Let’s face it: all of us sleep differently.
Some are side sleepers, some can’t get any rest unless they’re flat on their stomachs, but every single one of us sleep on a mattress for the same reason: support while sleeping.
Yes, you might get a mattress because it’s comfortable and you can see yourself sleeping on it, but the reason you opt for a mattress at all instead of sleeping on the floor is because it provides unique support and cradles your pressure points.
We’re all built differently, and we all have different bodies that have endured different levels of stress.
For some, the best extra firm mattress can be more comfortable than a plush plateau to lay in every night.
If that sounds like you, then you’re not alone.
Plenty of people are making the switch to extra firm mattresses to help keep their spine straight while they sleep, adn stave-off aches and pains commonly associated with sleeping on unsupportive, horrendous mattresses.
We’re going to go over the top five best extra firm mattresses on the market, and then delve into the nitty gritty of why they work, and who should be considering purchasing one of them.
#1 Zinus Support Plus 10” Mattress
It’s not Purple, it’s not Simmons or Serta like you would expect: it’s Zinus, the last firm mattress brand you’re ever going to need.
In our quest to provide you with extra firm mattress reviews, we were blown away with how solid and sturdy the Zinus Support Plus was.
Choose from four bed sizes as well as a 10” or 12” mattress thickness, completely customizing your comfort experience from the start.
You do get a cover included with this purchase, so you won’t have to get a full bed set just to break this in.
We’re here for firmness, so while I could talk about how comfortable this is, I’ll let you in on what you really want to know about.
There are 7.5” of a base layer at the bottom of the mattress to help push back against pressure, but there’s also individually wrapped coils and distribute weight like nothing else.
These keep you from sinking into the mattress, which in turn aids in alignment of your spine.
Everything is certified by CertiPUR for durability and longevity, but even if you do run into issues, Zinus is going to slap on a 10-year warranty that you can use.
Their customer service is excellent and they’re known to be very lenient on their warranties, solidifying your choice in a firm mattress brand.
The takeaway here is that it’s firm, and it doesn’t aim to cost you an arm and a leg.
Zinus keeps costs low, so you can start sleeping firmer without having to hand over your wallet for that privilege.
While firm mattresses soften up after about five years, there are numerous users who say they’ve had Zinus mattresses that retain their firmness for eight or more years.
It’s an inexpensive, lengthy investment that you’ll thank yourself for.
#2 Brentwood Home Cypress Cooling Gel Memory Foam 11” Mattress
Brentwood comes in at a firm second, and it’s because of their extreme versatility in your mattress choices, paired with an excellent support system.
These extra firm foam mattress variants come with gel-infused cells woven throughout the entire mattress, which gives you a cooling effect despite being laid into foam.
Foam notoriously sleeps hot, which is what Brentwood wanted to avoid, while still keeping the foam for firmness and support.
Choose from a twin up to a California king-sized bed, just be sure to prepare your nostrils: the gel isn’t going to smell pretty when you get it.
This mattress needs some time to breathe, and the chemicals are going to leave an aroma for a while, to say the least.
On average, these can take 72 hours to fully inflate. Everything is CertiPUR-certified, this is just a common issue with most mattresses ordered online.
Brentwood just stands out in this department.
But they also stand out elsewhere, and for good reasons.
These mattresses are only 34 lbs each (twin XL), which means that you’re basically sleeping on air.
If you have a bed frame with a low maximum weight threshold, this is going to be a game-changer.
With an antimicrobial finish in the mattress and the inclusive bamboo cover, you eliminate the risk of bacterial growth as an issue.
On top of that, you have even less to worry about, because Brentwood includes a 25-year warranty with this mattress.
This primarily covers manufacturer defects as well as shipping mishaps (most of the time), but it’s still a good warranty to have backing you.
They’re known for being exceptionally customer-oriented, so if you don’t want to weave through the entire warranty agreement, you can call their customer service and have them explain it to you.
#3 Little Dreamer Innerspring Mattress
You want firm?
Well here it is.
Little Dreamers might not be the first name you thought you’d see when shopping for a mattress, but ignore the picture of the baby on the front, because this mattress is designed for twin sized beds that adults can also use.
We sought out to bring you the firmest mattress reviews, and we were shocked, but this is one of the best firm mattresses we tested.
Crafted out of nylon and a knit waterproof cover, this is durable as can be: if you slap a sheet on it, you won’t even notice the waterproof cover, because it does make a sound.
Everything about this mattress is hypoallergenic, but apart from that, it’s also fitted with innersprings to help add some bounce and additional support at the same time.
That innerspring is laid between two thick pieces of foam, so you can flip it over if you want and you’ll still get the same level of comfort.
Now, we need to talk about the price.
Because this is initially marketed to infants and children, Moonlight Slumber put in a lot of effort into the added features of this mattress.
That includes fire resistance and being totally waterproof, which is nice, but it does cost you a bit more than the other mattresses we’ve reviewed.
Because this is a slightly complex mattress with the cover design, Moonlight Slumber gives you a full lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
That means that if your mattress gives out on you in a few years, you can send it back to them for them to determine the cause, and if it was due to a lapse in quality control, you get a replacement (which undergoes thorough inspection).
It’s a solid brand to go with, because if nothing else, you’re going to get one of the most destruction-proof mattresses on the market.
#4 Simmons Beautyrest ComforPedic Memory Foam Mattress
You all know Simmons.
One of the most talked-about mattress brands in the world, and one creator of the best extra firm memory foam mattress that money can buy.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you—Simmons isn’t cheap.
This is by all accounts, an investment in your sleep, and definitely a luxurious way to treat yourself (but for your sleep, this is how you should be treating yourself).
Available in full, queen, and king, this three-layer AirCool memory foam mattress offers you a better way to stay nice and cool while sleeping, so you won’t retain as much heat and feel like you’re sitting in a sauna all night long.
Your body naturally drops its temperature while you’re going to sleep, and while you stay asleep, and there’s nothing that ruins that deep sleep like temperature changes.
Despite being 14” thick, everything sleeps evenly without letting you sink into one spot in the mattress and creating a hotspot.
I will say one thing though: Simmons is not transparent about the way they do their warranties.
You have to not only purchase the mattress first, but then you have to contact their customer service to find out how long the warranty is good for.
You have to jump through hoops for no apparent reason.
You’re also not going to get a cover with this.
Because Simmons knows how good they are and that they’re commonly referred to as the gold standard in mattresses, they don’t feel the need to include all the extra fixings.
Either way, we’re here for the mattress itself, and it functions perfectly.
You do have to let this rise for 48 hours after you unpackage it.
There’s a strong chemical smell that definitely makes other vacuum-sealed mattresses seem like roses in comparison, but it dissipates after not too long.
#5 Otis Haley 150 Futon Mattress
Can it be firm and super soft? Sure can.
Otis Bed produced an excellent, top-of-the-line mattress, albeit it at an inflated price.
You’re not going to get away without spending a bit here, because it’s definitely packing a ton of features that they know are premium quality.
For one, it has box edges along with a bench built, handmade series of components.
All of that is covered under their 10-year warranty, by the way.
I would have liked to see a 100-night trial on this, but unfortunately they don’t offer one.
After all, this is a futon mattress. If you’ve ever slept on a futon before, then you know the metal pokes right through and irritates your spine.
This mattress is designed to be firm enough to support your weight, without feeling any metal frame come through.
Personally, I would use this on a raised platform bed instead of a futon frame, because this is built to last.
It comes in a queen, twin, or twin split bed depending on what you need, each with attention to detail and high-end parts.
Because this is ultra firm, getting it out of the packaging is going to be a chore.
It’s really jammed in there, and the vacuum seal makes it difficult to actually fill up with air.
You can see this mattress kind of reform back to life, but it can take longer than the average 48-72 hours.
Because of how firm it is, it’s going to take shape, you just have to be patient.
Bending it is going to be difficult, which is sort of the point of a firm mattress.
It’s beyond me why Otis markets this as a futon mattress when it clearly works better as a bed mattress.
Good customer service, great mattress, but a high price tag: that’s the takeaway.
First Mattress Buying Guide & FAQ
Are Firm Mattresses Good for Your Back?
It depends on the user, but generally, you should use a firm mattress if you have back problems or pain.
If you’re waking up in the morning and finding that you have lower lumbar pain, discomfort, or swelling of any kind, you’re a hard sleeper, and you need a harder mattress.
Your spine supports your entire body, as we all know, but when you sleep you could be putting unnecessary stress on your entire spine and its alignment.
If you sleep on your back, for instance, there’s the weight of your skeleton, flesh and organs weighing down on your spine at night.
When you have a plush mattress that’s adding curvature to your spine and you add that stress on top of it, it’s not a good feeling.
Ultra firm mattresses, or even moderately firm mattresses that are a step-up from your plush mattress at home, could be exactly what you need to add that stability to your sleep.
Firm mattresses don’t get as much spotlight because, well they don’t feel as comfortable as plush, softer mattresses.
You don’t notice the difference as much when you lay down, but when you wake up in the morning with little to no back pain, you’re going to feel the difference in a positive way.
Who Should Buy a Firm Mattress?
Anyone with back problems.
Your lower lumbar is in pain, you feel this twinge in your sciatica, or you just have general discomfort and tension in your back throughout the day.
That’s the type of person who needs a firm mattress.
Keep in mind that getting a hard mattress is not an immediate problem-solver, and will not work for everyone.
Some people may find that there’s a different problem relating to their back pain that’s causing them discomfort throughout the day.
However, even if there are other problem, such as weight gain or sports injuries, you can still help remedy that pain with a firm mattress.
Which is the Hardest Mattress?
Zinus did an excellent job at making the hardest mattress on this list without it feeling like a layer of stone beneath your back.
While some hard mattresses certainly run into this problem, they allow you to feel comfortable while giving the harshest level of support possible.
If you have extreme back problems, this could be a game-changing mattress for you.
Do Mattresses Lose Their Firmness?
Yes, mattresses lose their firmness over time.
Any material will break down from enough time, but you have to consider that this isn’t something you’re just laying on: you’re using up its durability every time you use it.
All the time that the foam spends compressed, with rapid temperature changes, and hundreds of pounds of pressure on it, will eventually warp the firmness.
Some firm mattresses use a thicker top layer, or pillow top, to give you that extra bit of padding.
These are notoriously easy to wear down, which is why sewn-on pillow tops aren’t the best.
If the firm mattress you’re considering has a lot more underneath the top layer that adds to its firmness, that’s a good thing, but it will still lose firmness over time.
On average, after thirty uses (one month of sleeping on this mattress for eight hours a night), you’re going to feel a difference in the mattress.
There’s a natural break-in period that you have to go through.
While it’s not going to ruin your mattress, it is going to change how it feels a bit.
You won’t see a serious damper in support until well after the first few years, though.
Is Memory Foam Good for Firm Mattresses?
It’s a controversial topic, but memory foam has actually proven to be great for people who need firm mattresses.
We always think of a big foam pad that your shoulders sink into, but memory foam layers underneath the cover of your mattress can actually help provide stability further down in your mattress, effectively distributing pressure across the entire mattress.
If you’re feeling hesitant about purchasing memory foam mattresses, just know that there’s far more that goes into your mattress than just the foam.
There are innersprings, encased coils, gel inclusion in the memory foam, and hybrid models that all add to the support (or take away from it, depending on what you get).
Memory foam is good for firm mattresses, but sleeping on just a slab of memory foam (those cheap big box store mattresses for under a hundred dollars) is not good for your back. It’s not firm, and it doesn’t provide support.
Memory foam will warp with age and become less firm, so as long as it’s strategically placed and there is enough of it, you shouldn’t run into this problem.
How Long Does a Firm Mattress Last?
About ten years, which is the same degradation rate you’re going to see with just about any mattress you decide to buy.
There are no mattresses on the market that are still viable after a decade of night-in, night-out use.
The only way you’re going to get more than ten years on a firm mattress is if you’re travelling five nights a week, and only sleeping at home on the weekends.
Every time you sleep on your mattress, you apply pressure to it for six to nine hours.
You spend a lot of time here, and that all adds up in terms of stress.
Think of each mattress as having a timer, and you’re using up part of that timer every time you sleep on it.
If you need an ultra firm mattress, you might find yourself replacing it more often than every ten years.
To maintain firmness and stave-off back pain, some firm mattress users will purchase a new mattress every five to seven years.
When you break it down into a yearly cost, it’s not that crazy to spend a small amount of money, on an annual basis, for sleep (which is the most important thing you can do for you body).
A Firmer Way to Sleep
Firm mattress sleeping could be the way to sleep salvation for you, depending on your current sleeping style and needs.
It’s important to assess it properly, and ensure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Investing in a firm mattress is no joke—it’s time to make a decision.
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