What better way to start your morning than by showing up well-rested. While we can’t always control the stress in our daily lives, we can control the quality and comfort of our beds by taking time to select the best mattress for our bodies. The right bed will provide you with optimal support and comfort. Whether you prefer a firm support or a plush, soft mattress, you can choose from lots of options in many price ranges.
With new technology and developments in sleep science, we know more about what it takes to get a good night’s sleep. Traditional coil innerspring mattresses have evolved, and modern designs come with foam materials that can literally shape around our bodies. With cooling gels, foam, plush pillow tops, and breathable materials, we can stay cool, relaxed, and comfortable all through the night. What’s more, you’re no longer stuck shopping in stores with pushy salespeople. The best mattress can show up at your doorstep, once you decide on the best option for you.
- Best innerspring mattress: Beautyrest Dual Cool Technology Pillowtop Mattress
- Best memory foam mattress: Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress
- Best hybrid mattress: Casper Original Hybrid Mattress
- Best mattress for back pain: Casper Sleep Wave Foam Mattress
- Best for durability: Nod Hybrid by Tuft & Needle
- Best under $300: Zinus Memory Green Mattress
Things to consider when shopping for the best mattress
The mattress marketplace is full of options. With hundreds of models and manufacturers, finding the right choice can feel overwhelming. You can pick from traditional and new materials and price points that range from reasonable to a splurge. Also, consider what type of comfort and support you want. While you should ideally try the model out in person, many online purchases come with free trials and easy returns. Finally, you should understand the construction and materials used. You want your mattress to be durable and retain its shape for many years.
Innerspring vs. memory foam
First, you should understand the difference between innerspring vs. memory foam. Traditional mattresses are designed with what is called innerspring construction, which is made with steel coils arranged in various configurations. While some manufacturers advertise that the more coils the better the support—and therefore the better the quality—it’s important to consider the gauge of metal used in these springs. Thinner-gauge metal may not be as durable as a thicker gauge. Some are designed with a Bonnell-style coil or hourglass shape, a continuous wire coil, or individually pocketed springs. You can find highly rated mattresses made with all of these coil styles.
Why does it matter? Coil construction is responsible for the bounciness of a mattress. The top of the innerspring construction mattresses can include special layers of cushioning, such as a pillow top layer or infused gel. Shifting positions tends to be easy with innerspring mattresses due to the bouncy quality. Foam layers and plush pillow tops added to the top help suppress the bounce by absorbing some of the vibrations.
Memory foam mattress pros and cons
Many mattresses today are completely constructed out of foam. The memory foam mattress was invented in the 1960s, designed to soften when you lie on it and mold to your body. Once you get up, it springs back to its original shape. The best mattresses use foam to relieve pressure in areas of the body that may hold tension. This malleable material conforms to the body and is made with good motion isolation, which is convenient for couples. What’s more, the cost of these varies from budget to high end. That said, some negative attributes associated with some foam construction mattresses include an initial “off-gas” chemical smell that will dissipate after a few days of being set up and lack of bounce. The foam can also trap body heat.
Though many manufacturers use polyurethane to create their foam layers, others use latex as well. Some mattresses include both (so be wary if you have sensitivities). Specific foams offer cooling, support, and pressure relief. Additional varieties include high-density polyfoam, high-resiliency polyfoam, open-cell memory foam, gel memory foam, and varieties of latex foam.
A hybrid mattress combines both coils and foam
Hybrid mattresses are made with both traditional construction (metal innerspring coil) and modern materials like foams and gels. They’re great for people who want the best of both styles of mattress. A hybrid mattress has the sturdy support of the innerspring coil, better edge support, and durability along with the signature bounce. However, hybrids also incorporate the many benefits of new mattress technology. Modern foam mattresses offer superior comfort with the ability to mold to your body and relieve pressure in joints and muscles. Adding layers of foam or gel on top of the traditional base provides support and flexibility.
One of the complaints associated with foam-style mattresses is that it can be difficult getting in and out of bed. Sometimes the softness (lack of bounce) and molding quality can make the edge of the bed seemingly collapse when you sit on it. With an innerspring coil, you get some edge support and bounce that makes sitting on bed and getting out of bed easier.
Is pain relief a major consideration for you?
The big question: Will this mattress help you get a good night’s sleep? The best mattresses will ensure that you wake up without any additional aches and pains and feel truly rested. The best mattress for back pain relief is a combination of flexibility and durability. It will conform to your body and provide full-body relief, but be supportive enough to not sink or sag.
People seeking pain relief should also consider temperature. Cooling fabrics, gels, and breathable fabrics will allow for an ideal sleeping experience with plenty of airflow. Look for ergonomic designs such as gel pads that help to align the spine, provide softer support under the shoulders, and firmer support around the hips and lower back.
How long do you want your mattress to last?
Anyone who has spent a night tossing and turning in a friend’s basement on their ancient, broken mattress understands the importance of durability. The more durable the materials and construction, the more comfortable nights you will enjoy. Better quality spring construction will provide years of solid but flexible support. Look for foam that can withstand years conforming to the body, while remaining adaptable enough to return to its original shape after you get up.
The amount of wear and tear put on the mattress is just one factor that affects its lifespan. A rarely used mattress in a seasonal beach house will last longer than one a child jumps on every night. Laboratories test this durability with simulations of normal use and offer an idea of how well mattresses will hold up in time. The longer a mattress is able to retain its original shape, height, firmness, and side/back support, the more durable the mattress is. A mattress that can withstand eight or more years of wear and tear earns a high rating of durability.
Best innerspring mattress: Beautyrest Dual Cool Technology Pillowtop Mattress
Beautyrest 13.5″ Dual Cool Technology Pillowtop Mattress
Thick innerspring construction with plush euro top. Amazon
This Beautyrest innerspring mattress is described by its manufacturer as the world’s premier support system. Made with pocketed coil technology, the mattress provides conforming support and motion separation. This premium pick includes 1-inch Energy Foam, which creates a supportive foundation below the coils. What’s more, you don’t have to flip or rotate this Beautyrest mattress. Finally, the mattress is designed with DualCool technology that contains real woven silver to create an anti-microbial environment.
Best memory foam mattress: Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress
Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress
The right amount of support and you won’t get too hot at night. Amazon
This memory foam mattress is made with multiple layers of foam to form a strong base, ceramic gel beads for support, and a cooling gel inside the mattress. The top layer uses T&N Adaptive foam, which contours to your shape and releases tension in your limbs. What’s more, the mattress is swathed in a breathable cover to help cool the body. And you can rest easy knowing that this model is Greenguard Gold- and Certi PUR-certified, which means it’s free from harmful chemicals.
Best hybrid mattress: Casper Original Hybrid Mattress
Casper Original Hybrid Mattress
The resilient bounce of springs are added to the multilayer foam mattress for targeted support and proper spinal alignment. Amazon
This hybrid Casper mattress uses Zone SupportTM that allows for optimal spinal alignment. On top of that, breathable foam helps to circulate air and release heat, so you don’t get too hot at night. The final touch? Innerspring coils add lift, bounce, and border support to the base.
Best mattress for back pain relief: Casper Sleep Wave Foam Mattress
Casper Sleep Wave Foam Mattress
Here’s a premium, medium-firm, and ergonomically designed model. Amazon
Looking for some relief? This all-foam mattress was created to help alleviate aches while you sleep. Designed with SupportTM Max, which uses softer foam around the shoulders and encourages healthy spinal alignment, this mattress is an excellent choice for people with back pain. What’s more, cooling technology reduces the retention of heat within the foam. And supportive gel pads in the middle to provide additional cushion for the spine.
Best mattress for durability: Nod Hybrid by Tuft & Needle
Nod Hybrid by Tuft & Needle
Offers structure and adaptability. Amazon
This Tuft & Needle mattress offers a hybrid construction, with layers of adaptive foam, slow recovery foam, and a layer of pocket coils with a foam base. It’s topped with a stay-cool material to prevent the heat that is associated with some foam mattresses. The hybrid style allows for the bounce and structure of a traditional mattress combined with the muscle-relaxing comfort of modern memory foam.
Best mattress brands to know
Casper Sleep became a publicly-traded company in 2020, after Phillip Krim and partners launched the brand in being launched in 2014. The company began as an online mattress company that later opened brick-and-mortar stores in 2019. Casper has become known for its bold, funny marketing campaigns and their comfortable foam-construction-based mattresses, which are shipped shrink-wrapped in small boxes. They also sell bed frames, sheets, pillows, and sleep accessories.
Tuft & Needle
Tuft and Needle is a new mattress company, started in 2012 by software engineers JT Marino and Daehee Park. The pair were looking to change the way mattresses are purchased, by promoting a customer-centric, online-only company (they felt traditional mattress companies were manipulative and unpleasant). Their goal was to craft a shopping experience that was honest, and was based on feedback from customers all at fair prices. The company grew, and with that success was recently purchased by the industry leader Serta Simmons Bedding in 2018.
Beautyrest has been around since the 1870s. Its part of Serta Simmons, which assembles products in manufacturing plants across North America. In 1925, Beautyrest helped pioneer the mass-produced mattress market, with a new technology called the Pocketed Coil. This innovation provided individual support along with motion separation. In 1958, Simmons was the first manufacturer to offer queen and king-sized mattress sizes. Today, Beautyrest still offers the highest-quality innerspring-style mattresses, while incorporating emerging technology.
Best on a budget: What you get for under $300
Not looking to spend a lot? Typically you can find deals on foam mattresses; prices get lower as the size and thickness get smaller. The Zinus Memory Green Mattress, for example, is full size and measures 12 inches thick for under $300. This budget pick is made with three layers of foam to conform to the body, allow for airflow, and provide base support. The makers compress and ship the mattress in a small box that expands within 72 hours of opening the package.
A final word on buying a mattress
Buying a mattress doesn’t have to involve hours of in-person shopping and haggling with salespeople. Now you can search hundreds of styles online, and order them to your doorstep without hassle. Understanding the needs of your body as well as the materials and construction will help you pick a brand and model. Then find the best mattress and look forward to restful nights and serenity ahead.>