Best Extra Firm Mattress
Extra firm mattresses aren’t the most popular beds in the industry because people are quick to assume they’re uncomfortable, stiff, and pain-inducing. However, extra firm mattresses can provide outstanding comfort and support for the right kind of sleeper.
Our article breaks down the ins and outs of extra firm mattresses, including what makes them so great and who they work best for. We also go over the best extra firm mattresses to consider when shopping.
Best Extra Firm Mattress of 2023: 30 Second Summary
- Our Recommendation: Zoma Start — With a budget-friendly design and a cooling, responsive surface, the Zoma Start is an excellent way for sleepers to experience firmer comfort.
Best Extra Firm Mattress
For a simple and affordable extra firm bed, we recommend trying out the Zoma Start. Not only is it a great extra firm bed, but it helps you sleep deeper and boosts muscle recovery.
This memory foam mattress is 10 inches tall and contains three foam layers. The bed’s cover is made from a stretchy mesh fabric so you have an evening of cool sleep.
The upper layer of the Zoma Start is gel memory foam with Triangulex™ technology. The foam conforms lightly under your body to relieve pressure, while the gel infusion regulates the bed’s temperature. The Triangulex™ technology is a support system with three zones around your head, back, and legs, built to evenly distribute your body weight.
The middle layer is made from Reactiv™ foam. Zoma designed the Reativ™ foam to rapidly respond to your movements and make it easier to shift in bed.
At the base of the bed is Support+ foam, which reinforces the upper foam layers and maximizes the bed’s longevity.
Along with being affordable, the Zoma Start comes with free shipping and returns, a 100-night sleep trial, and a 10-year warranty.
- Gel infused memory foam wicks away heat and moisture
- Targeted lumbar support
- 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty
Designed by Brooklyn Bedding, the Plank Mattress is a flippable bed built for sleepers who can never find a firm enough mattress. One side of the mattress has an extra firm feel, while the other is more of a true firm for a slightly softer feel.
The extra firm side of the mattress has a .75 inch quilted cover for ultimate support and stability. Conversely, the firm side has a 1.5-inch quilted layer and TitanFlex™ comfort foam for a little extra cushioning.
Between both of the layers is 7 inches of durable base foam. It provides strong support for both you and your mattress, helping it provide consistent comfort for years to come.
The Plank Mattress is made in the USA and includes a 120-night risk-free trial and a 10-year warranty.
- Flippable mattress with an extra firm and firm side
- Quilted cover allows body heat to escape quickly
- 120-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty
The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Hybrid was built to create the optimal cooling environment.
The Aurora Hybrid comes in three firmnesses, but its firm variation is a great choice for stomach, back, and larger sleepers looking for breathability and support.
The Aurora Hybrid has a complex construction, containing 1.5 inches of CopperFlex® foam with TitanCool™ technology, 2 inches of TitanFlex™ foam, 1 inch of memory foam, 8 inches of pocket coils, and thin base foam. The mattress’s cover is built to instantly cool you down and stay cool throughout the night.
Brooklyn Bedding offers a 120-night sleep trial, 10-year warranty, and free shipping and returns for the Aurora Hybrid.
BROOKLYN BEDDING AURORA HYBRID
- Available in 3 firmness levels
- Pocketed spring coil support layer and foam base for shock absorption
- 120-year sleep trial and 10-year warranty
Bear optimized their flagship mattress, the Bear Original, to keep you cool, supported, and comfortable for the best sleep possible.
A unique feature of the Bear Original is its Celliant® mattress cover. Celliant® is an FDA-determined infrared technology designed to draw heat away from your body and transform it into energy. The energy then releases back to your body to boost muscle recovery and help you sleep deeper.
Beneath the cover is cooling graphite and gel-infused memory foam, buoyant transition foam, and durable support foam. The layers come together to provide ample support, light cushioning, and breathability.
The Bear Original mattress includes a 100-night risk-free trial, a 10-year warranty, and free shipping and returns.
- Celliant® mattress cover regulates heat and moisture
- Firm yet responsive foam prevents pressure points
- 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty
At 11 inches tall, the Titan Firm Hybrid contains a thin polyester cover quilted with gel memory foam, 2 inches of TitanFlex™ foam, 6 inches of TitanCaliber™ coils, and 2 inches of durable base foam.
The mattress cover’s gel infusion provides instant comfort but also maximizes the bed’s cooling capabilities so you sleep dry and comfortable.
TitanFlex™ foam lightly contours under your curves and responds instantly to your movements. It also features zoned support to evenly distribute your body weight and alleviate pressure.
The Titan Firm Hybrid can contain up to 961 pocketed TitanCaliber™ coils. They’re built to support your spine, isolate motion, and minimize sags.
The mattress’s foam base sustains the mattress’s structure and helps the bed last as long as possible.
With the Titan Firm Hybrid, sleepers receive a 120-night sleep trial, a 10-year warranty, and free shipping and returns.
TITAN FIRM HYBRID
- Gel infused memory foam prevents overheating
- Pocketed spring coil base keeps body weight evenly distributed
- 120-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty
What is an Extra Firm Mattress?
Mattress firmness describes a mattress’s feel and is scored on a 1 to 10 scale. Extra firm mattresses are the firmest mattresses available, being a 10 on the firmness scale.
Extra firm mattresses have practically no cushioning or give. They’re usually on the thinner end—around 10 or so inches—and have simpler constructions since they don’t feature the advanced cushioning systems soft mattresses have.
All sorts of mattresses—memory foam, latex, hybrid—come in extra firm variations.
Benefits of an Extra Firm Mattress
Extra firm mattresses provide numerous health benefits, including needed support, air flow, and weight distribution. Firmer beds also have great motion isolation for people with a sleep partner. Let’s break down the benefits of sleeping on an extra firm mattress!
Excellent Spinal Alignment
Firmer mattresses are known for providing the most reliable spinal support. When your mattress properly supports your spine, this means your spine is neutral, with your neck, hips, and shoulders in one line.
Healthy spinal alignment prevents back pain, makes it easier to breathe, and is all-around important for your sleep health.
Lots of extra firm mattress users notice their beds sleep cooler than softer ones. The breathability of extra firm mattresses comes from the fact that you won’t sink deeply into the beds. Laying on top of your bed versus inside of your bed minimizes heat retention so you don’t end up sweaty and uncomfortable.
Even Weight Distribution
Since you’re less likely to sink on an extra firm bed, your body weight is better distributed. Even weight distribution ensures no single body part will carry the brunt of your weight and cause pressure points. Pressure build-up can lead to difficulty sleeping, stiffness, and pain.
Extra firm mattresses don’t engulf your body the way softer mattresses do. This makes it easier to move in bed, prevents you from feeling trapped in your mattress, and improves blood circulation. Proper blood flow is particularly crucial for individuals with edema, blood clots, varicose veins, and diabetes.
While some sleepers may overlook a mattress’s motion isolation properties, it’s a vital feature for couples.
Extra firm mattresses—and firm mattresses as a whole—contain very thin comfort layers which won’t contour as deeply as thicker comfort layers. This reduces the chances of motion transfer, making it easier to switch positions or get out of bed without disturbing your partner.
Who Should Use An Extra Firm Mattress?
If you’re petite or sleep on your side, an extra firm mattress will likely cause you to feel stiff, achy, and uncomfortable overall. For back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and heavier individuals, extra firm mattresses provide excellent support to keep their bodies aligned and promote deep sleep.
Although back sleeping is uncommon, it’s one of the best sleeping positions for fostering a neutral spine. Even then, you still need the right mattress to optimize back sleeping.
Extra firm mattresses provide solid support to prevent your lower back from sinking when back sleeping. If your lower back sinks—like it can on an overly soft mattress—you risk throwing your spine out of alignment and causing pain.
Although extra firm mattresses can be great for some back sleepers, they may prove too firm for others and cause pressure points around your lower back. In this case, considering a slightly softer mattress, such as a firm or medium firm. In most cases, the best mattresses for back sleepers are between medium and firm.
When lying on your stomach, the brunt of your weight is around your abdomen and hips. If you were to sleep on a soft mattress, your hips would sink, causing your spine to curve unnaturally and leading to pain.
The best way to prevent sinkage when stomach sleeping is by using an extra firm mattress. The firmest beds are best for stomach sleepers to ensure their body is neutral. It may even be worth skipping a pillow when stomach sleeping to keep your neck aligned.
With all of this in mind, we still recommend avoiding stomach sleeping if possible. Stomach sleeping puts major stress on your neck and lower back, making it a bad position to maintain long-term.
Still, switching sleeping positions is no easy task. Therefore, mattresses for stomach sleepers should be extra firm to minimize pain as much as possible when sleeping on your stomach.
People who weigh over 230 pounds naturally place more pressure on a mattress compared to lighter people. Most soft mattresses provide too much cushioning and little-to-no support for larger people, leading to painful, sleepless nights. Another issue with soft mattresses is plus-sized sleepers can sink too much and feel stuck in bed.
The best mattresses for plus-size sleepers are firm and extra firm since they contour under heavier areas—the hips, shoulders, and legs—but also support healthy spinal alignment.
Is it better to sleep on a firm or soft mattress?
There’s the common misconception that firmer beds are uncomfortable, but good for your health, while soft mattresses are nothing more than unsupportive cushions. But this is just a myth.
Soft mattresses can be supportive, just like firm mattresses can be comfortable and provide pressure relief.
Deciding whether you need a soft or firm mattress comes down to your specific needs and body type.
Soft mattresses work better for petite sleepers and side sleepers, while hard mattresses are more suitable for back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and plus-sized sleepers.
What is the difference between a firm and an extra firm mattress?
When comparing firm and extra firm mattresses, it’s best to look at the mattress firmness scales.
The scale ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. On this scale, firm mattresses are about an 8 or 9, while extra firm mattresses are a 10. In layman’s terms, firm mattresses provide just a bit more cushioning than extra firm mattresses.
How do I know if my mattress is too firm?
Various clear signs indicate your mattress is too firm for your needs. These signs include:
- You wake up with back, neck, or shoulder pain
- Your arms are constantly numb or tingly at night
- Your mattress doesn’t contour beneath you at all
- You struggle to get comfortable at night
- You wake up feeling fatigued
- You sleep better in other beds
Do extra firm mattresses get softer with time?
All mattresses grow soft with age, but this doesn’t mean your extra firm mattress will suddenly turn into a brand new soft mattress. Instead, an old extra firm mattress will develop soft spots and lumps which are uncomfortable to sleep on. The mattress will also become less supportive as it ages.
Conversely, if you’re expecting your new extra firm mattress to get a bit softer, this is unlikely. Although there is a 30 to 60-day break-in period for new mattresses, they won’t get much softer in that time.
Can an extra firm mattress cause hip pain?
Extra firm mattresses can potentially cause hip pain if you sleep on your side, but we don’t recommend side sleeping on an extra firm bed. Otherwise, back or stomach sleeping on an extra firm bed shouldn’t cause hip pain since there’s little to no pressure on your hips in either of those sleeping positions. However, the best mattresses for chronic hip pain are often medium to medium-firm.
The mattress market tends to overlook firm beds since they seem uncomfortable, rigid, and stiff. However, extra firm mattresses have a lot to offer, including being great for your spine and blood circulation. They’re an excellent choice for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, larger people, and couples looking for excellent motion isolation.
When deciding whether or not to get an extra firm mattress, consider your sleeping position and size. Since most brands nowadays include sleep trials, always make use of them to truly decide if a bed is the best mattress for you.