Choosing the right mattress is one of the most important steps to getting a restful night’s sleep. It’s also one of the most challenging, because a perfect match is highly individual. We can’t pick a single best mattress. What our guides can do, however, is report on objective features, such as durability and construction, and provide unbiased first-hand impressions.
Wirecutter staffers have spent hundreds of hours interviewing experts, trying beds at our testing site, and sleeping on them in our own homes, all in an effort to zero in on the mattresses that may be worth your money. This page provides a helpful roadmap to our extensive mattress coverage. Consider our guides as a starting point that provides the tools you need to find your best mattress—and ultimately find your best sleep.
- How to choose a mattress
- What to know about mattress types
- Best foam mattresses
- Best latex mattress
- Best hybrid mattresses
- Best innerspring mattresses
- Best cheap mattresses
- Best soft mattresses
- Best mattress for your sleep position
- Best mattresses for back pain
- Popular mattress brands: Our honest assessments
How to choose a mattress
To shop successfully, you need to distinguish a mattress’s real benefits from all the marketing mumbo jumbo. In our guide to choosing a mattress, we show you how to determine whether a mattress will offer enough support and pressure relief for your body, what size mattress to choose, when to buy, and what to ask the salesperson (or live-chat attendant) to figure out if a mattress is durable.
What to know about mattress types
Should you buy a trendy online-only foam mattress or a more-traditional innerspring? How about a so-called hybrid? What about latex? In this primer on mattress types, we unpack the pros and cons of what’s inside that shrouded rectangle so you can choose the bed that’s right for you.
Best foam mattresses
If you like the feeling of sinking into your bed as opposed to resting on top of it, then a mattress made entirely or mostly of polyurethane foam (aka polyfoam) may suit you best. Mattresses made from memory foam tend to conform to your body and provide a “hugging” sensation as you settle in, but they can also make you feel stuck in place. Non-memory-foam mattresses are not as curve-contouring as memory-foam types, but they can be easier to move around on. Our guide to the best foam mattresses includes polyurethane foam options with or without memory foam. Foam mattresses come in a range of prices. Our lower-cost memory-foam mattress pick, the Novaform ComfortGrande, and our non-memory-foam pick, the Tuft & Needle Original, are each well under $1,000. Our higher-end memory-foam favorite, the Loom & Leaf (Relaxed Firm), is more than double the price, but consists of longer-lasting materials.
Best latex mattress
Latex mattresses typically feel springier and are more breathable than mattresses made from memory foam or polyfoam, but some models can feel stiff or overly elastic. They also tend to be more expensive than regular foam mattresses. Because latex is intrinsically more durable, latex mattresses can be a good choice if you weigh more than 200 pounds or want a bed that lasts longer than the typical 10-year-warranty for foam beds. We’ve tried three all-latex mattresses over the years, and we found the Zenhaven (shown here with a boxspring) to be more cushiony—and therefore more comfortable—than the others.
Best hybrid mattresses
There’s no “official” definition of a hybrid mattress. In our guide to the best hybrid mattresses, we include foam beds constructed with steel coils and sock coverings, as well as a popular innerspring mattress designed with copious amounts of foam. Two of our favorite hybrid mattresses, the Leesa Hybrid and the Tempur-Adapt (Medium Hybrid), have consistently placed at or near the top of our foam-mattress tests for the past two years. The hybrid WinkBed (Luxury Firm), which has a quilted cover, polyfoam, and a layer of base coils, is a top pick in our guide to the best innerspring mattresses.
Best innerspring mattresses
Innerspring mattresses provide a buoyant sensation, thanks to steel coils that bolster layers of fiber and foam under a quilted top. If you feel too sunk in or hot on an all-foam mattress, an innerspring can offer more resilience, along with firmer edges, and intrinsically more airflow. But innersprings can be notoriously difficult to shop for, traditionally requiring a trip to a mattress store to navigate dozens of different models that have confusing names, specifications, and features. The WinkBed (Luxury Firm) and IKEA Hesstun (Medium Firm), along with the other picks in our innerspring mattress guide, performed best in our testing. A few, including the WinkBed, can be purchased online, often with generous trial and return policies.
Best cheap mattresses
Cheap mattresses (under $500 for a queen) tend to be pretty basic. They’re generally all-foam (or foam-forward hybrid) mattresses that have fewer layers, are made of less-dense foams, and offer fewer bells and whistles (like free trial periods) compared with more expensive options. (And the innerspring mattresses we’ve tested in this price range felt fairly unsubstantial and uncomfortable across the board.) The Zinus Green Tea Cooling Swirl Memory Foam Hybrid and the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam are two medium-firm mattresses that rated well in our testing, and hit a sweet spot between comfort and affordability.
Best soft mattresses
Sometimes the best mattress for you really comes down to preference. For people who know they love an ultra plush, cushy feel, a good soft- to medium-soft mattress will contour the shoulders and hips comfortably while still offering solid underlying support. Side-sleepers will generally benefit from a soft mattress the most, as firmer options can create pressure on the shoulders and hips.
After comparing a dozen soft mattresses, including the softer versions of some of our picks, we have several to recommend. For a bouncier, classic innerspring that still offers a light cradle at the surface, try the Serta Perfect Renewed Night Plus. Our testers also loved the Winkbed in Softer, a plusher version of our pick in our innerspring mattress guide, for its deep, dense cushioning. The Stearns & Foster Estate Rockwell Luxury Plush, our upgrade innerspring pick, has a cushioned, quilted surface that relieves pressure while still offering substantial support. We plan on publishing a full guide on soft mattresses soon.
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