firm mattress feels like lying on top of it instead of being cradled by the comfort layers. Therefore, because users aren’t enveloped by the mattress, they usually don’t experience heat retention when using firmer models.
- Financial constraints. If you're in the market for a mattress that won't eat too deep into your funds, the extra firm mattress is right for you. In addition, it's one of the least expensive mattresses on the market as its makeup does not require as many resources as other mattress types.
- Partners. If you're a couple or you happen to have a roommate with whom you share a mattress, an extra firm mattress might just be the thing you need. Extra firm mattresses boast strong edges, allowing you to keep to your side of the bed without sinking in or falling off. They are also sturdy enough to shoulder the combined weight of two individuals without sagging.
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 the risk of suffocation and SIDS.
Also Read: Olympic Queen Mattresses
Sleeper Types That May Not Benefit from an Extra Firm Mattress
So, you’ve learned about the types of people who may receive the most beneficial sleep on a firm mattress. 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 level of comfort.
- Older people. Firmness is an excellent option that will benefit seniors; however, medium-firm is typically considered a reasonable firmness, as anything more may feel too firm and cause soreness. On the other hand, an average firmness can help cradle sore joints and help keep the heat in (which is helpful if the senior gets cold easily.)
- Side sleepers. Side sleeping is the most common position among Americans. However, ultra-firm mattresses aren’t the best option to achieve good shut-eye if you’re a side sleeper (3), because you need more cradling for your protruding hips and shoulders. A softer mattress will serve much better for you. I'm a side sleeper, so check the picture below to get to know more about side sleeping on firm mattresses.
If you have acid reflux or suffer from sleep apnea, then your doctor or health practitioner might recommend sleeping on your side. In this case, a firm mattress will not be the bed of choice for you. However, make sure you consult your doctor first.
How to Choose the Best Extra Firm Mattress
Okay, so you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided that a firm mattress is the bed you want. Here are some other points to keep in mind before making your final purchase:
- Dual firmness on the mattress.
- Add some layers to change the mattress's firmness.
- Choose a flippable mattress.
- Find a supportive pillow for your mattress.
- Your mattress’s free trial period.
- Warranty coverage of your mattress.
- Edge support of your mattress.
- Cooling components of your mattress.
- Motion isolation of your mattress.
- Mattress materials.
- Mattress thickness.
- Mattress support system.
- Mattress density.
- Choose a mattress based on your sleeping style.
Mattress Dual Firmness
If you have a partner who has a totally different firmness preference, you’ll likely not want to purchase an extra-firm king mattress, unless you’re happy sleeping on the couch. Instead, consider choosing models with different firmness levels on both the left and right side. This allows for the needs of both partners to be satisfied.
Change the Mattress's Firmness With Layers
Remember that your perception of firmness may change as you get used to your new bed. Or, you may find the mattress feels too firm shortly after your free trial period expires. In this case, you may be able to alter the feel by adding a mattress topper or cushioning pad. You can add extra layers on top of the cover or place them under the cover if the mattress construction allows you to do that. Some brands offers this solution (Novosbed for example), here how it looks like:
If you are still not sure about the firmness you need, search for a flippable bed. These models have different firmness levels on both sides, so you can flip your mattress and use the second sleeping surface if you end up not liking the first one.
Supportive Pillow for Your Mattress
A suitable pillow is as crucial for your rest as the mattress itself. For a firm bed, you might want to choose a higher, firmer pillow, especially if you’re a side sleeper. Softer models with a small loft won’t provide enough support for your neck, and you may wake up in pain.
Mattress Free Trial Period
If you’re buying a bed online, you can make use of an extended trial period. Most online brands will gladly offer you this option, if you ask. During this period, you can expect a hassle-free refund if you find the mattress isn’t suitable for you. Typically, these trials vary from 90–120 days, which is pretty long compared to the standard return period in a brick-and-mortar store.
Mattress Warranty Coverage
After your trial ends, you may still be eligible for mattress replacement or a full refund if the purchased product appears to be defective. Most mattress brands guarantee the sagging depth will be not deeper than the level specified in the warranty conditions. If the mattress sags below that level, you can use the warranty to get a new mattress. Sagging is just one of the possible defects covered by warranty.
Mattress Edge Support
Strong edges may really be helpful if you and your partner require more space or simply like to sleep near the edge. Most firmer mattresses have reliable edges, especially if we are talking about hybrid models. Now, as for foam mattresses, their edges tend to compress more. You might still find extra-firm foam mattresses that have strong edges, but not all of them can support one’s body properly during sleep. So, it’s always better to check the reviews first and see what people have to say about the edge support of the model you are considering.
Mattress Cooling Components
Even though most firm mattresses aren’t likely to retain heat, some sleepers may require a bit extra to remain cool during the night. Now, innerspring and latex mattresses usually perform the best in terms of thermoregulation. Hybrid models can also sleep cool, especially those with firmer comfort layers. As for the foam, it might be a better idea to choose mattresses that have an open-cell structure. They are more breathable and can keep hot sleepers cool during the night. Another solution could be gel-infused foam. The gel particles trap the excess heat, keeping the sleeper sweat-free.
Mattress Motion Isolation
Firmer mattresses tend to be more responsive, which means your significant other might feel every move you make in bed. In this case, it might be a good idea to stick to memory foam models. Firm latex and hybrid mattresses can feel too bouncy for couples, especially if one of them is a restless sleeper.
The best materials for an extra firm mattress include memory foam (such as the Plank), hybrid (like the Winkbed), and latex. Memory foam can cradle and evenly spread your body’s weight, so you’re better supported. Hybrids utilize foam and coils that can be more responsive; however, latex is typically the best option for responsiveness, ease of movement in bed, and firm, cradling support. Each of these materials is known for its durability, ensuring that your mattress lasts a long time.
The mattress thickness plays a vital role in how firm your mattress feels, as thickness affects a mattress’s integrity and ability to support your weight. A mattress should be at least 10 inches tall to have enough materials to support your body adequately.
Mattress Support System
The support system in your mattress is vital for choosing the right extra firm mattress and can come in the form of a high-density core (such as the Plank) or a robust innerspring system (like the Winkbed.) A suitable support system means that the mattress will be anti-sagging and can handle extra weight over a more extended period, supporting you night after night. Support systems can also take the form of lumbar technology, such as Saatva, which provides targeted support to your spine and hips via firm foams and coils in specific mattress areas.
The mattress density also is critical to consider when choosing the best extra firm mattress, as the density of memory foam can significantly impact how a mattress feels. A higher density makes the memory foam slower to adapt to movement; however, it is more pressure-relieving and able to hold up more weight and keep the spine in better alignment, and is more resistant to sag and impressions and will last longer. On the other hand, a lower density can react fast, but compresses more easily, supports less, and is prone to collapsing faster and becoming unsupportive. 4-6 pounds is considered a high-density foam, with 6 being the highest density usually available.
Choose a Mattress Based on Your Sleeping Style
Choosing an extra-firm mattress based on your sleeping style is essential, as extra firm may feel better for back and stomach sleepers. Side sleepers, however, may feel the pressure build up in their shoulders and hips as more weight is placed on these two minor points.
What Is the Best Type of Extra-Firm Mattresses?
Even in the extra-firm category, there are plenty of mattresses to choose from.
That’s why it can often be hard for some shoppers to find the best option among the available models.
However, understanding the differences between mattress types can help users narrow down the list and single out something that would be ideal for them.
So, here are the main types of firm mattresses:
- Memory foam. Foam mattresses are loved by countless sleepers, and there are many reasons for that. Foam is famous for its pressure-alleviating properties. It’s an adaptive material that fills in the body curves and allows for a gentle hug where needed. As a result, this usually leads to proper weight distribution and reduced levels of pressure. Foam is also quite popular among couples. Such mattresses respond slowly to pressure and don’t offer much of a bounce. Therefore, they can absorb shock from movement effectively, which is crucial for undisturbed partnered sleep. Now, foam is notorious for trapping heat, but it’s not very likely for extra-firm mattresses to cause such issues.
- Innerspring. Spring mattresses are among the most affordable options on the market. They are quite resilient and bouncy, which sometimes can be an issue for partnered sleepers (as shock from motion can easily travel from one side of the bed to the other). However, this works great for combination sleepers. They can move and shift in bed without feeling restricted. Innerspring mattresses are also famous for their thermoregulating properties. Because coils allow the air to circulate freely, spring models don’t sleep hot. They also have extra-sturdy edges, which makes getting out of bed easier (and creates more sleeping space for users).
- Hybrid. This mattress type is ideal for someone who wants the best from the two worlds, as hybrids use both coils and foam (sometimes also latex). Coils serve as a resilient base, while foam or latex are used for the comfort layers. As a result, hybrid mattresses often have a very balanced feel - neither too bouncy nor too cradling. They can be quite expensive, though. Additionally, hybrid models tend to be extra-thick and bulkier than many other mattresses, which makes them difficult to transport.
- Latex. It is possible to find an extra-firm latex mattress, but the number of options would be a bit limited. Latex is similar to memory foam - it is adaptive and cradling. Plus, it does an excellent job of alleviating pressure. At the same time, latex responds fast to pressure, so it’s not as restricting or hugging as foam. This mattress type belongs to the most expensive category, so shoppers should keep this aspect in mind. That being said, latex mattresses are also among the most durable ones. Another strong suit of this material is its ability to resist bacteria growth and dust mites. This makes latex mattresses a great solution for sleepers who often have to deal with environmental allergies.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing an Extra-firm Mattress
Apart from the already listed tips for finding the best extra-firm mattress on the market, here are a few more factors to consider;
The cost of a mattress is not supposed to come at the detriment of your budget. Choose a mattress that offers incredible value for money, as the features available should be commensurate with the price being paid. However, it is also important to note that top-notch mattresses with many sleep improving features cost more than their counterparts.
This particular factor is especially vital for allergy sufferers. An hypoallergenic mattress is meant to combat the likes of bacteria, mold, dust motes, dirt, and other allergy causing irritants. Furthermore, having a removable cover also enhances the mattress maintenance process as it can be easily washed when due.
- Sleeping Position
An extra-firm mattress is not for everyone, and this is because sleeping positions differ. Extra-firm mattresses offer little to no sinkage, which is a vital part of side sleeping. However, heavier persons, stomach sleepers, lightweight sleepers, and back sleepers can use an extra-firm mattress, given the level of lumbar support and spinal alignment it provides.
- Reviews/Customer Feedback
Going online to check for complaints or usage advice from other users can save one a lot of stress when choosing an extra-firm mattress. In addition, people tend to trust the word of a fellow buyer more than that of the industry in situations like this.
Also Read: Mattresses Without a Box Spring
Where to Shop for an Extra-Firm Mattress
There are only two generally known choices as far as shopping is concerned. Shopping online or going to your preferred local store to browse through.
Local store shopping can occur at your local mattress store, furniture store, or even some bed and bath stores. Going to a physical store allows you to try an extra firm mattress in person to see if the firmness level is something you can see yourself sleeping on for an extended period. There are also sales associates available that can tell you more about the mattress you have your eye on, such as how dense the memory foam is, and what materials make up the base and comfort layers.
Online shopping, however, may be more convenient for you as you can browse a more comprehensive range from the comfort of your home. In addition, online stores' prices are mostly lower than the regular store price. They also allow you to choose by yourself without being convinced otherwise, as is sometimes done by a salesperson at a regular store.
They are open at all times, allowing you to browse through the options without any hassle; all you have to do is just make up your mind about what you're going for. Delivery also happens to be one of the advantages of the online store, as your mattress will be directly carted to you instead of you going through the extra effort of hauling it home from the local store by yourself.
Promotional sales are also an added perk of online shopping; although the local brick-and-mortar store engages in this, online stores do it more often and more frequently, providing users with the opportunity to save more of their money.
Are extra-firm mattresses good for the back?
Extra-firm mattresses are good for the back, especially for heavier sleepers. A firmer mattress can keep the spine properly supported and thus, aligned. This is a crucial step towards keeping one's back healthy.
Will an ultra-firm mattress become softer over time?
An ultra-firm mattress will become softer over time, as the material of the layers will start wearing off eventually. However, for quality models, this doesn’t usually happen for many years.
Who shouldn't get an ultra-firm mattress?
Side sleepers shouldn’t get ultra-firm mattresses. An overly stiff sleeping surface can cause painful pressure points in the shoulders and hips when sleeping on one side. The same rule applies to lightweight individuals (and all sleep positions).
As you can see, even though you know your preferred firmness level of your ideal mattress, there are lots of other points to consider before buying a mattress. I hope that this guide has answered all the questions you might encounter when shopping and has given you several worthy candidates to consider as your next mattress.
Remember that extra-firm mattress definitely isn’t the most common choice. However, some sleepers — such as those who sleep on their stomach or are on the heavier side — may benefit from this firmness level. To make the most of your purchase, be sure to opt for models with denser foams that maintain their shape, or choose hybrids with a solid steel unit that typically feels firmer than individually wrapped coils.
In my opinion, the Plank by Brooklyn Bedding is the best extra firm mattress for its high firmness and focus on spinal alignment. This mattress offers the luxury of two different firmness levels thanks to its flippable design, while sleeping comfortably cool, which so many users appreciate!
Do you know the firmness level of your current mattress? After reading this article, would you consider swapping it for a different one?
I’m curious to know — which model from this list is the most appealing to you?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
- Francisco M. Kovacs, Víctor Abraira, Andrés Peña, José Gerardo Martín-Rodríguez, Manuel Sánchez-Vera, Enrique Ferrer, Domingo Ruano, Pedro Guillén, Mario Gestoso, Alfonso Muriel, Javier Zamora, María Teresa Gil del Real, Nicole Mufraggi (2003, November 15). Effect of Firmness of Mattress on Chronic Non-Specific Low-Back Pain: Randomised, Double-Blind, Controlled, Multicentre Trial. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14630439/
- S. R. Garfin, S. A. Pye (February 1981) Bed Design and Its Effect on Chronic Low Back Pain--A Limited Controlled Trial. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6453325/
- Richard Shaehler, MD (2017, October 25). Considerations When Choosing a Mattress. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/considerations-when-choosing-mattress
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