The best mattress for every type of sleeper, according to our rigorous testing

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Your mattress is the most important part of your sleep setup, so it goes without saying that finding the right one is critical to your sleep quality and comfort.

That’s why I tested two dozen mattresses for this guide, relied on the reviews of colleagues, and consulted with Michael Breus, Ph.D., a board-certified psychologist in clinical sleep disorders and also known as “The Sleep Doctor,” and Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at the Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Institute of South Florida.

I’ve been testing mattresses for more than four years to determine the best, and while that decision is ultimately subjective, our testing results are objective: you can read how we test mattresses here. Unless noted otherwise, each mattress I tested was a Queen because it’s the most popular size. Every one of our picks below performed well in our tests, has a long risk-free home trial, is easy to unbox and set up, and can be returned – although some brands will deduct certain fees.

For context, I’m a side and stomach sleeper and my wife is a back sleeper – between the two of us, we’ve got all the major sleeping styles covered. You can find more details of how we tested, models we tested that missed the cut, and how to shop for a mattress at the end of the guide.

Here are the best mattresses of 2021

Best mattresses by type:

Best mattresses by comfort:

Best mattresses by sleep style and body type:

Best mattresses by price:

Best foam

Best foam mattress 2021 Tempur Pedic Cloud

The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress features contouring foam that cradles sleepers of all body types and sleeping styles while offering outstanding pressure relief and heat dissipation.

Pros: Great heat dissipation, outstanding motion isolation, 90-night trial, 10 inches thick with 3 layers of supportive and comforting Tempur foam that caters to all sleeping types

Cons: A shipping charge is deducted from your refund if you choose to return your bed, unimpressive edge support, no white-glove delivery

The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress arrives in a box now like many other brands; you just open the box, remove the mattress, cut through the plastic, and unroll. Like many foam mattresses, it had an odor that dissipated after a few hours. 

There are three foam layers: a soft and responsive comfort top layer, a firmer support layer, and finally, a supportive and durable base. The polyester-blend stretch cover is moisture-wicking and breathes well. 

I was struck by how the patented foam contoured to my body and offered impressive pressure relief. I was comfortable on my stomach and side, and my wife, who is a back sleeper, also enjoyed the feel. During testing, I was able to fall asleep within minutes of laying down

Unlike most all-foam mattresses, the Cloud didn’t overheat. When I got up at night, the heat dissipated making it cool enough to fall right back asleep when I got back in bed. The Cloud also passed my objective motion isolation tests, and when my rambunctious dog jumped onto the bed in the morning, I barely noticed.

The Cloud also supported my back well. I suffer from lower back pain that flares up when I sleep on an unsupportive mattress. While testing the mattress, I didn’t experience any back aggravation.

The biggest negative with is the Cloud’s poor edge support. I noticed significant sinking when I sat or laid on the edge of the bed. This isn’t a deal breaker; however, couples may want a King for more space without feeling uncomfortable on the edges. 

Read our full Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress review

Best hybrid/innerspring

Best hybrid innerspring mattress 2021 DreamCloud Premier

The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress performed well in all of the tests we put it through, which makes it ideal for most sleeping types, couples, and people who tend to overheat at night.

Pros: Impressive 365-night trial period, lifetime warranty, made with CertiPUR-US certified foams, good heat dissipation, great motion transfer, excellent edge support, easy to move with side handles

Cons: Lacks support for stomach sleepers

We chose to combine hybrid and innerspring mattresses for this update because the line between the two categories has blurred so much in recent years.

As with most hybrids, the DreamCloud Premier consists of a combination of individually-wrapped coils and foam. The bed’s top layer is high-loft memory foam covered by quilted cashmere. From top to bottom, the other layers are high-density gel memory foam, supportive foam, coils, and a porous foam base.

Despite its heft, the DreamCloud is easy to maneuver thanks to handles on the long sides of the bed. Removing the mattress from the box and setting it up only took about five minutes. While there was a new bed smell initially, the odor dissipated by bedtime.

When it comes to performance, the DreamCloud Premier scored well in every test. It particularly excelled in heat dissipation: within two minutes of getting out of bed, the surface temperature of the bed dropped by 14 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The edge support and motion isolation were both excellent, making this a smart option for couples. When sharing the bed with my wife, I didn’t notice her shifting position in the night. When lying on the edge of the bed, I still felt supported.

Though it’s billed as a “luxury firm,” I found the mattress to be soft and preferred sleeping on my side rather than my stomach. Still, I was comfortable enough on my stomach, I just didn’t feel as supported. My wife appreciated the cushy feel while sleeping on her back.

What’s particularly unique about DreamCloud is its 365-night trial period and lifetime warranty, which is among the most generous of the mattresses I’ve tested. 

Best adjustable airbed

Best adjustable air mattress 2021 Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed

If you and your partner just can’t agree on a mattress firmness, the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed allows you to customize each side to your perfect firmness and the bed automatically makes adjustments based on your body’s position.

Pros: 20 firmness options make it ideal for all sleeping styles, good edge support, white glove delivery included with purchase, built-in sleep tracker, automatic air adjustments based on sleeping position

Cons: Hard to move, terrible motion isolation, may not be ideal for hot sleepers

Your mattress should last you for at least 10 years. In that time, a lot can happen to change your firmness preferences. For example, when I lost significant weight, I developed a preference for softer mattresses. Also, if you share a bed with someone, the odds are pretty small that you’ll find the same firmness comfortable. These scenarios demonstrate why an airbed with adjustable firmness is a good investment.

The Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed is the best adjustable airbed I’ve tested. Two features set it apart. First, it has an automatic function that, when engaged, will adjust the firmness of the mattress as you shift positions in the night. Second, the mattress tracks your sleeping and offers custom recommendations in the app (available for iOS and Android).

While I found the adjustable air feature was a game-changer and significantly improved my sleep, the sleep tracking was nowhere near as accurate as my Garmin Forerunner 945 watch. However, even during the month I tested the mattress, Sleep Number made improvements to the app, and a representative for the company said a team is constantly making tweaks to make it more useful.

I appreciated that I didn’t have to lift a finger to unbox the mattress. Two Sleep Number delivery people set up the dual adjustable bed frames and King-size mattress in about 45 minutes and made sure the bed connected to my phone and worked correctly.

The separate firmness level settings for each side and good edge support make it a smart choice for couples. However, the mattress failed my motion transfer tests each time, and my wife remarked that the bed felt like a water bed with how noticeable the motion is. Another negative is how hard it is to move the mattress. It’s attached securely to the base so if you want to move it, you need to bring the base with you or figure out how to detach the mattress. Both methods require significantly more effort than your standard mattress.

Best latex

Best latex mattress 2021 Birch mattress by Helix

The Birch Mattress by Helix is made of sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials and offers firm and soft comfort options to accommodate a number of preferences.

Pros: Above-average firmness, soft topper available for an extra cost, very good motion isolation, made of natural materials, Greenguard Gold certified

Cons: Pillow top is slightly smaller than the mattress and doesn’t attach to it, not ideal for side sleepers without the pillow top, no white-glove delivery

From the cover to the latex and the wool, the Birch Mattress by Helix is made of eco-friendly materials. The mattress is Greenguard Gold-certified to be free of harsh chemicals, and it’s handmade in the US. The top layer is made of a fire-retardant layer of natural wool fibers with rayon, followed by an organic wool layer for temperature regulation and comfort. The middle layers are made of natural Talalay latex certified by several environmental organizations, including OEKO-Tex, and individually-wrapped coils for support and limited motion transfer. The base is organic wool batting for durability and stability, and the cover is made of GOTS-certified organic cotton.

When I went to unbox the Birch, I found these materials proved hefty. Though it didn’t come with special tools or instructions, it was a standard unboxing — remove the bed from the box and cut through the layers of plastic. Within five minutes, the mattress was resting on the bed frame. There was a slight initial odor, though it dissipated within hours. 

The Birch Mattress by Helix on its own is firm, but for an extra cost, you can add a plush organic mattress topper to make the bed softer. I tested the mattress with the topper since I prefer a softer feel and I was much more comfortable than laying on the base mattress alone, especially when sleeping on my side. Though, if you like a firmer feel, you might want to skip the topper. 

The Birch Mattress is an excellent solution for couples thanks to its outstanding edge support and motion isolation. I performed my motion transfer test on the bed four times, and it only failed once. When I sat on the side of the bed, I felt supported, and when I laid on the very edge, I didn’t feel like I was going to fall.

After testing the mattress, I gave it to my 6-foot-5 teenager. He deals with joint pain from constantly growing, and he said the bed helped soothe his pains. We both sleep hot, and the Birch did an adequate job of dissipating heat. However, on hotter nights, he reports the mattress is uncomfortably hot.

Best for hot sleepers

best mattress for hot sleepers 2021 purple premier hybrid

The Purple Premier Hybrid mattress not only has outstanding heat dissipation, but the patented Purple Grid offers pressure relief to all sleeping styles.

Pros: Excellent heat dissipation, great for all sleeping types, free white-glove delivery, outstanding pressure relief, bouncy

Cons: Poor motion isolation, heavy

To measure heat dissipation, I use a laser thermometer and consider how hot a mattress gets and how quickly it returns to its starting temperatures. 

The Purple Premier Hybrid is our top pick for a cooling mattress because, based on our temperature tests, it builds up the least amount of heat of any mattress we tried and quickly releases any remaining heat within two minutes of getting out of bed. In my tests, the Purple mattress returned to within three degrees of the ambient temperature in those two minutes. It was almost as if no one had been sleeping on it at all.

The Purple Hybrid Premier mattress is so heavy I needed help unboxing it. Once released from the packaging, we carried the mattress to the foundation. I strongly recommend taking advantage of Purple’s free white glove delivery of the Hybrid Premier.

What sets Purple beds apart from other brands is the “Purple Grid,” which is made up of hyper-elastic gel polymer “grid lines” with one-inch-square open spaces between. You can choose how thick you want your grid: two, three, or four inches. I chose the three-inch thickness option, sometimes called the Purple 3. 

Below the grid is a CertiPUR-US certified polyurethane foam layer, and below that is 7.5-inch pocketed springs. The cover is soft and breathable.

When you first lay down on the Purple, the feel of the grid is noticeable since it’s located right under the cover. It’s a unique feel that can take some getting used to. 

I preferred to sleep on my side when testing the Premier Hybrid, but I was also comfortable on my stomach. I like the responsiveness of the grid, which immediately relieves pressure where you need it to most. 

While the Premier Hybrid failed our objective motion isolation tests spectacularly, my subjective experience wasn’t so bad. On occasion, my dog was able to sneak onto the mattress without me noticing. Also, I noticed the so-so motion isolation was likely due to the exceptional bounce of the bed, which couples may appreciate.

Best for cold sleepers

best mattress for cold sleepers 2021 nectar lush

We found the all-foam construction of the Nectar Lush Mattress holds heat without causing overheating and has a firmness that will fit a variety of different positions, making it ideal for people who tend to sleep cold.

Pros: Long trial period and warranty, excellent edge support, made of CertiPUR-US certified foam, sleeps warmer than most mattresses, average firmness that will appeal to all sleeping styles

Cons: Poor motion isolation, not ideal for people who sleep hot

Most mattress brands put an emphasis on making products that keep you cool through the night, and Nectar is no different. The company markets the Lush Mattress as offering “dual action cooling.” However, in my experience, the Lush Mattress held onto body heat and facilitated a warmer sleep. While this may be a deal breaker for hot sleepers like myself, the Lush is an excellent choice if you have trouble staying warm at night.

The Nectar Lush setup experience varied slightly from the norm in that it came with a safety blade for cutting through the plastic. Out of the packaging, it had a strong new bed odor, but I kept the room well-ventilated, and it was fine by night time.

The Lush has three layers of CertiPUR-US certified foam: a top layer of gel-coated memory foam, a mid-layer higher density memory foam, and a stabilizing and supportive base foam. A poly-blend cover envelopes the layers.

When it comes to firmness, I felt the Nectar Lush Mattress was about average, which should appeal to a broad range of sleepers. While I was comfortable sleeping on my side and stomach, my preferred position during testing was a cross between the two.

If you share a bed with your partner or pets, you might want to consider a mattress with better motion isolation, since the Lush Mattress consistently failed our tests. However, it does have excellent edge support. I felt supported both when I sat and laid on the very edge.

Lastly, one major benefit is the long trial period and warranty. It’s among the best of any in our guide.

Best ultra-firm

best mattress 2021 airweave

The Airweave Mattress has a breathable and non-toxic polyethylene core that offers ultra-firm support to all parts of the bed, even the very edges.

Pros: Features a soft insert to transform the bed from incredibly firm to just firm, great heat dissipation, outstanding edge support, decent motion isolation, 100-night sleep trial, machine-washable cover

Cons: Some assembly required, hard to move around, not recommended for side sleepers

The Airweave Mattress is one of the most unique beds I’ve ever tested — it’s modular and it requires more assembly than most mattresses. The polyethylene core is broken into three blocks. You place these on the bottom half of the cover, seal up an inner cover, add the polyester soft layer, and zip on the top of the cover. With this level of assembly, white-glove delivery would be an attractive option. Unfortunately, Airweave does not currently offer this service.

I like that there’s a soft layer insert that you can easily remove if you’d prefer an ultra-firm mattress rather than just firm. Even with the soft layer, the mattress was firmer than I’d prefer and sleeping on my side was out of the question. I mainly slept on my stomach and a little on my back when testing this mattress, and I was surprisingly comfortable in these positions. I appreciated how cool the bed slept thanks to the breathable core.

In my experience, mattresses that are less than 10 inches thick are not supportive enough, but at 8 inches thick, the Airweave surprisingly offered plenty of support. With its short stature and light weight — the Queen only weighs 71.5 pounds — you might assume the mattress would be easy to move around, but it’s a beast. The blocks cause the mattress to flop, which adds to the difficulty.

The Airweave is a great solution for anyone who loves firm mattresses. The edge support is excellent on all sides and the bed performed well in my motion transfer tests. When I dropped the bowling ball, the soda can rarely fell over on the first impact, but the bed is incredibly bouncy and the can would sometimes fall over on the second bounce.

Best soft

Best soft mattress 2021 Casper Nova Hybrid

The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is ideal for side sleepers who are looking for a plush-comfort bed with great heat dissipation.

Pros: Made with eco-friendly materials, 100-night risk-free trial, good edge support, excellent heat dissipation, the plush comfort is ideal for side sleepers

Cons: Held on to its new bed smell, not the best for stomach or back sleepers, failed motion transfer tests

The Nova Hybrid is one of Casper’s newest and softest mattress, which is ideal for my side-sleeping body. When my muscles and joints were aching after exercising, the Nova Hybrid cradled my body and offered pressure relief in all the right areas. This is thanks to the supportive foam layers with ergonomic zones that are firmer around the lower back, waist, and hips, and softer under the shoulders to help align your spine.

The mattress is made of CertiPUR-US certified foam and the cover is partially composed of recycled bottles, making it an eco-friendly alternative. There are two layers of Casper’s proprietary “Airscape” foam which are meant to help with the airflow, and the topmost layer has small perforations for breathability.

I tend to overheat in bed, but when sleeping on the Nova Hybrid, I never felt hot, which is impressive since I tested the mattress in the summer. When I used the bathroom in the night, the spot where I was sleeping was cooler when I returned, which helped me get back to sleep faster. The base layer of the mattress features individually-wrapped coils surrounded by a firm border of foam. The border helps the bed’s edge support. 

With all of the layers of foam and springs, the Nova Hybrid is heavy and flops around as you move it. Fortunately, it comes with handles sewn into each corner to make it more manageable. 

The motion dampening properties, however, leave much to be desired. The Nova Hybrid failed my motion transfer tests, and when sharing the bed with my wife and dog, I could feel when either of them moved.

If you’re interested in the Nova, Wave, or Original specifically (you can check out our reviews here), and use our exclusive code ‘INSIDER’ for $200 off any size Nova or Wave, or $100 off any size Original.

Best for back pain

best mattress for back pain 2021 leesa hybrid

The Leesa Hybrid Mattress has great edge support and motion isolation. The mix of memory foam and pocket springs leads to an average firmness that makes it an outstanding solution for back pain sufferers of any sleeping style.

Pros: Average firmness that will appeal to a broad range of sleepers, edge support and motion isolation are ideal for couples, 100-night risk-free home trial, made of foam and pocket springs for support and breathability, 10-year warranty

Cons: Heavy, hard to move around

For about a year, the Leesa Hybrid was the main mattress I slept on when I wasn’t testing others. 

The bed features five layers: a cooling premium foam top layer, a contouring memory foam layer, and 14.5-gauge pocket springs that help with breathability sandwiched by two core foam support layers.

My wife and I appreciated that its average firmness suited our backs, stomachs, and sides, and I was especially impressed with its motion isolation — I rarely noticed when my wife got up in the night. The edge support is also great thanks to the innerspring coils that go all the way to the very edge of the bed. 

During the time I tested the Leesa Hybrid, I never woke up with back pain, though I have a history of pain back issues. When I wrenched my back trying to put a standing desk together, the mattress provided the pressure relief and comfort I needed to get restful sleep and facilitate the healing process. 

However, this is based on my personal experience. If you suffer from back pain, you should always consult your doctor before purchasing a new mattress.

I also encourage you to have someone else set up this bed if you have back pain. I tempted fate and tackled the task on my own. I tested a King mattress for this guide and it weighed 142 pounds. I set up the bed on my own, but I relied on white glove mattress removal once I was done with it. 

Readers can score 20% off the Hybrid with our exclusive code “INSIDER” at checkout — you can read the full details here.

Read our full Leesa Hybrid Mattress review

Best for heavy people

best mattress 2021 birch

The Birch Mattress by Helix is made of sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials and is firm enough to provide the support most heavier people need.

Pros: Above-average firmness, soft topper available for an extra cost, very good motion isolation, made of natural materials, Greenguard Gold certified

Cons: Pillow top is slightly smaller than the mattress and doesn’t attach to it, not ideal for side sleepers without the pillow top, no white-glove delivery

Though firmness preferences can vary wildly regardless of your body type, heavier individuals tend to prefer mattresses that are a little bit firmer. This is because firmness provides support, makes it easier for you to adjust your position, and keeps you from sinking in too much. For this reason, we recommend the Birch Mattress by Helix for heavy people who have struggled to find a supportive, comfortable mattress.

The Birch Mattress is made up of a combination of organic wool, organic cotton, OEKO-Tex certified Talalay latex, and individually-wrapped coils. These materials help aid with pressure relief and tend to be more durable.

I weighed about 250 pounds when I tested the Birch by Helix. And, I much preferred sleeping on the mattress with the optional plush organic mattress topper, which made it more comfortable for my side sleeping. Without the topper, I was more comfortable on my stomach. If you’re a side sleeper, you may want to try the mattress with the topper. If you don’t like it, the topper is easy to remove and can be returned within 100 days of purchase for a full refund.

The biggest negative heavier individuals will want to watch out for with the Birch is its average heat dissipation. If you tend to overheat at night, you might want to consider something cooler, like the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid, or supplement the mattress with a good cooling product.

Best for petite people

best mattress for petite people 2021 casper nova hybrid

The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is ideal for petite sleepers who are looking for a plush-comfort bed with great heat dissipation.

Pros: Made with eco-friendly materials, 100-night risk-free trial, good edge support, excellent heat dissipation, the plush comfort is ideal for side sleepers

Cons: Held on to its new bed smell, not the best for stomach or back sleepers, failed motion transfer tests

As with heavier individuals, petite sleepers have mattress preferences that are all over the board. But, in general, smaller and lighter people will benefit from beds that are softer. Since petite folks don’t have enough weight to sink into a mattress, they’re more likely to perceive firm mattresses as rigid and uncomfortable. So, in order to keep your spine properly aligned, you need something soft, yet supportive that will cradle your body. We think the Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress, which is also our pick for best soft mattress, fits the bill.

Made of a combination of CertiPUR-US certified foam and individually-wrapped coils, the Nova Hybrid is the softest mattress made by Casper, one of the top names in the bed-in-a-box industry. 

The Nova Hybrid is the best soft mattress I’ve tested. Since losing significant weight, my firmness preference has shifted from average to softer than average. And, I found this bed was ideal for my side sleeping. I was particularly impressed with the pressure relief and the outstanding heat dissipation.

Best for side sleepers

Best mattress for side sleepers 2021 Casper Nova Hybrid

The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is also ideal for side sleepers who are looking for a plush-comfort bed with great heat dissipation.

As with heavier individuals, petite sleepers have mattress preferences that are all over the board. But, in general, smaller and lighter people will benefit from beds that are softer. Since petite folks don’t have enough weight to sink into a mattress, they’re more likely to perceive firm mattresses as rigid and uncomfortable. So, in order to keep your spine properly aligned, you need something soft, yet supportive that will cradle your body. We think the Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress, which is also our pick for best soft mattress, fits the bill.

Made of a combination of CertiPUR-US certified foam and individually-wrapped coils, the Nova Hybrid is the softest mattress made by Casper, one of the top names in the bed-in-a-box industry. 

The Nova Hybrid is the best soft mattress I’ve tested. Since losing significant weight, my firmness preference has shifted from average to softer than average. And, I found this bed was ideal for my side sleeping. I was particularly impressed with the pressure relief and the outstanding heat dissipation. 

Best for back sleepers

Best mattress for back sleepers 2021 Tempur Pedic ProBreeze

The medium firmness and cradling comfort of the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Mattress make it ideal for back sleepers, especially if you tend to overheat at night.

Pros: Medium firmness that suits an array of sleeping styles, excellent motion transfer dampening, sleeps cool, 10-year warranty, white-glove delivery

Cons: Heavy, subpar edge support, expensive, shipping deducted from refund if you choose to return the mattress during the trial period

Back sleepers benefit from medium-firm mattresses, though this can vary based on body type and personal preferences. It also helps if there is zoned support with extra cushioning around the hips and shoulders. Based on these factors and our subjective testing, the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Mattress is the best option for back sleepers.

The Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid Mattress is designed for cool sleeping, but it also provides outstanding cradling comfort. There’s an outer cover that you can unzip and toss in the wash for easy cleaning, and three layers of foam that are geared toward absorbing excessive heat and improving breathability. At the base, the mattress has 1,000+ spring coils surrounded by a supportive foam border that provide support, durability, and breathability. 

The PRObreeze is the mattress that my wife and I sleep on when I’m not testing other alternatives. As a hot sleeper, I’ve found it does an excellent job of keeping me from overheating. 

Between my wife and I, we exhibit just about every sleeping style and we both find this slightly-firm mattress works well for our bodies. I also don’t feel when my wife or dog are moving around during the night — the motion dampening abilities are outstanding. However, the edge support could use some work. When sitting or lying on the edge, it sinks significantly.

The mattress is heavy and hard to move around. Fortunately, Tempur-Pedic includes white-glove delivery with the purchase of the PRObreeze. Professionals showed up at my house and set up the new mattress in under an hour. My lower back appreciated the break from heavy lifting.

Read our full Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid review

Best for stomach sleepers

best mattress for stomach sleepers 2021 awara

With its plush Euro top and supportive feel, the Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress supplies the ideal balance of comfort and support for stomach sleepers to get a good night’s sleep.

Pros: 365-night risk-free trial, lifetime warranty, great for stomach sleepers, good heat dissipation, made of eco-friendly materials, all four sides have two handles

Cons: Not ideal for side sleepers, heavy, sinks significantly when sitting on the side

Stomach sleepers generally prefer the firmest mattresses, though this will vary based on personal preference and body type. A firmer mattress supports stomach sleepers by keeping your spine aligned, protecting you from back pain. 

The Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress gives you a slightly firm, comfortable support along with one of the longest trial periods and warranties in the industry.

The firm feel is balanced by a plush Euro top made of organic wool. Next is a layer of Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex, and the support core contains individually wrapped coils.

For easy movability, the cotton blend mattress cover has two handles sewn into all four sides. This feature is a must since the Awara is one of the heaviest mattresses in our guide. Despite the heft, I set it up without help in about five minutes. The mattress had a strong initial odor that dissipated within a few hours.

As a combination side and stomach sleeper, I much preferred stomach sleeping on the Awara. During the testing period, I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep, and each morning I awoke feeling refreshed. I also didn’t experience any soreness, which is a common issue for stomach sleepers.

Both the edge support and motion isolation were middle of the road. When sitting on the edge of the bed, I didn’t feel like I sunk much, but when I was laying on the edge, I felt uncomfortable, like I might fall off. The Awara also failed the objective motion transfer tests each time, but the mattress is quite bouncy, which some people may like.

Best budget

best budget mattress Zinus

Back and stomach sleepers who are looking for a budget-friendly bed should strongly consider the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress.

Pros: Affordable, 100-night trial, 10-year warranty, made of cooling gel memory foam, excellent motion isolation, four thickness options, great for back and stomach sleepers

Cons: Took a week to expand to full size, poor edge support

The Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress features one of my favorite materials to sleep on: gel memory foam. I’ve found this material does an outstanding job of keeping my hot-sleeping body cool through the night, and the Zinus mattress was no exception.

The memory foam sinks in to comfort the contours of your body while still providing a firmer-than-average support. Because of this, I felt better sleeping on my stomach during testing, rather than my side. Back sleepers may also like the firmness of this model.

The mattress passed my motion transfer tests with flying colors. When I was sleeping on it, my wife and dog were able to sneak into bed without jostling or waking me.

The mattress comes in four thickness options — 8, 10, 12, and 14 inches. I tested the 14-inch Queen. In general, I’ve found that mattresses that are 10 inches or thinner aren’t as supportive, so you should consider the thicker styles.

At under $500, you would expect compromises, and there are a few, but they are easy to look past if you want to save a few dollars. First, the edge support is awful. It’s hard to lie on the edges and not fall off. The mattress also took a week to expand to its full size. Out of the box, it was about half its full thickness. The directions suggest it will only take 72 hours to expand, but that was not my experience. It also had an initial odor, but that went away quickly.

At 70 pounds, the mattress is easy to move around, especially since it is firmer and doesn’t flop around.

Best luxury

Best luxury mattress 2021 Tempur Pedic ProBreeze

When price is no object, the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid is your best bet with its contouring, supportive, and cooling combination of foam and springs delivered and set up in your bedroom.

Pros: Medium firmness that suits an array of sleeping styles, excellent motion transfer dampening, sleeps cool, 10-year warranty, white-glove delivery

Cons: Heavy, subpar edge support, expensive, shipping deducted from refund if you choose to return the mattress during the trial period

If you want to spend top dollar on a mattress that you’ll spend a third of your life on for the next 10+ years, then the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid is your best bet. The patented Tempur material has similar body contouring to memory foam but with added support and pressure relief without the sinking feeling, which is why it’s also our top pick for back sleepers. 

The PRObreeze mattress is different from other Tempur-Pedic mattresses in that it is designed with a focus on cooling. Tempur-Pedic also offers a similar mattress in the series, called the LUXEbreeze, that offers an even cooler sleep at an even heftier price tag (currently $4,999) though I haven’t personally tested it yet.

The PRObreeze is my main mattress when I’m not testing other models. I appreciate the luxury feel and how it cradles my body while keeping me from overheating. And, I don’t notice when my dog jumps in the bed thanks to the impressive motion isolation. 

If you’re really looking to splurge, I recommend pairing the PRObreeze with the Tempur-Ergo Smart Base, which features a sleep tracker to monitor your sleep and makes recommendations for improved rest.

Read our full Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid with Ergo Smart Base review

Best mid-priced

Best mid priced mattress 2021 dreamcloud premier

For being in the middle of the pack price-wise, the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress offers an impressive array of features, including excellent support, a firmness that will appeal to most sleepers, and a long trial period and warranty.

Pros: Impressive 365-night trial period, lifetime warranty, made with CertiPUR-US certified foams, good heat dissipation, great motion transfer, excellent edge support, easy to move with side handles

Cons: Could maybe be more supportive for stomach sleepers

The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress won our best hybrid/innerspring category, but we also think it’s the best mid-priced mattress you can buy, coming in at $1,599 for a Queen. While this is a bit more than what we’d typically consider mid-priced, DreamCloud’s year long trial period and lifetime warranty justify the bump in price for us.

Along with the Birch Mattress by Helix, the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress was one of the only beds we tested to do well in every category we look at. The unboxing process was seamless. Though the mattress is on the heavier side, it’s easy to move since it has handles sewn into the left and right sides and doesn’t flop around.

The DreamCloud had the biggest raw temperature drop in our heat dissipation tests. The motion isolation and edge support are great for couples sharing a bed, even if they have different sleeping styles, since the mattress’ average firmness will appeal to most sleepers. And, the Premier Hybrid is made of high-quality materials, including CertiPUR-US certified foams.

Lastly but importantly, if you don’t like the mattress in your first year of ownership, you can return it for a full refund. If you keep it, the bed is covered for life.

What else we tested

best mattress 2021 what else we tested

We’ve tested dozens of mattresses over the years, and there are none that we outright don’t recommend. Every mattress we’ve tested could potentially be a good fit for the right individual. However, here are a few that missed the cut for our guide but are worth considering.

What else we recommend and why

Saatva Classic ($1,499): The Saatva Classic was the “best spring mattress” in a previous version of our guide, but we decided to combine that category with “best hybrid.” The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid beat it out for that pick. I have not tested Saatva Classic, but my colleague Kylie Joyner did and had a positive experience. She liked the great edge support, free in-home delivery and mattress removal, 180-night trial period (though there’s a $99 return fee), and firmness options. Read our full review.

Nectar Memory Foam ($1,198): There’s a lot to like about Nectar’s flagship mattress. It just wasn’t the best in any specific category. I like that you can try it risk-free with a 365-night trial, and if you keep it, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty. I found it was softer than average, which was comfortable for my side sleeping. It also has great heat dissipation, excellent motion isolation, and average edge support. However, I would be hesitant to recommend it for back and stomach sleepers because it’s so soft.

Bear Pro ($1,295): Despite feeling a little softer than average, I was comfortable on my stomach and side while sleeping on the Bear Pro, and I think its all-foam construction will appeal to all sleeping types. The copper-infused foam, gel-infused foam, and breathable Celliant cover all give the bed impressive heat dissipation. The main negatives are it offers poor edge support and it’s a bit pricey for an all-foam mattress. Read our full review

Brooklyn Bedding Sedona Hybrid ($2,899): The Sedona Hybrid is a luxury mattress made of CertiPUR-US certified foams and up to 1,000 coils. You can test it out for 120 nights risk-free. I liked how hassle-free the unboxing was and how the mattress has handles for easy movability. The average firmness should appeal to a broad audience, but I just could not get comfortable no matter what position I was in. And, while the heat dissipation and edge support are average, the mattress failed my motion transfer tests every time.

Casper Original ($1,095): The Casper Original was our previous pick for the best all-foam mattress, and we still recommend it. We like the Casper Original because it works well for a wide array of sleeping styles, is made of eco-friendly materials, has excellent heat dissipation, and exhibits great motion dampening. However, it does not have good edge support. Read our full review.

Plank by Brooklyn Bedding ($999.20): The Plank was our previous pick for the best ultra-firm mattress. I didn’t test this personally, but based on our writer’s review, we think the Airweave Mattress is a better option because of its unique design and heat dissipation. We still think the Plank is a great bed with its two levels of firmness, exceptional edge support, and impressive motion isolation. Read our full review.

Saatva Latex Hybrid Mattress ($1,799): The mattress has medium-firm support that works for all types of sleepers, and the organic latex is breathable and sleeps cool. Our reporter said that the mattress has great motion isolation so she doesn’t feel much movement, but that the edge support is poor. Despite this, we’d still recommend the bed but suggest upgrading to a Queen for solo sleepers and a King for couples so no one falls off the side. 

Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress ($2,595): The Saatva Solaire has a built-in air pump controlled by a corded controller that allows you to pick from 50 firmness options for your ideal comfort level. I found it worked great, but the motion isolation left a lot to be desired. Plus, you can’t find the mattress in showrooms to test it out before buying. Fortunately, there’s a 120-night home trial period. Read our full review.

Amerisleep AS5 Hybrid ($1539.30): Amerisleep offers five mattresses, AS1 through AS5, each with a specific benefit. I’ve tested the AS3, the company’s best selling bed, but I much prefer its softer, luxury mattress, the AS5. Due to its soft feel, it’s an outstanding solution for anyone who prefers softer beds. Since it sleeps hot, people who get too cold at night may also prefer this mattress. Also, it doesn’t have very good edge support and failed my motion isolation tests, so it’s better suited for people who sleep alone. Overall, though, I like how it cradled my body.

Allswell Supreme Hybrid ($985): This is one of the best mattresses you will find under $1,000. It features a combination of copper and graphite gel-infused memory foam and pocket coils, which give it a medium firmness that will appeal to many different types of sleepers. The edge support is great but it sleeps hot and is quite heavy. Also, it’s only available online and not in showrooms.

Intellibed Matrix Grand ($6,999): The Intellibed Matrix Grand is the height of luxury and features seven layers of high-quality materials, including two gel layers that flex to provide localized pressure relief and to help align the spine. However, at 196 pounds, it’s the heaviest mattress I’ve tested, and at 17 inches thick, it’s hard to find fitted sheets that are deep enough to stay on the mattress. I didn’t find it particularly comfortable no matter what position I was in, the motion isolation is poor, and the return policy has questionable stipulations.

Testing methodology

Best mattress 2021 testing methodology

I personally tested all of the mattresses in our guide. In addition to sleeping on each mattress for at least two weeks, there are many objective tests I put each model through. The most important factors I consider are comfort, edge support, and motion isolation.

Here are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:

Comfort: This is a fairly subjective characteristic that is based on the firmness of a mattress, how hot it sleeps, and how supportive it feels. My measurement of firmness is based on testing dozens of mattresses and developing a feel for soft, average, and firm mattresses. I also consider heat dissipation, which I gauge using a laser thermometer to measure the temperature before I lay in the bed for at least one hour, immediately after I get up, and two minutes after I get up. 

Motion isolation: If you’ve ever spent the night with someone who moves around a lot in their sleep, you know how important motion isolation is. Without it, your sleeping partner’s movements will jostle you awake throughout the night. To test motion isolation, I place a 12-ounce can of soda pop in the middle of the mattress. Then I drop a 15-pound bowling ball from four feet above the mattress so it lands 12 inches from the can. If the can falls over time and time again, the motion isolation is not very good. If the can stays upright, the bed does an excellent job of dampening motion transfer.

Edge support: To test edge support, I lay on the very edge of the bed and slowly roll off — literally. If I feel like I can roll a fair amount before actually falling, then the bed has good edge support. If I fall easily, then the edge support is not very good. I also sit on the side to put on my socks and shoes to assess how much the edge sinks. I am currently developing an objective measurement that I’ll “roll” out in future guides as I collect more data.

Portability: Unless you’re constantly relocating or redecorating, it’s unlikely you’ll need to move your mattress often so this category doesn’t weigh heavily in our assessment. Still, it’s nice if you can easily rotate your mattress, a task that’s important for your bed’s longevity. And depending on how your bed is positioned, you may need to move the mattress to put on fitted sheets. I move each mattress several times to see how heavy it feels and if it flops around making it harder to move.

Trial and warranty: I look at the details of the warranty and home trial period, whether the mattress is available in showrooms, and whether there’s white-glove delivery. The only way to know if a mattress is right for you is to sleep on it for several nights, so we looked for loopholes in the fine print of the return policy and let you know about them.

Setup: I timed how long it took me to unbox and set up each mattress on my own. Also, I noted any peculiarities to the process. My nose tracks any new bed odor initially and when I go to bed, usually 10+ hours later. Lastly, I look at whether white-glove service is offered and how much it costs.

What we’re testing next

Best mattress what we look forward to testing

We’re constantly testing new mattresses and re-testing our top picks to determine the best ones. Here’s what we’re currently testing:

Nest Bedding Flip Double-Sided Hybrid ($699): This affordable bed is unique in that you can flip it. One side has a medium firmness and the other is firmer. 

Olaf by Mellow ($446.80): This is another budget option as we bulk up our coverage in that category. It features four layers of CertiPUR-US certified foam, including gel-infused memory foam for heat dissipation.

The Botanical Bliss by PlushBeds ($3,499): Made of organic latex, wool, and cotton, this mattress is available in three thicknesses and two firmness options. 

Idle Latex Hybrid ($1,330): This mattress has individually-wrapped spring coils sandwiched between several foam layers so you can supposedly flip it over and sleep on both sides.  

Haven Boutique Mattress ($945): Thicker than most mattresses at 14 inches, we’re curious to test if that has any effect on comfort and support.

Purple Premier Hybrid 4 ($2,999): This is the only Purple mattress I haven’t tested, and I’m hoping to test it in the near future for a side-by-side comparison of the line. It is similar to the Premier Hybrid 3, only the Purple Grid is four inches thick instead of three.

How to shop for a mattress

Best mattress 2021 how to shop

Buying a mattress no longer requires heading to a showroom and having a salesperson lurk over you as you lay on a mattress for 10 minutes to decide if it will suit you for the next decade. In fact, we put together a handy guide of what to expect if you’re shopping for a mattress online at nine popular brands.

To help you shop for a mattress, we spoke with Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at PCSI.

Consider your medical conditions

Peña-Hernández first suggests considering your medical history. “The right mattress is the most comfortable one for each person. However, consumers should consider their medical history, like respiratory diseases, allergies, scoliosis, or sleep apnea when purchasing a mattress; so they can make an informed decision regarding what type of materials are in their mattress or what features might prove to be healthier for them,” Peña-Hernández said. “Patients with COPD may benefit from mattresses that are designed for adjustable beds because elevating the head of the bed can sometimes facilitate easier breathing.” 

Know your sleep position

After talking to your doctor, assess your sleeping style and preferred firmness level.

“The most common mattress problem that people report is the lack of comfortability which can result in fatigue or excessive sleepiness,” Peña-Hernández said. “It’s hard to keep up with the day-to-day when you’re not well-rested, and ultimately, it can affect your quality of life. Chronic fatigue can even have implications for your immunity and your health. A good mattress meets the criteria for the specific person’s needs and promotes a healthy, well-rested, rest.”

Though every person’s preferences are different, there are some patterns that certain body types and sleeping styles seem to prefer, according to Peña-Hernández.

Side sleepers: “Vast research exists to support side sleepers benefit from medium-firm mattresses to support pressure point relief,” said Peña-Hernández. “Side sleepers can experience shoulder and lower back pain if the mattress is too unsupportive.”

Back sleepers: Peña-Hernández recommends medium firmness for back sleepers. “Back sleepers should strive to maintain the natural S-curvature of the spine so the best mattress for back sleepers provides spinal support. A medium-firm mattress will help achieve this by redistributing weight and promoting healthy alignment but still contours to the body to provide cushioning where it is needed.”

Stomach sleepers: Firmer mattresses tend to benefit stomach sleepers as well as heavier folks.

Consider body size and preferences

In addition to the above, you should also consider bodyweight and heat dissipation.

“Individuals concerned about their weight and weight-related complications should speak to their medical provider when considering a mattress, said Peña-Hernández. “Overweight individuals should consider a thicker mattress of at least 12 inches thick or more. Thinner mattresses won’t provide you with the support you need. Coil mattresses also provide a more durable construction.”

Softer mattresses are generally better for petite individuals since lighter individuals (under 130 pounds) don’t sink into beds as far. Breus also notes that as people get older, they would benefit from a softer bed to address pain issues. “As we age, our skin gets thinner, which means less cushion.”

Firm mattresses aren’t necessarily more supportive. Instead, support is based on how well the bed cradles your body and allows your spine to relax. Since different parts of your body push down more on a mattress, such as the hips and shoulders, mattresses that offer zoned support in these areas tend to be more comfortable to a broader range of individuals. These beds also tend to cost more as the construction is more specialized.

If you overheat at night, you’ll want a mattress and even bedding that does an outstanding job of dissipating heat. “Hot sleepers should consider sheets and materials made of natural fibers for their breathability,” said Peña-Hernández. “Bamboo, cotton, linen, and hemp are good options as well as cooling sheets, especially sheets designed to wick moisture.”

FAQs

Best mattress 2021 FAQs

What kind of mattress should you buy?

There are a handful of popular mattress types to choose from.

  • Memory foam: When most people think of a bed-in-a-box, they think of memory foam mattresses. These are mattresses with multiple layers of foam that support and contour your body. However, due to the construction, all-foam mattresses also tend to trap heat.
  • Latex foam: This is usually preferred by people looking for an eco-friendly foam that’s cooler and more responsive than traditional memory foam.
  • Hybrid: These beds combine one of the above foams with spring coils. The coils tend to help with motion transfer and edge support making them a great option for couples. The coils also help with airflow for a cooler sleep.
  • Spring: Also called innerspring or coil mattresses, these are your more traditional beds. Due to the responsive coils, they offer good support, edge support, cooling, and durability. However, they are generally more expensive and mostly found in showrooms and not online.
  • Pillow-top: Pillow-tops are usually associated with innerspring mattresses but can be found on any of the above options. This is the smart solution for those who like a soft, cushy feel.

Adjustable or air beds: These beds use an air pump to adjust the firmness of your mattress to suit your needs. They are among the most expensive options but may be an ideal long-term solution since your firmness needs change with time. Couples with drastically different firmness needs would also benefit from an adjustable air bed.


What size bed should you buy?

There are six standard bed sizes. In order from smallest to largest (and usually the least to most expensive), they are:

  • Twin: If you are a smaller individual who sleeps alone, a Twin (38 inches wide by 75 inches long) will serve you well.
  • Twin XL: This is the same width (38 inches) as the Twin but 5 inches longer, which makes it better for tall people who sleep alone.
  • Full: With the same length (75 inches) as the Twin but 16 inches wider, the Full is designed for larger folks or anyone who just wants a bit more space
  • Queen: The Queen is 80 inches long by 60 inches wide, and is meant for couples who are smaller.
  • King: The King is 16 inches wider than the Queen and better for larger couples. I recommend it if you are choosing a mattress with subpar edge support and you’re concerned about feeling uncomfortable near the edges.
  • California King: The Cal King is four inches longer but four inches narrower than the King, so it’s a smart alternative for taller couples.

For context, my wife and I are both slightly taller and heavier than average, and we share a bed with a dog and a full-body pillow. Queen mattresses are simply too small and uncomfortable for us, though it’s the size we test as it’s the most popular. We’ve found a King is more ideal for our needs.


What’s the best way to clean a mattress?

Based on expert interviews, my colleague L. Daniela Alvarez put together an excellent guide on how to clean a mattress. The experts in her article recommend deep cleaning your mattress with baking soda and a vacuum every three to six months. However, stains should be treated as quickly as possible using a disinfectant wipe. Or, for harder stains, you may need to use a mixture of dishwashing liquid and hydrogen peroxide. 

Some mattresses have removable covers. Check with the manufacturer before removing the cover and attempting to clean it. Some brands may state that their covers are machine washable. If that is the case with your mattress, we recommend that option only as a last resort, and make sure you follow the cleaning instructions carefully.

Lastly, when purchasing a new mattress, you should protect your investment by also buying a mattress protector. We regularly update our guide to the best mattress protectors and encourage you to check out our latest recommendations.


When is the best time to buy a mattress?

Though mattress makers have sales throughout the year, you can usually find the best deals during holiday weekends, like Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  

Also, manufacturers tend to start marking down their mattress prices in March as they prepare to launch a new line in June. In March, you’ll usually find the widest selection with the smallest discounts. But, as you get into May, the discounts increase while the inventory becomes sparse. We keep a running list of all mattress deals and sales that is updated monthly, and features many Insider-exclusive discounts.


What’s the best mattress for back pain?

For years, the common wisdom was that a firm mattress is best for back pain. However, a 2008 study published in Applied Ergonomics found that firmness had no effect on back pain and stiffness. Instead, they found the newness and price of the mattress had more of a bearing. 

When shopping for a mattress, it’s important that you find a supportive mattress that’s right for your body types and sleeping style. You want your spine to stay aligned while sleeping. This generally means a firmer mattress for individuals who sleep on their back or stomach, or for heavier people. A mattress with average firmness or softer is better for back pain sufferers who sleep on their side, are petite, or are older.

Support is also important, and based on my experience testing dozens of mattresses, the cheaper, sub-$1,000 mattresses skimp in this area. I recommend looking for a mattress with zoned support. These offer more pressure relief around the hips, lower back, and shoulders.

Lastly, take full advantage of the home trials offered by all of the companies in our guide. After all, the only way to know if a mattress is right for your back is to sleep on it.

Glossary

Best mattress 2021 glossary

There are plenty of terms tossed around in the mattress industry. But, what do they even mean? Here are a few common terms defined:

Edge support: This refers to how well a mattress maintains its integrity to its sides without sagging or sinking. So, a mattress with good edge support will feel just as supportive on the edges as it does in the center of the mattress. On the other hand, if you feel like you’re going to fall off the bed when you lay near the edge, that’s a sure sign of poor edge support.

Euro top: This is a type of pillow top that is sewn into the mattress cover to provide a plush, yet supportive feel. It’s commonly found on hybrid and innerspring mattresses and made of fiberfill, wool, or foam.

Innersprings: Also referred to as coils or just springs, these are corkscrew-shaped pieces of metal, usually steel, that make up the core of many of today’s mattresses, including hybrid and innerspring styles. Many modern mattresses use “pocket coils,” which are wrapped coils that help limit noise and motion transfer.

Motion isolation/motion transfer: These terms are two sides of the same coin. Motion isolation describes how well a mattress dampens the feel of movement. For example, a mattress with good motion isolation keeps you from being jostled as your partner shifts positions in the night. When a mattress has good motion isolation, it will have minimal motion transfer. A bed with excessive motion transfer has bad motion isolation, meaning you can feel your partner’s every move.

Check out our other mattress guides

best mattress 2021 check out more guides

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